Each year for four years, I have provided the Seattle Mariners with the concern that the M’s broadcast team does not reflect the faces of the community it serves — considering the diversity of our team, the fans in the stands, and the greater community surrounding Safeco field that attend the games and patronize their sponsors. Of the 10 persons regularly appearing in the 162 broadcasts (not counting spring training), there is only one person of color.
Each spring, I have urged the Mariners to put some effort into their recruiting efforts when hiring opportunities arise for their broadcast team, to create a diverse pool from which to hire. I understand that Root Sports Northwest is responsible for television broadcasts, and KIRO Radio for radio broadcasts, and share this stewardship.
This year, as in the prior three, I got an automated response from the M’s acknowledging their receipt of my note, thanks for my interest, and to allow at least 24 hours for a response, “when appropriate.” Other than a thundering silence, last year I received an invitation to attend a focus group. I called back the survey vendor to say that I could meet anytime during the next day, but that an evening meeting would not work for me. Alas, it was take it or leave it, including the $150 gratuity of Mariners merchandise.
Hence my letter to you.
— Gary Ikeda