Baseball season is back in full swing, and as Washington state is almost ready to fully reopen from the coronavirus pandemic, fans are flocking back to T-Mobile Park.

The Mariners are doing … OK this season, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about something way more fun, which are the latest entertainment activities and foods at T-Mobile Park.

Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect the next time you visit the ballpark.

The AR experience

The T-Mobile ‘Pen 2.0, located at field level in left and center field, is a great spot to grab a bite to eat and watch the players up close, and is currently only open to fully vaccinated guests. One of the ‘Pen’s latest new features are three AR (Augmented Reality) experiences, including interactive booths where you can test your swing, “throw” a few pitches or turn yourself into a virtual bobblehead.

Amy Wong, features producer: Is the tech glitchy? I “threw” a 59 mph pitch without even moving my arm, so you tell me.

Trevor Lenzmeier, features desk editor: After you’re done, the AR kiosks give you the option to download your own player card, including a photo and your pitching/batting stats. And let me say, Amy’s rookie card was MVP-caliber. Big ’90s Rock energy. I threw three 90-plus mph fastballs, deemed balls by the robot ump; I agree that the tech could be improved because I was painting the corners and I’m confident I broke triple digits. 

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Amy: While you’re checking that out in the ‘Pen, also take a peek at new murals created by Seattle artist Jeff “Weirdo” Jacobson. His vibrant installations really round out the ‘Pen.

The ‘Pen area has gotten a makeover, including new graphics along the entryway. The T-Mobile ‘Pen features murals by Seattle artist Jeff “Weirdo” Jacobson. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

The food 

T-Mobile Park was getting ready to launch several new ballpark foods last year before the pandemic brought everything to a halt. But luckily, as they prepare to reopen at full capacity, the park is reintroducing the dishes soon. Here are some highlights.

Amy: One of the newest drinks, the Magenta Mojo, is a tequila-based Moscow Mule, with ginger beer, prickly pear syrup and a splash of sweetened lime juice. T-Mobile Park describing this drink as “not-too-sweet” is kind of like saying, “the Mariners will come out of the rebuild this year” — I respect the sentiment, but if we’re all being honest, it’s not true. I found the drink to taste like a bubbly cough syrup, but I was quite entertained by the color-changing cup it came in.

T-Mobile Park’s ‘Pen area has gotten a makeover and new food, including this homage to Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Trevor: I happily finished our drinks. I also suggested Amy try the Buzz Bomb, which is a mezcal margarita with a twist: a tiny edible flower garnish that acts like nature’s earthy Pop Rocks. 

As far as new food goes, executive chef Taylor Park and Seattle restaurateur Ethan Stowell took a few swings at elevated ballpark food: a Beyond burger, a crispy chicken sandwich with shaved Brussels sprouts and spiced honey, the Marco Pollo Southwestern shredded-chicken sando. My favorite: thick-cut maple-glazed bacon. Simple, sweet, spicy, a little sticky and nicely crunchy. They’re making bacon at the new Terrace Loge Boxes and Terrace Tables, which have a custom menu from Stowell.  

Amy: The array of new foods — mostly sandwiches and burgers — seemed like pretty standard ballpark foods to me. If I have to give any advice though, I’d say definitely get the Ethan Stowell “How to Wolf a Cookie,” a massive, beautifully chewy cookie with chunks of chocolate, pistachios and dried cherries. 

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Trevor: I don’t know that any dish could keep me from my go-to peanuts and hot dog, but I would 100% tipsily overpay for that magnificent cookie. And that bacon. 

Food in the ‘Pen includes “How to Wolf a Cookie” cookies, from chef Ethan Stowell. The cookies have chocolate chunks, dried cherries, pistachios and hint of lemon and sea salt garnish. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

The revamped areas

On the 300-levels of the park, you’ll find two newly refurbished areas: The Trident Deck, a rooftop bar-esque area overlooking the field, and the Rooftop Boardwalk, a more secluded area with views of Elliott Bay. 

Amy: T-Mobile Park’s hottest club is … The Trident Deck. It has everything: swanky outdoor furniture, $17 beers, a sliver of ballpark view so you can pretend like you’re watching the game. No, but actually I think this space is really nice. It’s a great spot to grab a drink or have a conversation with friends before the game starts.

Trevor: Trident Deck: Come for the skyline views, leave to find one of the Value Beer stands around the park. Those kiosks offer a mix of Washington state favorites (Reuben’s, Mac & Jack’s, Bale Breaker) and your Busch Lights and Miller High Lifes for five or six bucks. MLB has a beer finder online to help guide you to your nearest locale. 

The Rooftop Boardwalk at the 300-levels of T-Mobile Park overlooks the Puget Sound.  (Amy Wong / The Seattle Times)

Amy: The Boardwalk was also a nice reminder of why I think T-Mobile Park is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country — with tower viewers and placards highlighting points of interest across Puget Sound, it’s a nice, quiet place to check out before the game.

The overall experience

T-Mobile Park has leaned into elevating the Mariners experience, especially for vaccinated guests, with discounted seats, fully vaccinated sections, jabs available around the ballpark, the option not to wear masks for vaccinated visitors and more. With a little green stamp on your wrist, you’re transported to a baseball game from yesteryear. 

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Trevor: The park now has vaccinated-only entryways; after we stepped inside, we were told we could drop our masks if we felt comfortable. It was a brilliant, jarring little wave of COVID culture shock to see an unmasked group of people clustered, eating, drinking and smiling.

Amy: Whether you’re a die-hard Mariners fan, or a casual observer just going for a beer, I do think that T-Mobile Park is wonderful. Maybe I’m biased because I just found it so delightful to be around people after a hellish last year, but I think it’s fair that we all indulge in whatever joy we can find.