I'm not sure how much it's going to matter in terms of dollars and cents and wins and losses, but for the Seattle Mariners, the whole Seattle arena thing has kind of been a PR disaster. Many of the people want an arena, sort of badly, and they see the Mariners standing in the way for reasons they perceive to be insufficient. Even if the Mariners' concerns are legitimate, they've done a poor job of expressing them. The general public has very little trust in the people in charge of the Mariners organization. Now, with the recent hitting-coach news, the Mariners demonstrated that they're not opposed to people with the last name "Hansen". And with Wednesday afternoon's news, the Mariners demonstrated that they're not opposed to the construction of new sports facilities. What's even left? I don't think there's anything left.
The Mariners are building themselves a fancy baseball complex, down in the Dominican Republic. Here's a link, and included within is an artist's rendering of what the facade could look like, if you've never seen a facade before. Shown are four flags: a Seattle Mariners flag, a Major League Baseball flag, a United States flag, and a Dominican Republic flag. All of the flags are shown flying at the same level. I feel like all Mariners flags should probably fly at half-mast until things actually start to turn around. It would send a more appropriate message.
The whole project will take something like 15 or 16 months to complete, and it will cost less than one year of Brandon League. The complex will have some fields, some assorted training areas, some living spaces, some eating spaces, and some classroom spaces. It's going to be a full-on baseball academy, where unsigned players train, and where signed players train and learn and grow as people. To quote from the linked article:
Players signed by Seattle will be able to stay at the academy and unsigned players are allowed to visit for less than 30 days. With the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement limiting the amount of money that can be spent signing international players, Kissner feels the academy could help with the recruitment process of some of the talented teens.
When the details of the
new newest CBA were released, there was concern that things had been evened out too much internationally. It seemed like the teams that had done well internationally were being punished. With this academy, the Mariners might be able to give themselves an advantage again. They were already renting an academy before, but now they can have one of their own, a fancy one, one they can do whatever they want to, and not a whole lot of teams can say the same. That is, not every team has its own academy in the Dominican.
The facility will be able to house 80 players -- basically two teams -- and while we're talking about prospects who are a long, long way away from the major leagues, the Mariners will soon be better able to manage their development. The players will be able to train better, the players will be able to eat better, they'll all be organized, and to whatever extent that this stuff matters, the Mariners are improving. This facility certainly isn't going to do them any harm, unless they cut costs and the whole thing collapses unexpectedly during the night when everyone's asleep. Then, oh man, that's a lot of unfortunate death, or at the very least, maiming.
It's also worth noting that the players at the facility will take classes. While the classes are ostensibly language classes, these are young kids, pliable young kids, and they probably don't know a whole lot about the rest of the world. The Mariners can teach them that the Mariners are the greatest organization in baseball, the organization that wins the championship every single season, and they can drill this into the players' heads so that by the time they reach the US and hear otherwise, they won't believe it, because the Mariners were practically their parents and their parents would never lie to them. The Mariners can sign Dominican teenagers and brainwash them, is my point.
Tim Kissner has a lot of good things to say about the facility in development. Tim Kissner was hired so recently that he presumably had practically nothing to do with the facility plans. So bully for him for being a good company man. This is Seattle Mariners news that is not bad Seattle Mariners news. We've all wondered what the Mariners might do to try to get ahead internationally. Here's this, now. Better to have this than to not have this.