June 27, 2019

20 Years Ago Today: The Mariners Final Game at the Kingdome ⚾️

From Lookout Landing:

People really hated the Kingdome.

They called it ugly. They said it was dilapidated. They compared it to a tomb.

I’ve always said as a Mariners fan, “it’s a shithole, but it was our shithole.” Nothing could kill the vibe of a beautiful summer day in Seattle like going into the dark concrete insides of the Kingdome.

I saw one Mariners game at the Kingdome. I remember the date well: September 8, 1998. That was the day Mark McGwire broke the single-season record for home runs when he hit his 62nd of the year to pass Roger Maris’ 1961 mark. The Mariners were set to play the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays that evening, who were taking batting practice at the time of McGwire’s feat. Everyone stared and watched the Jumbotron as the event happened followed by an ovation from fans and players alike.

Tampa Bay then continued their pregame batting practice. It was as if McGwire provided inspiration, as Devil Rays hitter Paul Sorento began driving pitches deep into the right field seats one by one.

I don’t remember much about the game. But, I did get to see Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, and Alex Rodriguez in the flesh. I remember how I lost sight of pretty much every fly ball since my seat was right underneath the overhang of the upper deck. It was then I could see how the stadium was much better suited for the Seahawks. I also remember the Mariners lost 10-0. They won the following day. So it goes.

I at least could say I’ve been there. It was a bucket list item I wouldn’t have a chance to check off a year later when the M’s moved across the street to Safeco Field. It went along with the other memories I had of the place watching games on tv. From The Double & The Comeback to Griffey scaling the centerfield wall and the Dave Valle beer special. The M’s were horrible the majority of the time they played in the Kingdome, with the team actually being competitive in their final years there.

Those memories are part of the glue which bonds me with a team I still root for today. I cried a little when I watched the Kingdome’s demolition in 2000. It wasn’t a pretty place. Yet, I felt like a piece of me remained there. With that, I kinda miss the place, even though Safeco Field (I’m not ready to call it that other name yet) is leaps and bounds better.

I look back at the Kingdome fondly. It was a shithole, but it was my shithole.