Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners
From The Corner of Edgar and Dave
Welcome to the corner of Edgar Martinez Drive and Dave Niehaus Way. This is Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. Safeco Field opened in 1999 as the replacement for the Kingdome which the Mariners called home from 1977-1999. The Seattle Mariners entered Major League Baseball in 1977 as an expansion team and have called the American League West Division home ever since they came onto the scene.
Safeco Field has a capacity of 47,943 and is a retractable roof stadium located in Seattle, Washington’s SODO district. This is not your normal retractable roof stadium as they like to call the roof an umbrella. Safeco Field is an open air stadium so you still get the outdoor feel but with an umbrella over you on those rainy Seattle days.
Safeco Field has come a long way since being introduced to Seattle in 1999. It now features the biggest video board in all of Major League Baseball (aptly named Mariners Vision) and has one of the best food selections in the league. The fans are passionate and despite the Mariners not making the playoffs since 2001, the fans continue to flock to a fantastic venue.
Food & Beverage 5
Safeco Field is home to an array of food and beverage options that should make your mouth water and appeal to foodies and traditionalists. One of the newest additions to the menu are toasted grasshoppers an item that sold out at every game. If toasted grasshoppers aren’t your cup of tea, Safeco Field boasts some of the best garlic fries you will ever have.
Concession lines are fairly minimal and they move very quickly. All stands accept debit/credit cards and both American and Canadian cash is accepted at stands as well. The service is excellent everywhere you go.
Safeco Field offers a wide variety. Seafood is served at numerous stands offering the Pacific Northwest’s flavors. Edgar’s Cantina serves fresh Mexican food, and for $9, you can get yourself a 1/3 pound cheeseburger. The garlic fries are fantastic and can be found inside Safeco Field at grounders. A heaping pile of garlic fries with an apple slice costs $7.
Pepsi is the preferred soda selection at the ballpark. If you purchase the $11 souvenir cup, then it can be refilled at almost every concession stand around the ballpark. Soda is served both bottled and in the fountain. Beer and wine are served and if wine is more your style, you can get a bottle for $36. Craft beers and ciders are served throughout the ballpark.
Safeco Field offers one of the best stadium experiences except for one major factor, the crowd is quiet, very quiet. Besides when they are prompted via video board, the crowd remains in their seats.
The layout for the stadium is fantastic. Safeco Field boasts three levels of seating; bleachers located in center and left field, the Hit it Here Café located in right field, and The Pen, located in left-center field. Cup holders are conveniently located in front of you in the lower levels of the stadium.
Safeco Field has the largest video board in Major League Baseball, aptly named Mariners Vision. This all video display shows replays in crystal clear HD and while play is going on, shows both lineups including who is batting and pitching. There is also a manual scoreboard located just below Edgar’s Cantina in left field. The out of town scoreboard is located above the bullpens in left field. The LED strip that almost goes completely around the stadium has many uses as well, but is mainly for pitching statistics and time.
The overall sound quality is outstanding at Safeco Field. You can clearly hear everything the Mariners PA announcer is saying as well as the music that is played. The Mariners offer many in game promotions and opportunities for fans to make it up onto Mariners Vision including the Simba Cam which has parents hold up their little ones like in the Lion King, the hydro races, and much more. Of course, all of the in game promotions are assisted by Mariners mascot, the Mariner Moose.
There are many seating options depending on where you are wanting to sit. The cheapest seats that fans can grab for most games are in the center field bleachers. Depending on comfort, these may not be the best seats for you. My personal favorite is sitting down the third base line in left field. These offer some of the best views of the stadium. If you catch a game when Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is pitching, you can get a ticket, t-shirt, and “K” card for just $30. Be warned, this is a rowdy section that chants “k” when Felix has two strikes in the count. Also, get there early to snag your t-shirt and “K” card.
Safeco Field is located in Seattle’s SODO District and is directly adjacent to CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders. You’ll find this largely an industrial area, but there are quite a few choices for pre-game brews and food around Safeco Field.
One good option is Elysian Brewery located closer to CenturyLink (about one block from Safeco) and another popular choice is Pyramid Alehouse located directly across the street.
My personal recommendation for food and beverage would be the YardHouse in Downtown Seattle. Located on 4th Avenue between Pike and Pine Street, this restaurant is not like your usual bar and grill. With close to 130 beers on tap, you are sure to find the right brew for you as well as enjoy a more upscale bar and grill experience.
If you are visiting Seattle for the first time and are wanting things to do, then make your way down to Seattle Center and take a trip up the Space Needle. Seattle also has the Seattle Great Wheel located on Pier 57. This is also very close to the Seattle Aquarium. You can also take a trip up I-5 to the U-District and go to the Woodland Park Zoo, or make a trip to Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle.
Lodging can be expensive if you stay anywhere near the Downtown Seattle area. My suggestion is to look south of the stadiums. Tukwila and Renton are two options as well as near the airport.
