Editorials

If baseball’s a game of unwritten rules, then Kevin Mather just broke a whole ton of them

I, for one, would love to bean Mather with a fastball in retaliation.

Colby already laid into Kevin Mather on a personal level earlier today, so allow me to demonstrate how problematic many of his statements to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club Total Landscaping Angels of Anaheim were from a pure baseball standpoint.

Lost in the blatant racism towards the Mariners’ non-English speaking players and flat-out hypocritical comments about the organization’s COVID-related revenue loss in 2020, Mather broke several unwritten rules of baseball and professional sports in general. He said things no representative of a professional sports organization should say, let alone a high-ranking official—the president.

I’m led to believe Mather was aware this was a public event being recorded for distribution on social media platforms. In an offseason devoid of many rumors or speculation thanks to Seattle’s cheapness, any sort of appearance from a high-profile name at the top of an otherwise quiet Mariners organization is going to draw interest.

Kevin Mather is a lot of things, but he’s not a stupid man—not in this regard, at least. Therefore, it’s pretty clear to me he knew this was public and simply didn’t care. And that’s a massive problem in itself.

Given there are people currently in the organization from top to bottom that know exactly what happened in the alleged situations Mather’s been at the center of,  I can’t imagine many hold him in a high regard to begin with. But he somehow found a way to make matters worse by openly discussing personal details about players’ contract negotiations, clubhouse disputes, and timelines. Insulting players along the way, Mather let it be known to all current M’s and anyone they may try to acquire in the future: the Seattle Mariners don’t give a fuck about you.

Until the Mariners fire Mather and require him to sell off his minority stake in the team, this is the message they’re sending the players and their fans.

And it’s not like this is something that isn’t widely known. If we’ve learned anything over the past season, Major League Baseball owners and the league as a whole do not care in the slightest about its product. But you typically don’t hear team representatives outright say it.

Talking to the Old Whites™ of the Rotary who gives a shit, Mather shared private details about extension negotiations with top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Evan White. He opened his mouth about a clubhouse altercation between Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, and two unnamed relievers. He admitted to gaming service time with Kelenic and Logan Gilbert, claiming they’ll be up in April. He called Kyle Seager – a player worth 17.4 fWAR since signing a seven-year, $100 million extension – “overpaid” and went on to say this would be his last year with the team. He couldn’t even get Luis Torrens’ last name right! And above all else, he took shots at players like Julio Rodríguez and Hisashi Iwakuma – who now works in the organization! – for needing interpreters as they adjust to a new culture and language.

Some of these things are meant to be left unsaid. Some are meant to be leaked through the Ryan Divishs of the world. But absolutely none should ever be publicly stated by an organization itself, let alone the face of their business operations!

But shiiiiiiit, Kev, if you’re gonna give us a look behind-the-scenes I’m sure everyone would love to know about what happened in 2009.

We’re all ears.

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