SECTION 331

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


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Mariners Weekend in Review

If I had known at the beginning of the Mariners/Tigers series how ridiculous and crazy it was all going to be, I would have made more of an effort to drag my laptop around with me and try to write. But there is no way I could have known that…

-James Paxton would throw an amazing game on Friday. I don’t want to get too crazy too soon about this kid, but wow! Five hits and one run over 6 solid innings, coming out of the whole thing with only two strikeouts, but an ERA of 2.20 over three (three?) starts and a record of 3-0. I realize that  the word “amazing” might be inaccurate, particularly given the low strikeout number, but keeping a team with Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter and Ian Kinsler on it limited to 5 hits isn’t too shabby. I know a lot of people are excited for Paxton, but I still feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I need some more time to have that level of confidence in him; perhaps the product of starting being a fan of the team when I did. Whatever the case, the 7-2 score to start off the series against Rick Porcello was a welcome event, and made for a wonderful Friday evening.

-Felix would throw an awful game on Saturday. Over five innings, Felix gave the Tigers 7 hits, 2 runs, and a dinger. Meanwhile, David Price came as advertised and kept Seattle’s bats silent with three hits coming in over 8 innings, grabbing a standing ovation (and that well-deserved) from the sellout crowd present at Comerica Park. I haven’t seen our ace that frustrated in a long time. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again this year.

-The series umpiring crew would be absolute garbage. Saturday we had Tony Randazzo against us, with the most bizarre “strike zone” I have ever witnessed (if you can be worse than CB Bucknor, you’re doing something wrong). I lost count of how many times the pitchFX showed his calls were wrong behind the plate. It became obvious later in the game that he was penalizing Felix due to some childish beef he apparently has with Lloyd McClendon, which sent the lot of us on Twitter into a rage by Sunday. McClendon was pretty good about not going into whatever the problem might have been when he talked to the press, but Randazzo has not made any friends in Seattle, and I will be absolutely happy to boo him if he ever sets foot on our grass. And I’m not a boo person! I’m really not! Randazzo has earned it, though.

-The game Sunday would be almost even more ridiculous, with Randazzo ejecting McClendon while he was sitting in the dugout. I didn’t exactly see the exchange, but apparently someone waved a hand or made a non-obscene gesture, and Randazzo made the ejection motion toward McClendon as he sat on the bench with his arms folded. Who knows. I have to keep reminding myself that these men are grown adults, because that only makes their behavior more jaw-dropping. In spite of Randazzo’s best efforts, however, the Seattle Mariners came out on top and that was that.

-Chris Young and Robbie Ray would both do what I thought they might on Sunday, and by that I mean dominate and collapse, respectively. We would not have gotten 8 runs in against Max Scherzer. We might not even have gotten that many runs against Justin Verlander, regardless of how injured he has been lately. But the luck of the draw was that we didn’t have to face either of those arms, and the series schedule was to our advantage, even if the umpiring wasn’t.

-Hitting, hitting, hitting! 29 hits over the series against 23 for Detroit. We played like an actual  baseball team, and it was marvelous to see.

I always want a sweep, but our boys are playing well, and I will be happy with taking a series. Totally happy. I don’t know how the season will end. I have been wary of September due to the number of times we have to play both Oakland and Anaheim, but it looks like both of those teams are starting to come back to earth a little bit, so September might not be that bad. As it is, it looks like maybe the worst of it over the rest of the month will be the Washington Nationals coming at the very end of the month. Philadelphia, Boston, and the Rangers are all pretty far back in their respective divisions, and that is our next nine games!

I’m going to run right home after work. I am swamped but not staying any overtime this week; games start at 4PM today and tomorrow in Citizens Bank, and I plan to be planted firmly in front of my TV to make sure I don’t miss anything. Next week when they come back, I may just have to plant a tent out in front of the Team Store, as it looks like I will be at the park quite a bit then. I’m like Opening Day excited for the remainder of August and September. This has been quite a ride.


