Mariners trying to attract bats, fans with Safeco changes

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Let’s face it, there’s one very big reason the Mariners are pulling in the fences at Safeco Field next year:

Attendance/game
2007: 32,588
2008: 28,762
2009: 27,105
2010: 25,749
2011: 23,411
2012: 21,417

The Mariners peaked at more than 43,000 fans per game while leading the AL in attendance in 2001 and ’02. They ranked sixth-to-eighth each year from 2006-11 before plummeting to 11th this season.  That’s despite the fact that they’ve gone from 61 and 67 wins the last two years to 73 with two games remaining this season.

From a performance standpoint, there’s good reason to think the Mariners are better off playing in an extreme pitcher’s park. They have one of the game’s five-best pitchers in Felix Hernandez, they’ve gotten quality results out of journeyman arms and they possess two of the game’s top 10 (and three of the top 20) pitching prospects in the minors. To put it kindly, more of their talent is concentrated in pitching than in hitting.

But it’s also true that the Mariners aren’t winning anyway, and 80 percent of the time, they’re just not very interesting. The truth is that more people would rather watch the Mariners lose 7-5 than 2-0.

Now, that possibility alone won’t bring fans streaming through the turnstiles. But adding a couple of quality hitters might, and it’s going to be easier to sign free agent bats in the new Safeco than it was in the old Safeco. As it was, no big-time power-hitter with a bunch of suitors was going to choose Seattle.

That has to be part of the thinking here. It doesn’t seem at all likely that Josh Hamilton will make the move to the Pacific Northwest this winter, but the Mariners will try to add two hitters, one likely an outfielder.

I’m still not at all convinced this is the right move, at least not to the extent to which they’ve gone. They’re bringing in the left-center power alley by 12 feet and as much as 17 feet in one spot. It’s only going to be a four-foot difference down the left field line and in center (right field is staying the same), but combine the power alley difference and the lower wall in left and it looks like Safeco is in for quite the significant change. Something more mild that would have guaranteed Safeco remained at least a modest pitcher’s park would have been a better idea in my mind. But this is more about money than winning ballgames and it shows.

Dr. Lorena Martin accuses members of Mariners’ front office of making bigoted comments

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Dr. Lorena Martin, recently let go as the Mariners’ director of high performance, is accusing members of the front office of making racist comments against foreign-born players. In her Instagram post, Martin wrote:

The Mariners organization has major issues.

The things I’ve witnessed and heard first hand have left me shocked. How can their GM Jerry DiPoto, Manager Scott Servais, and Director of Player Development Andy McKay speak about their players like this…

Calling LATINOS LAZY, DUMB, and STUPID, especially the DOMINICANS

And then they wondered why they didn’t make it to the playoffs.

Leadership is to blame, under Jerry Dipoto’s leadership no team has made it to the playoffs and they will continue to miss the playoffs with him in his position. Poor leadership.

It’s come to the point where I have to speak out because they are firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners recently terminated Martin’s contract after hiring her last offseason. According to Divish’s sources, the Mariners did not want to pay the remainder of what was indicated to be a three-year contract.

Responding to Divish’s tweet, Martin wrote, “They wanted to negotiate to keep me quiet.”

Per Divish, the Mariners plan to make a statement addressing Martin’s termination and the claims made in her Instagram post.

The Mariners had and still have a handful of players to whom the alleged comments might have been referring. Félix Hernández is from Venezuela. Edwin Díaz is from Puerto Rico. Roenis Elias is from Cuba. Juan Nicasio, Alex Colomé, Jean Segura, and Robinson Canó are all from the Dominican Republic. Others are U.S.-born but have familial ties to other countries.

Martin is torching a bridge, and is likely making herself unhireable across baseball, in order to make her claims. It will be interesting to see what the Mariners say in response and if anyone else steps forward to back Martin’s claims.

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Update (7:45 PM ET): The Mariners said in a statement:

Lorena Martin was relieved of her duties with the Mariners on Oct. 10, 2018.

While it is our policy to not comment on personnel issues, we do feel it is important to respond to the outrageous, false claims made by her today on social media. And to note that Martin did not make any of these false allegations until after she was relieved of her duties.

The Mariners categorically deny that any member of our management or coaching staff made racist remarks regarding any of our players or staff. Additionally, we have not terminated (or threatened to terminate) any trainers during the off-season.