After our extensively exhausting 30 hour trek across the country, we had finally made it! Our friend Hayley was nice enough to put us up for the night in Seattle. Sleep never felt better. We had considered the size of the vehicle, the time availability, and the accessories required (sleep mask, ear plugs, etc.) for proper sleep throughout our journey… but never once had we considered the actual mobility of the car. Turns out, twisting and turning through the mountains did not prove conducive to sound sleep. Hayley’s house was very much immobile.
We met up with some more friends, had lunch, and took in the sights and sounds of Seattle. The Sound, Pike’s Place Market, even Mt. Rainier was out to welcome us to the city. But we had business to attend to:
Around the Park
We reviewed transportation options and decided to park near, but not at, the stadium. We found fairly inexpensive parking in downtown Seattle that was nearby both tourist attractions and the ballpark (www.seattle.gov/epark proved helpful). As we approached Safeco, we walked right by its neighbor, CenturyLink Field (hosts Seahawks football and Sounder soccer games). The pathway between both stadiums (Occidental Ave) serves as a defacto fan walk-up area where street vendors gather to sell food and merchandise. The standard peanuts and hot dogs were there, but many of the vendors offered different and more interesting specialized foods. If you’re looking for change up in gameday cuisine, give it a look.
Giant, exposed green metal beams protruded from the top of the stadium, and while that doesn’t exactly sound inviting, the stadium itself had a very welcoming, almost suburban-home feel thanks to its white and red brick facade. The signage was modern and appealing. The stadium staff was plentiful and helpful. Just avoid 1st Ave if approaching by car (we saw 4 people get pulled over there in just the 10-15 minutes we were walking around the stadium, for doing seemingly harmless things).
The walk-up and online ticket prices were fairly expensive: $25 for cheapest upper deck and $45 for cheapest lower deck. We opted for the cheapest upper deck seats, thinking the seat location would be fairly inconsequential as we traversed the park. Turns out, we hit the jackpot and didn’t even know it. More on that later.
The inside concourses of the stadium have a very modern-industrial feel, large exposed HVAC pipes and very focused lighting are prevalent as the entire interior of the park featured the same exposed green metal and white brick as was visible outside the park. Signage was frequent and informative. Despite having never been here before, we indeed felt right at home.
We had finished our tour and made our way to the seats where a ticket usher greeted us and checked our tickets. She laughed and pointed upward, “You’re in the penthouse” she snickered, “the very last row.” She wasn’t lying, we were literally in the last row of seats in the entire ballpark. As we marched up the seemingly endless rows of stairs, we were sure these seats would be awful. They turned out to be the show-stealer. Any seats in the upper deck down the 1B/RF line feature any absolutely gorgeous view of downtown Seattle. The Sound and its Ferris wheel, the skyline, and neighboring CenturyLink proved to be a breathtaking background for baseball.
Entertainment and Amenities
Around the park, we found plenty of family-friendly activities. There’s an area for children to play in, a fast-pitch booth to test your fastball, and a den where Mariner Moose (mascot) was taking photos. For the adults, there was a large and very popular sports bar in LF and plenty of interesting food options (seafood & chowder was a personal favorite). There was also “the train” which would blow its very, very loud horn about once an inning and whose tracks lie just outside the stadium behind CF/RF. The video boards (MarinersVision) were very impressive and featured truly entertaining content. Simple player information became fodder for humorous puns or wordplay and the standard half-inning races or shell games had interesting twists.
The attendance, while not announced, was somewhere around 50%. For a beautiful Saturday night, we were a little surprised, but we had already heard the joke that the Mariners were the “fourth team” in Seattle (behind the Seahawks, the Sounders, and even the defunct Supersonics). But even the fans that were there did not seem very involved in the game. We definitely expected more fan engagement in the city famous for its “12th man.”
Shout-out to the Mariners
The Mariners, having heard about our journey, gave us free gift bags that featured plenty of Mariners merchandise to wish us well on our way. Definitely something they didn’t need to do. Thank you!
Safeco was beautiful. Its views were stunning. It was entertaining and accommodating, irrelevant of the day’s game. Its fans were ok, but did not meet our expectations (full disclosure: that could be a problem with our expectations). It was a great start to the trip.
Sadly, we barely had any time to savor the stadium. We had 13 hours until our next game in Oakland and a 12 hour drive ahead of us… see you in California.
~ Brian and Tim
(for more pics, make sure you check out our Facebook page, which is linked on the left of the site)