Seattle Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather’s remarks about others’ English have put him in hot water.
Mather made insensitive remarks about former All-Star pitcher Hashiishi Iwakuma and outfield prospect Julio Rodríguez during a 45-minute zoom call with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on February 5, the video of which was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday – later Removed and reposted.
Referring to Iwakuma, who returned to the club as a special assignment coach last month, Mather now pointed to his displeasure with appointing a Japanese interpreter for the former pitcher.
“It disappoints me,” Mather said. For example, we only rehearsed Iwakuma, he was a pitcher with us for many years. Amazing human, his English was terrible. He wanted to come back to the game, he came to us. We quite obviously want him as our Asian scout, the interpreter, what is happening with the Japanese League.
“He’s coming for spring training. And I’m going to say, I’m paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we would pay Iwakuma X, but we had to pay $ 75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him.” They also have to pay. Their English suddenly got better when we told them that their English got better. “
A 20-year-old Rodriguez from the Dodrink Republic also called Mather English.
“Julio Rodríguez has got a bigger personality than all of you combined,” Mather reported on the call. “She is loud, her English is not overwhelming.”
Corey Brock of Athletic defended Rodriguez, also tweeting, “Julio Rodriguez is working on his English as he is for the Loong time.” When we met in October 2018, Julio insisted on doing interviews in English. “
Mather issued an apology late Sunday night.
“I want to apologize to every member of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially our players and our fans,” Mather said in a statement. “There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapses in judgment.
“My comments were my own. They do not reflect the ideas and tactics of the Mariners baseball leadership who are responsible for making decisions about the development and status of players at all levels of the organization.
“I have recently been on the phone today, apologizing to many people who were insulted, hurt, or frustrated while speaking at an online event.
“I am committed to making amends for things that I said were personally hurt and I will do whatever it takes to repair the damage to the Seattle Mariners organization.”