Have you ever really circled a date on a calendar in red ink? We did. Really. We did it the day the Mariners' 2007 schedule came out.
We circled June 22 on our calendar at home. The day Junior was returning to Seattle. Even in the spring we knew it would be special.
So we decided to do something extraordinary. We bought tickets to the weekend series, splurging on Friday's game with box seats. A little out of our price range, but what the heck, it was a red-letter day.
Then we surprised the Ken Griffey Jr. fan in the family, now living in Southern California, with the news. Tickets to the games, golf times, airline tickets. It would be his Christmas in June. A red-letter weekend.
Except we made one mistake. We trusted Alaska Airlines.
Tyler left Santa Barbara before noon. It is 10:30 at night and he's still not here. As the plane, scheduled to arrive in Seattle by 4:30, sat on the runway at LAX, according to Tyler, there was an altercation on the plane. Back to the terminal the plane went. Police were called. Passengers were interviewed. No one could leave the plane.
Finally they were let off. They would be reloading and leaving at 4 they were told. OK, we would be cutting it close, but we could still make it. At 4 he called, saying they were told an announcement would be made at 4:30. Now we were going to be late. Before you could call a travel agent, 4:30 became 5:30 became 6 and they were leaving. We'll get to the game sometime in the middle innings.
Then no. The flight was cancelled. We were out of luck. More than $100 wasted. But he was booked on a 10:30 flight, so we could still get some sleep and make Saturday's tee time. Fifteen minutes ago he called. The 10:30 flight was cancelled. No crew. He would have to spend the night in LA and come up tomorrow. He won't be getting here until after noon.
A red-letter day turned into a bloody mess.
Which, in a way, was what happened to the M's. A red-letter day in the franchise history turned into a Reds' massacre. When the hitting stopped, Cincy had a 16-1 win, Griffey had one hit and we had a red ass, chapped by the ineptitude of an airline I may never fly again.
And our special weekend? It's going to be tough to make it extraordinary, but we'll try. We'll get up in the morning, get you up-to-date on all the Griffey – and non-Griffey – news, then we'll pick up our kid at the airport. And we'll try to make it special.
We're sending him home on United.