Mariners bring cheer to Tri-City fans, patients

Tri-City HeraldJanuary 18, 2013 

Sarah Jones of Pasco and her husband David have yet to decide on a name for her unborn son.

The Mariners Caravan, making its way through Kadlec Medical Center during a “Get Well Tour” visit on Friday afternoon in Richland, was more than happy to offer some assistance.

As Mariners’ pitcher Charlie Furbush and outfielder Casper Wells posed for pictures with the young mother of two daughters, each was kind enough to suggest a moniker for the boy, who is due to meet the world Tuesday.

“Charlie sounds like a good name,” said Furbush, a 6-foot-5 left-handed reliever who was one of six Seattle pitchers to combine for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

“Casper Charles is my full name,” Wells added, providing a solution that would give both players a spot on the birth certificate.

Ultimately, the parents will make the final decision within the next few days. Could a friendly visit from two major leaguers really affect the fate of a baby boy?

“I have no idea. There’s always a chance,” said Sarah, who once worked in a concession stand at Safeco Field during Mariners’ games.

“Her lucky number is 41,” her husband said, noting Furbush’s roster number.

Either way, their son will be a born Mariners fan.

The Caravan, complete with the Mariner Moose, made stops on several floors, bringing smiles to all ages.

Amy and Cody Reid, a Benton City couple, watched in amazement as their 20-month-old son, Cash, played catch with Wells from a chair shortly after having his tonsils removed.

“I was surprised he was throwing the ball,” Amy said. “I think they really cheered him up.”

That’s what the trip is all about, said Wells.

“It just kind of takes you back to when you were a kid and how exciting it is to see a baseball game yourself, let alone have two baseball players come into a room and visit with you,” Wells said. “You can impact and change somebody’s life. To bring that kind of joy to them, even for a brief time, means everything to me and Charlie.”

The Caravan also made a stop at Columbia Basin College in the evening, where roughly 200 fans came out to meet Furbush, Wells and former M’s catcher Dave Valle, who works for the Mariners’ radio network.

Furbush will be remembered as one of six Seattle pitchers to combine for a 1-0 no-hit victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8 last season. Furbush came on in relief of starter Kevin Millwood, who pitched six innings before leaving with an aggravated groin.

Furbush retired two batters before being relieved by Stephen Pryor. Two innings later, Furbush and Millwood sat in the training room while history was made.

“He and I didn’t say much to each other in the training room, but after we got it done, I looked at him and said, ‘Congratu-lations,’ ” Furbush said. “That was a special night. Something I’ll never forget, for sure.”

Wells had 10 home runs and a career-high 36 RBIs for Seattle last season after being traded from the Detroit Tigers, along with Furbush, for Doug Fister in 2011. Wells is working out in Peoria, Ariz., at the M’s spring training site.

Mariners pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training Feb. 12, with position players reporting Feb. 15.

Since joining the Mariners, Wells and Furbush have become fast friends.

“We’ve been roommates the last two years,” Wells said. “We have that close-knit relationship. We also butt heads on different issues, with him being a pitcher and me a position player, but we have a good relationship.”

Next week, the Mariners Caravan will stop in Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Ferndale, Bellevue, Tacoma and Tukwila.

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