Visiting Safeco Field with Friends from Japan

In the Home Dugout with Friends from Japan

In the Home Dugout with Friends from Japan

 

I missed Fan Fest this year but got a chance to redeem myself today when I took the tour at Safeco Field with an old colleague of mine from Japan and his wife. If you haven’t taken the tour at Safeco Field I highly recommend it especially on one of these long cold winters day when spring seems so far off. My friend Shoji   played baseball himself as a young man in Japan and is of course a huge band of Ichiro and was quite impressed with our stadium. Shoji and I felt at home on the field and in the dugout as pictured above like two young kids playing the game for the first time. Baseball is funny that way as it has a special way of making one forget about time and age as the smells and sights of the game takeover the imagination.

It’s funny how we take major-league baseball for granted here in Seattle, perhaps it’s all the losing season’s we have endured the past 10 years, but I was very proud to show off our stadium and talk   about the Seattle Mariners and our shared history with a game that our two countries love. The tour even included a stop in the owner’s suite where I got the picture of the actual home plate from the Kingdome pictured here.

 

Orginal Home Plate from the Kingdome

Orginal Home Plate from the Kingdome

For nine bucks you get to go in the clubhouse, on to the field, media room and as a special treat I got to observe the construction going on in the outfield where the fences are finally being brought in. In a way our Mariners are under construction again too after an off-season of acquiring several key offensive tools that could just make this season a little more bearable. Since my friends were from Japan there was a special tour guide who himself was a Japanese baseball player who was interning with the Seattle Mariners and he provided us an excellent and fun tour.

We talked about baseball, Ichiro and the link between our two countries around this great game. It was fascinating for me to hear from y guests that during World War II Japanese people were not allowed to play the game of baseball, and as a matter of fact they were not even allowed to speak English.  Being that we have a Japanese owner, and have been privileged to have several Japanese players here in Seattle including the great today’s tour was sort of a special moment for me. I guess one doesn’t fully realize how lucky we are to be in this great city and have a team until you get the perspective of a guest from out of town or in this case out of the country.

We bought a few souvenirs as the Ichiro stuff is on sale, had a good time and rekindled our old friendship, a friendship with each other built around our work in the Maritime Labor Movement and in our common love of the great game of baseball. Until today I really was not looking forward to this year in the way I have in the past, but I even began to think about going down to Peoria for spring training for a few games if I can get away from work. We will see about that, in the meantime for better or worse the Seattle Mariners are my home team and a bright an important part of my life as well as many others here in this city. Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com

 

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