At the Winter Meetings in Nashville today MLB had a special announcement – an auction of one of a kind items and experiences to benefit Stand Up To Cancer.
Over the last couple of years, cancer has (seemingly inordinately) affected members of Major League Baseball team PR departments.
“With so many of our friends and colleagues recently affected by cancer, we felt it was time for us to stand up and the Winter Meetings present the only opportunity each year when all 30 managers, general managers and all of the media come together,” said Josh Rawitch, Arizona Diamondbacks Senior Vice President of Communications and the Club PR official spearheading the charge. “With the unique access we are all fortunate to have to some of the game’s greatest treasures, it’s really our responsibility to do our part and we hope this is only the beginning.”
Among the items up for bid are a chance to be a member of the Mariners media contingent for a day, a pitching lesson at Safeco Field with Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis, and a gift pack of items autographed by Felix Hernandez.
Some of the other items include:
- Ride on the Orioles’ team bus to and from a road game in Washington D.C.
- Receive a visit from Washington Nationals pitchers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to your child’s school and eat lunch with them in their cafeteria.
- Watch three innings of a Red Sox game behind the fabled Green Monster at Fenway Park.
- Host a private party at your home with the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages.
- A tour of the MLB Network Studio with the hosts and behind-the-scenes tour during a taping of a show of your choice.
A complete list of auction items can be found here.
As the baseball world gets ready for the annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, we thought you might like to hear from Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge. They sat down recently to talk about the development of the 2012 team and prospects for 2013. This installment focuses on the growth of the young players, many of them completing their first full season in the Majors. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing more from Jack and Eric.
Happy 43rd Birthday Junior! On this day in 1969, Ken Griffey Jr. was born in Donora, Pennsylvania.
And it is also the birthday of Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial, who played 22 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. And get this, Musial was also born in Donora, the small suburb just outside of Pittsburgh. If you are doing the math at home, that’s 1,105 career Major League home runs between Griffey Jr. (630 HR) and Musial (475 HR).
A DVD of Felix Hernandez’s perfect game is available beginning today in Seattle Mariners Team Stores.
The DVD includes the entire August 15th game against the Tampa Bay Rays, including the live post-game interview with Hernandez. The DVD gives viewers the option of listening to the radio play-by-play announcers Rick Rizzs and Ken Wilson (on 710 ESPN), or the television announcers, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers (on ROOT SPORTS).
Bonus features include an exclusive interview with Felix by Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and a video music tribute to Felix’s perfect performance produced by ROOT SPORTS for their “Mariners All Access” program.
The Mariners first perfect game was only the 23rd in Major League Baseball history. In his dominant performance, Felix struck out 12 Tampa Bay Rays, winning the game 1-0.
The DVD, which is available in all Mariners Team Stores starting today, sells for $10 each. Mariners team stores are located at Safeco Field, downtown Seattle at 4th and Stewart, Bellevue Square, Southcenter Mall and Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.
We learned over the weekend that a member of our family had a pretty big scare, as left-handed pitcher Anthony Vasquez had to undergo emergency brain surgery. Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns has a full story on Anthony, and we are thankful everything turned out OK. For those that got to know Anthony during his stint with the Mariners at the end of the 2011 season, you will not meet a more generous person. We are looking forward to seeing Anthony in Peoria when spring training begins for the 2013 season. Get well soon!
Earlier today the Mariners announced that a new, state-of-art main scoreboard is being installed at Safeco Field in time for the 2013 baseball season. It will be located in the same space as the main scoreboard had been, above the centerfield bleachers.
The new high definition board will replace the old scoreboard which included the black and white matrix screen and the video screen in the upper left corner and have been in use since the ballpark opened in 1999. Both units were on their last legs and we were fortunate to be able to get nearly 14 years of life out of them.
Over past few years, fans have been asking when there will be an upgraded scoreboard in Seattle. Now we know the answer: Monday, April 8, 2013, the Home Opener, against the Houston Astros.
As you see in the attached news release and artwork, the new HD screen will be the biggest in Major League Baseball and will feature the latest technology to provide fans with a great experience at the Safeco Field. Because it is basically one big HD video screen, it is completely flexible and can display the usual scoring information, lineups, etc., can be divided into sectors to provide a combination of information, stats and video at the same time then can become one large video screen.
Many improvements and upgrades have been made over the years, but the projects being done this offseason (the new main scoreboard and the outfield fences being moved in) are probably the most visible ever from the seating bowl.
We understand that some fans will say the Mariners should spend that money on players, not on a new scoreboard. Because the Mariners are responsible for maintaining the ballpark in first-class condition, to fulfill our responsibilities, a budget for these types of expenses is kept separately from the annual operating budget.
November 10th marks a sad day in Seattle Mariners history. The Voice of the Mariners, Dave Niehaus died on November 10, 2010.
His sudden death left the Mariners organization and fans with a deep sense of loss. His voice was the soundtrack of our summers from the very first game in franchise history. Dave could make the routine sound compelling, and the exciting truly thrilling. There was no one quite like him.
