Tagged: Hiroshi Yamauchi

Safeco Field Tour

Back in early May, Tim and I visited my folks in Seattle and went to five Mariners games.  We also took a tour of Safeco Field one morning before the game.  We got a bunch of great picts that I wanted to share, but never had time to put a “Safeco Tour’ entry together before now.

So, here you go, finally.

1 edgar martinez way.jpg

We parked in the garage on Edgar Martinez Drive.  The tour starts from the team store where I got a great deal on a new M’s hat (that has been featured in every game entry since May 1st).

From the team store, we headed into a tunnel in the LF corner that led back toward home plate along the 3B line.  We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse.  We were supposed to tour the visitors’ clubhouse but the Oakland A’s had arrived early –  Boo A’s!

We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse and out the umpires’ entrance to the field.  The batting cage was set up at home plate for BP for that night’s game.  I took pictures to make this panoramic behind home plate:

2 safeco home field panoramic.jpg

We headed into the M’s dugout and Tim sat in Ichiro’s spot:

3 m's dugout ichi's spot.jpg

They let us hang out in the dugout for a long time and walk around on the warning track by the dugout.  But you can’t go on the grass.  Here is a panoramic from the warning track:

4 safeco 1B field panoramic.jpg

Here’s a similar panoramic from the “field” level — it didn’t really work out as I planned, but I still like it:

5 safeco 1B dirt level panoramic.jpg

Here’s Tim and grandma hanging out by the M’s dugout:

6 tim grandma m's dugout.jpg

Here is the visitors’ dugout and bat rack:

7 safeco visitors dugout.jpg

And a panoramic view from the visitors’ dugout:

8 safeco 3B dugout panoramic.jpg

Here are Tim and I in the M’s post-game interview room:

9 safeco interview room.jpg

Next,  our guide took us to the “Diamond Club” below the expensive seats behind home plate.  The club is decorated with a bunch of old baseball photos including (as shown below) an interesting picture of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a fishing boat and Babe Ruth’s contract from 1932.  All of the artwork is from some dude’s private collection — I can’t remember who, one of the owners or someone like that.  Anywhere, here are some pictures:

10 safeco diamond club restaurant.jpg

Next, we headed up to the (print) press box where I took this panoramic:

11 safeco press box panoramic.jpg

It would be pretty sweet to get to watch the games from this spot.  Tim played with a microphone in the press box:

12 official scorer.jpg

Tim was acting like he was the stadium announcer.  However, our guide told us that this microphone is actually for the official scorer.  He makes a decision on a play and relays the his play call through this microphone to the people who operate the scoreboard.

Next, we went to the owners’ suite where they have this *sweet* view:

13 safeco owners suite panoramic.jpg

On the wall in the owners’ suite, there are pictures of all of the owners.  The picture below is the majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi and a big stone with a message from Mr. Yamauchi carved into it:

14 M's Owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.jpg

In case you can’t read it, the rock says:

I acquired the Seattle Mariners as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest.  I am very pleased that what I was asked to do in 1992 has culminated in a magnificent new ballpark.  My hope is that SAFECO Field will be the home of the Mariners for generations to come.”  Hiroshi Yamauchi.  Kyoto, Japan.  July 15, 1999.

Here is some back story.  When I was growing up an avid M’s fan, I was bombarded every year with rumors and threats that the Mariners were going to move.  The one that stands out the most is that they were going to move to Tampa-St. Pete to play at Tropicana Field.

At the same time that I was worrying about the fate of my beloved Mariners, Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law was doing the same thing.  Mr. Yamauchi owns Nintendo.  He started it in Japan back in the day.  Years ago, he brought Nintendo to the U.S. where it was based in the Seattle area.  Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law lived in Seattle and was a big Mariners fan.  He was sick from the thought of the M’s moving to Tampa-St. Pete.  Luckily, he had a father-in-law who was flat out loaded.  So he went to Mr. Yamauchi and asked him to buy the Mariners and keep them in Seattle.  Mr. Yamauchi whipped out his checkbook.  He has never been to Seattle.  In fact, he’s never been outside of Japan.  But he bought the M’s to say thanks to the good people of Seattle and to ensure that the M’s would never leave Seattle.

Thanks, Mr. Yamauchi!  YOU DA MAN!

 Okay.  More stuff.  In the owners’ suite, they also have the 1995 home plate from the Kingdome.  This is the home plate across which Ken Griffey, Jr. slid on Edgar Martinez’s division series winning double against the Yankees.  Refuse to Lose!!!  Great to see it up close:

15 1995 Kingdome plate.jpg

Next, it was up to the upper deck for another panoramic:

16 safeco home upper deck panoramic.jpg

Here are a couple shots from the picnic area behind home plate in the upper deck:

17 safeco home plate picnic area.jpg

The picnic area looks nice for hanging out pre-game.  However, you can’t see the field from here.  So I’m not sure if it gets much use during the game.

Next, we headed back down to the field level.  The tour was winding down.

I took some shots of the main entrance behind home plate and the weird bat-thingy hanging from the ceiling:

18 safeco home plate entrance.jpg

Our guide told us that the bats in this thingy are all arranged as if the bat is being swung over and over and over.

So then the tour was concluded.  On the way out of the stadium, I took shots for one more panoramic from down the LF line:

19 safeco LF foul concourse panoramic.jpg

So that was the tour.  Although I didn’t convey it here, our tour guide (whose name I cannot recall) gave us a lot of information about the stadium.  He was very knowledgable.  He even answered one guy’s questions about the grass at Qwest Field and Nationals Park.

The tour costs, I believe, $8 or $9 per person.  Even for someone who has been to a lot of games at Safeco Field, I highly recommend taking the tour.