Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Safeco Field gimmicks aren't pleasing the fans anymore

By Kshell

This homestand has been hard to watch at times. The Seattle Mariners have found yet another way to piss me off when watching their games during this homestand. The play on the field hasn't been bad at all in fact the Mariners are 3-2 on this homestand, instead I'm tired of the visiting crowd drowning out the Mariners crowd. First the Boston Red Sox came to town to make Safeco Field into Fenway Park on the west coast. Now the fans from Canada are driving down to cheer on their Blue Jays(Glad Boston Bruins won the cup! Gotta have "country" pride right?) despite being extremely closer to the Mariners. It has been annoying seeing all those empty seats this season and whenever a real team comes to town like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies their fans invade Safeco Field. Then our fans feel like they are attending a road game which isn't right.

It wasn't always that way for this franchise who had some of the best crowds in baseball from 1996-2007 where they averaged over 30,000 fans a game. Now for the fourth straight year the Mariners are drawing under 30,000. This year is the third worst season since 1991(1992 and 1995 were only worst) far as per game attendance. The Mariners fans are finally tired of all the gimmicks that Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong insist the fans like. The fans have spoken which is give us a good product and we'll turn out. The Mariners used to have great attendance in the past and sell out a Wednesday night game against the Kansas City Royals when John Halama was pitching. Now Felix Hernandez can be throwing on a Friday night and you'll be lucky to get 20,000 fans. This isn't 2001 anymore and the Mariners need to realize that good ole fashion winning baseball is what the fans really want.

The Mariners from 1977-1995 never ranked higher than eighth in attendance or averaged more than 27,000 a game. Then everything changed in 1995 when the Mariners made their great playoff run which sucked the fans in. Despite playing in a crappy building in 1996 the Mariners averaged 33,628 fans a night ranking them fourth in the American League. Then in 1997 the Mariners won the division title and averaged 39,410 fans ranking third in the AL. The next three years the Mariners attendance dropped a little bit but still ranked fifth in 1998, fourth in 1999 and fourth in 2000. Then in 2001 the Mariners won 116 games and ranked first in attendance. They averaged 43,300 fans a night. With excitement from 2001 heading into 2002 the Mariners set a franchise record and again ranked first in attendance averaging 43,740 fans a night. In 2003 which was the Mariners last great year was also the last year they would crack three million fans. They would average 40,352 ranking second in the American League. In 2004 and 2005 attendance would drop but the Mariners still ranked fourth and then fifth. Then in 2008 first time since 1995 they didn't average 30,000 fans a night. Currently the team is averaging 24,012 fans a night which is 19,728 fans fewer than 2002. The Mariners have chose family friendly over the real fans.

The downfall of Safeco Field was in one April weekend of 2002. That weekend the Mariners were playing the New York Yankees the same Yankees who had eliminated the Mariners from the ALCS in back to back years. It was a playoff like atmosphere. The Yankees took the first game then the Mariners defeated Ted Lilly who threw a one-hitter and had a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings. Freddy Garcia pitched a complete game to get the win 1-0 on Saturday night. So Sunday was the rubber match of the series that despite being in April had a great playoff atmosphere. I remember going up to the game with my dad and we paid more than face value to watch the game. During that game more than 50 Mariners fans were kicked out just for wearing T-Shirts that read "Yankees Suck". In the North East they break out in Yankees suck chants during New England Patriots games. The soft Mariners had their home fans kicked out of a big game despite not throwing anything or causing any problems. That is when the Mariners basically told the true fans to piss off as they bow down to the visiting fans, bandwagon fans, the hydro racing fans and currently the rally fries fans. The Mariners are so concerned with family friendly atmosphere they turned away the fans who would actually pay during down times.

Going to Seattle Seahawks games and Mariners games is night and day. At Seahawks game there is energy at the game as the Seahawks "get it". They don't have stupid promotions they just put a good product on the field and let fans be fans. While the Mariners are so worried about being PG the games lack buzz, 80% of the fans are on their cell phones or reading a damn book. Then when our own fans act like fans they get kicked out. At games I'm constantly getting yelled at for standing up with two strikes. While last month the Mariners were playing the Texas Rangers this fan pulled a Steve Bartman and denied Ichiro the chance to make the catch. That hitter would get on base then score a crucial run against Felix Hernandez. Nothing happened to that fan at all. He sat there smiling like the douchebag that he is. No fans got on him and most importantly the Safeco Field ushers didn't kick him out. He was allowed to stay there even though he cost the Mariners a crucial run and potentially the game. While fans in 2002 who were there to support the Mariners were kicked out. That type of atmosphere allows all those annoying bandwagon Red Sox fans to invade Safeco Field. That type of atmosphere has alienated the true Mariners fans from going to games.

In conclusion, I'm not going to a game this year unless there is a special circumstance. That circumstance will be if some others and myself can properly organize a brown paper sack day where we show up and wear brown paper sacks over our heads. We'll each write a unique saying on our sack and I guarantee we'll be ejected but it's worth it. I'm tired of the real baseball fans at the game getting the shaft from Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong. I'm tired of these fools thinking that rally fries, Kings Court, Bobble heads and hydro boat races is what fans want. Yes the stupid fans want that but who cares about those morons? What about the true fans who actually spend money on the crappy product they have put on the field the last four seasons. I hope the Mariners realize how embarassing it looks that the opposing team who doesn't really have a fan base like the Toronto Blue Jays for the second series this year have taken over Safeco Field. I'm glad the people of Seattle are starting to speak loud and clear. Pretty simple produce some wins and the fans will show up. Just stop relying on gimmicks as the fans are tired of gimmicks and simply want wins.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article...bring back the king dome!