The wife is from Southern California, so whenever we go down to visit her family I like to take a chance to either go to Disneyland or an Angels game. Usually it’s Disneyland, because of the time of year we go and other circumstances. But in the summer of 2011, the timing of our trip worked out perfectly with a Seattle Mariners road trip to Angel Stadium. I couldn’t have been happier.
Let me set the stage of the Aug. 6 matchup for you. The Mariners had a horrendous offense. It was ugly with a .233 team batting average for 14th in the American League. The roster was composed of guys you’ve probably never heard of, and most aren’t in the bigs anymore because they either didn’t belong there in the first place or they were at the end of their career. The only Mariners who played that day and are still in the league are Ichiro and Kyle Seager.
The Angels were in the thick of a Wild Card race at the time, and came into the game as a heavy favorite with the best pitching in the AL and a plethora of heavy hitting. After a 1-0 walk-off win in the 10th inning the night before, the Angels improved to 7-3 on the season against the Mariners, so I was just hoping for another close game so I wouldn’t be hounded to leave during the sixth inning (I never leave until the last out is made).
Honestly, I don’t remember a whole lot about the game. We were sitting in right field because I like the view from the outfield. It’s a cheaper way to be able to see the play develop than sitting in the expensive seats behind home plate. However, the problem with sitting in right field at Angel Stadium for a night game in August is that the sun is in your eyes until the third inning. Despite the beauty of the stadium, the sun was miserable.
I do remember two specific plays from the game. In the top of the third inning, DH Mike Carp doubled off the wall right in front of us to drive in shortstop Jack Wilson. The other, was rookie outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who made his debut the night before, hit the first of his five-career home runs in the seventh inning. It landed about two sections over from us. The Mariners coasted to a 5-1 win.
The point I’m making here is that anything can happen over the final five weeks of the MLB season. On Sept. 1, rosters expand from 25 to 40 players, so guys looking to break into the big leagues will be trying to make an impact. Robinson was looking to make an impact, and he did it his second day in the league. Young players are going to try to make a lasting impression and help play spoiler for teams in the playoff hunt.
Photo by Brigham Berthold