SEATTLE – Edwin Thompson repaired watches for 39 years and figures he can jolly well wear what he wants.
He doesn’t particularly like politicians and cares even less for people who tell him what to wear.
That’s why, on the day Seattle mayor Greg Nickels proclaimed Mariner Monday and the Seattle Mariners encouraged fans to wear blue, Thompson was one of the few in section 151 of Safeco Field who wore his standard brown.
He cared little that this was a day dubbed “Lolla-Blue-Za.”
“You have to know Ed to understand,” smiled his wife, the apparently long-suffering Dottie.
It wasn’t that Thompson was dressed badly. The shirt seemed neatly pressed and didn’t clash with his khaki pants. It’s just that he clashed with the rest of the section, the vast majority of which wouldn’t have thought to wear anything but blue.
“She calls me a curmudgeon,” he said. “I’m not. I’m just colorful. My mother used to dress me. I can do that myself now, thank you.”
Thompson’s neighbors overlooked his indiscretion, probably figuring there’s one in every crowd. It was no coincidence that Nickels proposed that everyone in the city wear blue to work. The mayor is no dummy. The Mariners are smack in the middle of a white-hot pennant race in the AL West with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who happened to be the night’s opponent in the first of a three-game series.
In a city starved for a pennant race, it didn’t take much persuasion for spectators to break out the blue.
Safeco was bluer than a George Carlin monologue. It had more blues than B.B. King’s song list. They wore blue Mariners replica jerseys, blue beer shirts, blue Western Washington University sweatshirts, blue jeans, blue jackets, blue ponchos and blue bandanas.
The series’ importance wasn’t lost on the energized crowd. A good 80 percent of the sellout crowd wore blue in various shades. The place was electric. A first-inning double play jolted the crowd into a thunderous ovation.
When M’s manager John McLaren was ejected 10 minutes into the game for screaming some exceptionally blue language at home plate umpire Gary Darling and third-base umpire Jerry Meals, the throng roared its approval.
Many said the M’s could use all the help they could get, trailing the hated Angels by two games for the division lead. Then, too, was the issue of one John Lackey, the Angels’ ace pitcher, who was gunning for his 16th victory of the season.
“We need to sweep these guys out of town,” said Brad Kramer, wearing a replica Ichiro Suzuki jersey.
Elsewhere, Barbara Henry stood in line to buy cotton candy.
“What color, ma’am?” asked the vendor.
“Guess!” she crowed.
He handed her a blue one.
“The pink is too much like Angel red,” Henry said.
Randy Lennon, decked in an M’s sweatshirt, asked beer vendors why he couldn’t find any Labatt’s Blue. Christine Wilcox wore a royal blue Kansas City Royals T-shirt because, she said, “I just moved here and haven’t bought any Mariners stuff yet.”
Wendy Ruud painted her fingernails and toenails blue and donned a blue Seahawks jersey — Lofa Tatupu’s No. 51.
“There are times when you have to improvise,” she said.
Bill Quixley wore only a blue M’s cap, but said he made up for it by claiming that he bled Mariner blue.
“Pennant race, baby,” he said. “It’s almost September and we’re still in it. You guys in the media picked us last. You should …”
Then he, too, cursed a McLaren blue streak.
Sports columnist John Sleeper: firstname.lastname@example.org