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A Grip on Sports: Once again, Mariner leadership shows it only knows how to chart a course toward dissension

Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather.  (Dean Rutz / Seattle Times)
Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather. (Dean Rutz / Seattle Times)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Why is it the Mariners haven’t enjoyed success on the field for more than two decades? Maybe the simplest answer is the front office, the folks at the top of the pyramid, are incapable of guiding the franchise in a professional manner. More evidence of that surfaced over the weekend.

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• Honestly, how often does the president and CEO of a Major League Baseball franchise speak to a Rotary Club anyway? It can’t be too often, can it? And then how often does said president and CEO says such silly and stupid things as to cause him or her to face the firing squad? Again, it can’t be too often.

And yet, Kevin Mather, the president and CEO of the Mariners, pulled off the duo recently. Once again, the M’s dug deep into the world of dishonor to show us they are good at something. Winning games? Nope. Sticking their foot so far up their face it comes out the back end? Yep.

“We’re No. 1!”

Maybe Mather didn’t know his remarks, which were overly blunt as well as over the top, were being recorded. When you address a public service club they rarely are. Wait, what? It was held over Zoom? Oh, my goodness … OK, we are being overly cute here to make a point.

Mather wasn’t speaking in person. He was addressing the group virtually, via a computer app that includes (wait for it …) a record button. And a little light that informs the group the conversation is being recorded.

(If you want to watch the whole thing, it is still available even after it was dropped off YouTube, where it was discovered over the weekend. And there is a transcript available on the Lookout Landing website.)

Being obtuse enough to think your remarks weren’t going to leak out is enough to merit at least a wrist slap but Mather’s lack of judgment in admitting to certain proprietary secrets – the franchise’s financial well-being, player negotiations, the players’ union, service time – is enough to cause his dismissal.

Add in his insensitive (at best) remarks about players, foreign and domestic, and today should be his last day in the M’s office. Even with his apology Sunday night.

Maybe he and John Stanton, the leader of the ownership group, can hold a Zoom meeting. If so, will someone please record it? Don’t worry. Mather won’t notice.

• Of course we are not as tuned in to the M’s front office machinations as others. Which is why we link their opinions here.

We start in Seattle with thoughts from Larry Stone, Matt Calkins and Art Thiel. Around the country, other baseball-centric columnists as Ken Rosenthal share their opinions. Though there are some who feel Mather did baseball a huge service – in a weird way he did, allowing us to see how some in authority really think – the verdict is pretty well unanimous. His speech was the height of inappropriateness.

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Gonzaga: We spent a lot of time yesterday bemoaning the lack of competition in the West Coast Conference this season. We wondered what type of impact it may have on the Zags down the road and how Mark Few was keeping his team on the right track. Jim Meehan has our answers today in this story about “Competition Mondays.” GU splits into two fairly evenly matched groups and plays against each other. It sounds fun. … They also help Gonzaga stay atop the rankings. … The baseball team’s first loss was a big one to Oregon State in Arizona. … Elsewhere in the WCC, BYU has risen to 21 in the NET rankings.

WSU: The Cougar women swept Utah for the first time since 2015, winning Sunday in Pullman behind Charlisse Leger-Walker’s 22 points. … Around the Pac-12 and college basketball, it was a big day in women’s hoop, highlighted by the Oregon State women upsetting No. 8 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. … The Oregon women snapped a three-game losing streak. … California won for the first time this season, upsetting Arizona State. …Tenth-ranked Arizona and No. 5 Stanford meet tonight. … In men’s basketball, Oregon and USC play tonight in Los Angeles. The Trojans’ loss to UA puts them in must-win territory, a place the Ducks have been for a while. … Speaking of Arizona, it is entering its last scheduled week of the season. … UCLA rallied for a win Saturday in a March-like game. … Will Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak be fined for his comments after the loss at Oregon? … Colorado needs to keep winning to give McKinley Wright a chance to play in the NCAA tourney.

Idaho: Mike Iupati made it official to Peter Harriman, telling him recently he has retired from the NFL. He’s also thrown his weight behind a new building in Moscow to benefit athletes. Both are covered in this story.

Whitworth: The Pirates dominated the Northwest Conference awards last week. That leads off our weekly local briefs, but there is a lot more to cover.

Mariners: Besides the Mather comments, linked above, we also have a story on catcher Tom Murphy, who is returning after missing 2020 with an injury.

Sounders: It didn’t look good for Jordan Morris and it isn’t. The Seattle star will miss another season or so with another torn ACL. Let’s hope he can bounce back from this one as well as he did the last time.

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• Sunday’s brunch omelet was more than adequate, though the shrimp we had been saving were too iffy to include. The salmon, which we had cooked in a spice blend of my concoction earlier, more than made up for it though. The cayenne pepper seemed to marinate in the fridge and announced its presence with authority among the spinach and pea pods. Excellent. Until later …

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