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Watching History

Now that was a weekend.

Just before dragging my ass out work on Friday evening, our company sales rep drops by my desk and asks, "Don't you live downtown now?"

I told him yes and he goes drops four Mariners tickets on my desk and says, "Have fun."

So, I leave work at five, get home at twenty after, wait fifteen minutes while my Princess gets ready, and we're at the stadium at at 6:25.

City life rocks.

Then, as if it couldn't get any better, we trade in the four tickets for two better tickets and get an extra ten bucks in the process. We're right behind Ichiro, field level. Great friggin seats.

And what happens? Ichiro breaks the Major League record for the most singles hit during a season. He does this with seventeen games left to play. It was a little anti-climactic as it seemed I was the only person in the entire stadium who understood the magnitude of the feat, but the city's focused on the all-time hit record. One little sixty-year old singles record isn't anything to them; just another notch on Ichiro's belt: Ho-hum, yeah he rocks . . .

You know, we Mariner's fans haven't had a lot to cheer about lately and you could feel the difference in the air over the course of the first couple of innings. The last few years there was always a tangible electricity in the air from the minute the announcer called, "Let's Play Ball!" until the final out was recorded. But this year, our season decided way in advance of this late date, it's been quiet.

As soon as Ichiro got his first hit of the evening, tying the record, it felt more like the Safeco Field of old. We went on to win with an incredible five run inning that put us on top for good, and in typical underdog fashion, it was a rookie that cleared the bases with a bases-loaded double on a full count.

But that's always been the way with this team. The names don't really register on the national scene as far as talent goes--Ichiro being the rare exception--but these little guys always seem to make a difference. Even Ichiro is an unlikely candidate. He's this scrawny little dude who looks like he's used to sand being kicked in his face by the brawny Mark McGuire's and Barry Bonds of the baseball world, but he quietly goes out, shrugs his shoulders, and hits almost everything thrown at him.

Go figure.

But that's still one of the things I love about baseball. It's a place where technique still matters. You can bitch and moan and get disgusted at the steroid accusations all you want. You can getty pissy about player salaries.

And then there's Ichiro, who does it on skill alone, the way the game was meant to be played.

Yeah, now that's worth watching.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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