Mariners Caravan rolls into Bremerton

The Mariner Moose bows to Greg Dobbs (center) as he talks to the crowd about his hitting skills.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
The Mariner Moose bows to Greg Dobbs (center) as he talks to the crowd about his hitting skills.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The Moose was loose.

Grown-up fans of the Seattle Mariners were eager to ask new hitting coach Jeff Pentland how he plans to tweak the M’s offense into respectability this upcoming season when the team’s Winter Caravan tour made its final stop Friday, Jan. 27 in Bremerton.

The kids, meanwhile, were all about that fuzzy show-stealer who peeked his head out from behind the curtains of the Bremerton High School auditorium toward the end of the Q&A session.

“It was cool meeting the Mariner Moose,” said Josh Conley, 11, after getting a photo with the mascot.

“The Moose is very funny,” said Kirsten Shauger, 11, still giggling after goofing around with the big guy.

Pentland along with Mariners current (J.J. Putz, a reliever, and infielder Greg Dobbs) and former (The “Sheriff,” reliever Norm Charlton) joined the Moose for the event following up an appearance at Jackson Park Elementary School earlier in the day.

Charlton started things off by letting Bremerton fans know how big a difference they can make, as seen when a rocking Kingdome crowd keyed the M’s run to their first division title in 1995.

“I had friends on other teams ... they said they knew before the games they were done,” he said. “The hair on the back of their necks would raise up when (fans) got going.”

Kids wanted to know what tips they could learn for hitting and making it to the Major League.

“Just get out there and swing as much as you can,” Pentland said. “Don’t think about trying anything too fancy. It’s just a whip-like motion swinging the bat. The most important thing is just swinging a lot ... when you’re young.”

“It’s a tough road. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination,” Dobbs said of getting to the Show. “You have to keep improving at every level. The prize is getting to the big leagues. It’s very rewarding for me personally.”

Charlton said he has been doing the Caravan every year of its existence but had not yet been to Bremerton.

“It’s really pretty coming across the Narrows Bridge,” he said.

Dobbs welcomed the opportunity to get more interactive with fans.

“I enjoy this a lot,” he said. “it’s very rare you get the opportunity to give back to the fans on such a personal level.”

The young utility player admits with the tour wrapping up, he is getting itchy to be back out on the diamond in just a matter of weeks when the Mariners head to Peoria, Ariz. for spring training.

“I always get excited when spring comes around,” Dobbs said. “You get playing again. You get down to Arizona where it’s nice and warm and put the spikes on. That’s what we love to do.”

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