Saturday, December 04, 2004

Welcome to Mariner Madness

My name is Chris Becker, and I've been a Mariners fanatic since the mid 1980's. I was a casual fan before then, but some of those teams, like the one where Phil Bradley and Harold Reynolds lead the league in steals, and then came Alvin Davis, then Jim Presley, then Jay Buhner, then Ken Griffey Jr. There was always something to give us M's fans a ray of hope in the midst of those hundred-game-losing seasons.

Along the way I even worked for the Mariner organization (marketing for the Bellingham Mariners) and I was with the Bellingham club when several of the brighter lights of the Mariners system passed through. My son Andy, now 21, as a little league catcher, used to catch Shawn Estes after school. I was with the "Baby M's" the night of their annual Kingdome doubleheader ( The Baby M's would play an NWL team in the afternoon, then the "Big M's" would play an MLB game) when Randy Johnson took a no-hitter into the ninth against the World Champion Oakland A's. That was the A's team with Rickey, Big Mac, Canseco, Hendu... then Mike Gallego ruined it by hotting a flare to short center field. The funny thing about that night: Scott Bankhead started on a rehab assignment for Bellingham, and he totally blew away all the poor little Everett Giants. Then, after we watched Randy nearly no hit the A's, we went back to Bellingham, and our next-night starter, a kid by the name of Mike Hampton, threw a no hitter (or maybe he just took a no-no into the ninth, I forget the details.

Back in those days, when the M's had a lot fewer fans even in the Northwest, you could really get to know some of the players. I've been given tips on how to throw a curveball by Erik Hanson, talked to Dave Valle about how much he hated catching some pitchers ... Randy was hard too catch, but the guy who really drove him nuts was Mark Langston: too many sliders in the dirt in front of the plate... and I got to talk to Jeff Nelson, Bill Hasselman, Jay Buhner, Mickey Brantley, Brian Holman, Felix Fermin and his ever present sidekick Luis Sojo, and too many other Mariners and former Mariners to name. Todd Cruz, Ivan Calderon, Phil Bradley.

Later, I worked for the Giants organization, but it just wasn't the same.

The Mariners, and their fans, are truly a family. Win or lose, they'll always be my team.


6 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

I used to go to Joe Martin Stadium and watch the B'ham Mariners play whenever I could as a kid. I probably had autographs that I wished I still had now. I was really saddened when Everett and Bellingham traded affiliations. I was even more disapointed that by the time I moved back home the team had left altogether. (I grew up down off of Lincoln St. next to the Samish Twin Drive-in.)

July 17, 2005 at 3:00 AM  
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November 4, 2005 at 2:24 PM  
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December 18, 2005 at 9:42 PM  
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December 27, 2005 at 5:28 PM  
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August 15, 2007 at 12:56 PM  
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August 20, 2007 at 2:19 AM  

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