October 3, 1997 in Nation/World

Fans Tune In, Turn On, Drop Jobs Despite Pesky Workplace Distractions, Mariner Fans Keep In Touch

Laura Shireman Virginia De Leon Contr Staff writer

The fans at the Kingdome cheered a Mariner hit. The player rounded first base, glancing longingly at second.

Over radios and televisions at workplaces around the Inland Northwest, the announcers returned to drown out the fans’ shouts.

Workers listened to small radios and watched the baseball playoff game on company televisions Thursday afternoon, turning down the volume when dealing with customers.

“We turn it off if an important client calls,” said Bob Westby, president of Advance Mortgage. “We kind of tone it down a little.”

His son, Jon, who also works in the office, explained they would keep the game on as long as the Mariners stayed ahead. The lead didn’t last long, and the Seattle club wound up losing 9-3 for the second straight day.

Speculation on the Mariners’ fate ranged from wild optimism (they will rally to win the World Series) to dreaded realism (they won’t get past the Baltimore Orioles).

“Somebody called them the Seahawks last night - that wasn’t very nice,” said Mary Myhre, the owner of Custom Frame Shop. She was listening to the game between customers.

“They shot themselves in the foot last night. It wasn’t just Randy Johnson. You can’t expect total miracles all the time from him.”

At Gonzaga University in Spokane, students and staff made regular trips to the public relations office to ask how the game was going.

Gigi Preston, a Mariner fan, gave the updates. With a radio at her side and a TV in a nearby office, she spent the afternoon filing papers and organizing her desk.

She raced for the TV whenever she heard the sportscaster get excited.

Preston, who’s been a Mariners’ fan since 1994, knows each player’s history and habits. Dan Wilson, her favorite, has “a great work ethic,” she said. Edgar Martinez is a “silent leader, not flamboyant.”

Other Mariner fans on campus stuck around the Crosby Student Center to watch the game.

“I’d skip class for this,” said sophomore John Jessop, who sipped lattes with his friends while tuning in.

Back in Coeur d’Alene, Chris Manko, an appliance salesman at Sears at the Silver Lake Mall watched the game at work.

During the seventh inning, his eyes were glued to one of the televisions for sale in the electronics department, temporarily ignoring his post.

“Well, it’s slow today,” he reasoned. “It’s worth it for me to watch.”

Chad Mitchell, a customer, watched with alternating hope and resignation as a Mariner struck out with men on base, ending another threat.

“I think we’re in trouble,” he said. “It was a good season.”

As the seventh inning ended, Manko turned from the TV in disgust, giving up on the team for the day.

“Dang! Time to sell appliances.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Laura Shireman Staff writer Staff writer Virginia de Leon contributed to this report.

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