Robinson Canó, the Mayor of Seattle and a group of kids from the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club had a friendly game of Wiffle® Ball in downtown Seattle. It was part of the Major League Baseball-U.S. Conference of Mayors PLAY BALL initiative.
Mayor Ed Murray issued an official proclamation declaring August “PLAY BALL Month” in Seattle in recognition of “the importance and influence of the sport of baseball in the City of Seattle.”
Robinson Canó took a turn pitching to the kids, and Mariners team President and COO Kevin Mather stepped up to the rubber when Canó moved behind the plate to give the kids some tips on hitting.
With the “outfield wall” only 60-feet away from home plate there were a few homeruns, including a couple by Canó. The Moose van took a couple of direct hits, but no windows were broken.
PLAY BALL is an MLB campaign to engage youth and families in baseball. The initiative encourages widespread participation in all forms of baseball activities among all age groups, especially youth.
Here’s a look at some of the English & Spanish features that were written about the Dominican Baseball Academy over the last few days.
- Mariners.com: New academy boosts Mariners’ presence in Dominican
- Mariners Musings: Photos from my Dominican Republic venture
- Seattle Times: Photos: Mariners unveil new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic
- ESPN Deportes: Marineros inaugura academia en RD
- Hoy: Los Marineros inauguran moderna academia en Boca Chica
- 7dias: Marineros inauguran este jueves su Academia de Beisbol en Boca Chica
- CDN: Marineros hechan raices con nueva academia en Boca Chica
- Diario Libre: Los Marineros abren una moderna academia en Boca Chica
- Quinigueros.com: Marineros tienen nuevo hogar para desarrollar talento de RD
- Listin Diario: Marineros tienen nuevo hogar para desarrollar talento de RD
- Nacion Deportiva: La Academia de los Marineros por dentro
- El Caribe: Un pedazo de los Marineros en Republica Dominicana
- Beisbol AP: Marineros inauguran academia en Dominicana
- Panorama: Marineros de Seattle abren lujoso complejo en Boca Chica
- MundiDeportes: Marineros inauguraran academia de beisbol en Rep. Dominicana
Here’s a brief video of the day courtesy of Victor MI. Baez S. (Deportes SIN):
Here’s a photo gallery courtesy of team photographer Ben Van Houten:
As an added treat, the players working out at the academy got the chance to meet with Robinson Cano who took batting practice at the new Academy:
We’re just a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training (February 12) and the Hot Stove League continues to heat up. Mike Zunino will join tonight’s show along with Kevin Mather, the new Mariners President and COO beginning February 1st. Third base coach John Stearns and former Mariners pitcher Mark Langston are also scheduled to join Rick Rizzs, Dave Valle and Shannon Drayer.
It should be a great show so be sure to tune in from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or stream the show for free online here.
Two days of bright blue skies, excited and engaging players and awesome attractions…and the BEST fans in baseball…made for a record-breaking FanFest weekend at Safeco Field.
Over 21,000 fans came out to Safeco Field for the two-day event to take part in the exciting event, getting autographs and photos taken with several Mariners players, riding zip lines and running around the bases.
Thank you for a great weekend, and we can’t wait for Opening Day on March 31 at the Los Angeles Angels, and the home opener April 8 vs. the Angels!
Here are some photos from FanFest weekend! Go Mariners!
Yesterday the Mariners announced that Kevin Mather would succeed the retiring Chuck Armstrong on February 1 as President and Chief Operating Officer of the organization, and that Bob Aylward would take over Chuck’s role as Chairman of the Board of ROOT Sports Northwest. Bob will remain in his position as Executive Vice President of Business Operations. Here is the full news release on the announcement.
Jack Zduriencik, the club’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of Baseball Operations, remains responsible for baseball operations and makes the baseball decisions, as he has been since joining the Mariners in November 2009. Jack has reported to Armstrong and now will report directly to Kevin, who in turn reports directly to Mariners Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln.
Just to provide some perspective, this management structure is the same one used by a super majority of the 29 other Major League Baseball franchises.
In this structure, the president’s job is to oversee all aspects of the organization, and report directly to the chief operating officer/ownership. In basic terms, most teams are organized with a “baseball side” and a “business side.” In the case of the Mariners, great effort is made to make sure that both “sides” form a closely knit unit. But clearly the focus of baseball operations is to draft, trade and sign the players who will be on the field at the Major League and Minor League levels, manage and coach them, develop them, and train them to become successful in Seattle. Jack is in charge of this huge department, which includes over 100 full-time employees and during spring training over 200 players (including the minor leagues).
The “business side” of baseball teams includes handles sales, marketing, ballpark operations, ticketing, corporate business, communications, broadcasting, accounting, retail, information technology, community relations, etc. Aylward remains responsible for most of these functions.
The two “sides” work hand-in-hand and support each other. Success on the field drives success off the field. Success of the field provides the resources for sustained success on the field, which means winning baseball and championships.
Mariners Chair and CEO Howard Lincoln announced today the successors to retiring President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Armstrong. Two experienced top executives will assume Chuck’s duties beginning February 1. The decision was made by the Mariners Board of Directors.
Kevin Mather, who has served as Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations, will become President and COO. Bob Aylward, Executive Vice President of Business Operations, will become the Chair of NW Sports Net LLC, that’s the RSN ROOT SPORTS NW, of which the Mariners own a majority share.
Here’s some background information on both Mather and Aylward.
Mather has been with the Mariners since 1996 when he was named Vice President of Finance and Administration. He became Executive Vice President in 1999, where he was responsible for oversight of the Mariners accounting and financial reporting, ticket services, procurement, technology services, concessions and day-to-day operations of Safeco Field. He also oversaw the Mariners five retail locations, as well as non-baseball events held at the ballpark. Before coming to the Mariners, Mather worked for the Minnesota Twins (1989-1996), and was in Certified Public Accounting in Minnesota for five years.
Aylward is a veteran of over 38 years in Major League Baseball. He joined the Mariners in June, 1997 as Vice President of Business and Sales. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in December of 1999, the same time as Mather’s promotion. Bob is responsible for the Mariners revenue producing efforts, including corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, signage and advertising sales, as well as having oversight of the Mariners communications and broadcasting departments.
Mather, 51, grew up listening to Bob Uecker as a Milwaukee Brewers fan in Madison, Wisconsin. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Wisconsin where he received his B.A. degree in accounting and risk/insurance. He is on the Executive Board of Junior Achievement of Washington. His favorite activities include golf, baseball, rooting for the Green Bay Packers, and spending time with his family and his two dogs. He and his wife Shannon live in Issaquah with their three sons: J.P., David and Steven.
Aylward, 60, is a native of Pace, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He also attended Ohio University’s graduate program for sports administration. He and his wife Elizabeth live on Mercer Island. They have two grown daughters.
Both Mather and Aylward have World Series rings. Bob’s with the Orioles in 1983, and Mather’s with the Minnesota Twins in 1991. They both are anxious to receive World Series rings with the Seattle Mariners.
Here is the full news release with complete bio information: