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The Pacific Northwest, and the city of Seattle, had a one-year taste of baseball in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots. But after just a single season, future commissioner Bud Selig packed the Pilots up and moved them to Milwaukee where they still play today as the Brewers. But just 7 years later in 1977, Major League Baseball returned to the Emerald City as the Seattle Mariners began play at the Kingdome. It was a rough beginning for the team, as the Mariners did not have a winning season until 1991.
The team’s first real season of success came in 1995. It was the first year the Mariners made the postseason led by manager Lou Pinella, DH Edgar Martinez, SP Randy Johnson, and OF’s Ken Griffy Jr. & Jay Buhner. After coming back from a 2-0 deficit to the New York Yankees in the ALDS, sealed by an 11th inning double by Martinez that is arguably the most famous Mariners’ play in franchise history, Seattle fell to the Indians in the ALCS.
2001 was the most successful year for the Mariners, as they won an MLB record 116 games behind the bats of MVP and Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Boone, Mike Cameron, and Edgar Martinez, along with the pitching from Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer, Arthur Rhodes, among others.
Safeco Field, built in 1999 just south of downtown and at the end of Interstate-90, seats just over 47,000 spectators and has been the Mariners home since it opened. It was the home of the “Seattle Bowl” for one year in 2001.
Known as a “pitcher’s park” because of its location at 0 feet above sea-level, the fences were moved in for the 2012 season. LF is at just 331 feet, CF 401 feet, and RF 326 feet.
Since it was built, Safeco has been known as one of the most laid back, family friendly ballparks in all MLB. It lacks the passion of Wrigley or Fenway, but the facility is still state-of-the-art, and for a nice night or afternoon for some baseball with a friendly, laid back atmosphere, look no further than Safeco Field.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food is plentiful at Safeco Field, and the variety in menu options can even seem overwhelming at times. The classics are all there; hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, cracker jacks, small pizzas, and more, along with Pepsi products. But then it gets interesting. Fans can go to the bullpen area to find a large selection cuisine - Asian, Mexican, Thai, and many other food options.
Kidd Valley, a local burger joint, has stands around Safeco. Seafood is available from Ivar's bringing local seafood options straight from Puget South just feet from the ballpark. Anyone who goes to Safeco has to try the garlic fries, which have become the most famous food at Mariners games. There are many beers on tap as well, so finding one you like should not be an issue.
Prices for food are very high, and that's what gives this section only 4 stars. Your basic hot dog is about $4.75, and a slice of pizza is about $5. Sodas are pricey, but for $9.75 you can get a bottomless souvenir cup. Be prepared to really shell out a lot of money for food during the game, anywhere between $10-$20 per person.
Safeco Field is still a pretty new ballpark, and it has a modern feel when walking through the concourses. When the roof is open during nice Seattle days, the upperdecks are treated to views of downtown Seattle and the waterfront. All seats are comfortable, and getting to your seats shouldn't ever be much of a problem.
The video screen in center field has interesting and entertaining things between innings, as well as the lineups and game information. If you sit in the center field bleacher seats, or the right field seating, you will be unable to see the screen during the game. Safeco has the 21st biggest video screen in the world, and the biggest in the MLB, so if you can sit where you can see it, I would recommend it.
A game at Safeco won't be the same as a game at Wrigley, Fenway, or other ballparks where fans live and die by the team. Safeco will give you a very laidback, family-friendly atmosphere. There isn't anything wrong with that, it just lacks the same type of atmosphere you would find at certain other MLB ballparks. Between innings the video screen has different things like "Hat Trick," "blooper reels," and "Hydroplane Races" to keep fans entertained.
Watching a game at Safeco is a very nice experience, but it just may lack the intensity for some of baseball's more hardcore fans.
Located in the SODO (south of downtown) region of Seattle, SafeCo isn't far from the attractions that make Seattle famous. If you are willing to walk a bit and give yourself a few hours, the iconic Seattle waterfront is just a few blocks away. Driving would be more convenient to get to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, but they are not too far away from Safeco.
Most Mariners home games start at 7:10 PM local time and will end around 10pm. The area outside the stadium is full of police and fans after the game, but if you linger around, you should be careful. 1-2 hours after the game the area will be more deserted and will be more dangerous.
There are numerous bars and restaurants around the stadium, and if you walk across the street to the areas around Century Link Field, there are many different food stands open that are dirt cheap yet serve some of the best hot dogs, hamburgers, and other grilled food you will find. Go a little further and you will wind up in Pioneer Square where there are even more bars and restaurants.
The Mariners' struggles have been well-documented in the past decade, and they have taken a big hit when it comes to fan support. Fans at Safeco are very laid back, and a lot of the crowd is young families out to the ballpark just to be there, not usually as intense baseball fans.