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Some Mariners Math

Due to some unforeseen personal issues, I wasn’t able to watch the game last night until about the 5th inning. The score was a bit closer than the previous games at 2-0, which I expected due to the mystery and flash of the knuckleball, but RA Dickey isn’t dealing with the  2010, 2011, or 2012 Mariners. We hit now. We show power. We have a higher degree of talent at baserunning. We got two runs against a knuckler and his relief corps. I will always love RA, and I figured if it turned out we couldn’t hit him, I’d satisfy myself with taking the series; but the Mariners said “We’re not your guy, buddy!” and swept the Blue Jays at home before their day off today. Fantastic!

I have been listening to ESPN all day today so far, and I have to admit, it is making me want to attend every single home game in September. I’m not sure if I can do that, or how I would be able to do that, but I’m going to spend the remainder of August trying to figure it out. As it is, I am already convinced that I’m going to be able to witness some in-person playoff baseball. That could come crumbling down on me after the mess of CA teams that is going to be this next month, but right now, it seems terribly appealing. I’ve been keeping my Twitter widget up at the side of the blog here, as it might literally be the only way I have to keep updates coming, especially at the rate things are going with the team. If I can’t make every game, I’ll suffer some sleep deprivation to at least watch them until the end. Either way, September is going to be very exciting and very sleepy.

A lot of numbers have been tossed around today, so I decided to look some things up and take a look at the overall picture as well. I am not an organized person, so in no particular order…. In Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Dustin Ackley, we have the three guys who have played in the most games this year. They have .867, .820, and .682 OPS, respectively. To make up for what Ackley lacks there, Chris Taylor fills in with 17 games in  a Mariners uniform, at .877 OPS. Three home run hitters in the double digits; Cano(10), Seager(18), and Mike Zunino(18). Doubles are also nuts this year, with Cano(28), Seager(26), Ackley(22), and Zunino(16), with an honorable mention for off-again, on-again Mariner Justin Smoak at 13. Batting averages are also at a high. We have two guys over .300 (Taylor, Cano), and seven players (seven!!!) over .250. Cano leads everyone in intentional walks at 15. Six Mariners have OBP numbers over .300. Kyle Seager clocks in at 73 RBI, and is followed closely by Robinson Cano at 66. The next two highest RBI numbers are Ackley(46) and Zunino(45). Mike Zunino also leads the team in strikeouts at 116, but we won’t talk about that.

In my short time as a Mariners fan, I haven’t really seen numbers like this. Every once in a while, a guy will show us some good math, but these conditions we are seeing have never applied since 2007/8. I don’t even have to go into pitching, because we all know how good our pitching is; it’s been good for a long time now. We are watching Felix make history, Hisashi Iwakuma is still performing in spite of staring off the season on kind of a negative note due to injury, and Chris Young has been a marvelous surprise. I can’t say enough good things about our ridiculous bullpen, and I’m writing on limited time now, so I’m not even going to try.

Playoff baseball. If we can hold our heads above water, it’s coming. I had made plans on Saturday, but with a Felix Hernandez/David Price matchup, I may have to cancel those. I can go kayaking anytime; but I cannot see sports history every day. I’m so giddy it’s ridiculous now. Usually I’m happy for a break in games like today; but I really want to be able to go home and watch a Mariners game. Baseball has been fun enough this year, but now we’re getting down to the wire, and I believe we have a month and a half more fun than we might even know right now. Tomorrow we start a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers. I do believe I’ll treat myself to some cider at the pub down the street after work and allow all of this to wash over me. I haven’t been this excited about the Mariners since I was new. It’s good to be new again!


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Mariners Used to Dark And Stormy Nights

I wasn’t able to watch last night’s game, but I am well aware of the box score; it was the first thing I checked when I woke up this morning. I didn’t watch the second game of the series because sadly, I was too tired from being at Monday’s game. So let’s talk about that.

