Mariners: Edgar Martinez Number Retirement

I’ve written before about my memories of my family and baseball. Most of my summer trips back to Washington wind up featuring a Rainiers game. Baseball is just part of how my family functions.

Last winter when the Mariners announced that they would be retiring Edgar Martinez’s #11, I knew that I had to make it happen. I talked to my sister and to some family members and then nothing really happened. Just before school got out for summer, I started to organize. And as a family, we ended up purchasing 13 tickets.

I am so glad this all came together. It was a fantastic day. We made a whole day of it which was fantastic! First thing in the morning, I boarded a bus to Seattle along with my mom, my sister, my aunt and uncle, my godmother, and a cousin. When we arrived in Seattle, we grabbed coffee and headed to the Mariners team store because neither my mom or I owned any Mariners gear. (I was okay with this, no one else was.)

We did a bit of touristing at Pike Place Market but our group was a bit too large to maneuver the crowds and we quickly ended up at Pike Brewing for some food and catching up.

Once we reached the stadium district we rendezvoused with the rest of our group and hung out at Pyramid Brewing. There was lots of beer and some nachos, I started a round of “What’s your favorite Edgar memory?” and we hopefully didn’t drive our nice server too nuts.

Inside the stadium, I only cried a little bit during the ceremony. But my cousins jumped in as family does and made sure to tease me a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a game and watched so little of it; living so far away this was a great time to catch up with people!

Thanks family. This was definitely the event worth planning my summer Washington trip around.

When Parents Are There: My Dad & Baseball

Scrolling through my reader this morning, I clicked on a post titled “Sasha DiGiulian’s Mom on Why You Should Let Your Kids Take Big Risks”to see what sage advice Sasha DiGiulian‘s mom could share with moms like mine that worry about their daughters in the outdoors. (Plus, you all know I’m a sucker for posts about women kicking ass outdoors.) The article was great and Sasha’s mom was really cute. Then I read a quote that made me burst in to tears:

“Then, when you started lead climbing, I took the course so I could lead belay, and honestly, I loved it. I loved spending time with you, and I loved going to the climbing competitions with you.”

It’s early spring. This is the time of year I used to spend hanging out with my dad at the batting cages, going to take ground balls on any dry day, and staying up too late talking about the possibilities for my team (and probably the Seattle Mariners too).

Starting just after Christmas, a few days a week, I’d come home from school and my dad would take me to the batting cages. As my teammates would point out to me, I could drive and he would have given me money so I didn’t have to go with him but I liked to. I loved spending that time with my dad. Sometimes my sister would come, which was mostly great because we could rotate in and out of the cage with each other. It certainly wasn’t rare, though, she didn’t want to come choosing friends or television over some extra practice.

I remember a lot of him providing me feedback on my swing but I also remember riding down the hill from our house in his red pickup just talking.

I’m pretty sure more than once we made people laugh at Rainiers games when I was in high school. He’d almost always sit on my right and when we witnessed a gorgeous swing that resulted in a home run or a double we’d turn to each other—a righty and a lefty—and make our best impressions of that swing, exclaiming about how the contact was just right.

My dad and I: blue circle. Where the 3-run HR landed: Red circle. Dad always regretted not using his long arms to catch it for me. ♥

There were late April games at Cheney stadium that were so cold I wore snowpants and we carried blankets in; often with a beer or two rolled up in them.I remember Game 4 of the 1995 ALDS, standing on the left field bleachers so that 10 year old me could try to talk to my dad over the rock concert roar of the Kingdome as Edgar Martinez, my favorite player, proved to be the hero

Macklemore’s song “My Oh My” makes me cry each and every time from the moment that he sings

Bottom of the 11th inning got the whole town listening,
Swung on and belted the words that started, Joey Cora rounds third
Here comes Griffey the throw to the plate’s not in time
My oh my the Mariners win it

and I picture my dad chanting, “They’re never going to get Griffey, they’re never going to get Griffey.” 1995 is seared in my memory and family lore, it comes up at family holidays and events because we all have shared, intersecting memories because my Aunt Lori bought two seats that we shared and whoever wasn’t at the games would watch them at our house.