Most games will have a lot of empty seats, except when star pitcher Felix Hernandez is pitching. The left field corner fills up with fans dressed in yellow t-shirts and big posters with a "K" on it. The area is known as the "King's Court" and has been a huge success since they started the idea a few years ago. They don't just do this promotion occasionally; it is every single time Hernandez pitches at home. It also has started the saying around Seattle of "Happy Felix Day" when Hernandez is pitching.
Unfortunately for the Mariners and their ticket office, Hernandez cannot pitch every game and the other home games lack the excitement of "Felix Day" - bringing the rating down.
Safeco Field is at the very end of I 90, and getting off the freeway brings you to Edgar Martinez Drive. There are many parking lots around the stadium without a long walk, but expect to pay about $10-$20. The ballpark's garage is easy to get to, but it usually costs about $40 to park in there. These lots can fill up, so if you get there after first pitch, you sometimes can find yourself walking over 20 minutes to the stadium.
The Metro bus has many routes from Seattle and neighboring communities that take you to Safeco Field and are set to get you there by first pitch. The price is very reasonable as well.
Tickets are pretty expensive for most seats in the ballpark, and the upperdeck will be around $25. The best deal is to get the left field or center field bleacher seats. The seats aren't quite as comfy as it is bleacher seating with a small padded backrest, the prices run between $15-$20. Despite not being able to see the video screen, the bleacher seats are a great value.
The Mariners constantly offer some type of promotion, and at almost every home game they are handing something out. Be sure to check what type of promotion they are having at the game so you can get there early and get a free item.
Adding to the family-friendly atmosphere of Safeco is an entire area dedicated to kids in the center field concourse. There is a large play structure for young kids, and the "Moose Den" where kids can have their picture taken with the Mariner's moose during select innings. There also is a team store in this area with only baby and kids clothing and memorabilia.
Safeco also features a large team hall of fame near home plate, commemorating the best times and most famous players from the Mariner's history.
The Mariners haven't done much in their time in the MLB, but banners hang in right field commemorating the team's AL West championships, and their 116-win season in 2001.
Probably the nicest amenity to Safeco is the retractable roof. When the rain starts to come down, the roof rolls over the field and the players and fans are protected from the elements.
Overall, Safeco Field is a great place to watch a ballgame. With one of the most laid back atmospheres, a great variety of food, and many places to go near the ballpark, everyone is sure to have an enjoyable time.
Far and away, Safeco Field is in my top five of Major League Baseball stadiums to witness a game. It has everything you could ask for and all of the accompaniments to ensure you enjoy a game regardless of how well the team is playing.
After decades of domed baseball at the famous Seattle Kingdome, the Mariners now treat their fans to a taste of outdoor baseball at every game. After years of semi-competitive play on Astroturf, the team plays under a roof on inclement weather days, but with a view of the outside on all sides.
The roof serves as a canopy, as opposed to a dome, and slides over the field when it opens and closes. Its closing edge begins high above the third base side of the stadium footprint and opens along huge tracks out toward center and right field.
The first time I attended a game here was on opening day 2007 and my seat was a few rows from the top of the third base side. Right before first pitch, with the sun shining brightly, the public address announcer proclaimed this to be a great day for baseball. At that moment, the canopy began to open just a few dozen feet above my head, rays slowly reaching the field with every additional inch of movement along the rails.
As early as you can enter the stadium, usually two hours before game time, ascend from behind home plate at the corner of First Avenue South and Edgar Martinez Drive South to the main concourse. Make a right turn at the top of the steps and head right to guest relations behind section 128 where you can arm yourself with useful printed pocket guides and brochures detailing the wide array of food choices, art exhibits and other places to spend your time and money before the ballgame begins.
Known as "The House that Griffey Built," Safeco Field has been a treasure in the northwest since it opened its doors in July 1999. With a retractable roof to deal with the unpredictable Seattle weather, and some of the best food in baseball, you can be sure that your game will be played, and you will have a great time.
A great place to catch a game. I hail from the Bay Area where I feel we have ballparks that represent both the best and the worst in the league. I'm surprised to say that Safeco belongs in the same company as AT&T Park.
When I walked into the park, it seemed huge, with an expansive outfield and seating that seemed too distant. Once the game started, I felt as if I were right on top of the action.
The structure of the stadium lends itself as art. It's retractable roof doubles as beautiful and functional. The function of the ballpark is further enhanced by the wide promenades and convenient foot traffic areas. I wanted to check out every corner of this yard because every view revealed something unique about itself.
Without a doubt my favorite feature was the viewing area in the bullpens. Fans can stand mere feet away from the pitchers as they warm up and are on the same level as them, not standing high above them. One must only channel their inner child, lean up against the chain-link fence and wonder if they really could hit a 93 mph fastball.
The park is situated just outside of downtown with several sports bars (and regular bars) in the area. Sluggers Sports Bar in Pioneer Square has a ton of Seattle memorabilia and ample flat screens for viewing sporting events. I was told a more "local" place to have a drink before the game is at the Triangle Pub across the street.
