Sorry for the late post it’s been a hectic few weeks here at Viper land! I got back from springing training about two weeks ago and wanted to share some stories!
The first team we got to see was the hometown Seattle Mariners. The facility upgrade they got was really nice, minus the fact that the layout changed from the year before and I didn’t know where I was going! When we visit teams we get there around 7am as that’s when the players get there and get going for the day. It’s also not uncommon for the players to be stretching and working out next to where we’re set up. This year as we were setting up I happen to see Robinson Cano doing some hurdles so I tap Jordan on the shoulder and say “Hey that’s Cano”. We both turn our heads and look, and as soon as we do he trips on the hurdle. I start laughing. Apparently I laughed loud enough that he could hear me because he looks over at me and yells, “IT’S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS!” and that was my first experience with Mr. Cano. Good times.
Shortly thereafter, some players started coming out and I ran into Jesus Montero. When he originally came to Seattle two years ago we made him some samples to try and never really got feedback from him. I bring this story up because walking next to him I noticed our Viper end sticker on the only bat in his bag… so I quickly stopped him and inquired. He smiles and pulls it out and shows me. It’s a 35” maple JM1 from two years ago that we made as a sample and it was still in one piece in his bp bag. I was stunned and couldn’t do anything but shake my head and say “you’re bad for business.” He laughed and said he liked it and he’ll talk to his agent. I still can’t believe he had a bat that has lasted him two years!
Where we were set up is right next to a practice bullpen and a pitcher walked by and started talking to us. Turns out he was new to the Mariners this year and had a meeting and “thought” this was the right place. While waiting for his meeting we had a pretty awesome conversation, the guy couldn’t have been nicer. I know the first few times at spring training I was pretty star struck seeing some guys but I learned the best thing to do is to act is if they’re just a normal person and it goes a long ways. So we talked about anything from going on go-carts that go 50mph to veteran leadership in the clubhouse until his pitching coach finally came… he was pretty relieved he was in the right spot!
After the players got done with their morning workout they started practices so we went and watched some BP. It’s a really awesome experience getting to be on the side of the fence – with the players – and getting to interact with them. We got to watch the infielders take BP so we got to see Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison use their Vipers in live BP. Between rounds they’d both come over and give us the head nod of approval, always a good feeling! After BP they wrapped up practice and both Logan and Kyle walked with us to the clubhouse where we ran into the minor leaguers for minicamp.
It’s always fun seeing the minor league guys for the Mariners because we get to see most of them start in Everett, then again as they get promoted. We also got to see a local player who just got picked up by the Mariners so it was nice to give him some support. After their cage session ended our day at the Mariners was complete and we were off to the Padres next door!