NOTE: I went back to the old post format, I am not done with experimenting on formats, please share any feedback you might have.
On June 24th, 2017, I attended my 4th game of this amazing summer voyage at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners to see them host one of Major League Baseball’s finest teams—the Houston Astros. As a kid, I always loved the Mariners because of Ken Griffey Jr. One of my earliest baseball memories is my dad buying a 1989 Upper Deck factory set of baseball cards which featured “The Kid’s” rookie card. From then on, I became addicted to card collecting. Some of my fondest memories as a child include going to baseball card shows with my dad and best friend Joel, and meeting baseball legends. Since I was never the best athlete, I always enjoyed watching ball more than playing it. But I digress…
This game was different from all the previous games on this trip for a couple of reasons. First, it was an evening game, which was a welcome change. Second, I really did not want to go the game. I fell in love with Seattle the moment I got there, and as excited as I was to experience Safeco, I wanted to explore Seattle more than watch baseball. In my youth, I would have just rented an apartment and never left and I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t crossed my mind. But I digress…
My hotel, the Silver Cloud Inn-Seattle Lake Union offered free shuttles around the city, which I utilized to get to the game. It dropped me off a short walk from the stadium. As I got closer to the stadium, the energy was amazing. Along this walk, I walked through “hot dog row” in front of the Seahawks CenturyLink Field. Mixed amongst the hot dog stands are various gift shops, performers and…wait for it…wait for it…candy, popcorn and munchies stands. All of which have a cheap selection of goodies you can bring in the stadium! I stocked up, buying some kettle corn, bottles of water and red vines; all for the low price of $8! But my fat ass wasn’t done, I needed a hot dog. Drawn to the reggae music and that it was the last truck on the line, I stopped at Al’s and got a hot dog which was MEH…
My ticket buying experience in Seattle was a pretty unique situation. In February, I broke up with my ex of 5 ½ years. After spending that long living and being with someone, when you break up, it is basically like getting a divorce. Part of the settlement on my end included a $250 Ticketmaster gift card that his grandparents had given us for Christmas a few months earlier. Because of this, I decided to splurge on my ticket as a kind of FU! I ended up spending $91.77 to sit in Section 129, row 34 on the aisle in seat 1. I spent another $3 at the box office to convert my phone ticket into a paper ticket as a souvenir.
The seat was amazing and the view of the field was incredible, however, I didn’t need to spend all that money since it was easy to freely move around the stadium because security wasn’t very tight and the stadium wasn’t packed. In addition, since part of this project includes sitting all over the place, why am I splurging on an expensive seat? From my very expensive seat, I noticed how small the protective netting is. I was slightly concerned I might get smashed with a ball while distracted on my phone. Something about Safeco I enjoyed was that throughout the stadium, ushers made people wait between batters to go through the aisles. I thought it made it easier for the fans to enjoy the on-field product and respectful of the patrons. Undistracted by fans walking past me in my seat, I wanted to check out the scoreboard.
In terms of scoreboard, it was nice. But St. Louis and Wrigley both had better ones. After watching a few innings, it was time to wander around the stadium. I was disappointed that the stadium didn’t offer a 50/50 raffle, however, I was delighted to see gender neutral bathrooms. Honestly, this is one of the most memorable parts of any stadium thus far on my trip because it showed how progressive and inviting of a place Safeco Field is for everyone. The men’s facilities I visited were both clean and didn’t smell. As I continued walking towards the top of the stadium, I was very busy observing the food and beverage options.
Since I had eaten so much outside the stadium, I didn’t end up indulging in anything—which I absolutely regret. They literally had anything and everything any consumer could want, with multiple different options for each. From vegetarian to gluten free to seafood and ice cream, there is something there for everyone. Check out the picture of the food options so you can fully grasp exactly what I am talking about! During my food walk, I was thrilled to find a Hall of Fame with some great memorabilia.
Despite being a relatively new team, by Major League Baseball standards, the amount of memorabilia and historical information they had on display was awesome. The history dated beyond the Mariners to include Washington baseball history and memorabilia dating back to the Seattle Rainiers in the 1940’s! Game worn jerseys from the inaugural season were on display as well as a baseball from the team’s first game. In addition, you could physically touch game-used bats of Mariners legends, including Griffey. Even though it was small and free, it did an excellent job of sharing Washington baseball and Seattle Mariner history.
In the team shop, there were tons of autographed and game used memorabilia. I found it interesting the amount of memorabilia from non-Seattle sports legends, like Cal Ripken Jr. and Sandy Koufax of the Orioles and Dodgers. The autographs were reasonably priced with the exception of a few, but beyond them, there was little I was interested in at the shop. I had already seen shirts I liked more on my walk to the stadium. When I made it to the top of the stadium to check out those seats, I noticed a huge section of seats closed off. I tweeted the team to ask why and they actually replied by telling me they would need to open the concessions and staff these sections. So, I got as far up as I could off the first base line in the upper decks and I enjoyed some more of the game.
With the sunset and breeze, I felt like I was in heaven up there. I could see the mountains and the view of the game was pretty damn amazing. I instantly regretted splurging on my seat even more because the view from above, although different, was just as nice. Even though I enjoyed it up there, I wanted to go back to my expensive seat so I started the walk. On my walk back, I observed the Astros bullpen, and it was neat how close I was able to get to them warming up.
Upon returning to my seat, I only stayed a few minutes before moving down closer to the field. The Mariners were losing but had begun mounting a comeback, which made the game super exciting. In terms of on-field baseball action this was the highlight of my trip thus far, despite the comeback falling short. Following the game, I went back to the Team Store owned by Lids and bought a $33.03 Mariners tank top before I got an Uber back to my hotel for $13.56.
All in all, I loved this place. My main complaint is that the other fans didn’t talk to me or engage with me like in most parks, but that does not fall on the Mariners. My next review of the Oakland Coliseum had the best and most engaging fans ever! Stay tuned for that…
Updated stadium rankings
Safeco, Seattle Mariners
Busch, St. Louis Cardinals
Wrigley, Chicago Cubs
Coors, Colorado Rockies
$8 Goodies to bring in the stadium
$3 for paper ticket
$5 hot dog
$6.75 for lemonade
$174.55 TOTAL SPENT
I know I’ve said this before, but pics are coming…I need to be on the road…