A Wild (Card) World Series

Raise your hand if you’ve enjoyed the playoffs so far this season? And last night’s walk-off home run by Washington native Travis Ishikawa (Federal Way) has set up a pretty “wild” setting for the upcoming World Series.

For just the second time during the 20 years of the Wild Card era, two teams that entered the playoffs as wild card teams have advanced to the World Series. The Royals and Giants will open the 2014 World Series next Tuesday (4:30 pm PT/FOX) after clinching their respective pennants over the last two days.

The Royals and Giants join the Angels and Giants in 2002 as the only season since 1995 (the year the Wild Card was introduced) where both Wild Card teams advanced to the World Series. In total, 12 of 46 Wild Card teams have advanced to the World Series (26.1%), while 28 of 120 division champions have advanced to the Fall Classic (23.3%).

Another fun fact is that the Giants are the first “lowest seed” Wild Card team to advance to the playoffs since the expansion to two Wild Card teams in 2012. The following teams have won the World Series as a Wild Card team: Marlins (1997 & 2003), Angels (2002), Red Sox (2004), and Cardinals (2011), meaning that three consecutive titles were won by a wild card (2002–2004). A Wild Card team appeared in the World Series each year from 2002–2007.

Here is the official World Series schedule from @MLB_PR:

World_Series

MILB.com Names Mariners Organizational All-Stars

MiLB Players of the Year

MILB.com published an article this morning naming the Mariners organizational minor league All-Stars and has comments from Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn. This is a good read on our minor league players and the fine seasons they put together. You can click on the photo below to access the article via MiLB.com.

MiLB

Randy Johnson…The Photographer

Mariners Hall of Famer Randy Johnson had an amazing baseball career with over 4,000 strikeouts, 303 wins, 5 Cy Young Awards and one World Championship. Tonight “The Big Unit” will be featured on ESPN’s E:60, but not about his baseball career, but rather his hobby of photography. Tune in tonight to find out about the other side of Randy.

2014 Rewind – Iwakuma by the Numbers

Iwakuma_ERA copy

Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma put together another solid season in 2014, recording a career-high 15 wins (15-9) with a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts. After starting the season on the disabled list, Iwakuma set single-season club records for highest strikeout-to-walk ratio at 7.33 and lowest walk rate (1.06 BB/9.0 IP). In 179.0 innings, Iwakuma walked only 21 batters (including 2 IBB) and recorded 154 strikeouts.

Since joining the Mariners in 2012 after an All-Star career in Japan, Iwakuma has made 77 starts (91 overall appearances). His 2.99 ERA in his starts (since July 2, 2012) is the 9th-best in the Majors joining an elite list of pitchers:

Iwakuma_ERA_Chart

2014 Rewind – Another .300 Season for Robinson Cano

Cano300

Robinson Cano had a banner first season with the Mariners, batting .314 with 37 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs and 82 RBI in 157 games. The 6-time All-Star ranked 6th in the American League in batting average and hits (187), tied for 7th in doubles and 11th with a .836 OPS.

The .300 season was the 6th consecutive for Cano, tying Miguel Cabrera for the longest active streak in the Majors. Cano has hit over .300 in 8 of his 10 seasons since debuting with the Yankees in 2005, combining to bat .310 with 412 doubles, 30 triples, 218 home runs and 904 RBI in his career.

Cano’s .314 batting average over the last six seasons is 4th-highest in the Majors behind Miguel Cabrera (.331), Joe Mauer (.320) and Victor Martinez (.314).

What has been most amazing about Cano’s streak is the fact that .300 hitters are going by the wayside. Consider this, from 2003-2008, the combined MLB batting average was .266 with 221 players who hit .300 or better in a season (when qualifying for the batting title). Over the last six seasons (2009-2014), the MLB batting average has dipped to .256 with 158 players hitting .300 or better in a season.

Among American League players during the designated hitter era (since 1973), Cano’s 8 seasons batting .300 or higher are tied for 11th-most. Edgar Martinez and Ichiro Suzuki both had 10 seasons batting .300 or higher during their Mariners career.

2014 Mariners Rewind – All-Star Additions

Two of the Mariners four All-Stars in 2014 (Cano & Rodney) were added to the team through free agency.

Two of the Mariners All-Stars in 2014 (Cano & Rodney) were added to the team through free agency.

In preparing the 2014 Season in Review, we are digging up a lot of information through research that we’ll pass along on the blog. Today we found this little nugget…

The Mariners had four players selected as All-Stars in 2014 – Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Fernando Rodney – two of which joined the team through free agency (Cano and Rodney). With the help of STATS Inc, we were able to unearth the fact that this was only the 5th time over the last 10 seasons (since 2005) that a pair of new teammates (through free agency or trade) became All-Stars. Here is a look at the last 5 instances:

Free-Agent

Furthermore, if you count strictly free agents joining a new team, this was just the second time since 2006, 5th time since 1999 and 8th time since 1993 (all according to stats guru Jeff Chernow at STATS Inc).

