SECTION 331

Just a goth girl and her baseball team.


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Brad Miller AL PotW, Aquasox Gear Up For 2015, And The Mariners Are For The Birds

First of all, many congratulations to Brad Miller for being the AL player of the week! Nelson Cruz was sort of expected back in April, but so far this year the only other team that has had two has been the Yankees. Brad Miller has done very well for himself this week, and it’s great to see.

The Everett Aquasox released their promotional schedule about a week ago, but I never got around to posting it here. I could link to it, but posting media is more fun. Opening night is on Thursday, June 18th against the Eugene Emeralds. Right around the corner!

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I need to make it to a few games this year, and I haven’t been to see a Rainiers game since maybe the final time I saw Jamie Moyer or maybe it was Eric Bedard’s rehab stint…it’s been a long time. The ‘Sox are also having a “30 Days of Opening Day”, which features the following events:

Everett, Wash. – Let the countdown begin! The Everett AquaSox are excited to announce “30 Days of Opening Day,” a preseason promotion featuring contests, giveaways, discounts and more every day to celebrate the upcoming home opener on June 18th.

Beginning Tuesday May 19th, fans are encouraged to check Facebook, Twitter, and aquasox.com for a chance to win tickets and autographed memorabilia, participate in trivia games and fan photo contests, be the first to see big reveals for the season and more.

Merchandise Mondays (5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15) – Every Monday we will offer exclusive deals for our entire team store or exciting reveals of new merchandise for the 2015 season. Discounts will be valid online and in our team store so check our website, Facebook, or Twitter account on Mondays at 9am to get all the fun details.

Trivia Tuesdays (5/19, 5/26, 6/2, 6/9, 6/16) – Test your AquaSox knowledge on #TriviaTuesday! Visit our Facebook and Twitter account on Tuesdays at noon to answer a fun trivia question. The first fan to answer correctly on each will win a free gift card to Carl’s Jr. or Fred’s Rivertown Alehouse.

Weenie Wednesdays (5/20, 5/27, 6/3, 6/10, 6/17) – Get a free voucher for a ballpark hot dog, chips, and a drink when you spend $25 on tickets or merchandise every Wednesday at our team store (visit our front office at 3802 Broadway in Everett).

Theme Thursdays (5/21, 5/28, 6/4, 6/11) – Theme Thursdays will feature a theme night or promotion for the 2015 season and fans that comment and share the post on Facebook will be entered to win 4 Upper Box Seat tickets to that game!

Former Frog Fridays (5/22, 5/29, 6/5, 6/12) – Every Friday leading up to Opening Day, the AquaSox will feature a Seattle Mariners prospect that once played in Everett. Check in with your favorite former frogs on our website, aquasox.com.

Savory Saturdays (5/23, 5/30, 6/6, 6/13) – Prepare your palate for the 2015 season! Every Saturday we will reveal delicious new food served at the ballpark this season and two lucky fans that comment and share the post on Facebook will win a free voucher for the food item.

Share it Sundays (5/24, 5/31, 6/7, 6/14) – Share a photo showing your AquaSox pride and win an autographed ball! On Sundays fans are encouraged to post pictures from AquaSox games, wearing AquaSox gear or creatively showing their team pride on Facebook or Twitter. Tag the AquaSox in your post and we will choose one winner each week.

So head up to Everett and enjoy some minor league ball, and see some possibly future Mariners. If you’ve never been, it’s a fun way to spend an evening. The atmosphere is relaxed, families seem to have a lot of fun there, and the quality of the ball is not too shabby, generally speaking. Knowing these guys might some day be huge stars is a draw as well.

I have photos from the two weekend games I attended, but I think I’m going to wait until tomorrow to post them. The Mariners are headed to Baltimore to play my Birds, so you know I’m going to be attached to the couch for the early game tomorrow after work. The Orioles are struggling a bit this year, and are only a bit behind us, standings-wise. We are tossing out Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias and JA Happ against Miguel Gonzalez, and two other as-of-yet-unnamed hurlers.  The O’s seem to be dealing with a small plague of injuries this month, and given that and offseason moves, their roster is a little shaken up. Of course, these series are very non-stressful for me, as either team winning would make me happy, and I am looking forward to seeing OPACY on TV (I’d love to go back sometime soon). It will be a good baseball week!


