Safeco is Seattle native Matt Boyd's field of dreams
Seattle — The only thing that could make this trip more special for Matt Boyd was if he was able to start one of the three games against the Mariners.
That’s not going to happen, but being home, being able to have dinner in the house he grew up in, being able to have all his friends and family at the game — pretty special stuff.
Boyd grew up in Mercer Island, about 10 minutes from Safeco Field. He grew up cheering Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez — that memorable Mariners team.
And this is the first time he’s been back since he began his pro career.
“It’s special,” he said. “Came to the second game ever played here with my dad back in ’99. This is just surreal.”
The memories just kept coming.
“I was lucky enough to play on the Mariners scout team in high school for a game here,” he said. “As a sophomore (at Oregon State), I closed out a game here against U-W. Outside of that though, never played here.
“I remember my buddies and I would go to the Metro on the north end of Mercer Island and we’d take it downtown and buy center-field seats, go over to left-field bleachers. Center field was the cheapest. We’d sneak into the left-field bleachers and by about the sixth inning we’d be down on the lower concourse”
Boyd was 8 years old when his father Curt surprised him with tickets to the first ever series played at Safeco.
“I remember, I’ve got a picture on the terrace above the bullpen and it said ‘Inaugural Home Stand,'" Boyd said. "My dad and I — and it’s got Griffey in center field. That was pretty special.”
Griffey’s No. 24 is painted on the field between home and first and home and third, in honor of his induction into the hall of fame. Boyd was on the field checking that out before the game.
“That was pretty sweet,” he said. “I watched all that stuff, his speech. Pretty special the past few days here. Griffey and Johnson were my two guys and Edgar. Those were my three.”
Boyd was trying to work up the nerve to introduce himself to Martinez, who is the Mariners’ hitting coach.
“I never met him, but it would a dream if I did,” he said. “See if I can get an autograph or something.”
Boyd is staying with his parents, in the house he grew up in for these three days. Curt Boyd was at the game and on the field for batting practice. He’s spending quality time with his mother, too, but he’s putting her to work.
“Actually, we're looking at buying a home out here right now,” Boyd said. “My mom is a Realtor so we were house-hunting this morning in Issaquah. If the timing’s right, we’ll buy. If not we’ll rent again. We live here in the offseason.”
As for his spot in the rotation not coming up during this visit, he’s OK with it.
“It’d be cool,” he said. “But hopefully there will be many other years that I’ll be coming back here and get to pitch at home.”