So Monday morning I was listening to Michael Gray on ESPN talking about what a great game Monday night’s game was going to be, how Blue Jays fans would descend upon the stadium and were we, as Mariners fans, ready to drown out their annual migration? Blue Jays fans coming to Safeco are well-known for their noise, their intoxication, and general obnoxiousness. I can understand wanting to cut loose on your three-day visit to another country to support your baseball team, but I don’t find it any less annoying when I see people sneaking in booze, or leaving beer cans on the sidewalk, or unable to comprehend why their five year old kid can’t go into a bar. You know what I like to do if I’m going somewhere other than home? Make sure I don’t break a bunch of liquor laws.

But I digress…

The fact of the matter is, that I made this comment on Twitter the other morning, jokingly complaining because I couldn’t afford tickets to the game but after getting the ESPN pep talk, really wanted to go, but figured I’d have to settle for watching it at home. The link will show you the follow up conversation; an employee of Safeco Field not only heard me, but took me seriously, and transferred his comp tickets to me.  I spent the rest of the day scrambling to find someone to go with me, and finally my derby buddy Jeri took the second ticket.

It was hot Monday. If you’re not in Seattle, we have been having a pretty rough summer, by Seattle standards. It’s been very hot and humid and we have’t had significant rainfall since maybe June. Showering in the mornings usually makes you feel like you need another shower by the time you’re ready to leave the house. The city feels oppressive and dirty. I walked from work  in this, dressed in my typical black, foolishly thinking I’d be able to chill at Jimmy’s for a bit in their air conditioning; but they were already packed to the gills with Jays fans, and even walking in would have been pointless. So I stood in the shade of their awning, texting people and using Twitter to kill the time, being passed by Jays fans and a handful of Mariners fans, before deciding to wander down to the CF entrance, because there was at least shade down that way.

I waited in line for a few minutes, headphones in, surrounded by – yep – Jays fans. At one point, a group of younger guys started a “Let’s go, Blue Jays!” chant, which ended with someone yelling “Go back to Canada!” I laughed to myself, when the guy in front of me asked if I was a Jays fan. I had my earphones in still, so took them out to ask him what he’d said. He apologized, asked again, and my immediate reaction was “Oh hell no!” He and his friends laughed, and then we talked about Munenori Kawasaki and RA Dickey, who pitches tonight.

Everyone was let into the stadium, and I went to settle in at Edgar’s to get out of the rush. About a half hour later or so, Daniel joined me, and then a while after that, Jeri found parking and had made her way to us. We stayed down there until about 6.30 or so, then went upstairs to grab our seats in the 300 section. Daniel eschewed his own season seat to join us, high up in the 24th row over far right field. And the King’s Court filled in…

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 4.39.25 AMThis is from my iPhone. Since I didn’t start the day thinking I’d be going to a game, my camera was sadly left at home.

The game remained scoreless but exciting until the 4th inning, when Jose Bautista hit a home run off Felix. And while there was a lot of energy at the park from both teams’ fans, I have seen this far too many times over the past few years. Felix pitches a gem, and the bats stay silent, costing him the win or worse, a no decision. But then, in the bottom of that inning, Robinson Cano took a walk, and Kendrys Morales hit a double, and thus began the decline of a pretty good Toronto team. Two runs in that inning, seven in the 6th (Jeri was asking me how many runs in one inning I’d ever seen, and I believe it was 5; and never from the Mariners), and two more in the 7th, which set the crowd off something ridiculous.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 4.47.54 AMThis photo above, of course was taken much earlier than the 7th inning; but I was so in the game, taking pictures was not a priority later on. In any event, you can see how full the stadium is (“filled to the corners”), and the fact that people were waving their yellow King towels around.

