T-Mobile signs on as first and founding partner for one of the Mariners cornerstone social justice programs

The On BASE Hometown Nine program aims to create a pipeline of diverse players by addressing a major barrier to elite play—the high cost associated with select baseball

August 28th, 2020

The Seattle Mariners today announced T-Mobile as the first and founding partner with a $50,000 donation to assist with the cost of one of the organization’s key programs aimed at supporting communities of color and helping bridge the gap that prevents a more diverse pipeline of baseball and softball players by covering costs to participate on elite teams.

The On BASE Hometown Nine program was launched this year to help underserved youth from communities of color continue to play baseball and softball and advance their educations from eighth grade through their senior year in high school. The Mariners will pay all fees associated with travel/select baseball/softball training and equipment as well as provide mentorship for the students with Mariners players and Front Office staff to assist them with academic, professional and social support to help them succeed on the field and in the classroom.

“Through the On BASE Hometown Nine, the Mariners hope to advance the goal of increasing diversity in high school, collegiate and professional baseball and introduce youth from marginalized communities to positive career mentors. We very much appreciate the support of our partners at T-Mobile for this program that can have a deep and lasting impact on our communities and the game of baseball,” said John Stanton, Seattle Mariners Chairman & Managing Partner.

“In diversity lies strength,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “We’re huge Mariners fans at T-Mobile, and here’s just one more reason to love our hometown team — they’re making the sport more accessible and encouraging tomorrow’s star players to take their game next-level. Let’s do this!”

The On BASE Hometown Nine is a five-year commitment to nine incoming eighth-graders, in King, Pierce, and Snohomish County, to provide them with financial, academic, professional and social support to ensure success in their baseball/softball careers and academic journeys. Participants will stay in the program through high school. As they progress in their academic and sports careers, events and training provided by the Mariners will be tailored to be responsive to their academic development, including college prep, essay writing help and more in their later years.

Hometown Nine Applications

Baseball and softball players from King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, who will be eighth graders during the 2020 school year, are invited to apply to become the first cohort of Hometown Nine fellows. Students must be enrolled as a full-time incoming eighth grader, demonstrate financial need and ability to participate in elite/select baseball or softball. Applicants must be from a historically marginalized community, including communities of color. They should possess strong character and be engaged in their community. Applications are due by September 7, 2020.

Mariners Commitment to Social Justice

In addition to Hometown Nine, the Mariners this summer unveiled additional efforts to advance social justice and racial equity.

  • Community Impact Grants-- Over the next five years, the Mariners will invest $1 million to organizations that promote racial justice and social equity through policy, advocacy and community-based initiatives. Grants will be awarded annually.
  • Diversity Fellowship Program-- The Mariners are creating opportunities for candidates of diverse backgrounds who are interested in careers in professional sports. Through the newly created Diversity Fellowship program, the Mariners commit to hiring at least two Diversity Fellows each year to work in areas such as communications, finance, legal, Information Technology and athletic training. In addition to professional experience, the Mariners will provide candidates with support and mentorship to foster their success.
  • Diverse Business Partners Program-- The Mariners will double the team’s commitment of $1 million spent each year with minority owned businesses through the team’s procurement process. Items purchased range from bobbleheads and t-shirts to paper products, office equipment and cleaning supplies. Major League Baseball first introduced the Diverse Business Partners program 22-years ago to cultivate new and existing partnerships with minority and women owned businesses by increasing opportunities for them to participate in the procurement activities of teams. Through this first-of-its-kind program in professional sports, MLB has spent approximately $2 billion with diverse businesses since the program was created in 1998.

About Mariners Care & On BASE

Mariners Care, the Mariners nonprofit foundation, is dedicated to empowering our diverse communities, expanding access to youth baseball and softball and promoting social justice across our region. Since 1991, when Mariners Care was established, the nonprofit has helped raise over $28 million to benefit primarily youth-oriented community service programs in the Northwest. On BASE (Baseball And Softball Everywhere) programs include grants to high school baseball and softball programs in underserved communities, anti-bias and skills training for area coaches and skills-building youth clinics and camps around Western Washington.

More information about Mariners Care, On Base, The Hometown Nine and other Mariners community programs is available at Mariners.com/Community.