Mariners eagerly await full-capacity crowds

June 18th, 2021

Mariners manager Scott Servais has seen what a ballpark full of fans looks like in 2021. He knows what it sounds like, too. And in two weeks, Servais and the Mariners will experience that for the first time at their home stadium.

In accordance with a previous announcement from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the state will move to a full reopening on June 30. Seattle begins a home series against the Rangers on Friday, July 2, which will mark T-Mobile Park’s return to 100 percent seating capacity.

“It’s different, it really is,” Servais said of playing in a full stadium. “The fact that we have a lot of young players that haven’t experienced that yet, they’re learning. I’m really excited to get that in T-Mobile Park, on the positive side, and [see] what an impact 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 people can have, in a good way, to help your team along and make it tough on the opposing club.”

After a fan-less 2020 season at the ballpark, the Mariners have played in front of no more than 11,200 fans during their first 34 home games. In 2019, Seattle averaged 22,112 fans per home game, which was seventh in the American League.

Starting July 2, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be required for entry at the park. Masks won’t be required for fully vaccinated fans, either, though they are recommended for un-vaccinated fans.

All tickets will be available strictly in digital form “in order to reduce contact and opportunities for cross contamination between fans and staff,” according to the team.

Servais is eagerly looking ahead to a summer full of baseball and fans, together again in Seattle without restrictions.

“We all know once it gets around late June, July and August, there’s no better place to watch a ballgame than T-Mobile Park,” he said.

Facing Rays a ‘great test’ for Mariners

The Mariners just took two of three from the Twins, but they have little time to enjoy their first series win of the month now that a greater challenge lies before them.

The Rays, reigning AL champions and owners of the AL’s second-best record (43-26, .623), are in town for the only time this season. Given Tampa Bay’s recent success, this four-game series presents an exciting challenge for Seattle.

“They check all the boxes,” Servais said. “To do that, and to do it with the payroll that they have, it says a lot. … Looking at our club, where we’re at, it’s a great test for us.”

Seattle is 6-5 against the AL East -- 4-3 against Baltimore and a 2-2 vs. Boston. When Tampa Bay last came to Seattle, in 2019, the Rays swept a three-game series (albeit those games were decided by a combined four runs).

As the Mariners (34-36) aim to get back above .500 for the first time since May, they’ll have to go through one of the league’s toughest teams. That’s a good thing, in Servais’ eyes.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I think our players are, as well,” he said. “Every inning is a battle when you go against a good team and a quality opponent like that. We’ve got four games and we’re going to find out a lot.”