TAMPA — The odds heavily favor the likelihood that, until Sunday, you had never heard of Kevin Mather.
Now it’s fair to wonder whether the guy just saved baseball.
OK, a guilty plea to hyperbole there and not a first offense, either. But did Mather, who resigned as the Mariners’ president Monday in the wake of many recent awful comments at one event becoming public, unwittingly fast-forward discussions between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association as they try to carve out a new future for the game?
Because thanks to Mather, there’s no more denying that service-time manipulation, a pox on the sport, exists. In a virtual discussion with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club this month, Mather said the quiet part loud multiple times, confirming how the Mariners prioritized the odious process into their roster management. What’s more offensive, in the context of competitive sports, than a system that incentivizes teams to keep their best players off the playing field for payroll management purposes? That turned the Mets, for instance, into heroes simply because they opened the 2019 season with Pete Alonso on their team?