If you're a lover of all things Mariners and heading for Arizona some time this spring, two thoughts: Don't miss the Diamondbacks new spring training complex - and don't miss the many former Mariners in that complex.
Russell Branyan signed a minor league deal with an invite this week, and will join ohers in camp with Seattle ties: LHP Mike Hampton, utilityman Willie Bloomquist, relievers J.J. Putz and Brian Sweeney and pitcher Aaron Heilman, who was a Mariner for about a week one off-season. And their batting coach, Don Baylor, was once Seattle's batting coach.
Of course , you can't really turn around this spring in the Phoenix area without bumping into one ex-Mariner or another, no matter which camp you visit.
The Cubs have Bryan LaHair and - eek! - Carlos Silva. the White Sox have Matt Thornton and Omar Vizquel, along with coach Joey Cora. The Reds have pitching coach Bryan Price, the Indians have Asdrubal Cabrera, Luis Valbuena, Ezequiel Carrera and Shin-Soo Choo - and two former Mariners as coaches, Tim Belcher and Steve Smith.
Colorado? RHP Sean White, infielder Jose Lopez and coach Glenallen Hill. Kansas City has Kanekoa Texeira. The Angels have RHP Joel Pineiro. The Dodgers have two coaches with Seattle ties, Rick Honeycutt and Jeff Pentland.
In Milwaukee's camp, there's OF Jeremy Reed, RHP Sean Green, SS Yuniesky Betancourt and coach Jerry Narron. Oakland has another former batting coach - yes, that's three already - in Gerald Perry and LHP Brian Fuentes.
San Diego has C Guillermo Quiroz, manager Bud Black and C Rob Johnson. The World Champon Giants? Don't read anything into this, but the only former Mariner here is a coach, Roberto Kelly.
Texas has 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Endy Chavez, RHP Mark Lowe, LHP Arthur Rhodes and C Yorvit Torrealba.
What's it prove? Well, that you could fill an autograph book with just former Mariners - and wouldn't that just be a dandy gift? It's also a reminder that any team you seen down here has a familiar face or two.