Mariners President Kevin Mather Steps In It

I’d call Seattle the West Coast Mets, but they aren’t even that.

Jim Rome
February 22, 2021 - 9:57 am
Kevin Mather

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Here’s a rule of thumb when it comes to this show: if I’m talking about the Seattle Mariners, it’s going to go badly for the Mariners. Generally, really badly.

And if I’m talking about Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather, he and they probably did something really stupid and are about to get wrecked for it.

And if I’m talking about Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather talking to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club, it’s horrible for everyone. And that’s pretty much the result of Mather running his yap to the Rotarians earlier this month.

You see, Mather was speaking to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on February 5th and those comments became public yesterday and they went viral in a heartbeat. Why?

Because he said the quiet part... Out loud. On just about everything.

You know the speech to the Rotary club where no one every says anything noteworthy, was an all-timer, when you have to issue a statement that includes the following line: “I’ve been on the phone most of the day today apologizing to the many people I have insulted, hurt, or disappointed in speaking at a recent online event.”

Atta bou! Stay hot champ. How the hell could anything that happens at the rotary club go so horribly, that

You have to spend a day apologizing to all the people you’ve insulted, hurt, or disappointed. How dumb would you have to be? And how bad would that speech have to warrant that kind of apology. Answer: really, really dumb and a horrible speech.

The hell was this dude thinking, anyway?? Clearly, he wasn’t.  My man’s mouth was just on autopilot: check out of what he said: Like, the stuff about the fact that he admitted there was no way the team was going to call up their top prospects last season. Not because the prospects weren’t good enough, but because the team wanted to manipulate the service time.

"If our major-league team had a COVID outbreak or injuries and we had to call people up from the taxi squad, we were a little short on players, because there was no chance you were going to see these young players at T-Mobile Park. We weren't going to put them on the 40-man roster, we weren't going to start the service-time clock. There were all kinds of reasons. If we would've had an injury problem or COVID outbreak, you might've seen my big tummy out there in left field. You would not have seen our young players, our prospects, playing at T-Mobile Park."

I’m willing to gloss over the fact that a grown man, an adult, just used the phrase “my big tummy” in public. Normally, that would be the most offensive thing in a speech, but it’s not even in the top ten.

And honestly, the fact that he’s openly admitting to being happy to put a lesser version of his own team on the field to manipulate service time, isn’t even the most egregious offense from this dope. I mean, we already knew a bunch of big league teams do that, but this moron is the only one admitting it in public and going on record with it.

But he had more. Like saying that Kyle Seager is “overpaid” and that this is his last year with the team. That’s cool. I’m not saying that Seager has been lighting the world on fire, but maybe you don’t hop on a Zoom call with the Bellevue Rotary Club and put one of your key players on blast like that.

And he wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. Because he had some thoughts he wanted to get off his chest about the second-ranked prospect in the organization, Julio Rodriguez.

“Julio Rodríguez has got a personality bigger than all of you combined. He is loud, his English is not tremendous.”

Good take, bro. I’m sure that’s not the first time he’s said that, and I guarantee it won’t be the last. 

But first, he had more that he wanted to say about Rodriguez. Because why just merely irritate one of your best prospects when you can really go in on him and really piss him off?

“Everybody says he’ll be here in 2021. He won’t be here till 2022 or 2023. A fantastic kid. We’re really big on social media. He loves to get out in front. He loves the Mariners.”

What a great approach. Everyone says we’ll be calling him up this year. The hell we will. Maybe next year. Maybe even the year after that. Let’s make sure we keep on sucking before he gets here.

And then I love that he chases it with “A fantastic kid. We’re really big on social media. He loves to get out in front. He loves the Mariners.” Yeah, I’m not so sure that he “loves the Mariners,” big dog.  He may have. Until you got front of the Rotarians.   Because no sooner than that speech went viral Rodriguez was tweeting a Photoshop of his face on Michael Jordan’s body from The Last Dance with the caption: “… and I took that personally.”

So he’s already pissed off Kyle Seager, and his family, because Seager’s wife  Julie tweeted: So should we put our house in Seattle on the market now, orrrrrr?

And as if Mather hadn’t already shoved both feet into his mouth wasn’t enough, he started cramming in other limbs in a hurry. Check this great section on dealing with diversity in the organization.

“For instance, we just rehired (Hisashi) Iwakuma (as a special-assignment coach), he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being, his English was terrible. He wanted to get back into the game, he came to us, we quite frankly want him as our Asian scout/interpreter, what’s going on with the Japanese league. He’s coming to spring training.

“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.”

Wonderful human being, but his English was terrible. Really insightful take, Mather. How’s your Japanese these days?

Because you’re definitely not a wonderful human being and while you’re English may be wonderful, you’re using it to torch your career and make your club a laughingstock.  Well, a bigger laughingstock than it already was: something I didn’t think was possible.  

And how cheap are you that you’re bent about having to spend 75 grand so that one of your key players can talk to his teammates, his coaches, and the media?

The rap on the Mariners organization is that they suck. That they spend as little as possible, they aren’t interested in winning, and they couldn’t figure out how to do it if they tried. It is the organization where careers go to die. And that guys can’t wait to get out of there.

And after listening to Mather, if you didn’t know before, now you do.  That’s why they suck, and guys don’t want to be there. 

By the way, he’s talking about Iwakuma arriving in 2012. Nearly a decade later, he’s still crying about spending 75K to pay for an interpreter so that a player can talk to his teammates and coaches, and I don’t know, help the team win.

And he had more garbage. Like stuff about parking garages, how the team is making money, and general bullcrap

This is an organization that has is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their last playoff appearance this season. This is an organization that hasn’t been relevant for decades. Literally. Nobody cares about the club and you are proving exactly why.

You are a major league club with a single-A mentality.  

Imagine having the arrogance and audacity to talk like this when you’re Kevin Mather? This isn’t Brian Cashman, with a stack of rings. Or Theo Epstein or anyone you’ve ever heard of and associated with winning.

This is Kevin Mather of the Seattle Mariners and this dude is styling and profilin in front of the Bellevue Rotary club like he’s someone who’s actually done something?

And it’s not like this is Mather’s first time getting in hot water. Before he was team president, he and two other team execs were accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by multiple women, accusations that resulted in financial settlements.

And now you’re taking shots at players, bragging about manipulating service time, and complaining that you have to pay for a translator?

To quote another Seattle legend: for who? For what? To impress a bunch of Rotarians?

What’s this guy going to do when it comes time to impress the Elks Lodge – burn down the stadium? His brunch speech to the Knights of Columbus is going to be lit! And look the hell out when he starts talking to the Shriners.

I’d call Seattle the West Coast Mets, but they aren’t even that. The Mets at least have a brand of sucking and being an embarrassment. They’ve perfected it.

The Mariners don’t even have that. They don’t matter enough for anyone to waste any time clowning them. How can you clown something that doesn’t even exist. You forget they even exist.

I’m not calling for someone’s job. That’s not my style. But the fact that the Mariners employed this guy, and promoted this guy, and still have him around, tells you everything about him and them. One thing to think bullcrap, quite another to say it out loud: and still another to say it to folks who are in no way affiliated with the team; and still another to think you can say crap like that and that it will stay in that room.  I can’t believe that I still have to say this, but literally anyone who has a phone is a reporter: so if you wouldn’t say something like that, much less all of that to a reporter, you shouldn’t be saying it all, because everything is on record! You can’t ever go off record with life: all it takes is one: and there’ one in every single room: if you’re public figure and you do or say something really stupid, chances are someone will get video of it and then we’ll all know: that’s your room, dummy, not the rotary club.