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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

April 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Dear Mariners fans: Don’t repeat mistakes made with Sonics

By Jamila Humphrie

Jamila Humphrie, born and raised in Seattle, is an avid sports fan, foodie, and a lover of the outdoors. She now lives in New York.

Dear Mariners fans, Dear Seattle, Dear baseball fans living in the greater Seattle area, Dear anyone who has been to Safeco Field:

Last week, the Mariners twice broke a record: lowest attendance ever recorded at Safeco Field. On April 9, the second home game of the season, only 10,745  tickets were sold. Cold weather didn’t help and it especially didn’t help that by the third inning the Mariners were down, 11-0.

The next day, they broke that record again, selling 225 fewer tickets than the night before. I was disheartened. We’ve barely begun the 2013 season, and it’s clear some have deemed it to be doomed.

I watched TV reports on the record-low attendance. Next on the newscast was the story of a new ownership group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, desperately trying to convince the NBA to approve the sale of the Sacramento Kings to them so the team can be moved to Seattle.

Have we not learned our lesson?  How can we be begging for an NBA team when we can’t even fill Safeco Field on the second and third nights of the season?  If I’m David Stern, I would seriously consider and factor in the fickle nature of fans in Seattle. When the going’s good, the 12th Man flag is flying high over the city or a loud crowd of Sounders fans is marching from Pioneer Square.

But what about when the Sonics lost 62 of 82 games in a season?  What about when the Mariners have seven losing seasons in the past decade?  Seattle fans can change as quickly as the weather, leaving behind the diehards to cheer on the teams.

Last year was the first season I have missed in 23 years, as I was out of the country for the entire baseball season. My family has been a part of a season ticket share since the Mariners played in the Kingdome. Now I live in New York, and when I came this spring for a visit, I made sure to squeeze in a game. I got there early to get my Felix Hernandez shirt, to take a look at the stadium I missed so dearly, smell the garlic fries and hear the familiar-sounding voices over the speakers.

I see the potential for another SonicsGate on our hands. No fans in the seats means no money. No money means the owners might sell the team to stop losing money.

Being a fan is like a marriage: through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, we have to stand by our Mariners.

Just like a marriage, if it doesn’t work, you can leave. But if you move on, if you get a divorce, don’t ask them back or try to steal someone else’s significant other and be a homewrecker (like we are doing with the Sacramento Kings).

Seattle fans, if you’re out there, I’m begging you: Buy an M’s hat, throwback or new, take your date to the Pen, buy a family package and show your kids one of the most beautiful stadiums in America.

Let’s bring back the SoDo Mojo. Let’s make Dave Niehaus proud. Let’s keep the Mariners in Seattle.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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