SEATTLE -- Tigers left-hander Matt Boyd has been in the Major Leagues for the better part of the last two seasons, but Monday marked his first trip as a professional player to his favorite stadium.
Boyd was born in nearby Bellevue, Wash., and grew up on Mercer Island, which is about a five-minute drive down Interstate 90 from the Safeco Field players' parking lot. He pitched at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, where he appeared in one game at Safeco. And he closed out a college game at Safeco as a sophomore for Oregon State, beating the University of Washington.
But Boyd, who's looking for an offseason home in the area, said his experiences at the ballpark go back many years, even before he was a player. He said his father, Kurt, surprised then-8-year-old Matt with a ticket to the second game in the history of Safeco Field in 1999, and that he and his high school buddies used to take the bus from Mercer Island to downtown Seattle for Mariners games. They'd buy the only seats they could afford.
"Center field was the cheapest," Boyd said. "We'd sneak into the left-field bleachers, and by about the sixth inning we'd be down in the lower concourse. A lot of special memories here."
There might be more to come. Boyd isn't scheduled to pitch in this three-game series, but there's Mariners history everywhere he looks. The field still is emblazoned with the just-retired No. 24 of Seattle icon, Hall of Famer and Boyd's favorite player ever, Ken Griffey Jr. Plus another of Boyd's childhood heroes, Edgar Martinez, is the Mariners' hitting coach. Boyd said he's never met Martinez but that "it'd be a dream if I did."
"I'll see if I can get an autograph from him," he said.
• Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera entered Monday's game with 996 RBIs as a member of the Tigers. With four more, he will become the 11th player in history to record 1,000 RBIs in a Tigers uniform.
• Entering Monday, second baseman Ian Kinsler had recorded multiple hits in five of his last six games.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.