Oil Check Washington

Why Seattle Mariners home runs have become a terrifying reminder

April 8th - I’ve been a fan of the M’s since the Edgar Martinez Grand Salami heyday, but for the last decade or so they’ve been “paper bag over your head” bad. From 2010-13, Seattleites watched as our hitters crumbled into the worst offensive team since “Tricky Dick” was President. Since last year though Seattle has slugger Nelson Cruz, and a respectable cast behind him. Cruz is belting homers like he has a personal vendetta against baseballs being on the field. Cruz has a poster of a baseball he spends his mornings throwing darts at, as he writes his memoirs “baseballs deserve it, a life’s mission”, while he eats a leather ball stich to stich and stares unblinking into the rising dawn.

Normally this level of disturbed athleticism would make me “Santa brought me a bike!” levels of excited, but again this season, at Seattle Mariners home games, every home run by the M's is a "BNSF BLAST".

Brought to you by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad -- the same company that hauled 55 million barrels of crude oil through Washington State last year. It’s a sponsorship deal that has inspired a mix of face-palm worthy irony and terrified anxiety. Oil train derailments have had a tendency to, well, blast into colossal fireballs of destruction. Just ask the surviving citizens of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, where an exploding oil train leveled 10 blocks of the small town, killing 47 people.

BNSF is the nation’s largest movers of crude oil. Shipments of crude have dwindled in recent months, but just last fall, in a primetime investigative piece for KOMO 4 News, Jeff Burnside confirmed that trains run right past the Seattle Stadium during games on a consistent basis. Here's an other amateur video from last April taken from the stadium of one of these so called "Bomb Trains" chugging right past Safeco Field on its way through downtown Seattle. Oil trains pose such high risks that the WA Fire Chiefs wrote a letter last year to BNSF voicing grave concerns about the level of risk from this volatile cargo.

So on opening day can I sit in the stands, happily drinking my $11 beer? No, now I have to endure every majestic trot around the bases reminded that oil trains put every M’s fan at risk of being caught in a different kind of BNSF BLAST.

Nick Abraham

- Editor Oil Check Northwest

[email protected] @oilchecknw

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