Royals, Mariners go back to the future
The future is back.
Twenty years ago, Ken Griffey Jr. and the Seattle Mariners‘ marketing department put on one of the most memorable promotions in franchise history — which is saying a lot, since Funny Nose Glasses Night in 1982 drew more fans than Gaylord Perry’s 300th win two nights earlier — with Turn Ahead the Clock Day.
Instead of wearing retro uniforms like most teams do for Turn Back the Clock Day, the Mariners imagined what things might look like in 2027, when they will celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The Kingdome was turned into the “Biodome.” A DeLorean drove actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on “Star Trek,” to the mound to deliver the ceremonial first pitch.
The Mariners’ Moose mascot was replaced by Marty the Mariners Martian. Griffey was referred to as “Digit 24” instead of his last name by the public-address announcer.
Player positions were called quadrants. And the Mariners and their opponent that night, the Kansas City Royals, wore futuristic, untucked uniforms that Griffey, the Hall of Fame center fielder, helped design.
According to Kevin Martinez, the marketing director for the Mariners in 1998, it was Griffey’s idea to change the Mariners’ colors from navy, teal and white to crimson, black and silver. Junior wore his hat backward and spray-painted his glove and spikes silver.
“There were always some surprises,” Griffey recently told The Athletic. “You never knew what was going to happen that night. It was like, ‘Stay tuned.'”
Twenty years later, the Mariners and Royals will reprise Turn Ahead the Clock Night when they meet Saturday night at Safeco Field.
Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is certainly looking to the future after making his season debut in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Mariners.
Bonifacio missed the first 80 games of the season while serving a Major League Baseball suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in spring training.
“I’m so excited to be back with the team,” said Bonifacio, who batted .255 and hit 17 home runs as a rookie last season.
Bonifacio batted .392 in 13 games for Triple-A Omaha before being activated. He batted fifth Friday, going 0-for-3.
“We’re glad to have him back,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was swinging very well (at Omaha).
“I mean, the kid hit 17 homers last year. … Yeah, he was going to hit in the middle of the order, until all this surfaced.”
Bonifacio played left field Friday to give Alex Gordon a day off, but likely will be in right field Saturday.
“We are going to move him around. He’s going to play,” Yost said. “He’s going to play some right, play some left. What difference does it make?”
Hammel, who won 15 games for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs in 2016, has lost four straight starts — in which the Royals have scored a total of five runs. The graduate of South Kitsap High School in nearby Port Orchard, Wash., is 3-3 with a 3.53 ERA in eight career appearances against Seattle, including seven starts.
Hernandez, the American League’s 2010 Cy Young Award winner, is 6-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 career starts against the Royals. That includes an 8-3 victory on April 10 in Kansas City in which he pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits.