Seattle’s Smash Hits
Major League Baseball landed back in the Pacific Northwest after awarding an expansion team to Seattle in 1977. The Emerald City was originally home to the Seattle Pilots, but after a disastrous first season and ownership swap, the pilots jetted for Milwaukee and left Seattle without an MLB team for eight years.
Life as a Seattleite baseball fan is not easy. The “M’s” haven’t seen playoff action since 2001, and have yet to win a World Series title. And while their superstar roster boasted exceptional players like Ichiro Suzuki and Edgar Martinez, the team fell short in the ALCS to the New York Yankees.
The Seattle-based team is now burdened with the lengthiest playoff drought (15 seasons) in the league. The Seattle Mariners now look to break the curse this season with flamethrower Felix Hernandez and heavy hitter Robinson Cano leading the ranks.
Beyond the city’s rainy reputation, Seattle is home to grunge music, the iconic Space Needle, and arguably one of the best stadiums to watch America’s pastime, of course. Safeco Field is situated in the SoDo neighborhood and is ultimately a part of the Industrial District – providing Seattleites with an extraordinary panoramic view of the downtown skyline and breathtaking sunsets.
Staying up to speed with the ’90s trend of new ballparks being constructed throughout major league baseball, the Emerald City bid farewell to the outdated Kingdome and welcomed a new state-of-the-art facility to town: Safeco Field. The Mariners christened their new home to a capacity crowd of 47,000 in the summer of 1999 during a faceoff against the San Diego Padres.
The Seattle-based stadium taps a traditional architectural style, yet boasts modern amenities such as a brick facade, natural grass fields, and the most important ballpark quirk of all … a retractable roof.
Seattle’s rainy reputation is well-deserved and is the catalyst behind the modification of the stadium’s roof structure. Sometimes referred to as a “retractable umbrella,” Safeco’s roof offers a unique feature to the ballpark experience (it is currently one of only six MLB stadiums to have a retractable roof). Serving as a haven from the torrential rainfall, the retractable roof covers the entire stadium but does not fully enclose it – generating an open-air atmosphere.
Other must-see areas around the ballpark include the Bullpen Market (behind left field), Lookout Landing (the upper decks of the left field line), the Outside Corner Picnic Patio (just above home plate), and the Children’s Hospital Playfield (the main entrance in center field).
In 2013, the outfield fences were moved closer to home plate to make the ballpark more “hitter-friendly.” The efforts appeared to pay off as a total of 234 long balls were sliced into the stand during the 2016 season, with the farthest homer smacking off the bat of Nelson Cruz and traveling a true distance of 457 feet.
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners, Seattle, Washington
Heading over to Safeco Field? Before strapping on your rain boots, check out our home run heat map above to boost your chances of catching that souvenir home run ball from the convenience of your selected seat.
While there is no surefire section to guarantee a high flier will land your way, the odds increase if you’re situated along the outfield fencing – specifically sections 106, 107, 108, and 109. If those seats are sold out, try settling down near the bullpens.
Whether you’re looking to escape Seattle’s rainy weather or heighten the chances of bringing that home run ball home for yourself, be sure to check out Fanatics.com to arm your wardrobe with the latest Mariners fan gear and apparel this season!