An eastern Washington teen fulfilled his wish this week when he got to meet his hero Felix Hernandez at Safeco Field.
Make-A-Wish brought Randy Martin, who is from Medical Lake, to the ballpark to meet with Felix before The Mariners took on the Kansas City Royals. Martin, who is 17-years old, has Battens disease, an inherited condition that causes neurological impairment including blindness, seizures and loss of motor skills.
During his visit, Felix introduced Martin to teammates Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Willie Bloomquist, who all spent some time hanging out with Martin and his parents Dawn and Tom in the Mariners dugout.
The entire Seattle Mariners team went to school on Thursday to help students achieve their dreams.
Groups of players visited four Seattle area elementary schools and presented the Mariners Moose D.R.E.A.M. Team assemblies.
Students at Thorndyke Elementary in Tukwila may have set a record for loudest cheers when Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz, J.A. Happ, Logan Morrison, Mark Lowe and Austin Jackson walked in.
The program started with pitcher Mark Lowe talking about how important it is to stay drug-free. Lowe told the kids that he had to stop being friends with some people because they got involved with drugs. “I had a dream to play baseball, and I would not be here today if I had gotten involved with drugs,” Lowe said.
J.A Happ advised the students to respect their teachers, coaches, friends and families, and most of all, themselves by exercising, eating nutritious foods and being the best that they can be.
Of all the letters of the word D.R.E.A.M., Outfielder/DH Nelson Cruz told the kids that of the most important one may be “E” for education. He urged kids to stay in school, listen to their teachers and do their homework because a good education would help them to become the person they want to be.
Austin Jackson was up next with the letter “A”, for attitude. Jackson told the kids that there are a lot of things in life they cannot control, but one thing they can control is their own attitude. When you have a positive attitude, he said, it makes everything you do better.
Logan Morrison rounded out the program with the letter “M” for motivation. He told them that motivation is the way for them to meet the goals they set for themselves. And if the goal seems too hard to reach, Morrison gave the kids some advice about breaking a long-term goal into attainable short-term goals. For example, Morrison said his long-term goal is to hit .300, so he has broken it down into short-term goals. Right now, he’s batting .245, next he wants to hit .250, then .255, until he gets to his goal of .300.
Felix Hernandez then issued a challenge to all the students to read two books every week during the summer. He then gave the school library two copies of the book “The Rise of King Felix,” an illustrated book about Felix’s journey from his childhood in Venezuela to become one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball.
For several Mariners players and coaches, Monday’s off day was spent helping raise money for charity. The team hosted the 30th Annual Mariners Care Golf Tournament to benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
Since 1986 the tournament has raised approximately $5.3 million for cystic fibrosis research. A silent auction and dinner will follow today’s 18-hole tournament.
Here are some photos of the event:
Back in 2013, a four year old girl from Anchorage, Alaska, told Make-A-Wish that she wanted to meet Felix Hernandez more than anything.
Sophia Robinson was being treated for a life-threatening heart condition, and at her young age she had already undergone several medical procedures, including open heart surgery.
Thanks to Make-A-Wish of Alaska and Washington, Sophia, her parents and sister, made the trip to Seattle and spent a day with Felix at Safeco Field, hanging out in the clubhouse, eating corndogs in the players’ private dining room, and playing in the dirt.
It was a perfect summer day, and the connection between Sophia and Felix was immediate and long-lasting. Since then, the two text each other regularly and Felix has flown the family from Alaska to Seattle to renew their friendship.
Last week, at the Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington Wish Night Gala & Auction, Felix and Sophia’s friendship was highlighted in a video. The gala, by the way, raised $1.6 million to help grant wishes to children in Washington and Alaska throughout 2014.
Mariners All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager is involved in a unique online pledge campaign to benefit pediatric cancer research. He’s working with Vs. Cancer. People can go online and pledge an amount for every hit Kyle gets this season.