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Some Sights From Tuesday’s Mariners Home Run Class

Things last night clearly didn’t go as well as the night before, so let’s not talk about last night.

Tuesday, Daniel and I went to the early entry game for season ticket holders. We severely mismanaged the time, which put us nearly at the front of the line, where we stood for about 45 minutes, rather than the 10 we thought we’d have to. It’s totally fine, though, because during our conversation, I found out all about Beat the Streak, and now I really want to play.  When the gates opened and we were searched, scanned, and had a 50% off food and drink ticket given to us, the evening was on.

I grabbed a beer and a red whip for later with my coupon, and we sat down over right field in the corner to watch the guys warm up and much around on the field. From the very beginning, Tuesday night’s game felt positive. The guys were out stretching, playing catch, joking around with each other. Felix, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz were smiling and chattering away in Spanish, and with the roof closed in the lightly humid but still warm stormy weather, and pop music playing over the PA, it was a very happy mood inside the park. Pictures!

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For as reasonably OK as I am at taking pictures of pitchers in action, I haven’t mastered group warmups yet, and it’s hard to get everyone in the frame with all the sudden stopping and starting they do. Everyone seems to have their own rhythm and pace of stretching, so some were way out in front of the pack, while others hung out and chatted with each other. But it was all very laid back and easy.

IMG_6459IMG_6460IMG_6461Jeff Phillips, the bullpen catcher, and Felix have a moment on the grass. If you’ll remember, a few years ago, Phillips got married at Safeco Field to a girl he threw a baseball to with his phone number written on it. It was a human interest story in the Seattle Times early during the offseason – if I remember correctly – and it was very sweet. Phillips was involved in the gladiator bullpen of 2009, and he still parttakes in the ‘pen’s shenanigans now. I do mean to get back down there and take some film and such of that. Tuesday would have been a great day to do it due to low attendance mid-week, but we had to go eat dinner.

IMG_6462IMG_6463IMG_6464Happy Felix is the best Felix! It was at this point that the position players and pitchers sort of went their separate ways a little more and spread out over the field to take some at bats and shag flyballs. The pitchers stayed in front of us, though.

IMG_6465Tommy and Mark Lowe. I’m glad Lowe is back – even though he is not necessarily 2009 Mark Lowe. It’s nice to see a familiar face in the bullpen, of all places.

IMG_6467IMG_6468IMG_6469Mark Lowe and Joe Beimel – aka Wolverine – taking some throws…

IMG_6470Not the best shot of Tom Wilhelmsen, I suppose.

IMG_6474The FernandoCoaster!

IMG_6476Chris Taylor, over in the diamond. I only took this picture because Daniel was trying to figure out who it was in stirrups that was not Brad Miller. It came out well, so here you go.

The following group of pictures were my favorite to take…

IMG_6478IMG_6479IMG_6480IMG_6481IMG_6482IMG_6483IMG_6484IMG_6486Now imagine a lot of laughing, dekeing each other with lazy throwing, and Spanish discussion, and you kind of have an idea of the atmosphere. Light and fluffy.

At around 5.10, the gates would open and any hope that Daniel or I had for catching a fly or dinger into the stands was going to be taken over by smaller and more aggressive fans than either of us (with the exception of a few that went over our heads or right in front of us against the wall), so we went to The Pen for a bit, then we went up to Hit It Here for dinner. This was dinner for me:

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My food came independtly rather than together; the waitress had misheard me and thought I had ordered a cheesesteak rather than a burger – and I should have, it looked amazing when it showed up – but I stuck to my guns. That is a raw jalepeno slice. There was a hefty amount of gorgonzola cheese on the burger and more raw sliced jalepenos inside. I am a huge fan of spicy food, but I had to scrape off maybe a tablespoon of peppers from the bottom bun, and there were still a good tablespoon of them left. It was really good, but if they had maybe given the peppers a quick sautee’ or something it would have been much better, and taken a bit of the sting out. The salad was great, for a substitution for fries. I am a huge fan of blue cheeses, and even moreso of that and bacon. Good dinner all ’round. Daniel had fish and chips, which is pretty much always a good bet at Safeco.