If you're traveling on the cheap, The Green Tortoise hostel in Pike Place Market is just over a mile away and the walk is a breeze on warm summer night. Because of this, I can't comment on traffic or parking situations. There is however a train stop right outside along a line that runs from downtown to the SeaTac airport.
One of the greatest moments in Seattle sports history was the implosion of the Kingdome. Not as a slight to the difficulties and dry times that the Pacific Northwest's sports scene has seen, the implosion of the Kingdome represents the beginning of the embracing of two of the most fantastic sports venues in all of sports. The Seahawks of the NFL moved on to CenturyLink Field, and the Mariners moved to beautiful Safeco Field.
Safeco Field is owned by the county and is one of the golden age stadiums that ushered in a new era of baseball stadia. It was a departure from the retractable roof stadium like the Rogers Centre where the design is round and the roof is a part of the stadium. The roof at Safeco Field is more like a canopy rather than anything else, remaining open during non-game times.
Regardless of the struggles the Mariners have been having on the field, Safeco remains one of the go-to destinations in Major League Baseball. If you get there you will agree that it was well worth your time and money.
First time to the stadium and overall a good experience. Easy to get to (I was staying downtown). Could easily walk to a bar afterwards. Fans were really nice and into the game, but the stadium was half empty (which I understand). There were many food options and they all looked pretty good.
Just recently (Aug, 2013) I attended a game here - Toronto Blues Jay @ Seattle Mariners. Although the stadium was not completely full of fans, there were as many Canadian fans as Mariners fans and it was a fantastic atmosphere.
There is plenty of food and beverage options at Safeco Field. The better and more interesting options are on the first level. There is a great food/beverage/viewing area out in centerfield called The Pen. It is open pregame (and during the game) and one can watch batting practice as well as both bullpen’s activities. There is plenty of food and beer options in that area and I’d recommend visiting it if you attend a game at Safeco.
I did park at the Safeco Parking Garage $25. We were early and it was open several hours pregame (more than what states on the website). Passed the time visiting a huge souvenir shop that is open pregame. The souvenir shop even offered Toronto Blue Jays t-shirts and attire. Nice touch. Seattle’s finest did a fantastic job with directing traffic out after the game from the parking garage.
Before the gates opened I spent some time at the Pryamid Alehouse across the street from the stadium. Some decent brews and friendly staff.
There is a Hall of Fame museum not only displaying Mariners great and history but other historic baseball information of the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to visit this area when going to Safeco.
I didn’t go on the tour this trip but have been on one in a previous trip and would recommend taking the tour of the ballpark.
The Pacific Northwest, or PNW as known by the locals, is famed for its love of coffee, the great outdoors, plethora of micro brews, and the -slightly misinformed- rain. Seattle until recently has not been known as a sports city, where locals would rather spend a Sunday hiking the Cascades or Olympic Mountain range than spectating. The Sonics' exit and perception of the Mariners being a Yankees farm team, leaves the fans feeling heart-broken. The revival of the Seahawks and the failed push of the Seattle Super Sonics return has brought back a tingle in the city that good things are to come for Seattle sports.
Home of the Mariners, Safeco Field is nestled between Century Link, and a few of Seattle’s most tasty staples, Pyramid and Elysian Breweries. Depart from the metal fences, plastic seats, peanuts and cracker jacks to the surrounding two blocks which makes Safeco a must see while in the PNW.
I had another great visit to Safeco Field in September 2013. I came away even more impressed than my first visit.
The food selection is even better than I had remembered with plenty legitimate vegetarian options. Since this is a ballpark, I don't even consider decent vegetarian selection as an option while attending. Not only were they aplenty, they were good. I couldn't believe. Lots of other options that looked great like Ivar's seafood, pizza, and gourmet hamburgers. Be sure to check out the Beers of the Northwest booth near the left field bleachers. I had an Elysian IPA.
My favorite part about Safeco Field is their unique and accessible Mariners Hall of Fame. For each player there is a few pieces of memorabilia as well as some facts about their time with the Mariners. Best of all was the highlight reel on an LED screen that would play on repeat in front of each plaque.
While the field is covered, if it is raining you still get hit by drops if you're sitting in the center field bleachers. The ushers were cool (even recommended) about us switching seats as it was far from a sellout. We ended up spending a lot of time near the bullpens beyond the right field wall where we could watch the relievers warm up, while still catching the action on the field.
The neighborhood is good too. It was a little crazy as Washington State was hosting Stanford next door at Centurylink Field on the same day. Apparently WSU plays one game a year in Seattle. Lots of places were packed but Cowgirls seemed to be the most popular. After the game, we stopped in at the Central Saloon which was a bit of a dive, but full of both college kids and older Wazzou alumni. They had an excellent beer selection to go along with swill and sticky bars that we are accustomed to for our favorite dives.
Spacious yet small. Modern with everything you need and lots of diversity as far as food is concerned.
I loved the architecture of the stadium. It didn't feel to big.
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