Results tagged ‘ Rick Rizzs ’

Sir Rick Rizzs

Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs is knighted by Miss Seafair Rio Barber in recognition of his “contributions to Seattle’s quality of life.”

Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs is knighted by Miss Seafair Rio Barber in recognition of his “contributions to Seattle’s quality of life.”

The Mariners already have King Felix and the King’s Court. Now we have Sir Rizzs. The Mariners longtime broadcaster was “Knighted” by Miss Seafair Rio Barber in a special ceremony near home plate at Safeco Field.

Each year, Seafair royalty honor deserving individuals for their contributions to Seattle’s quality of life.

As Rizzs knelt before her, Miss Seafair tapped him on each shoulder with a sword, declaring him the “Royal Sage of Safeco Field and the Prince of Play-by-Play.”

Rio noted that Rizzs has been “admired by fans for many years.”

In addition to his broadcasting duties, Rizzs is committed to community service. Rick’s Toys for Kids, the charity he founded with former Mariners players, including Dave Henderson, raises funds to buy holiday gifts for children in the greater Seattle area who might not otherwise receive them. With the help of the Seattle Mariners RBI Club, which puts on a fundraising dinner each year, Toys for Kids has raised more than $1 million, purchased more than 40,000 gifts and helped host more than 50 holiday parties since 1995.

After the knighting ceremony Rizzs quipped that he would like to be called Sir Ricks-A-Lot.

Seafair president Beth Knox and Miss Seafair Rio Barber flank Sir Rick Rizzs, Seafair’s newly-knighted Royal Sage of Safeco Field and Prince of Play-by-Play.”

Seafair president Beth Knox and Miss Seafair Rio Barber flank Sir Rick Rizzs, Seafair’s newly-knighted Royal Sage of Safeco Field and Prince of Play-by-Play.”

Toys for Kids Shopping Spree

Jay and Leah Buhner turn up every year for the Toys for Kids shopping spree.

Jay and Leah Buhner turn up every year for the Toys for Kids shopping spree.

Rick Rizzs, Jay Buhner and volunteers from 18 Seattle area social service agencies and charities gathered before sunrise at the Toys R Us in Bellevue Tuesday to spend $250,000 on gifts to brighten the holidays for children across the region.

Toys for Kids started as a good idea over 17 years ago when Rizzs, Buhner, Dave Henderson and several other former Mariners players passed the hat to help needy families. Today, that act of goodwill has grown into a non-profit organization that provides holiday cheer to more than 6,000 children each year.

Volunteers from Atlantic Street Center turned out in force to shop for 1,500 children.

Volunteers from Atlantic Street Center turned out in force to shop for 1,500 children.

Various fundraising efforts over the year culminate in a shopping spree at Toys R Us. Volunteers from organizations such as Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, Harborview Medical Center, Union Gospel Mission Family Services, and Vision House swarm the store beginning at 6am, lists in hand, to buy gifts for kids who might not otherwise receive one.

Maria Ochoa-Meyers, who was shopping for Communities in Schools of Renton, was looking for art supplies and Barbies. Although the ghoulish Monster High dolls are increasingly popular, “girls still like Barbie,” she said.

A team from Atlantic Street Center turned out in red Mariners T-shirts to fill the wish lists of 1,500 kids. By 6:45am, they had already filled to overflowing 23 shopping carts, with more to go.

Rick Rizzs fuels up with coffee and a donut before the annual Toys for Kids shopping spree.

Rick Rizzs fuels up with coffee and a donut before the annual Toys for Kids shopping spree.

Next Thursday and Saturday Santa Moose, Rick Rizzs, and some surprise guests will start delivering the gifts at parties at Seattle Ronald McDonald House and Harborview Medical Center.

It’s not too late to help out. You can make a tax deductible donation online at RicksToysForKids.org, or you can find out how to give some or all of the proceeds from your sales on ebay to help the cause.

Toys for Kids Dinner Auction Raises More Than $200,000

Rick Rizzs and Al “Moose” Clausen at the 13th Annual Toys for Kids Dinenr and Auction.

