Two Mariners Super Fans Keep Streak Alive
For 14 years, Greg Holbron has pitched a tent on the sidewalk next to Safeco Field and spent a couple of nights in the cold to make sure he’s among the first fans to buy tickets for the upcoming Mariners season.
Mind you, he’s not after the best, closest seat to home plate. Holbron makes the trek from Tri-Cities and sleeps on concrete for bleacher seats.
“I’m happy with the centerfield bleachers. It’s a good seat and it’s cost effective for a family, and a good view,” he said.
Holbron is joined in this exercise of “Super-Fandom” by Tom Nostrant, a retired middle school math teacher from Aberdeen, who has been camping out for Mariners tickets for 12 years.
Both Holbron and Nostrant realize that they can buy tickets online or at Ticketmaster Ticket Centers closer to home, but they like saving the service charges by buying in person, and Holbron thinks he gets better seats.
“When I’m at the window, I can get the seat I want. When I’m on Ticketmaster, I can only tell them the section, and it thinks for a little bit, “What about these seats?” I know they’re not the best available and I say “No.” And it thinks for another minute or so. Meantime, other people are buying tickets,” explains Holbron.
Nostrant agrees that saving the service charge, along with the high-touch customer service at the Safeco Field ticket office are important. Plus, “It’s fun. Besides Greg and some of his friends, you see the same people every year. It’s kind of a little community,” Nostrant says.
By Thursday morning, two days before single game tickets go on sale for the 2014 season, both Holbron and Nostrant had pitched their small tents on the sidewalk next to the ballpark along 1st Avenue, set up folding chairs, stowed their coffee carafes and cooler of snacks, and fired up a portable heater.
Nostrant says he and Holbron have learned a thing or two over the years about how to survive their urban campout.
“Bring warm things, and when we came across propane heating, that was a bonus. Just be prepared for wet, windy and cold,” said Nostrant.
While their accommodations aren’t ideal (road noise, lights, and sleeping bags on concrete), they came prepared (earplugs, eye masks, air mattresses and pillows), and both Holbron, who takes vacation from his job at the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, and Nostrant, who’s retired, have plenty to do while they wait.
Nostrant has some travel books to help plan an upcoming trip to Amsterdam, and Holbron has downloaded “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” (four full-length novels and 56 short stories) to his Nook ereader.
Both say they look forward to the experience every year, and they get bragging rights that they will be #1 and #2 at the Safeco Field box office when 2014 single game tickets go on sale at 10 am Saturday, March 8.