Friday night, September 21, the Texas Rangers in town. A division rival, a tough playoff team that has been to the World Series the last two seasons. Should be a big draw. Especially because it is Fan Appreciation Night.
It is a night of give-aways, not cheap ones, usually autographed merchandise and other wonderful stuff that fans flock to every year hoping to get some precious goodies.
Not this year. Only 17, 893 fans show up. The meager Friday night crowd certainly increases the odds of winning something. Wish I had been there. But like most years I would have come away empty-handed. It is a theme of my life. In the past there would be twice as many people in the stands to appreciate another losing season. This year every fan must have gotten something.
The message is clear. Fans are tired of losing, tired of Mariner ownership, tired of poor Mariner public relations regarding their opposition to the new arena that Chris Hanson wants to build, and will build, whether Howard Lincoln likes it or not.
They say they are fine with an arena, but in reality they want it far from Sodo. Downtown Seattle or Bellevue would be fine. It has been reported that Lincoln has told Hanson that he is coming after him and his proposal for an arena in the Sodo district. Not a personal threat, strictly political and business. Lincoln does not want the new kid on the block.
The Mariners have lost fans to the Sounders and will lose more fans when Seattle gets the Sonics back in town. And the reason is the Mariners refusal to seriously pursue top players, make bold trades, do anything to bring a winning team to Seattle baseball fans.
If the Mariners want to make lots of money, they need to spend money to make money. It is an old business adage. It works. So Mr. Lincoln, spend the money for players. Get in a pennant race, get to the playoffs, with luck the World Series. Then watch the money roll in.
You have until the Sonics return. You are on the clock.