This pretty much sums up how we feel about King Felix!
Just in case you missed the first Hot Stove League Radio Show of the off-season, here are audio links to interviews with GM Jack Zduriencik, manager Eric Wedge and Jason Bay.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune also has a recap of the radio show in his blog.
The Mariners Hot Stove League Radio Show debuts tonight from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN 710 Seattle. The radio show will be broadcast live out of the Alderwood Mall Team Store, with Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman hosting. TV announcer Mike Blowers is also scheduled to make an appearance, and guests include General Manager Jack Zduriencik, Manager Eric Wedge and an interview with the newest Mariner, Jason Bay.
You can listen to the show online at Mariners.com/hotstove.
The Winter Meetings concluded last Thursday in Nashville, but the Hot Stove League is still full steam ahead as the Holidays approach. And speaking of the Hot Stove League, the Mariners first Hot Stove League Radio Show will debut tomorrow from 7-9 p.m. You can listen live on 710 ESPN Seattle with Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman hosting the two-hour show from the Alderwood Mall Mariners Team Store. You can also visit the store and get pictures with Santa Moose. We will pass along a list of scheduled guests on the show later today.
As far as the Winter Meetings go, here are two interviews with manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik that gives good look at the upcoming 2013 season. Enjoy!
And here is the full transcript from Wedge’s annual media availability at the Winter Meetings:
As the baseball world gets ready for the annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, we thought you might like to hear from Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge. They sat down recently to talk about the development of the 2012 team and prospects for 2013. This installment focuses on the growth of the young players, many of them completing their first full season in the Majors. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing more from Jack and Eric.
Friday is the annual Mariners Wives Favorite Things basket auction. They load up baskets (really, any kind of container) with various items of their husbands’ choosing and then auction them off to benefit Mariners Care, the team’s non-profit foundation.
Among the categories of items are candy, movies, music, restaurants and hobbies. The baskets are usually loaded up with autographed and sometimes game-used items. New this year, a couple of small kitchen appliances.
Here are some highlights:
The other small appliance is a Keurig single-cup coffeemaker in Eric Wedge’s basket. He uses his every day and has gone through three of them, that’s how much he likes it. He’s also a fan of the HBO original series with the complete first season of The Sopranos and the second season of Entourage.
Shawn Kelley filled his basket with autographed Mizuno spikes (they look too clean to be game-used), size 13. His DVDs are Step Brothers, Braveheart, and the first season of Boardwalk Empire. He also included an electronic Scrabble Catch Phrase game.
Kyle Seager is a fan of the original Caddyshack (and really, who isn’t?), as well as Panera Bread and P.F. Chang’s restaurant. You’ll also get an autographed copy of the July 2012 Mariners Magazine featuring cover boy Kyle Seager.
Relief pitcher Josh Kinney is clearly a big hunter. His basket has a camo cap and pack, mule deer call, a selection of human scent eliminator sprays, a shotgun shell-shaped thermos. Oh, and a bottle of Tefft Cellars merlot.
Michael Saunders is a crossword puzzle guy, so he included a book of 200 puzzles. His basket also includes a Barnes & Noble and AMC Theatres gift cards. And true to his Canadian roots, a Vancouver Canucks scarf. Go Canucks!
The Favorite Things baskets will be on display near Section 128 on the Main Concourse at Safeco Field on Friday, August 17. Silent bids will be accepted through the end of the sixth inning.
The Seattle Bandidos, a Mariners sponsored RBI team, is headed to Anaheim next month for the West Regional Tournament of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
The Bandidos are a “Junior” team in the RBI program, meaning the kids are 13-15 years old.
The Bandidos will compete in the Regionals, hosted by the Angels RBI, July 12-15. The winners of the Regional tournament have the chance to advance to the RBI World Series in Minnesota, the annual culmination of the RBI program.
RBI is a partnership between Major League Baseball and Boys & Girls Clubs. The RBI League in Seattle is in its 19th year. It’s a partnership between Mariners Care, the team’s non-profit foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Baseball Tomorrow Fund and Teammates for Kids.
