SECTION 331

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


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Walker?! I hardly Seager!

So last night was Taijuan Walker’s big debut into the major leagues at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The final score was 10-4. That is totally fine with me, but I’d like to see more of Walker against better teams. Houston’s relief corps had as awful a time at it as their starter Colin McHugh, and many hits and home runs were given up last night to the Mariners. Walker, meanwhile, obtained 6 strikeouts during his 6 full innings on the hill, and allowed three runs, two of which were homers…I know Walker is supposed to be a Pretty Big Deal(tm), and it is the Astros, so I’m not running any flags up any poles just yet. But I am on the verge of saluting, because it is mere days before the All Star break, and the Mariners are 7 games out of first place in the AL West. Using win/loss percentages, at .542, we are the fourth best team in the American League right now. Yes. The Mariners are the fourth best team in the AL; behind Oakland, Toronto, and the Angels in that order. We all might want to sit down for a moment.

Speaking of offense, it’s not like I haven’t noticed before now, but Kyle Seager is turning into quite the little batsman. Robinson Cano has taken Seager under his wing and has apparently been mentoring him into a .657 SLG. Seager has been doing remarkably well at home of course, and Cano feels that he will still do well in other parks. It may be because I haven’t been able to watch every game, but I’m not noticing much of a difference home or away. When Seager comes up to the plate, something really cool is probably about to happen. I haven’t looked up the number differences (it’s not even 5AM yet, cut me some slack), but I have been enjoying what I’ve seen, and while I am generally more of a small ball person (taking little bites out of the opposition fills me with a bizarre sort of glee), I have been enjoying this season, where I have seen more home runs coming off Mariners bats than ever before in my going-on-seven years as a baseball fan. Seager has been a terror against opposing pitchers, and a joy to watch. These days, I normally sit in left field, and I have had to stand up more than a few times to see balls hit into Edgar’s Lower, or the visitor’s bullpen below.

Really, this post has no other purpose other than a quick early morning “Yay!!!” and to get me writing a bit. Strange things are afoot here in Mariners Land. I’m going to enjoy it and hope that it continues for the rest of the year. Things are looking good right now. Very, very good.

 

EDIT: All this and humility too. I do love a pitcher, but I think I might have a new favorite at the bat. Also, it’s interesting to me that MLB still gives away watches. One of the things I found interesting when I was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame was the fact that early on, players were given pocket watches for achievements. I don’t know how many people even wear watches when we all have phones now, but it is an interesting piece of history that has persisted.

EDIT: I apparently love the word “interesting” at 5 in the morning…


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East Coast Trip Video Post

I have been meaning to get to this for ages, so it’s about time. I know the whole east coast trip is old news to the handful of you that read this, but I have new material!

First, though, while I missed Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, I woke up to a text from a friend and the box score in my inbox, and was immediately kicking myself for not making more of an effort to watch it. I made up for that last night, and witnessed the Mariners taking the series away from the 2013 World Series winners, with the capable help of Logan Morrison and Kyle Seager, who hit a 397-ft (I think that is what they measured it as, I don’ t have time right now to look it up) home run, and literally, “Hit It Here”, as the ball bounced off the café window over right field. It was a sight to behold; in all my time here, the only time I have seen that window hit was by Ichiro, during one of the USSM/LL events, when we were sitting up in the 300 section, listening to the bloggers and front office talk. And that was during batting practice! I can’t imagine the sound it must have made in the restaurant, and do wish they had gotten better live video of people jumping away from the window, but it was fun enough just to watch it happen, and I will totally settle for that.

Tonight, I’m heading down to the stadium after work to hopefully catch a sweep. I am not sure if the Boston pitchers are bad, our hitters are going through a hot streak, or both, but I will take it. And tonight Hisashi Iwakuma goes up against Clay Buchholz, who is experiencing an 8.56 ERA in his last three starts with a 0-1 record, while Iwakuma is sitting at 3.98 with a 1-1 record. The Sox better hope that Buchholz holds up, because if he doesn’t, we get their bullpen again, and that seems to be part of the problem for them right now. Thursday we get a break, and then I get to see Chris Young in person finally, on Friday night.

