Leaning up against the pole of his Seahawks-themed canopy, Edgar Batiste and therefore the remainder of the Seattle Sausage 3 crew joked while they found out their shop on Occidental Avenue South. They swept gravel off the sidewalk, but the ultimate touch on the grill, and commenced to hawk their hot dogs to the fans passing by. “It’s a gorgeous day,” Batiste said. “I’ve been waiting on today .” While fans and vendors are ready to attend games since the start of the season, Friday night’s game between the Mariners and therefore the Texas Rangers was the primary since the state of Washington’s June 30 reopening date, as T-Mobile Park played host to an announced crowd of quite 25,000 fans.
For vendors like Batiste, full capacity crowds mean more stability for his business. While he doesn’t know if the fans will stream back to pre-pandemic levels immediately, he’s excited to ascertain familiar and unfamiliar faces return to the ballpark. “Without the fans, I’m not in business,” he said. “The more fans that get shots, the higher it’ll be for us.” Batiste and his sausage crew structure one a part of the Mariners’ game-day atmosphere, one which is starting to seep back to the environment of T-Mobile Park. Lines of fans — but 6 feet apart — expecting the house Plate Gate to open were serenaded by a band playing a jazz version of “Take Me bent the Ballgame.” Bunting, usually reserved for opening day, hung from the banisters.
For fans like Angela and Josh Baker, the return to business as was common is vastly appreciated, albeit the progress isn’t as fast as some may like. “It’s beginning to feel normal again,” Angela Baker said. “It’s inch by inch but this is often what we’re trying to find. We’ve been locked away for over 14 months so we just need that freedom to urge back to normal life like concerts and films and sporting events and everything else.” Besides the waves of crowds flocking to the stadium, there was another familiar, if less missed sight outside the stadium: rival fans. Matthew Kosec, adorned head to toe in Rangers gear, flew his family from Carrollton, Texas, up to Seattle for Friday night’s game.
The trip took quite four hours, except for Kosec, who is originally from Port Townsend and grew up rooting for the Mariners as a child, the chance to bring his children to observe their hometown team play proved too good to pass up — especially since his 9-year-old son is now a diehard Mariners fan. “I’m visiting my folks, but as soon as we saw the Rangers were here we had to return,” he said. Fans outside the park aren’t the sole ones thrilled for giant crowds. Inside the stadium, people are even as delighted. “I am excited to possess the fans back within the ballpark tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said in his pregame press conference. “That is, without a doubt, the most important difference. Playing a season, or 60 games, with no fans in there, that wasn’t even on the brink of what big league Baseball is about or the texture you’ve got, the electricity you ought to have within the ballpark, so it’s great to possess fans back.”
Added Mariner’s third sacker Kyle Seager: “It’s always different reception. Playing ahead of fans is good on the road but it’s a totally different feeling when you’ve got an entire big crowd and at the house ground obviously cheering for you. That’s pretty special.” The fans made their presence known early, too. On an 0-2 count within the top of the second, Texas outfielder Eli White fouled Logan Gilbert’s offering into the main deck. The ball bounced off a chair, and into the hands of a lover, who bobbled it for a second before fumbling the ball into the lower bowl, eliciting a moan from the gang — back like they never left.