I drove past T-Mobile Park the other day. It’s still there. The Mariners were not, though. I checked.
With such a gigantic building going mostly unused, one has to wonder what’s been going on in there since the coronavirus made sports illegal. I understand that several people have offices there, but the playing field remains a blank canvas buried deep in someone’s attic, waiting to be used but with no idea of when their artists will return.
Aside from my schools and workplaces, there is probably no public place I’ve visited more than T-Mobile Park. That familiarity breeds not only a connection, but also a sort of parental protection over it. I shudder to think about the stadium feeling cold, confused, and abandoned. Someone needs to go down there and let it know that it did nothing wrong. A bunch of concrete’s mental health is at stake here. Over 47,000 seats are – like many of us – yearning for human touch, probably trying to remember how it even works, and worrying if its return will be too powerful to withstand.
If the team’s baseball operations staff is working from home, that leaves security and maintenance-type workers as the only ones who have been inside T-Mobile Park in months. I do not know how many people that is, or what protecting an ominously empty building looks like, but I do know there are lots of prime opportunities for fun. Assuming the audio and video equipment is still serviceable, the entertainment options are both tempting and plentiful.
I know it’s been a while, so to remind you, baseball fields are pretty big. So big in fact, that nine players from the same team can be there at the same time and several of them will not interact or go near each other at all. This also means that there’s an overwhelming amount of space when the players aren’t there. I smell a once in a lifetime chance to take Fernando Rodney’s old entrance music for a spin and have an extremely cathartic warehouse rave. Some brave soul could dig up a bottle of hair dye, their best tight pants, and use the empty space for a shot-for-shot remake of the “Call Your Girlfriend” video, but with Kentucky bluegrass and fancy LED lights replacing industrial metal and lasers. Nelly’s “Batter Up” extravaganza would also lend itself well to an on-site reboot at the stadium, but I fear getting this many people (and dogs) in one place is probably against the rules right now.
Focusing just on what could be done on the ground level seems short sighted, though. If you close the roof, T-Mobile Park basically becomes an enormous McDonald’s-style play place. I, for one, would like to make it a ball pit. This dad in England had the right idea, calling his family’s homemade pit “honestly one of the best memories I think we will have”. Just think, these people in the U.K. are having quite the shout doing this in their own home, which I would venture to guess is less than half the size of T-Mobile Park. I don’t know, the metric system is confusing.
If we filled a whole ass baseball stadium with plastic balls, I reckon we could lift the spirits of thousands, if not millions of people. I’d also like to try riding the retractable roof, seeing if I could take one of those wing suits from the press box through the open area between the center field bleachers and the Hit it Here Café, ziplining from CenturyLink Field to home plate, and finally reviving SlamBall.
If simply getting the wiggles out isn’t enough, there’s also a massive TV in there. One of the biggest in the world, actually. Imagine watching all ten hours of The Last Dance on a screen that crisp, taking in each stitch of Jordan’s extra-wide suits in glorious HD. That would be pretty cool. If you want to get darker for some reason, the screen would be a wonderful instrument for a Jigsaw-like character to give instructions for a perverse game, like trying to find where they put all the playoff media guides that went unused. I think I’d prefer a more PG-rated scavenger hunt that lets me finally see what they hide under that tarp in right-center field. You also have to wonder about the state of the Mariner Moose.
I bet ol’ Moosey is riding out the quarantine somewhere in the bowels of T-Mobile Park with a world class snack situation and an endless supply of silly toys. Their days are likely filled with childlike splendor and whimsy, gallivanting around the stadium with a freedom that did not exist before the world stopped watching. But then, of course, nightfall hits. The Moose is met with troubling questions about the nature of performing and how it eats away at their sense of self.
“In a life defined by making others happy, I never found the time to focus on what makes me happy,” the Moose thinks, in between attempts at doing The Worm backwards. “Shouldn’t there be more to life than this? What if, in search of identity through my outward actions, I forgot to look inward, and lost all sight of who I am? Why should a moose even care about baseball in the first place? There’s no logical connection here. I was just mindlessly showing up to work every day without once considering all the implications and subtext. Is that moose privilege? I don’t want to be part of the problem, ya know?”
I also worry that seagulls might be a problem. Seagulls are always a problem.