World’s worst MLB exec gripes about Mariners’ minor-league stadium amid rants about foreign players not speaking good English

Seattle Mariners team president Kevin Mather is in all sorts of deserved hot water today after video emerged of a Zoom call with a local Rotary Club in which Mather openly admitted to manipulating players’ service time to keep their salaries down, criticized two foreign-born players for their bad English, and repeatedly called young catcher Luis Torrens “Luis Torres.” I’m sure lots of other people are already preparing to write about Mather — and how the Mariners already had to pay off two employees who’d filed sexual harassment complaints against Mather — I’d like to zero in on something else Mather blurted out when he was saying the quiet parts loud:

We had the choice, they called us and asked if we wanted to stay in Everett. Everett was a short season [club], they started in the middle of June and ended in September. The short season teams are now gone. They asked us if we wanted to stay in Everett, we quite frankly like the owner in Everett. We thought he was a good person, we like the location of Everett, we don’t particularly like the facility called Everett. We talked to the owner, we could’ve gone to Spokane, we could’ve gone to Vancouver, B.C., but the problem with Vancouver is that you run into visa problems, particularly when you bring kids from Venezuela and the Dominican and try to get them across the border for a three-game season.

This is, of course, a reference to MLB’s recent decimation of the minor leagues, something that was clearly in part meant as a way to increase owners’ leverage to shake down cities for new or upgraded stadiums. The Everett AquaSox got a reprieve, moving up from the short-season Northwest League to the freshly titled High-A West. The Spokane Indians (not a Cleveland affiliate, so it remains to be seen if they will get renamed eventually) and Vancouver Canadians survived to join High-A West as well, so it sounds like MLB determined which minor-league teams would survive, then gave the list to its team owners and asked them to pick dance partners. And good news for the AquaSox, because their owner was a “good person” and Vancouver is in another country where they don’t even speak English right, they were allowed to affiliate with the Mariners!

The new minor-league affiliates are all now on ten-year licenses, so presumably the AquaSox are safe through 2030, but that hasn’t stopped lots of other teams from levying threats to upgrade facilities or else, and Mather trash-talking Everett’s “facility” certainly isn’t a good sign. Everett’s stadium dates back to 1947 but got a $5 million renovation and expansion in 1998 courtesy of local taxpayers; it sure sounds like Mariners execs are planning to seek more public cash for an upgrade as the AquaSox’ 2030 license expiration grows nearer — though they’ll probably want to wait until after they have some less embarrassing people to do the asking.

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5 comments on “World’s worst MLB exec gripes about Mariners’ minor-league stadium amid rants about foreign players not speaking good English

  1. The Spokane Indians have been working with local tribes to demonstrate involvement with them and respect for them. It may mean that they won’t be renaming. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/sports/baseball/indians-team-names-mascots.html

  2. Might have to take a summertime trip to see this pit of despair Everett ballpark when I go visit my in-laws in nearby Bellingham.

  3. Mather appears to have just resigned. So for anyone who had “all this” on the what do you have to do to lose your job with the Mariners organization bingo card… you win, I guess.

    I guess they don’t have a zero strikes policy. More of a ten strikes, several warnings and then we’ll see.

    Is anyone else thinking of the Seinfeld episode where George was trying to get fired by the Yankees so he could go to work for another team and avoid triggering tampering charges????

  4. Not sure what upgrades would help Everett – it’s a city 20 miles north of the Mariners stadium. I can’t imagine fans will want to stomach increased ticket prices when they can get a Mariners ticket on the secondary market for $15.

    The only time Everett fills the stadium is when a Mariners pitcher (Felix) is making a rehab start.

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