We’ll be passing along more information in the coming days, such as a fun tidbit on Cano’s six consecutive seasons hitting .300 or better and Felix having the lowest ERA by an American League pitcher in a LONG time.

Enjoy the weekend!

Behind the Scenes at Safeco Field – Legends Room

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The Legends Conference Room on the suite level of Safeco Field.

Throughout the offseason we will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Safeco Field. To start with, we wanted to share with you the rebranding of the conference rooms at Safeco Field. The main goal is to celebrate our history and current team in a more dynamic way throughout our offices.

The rebranding of the conference rooms at Safeco Field is an effort to give these rooms that are utilized by front office staff, corporate partners and fans a fresh look. The rooms will celebrate the organization’s history as well as the current team.

The first room that received a new-look was the large conference room on the suite level of Safeco Field. This room is not only used by Mariners staff but it can be booked on a game day by fans looking for a bigger space to have a meeting or a pre-game gathering (more on booking an event). The room was rebranded the “Legends Room.”  It features all of the Mariners Hall of Famers as well as various photographs of Safeco Field.

Four other conference rooms will be rebranded this off-season. One will honor Ken Griffey Jr.  Another will pay tribute to “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis.  A third will salute the Mariners all-time hits leader Ichiro Suzuki. The fourth will celebrate the current team with images of Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Hisashi Iwakuma and others.

All the work will be completed by the end of January 2015.

Here are some pictures of the Legends Room:

Felix Hernandez Selected as Hutch Award Finalist

Hutch_Award_2015

Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Hutch Award.

Here are detailed sketches of all 10 finalists for the award.

This year we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hutch Award at the Hutch Award Luncheon while raising funds to benefit cancer research at Fred Hutch. Over the past 15 years, the Hutch Award Luncheon has raised gross proceeds of more than $4.3 million to support lifesaving research.

Presented each year in Seattle at Safeco Field, and ranked as one of the top annual awards given to a Major League Baseball player, the Hutch Award recognizes the MLB player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of the legendary leader and Seattle native, Fred Hutchinson.

Felix has been a team leader, both on and off the field, in his 10 seasons with the Mariners after debuting as a 19-year-old in 2005. In the community he is been heavily involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Humane Society, is the spokesperson for the “Refuse to Abuse” campaign in partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and has teamed up with Grammy Award-winning recording artist and Seattle native Macklemore launch a comprehensive anti-bullying campaign. Felix is also the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award.

On the field Felix is one of the most dominating pitchers in the Majors, going 15-6 with an American League-leading 2.14 ERA in 2014 and is 125-92 with a 3.07 ERA in 303 career starts. He is a 5-time All-Star, including being selected as the starting pitcher for the AL in the 2014 Midsummer Classic in Minneapolis.

The 2015 luncheon will be held at Safeco Field (left field playing surface) on Thursday, January 29. Past winners of the Hutch Award include Raul Ibañez (2013), Jamie Moyer (2003), Omar Vizquel (1996) and John Olerud (1993) to name just a few.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez is one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Hutch Award.

Charlie Furbush – Live Chat Rewind

Furbush

Mariners relief pitcher Charlie Furbush visited the Seattle Times this afternoon for a Live Chat. Charlie answered fans questions for over an hour and then got a small tour of the newsroom. You can view the chat transcript by clicking on the image below:

Furbush_01

Mariners Care Raises $1 Million for NW Charities

The slogan for the Mariners non-profit foundation Mariners Care is “a side of Mariners Baseball you don’t always see.” And it’s true. The foundation and our corporate partners are involved in fundraising efforts each year, some more visible than others, with all the proceeds going to support primarily youth-oriented community service programs across the Northwest.

This year, the total for all Mariners Care activities was over $1 million. When you add that to the efforts since 2000, Mariners care has generated over $15.8 million to help a variety of charitable programs, everything from Seattle Children’s Hospital to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

We also owe you, the fans, many thanks, because you helped make it happen with your bids on silent auctions of memorabilia at Saturday home games, your entry fees to play at the annual Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament and your donations of new and used baseball and softball equipment to the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.

In 2014, the Mariners Care activities also include the All-Star Celebrity Softball Classic that raised over $1 million to benefit services for homeless youth in King County. The game was staged by United Way of King County and the Seattle Mariners, with teams captained by Mariners Hall of Famers Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner.

Mariners Chair and CEO Howard Lincoln has set the bar high for the organization to make a positive and lasting impact on our community. For the last three years, the Mariners Front Office has reached 100% participation in the United Way giving campaign, and every Mariners player participates in and supports various community programs and causes from hospital visits to speaking with elementary school kids.

“It’s a side of Mariners Baseball you don’t always see.”

Mariners players at Hilltop Elementary School in Burien.

Mariners players at Hilltop Elementary School in Burien.

2014 Mariners Care Highlights

All-Star Celebrity Softball Classic for Homeless Youth
On June 21, the Mariners and United Way held a celebrity softball game at Safeco Field to benefit homeless youth in King County.  Mariners Hall of Famers Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner served as team captains. The second annual event raised $1,000,000.

Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament
Over $200,000 was raised for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the 29th annual golf tournament and auction held on June 26 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

The 29th Annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament raised over $200,000 for CF research.

The 29th Annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament raised over $200,000 for CF research.

Toys for Kids Dinner and Auction
Rick Rizzs, Dave Henderson, and the Seattle Mariners RBI Club held the 13th annual dinner and auction to benefit Puget Sound area charities serving disadvantaged children and families. The event raised over $200,000.

Refuse To Abuse 5k Run/Walk at Safeco Field
The third annual Refuse To Abuse® 5k Run/Walk, held on July 19 at Safeco Field, raised $107,000 for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Refuse To Abuse® campaign.

The Third Annual Refuse to Abuse 5K at Safeco Field raised $107,000 for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The Third Annual Refuse to Abuse 5K at Safeco Field raised $107,000 for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Mariners Care Silent Auctions
Held each Saturday home game at Safeco Field, silent auctions of autographed and game-used memorabilia raised $82,591 for Mariners Care. Since the Silent Auctions started in 2000, they have now brought in a total of $1.27 million for Mariners Care.

PACCAR RBI for Literacy
For every Mariners RBI during the 2014 season, PACCAR made a donation to the Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program. The 2014 program raised $75,000.

Sharebuilder Saves for Kids
For every save recorded by a Mariners pitcher in 2014, Sharebuilder donated $1,000 to Seattle Children’s. The Mariners had 51 saves for a total donation of $51,000.

Seattle Mariners “Groundskeeper for a Day” Fundraising Program
This season, $43,918 was raised for Pacific Northwest charities through the “Groundskeeper for a Day” donations offered at various auctions.

ROOT SPORTS – Mariners TeleAuction
ROOT SPORTS and the Mariners teamed up to host an on-line TeleAuction during the June 24 telecast to raise funds for Mariners Care. The fifth year event raised $40,000.

Charity Auction Ticket Donations
In 2014, the Mariners contributed $39,730 in tickets for charity fundraisers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Alaska Airlines Home Runs for Wishes
Alaska Airlines donated 10,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles for every Mariners home run and 40,000 miles for every Mariners grand slam to Make-A-Wish of Alaska and Washington. In 2014, 1,000,000 miles, valued at $27,400, were donated to Make-A-Wish.

Holland America Line K’s for Kids
For every Mariners strikeout recorded by a Mariners pitcher, Holland America Line made a donation to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Uncompensated Care Fund.  The 2014 program raised $25,000.

Felix Hernandez visits young patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital as part of the Holland America Line Get Well Tour.

Felix Hernandez visits young patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital as part of the Holland America Line Get Well Tour.

Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive
On July 28, Mariners fans and The Baseball Tomorrow Fund teamed up to collect new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The equipment and cash donations totaled $16,000.

Mariners Wives Mystery Bag Fundraiser
Selling mystery bags of baseballs autographed by Mariners players and manager raised $16,000 for Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners non-profit foundation.

Mariners Wives Favorite Things Auction
A silent auction of baskets filled with the favorite things of Mariners players raised $16,000 to benefit

The annual Mariners Wives auction of baskets filled with their husbands’ Favorite Things raised $16,000 for Mariners Care.

The annual Mariners Wives auction of baskets filled with their husbands’ Favorite Things raised $16,000 for Mariners Care.

Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners non-profit foundation.

Mariners Care Speed Pitch
Located on the Main Concourse in Center Field, all proceeds from the interactive fan game are donated to the Mariners Care Foundation. The season ending total is $12,150.

Mariners Hall of Fame Luncheon
The 2014 Mariners Hall of Fame Luncheon honoring Lou Piniella, held on August 8, raised over $11,000 for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center through a silent auction and table centerpiece sales.

Baseball Tomorrow Fund Field Maintenance Clinic
The Mariners Grounds Crew and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund teamed up to present a Field Maintenance Clinic where a $10,000 grant was presented to the City of Darrington to help with the renovation of their baseball field.

Jackie Robinson Scholarship
Mariners Care, The Evergreen State College, and Seattle Central Community College teamed up for the thirteenth annual Jackie Robinson Scholarship Night.  Three scholarships were awarded for a total of $8,148.

Mariners Care Garage Sales
Mariners Care Garage Sales held at FanFest and two select 2014 home games, which featured memorabilia from current and past seasons, raised $7,786 for Mariners Care.

The Martinez Foundation Silent Auction
On June 13, the Mariners hosted a silent auction at Safeco Field to benefit The Martinez Foundation which provides underserved populations with educational opportunities. The auction raised $6,340.

Fight Hunger Presented by News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM and Mariners Care
This annual food drive collected $6,300 in cash donations and 200 pounds of food for Northwest Harvest.

Coors Banquet Double Plays for the Wildland Firefighters Foundation
Coors Banquet donated $100 for every double play turned by the Mariners in July and August to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation.  The program raised $4,200 to support firefighters and their families.

Mariner Moose Auction Donations
More than $600 has been raised this season for Pacific Northwest charities through Mariner Moose party donations offered at various auctions.

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