Our thoughts on this day are with Dave’s wife Marilyn, his sons, daughter, grandchildren and the many fans who miss him.
Here is your chance to show your support for several Mariners by voting for the 2012 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards.
- Felix Hernandez – finalist for Top Pitching Performance for his perfect game Aug. 15 vs. Tampa Bay
- Felix Hernandez – finalist for Starting Pitcher of the Year
- Mariners Combined no-hitter June 8 vs. LA Dodgers – finalist in the Top Pitching Performance category
- Tom Wilhelmsen – nominee for Breakout Player of the Year
- Brendan Ryan – nominee for Defensive Player of the Year and the Must C Play of the Year for his defensive gem to preserve the combined no-hitter June 8 vs. the Dodgers
- Munenori Kawasaki – nominee in the “oddity” division for his dugout dancing
- Video of a young Mariners fan being surprisingly reunited with his dad dressed as an umpire is a finalist for “Cut4″ topic
Major League Baseball’s A-listers will take home 2012 GIBBYs trophies — the ultimate honors of the sport’s awards season — based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year’s GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year’s best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year’s top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com’s Must C highlight reels.
In the past four years, fans have cast more than 40 million votes across the various GIBBYs categories, none of which were restricted to individual League affiliation.
You can vote as many times as you want until fan balloting closes Sunday, Dec. 2, at 9:59 p.m. PT.
Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
The Mariners today announced that the organization is building an academy in the Dominican Republic that will have all the equipment, facilities and staff to train up to 80 top Latin prospects.
With the academy, the Mariners will be one of only a handful of MLB teams building and owning an academy in Latin America. The Mariners also rent a training facility in Venezuela.
The new academy will be located on 24 acres and will be a residential facility where prospects will live, workout, go to school and develop their baseball skills.
Tim Kissner, the Mariners new Director of International Operations, has spent the last 10 days in the Dominican meeting with academy staff and watching young prospects work out and play in games.
“What the players at the complex will get is so much better than what they have now,” said Kissner. “This will be a state of the art facility where the players will get all the calories and nutrition their bodies need, there will be educational programs in English and instruction to help them earn the equivalent of a GED, as well as training and coaching to develop and improve their baseball skills. When you combine all of this in a state-of-the-art facility, that’s when you will really see these kids take off and develop.”
The fact that it’s a live-in facility is important to help the players get the attention they need from coaches and staff.
“Transportation is difficult in the Dominican Republic. It can take 2-3 hours to travel 50 miles,” said Kissner. He added that it would be unrealistic to expect the players to travel hours in the morning to the facility, workout all day, then turn around and make the long trip home at night, only to do it all over again. “And most of them don’t have access to transportation, anyway,” said Kissner.
While all 30 Major League teams have instructional and Winter League teams in the Dominican, the Mariners are one of only a handful of teams investing in and owning an academy there.
“Many of these kids have had very little formal instruction. For them to have the chance to be around the coaches and their teammates, it maximizes their chances of developing into their full potential,” said Kissner.
That experience, says Kissner, also helps prepare the young players, athletically and culturally, for the day when they may be brought to the U.S. to begin their minor league careers.
The academy is being built near the city of Boca Chica, which is about 30 miles east of the capital city of Santo Domingo.
The facilities will include:
- Two full-sized fields with room to build a third field if needed
- Practice infield
- Agility field
- Lighted, covered batting cages
- Bullpen facilities with six pitcher’s mounds
- Dormitory space for up to 80 players, plus coaches and trainers
- Dining hall
- Classrooms for English language and Spanish literacy instruction
- Computer lab and access to recreational activities on site
Construction should be completed by the end of 2013.
The off-season is off to a quick start for the Mariners with the club signing right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to a two-year contract extension through the 2014 season (with an option for 2015) and re-signing left-handed reliever Oliver Perez to a one-year deal.
And to keep you excited about baseball, awards season is about to begin. You already know that Brendan Ryan won the Fielding Bible Award as the top defensive shortstop in baseball and was a finalist (along with 2B Dustin Ackley) for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, but more awards are about to be handed out.
Here’s the rundown of the MLB Awards schedule:
- Tonight (Monday): Players Choice Awards at 5pm PT on MLB Network
- Thursday, November 8: Silver Slugger Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
- Monday, November 12: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
- Tuesday, November 13: Manager of the Year Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
- Wednesday, November 14: Cy Young Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
- Thursday, November 15: Most Valuable Player Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
This year marks the first time that the BBWAA Awards (ROY, MGR, Cy Young, MVP) will be presented live on television (MLB Network). Prior to BBWAA Awards Week, for the first time ever, the five finalists in each league for the MVP Award and the three AL and NL finalists for the Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards will be announced live during MLB Network’s BBWAA Awards Finalists Show this Wednesday, November 7 at 3pm PT. Tune in to see how King Felix fares in the American League Cy Young race.