An Interview with Safeco Field ‘Expert’ Doug Miller

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Thursday April 19, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)-  Doug Miller is another Pacific West guy that exemplifies what it is like to be a ball park chaser.  Living on the this side of the mountains forces you to exercise every single one of your travel tricks to make it to all of the MLB Parks you can.  Doug has made it to the majority of the current parks.  He is knowledgeable, a class act and it is a shame that the baseball world does not hire this man and use some of his skills.  Today Doug is our Safeco Field Expert and the subject of our featured article.

DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Doug. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as Mariners ticket fan?”

DM:You bet, thanks for having me!  It’s funny, but I wasn’t a baseball fan when I was a kid.  I played some Little League for a while, but was awful at it.  Right Field all the way.  Ha-ha.  I had some friends that were on the baseball team in high school and I really started getting into the game in a different way.  This was back in 1988-1992 –- I didn’t know this interview was going to make me feel old!  I knew a few guys from school that got drafted, so I paid more attention because I thought I could be watching these guys in the Kingdome someday, whether with the Mariners or the couple of other teams they got drafted by.  My enthusiasm was ramping up, I’m in college and watching games at WSU, I’m hitting a handful of games in Seattle during break and then BOOM, the strike.  I was happy when it started back up, and by the time I got out of WSU, baseball was just a way of life for me.  Since then I’ve hit close to 50 ballparks, but Safeco Field is my home away from home.”

DB: “You have been to nearly all the baseball park. Besides Safeco Field, what has been your favorite other ballpark so far?”

DM; “Definitely Fenway, with Wrigley as a close second.  One of the things about the game that I really love is the history.  It’s hard to argue with the history of the franchises and these parks.  I had my first games at Petco last year and was really surprised at how much I liked it.  I thought it was going to feel kind of forced, you know, with the whole retro vibe so many parks have gone for, but I really liked it.  There are a ton of parks I like for different reasons, like Citizens Bank in Philly.  Without a doubt the best smelling park in baseball!  I could talk ballparks all day long, I know you’re the same way!”

DB: “Safeco Field has had a decline in attendance over the last few years. What does the organization need to do in order to start selling out the place again?”

DM: “Win.  I mean you’re talking about a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 10 years, lost over 100 games 2 of the last 4 years, and has a 47% winning percentage since 2001.  I’ve seen some miserable baseball.  There were plenty of times I was sitting in the park wondering what the hell I was doing there.  And you have to understand, I don’t leave early, so I had some long and miserable nights.  Last year was the first year in a while that I liked what I was seeing from the team.  It’s easy to look at last year, see 95 losses and think, “Wow, that was a crappy team.”  But really, last year’s team was a totally different animal than the team from 2010 that had quit written all over them.  2009 had some good moments, but it was a team built around an illusion of competing.  The “Believe Big” slogan was a huge swing and a miss – see, keeping it topical.  And those pre-2008 teams were just… well, it’s been a long ten years.  I don’t blame fans for choosing to do something else.”

DB: “Safeco Field, while nice is one of the hardest parks to get to from the airport, do you think this drives away some casual fans visiting the city?

DM: “No, I don’t think so.  I think most casual fans visiting the city are there for longer than a day or two.  They’re making a trip out of it.  They’re staying downtown, hitting Pike Place, taking a ferry, maybe hitting some parks.  Seattle, and just Western Washington as a whole, is a beautiful place.  It’s an area that deserves more than a day or two.  Are there things that could be improved?  Sure, but it’s getting better.  I know they added the light rail from the airport that hits on the other side of Qwest Field, which is a short walk to the park.  Is it Chicago or New York easy?  No.  But I’ve seen worse.”

DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Safeco Field for the very first time?”

DM: “The biggest piece of advice I’d have is to leave plenty of time.  What I mean is leave time to just walk around the area.  Safeco is a short walk from the waterfront.  There’s Pioneer Square and a handful of bars that are really popular.  If you have time walk down the row of Piers and head up to Pike Place Market.  It’s a cool area to check out if you’re visiting from out-of-town.  At the park, be sure to hit the LF entrance on the corner of Dave Neihaus Way where they have the glove sculpture, then head back and take the Home Plate entrance on Edgar Martinez Dr.  There’s an Ebbetts feel coming in at homeplate.  Be sure to check out the Pacific Northwest Baseball museum, that’s to the left of the escalators.  Make sure you leave time to hit the 300 level of the park, there are some great views of the water and the city, especially around sunset, and if you’re single, be sure to hit The Pen, which is down behind LF and CF.  It’s a total meat market down there if you’re single, which I’m not.  Ha-ha.  That said, they have some great eats down there and a upclose view of the Bullpen.  You won’t find a park in baseball with a closer view of the Bullpen.”

DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to Safeco Field?”

DM: “I’m driving thru Seattle a lot for work, so I’ll usually drive and park on side-streets.  There’s free parking down there if you know where to look.  I live across the water from Seattle, so I’ve taken a ferry into Seattle and walked too, which is fun and not too far.”

DB: “What is the food like at Safeco Field? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

DM: “Well, anyone that’s been to my website or went thru my profile at Ballpark Chasers knows that I love to eat.  I’ve had a bit of everything in the park, it always depends on my mood.  There’s a lot more than just hot dogs.  Personal favorites for me are the BBQ sandwiches on the 1st base line, a piece of pizza down by the Bullpen (which is a good deal), or that new hamburger place, also by the Bullpen.  They have it all though.  I know sushi is big there, and those damn garlic fries…”

DB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance at Safeco Field?”

DM:  “I can narrow it down to a few, for different reasons.  I guess my overall favorite game was the 2001 All Star Game.  Watching Cal Ripken Jr hit that homerun off Chan Ho Park was magical.  Did he serve it up?  Who knows.  But I do know one thing.  It felt like the crowd willed that ball out.  I had chills.  Literally.  Chills.  Seeing Griffey come back with the Reds for a three game series and hitting two home runs and making a diving catch was awesome.  Watching Brandon Morrow pitching a No-hitter into the 8th against the Yankees with my friend Jesse was exciting because it’s been as close as I’ve gotten to seeing one.  Taking my two daughters to see Ken Griffey Jr for our first all family trip to Safeco is definitely on there.  Just sharing the game with my kids now completely changes the experience.  As one of 2 remaining teams to have never been in a World Series before, what would it mean to the city of Seattle if they were to even make the World Series? It would mean that my days of free parking would be over!  Ha-Ha.  But it would be worth it.”

DB: “Thank you very much Doug.”

***Thank you to our Safeco Field Expert- Doug Miller for participating in today’s article.  to learn more about Doug and his website click here***

Follow Doug Miller on Twitter- @millerdna

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024


About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at
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