RBI offers inner-city boys and girls the chance to play baseball and softball in a safe, organized program, at no cost to the participant. RBI also includes a life skills training program that emphasizes citizenship and academics.
Good luck, Seattle Bandidos.
Major League Baseball’s Futures Game (to be held this year on Sunday, July 8 in Kansas City) is designed to give baseball fans a look at the best prospects in the game. The 2001 Futures Game, held in Safeco Field, gave Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis a glimpse of their own future.
Wedge was the manager and Willis the pitching coach for AAA Buffalo during the 2001 season. On their way to leading the Bisons to a franchise record 91 wins, the pair was tapped to travel to Seattle for the ’01 Futures Game.
Wedge was a coach for the World Team, while Willis was in charge of the pitching for Team USA.
The World Team (which had Mariners farmhand RHP Joel Pineiro on its roster, as well as a young catcher named Miguel Olivo, although Olivo was promoted before the game) lost a 5-1 decision to Team USA, which was managed by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
“I remember I got to Seattle and discovered that the whole Team USA pitching staff was starting pitchers and that, other than Perry, all the Team USA coaches were minor league managers,” Willis said. “I decided I would just stay in the bullpen the whole game, because none of those pitchers knew how to get ready to pitch in relief, and they all would be going one inning.
“I wrote out a plan for Perry, then just hung out in the bullpen the whole game getting guys ready, and rolling them out there. It was great.”
The Team USA offense was led by homers from Chase Utley, Toby Hall and Adam Dunn.
“This place is unbelievable,” Utley said at the time. “It gives you more than enough motivation to want to play in a ballpark like this every night. First-class all the way in every way.”
Willis’ Team USA pitchers stole the show, though.
“Our kids were in control of the game all the way” Perry said.
“I tell you what I remember,” Willis said. “When Eric first got handed the telegram telling him he was going to coach the World Team I was laughing at him. I’d already booked my flight home for the break, and I was telling him what a relaxing three days I was going to have. About two minutes later, here comes the guy with a telegram for me, saying I was going to Seattle, too. You think Eric had a couple of comments for me?
“I never thought the two of us would be back here together some day.”
Here are some fun links from that game in 2001 at Safeco Field:
2012 Futures Game
The Team USA roster includes left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen and right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker.
The Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com’s Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters. George Brett will manage the U.S. Team, with Bernie Williams manning the World Team dugout.
There have been a lot of fan and media conversations about the Mariners catchers, specifically the use of rookie Jesus Montero. The general consensus is that he should be in the lineup as a catcher more games, and as designated hitter fewer games, because he will develop his defensive skills faster.
Mariners Manager Eric Wedge, an All-American catcher at Wichita State University who was a catcher in pro ball for nine years, thinks otherwise and is sticking to the plan to develop Jesus slowly.
Last week, Eric said, “He’s a young catcher. Every day he’s back there, he’s learning. He has so much responsibility back there, and there’s so much going on, it just takes time. He’s not ready to catch every day yet.
“He needs days off. He needs to get back behind home plate every now and again to catch, but we need to be careful with his workload. We have to make sure we stay ahead of everything for him mentally and physically. The fundamental side of everything is a day-to-day process. He’s got a lot on his plate.”
Wedge added that catching every day could have a negative impact on his development. “That was part of the equation when we brought him over here. What people need to understand is it would actually take him longer to be the total player he needs to be if he was back there every day right now. Because it would get in the way of his development.”
During his stint as manager of the Cleveland Indians (2003-2009) he was involved with the gradual development of Victor Martinez as a Major League catcher.
Eric said, “When I had Victor, I sent him down. I sent him to Triple-A for the first half of the season. He needed to do some things. He wasn’t ready. Then when he came back in the second half, you had to be careful with him. Then his first full year, you had to be careful with him. Eventually he developed into the All-Star caliber player he was.”
Through the series at Detroit, Montero, just 22 years old, has started a quarter of the Mariners first 20 games at catcher. Jeff Datz, third base coach, Eric and former Mariners catcher Dan Wilson have all spent time with Jesus, so he has plenty of support as the continues his development behind the plate.
