Plenty of jewels in the Safe
Kicking off our ratings of all 30 major-league ballparks with a look at the Mariners' Safeco Field.
Updated: June 23, 2006, 7:41 PM ETBy Jim Caple | Page 2 columnist
Editor's Note: This is the first report card in Page 2's summerlong series rating all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball.SEATTLE -- Every night, the Mariners broadcasters practically develop laryngitis repeatedly telling listeners that Safeco Field is the best park in baseball, if not in the history of civilization. Well, I'm sorry but it isn't, at least not in my book.
Opened: July 15, 1999
Surface: Grass Our Ratings:
Seat comfort: 4.5
Hot dogs: 5
Signature food: 5
P.A. system: 4.5
Fun stuff: 4.5
Trading up: 3
Fan knowledge: 2.5
7th inning stretch: 3
Local scene: 3.5
Wild card: 6
2. Quality of hot dogs: Why do people insist that hot dogs always taste better at a baseball game? Emeril could serve me a freshly cooked hot dog with imported Dijon mustard during the seventh game of the World Series, and it's still going to taste like the cheap remains of a pig stuffed into a thin sausage casing. That said, the hot dogs at Safeco -- the super dogs, the Ivar's fish dog or the Ichi-Dog available outside the stadium -- are top-notch. 5 3. Quality and selection of other concession-stand fare: Too many stadiums go about their concessions the wrong way. They sign a contract with a huge concessionaire who delivers such bland, predictable food that it should come with a tray and a fat woman in a hairnet and rubber gloves. Seattle has it right. It treats the stadium almost like the city's famed Pike Place Market, leasing space to independent operators who offer good, distinctive food. And what a variety. You've got all the classic stand-bys; but you've also got clam chowder, salmon sandwiches, sushi, chocolate-covered strawberries, garlic fries, wok-fried noodles, southern barbeque and much, much more. If Mo Vaughn knew about this, he would have insisted on a trade to the Mariners. 5+++ 4. Signature concession item: How do you choose? Is it the Ivar's clam chowder? Or the salmon sandwiches? Or the Ichi-roll sushi? Or the kettle korn? I didn't know what to pick, and then I smelled the garlic fries, whose intoxicating aroma can be savored as far south as Tacoma. Mmmmmmmmm. 5 5. Beer: Complaining about beer prices at a stadium is like complaining about real estate taxes. Everyone thinks they're too high. So I'll just say the beer is expensive (from $5.50 for a small Bud to $7.75 for a microbrew) but the selection is better than you find in most bars. Red Hook, Pyramid, Sapporo, Fat Tyre, Henry's Weinhard, Pabst, Alaskan Amber -- it's a wonder David Wells stays in the dugout when the Yankees are in town. 4.5 6. Bathrooms: Let's be honest. The only thing I'm looking for in a restroom is availability, a short line and reasonable cleanliness. Safeco amply provides all three. And there are enough women's rooms that even those lines are short even during a sellout. 5
Though he was sitting high in the upper deck, Jim Caple enjoyed the Safeco experience.
|Here's what Page 2's Jim Caple spent during his day at Safeco Field (yes, we're already worried about his cholesterol): Parking: Zero. Ticket: free ($10 ducat from fan who didn't want it) One chili dog: $7 One salmon sandwich: $7 One soda: $3.50 One beer: $7.75 One Ichiroll: $9 Total: $33.25|
|SOUNDS OF THE PARK|
What does a Mariners game sound like if you're walking the concourses at Safeco Field or stuck in traffic on the way there? Listen to the radio call of KOMO's Dave Nieuhaus as he gets excited over Bret Boone's grand slam against the Angels.