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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Nephews, Beer and Baseball: A Seattle Sojourn

Last week's visit to Safeco Field in Seattle was a follow-up to our August 2014 visit to AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Giants won another World Series title in the interim and they were coming to the Northwest. Great news. You wonder if the Mariners will ever win a title. Oh, never mind.

This wasn't just a baseball and beer trip. We made a detour to Port Orchard, home of my sister. Her family has had a series of dogs named after baseball players. Buhner passed away last year. Griffey is the new arrival. Quite a boy.

Part of the pregame festivities involved sipping local 7 Seas beer and tossing a baseball around the yard...you never know when a foul ball might come your way in the game. Griffey was ever-present and wanted to  join the action, stealing the ball at one point. Good dog!

Next came the ferry ride across Puget Sound to Seattle. These rides can be wild in rough weather, but this was a perfect day and a lot of folks enjoyed the ride on the outdoor deck. By way of comparison, our ride down San Francisco Bay on a fast ferry in August was a bit too chilly to enjoy from the deck without a parka. Mark Twain had San Francisco summers right.

For anyone not in the know, craft beer has found its way onto the Washington ferry system. After a short wait, we procured several (plastic) glasses of Redhook ESB. There weren't a lot of choices, but I can tell you that beer hit the spot on the hour-long crossing. Not so long ago the only beer you're drinking on a ride like that is some macro garbage. Check it out in your DeLorean if you don't believe me. We've come a long way.

Our final pregame stop was Pyramid Brewing, across the street from Safeco. A lot of beer snobs love to beat up Pyramid. And, yeah, I'm a beer snob, which means I should pile on. But I've been impressed with some of their beers and particularly the value they bring to the table at a time when craft beer prices are escalating. Anyway, I ordered a CDA from the Small Batch list. I assume this was a version of Discord, which I've always liked and is no longer bottled. Pleasant surprise.

Across the street at Safeco Field. there's plenty of good beer to be had. But don't expect to find it instantly. I ran into a two young Giants fans packing pounders of Rainier. "Best deal in the park," they told me. Moments later, I spied a vendor hawking Blue Moon, Coors Light and Rainier. Not quite what I had in mind. Sorry.

One of the odd things they do at Safeco is position beer and food vendors on the field side of the concourse. This has the effect of darkening the concourse and blocking views of the field for fans there. I've only been to two other major league ballparks...AT&T and the place where the Phillies play in Philadelphia. I don't recall a similar positioning of vendors in either of those ballparks. I suppose there's a reason Safeco does this, but I hesitate to speculate.

A few minutes into my walk I stumbled on a vendor selling Pike IPA. Might as well drink local, I figured. I paid $10 for a brimming pint and headed to my seat. On the way back, I came upon vendors selling Bale Breaker and Laurelwood Workhorse, among others. I'd missed these guys on my way out due to the mess that is Safeco's concourse. Oh well. First world problems. The thing is, there's good beer here if you look for it.

The game itself turned into a walkover...a 7-0 beatdown for the Giants. So the two teams split their season series 2-2. Fine. I doubt we'll see the Giants up this way again for a while and I'm ambivalent about making the trip to Seattle for a Mariners game. I like some of the players on this team, but the organization has "amateur" written all over it.

In retrospect, meeting my new nephew was probably the highlight of the trip. I know I'll see him before I see the Mariners or Giants again.

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