Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The True Arrival of Spring

"All right, guys, you ready?" [opens the box, holds up the stack of season tickets, sniffs the whole packet, hands out ticket sheets to everyone else to sniff]
"Ahhh... a new season!"
"A clean slate!"
[breathes in deeply] "Yup. This smells like the year."

  -- Fever Pitch

This morning I was running late to work, but I had gotten a notice saying I had a package in the building manager's office, so I stopped in on my way out the door to run down my bus. It was a white postal envelope, just large enough not to fit in my mailbox. What on earth could this be? I thought to myself as I sat down and took a breath, having just made it onto the bus in time.

I shook the envelope. It felt sort of like a thin book, with an accompanying CD. I couldn't think of any book orders I'd made recently. I didn't recognize the return address, from a PO Box downtown.

I opened the envelope a tiny bit and looked in, and saw... my Mariners 16-game-plan season tickets! At last!

But I didn't want to look through it all on the bus. So I resealed the envelope, carried it to work, kept it in my desk all day, and finally took it home in the evening.

There's something magical about the day season tickets arrive. The sheets look so pristine, so perfect -- each game connected to the next, all together, waiting for each one to happen. There's a new design every year, but they've always got the same familiar section number and row and seat number on them. These tickets represent what is yet to come, and what the season could be.

Sure, this year could suck too, but not while these tickets are still perfect and unseparated, untouched by scanners or ticket-takers' hands, not yet wrinkled from being crushed in the fold of a backpack, or dropped in the aisle and trampled by vendors, covered in the dust of an evening at Safeco Field. Right now, this year is still filled with possibilities, and each one of these tickets holds the possibility to see a great game.

Okay, flowery speech aside, I received my season tickets today. In case you're wondering, they realized how ugly the "generic Safeco Field" tickets last year were, and went back to putting players on them. (I guess they decided not to for 2005 after the housecleaning in 2004 meant that by the end of the year, half of the guys on the season tickets weren't even on the team anymore.) This year, we have Adrian, Eddie, Ichiro, Jamie, Richie, and Raul, as our ticket pictures.

I scanned in the sheet to show what the six pictures looked like, but then realized that there was a really obvious internet gag to parody here with a little help from Photoshop's colorize option:

Ticket Rainbow
Mariners Season Tickets are love.

Heh heh.

Anyway, they also included yet again, a Limited Edition "oh, thank GOD you renewed your season ticket plan!" DVD. I think it's pretty telling that the 2005 DVD contained the 2004 commercials, but this year's DVD doesn't contain last year's commercials. What it does contain is:

1. Fan Appreciation Video - one of those video montages of lots of smiling happy fans at Safeco Field

2. 2005 Great Plays - At least one great play for pretty much every guy on the team. There was a ton of Betancourt footage, a lot of the Jeremy Reed sliding diving catches, some great pitcher plays including Sherrill's awesome backhand grab and throw to first, some of Eddie's pins, lots of Ichiro and the Spiderman catch, and even an awesome jump by Morse to catch a foul ball in the LF stands.

3. Dave's Diamond Gems 2005 - They show Ichiro's speech that he gave when Bud Selig came to town and honored him for the single-season hit record. I don't remember actually seeing or hearing it before, so that was cool. They also had Jamie Moyer's 200th victory, Beltre's 1000th career hit, Ichiro's 1000th career hit, etc, many things which I was there for anyway.

4. Felix! - No, really, that's what the chapter on disc is called. They showed Felix's first start and his first two home starts. Having been at all of those, it was just nice to relive some of the moments. Anne and her "K" signs got shown several times.

5. 1995 Reunion - Footage from their 1995 reunion thing, which I was out of town for, so I guess it was nice to see, but I didn't live here in 1995, so whatever.

6. Farewell to Dan - I was there for that too, of course. It's footage from the September 30th game with narration from Niehaus. I still have the picture of Dan hugging Jamie Moyer up on my wall, too.

7. 2006 Season Preview - A speech from Mike Hargrove about what to look forward to, highlighting all the possibilities of the guys on the team.

In between some of these were speeches from players like Raul, Richie, Dan, and even Felix, saying "thanks for getting season tickets again!"

It was a good watch. Reminded me of the GOOD parts of last season with none of the bad parts. Between the DVD and actually having some lovely lovely beautiful crisp tickets in my grubby little paws, I think I'm finally really ready for this season to start.

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