Two days ago I toured Safeco Field. The weather was mildly miserable but I was totally excited to see inside the Safe once again. Here’s a picture of what Safeco Field looks like in January:
Yeah, it’s pretty miserable. Safeco Field is much better in the spring. And with baseball playing on the inside. Once I got my ticket, which by the way they never checked, I took a few pictures of the memorabilia they had on sale. Broken bats, used jerseys, pictures of former players, autographed baseballs, just to name a few. I took this picture of a Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed baseball for two reasons: he’s one of my favorite players and his signature is really awesome. Here, take a look for yourself…
…wouldn’t you agree? And I would’ve bought it but I don’t buy memorabilia. I’d rather get my own autographs. It’s a lot better experience to meet the players instead. Besides, in 2007 I was able to obtain a Ryan Rowland-Smith original outside the stadium when he played for the Mariners. unfortunately, I was still new to the autograph collecting world and I had him sign my baseball with a red sharpie. So here in about another ten years the ink will have soaked into the leather and the autograph will be nearly faded away. I made that fatal mistake with George Brett too. I feel awful about it but there may be another chance to get both of their autographs the right way in the future.
Anyway. Back to the tour. Once we left the memorabilia store the Safeco Field staff was hard at work trying to prep the field, wash the concourse and scrub the seats for an upcoming event at Safeco called Mariners Fan Fest. If you’re a Mariners fan or privy to the Major League Baseball events you’d probably already know it’s this weekend. And I’m going. And I’ll be blogging about it too. So be ready for that!
Here’s a picture of the field:
Safeco Field is one of the prettier stadiums I’ve been to. I thoroughly enjoy the layout which gives fans 100% access to the entire stadium during the game. From a ballhawking perspective that’s pretty awesome. Ted, our tour guide, led us all around the stadium. We walked through the suites and he explained the prices for specific suites. For one of the better suites during a premium game, say like when the Yankees come to town, a suite behind or near home plate can cost in the upwards of $9,000 dollars! The rule is that you must have at least 18 people with you to get these suites. So if you know 18 people with $600-700 dollars, you’re in! And let me tell you: these suites are awesome. Take a look…
…and I apologize for the crappy picture. This picture doesn’t do the suite any justice. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the inside. And every suite is named after a famous Hall of Famer. We were in the Mickey Mantle suite.
Outside of the suites the hallways are littered with Mariners memorabilia, newspaper clippings etc. It was quite a site to see, let me tell you. If I could ever afford a suite I would certainly splurge and watch a game from there.
We visited the press box and the Diamond club, fancy-smancy is all I have to say. The Diamond Club, of course, leads you directly behind home plate. And a person can generally find a ticket for that area for around $200 dollars. But you know me. I’d rather take that $200 dollars and fly to Anaheim to watch baseball. That’s just how I roll. One day I’d consider accessing the Diamond Club. It’s all you can eat and drink!
And now for the fun part. The locker rooms and field access! Once we got into the locker room, Ted explained how the lockers are set up and who sits where. And this was where I met Jose Mesa’s nephew, Miguel. Well, I had met him in the beginning of the tour and he told me who he was while we were touring the suites and since he’s a huge Yankee fan, guess what seat Ted had him sit in?
You guessed it! Alex Rodriguez. Ted wasn’t sure where Derek Jeter sat and that’s okay. I also had to sit in A-rods locker chair with my Chuck Knoblauch shirt hanging out! Ha!
Miguel and I talked a lot about the long-standing feud between Omar Vizquel and Jose Mesa. I learned about this feud a few days ago when I found out Vizquel signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Vizquel wrote a book, which I have yet to buy and read, and said some things about Jose Mesa. In turn, Mesa vowed to hit Vizquel at every at bat when he faced him. Mesa was able to plunk him twice before he retired in 2007.
While Ted was explaining things along the tour, he led the group into the visiting team kitchen and shower. While he was doing that, look what I found:
Yes, the door was locked.
