A group of kids from the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club got a rare treat on Tuesday – the chance to play on the grass at Safeco Field with members of the Seattle Mariners.
The kids were invited to take part in the annual PLAY campaign designed to help kids establish healthy exercise and eating habits early in life.
PLAY stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth. It’s a national public awareness campaign sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), the Taylor Hooton Foundation and MLB Charities.
Mariners players Charlie Furbush, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino were joined by members of the Mariners training staff to deliver a message about the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as making good decisions about things such as performance enhancing drugs.
Mariners pitcher Charlie Furbush, who was assisting with his second PLAY event, admitted to the kids that he was a “big fan of video games” when he was their age. Growing up in Maine, he said, there wasn’t much else to do in the winter. But when the weather was nice, he and his friends would “ride our bikes, go for a walk, climb trees, play sports, just get outside as much as we could.”
The kids also got some good advice about steroids and performance enhancing drugs from Damien Martinez of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. Hooton was a high school baseball player in Texas who took steroids to get bigger and stronger. Martinez explained to the kids that one of the many side effects of the illegal drugs is depression. Hooton, he said, committed suicide at the age of 17.
Martinez held the kids attention as he talked about the many ways steroids are bad for their growing bodies, causing everything from acne to heart attacks. The kids giggled then grew serious as he related how the human body can convert testosterone to estrogen, causing boys to start “developing female parts,” and causing their “male parts to shrink.”
Martinez told the kids that not only is taking performance enhancing drugs cheating, it’s very dangerous, “and in Taylor Hooton’s case, it was fatal.”
After the presentations, the players were joined on field by three members of the Mariners training staff, Rick Griffin, Rob Nodine and Matt Thoth, who led the kids through a series of exercises – stretches and warmups, sprints and agility drills.
The kids got to burn off some energy, got autographs from the players and signed a pledge to stay healthy, active and drug-free. They also got a healthy lunch, courtesy of Mariners corporate partner SUBWAY.
Some 1,300 runners and walkers turned out at Safeco Field over the weekend for the Third Annual Refuse to Abuse 5K. The event raised $107,000 to benefit the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
This unique event is the only 5K that uses Safeco Field as its course. Participants wound their way around every level of the ballpark with a final lap around the warning track on the field.
The 5K builds on the 18-year partnership between the Mariners and the Coalition that resulted in the groundbreaking Refuse To Abuse® violence prevention campaign which helps raise awareness and gives community members a way to get involved in preventing domestic violence.
Mariner pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Brandon Maurer spent part of their day on Thursday visiting kids at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital as part of the Holland America Line Get Well Tour.
The kids got the chance to meet Kuma and Maurer – and the Mariner Moose – get photos and autographs, and a Get Well Tour duffle bag, baseball and Moose doll, all courtesy of Holland America Line.
The annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament was held Thursday at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Tournament co-hosts Dustin Ackley and Charlie Furbush (Justin Smoak, also a tournament co-host, was in El Paso on rehab with the Tacoma Rainiers) were joined on the links by teammates, manager Lloyd McClendon, General Manager Jack Zduriencik and a host of golfers to help raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Final numbers are still being tallied, but the tournament and auction of sports memorabilia raised over $200,000 to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research. Since 1986 the tournament has raised over $5.2 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
In addition to his duties as a co-chair, Charlie Furbush brought his “A” game. He was the winner of the “celebrity longest drive” and Dominic Leone’s foursome, along with Kyle Hall, Sam Kajani and Jerry Heuett won 3rd place.
Here are some pictures from the event:
Several thousand students in elementary schools in the greater Seattle area got a break from reading and math on Tuesday so they could get some life lessons from Seattle Mariners players.
It was the 17th Annual Mariners Education Day where the entire team and broadcasters split up into five groups and fan out to area schools to urge the kids to become members of the Mariner Moose D.R.E.A.M. Team.
D.R.E.A.M. Team stresses the importance of the D.R.E.A.M. principles: Drug-free, Respect, Education, Attitude and Motivation.
At each school, the players talked about how they worked hard and were able to achieve their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers. But they also urged the kids to aim for their own goals of becoming teachers, doctors, engineers or anything they want to be.
The students were also urged to keep learning even during the summer. At Burien’s Hilltop Elementary School, star pitcher Felix Hernandez challenged students to read at least two books each week.
The schools visited for this year’s Education Day assemblies were South Shore PK-8 in South Seattle, Hazel Valley Elementary and Hilltop Elementary in Burien, Cascade View in Tukwila and Sunny Hills Elementary in Sammamish.
Donna Person-Smith, a 46-year old Graham, Pierce County woman, has been named the Seattle Mariners 2014 Honorary Bat Girl.
Person-Smith, a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer three years ago. She was faithful about getting mammograms, but Person-Smith says her cancer was not detected until she had breast reduction surgery and a tissue sample sent for testing came back positive. Her doctors told her that her tumor was so deep it may not have been detected until it had grown larger. But with early detection, Person-Smith says her prognosis is excellent.
The married mom of three kids will be honored on Sunday, May 11, Mother’s Day, when the Mariners take on the Kansas City Royals. Person-Smith will get a pink-themed personalized Mariners jersey, a special pink Louisville Slugger, and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
Person-Smith, whose mother is also a breast cancer survivor, credits early detection and the great care she received from her doctors at Virginia Mason with saving her life. “Cancer isn’t a death sentence. You can recover, you can move on and have a healthy life,” said Person-Smith.
During Sunday’s game, the Mariners and Royals players will wear symbolic pink ribbons on their uniforms along with pink wristbands. Dugout lineup cards will be pink-themed and the baseballs used during the game will have pink stitches. Pink Louisville Slugger bats used during the game will be auctioned off exclusively on MLB.comto benefit the fight against breast cancer.
Mariners ace pitcher Felix Hernandez and Grammy-winning recording artist Macklemore teamed up at Safeco Field to surprise a group of students from Bellevue’s Highland Middle School and launch an anti-bullying campaign.
The students gathered at the ballpark for what they thought was a public service announcement taping with the Mariner Moose. The students were in for more than a little surprise when the Moose was suddenly recast with the two Seattle superstars.
Felix and Macklemore are two individuals who are not afraid to stand up, stand out and celebrate their individuality. In the PSA, they ask students to “be kind, stay positive, and support each other,” and to sign an anti-bullying pledge. The PSA ends with the line, “Together, we can change the game.” The 30-second PSA will be distributed to radio and TV stations throughout Western Washington.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe at their school. I hope kids will hear our message and treat each other with respect and kindness,” said Hernandez.
“It’s an honor to be working with the Mariners and Felix Hernandez to help spread a message of individuality to our area schools. We hope to encourage our youth to feel free to be themselves and to take care of each other along the way,” said Macklemore.
The campaign also consists of an education component for Seattle-area middle schools with posters and activity guides for teachers, as well as online resources at mariners.com/changethegame to provide students, teachers and parents tools to help address the issue of bullying in schools. Parents can help their children complete the activities and take the anti-bullying pledge to be entered into a contest to meet Hernandez and Macklemore prior to the Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees game on Thursday, June 12, which is Macklemore Bobblehead Night at Safeco Field.
You hear a lot from professional athletes and even sports teams talk about how they want to “give back to the community.” Here at the Seattle Mariners, we take our responsibility to be good corporate citizens seriously.
Through our Community Relations Department and our non-profit foundation, Mariners Care, we are able to channel resources to over 1,500 worthy causes and organizations. Since 2000, Mariners Care has helped raise over $14.8 million to benefit primarily youth-oriented community service programs. And each season, we are proud that every member of the Mariners team participates in our community programs.
If you’d like to learn more about the specific programs, such as our annual golf tournament to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or the Refuse to Abuse® 5k Run/Walk that benefits the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or any of the dozens of programs, fundraiser and community outreach efforts we take part in, you can find the entire Mariners Care Community Report at this link.
Rick Rizzs, Jay Buhner and volunteers from 18 Seattle area social service agencies and charities gathered before sunrise at the Toys R Us in Bellevue Tuesday to spend $250,000 on gifts to brighten the holidays for children across the region.
Toys for Kids started as a good idea over 17 years ago when Rizzs, Buhner, Dave Henderson and several other former Mariners players passed the hat to help needy families. Today, that act of goodwill has grown into a non-profit organization that provides holiday cheer to more than 6,000 children each year.
Various fundraising efforts over the year culminate in a shopping spree at Toys R Us. Volunteers from organizations such as Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, Harborview Medical Center, Union Gospel Mission Family Services, and Vision House swarm the store beginning at 6am, lists in hand, to buy gifts for kids who might not otherwise receive one.
Maria Ochoa-Meyers, who was shopping for Communities in Schools of Renton, was looking for art supplies and Barbies. Although the ghoulish Monster High dolls are increasingly popular, “girls still like Barbie,” she said.
A team from Atlantic Street Center turned out in red Mariners T-shirts to fill the wish lists of 1,500 kids. By 6:45am, they had already filled to overflowing 23 shopping carts, with more to go.
Next Thursday and Saturday Santa Moose, Rick Rizzs, and some surprise guests will start delivering the gifts at parties at Seattle Ronald McDonald House and Harborview Medical Center.
It’s not too late to help out. You can make a tax deductible donation online at RicksToysForKids.org, or you can find out how to give some or all of the proceeds from your sales on ebay to help the cause.
The 13th annual Toys for Kids Dinner and Auction was held on Saturday at the Harbor Club in Bellevue, and raised over $200,000 to help homeless and disadvantaged kids this Christmas.
The annual event is hosted by Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former player Dave Henderson, with the help of the Mariners RBI Club.
Several former Mariners players were in attendance to help raise money, including Bill Krueger, Dan Wilson and John Olerud. Current Mariners outfielder Raul Ibañez also took part in the event and there was a surprise appearance from Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Seattle Mariners RBI Club awarded Eric and Kate Wedge the Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award, an annual award given during our dinner and auction to a past or present member of the Mariners organization who has made a significant contribution to the community.
With all the money raised, Rizzs and an entourage of shoppers start clearing shelves at local toy stores beginning December 4. We’ll have an update on this blog after the first few shopping events. Thanks for all the helped raise money for a wonderful charity!