The excitement generated by Seattle Mariner baseball success has resulted in ear-splitting decibel levels by sellout Kingdome crowds.
But can the noise generated by 58,000 fans because of Seattle’s sudden playoff ascent compare to what ex-Mariner and Valley resident Casey Parsons experienced in the Dominican Republic?
“You can’t compare the two, but I don’t think anything will ever match the vengeance of the fans in the Dominican Republic,” he said.
The city of Licey’s stands seated 28,000 rabid and raucous spectators rooting for a team that Parsons managed to the Caribbean World Series championship.
Most of the players in the Caribbean leagues are Major Leaguers and many were and are involved in the current American and National League playoffs.
Because of gambling that went on at the games, the fans would become frustrated, which led to stands-clearing brawls. There were even threats to managers and players.
“If there were 57,000 fans in a dome in the Dominican,” he said, “there would be a small revolt.”
A number of Valley residents have been a part of the ear-splitting if mild-mannered audience during Seattle’s stretch run to its first pennant-winning season and participation in the American League Championship Series.
It has not been uncommon for some to drive over to a game, return home the same night and be back at work at 7 a.m. the next morning.
“I haven’t brought out any of my stuff, I’m not wearing any so you can’t say I’m a front-runner,” said Parsons, who played for Seattle in 1981.
But like the others, he is cheering his former team on.
Parsons was called up to the Mariners from AAA ball, but within a month was part of a strike which did nothing for his career.
“I finally get to the big leagues, but was one of those people the strike didn’t help,” said Parsons.
The strike resulted in a split season and playoffs much like this year’s four-team league format.
“One thing that happened, when we came back for the second season we were competitive,” said Parsons.
The Mariners drew crowds of 25,000 and an occasional sellout when the Yankees came to town, but nothing like what this year’s team has experienced.
The Valley native abruptly ended his professional baseball career last year after spending two decades as a player and manager in various organizations. His last stop was at AAA Tacoma as a manager in the Oakland A’s organization.
Since returning home he has bought into a franchise business, HouseMaster, which does home inspections and consulting for prospective buyers.
“A lot of time baseball is a holding tank for the right person at the right time and has nothing to do with work ethic and merit,” he said. “My family was more important and I did not want to spend the next 25 years waiting for the right situation.”
He has no regrets about leaving the game. Parsons said he’ll continue coaching - his 9-year-old twin daughters Haley and Amanda next summer in youth softball.
But he still has a vested interest in the Seattle-Cleveland playoff series because players like Indians Manny Ramirez and Jose Mesa played for him at Licey and because of his time with the Mariners.
“I’m happy for Seattle and professional baseball in the Northwest,” he said. “They were close to losing the team and now are doing great things so hopefully they will not. If they lose baseball they won’t ever get it back.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo