Anyone who stayed the entire game should be rewarded by the Mariners. Those are the real fans.
The Mariners held the Orioles scoreless until the top of the ninth inning. The Seattle 2-0 lead became a 2-2 deadlock after Baltimore's Chris Davis hit a one-out, two-run single to tie the game.
Then, both teams wiggled in and out of trouble. Both bullpens were remarkable. Both lineups could not push a run across.
The two teams essentially played a second game. Two nine-inning affairs resulted in a single win for Baltimore. Taylor Teagarden singled home the winning run in the 18th inning. And nearly six hours after the first pitch, the game was over.
There could be a train of thought that the fans who stayed the whole game got a bargain. For the price of one ticket, they got to see 18 innings of baseball. That is good value.
But 12,608 tickets were sold for a Tuesday night game with the Mariners far out of contention in mid-September. By the time Teagarden broke the tie, probably only 10 percent of that crowd remained.
There could not have been more than 2,000 people in the stands by the end.
These fans came on a school night with work the next day. These fans stayed to watch a non-contending team play out the string. These are the fans that should be rewarded.
The Mariners should have sent people to every exit and have forms ready to fill out along with a photo ID process. Everyone who left the game at the conclusion has their picture taken for the record and are given a season-ticket pass for 2013.
It cannot be transferable. They cannot scalp it or give it to their cousin. It is a reward to say "You have admittance to any 2013 game."
It's not like the Mariners are going to have a packed house every night, and they would be taking away revenue. They draw under 22,000 a game to a stadium that seats more than 54,000.
Also, it is good to have passionate people in a crowd or an audience. There is always a need for enthusiasm in the crowd, from a laugh track for a sitcom to professional mourners at a funeral.
The few thousand who stayed 18 innings to see if their team could play spoiler in a September game are the kind of fans you want in a crowd.
Plus, those fans would be buying drinks, hot dogs, foam "We're No. 1" fingers and those plastic caps filled with ice cream. So there will be some money made as well.
Reward the fans who have shown their loyalty. There are enough empty seats for them to fill.
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