Brad Miller at the Cactus Closer
I just returned from Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona. What a trip! The Mariners went 1-for-2 while I was there. The fans were loud. The age groups were varied. And the sun was warm. (Too warm at times. I hid in the shade.)
This was my second trip to Spring Training and one of the things that struck me again was how real it all was. There wasn’t the same sensationalized “play to the crowd, entertainment at every moment” necessity as with the regular season. The fans were there because they love baseball. Everywhere I went throughout the Peoria Sport Complex, I heard baseball talk. Statistics were batted back and forth. Predictions were made. Observations were shared.
The potential of a season not yet begun rang through the voices of cheering fans. It was contagious. It still is. What will happen this coming Monday as Mariners fans gather at Safeco Field to watch the opening game live on the new screen? (Click here to RSVP and receive your free t-shirt.)
Throughout my two days of baseball watching, I ran into several RBI Club members. I sat in the grass with Rebecca Mulhollen as she kept score. I talked with Stu Jacobson after he’d snagged the lineup cards from both teams’ dugouts. I met Alexander Cartwright, whose great-great grandfather invented baseball. (There might be another great in there.) I stayed with Gale Wergeland who updated me on all the rising Mariners stars.
At the Cactus Closer, RBI Club members and their guests mingled with Mariners broadcasters Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Aaron Goldsmith. We were joined by future Mariners shortstop Brad Miller. Drafted in the second round in 2011, Miller came from Clemson University in South Carolina. While in college, he won the ACC Player of the Year award.
He said after he was drafted his mom pulled out all his Little League jerseys. Nearly all of them said Mariners across the front and 24 (al la Ken Griffey Jr.). on the back. Apparently, he was destined to join the team.
The next RBI Club event is scheduled for April 26th, featuring guest speaker Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis. Please note, RBI Club members will be able to RSVP for three days before regular season ticket holders. Please make sure to RSVP quickly to reserve your seat.