Take Me Out To The Ballgame
It’s no secret that Northwest Washington State is packed with some of the most pristine natural beauty in all of North America.Puget Sound, Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks, the Salish Sea and a rugged, untamed Pacific coast are just a few of the things spilling from Mother Nature’s generous cornucopia in this little nook of the world.
Yes, yes, the wind in the pines and crashing waves and all that. That’s all well and good, but if the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd after a spectacular end-zone catch are things you can’t live without, you won’t be disappointed. The area is an oasis for sports lovers, and there are a number of professional major and minor league clubs spread across a variety of sports that will keep you perched on the edge of your seat throughout the entire year.
Go for the Gridiron
For Seattle sports fans, the cool weather and changing leaves that signal the onset of fall mean just one thing: it’s Seahawks time.
The Seattle Seahawks joined the NFL in 1976, and it’s still the only major league football team in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, the team has won the hearts of fans from sea to shining sea, and that’s no surprise. They’ve made the playoffs in 18 separate seasons, appeared in the Super Bowl three times and beat the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII in the 2013-14 season. Premier coaches such as Chuck Knox, Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll have taken turns at the helm, and many of the league’s top players over the past 40 years have proudly worn a Seahawks uniform: Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Steve Largent, Franco Harris, Jerry Rice and Warren Moon, just to name a few.
The team’s current home is CenturyLink Field, a 68,740-seat stadium with striking views of the dramatic Seattle skyline. And if you’re wondering whether Seahawks fans — known collectively as the “12th Man” — are passionate about their team, consider this: they have set the world record twice for the loudest crowd noise at a sporting event. Whether you’re watching from the stands or in the comfort of your living room, the Seattle Seahawks always put on a terrific show.
Root, Root, Root for the Home Team
As American as hot dogs and fireworks on the Fourth of July, baseball is the nation’s undisputed pastime, and MLB is its oldest professional sports league in North America. Only 30 cities in the entire country get to host an MLB team, and Seattle is lucky enough to be one of them. Since 1977, the Mariners have been swinging for the fences and providing Seattleites with great entertainment on pleasant summer afternoons and evenings. It all happens at the 47,929-seat, retro-modern T-Mobile Park in downtown Seattle. Between innings, you can grab traditional fare such as burgers, fries and popcorn, but the stadium’s extensive food service also includes sushi, teriyaki, Mexican, Caribbean, pad thai, crepes, seafood, barbecue, vegetarian, gluten-free and much more.
If you’d like a more intimate venue while still enjoying a game of baseball, check out the area’s two minor league teams: the Tacoma Rainiers (the Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners) and the Everett AquaSox (the Mariner’s Class A short-season affiliate). Each team has won championships in its division multiple times. Cheney Field, the Rainier’s home stadium, has a seating capacity of 6,500, while the AquaSox’s Funko Field seats just under 3,700. Fans absolutely love these smaller stadiums. Tickets won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
If words like header, trap, corner kick and breakaway are part of your normal vocabulary, you’ll be happy to know that the Seattle/Tacoma region is home to two professional soccer clubs: the Seattle Sounders FC and the OL Reign.
Playing their first game in 2009 as an MLS expansion team, the Sounders is a men’s soccer club that plays at CenturyLink Field (same as the Seahawks) in Seattle. In its short history, the team has been one of the most successful in the league, winning the U.S. Open Cup four times, the Supporter’s Shield Cup once and the MLS Cup twice. The team has also qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs every season it has played.
The OL Reign was founded in 2012 and is a member of the National Women’s Soccer League. They play their home matches at Cheney Field (same as the Rainiers), and the team won the NWSL Shield award in 2014 and 2015.
Coming Soon …
Football, baseball, soccer — the Puget Sound area has it all. But wait… does it seem like something is missing? A sport played on ice with sticks and a puck? Have no fear, hockey is coming! That’s right, an NHL expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, based in Seattle will begin play in the 2021-2022 season.
So climb the mountains, hike the trails and explore the breathtaking beauty of Northwest Washington. But when you need a little competition and something to cheer for — not to mention an excuse to have a few brews with your buds — check out the exciting sports landscape of Seattle and Tacoma.