After dinner, we wandered to our seats and after and adorable National Anthem from a children’s choir, Felix receiving an honorary plaque for his 2,000th strikeout, and some other pre-game goings-on, it was time to play ball. And wow did we play ball. The Mariners took the Padres to home run school, hitting 6 dingers over pretty much every wall of the park, including one that we thought was headed right at us until weight, weather, and velocity sent it into the Ms bullpen below our section. James Paxton got himself into and out of some jams, and all told lasted 6 full innings before being pulled for Danny Farquhar, who didn’t do so terribly well and was replaced with Tom Wilhelmsen before the 7th inning ended.

IMG_6488Dustin Ackley, ready for action in center field.

IMG_6489Paxton, in the throw.

IMG_6490Justin Ruggiano, replacing Ackley late in the game.

IMG_6491Mark Lowe comes into the top of the 9th to replace Charlie Furbush. I really wish we could have Fernando Rodney come in to situations like this. When the place is already amped up, it would be fun to turn it up to 11, but not having a save situation would make that silly, and it was nice to see Lowe on the mound in person again.

IMG_6492Lowe and Mike Zunino discuss their finishing moves before taking the Pads down. Sort of. Lowe was shaky and allowed a run (to Abraham Almonte!), but things didn’t collapse into a fiery nightmare, so one run is fine for the game. Maybe not so great for Lowe.

But Mike Zunino! I don’t even know where to start. Zunino hit two home runs Tuesday. TWO! His batting average was sitting around some .154 when the game started. Due to last night’s abyssmal team showing, it didn’t get much higher, but it’s now at .188. If he has to keep climbing slowly, at least he’s climbing. And that first bomb went all the way over the heads of the crowd in The Pen, landing on the concrete next to where Brad Adam and company do the pre and post-game shows. Impressive. Maybe that pitch was served weakly, I don’t know; but it was great to see Zunino get some power on. I still hold out hope that he will improve over the course of the year. It was a good night for him, and a great night for everyone watching the game.

We are headed into a series now with Boston. Four games, starting tonight. I don’t know much about the Red Sox this year, only what my friend Eric tells me, and that was nothing good. But I don’t trust any opposition. I mean, we scraped the Padres off the highway at 11-3 Tuesday, and they beat us 4-2 last night. Baseball is a funny thing. But that’s also what makes it so amazing.

 


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AquaSox Announce Open House on Saturday

This popped into my inbox today, as Aquasox news is wont to do. Here’s a little snippet. Work opportunities, hot dogs, and MC auditions! I have a bunch of photos and things to say about last night’s game, but that will have to wait until later this evening when I’m home and can dump my camera. Anyhow, if you’re looking for something to do this Saturday, why not head up to Everett and check out those ‘Sox?

Buy Single Game Tickets, Audition for National Anthem & M.C. and More

Everett, Wash. – The day has finally come, AquaSox fans! Join your Everett AquaSox for an Open House Saturday, May 16, and celebrate the first day single-game tickets are available in-person. From 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM fans are invited to purchase tickets, enjoy ballpark food and check out our new merchandise. Auditions for the National Anthem and on-field M.C. positions will also take place at the Open House.

Saturday marks your first chance to secure your seats in-person to your favorite games, including Bark in the Park, Star Wars Night and the July 4th Celebration. In addition to buying tickets and shopping for new merchandise, fans can expect to enjoy their first delicious ballpark hotdog of the season and play on our Fun Zone inflatables.

Do you love to perform and engage the crowd? National Anthem and on-field M.C. auditions will be held during our Open House. Interested fans should call the AquaSox front office on Friday May 15 to sign up for an audition time. Anthem performers will have two minutes to audition and all performers are encouraged to stay and celebrate the upcoming season with us.

The AquaSox Home Opener is June 18 at 7:05 PM versus the Eugene Emeralds. Season tickets, group outings and both 12-game and 16-game packages are available now, while single game tickets are available online now and available in-person May 16. Call (425) 258-3673 or visit the AquaSox office at 3802 Broadway in Everett for more information.


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Some Mariners Thoughts On A Tuesday

I have to admit, it’s been difficult – during the last road trip particularly – to get motivated to write. Even watching what parts of the games I can due to having to get to bed early/get up for work, it is obvious that our home broadcasters were getting weary of talking about the Ms getting swept on the road, or bested in series, or letting one-run games slip through their fingers with bad bullpen usage or performance by some pitchers. I like seeing our locals smiling and upbeat when reporting on games, and it’s depressing to see the losses taking a toll. But after these last three revenge games against Oakland, it’s now hard not to hope that they can turn it around.

