EVERETT — If you have children — or, as in our case, grandchildren — an Everett AquaSox game is a satisfying adventure for all.
Minor League baseball can be just as fun as a trip to see the Seattle Mariners — without all the traffic, parking hassles and added expense.
Plus, you are likely to see future Mariners players in the AquaSox lineup. Mariners pitcher “King” Felix Hernandez was a Frog. And remember that famous Mariners such as Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner and Randy Johnson did rehab sessions with the AquaSox.
This summer, among our favorite players is Kyle Lewis, the Mariners’ first-round pick in the 2016 Major League draft. He’s a tall outfielder from Georgia and a great hitter. We also like Bryson Brigman, the third-round pick and a talented shortstop from San Jose, California.
OK, so the adults will be happy watching some good baseball.
And the kids will have a a good time playing in the Fun Zone, running the bases, competing in contests and so much more. The Independence Day game on Monday should be a blast, complete with free T-shirts for first 500 fans and post-game fireworks.
We took our second granddaughter, Paige, nearing age 3, to this past Sunday’s game. She brought along her AquaSox mascot Webbley doll to show to the head Frog himself and came away very pleased with herself.
Advice for novice AquaSox attendees
Go early. There’s a lot to do. Everett Memorial Stadium is located on Broadway between 38th and 39th streets. Take the south entrance and park in the big lot.
If you are attending with younger children, choose a 4 p.m. Sunday matinee or the 11 a.m. Kids Day games on July 19 and 27. For older kids, choose a 7 p.m. game with fireworks or cool giveaways. (Again, get there early because the first 500 to 1,000 fans get the free stuff.) Pick up a free program near the gate. It contains good information, the schedule, a place for autographs and a few games for your children who read.
If you can snag some Diamond Club seats behind home plate ($18 on game day), do it. We also like to sit with sun to our backs in the upper box seats ($13 game day) on the third base line close to home plate, sections H or I. Field box seats ($15 game day) are along the base lines. The general admission bleachers or the Home Run Hill lawn ($9 game day) are the cheapest way to go. On Sundays, people with military ID can get upper box seats for $5. If available, field box tickets are offered for $5 on Family Nights July 5, 9, 20 and 26, and Aug. 8, 17 and 26.
If you think you will go to a game more than once this season, children ages 12 and younger are eligible for the AquaSox Kids Club. For $16, they get tickets to each Sunday game, a T-shirt and prizes. The Silver Sluggers deal allows people 55 and older attend games each Wednesday for $18.
Buy your kid the AquaSox Fun Zone ($5 to $7) wrist band for the big slide, the bouncy house and the pitching cage. Kids will want to go back a few times. Also bring their baseball gloves and a ball, not only in case they can snag a foul ball in the stands, but also because there is plenty of room on the south side of the stadium to play catch.
Give your children or grandchildren a little tutorial on the game of baseball and make sure they sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.
Ballpark fare, from hot dogs to Spam sushi
If your child is big enough to eat a hot dog, the kids meal with the dog, chips and apple juice goes for $6. Paige was happy with the mac ‘n’ cheese cup and milk for about the same price. We “supplemented” that with a $6 (or so) bag of Whistle Stop kettle corn.
An option to the park’s traditional beer-and-brat fare (including pizza, nachos, etc) is a chili bread bowl with chips and soda for $11.
Coffee drinks of all sorts are available from Caffe D’arte, and the available beers include those from Hop Valley, Sierra Nevada, Fremont Brewing and Redd’s.
We like the park’s High Heat Grill, where you can watch your burger or sausage cook on the grill. The hamburger deal is $9.50 for the sandwich, chips and a soda. My husband enjoyed the bacon cheeseburger for just a bit more. I had the “Cajun” salmon sandwich, but there was nothing New Orleans about it. Just a chunk of salmon on a bun. Perhaps there was some Cajun sauce at the condiments bar?
Next to the Fun Zone, a canopied eatery serves a chicken basket and soda for $11, good-looking fish and chips for $8 and boneless chicken wings for $7. That’s where I’m headed next time.
Keep your ear cocked for an announced $2 cookies-and-milk deal from Smith Brothers and the eighth-inning $1 bags of popcorn while they last.
Also on June 26, we enjoyed a free delicious salad and tasty Spam sushi from the Kama’aina Grindz restaurant. Other Aloha Nights from the Asian-Hawaiian fusion restaurant are July 28 and Sept. 4.
Promotions, giveaways and special days
Weekly deals (not Friday or Saturday) with breaks in price for tickets and/or food are available with coupons from Speedway Chevrolet in Monroe, Fred Meyer and Carl’s Jr. The Everett Daily Herald (yes, shameless self-promotion) gets you upper box seats, hot dogs, chips and sodas for two on Wednesdays for $28.
I never let my kids attend a baseball game based on the availability of promotions, but it does add to the fun. Some of the remaining giveaways include Webbley bobbleheads on July 8, root beer floats on July 10, Webbley buttons on July 20, baseball cards on Aug. 6, team posters on Aug. 7, Ken Griffey Jr. bobbleheads on Aug. 12, Frogstock buttons on Aug. 13, AquaSox hats on Aug. 19, nine free TVs on Aug. 26 and team photos on Sept. 4.
Fireworks will be shot off on July 4 and 9, Aug. 5, 13, 19 and 27 and Sept. 3. Kids can run the bases on July 7, 8, 10 and 28, Aug. 4, 6, 7, 12, 14, 18, 26 and 29, and Sept. 4.
Dress up nights are Star Wars on Aug. 5, hippee duds for Frogstock on Aug. 13 and Princess and Pirate Night on Aug. 17. Check the program for baseball bingo, bark in the park, a car show and much, much more.