Join Seager as he steps up to the plate vs. childhood cancer this spring! By pledging a donation towards every hit that he records during the 2015 season, you can help the Seagers support the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
The Seagers are matching the first 100 people to pledge, doubling the effort to help kids beat cancer in Seattle and across the country!
You can learn more about the Seager’s quest to help cure childhood cancer by visiting Seagervscancer.org.
Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and a crew of volunteers for two dozen non-profits got to play Santa Claus for needy kids in the Puget Sound area at the annual Toys For Kids holiday shopping spree.
Carts were piled high with Legos, stuffed animals and all-things “Frozen” at the Bellevue Toys R Us. Each item will be wrapped and presented to a child who otherwise might not have a very happy holiday. This is all thanks to the efforts of Rizzs, former Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson, volunteers from the Mariners RBI Club and generous donors.
Toys For Kids was founded by Rizzs and Henderson, and a handful of Hendu’s teammates back in 1995. They raised a few thousand dollars and bought toys for around 500 children. Since then, the program has grown and this year, they raised $245,000 and will buy gifts for 8,000 kids.
The first of several distribution events is this weekend in conjunction with Harborview Medical Center. There are 22 organizations participating in the Toys For Kids program this year including Country Doctor, First Place, Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, YWCA Seattle Emergency Housing, Seattle Children’s Home and Ronald McDonald House.
Refuse To Abuse®, the Mariners long-standing domestic violence prevention program, was recognized today by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig with the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence.
The award was created in 2010 to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB Clubs. In singling out the Mariners and Refuse To Abuse, the Commissioner said, “I am very proud of the Seattle Mariners and Mariners Care for taking a leading role in educating fans and other members of their community on the importance of respectful relationships. This is a vital societal issue that impacts the lives of individuals and families in harrowing ways. Having communicated with many experts, we continue to work diligently toward a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity of domestic violence and how to best serve the interests of victims and their families. The efforts of the Mariners, who encourage fans to take a public stance against domestic violence, are exemplary. I thank the Mariners and all of our Clubs for their year-round efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Refuse To Abuse is a statewide educational program in partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It takes its name from the Refuse to Lose mantra of Mariners fans after the 1995 season. The program was launched in 1997 to promote healthy relationships and take a public stand against domestic violence.
Refuse To Abuse features Mariners players as role models, educating the community about available help and promoting respectful relationships to children and teenagers. Refuse To Abuse includes television, radio and print ads that deliver messages of respect and communicate that there is no excuse for domestic violence. The Mariners also sponsor a 5K run/walk at Safeco Field that raises money for WSCADV’s violence prevention efforts.
A sold-out crowd of over 300 supporters gathered on Saturday Night, Nov. 15 at the Bellevue Hyatt in support of Toys for Kids at their annual dinner and auction.
Toys for Kids, founded by longtime Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former Mariners player and broadcaster Dave Henderson in 1995, is a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to giving homeless, underserved, and ill children Hope and Joy in the holiday season by making sure each child has a toy to open.
“Thanks to our sponsors, including the Mariners, the RBI Club and the 180 Foundation, among others, and to our dedicated volunteers and auction chair Heather Jones, and all of our great supporters here tonight we will be able to assist over 22 agencies and over 8,000 homeless, underserved and hospital bound children this year with new toys,” Rizzs said following the auction.
“It is really a remarkable outpouring of compassion for kids at the holiday season.”
The spirited crowd included former Mariners players Dave Henderson, Dave Valle, Bill Krueger, Matt Sinatro and others, as well as the Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, President Kevin Mather and General Manager Jack Zduriencik, and a large group of Mariners front office staff. In addition ROOT Sports Brad Adam, who assisted with the silent auction, and a table full of ROOT Sports staff generously participated.
As a part of the dinner program, Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders was presented with the 2014 Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award. The award is presented to a member of the Seattle Mariners organization (active or retired) who have made significant contributions to the community.
