Mariners complete perfect season

June 26, 2010 | Paul Hoke

Tonight was a night of firsts.  I attended my first Baltimore Mariners indoor football game at 1st Mariner Arena.  My wife saw, with her own eyes for the first time, indoor football.  But most importantly, the Baltimore Mariners completed the first ever perfect season in AIFA history.

With a solid 69-35 victory over the Reading Express tonight, the Mariners finished the American Indoor Football Association’s regular season, a perfect 14-0.  And I have to be honest, I really enjoyed my first Baltimore Mariners experience.  It’s faced paced, fun football action, that is very fan friendly.  I’ve heard Nestor and the rest of the WNST staff sing the praises of the Mariners and indoor football, and to be honest, I had wanted to get down to the Arena all season to check it out, but I was never able to work it out.  So when I heard Friday, that Rex Snider was giving away tickets to tonight’s game, I called in, and lo and behold, won 2 tickets in section 106 row D.  Fantastic seats, just 4 rows back from the Mariner bench.

Having had season tickets to the Baltimore Bandits, and a frequent visitor to the Arena for Baltimore Skipjacks and Baltimore Blast games, I knew the seats were primo.  Which was the bargaining tool I used to convince my wife to go the game with me.  Her initial reaction to “arena football”, was a little cold, but once I told her that the seats were right up on the action, she decided to check it out.  And she was glad she did.

Now I will always bleed purple and black for my Ravens.  But after watching the Mariners tonight, and oh by the way, these guys ARE football players, I’m hooked.  They’re big, fast, and they hit…hard.  It’s different football, but it’s still football.  And at the end of the day, it’s BALTIMORE football.  These are our guys.  And they celebrate, right along with the fans.  Once of the neatest things to see, is when the offense or defense comes off the field, the fans are right behind them, so they high-five the fans as they take their spot on the bench.  On several occasions this evening, kids would approach the players on the bench, and the players actually interacted with the kids.  Not once did they tell them that they were too busy, or push them away when the fans wanted to talk for a minute or two.  It really was refreshing to see, especially in this day in age of spoiled, entitled professional athletes.  And did I mention these guys were big.

I, of course, would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the fact that the Mariners have a great squad of cheerleaders.  Let me tell you something, these gals can dance, they can entertain, and man are they hot.  I know the AIFA isn’t even in the same discussion as the NFL, but the Mariner cheerleaders might be.  After the game, fans were welcomed onto the field for a meet and greet autograph session with the players, and of course the cheerleaders.  After a certain amount of pleading, I eventually talked my wife into taking a picture of me with one of the lovely Lady Mariners….forget the 69-35 drubbing of Reading, my picture with Kelsey was the highlight of my evening.

With tonight’s win, the Baltimore Mariners secured a spot in the conference championship game, to be played at 1st Mariner on July 10th.  After tonight, I certainly plan on loading the Paul from Towson clan up in our trusty minivan, and trekking down to the Arena for that game.  As I said before, I’m hooked.  It’s affordable family fun, and action packed championship caliber football from a hometown team.  They have a loyal fan base and following, that grew by 2 tonight, and my hope is that when they hit the field on the 10th, the Arena is full to capacity, and rocking the way we used to for the Skipjacks and Blast.

It’s time to hunt, Baltimore….playoff football returns to the Charm City in two weeks.

Will you be there?