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Even during an apparent citywide blackout, T-Mobile Park shines south of downtown Seattle in this artist rendering. (T-Mobile Image)

When your team has the longest post-season drought in all of American professional sports, there is little news — short of getting into the playoffs — that will sound like good news. Such was the case for grumbling Seattle Mariners fans on Wednesday as a new name was announced for the ballpark where the team plays its home games.

With splashy, magenta-infused artist renderings of the stadium once called Safeco Field, Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier T-Mobile confirmed that it would be taking over the naming rights for the next 25 years down at the intersections of First Avenue South, South Royal Brougham Way and Edgar Martinez Drive South.

Baseball fans are nothing if not sentimental, even for a team that has never been to the World Series and last played beyond the regular season in 2001. When The Kingdome fell flat in 2000, fans hoped at the time that a modest moniker such as Rainier Field or Mariners Park could be slapped on the stadium that replaced it.

Safeco Field
Summer in Seattle, when the Mariners still played at Safeco Field. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

But despite being the House that Griffey Built, in stepped Seattle-based Safeco Insurance for a 20-year agreement with the Mariners, and over time the name grew on fans who came to call it simply Safeco or The Safe. The building’s place as one of the premier baseball stadiums in all the Major Leagues didn’t hurt when it came to fans loving on it.

Seattle is obviously not alone in this new world order where our publicly-funded playgrounds for rich sports ballers are adorned with the names of equally rich corporate entities. Consider yourselves lucky, Chicago (Wrigley Field), New York (Yankee Stadium), Boston (Fenway Park), Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium).

But even though AT&T Park (San Francisco), Petco Park (San Diego), Target Field (Minneapolis) and others are the norm, some fans in Seattle still expressed dismay over the choice on Wednesday.

With a statue of celebrated slugger Ken Griffey Jr. out front, how was Griffey Field not the new name? With a statue of beloved broadcaster Dave Niehaus inside, how was Niehaus Park not the new name? Even Starbucks Grounds or Boeing Field or Prime Park (for Amazon) seemed to gather more corporate steam in the months ahead of Wednesday’s official word.

And so “True to the Blue” Mariners fans — already aching from a season that sizzled and then fizzled, and stinging during offseason “retooling” — were left wondering, “What’s with the pink?” And then they proceeded to tee off against T-Mobile.

Check out a sampling of some of the reaction on social media below:

(Via Mariners Facebook)
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