SECTION 331

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

Let’s Play Ball

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I had planned to write on Saturday during lunch, the day that pitchers and catchers reported; but that didn’t work out because I had way too much work to do. I tried to do it yesterday, too, but that really didn’t work out either. So here I am, two days late and more than a few dollars short…which reminds me, I need to make a payment on my tickets sometime this week. So what’s going on around the web lately…

Jerry Brewer put up an article over a week ago about Eric Wedge and how he plans to hold players “accountable” for improvement and performance, going so far as to invite a small group of guys out to have some discussions about what he expects. While I hardly think it’s fair to include Franklin Gutierrez in that situation, I understand the combination of players gathered. I expect nothing from Chone Figgins at this point in time, but obviously Wedge does, having brought Kyle Seager into the meetings. I hate questioning player motives, since we can never really know what any of them are thinking, but one wonders how much of a threat Seager really poses to Figgins. Figgins gets paid whether he plays or not; and having seen that flame die out over the past two years, does it really matter to him if he’s replaced here in Seattle? I’m glad it matters to Wedge, but Figgins has a long way to go to prove it to the rest of us. Whatever the case, the meeting seems to have worked, getting several of these guys to camp a week earlier than everyone else. Jeff Sullivan wrote this a few days ago about batting order and Figgins’ place in it. Like Sullivan, I, too, am skeptical. The article by Ken Rosenthal that Jeff quotes is bothersome. If Figgins really thinks that hitting second is a factor in his performance, that is bothersome. Especially because it doesn’t look like it’s had any sort of impact on said performance at all. Chone Figgins is bothersome. I know I pick on him a lot here lately, but I would rather him not talk about things like this than talk about things like this and say things like that. Stop making excuses, just do your job.

I’ll get his name eventually without looking, but this article about Hisashi Iwakuma is a lightly informative read. It’s important to make a good first impression, so it doesn’t surprise me that Iwakuma told us all at FanFest that he was not worried about the AL competition. This article states quite the opposite, with Iwakuma keenly aware of where it is that Prince Fielder has signed, and also where his friend Yu Darvish was finally won over. I am looking forward to Iwakuma’s ground balls and seeing what he has to offer in general.  I am actually quite excited about our new Japanese signees. I am not sure if this has to do with the fact that baseball is right around the corner or not, but I’m feeling way more positively about 2012 than I was even a month ago. Geoff Baker has more on Iwakuma’s first workout day here. Exciting! You can’t see it, but I am totally smiling right now.

Just so that everyone knows, I do very much plan to be physically upright and awake during the games against the Yomimuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers at the end of March. I will be attempting to live-Tweet the events as best I can, not being familiar with either team roster. I’m sure that this may only come in handy for anyone during the Giants game at 3AM. If nothing else, you’ll have something to read on your iPhone on the bus to work. I will also be trying to figure out how to get enough sleep for work and watch the two Japan openers against the Oakland A’s on the following Wednesday and Thursday. With a little planning, I think I can make that work.

Lastly (I use that word a lot. Should find a different word), I would be remiss if I was the only one in the blogosphere not to mention Greg Halman, and the tribute that the team has made to him in the form of t-shirts. You will find that I try not to spend a lot of time dwelling on death; not here, and not in my daily goings-on. We are here now, and the best way that the Mariners can celebrate Halman’s life is to just keep on playing baseball. It’s what Halman loved, and what – I believe – he would have wanted. So let’s do that. Let’s play ball.

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