Beyond the autoraph sessions, the most popular part of Fan Fest in Peoria is when the Seattle Mariners take batting practice – and manager Don Wakamatsu made it all the more impressive.
What did Wakamatsu do? He served up thigh-level, batting-practice heat, and Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. and Milton Bradley put on a clinic on what do to with that particular pitch.
Ichiro and Junior banged long home runs over the berm in right field. Bradley hit them up the hill beyond the left field wall. And Chone Figgins hit line drives everywhere.
“Figgins has put on a clinic every day this spring,” batting coach Alan Cockrell said.
Kids chased each blast, and fans oohed and aahed around Peoria Stadium at each swing. There weren’t many misses – Wakamatsu was throwing well.
Which meant Mariners fans got lots of souvenirs on the fly. The Mariners got their work in and everyone else had fun.