Photo Credit: dherrera_96 - flickr
The Seattle Mariners are the professional baseball team of the Pacific Northwest. The franchise got their start in 1977 and are currently part of the American League's Western Division. While they have no World Series Championships to their name, they became quite competitive in the mid 90's when players such as Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson were suited up in Mariners uniforms.
The Mariners play in Safeco Field, a retro-modern stadium built in 1999 to replace the aging Kingdome. The field features a retractable roof which helps the team stay on schedule during the mainy rainy days which occur in Seattle. The team is owned by Nintendo, making it one of three teams in baseball owned by a corporation (the others being the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves). The owners, much like the city itself are very progressive. The park incorporates full interactivity with the Nintendo DS where fans can connect with others, order ballpark food (many vegan and gluten free options available) and delve deeper into player stats.
A Nintendo DS connected to the Mariners' Fan Network
Because of their geographic proximity and ownership group, the team has a very close link to Japan. The Mariners have successfully recruited Japanese stars such as Kazuhiro Sasaki, Kenji Johjima and fan favorite Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro, who goes by first name on uniform has well over 3,000 hits when you combine his U.S. and Japanese playing careers and is a sure fire hall of famer. He was the main draw of a team until he was traded to the Yankees during the 2012 trading deadline.
Safeco Field plays big. Since it's construction, it has consistently rated as a pitcher's park. Home runs are tough to come by here because of the dimensions, so games are usually lower scoring relative to the rest of the league. Team management has focused on building a team that can compete given the limitations of their home park. This has equated to loading up on great pitching and solid defensive players. Games are often low scoring, so traditional baseball strategies are employed regularly (bunting, hit and runs, taking the extra base, etc.). Not only does this style of play resemble Dead Ball Era American baseball, but current the current Japanese game as well.
Ichiro playing small ball
In the 21st century, there is no better ballpark to watch a game in a modern setting with a retro game feel. The park is built into the industrial area of downtown, and there are as many as five trains that pass by during each game, horns a blazing. The water of Pudget Sound is easily visible from Lookout Landing, as is the Space Needle.