Tuesday, June 7, 2011

U2 and me too in Seattle

Just back from Seattle where I had the honor of broadcasting a week of Mariners’ baseball. As the song goes, “the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” … just not every day.

Stayed at the Silver Cloud – a terrific hotel even if it sounds like the name of Tonto’s father. It’s directly across the street from Safeco Field. I opened my window and there was a giant mural of pitcher Felix Hernandez staring directly into my room. Now that’s a wake-up call. Every morning I pulled back the drapes and, “AAAAAAAA!!!”

Note to myself: Learn the difference between a hotel room safe and a microwave.

Missed by one day the streaker who ran across the outfield during a game (and it wasn’t even “70s Night”). He spent two nights in jail, faces multiple charges, and a scout from the Pittsburgh Pirates, impressed with his speed, wants to sign him. Actually, there were several cretins who ran out onto the field that night. One was a military man (now spending the rest of his life cleaning urinals with a toothbrush), and the other buffoon was scheduled to get married the next day. “Uh, honey, any chance we could move the venue from your church to the city drunk tank?”

When in Pioneer Square, try some Cow Chip Cookies – just don’t ask what’s in ‘em.

For a fundraiser, one charity is offering the opportunity to rappel a major skyscraper. That’s right. For a sizeable donation they’ll hook you up to a harness and you get to scale a thirty-story building. Jesus! You get local group, Death Cab for Cutie to sing a few songs, honor Bill Gates, have a silent auction, and call it a year. No one ever risked their life bidding on ferry passes.

Here’s something they don’t have in Manhattan: At the Woodland Park Zoo on Saturday they offered a class on how to bear-proof your yard.

As a tribute to Elvis Presley, the city has kept the Space Needle, constructed for the 1962 Elvis movie classic, IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR. From it’s revolving rooftop restaurant you can see the city, Puget Sound, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges while you dine. Perfect for sightseers and bulimics.

Must see: The Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Every guitar that’s not in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame or Conan O’Brien’s garage is on display in this virtual music library. Imagine if the Louvre had a wing for Grunge. There’s a permanent display for Seattle homeboy Jimi Hendrix (featuring his music – tributes to the other aspect of his life are found everywhere. They’re called pharmacies.), Star Trek and Battlestar Galicata memorabilia, and a new exhibit honoring AVATAR just started. Cast member Michelle Rodriguez was in town for the opening so no pedestrian was safe.

Fabulous steaks at the Metropolitan Grill… right next door to a weight loss clinic.

Why I love Seattle: A movie theater all week was showing ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN.

Not only does the Elliott Bay Oyster House serve a great cracked crab and have finger bowls -- from 3:00-3:30, oysters are just fifty cents. They go up a quarter every half hour until 6:00 so you’re gonna wanna get there exactly at 3.

The Elliott Bay Book Company has moved downtown. Booo! Pioneer Square is just not the same without this classic landmark and all the Popeye-looking guys in sailor hats who used to mill about drinking spinach lattes. The new bookstore has high ceilings and impressive wood beams but Bluto would never be caught dead in it.

Saturday was insane. U2 performed at Qwest Field (also across the street from my hotel) so try getting a cab when 70,000 people are arriving at the same time. You could hear the show from my room (hell, you could hear it from Alaska) and Bono sounded pretty good. I can now say I’ve been to a U2 concert. I just had a somewhat obstructed view. But I imagine so did a lot of people who spent big bucks to actually be inside the stadium. A giant stage was erected in the middle of the field, called “the Claw” that featured state-of-the-art video board presentations. This Erector Set marvel requires 120 trucks to transport. So we’re not talking an intimate cabaret show here. If this “Claw” was between you and the group, the only way you’ll see U2 is when you get home and watch YouTube.

Meanwhile, outside the stadium there was a nimrod in the parking lot playing a set of drums to the music. “Yeah, I jammed with Bono”, he can now boast to his new friend, the streaker, in the holding cell.

The weather over the weekend was absolutely glorious! The bluest skies! When it’s not raining, there is no more beautiful part of the country than the Pacific Northwest. But it’s been a cold wet winter so when the sun finally did come out the population emerged liked the Munchkins after Margaret Hamilton croaked.

The Mariners won five of the seven games I called. In one dramatic inning our pitcher struck out a guy to end a big threat and I blurted out, “Wow, if I had a catchphrase I’d be saying it RIGHT NOW!” As it happened, I didn’t need a catchphrase very much. In the series with Tampa Bay, the Mariners hit eight home runs. My partner, Rick Rizzs called all of them. But I did have a squeeze bunt and a pick off throw to third.

Still, just being a part of the Mariners’ broadcast team again has been a thrill. Hope you like what you hear. If so, I’d say please let the Mariners know, but I just have this awful sinking feeling that someone will make a banner and run across the outfield in the middle of a game.

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