SEATTLE — Dozens of Mariners fans gathered to take pictures of a crane crew removing Safeco Field letters above the home plate gate on Wednesday.
The "S" was the first letter to come down.
"You're changing what you're used to and kind of what you grew up with,” Michelle Maenpaa, who moved from Atlanta to Seattle, said. “This hometown feel (you’re looking for is now gone), right? It's no longer Safeco Field.”
"We are now entering a new relationship as our naming rights partner with T-Mobile, so it really is an end of an era,” Rebecca Hale, the Mariners director of public information, said.
Safeco Field will now be called T-Mobile Park.
"It is kind of emotional to see the Safeco signs gone, because I noticed they took down the other sign a while back so I knew it was just a matter of time before they did this one," said Mike Murphy, who grew up watching the Mariners.
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The Mariners said all of the letters from the sign – except the “S” – will be taken to Tube Art Group in Seattle, where they will eventually become scrap metal.
Ed Becker, who is the vice president of operations for Tube Art Group, has been working on the new signage for T-Mobile Park.
"It was important for T-Mobile to stay with a nostalgic look of exposed neon, so we're able to do that with their color,” said Becker. "We've got some structural steel we're changing, and they're going to put a brow on top of this steel to hold the logo portion of it."
The plan is to have all of the T-Mobile Park signage in place for the Mariners' home opener on Thursday, March 28.
"We need to get everything finished, especially the large outdoor signs, before we have fan fest,” said Hale. “That is the weekend before opening day so we're shooting for mid-March."
As the Mariners tune up for another season of baseball, their fans will never forget the final out at The Safe.
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