In any event, I took some video while I was out at east coast ballparks, and rediscovered something I knew already; that the memory card on my camera is actually much smaller than I would sometimes like. I will be rectifying that on my next trip. So here is what I got and what I was able to keep…

As Rick and I were walking around the Washington Nationals stadium looking for “W” pretzels, we wound up walking literally the entire way around the main concourse, and ran into this mobile, which I know I had posted pictures of before, but here it is in action. In  the event the audio is terrible (and it might be), it plays “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as well:

If memory serves, this hangs over the main entrance, much like our “Batting 1.000″ sculpture at Safeco.

At Citizens Bank, of course, it was Asian Pacific Celebration Night, and sadly this one was where I had the most problem with the camera memory. There were a lot of performances peppered in before the game and between innings. I know the Mariners do a similar thing, but this one puts Safeco’s to shame. After I had finished up my cheesesteak and was enjoying my can of Yuengling near the BBQ shack over right field, we were met up with by a group of Chinese dragons!

They later did a dance on the field prior to the game which I attempted to get on video, but had to delete because it crashed my camera. I did, however, get one of the two pieces played by a taiko group along the first baseline below us:

It’s a four-minute-long piece, the first one, which was what took up the space that night. The sound should be pretty good on that one, and my camera work is impeccable! I also, of course, ahd to catch some of the Phanatic’s antics on the field:

And Steve Cishek’s strange set before his submariner delivery against the Phillies. Super cool, but it did not assist the Marlins in winning.

The Baltimore Orioles fans make the National Anthem a bit of a crowd participation thing. My friend Craig (Yankees fan) has been to Camden a few times, and told me about this. I nearly forgot about it the first night, but people’s rhythm being what it is in large groups, was able to participate that time. Sunday, though, I was determined to get it on film for posterity. Here is the result:

Lastly, this is TravelShark. Or Fingershark, whichever. This is Rick’s. I have a TravelTiger (I have yet to get a good shot of it), but I didn’t when this video was taken. As the Toronto Blue Jays were absolutely murdering my Birds that afternoon, and the oppressive heat and humidity started to get to us, this happened:

I wish I had more to share, I really do. It is looking more and more like my trip next year will be a drive to California stadiums for the Angels, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, and A’s. I haven’t been on a super long driving trip for ages, and kind of want to do that again, particularly as it doesn’t involve having to lift heavy musical gear, and I might actually get a few decent night’s sleep out of the situation this time.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to getting out of work at 4.30 today, and then coming back for Friday’s game against the Indians. As always, go Mariners!

 

 

 

 


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Logan Morrison Makes Up With His Bat, Mariners Take KC

In the war between me and work, work has been winning this week. This may continue for a while. We lost a department member, and the main office has no plans to hire a replacement; and if you sense any bitterness there, you’d be right. I love my job but it is mentally taxing and there is no relief in sight – I was lucky to get a moment of clarity the other day to slap up a mostly-written-by-someone-else post here. But tonight, the Mariners are in Kansas City, Hisashi Iwakuma is on the hill against James Shields at Kauffman Stadium, and I am only one glass of wine in at 5PM on a Friday night, so  let’s see how this goes.

I have eventual plans to go on a Royals/St Louis trip, but I need to be honest; my impressions of both cities are tainted by previous trips taken while on tour, and those impressions are not good. Dirty, ill-prepared nightclubs and a pawn shop with Nazi memorabilia in it (yes, the real thing) are not my idea of a good time, and I have never been a fan of the midwest, which is why I live on a coast; too much flat, not enough salt water, and also tornadoes, tornadoes, TORNADOES!  Not really my cup of tea; but I think Kauffman Stadium is just gorgeous and would really like to go sometime; and I cannot argue with the history of the Cardinals; it would be a treat to go to both cities for some baseball, I just need to look at the midwest as a “vacation”, and that is kind of difficult for me at the moment. I’ll get over it eventually.