Day 11 / Wednesday, February 22, 2012 / 35 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo (March 28 vs. Oakland) / 51 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 13 vs. Oakland)
Today’s workout started with temperatures hovering around 53° and climbed to near 70° as practice ended. The next few days are supposed to heat up, with high temperatures expected in the 80’s.
The workout was almost a carbon-copy of Day 10. Today’s workout consisted of baserunning on Field 6 from 9:45-10:05. A couple of the players had to be cautious when rounding third base and when they approached home plate due to the field still being a little damp. The team fundamental today was working on pop-ups and infield/outfield communication on Field 3. A group of 16 pitchers threw live BP today on Fields 3, 4 & 5, including Kevin Millwood, Brandon League, Hector Noesi and Hisashi Iwakuma. Mike Carp again put on a hitting display in batting practice and live BP against RHP Scott Patterson.
Quotes of the Day:
“They kind of knocked heads there, but if you are going to have two guys knock heads, those are two pretty good ones” manager Eric Wedge when asked about the pop-up drill when Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak collided near home plate.
“Cheater” from a group of pitchers to Charlie Furbush as he broke towards first base during PFP drills, but AAA pitching coach Dwight Bernard hit one right back to the mound.
“Polar Bear was trying to get me” from Brandon League as he was almost hit by a high pop fly from the pitching machine during pop-up communications drills.
“Heads up, heavy hitters coming through” from Brendan Ryan to manager Eric Wedge as he led his hitting group consisting of himself, Munenori Kawasaki, Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley onto Field 3 for live BP.
Outfielder Carlos Peguero celebrated his 25th birthday today.
Tweet of the Day:
— David aardsma (@TheDA53) February 22, 2012
Mark it Down:
The first of four Intrasquad games will be held Friday (Feb. 24) at 12:45 p.m. The game is scheduled to be 8 innings, with Jason Vargas and Danny Hultzen scheduled to be the starting pitchers. A “B” game has also been added to the Cactus League schedule for March 5 at Cincinnati. The “B” games do not count towards the Cactus League records and are designed to get players extra at-bats or additional pitchers innings. Here is an updated listing of recent schedule changes:
|Feb. 24 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 26 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 28 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 29 – TBA|
|March 5 at Cincinnati – 10 am|
|March 8 at Colorado – 10 am|
|Cactus League Game Addition:|
|March 16 vs. Milwaukee (at Tucson) – Split Squad – 1 pm|
Lights, Camera, Action:
The Mariners Marketing crew began shooting the 2012 edition of their award-winning commercials this afternoon. Not going to play the spoiler role, but over the next three days the marketing crew, along with Copacino+Fujikado & Blue Goose Productions will shoot five commercials, featuring 14 players (Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, Brendan Ryan, Justin Smoak, Franklin Gutierrez, Miguel Olivo, Casper Wells, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Jason Vargas, Brandon League, Jesus Montero, Chone Figgins) and manager Eric Wedge. There may even be a Larry Bernandez sighting! Each year the marketing crew puts together some of the best (and funniest) commercials in all of baseball. The 2011 commercials won an award at the 2011 ProMaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Summit.
Don Carson, the President of Don & Charlie’s restaurant in Scottsdale, and a must-see destination during spring training visited camp this morning…Mariners team photographer Ben Van Houten also arrived in camp to shoot pictures for the commercials and for the publications you will see throughout the season…reporter Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle arrived for her first day in camp and will be with the squad throughout the remainder of spring training and in Japan…you can follow her Mariners Blog and her twitter feed for some great information…representatives from Wilson Baseball Gloves had all their mitts lined up for players to look at and order for the upcoming season…the Topps Baseball Card Company also had a representative in the clubhouse talking about upcoming baseball cards…there was again an national media presence in camp with Jorge Arangure (ESPN.com), Bob Nightengale (USA Today) and Dave Sheinin (The Washington Post) covering the Mariners.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan threw on the side for about 5 minutes at 60 feet. Ryan has been sidelined by a sore elbow…Franklin Gutierrez and Trayvon Robinson were limited in practice with hamstring tightness…former Mariner closer David Aardsma, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.