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Capacity: 47,116
Safeco Field


Area of fair territory: xxx,xxx sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Unknown.

 

Fences: 8 ft

 

Elevation: -2 feet

 

TICKETING
Lower Box, Terrace Club INF $32
Terrace Club OF $29
Field $27
View Box $18
Lower OF Reserved $18
Lower OF Reserved Family $18
View Reserved $14
View Reserved Family $14
LF Bleachers $9
CF Bleachers $5
General Information

Address:
First & Atlantic
Seattle, WA 98104
Tickets: (206) 622-HITS

Who Plays Here: Seattle Mariners (AL)
First opened: July 15, 1999 (against the San Diego Padres)
Stadium Style: Retractable roof
Surface: Natural grass
Capacity: 46,621 (baseball only); main bowl: 24,399; club level: 4,254; suite level: 936; upper bowl: 16,022; disabled seats: 1,010 (505 companion seats).

Architect: NBBJ (Seattle).
Construction: Stadium: Hunt-Kiewit (a joint venture between Huber, Hunt and Nichols, Inc. and (Peter) Kiewit Construction Company), Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire (Seattle); Roof: The Erection Company Inc. (Redmond).
Owner: Washington-King County stadium authority.


Cost: $517.6 million (as of July 1999).
Public financing: $340 million from a one-half-cent prepared food tax in King County and rental-car tax.
Private financing: $75 million from Mariners owners. Cost overruns of over $100 million are still being settled.

 

History

   Seattle's new ballpark for the Mariners was built to resemble the great ballparks of yesteryear.  It is open-air and has real grass, and features a retractable roof that covers the ballpark, but does not enclose it.

   The Mariners were losing money while playing in the Kingdome, a multi-purpose facility owned and operated by King County.  They believed that their long term economic viability in Seattle could only come with a new ballpark - other ball clubs were reaching the same conclusion.  The Ballpark at Arlington; Oriole Park at Camden Yards, in Baltimore; Coors Field in Denver; and Jacobs Field in Cleveland are all recent examples of this trend toward traditional baseball parks with modern comforts - and more economically viable seating.

   A 1995 ballot measure which would have levied a sales tax of one-tenth of one cent in King County failed by the slimmest of margins - 50.1% to 49.9% - and the state government had to bail the stadium out.  Eventually, the state approved a variety of taxes to finance construction:

 

Finances:  The State of Washington authorized a 0.017% statewide sales tax, which is now offset by a tax collected by King County (so no net tax increase on the general public was imposed).  They also contributed proceeds from the sale of baseball stadium commemorative license plates and from the sale of sports-theme lottery scratch games ($3 million is guaranteed from this source).

   King County imposed a special stadium sales tax of .5% on restaurants, bars and taverns, and a stadium sales tax of 2% on rental cars.  They also levy an admissions tax - they have the authority to levy two admissions taxes on the new stadium of up to 5% each.

   Finally, the Seattle Mariners contributed $75 million.  Cost overruns exceeding $100 million have yet to be settled.

   On March 8, 1997, ground was broken, and on April 2, 1997, bonds were sold to finance the construction.  The opening was delayed beyond the team's 1999 Opening Day, and the first game was played on July 15, 1999, after the All-Star break.  On June 4, 1998 the Mariners announced that the name of their new ballpark will be Safeco Field. For the right to have their name on the stadium, Safeco, a diversified financial services company whose roots in Seattle date back to 1923, will pay $1.8 million per year for the next 20 years.

 

The roof: Modeled on the SkyDome in Toronto. SAFECO Field is equipped with a state-of-the art, rubberized sheet metal retractable roof. The roof has three panels that nest on top of one another when the roof is open. The roof's length of span when closed is 665 feet and covers 8.9 acres. At its highest point when closed, the roof is 215 feet above the field. It takes 10-20 minutes to open or close the roof, depending on wind and other factors.

   Like in other retractable roof stadiums, the decision to open or close it is the team's, at the start of a game.  After the game starts, Major League Baseball rules are very specific.  If the roof is open and climatic conditions warrant it, the roof can be extended in the middle of an inning.  Once the roof is closed during a game, it will not be re-opened. If a game begins with the roof closed, it may be opened only between innings and the visiting team may challenge the decision to open it.  If the visitors opt to challenge, the decision becomes the discretion of the Umpire Crew Chief.   

 

Analysis

   The open air stadium played like a pitcher's park in 1999, and again in 2000.  Although a year and a half is often not enough to establish conclusively the ballpark effect, the physics suggests that nothing will change.  The stadium is actually under sea level, by 2 feet, and it allows the cold, damp Pacific air, and the ball does not carry well.  The Kingdome may have been a hitter's park, but Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey, Jr., were smart to git while the gittin' was good.

   The left field power alley is one of the longest in the majors; only Yankee Stadium and Comerica Park are longer, and the ball doesn't carry as well here as it does in those cities.  The ball seems to carry better to right than it does to left.

   The ball seems to carry better with the roof closed than with it open.

Defense: Because of the spacious left-center and right-center alleys, the center fielder must have excellent range.  The natural grass plays fair and true, keeping errors down and limiting the need for fleet infielders.

   

 

 

1999-2000

2000

Error Index: 84 89
Infield-error Index: 82 86

 

2001 STATS, Inc.

 

Who benefits: Pitchers, almost without exception but especially those who induce flyballs.  The ballpark also seems to favor left-handed hitters who pull the ball, and because the park dimensions are about 5 feet shorter to right, the reduction in power isn't quite as extreme.

 

Who gets hurt: Hitters with alley power, because they have a long way to go with difficult air.  Almost all key Mariner hitters have been hit hard - John Olerud, Mike Cameron, and Alex Rodriguez were hit the hardest, losing power and average.  In the second half of 1999, after the switch to the new ballpark, Ken Griffey, Jr., hit .255 with 19 HR, down from .304 with 29 HR in the first half.  Alex Rodriguez saw his batting average drop from .316 to .261, and saw his slugging percentage drop 93 points, from the first half of 1999 second half.

 

2000 Batting Splits

 

 

                BA         SLG        HR

 

Alex Rodriguez

Home       .272        .502       13
Away       .356        .702       28


Mike Cameron

Home       .220        .337       5
Away       .309        .528       1
4

 

John Olerud

Home       .250        .405       8
Away       .320        .473       6

 

Edgar Martinez

Home       .301        .563       19
Away       .341        .594       18




Park Factors

 

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1999* 92 107 91 84 94 118 100 87 79 54
2000 82 80 87 85 88 85 78 85 84 49

 

 

 

1999*-2000

2000

Walks: 107 109
Strikeouts: 115 119

 

* Post All-Star break.

2001 STATS, Inc.

 

Seating Chart

Location

Seattle, Washington: Left field (N), Royal Brougham Way; third base (W), First Avenue South; first base (S), South Atlantic Street; right field (E), Third Avenue South.

 

Dimensions

Left field foul pole: 331 ft.

Left field power alley: 390 ft.

Center field: 405 ft.

Right field power alley: 386 ft.

Right field foul pole: 326 ft.

 

Fun Facts

 

 

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