By Josh Kerns/MyNorthwest.com
We're still getting over the Seahawks playoff loss, but baseball is just around the corner. And Mariners fans have a chance to see the progress of major renovations, fly over the field on a zip line, and meet some of their favorite players over the weekend at the team's annual FanFest.
"It's our opportunity to open up the doors of Safeco Field and let the fans have a really up close and personal experience with the ballpark and Safeco Field," says Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale.
Along with the usual meet and greets, are chances to run around the base paths and test your fastball in the bullpen, and for the first time the M's are offering a zip line to soar 200 feet from third base into the outfield, all for free.
"It's not going to be from the 300 level down," Hale says. "But it'll be enough of an elevation that you'll be able to get a pretty nice ride above the outfield at Safeco Field. So it's a vantage point that fans have not yet been able to have."
Fans will also get their first look at the big changes coming to the ballpark. There's construction everywhere. Crews are moving the outfield wall in closer to home plate, tearing the roof off the old restaurant beneath the manual scoreboard in left field for the creation of the new open air Edgar's Cantina, named in honor of M's great Edgar Martinez, and installing the new LED panels for what will become the biggest HDTV screen in all of major league baseball.
"We've got a lot of things going on. I think it will be fun for the fans to see that in progress," Hale says.
All of the projects are either on schedule or even ahead of schedule, and Hale says everything should be good to go in time for the Mariners season opener April 8. And fans are already itching to get back to baseball.
"Now that the Seahawks season has sadly ended too soon, we felt like there was a real shift in people's awareness now that it's almost time for pitchers and catchers to go to Peoria," Hale says.
The 15th annual Mariners FanFest runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Safeco Field. Admission is $10 for adults, free for kids 14 and under.