I went to the game last Friday with my friend Jeri. We had some beer and some tacos and enjoyed a full 9 innings surrounded by some pretty fun people. I like when I wind up with seatmates who have a sense of humor and know and love the team like I do. Everyone around us was in good spirits and there were many high fives from strangers. We stayed for 9 innings and a tied score, but unfortunately we had to leave. Tom had a show last Friday, and it was almost 10.30PM by the time the bottom of the 9th rolled around, so we had to go to Capitol Hill. By the time I got into The Highline, ordered a drink, and joined some friends out on the patio, a friend pushed his phone into my face, and I could see what I had both feared and wanted to see; we won, and Logan Morrison was responsible! This is the second walkoff homer I have missed due to having to adhere to another schedule. The other was Michael Saunders dinger a few years ago; my ride was falling asleep in her chair, and we had to walk a mile to get to the car, and it was past 11PM, so we had to bail. I heard the walkoff on the radio, while Nicole apologized over and over again that she “made” me leave. Since then, I have managed to find more people who prefer to stay until the last to go to games with, which is great. Now I have to hone not double booking myself. Lesson learned. Tom never plays shows in Seattle, though, so it was kind of a special occasion. I can forgive myself.

Also over the weekend, Felix Hernandez of course slung his 2,000th strikeout, the fourth youngest pitcher to do so and like the 74th (73rd?) or so in MLB history to reach the 2,000 milestone. I think one of the Mariners next commercials should take an “is there anything he can’t do?” approach. With a slow start to the season, Felix has settled down and become more Felix-y, and it is a welcome sight indeed. He is already 6-0 on the season, after Sunday’s game. He is projected to end the year 12-6 or 12-7. I think it will be much better than that. Hopefully, the bullpen shows some improvement. I don’t need them to be perfect, I just need them to stop giving up home runs. That’d be great, thanks.

This weekend will see me at both Turn Back the Clock night and a Sunday game with my friend Eric, the Red Sox fan. I talked to him briefly over the weekend, and he told me the Sox are not doing so hot this year. The standings do show this to be true ,and looking at their roster I’m a little surprised. But I will take all the wins I can get. I also love how the staff at Safeco always gives Eric hassle when we go. Tonight, I’m going to do the season ticket holder early entry thing with Daniel to go see James Paxton pitch against the Padres. Mid-week games are not my favorite these days, but I did schedule this one due to the early entry thing, so I can’t complain. San Diego seems to be doing a little better than we are, so it will be fun to see Paxton go up against an unfamiliar team.  I have my camera, if I can get any good shots, I’ll try and report tomorrow evening.

 


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Some Thoughts On Josh Hamilton, Addiction, And Blogs

I have had a lot rolling around in my head about this since it broke out early this morning. Here is Rob Neyer’s piece on the situation, I’m just going to link it here. I at first debated posting the screen shot of the article in question, but am now thinking better of it. I’m not looking up the name of the writer of the post, I’m not posting any more links, I’m just going to talk about some of the things going through my head, as I have JA Happ dealing to the Rangers on TV. If you still don’t know what’s happening or haven’t been online today, feel free to click the link above and the link Neyer includes to the original post.

Everyone knows who Josh Hamilton is. His problems with drugs and alcohol have been present in MLB for my entire fandom, just about (or at least early on, as I became aware of him as a player for Texas), and his relapses, the Rangers organization’s attempt to keep him on track, and his move to the Angels (after denying a move to Seattle) are very well-known in baseball circles. The fact that he was also going back to the Rangers after a somewhat recent relapse became public knowledge not too long ago. I was happy about that, he seemed to thrive in Texas, and LA seemed an awkward fit. Hamilton has always just been a Ranger in my mind, probably because he has been one for pretty much his entire career.