Mostly though, the line “And if mom wasn’t trippin’ come on dad please I swear just one more inning,” is what rings true along with the batting cages, ground balls, and thousands of whiffle ball pitches in the back yard.

Today is a gorgeous early spring day in Colorado. The sky is so so blue that it’s almost heartbreaking. It’s cold and there’s some snow on the ground but my time in Maine made me associate that with the start of softball. It won’t be long before baseball season starts here in Western Colorado for my high school students. The Mariners are down in Arizona getting ready for Opening Day. It’s been almost six years since I got to watch a baseball game with my dad and it’s days like today I miss them most of all.

Minor League Baseball: Grand Junction Rockies

I love baseball. I grew up in a family where baseball was the soundtrack to our summers. I’ve been reclaiming baseball in my life this summer first with a Tacoma Rainiers game and now with the Grand Junction Rockies.

Baseball field

I went to my first game right after coming back from Seattle. The Grand Junction team is a rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies that plays in the Pioneer League. All tickets were $9 and the food prices left no room for complaining ($3.50 beer for both micros and macros, $3 hotdogs, $4.50 cheeseburgers, etc.) and the field was gorgeous.

Baseball selfie

I got a good kick out of the “Beer Batter” promotion: an opposing batter is chosen as the beer batter and if he strikes out looking, Bud Lights are $2 for the next 10 minutes.

Baseball field

I had so much fun that when I realized I’d be spending the night in the Grand Junction area on Monday, the first thing I did was check to see if the ball club was in town. Since they were, I went in search of a scorebook. If I’m going to watch baseball, I love keeping score, especially if I’m solo.

Scoring

Baseball selfie

I had another amazing day at the ballpark; it’s a pretty great way to spend an evening and I look forward to going more often in August when I’m only living a half hour away.

Baseball field

Tacoma Rainiers

Just after I landed in Tacoma, my mom and my oldest nephew (Andrew) and I headed to Cheney Stadium to watch the Tacoma Rainiers game with some other family members. My entire family loves baseball. The Mariners were always on the radio in the background of family gatherings and going to Tacoma Rainiers games (the Mariner’s AAA affiliate team) happens quite often.

Tacoma Rainiers, Cheney Stadium

Cheney Stadium got a major renovation in 2011 but I haven’t been back to see a game since they were completed. The place has been way more spruced up than it was the last time I was there! Renovations or not, I always love baseball stadiums. There are very few things in the world as beautiful as a baseball diamond in the sun:

Cheney Stadium

Rainiers Game; Beth and Andrew

We spotted the sign for the “Summit Club” parking and I explained to Andrew what a “summit” is and we decided to take a picture:

Summit club, Andrew and Beth

This is his summit face or so he explained to me:

Andrew at Rainiers Game

We don’t get to hang out very much but I really like being with my nephew. I think the feeling is mutual:

Beth and Andrew

My dad taught me a lot about baseball. Lots of my favorite memories with him were either practicing softball or watching the Mariners and Rainiers. After I moved away, I’d always call him to tell him about my games or about the stadium I was at. Andrew never got to really watch baseball with his Papi so I had so much fun spending a half inning teaching him how to keep score.

Keeping score

Once Andrew had enough of score keeping (although he was a really quick learner!) and wanted to go hang out with his cousins, I got to watch the game with my uncle. Uncle Skip is one of my favorite people to watch baseball with. We got to talk strategy and baseball history for a couple of innings before we headed over to join my mom, Andrew, my aunt, my cousin, his wife, and their two daughters for the rest of the game.

Beth and Uncle Skip

Cheney Stadium

The Rainiers won, I got to hang out with my family, and watch some baseball. We even wrapped up the night by heading over to my grandmother’s house for dinner.It was an awesome way to be welcomed back to Washington!

Beth and Andrew

Day 29: High Point, North Carolina to Jefferson National Forest

This morning started with a nice leisurely breakfast with Chris before hitting the road bound for the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had a long coffee break at Doughton Park complete with yummy buttermilk biscuits (the cafe was really old complete with retro lunch counter in front of the grill). Leaving the cafe we were pretty excited to check out the music center but as has been typical of our Parkway experience it was closed. This left both of us feeling quite fed up with the park service (again).

