Opening Day is four weeks out and there is a lot going on at Safeco Field to get ready for the 2015 season.
The grounds crew is in daily field prep mode now after a reduced schedule October – February. They’re also about to start practicing the new dance routine they’ll premier on Opening Day. Among the activities for them are fertilizing, mowing, edging, basically all the duties we’re doing to wake our yards up from their winter dormancy.
New seats are being installed in the Diamond Club (right behind home plate) and new seat backs are being installed on the bleachers. The Hit It Here Café is not only getting new furniture and an updated décor, but Centerplate and consulting chef Ethan Stowell have revamped the menu.
The dugouts have both gotten durable new rubberized flooring, and the logos on top of both the home and visitors dugouts are getting a new paint job.
Work will continue over the next four weeks to clean and prep the ballpark for the April 6th Opening Day matchup with the Los Angeles Angels. First pitch is 1:10pm.
The Mariners received an award on Saturday from Sustainable Seattle in recognition of our “commitment to raising the bar for sustainability in the Puget Sound region.”
The “Setting an Example” award was handed out during the Sustainability Leadership awards banquet in downtown Seattle.
Dennis McLerran, Environmental Protection Agency Regional administrator, commented on the Mariners award, “The Mariners reflect the green values of their city and fans as they set a national example for sustainable games. The sustainability practices the Mariner use at Safeco Field on a large scale – recycling, composting, installing efficient lights – are simple and impactful things fans can do at home.”
Since 2005, the Mariners sustainability practices have improved the recycling rate at Safeco Field from just 12% to over 90% today. We have twice been named American League Recycling champs, and are among the founding members of the Green Sports Alliance, a group of nearly 300 sports teams and venues dedicated to sustainable operations.
Just last week, we announced that Safeco Field is the first Major League ballpark to switch from outdated metal halide lights to LEDs to illuminate the playing field. This change will not only provide a better on-field experience for our players and for fans watching at the ballpark and at home, but will also reduce our energy consumption by 60%-70% percent.
Safeco Field will be the first Major League ballpark to light the playing field with LED lights.
LED are light emitting diodes. They produce brighter, more uniform light that is as close to daylight as a man-made fixture can be.
For the players, that means fewer shadows on the field and less glare. For fans in the stands, and those at home, especially if you’re watching on an HDTV, the lights will make everything will look crisper and more vibrant. Because the light is more evenly distributed across the spectrum, there’s no flicker, which is necessary for today’s super-slow motion replays.
MLB had a team of lighting experts at Safeco Field last week to check the levels at precise points on the field. In every location the new lights met or exceeded MLB requirements.
In addition to benefits for players and fans, the new lights are a lot more efficient than the old metal halide lights. They’ll reduce electricity consumption by 60%-70%, and each fixture should last 50 or more years (as opposed to three years for the old lights).
The project was a partnership between the Mariners, Planled (of Federal Way, WA) and KMW, Inc. of Korea.
Although Safeco Field will be the first MLB ballpark to go LED, there are a handful of pro sports facilities that have already made the move: Staples Center in Los Angeles; NRG Stadium in Houston; and University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, where the Seahawks will play under LED lights at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1.
Ever wonder how many times the Mariners have played at Safeco Field with the roof open, closed, or even how many times the roof has moved during the course of a game?
Well, we’ve got you covered as we have recorded the date for all of the roof openings and closings during the history of Safeco Field dating back to the first game played on July 15, 1999 vs. the San Diego Padres.
Since the first game at Safeco Field, there have been 1,262 regular season games played, with the Mariners holding a record of 669-593 (.530) in those games.
The below graphic will show you the amount of times the retractable roof has been open during a game, closed for a game or moved to the closed position during a game. MLB rules state that the roof can only close during play once. If the game starts with the roof closed, it must remain that way for the entire game.
While Seattle is notoriously known for “always raining”, the roof has actually been open in 78% of games played (985 of 1262). It has been closed (or moved during a game) roughly 22% of the time. The record for most games played in the open air is 71 (out of 81 home games) in 2006 and 2012.
