SEATTLE -- Seattle has quite the rainy reputation, but the Seattle Mariners are lucky in that much of the baseball season is played in our dry summer season. Still, the retractable roof on the stadium gets quite the annual workout.
On average, the roof is either closed from the start, or extended during a game for about 17 out of the 81 home games a year (21 percent) -- or about 1 game in 5, according to Rebecca Hale with the Seattle Mariners. Most of those closures are at the start and end of the season.
And the numbers have been remarkably consistent, with eight of the stadium's 18.5 seasons being closed 19-23 percent of the time. The soggy spring and cool summer of 2010 was the year the roof got the most workout, appearing in 25 games. The warm summers of 2012 and 2006 were when the roof was hardly needed, just appearing in 11 games. The stadium opened on July 15, 1999, halfway through that season.
So far this year, the roof has been used nine times, Hale said. That's probably putting us on par for an average season if usually summer and early fall trends hold. April was among the wettest on record, but May has flipped around to being one of the driest.
Is it beneficial to have the roof closed? Hale notes that the team is 6-3 in those nine home games the roof has been used.
The roughly 20 percent of roof use time is among the lowest use of retractable roof stadiums in Major League Baseball - although Seattle's is exclusively used for rain repellant while many of the other stadiums like Phoenix, Houston, Miami and Milwaukee will also close the roof for temperature comfort. In past years, Toronto's SkyDome was closed about on par with Safeco Field's roof.
But Hale points out that goal of the roof isn't only just to keep the rain off the fans, but to guarantee games will be played no matter the weather. She said many fans travel long distances from Eastern Washington or Oregon for games and with our fickle showery weather, wanted to assure fans they could make the hours-long trip and not have to worry about a last minute rain out or significant rain delay thwarting their journey.