The Mariners got a leg up early on in the top of the first, with Endy Chavez obtaining a double, and Robinson Cano driving him home. At some point during the first inning, the camera panned to the Royals dugout, where stood a neatly-uniformed and ever-stoic Don Wakamatsu, who is apparently their bench coach now. I thought he was still with the Blue Jays. I will spare you my tirade on how much I miss him here in Seattle; if you read stuff here, you already know he has been my favorite manager with the Ms so far, since I was not present for the Piniella years. It’s just nice to see him still active. He’s young, so hopefully he will remain working in the world of baseball for a long time to come. I can’t think of how his calm demeanor would not benefit any team he was working with.

T’was an 87MPH changeup that Mike Zunino sent sailing over the left field wall in the 4th inning. It took me a good 3-5 minutes to find that information, as GameDay has decided to make their layout more…uh…interactive…? I far preferred it the way it was before, but I’m sure I will adapt eventually to the new system. New to me, anyway. Zunino’s hit was a single, but a 2-0 score going into the 5th inning against the top-ranked team in the AL Central is better than the alternative. And seriously, I love Zunino. It’s been a while since we have had this degree of security behind the plate, and an even longer time since we have had any amount of talent with a bat there. I don’t fear for our safety when Zunino comes up to the plate, not like I used to. He’s also been hit by pitches 9 times this season so far, so he is either doing something wrong or very, very right.

In the top of the 5th, James Jones finally got the stolen base he had been trying so hard for against James Shields’ excellent pickoff skills. Jones slid into the 2nd bag just under the glove of Omar Infante, who did actually manage to tag Jones under his arm, but then lost control of the ball. The second base ump called Jones safe, and then he became our third run of the game, after Robinson Cano hit a double, giving Iwakuma a nice pad to work with. I swear to you, I said this before Logan Morrison smacked a two-run homer to bring Cano and himself home for our next two runs. Since playing UFC in the dugout with his bat and a wall a few days ago, it is clear that Morrison has been frustrated with his performance since being brought up from Tacoma. I am just glad that he now has such a dramatic hit to perhaps bolster his confidence. The Alex-from-Clockwork-Orange look with the bruise around his left eye is not working for him; more hits like tonight, less aimless frustration, please. Make no mistake, I am pulling for Morrison here; if I’m honest, regardless of what I think about his persona so far, he stills wears a Mariners uniform, and I want him to play, if he’s here to do so.

The Royals took a little chunk out of Iwakuma in the bottom of the 5th, the 8th homer he’s given up this year to catcher Salvador Perez, out over left. Even more of a chunk when Mike Moustakas hit a dinger to right, scoring himself and the already-plated Lorenzo Cain, score 5-3 Mariners; at this point, I’m switching tense to say that I need another glass of wine….

With two out and a 3-2 count against Omar Infante, Iwakuma gave a walk to Infante, to plate a second runner, and Eric Hosmer was up for the Royals. Hosmer was a relatively easy out, chopping one towards first to get Iwakuma back to the dugout and maintaining a two-run lead; but it was very clear that the 85F evening temperatures were not the only thing making Kuma sweat, so at this point I was hoping that maybe the bullpen was warming up to take over for the next three innings and give him a break.

Kuma came back out in the bottom of the 6th, but did not last long, and it was clear by the look on his face that he was none too pleased about his performance, but knew he had to go. He didn’t put up a fight at all with Lloyd McClendon, after allowing two guys on. McClendon replaced him with Dominic Leone, who I haven’t seen much of, in spite of this being Leone’s 27th appearance in a game. Leone, unfortunately, plated a run within moments of taking the hill, score 5-4 Mariners. Moments later, Leone blew our now one-run lead, and had the ball taken away from him and given to our Beard-in-Residence Joe Beimel, to deal with the remaining two outs of a very messy 6th inning. Or one out. McClendon went to grab Tom Wilhelmsen at this point, opting for a right-handed pitcher for the last out of the inning. Beimel remains a ghost to me; between this small glimpse tonight and the amount of playing time he doesn’t really see all that much (24 games is not much when you cannot watch all the time; playing TV tag with relief pitchers makes it pretty hard to get a feel for their performance), he remains a bit of a conundrum. I kind of don’t want to look up much about him; whereas I used to know a lot about our bullpen arms, the fact that I know nothing about our current corps lends an air of mystery that I kind of dig. Wilhelmsen allowed batter Alcides Escobar to make contact out over mid-right field, but Logan Morrison was having none of that, and ran out a little past his jurisdiction to make an incredible sort of backwards, sort of not, sliding catch to save the inning, keep the game tied, and get a hat tip from Wilhelmsen. Smiles all ’round.

