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Mariners FanFest draws record crowds

SEATTLE -- Sunny skies, nice weather and the shining presence of new star Robinson Cano helped draw record numbers to Safeco Field over the weekend, as the Mariners set a new attendance mark at their 16th annual FanFest.

After breaking the single-day attendance record on Saturday, when 10,903 fans came through the turnstiles, another 10,116 showed up Sunday to tour the park, meet players and take part in the numerous interactive exhibits.

That two-day total of 21,019 broke the previous high of 17,952 set last year as the event continues to grow in popularity.

"It's always good with a new team to come and see things and get a chance to be around the fans," Cano said.

Cano was among 13 players taking part in the two-day event, which also included new manager Lloyd McClendon, new team president Kevin Mather and general manager Jack Zduriencik.

Players signed autographs and took pictures with fans and also answered questions in "Dugout Dialogue" sessions. Two zip lines were available for fans to sail over the outfield at Safeco Field, while visitors also toured the park, got inside looks at the clubhouses and players' lockers or took advantage of the chance to just play catch on the outfield grass.

Shortstop Chris Taylor, one of the team's top young prospects and last year's Minor League Player of the Year in the organization, was among those getting his first view of FanFest. And he came away impressed.

"It's been kind of a shock," Taylor said. "It's pretty surprising how many people show up to a baseball field in the middle of the winter. It's pretty cool to see all these people here."

Outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison, acquired by trade from the Marlins this offseason, was among those enjoying the spectacle as well.

"The sun's out. It's a beautiful day," Morrison said. "And there are a lot of people out here that seem to be very excited about the season. As players, we're always excited. But to see the fans like this, crawling around wanting to run the bases, do zip lining and things, it makes it a fun and enjoyable time."

Of course, the weekend was also a reminder for the Mariners that Spring Training is just around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12, and the full squad will be in camp on Feb. 18.

"We're just anxious to go," said McClendon. "This is the tough part now, just sitting back waiting to get started."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.

Seattle Mariners