New Mariners Players Line Dave Niehaus Way

With each baseball season comes new players and new faces…literally.

Mariners fans should be more familiar with the players photos that line Dave Niehaus Way (First Avenue South) between Edgar Martinez Way and Royal Brougham Way. Each January (and sometimes throughout the season) new players are added to the collage of photos to depict current members of the team.

In preparation for this weekend’s FanFest, three new players were added today: Austin Jackson, Nelson Cruz and J.A. Happ. Be sure to check them out this weekend out at Safeco Field.

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Fernando Rodney – Scenes from South Korea

We had a small post last week on Fernando Rodney visiting Korea on a goodwill trip. The Mariners closer has been busy in Korea, visiting the Little League World Champions, the US Embassy and most recently the Sacred Heart School for the Deaf and Seji Middle School. Here are some photos and a link to a video of his trip.

Fernando will fly from Korea to Seattle to take part in this weekend’s FanFest activities at Safeco Field.

Safeco Field to go LED to light the playing field

A view of some of the newly installed LED lights at Safeco Field.

A view of some of the newly installed LED lights at Safeco Field.

Safeco Field will be the first Major League ballpark to light the playing field with LED lights.

LED are light emitting diodes. They produce brighter, more uniform light that is as close to daylight as a man-made fixture can be.

For the players, that means fewer shadows on the field and less glare. For fans in the stands, and those at home, especially if you’re watching on an HDTV, the lights will make everything will look crisper and more vibrant. Because the light is more evenly distributed across the spectrum, there’s no flicker, which is necessary for today’s super-slow motion replays.

The LED lights can create different effects. Here the diamond is lit while the outfield is not.

The LED lights can create different effects. Here the diamond is lit while the outfield is not.

MLB had a team of lighting experts at Safeco Field last week to check the levels at precise points on the field. In every location the new lights met or exceeded MLB requirements.

In addition to benefits for players and fans, the new lights are a lot more efficient than the old metal halide lights. They’ll reduce electricity consumption by 60%-70%, and each fixture should last 50 or more years (as opposed to three years for the old lights).

The new LED Fixtures are four panels of 196 tiny lights.

The new LED Fixtures are four panels of 196 tiny lights.

The project was a partnership between the Mariners, Planled (of Federal Way, WA) and KMW, Inc. of Korea.

Although Safeco Field will be the first MLB ballpark to go LED, there are a handful of pro sports facilities that have already made the move: Staples Center in Los Angeles; NRG Stadium in Houston; and University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, where the Seahawks will play under LED lights at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1.

MLB lighting expert Mike Owens measuring light at various points around the field.

MLB lighting expert Mike Owens measuring light at various points around the field.

Tonight’s Hot Stove Radio Show

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The Hot Stove returns to the airwaves tonight from 7-9 pm on 710 ESPN Seattle and Mariners.com. The show will be hosted by Rick Rizzs alongside Mike Blowers and Shannon Drayer from the 710 ESPN studios for two hours of baseball talk.

Scheduled to join the show from the 2015 Mariners are bench coach Trent Jewett and outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns will join the show to talk about the offseason and how the team is shaping up leading into spring training. Oakland A’s broadcaster Vince Cottroneo is also a scheduled guest to talk about the AL West and the many moves the A’s have made during the offseason.

The Hot Stove can be heard on 710 ESPN Seattle (and Mariners.com) every Tuesday from 7-9 pm. Details on the popular Cactus League Report from Peoria, Arizona are still in the works and we’ll pass them along as soon as we get them.

New Alternate Uniform to be Unveiled Friday

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On Friday, the Mariners will unveil a new alternate uniform to be worn on Sunday games at Safeco Field during the 2015 season. The unveiling will take part  be part of an invitation-only event for Mariners season ticket holders and guests. We’ll post some pictures hopefully by noon on Friday to share the exciting new look.

Mariners Mondays – Felix’s Gems

In tonight’s episode of Mariners Monday, airing at 7 pm on ROOT Sports, the a pair of gems thrown by ace Felix Hernandez will be spotlighted.

Felix struck out a career-high 15 batters June 8 at Tampa Bay in a 5-0 win over the Rays. The 15 strikeouts tied for the most by a pitcher during the 2014 season with Clayton Kershaw (6/18 vs. COL) and Jon Lester (5/3 vs. OAK). The 15 K’s also tied for 8th-most in Mariners single-game history, and were the most since Randy Johnson struck out a club-record 19 on Aug. 8, 1997. The strikeout performance was 2nd-best by a right-handed pitcher in club history.

Felix picked up his 10th win of the season in brilliant fashion June 28 vs. the Indians at Safeco Field, allowing one hit in 8.0 scoreless innings.

