By Shannon Drayer
There was plenty of good going on before the game against the Astros Monday night. Sophia Robinson, just four years old, had her wish granted by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Mariners. She wanted to come to Safeco Field and meet Kyle Seager who was born with the same congenital heart problem she had.
Sophia spent time with Kyle, Aaron Harang, Michael Morse and her favorite player Felix Hernandez. When Felix emerged from the clubhouse she got a big smile on her face but then turned quite shy. She had been playing in the dirt in front of the dugout, writing her name in it and making little dirt castles. Felix saw this and as you can see, joined her.
During batting practice Sophia, along with her father, was taken into the clubhouse by Felix and some of the other players for a tour and to have a special snack request fulfilled. She wanted a corn dog. Chef Jeremy obliged with corn dogs for all.
It was great to see Sophia's interaction with the players and also great to see Kyle share his story and experience with her parents. It was clearly a good day for a family that has been through a lot with this little girl.
Having Sophia on the field was not the only pre game excitement. No, there was a new addition in the dugout. Last winter MLB announced that they would be providing cell phones for calls to the bullpen. That cell phone station was installed today and it drew quite a bit of interest from several of the players including Carter Capps. As Carter was checking out the new phones (there were two in the station) one of them rang.
"Hello?" Carter answered. "Joe Garagiola Jr? Really?"
Yes, it was Joe Garagiola Jr, MLB's senior vice president for standards and on-field operations. The two had a quick chat and then Carter handed the phone over to the representative who was helping with the install. For more on baseball's new bullpen phones (they still have the option to use the old one) check out this article from Businessweek.com.
The last good note, no great note, of the day is about a pitcher who made his return to the mound last night. Seven months after undergoing life saving brain surgery Anthony Vasquez made the start for the Clinton Lumberkings. Vasquez pitched 5 innings and gave up two earned runs in his return. He took the loss, but no doubt that game was ultimately a big win for him.