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Long to-do list for Safeco Field in offseason

Safeco Field will be bustling long after the last Mariners fan lets go of a disappointing season. (AP)
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Safeco Field will be bustling long after the last Mariners fan lets go of a disappointing season.

The field might get put to bed, but things are still bustling all through the offseason. It starts with the Monday Night Football matchup between the Seahawks and Lions.

“Before football games across the street, we open up our ‘Pen and bring people in for food, drink specials, early games on TV, the game up on the big board,” said Tony Pereira, senior director of ballpark operations. “We bring in 4,000 to 6,000 people to those. During the playoffs in January, I think we got as high as 9,000 coming in.”

Special events at Safeco include everything from holiday parties to luncheons.

There’s also pretty big honey-do list, says Joe Myrha, vice president of ballpark operations.

“From painting to repairing systems, making any modifications to the ballpark, making sure the roof works properly, we continue to paint the structure, the structural steel on the ballpark,” Myrha explained. “It’s kind of like the Golden Gate Bridge; once you start, and you feel like you’re done, you start over again.”

But the pristine field gets a nice little break.

“So we’re going to do a little bit of cosmetic work,” Head Groundskeeper Bob Christofferson said. “We’ve got some sod work to do. We’ll do an aerification and sanding. And probably in two weeks, we’ll put our grow lights out for about a month. And then about Nov. 1, we’ll let it go to sleep.”

The field is mowed about twice a month until February.

“You just kind of monitor the weather,” Christofferson said. “It never goes completely dormant, so we don’t want it to grow too much. We’ll fertilize.”

They try and keep the roof open as much as possible. But maintenance is sometimes forced to close the roof.

“A lot of it is if we’re going to have a really, really bad day of rain,” Christofferson explained. “It’s not so much for the field, but for the rest of the stadium we don’t want to drown the whole place. If it snows, it’s good for the grass. It acts a little bit like a blanket.”

The field gets a wake-up call pretty quick after the new year.

“Everything that we do is about Opening Day,” he said. “We’ll put the grow lights back out on the infield and the sidelines in the middle of February and keep them out there as close to Opening Day as we can.”

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