A Q&A with Mariners legend Dan Wilson
Take 2's Jon Kingston writes the following from Peoria, where he's in his last days covering the Mariners:
I had the opportunity Monday to catch up with former Mariners catcher and future Mariners Hall of Fame inductee, Dan Wilson. I asked him what he's been up to the last few years, his Hall of Fame honor and his outlook on the team this season.
Jon Kingston: So Dan, for people who haven't been following you lately, what have you been up to the last few years?
Dan Wilson: I've been able to get in the booth a little bit with Rick (Rizzs) and Dave (Niehaus) before he passed away, and Mike (Blowers) and Dave Sims. So I've learned a little bit from them and have been able to do a few games up here.
Other than that, I've finished up school, got my degree, and also just been at home with the kids and keeping track of them. It's all been very good, it's been a great way to spend the last few years.
Former Mariners C Dan Wilson will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame this season. (Photo by Emily Hopwood)
JK: Having that extra time to spend with the family has to be great given your schedule while you were playing, doesn't it?
DW: It's really nice. It's nice to be able to catch up a little bit and be around for some of the stuff they've been going through and it's been a nice break from the game a little bit and be able to be at home.
JK: So what did you go to school for? Was it broadcasting?
DW: It's in business. I went to school to study engineering and got about three years of that in and finished up in business. It was something I wanted to do, get my degree finished, and I had a lot of it done so I just had to finish it up. So I'm glad I did that. It's nice to finish it up and my kids were able to come to graduation. It was a nice day. It was something I really wanted to do when I got done playing.
JK: Is broadcasting what you ultimately want to do?
DW: I think if I knew that I'd be a lot better off (laughs). I like being a part of the game in any way that I can. I like helping out in the booth if that's where they need some help. Rick Rizzs has been great. He's great to work with and just a pleasure. And the guys on TV have been super also, so it's been a great way to stay in touch. I've done a little work with the minor league catchers from time to time and been able to work there a little bit so it's been fun. It's a way to stay in the game and be a part of it.
JK: How about coaching?
DW: Maybe somewhere down the line, but not right now. With my kids and the family situation that we have right now I think it's better to be around more than not. We'll keep it that way for now and see where things fall in the future.
JK: The team announced in January that you'd be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. What's that like for you, being that you were with this organization for so long?
DW: I think there are a lot of things that make me very grateful for the honor, and one is just being with this organization for 12 years and be able to play here was something that was life changing for me. To be a part of the team and this organization at that time and a part of this community for a long period of time, it's all been amazing and very humbling.
To be able to have that honor and share it with everyone that's around is great. Another reason I'm happy about it is I'm going in with a teammate, Randy Johnson. To be able to share that with him, we had a lot of great memories together as a battery, so to be able to go in with a teammate is a great honor. I'm just excited. It will be a great day at the ballpark and something I'm looking forward to.
JK: So what's your outlook for the team this season? There's a lot of talent, but they're still pretty young.
DW: I think they have a lot of great talent. I think the organization has done a great job of accumulating a lot of good talent, not only on the mound, but in positions as well with position players. I look for this team to be really strong on the mound again. It's kind of been their trademark over the last few years. They are going to be very strong with their starting staff, their bullpen is going to be very strong and keep them in a lot of ball games.
"I look to them to definitely score more runs this year and be more of a force offensively. They are young but some of these guys have two or three years of experience and it's an opportunity for them to branch out and become the player they are going to become. I think there's a lot of promise and a lot of optimism that should be out there and I'm looking forward for one, two, maybe three guys to have huge years this year and it'll be great to see these guys develop."
JK: Anyone on the team remind you of yourself?
DW: No (laughs). I think the catching staff is a little bit different. I think Jesus Montero has got a tremendous bat and he's come a long way behind the plate and is doing a great job. He's working hard to improve his skills back there and he's done a great job. I think there's a lot of guys here that have opportunities in front of them and it'll be interesting to see as the years goes on who the guys are that kind of step up and take hold of that opportunity and really run with it. I think there's going to be some big years out there and it'll be fun to see who it is.