T-Mobile Park - Seattle Mariners
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
T-Mobile Park 1250 First Ave S Seattle, WA 98134
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 47,943
The House That Junior Built
After calling the Kingdome home for over 21 years, halfway through the 1999 season the Mariners would move from one of the dreariest venues to one of baseball’s finest.
Established in 1977, the Mariners would be the second MLB team in the Pacific Northwest following the Seattle Pilots lone season in 1969. Until 1995, the Mariners had only two winning seasons. In that same18-year span, the Toronto Blue Jays who also entered the Junior Circuit in 1977, had made it to post season play five times, claimed back-to-back World Championships in 1992 and ’93, and during the 1989 season had moved into Skydome. The Skydome, at the time, was baseball’s state-of-the-art stadium, known in the present day as Rogers Centre.
Baseball’s future in the Emerald City continued to look bleak during that Summer of ’95. By early August the Mariners were three games under .500 and 13 games behind the California Angels in the AL West race. A late season run created a buzz among the fans in the Emerald City and would find the Mariners tied for first place with the Angels, forcing a one-game playoff for the AL West Title in which the M’s would dominate.
After dropping the first two games to the Yankees in the first official Division Series, the next three games at the Kingdome would be three of the most magical days in Mariners history, capped off by a dramatic come from behind Game 5 series deciding extra-inning walk-off triumph.
Though the Mariners would succumb to the Indians in the ALCS, the magical run of 1995 will always be looked at as The Summer That Saved Baseball in Seattle, and perhaps, paved the way for Safeco Field.
“Without that ’95 team, there wouldn’t be baseball right now in Seattle,” recalls former Mariners infielder Joey Cora.
Food & Beverage 5
T-Mobile Park boasts a wide-ranging, high quality selection of concessions. Arguably the most unique item available are chapulines, aka toasted grasshoppers, available at Edgar’s Cantina in miniature plastic containers. Seasoned with a lime-chili flavoring and sea salt, these delicacies are eaten in Mexico as a snack. They also make a good condiment or add-on to other foods. I even use them as an add-on to ice cream. Should you decide to be go that route, the Salt & Straw isn’t far from Edgar’s. You may even want to sprinkle them on your burger from Li’l Woody’s and maybe toss some in that cool milkshake.
Chapulines, aka Toasted Grasshoppers
Local favorites also served include 1/3-pound Big Kidd Cheeseburgers from Kidd Valley, fish ‘n chips from Ivar’s and for those cool summer nights clam chowder bowls.
Should you be in a “fowl” mood, Fuku serves up a tasty spicy chicken sandwich with a fried chicken thigh between a buttered potato bun, sliced pickles and side of spicy Fuku kimchi mayo.
Whatever your appetite may crave, T-Mobile Park offers a vast and diverse selection throughout the park including gluten-friendly, vegetarian, vegan and plant-based options.
Pepsi products are the soda’s served. A souvenir soda cup provides free refills throughout the entire game.
T-Mobile Park has one of the widest brew selections including Pacific Northwest selections Rainier, Portland Lager and Ninkasi Juicy IPA.
As of the 2021 season all in-stadium transactions are cashless. Kiosks are available throughout the stadium to convert cash into gift cards that can also be used for purchases beyond the stadium.
The Mariners do an excellent job celebrating the history of the franchise, starting with the Ken Griffey Jr statue outside the home plate entrance to the statue of long-time Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus.
Upon reaching the lower concourse from the home plate entrance, behind the third base area is the Pacific Northwest Baseball Museum. The museum provides fans with displays of past and present day baseball history throughout the Pacific Northwest, including an old dugout bench from Sicks Stadium, where the Seattle Pilots played for one season.
T-Mobile Park Pacific Northwest Museum, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
When taking in a game at T-Mobile Park, you are all but guaranteed that you will not miss a game due to inclement weather. Should the weather call for some of that Pacific Northwest rain, the roof will be fully operational. Entering the 2021 season the roof has been used at a rate of 22%.