The thing that perhaps made this a far more dramatic game was the fact that around the 6th inning, the rain started to fall. There was thunder and lightening, and rain so hard they had to close the roof. ROOT Sports was able to screen capture this shot from their broadcast. This happened after Robinson Cano’s at bat:

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 4.54.47 AM

We saw the strike from our seats, and I could have sworn it had hit the train tracks on the other side of the stadium. Of course, it didn’t, but it was so close and the thunder so loud, and then of course the good folks in the audio/visual box played AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” that by the time all was said and done, Mariners fans had been whipped into a cyclone of cheering and joy that I don’t think I have ever seen at Safeco Field with my own eyes. By the end of the 7th, a lot of the Jays fans were heading out of the stadium. They had quieted down considerably earlier anyway. A few of the loyal stuck it out, and kudos to them. I certainly would have, as well.

Felix pitched the top that magnificent 7th inning, then relinquished the mound to Joe Beimel, who was having no hitting from the Jays, no hitting at all for the 8th. Danny Farquhar came in for the 9th (I know it was not a save situation, but my night would have certainly been made 100% perfect if Fernando Rodney and all of his entrance music glory would have been thrown into the mix), and that was it. Bedtime for Blue Jays. Jeri and Daniel and I walked into the rain, absolutely satisfied with our night. Seriously; outside of the Rodney thing, it was about as close to a perfect night at the ballpark as you could get. I mean, a no hitter or CG or some other exotic feat notwithstanding, of course.

I understand that Rodney pitched the 6-3 win last night that I sadly had to sleep through (I was out like a light by about 6.15, if that is any indication as to how tired I was), and with that we at least take the series and tie for the Wild Card. Tonight might be a little more difficult; I am not sure how many of our guys have dealt with RA Dickey and the knuckleball, but we have Hisashi Iwakuma on the hill tonight, so it might even out a little. I really do wish I could go to this game too, but barring a miracle or a cash avalanche, it’s just not going to happen. I will be content to watch it on TV.

I don’t know what it is, folks, but ever since I watched Lou Piniella’s induction speech on Saturday, I have a really good feeling about the rest of this month and September. Lou gave the team and Lloyd McClendon a special nod at the end of his address, and while we lost that game, I have just had a rush of positivity about the Mariners the past few days. Like anything is possible. Am I still skeptical? Oh, absolutely; it’s the best way I know to shield myself from crushing failure and disappointment. But it’s amazing what winning a few games can to one’s morale as a baseball fan. I don’t know what will happen over the next 45 or so days, but for the first time since I became super cynical about the Mariners after losing yet another 101 games in 2010, I really and truly cannot wait to find out.

 


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Pffffft! Baseball Feelings.

I am just going to flat-out admit it; the Orioles series really bummed me out. Yes, I like both teams; but I was really hoping for a split series rather than the Os stomping all over us, but clearly, after the series in Baltimore this past weekend, they are definitely the better team. The Orioles have the hitting we don’t, and that really hit home for me over these two series. Sure, we took two from the Cleveland Indians, and that is helping us stay afloat and over .500, but I just really wanted to even things up with the O’s. I did have a great time at that series here, but when all was said and done, the Birds taking three of those four games was a bummer. Especially on Felix night that Friday. Ugh.

In any event, the Mariners are apparently still somewhat in the playoff hunt, though things after the All Star break have not been looking as good as they were prior to it (I’m using the word “somewhat” pretty loosely). I have started the process of divorcing myself from the idea that there is a post season for Seattle this year, and am gradually preparing myself for 2015. That may sound premature to some – there are two months-ish worth of baseball left, after all – but all I can see is the Athletics’ 69-43 record, and we’re still 9 games in back of the Angels, and don’t even get me started on the Tigers, and of course Baltimore. Things aren’t looking great for post-season right now. And we have the White Sox, the Jays (who are also doing pretty well for themselves in the AL East this year), the Tigers, and Nationals this month. I am not harboring high hopes. We play the Athletics for two series in September and the Angels for two series as well; that’s half a month taken up with two teams measurably better than we are. Just keeping my fingers crossed for that .500. A winning season would be nice indeed. September’s going to be terrifying.

