Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-participant

It’s Been A Great Week for Sports Fans

(1) Men’s College Basketball: What a Championship Game!

On Monday night the Villanova and North Carolina men faced off for the championship trophy. It was a close game throughout, with the lead changing back and forth several times. As the final minute wound down, NC was behind when it managed to tie the score with an awkward yet acrobatic three-point basket. The shooter had jumped in the air, which meant that he had to shoot; if he landed holding the ball, he would have turned the ball over to Villanova because of traveling. But in midair he torqued his body and threw a shot that miraculously went through the net.

That shot tied the game with 4.7 seconds left. Just about everybody in the world, including me, thought the game was about to go into overtime. Villanova inbounded the ball, the dribbler passed the ball off to Kris Jenkins, and Jenkins launched a shot from way behind the three-point arc. The ball left Jenkins’s hands well before the final buzzer sounded. It swished through the net, gaining Villanova a three-point victory and its second national championship.

Feature photo credit: NCAA.com

(2) Women’s College Basketball Final Four Tournament

My husband and I grew up in Connecticut. Even though we didn’t attend the University of Connecticut, we’ve followed the UConn (pronounced Yukon) women’s basketball program, which has developed into a near-dynasty over the last 20 or so years. On Tuesday night the UConn Huskies women won their fourth consecutive national championship in a game that was not as competitively close as the men’s game.

Another high note of the women’s championship tournament this year is that the University of Washington Huskies women made it to the Women’s Final Four for the first time in program history. They were one of the lowest seeds (#7 in their region) to make it to the tournaments’s final weekend.

Washington Women's Basketball
Photo credit: gohuskies.com

As recent transplants to Washington, we were thrilled to see the women’s basketball team’s extraordinary tournament run. Maybe some day soon we’ll see a championship game featuring the East Coast Huskies vs. the West Coast Huskies.

Go Huskies!

(3) Can the Seattle Mariners Contend This Year?

The Mariners opened their season on the road against the Texas Rangers. Their loss of the opening game left me dispirited: same old same old. But they managed the win the second and third games in decisive fashion, with big innings toward the end of the game. Last year the pattern was that even if the Mariners managed to build a lead by the middle of the game, they would often lose it over the final innings and not be able to recover.

But the hitters have shown up, at least so far. After an off day today, the Mariners open at home tomorrow night against the Oakland A’s. Maybe this year will be better than last year.

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Here’s this week’s installment of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Seattle Mariners Game!

(Click on photos for a larger version.)

And awesome my life was yesterday, when a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones went up to Safeco Field for a day game between the Seattle Mariners and the Detroit Tigers. We sat in the Hit It Here Cafe, which is a covered area just above the right field wall.

1. Safeco Sign

Safeco Field is a beautiful stadium that officially opened on July 15, 1999. I especially like this sign along the third base side of the field:

Safeco Sign

2. Runners on 1st and 2nd

The Mariners had runners on 1st and 2nd in the opening inning but didn’t manage to score:

Runners on 1st and 2nd
Runners on 1st and 2nd

3. Cleaning up the Infield

The grounds crew rushes out for a quick clean-up job on the base paths just before the start of the 7th inning:

7th inning: Cleaning up the infield
7th inning: Cleaning up the infield

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It was just about a perfect day for baseball. We were all glad that we had chosen the seats in the covered cafe, as people on the lower levels were in direct sun. The temperature was in the low 80s, but as always up here, it felt much cooler than that as long as you were in the shade.

We even had a bit of added excitement during the game: a fan ran onto the field. He was quickly tackled by security personnel and escorted off the field. He spent at least a few hours in jail and will pay a hefty fine. This guy wasn’t a streaker because he had pants on. I don’t know if you get fined extra for running naked onto the field.

The only thing that kept the day from being perfect was the Mariners’ 5–4 loss to the Tigers.

Three Things Thursday

I’m really excited about today’s Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

Tacoma Rainiers Game!

Our new activities director took a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones to a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game this week.

The Rainiers, of the Pacific Coast League, is the AAA team of MLB’s Seattle Mariners. That means that players stop here just before being called up to the Major League Baseball team. In fact, we watched Franklin Gutierrez play in Tacoma on Tuesday, then saw him on television with the Mariners on Wednesday, just after being called up. Fortunately, it’s a short trip from Tacoma to Seattle.

Tuesday nigh was a beautiful night to be at a baseball game. It was a sunny day, but our seats were in the shade of the high stadium wall up the third base line. The temperature was just right. Here are some photos. (Thanks to my husband for photo #3).

1. Stadium Hill

Hill along first base side of Cheney Stadium
Hill along first base side of Cheney Stadium

The grassy hill next to right field, up along the first base line, is a popular destination for families with young children. Both young and older fans can spread out and relax while watching the game. A lot of foul balls end up there, so if you go, you should bring your glove.

2. Rainiers’ Mascot: Rhubarb

The Seattle Mariners’ mascot is a moose, and I used to think that Rhubarb, the Rainiers’ mascot, is also a moose. But this week I discovered that Rhubarb is in fact a reindeer. It has a nice alliterative ring to it: Rhubarb, the Rainier Reindeer.

Rhubarb, Rainiers' mascot
Rhubarb, Rainiers’ mascot

But be honest here. Could you really tell from those antlers that Rhubarb is a reindeer and not a moose?

Cheney (pronounced chee-nee) Stadium, home of the Rainiers, is a very family-friendly place, and Rhubarb plays a big part in creating that atmosphere. He dances on top of the dugouts, and mingles and schmoozes with fans up in the stands. And after every Sunday game at the stadium, Rhubarb brings kids down onto the field and leads them in running around the bases.

3. Tribute to Ben Cheney

Statue of Ben Cheney
Statue of Ben Cheney

Ben Cheney was one of the community leaders responsible for getting a stadium built in just three months and 14 days, in time to open as the home of the San Francisco Giants’ AAA club in 1960. Since that time Tacoma has been the home of a number of minor league teams. The Rainiers have played at Cheney Stadium since 1995.

Cheney Stadium underwent a massive remodeling between the end of the 2010 season on September 2 and opening day of the 2011 season on April 1.

The spirit of Ben Cheney attends every home game at the stadium named in his honor.