One of my favorite features at T-Mobile is even with the roof over your head it does not entirely enclose the park, as natural elements and a nice light wind from the recent game I attended can still be felt. Should you be seated in the upper level, as you walk along the upper concourse you are still outside giving the feel that you’re still in an outdoor environment. The views starting from the newly added Rooftop Boardwalk along the upper left field concourse provide stunning views of Puget Sound all the way to the Downtown Seattle Skyline.
The ballpark is located next to Lumen Field in the SoDo district, south of Downtown. The surrounding area is mostly industrial and doesn’t offer much in terms of a ballpark village vibe.
Not far from the ballpark is the Pike Market Place where visitors can not only see the sight of flying fish but can experience various local eateries as well as kill about 2 hours of their day waiting for that sought after caffeinated brew outside the original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place.
The Seattle Center, featuring the iconic Space Needle, as well as the Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is accessible by monorail from the Westlake Mall. The Sound Transit Light Rail has a station at the Mall and is accessible from SeaTac Airport to the University of Washington with a Stadium Station a short walk from T-Mobile Park.
A CityPass is a good bargain if you should be in the Emerald City for an extended period. The pass gives you admission to up to five attractions including an option for the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour.
Since their last post season appearance in 2001 success for the Mariners has been sporadic and fans haven’t exactly had a reputation for showing up in droves. The Mariners fans that do show up are a knowledgeable and welcoming bunch without the reputation of brutally heckling fans of the visiting team should you decide to pay a visit to cheer on your favorite team.
Public transportation is the best option to travel to and from the ballpark. As with many other big cities, traffic is generally poor around Seattle at peak times. SoDo is well-served by rail; for many, the SoundTransit Light Rail will be the best option. A day pass can be purchased for $6 and is good for unlimited rides on both the Light Rail and local busses. If you are staying within the 14 stations located in Angel Lake just south of Sea-Tac or the University of Washington, the Stadium Station is a short walk from the yard.
If driving, parking garages extending past Lumen Field toward Union Station are available with prices ranging from $8-$70.
Inside the park, fans can move around freely. The lower concourse provides open views of the field for fans moving around and about so not to miss any of the action.
Return on Investment 4
The 2021 Mariners have shown glimpses of an exciting future with a young team taking steps toward competing against the A.L. West powerhouse teams Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros. Though the M’s may still be a player or two away from being among the top tier teams, this 2021 year’s team, recently coming off a 4-game sweep of the A.L. Champion Tampa Bay Rays, should provide plenty more excitement for a fan base craving a playoff chasing team.
T-Mobile Park will soon be returning to full capacity with the Mariners offering numerous value nights with tickets starting at $10, offering a great opportunity for Mariners and baseball fans to see a young team that could soon be in contention (value games do not include games against the Yankees, Red Sox or Blue Jays).
Throughout various areas in and out of the park is an emphasis on baseball themed art. Upon entering the park from the home plate entrance, as fans make their way through the rotunda up the stairs to the lower concourse, they will witness a chandelier made up of 1,000 translucent bats molded of resin and mounted on brushed aluminum spiraling forms. The chandelier is one of several baseball themed artwork throughout the park, known as Art In The Park.
T-Mobile Park Artwork, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Featured above is The Crowd. Created by Chinese-born, Canadian artist Gu Xiong, located inside the center field Gate Main concourse the mural is divided into three parts, with the larger center panel painted with the diverse crowd of people who come to the ballpark. Interspersed among the enthusiastic faces are generic baseball cards, portraying classic poses found among players on the field. Along the panels are portraits of more than 40 of baseball’s greatest players. It is a stunning combination of historical reference and bright and active imagery.
A kid’s playfield is in center field on the Main Concourse Level behind the Children’s Hospital Wishing Well. Nearby, kids and kids at heart can take a picture with one of baseball’s more loveable and one of my favorite mascot’s, the Mariner Moose. When not roaming the stands fans can take pictures with The Moose at The Moose Den.
Now entering its 22nd full season and a few enhancements, T-Mobile Park is holding up well. Upon completion of the 2021 season, T-Mobile Park will have served as the longest tenured home for the Mariners.
From the baseball themed artwork to the vast food selections and the majestic views of Puget Sound along the left field upper concourse, the cool Pacific Northwest summer nights with a welcoming fan base, and an exciting young team, a visit to T-Mobile Park will rank highly among your list of ballpark visits.