The King’s Court. Photo by Chase N./Flickr

The King’s Court. Photo by Chase N./Flickr

An Open Letter to the King’s Court

The Mariners boast the best cheering section in baseball, but there’s one major issue…

I can still remember the first time wandering into the rowdy mass of yellow along the left field line at Safeco Field. While tickets to the left field corner weren’t anyone’s definition of prime seating, the view wasn’t the sell. At this point, the Seattle Mariners were already working on their 10th straight playoff-free season, but the team’s track-record didn’t matter much once I put on the flimsy yellow T-shirt and grabbed the premade crown-adorned “K” sign that came with my seat. For the first time in years, baseball felt energized and special. The Mariners may have still been trash as a team, but at least we had the best pitcher in baseball. Felix Hernandez was the ace we probably didn’t deserve, and the King’s Court was the cheering section he certainly did deserve. What started as a novelty that 2011 season soon became a beloved tradition.

Make no mistake, the King’s Court is the best fan section in baseball by a wide margin, and among the best in all sports. While other teams have tried to capture the same magic for their own star players, pretty much every attempt has been a dud. When the second best option is an 18-seat collection of Yankees fans in robes cheering on slugger Aaron Judge in The Judge’s Chambers —wel, let’s just say the King doesn’t need to be worried about his throne.

The King’s Court has been there for some of the few positive memories in recent Mariners fan history: From the thrill of seeing a huge crowd all toting K cards during the stadium-wide Supreme Court game that followed Hernandez’s perfect game in 2012 to the gem he tossed in vain on the last day of the season as the M’s came up one-game short of the Wild Card in 2014.

The King’s Court is exhilarating. It’s communal. It’s the reason there is any yellow in my wardrobe.

But there’s been another unavoidable fact plaguing the King’s Court since its inception: It’s undoubtedly the worst place in all of Safeco Field to actually watch King Felix pitch.

It’s all an issue of those wonderful K cards, and enthusiasm overtaking decorum.

Whenever there’s a two-count strike, fans in the King’s Court rise to their feet and hold their K cards high, chanting, “K-K-K-K-K.” While it’s a great visual on TV, it’s not a visual at all from the stands. In the section dedicated to Hernandez, you can’t actually see him pitch because large signage obscures all views. One basically has to react to sounds to know what happened. C’mon people. Shouldn’t actually seeing the strikeouts be part of the thrill?

These may sound like the grumpy ramblings of a 30-year-old burnt out on Mariners losses, but I’m six-feet tall and can’t see; imagine the views for King’s Court kids. If a fan in another section constantly blocked views of those around them, it wouldn’t be tolerated.

It’s not even a difficult fix: Holding the cards at chest level would alleviate the entire problem while still giving a striking visual. Dear Mariners, can we please just have a little unoffical rule/disclaimer about this?

The King’s Court is the best place to experience a Mariners game; it’d just be great if it was also the best place to watch one.

ssommerfeld@seattleweekly.com

More in Opinion

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about homelessness and the climate

During an Editorial Board interview, he also discussed a wide range of other issues on the state agenda.

We need to, but how do we talk about race?

Racism is still an issue in this country. How can we have constructive conversations to move forward and heal?

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Despite ruling on Public Records Act, we need to keep a close eye on Olympia

Washington Supreme Court upholds that state legislators are subject to the Public Records Act.

Mind over miles: Thoughts from the Seattle Half Marathon

Reporter runs the 13.1-mile race in 2:01:40.

Professionals in a second language | Windows and Mirrors

What is it like to pursue a career in a language that is not your first?

Throw in the towel on Matt Shea

Majority Democrats realize contentious representative is staying

United Methodist Church: To split or not to split

Local clergy from Eastside United Methodist Churches weigh in on the church’s future regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion.

More than the right to vote: What does it mean to become a U.S. citizen?

Another reason some people may not vote is because they feel like it doesn’t matter.

Are sheriffs above the law?

Washington voters have spoken on I-1639. Sheriffs need to set the stage to follow their oath of office - and enforce the law.

The difficulty of aging in place | Windows and Mirrors

Living on a fixed income in an increasingly expensive region is not easy.

Sound Transit, politics and Superfund sites

Elected leaders and residents want a landfill as the preferred site, and that raises questions.