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Take 2

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

September 12, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Mariners: Where are all the fans? Times readers weigh in

Outfielder Michael Saunders, shown in a game earlier this month, and the Mariners didn't draw well for a series against the Houston Astros.  Lindsey Wasson / Seattle Times staff

Outfielder Michael Saunders, shown in a game earlier this month, and the Mariners didn’t draw well for a weekday series against the Houston Astros.
Lindsey Wasson / Seattle Times staff

What’s up with Mariners attendance?

I’m getting that question a lot this week after a weekday home series against the Houston Astros drew 15,617, 11,345 and 16,931 fans at Safeco Field. The same Mariners team that is fighting for a wild-card playoff spot.

Mariners reporter Ryan Divish writes about the subject in today’s Seattle Times, and you can read his excellent report here. The poor attendance and Divish’s story triggered several readers to offer their thoughts and what’s going on. So in today’s Take 2, I’m letting three readers take over the blog and offer their insight.

Feel free to weigh in on comments for this post or for Divish’s story, or email me at dshelton@seattletimes.com.

BY PETE BROWN

I was watching the Mariners on TV lose to the Houston Astros this week and puzzling over why attendance at Safeco Field had been so abysmally low for the three game stand while the Mariners were still in the running for a playoff spot.

It  certainly has something to do with the fact that the Seahawks are back at center stage of the Seattle sports world, the Sounders are headed for the MLS playoffs again, and Seattle baseball fans still are worried about yet another Mariners’ letdown.  These three explanations all have weight, but it suddenly came to me that the biggest reason is none of these.

The Mariners played last night offensively and defensively like the young talented team (that they are), but they were consistently  pressing.   Trying to do too much; trying to hit a three-run homer with no one on base, trying to make the perfect throw to keep a runner from scoring but missing the cutoff man or fumbling the ball in the rush.

The result was that it was very painful to watch, especially for a Mariners fan. It was not the type of game that inspires fans to go out to the ballpark.   I even found myself looking for excuses not to watch. Maybe go get something to eat, read the newspaper or just go to bed and read about it in the morning.

I felt much better after coming to this realization.  This team is very young, and it is learning, but it is still a longshot for making the playoffs this year. Neither I nor Lloyd McClendon can make this young team start relaxing, doing the little things and enjoying the moment. It may happen this year, but it is still a longshot, and it bodes well for the future.

Pete Brown lives in Wallingford.

BY JULIE GRAM

Where are the fans, you ask? At home, watching on television!

Sure, we look at those lucky enough to be there in person and say, we really need to go to a game soon. But, like skiing, I’ve learned that attending a baseball game is maybe 10 percent fun and 90 percent misery – and that’s on a good day. The hassle of a Mariners game begins with taking vacation time to leave work early and ends by being lucky to get to bed by midnight.

In between, you spend lots of money and waste time walking or waiting for buses. I’ve huddled under a blanket, freezing, and spent most of a game in the gift shop because it had air conditioning.

So, count me as a fan, but you’ll find me enjoying King Felix while dining on last night’s leftovers.

(If I get free tickets and door-to-door transport, though, I’ll happily spring for my own garlic fries.)

Julie Gramm lives in Seattle

BY GREG LASEK

“But where are the fans?” The Seattle Times asks about the Mariners’ attendance. My answer, and apparently the answer of most people, is as follows. I have to question the sanity of anyone who takes the trouble of going to a Mariner’s game for five reasons:

1) The cost and hassle of getting to and from the stadium.

2) Paying for a ticket to sit in a small, hard seat (airplane seats are luxurious by comparison).

3) Watching players do less activity in three hours than most school children get in a 30-minute recess.

4) Watching players and coaches constant disgusting spitting, both on their own playing field and in the dugout.

5) Being captive for the duration of the monotonous game.

There are so many other activities available: walking, hiking, biking, running, rowing, swimming, kayaking, actually playing some sports.

The answer is obvious.

Grego Lasek lives in Bellevue.

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. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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