Sitting around my parent’s house tonight in Olympia I started flipping through a book that was purchased for me about the building of Safeco Field. In the book were numerous shots of the long gone Kingdome and I started to realize just how much I miss that old concrete hunk of junk.
Safeco and Qwest Fields are both very nice facilities and I guess it’s good that we have them but they both represent new Seattle, which isn’t really the Seattle that I grew up with. They are both slick and bright and clean and feel extremely gentrified much like the rest of city has become.
I always loved the dirty feeling of the Kingdome. It was burly. It was gray. It was a bit depressing. But it felt like it was part of the city – a city which at times can be pretty burly, gray and depressing. It fit in like almost no other building did. Some people say that it stood out like a huge pimple on an otherwise unblemished face. I always thought of it more like Cindy Crawford’s mole. An imperfection that helps make it even more perfect.
The new stadiums don’t give me that feeling. Despite being right downtown they both feel like they belong out in Redmond or Lynnwood. They feel downright suburban, more mall-ish than anything. They feel like a tourist trap like Pacific Place rather than the cold reality of south Pioneer Square, the International District, SoDo and Seattle in general.
I know that my reaction to these buildings is simply based on personal experience. I grew up with the Kingdome and some of my fondest memories as a child came there. I have had some good times at Safeco and Qwest Fields but nothing can compare with those childhood memories. Not even winning teams and championships can compare.
Oh where have you gone Jim Pressley, Greg Briley, Rey Quinones, Scott Bankhead and all my other Kingdome heroes? Not over to Safeco, they probably won’t even have you. But you and the Kingdome will always have a special place in my heart, .200 batting average, big pimple and all.