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Recruiting young Seattleites to join a long-suffering club: Mariners fans

caption: Our 9 year old guide to the ballpark, Edmund Bollay, shows off his new hat...
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Our 9 year old guide to the ballpark, Edmund Bollay, shows off his new hat...
KUOW Jason M Burrows

If you’re a baseball fan in Seattle, then you already know the heartbreak of watching the Mariners fall short season after season. The last time they made it to the playoffs was more than two decades ago!

So, real talk: For someone who wasn't even alive the last time the Mariners were a championship team, why go to the ballpark at all?

Soundside producer Jason Burrows went to find out.

Edmund is 9 years old. He's been a baseball fan his entire life.

"I was born in the city. I like this city," he said. "It might have seemed the perfect way to get myself more involved with the city."

Edmund's been coming to Mariners' games since he was born — his parents are big fans.

For people who aren't born and raised in the sport, it can be a bit more difficult to draw them in. And the Mariners need to, if they want to stay financially feasible.

"It's the absolute center of our business," said Malcolm Rogel, vice president of fan experience at the park. "We can't operate without having a family experience here. We would not have enough people come to games."

But how do you bring people in, when you can't control who wins the game?

Rogel said it's about making a trip to the stadium a bigger experience.

"The key is controlling what the fan has once they enter our doors and once they leave our doors," he said. "Were they taken care of? Were they treated well?"

That strategy also includes incorporating extra activities, like kids parades and fireworks nights, as well as value meals, so people can get a snack without breaking the bank.

As for Edmund, he said he doesn't really care that much who wins or loses.

"During a win I come home happy, get hyped at the end of the day," he explained. "When they lose, it's kind of like, I accept it."

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