Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Stadium Adventures: Safeco Field

My wife's sister and her family lived in Seattle for a few years up until this past summer, so we have had the opportunity to take in a couple of Mariners games as well as a tour of Safeco Field.  First of all, if you've never been to Seattle, put it on your list of future vacation sites.  I haven't been to that many different cities in the US, but Seattle is definitely one of my favorites so far.  From Pike's Market, to the Space Needle, to the original Starbucks, and Underground Seattle, there are so many cool aspects of Seattle that I would go back again even without family there anymore.

As you can see, Safeco Field sits right next to Qwest Field - home of the Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Seahawks.  It's right down by the pier, just down the hill from Pike's Market near downtown Seattle.  My family lived in Bremerton, which was an hour fairy ride from the pier - which was only blocks from Safeco Field.  It was perfect for a baseball fan!

An absolute must at Safeco Field is their famous garlic fries.  Make sure you bring some gum or mints, though, you can see how much garlic is on those fries!  My wife also had a this stick with chocolate covered strawberries on it that was pretty amazing.  In fact, it was probably the main reason she actually enjoyed the game that day.

Much like the halls of Target Field, Safeco was filled with history, artwork, and everything was high class.  The tour guides in Seattle were also very entertaining and knew every little piece of history on the team.  The tour would be highly recommended if you ever find yourself in Seattle on a non-gameday.

Above is the main entrance to Safeco Field.  I made this picture a little larger so you could see the fixture that hangs from the ceiling in the middle here.  That light fixture is made entirely of baseball bats painted white.  I believe that fixture had more significance than just looking really cool, but we actually went on this tour 2 or 3 years ago, so I can't remember exactly.

This is the "view" from the visitor's dugout the day of our tour.  There was no game that day, and the Mariners were on a 10 day road trip.  So, who do you think was renting out Safeco Field that day?  You guessed it: Microsoft.  They were having an annual conference there or something that weekend.  Unfortunately, this prevented us from being able to walk out on the field, but we did get to go in the clubhouse and the dugouts.

Here's a shot of part of the Seattle looking north.  Much like they did at Target Field, the stadium was designed to open up the one side of the stadium that looks out to the city.  Again, you can see Qwest Field immediately north of Safeco Field, with downtown Seattle behind it.  If I remember right, the Space Needle was just off to the left of this picture.  These were our seats for the Mariners/Rays game last summer.  The scalpers on the street that day were obnoxious, and I called them out on their prices which made my wife really proud.  We ended up getting cheap tickets from the ticket box just to spite the scalpers.  Dang scalpers.

Here's the view from the opposite side of the stadium, where we sat for a game between the Orioles and Mariners a few days before.  Overall, I thought Safeco Field was pretty amazing.  The atmosphere was great at the games, even though the M's weren't playing very well, the food was spectacular, and the city itself is one of my favorites.

Walking back toward the pier after one of the games, we noticed this store - Ebbets Field Flannels.  If you've never seen their stuff, you should really check them out here.  It was pretty funny because I had spent hours and hours on their website before this drooling over their authentic Negro League and other Minor League vintage jerseys, caps, and jackets.  I had no idea the actual store was right in Seattle, so naturally, I spent the next hour or so in the store wishing I was 50 times more wealthy than I am.  My wife realized my excitement and made my trip to Ebbest Field Flannels my birthday present.

On our way back to Bremerton the day we took the Safeco Field tour, a man saw the Twins shirt I was wearing as I walked by on the street and made a comment to me.  I wasn't sure what to think so we all laughed awkwardly and continued walking.  When we got on the fairy later, I saw the same man and we struck up a conversation.  That man turned out to be Ed Cain, who called games on the radio from time to time for the Twins, Vikings, and New York Islanders back in the 1960's and 70's.  What a thrill to listen to him tell stories about athletes that I never got to see play a single game.  I remember asking him who some of his favorite players were to cover, and as you can expect, the name Harmon Killebrew was the first to come up.

I'd highly recommend, as I mentioned, making it a point to get out to Seattle someday if you've never been there.  It's a great city with nice weather (even when it's raining), many attractions, and one fantastic ballpark.

Follow Twins Rubes on Twitter @twinsrubes.

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