These two starts were part of a record-setting streak in which he allowed 2 or fewer runs while pitching at least 6.0 innings in 16 consecutive starts from May 18-Aug. 11.

Mariners Mondays episodes air at 7pm on ROOT SPORTS January through March leading up to the April 6th Opening Day game against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.

Scenes from the Mariners Caravan

The Mariner Moose, Aaron Goldsmith, Dominic Leone, James Jones and Danny Farquhar.

The Mariner Moose, Aaron Goldsmith, Dominic Leone, James Jones and Danny Farquhar.

The Mariners 2015 Winter Caravan is completing its tour of Eastern Washington today and will wrap up next week heading North to Canada and also a stop at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood (see below). Here are

VICTORIA, BC
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Fairmont Empress (Ivy Ballroom)
6:30pm-7:45pm
Scheduled to appear: James Paxton, Charlie Furbush, Steve Sinclair & Dave Sims

LYNNWOOD
Friday, January 23, 2015
Alderwood Mall-Mariners Team Store
5:15pm-6:15pm
Scheduled to appear: James Paxton, Mike Zunino, Dan Wilson & Dave Sims

Here are some photos from this year’s caravan:

Inside the Numbers on the Safeco Field Retractable Roof

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Ever wonder how many times the Mariners have played at Safeco Field with the roof open, closed, or even how many times the roof has moved during the course of a game?

Well, we’ve got you covered as we have recorded the date for all of the roof openings and closings during the history of Safeco Field dating back to the first game played on July 15, 1999 vs. the San Diego Padres.

Since the first game at Safeco Field, there have been 1,262 regular season games played, with the Mariners holding a record of 669-593 (.530) in those games.

The below graphic will show you the amount of times the retractable roof has been open during a game, closed for a game or moved to the closed position during a game. MLB rules state that the roof can only close during play once. If the game starts with the roof closed, it must remain that way for the entire game.

SafecoFieldRoof-Infographic

While Seattle is notoriously known for “always raining”, the roof has actually been open in 78% of games played (985 of 1262). It has been closed (or moved during a game) roughly 22% of the time. The record for most games played in the open air is 71 (out of 81 home games) in 2006 and 2012.

Here is a breakdown of the Mariners records by roof “position”:

Roof Open: 520-465 (.528) — 985 of 1262 games
Roof Closed: 91-82 (.526) — 173 of 1262 games
Roof Moves: 58-46 (.558) — 104 of 1262 games

And for those interested, here is a fun look at the Safeco Field roof closing, which takes 10-20 minutes depending on wind and other weather conditions.

Fernando Rodney Takes Save Celebration to Korea

Mariners closer Fernando Rodney is off to Korea on a goodwill trip where he will visit  U.S. soldiers on a military base and participate in a youth baseball camp while there. His schedule also includes lunch at the Dominican Republic Embassy, a visit to a school for the blind and a meet-and-greet with the 2014 Little League champions from South Korea (whom he has a fun connection with).

MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez caught up with Fernando from the Miami Airport before taking off on his trip. Upon returning from Korea, Rodney will head straight to Seattle to participate in FanFest Jan. 24-25.

Yesterday was also a big day for Fernando as his bobblehead night on May 9 vs. the A’s was announced.

 

Mariners Acquire LHP Mike Kickham from Chicago Cubs

Newest Mariner Mike Kickham pitched for the Giants last season.

Newest Mariner Mike Kickham pitched for the Giants last season.

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Kickham (kick-uhm) from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league RHP Lars Huijer (pronounced higher).

To make room on the 40-man roster for Kickham, LHP Anthony Fernandez has been designated for assignment. The Mariners 40-man roster remains full at 40 players.

Kickham, 26, has spent his entire career in the San Francisco Giants organization prior to being claimed off waivers by the Cubs on Dec. 23, 2014. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Jan. 9 when they signed OF Chris Denorfia.

Pitching primarily with AAA Fresno last season, Kickham went 8-8 with a 4.43 ERA (73 ER, 148.1 IP) in 27 starts. Amongst Pacific Coast League leaders the left-hander ranked tied for 4th in strikeouts (131), 4th in games started (27) and 7th in innings pitched (148.1). In limited big league action with the Giants over the last two seasons is 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA.

Kickham was originally selected by the Giants in the 6th round of the 2010 June draft out of Missouri State University.

Huijer, 21, went 6-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 28 games (24 starts) with A Clinton and A High Desert last season. The Dutch native has combined to go 17-17 with a 4.48 ERA in five minor league seasons. He was signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on June 1, 2011.

Fernandez, 24, went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (11 ER, 25.2 IP) in 5 starts with AAA Tacoma last season before going on the disabled list with a left elbow injury. He had season-ending “Tommy John” surgery on his left elbow May 22 performed by Dr. James Andrews.

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