DAY THREE: Safeco Field Seattle, Washington

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Sunday, June 3: MARINERS 2, RAYS 1

In a classic pitchers’ duel, King Felix Hernandez outlasted the Rays local-boy-come-home Blake Snell 2-1 to keep the Mariners on a remarkable hot stretch. Hernandez gave up just a single run through eight strong innings but still trailed 1-0 when the home team came through with a pair of runs in the ninth to give Felix the win. This was the most compelling game I’ve seen so far.

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I spent some pre-game time with Seattle Times beat writer Ryan Divish, who was celebrating his 43rd birthday by working for the 60th (or so) day in a row. He seemed a little tired but he was super gracious and gave me a ton of info about his profession.

You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Also super cool: I got to see the roof close after it began lightly raining early on in the game. This is pretty sweet, I’m not gonna lie. And they played Garbage’s “I’m only happy when it rains.” I feel like Garbage is also from Seattle but I’m not looking it up right now.

Amazing time-lapse roof-closing video here.

I also had a chance to meet up with my wife’s cousin Adam, who is still a Tigers’ fan despite having lived in Seattle for the better part of 15 years now. Adam is also a teacher, high school social studies, and we enjoyed the game and our conversation from center field, overlooking the beer garden.

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Adam and I enjoy the game from center field. Photo taken by a guy with a Montreal Expos hat. Did you know that current Texas Ranger Bartolo Colon once played for the Expos? It’s true, because he’s 87 years old.

Seattle was fantastic overall, except for getting there and getting out, both of which combined for about six hours in flight delays. I’m not going to do the math because I don’t want to know the answer, but I’m fairly certain I’ve spent more time in the Seattle airport than I spent in Seattle.

On the way from Denver our Frontier plane was delayed for a mechanical reason that never actually became clear. At one point the woman sitting next to me on the aisle told me that an airline mechanic was laying on the floor of the cockpit with the door open, reading some sort of instructional manual. She showed me a picture of this for confirmation. It did not have a calming effect.

I was supposed to arrive in Seattle just after midnight but ended up getting there just before 4:00 a.m., having slept a total of maybe five hours in the previous 48. I staggered through the airport toward the LINK light rail station, realizing once I arrived that the first train wasn’t until 6:00. So I staggered back to the terminal in search of a place to lie down for a bit, finding the most-uncomfortable-possible bench in a quiet area just inside the doors. A weird alarm near the elevators went off every seven minutes. A periodic announcement from Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan told me information about the Seattle airport TSA that I can no longer remember because I hadn’t slept in two days. (btw: Duff has a fun Seattle coffee shop review here.) I managed about an hour snooze and then head back out toward the LINK station for the second time.

The worst part (OK, just one of many worst parts) of the Frontier Airline experience was that I missed an entire night of rest in the Green Tortoise Hostel near Pike Place. By the time I made it downtown it was fully light out and most people were headed out for the day instead of in to crash. I just pretended I was Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. The Green Tortoise is the type of place that you will be skeptical of, and I was very careful to avoid reading any type of reviews from any source so as to keep an open mind. My 30 bucks got me the top bunk in a room with eight beds, and I had access to a couple of surprisingly clean bathrooms down the hall. Towel rental was a buck, breakfast was free,  they provided a community spaghetti dinner on Sunday night, and everyone staying there was eager to hang out. I was thrilled to discover that the place was not solely the domain of the expected bright-eyed 20-year-old nomad college students. It meant I wouldn’t be required to play the disappointing role of strange middle-aged man. But nope and hallelujah, there were other strange old people staying at the Tortoise as well, and also a giant contingent of middle schoolers from Oregon who I’m guessing had a chaperone present somewhere, unless field trip rules are way more relaxed in Oregon.

My worst fear in being curtained off and ten feet off the ground in my exceedingly-difficult-to-access bunk bed was that I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a shrieking leg cramp and not be able to scramble down to walk it off before waking every one of my seven roommates. So of course, that’s exactly what happened. At least I think it did. I may have dreamed it. Somehow, I was able to put my foot on the wooden side board and simulate a standing position, and my brain was fooled into thinking I was actually standing up. Again, I may be making all of this up but I’m pretty sure it was real.

The flight in was lousy but I was expecting that. The flight OUT is also in a delay, and it’s not even Frontier. It’s Alaska, which I always tell people is amazing. And, to their credit, they’ve already provided us with both a reason for the delay (water issue in the bathroom) AND a snack box. We’re now getting ready to board. I’ve got more to say about Seattle, but I’ll have to add it later…

PREVIOUS GAME: @Colorado vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

NEXT GAME: @San Diego vs. Atlanta Braves

MILES TRAVELED TO GET HERE: 1380

MILES TRAVELED TO THIS POINT: 2645

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