Courtesy of Andrew Malone

Press Box Perspective: A Seattle Sojourn to Safeco Field

Going north to Seattle’s SoDo with the Mariners

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor

The 2014 Major League Baseball season starts on Sunday, April 5, and the Seattle Mariners look to keep up last year’s success. They hope to make their first playoff appearance since 2001, and with all-stars like pitcher Felix Hernandez, second baseman Robinson Cano and right fielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz, it certainly looks likely. No matter their win-loss record, the Mariners have an excellent venue with Safeco Field in Seattle’s SoDo (south of downtown) district. But what is the best way to get there and have a great game day?

The Seattle Sojourn

There are several ways to get to Safeco Field via car or public transportation. One of the best ways to do this is to take the BoltBus service, which coincidentally shares a stop with the Pioneer Express (right in front of the Starbucks on Salmon Street). I’d recommend reserving a seat on their website, which costs approximately $15-$20 per ticket. This only covers one leg of the trip, so you have to pay double for a round trip. The drop-off site in Seattle is located at 5th Avenue and South King Street, and is only a short walk from Safeco. If you would rather drive, the drive is a manageable three to four hours, depending on traffic.

Parking should not be much of an issue, as there are three garages for the stadium (the Safeco Field Garage, the CenturyLink Field Garage and the Union Station Garage). It costs $20 to park in these garages. Street parking is also available throughout SoDo, in addition to other, smaller lots.

The Spectator’s Eye

There are several ways to get tickets for the Mariners games. The most obvious way is to order them through the team’s official website. These tickets generally don’t sell out before game day. If the official site does sell out, the secondary market also offers many opportunities. But where are the best deals for seats? Here are some suggestions.

Field Level: Sections 112-124 and 136-46

These seats will bring you close to the action and provide some of the better sight lines in the park. While the prices for these seats range anywhere from $50-$80 per ticket from the official site and on the secondary market (where their value can double for in-demand games), the views they give are well worth the price. Avoid sitting in sections 102-104, as they are behind centerfield and too distant from the action to justify the price.

Bleachers: Sections 180-7

These seats, which go for about $20 per ticket, are easily the best deal at the park. Not only do they offer great views that are comparable to some in the field level sections, they also give you close access to the bullpens. It is wise to avoid the center field bleachers for the same reason as sections 102-104, as they are somewhat distant and to the back of the scoreboard.

Upper Level: Sections 320-9

Going for $30-$40 per ticket, these seats are the best deal on the upper deck. The sight lines are still good, despite the seats’ distance from the field, and the impressive view of the Seattle skyline is at its best here, especially at a night game, when the sun is just about to set.

Prime nights

Since baseball teams play series of games against each other, there will be plenty of opportunities to see a variety of opponents. Make sure to look at the league standings to find struggling teams coming into Seattle, as these tickets will sell for less. If you want to save money, avoid games against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or any games where Felix Hernandez is pitching. Tickets for these games command higher price tags due to high demand on the secondary market, and will be flex priced to higher values on the team’s official website.

The Culinary Catch

What else does SoDo have to offer? There are plenty of dining options close to the park, like The Triangle Pub, Jimmy’s on First and El Camion. The stadium is also close by the International District, which features places like Humble Pie, Mike’s Noodle House, and Harbor City Restaurant.

Even if the Mariners fail to live up to expectations, or baseball simply is not your thing,  you can still have a blast at Safeco Field.

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