The writer of a recent article on Halos Heaven, however, felt that Hamilton’s relapse and subsequent departure from his favorite team was worth a very short, very stinging few paragraphs of the most vitriol I have ever seen aimed at a person outside of political or religious discussions. Most of the focus and really terrible comments seemed pointed at a reported paragraph of speech Hamilton offered at a recent news conference. I lied about the links or research, here’s the quote:

“They just didn’t want that to happen for some reason. It doesn’t hurt my feelings or make me mad, but I prepared. [Moreno] knew what the deal was when he signed me. Hands down, he knew what he was getting. He knew what the risks were. He knew all those things. Under the [joint drug agreement], it is what it is.”

And the (now former) Halos Heaven author was mad. Really mad. And insulting. And lacking in empathy.

But you know what? I get it.

This is not to say that I condone a paid writer’s diatribe on what has become a fairly successful writer’s site using some ridiculously insensitive language, and not behaving with a single ounce of professional decorum. I don’t. This guy had a job to do, and he did it poorly, and he paid the price for that by losing his position there.

But I have lived with addiction. I have lost an ex-boyfriend to heroin a few years ago, and just last year lost a good friend to alcohol abuse. I have seen what it can do, and as a person having to watch it from the sidelines and being very directly affected by it, it is extremely frustrating. Caring about a person and watching them slowly, methodically, and purposely destroy themselves and everything around them is crazymaking. You get angry. Really angry. Because there is nothing you can do to stop it. You cannot reason with an addict. You can’t talk them out of using their substance of choice once they have decided to use it. You can’t put your relationship with them on the line, you can’t point out the harm they are doing to themselves; there is no amount of sane reasoning you as a non-addict can use to sway them from the way addiction makes them behave. It’s absolutely infuriating. You can try empathy, you can try anger, you can try threats, you can be as caring as humanly possible, but ultimately, addiction always wins until the addict doesn’t want it to; but that’s not a choice anyone except the addict can make. It’s clearly not a choice Josh Hamilton has been able to make.

So yeah, I get the anger. I really do. But there are far better ways to handle it, and unfortunately, this particular author didn’t make his own choice to use better judgement. I sometimes forget that I have the luxury of saying whatever the hell I want to here; I answer to nobody. I pay for my own space here, and I could say whatever I like. I simply choose to try and write as politely as possible, because I realize that no matter how annoyed or angry I might be at a player or at my team, they’re still people. They have lives and loves and battles of their own. And so does Josh Hamilton. I understand the author’s anger, but Hamilton doesn’t need anger. He needs help; and I hope he is able to find some comfort and space in his old organization as he returns. Just because someone is an addict does not make them any less worthy of being treated like a human being.

So those are my thoughts on the subject.

Good luck, Josh. But tonight, I am hoping Happ and the Mariners beat your home team.


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Mariners Impressions Two Weeks In

It is now two weeks into the season, and the Mariners are at .385, after last night’s loss to Houston.

Sadly, with the exception of the three games I have actually been at, I have not seen a complete Mariners game since the season started. I have seen the beginnings of pretty much all of them, and the end of Sunday’s ridiculous walk-off win against the Rangers (had a late night Saturday, wound up falling asleep on the couch before I had the chance to even star that one), but while games are progressing a bit more quickly than before (I am assuming this is due to the new clocking system), 10PM is still a bit late for me to stay up on the daily. I keep trying. The away games will be easier to deal with.

I am not panicking – it’s far too early for that nonsense – and the home runs have been fun, but so far I have to say I am a little disappointed. The weird thing is, I have gone into every single one of these games expecting a win; but not because I’m being overzealous, and not in the way that I’ll be upset if they don’t win. But I have been approaching this season with a lot more joy than in the past few years. I still feel really good about things, becaues the flashes of amazing we have seen so far are really and truly amazing. We’ve had a lot to look forward to, even in the context of a loss. The home runs have been out of control for the Mariners so far this year, with Nelson Cruz having 8 already, and Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley adding 2 and 3, respectively. Robinson Cano is doing his work as a 2B hitter, collecting 7 over the last 13 games. Seth Smith has been plate patience personified (he is my new favorite, I think), and is doing some excellent production with eyes and bat, but in all of this hitting (we have five guys so far who have hit double digits in hits), there is either too much of something or not quite enough, and I’m not quite sure what it might be. It seems as if there is some pressing going on, and they just need to settle down and play ball.