Here is a breakdown of the Mariners records by roof “position”:
Roof Open: 520-465 (.528) — 985 of 1262 games
Roof Closed: 91-82 (.526) — 173 of 1262 games
Roof Moves: 58-46 (.558) — 104 of 1262 games
And for those interested, here is a fun look at the Safeco Field roof closing, which takes 10-20 minutes depending on wind and other weather conditions.
Throughout the offseason we will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Safeco Field. To start with, we wanted to share with you the rebranding of the conference rooms at Safeco Field. The main goal is to celebrate our history and current team in a more dynamic way throughout our offices.
The rebranding of the conference rooms at Safeco Field is an effort to give these rooms that are utilized by front office staff, corporate partners and fans a fresh look. The rooms will celebrate the organization’s history as well as the current team.
The first room that received a new-look was the large conference room on the suite level of Safeco Field. This room is not only used by Mariners staff but it can be booked on a game day by fans looking for a bigger space to have a meeting or a pre-game gathering (more on booking an event). The room was rebranded the “Legends Room.” It features all of the Mariners Hall of Famers as well as various photographs of Safeco Field.
Four other conference rooms will be rebranded this off-season. One will honor Ken Griffey Jr. Another will pay tribute to “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis. A third will salute the Mariners all-time hits leader Ichiro Suzuki. The fourth will celebrate the current team with images of Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Hisashi Iwakuma and others.
All the work will be completed by the end of January 2015.
Here are some pictures of the Legends Room:
On Saturday night, the Seattle Mariners hit an attendance milestone that hasn’t happened at Safeco Field since 2010 – the two millionth fan of the year passed through the gates of the ballpark.
Brian Grimm, a 22-year old student from Asotin, Washington, was showered with confetti and greeted by the Mariner Moose at approximately 5:10pm inside the Home Plate Gate.
Grimm, who came over with his girlfriend to attend the game with his mom, her boyfriend and his little brother. This was only the second time that Grimm had come to Safeco Field. The first time was the weekend in July 1999 when the ballpark opened.
Mariners attendance has increased 15% this year over last season. That’s the biggest percentage increase in all of Major League Baseball.
Thanks fans for a great season and for being True to the Blue!
While the Mariners “9” have received a lot of attention on the field this season, there is another team that’s getting some notice lately – the K9 Explosive Detection Unit that patrols Safeco Field on game days.
King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Akiona and his Springer Spaniel Chase, Deputy Joe Merclich and Rio, a black lab, and Seattle Police Officer Craig Williamson and his yellow lab Dennis can be seen around the ballpark checking for suspicious packages. The dogs are all trained to detect over 19,000 explosive combinations.
While they’re all business while they’re on duty, the K9 officers are still just dogs. They’re friendly, playful and very approachable. Deputy Akiona wanted to find a way to help communicate what they do with the curious fans who approach them at games. So, he came up with the idea of baseball cards. The cards have photos of the three dogs (and there’s one with all the units, including their human partners) that have information about the dogs on the back. Sort of like their “stats.”
Chase’s says that he came from a family in Lake Stevens who couldn’t keep him. He started training to be a bomb sniffing dog in November of 2011 and has been on the job since March 2012. He likes playing with other animals and his favorite thing is food.
Both Dennis and Rio flunked out of guide dog training as puppies due to their curious nature.
Chase, Dennis and Rio all live full time with his human partners and enjoy being ordinary, although very well trained dogs in their spare time.
Tonight is Fan Appreciation Night at Safeco Field, and we hope to see all of you out at the ballpark today to open the crucial series vs. the Angels. There will be a ton of great prizes handed out tonight, including the chance to watch an inning with Edgar Martinez, a pair of Diamond Club tickets to a game in 2015, autographed memorabilia and several vacation packages, including a trip to spring training. We hope to see all of you at Safeco Field tonight and throughout the weekend. Go Mariners!
The Mariners return Safeco Field tonight opening a 6-game homestand vs. the Texas Rangers (Monday-Wednesday) and the Washington Nationals (Friday-Sunday). Here are some highlights of the homestand:
Mon., Aug. 25 TEX
- Ceremonial First Pitch – Shawn Hollis, 2014 Mariners Team Store Dreamstakes Grand Prize Winner
- BECU Family Night – Select View Level seats for $10 ($12 on game day)
Tues., Aug. 26 TEX
- Salute to Native American Night – First 10,000 fans 21 and older get a Mariners cap with a Native American motif on the bill. Courtesy of EQC. Native American dancers will perform pregame.
