Safeco Field turns 10

This must be the month for notable anniversaries. Ten years ago today the first pitch was thrown at Safeco Field, the new home for the Seattle Mariners. I had only attended one Mariners game in the Kingdome, but it definitely didn't fell like a ballpark. Most years I've been to at least one game at Safeco, and it feels right, with the open air and great views all around. Even when high against the upper railing behind home plate (nose bleed territory) we could still see everything that was going on.

 Safeco Field 5/2000

Safeco Field 5/2000

 Safeco Field 6/2007

Safeco Field 6/2007

These pictures are from 5/2000 (on the left) and 6/2007 (on the right). The biggest change to the view is you now see Qwest Field (where the Seahawks and Sounders FC play). Naturally the sponsors have changed through the years and the mowing pattern is different, but from a baseball perspective the biggest change is the batter's eye, which is now a dark honeycomb aluminum, installed in 2003. Before, they had tried several dark materials, and even went through a period with trees planted back there. No matter what they used, there was a lot of glare. It got so bad the players asked that the roof be closed on sunny day games (I don't think they ever did that, since they thought the fans wanted it open). The new batter's eye, however, is generally well-received.

As any other modern-day ballpark, there many things on the concourses, which always have lots of people milling around. You can eat anything from sushi to garlic fries. Souvenir stands are closely spaced, and one section is dedicated to the Mariners' Hall of Fame.

The running joke in our family is if I attend a baseball game nowadays, chances are they won't win. It doesn't always hold true, but it's been the case for all but a few of the games I've seen in the past decade (OK, one of them the odds were against them, since Pedro Martinez was pitching for the visiting Red Sox). Then again, it could be it's just the visiting team who wins - we went to an Angels game (vs. Mariners) in 2001 and the Angels lost. I also went to an A's game in Oakland a couple years ago where the visiting White Sox won. At one point Tynor suggested I travel with the Mariners to attend their away games!