Rick Rizzs and Al “Moose” Clausen at the 13th Annual Toys for Kids Dinner & Auction.

The 13th annual Toys for Kids Dinner and Auction was held on Saturday at the Harbor Club in Bellevue, and raised over $200,000 to help homeless and disadvantaged kids this Christmas.

The annual event is hosted by Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former player Dave Henderson, with the help of the Mariners RBI Club.

Auction items, including several Mariners items, helped raise over $200,000 for charity.

Auction items, including several Mariners items, helped raise over $200,000 for charity.

Several former Mariners players were in attendance to help raise money, including Bill Krueger, Dan Wilson and John Olerud. Current Mariners outfielder Raul Ibañez also took part in the event and there was a surprise appearance from Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Toys for Kids host Rick RIzzs.

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Toys for Kids host Rick RIzzs.

The Seattle Mariners RBI Club awarded Eric and Kate Wedge the Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award, an annual award given during our dinner and auction to a past or present member of the Mariners organization who has made a significant contribution to the community.

Eric and Kate Wedge received the Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award.

Eric and Kate Wedge received the Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award.

With all the money raised, Rizzs and an entourage of  shoppers start clearing shelves at local toy stores beginning December 4. We’ll have an update on this blog after the first few shopping events. Thanks for all the helped raise money for a wonderful charity!

Photos courtesy of Rick Takagi Photography

Michael Saunders Plays Reporter

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders may have a career after his current career, as a broadcaster. This morning he interviewed Mariners radio announcer Rick Rizzs about the upcoming 2013 season. As you can see, Michael has quite the personality and is a joy to be around (and to watch on the field)!

Hot Stove League Returns Tonight

Hot Stove League

The Hot Stove League Radio Show returns tonight from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Fans across the country can also listen live online via Mariners.com.

The 2-hour long show will be hosted by Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman. Scheduled guests include third baseman Kyle Seager, relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen, third base coach Jeff Datz, TV announcer Dave Sims and Seattle Times National Baseball Writer Larry Stone.

Mariners Hot Stove League Show Debuts Tonight

Hot Stove League

The Mariners Hot Stove League Radio Show debuts tonight from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN 710 Seattle. The radio show will be broadcast live out of the Alderwood Mall Team Store, with Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman hosting. TV announcer Mike Blowers is also scheduled to make an appearance, and guests include General Manager Jack Zduriencik, Manager Eric Wedge and an interview with the newest Mariner, Jason Bay.

You can listen to the show online at Mariners.com/hotstove.

Power Shopping for Kids

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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.

Jack Zduriencik Honored for Community Service

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, with wife Debbie, received the Mariners RBI Club Community Service Award at a fundraiser on Saturday for the Toys For Kids charity.

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.

The award, named for long-time Mariners sales executive Al “Moose” Clausen, was presented to Zduriencik during the annual RBI Club Toys For Kids dinner and auction at the Harbor Club in Bellevue.

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.

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Rick Rizzs Toys for Kids on New Day Northwest

Former Mariners players Dave Valle and Julio Cruz join Rick Rizzs for the annual Toys for Kids holiday gift distribution party at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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 newdaytickets@king5.com. Or, tune in starting at 11am to KING 5.

Rick Rizzs Catches Up With Carlos Guillen

A feature we are excited to share with you is guest blogger Rick Rizzs. Rick is entering his 27th season in the broadcast booth for the Mariners, and is synonymous to Mariners fans with catch phrases like Goodbye BaseballHoly Smokes, Happy Totals and Everybody Scores! Throughout spring training, and the 2012 season, Rick will take a stroll down Mariners memory lane and share with you his thoughts. Today he shares his memories of a Carlos Guillen, and talks about his retirement from the game earlier this week. We hope you enjoy!


It’s hard to say good-bye.

Especially to something like playing the game of baseball since you were just a kid and then had the good fortune to play the game at the Major League level.  And after years of doing what you’ve loved doing for so long, you realize that one day you can’t lace up the spikes one more time. You just can’t.

The mind is willing, but the body isn’t.

Guillen's No. 8 jersey hangs in his locker for the last time.

