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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Seattle Mariners partner to open youth training center in Spokane for baseball, softball

By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

The Mariners Training Center opened to the public Saturday for the first time and to much fanfare.

Scheduled for a noon opening, the facility was budding with excitement around 11:45 a.m.

Craig Bishop, the regional manager of all eight Mariners facilities, said 180 people had registered for the event.

Spokane is one of those facilities, six of which are also in Washington – Port Orchard, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Tacoma and Woodinville – and one in Meridian, Idaho.

The Mariners – along with EL1 Sports, a leading national youth sports training company – announced the Spokane facility on Feb. 21.

The location is the former Warehouse Baseball facility at 800 N. Hamilton St.

The Warehouse, owned by Gonzaga Bulldogs and Utah Jazz star John Stockton, entered into an agreement with EL1 and the Mariners.

“He was excited for the Mariners brand to come in, and so he’s been just a great partner to us,” Bishop said.

At Saturday’s event, every kid tried throwing and hitting stations, and bat and ball games. Swag bags were also handed out and free Mariners Kids Club memberships were signed.

EL1 Sports is owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership. It is officially the youth baseball and softball training partner of Major League Baseball.

The Mariners are the second franchise EL1 Sports has partnered with, after the Dodgers.

It had been a multiyear process that was halted by the pandemic.

Eventually, EL1 has a goal to expand to other major league markets, Bishop said.

When it was announced, the Mariners said in a news release: “Since entering our partnership with EL1, we’ve been able to collaborate on several impactful initiatives and are proud to extend into even more communities across Washington and Idaho. This expansion is a testament to the appetite for more baseball and softball in our region, the excitement these facilities have generated for local families, and the increased access we are committing to through this partnership.”

The training centers’ goal is to offer camps, clinics and individualized programing to help expand access to baseball and softball.

EL1 operates 26 facilities, 18 of which are outside the region. It will support training from beginners to elite levels.

“(We are) former players, coaches and educators who believe in the transformative power of sport in terms of the lives of children,” Bishop said. “All of our instructors have either played professionally or played in college or coached in college.”

Bishop said there are four baseball and two softball instructors available .

Bishop said softball training is an important goal for the facility.

In 2024, EL1 and the Mariners want to reach more than 10,000 athletes across the five-state market the Mariners cover.

Awareness is the most important aspect of their job, Bishop said. They are working to extend partnerships to area youth sports organizations. When summer rolls around, they want to host a whole series of summer camps inside and outside of the facility.

The group will also allow the space to be rented out to youth sports organizations with which they are partnered.

The first people through the door, Jacob Harding and his 7-year-old son Matthew, heard about the event online and registered there.

While Matthew was hitting soft toss throws from one of the employees, Jacob took a video and photos with his son.

When the Mariners secured the location, they knew it needed a facelift. It had been at least 25 years since the building had any meaningful updates.

New netting, a fresh coat of Mariners-inspired colors and better lighting all contribute to a welcoming environment.

“I love the Mariners’ colors around here and they’ve got the training center logo plastered on the walls,” Jacob said. “It looks pretty professional, looks pretty fun.”

Matthew was sporting a Mariners hat and taking off his helmet as he came out of the batting area.

He said his favorite player was Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez because he is fast and athletic. He was looking forward to hitting in the cages Saturday.

The Mariner Moose took some time away from spring training in Peoria, Arizona, to help celebrate the new facilities opening.

To learn more about the Mariners Training Center and how to sign up for instruction, visit or their social media pages.