2014 July Lunch Recap

written by Mikaela Cowles on July 26, 2014 in Luncheons and Mariners Coaching Staff with no comments

Rich Donnelly

“When we left Spring Training we were just hoping to survive. Now, we’re half a game back in the Wild Card. I mean, are you kidding me? We just keep thinking, ‘What if we’d had this lineup from the beginning,” said Mariners third base coach, Rich Donnelly at the RBI Club’s July lunch.

Kidding or not, I know the avid Mariners fans at the lunch were in full agreement. Especially, Rick Rizzs who said near the end of the lunch, “I can’t wait for the next 59 – PLUS – games.”

Rizzs, we can’t either.

Rich Donnelly
As our guess speaker, Donnelly regaled the crowd with tales of his early playing days, coaching days and heroes. Emceeing the event was Brad Adam, Mariners Pregame and Postgame ROOT SPORTS host. Together, the two were a regular riot. They shared insider perspectives of the game. Donnelly, in particular, discussed what it’s like to be at the plate in the bigs – where a success rate of just 25 percent will usually keep your job.

“Try and average a 25 percent success rate in any other profession. You’re going to get fired. That’s how tough it is to be at the plate,” Donnelly explained.

They talked about their expectations of the rest for the season and their excitement about the upcoming trade deadline. In addition, Donnelly fielded questions from the crowd.

Donnelly Facts & Thoughts

He’s a Master Racquetball Player – In nearly every city, he arranges to play some of the city’s best racquetball players. And he always wins.

He’s Been Caught Staring at Men – “Growing up, Bill Virdon and Bill Mazeroski were my heroes. And then I got to work with them and I just kept staring at them. I mean, these guys taught me how to coach and act!” Donnelly said.

James Jones is an Incredible Man – “James Jones was on deck when Chris Taylor got his first MLB hit. Most people probably didn’t even notice this, but James stayed in the circle. He didn’t walk to the batter’s box. He let Chris get his standing ovation. Think about that – as a rookie – knowing to do that. That’s just the kind of man he is. He’s incredible,” Donnelly said.

Billy Mac & My Oh My: The Dave Niehaus Story
Few voices have held our attention like Dave Neihaus. His was one of a kind. So too, is his story. It’s a story which Billy Mac is telling. Having finished his first draft of My Oh My: The Dave Niehaus Story, he’s currently in the publication process. (If you want to help him, he has a Kickstarter campaign here.)

Having shared part of his book at a reading in February of 2013, Billy joined the RBI Club members and guests again to share some additional Neihaus insights. Billy had just returned from Neihaus’ hometown, Princeton, Indiana. While visiting, he collected both countless pictures and little known facts about Neihaus.

Herb Simpson
Once again, we welcomed Herb “The Briefcase” Simpson, the only living member of the Seattle Steelheads Negro League Team. Joining him on his cross-country trip was sports writer, Ryan Whirty whose recently published article gives a great insight into Mr. Simpson.

Martinez Foundation
The RBI Club’s rich history of helping those in our community is one we’re proud of. This year, we’ve begun adopting a charity to support at each lunch. In July, we selected The Martinez Foundation. Through raffle ticket sales and a live auction, we raised $850!

The Martinez Foundation was founded by Edgar and Holli Martinez after Edgar retired from Major League Baseball. It is the only non-profit in the country with the express purpose of preparing and supporting diverse and highly-qualified teachers who will raise expectations and accelerate learning.

Joining us at the lunch was Executive Director of the Martinez Foundation, Ian Adair. Additionally, we were blessed to welcome two Martinez Fellows, Jerome and Zharina Angeles.

Thank you to all those who have helped and continue to help support The Martinez Foundation and the amazing work they do.

Special Thanks
The RBI Club would like to extend a special thanks to Rick Takagi for once again capturing an RBI Club event so beautifully.