Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Game Report: Mariners vs. Orioles - Raully Fries of London!

I don't even know where to start when talking about this game. It was another BECU night, which made it another LL Night. The original plan was to go for Section 340, Row 15 again, which was a nice empty patch of seats during the last LL Night, another Orioles game on a Monday at the start of June. However, that was before the Mariners had started to win games -- or more like, before the rest of Seattle actually noticed. This time, preliminary reports coming in from people buying tickets were that the middle rows of section 340 were actually already full. I even ended up with a ticket in row 17, so it seemed imminent that we'd be moving back a bit.

In order to facilitate people finding the LL group, I figured I'd make a sign. Paul suggested I make a Rally Fries sign. I'd called the game "LL Nights of London" as a joke since Graham, our esteemed colleague from the UK, would be at the game, and people on LL append "of London" to various things during Ibanez at-bats. I ended up making a sign that said "AH-OOOOO, RAuLLY FRIES OF LONDON", thus combining about three silly jokes into what I thought was one decent joke.

It turns out I got on TV not once, but twice! Watching the mlb.tv broadcast, it seems that they first showed me at the start of the bottom of the fourth inning (at about 1:37 on the broadcast), just with the announcers laughing like "A-ha... Raully Fries of London?" and you can see the top of my head.

The second time was during the bottom of the 5th inning, when Raul Ibanez was up to bat, at about 1:57:30 on the broadcast, and the announcer's like "Raully fries! You betcha. That's playing off the Warren Zevon classic, 'Werewolves of London'..."

And they said they'd give out the rally fries in the next half inning, and sure enough, I didn't get them. They went to a cute little kid in the lower deck. I can't feel too bad about losing to a little kid.

So, rally fries aside, it was pretty crazy hanging out with our LL group. Besides me, there was Gomez, Marc W, Matthew, Graham, Bretticus, Etowncoug, Twolsandtwors, PositivePaul, jtopps, and marinerschas2. Rather than try to recount all of the stuff we said, especially since I missed a bunch, I'll first link to the pictures/videos thread about the game on LL.

Horacio Ramirez started for the Mariners, on his way back from the DL, and a high-socks-wearing lefty-throwing Brian Burres started for Baltimore.

As expected, we started off the game by heartily booing a high-socks-wearing Brian Roberts and yelling things like "E-4!" and "Hit him for JJ!" The Orioles went down meekly in their half of the first, and the Mariners scored a run when a DHing Ichiro doubled to lead off, stole third during Raul's at-bat after Jose Lopez failed to bunt him over and scored on another groundout by Raul. 1-0 Mariners.

In the top of the second, after Aubrey Huff grounded into the first of his double plays for the day, Ramon Hernandez hit a 345-foot home run to left field. It really didn't look like a home run at first, and the guys were all yelling "ADAM JONES WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THAT" and so on, but really, the ball landed in the lap of some guy in the bullpen. That tied up the game at 1-1 as Horacio Ramirez made a diving snag of a grounder off Jay Payton and threw the ball to first from a prone position on the ground.

Nothing much happened in the rest of the second or in the third, aside from Jason Ellison showing more why he is the master of the infield single, and then getting tagged out stealing second.

Amidst cheers of "Gomez sucks! I mean Chris Gomez, not you," Chris Gomez led off the 4th inning with a triple to right which just sort of bounced all over the corner eluding Jose Guillen. Nick Markakis hit a "single" to first, by which I mean he hit a single towards the right side of the infield, and Richie Sexson came in to get it, and Horacio Ramirez didn't go cover first, so Markakis was safe and Gomez scored. 2-1 Orioles. Kevin Millar also got a single, but then Aubrey Huff grounded into his second double play of the day, this time a 1-6-3. Ramon Hernandez hit a long fly ball to left rather than another home run.

The Mariners tied it up in the bottom of the 4th, Jose Guillen doubling and Richie Sexson singling him in, to make it 2-2.

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 6th. Jose Guillen led off with a single, and then we all got up to do the Rally Dance for Adrian Beltre's at-bat. It was a drawn-out at-bat and we even had these little kids a few rows down doing the dance along with us. (They seemed to think we were going to get on the big screen being goofy, and I don't blame them.) Unfortunately, the rally dance only induced Beltre to ground into a double play. I like to think of this as a weird form of karma though, because right after that Richie Sexson walked, and Johjima singled, and then Yuniesky Betancourt BECAME THE YUNI-BOMBER except not. He hit a looooong fly ball to left field, which bounced off the top of the yellow line at the top of the outfield wall. Now, I mean, I think that's a home run, but apparently the umpires didn't. Either way, it was a double, scoring the other two guys, and making it a 4-2 game.

Nothing much happened on the field for the rest of the game, but plenty of silliness happened up with us. We all cheered a ton when Sean Green came out to pitch the 8th, and when George Sherrill came out after that we started a big chant of "GEORGE. GEORGE. GEORGE. GEORGE." and so on. JJ's appearance, of course, had us all yelling things like "Putz wooooooo!" and "Putz in, game over!"

Which, of course, was the case, as JJ easily retired the side in the 9th so the Mariners won the game 4-2. And this brings my Mariners-watching record to 16-4!

I was actually on the big screen at the stadium in the 7th when Raul singled inbetween the rest of the side striking out. And of course as soon as Brett realized it, he jumped up and put his "Free Adam Jones" sign in front of mine, and they immediately stopped showing us, of course.

We all stuck around for a while after the game and chatted. While I haven't really gone into great detail about all of the silliness -- the Rally Dance in the 6th inning had me laughing so hard that I was crying -- it really was a blast hanging out with the gang. It figures that we'd start having these great semi-regular meetups right before I leave the country, but hey, that's the way things go. In some ways, though, it's nicer to move away on a high note rather than a low note. But it's going to kill me if the Mariners actually make the postseason...

I still need to write up Saturday's game and the cafe, I know. Sorry, I've been sort of going crazy getting my act together here.

Oh, a funny little tidbit: when I walked up to the ticket booth to get my ticket for the game, I noticed the guy had two stacks of 2002 Topps baseball cards, and the top of one stack was of Ryan Rupe. You probably haven't heard of Rupe because he's not a particularly good pitcher, but I actually managed to see him pitch in Japan in 2004 in one of the 6 games he played for the Fighters, and he only gave up one run in something like 6 innings (but got a no-decision, the Fighters didn't get ahead until the 8th inning). Anyway, I see the top card and I'm like "I know I'm not a little kid, but can I please have that Ryan Rupe card?" The guy's like "Who?" and I'm like "Ryan Rupe! He's not a great pitcher, but I saw him play in Japan!" The guy's like "Uhhh, okay, whatever" and gave me the card and my ticket. So now I have a Ryan Rupe card, for whatever that's worth, which is probably very little.

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