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Clarification: On Sept. 9, The Seattle Times published a story about the arrest of a man who ran onto the Safeco Field playing surface during an Aug. 31 Mariners game. Some of the details of the incident should have been attributed to reporting by Robert L. Jamieson Jr. for a column that appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Fan takes field to spread ashes; M's forbid action
Seattle Times staff reporter
John Griswold's story is not of the normal fan-runs-on-the-field-and-interrupts-play variety. His legal issues, though, including accepting a pre-trial diversion for criminal trespassing, are as normal as they come.
On Aug. 31 at Safeco Field, Griswold jumped the railing and burst into left field during a Mariners game against the New York Yankees. He carried, among other items, his ticket, his driver's license, a "Get Out of Jail Free" card from the Monopoly board game and what appeared to observers to be a souvenir cup filled with powder.
As the story goes, Griswold was attempting to make good on a promise he made to his late mother, Dianne, to sprinkle her remains at Safeco Field. He was arrested that day and charged with criminal trespassing. He pleaded not guilty last Saturday in municipal court, before accepting a pre-trial diversion.
If Griswold, who lives in Bremerton, complies with the diversion requirements, a court spokesman said the charges will be dropped — same as any other first-time offender.
Which is exactly the way the Mariners say they have to handle every case of fans running on the field.
"We don't know what anybody is thinking when they do that," said Rebecca Hale, the team's director of public information. "Everybody has to be treated the same way — they need to be treated seriously."
Hale said there are typically "two or three" incidents of fans running on the field "over the course of a couple of years." She couldn't recall any other incidents this season.
Griswold, who did not return calls seeking comment for this story, is not alone in wanting to spread ashes of the deceased in the Mariners' ballpark. Hale said the Mariners get several requests per season — so many that they decided to draw up a policy a few seasons ago stipulating that those wishes cannot be accommodated.
Hale remembers one incident a few seasons ago when a fan rented a plane and dropped a canister onto the canopy of the stadium. The canister didn't break, and since no one knew the contents of the canister, the hazardous-material response team was called to the stadium. South downtown was shut down for multiple hours.
"We're not denying these people their last wishes because we're mean," Hale said. "There are too many questions. Where do you put them? How do you handle that? There are a lot of good reasons for us to have policies that don't allow these kinds of things to happen."
Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company