SEATTLE -- It may be a soggy weekend in January, but baseball is back in Seattle.
FanFest, where fans take over every corner of Safeco Field, opened to Mariners Nation Saturday.
And throughout the stadium, the walls, seats and retractable roof reverberated with the same message: get excited about this team.
FanFest offers everyone the opportunity to interact with the game they love. Catch a fly ball in the same outfield where Ichiro runs down doubles. Sprint between the same bases that Franklin Gutierrez steals from opposing pitchers. Get an autograph from the best pitcher in baseball.
"I want to be in October," Felix Hernandez, the American League's 2009 Cy Young award winner, told fans to cheers. "I want to do it here. It's going to happen and it's going to be fun."
General Manager Jack Zduriencik echoed the feeling of hope.
"We are committed to bringing you, the fans, something you can be proud of," he said. "When we arrive, in the near future...we will make all of you proud."
Visit the bullpen and throw from the same mound where David Aardsma warms up. Watch tributes to Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus, who passed away last year. Swing a bat used by your favorite Mariner in an actual game. Tour the clubhouse and see new manager Eric Wedge walking through, showing his own family around.
For one weekend, fans are literally on the same playing field as the Mariners. Though umbrellas may outnumber adults, it's an event where anyone can have a kid moment and get excited.
FanFest continued Sunday at Safeco Field.