You can’t scatter your ashes at Safeco

DMZ · September 9, 2005 at 12:50 am · Filed Under Mariners 

So that guy who ran on the field was attempting to spread his mom’s ashes (Seattle Times, elsewhere). The Mariners have decided to forbid fans from scattering remains on the field.

“We’re not denying these people their last wishes because we’re mean,” Hale said. “There are too many questions. Where do you put them? How do you handle that? There are a lot of good reasons for us to have policies that don’t allow these kinds of things to happen.”

Rebecca Hale’s the head PR person for the team. Anyway, I have a couple of thoughts:
– What good reason do they have to forbid it? It’s not a biohazard or anything. Doesn’t this just force people to disrupt the game, since it can’t be done in a normal manner? I don’t think people should disobey the law, but seriously, if that was my Dad’s dying wish, there’s really no question it would happen. It’s unreasonable to expect denied people to act reasonably.
– Why do the Mariners get to make that decision? It’s not their stadium. If the PFD wants to allow it, shouldn’t that be their call as long as it doesn’t interfere with the team’s schedule or the condition of the field?
– Other teams have handled this differently. The Cubs, for instance, like to pretend nothing happens — if you ask them what happened when a fan leaned over the rail and dumped something out, they just go “I didn’t see anything.” I’m just saying.


33 Responses to “You can’t scatter your ashes at Safeco”

  1. Sweet Potato for Dinner Everyday on September 9th, 2005 1:53 am

    Ash-scattering at The Safe? Cool. Thank you guys for continuing to post great stuff. I am in Madagascar currently serving in the Peace Corps but I check e-mail about once-a-month or so. I kick myself for missing Felix’s rise to dominance but, hopefully, when I return, the M’s will be in a better way. The nostalgia piece on baseball love by Dave made me swell up (pert near) because I can’t tell you how much I miss being at the ballpark over here, as far from Seattle as a human being could possibly be. Enjoy the last days of summer in the greatest town on earth and be thankful you have the time and the resources to enjoy such a great game with your friends and family.

  2. Tommy on September 9th, 2005 5:09 am

    Not cool. Minor detail-cremains are not just fine powder like you might think. They can also include rough flakes and bone chunks-not to great to be on top of the grass. Sorry.

  3. Josh on September 9th, 2005 5:38 am

    I think it should be allowed in the off-season.

  4. jackson argo on September 9th, 2005 7:04 am

    #1 don’t worry, you have it easy. I joined Peace Corps in Summer of ’95. Though i did get sent videos through the first game of the indians series, wonder what happened after that?

  5. Adam S on September 9th, 2005 8:10 am

    Does anyone know if it’s generally legal to scatter ashes on public property?

    I found this on the PFD website ( which suggests why the Mariners would have the power to make the decision on ashes. I had the same question as Derek.

    When construction of the ballpark was complete, the PFD leased the building to the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club. The Club is responsible for day-to-day operations. The PFD remains responsible for oversight.

    I guess it makes sense that the tenant has some control over what happens to its rented space. I think an outright ban is silly. Restricting scattering to the off-season and/or foul territory makes sense. I bet their real concern is allowing it might take some effort ($) to monitor. What if they had 100 requests a year — that could be one per day for the entire off-season.

  6. argh on September 9th, 2005 8:30 am

    This (the Safeco burial problem) is far from insoluable. Simply rig up a bag/release mechanism similar to those used by the POW’s in ‘The Great Escape’, and smuggle the concealed deceased onto the ballfield during one of those fan appreciation deals or a Safeco tour and at the most opportune moment pull the release on your concealed bag releasing the contents. And for ever after you can ask members of the family: is that the left field line or is it grandma?

  7. Feldor on September 9th, 2005 8:48 am

    I just had an image of someone sliding into second head first and getting a mouthful of Grandma Winston…

    Seriously though, they could definitely find a way to deal with it that is sanitary, legal and without public spectacle.

  8. bigsean on September 9th, 2005 8:50 am

    A couple of weeks ago in ESPN the magazine, there was an article about the Cubs, their fans, and people who work in the organization.

    One of the individuals that was interviewed was the head groundkeeper.They were asking him what the craziest thing he had to deal with and he brought up fans trying to scatter remains. Apparently, it is epidemic at Wrigley.

    He said that he understood the fans and what was going on, but he was opposed to it because the PH of human remains does something to the soil that can eventually kill the grass. I’m assuming that there would have to be a lot of human ashes to do this, but there are a lot of crazed Cub fans who want to be scattered at Wrigley.

    I suppose the Mariners are just trying to avoid a situation of letting one person do it, then having to let every fan who wants their remains scattered at the Safe be able to do it.

    Also, think of the players. It would creep me out if I was playing center field on top of the remains of dead fans.