A quick jaunt to the west on I-77 brought us to Pulaski (BFE). The first thing we saw driving into town was the home field of the Pulaski Mariners–the short season A-club for Seattle! This made my first order of business finding out whether they were in town. Sadly, their season won’t start until next week. Another bag of dog food and we were on our way to Virginia 730 and the lovely community of Eggleston. Further north, along highway 42, we crossed the Appalachian Trail where Sprocket and I took a short walk (F rested his calf) then we drove through Mayville. Just past the booming metropolis of Sinking Creek we spotted a turn off for a road into Jefferson National Forest. After the longest three miles ever there was a road to something knob (the sign was broken off) in 4 miles–we followed that over an even longer four rocky miles to our campsite for the night. When it’s really quiet we can hear the banjos.

Day 19: Brunswick, Georgia to somewhere, Georgia

After a quick breakfast stop at McDonald’s we headed up I-95 for Savannah. After the relatively short drive, we arrived in town at about 8:30. We killed some time in the Whistle Stop Cafe doing some internet stuff and letting the computer charge before we made a quick stop off at the visitors center. With our map of historical Savannah in hand, we walked through several of the squares that still exist as they were laid out by James Oglethorpe. The squares were beautiful: full of old trees and fountains. The houses around them were also really cool and old.

Sprocket was starting to get kind of hot and tired (and I was getting hungry) so we set out looking for lunch. Forrest went into a coffee shop and asked if there were any breweries in town and we set out in search of Moon River Brewing. After a short detour through the City Market we found the brewery. The hostess was so helpful in finding Sprocket something to drink water out of and he crashed under our table. We were a little disappointed that we couldn’t have a beer sampler (no glass on the street and plastic cups would have caused “too much waste”). Forrest ordered himself a Swamp Fox IPA and talked me into drinking the $1 mint julep–it about made me puke. Forrest ordered their cheeseburger with mac and cheese and I had the black and blue burger with scalloped potatoes. The food was fantastic!

After lunch we had some more time to kill before the Savannah Sand Gnats took the field so we walked down on River Street for a bit. Sprocket continued to get lots of attention but took it in stride (this might have been the city where he attracted the most oohs and ahhs). I had a couple of raw oysters and I think I can safely say that I don’t like oysters from the Gulf and Southern Atlantic…they’re just bland. We ambled back to our car and loaded up our hot panting dog with the AC blasting. We made a brief detour to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed before heading to Daffin Park.

At the park, the three of us checked out the “Hometown Heroes” displays outside the park: the bomb defusing ROV, the pink cancer awareness fire truck (complete with pink turnouts), a Coast Guard helicopter, and a county helicopter. We got to see both helicopters take off which was pretty darn cool. We grabbed our tickets from will call before heading back the car to hang out for a bit.

Inside “Historic Grayson Stadium,” we watched the Savannah Sand Gnats battle the Lexington Legends. It was a really great game to watch. We had front row seats on the third base side which were a little marred by the fact that the whole field is netted in (I hate watching from behind the net!). After the game (the Gnats were victorious, 3-1), we hustled out to the car to watch the post-game fireworks with Sprocket. He was a little freaked out but decided that watching wasn’t so bad (I’m not kidding…he hung on my arms and watched the fireworks).

We thought we’d go to Augusta to hang out with Jason on Monday night but when we found out that he wouldn’t be getting in until eight or later we decided that maybe we should just press on into the Appalachians. In any case, we headed into South Carolina to spend the night. We had devised some screens for the windows that worked well for mosquitos but didn’t do much to stop the no-seeu-ms. At 3:30, Forrest woke up and said he was getting up. We were literally off the side of the road in the middle of nowhere so I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. A few minutes later I was awoken by a wiggly black puppy giving me kisses and the sounds of Forrest moving things around and telling me to go back to sleep. I woke up at about 6:30 about 40 miles outside of Macon, Georgia. So much for South Carolina!