The temperature was in the mid-40s and rain fell throughout the weekend, but thanks to the retractable roof, weather was a non-factor as Mariners 2013 FanFest was a terrific two-day celebration of baseball at Safeco Field.
Nearly 18,000 fans took part in the activities and enjoyed the exhibits last weekend at this midwinter family event in what many believe was the best-ever Mariners FanFest. There was a huge increase in families this year, accounting for an increase of 8,000 more fans in attendance than in 2012. Just as importantly, there was a very positive energy throughout the ballpark all weekend long.
We had one of our best player lineups ever with 11 current Mariners (Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Michael Morse, Blake Beavan, Carter Capps, Casper Wells, Jesus Montero, Tom Wilhelmsen, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Hisashi Iwakuma) and four futures (Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino, James Paxton and Stefen Romero) participating in autograph sessions, photo opportunities, question and answer sessions, social media chats and on-field clinics with the fans.
General Manager Jack Zdruiencik and Field Manager Eric Wedge did a great job of answering questions and clearly detailing for fans our plan to build a championship team and what to look for on the field in 2013.
We were also fortunate to have three Mariners legends join us: Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson. These three are great ambassadors of Mariners Baseball as they engaged fans around the ballpark on Sunday.
In addition to lining up for the autograph and question/answer sessions, fans took the field to run around the bases, catch pop flies and play catch in the outfield. A new and popular addition was a 200-foot “zip line” ride in right field, and thousands took the ride over the weekend.
The entire organization works together to plan and present FanFest at Safeco Field. It starts with the Marketing Department, but it took the coordination with almost every other department to make it happen: Baseball Operations, Ballpark Operations, the Grounds Crew, Ticket Services, Procurement, Ticket Sales, Maintenance, Community Relations, Corporate Business, Communications, Information Technology, Retail and Administration.
FanFest continues is a great springboard to the start of Spring Training in February and on to the regular season in April. We would love to hear your feedback on the event, so if you have anything to offer, leave a comment on this blog entry.
You can also catch up on several FanFest videos and a photo gallery of all the events at Mariners.com/FanFest.
We’ve already updated you guys on the great events that will take place this weekend at Mariners FanFest, but wanted to give it one more write-up because we are really that excited.
Here is an update on who is scheduled to appear and some of the key highlights of the event. For a complete rundown of the weekend, visit Mariners.com/FanFest:
Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 4pm
Tickets: Adults $10, all kids 14 & under are free
Manager Eric Wedge, Franklin Gutierrez, Jesús Montero, Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager, Tom Wilhelmsen, Michael Morse, Brendan Ryan, Carter Capps, Hisashi Iwakuma, Casper Wells & Blake Beavan
Mike Zunino, James Paxton, Nick Franklin & Stefen Romero
Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson, Dave Valle, Julio Cruz & Dave Henderson
- Run the bases
- Tour the Mariners clubhouse
- Throw a pitch in the bullpen
- Catch a pop fly in left field
- Play catch in the outfield
- Try on game-used gear including Dustin Ackley’s batting gloves and Kyle Seager’s batting helmet
- Hit against a simulated Felix Hernandez fastball in the visitor clubhouse’s batting cage
- Sample menu items from Edgar’s new open-air restaurant at the Taste of Safeco Field
- (New) Mariners Photo Zone – meet some of your favorite Mariners and pose for a Kodak moment
- (New) Picture Perfect – Strike your best Felixing pose as you step inside the iconic photo from Felix’s perfect game
- (New) View authentic memorabilia from last year’s perfect game and 6-man no-hitter
- (New) Safeco Field Zip Line – for those thrill seekers, you’re invited to take a 200ft. ride through the outfield
- (New) Stop by King’s Court at Sec. 150 where you can place a vote for this year’s t-shirt design
The calendar has been circled for a while, but the week of Mariners FanFest is finally upon us. This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at Safeco Field, fans can meet their favorite Mariners, take a zip line ride, pose for a “Felixing” photo and run around the bases. The 16th annual FanFest will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
The list of players scheduled to attend the event is one of the best in recent history, and includes outfielders Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Michael Morse, Casper Wells, third baseman Kyle Seager, catcher Jesus Montero, shortstop Brendan Ryan, starting pitchers Blake Beavan and Hisashi Iwakuma, closer Tom Wilhelmsen and relief pitcher Carter Capps. In addition, four of the Mariners top prospects — catcher Mike Zunino, left-handed pitcher James Paxton and infielders Nick Franklin and Stefen Romero – will also take part.
Manager Eric Wedge, General Manager Jack Zduriencik and Mariners Hall of Famers Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson will also be part of the eventful weekend.
Tickets are $10 for adults, and children 14 & under are free. Be sure to check Mariners.com/FanFest for a list of daily events and information.
We are looking forward to seeing all our fans this weekend at Safeco!
Two veteran sports scribes, both with books about their experiences in and around the press box, will be featured at the upcoming Mariners FanFest held Jan. 26-27 at Safeco Field.
Jim Street, who covered pro sports for over 40 years, more than half as a Mariners beat writer, will do the same with his newly published book Life from the Press Box.
