USSMariner Gathering – Details

Dave · March 24, 2006 at 10:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, enough beating around the bush. The details are finalized, and we’re finally able to make the official announcement.

Sunday, April 2nd, from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Safeco Field

We’ve got space for 200 people to come join Derek, Jeff, Jason, and myself for four hours inside Safeco on the eve of opening day. 24 hours before the season kicks off, you get to come hang out with us as we spend a few hours talking baseball and having a good ol time.

Of course, we won’t be the only people talking. Once again, Mariners General Manager Bill Bavasi has graciously agreed to give up a good portion of his free time and participate in a question and answer session. Quite simply, this is a unique opportunity for Mariner fans to get together and pick the brain of the guy who makes the decisions.

Four hours of baseball talk, including time with the number one guy in the front office the day before the season starts? Hard to beat that, honestly.

We’ve done our best to keep the costs as low as possible, and we’re really happy we can offer this get together for $15 per person. That will include snacks and drinks, so while it’s not a feed, you will be able to get fatter while attending, which is a nice plus.

If you’re interested in attending, here’s what you need to do: send an email to with the number of people you’re requesting spots for in the subject. In the body of the message, I need full names of those who will be coming under your reservation.

Due to the event being just nine days away, we’re going to have you pay-as-you-enter to avoid problems with the postal service and getting checks around in time. We’re counting on your good faith to attend the event if you sign up; we’re paying for your spot whether you come or not, so if you don’t come and don’t pay, that’s money out of our pockets.

One last note; we’re making one minor change to how we handled the event last summer. Instead of a free-for-all where everyone gets the mic and we pray that they ask a question that isn’t insulting and makes sense, this time around, the Q&A will be moderated. If you have a question you’d like to hear Bavasi answer, leave it in the comments of this thread, and we’ll cull the best ones and make sure they get asked.

Also, any general questions that you think may be of interest to others, feel free and ask in the comments.


39 Responses to “USSMariner Gathering – Details”

  1. Bodhizefa on March 24th, 2006 10:51 am

    I know it’s off topic, but [deleted, off-topic]

  2. markgurwell on March 24th, 2006 11:02 am

    My comment is ‘ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH! Another event I can’t attend!’. Frankly, you guys are incredible, I can’t believe the extent to which you can organize such things. Bavasi on the day before the season starts, at Safeco!? I sure wish I lived in Seattle again.

  3. eponymous coward on March 24th, 2006 11:12 am

    Mr. Bavasi, you and Billy Beane have been general managers for about the same length of time in the major leagues, and in most cases, his teams have finished ahead of yours and have had greater success in terms of wins and losses, while spending less money on payroll.

    Why do you think he’s successful at his craft, and has his organization’s style of player evaluation or trades made you re-evaluate anything about how you approach your job?

  4. Evan on March 24th, 2006 11:20 am

    Given the tendency for pitchers to completely suck after they break a scapula, are you worried about your $37.5 million investment in Jarrod Washburn?

    I need to check a few things, but I might actually be able to attend this one. It’ll be a good opportunity to wear my gay paleontologist shirt.

  5. Andren on March 24th, 2006 11:21 am

    Any chance of a webcam or online audio stream of the feed for those of us who can’t attend?

    Heck, even a written transcript would be cool.

  6. Evan on March 24th, 2006 11:23 am

    They’ve probably agreed not to publish Bavasi’s comments again, like last year.

  7. dw on March 24th, 2006 11:33 am

    My question:

    I recall that you were asked at the last feed about the M’s problems with getting pitchers up through the minor league system without career-threatening damage to their elbows/shoulders/labrums/etc. Is the team tackling this issue? If you are tackling the problem, what sort of changes are you making in the minor league system to stop the abuse of poor, defenseless labrums?

  8. joealb on March 24th, 2006 11:45 am

    Mr Bavasi, Just how serious is Jeremy Reed’s injury and can Borchard be an efective replacement?

  9. robbbbbb on March 24th, 2006 12:00 pm

    I can’t come, as my wife is singing in a concert that day. (Argh!) Instead, I’ll be at the M’s-Rainiers game the day before. Free tickets from the company, which is nice. Can I submit a question anyway?

    “Mr. Bavasi, I don’t actually have a question. Instead, I’d like to say ‘Nice Job!’ You flipped Matt Thornton, a useless spare part, for Joe Borchard, a possibly useful spare part. Thanks!”

