SEDRO-WOOLLEY — More than 60 people stood in line outside the Sedro-Woolley Burger King on Saturday morning, waiting for a meet-and-greet with three former Seattle Mariners. But the former players never showed up, and the Mariners are saying the event was a hoax.
According to Bruce Broderick, who owns the Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon franchises, former Mariners Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez were scheduled to sign autographs and meet fans last Saturday and Sunday. Broderick said the store’s manager was friends with Wilson and had arranged the event to help draw customers to the store.
However, around 1 p.m. — after many fans had been waiting in the sun since before 9 a.m. — word came that Martinez was sick and had been hospitalized after getting lost trying to find the event. The other two players were supposedly with him, so none would show up for autographs.
Despite local advertising and a press release misspelling Buhner’s name, the event appears to have been completely made-up.
“The ‘event’ with Dan Wilson, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner was a hoax,” said Rebecca Hale, director of public information for the Seattle Mariners.
The Sedro-Woolley police even got involved after one fan called to report a fraudulent event.
Lt. Lin Tucker said his department also contacted the Moyer Foundation, which was supposed to receive all proceeds from the event, and found it knew nothing about it, either.
The Moyer Foundation’s website showed no scheduled event on that day.
Tucker said it looked like a promotional stunt.
“(It) seemed like they were trying to drum up some press to get people to show up and pay for tickets to stand in line for an autograph,” Tucker said.
Broderick said he understood it to be a legitimate event but had left the planning up to his manager.
That manager could not be reached for comment.
— Reporter Daniel DeMay; 360-416-2192, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @Daniel_SVH