4 best things Mariners CF Mallex Smith said from pre-spring training press conference
710 ESPN Seattle listeners were first introduced to new Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith in early December when the 25-year-old joined Danny, Dave and Moore for what ended up being a pretty entertaining interview.
Smith’s humor was on display again during a Mariners media event Thursday, where the team introduced Smith, pitcher Justus Sheffield and shortstop J.P. Crawford. If you didn’t watch the conference, here are a few moments you missed (and here’s the full video on the Mariners’ Facebook page).
1. The trio have a combined seven dogs
Crawford, Smith and Sheffield began the press conference by sharing a bit about themselves. After Crawford mentioned his two Huskies — Thor and Loki — Smith opted to (jokingly) one-up his teammate.
“I’ve got four dogs at my mamma’s house — I brought up dogs because J.P. brought up dogs,” Smith said. “So I’m topping that, I’m doubling that with four.”
2. Smith called out Jerry Dipoto for trading him in 2017
This isn’t Smith’s first time with the organization; he was originally part of a January 2017 trade orchestrated by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smith was acquired from the Atlanta Braves and, just 77 minutes later, traded him to Tampa Bay as part of the deal that brought Drew Smyly to Seattle.
On Thursday, two years removed from the trade, Smith was asked about his first thought upon coming to Seattle.
“Initial thought: Jerry’s gonna flip me again,” Smith said, eliciting a few laughs. “No, but I was happy. I was happy to be back. I’ll actually get to suit up as a Mariner hopefully this time. Jerry, don’t do it again, please. But overall just excited about the obstacles that lay ahead. I know we haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time. So I’m excited about actually helping us get into the playoffs and changing the culture, getting to meet my new teammates, and having fun on the baseball field.”
3. Smith takes a shot at the Rays
Asked what he was most excited about now that he’s with the Mariners, Smith responded with a joke about the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I don’t know about these guys and where they played before this, but I’m going to enjoy fans in the stands,” Smith said. “So that’ll be, that’s a big one for me. I’m gonna be excited about that. I’m looking forward to seeing those seats full.”
4. The Mariners’ front office may be taking “a step back” in 2019, but Smith, Crawford and Sheffield are focused on winning
“Personally, I can’t look to 2020 with 2019 ahead,” Smith said. “Every moment, opportunity that we get in 2019 we’re going to maximize. The statement may be ‘a step back’ but I don’t think Justus or JP or myself plan on taking a step back for the 2019 season. We’re going to put our best foot forward and see where that takes us, and more than anything, piggyback off the 2019 season into 2020. But we’re not worried about 2020. 2019 is here and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
“I don’t know about ya’ll, but I can’t stand losing,” Crawford echoed. “This step back thing, I don’t think these guys like it either. They know we have talent to shock a lot of people… so I’m excited to get going with this young group.”