    Well, okay. Real question:

    “Mr. Bavasi, is there anyone in the minor league system that hasn’t gotten a bunch of publicity that the team thinks is on his way up? We’ve all heard about Adam Jones, Jeff Clement, and Matt Tuiasasopo. Who else is the organization high on?”

  10. Matthew Carruth on March 24th, 2006 12:00 pm

    broken wrist bone, 6-8 weeks is what I’ve heard.

  11. Choska on March 24th, 2006 12:00 pm

    What is the latest on the health of Chris Snelling?

    Without getting into the details of “who” was taking steroids, do you think the presence of steroids was behind the “big ball” era? Conversely, do you think the absence of steroids in the game will place a greater emphasis on “small ball?”

    We hear a lot about how the Ms are investing in its overseas scouting, plus its minor league scouting in the US. Could you give us some details about those operations, and how do they compare to the operations of other teams?

    For the upcoming draft the Ms will have a high pick. Could you discuss how the Ms drafting philosophy (college v high school players, best available players v best available athlete, etc.) has changed since you arrived?

  12. Matthew Carruth on March 24th, 2006 12:06 pm

    With Daisuke not getting posted this offseason, and getting more attention via the WBC, how hard is it going to be for the Ms to eventually sign him?

    How big of a presense do the Ms have in Venezuela now with the success of Felix? Plans to expand?

  13. eponymous coward on March 24th, 2006 12:13 pm

    12- That first question is tampering if Bill answers it, since MLB teams are NOT allowed to comment on players on other teams (even Japanese ones).

  14. Dave on March 24th, 2006 12:17 pm

    Of course, Jeff Shaw could always speculate on the answer, and Bill could nod approvingly…

  15. eponymous coward on March 24th, 2006 12:18 pm

    You think? 😉

  16. Bodhizefa on March 24th, 2006 12:20 pm

    Fantastic event plans. Wish I could be there, gents. I hope you all have a spectacular time and that you share as much as Bavasi will allow after the fact. Kickass event for USSM.

  17. zzyzx on March 24th, 2006 12:23 pm

    “Why have you discontinued the Elseworlds series when those titles tend to be very popular?”

    Oh wait, that’s what I’m going to ask at Qwest at noon.

    “If there aren’t any disasters, when do you think the Mariners will next be able to legitimately expect to compete for the playoffs?”

  18. DMZ on March 24th, 2006 12:25 pm

    Okay, predicted response: “Oh, absolutely.” (wording may vary)

  19. zzyzx on March 24th, 2006 12:43 pm

    I said [i]when[/i] do you. Yeah, I figured it would be glossed over though…

    I’d love to ask how GMs of losing teams balance what’s good for the team in the long term vs the fact that their plan can’t be followed if they’re firing in the short term, but I can’t find a way of phrasing it that’s not, well, potentially insulting.

    Perhaps asking how to keep fans while engaged in a longer term plan.

  20. zzyzx on March 24th, 2006 1:14 pm

    Oops, this page uses real html, not the fake html of other sites, sorry.

  21. ira on March 24th, 2006 1:36 pm

    If you feel strongly that a player needs to see time at a particular position (Ichiro in CF, just for example), how does the process work, especially if the field manager objects to your position?

  22. sankthetank on March 24th, 2006 1:44 pm

    Just a suggestion for all of us not in Washington state: could any of you bring a camera and take pictures of some of the USSM staff and the attendees. It would be awesome to put a face to the names of the commenters!

  23. J on March 24th, 2006 1:57 pm

    I think there was someone who brought a camera last time, but I’ll try to bring mine too just in case.

  24. Jeff Nye on March 24th, 2006 2:32 pm

    I sent my email asking for a spot; I’m more likely to sit and listen to the questions of others, than ask a question myself; but I’ll try to come up with a good one later.

    I’m really looking forward to this, and it’s great of Bill to be willing to do this the day before opening day. Which I’m going to also! (My first opening day game ever, very excited).

  25. Evan on March 24th, 2006 2:38 pm

    Here’s a question that sprang to mind after Reed hurt himself:

    Willie Bloomquist can’t hit. Under what circumstances is it ever okay to write him into the starting linuep?

  26. jasonmcgillie on March 24th, 2006 3:35 pm

    May I hold the Shoeless Joe Jackson bat again?

  27. rcc on March 24th, 2006 5:08 pm

    My question for Bill: What possible benefit is there to signing another aging player like Carl Everett, with little or no skills left, to occupy a roster spot, and block the ascension of a minor league player?

    Or: Why provide a two year extension, before the season starts, to a player like Raul Ibanez when he has not demonstrated that he should remain on the team past the trading deadline….let alone a two year contract extension?