News has it that Justin Smoak has been hitting .340 since he went back down to Tacoma. I know I’m a little late with the article linkage. I am wondering if we have the evidence we need that Smoak will not be a good fit for this major league club? I had high hopes that he would come as advertised, just like everyone else. But I’m not sure how many more times I can take the Smoak yo-yo game. And if it continues next year,  I will honestly have to wonder how serious the Mariners are about fielding a playoff-bound team. I wouldn’t have any problem with Smoak staying in Tacoma or being turned over for a guy or guys we can use; but the time is running out for that, if it hasn’t already. It’s clear he cannot hit major league pitching, and his WAR is down at -0.3 from a consistent -0.5 or 0.5 since he first arrived on the scene in 2010. It’s been four years. He is at a career-high 24% SO rate, with a BA that is barely keeping its head above the Mendoza Line, and a BABIP of .250 (yes, I’m just pulling random stats). Things just aren’t looking great for Smoak and while he has shown flashes of brilliance, like I said, after this season it will be four years. Clearly the Rangers, getting to the World Series that year, got the far better end of that deal. Sigh.

I haven’t been able to watch a lot of games lately, though I did get to a pub last Friday to watch the game after work. I couldn’t see the game last night, but I’m listening today at work, and hope they go after Atlanta with a vengeance. So back to work, and the start of the game. Would like to see us go – however slowly – to a little more comfortable numbers than the .518 we currently sit at. Now I’ve got to get back to work…

 

 


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A Quick Word

As excited as I was at the start of this series, I have to admit last night’s close game in extras has taken the wind out of my sails. While I am happy for the Orioles in their pursuit of the AL East, watching it come at the expense of Hishashi Iwakuma and then Felix Hernandez has been a bit much to take the past few days. I was hoping for at least a series split, but I don’t think things are going to go down that way. I’ve never seen Bud Norris pitch in person, and Chris Young is a surprise to everyone this year, so perhaps things will go better than I am currently anticipating today. Whatever the case, the past two games have been heartbreakers, and while I feel like we are watching our demise a day at a time right now, I am actually kind of glad I latched onto Baltimore when I did. As a Mariners fan, that team always comes first; but as a baseball fan who enjoys post-season ball, this better all be worth it.

More later, I have a game to go to.


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A Few Thoughts On Kendrys Morales, Safeco’s Happy Hour Prices

So before I clocked out for lunch, I was listening to Michael Gray talk about a recent very insufficient decision regarding the Ray Rice case, wherein Rice was fined money in five digits and suspended for two games for domestic violence, and then had his wife apologize for her “role” in the beating (you do not want to get me started on this). I left the radio for a bit to attend to another part of my job and when I sat back down to clock out and check Twitter, the Mariners had suddenly acquired Kendrys Morales. Again. So that’s interesting.

I never was madly in love with Morales, but I didn’t hate him either. I knew going into last season he wasn’t going to be here for long, and my automatic reaction to something like that is to not get too attached. If the player turns out to do well, I want the  team to resign them; if not, I’d prefer they be let go or traded elsewhere, but that’s really the extent of any stress I have over so-called one-and-done contracts. He was exchanged for Stephen Pryor with the Minnesota Twins. Pryor has floated between here and Tacoma a little too much for me to get attached to him as a Mariner either, but I do wish him sincere success with the Twins. Many are guessing that the move that is planned for tomorrow’s Morales return in an Ms uniform will involve shuffling Corey Hart away from Seattle, in whatever capacity that needs to be done. Morales is currently sporting a line of .234/.259/.325 with a .584 OPS in 39 games. Corey Hart is sporting a .212/.295/.332 line with an OPS of .626 in 51 games. Right now, this looks like a lateral move with those numbers.  Before I can read something else from someone with more statistics knowledge, I feel like I don’t have the full story; but it also feels like another shoe needs to drop, and soon. We have seven more days before the July 31st trade deadline, and I don’t know that this deal really pushes us any farther ahead. Plus, we’ve lost a bullpen arm from a group currently being touted as the best in baseball (if I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that phrase, relating to anything, I’d have a lot of quarters). I now feel like the fanbase is maybe holding its breath for the next move, because whatever the Ms do next will either prove to us that they are looking to make a run this year, or…it won’t. Time will tell.

