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Safeco Field Ground Rules

The Northwest provides a special set of challenges for athletes and spectators alike. From its retractable roof to its ground rules, learn everything you ever wanted to know about Safeco Field and how to catch a game here.

  • safeco field stats
  • The Name

    • Safeco Field Name

    An investment in the Safeco Field naming rights was made by Safeco, a Seattle-based insurance and investments company. Founded in 1923, Safeco shares a commitment with the Mariners to invest in and provide service to the communities where our customers, fans and employees live, work and raise their families. Safeco has been a major sponsor of Mariners community relations projects including the annual Safeco Mariners Caravans and the Safeco Coaches Clinics. Since 1994, these two programs have taken Mariners baseball to the hometowns of Mariners fans of all ages and provided free baseball skills clinics to tens of thousands of young people. The Mariners are very proud of our partnership with Safeco.

  • The Roof

    • roof

    The ballpark's one-of-a-kind retractable roof is designed to cover but not enclose the ballpark, thus preserving an open-air environment. The structure covers nearly 9 acres, weighs 22 million pounds, and contains enough steel to build a skyscraper 55 stories tall. The three movable panels glide on 128 steel wheels powered by 96 ten horsepower electric motors. A push of a button closes or opens the roof in an average of 10-20 minutes (depending on wind and other weather conditions). The roof is self-grounded (in the event of lightning strikes) and is designed to withstand 6-7 ft. of snow and sustained winds of up to 70 mph.

    Ball Hitting Roof Trusses
    A batted ball hitting a roof truss in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it lands or is touched by a fielder. If caught by a fielder, the batter is out and base runners advance at their own risk.

    A batted ball hitting a roof truss in foul territory is a foul ball, regardless of where it lands or is touched by a fielder. If caught by a fielder, the batter is out and the base runners advance at their own risk.

    Movement of Roof
    If a game is started with the roof closed, it may be opened when, in the opinion of the home club, climactic conditions warrant such opening. However, roof may be opened only once during a game and shall commence only between innings after the umpire crew chief has been notified. Prior to opening of roof, the visiting club may challenge the opening if it feels a competitive imbalance will arise. The crew chief will make a final decision based on the merits of the challenge.

    If a game is started with the roof open, it may be closed during the game. The decision to close the roof shall be made by the home club, and may be made solely for the comfort of its fans. Play will continue during roof closure if possible. However, the umpires have the right to stop play during this process if they determine it is necessary to do so.

    These policies may be modified from time to time as more experience is gained with the roof and its impact on play.

  • Scoreboard System

    • scoreboard

    Safeco Field features one of the most comprehensive scoreboard systems in Major League Baseball, including 11 electronic displays and an old-fashioned hand-operated scoreboard in left field. A new high definition video display system was installed for the 2013 season, replacing the main scoreboard in centerfield. Measuring 56.7 'x 201.5' (11,425 square feet), the new HD LED screen is the largest in Major League Baseball and one of the largest in professional sports. The out-of-town scoreboard in left field displays current inning scores of games in progress from around the Major Leagues. Two, first-of-their-kind play-by-play boards along the first and third base lines display running summaries of plays to help fans follow the action. Four auxiliary boards display player at-bat information, pitch speed and type, and additional game-in-progress information.

  • Playing Field

    • field

    Safeco Field's playing surface is a custom designed state-of-the-art field. It features a specially designed drainage system and a custom blend of four kinds of Kentucky bluegrass and two kinds of perennial rye grass to provide the optimal playing surface for the athletes, the retractable roof, and the Northwest climate. The drainage system includes layers of drainage pipe, pea gravel, sand, and grass. A spider web of one-inch plastic hose circulates hot water under the grass to bring it out of dormancy in time for Opening Day, and also compensate for shade and low levels of direct sunlight.

    Outfield Area
    The hand-operated scoreboard in left field is part of the left field fence. A ball must clear the scoreboard (defined by yellow horizontal line) to be a home run. If a batted ball hits the cyclone fence under the scoreboard and above the padded wall, and the ball lodges behind the padded wall, it shall be ruled a ground-rule double whether it lodges behind the wall on the fly or on a bounce.

    The ladder and the handle attached to and to the right of the scoreboard are beyond the padded wall. A fly ball striking either the ladder or handle shall be ruled a home run.

    A ball must enter the dugout to be considered a dead ball.

    Photographer's Areas
    The ball is "in play" if it hits any of the railings defining the photographer wells and bounces back onto the playing field. The vertical rails in the middle of the wells are considered in the wells and are out of play.