This is a bit late in being posted, but given how many Giants fans were in Seattle over the weekend for the interleague series (it must have been at least a few thousand), I was somewhat surprised no one had posted pics from Safeco Field, so I figured I'd share mine.
I was at the game Friday night--Randy Johnson's return to Seattle, Tim Lincecum's homecoming and of course Felix Hernandez Bobblehead Night, which was much calmer and more orderly than Timmy's bobblehead riot. We got there about two hours before game time and got to watch the Gigantes do their stretching exercises and batting practice. For a team that had just been swept in San Diego, they sure seemed pretty loose and happy. I yelled "PANDA!" at Pablo Sandoval when I saw him and he waved back--he was chatting with a lot of the fans, including some San Jose Giants fans holding a huge Venezuelan flag. Joe Martinez was signing autographs from the dugout, he looks a whole lot better now than he did with that huge black eye. Rowand, Cain and Timmy all drew a huge crowd of autograph seekers and were very obliging. Brian Wilson was keeping his distance from the fans (maybe a good idea), and when Kruk came out the dugout to chat with the players he immediately put his arm around Wilson for what looked like some pre-game encouragement.
As for the ballpark and the game, we had a great time, even though the Giants could only manage three hits in 12 innings:
- Safeco's a great-looking park: much more intimate than I expected given that it has a retractable roof.
- There's a central concourse a la The Big Phone that's really wide and full of good food choices (including a food court with the amazingly named Intentional Wok, serving Asian dishes). We had some brats and hot dogs that were tasty.
- There's a great beer garden behind the center field wall that looked like a great place to get sloshed and yell at the outfielders.
- The sound system seems better than at AT&T, or at least louder, although their in-game presentation leaves a bit to be desired: there were wayyy too many Shots of Fans Dancing on the Jumbotron between innings. In fact, we noticed that's literally all they did every half-inning from the 7th inning onwards. Also, it's weird to say this, but their video board looks small and primitive given that it's only 10 years old; they have yet to go to HD on the Jumbotron and they don't have the ribbon scoreboards around the field.
- The fans and ballpark staff were almost uniformly friendly and polite. Just about everyone we met in Seattle was this way. The standing ovation the fans gave to Randy Johnson as he walked off the field was great. The roaring standing ovation they gave Junior Griffey in the 9th inning was unlike anything I'd ever heard, even compared to Giants fans cheering for Bonds. The only points off Mariners fans get is for the folks in the upper deck who successfully started The Wave not once, not twice, but THREE times during the game.
Lastly, sorry to reveal the hidden secrets of The Mayor of 311's hometown, but Seattle is an unbelievably great and beautiful city. I'm going to pretend it's always 75 degrees and sunny there and book my next trip soon. We'll be brewing up some Stumptown Coffee this weekend.
And now the pics: