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Fanfest Fanfest Fanfest

In case you haven't heard by now, the Mariners are beginning to make a big deal out of their upcoming Fanfest at Safeco Field. The two-day event is scheduled for January 29th and 30th (Saturday/Sunday), from 11am - 4pm each day, and tickets cost $10 per adult and $5 per sassy little brat that makes you wonder why you ever had a kid in the first place. Full details are available on the linked page.

It's interesting to look at the list of people scheduled to appear and sign autographs. You have the general manager and the dugout manager, of course, whose presence is just about mandatory. Then you have the team's best and most dominant player in Felix. But behind them, the list reads: Chone Figgins, Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley, and Kyle Seager. A disappointing veteran, a disappointing youngster, a guy who hasn't yet made the Majors, and a guy who hasn't yet made AA with whose name the overwhelming majority of attendees will not be familiar. I expect that the Kyle Seager autograph line will be short, which means that a lot of kids will probably get him to sign something, which means that a lot of kids might become instant big Kyle Seager fans, which might be the whole point. They'll get a chance to meet a professional baseball player, and they'll also get a chance to learn at a young age that sometimes life's dreams don't pan out the way you want them to.

There will also be a series of events and attractions both days beyond the autograph line. From the article:

  • Boeing Run Around the Bases. This was more interesting when I thought it said "Being Run Around the Bases," suggesting that either a Mariners player would put you on his shoulders, or you'd be chased by a menacing timberwolf.

  • Pitch in the Mariners Bullpen. "Test your fastball in the Mariners bullpen," it says. And only your fastball. We don't want to make any pitchers feel bad about themselves.

  • 710 ESPN Seattle Home Run Challenge. "Swing for the fences like your favorite Mariners players." My favorite Mariners players are Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Michael Saunders, Brendan Ryan, and Ichiro. Only one of them swings for the fences, and he's a pitcher. Did the person who wrote this article even watch this team? The Mariners go deep less often than the Lusitania.

  • 97.3 KIRO FM Pop Fly Challenge. "Think you've got what it takes to play the outfield in the big leagues? Now you can see by attempting to catch a pop fly in the Safeco Field outfield." "Think you've got what it takes to bat in the big leagues? Now you can see by attempting to bunt an underhand lob at the Safeco Field home plate." The true test of whether you have what it takes to play the outfield in the big leagues is a ball hit to the gap between yourself and Mike Cameron. Carlos Beltran failed.

  • Mariners Clubhouse Tours. "Ever wonder what the inside of a Major League Clubhouse is like? Now you can find out. Be one of the few to ever stroll through the Mariners Clubhouse." The area has been disinfected by the CDC, but Hazmat suits will still be provided, as ventilation is insufficient and certain toxins remain present in the air.

  • Roof Control Room Tours. "The room with perhaps the most mystique at Safeco Field and certainly home to one of the most important buttons in all of Seattle is the Roof Control Room." The home of one of the other most important buttons in all of Seattle is the Visiting Clubhouse Bee Release Room. A little-known fact is that these bees are responsible for the honeycomb backdrop in center field.

  • Mariners Care Garage Sale. Visit the Mariners Care Garage Sale tent to view and purchase select memorabilia to benefit the Mariners' newest non-profit foundation, the Mariners.

I've never been to Fanfest myself, but it's pretty cheap and it seems like there's plenty to do, so on that basis alone I'll recommend it to locals. Just be sure to buy tickets for Saturday so you don't miss the Pro Bowl.