Safeco Field ready for Mariners 2012 home opener

Apr 13, 2012, 6:43 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

The windows have been cleaned, the seats dusted, and the festive red, white, and blue bunting hung from the upper deck. It’s time to usher in the Seattle Mariners 2012 home opener at Safeco Field.

After two long months of spring training in Arizona, and road games in Japan, Oakland and Texas, the players and skipper are very anxious to show loyal M’s fans what they can do.

“Yeah, I think everyone is looking forward to getting back home. I know I am,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

The organization appreciates the people who’ve bought tickets, hot dogs, and souvenirs since 1977, and will salute the fans in Friday’s home opener.

“It feels very special to us, and one of the things we’re doing on opening night is featuring the entire Pacific Northwest,” said Rebecca Hale, Mariners director of public information. “We have season-ticket holders who represent each of the decades of the 35 years. A 12-year-old girl from Alaska will sing the national anthem.”

Hale said the season also feels special because it’s the 20th anniversary of the current ownership group. The local people who kept major league baseball in Seattle should be applauded.

Fans will also notice some new food items at several concession stands. Hospitality partner Centerplate and chef Ethan Stowell are offering barbecue sandwiches, gourmet burgers and specialty sausages. It’s a continuation of the locally grown, healthier food offered in The ‘Pen last year.

Hale said the Mariners’ home diamond also got a facelift over the winter.

“We laid new sod in the infield and a couple of apron areas along the outfield warning track,” she said. “It was the biggest replacement of the grass since we opened.”

Safeco Field head groundskeeper Bob Christofferson brought in giant grow lights to help his precious new lawn thrive without natural sunshine. He also replaced the infield dirt and used a laser to make sure it’s completely level.

This is the first home opener for the popular “King’s Court.” The Felix Hernandez, aka Larry Bernandez, fan club is larger and more vocal than ever. King Felix faces the Oakland Athletics for the third time in nine games. The first pitch is at 7:10 on 710 ESPN Seattle.

No starting pitcher.

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Safeco Field ready for Mariners 2012 home opener