Mariners assume their superhero alter egos in a player-created team-building event

Mar 30, 2016, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

If you follow the Mariners on social media you might have seen that the team took what they called “Superhero batting practice.” We have seen a few of the Mariners take batting practice this spring wearing superhero T-shirts, but on Tuesday the entire team was outfitted in the shirts, some complete with capes.

The players clearly had fun with this – Robinson Cano told Felix Hernandez he was lucky to be Batman because a Wonder Woman shirt couldn’t be found, and Kyle Seager, who has been teased about his speed all spring, got a good amount of ribbing for being The Flash. Deadpool needed to be explained to Leonys Martin, Nelson Cruz wore Superman and Cano of course was Robin.

It was all in good fun, and surprisingly not a result of one of the morning meetings or one of Scott Servais’ team-bonding activities. No, the shirts were provided by Cruz and Cano, and along with the fun, there was a message.

“Superheroes, they support each other, help each other, and they are always together,” said Cano.

Related: Mariners acquire RHP Nick Vincent from Padres to complete bullpen

If you had any doubts that the veterans on this club might not buy into the team-building atmosphere that Servais has instituted, this should put those doubts to rest. From early on in camp, Cano has supported the get-to-knows and the importance of growing as a team.

As the Mariners prepare to leave Arizona the daily meetings will be a thing of the past, but the message has been received.

“We have got a bunch of new guys on the team and I think for me our goal is to stay together and pull for each other, root for each other,” said Cano, who pointed out that it was better to support a teammate when he made an error or was struggling than to jump on him.

“We are human. We are all going to make mistakes. As a teammate, you know what? Do it next time. Come on, keep your head up. For me, that’s motivation,” he said.

As for the superheroes, Cano has long been a fan.

“Growing up, back home, we don’t have all the channels like you guys. I remember every day they have got them at 4. I was waiting ’til 4 p.m. to watch the superheroes. They have got Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, all those guys, the Hall of Justice. It’s a fun day when you are a kid that you can wait for those and you be playing with your neighbor.”

Cano’s voice rose with excitement as he talked about watching superheroes as a child in the Dominican Republic. The memories are rich, something he clearly enjoyed sharing.

“There was a superhero from Japan that they call Goku, he is the biggest one in the Dominican,” he remembered. “He’s the one where when you see the entire country waiting until 4 p.m. to watch the cartoon.”

It wasn’t always as easy as going to the living room to watch TV, however. Cano pointed out that in many places in the Dominican Republic the power would often go out around 4 p.m. When that happened it was a matter of finding a home or a store that had power.

“Those people from that area, they go somewhere to find a place to watch it. You can see them close the store, they got the light, you see like 30-40 people watching those,” he said. “Cartoons are big in the Dominican.”

Everything stopping at 4, friends gathering around a television to watch a cartoon. A simpler time, a warm memory.

“Iit is so simple. But at the same time it is kind of hard,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes it was the best moment in the cartoon, and the light goes off! And you go ‘oooohhhhh’ and you have to wait the next day or right away go to somebody’s house. Those good days, they never come back again. Right now it is about social media, technology. so now you don’t miss anything.”

Different time, different world for Cano, but clearly an appreciation for what was and what still is, home.

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Mariners assume their superhero alter egos in a player-created team-building event