  28. Steve T on March 24th, 2006 6:02 pm

    “Do you feel it’s important to fit your resume on one page, or is it better to go into more detail even if it makes it longer?”

  29. Gomez on March 24th, 2006 7:19 pm

    “Granted, the present is obviously your top priority, but are you already looking ahead to the 2006 offseason in any way? What would you consider, at this time, the organization’s top priorities for this coming offseason?”

  30. zzyzx on March 24th, 2006 9:49 pm

    “If the Mariners are in a pennant race in September, do you extend Felix’s inning count?”

  31. zzyzx on March 24th, 2006 9:50 pm

    After watching the Huskies game, perhaps one should ask, “After the Seahawks and the Huskies, are you worried that there’s a conspiracy against Seattle teams from all officials?”

  32. BelaXadux on March 25th, 2006 4:35 am

    Questions for BB: Assuming that Rafael Soriano has an injury-free and effective first half this year, does the organization have any further willingness and interest in re-converting him to a starting pitcher?

    At what point in the present talent cycle is the organization prepared to make a trade for a major, established hitter (with Ichiro, Felix, and by announcement Betancourt as present untradeables)?

    The Ms have no back-up infielder on the 25-man roster who can hit significantly; what is going to be done to fill this gap between now and June?

    Would the Ms consider using Clement part-time at least as a DH in Seattle by late ’07 if a) he’s ready, and b) Johjima has starting catcher nailed down as is likely?

    Everyone’s makes mistakes, and some participants in this forum say he’s made a number: What is at least one decision he has made in structuring the roster during his tenure here that he would reconsider as unwise in principal, and why? (He may choose to name names, to speak to a philosophical approach, or preferably both.)

    What does he feel is his best organizational decision overall during his tenure here? (Again, either a specific acquisition or contract, an implemented program, or both.)

    Looking ahead, the Ms have made two major FA signs each of the last two off-seasons, but there are plenty of holes left to fill. What is a least one, major priority for a further, high-value/high-cost acquisition late this year or in the off-season (whether by trade or an FA sign)?

  33. RotatorCuff on March 25th, 2006 5:38 am

    The question I would like to ask would be this:

    Mr. Bavasi, if the Mariners are supposedly rebuilding then why are we committing a player like Raul Ibanez to payroll for the 2008 season?

  34. Adam S on March 25th, 2006 8:07 am

    Four years and 37 million for Jarrod Washburn, what were you thinking?!?

    OK, I wouldn’t ask it THAT way…

    It’s well established that players peak in their late 20s then decline. How much is age a consideration when offering a long term contract, especially age in the last year of the deal? (This covers Washburn, Everett, and Ibanez.)

    Washburn is being paid like a #1 or #2 starter, and I’m sure you’ve heard the criticism that he isn’t that caliber. What kind of numbers do you expect from Washburn, in terms of innings pitched and ERA over the life of his contract? ($10 says if he gives more than a vague answer he doesn’t project Washburn to be much worse in 2009 than 2006.)

    Separate topic
    In a postgame radio interview in September, you said that 2 maybe 3 of the Mariners starting rotation would be back. However with the season starting tomorrow, we have four of the same five guys. What changed?

  35. ChrisB on March 25th, 2006 8:59 am

    Following up on #11, I am curious to know how the Mariners approach the posting process in Japan

  36. JoelE on March 25th, 2006 10:09 am

    My question:

    In light of Jeremy Reed’s injury, how does a GM go about balancing the need to develop young players with the question of what’s best for the team’s current need to win? That is, asking Ichiro to play CF until Reed’s return would open possibilities to win more games in the short term, (by putting a veteran bat in an outfield corner in its place, such as Lawton, and perhaps buying Petagine’s option for DH), whereas getting a chance to see another youngster (Borchard, Choo, etc) see some big-league time may sacrifice some wins in the short term but help to develop the young guys for the future. That is to say… what is paramount? Getting our team back into respectability and contention immediately, or rebuilding? What is the priority in filling that position in the short term?

  37. Evan on March 25th, 2006 10:26 am

    The Mariners have a poor track record, compared to other teams, with regard to keeping young pitchers healthy. Does this have some sort of systemic cause that you’ve identified?

  38. patl on March 27th, 2006 2:09 pm

    – To what extent do the Mariners value a player’s spring training performance when making roster decisions?

  39. tangotiger on March 27th, 2006 2:46 pm

    Ditto #21.

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