Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Section 101

I'll be the lone blogosphere dissident. The USS Mariner continues to bemoan the loss of the bullpen market due to the installation of "temporary" bleacher seats in center field (That's nine posts that I count so far). I don't really care that much.

Why? Because I enjoy baseball with some peanuts and a conversation with a friend or family member, not with a beer in a crowd of hecklers. I understand a lot of baseball fans like the beer and heckling, but not me, and I don't morn the loss of something I never wanted anyway.

Second, in my opinion, Safeco Field has some serious design shortcomings for a new facility, and I'm saying this having seen several ballparks. The addition of those bleachers in section 101 happened because the stadium has a serious lack of good outfield seats. Safeco is a large cavernous steel structure that somehow uses two thirds of the outfield for something other than seats, and there aren't fountains like we have here in KC at Kauffman stadium to make up for it. Just think of how the bullpens occupy the entire left field fence, and how many home runs are collected by the relief corps of the two teams instead of by fans. In dead center field above the batters eye, where fans might want to stop and watch, large steel plates block the view from the pedestrian walkway (the only place, I might add, where you can't see the field from that level). With so many outfield seats and views taken away from fans, it's that much more likely that seating expansion would attempt to address that gap.

(Just as an example, imagine if the bullpens ran lengthwise back from the outfield wall, instead of width-wise across it. In about half of the span of one of the current bullpens, you now have both bullpens, and you can use that space to put good seats right at the outfield wall.)

Granted: the installation of seats in the bullpen market area is a poor solution to a problem more fundamental to the stadium's design. I understand that a lot of fans had fun in the bullpen market, and I don't begrudge them that. I do think that it's a little silly trying to get more seats in the stadium when the fans aren't coming any more. But I'm having a hard time being too upset, because the Bullpen Market wasn't ever a place I hung out, so I'm not going to miss it if it goes away. I might even consider buying tickets to those seats.

No comments: