Bright and early this morning (well, early, anyway), Rick Rizzs, Jay Buhner and his family and a team of volunteers converged on Toys R Us in Bellevue to spend over $173,000 on gifts to help brighten the holidays for children and needy families across the Puget Sound.
The shopping spree started at 6am, before the store opened to the public. Volunteers fanned out across the store for two hours, piling shopping carts full of games and puzzles and dolls and toys of all manner.
Toys For Kids was started over 16 years ago by Rick Rizzs and Dave Henderson to buy toys and gifts for children in the greater Seattle area that might not otherwise receive them. In 2000, the Mariners RBI Club got involved, hosting the annual Toys For Kids Auction, which was held on November 17 in Bellevue. Since 1995, Toys For Kids has raised about $1 million.
The toys will be distributed in several events at various participating organizations. The first is Saturday, December 8, at Yesler Community Center.
A total of 17 organizations will participate in Toys For Kids this holiday season including The Country Doctor community clinic, Atlantic Street Center, Ronald McDonald House Seattle, Hopelink, Seattle Children’s Home, Harborview Medical Center, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vision House, Broadview Women’s Shelter, YWCA Seattle EmergencyHousing, Union Gospel Mission Family Services, First Avenue Service Center, Family and Adult Service Center, First Place School.
As the holidays are now in full swing, and thoughts turn to giving, please forgive The Corner of Edgar & Dave for bit of bragging.
The Seattle Mariners front office just completed our annual United Way campaign. For the third year in a row, we reached 100% participation, and we increased the level of giving by the 188 full-time front office staff by 9%.
Former Mariners catcher, and newly-inducted Hall of Famer, Dan Wilson, and his wife Annie, chaired the United Way of King County annual giving campaign. Greg Johns, Mariners.com beat writer, posted a story on this year’s campaign.
The Mariners have now been closely associated with four United Way of King County campaign chairs: CEO & Chair Howard Lincoln (2003-2004), owners Jeff & Tricia Raikes (2006-2007), owner John Stanton (2007-2008), and the Wilsons.
The Seattle Mariners RBI Club on Saturday presented their annual Community Service Award to Mariners Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jack Zduriencik.
Zduriencik was singled out for recognition for his “tireless efforts to maintain and strengthen professional baseball in the Pacific Northwest and his consistent work as a community servant through his support of local charities.”
Over the years since he arrived in Seattle, Zduriencik has been involved with such organizations as Make-A-Wish, the Northwest Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics of Washington, United Way of King County and Boy Scouts of America Chief Seattle Council.
Zduriencik is the 12th recipient of the Moose Clausen Community Service Award, which has been presented each fall during the annual RBI Club fundraiser for the Toys For Kids charity. Toys for Kids was started 16 years ago by Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson to give support and holiday cheer to children and families in need during the holidays. The dinner and auction raised a record of $170,000. The money raised will all be spent on gifts for kids associated with 17 different service agencies in the Puget Sound area.
Also at the dinner, the RBI Club honored Clausen and his wife Dorothy for their years of service to the organization and the Mariners. They were presented with a handcrafted Blue & White Handkerchief vase by noted Seattle glass artist Bryan Rubino.
Our own Rick Rizzs will be on King 5’s New Day Northwest with Margaret Larson on Monday. Rick will be talking about one of his favorite topics (besides baseball), the charity he and Dave Henderson founded over 15 years ago known as Toys for Kids.
Toys For Kids is a non-profit organization that raises money to buy holiday toys and gifts for children in the greater Seattle area that might not otherwise receive them. With the help of the Seattle Mariners RBI Club, which puts on a fundraising dinner (this year at the Harbor Club in Bellevue on November 17), Toys For Kids raised over $145,000 last year for the annual toy drive. All of it was spent in two huge shopping sprees at Toys R Us and Babies R Us in Bellevue. Then, in December, Rizzs, Henderson and other former Mariners players and their families, join representatives from various organizations that distribute the toys during the holiday season. Participating organizations include The Country Doctor community clinic, Atlantic Street Center, Ronald McDonald House Seattle, Hopelink, Seattle Children’s Home, Harborview Medical Center, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vision House, Broadview Women’s Shelter, YWCA Seattle Emergency Housing, Union Gospel Mission Family Services, First Avenue Service Center, Family and Adult Service Center, First Place School.
If you’d like to be in the audience for New Day Northwest you can get free tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, tune in starting at 11am to KING 5.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, a group of Mariners players, and the Moose, paid a visit to Seattle’s Veterans Administration Hospital to sign autographs, pose for photos and swap stories with patients. Mariners team photographer Ben Van Houten was there and sent back these photos.
Felix Hernandez, one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball, is also recognized for his leadership off the field.
Felix is the Seattle Mariners 2012 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet.
Beginning today, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national award recipient by visiting MLB.com/ClementeAward to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 14th, and the winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by a selection panel.
Tonight, before the Mariners take on the Baltimore Orioles, Felix will be honored during a pre-game ceremony. Felix is active with a number of local charities and non-profit organizations including Make-A-Wish, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Esperanza, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Special Olympics of Washington and Humane Society of Seattle/King County.
The distinguished list of past national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes three former Mariners (Harold Reynolds, Jamie Moyer and Edgar Martinez), as well as 14 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Crews from Seattle Parks & Recreation, City of Lakewood and Metro Parks Tacoma got tips on how to keep a playing field in top shape from one of the best grounds crews in Major League Baseball.
Seattle Mariners head groundskeeper Bob Christofferson and his team put on a field maintenance clinic at Safeco Field in conjunction with Baseball Tomorrow Fund, which provides grants for youth baseball and softball field renovation and construction.
Christofferson took some of the mystery out of what they do (stripes on the field are the result of the direction of the mower blades on the grass) and good naturedly dodged a few questions about how he helps ensure a “home field advantage” for the Mariners.
As beautiful as the field is to look at, Christofferson told the group “my number one job is the take care of the ballplayers’ needs. They don’t care about how green the grass is. They only care about how it plays.”
For example, he told them that groundskeepers work with the position players to make sure the conditions of the grass and the dirt are to their liking. One staff member, Tim Wilson, is the designated mound expert. “He talks to the pitchers before their starts, but mostly after, to make sure the mound conditions are just right,” said Christofferson. A good grounds crew will tailor the mound so that it matches up with each starter’s preferences and motion. Some guys like a soft landing. Some want it hard as a rock. The young pitchers, he says, don’t always know what they want, but with a veteran like Felix Hernandez, Christofferson says Wilson knows exactly how Felix wants it.
In addition to the finer points of the pitcher’s mound, the group got hands-on instruction on chalking, infield prep and fertilizer.
After the clinic, representatives from Baseball Tomorrow Fund presented a $10,000 check to Kennewick American Youth Baseball to help with the renovation of one of their fields at Canyon View Elementary school into a mini replica of Safeco Field. The project is in honor of Cooper Larson, who was a bat boy for a KAYB team. Cooper was just shy of his 5th birthday when he died of a non-operable form of brain cancer in 2008. Before he died, Cooper came to Safeco Field with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and met Raul Ibañez and other members of the Mariners team. He proudly wore his Kennewick Youth Baseball uniform that day.
Tim Doyle, Vice President of KAYB, says the grant will be a big help with the project, but they still have a ways to go to get to their fundraising goal. Plans for the project have been drawn up, the permits have been issued and they hope to start work soon so that the field can be ready for the new youth baseball season next spring.
A group of kids from Seattle area Boys & Girls Clubs and community centers got to play at Safeco Field Tuesday with Mariners players and team trainers.
It was the annual P.L.A.Y. event, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth. Miguel Olivo, Brendan Ryan, Trayvon Robinson, Mike Carp and Cater Capps joined Mariners head trainer Rick Griffin and three members of his staff and put the 100 or so kids through the same paces a professional baseball player goes through before each game.
The kids did sprints, high knee lifts, scissor kicks and agility exercises on the outfield at Safeco Field. They also got some information about good nutrition and with the help of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, the kids got a lesson about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan told the kids from the South Park Community Center, and Rainier Vista and Federal Way/Auburn Boys & Girls Clubs that there are consequences to every action and they should do their best to make the right choices. “Steroids may seem like an easy fix, but in the long run it’s going to affect your life and your family. Follow your heart and try to do the right thing,” said Ryan.
Trainer Rob Nodine told the kids that although they may never be Major Leaguers they can still be successful at whatever they do. “These guys have worked hard and made the right choices. In your life and your future careers, you can make the same right choices and work hard and succeed,” said Nodine.
P.L.A.Y. is a public awareness campaign developed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in 2004 to combat child obesity. Through a series of fitness programs at all 30 MLB ballparks, P.L.A.Y. encourages kids to be active, eat right and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Working with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and all 30 Major League Baseball teams, PBATS incorporates anti-steroid education within their P.L.A.Y. campaign to generate awareness about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.
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.
Pitcher Lucas Luetge joined players from the Seattle Storm and former players for the Seahawks and Sounders yesterday to spruce up the Joan Allen Memorial Garden at Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth High School.
The players, students and community volunteers helped build raised planting beds from recovered cedar, planted fall crop seedlings, weeded existing planting areas and fixed up the garden tool shed.
New Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda was also on hand. Banda arrived recently from the Bay Area, and he admitted to being an Oakland A’s fan, but said he went to his first Mariners game at Safeco Field recently and loved the ballpark.
The work party was organized to help build momentum for the Green Apple Day of Service on September 29, a world-wide initiative to engage students, teachers, parents, business leaders, elected officials and others in activities at their local schools.
Partners who helped make today’s event possible included the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington Green Schools, Skanska, Cedar Grove composting, Vulcan, McKinstry, Howard S. Wright, and Green Sports Coalition.