Surprise Visit to Safeco!
Thanks to my brother-in-law scoring some free tickets, I went to the M's game tonight. It was definitely a beautiful day out for baseball:
Inside the stadium, too, it looked pretty good. Probably the best battle I've seen in person yet. Well, wait. In 2001, I recall taking my best friend to their first trip ever to Safeco. My wife was rather pregnant with Joey at the time, and IIRC, the M's won it in the bottom of the 9th. Still, this game was really, really exciting. Especially sitting amongst the Red Sox Sea...
I got a chance to speak with George again -- I went down to the bullpen at the top of the third inning (figuring it'd be OK since it didn't appear like Meche was going to implode, and it was too early for guys to be warming up) and asked Woody to tell George that "the Free George Sherrill Guy" was here. Expecting George to merely turn around and wave, I was a bit surprised he headed my direction to chat for a few minutes. His health is back on track, and while he's probably ready for the season to end, he seemed to be in great spirits. I've definitely picked the right guy to be a huge fan of! I teased him a bit about his girlfriend, but things seem to be going well there. I've yet to meet her (and, heck, why would I have -- I technically haven't even 'met' elsid yet...), but from what I hear, she sounds like a good fit. He's pretty smitten, I gathered. I verified that George gave her one of the copies of the picture I took of George at my last visit to Safeco.
While talking on the phone with elsid (figuring it's been a good luck charm -- whenever I'm on the phone with elsid and George comes in, he usually dominates), I tried to also snap a few pix of George on the mound. Considering I had one hand holding the camera and the other holding the phone, I'd say they turned out OK:
Elsid and I knew that once Meche got through the 7th, with "Big Papi" coming up, there'd be a good chance that George would make an appearance. Indeed that was the case. Of course, that was a pretty weird at-bat. It took Hargrove forever to bring George in -- the umpire actually made the signal to the bullpen. Unfortunately talking to elsid didn't work this time. Leave it to fate that the first game I see George pitch in this year (actually, like, ever) a guy gets on and Putz allows him to score -- and the last game I'll likely see at Safeco, the same thing happens. Nevermind that it wouldn't've happened had the shift not been on. The ball that Ortiz lined down the third base line would've easily been caught by Beltre (and/or limited to a single by Ibanez, who was playing in left center and probably is STILL running after that ball). You knew that when Ortiz bunted the first pitch that direction there was a good shot he was trying to negate the shift. He got George this time -- actually, in this case, I blame Hargrove.
I'll post a few more pictures later today (it's really, really late, and I don't want to sleep all day tomorrow since my wife already was kind enough to let me have most of the day to go up to Seattle). It's not like anyone else is up right now anyway. Except, perhaps, for Deanna. We coaxed her into buying her first M's jersey. She wanted Ichiro, but we talked her into Johjima. I'm sure she's uploading her pictures, too...