Anyway. On to the field!
Here I am holding down the Mariners dugout:
And here I am in the media room:
This picture was sort of blurry and it took Ted a few tries to get a decent one. He doesn’t have the most stable hands. But he did his best.
That’s the Safeco Field tour! I’ve toured one other stadium at that was Busch in St. Louis. unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures and I didn’t ever blog about it. That just means I’ll have to take a field trip back to St. Louis one of these days and tour the stadium so I can blog about it.
A lot of people would call me crazy if I told them the time I drove nine hours from St Louis, Missouri to Arlington, Texas to watch a baseball game, spend seven hours in a hotel room, and then drive nine hours back. Well, I guess Im crazy. I was excited as ever to go to this baseball stadium. Its been said that the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is among the top stadiums that is fan friendly. The security is so relaxed it nearly makes me want to move to Arlington just so I can attend Rangers games all season long. The only real problem I had was with another fan. I was wearing my infamous “A-Roids” shirt, and somebody that was sitting in the left field seats commented on it.
“A-Rod? Wow, buddy. You really shouldnt be wearing that shirt here.” The woman explained to me. At first I didnt know if she was being hostile or joking.
“Excuse me? Well, it doesnt say “A-Rod”. It says “A-ROIDS”.” I said.
“Oh, well. It looks like A-Rod. Your backpack strap was blocking it.” She said back to me.
“I apologize for my backpack strap blocking that.” I sarcastically replied.
“Well, maybe you shouldnt be wearing that shirt because it looks like “A-Rod”.” She said.
“Well, I hope people can read!” I laughed.
“Wow, how rude. Calling someone you dont know illiterate.” She looked up at me scoffing.
“I didnt call-you know what, nevermind.” And I found a new place to ballhawk.
The great thing about this stadium is there is little to no restrictions. There arent any fancy gates to keep fans out from behind home plate, there arent any red taped areas or walls or any other type of obstruction to keep fans from walking anywhere they want to. So I did just that. I walked around the entire stadium. The Rangers side of the stadium was filling fast, and the thing is I wasnt really worried about getting a baseball. The gates had opened up at 4pm, and the game started at 7pm. I just wanted to be here. I just wanted to be apart of this. This would be history if the Rangers won it tonight.
Also worth mentioning in the picture below look who was at the ballpark as well? I wasnt surprised though…
Yup! Peter Gammons was there as well! He is a baseball GOD! I wonder when that man is going to retire? Hopefully never! It was great to see him! Aside from that, that was all that was really popping on the Rangers side of the house. I couldnt say the same for the Yankees side though. I guess Arlington was just too far from New York for anyone to come out and support their team.
Thats what was popping on the Yankees side. Nothing. So I wandered the stadium some more. I played the outfield a little bit, and the Rangers were putting a lot of baseballs in the seats. Along with plenty of toss ups. But I just couldnt get a good position for any opportunity. I thought about playing the Batters eye, but I just wasnt aggressive enough. Those baseballs would come in hot, and the general age range of fans running out there was anywhere from five years old to about nineteen. But it seemed dangerous. A lot of slipping, and sliding, and running into each other. I watched for about ten minutes though, and witnessed the smaller kids just get TRAMPLED, and shoved around! I mean, it was nasty out there. The security guards would come out after the ball was secured by a fan, and usher everyone back over the railings. But it was pretty awesome that they let fans run out there. Of all the stadiums that Ive been to that have the grassy Batters eye, they wont let you go out there. In fact, if you do, they try to take the baseball back, and send you packing.
This was the view from where the Batters Eye is at. Notice the near empty seats around the infield? This was about twenty minutes AFTER the gates had let everyone in. Really, I had about a good 35 minutes of free roaming the stadium before hoards of people started to come in. It was simply amazing. I figured the stadium would be packed by now.
