Students voice support for Mariners

Junior Alex McCrum recognizes that the Seattle Mariners aren’t the strongest team and that they have a lot of work to do. Nevertheless, through good times and bad, McCrum has remained a fan.

"That’s love," McCrum said.

McCrum, who is from Oregon, has been a fan for years.

"I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and the Mariners are the hometown team for the Pacific Northwest," he said.

McCrum added that he became a fan at age five when he stood practically atop the Mariners’ dugout and cheered for former center fielder Ken Griffey Jr.

"I got him to look at me," he said. "It was a pretty cool game."

McCrum shares his passion for the team with other SPU students, including senior and Vice President of Campus Activities Kellie Hicks.

Hicks grew up in Seattle and has been a Seattle Mariners fan for some time. A defining moment came in 1995, she said. That was the year that Edgar Martinez hit "The Double" in game five of the American League Division Series.

"My dad pulled me out of school for the game," Hicks said.

Together they watched from the seats of the Kingdome, the Mariners’ stadium before Safeco Field. Martinez’s double scored two runs, which won the game for the Mariners. Ken Griffey Jr. slid into home plate, an image that many probably still remember.

Hicks remembers how cool it was to miss school and witness this historic Seattle moment.

Those moments are the reason several SPU students have stuck with the Mariners, whether or not they grew up in Seattle.

Junior J.J. Pierce is from Colorado, but she recently became a fan.

"I fell in love with them [the Mariners] after watching them play," Pierce said.

She said she just started watching the team on television one day and going to games with friends.

"Any time I come across a ticket, I’ll go," she said.

Pierce and McCrum both attended opening day this season, and they also hope to attend more games. McCrum also went to all three games of last weekend’s series against the Oakland Athletics.

This season Hicks has been to five games, and she plans to go to more. She went to 25 games last season, her personal record.

McCrum may be supportive of the Mariners, but he thinks that the team needs to "cut ties" with outfielder Brad Wilkerson, third baseman Miguel Cairo, and designated hitter Jose Vidro.

Additionally, McCrum would like to see Jeff Clement, a minor leaguer, be brought up to replace Kenji Johjima as starting catcher.

"Two guys in the bullpen need to step up, but there’s no telling who those guys will be," he said. "The hitting is a lot more of a problem than pitching, but pitching has more of an upside," McCrum said. He said that the pitchers, as opposed to the hitters, have more of an ability to get the job done.

Hicks and Pierce would also like to see the pitching improve.

"Good pitching is the main ticket to succeeding," Hicks said.

McCrum thinks the Mariners’ biggest rivals this season will be Oakland and the New York Yankees. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have also been tough competition for the M’s as well, but McCrum thinks that rivalry is more contrived.

In particular, Hicks has stood by first baseman Richie Sexson since he came to the Mariners a few years ago.

"Some would call him the worst player on the team," Hicks said. "I’ve been pulling for him ever since [he came to Seattle]," she said.

Sexson, she added, is on the brink of hitting his 300th career home run.

Pierce, on the other hand, is a Raul Ibanez fan. Ibanez is the starting left fielder.

"I just love the way he is on the team, and the way he interacts with his teammates," Pierce said.

McCrum calls the Mariners "boring" so far this year, but he thinks people should watch out for starting shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

"He’s got a lot of range, and he’s fun to watch on the field," he said.

Pierce added that people can get into the team by learning about the players and their respective places on the team.

"People love going to games, but not necessarily because they’re die-hard fans," Hicks said. "I’d encourage people to go to games just for fun. It’s a beautiful stadium," she said.

All in all, these three students agree that, even if the team isn’t doing well, the experience is worthwhile.

In fact, Hicks said SPU will be selling tickets at the beginning of May for a Mariners game on Tuesday, May 27, against the Boston Red Sox. There are 200 hundred tickets to sell, and they are $8 each.

Pierce said she feels a sense of community at games because there are thousands of people at the stadium for a single purpose. So, whether you’re a Seattle native or not, grab some fellow Falcons and support the home team.

"It’s so fun to get into a team. It becomes a part of your life," Pierce said.

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Title: Students voice support for Mariners | Author: Anna Secreto | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2008-04-30 | Internal ID: 6475