The FanFest Book Club will be in the Ellis Pavilion at Safeco Field starting at 12:30pm both days. The audience is open to all FanFest attendees.
LaRue’s book takes readers inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes to reveal what drives the men who play the game of baseball at the highest level. Baseball Roundtable noted in its review that readers benefit not only from LaRue’s sportswriter’s access, “but from his knowledge of the game, powers of observation, interview skills and way with words.”
In Life from the Press Box, Street reflects on 40+ years as a sportswriter covering MLB and NFL teams, professional golf and Division One college sports. He spent more than 20 years covering the Mariners for the Seattle P-I and mlb.com. His book goes behind the scores to put a face on the writers, managers, coaches and players who dedicate their lives to sports. MLB.com called the book “fascinating,” and “completely different from most of the sports memoirs to be found on shelves” today.
Tickets to Mariners FanFest are on sale now. Adults are $10. Kids 14 and younger are free. Doors open each day at 11am. Volunteers from Northwest Harvest will be at the doors collecting non-perishable food and cash donations.
We’ve got a new way to experience FanFest this year — online.
Visit the Mariners FanFest Social Media Schedule online to view timings of live Facebook Chats and Twitter Takeovers that will originate from on top of the visitor’s dugout at Safeco Field this weekend. Fans at the ballpark can participate with their smartphones and tablets, and it’s a fun way for our fans across the Northwest to login from home and join the conversation.
We’ll also be live streaming the Dugout Dialogue sessions from FanFest all day Saturday and Sunday on Mariners.com.
Saturday – Social Media Schedule:
|11:10 a.m.||Mike Carp (@carpusmaximus20)||Twitter Takeover|
|12:00 p.m.||James Paxton (@James_Paxton)||Facebook Chat|
|12:00 p.m.||Taijuan Walker (@tai_walker)||Twitter Takeover|
|1:00 p.m.||Miguel Olivo||Facebook Chat|
|1:45 p.m.||Brandon League||Twitter Takeover|
|2:30 p.m.||Jack Zduriencik||Facebook Chat|
Sunday – Social Media Schedule
|11:30 a.m.||Trayvon Robinson||Facebook Chat|
|12:00 p.m.||James Paxton (@James_Paxton)||Twitter Takeover|
|12:30 p.m.||Vinnie Catricala||Facebook Chat|
|1:00 p.m.||Brendan Ryan||Twitter Takeover|
|1:30 p.m.||Jesus Montero||Facebook Chat|
|1:45 p.m.||Jason Vargas||Twitter Takeover|
|2:00 p.m.||Danny Hultzen||Facebook Chat|
|2:30 p.m.||Casper Wells (@UpstateBaller)||Twitter Takeover|
We’ve just gotten word that pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who signed a free-agent contract with the Mariners on January 5, will be in Seattle Sunday for the 14th Annual Mariners FanFest.
Iwakuma will participate in several FanFest activities including a fan Q&A on top of the Mariners dugout (starting at 12:30pm). The Dugout Dialog sessions are streamed live on www.mariners.com.
Iwakuma is also scheduled to sign autographs in the afternoon. Fans wanting to get Iwakuma’s autograph need to enter through the Home Plate Gate and pick up one of the 500 Iwakuma autograph vouchers. Vouchers are on a first come, first served basis.
Iwakuma compiled a 107-69 record in 226 career games with Kintetsu (2001-04) and Rakuten (2005-2011) in the Japan League. He was named the 2008 Pacific League MVP and winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award (Cy Young equivalent) after going 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA (42 ER, 201.2 IP) in 28 starts. Last season Iwakuma was 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA (32 ER, 119.0 IP) with 90 strikeouts in 17 starts. He missed part of the season on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.
Earlier this week, MLB.com came out with their Top 100 prospects, with 5 Mariners on the list. Today, it was Baseball America’s turn to unveil their annual Top 10 Mariners Prospects via their website.
And look who is on the cover of this week’s edition of Baseball America, Taijuan Walker.
Here are the Mariners Top 10 Prospects, as well as the publications listing for the Best Mariners Tools:
- Jesus Montero, c
- Taijuan Walker, rhp
- Danny Hultzen, lhp
- James Paxton, lhp
- Nick Franklin, 2b/ss
- Francisco Martinez, 3b
- Chance Ruffin, rhp
- Tom Wilhelmsen, rhp
- Vinnie Catricala, 3b/1b/of
- Phillips Castillo, of
Best Hitter for Average – Jesus Montero
Best Power Hitter – Jesus Montero
Best Strike Zone Discipline – Vinnie Catricala
Fastest Baserunner – Jamal Austin
Best Athlete – Taijuan Walker
Best Fastball – Taijuan Walker
Best Curveball – James Paxton
Best Slider – Chance Ruffin
Best Changeup – Danny Hultzen
Best Control – Danny Hultzen
Best Defensive Catcher – Steve Baron
Best Defensive Infielder – Gabriel Noriega
Best Infield Arm – Carlos Triunfel
Best Defensive OF – Danny Carroll
Best Outfield Arm – Johermyn Chavez