SECTION 331

Like a Million Baseball Fans Cried Out, and Were Suddenly Silenced

Cuts, Aardsma, Bradley, hey, there’s a game on!

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The first round of cuts were made, likely surprising to nobody. I’m so used to a Mariners-baseball-free Spring Training (thanks again, ESPN Seattle!) that it’s difficult to get worked up over any of these, but it still seems so early to be throwing the chaff to the wind. I have to keep reminding myself that baseball proper starts in like less than 4 weeks. Not having access to games as much as we did last year and being in school during the day most days conspires to keep me ignorant of who might be doing what most of the time. Good thing there are other blogs who either have the time or education/understanding of these things. Griffin at SodoMojo.com has a little blurb up about who he would have preferred to see stay, and who we can afford to lose.

Jeff Sullivan has a good -but scary- article up about David Aardsma and why he is good – but scary. It could indeed have been shortened to “regression to the mean”, but it’s nice to see some explanation about what that means and what sort of impact it might have on us this year. Even with Aardsma’s 38 saves, he still worked Franklin Gutierrez over in center with the fly ball outs he managed to dole to opposing batters last year, and Aardsma games -while exciting and squeak-inducing to yours truly- were always an exercise in seeing how long one was truly capable of holding one’s breath. I can’t remember what team it was against, but during one game last year when Aardsma was starting to establish himself as closer, we were up by some 3 runs or so, and Aardsma came in and promptly kicked dirt all over that lead, blowing his save, and earning some well-deserved loud verbal ire from the guy sitting next to me. I was more annoyed with Mr Armchair Closer than I was with ours, because I hate piling anger on top of failure; but it is a good example of Aardsma’s ability to inflame both love and hate in the people watching him do his thing. Love was more the case last year (though you wouldn’t have known it by the lack of cheering when Saliva’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” kicked on and Aardsma ran out of the pen – ahem, Seattle), but maybe this year we truly may need to give Mark Lowe some responsibility later in the game. Ever the optimist and consistent fan of the closer, I hope not.

Also pointed out by Jeff Sullivan (and a ton of other people around the web and on sports radio today)  is this little gem of “journalism” from someone at ESPN who apparently enjoys stirring the pot. Sorry, but there was definitely a point where this subject turned into sensationalism, rather than reporting anything important. Or maybe I’m not sorry – personally, I would have left the guy alone a long time ago. Fortunately, Milton Bradley comes off in that interview (and, like Sullivan, I encourage you to actually watch it) as level-headed and sane, rather than crazying it up in the manner that ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez seems to want him to. Her badgering insistence on whether or not the hate mail that Bradley received in Chicago came from “inside the organization” makes her look bloodthirsty and baiting for a headline or some sort of reaction other than what Bradley was willing to give her. Sad. If this is at all the sort of thing Bradley had to deal with during his tenure in Chicago, I don’t blame him for wanting to leave. Seriously. I will keep my other opinions of this interview to myself – suffice to say if Dominguez were on a message board, she’d immediately be branded a “troll”. Bradley’s here now, and I plan to give him the benefit of the doubt. We need some fire, and I think Bradley will bring it – with the atmosphere here, I want to believe he’ll bring it in a good way, and I steadfastly refuse to allow his past to color his future.

Cliff Lee had a good first outing today, and if the clip I saw a short while ago on MLBN of a sweet play from second to short to first is any indication, hot damn, people – we have a team that can play baseball! The breakdown went pretty quickly, and the camera angle was from a fair distance, so I could not tell the players involved, but that was a sweet play like I’ve rarely seen Mariners play. I am now very much looking forward to seeing more, more, MORE!

Now, however, if you’ll excuse me, the Pirates are playing my Orioles on MLBN HD, and I’d like to see what Felix Pie, Adam Jones and company have to offer this year.

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