Since becoming a Mariner, Saunders has been involved with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Major League Baseball’s “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative. Saunders also spends time during the offseason on the Mariners Caravan talking with elementary school students about education and staying drug-free and visiting children at Boys & Girls Clubs. This year, Saunders joined Felix Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon as spokesmen for the Refuse To Abuse® anti-domestic violence public service campaign. The campaign is part of the 17-year partnership between the Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Saunders was joined at the event by teammate Charlie Furbush and the two pledged to take the winning bidders of the visit to Spring Training to dinner in Arizona, in addition to happily posing for pictures, signing autographs and generously bidding.
It was a great night, but it is not too late to help. If you are interested, there is more information at http://www.rickstoysforkids.org/
The Toys for Kids motto is as simple as it is powerful: We make young people smile. We fill them with joy. We give them hope. We show them love.
Special thanks to Rick Takagi Photography for the great photographs.
MLB’s end-of-season awards are in full swing and Mariners players have been featured among the finalists and winners.
Players Choice Awards, which are voted on by the players themselves, were given out tonight on the MLB Network. Felix Hernandez received the American League Outstanding Pitcher and Chris Young was named American League Comeback Player. (Chis was also named the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year two weeks ago.)
In honor of each winner, the Major League Baseball Players Trust donates grants to the charity of the player’s choice. Felix has chosen Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington as the recipient of his $20,000 grant, and Young has designated DonorsChoose.org as beneficiary of his $20,000 donation.
Since arriving in Seattle, Felix has reached out to numerous kids with life-threatening medical conditions in an effort to help bring hope and joy to each child. He has visited hundreds of children at local hospitals and has granted wishes and entertained kids from the Make-A-Wish on numerous occasions. He also helps Make-A-Wish fundraising events and has donated countless autographed items over the years.
Young’s award will benefit Seattle projects listed on DonorsChoose.org, an online crowd-funding model that teachers use to pay for supplies, technology or experiences they want their students to have. (Sort of like Kickstarter for small, classroom-based projects.) Chris and his wife Liz are longtime supporters of education and have themselves made several donations to worthy projects through DonorsChoose.org.
In honor of Felix and Chris, the Mariners will make donations to Make-A-Wish and DonorsChoose.org in their names.
The Seattle Mariners RBI Club has conferred its top community service award on Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders. The 2014 Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award will be presented to Saunders on November 15, at the RBI Club’s annual Toys for Kids fundraiser at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom. The RBI Club is an organization of Mariners season ticketholders who are active in the community.
The Moose Clausen Award is given to a member of the Mariners organization (active or retired) for significant contributions to the community. This year’s award is being presented to Saunders in recognition of his community service to the Seattle area.
Saunders’ life has been touched by cancer and his community involvement reflects that personal connection. Saunders’ mother died in 2011 at the age of 50 after a 13-year fight with cancer. Each season, Saunders is involved with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Major League Baseball’s “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative. Saunders also spends time during the offseason on the Mariners Caravan talking with elementary school students about education and staying drug-free and visiting children at Boys & Girls Clubs.
This year, Saunders joined Felix Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon as spokesmen for the Refuse To Abuse® anti-domestic violence public service campaign. The campaign is part of the 17-year partnership between the Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The RBI Community Service Award is named for Al “Moose” Clausen who is a Seattle born and raised baseball fanatic. During his years at Ballard High School, Clausen’s baseball coaches nicknamed him “Moose.” The name stuck, and he has been fondly called Moose ever since.
In 1982, Clausen joined the Mariners Front Office as Director of Sales and was part of the Mariners family until he retired in 2012. Due to his decades of service with Northwest baseball and the community, the RBI Club and Seattle Mariners named their Community Service Award for Moose in 2001.
Previous Moose Clausen Award Winners are:
2001 Jamie Moyer
2002 Dan Wilson
2003 Edgar Martinez
2004 Jay Buhner
2005 Rick Rizzs/David Henderson
2006 Raul Ibanez
2007 Dave Valle
2008 John Olerud
2009 Howard Lincoln
2010 Bill Krueger
2011 Julio Cruz
2012 Jack Zduriencik
2013 Eric & Kate Wedge