Fenced in

Club officials usually stand on the “field” side of the fences during the Mariners’ Spring Training workouts. But general manager Jack Zduriencik stood on the fans side of the barrier on Saturday morning.

He was watching the team go through situational hitting drills when long-time Mariners fan (and season-ticket holder) Marilyn Cook, standing next to her husband, Jim, asked Zduriencik about the identity of a player she didn’t recognize.

“I am still learning the names myself,” the GM politely answered.

Minutes later, club president Chuck Armstrong walked up, saw his GM on the spectator side of the fence, greeted him with a finger handshake through the wire, and Marilyn suddenly realized that he wasn’t a normal fan. She asked Zduriencik was with the team. When he introduced himself, she could have been knocked over by a feather, apologizing for not recognizing him.

“I’m so embarrassed,” she said.

“Don’t worry about it,” he answered.”It’s no big deal, really.”

If the Cooks were not Mariners fans for life before the exchange, they certainly are now. In less than a minute, they discovered that the person who helped bring Ken Griffey Jr., back to Seattle is a down-to-earth individual.

— Jim Street

1 Comment

I was all prepared not to be impressed with nor like Mr. Z. He came from Milwaukee, was bald like his predecessor, and I knew only that he was supposed to be a great judge of talent. I went to this year’s fanfest, met and spoke with him, asking a couple of questions. I changed my mind, decided this guy was a fan of the game, a positive and genuine person. I felt that he respected the M’s fans, as this story shows. I did not feel the same about Bavasi who I met in similar circumstances in past years. I can hardly wait for the season, and yes, I bought my tickets.

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