My name is Chris Jay Becker and I’m a longtime Seattle Mariners fan.
WELCOME TO MARINER MADNESS
I’ve attempted to launch this blog a few times since the early 2000’s, but have always failed to stick with it. This year feels like the year. If I can get through Spring Training and well on to the All-Star Break, maybe I’ll have something here. Maybe this will be the year that Mariner Madness, like the Seattle Mariners who have inspired the madness, will do something great. Or at least DO something.
My name is Chris Jay Becker. I’m a native Angeleno who has lived away from Los Angeles for 35 years or so. The first 15 years of that was the period from 1982-1997 in which I lived in western Washington State and fell in love with the hapless, hopeless (for most of that period) Seattle Mariners Baseball Club.
For two brief periods I actually worked, technically, for the Mariners Organization as a marketing person for the Bellingham Mariners. Later, when the Bellingham club switched their PDA to the San Francisco Giants organization, I worked for them.
I have many fond memories as an employee and as a fan of the Bellingham club. My son Andrew, now 35, was 5 years old when we started haunting Joe Martin Field. He was 13 by the time he left Bellingham for Iowa.
Among my favorite memories:
*Watching my son, a First Grader, play catch after school every day with Shawn Estes
*Sitting in the Grand Stand with Ken Griffey Jr.’s mom, Birdie, as we watched her youngest son Craig play for the baby M’s.
*Having Craig Griffey give my son crap for wearing a White Sox cap. That cap became probably the only Chicago White Sox cap in existence that is signed by Ken Jr., Craig, and Birdie Griffey. We tried to get Ken Sr. to sign but, as we were told, “Senior doesn’t sign.”
*Watching Ken Sr. pitch a closed batting practice to Junior who, characteristically, bet his dad a steak dinner that he could hit it over the right-field wall. Junior hit it out, won his steak dinner.
*Going, with the Bellingham Mariners to the annual double-header at the Kingdome. The Baby M’s beat the Everett Giants, largely because Scott Bankhead was pitching on a rehab assignment and his big league stuff overwhelmed the poor Short Season A Everett squad. Baby M’s Bubba Smith and, I believe, future Milwaukee Brewer Eddy Diaz, hit homers for Bellingham. In the MLB half of the doubleheader, Mariner Ace Randy ‘Unit’ Johnson took a No-Hitter into the 9th against the World Champion Oakland A’s featuring Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, and Bash Brothers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. The No-No was broken up by a pathetic bloop single by hitting giant Mike Gallego. Unit then won the game in the most dramatic fashion ever… taking Canseco to a 3-2 count before striking him out swinging as camera flashes lit up the humble ‘Dome.
The very next night, back home in Bellingham, our young lefty, future MLB All Star Mike Hampton pitched a no hitter, inspired by Unit’s gem. I was there.
The last time I got to see the Seattle team play was last July in Seattle. We actually beat the Oakland A’s that day, thanks to TWO home runs by Ra-uuuuuuuul Ibanez, and a 9th inning Walk Off by Kendrys Morales.
Over the past few seasons, I fell in love with the grit of Justin Smoak, who seems to hit with HIS FACE, with Kyle Seager, who is the first player I’ve seen since Junior Griffey who plays the game with child-like joy, with the impossible slurve of Tom ‘The Bartender’ Wilhemsen, with Kuma missing bats, with that absurd Danny Farquhar splitter, with Ra-uuuuuuuul and Kendrys.
It’s now 2018 and we’re a few years deep into the Jerry DiPoto era. Our stars now include Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and, starting THIS season, Dee Gordon.
Welcome to the Zone.