The president of the Seattle Mariners has found himself in hot water over a number of controversial comments made during a recent Zoom Meeting with the Bellevue, Washington Rotary Club.
However, it was Kevin Mather‘s remarks about the Mariners affiliation with the Everett AquaSox that raised some eyebrows along the I-5 and over the border. He said the Mariners had looked at the possibility of inviting the Spokane Indians or the Vancouver Canadians to become their High-A affiliate instead.
“We had the choice…(The AquaSox) asked us if we wanted to stay in Everett. We quite frankly liked the owner in Everett. We thought he was a good person, we liked the location of Everett, we don’t particularly like the facility called Everett…We could have gone to Spokane. We could have gone to Vancouver, British Columbia. The problem with Vancouver is you run into visa problems particularly when you’re bringing kids from Venezuela and the Dominican and trying to get them across the border for a three-game series.”
It appeared Mather had more to say about Vancouver but the video suddenly jumped five minutes ahead according to the time stamp as he then spoke about instant replay and “having electronic strike zones within two years.”
Mariners fans north of the border would have loved to see Seattle join the Canadians but Everett’s geography is just so convenient for the M’s when it comes to keeping tabs on its minor leaguers and sending players out on rehab assignments. The Mariners can send players on the mend to nearby Triple-A Tacoma or to the AquaSox if the Rainiers are on the road. Among the recent players to have made pit stops in Everett include Robinson Cano, James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma with Iwakuma also pitching for the Frogs in Vancouver in 2018.
This news helps cement the fact that the Vancouver Canadians were an organization in demand with the recent restructuring of Minor League Baseball. The Oakland A’s were rumoured to be close to an affiliation with the Canadians and the San Francisco Giants—co-owned by North Vancouver native Jeff Mallett—were also believed to have had an interest in the club located at 4601 Ontario Street.
Rob Fai expanded his thoughts on his new show The Nation with Rob Fai on YouTube Sunday night. It’s just after the 54-minute mark but I encourage you to listen to the entire show and subscribe afterwards. Fai says it was a missed opportunity for the Mariners to gain traction north of the border and that this story shows “the Blue Jays weren’t always in on Vancouver.” He adds the Mariners had a chance to push their brand in Spokane or Vancouver.
“I have long said this. I’ve never understood why the Mariners have never looked at this market (Vancouver) more heavy than they have. Sure, they look at Portland because again, Portland geographically is only a couple of hours away. It’s a pretty big city but dude, can you not look up here to the two-and-a-half million people who live in this city and say, ‘That’s a great opportunity for us to market?’…How do you not, as a major league organization, bend metal to try and get your minor league affiliate with the Vancouver Canadians?
My opinion is the Mariners probably think it’s a losing battle to fight the Blue Jays for market share in Vancouver.
To find out more on why Mariners fans are up in arms, LookoutLanding.com has the full video and transcript of Mather’s Zoom chat.
The big concern for the Vancouver Canadians organization these days if it will be hosting any games at Nat Bailey Stadium in 2021. The “home opener” on May 11 is against Spokane but it would be no surprise if those games are in Spokane instead given the coronavirus does not care about you, about us or anything, let alone baseball.
The C’s could find themselves on the road all season similar to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2012. They rebranded themselves as the Empire State Yankees that season as S/WB’s park in Moosic, Pennsylvania underwent a renovation. Despite having to play home games in Rochester, Batavia, Buffalo and Syracuse, Empire State manager Dave Miley led his vagabond club to the International League playoffs with a record of 84-60. That effort did not go unnoticed by the Cincinnati Reds as they would hire Miley as manager in 2003.
Should the same fate await the C’s, they will not have something like the playoffs to strive for unlike the Empire State Yankees. That’s because there will be no postseason in Minor League Baseball in 2021. One potential saving grace is the C’s 2021 schedule will end with a stretch of 12 home games after the Labour Day weekend. Of course, with the kids going back to school, that—along with social distancing—won’t help attendance figures but those games might be the last best hope of professional baseball being played in Vancouver this year.
Also worth monitoring will be if independent league teams in Ottawa and Winnipeg will be stuck at the border. The Ottawa Sun says Titans and Goldeyes owner Sam Katz is hopeful there will be baseball in the Great White North.
The U.S-Canada border standstill is one roadblock, but it’s not as big an issue as the 14-day quarantine rules in place. Said Katz: “Fourteen days is not going to work. The good news is in the US of A, these players will probably all be getting vaccines long before you and me.”
The Winnipeg Goldeyes had to play their American Association schedule in Fargo, North Dakota last season but Katz says that won’t be happening again this year. As for the Ottawa Titans, they are looking to begin its inaugural campaign in the Frontier League. The club was formerly the Ottawa Champions which ceased operations in 2020 when they were part of the Can-Am League. Winnipeg’s home opener is set for May 21 while Ottawa’s is set for May 27.
Jonathan Davis is all smiles after a double against Spokane at Nat Bailey Stadium June 20, 2014.
BluebirdBanter.com provided an update on the jersey numbers for the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays. 2014 C’s outfielder Jonathan Davis will now be wearing #3, the same number he wore for the first part of his season in Vancouver before switching to #26.
Other new jersey numbers being worn by former Canadians.
- 29. T.J. Zeuch (2016)
- 50. Riley Adams (2017)
- 59. Josh Palacios (2016)
- 72. Otto Lopez (2018
- 73. Joey Murray (2018)
- 75. Alek Manoah (2019)
- 83. Nick Allgeyer (2018)
- 84. Adam Kloffenstein (2019)
- 86. Philip Clarke (2019)
- 89. Logan Warmoth (2017)
- 96. Chavez Young (2017)
The latest C-Tweets deal with observations about former C’s trying to make a good impression this spring including a couple from the best play-by-play announcer in the Midwest League.