As for me, I was doing some thinking about my relationship with game attendance, and how certain aspects of my health have been doing recently…

I spent the month of June doing an elimination diet, just out of curiosity, to see if it made me feel any better or changed anything for me. I’m not really big on going to the doctor unless I’m hemorrhaging out of my eyes, so I’ve never seen a dietician or anything; but cutting out wheat products, refined sugar and white carbs for one month did actually make me feel better. This is going somewhere, give me a second…

My game routine (and I do have one) generally involves getting to the stadium a while prior to gates open, either to get parking or because I get out of work daily around 3.30, so I just walk down to the stadium. I go to one of the pubs around and grab a pint or two, wait for anyone coming down to the field with me, chill out after work, that sort of thing. Then we hit up The Pen for their $5 happy hour beers, get some food, take some pictures, hang out around the drunks for a bit, etc. before going to get our seats.

In the past now 7 years that I have been going to Safeco Field regularly, they have always had excellent food choices. After partnering with the Center Plate company to kick up their food options and increasing the selection of alcoholic drinks available to fans (I believe the beer count alone is at some 75+ kinds of bottled and draft beer at various areas around the field), Safeco is a veritable party of choices, and I think it makes people want to come to the park. Even my Sounders-loving friend Cynthia loves coming to Safeco because they have far better options than most of Century Link, and the food is almost all higher quality than that field as well. All great, right?

Well, I have a proposal I’d like to make to the Mariners; happy hour in The Pen needs to include more than just beer. There are fewer things more delightful to me on a hot day than a nice pint of Mac and Jack’s or Manny’s, but it would be nice if there was also a cider option down there. I have to think that people would enjoy a $5 draft Crispin or Fox Barrel when the temperatures climb into the 80s. I also think that perhaps happy hour could include some drink specials with the places that serve hard liquor as well. My favorite mixed drink is the humble margarita. Edgar’s charges $12 for this drink. The hard liquor bar nearer to the open area of The Pen charges anywhere from $8 to $12 depending on the bar tender, the time of day, the weather, how cute you are, etc. Honestly, I went there three times in one night and got three different prices for my drink; when I asked them what their happy hour price was, I was told they didn’t do happy hour. I realize that this one is a Center Plate area, so maybe the Ms as an organization don’t have a lot of control over that, but it would be nice to have some discounted prices on things other than just beer. Not all of us can afford to take a mortgage out on our rental house every time we want to unwind on a Friday, and it doesn’t seem like prices for alcohol at the stadium have improved at all over the past 7 years. In fact, they seem to have gotten worse.

So I submit to the Mariners that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a beer-only happy hour. I get the impression that they are attempting to create a kind of sports bar atmosphere in that area, so it would be nice to have a sports-bar price listing. But don’t touch the food; the food is 100% fine, and $9 for those three tacos, or $5 for a giant slice of (good) pizza or Caesar salad is just perfect. Don’t change a thing there. But cut us some slack on the booze maybe? Paying the same amount of money for one drink that it would cost for me to buy a bottle of the booze on its own is a bit obscene. Not asking for a miracle, just a few bucks off maybe. Throw us a bone!

That said, I’ll be headed to the stadium after work today to go see my Mariners play my Orioles. I’ve got my O’s t-shirt on just like when I was in Baltimore, and will toss my Mariners jersey on over it before leaving work and heading down to Safeco. I have been waiting for this weekend for years, and I am so ready to overdose on Mariners/Orioles baseball! Really hoping to see a good Wild Card battle this weekend rather than a slaughter. Play ball!