I continued to wander the stadium. I continued to wander the outfield looking to pounce on my first baseball of the ALCS. To no avail it just never happened during the Rangers BP. The Yankees started to trickle onto the field, stretching, and tossing baseballs around. I walked over to the third base side, and waited for a unique opportunity to grab a baseball. I lined up behind Chad Guadin, and A.J Burnett. A.J threw the baseball high, and Chad deflected the baseball into the seats. I reached for it but it was too high. He pulled a second ball from his back pocket, and continued to play catch. A.J continued to overthrow, and miss his targets but nothing else came my way. I thought about asking for baseballs but I didnt want to beg. Especially to the Yankees while wearing Ranger gear. ( I didnt bring my Yankees hat )
It was nearing the end of BP, and I still didnt have a baseball. I really wasnt all that concerned though. I really just wanted to find my seat, sit down, and read the ALCS program. My feet hurt, I was tired from the drive, and my shins, and knees had taken a beating from knocking into the old plastic seats in the stadium. I was just tired, and wanted BP to end. For the first time in my life I wanted BP to end. When it did I was thoroughly relieved, and scampered to concessions for some much needed water.
My seat was awesome. I was in the front row in the left field seats. I had a great angle on the Yankees bullpen, and if any ball that was hit well enough for a home run I would most certainly have caught it. So once Phil Hughes, and Jorge Posada came out of the bullpen to warmup, it started to pour. I mean, it was raining so hard I thought that they would cover the field, stop the color guard, and put the game on hold. Not one fan moved from their seat. The color guard continued to march out onto the field. The Marine Corps continued to hold the Texas state flag steady in the Batters Eye. The National Anthem singer started the song, and it continued to rain. The rain tapered off just as the grounds crew started to unroll the tarp. The National Anthem ended, and the color guard marched off the field. Rangers fans held steady. The Marine Corps started to roll the Texas state flag up, and the rain stopped. This game was going to start. Rain or no rain. I was EXCITED! As the Yankees piled into the bullpen, I hollered down to the pitching coach to throw me a baseball, and he graciously meet my demands despite my Rangers gear. I got my first baseball of the night, and sadly it was the only one I got. But I didnt care.
With Josh Hamilton to my left, and David Murphy to my right, and one hell of an awesome group of fans behind me this was probably the most exciting game I have been to in a long, long time. I loved every minute of it. I shouted, and screamed, and cheered, and whistled, and trash talked Alex Rodriguez, and I just had one hell of a time in Texas! It was so great I even got on Tv!
Yeah, I know. You can barely see me. But that was me!! They were awesome seats. Im not going to pretend that nobody reading this blog entry doesnt know that the Rangers won it, and earned a much deserved trip to the World Series. They did win 6-1 if you had been living in a cave for the last few weeks. It was an awesome game. After Vladimir Guerrero broke the game wide open with a two run double, and then Nelson Cruz hit a two run home run, I knew it was as good as gold. The Rangers were going to the World Series. The fans knew it, the players knew it, the whole world knew it! The stadium was so explosive! The fans were cheering, and yelling, and screaming, and ….it was literally…the energy…the emotions..people were crying, and laughing, and hugging….even Josh Hamilton had a hard time containing himself. He would look back at the fans every so often, and smile. He knew. They all did. How could they NOT??
The defining moments. What made it so sweet?
Alex Rodriguez striking out to end it all. Thats what made it so sweet. Alex Rodriguez is so hated around the league its unbelievable. Seattle hates him, Boston hates him, Kansas City hates him, Texas hates him…. and for him to strikeout to send the Rangers to the World Series on a pitch that he probably wouldve liked back…made it OH SO SWEET!!!
Dog pile on the hill ensues….
The Yankees take a walk home…
American League Champions…
HELLO WORLD SERIES!!!!
Congratulatory celebrations, awards presentations, and Nolan Ryan speaks to the fans.
It was a great night to be a Rangers fan at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Game; New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers October 22nd 2010 Game 6 of the ALCS
Game Balls; One