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Marysville firefighter returns to Safeco Field to sing National Anthem
SEATTLE — Marysville Fire Capt. Keith Taylor has gotten to know Safeco Field in Seattle almost as well as the Seattle Mariners themselves, and there's no signs that he'll be ratcheting back on his visits to the field anytime soon.
Taylor sang the National Anthem on the field on Monday, July 23, and is set to deliver yet another rendition of the song on Sunday, Sept. 2, but these are merely the most recent of his singing engagements at the field since his first appearance there for its 9/11 commemorative ceremonies in 2007.
"One of my fellow fire captains, Dean Shelton, heard that they wanted a firefighter to sing the National Anthem in his dress uniform, so he contacted me," Taylor said. "They liked it enough that I got to do it again."
In the six years since then, Taylor estimated that he's sung the National Anthem at Safeco Field two to three times each year, along with "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch on Sunday games, such as Sept. 2 coming up.
"It depends on when we can match up our schedules," Taylor said. "It was really nice of them to give me the Yankees game on July 23."
Taylor not only appreciates the opportunity to represent the fire district and community of Marysville in a positive light, but as an Air Force veteran, he also feels strongly about "The Star-Spangled Banner" itself.
"The first time I did it, they let me come about three to four hours early, so that I could get used to 'the slap,'" Taylor said. "Because of how Safeco Field is designed, it takes a second and a half before you hear your own voice over the loudspeakers, so I can't listen to myself while I'm singing there. I just have to ask my friends and family if I sounded good afterward."
With the four tickets and four guest passes that he receives for each game, Taylor has treated all of his family members to Mariner games at Safeco Field, including his mother and sister, as well as his coworkers.
"The fact that they give me great seats doesn't hurt," Taylor said. "They're very good people who are very well-organized, and I'll keep coming back for as long as they'll have me."