  9. dw on September 9th, 2005 8:54 am

    The M’s could build a columbarium overlooking the field. Then they can charge a $10,000 “personal burial license” and a $5,000 a year “service charge” on top of a $20,000 “waiting list fee” to be buried there. Oh, and $100,000 for field view.

    But, they’ll give you the right to buy one playoff urn. And also, free garlic fries for your mourners.

  10. msb on September 9th, 2005 8:55 am

    #5– that was my question– is it county property, or, because of the lease is it “private property”? If it is considered private property, ashes can be scattered only ‘with written permission of the landlord/owner’.

    from the Times:
    “Before 1977, a cemetery was the only legal place to put cremains in Washington state. Now, it’s OK to scatter or bury them in your yard (though you are supposed to disclose this if you sell your home). It’s also legal to scatter them in the Sound and most bodies of water, and, with permission, in national parks and on some state lands.”

  11. Dave in Palo Alto on September 9th, 2005 9:19 am

    This rule didn’t stop the Mariners from expiring on the field months ago.

  12. DMZ on September 9th, 2005 9:28 am

    This rule didn’t stop the Mariners from expiring on the field months ago.

    Dave in Palo Alto, ladies and gentlemen. He’ll be here all thread!

    I think that may be comment of the week. Possibly month.

  13. msb on September 9th, 2005 9:42 am

    if a dead career counts as continuing this thread…. from Finnigan’s piece on Boone today:

    “I want to play again; I intend to play again,” Boone said this week from his house on the Eastside, where he and wife Suzi live with daughter Savannah and son Jacob.”

    boy, you know things are rough when you have to get rid of two of your four children….

  14. paul on September 9th, 2005 9:43 am

    There are definitely ways to handle it. Arsenal FC used to allow small amounts of ashes to be spread between the touchline and the edge of the grass, and while it wasn’t an everyday thing, they would definitely try to accommodate the wishes of fans as much as possible.

    Now that they’re building a new stadium, Arsenal have decided not to raze the Highbury pitch, partly because of the plans for the area but also because of the ashes scattered there – it’s becoming a park that people can still play on, so those that have scattered their loved ones’ ashes can still come “visit”.

  15. PapaLima on September 9th, 2005 9:47 am

    The story got the airplane incident wrong- it wasn’t a “canister”, it was a plastic baggie. The guys that offer that service (dropping cremains from the air) use plastic baggies with a little sharp-edged piece of metal on the end of a wire or string.

    Fly over the site, pull the wire, slashes open the bag, cremains (which is the politically correct term, since they do indeed have ground-up bits of bone and are more sandy-like than ashy-like, although there is some ash too) sprinkle out, you’re done.

    In the earlier incident, though, the baggie got caught and rather than open, pulled off the wing intact. Plop.

    The point? The point is that if you still wanna be spread at Safeco, all you have to do is get a pilot to do it (not during games- illegal to fly over a stadium full of people) and hope that the mechanism doesn’t break.

    The cremains will disperse enough by the time they hit that it’ll be hard to tell that you just did it, and what are they going to do? Send the SkyPolice after you? (Hint: There are none and dropped from high enough, they’ll never see the N-number of the plane.)

    Best cremains story I ever heard? Guy doesn’t have the mechanism on his plane, but agrees to take a couple of people up to spread Uncle Joe over the San Juan Islands. (Joe loved ’em.) It’s a typical Pacific NW day and on the way up they fly through a little rain shower.

    Spread cremains by simply popping open the window and gently scattering/dumping Uncle Joe out. They fly back to the Arlington airport.

    Land, help people get out… they walk around the plane to go back in, only to see little bits of Uncle Joe stuck all over the side of the still-wet airplane. Kind looked like, well, like what you’d see if you dumped an ashtray onto a wet surface. People are somewhat distressed, pilot is trying to not laugh too hard.

    So most of Uncle Joe was in the sea and on the San Juans, but some of him was rinsed off the plane and down the drain at the airport. Hope he liked aviation. 😉

  16. xxTimxx on September 9th, 2005 10:11 am

    It gives a new meaning to “dead” center, huh?

  17. goodbye baseball on September 9th, 2005 10:32 am

    I had a thought similar to Dave in Palo Alto:

    The ashes of Scott Speizio’s, Aaron Sele’s, and Bret Boone’s careers (despite his first three years in Seattle) are scattered on that field. Now would Ryan Franklin’s career ashes be buried at Safeco or would they be taken back to Spiro?

