Mariners fans up very early for season opener

Mar 28, 2012, 6:38 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm

I have to get up at oh-dark-hundred for my job. But more than 150 Mariner fans willingly stayed up all night, or set their alarms for 1 a.m. so they could drive to Safeco Field and watch their beloved team play the 2012 major-league opener in Japan.

It was surprising to see so many wide awake, perky people so early in the morning at the Terrace Club. The ballclub invited season-ticket holders to watch on television as the M’s and Oakland A’s played in the Tokyo Dome.

“I got two hours of sleep. That worked,” said Eric Nielson of Kent. “I had planned to stay up all night, but I got exhausted around 11 o’clock and had to go home first.”

Longtime M’s fan Skye Kent said she was excited when her alarm went off at 1 a.m. However, she might be suffering later today.

“I’ve got to work 9 to 5 today,” she lamented. “I’m going to take a nap.”

The scene was a bit surreal. The Safeco Field neon sign cast a warm glow over the outfield. Giant grow lights were set up to aid the sun-deprived infield grass.

Fans munched on breakfast food, cracker jacks, and sushi. It was a game in Japan after all. Fans even stood and sang “Take me out to the ballgame” for the seventh-inning stretch.

“When else are you going to get to do this?” said M’s fan Diane Churnis of Seattle. “It’s the next best thing to being there.”

Fortunately the Mariners gave their faithful fans a reward for their loyal support.

Seattle scored twice in the 11th inning to beat the A’s 3-1. Ichiro had four base hits in his return to Japan.

If you couldn’t rise early enough to catch the Mariners’ 2012 opener, you get another chance Thursday. That game starts at 2 a.m.

Date Starting Pitcher
Tuesday, September 27 @ 6:40 pm

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