February 26, 2024
What we witnessed this week was a spectacular Seattle. Homeless encampments were gone. Sidewalks were power-washed. There were even baskets with flowers hanging.

There was a lot of buildup for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week in Seattle and the city came through with flying colors.
I am not a big baseball guy myself. But I did really enjoy the Mariners’ playoff run last year.
I am a big event person. I’ve been to a Super Bowl and the NBA Finals, when the SuperSonics faced Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
I also got to go to the 2001 MLB All-Star Game when the ballpark was known as Safeco Field. That was a good time.
But this All-Star Game was special, for many reasons. For me, it started when my wife and I decided to go to Play Ball Park. I just wanted to be around the action.
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What I didn’t expect was what we saw in SODO. After deciding we were going to head for downtown Seattle a lot less often because of the homeless problem and crime, what we witnessed this week was a spectacular Seattle. The homeless encampments were gone. The sidewalks were power-washed. There were hanging baskets with flowers. Even the businesses’ windows were clean.
New paint was everywhere. The smell was fresh. And Pioneer Square looked the best that I’ve seen in the 40 years I have been here.
All that was reflected in people’s attitudes. The police were kind and welcoming. It was almost as if I had fallen into the colorized version of the Land of Oz.
On the day of the game, I wasn’t planning to go but was tracking the secondary ticket sites. Once a pair of tickets dropped below $300 each, I snagged them. I specifically wanted to take KIRO Newsradio anchor Aaron Granillo, the biggest baseball fan I know.
He had media parking and was planning on doing live reports for the radio station. Getting into the stadium was easy. The garage was very organized.
It was an early-arriving crowd. They all wanted to roam around the park.
I have never been to T-Mobile Park when it was this full. It was wall-to-wall people. Jerseys from all corners of the country could be spotted.
Aaron and I couldn’t believe how easy everything was. While he was doing his live reports, I headed to the Team Store where I purchased a $200 American League jersey. My observation of watching merchandise fly off the shelves was how this event was big money.
Outside, you could see fans jam restaurants and outdoor beer gardens.
After a tour of the store, I headed up to our seats.
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I went up and up. When I got to the last row along the first baseline, I found our seats. The day was gorgeous and the impressive skyline of Seattle was sparkling in the sun.
I got there in time for the red-carpet player introductions. Even though it was a nationwide crowd, Mariners fans held the majority.
It was a great game with terrific defensive plays in the first inning to a chance for 9th-inning heroics by local hero Julio Rodriguez.
It was a night Mayor Bruce Harrell and Chamber of Commerce had hoped for. Whether or not it holds going forward, this was the Seattle most of us love. They proved it could be done.
(My knees, however, aren’t what they used to be.)
Bill Kaczaraba is a digital content editor for MyNorthwest.com.