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The rebuilding of the Seattle Mariners

“We had Tom Paciorek on the air with a 30-second spot that said, ‘Come out Saturday night because it’s funny glasses-on-the-nose night!'” Adamack said. “And he puts on a pair of funny-nosed glasses, and there’s a voiceover going, ‘No, no, Tom. It’s jacket night. And Paciorek’s answer at the end is: ‘What am I going to do with 30,000 pairs of funny nose glasses?’

It turns out that the fans took it seriously. The Mariners scheduled a fun glasses-on-the-nose night for 1982 and drew a crowd of more than 37,000. That was great, but it underscored the meticulous nature of the market: The silly draw beat, by nearly 10,000, an actual baseball milestone two nights earlier: Gaylord Perry scored his 300th career win.

Understaffed and underfunded, with few impact players on the field, the team’s staff struggled to realize the potential of their product.

“The closest teams were Oakland to the south and Minnesota to the east, so there was a lot of territory, a big footprint,” Adamack said. “But it was hard enough, with our resources, to only promote in our own metropolitan area.”

The franchise stumbled from one frustrated buyer to another. Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox, told Seattle reporters in 1991 to “start writing an obituary” for the Mariners.

Reinsdorf had almost moved his team to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1988, and the Mariners seemed headed there in early 1992. Then a surprise bidder, Hiroshi Yamauchi, who was the president of Nintendo, spent $75 million for a controller. . interest, a gesture of goodwill to the home region of Nintendo’s US headquarters.

By then, the Mariners had contender material, with Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez. The players had come together in the summer of 1994, when falling roof tiles at the Kingdome forced the team to take a three-week road trip. A year later, the Mariners rallied from a 13-game deficit in August to win the American League West.

“All of a sudden,” Adamack said, “our guys were rock stars in town.”

Voters rejected a ballpark funding measure in September, but as the Mariners raced to the American League Championship Series (a six-game loss to Cleveland), the state legislature seized on the excitement and approved a deal. The new ballpark opened in 1999 and might be the best in baseball: the only one with a roof that functions only as an umbrella, covering the field and fans but never enclosing the park.

In other words, it always feels like Seattle.

“We want this stadium to last 100 years,” said Adamack, whose name adorns the press box. “And I guess that’s just a different way of saying this is a stable franchise, and Major League Baseball is going to be in the Northwest forever.”

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