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Tuesday, June 16, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Aquasox -- Everett Stadium More Fan-Friendly

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

EVERETT - If you thought the chance to get a haircut while watching one of last season's Everett AquaSox games was inventive, how about the opportunity to picnic in a batting cage, get a massage near right field or devour an Italian dinner during one of the AquaSox games?

The multimillion-dollar renovation of the baseball facility at Everett Memorial Stadium is complete, and Everett AquaSox fans are in for a treat as the 1998 season begins tonight. The revamped ballpark is more fan-friendly than ever, with 1,400 new seats, larger concession and restroom areas and new lighting.

And you can still get a haircut, too, although this season they're offered near the third-base line.

Although some fans have gotten a sneak peek at the ballpark at a handful of AquaSox intrasquad scrimmages the past week, the renovated field will be formally unveiled as the short-season Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners opens its season against Yakima at 7 tonight.

The players already have developed an attraction to their home field.

"It's a great improvement from what it used to be, and I'm looking forward to playing in it," said infielder Schuyler Doakes, a 14th-round draft pick from Jackson State in Mississippi. "It's a fan-friendly environment, and I think it will draw a lot of fans because there's a lot of things fans can do."

"My hope is they have to come more than once to see it all," said AquaSox General Manager Robb Stanton, who added that the renovation of the baseball facility cost about $5 million (part of a $6.5 million stadium upgrade) and was funded by the hotel/motel tax in Snohomish County and the city of Everett.

The AquaSox should continue to draw fans to the 3,682-seat complex, which features Wrigley Field-style bullpens and an Ebbets Field replica scoreboard, but curiosity could play a role as well as fans seek out the ballpark's entertaining and more comfortable amenities.

The field's Italian restaurant and massage booth are located near Homer Porch, a terraced lawn above right field. The Children's Playfield, a supervised play area for kids, is located behind the first-base-line grandstand. Groups of 20 or more can reserve the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion - batting cages converted to a picnic area before the games - for all-you-can-eat buffets.

The stadium is located at 39th and Broadway just off Exit 192 from Interstate 5. Seats cost $10 in the Diamond Club section, $8.50 in the field boxes, $7 in the upper boxes , $5 for general admission ($4 for children ages 3-12). Children can sit in the upper boxes for $5.

With the exception of three 12:30 p.m. games (July 4, July 21 and August 16), game times are 7 p.m. for weekday games and 6 p.m. for weekend games.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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