April Fools…opening day for the Seattle Mariners
has T-Mobile Park engaged in a media uproar,
five hundred fifty days since the last home game,
no quarter’s acceptable when it comes to advisories;
digital readouts replace classic printed tickets,
mandatory face masks must shield nostrils and mouths—
except for ballpark babies two years old or younger.

Grandstands limited to nine thousand bodies, call out
for cold beer and hotdogs but wait in vain; only yesteryear’s
ghost vendors frequent seating areas, peddle phantom wares
since living hawkers may sell neither beverages nor food;
they force attendees to visit Centerplate Hospitality, buy
baseball cuisine with plastic currency behind plexiglass,
feast on prepackaged meals and stale bags of peanuts.

No need to sneak in welcomed sealed plastic water bottles,
one to six fans gather gladly in socially distanced pods,
await the opening pitch—an infectious disease expert—
cuz the game still has character and abides by tradition:
tortured souls stylizing the National Anthem in earnest
four balls walk a batter, three strikes send him walking
the umpire endures catcalls after making controversial rulings.

San Francisco softened taunts at the bottom of the tenth inning,
Seattle beat their rival 8-7. Though Mariners ate cake crumbs today,
boisterous Giants will be dining on crow for weeks; yes, it’s just
one game in a series they expected to sweep and does not preclude
future triumphs. There’s little victory in defeat, just knowledge
a real challenge awaits down the road. Home voices cheer their team,
revitalize Seattle players who’d competed in 2020’s empty stadium