“I got to say it was a good day.”
And indeed it has been so far! I heard about the Cliff Lee verification from Shannon Drayer on the radio earlier today, but couldn’t write anything about it because I was in the car on my way to SafeCo. After fighting with a train and getting parking, I met my friend Dominique in front of the Team Store, and we went in to take the Safeco Field tour. Our tour guide was an older gentleman named Bobby, and he was very friendly and informative. For anyone who might have been wondering, he was able to solve the mystery of the right field grass patch that I was wondering about earlier this year – it’s because Ichiro literally wears a hole in right field! As if we needed another reason to love Ichiro. The tour consisted of me and Dom, and a young Japanese couple, and that was it.
Things started off rather slow for me personally, as I had been to a lot of the downstairs areas during FanFests at some point in time. We went to the visitor’s clubhouse, since the home clubhouse might have had players in it (we didn’t see any anywhere, incidentally), and to the visitor’s batting cage, which gave me nightmares from FanFest 2008, when I waited in line for 45 minutes to find out that I didn’t even have the hitting skills of the 6-year-old in front of me. We had a seat in the actual visiting clubhouse area, and were shown were Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Daisuke Matsuzaka usually locker, along with the bathroom/shower (which was kind of weird, frankly), and the small kitchen area where the opposition’s food is prepared and served.
There were drop cloths everywhere, as a paint crew worked diligently to freshen up things for the 2010 season. On the door to the visitor’s clubhouse, players are reminded to wear their uniforms properly:
I have noticed that I have the tendency to notice things that might not be as important to other people as they are to me; for example, taking the above photo of the door – I’m sure our tourmates thought I was crazy. I also wanted to get this photo of the door to the room where CB Bucknor rubs down balls with Lena Blackburne’s Rubbing Mud, and decides that all strikes thrown will be called balls for the evening:
The Phones of Power! Bobby informed us that they actually still work, even during the offseason, and that the areas listed on the handsets can actually be called if you lift the receiver. I did not touch them:
A picture of the field, taken on approximately the location of the Felix Hernandez/Franklin Gutierrez hug during a game against the Rangers where Gutz saved the King’s bacon by hitting a home run when it was needed the most:
From there, we were taken to the press room, and given Chone Figgins detail sheets that were leftover from the press conference yesterday. I wanted to get up there and have Dom take my picture, but Bobby didn’t make that option available, so I figured it was best left alone:
Just down the row was a ball and a dent in the wall from where none other than everyone’s favorite pariah Richie Sexson hit a foul not too long ago. I have to assume that strike three was not too far behind:
The tour concluded in the suite of none other than Jack Zduriencik himself, right over home plate. Bobby gave us some fun facts about the roof (and the fact that SafeCo has it’s very own weather guy to help make decisions on whether or not to pull it), answered my question about the right field grass, and talked about the stadium in general. Ever wonder where home plate from the KingDome wound up? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway – it’s in the GM suite:
All in all, there wasn’t a whole lot mentioned in the tour that I couldn’t learn from going to FanFest or didn’t already know from paying as much attention to the team as I do, but it was still informative on quite a few levels, and fun as hell. Bobby talked a lot about the ins and outs of how things are set up for the opposing players, and a lot of behind-the-scenes information that you wouldn’t get at FanFest, so that bit was nice. I suspected that players were treated very well, and I was right. Anything they want, any time they want it. The people who work there work like a well-oiled machine, right down to having the information about players’ diets and shaving cream preferences! I was unaware that even players’ wives are not allowed in the clubhouse, or family of any sort – that is what the green room across from the clubhouse is for. During games, some 30 or so security guards line the hallway, insuring that the crazies don’t find a way down there; so I guess there go MY summer plans. There are also guest lists and checks and balances for members of the media to get into the clubhouse, in the event that a player doesn’t want to talk to them, or is busy with a manager or something else. Being able to go into the press boxes was cool, as was being told about exactly what happens in the Diamond Club – and if I didn’t want to see at least one game there before, I sure do now – time for me and Eric to start saving for that Kansas City Royals game (I figure if we go see the Royals not only will we get to eat lobster at a baseball game, but we’ll get a win out of it, too).
If you haven’t been, and you’re a Mariners fan, you should definitely go -and ask for Bobby!