Inbox: Recalling a wild night at Kingdome
Beat reporter Jim Street answers fans' burning questions
Spring Training has reached the halfway point, and several key questions still need to be answered. Speaking of questions, if you have any queries, send them in, and I'll do my best to answer as many of them as possible.
There are a couple of odd moments from Mariners history that I remember happening many years ago, but for the life of me, I can't find any mention of either one. Both happened around 1986, and I'm wondering if you can recall any of the details. First, I seem to remember Danny Tartabull (when he was still an infielder) missing a game or two because he had some sort of allergic reaction to the chalk used for the baselines, and second, Glenn Wilson once went over to field a double that had gone down the line and underneath the chairs in the bullpen, couldn't find the ball and decided to grab a different ball that he found and relay it into the infield. Do you remember these? If so, can you provide any more details? Thanks!
-- Ryan L., Vancouver, Wash.
I could not find any information regarding Tartabull being allergic to chalk, and I have no recollection of it, but I was able to get some information on Wilson's play. On June 28, 1988, Rangers infielder Jeff Kunkel -- the son of former American League umpire Bill Kunkel -- greeted Mariners reliever Edwin Nunez in the top of the ninth inning with a hit that landed just inside the right-field line and rolled into the Seattle bullpen.
The ball lodged under the bullpen. Wilson could not find it, so he reached into the bullpen ball bag and threw it back to the infield.
"It was white with red stitches, and when I saw [AL President] Dr. Bobby Brown's name on it, I knew I had the right ball," Wilson said.
Kunkel was awarded a triple on the play and, according to the Retrosheet play-by-play, scored on a sacrifice fly -- to the first baseman! Yes, those were wild and wacky days -- and nights -- at the Kingdome.
As a Nationals fan, I find myself rooting for Chad Cordero to make a comeback. I know he worked really hard during the offseason to lose weight, but do you think that will translate into a roster spot for him with the Mariners? Please let him know that Nats fans are still pulling for him.
-- Joel K., Washington
The former Nationals closer, who saved a National League-best 47 games in 2005, has been one of the best stories in camp this spring. Check out the piece MLB.com's Tom Singer wrote on Cordero for this Web site. Cordero lost a lot of weight during the offseason and is competing for a spot in the Mariners bullpen.
However, the bullpen is stocked with quality right-handers, and Cordero is a non-roster invitee. That means a player currently on the 40-man roster would have to be removed to make room for Cordero on the 25-man Opening Day roster, and that would be a tough call for general manager Jack Zduriencik.
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That being said, if Cordero continues to show that he is fully healthy and continues to have a good Spring Training, I could see him pitching for a team in the Majors this season.
When are the Mariners' commercials coming out? Those are the best. I look forward to them yearly.
-- Cory T., Ridgecrest, Calif.
The five 30-second commercials were filmed the final week of February and will be shown for the first time on the Mariners TV network, beginning with the March 17 Cactus League night game against the Rangers. The spots also will be available on mariners.com.
When a player is called up from the Minors, is his salary automatically adjusted to the Major League minimum, or must he stick around for a while? Specifically, I'm thinking about pitchers who are called up for an emergency start and then immediately sent back down. I'm sure they appreciate the opportunity, but the extra money wouldn't be bad, either.
-- John C., Kirkland, Wash.
A player without a split contract -- paying a certain salary for the Minors and a higher salary for the Majors -- receives a pro-rated daily amount for the time spent with the big league club.
The Major League minimum is $400,000 this year, and there are 183 days between the first regular-season game and the last. Therefore, a player promoted from the Minors would receive about $2,186 per day while he is in the Majors.
A week ago I saw a post about young pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. Is he in the Mariners organization, or is he a free agent?
-- Galen K., Portland, Ore.
Ramirez most definitely is in the Mariners organization. The 19-year-old right-hander from Rivas, Nicaragua, was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 after compiling an 11-1 record and 0.51 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) in the Venezuelan Summer League, holding opposing hitters to a .174 average. My guess is that he will begin the 2010 season at Class A Pulaski.
With the seeming lack of power in the Mariners' lineup, who do you think will be the three biggest home run hitters for the team in 2010, and how many dingers would you predict each to hit?
-- Josh C., Pasco, Wash.
My crystal ball has been on the disabled list lately, but I will give it a swift kick and see how it responds. It tells me that Jose Lopez will lead the team with 27 home runs, followed by Franklin Gutierrez with 25 and Ken Griffey Jr. with 24.
My question is about my predictions. Do you think that, even though you are a Mariners reporter, this year's postseason will not have these four powerhouses: Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cardinals?
-- Sean M., Kirkland, Wash.
You didn't tell me what your predictions are, but I would have to say that all four of those teams are expected to reach the playoffs. That being said, wouldn't it be cool if there were some different teams for a change?
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.