Special Message from Jack Zduriencik
Dear Season Ticket Holders,
As we enter the final eight weeks of the 2012 MLB regular season, I would like to take a few minutes to share some thoughts with you and our other Mariners season ticket holders.
With a team full of young players, we anticipated this season to be a season of "spurts". Not lost in the ups and downs of the season is the progress that has been made as we continue with our plan to build a championship team by first establishing a solid foundation of a core group of young players.
Eric Wedge and the coaching staff have done a very nice job of developing our players and going through the process of teaching them how to play winning baseball. It is a process and there are no shortcuts to build something that is real and sustainable for years to come.
We were busy last month prior to the July 31 trade deadline, as we talked to just about every team exploring ways we could continue to improve our talent level. Several teams asked about the availability of many of our core group of young players, both at the Major League level and throughout our minor league system, which we considered a testament to the quality and depth of the players we have. In weighing out any prospective trade deals, I just did not feel it was the right time to trade young players for short term fixes. My decision was to stay the course and build as we have said we would, and find out exactly which players will earn the right to be with us for years to come. The only true way to do that was to let them continue to "cut their teeth" in the Major League level now and let the process unfold.
As you know, we did, however, complete three trades involving Ichiro Suzuki, Brandon League and Steve Delabar. In these deals, we were pleased to acquire four minor league prospects and outfielder Eric Thames who came directly to the big league club. The Ichiro trade gives us flexibility moving forward as we strive to execute our plan, and Ichiro will be in the thick of the pennant race with the Yankees. We are certainly rooting for his personal success. His accomplishments clearly place him among the all-time greats of the game. We sincerely thank him for all he has done and accomplished for the Seattle Mariners, and wish him and his wife Yumiko the very best.
In July we also signed our first round draft pick, catcher Mike Zunino, the third overall pick out of the University of Florida. We were also successful in signing nine of our first 10 draft picks and 29 of our top 30 selections. In reference to Mike, our scouts viewed him as the best college player in the draft who plays a premium position...catcher. We were very intrigued with Mike's ability to hit, catch, his overall baseball talent, but even more importantly, his leadership skills. After the draft, he received a series of post season honors, including the Dick Howser Trophy (national college baseball player of the year), the Johnny Bench Award (top Division One catcher), Baseball America's College Player of the Year, and the Golden Spikes Award (nation's most outstanding amateur player). In addition, we had a chance to get to know him personally, and he is the kind of person we want in our organization - a leader with great values and a sense of community. He has not disappointed in his first month as a pro at Everett, and has just been promoted to "2A" Jackson.
I am often asked about the timetable for our prospects to reach the Major Leagues and my honest answer is that each player is on his own timetable. It's not possible nor is it fair to predict when they will be ready to be successful at the Major League level. There was no way to predict that we would have two players from the 2009 draft (Dustin Ackley, round 1; and Kyle Seager, round 3), one from the 2010 draft (Stephen Pryor, round 5) and one from the 2011 draft (Carter Capps, round 3) already with us in Seattle. As we often say, the players "tell us" when they are ready by their performance on the field. In this process of building we will have occasional disappointments but we will also have our share of surprises as players rise through our minor league system and ultimately become Major Leaguers.
In the midst of this season of development and spurts, there have been some very nice accomplishments that remind us to remain optimistic about the future of this franchise:
As a season ticket holder, we hope you are enjoying the growth and development of the Seattle Mariners. More importantly we hope you understand the commitment and patience it takes to build and develop our own talent. As painstaking and disappointing as it may appear at times, it is the process that we must go through to build this for years to come. You and our other season ticket holders have been extremely loyal and understanding and we intend to deliver on our promise to build a winning, championship ball club in Seattle. We shall be successful and our patience will pay off with many years of excitement at Safeco Field. As Eric Wedge often says, "We're closer than you think." Thank you for your support for what you mean to Mariners Baseball.Sincerely,
Seattle Mariners pitcher Jason Vargas was awarded American League Pitcher of the Month for July thanks to his outstanding performance on the mound.
Vargas finished first in the American League with an impressive 1.64 ERA for the month. Of his 44 innings pitched, Vargas struck out 26 batters and allowed only 8 runs and is the second pitcher in Mariners history to go 5-0 in one month.
Join the Seattle Mariners in congratulating Jason on this tremendous achievement!
Friday, August 17 vs. the Minnesota Twins is Mariners Fleece Blanket Night. The first 15,000 fans (21 and over) can stay warm all winter long with this plush Mariners fleece blanket, courtesy of EQC!
Sunday, August 19 vs. the Minnesota Twins is Salute to Kids Day. Fans ages 6 - 14 can sign up to work dream jobs at Safeco Field, including reporter, groundskeeper, public address announcer and more! All youngsters 14 and under will take home a cool Felix Hernandez t-shirt courtesy of Boeing. The fun doesn't stop when the game is over-kids 14 and under are invited down to the field to run the Safeco Field bases post-game thanks to KeyBank.
On Monday, August 20 vs. the Minnesota Twins the Mariners present BECU Family Night where select View Level seats are just $10 and $12 on the day of game.