- Season Ticket Holder early gate opening—4:10pm Right Field Gate
Wed., Aug. 27 TEX 12:40PM start
- Safeco Grand Slam Family Pack – Ticket, hot dog and Pepsi for one low price, $15 View Level, $30 Main Level, $35 Terrace Club
- King’s Court
- Ceremonial First Pitch – Ernie Kent, WSU Men’s Basketball head coach
Fri., Aug. 29 WAS
- Fireworks Night – postgame fireworks show set to the music of Northwest artists.
- Mariners Wives Favorite Things Basket silent auction – Section 128, Main Concourse, to benefit Mariners Care.
Sat., Aug. 30 WAS
- Sustainable Saturday– Sponsored by BASF. Promoting the Mariners sustainability efforts at Safeco Field that have made the Mariners the top recyclers in the American League for two consecutive years.
- Felix Hernandez Bobblehead Night, first 20,000 fans, courtesy of
- Season ticket holder early gate opening – 3:10pm, Right Field Gate
- Mariners Care silent auction, Sec. 128, Main Concourse
- Silver Bullet Saturday in The ‘Pen
Sun., Aug. 31 WAS
- Salute to Kids Day, where kids take over the ballpark to do a variety of dream jobs including PA announcer, groundskeeper, reporter and more.
- Robinson Cano insulated lunch bag, courtesy of Boeing, all kids 14 and younger.
- Postgame Kids Run Around the Bases, sponsored by KeyBank.
Representatives from youth baseball and softball organizations from around the greater Seattle area got some “inside baseball” tips on how to keep their fields in Major League condition from one of the best grounds crews in MLB.
Mariners head groundskeeper Bob Christofferson and his crew led participants in a field maintenance clinic put on by Baseball Tomorrow Fund, an organization that provides grants to support youth baseball and softball programs.
Some 60 youth baseball/softball organization representatives started their afternoon at Safeco Field with a slide show, narrated by Christofferson, that gave insight into what it takes to keep a ballpark Major League-ready, followed by break-out groups to focus on such things as fertilizing, equipment and the pitcher’s mound.
Major League Baseball inspects to every field every-other-year, but Christofferson says he and his crew start every spring with a high-tech survey of Safeco Field. They laser-level home plate, measure the mound to make sure it’s regulation height and check to make sure the pitcher’s slab is 60-feet-six-inches from home, and that all the bases are the requisite 90-feet apart.
The mound, which is made of packed “Gator Gumbo” clay from the Mississippi River, is the purview of assistant groundskeeper Tim Wilson. Each spring, Wilson sets a new slab in the mound, burying it six-inches deep, and “packs the clay like asphalt” on the front slope of the mound. All season, Wilson works with the pitchers to make sure the mound is to his liking for every start.
To keep the field looking and playing its best, the crew will aerate twice a season (putting down some 15 tons of sand after each treatment), fertilize regularly, water and mow. In the middle of the season, when the team is home, the infield grass will be watered four times a day, and mowed twice on game days.
When the team is on the road, they “give the grass a break.” Crews will do what they call a “neutral mow” once a day without regard for the pattern in the grass. A few days before the start of a homestand, they’ll cut those precise patterns in the grass.
As for how the pattern appears, it’s all in the direction of the mower’s blades. Mowing in one direction will push the blades of grass down so they look lighter, and turning in the other direction makes it look darker.
Safeco Field’s infield grass was replaced a few years ago, but Christofferson notes that 80-percent of the sod is original from 1999, making it the oldest field in MLB. That’s testament to the expertise of Christofferson and his crew. A couple of years ago, they got a big assist with the arrival of some grow-lights from The Netherlands. From mid-February until April the lights are deployed daily, getting the grass in mid-season form by Opening Day. “We’re playing on June 1 grass on April 1,” says Christofferson.
One look at the lush, impossibly green grass of Safeco Field is evidence that Christofferson has earned his nickname, “The Sod Father.”