Twenty years ago Nicklas Backstrom Jersey , Ken Griffey Jr. and the Seattle Mariners‘ marketing department put on one of the most memorable promotions in franchise history — which is saying a lot, since Funny Nose Glasses Night in 1982 drew more fans than Gaylord Perry’s 300th win two nights earlier — with Turn Ahead the Clock Day.
Instead of wearing retro uniforms like most teams do for Turn Back the Clock Day, the Mariners imagined what things might look like in 2027, when they will celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The Kingdome was turned into the “Biodome.” A DeLorean drove actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on “Star Trek,” to the mound to deliver the ceremonial first pitch.
The Mariners’ Moose mascot was replaced by Marty the Mariners Martian. Griffey was referred to as “Digit 24” instead of his last name by the public-address announcer.
Player positions were called quadrants. And the Mariners and their opponent that night, the Kansas City Royals, wore futuristic, untucked uniforms that Griffey, the Hall of Fame center fielder, helped design.
According to Kevin Martinez, the marketing director for the Mariners in 1998, it was Griffey’s idea to change the Mariners’ colors from navy, teal and white to crimson, black and silver. Junior wore his hat backward and spray-painted his glove and spikes silver.
“There were always some surprises,” Griffey recently told The Athletic. “You never knew what was going to happen that night. It was like, ‘Stay tuned.'”
Twenty years later, the Mariners and Royals will reprise Turn Ahead the Clock Night when they meet Saturday night at Safeco Field.
Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is certainly looking to the future after making his season debut in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Mariners.
Bonifacio missed the first 80 games of the season while serving a Major League Baseball suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in spring training.
“I’m so excited to be back with the team Philipp Grubauer Jersey ,” said Bonifacio, who batted .255 and hit 17 home runs as a rookie last season.
Bonifacio batted .392 in 13 games for Triple-A Omaha before being activated. He batted fifth Friday, going 0-for-3.
“We’re glad to have him back,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was swinging very well (at Omaha).
“I mean, the kid hit 17 homers last year. … Yeah, he was going to hit in the middle of the order, until all this surfaced.”
Bonifacio played left field Friday to give Alex Gordon a day off, but likely will be in right field Saturday.
“We are going to move him around. He’s going to play,” Yost said. “He’s going to play some right, play some left. What difference does it make?”
On the mound, right-handers Jason Hammel of the Royals (2-9, 5.34 ERA) and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners (7-6, 5.10) will be looking for vintage performances.
Hammel, who won 15 games for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs in 2016, has lost four straight starts — in which the Royals have scored a total of five runs. The graduate of South Kitsap High School in nearby Port Orchard, Wash., is 3-3 with a 3.53 ERA in eight career appearances against Seattle, including seven starts.
Hernandez T.J. Oshie Jersey , the American League’s 2010 Cy Young Award winner, is 6-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 career starts against the Royals. That includes an 8-3 victory on April 10 in Kansas City in which he pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
Shin-Soo Choo changed up his swing going into this season with a modified leg kick. Maybe more significant was a return to some of the mental focus he had lost along the way.
”Every pitch, each pitch, is the last pitch of my baseball career … I think that way,” Choo said.
After a slow start to this season, Choo realized he had gotten away from what he refers to as the ”sniper focus” he wants to have every time he goes to the plate for the Texas Rangers.
Choo now has a 38-game on-base streak. It is the longest of his 14-year big league career, and the second-longest this season behind a 40-gamer by Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera.
”The physical side of it is a byproduct of him making a conscious effort to get back to who he is, what his foundation has been as a hitter, an on-base guy first,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”When he’s doing that and he’s seeing pitches, he’s focused in more on driving the ball, that he gets to hit his pitch. He’s really good at it.”
With three singles on Monday night, including the tiebreaking RBI hit in a 7-4 win over San Diego, Choo has the longest on-base streak for Texas since Otis Nixon’s 44 games in a row in 1995. Julio Franco’s 46-gamer in 1993 is the franchise record.
Choo was hitting .239 after going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts May 12 at Houston, along with a .316 on-base percentage.
Since then, the outfielder and designated hitter has 48 hits and 37 walks in 38 games – reaching base an average of 2.2 times each game during his streak. That has raised his batting average to .285 and increased his on-base percentage 79 points.
”He sticks to his approach more than anything. He doesn’t really care who is on the mound,” said Delino DeShields Authentic Blake Wheeler Jersey , the young center fielder whose locker is next to Choo’s. ”He knows himself, he’s done it for a long time. He knows when he’s getting away from that and it’s an easy adjustment for him to make.”
DeShields said Choo keeps things ”really simple” and sticks to his routine.
For Choo, that includes almost always being the first player in the clubhouse – whether before sunrise at spring training or around lunchtime before night games during the season.
Banister remembers showing up at the team’s complex around 5 a.m. one day early during the manager’s first spring with the team in 2015. Choo was already there.
”Next few days we got there at the same time and then one day I got up earlier for some reason and beat him to the ballpark,” Banister said. ”I didn’t beat him to the ballpark the next day.”
Choo, in his fifth season with Texas after playing for Seattle, Cleveland and Cincinnati, is also tidy. The two stalls he occupies in the home clubhouse are organized, including the array of batting gloves stacked neatly and organized by color. He knows where everything is because it all has a specific spot – and says it’s the same at his house.
”He’s real particular,” DeShields said. ”He packs his own bag. … He always looks nice. It’s just how he is. He’s a professional. Whatever you define a professional to be, that’s him.”
Choo will turn 36 on July 13, four days before the All-Star Game. He has never been an All-Star before but is a strong candidate to represent the Rangers as a first-timer.
Banister said Choo certainly has played to a level to be considered for the American League squad in Washington next month.
”This is a great teammate. He really is. This is a guy who cares about every player in that locker room. He cares about the game. A lot,” Banister said. ”The respect for the game of baseball, how it’s played, the look of it, the players, the style of play, the way you should play the game.”