Carlos Guillen came to the harsh reality earlier this week that all good things come to an end.  Here in Arizona as the Mariners are preparing for their 36th season of baseball, Carlos was hoping for just one more season in the sun.  Just one more chance to try and end his career where it started, but this time he realized he couldn’t fool “father time”.

So, on a quiet morning, just like he’s done season after season, Guillen drove to the ballpark, but instead of putting on his uniform which he methodically has done thousands of times, he announced his retirement from the game of baseball after 14 years in the Major Leagues.

With tears welling up in his eyes, Carlos tried his best to put his emotions into words.

“It’s hard,” he said. “It was a tough decision for me and my family.  I wanted to end my career where it started, I tried to comeback, but I just couldn’t.  I’m hurt.  I thought this was the best decision for the team too.”

Carlos knows all too well about being hurt. Over his 14 years in the big leagues, Guillen was placed on the disabled list 11 times and played with countless injuries.

In just his second season in the big leagues with the Mariners in 1999, he suffered a torn ACL in his knee in only the 5th game of the year and was out for the season.  He knows about disappointment.  He could almost write the book.

Over his final three years with the Detroit Tigers, Carlos played in only 81 games in 2009, just 68 games in 2010 and a mere 28 games last season, 2011.

But, year after year, he never gave up hope.  I believe the biggest compliment you can give any athlete is that they were able to leave everything on the field of play.  I watched Jay Buhner do that and many others who wore a Mariner uniform.  And, Carlos did the same.  Whatever he had, he gave it all to the Mariners and Tigers.

His tank just ran out.  It happens.

But, looking back on those 14 seasons, despite the aches and pains, Carlos can be very proud of what he accomplished.

Carlos was with the Mariners from 1998-2003 and with the Detroit Tigers from 2004-2011.  Over that time, he had a career average of .285, hit 124 home runs and had 660 RBI in 1,305 games.

And, on the games biggest stage, Carlos hit .353 for the Tigers during the 2006 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

From 2004-08 with Detroit, Carlos was a 3-time All-Star and during that span hit a combined .308 with 75 home runs and 361 RBI!

Guillen made his Major League debut with the Mariners in 1998 and later in 2001 he would become one of the key players in the Mariners “magical” run that produced a major league record 116 wins.  Carlos, along with David Bell, Brett Boone and John Olerud combined to form one of the most productive infields in the history of the franchise.

And during that time, Carlos was known as one of the best “clutch” hitters in the American League.  If you don’t believe me, just ask any pitcher he faced.

Carlos Guillen also came up with the biggest “little” hit in the history of the Mariners. A bunt.

The Mariners were looking to sweep the Chicago White Sox in Game 3 of the 2000 American League Division Series.  With the scored tied in the bottom of the 9th inning and Rickey Henderson on at third base representing the winning run, Guillen laid down a bunt that got by first baseman Frank Thomas for a hit that won the game.  The crowd at Safeco Field went crazy!

Carlos Guillen famous walk-off bunt single vs. the White Sox in Game 3 of the 2000 ALDS.

Carlos remembers “Oh, that was one of the best moments in my career.  I was young, but Lou Piniella had a lot of confidence in me.  Lou wanted me to bunt the ball to first base to score Rickey. But, I was thinking…hit a fly ball to win the game.”

“So, the first pitch comes in and I swing and miss” Carlos said, “then I look over at the dugout and Lou says…”Hey Son, What are you doing? Hit the ball to first!”  So, I said, “OK…OK!”

“Well, Keith Foulke of the White Sox is pitching and I’m thinking he’s throwing pretty hard,” said Carlos, “and if he throws me a fastball away, it’ll be tough to try and pull it to first.”

“So, I had to find a way to hit the ball to first base,” Carlos recalled, “so, I covered the plate and laid down the bunt, it got by Frank Thomas and we won the game.  It was a great moment for me and a great moment for everybody, especially for the fans.”

Listen to Dave Niehaus call Guillen’s Walk-Off Bunt in the 2000 ALDS

Long before the bunt that “shocked the Puget Sound”, Carlos began his professional career by signing as a free agent with the Houston Astros.  But, then he received a phone call that would change his life.

