It's hard to believe the Seattle Mariners still hold the league record for most games won in a regular season. It's not so hard for this franchise's fans to believe it's been more than a decade since this team won those 116 games during the last year it made the playoffs.
It hasn't been pretty for the M's faithful since 2001. There have been only four winning seasons in that 11-year span, no playoff appearances and a steady departure of stars such as Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Freddy Garcia and others. The team has arguably the best pitcher in the American League in Felix Hernandez, but each losing season eats up another year of the 27-year-old's prime.
At least there's beautiful Safeco Field in the city's ever-developing Sodo neighborhood. With views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and neighboring CenturyLink field, there's a lot to see on days when the marine layer clears out and the retractable roof opens. It's a nice distraction from the on-field mediocrity, but there's perhaps no better way to keep your mind off the game than by diving into Safeco's ample and diverse concourse offerings.
While the ballpark earned its reputation for sushi, teriyaki and egg rolls early on, juicy burgers, potent garlic fries and thick shakes from local chain Kidd Valley are some of the stoutest concessions in the majors. Local seafood chain Ivar's, meanwhile, puts a Pacific Northwest slant on a ballpark staple with Ivar Dogs -- slivers of fried cod topped with tartar sauce and cole slaw. The stadium's best-kept secret, however, is "The Man" sauce at Porter's BBQ, made with a closely guarded recipe loaded with spices. On most nights, it has more kick than the Mariners' lineup.
And since this is the Pacific Northwest, Safeco has also earned a reputation for having a beer list as diverse as the offerings of its brewery-heavy region. In putting it at the top of its list of baseball stadiums with the best craft beer selections,
The Daily Meal
rattled off an impressive list of local and national Safeco beer offerings, including Alaskan, Big Sky, BridgePort, Deschutes, Diamond Knot Craft, Dick's, Elysian, Fremont, Full Sail, Harmon, Mac & Jack's, Georgetown, Ninkasi, Pyramid, Red Hook, Skagit River, Snoqualmie Falls and Widmer Brothers.
The team's $28.45 average ticket price is still higher than the league's midrange, but one of the benefits to having a team with low expectations is that their ticket prices tend to soften in the secondary market.