    But seriously, are the Mariners taking the tact of no one gets on the field without their permission, even for something nice like spreading a loved one’s ashes, because of a paranoia spurred by 9/11? Do they actually think that someone will claim they want to spread a loved one’s ashes, get permission, and then spread anthrax instead? Did they take notice of the incidents that happened at Cell Phone Field in Chicago with fans attacking a coach, then an umpire, and think maybe this guy wanted to go after A-Rod? I want to believe there’s a legitimate reason for this ban, but not hearing or seeing one, I wish the Mariners would show some heart here.

  18. RealRhino on September 9th, 2005 10:36 am

    Wonder that they don’t use this to generate revenue. As is the common argument with legalizing drugs, aren’t you better off regulating it and getting money out of the deal? Do it in the offseason, charge a fee. That way the groundskeepers are aware of the extent of the problem and can respond accordingly, and the team gets money out of it. Maybe they could also build a kind of “monument alley” where you can stash the remains so the deceased can be in attendance and “watch” over every home game. Charge big-time for that, too. Charge entrance fees on certain holidays for loved ones to come visit.

  19. DriveByBlogger on September 9th, 2005 11:01 am

    “Son, scatter my ashes on the pitcher’s mound, next to Aaron Sele’s career..”

  20. JWZ on September 9th, 2005 12:23 pm

    “…but seriously, if that was my Dad’s dying wish…”

    Trust me: it’s not.

  21. Matt Williams on September 9th, 2005 12:34 pm

    I like the charge during the offseason approach, preferrably in a defined area. But, to be honest, I don’t think there’s going to be much call for it. Safeco just hasn’t been around for long enough for many people to feel that attached (unlike Wrigley), and I don’t think the generation growing up with the stadium is likely to view baseball in the same way people currently in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s do. The age of great radio broadcasts on hot summer nights has been replaced with slickly-packaged football on TV.

  22. Brian Harper on September 9th, 2005 1:02 pm

    I know. They can create a kind of urn that is topped by a brick, and sell space in the centerfield landing area where they’ll install the memorial bricks. That way family can visit their loved one’s bricks, and it won’t just be an inscription that has meaning. Well, they can visit whenever the M’s don’t decide to erect bleachers over them anyway…

  23. DMZ on September 9th, 2005 1:15 pm

    Trust me: it’s not.

    Wait, you’re dying, and you know what your wish is? You couldn’t call or something?

    Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy God whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

  24. Spooky Mulder on September 9th, 2005 2:16 pm

    Hale and her PR cronies are covering up the facts. The Mariners don’t want the ghosts of deceased fans roaming around Safeco.

  25. DC Mariner on September 9th, 2005 2:18 pm

    “Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors… and bowling, and as a surfer he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and… up to… Pismo. He died, like so many young men of his generation, he died before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And so would Donny. Donny, who loved bowling. And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.”

    (apologies. I can’t pass up a good Lewboski quote when applicable. If the Dude still posts here I’m sure he would abide)

  26. Shoeless Jose on September 9th, 2005 2:25 pm

    As opposed to the ghosts of deceased careers, and rallies, and losing seasons

  27. Smegmalicious on September 9th, 2005 3:07 pm

    I don’t see what the problem is. I think they should encourage this. In fact, I think an all human remains warning track would be damned awesome!

  28. Helmut Wakeham on September 9th, 2005 3:08 pm

    Maybe the M’s will rise up from the ashes one day . . .

  29. Michael on September 9th, 2005 4:49 pm

    25: Definately my favorite funny part in a movie full of funny parts. Now to make this thread related, I’m not sure if it would be such a great idea, either. Imagine seeing mighty Bloomquist sliding into homeplate and coming up with a grayish/brownish residue on his pants. “What a play,” you’d exlaim “and I think Willie’s wearing Grandma!”

  30. DMZ on September 9th, 2005 5:24 pm

    That’s just horrible.

  31. Colm on September 9th, 2005 10:13 pm

    I had a friend in London who’s Grandma was an avid Arsenal fan. When she died she wanted her ashes scattered at Highbury (Arsenal’s home ground). Apparently this is a common wish, but it also destroys the grass – I think human ashes are too acidic.

    So to accomodate their die-hard, dead fans Arsenal will cut out a square of turf (usually in the back of the goal – not in the main playing surface) and bury the ashes in there. I doubt if they inter urns.

    So that is where Miles’ granny rests to this day. It’s only a shame he’s a Chelsea nut.

  32. Colm on September 9th, 2005 10:20 pm

    Blimey, I just read Paul’s post above. Miles definitely said that his old dear’s remains were buried, not scattered.

  33. Colm on September 9th, 2005 10:31 pm

    But, when I first read this thread I thought you’d all converted to the love of cricket (lovely cricket).

    There’s a cracking Test series winding up in my old manor in Kennington, Sarf London between England and Australia. England need a draw (tie game) to win the series and retake the Ashes Trophy for the first time in 16 years. There are just three days left to play. It’s going down to the wire…