My Baseball Highlights

 A Chicago and Cleveland gears up for the game of the century, I’m feeling a little jealous about this “World Series” thing that other baseball fans get to experience. For the past fifteen years my baseball season has ended in September, as ten other teams slide into the post-season. But I’m not really that jealous. The Mariners had a great season, and I was one happy fan. Here were some of my baseball highlights of the summer:

Opening Day at Safeco Field

Also, our first anniversary. When my husband and I got married in St. Lucia last year we’d planned the wedding/honeymoon to correspond with my week long Spring Break. We were initially bummed we’d miss Opening Week (very slightly bummed anyways. Sorry Mariners, but getting married in St. Lucia is totally better than a baseball game), but it turns out that getting married in early April is actually awesome because our anniversary nicely lines up with Opening Day.


So to kick off our first weekend EVER without kids, Jason and I caught a game at Safeco before heading up to the mountains for fishing in Roslyn and spending three hours over dinner at Suncadia. Good stuff.

Cheering on the Everett Aquasox in Hillsboro. Also, Chicken Night.

My brother’s Christmas gift to the family last year was a mid-week trip to Hillsboro, Oregon to coincide with the Everett Aquasox road trip. We stayed at McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel in the nearby Forest Grove. Like most McMenamins properties, the Grand Lodge is a historic spot. The former old folk’s home/orphanage was renovated to be an all-encompassing compound involving a hotel, bars and restaurants, and a movie theatre. The grounds were extensive and included a disc golf course, a soaking pool, gardens and a chicken coop. It was perfect for kids.

As was the baseball game. It’s always fun to cheer for the opposing team at minor league games – a little rivalry and friendly trash talking always encourages conversation with those seating around us. But the real entertainment of the night was the San Diego chicken. I’d seen him years ago (the guy who first appeared in the chicken getup in 1974 is the same guy who is touring around stadiums), and he is still great. My two year old found him to be just as funny as the rest of us did. She is still prone to break out in exclamations like “Aquasox took chicken’s clothes off!!” and “chicken peed on the umpire!” at random intervals in unrelated conversations.    

Chicken night

Safeco Field with young and uninterested baseball fans

My cure for people who “don’t get” baseball is the same recommendation I have for my students who suck at reading quizzes: take notes.


Teaching novices to keep score has been my go-to move ever since my dad turned me into the practice two decades ago. This summer I unleashed the excitement on one of my day camp participants. In one inning she went from bored-to-death (pictured above) to understanding the game to jumping around excitedly after each hit. Score keeping for the win. 

Princess and Pirate Night at the Everett Aquasox



Aquasox Playoffs gets rained out

Although my daughters would definitely classify Princess-and-Pirate Night as there best Aquasox moment, I’m going to have to go with their playoff game at Safeco Field. On account of a rain out the day before, they got the last-minute okay to play in Seattle. Watching the Sox win at Safeco was totally worth sitting through the initial rain out on a school night.


The nerve wracking September, that terrible series against Toronto, the second-to-last heartbreaking game and my awesome seats at the last game (thanks Alaska Airlines!)

I guess that title says everything here. I’m so happy for those Chicago Cubs fans, but I’m even happier that they can stop whining about curses and playoff droughts. The Cubs at least have been to the Series within the last 100 years. Know when the last time the Mariners went to the World Series? Never. Know which team has the longest postseason drought? Not the Cubs.

It’s probably for the best. I was a hyperventilating disaster all throughout September, constantly checking standings and worrying about Felix’s pitch count and yelling at my co-workers for wearing Seahawks clothes on “blue” Friday when the most important blue team in town was clearly the Mariners. I can’t even imagine what a nerve-wracked nightmare I would have become during an actual post season.

Luckily for my mental state, the Mariners lost their second-to-last game, which ended any play-off possibilities. I had tickets for Sunday’s game, and I got to sit back and enjoy the game without having a heart attack every time a player made contact.

Oh, and Sunday’s tickets were really, really good seats, courtesy of Alaska Airlines. Their social media guru read about my failed  ReadySetCano quest and sent me some right-behind-the-dugout seats as an awesome consolation prize. I know feel justified in racking up my AlaskaAirlines credit card because they are so freaking awesome.

So congratulations to all you Cubs fans and members of The Tribe. Good luck holding it together as you battle through this final game. Someday, someday, someday, I’ll be in your shoes.

Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.