Derek wrote the other day about improvements heâ€™d like to see to the pregame show so, in that same vein, here are a few improvements Iâ€™d like to see made at Safeco Field…
Several teams have recently started to make their stadiums more environmentally friendly but, surprisingly, the Mâ€™s arenâ€™t one of them. I know they do a great job at recycling but thatâ€™s not enough. The Pirates recently launched a great programÂ that includes an emphasis on recycling, printing team materials with soy-based ink, converting their cooking oil into bio diesel, installing motion sensors for lights in the offices, eliminating all Styrofoam, and making all U.S.-based scouts drive Chevy fuel flex vehicles. The Red Sox and Giants recently installed (or plan to install) solar panels, the Mets new park is being built with recycled concrete and steel and the Aâ€™s have converted to corn-based beer cups that can be composted. Even minor league teams are going green. Baseball America reported last year that the Lake Elsinore Storm would conserve a million gallons of water every year by simply installing flushless urinals.Â
Currently â€œnoisemakersâ€ are banned at The Safe â€” no thunder sticks, no cowbells and the Tuba Man has to stay outside. Hereâ€™s what the Mâ€™s site says on the issue:
For the comfort and enjoyment of our guests, noisemakers of any type (e.g., air horns, cow bells, etc.) are prohibited.
Now, theyâ€™re certainly not alone in that stance. I looked at every teamâ€™s stadium guidelines (except the Mets who took Sheaâ€™s down already) and here are the other teams that also prohibit all noise makers: Braves, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, White Sox and Yankees. The Indians, who have a season ticket holder that brings a drum to every game, ban â€œplastic bazooka horns, air horns, bugles, cow bells or any other type of noisemaker that is deemed offensive or dangerous to fans.â€ Dangerous? Is a shotgun considered a noisemaker?
Some teams have limited restrictions, such as the Angels (team-issued noisemakers only), Blue Jays (no pressurized air horns), Giants (no air-powered noisemakers) and the Royals (no bullhorns or air horns).
That leaves the Astros, Athletics, Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers and Rays with no restrictions.
So, depending on the Mets, itâ€™s almost 50-50. But, to me, banning noisemakers at a ballgame is just crazy. Itâ€™s not as offensive as banning books from schools, but thereâ€™s a parallel level of counterproductivity.
Bring back fireworks
Iâ€™m not even a big fan of fireworksâ€”I never go out on the Fourth and I never stay after minor league games when they have fireworks nightsâ€”but thereâ€™s something fun about a few loud, colorful bursts after one of the players jacks a three-run shot. A lot of the things the Mariners do just donâ€™t make sense, but Iâ€™ve never understood why they shot off fireworks in a dome but not an open-air stadium.
More local food options
I know thereâ€™s already Dixieâ€™s BBQ, Ivarâ€™s and Kidd Valleyâ€”all solid choices. But how great would it be if they had Mattâ€™s Famous Chili Dogs, aÂ Daily Dozen donut stand and replaced Kidd Valley with Dickâ€™s. Hey, a (fat) guy can dream, right?
Allow season ticket holders in early
The Orioles do thisâ€”probably other teams too, but I know the Orioles do because I bought a season ticket from someone when I was there a few years ago and got to go in 30 minutes before everyone elseâ€”and itâ€™s a nice treat. Plus, a great selling point (â€œTired of watching the M’s not hit during the actual games? Become a season ticket holder and you can come in early and watch them taking batting practice!â€)
Now that the Sonics are gone, no teams in Seattle are utilizing the awesome kiss cam. You know, where they play that song from The Little Mermaid or â€œKiss Meâ€ by Sixpence None The Richer, put the camera on couples and get them to kiss on the big screen. Itâ€™s cute, itâ€™s funny and I have to admit that I get a kick out of it. Hate the wave, love the kiss camâ€¦
And I saved the best for lastâ€¦
Hereâ€™s another dose of improved between-innings entertainmentâ€”a live race! Peace out, Digital Dave. This would be like the sausage race in Milwaukee or the Presidential race in Washington, except with a Seattle twistâ€”Starbucks cups! This is essentially advertising, but entertaining nonetheless. And that’s not uncommon. The hydroplane race on the big screen is sponsored by Oh Boy Oberto and Milwaukee’s sausage race is sponsored by Klement’s sausages. For the Starbucks version, there could be a the traditional white paper cup, the clear Frappaccino cup, something else (A mermaid? Biscotti? My â€œbest ideaâ€ isnâ€™t 100 percent thought out), and the kickerâ€¦a bag of decaf beans that, like Teddy Roosevelt at Nats games, never wins! If Starbucks goes through with this, I expect free drinks for life.