Results tagged ‘ Carl Willis ’

Wedge Remembers 2001 All-Star Futures Game

Major League Baseball’s Futures Game (to be held this year on Sunday, July 8 in Kansas City) is designed to give baseball fans a look at the best prospects in the game. The 2001 Futures Game, held in Safeco Field, gave Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis a glimpse of their own future.

Wedge was the manager and Willis the pitching coach for AAA Buffalo during the 2001 season. On their way to leading the Bisons to a franchise record 91 wins, the pair was tapped to travel to Seattle for the ’01 Futures Game.

Wedge was a coach for the World Team, while Willis was in charge of the pitching for Team USA.

Eric Wedge was the coach for the World squad in the 2001 Futures Game.

Cal Willis was member of the USA coaching staff in the 2001 Futures Game.

The World Team (which had Mariners farmhand RHP Joel Pineiro on its roster, as well as a young catcher named Miguel Olivo, although Olivo was promoted before the game) lost a 5-1 decision to Team USA, which was managed by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

“I remember I got to Seattle and discovered that the whole Team USA pitching staff was starting pitchers and that, other than Perry, all the Team USA coaches were minor league managers,” Willis said. “I decided I would just stay in the bullpen the whole game, because none of those pitchers knew how to get ready to pitch in relief, and they all would be going one inning.

“I wrote out a plan for Perry, then just hung out in the bullpen the whole game getting guys ready, and rolling them out there. It was great.”

The Team USA offense was led by homers from Chase Utley, Toby Hall and Adam Dunn.

“This place is unbelievable,” Utley said at the time. “It gives you more than enough motivation to want to play in a ballpark like this every night. First-class all the way in every way.”

Willis’ Team USA pitchers stole the show, though.

“Our kids were in control of the game all the way” Perry said.

“I tell you what I remember,” Willis said. “When Eric first got handed the telegram telling him he was going to coach the World Team I was laughing at him. I’d already booked my flight home for the break, and I was telling him what a relaxing three days I was going to have. About two minutes later, here comes the guy with a telegram for me, saying I was going to Seattle, too. You think Eric had a couple of comments for me?

“I never thought the two of us would be back here together some day.”

Here are some fun links from that game in 2001 at Safeco Field:

2012 Futures Game

The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, a part of the Taco Bell All-Star Sunday festivities at the Mid-Summer Classic, will be played at 2 p.m. (PT) on July 8, at Kauffman Stadium.

The Team USA roster includes left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen and right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker.

The Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on’s Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.

Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau,, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters. George Brett will manage the U.S. Team, with Bernie Williams manning the World Team dugout.

– TH

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 1

Day 1 / Sunday, February 12, 2012 / 44 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 60 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle

Weather: 54 degrees at first pitch, mid-60s as the day wore on. Clear skies as far as you can see.

Quote of the Day: Pitching Coach Carl Willis, to the 35 pitchers in camp, when dividing them into Pitching Fielding Practice (PFP) groups: “On Field 4. I’m not going to name you. It’s real simple: If you throw left-handed, you are on Field 4. If you don’t know if you throw left-handed, come see me.”

The Day: It is official, the Seattle Mariners opened camp today with the first workout for pitchers and catchers. As you all previously read on this blog, all players, coaches and staff took their physicals yesterday and now the fun begins.

Players routinely arrive at 7 am (unless you’re Miguel Olivo and arrive at o-dark-thirty) and begin preparing for their day, some getting in a workout before the official schedule begins while others prepare for the day.

The media is also here in full force with the local Seattle writers (English & Japanese) being joined by a large group of extra Japanese media, Sports Illustrated, Reuters and the Associated Press. In all, nearly 50 media covered the first day.

The local media members all made their initial rounds in the clubhouse and to say hello and talked to players to pick up a story or two while in there.

Once 8:45 am came around, the clubhouse was cleared of all media for a 9 am team meeting.

At 9:30 am, the moment that we have all been waiting for since the 2011 season ended…players on the field!

Pitchers Stretch on Field 3

 Here’s a look at the Mariners Complex to give you an idea of where the players will be on any given day.

Peoria Sports Complex

The players spent 15 minutes stretching under the usual clear Arizona skies on Field 3.

After stretch, the pitchers huddled around pitching coach Carl Willis who laid out the plan for the day. (As well as delivering the line of the day, as you saw above).

Pitching Coach Carl Willis directs traffic on the first day.

And, per his instructions, all the left-handers found their way to Field 4.

Mariners left-handed pitchers on Field 4.

By 10 am, all of the pitchers were in their PFP groups (Pitchers Fielding Practice) while the catchers worked on their fundamentals in the bullpen area between Field 5 & 6.

After the pitchers and catchers got their work in on the field, the catchers took batting practice from 11:15-11:45 am. After BP (batting practice), the catchers completed their day by working on their conditioning with the Mariners Major League Performance Specialist’s Allen “Rocket” Wirtala and James Clifford.

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– FA, TH, KM

Mariners on the Airwaves – January 26

Thursday was a busy media day for the Mariners, with the annual Pre-Spring Training Media Day at Safeco Field. The event features a number of guests, including several members of the Baseball Operations Department, Manager Eric Wedge, General Manager Jack Zduriencik, outfielders Michael Saunders and Mike Carp and catcher Jesus Montero. Here is a listing of Podcasts from various radio interviews from Thursday:

And here are a few links from interviews conducted on media row at the Seattle Sports Star of the Year event Wednesday: