It’s amazing how much noise human beings can make when they’re all screaming at the same time. I hear it all the time at sporting events, but there are certain times that screaming explodes to another level. It’s an eruption of sound that goes beyond typical cheering. If you’ve ever heard that massive eruption, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
There are two moments that really stick out in my mind. The first happened on October 7, 1995. The Seattle Mariners were playing the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. The M’s were facing elimination, and New York jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the third inning. Seattle started to rally in the bottom half, and eventually sprinted out to a 6-5 lead in the sixth. It didn’t take long for the Yankees to even the tally. Randy Velarde scored on a wild pitch by Norm Charlton in the eighth to tie the game at 6. And then came the unforgettable moment…
Edgar Martinez walked to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth. Ken Griffey, Jr. was on first, Joey Cora on second and Vince Coleman on third. On the sixth pitch of the at bat, with a 2-2 count, Martinez took John Wetteland over the wall for a grand slam. I remember watching the ball sail over the fence in centerfield. That’s when I heard the noise — that complete eruption of sound. The fans were going crazy. I never knew people could make that much noise. It literally sound like I was standing right next to the engine of an airplane as it was getting ready for takeoff. I honestly never thought I would hear that sound again in my life.
NOTE: The Mariners went on to beat the Yankees that night in Game 4, 11-8. I remember people filing out of the Kingdome chanting “Ed-Gar, Ed-Gar” over and over again. It didn’t stop until we got into our car (blocks away) to drive home. Seattle beat New York the next night in Game 5 thanks to ‘The Double‘, which made Edgar Martinez a legend in the Emerald City.
I did end up hearing that noise again. It wasn’t for a particular moment though, it was over and over during in the same game. The date was January 22, 2005. I was at Qwest Field in Seattle, covering the NFC Championship between the Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. The crowd was amazing that night. Whenever Carolina had the ball, I heard that crazy eruption of noise. I can’t even explain it — it really doesn’t sound like people, it just sounds like a train tearing down the tracks at 400mph. I’m sure it was loud in the stands, but it was overwhelming on the sideline. I was working for a television station in Yakima at the time, and the sports guy from our sister station in the Tri-Cities was on the sideline with me. We were standing side-by-side and we literally couldn’t hear each other talk when the crowd was rocking. It was truly amazing. Since the Seahawks jumped out to a 34-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the fans literally started to party in the stands (this video gives you a feel for what the crowd was like at the end of the game). No one left the stadium. Instead they were dancing, laughing, hugging and high-fiving. It was the craziest scene I’d ever seen at a sporting event, and it’s one I haven’t seen since.
The crowds at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field) in Seattle are notorious for noise. They made so much noise during Marshawn Lynch’s amazing touchdown run during the 2010 Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints, that it registered on the seismograph at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. That sound was possibly rivaled on December 23rd when the Seahawks played the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Red Bryant blocked a David Akers field goal early in the second quarter, and the ball was scooped up by Richard Sherman who scampered 90-yards for a Seattle touchdown. The TD gave the Seahawks a 21-0 lead over the 49ers, and many of the Seattle media members in attendance said the press box at CenturyLink Field was shaking because of the crowd noise. I’m guessing the crowd made that much noise after Golden Tate’s controversial game-winning touchdown catch on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. I was actually on the sideline for the game (literally feet away from the touchdown catch), but the moment was so crazy that the crowd noise didn’t even register to me at the time. I just remember turning around minutes later and watching people go nuts in the stands.
I love true human emotion at sporting events. I love watching people react during slow motion replays of game-winning field goals, or a wide shot of the crowd when a pitcher gets the last strike to cap a no-hitter (this video isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it still fits what I’m talking about). I’ve even been caught in the moment plenty of times myself, and there’s honestly no better feeling in the world. It’s joy to the fullest. I really can’t wait to hear that eruption of noise again, because that means I’m witnessing something amazing that I’ll never forget.
Have you ever heard the noise I’m talking about — people cheering so loudly that it sounds like an airplane? I would love to hear your stories! You can leave them in the comment section below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on Seattle, sports and travel!