RE: My Visit to Safeco Field

Hi again, Mariners fans. I came around these parts about a month ago asking about Safeco Field and I was directed to a plethora of information. I went to the Mariners-Orioles game on July 4. Safeco is the fourth big-league stadium that I have had the pleasure to visit. The first three can't be much more different than each other. I've been to 3 games at the old Yankee Stadium, 18 at Pac Bell SBC it hasn't been called Verizon yet AT&T Park and 39 at the often-renamed Oakland Coliseum.

I arrived at Safeco just after 11 am, right around when the gates opened. It was pretty quiet and empty at that point. The very first thing I saw was the giant retractable roof hanging outside the stadium. It's not what I'd call visually appealing, but the roof is definitely a big benefit to have so it's definitely worth it. I like how it doesn't hang too much into the stadium when it's not being used. I entered at the gate behind left-center field and I loved that the very first vendor I saw had one of the "Jesus Saves" stickers on his cart. That sort of stuff always impresses me. I was also impressed with how nice the view was even from way out past the wall in center field. I strolled around The Pen and the surrounding area for a while and it quickly dawned on me why so many people sit out there during games. You've still got a nice view out there.

I think my favorite thing of all about your stadium was the lower concourse. I've never seen a setup where you can see the field no matter where you are. If you have to hurry over to the stadium just before gametime, you don't have to decide between going to your seat without food or getting food and missing the action. Definitely a very, very nice touch.

The Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest was impressive. I love learning about the history of the sport, and the museum offered a ton of it. It seems you guys are big on Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Dave Niehaus and Alvin Davis. I also thought it was cool to see the stuff on Jay Buhner and John Olerud. I always liked Olerud, and I'm finally getting to an age where I can say I grew up watching some of those players.

The concessions were great. They give you a ton of garlic fries, and the cheese steaks are top-notch. As a Mtn Dew drinker with a serious addiction, I also like the selection of drinks from the bottles instead of having to take around a massive cup, filled as full as it can be without a top. Makes carrying stuff a lot easier.

I sat in row 2 of section 332, and the view was great. I love sitting in the second level of ballparks, and I find it unfortunate that a lot of new stadiums are reducing the size of the second level, jacking up the prices, and in some cases, like Safeco, making the seats behind the plate all luxury boxes. However, the view from my seats were great. They came with the sightlines you get from sitting in the second level without the cost. It's really changed my opinion on the aforementioned situation with the second level in new parks.

As for the game itself, it's clear why Noesi has been sent down. Is Iwakuma going to be taking his spot? I also apologize for carrying the injury bug that has been plaguing the A's all year long. Sorry about Montero getting hurt.

The atmosphere at the ballpark was nice. Attendance was just under 22,000 and the fans were loud. The stadium is well-built for noise, just like the football stadium next door. The staff was also as friendly as can be and the fans created a very welcoming atmosphere. The people sitting around me were friendly and knowledgeable. We also had a few kids roaming the empty parts of the upper deck and waving their shirts around at times. That made for some laughs between innings.

This is the first time I'm posting a review of a stadium, so I've decided to do a bit of a report card format to try and quantify things.

Visual: 8/10 The sightlines are great, although the retractable roof in the "open position" and the outfield seats take away from some of the views of the ballpark. Still, people go to games for the action on the field, not what's around it (save for the bandwagon Giants fans). I don't think all of the outfield seating is necessary, but with the stadium being required to face northeast, it's not like there would be views of Puget Sound from its location. (The views of Puget Sound from the upper deck concourse were nice.)

Staff: 10/10 The chefs are great, the ushers are friendly and they help give the game such a nice feel.

Fans: 10/10 The fans are dedicated, knowledgeable and friendly. It's a nice family atmosphere, and the amount of fans that are waiting out these tough years impresses me.

Concessions: 10/10 You get a lot of food, which justifies the prices, and it tastes great.

Extras: 10/10 The extra amenities at the ballpark are great. I love the museum, and all of the team history spread across the park is great for visitors and newcomers. I especially like all of the tributes to Dave Niehaus. I'd love to see the A's do something similar for Bill King when we finally get a new stadium in 2173.

Overall: 9.6/10 I loved Safeco Field. It has a lot of the amenities that new parks offer without getting to the point of too many bells and whistles that distract people from the game itself. The fans and staff complete the atmosphere. I'd definitely visit again.

With that, I'd like to thank all of you here at Lookout Landing as well as the fans and staff that make Safeco Field so enjoyable. If any of you are to ever visit the Coliseum, feel free to ask around Athletics Nation about what you can do to make your experience the best it can be.

That game was the third time I've seen the Mariners in person, making them 1-2. They lost to the A's 3-2 way back on July 28, 2004 and beat them 7-3 on April 6 of this year, Opening Night at the Coliseum.

Thanks again, and best of luck the rest of the way! We could sure use some help from you guys against all these teams hovering around the .500 mark.

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