Touch 'em All!

Sept 5 - New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field
Sept 6 - New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field
Sept 7 - Houston Astros vs. Colorado Rockies, Coors Field

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By the time we’d completed the 2006 Life on The Mississippi Tour there were still quite a few stadiums we’d never been to. But in 2007 we embraced the mini-tour concept and picked up the pace considerably. After finishing off the New York stadiums in July 2008, we had been to every current Major League Baseball stadium on a Two Guys trip except two: Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners and Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies.

On the evening of September 4 we headed out to Seattle, arriving shortly before midnight. We immediately headed for our hotel and turned in.

Seattle is the home of Boeing Aircraft and they have a Museum of Flight located a couple of miles from downtown. That was our first stop the morning after we arrived. We live in the Washington D.C. area so we are spoiled by having the National Air and Space Museum in our backyard but the Museum of Flight has a very impressive collection including a car that can be converted into an airplane and a great collection of World War I aircraft. They also have one of the planes that served as Air Force One – you can actually walk through that one. It’s the plane that was used by Eisenhower, Kennedy and LBJ. Henry Kissinger also used this one for secret diplomatic trips to Paris for negotiations with the North Vietnamese and to Peking to speak with the Chinese.

Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight


It converts from car to plane in 15 minutes

Air Force One

DC being Presidential

After spending a couple of hours there, we drove downtown. A high school classmate of Dave lives in Seattle. He was out of town so we weren’t able to get together but he had recommended Mae Phim, a tiny hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. We grabbed a bite there (it was very good) and then headed over to Pioneer Square for The Underground Tour.

Seattle’s business district burned to the ground in 1889 which gave the city a chance to correct a couple of major problems. One was flooding, as the area was built on low lying landfill. The other problem was that new-fangled gravity-assisted flush toilets tended to back up during high tides of Elliott Bay.

Their solution was to rebuild the streets one to two stories higher than the original ones. The Underground Tour takes you through the subterranean passages which used to be the city streets. There isn’t actually much to see down there but the tour is very informative about Seattle’s early history (including a lot of things you won’t read in the history books.) It’s largely played for laughs and our tour guide Gael did a fine job.

Art In The Park

Art near Pioneer Square

A guy and two maps

Two maps and a guy


These two were visting from Brigham Young University. Their
team beat the University of Washington earlier in the day.

We then headed up the hill to The Pike Place Market. This is a long building with many stalls full of food, art, souvenirs etc. - definitely a tourist trap. The original Starbucks Coffee is across the street. Despite the fact that Dave is a big caffeine hound, he hates Starbucks' coffee so he refused to go in. But we found a terrific four man acappella group called A Moment In Time singing old R&B and gospel tunes right in front of it.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

A Moment In Time

A Moment In Time entertains coffee drinking Japanese tourists outside the first Starbucks

After that, it was off to the ballgame – we walked about a mile and got to Safeco Field. It had opened in 1999, replacing the multi-purpose Kingdome, which was widely reputed to be one of the worst places ever to see a baseball game. Safeco has many of the features of the retro-park craze including asymmetrical dimensions, a brick façade and natural grass. It also has a roof but is not a domed stadium. The roof at Safeco is built onto structures that sit outside the seating area and covers the field like an umbrella – the sides remain open. It’s a rather unique setup and makes for a ballpark much smaller than domes like the huge Chase Field in Phoenix. One side of the roof is over railroad tracks and (at least when the roof is open) this amplifies the train horns outside, making them very loud. The weather was beautiful so the roof remained open both nights we were there.

Another unique feature of Safeco is a large amount of baseball inspired artwork scattered throughout. We saw a series of portraits of baseball greats not just from the Major Leagues but from the Negro Leagues and The All-American Girl’s Baseball League as well. There was also a fountain with a statue of a kid with a baseball bat and stainless steel baseball players mounted on the gates. Apparently there is more but that’s mainly what we noticed.

We got quite a ballgame the first night we were there – Brandon Morrow of the Mariners, who was making his first major league start, took a no-hitter against the Yankees into the eighth inning. Wilson Betemit, who we’d seen homer in Yankee Stadium earlier in the season, broke it up with a two out double. Dave blamed DC – baseball superstition says it is bad luck to mention a no-hitter while it’s in progress. As a Yankee fan, DC felt it was more important to help his team rather than see baseball history and he constantly brought up the no-hitter. He got his comeuppance as the Yankees lost anyway.


Safeco Field - Ichiro at the plate. You can see the roof structure looming outside the park.

The next day we got up early and made our way down to the pier area where we hopped the Seattle Ferry heading over to Bainbridge Island. We met a couple from Dallas who were spending a couple of days in Seattle before heading out on an Alaskan cruise. Mike and Chantel were very nice and told us they were going to Café Nola, which they’d seen on The Food Network. We tagged along and found Café Nola – but it was closed. The four of us ended up eating at The Slipstream Diner, a place we’d passed on the way, and actually had a really good breakfast there. We almost missed the next ferry back to town – we had to run for it. Thankfully, it was mostly downhill from the diner to the boat.

Chantel and Mike

Chantel and Mike

One of Seattle's ferry boats

One of Seattle's fleet of ferry boats

Two Guys on the Water

Two Guys take to the water


The Experience Music Project. It was
too dark inside to get a good picture.

