Friday, March 12, 2004

I owned my own season tickets for the first time this year. No it wasn't the Mariners or Seahawks. It wasn't even the Sonics. It was a startup expansion Western Hockey League team called the Everett Silvertips. Of the 36 home games I've mede it to 31. The 32nd, and last one of the regular season, is tonight. I've been to hundreds of Major League baseball games, about 1/2 as many football games and probably two or three dozen basketball games...none of them hold a candle to the experience of going to a "minor league" event like this.
A lot of these feelings come from the fact the Silvertips are having a special season. In this their first year they have broken the record for most wins by an expansion team and are on the verge of becoming the fist expansion team to win a division title. Even if they don't achieve that goal, the season has been a resounding success. After starting off 0-3 I certainly didn't see any reason why this would be anything other than the typical expansion season...maybe a 20 win campaign.
Behind the coaching of ex-NHL/San Jose Shark head coach Kevin Constantine & the superior play of goaltenders Jeff Harvey & Mike Wall the defensive minded team has made huge strides throughout the season. As the team hung around near the top of the standings you could see the players (considered castoffs from other teams around the league) started believing they could compete with anybody. So did the other teams. Early in the season we always got the #2 goalie from the we get their best.
The thing that makes the whole experience worthwhile is the excitement of the games & the ease of access. I live 45 minutes away from downtown hour with traffic. To go to a 7:05 pm Mariners game I have to leave the house at 5:30, pay $10 to park a mile away, grab a dog & a beer for $12 then go to my $15 seats in the outfield bleachers. After the game (10 pm) I herd out of the stadium, walk the mile back to my car (hopefully it's not raining) then trudge my way to the freeway and finally back home by 11:30. By the time I wind down & get to bed it's after midnight. For the Silvertips, which is every bit as exciting, if not more so, than baseball...I leave the house/work at 5:45, park two blocks away for free, sit down for a nice relaxing dinner by 6 pm across from the Events Center at Stadium Thai (a GREAT place to eat), get to my seat by 7 pm and watch a great game. Afterwards I am in my car within 10 minutes and home in another 10. I think the latest I've arrived at my house after a game was 10 pm. What a pleasant experience for me, the consumer.
Needless to say I've already re-upped my tickets for next season. The team will go through some growing pains...especially after such a successfully season this year...but hey, it will be entertaining without the burden which goes along with attending those "big league" events.