Kevin Mather Resigns As Mariners President And CEO

Mather didn’t get caught on that video call, the entire Mariners organization did.

Jim Rome
February 23, 2021 - 9:56 am
Kevin Mather

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Seattle Mariners president, CEO, and all-around genius Kevin Mather resigned yesterday after the comments he made to a Rotary Club surfaced and exposed him for who and what he is.

As a mini-refresher: Mather, one of the architects behind the longest postseason drought in baseball, called one of the most important players on the team “overpaid” and the best pitcher “very boring.”

He also seemed to admit manipulating service time with the organizations best prospects and criticized an All-Star from Japan and an elite prospect from the Dominican Republic for their skills in a second language.

And he did all of this to impress a bunch of Rotarians.

Team chairman and managing partner John Stanton said yesterday that he was “extremely disappointed” when he heard about what Mather said.

"His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization's feelings about our players, staff, and fans. There is no excuse for what was said, and I won't try to make one. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better. We have a lot of work to do to make amends, and that work is already underway."

And this is how it goes. The boss who made the comments resigns, the boss’s boss says they are inappropriate and do not represent the club, and they hope that everyone moves on.

Except that doesn’t quite work here. Because Mather’s comments DO represent the team. He was the president and CEO of the team. If the president and CEO of the team doesn’t represent the team or set the team’s culture, who does?

This wasn’t some doofus mid-level manager spouting off on Twitter. This was the president and CEO of the team running his mouth to impress a couple of dozen Rotarians.

He was showing how big league he is by bragging about messing with service time, CLOWNIG international players, and he used the word “tummy” in public, which IN AND OF ITSELF is a fireable offense

The issue isn’t that Kevin Mather said this on camera and that somehow that footage leaked, the issue is that he said it. And he said it because he believed it.

The problem isn’t that he got caught on a hot mic, the problem is the belief system in the first place.

And that he acted on it. These were beliefs that he had and that guided how he approached his job and ran the team. As team president and CEO. This isn’t some guy working in the souvenir shop. And selling beer and peanuts at the yard. This is the team president and CEO.

And there’s no way that nobody around Kevin Mather didn’t know he thought that way. In what organization do people not know how the president and CEO thinks?

Everyone in every organization knows what the boss thinks and what the boss wants. That’s how it works. Everyone knows what the boss believes and how the boss wants the organization to behave and conduct itself.

So there is absolutely no way that John Stanton and everyone else associated with the Mariners didn’t know. It’s not like you break out new material for the Bellevue Rotarians. Mather was playing his greatest hits there.

But now Stanton and the rest of the organization and are absolutely shocked, shocked I say, to learn that Mather is wired this way? Hell no. I don’t buy that bullcrap and neither should you. 

The issue now is that the rest of us know what Stanton and the others already knew about Mather.

The issue is the rest of the world knows the Mariners values and their feelings about their players, staff, and fans. Because if the president and CEO doesn’t just embody the value of the organization, he creates them and sets them.

Not everyone was pissed, though. Josh Donaldson was happy about the admission of manipulating service time. 

He tweeted: Thank you Kevin Mather. I sincerely mean it. You just said what everyone already knew, but now we MLBPA have official evidence that is going to help a lot of players. Again, thank you!! Bravo

And I guarantee you, he’s not the only decision maker in baseball, or in the Mariners organization, who thinks that way about service time and international players.

That’s why it’s a complete and total joke for John Stanton to say that they “do not represent our organization's feelings about our players, staff, and fans.”

John, if the president and CEO doesn’t represent the organizations feelings about your players, staff, and fans, then who does?

And, if you’ve been following closely along, you might remember John Stanton from statements such as this back in July 2018:

Today the Seattle Times published a story about the Seattle Mariners workplace environment. We do not believe it accurately reflects the values and culture of our organization.

That was the opening to a statement about accusations of sexual harassment directed at three Mariner executives by multiple female employees.

I won’t read you the whole statement from Stanton, I’ll just skip to the part that has a sub-heading of its own:

Issues involving Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather.

I’m not going to say there’s a problem with the Mariners, but when you have to put out multiple statements about “issues involving Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather” maybe there’s a problem with the Mariners.

And that part of the statement from 2018 read: Nearly 10 years ago, two female former Mariners employees complained of inappropriate language and treatment in the workplace by then Executive Vice President Kevin Mather.

Mather was accused of sexual harassment, and according to reports, a settlements of more than half a million were paid, and then Mather was later promoted to team president, and then to team CEO.

You guys knew who this guy was. And you still kept him around. I hate to say it, man, but these are the values of the organization.

And it’s not like you can point to some crazy track record on the field and say, sure the guy was accused of sexual harassment and manipulates service time and makes fun of people learning English as a second language, but he’s killing it on the field.

Because he’s not.

The Mariners have been fine with sucking and with having lousy guys around. The issue wasn’t that he was on camera when he said this junk, it’s that he believes this junk. And that he’s been with the organization for years. And was promoted. Repeatedly.

Kevin Mather didn’t get caught on that video call, the entire Mariners organization did.