Don Wakmatsu is almost always the first one at the Mariners complex each morning – show up at 5 a.m. and that's almost always going to beat everyone else.
The past two days, however, he's been beaten by a small group of older women who refer to themselves as 'The Old Bats.' After asking the Seattle manager how early he reported for duty each day, they promised to beat him to the park.
And they have.
"I showed up a few minutes after 5 a.m. yesterday, and they were already here, waiting at the entrance to the parking lot," Wakamatsu said. "They were yelling 'We told you we'd beat you.'
"So today I thought I'd surprise them and get here a few minutes before five – and they were waiting for me at 4:52 a.m. They had this little cardboard scorecard with innings on it, and the score was 'Old Bats' 2, Wakamatsu 0.'"
The ladies also knew a secret: It's Wakamatsu's birthday today, and they showed up with treats.
"They're sweet ladies and big Mariners fans," Wakamatsu said. "But 4:52 a.m. and they're already at camp? That's a little over the top."