Our next stop was The Experience Music Project. The EMP is a largely interactive museum where visitors can play instruments as well as listen to musicians discuss the creative process. It was founded by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and was largely inspired by his love of the music of Seattle native Jimi Hendrix. It’s a unique looking building (roundly panned by architectural writers when it opened.) DC likes it better than the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Dave very much enjoyed the experience but tends to lean the other way in that particular debate.

The EMP building also contains the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. We made a quick trip through that then walked next door to The Space Needle. This is a tower which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. You get a great view of the city from the 50 story high observation deck. It was a bit hazy the day we were there so we missed out on what we are sure is a spectacular view of Mt. Rainer.

Space Needle


Space Needle

A couple of shots of the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline from 50 stories up. The building with the white arches is Qwest Field, where the Seattle Seahawks
football team plays. Safeco Field is just to the right of Qwest Field. Mt. Rainer is located on the horizon where the clouds are but it wasn't visible that day.

Then we hopped on the monorail and headed back towards the ballpark for our second game at Safeco. The results this time were more to DC’s liking – in a wild, see-saw battle, the Yankees scored five runs in the top of the seventh and came out on top by a score of 7-4. Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu both homered and each had three hits. Mariano Rivera earned a save. We realized during a conference in the ninth inning that we were probably looking at four Hall of Famers gathered on the pitching mound – Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Ivan Rodriguez. Another highlight of the game for us was the presence of an entire row of rowdy Aussies behind us. They were a lot of fun and some of them actually knew the basics of baseball.

The next day we were up at 4:00 AM to catch a flight to Denver. We encountered a small glitch when we discovered that United Airlines had changed our itinerary and now had us scheduled to fly "the friendly skies" out of Denver around noon - which was before the Rockies game started. While United's Seattle employees were not particularly friendly, we were able to get things straightened out as soon as we reached Denver.

Once we got that taken care of, we headed into the city. We walked around a pedestrian mall near the ballpark, then headed in for the game. Coors Field is one of the retro-parks. It is red brick, fitting in nicely with the surrounding neighborhood. There are water fountains and trees beyond the center field fence beneath a very high bleacher section known as the Rockpile. On a clear day there is probably a wonderful view of the Rockies from the upper deck but it was a bit hazy so, just as we weren’t able to see Mt. Rainer in Seattle, we couldn’t see the Rocky Mountains from Coors Field. The seats in the upper deck are all green except for one row of purple seats, which is exactly one mile above sea level. We got the obligatory picture up there, and then went down to the lower deck. We had great seats, 19 rows from the field, right by third base.


Flying over the Rocky Mountains

Mile High

DC joins the Mile High Club

Mile High

Less than a mile high

We might have been a bit too close. One of the Rockies lined a foul ball into the stands two rows directly in front of DC. The ball hit a woman in the cheek, bounced across the aisle and was grabbed by a man sitting there. The woman directly in front of DC jumped up and smacked the man who got the ball - she was mad because he didn’t offer it to the woman who got hit. Meanwhile everyone else was looking after the victim. A paramedic arrived quickly and ushered her away. About fifteen minutes later she came back with a sheepish grin on her face and a ball the Rockies had given her. She gave it to her friend who had gone after the man who picked up the foul ball.

We were both wearing Two Guys t-shirts and they were conversation starters. Several people nearby began chatting with us - they seemed genuinely impressed by the fact that we were visiting the last ballpark in Major League Baseball that we hadn’t been to.

Oddly enough, we were surrounded by out-of-towners. The family seated next to us was rooting for the Astros – they lived in Waco, TX. Ironically, they had just moved there from Woodbridge,VA, which is located about 30 minutes from Dave’s house. Not as long a shot as coming across someone from Arlington, VA among a crowd of 86 in Burlington, IA, but still – what are the odds?

By this time we were both pretty wiped out but it was a beautiful day and an exciting game. Just as in our second game in Seattle, this was a see-saw battle with the home team losing, this time by a score of 7-5. Mary Beth had tried to post a message on the scoreboard like she had on previous Two Guys trips but the Rockies don't accept scoreboard message requests! Instead she sent us each a congratulatory text message in honor of our achievement.

We had a couple of hours to kill so we wandered the neighborhood, spending most of our time in a nice bookstore called The Tattered Cover. We had a delicious dinner at a Cajun place called Gumbo and then headed for the airport. We jetted off to Vegas, hopped on the red-eye and were back in the Washington area by 7:00 AM the next morning.

Mile High

Outside Coors Field

Mile High

Inside Coors Field

Touch 'em all!

We've been to them all!

Every journey starts with a single step. Ours had begun eighteen years earlier and we'd taken hundreds of thousands of steps since the first one. During that time we had come to many forks in the road - and taken every one...and now we had touched ‘em all. We'd seen a game together in every current Major League Baseball park, a claim we could make for all of about seven months before the opening of two new ballparks in New York.

But that's not the end of the story. The road goes on forever - we’d already started planning The Empire State Tour.

  Previous tour Two Guys and a Map Home Page Two Guys and a Map Tour List Next tour 
Two Guys and a Map Hall of Fame Two Guys and a Map Ballpark Scorecard Two Guys and a Map Cultural Landmarks

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