The Seattle Mariners have taken a hit since the team last made the playoffs in 2001, but you’ll still find a number of diehard fans.
The fans aren’t necessarily loud unless prompted, and ushers have even been seen approaching fans and asking them to be quiet. Fans walk up the aisles during play, but ushers do a good job of stopping people from walking down to their seats during an at bat. Average attendance is around 25,000 and sometimes the team has a hard time drawing even 20,000 fans for a game, likely due to the Mariners lack of success since that 2001 season.
Located at the I-5/I-90 interchange makes this a difficult one to get to via car, but there are other options.
Depending on where you are coming from, getting to Safeco Field via public transportation is your best bet. The Link Light Rail has a stop called Stadium Station and if you are staying in Tukwila, you can park your car at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station and ride the light rail down to the stadium for $6 per person. My recommendation is to get to the day use pass and use it between Tukwila and Westlake Station (if you are going to the YardHouse, that’s the stop for it). The day use pass is a cheaper option than paying one way. Make sure you pay your fare as fare enforcement for Sound Transit is always out in full force on game days. If you are staying north of the stadium, you can take the Sounder train to King Street Station which is only a couple of blocks from Safeco Field.
Traffic Flow is a mess on game days down near the stadiums and parking ranges anywhere for $15 at the CenturyLink Field Garage, $25 at the Safeco Field Garage, to over $100 at nearby lots. So, if you are willing to fight the traffic and pay a pretty sizeable amount for parking, then you do so at your own risk.
The Home Plate Gate is generally the best entrance to the stadium, but depending on where you are sitting, there is a left field gate and a right field gate as well. You will be walking through metal detectors when you go through the gates so make sure you empty out your pockets before you get up to the gates.
Once you are inside Safeco Field, moving around the concourse areas are generally pretty simple. Lines to the main concession stands are roped off away from the walkway and while you may encounter back ups in some spots, you shouldn’t have any issues moving around the ballpark.
Restrooms are located around the entire stadium and are very clean and big enough to get people in and out. You will not see any lines for restrooms during a visit to Safeco Field.
Return on Investment 3
Safeco Field has a fantastic return on investment aside from the ticket prices. For a team that has not made the playoffs since 2001, it is hard to pay for some of the ticket prices which range anywhere from $17 to over $100. Concession prices are what you expect for being at a professional sports stadium.
If you are looking to save money to go to a game at Safeco Field, then go during the week when they offer ticket packages or sit in King’s Court when Felix Hernandez is pitching. Also, use public transportation to get to the stadium as opposed to driving your own vehicle and parking.
Safeco Field offers venue tours on both game days and non-game days and tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or by visiting the Safeco Field Box Office.
The team put in a bronze statue of legendary Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus who suddenly passed away in 2010. This statue is located in center field just underneath the center field bleachers.
In 2017, the team unveiled the bronze statue of Ken Griffey Jr. outside the Home Plate Gate of Safeco Field. This is one of the many honors “The Kid” has received from the team including having his number retired. He was the first Mariner to have his number retired. His teammate, Edgar Martinez, had his number 11 retired by the organization in August 2017. Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in the summer of 2016. He is also a member of the Mariners Hall of Fame.
A kid’s zone is located on the center field concourse and kids can join the Mariners Kid’s Club for free.
If you are sitting in the upper deck and facing near CenturyLink Field, you can see that stadium as well as the Downtown Seattle skyline.
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In 1995, with the Mariners in the midst of a magical playoff run in the dismal Kingdome, voters weighed in on a tax to build a baseball-only stadium to replace the concrete eyesore that had hosted the Mariners since 1977. The voters declined by the slimmest of margins. But the King County Council, faced with a threatened Mariner move to St. Petersburg, Florida, passed a different tax package shortly thereafter without going to the voters. Baseball fans were delighted with the result, Safeco Field. It opened in July of 1999, and is a classy facility that is aging gracefully in the Pacific Northwest. Safeco is notable for the unique design of its retractable roof. The roof does not fully enclose the field, as do the other five retractable roofs in MLB. It acts more as a canopy, as breezes can still head in from the north over the left field stands. The result is that fans are protected from Pacific Northwest drizzle, but can still enjoy the outdoor air. In spite of Seattle’s temperate climate, it can get chilly in the spring and fall. Fans should come ready with a blanket or sweatshirt. Safeco Field may have a roof, but it doesn’t provide protection from the cold. Notable events at Safeco include two years of playoffs, including the historic 116-win 2001 team (although the team has not tasted the playoffs since), as well as the 2001 All-Star game, and two perfect games thrown four months apart: Philip Humber in April and Felix Hernandez in August of 2012. Recent changes include bringing in the left field fence several yards before the 2015 season, allowing for the construction of Edgar’s Cantina, an eatery that sits in front of the hand-operated left field scoreboard.