Monday was Opening Day for the Seattle Mariners, but even though they were playing in Oakland, Safeco Field held an Open House where people could get into the stadium for free to wander around and watch the game on the new video screen. Great idea, well executed. It looked as if the view (top) level wasn't open, but lots of people wandered around the concourses on the main level and I did see quite a few at the Terrace Club level. The warning track was opened up for fans, as well as the dugouts.
There were three new features to show off:
- The left/center field fence is now closer, with the largest change in the left-center power alley, 17' closer.
- The Bullpen Market has been rebranded as Edgar's Cantina. With the moved fence, there's more space and light. Edgar Martinez was even around, and after a live interview with him was shown on the screen, you could hear people shouting "Eeeeeed-gaaaar".
- There's a new video screen, which is larger than before. The sides which used to have ads still had sponsors, but in theory they could use the whole screen for animations now.
There were over 15,000 people who showed up (about as many as were in Oakland the next day), and while a relatively large portion didn't stay for the whole game (I stuck around for the first few innings), lots of people settled in to watch for a bit. The strangest part was almost every play got cheers, either from Oakland over the speakers or locally from the stands. People really got into the game, including waving K cards when Felix got a two-strike count.
I heard several comments from people saying that the open house was a great idea, and I couldn't agree more. People were really enjoying themselves, and it was a good chance to settle into the seats on the main level to take in the field. Play ball!