I feel like the team is being much more aggressive than it needs to be and not quite as smart as it should be. Pitching is a little sloppy, baserunning could use some work (I’m not going to really get into Cano’s gaffe over the weekend in LA. It was embarrassing and weird and I’m sure he feels bad enough without fans dragging him through the mud over it), and it still feels like we can’t really come through when it matters, and if a batter does manage to come up with an on-the-spot hit, it’s a too-little-too-late sort of thing. I’d like to think that a lot of this is just shaking off the rust from the offseason, and that as the end of April approaches and May and warmer weather rolls around, things will start to heat up and they’ll play like they do on paper.  I have 19-plus games to attend this year, and that alone makes me happy, but it feels like this month has gone past really quickly with very little to show for it. Especially when my Tigers are 11-2 already, and Baltimore is hovering in second place after the Red Sox. We can do better than this, and I feel that more than I have in a while.

Otherwise, I am really happy to have baseball back. I like that  I have games to look forward to just about every day again, even if I can’t stay awake for their duration. This upcoming Saturday is a season ticket holder early entry day, and I am very excited for it. I would love for it to be sunny and nice out, but if it’s chilly, so much the better for wearing my new Hisashi Iwakuma bear hat (if it fits, my head is massive).  I may even get into the spirit of things and see if  I can nab an autograph or two for my backpack. We’ll get there, and there is still a lot of baseball left to be played.


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Bring Back Hisashi’s Foot!

IMG_2913This is Hisashi Iwakuma. That thing in the air in front of him is Hisashi Iwakuma’s foot.

I have pictures and video from the game on Wednesday that I went to with Daniel, but our internet “service provider” (I’m not naming them, if you live in Seattle you know who I’m talking about) had other ideas about my computer access early this morning. Sadly, the video I took of the holographic Moose will have to wait, as will a few really good shots of Matt Shoemaker (I know, boo Angels, but I’m an equal photo opportunist, sort of).

Regardless of what photos I might be unable to post, the above photo is from one of last year’s games, when Iwakuma was a lot better than he was the other night. Saying Kuma had a bad start is putting it mildly, as he had pretty much lost the game by the end of the first inning. We were sitting in my old stomping grounds up in section 331, in the view box section in the fourth row, and by the end of the inning, I started really watching Kuma’s delivery. And it didn’t look like the picture above. In fact, if I could have posted this morning from my laptop where my photos are, I could have demonstrated how much differently he was pitching the other night.

Hisashi Iwakuma is one of those rare gifts I get, a pitcher whose movements are so predictable that I have been able to take the above shot many, many times. As I have mentioned previously, the highest shutter speed I am able to get on my camera is, sadly, not as fast as I’d like it to be, nor is it really adjustable (unless I’d like it to go much slower), so I have to learn how players move if I want to get action shots. Iwakuma is an easy one, because when he kicks his left leg, he holds it and points his foot as above, then brings it down to plant it in front of him for his delivery. But Wednesday, he wasn’t really doing that for the first two innings. In fact, if I had access to the photo I really wanted to post, you’d see that he was actually kicking out, instead of up, then down. There’s nothing wrong with this – a lot of pitchers kick out, it’s just how they throw – but it clearly doesn’t work for Iwakuma, and it really didn’t work Wednesday.

Yes, a lot of my knowledge of players comes from simple observation, and sometimes when you can’t watch all the time, consistent player mechanics are not that easy to trace. But Kuma seemed very rushed out there the other night. Daniel and I discussed it in length, as it was a very distressing thing not only for us but for the Ms fans around us, and thought perhaps the clock got into his head, or the staff had told him to do something differently, or maybe he just changed it because if someone like me can see how he times himself, an opposing hitter can certainly pick up on that. But I don’t know if it was any of those things, as it hasn’t been discussed anywhere that I have seen, and Iwakuma himself does not seem to have addressed it at all. All I know is, I want it back, and will be interested to see how he does further down the line this year.

Mariners at Oakland tonight after a very odd off-day (seriously? It’s a two hour flight!) and it will be Taijuan Walker against Drew Pomeranz. I am going out to dinner with a friend, but the place we’re going I think might have sports on TV; if they do, I will see about sticking around for a bit at least to see how Walker does vs. the A’s lineup. Meanwhile, I will hope that the next time Hishashi Iwakuma takes the hill, he settles down before giving our opponents four runs.

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