Tuesday, August 21 vs. the Cleveland Indians is Mariners Trading Cards Night. The first 15,000 fans will receive a semi-complete pack of cards presented by Panasonic. Trade cards with other fans to complete your 2012 set. There are two trading card station locations, one on the 100 level and the other on the 300 level, to assist fans in making that game-changing trade. Also on this night, The Mariners and Panasonic will honor the rich heritage of Japanese baseball with Salute to Japan Night.
On Wednesday, August 22 vs. the Cleveland Indians Safeco Insurance presents Grand Slam Family Package Day. Fans receive their ticket, hot dog and Pepsi for one low price: $15 for View Level seats, $30 for Main Level seats and $35 for Wells Fargo Terrace Level seats. Fans must purchase between 4 and 12 tickets to receive the discount and $2 per ticket will be added if purchased on day of game.
It's been a tumultuous calendar year for Casper Wells since the July 30, 2011 trade that brought him and three other Tigers to Seattle for Doug Fister and David Pauley. After discovering a power stroke last season that saw him homer in four consecutive games from Aug. 13-16 - tying the club's rookie record for consecutive games with a home run - the 27-year-old outfielder was hit by a pitch the following day. Over the next month, he played just 18 games and struggled at the plate while battling vertigo-like symptoms, before calling it a season after Sept. 16.
"Missing that much time at the end of last season, Spring Training this year was a real feeler for me," said Wells. "It threw me a bit." Then, with just 47 at-bats in the first 46 games of 2012, Wells was sent to Triple-A Tacoma. The 6-2, 210-pound New York native played with the Rainiers in 16 games beginning May 24, earning regular plate appearances and outfield play.
The playing time, which he called "like another Spring Training," proved invaluable once the Mariners promoted him on June 13. When Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders missed games in early July, Wells came through with timely extra-base hits and superb plays at all three outfield positions and continues his strong play.
On His First Year in Seattle
Safeco was my favorite ballpark on the road before I got traded here. It's just as beautiful today, and now I get to call it my home park. People in Seattle are great. The fans just want a winner. Believe me, when we're doing well, you can hear it. I talk to people around town, they recognize me sometimes, and there's lots of positive support. From the first day here I could feel that support just exuded on us, on the field and off. We have to give Mariners fans something to cheer about and I think we will. The ball club is shaping up. We have a young team, but I really believe that we're building toward something special.
On Staying Positive After Being Sent to Triple-A
When you're dealt with that kind of adversity, it forces you to alter your mindset and be more positive. If not, you can go downhill real fast. I looked at [getting sent down] as a way to get some at-bats and feel comfortable again. The guys [on the Rainiers] - the coaches and the players - were very supportive and made it easy to stay positive. I tried to bring a positive approach and a winning attitude down there, and when I was called back up, keep the same approach in Seattle. Being in Tacoma was like Spring Training for me. I had not seen live pitching for that long and then early this season, playing sporadically, it was good to get in there regularly and get comfortable - especially against right handed pitchers because I wasn't facing them exclusively up here. It was about getting my bearings and finding an approach that I could be consistent with.
On Taking Pride in His Defense
I got drafted as an outfielder, but was pretty much a pitcher and designated hitter in college [at Towson State]. I had played only a handful of games in the outfield. When you're a kid, guys get thrown in the outfield because they aren't good enough to play the infield. It's a different story in professional ball. In the Tigers organization they worked with me every day on good footwork and taking routes to the ball. I took pride in getting the routes down because I didn't want to get embarrassed by having the ball go over my head. I wanted to make sure to get the right reads enough so that I didn't have to think about it. As an outfielder, first-step quickness is the most important thing. Guys that aren't even that fast can have great reads, take great routes to the ball and be great outfielders. I feel blessed that I have a good arm [and can use it] as another tool to help the team save runs or keep runners from advancing.
The Mariners went 15-11 in the month of July, setting a club record with a 2.73 ERA by the starting pitchers and ended the month with a 6-game winning streak. Here is a statistical look at the month.
Walker started hot, went through a bit of a rough stretch while trying to get comfortable with his curveball, and is now getting back.
Mike Zunino, the Mariners first selection (3rd overall) in this year's MLB Draft, was named the winner of the 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award after batting .322 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs as a junior for the University of Florida Gators.It's yet another honor for Mike, who has already won this year's Dick Howser Trophy (College Baseball's Player of the Year), the Johnny Bench Award as the best collegiate catcher and named the Baseball America Player of the Year. Notable past recipients of the Golden Spikes Award include Jared Weaver, David Price, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Looking for behind-the-screens footage of your favorite Mariners? Subscribe to the Mariners blog, From The Corner Of Edgar & Dave, for an exclusive look beyond the headlines.
Make sure to check out these other great ways to stay up-to-date and informed on all things Mariners Baseball!
Eat your way around Safeco Field with our 2012 Season Ticket Holder Concessions Punch Card. Collect all eight (8) punches to enjoy two (2) FREE items on us!
If you feel someone is interfering with your enjoyment of the game, please contact the nearest Safeco Field seating host or call or send a text to the Fan Helpline at 206.861.2200. Please be sure to include your specific location and the nature of the problem.