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Rodney, Paxton, And a Bit of Baltimore

We are now a few days removed from the Fernando Rodney blown save that a lot of media folks have labeled “Arrowgate”. I slept through most of Sunday’s game, but turned the TV on in the 8th inning, when Rodney was just coming in. I was too groggy to really focus on the game until it was too late, so I didn’t see the “arrow” fired at the Angel’s dugout, and didn’t even know what happened until about maybe an hour later. A lot of people seem to be upset about it, but I am not one of them. I like the arrow, and I like the fact that Rodney was cocky enough to fire it at the dugout. It was only Rodney’s 3rd blown save on the year, so I can cut him some slack. Baseball is also about the characters in the game, and we have a character in Fernando Rodney. The Angels starter Tyler Skaggs was a little bent about it, referring to it as “ridiculous”, but Skaggs maybe should spend some more time in the majors before he starts telling veterans what is ridiculous or not. I love the fact that Albert Pujols and Mike Trout fired back their own arrows after the Angels won the game, proof positive that the only true enemies in the game of baseball are really the fans. Pujols said he’d been waiting 15 years to finally be able to do it. Clearly, these guys respect each other and are friends; there is no reason at all to be upset over the action, but we should be upset over the loss, if only for the fact that we need all the Ws we can get right now. My only problem with the entire thing is that Rodney’s performance wasn’t quite good enough to back up his actions. I find it funny that people are still talking about it, but the main furor has died down.

Seattle has been playing the Mets the last few days, and while last night’s game with starter Erasmo Ramirez was a bit of a wash (in spite of his not-too-shabby pitching), Monday night’s game was pretty impressive. Starter Roenis Elias left the game in the middle of the 6th inning with some arm or hand cramps, and was replaced by Dominic Leone, who gave up an almost-homer to Travis d’Arnaud. Dustin Ackley shocked and amazed everyone by tracking the ball to the back wall in left field, and jumping up against the pads, his arm stretched as far as he could stretch it, and catching that hit in the netting of his glove right in front of the watchful eyes of the Mets bullpen. I was thankful that I was at home; had I been at the game, I would likely have been sitting over left field and would not have been able to see what happened. But since I was on the couch at home, it all unfolded in front of me. A brilliant play. I don’t have access to the .gif someone made at the moment, but if you’re willing to sit through an annoying commercial, Adam Jude has video at the Times here.

Currently, James Paxton is working on rehabbing enough to, I’m assuming, be able to come up in September, if not sooner. He had a start in Everett last week (I wanted to go but money and weekend plans conspired against me) wherein he pitched 42 balls, 26 for strikes, and left in the 3rd; sadly, the Aquasox lost that game, but that doesn’t seem to be out of the norm this year, as the Sox appear to be having a lot of issues winning games. Paxton made another start for the Tacoma Rainiers last night (again,  I wanted to go but could not) that could have been both better and worse, and it looks like he will make another start there on Sunday. I can’t make that one, either. I have an appointment with the Baltimore Orioles that afternoon.

Speaking of which, after today’s afternoon game that starts in here in a bit, the Mariners of course start a four-game series with the Orioles. Taijuan Walker is starting for the Ms against the Mets today so that Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez could be pushed back to tomorrow and Friday, respectively. There was some degree of fuss being made over this, wondering why Lloyd McClendon would do this a second time on the year, but frankly if I’m managing the third in the AL West and the team is widely regarded to make a possible go at the Wild Card this year, I want my best guys up against the best in the AL East, and one of the current best teams in the game for 2014. For my part, I am finally making my years-long dream of attending a full Orioles series come true and will be attending all four games. I love series like this, because both of these teams I love, they are both doing well, and regardless of who loses, I win. I don’t have to tear any hair out, especially while the Orioles are doing so well against Anaheim and are still being trailed significantly by the New York Yankees.

And it looks like the game is actually streaming on 710 ESPN (I don’t know that this has been the case before) today, so I have to clock back in from lunch, listen to some baseball, and get back to work. Take the series out of the subway, boys!

 

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