SEATTLE -- Many of the Mariners went back to school on Wednesday, but not to learn how to hit a curveball.
No, this back-to-school exercise was to persuade young, impressionable kids important lessons in life during the 11th annual D.R.E.A.M. Team presentations at various Seattle-area elementary schools.
The D.R.E.A.M. Team is a comprehensive education program that stresses the importance of the D.R.E.A.M. principles: Drug-free, Respect for yourself and others, Education through reading, Attitude and Motivation to achieve your dreams. The assemblies included audience participation and interaction with the players and the Mariner Moose.
"You know, some of those kids will remember that for the rest of their lives," manager John McLaren said. "I can remember as a kid the time I went to a baseball clinic and Brock Davis [of the Astros] was there for about 45 minutes. You just remember that."
McLaren was among the group of Mariners that went to Olympic View Elementary School. The visitors included center fielder Ichiro Suzuki, relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes, third baseman Adrian Beltre and bullpen coach Norm Charlton.
"It's a nice gesture on the organization to reach out to the community," McLaren said. "You kind of think, 'It's going to mess up my day.' but when it's all said and done, it's well worth it. We had a good time doing it and seeing innocent kids with enthusiasm."
At McGilvra Elementary School, right-hander Felix Hernandez had an assembly of kids eating out of his hand.
He asked the students, "What do you say if someone offers you drugs?"
"No!" came the reply.
"I can't hear you," Felix said.
"No!!" the kids yelled.
"I still can't hear you," Hernandez said.
The message was delivered, loud and clear.
The D.R.E.A.M. Team also visited Crystal Springs Elementary School in Bothell, Marvista Elementary School, Bear Creek Elementary School in Woodinville, and Port Orchard Elementary in Kent.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.