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Safeco Field Seattle Washington

Safeco Field Seattle Washington (Known places)

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Tags: washington (28 pics)

Safeco Field, sometimes referred to as Safeco, is a retractable roof baseball stadium located in Seattle, Washington, USA. It is the home stadium of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball club, seating 47,116 for baseball. The name is sometimes written as SAFECO Field, as its namesake corporation's name was actually an acronym and was rendered in all capital letters until 2000 (19 years ago).

Safeco Field is one of 2 stadiums built to replace the Kingdome, with the other being Qwest Field, home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, which occupies the former Kingdome site.

Major non-baseball events that have been held at Safeco Field include the 2001 (18 years ago) college football Seattle Bowl and WWE WrestleMania XIX, which set Safeco Field's attendance record of 54,097 in 2003 (16 years ago).

Location and transportation

Safeco Field is located in the SoDo district of downtown Seattle, bounded by First Avenue S. to the west, and Edgar Martínez Drive S. (formerly S. Atlantic Street) to the south, S. Royal Brougham Way to the north, and BNSF railroad tracks to the east. The stadium is located near the western terminus of Interstate 90.

Parking is available at the stadium's parking garage is located across Edgar Martínez Drive, as well as other privately operated lots in the area. Public transportation is available along the arterial streets surrounding the stadium. Additionally, the Mariners sponsored a bus shuttle service operated by King County Metro before and after most games through 2008 (11 years ago), as well as Sounder commuter rail service to nearby King Street Station before and after weekend afternoon games. The Metro shuttle service was suspended in 2009 (10 years ago) due to a new Federal Transit Administration (FTA) rule. Sound Transit's Central Link light rail system is scheduled to begin service to the stadium area on Jul. 18, 2009 (10 years ago).

History

On Mar. 30, 1994 (25 years ago), King County executive Gary Locke appointed a task force to assess the need for a new baseball stadium to replace the rapidly-deteriorating Kingdome. Many feared that the Mariners would leave Seattle if a new stadium was not built. In Jan. 1995 (24 years ago), the 28-member task force recommended to the King County Council that the public should be involved in the financing of the stadium. The task force concluded that a sales tax increase of.01% would be sufficient to fund the stadium. King County held a special election in sep. 1995 (24 years ago), asking the public for this sales tax increase. The measure was narrowly defeated.

On the baseball field that same month, the Mariners mounted a late-season comeback after being as many as 13 games out of first place and won their first American League West division title after winning a one-game tiebreaker against the California Angels. They went on to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, a series that was clinched on a memorable 11th inning double by Edgar Martínez. Despite the Mariners' subsequent loss to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series, the late-season comeback and postseason run renewed the public's interest in keeping the team in Seattle. In particular, Martinez' double is known in Seattle today simply as "The Double" (à la Willie Mays' "The Catch") and is regarded by many as having "saved baseball in Seattle".

A special session of the Washington State Legislature was called, and on Oct. 14, a new revenue package was authorized. The stadium would be funded by a credit against the state sales tax, Washington's Lottery funds, a.5% restaurant and bar tax, special license plates, and stadium admissions tax. The next week, the King County Council voted to approve this measure and created the Public Facilities District, which would own the stadium and oversee its construction.

On sep. 9, 1996 (23 years ago), the site was selected for the new stadium, just south of the Kingdome. In late fall, several members of the King County Council wrote a letter to the Seattle Mariners, stating that they did not believe that public money should fund this project. In response, Mariners ownership held a news conference stating that they would either sell the team, or move the team from Seattle. After a public outcry, the King County Council voted to reaffirm their cooperation with the Mariners in building a new stadium.

Construction officially began on Mar. 8, 1997 (22 years ago) with a groundbreaking ceremony featuring Mariners star Ken Griffey, Jr. The construction continued until Jul. 1999 (20 years ago). The first game in the new stadium was played on Jul. 15, 1999 (20 years ago) against the San Diego Padres. The Padres won 3-2.

Before the stadium was initially christened, the naming rights to the stadium were sold for advertising. Seattle-based Safeco insurance company paid $2 million for the naming rights for the ballpark's first 20 years. However, the acquisition of the Safeco company by Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group has opened the distant possibility that the name could be changed before the contract expires in 2019 (this year). However, experts speculate this will only happen if Liberty Mutual retires the Safeco name during that time.

When Ken Griffey, Jr., returned to Safeco in 2007 (12 years ago) with the Cincinnati Reds, he came to a hero's welcome, receiving gifts from the Mariners organization, and fellow former players Jay Buhner and Edgar Martínez. They unveiled a new poster that declared Safeco Field "The House That Griffey Built." The series was also noteworthy for the beginning of the Rally Fries tradition at Mariners games.


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