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December 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Chone Figgins and family as excited as Mariners fans are with all that’s happening

Chone Figgins met the Seattle media today and let me tell you, he sounds just as excited about Cliff Lee coming here as anybody else I’ve met. Figgins had his mother, Eva Callins, and his father, Charles Figgins, at the Safeco Field gathering with him and all three of them sound like diehard baseball fans glued to the Hot Stove League.
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Figgins the ballplayer said he’s been checking the internet like anyone else from moment to moment to figure out what’s happening with the team.
“I hope,” he said of Lee. “I mean, it would be nice. It wouldn’t hurt, I’ll tell you that. They have a plan of what they’re trying to do and I’m all for it, as long as they’re trying to get better.”
Now, let’s not kid ourselves here. Figgins had dinner last night with his parents and GM Jack Zduriencik, so it’s a safe guess he’s a little more up-to-date on the Lee stuff than your ordinary internet peruser might be. Zduriencik, for his part, is maintaining a firm “no comment” on the Lee deal, which he has to do since it’s not official yet. But Zduriencik didn’t flat-out deny it either. And he had a few grins on his face during the denial sessions.
Back to Figgins, it isn’t every ballplayer that brings his parents across the country — they all live in Florida — to attend a contract signing. But Figgins has been building towards this day his entire life.
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When he was a kid, he promised his mother he’d build her a big house someday and give her an easier life. Hear her tell the story right here.
“He’s always said that, since when he was small, first he was going to become a professional baseball player and then he was going to do that,” his mother said. “He was going to build us this huge house and he did.”

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The house came after Figgins inked his first big deal with the Angels, signing a three-year, $10.5 million contract prior to his first winter of arbitration eligibility before the 2006 season. He bought what’s been described to me as a huge tract of land in Plant City, Fla. and built his mother a two-story, four bedroom house I’m told is somewhat mansion-like. Figgins is planning to add more buildings on the property to keep his family close.
“They’ve been there through everything,” he says in this clip of his parents, who are divorced but still amicable with one another. “Obviously, you go through a lot of things in life, but they’ve always had my back and always had my best interests. They’ve never made a decision that didn’t affect me. Whether it was a good decision or a bad decision, they always had my back and they always understood what life’s about. They’ve been in the south for so many years and they’ve gone through the hardest of times that you could possibly go through. For them to be here and see their son take the next step in his life, I think they deserve to be here.”
His father was a former semi-pro baseball player from Georgia, where Figgins was born before moving to Flordia at age 3. He played baseball in a very different era for black athletes, especially those from the south. When Chone was growing up, his father schooled him at a young age to leave it all on the field and not shortchange himself in pursuit of his dreams.
“That’s a lot of dog days in Florida,” Figgins said. “He’s always taught me to go after it.”
His mother spent 25 years working for Hillsborough County in Florida as a co-ordinator of programs for seniors. Figgins told her after his seven-figure deal with the Angels that she’d never have to work again.
“I stayed anyways, just for a little while,” she said. “Then I retired. Now, I’m a full-time baseball fan.”
One who’s looking forward to traveling up to Seattle to take in her first ballgames at Safeco. With all that’s happening to this team, there should be plenty of excitement in the air come next spring.

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