"We haven't really seen the sun a whole lot this year."
That astute observation was made by Seattle Mariners' first baseman Casey Kotchman in his post-game comments after the M's lost 8-2 to the hated Yankees -- a game that featured a few adventurous plays for the M's defense as fly balls became lost amidst the rare sunshine-filled Seattle skies.
The most memorable was left fielder Michael Saunders (pictured above) who had to flinch after Mark Teixeria's "can of corn" fly ball to the outfield instead turned into a double after the ball disappeared into the mysterious glowing orb over Safeco Field.
But before you scoff at the punch line about how the sun is so rare in Seattle that our outfielders have no idea how to play in it, Kotchman might actually be on to something.
I went back and checked, and of the 12 home day games in Seattle played so far this year, nine of them have been played under overcast skies (or, in some cases, an closed roof.) And the other three were not exactly blazing sun -- with 60-70% cloud cover. In fact, if you count it up over the entire days, only three home games have been played so far under clear to mostly clear skies for the entire day : July 6-8, which were the last two Royals games and the first Yankees game -- all night games.
For the day games, the average cloud cover was 86.7% of the sky.
(Not like the night games are much better this year -- 72% average cloud cover if you factor the entire season.)
That all said, technically, Sunday's game day was classified as partly cloudy due to the morning clouds that weighted the average down, but suffice to say, our fielders do not have much practice this year dealing with sunshine in the outfield at Safeco Field.
What they could have used perhaps was a solar eclipse, which coincidentally also occurred on Sunday. The only problem was it was about two hours earlier and only visible in the South Pacific.
This photo was taken by Dr. Art Lee of Silverdale, who actually flew with his wife down to the small atoll of Tatakoto, about 800 miles east of Tahiti in French Polynesia. It was part of a tour group who landed on the island of 200 isolated inhabitants.
Anyway, he says the solar eclipse lasted a good four minutes.
For Saunders, it was about two hours too short, and a hemisphere too south :)