Randy Johnson was winding down his time in Seattle and there was a lot of talk of a trade during the 1998 season for the future Hall of Famer.

“I was playing for the Astros Triple-A team in New Orleans and we heard that Houston might get Randy Johnson,” said Carlos. “So after the game that night, I got a phone call from one of the Mariners coaches, Sam Mejias.  He’s speaking Spanish to me and it was Sammy who told me I was traded to the Mariners, that’s how I first found out.”

“I also heard there might be 1 or 2 other players going with me to Seattle and when I saw Freddie (Garcia), he came up to me and said “Me too! Me too!” Carlos remembered.  “We were both very excited because I didn’t think I was going to play for Houston.  John Halama was also in the deal too.”

“Later the next day,” Carlos said, “I get a phone call from Lou Piniella and he says, “What position do you play?  And, I said shortstop.  He says we have a shortstop, Alex Rodriguez and we have a third baseman, Can you play second base?  So, I said I never played second base before, then he says…”Ok you’re going to Triple-A!”

“The next day at 7:30 in the morning, Freddie and I are on a plane to Seattle….and flying First Class!  We were so happy.”  He added. “I was a Mariner.”

Carlos Guillen played for the Mariners from 1998-2003. (Getty Images)

Besides the big hits and the big moments on the field, Carlos spoke fondly of his time in Seattle on a personal note.

“One of the reasons why I wanted to come back to the Mariners this spring, “ he said. “ Was because my two boys, Alfonso and Isaac were born in Seattle.  We had so much fun in Seattle.”

I asked Carlos how long he was thinking about winding down his career.

He said, “The last few days I’ve thought about it.  My family wanted me to keep playing, especially my kids.  It was so hard to make this decision.  You make this decision only one time in your career and your life.

“I’ve been through a lot of injuries in my career, “ Carlos said.  “You have to keep your head up.  I tried to keep going, but your body tells you it’s time to quit.”

I’ve tried so hard in this story to stay away from the word “quit” because it’s the furthest thing from the truth that describes this man.  The truth is that Carlos never quit…his body just gave out.  No mas.

Even one of his best friends in the game tried to talk him out of retiring, Felix Hernandez, but to no avail.  Carlos had his mind made up.

So, one of the first things Carlos did on his last day in professional baseball was to address his teammates alone in the clubhouse.

Here’s what he said.  “I told the team I see a lot of talent here.  I reminded them that a lot of this game is up here (as he pointed to his head), you have to be strong mentally as well as physically.

“If you are strong, you can play this game for a long time, but my time is over.”

Carlos wrapped up his talk by explaining, “It’s so hard you know.  I just don’t feel ready to retire, but I can’t play anymore.  I had such a great time in Seattle, so that’s why I told those kids on the team to go out and have fun.”

Carlos was asked if he was going to stay in the game.

“It’s hard not to be involved in the game in some way,” he said, “I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience to share.  I like to teach kids to be better players, to be a better person.  You have to be a better person to be a better player.”

Carlos Guillen was that and a whole lot more.

“I would like to coach and help my kids become a ballplayer someday, you know,”  Carlos said.

I’m telling you right now, if those kids turn out to be anything like their dad, then I want to be their agent.

What is he going to miss the most?

“A lot of things,” Carlos said “the fans cheering for you, people praying for you to be on the field.  I will always remember being around the players and the people who work here.  I’ll miss that.  That’s going to be tough.”

Before he left Carlos said, “Man, it’s so hard to leave this clubhouse.”

I’ll tell you what was tough for me.

Looking back after everyone left at an empty clubhouse and seeing Carlos Guillen, alone, packing up his baseball gear in a duffel bag.  As he left a half empty locker, I was reminded of all the exciting moments he left with us.

From all the home runs and the great plays….to the little “bunt” that propelled the Mariners in the play-offs…Carlos Guillen left everything on the field.  And for that, he should be very proud.

Mr. Guillen…thanks for the memories.

- RR

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