Mariners president Kevin Mather made comments earlier this month about his players’ inability to speak English. He also mentioned how far he was willing to go when it comes to manipulating his young prospects’ service time.
For fans unaware of the news that broke about the young prospects he wants to “manipulate,” here is a breakdown of what happened:
The Seattle Mariners offered top prospect Jared Kelenic a six-year extension that would have given the team control past his rookie contract and the subsequent arbitration years. Kelenic declined that offer, and the team was so upset that they admitted they wouldn’t call him up until April so that they could save a year of team control. It’s not ideal for a team president to admit he isn’t putting the best players on the field to save himself control…and ultimately money.
Here’s also one of the comments he made about Japanese pitching coach Hisashi Iwakuma:
“We just rehired Iwakuma… he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being…his English was terrible.
“And I’m going to say, I’m tired of paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we’d pay Iwakuma ‘X,’ but we’d also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that.”
He then went on to bash the Mariners for “overpaying” longtime third baseman Kyle Seager. The gist of his argument was that the team didn’t receive the value they were looking for in the final year of his contract.
He’s since apologized, but at some point, fans need to grasp that baseball owners are enemies disguised as partners.
Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather apologized Sunday night after his wide-ranging comments to a rotary club surfaced, including him calling the English-speaking capabilities of two members of the organization “terrible” and “not tremendous.” https://t.co/zdrAzk2RGX— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 22, 2021
Fans Should Force Mather’s Apology Into Action
As my readers know well, I’m not big on making grown men and women pay for comments made off the cuff, but I do fancy a conversation about what certain comments mean. In this case, every comment listed here makes Mather seem like a man who thinks maximizing profits (or “output”) is his first priority.
There’s nothing wrong with that business model. I find it important for the fans to hear some level of transparency from owners. However, he’s also talking about human beings who are his employees.
It’s probably a good thing that Mather is at least attempting damage control here, but if he really wants to apologize, he should call up the players he knows are ready to play.
If he wants fans to buy into this team, then he has to invest himself, too. Until then–baseball takes another step back.