It’s at this point where I just come out and admit I got temporarily distracted by this video of a baby duck

Wade Davis came to pitch in the top of the 8th. Davis is apparently a force to be reckoned with, packing a horrifyingly high amount of strikeouts  in the relative low number of innings pitched. He has not given up a home run so far this year. Logan Morrison made him work though, with Davis throwing 11 pitches before Morrison struck out swinging while Royals fans did The Wave. Davis took Dustin Ackley to the full count before giving him some more fouls and, finally, a base. With two out and one on, Mike Zunino stepped to the plate and eventually struck out swinging; but we made Davis work, and that was nice to see.

Things kind of went down the drain for the bottom of the 8th, with the Royals managing to get two men on during Danny Farquhar’s tenure on the mound, and a missed chance at third when a ball thrown by James Jones from right field hit runner Billy Butler on the left foot, ruining the Mariners chances for the out, and securing Butler at third. Farquahar then walked Lorenzo Cain to load the bases, which might have not have been the best idea, but I have to assume that it was guided by management, because when McClendon went out to change pitchers, Farquhar gave up the ball like he was expecting to have to.

Charlie Furbush was the next victim, and he got Mike Moustakas to reach for a pitch that wound up hit to Robinson Cano out past the second base bag for the second out. I don’t know if he has always done this, but Furbush has a set very similar to George Sherrill’s – that is, he appears to be almost completely backwards on the rubber right before he throws around, bringing the ball from the glove up near his face/behind his head, and then snapping it behind his shoulders before he brings it forward to the plate. Whatever he’s doing, it worked tonight; he took out Alcides Escobar with the bases loaded for the final out of the 8th inning.

Brad Miller sent reliever Greg Holland yard over left field, quite suddenly, in the top of the 9th. Five pitches and done, over the wall. Willie Bloomquist was easily taken care of for the first out. Endy Chavez was the second. I would like to take a moment to express how happy I am that Chavez has been able to continue his career after this debacle a few years back. Don’t watch that video, it will make you cry. For that matter, don’t even click on the link – if you were there, you know what happened, and the still frame is enough to bring back some pretty awful memories. Yuni is now in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes, and Endy stays here, once again with us. Nobody knows what kind of career he might have had if he had not been injured, but I am glad that incident did not end it completely. Chavez has proven quite handy; he’s one of those guys I just like, sort of like a Mike Sweeney but with a lot less hugging.

James Jones wound up with a single after Robinson Cano took a walk, and it was up to Kyle Seager with two out to get a hit; but he took a walk on Holland’s 25th pitch, to load the bases full of Mariners. Logan Morrison was then our guy, and he got some insurance for us with a base hit RBI to send the game into the bottom of the 9th and Fernando Rodney’s possession. This chapter started out with a very very close play at first between Rodney and Jarrod Dyson, with both mens’ feet hitting the bag at the same time. A review ultimately showed that the first base umpire’s call of safe was the correct one, but even slow motion replay made it very hard to tell. When I see things like that, I have to admire an umpire’s incredible sense of sight and rhythm; there must surely come a point where that is all they have to rely on, and the angle one is looking at a play can make the difference. I know I couldn’t do it.

Rodney got Omar Infante out for the first out of the inning, but with a man on, the Royals  threat was not quelled. Eric Hosmer proved that with a single out to mid-left field. The Royals brought in Nori Aoki to pinch hit for Pedro Ciriaco. Aoki had quite a dramatic at-bat, acting as if he was hit by a pitch at one point (literally falling down at the plate), and swinging out far ahead of another. Aoki grounded out, and then Alex Gordon struck out swinging to end it, Rodney did the arrow thing, and that was all she wrote. I’m not going to lie, though, I was never comfortable with this one after the fifth. We did it against a first-ranked team, though, and that is alright by me.

Tomorrow, I have a very busy day. I will probably not be able to catch the Ms, as I am going to the charity game at Safeco, the All Star Softball Classic for Homeless Youth. I don’t care who wins, I just want to have some fun watching athletes and people I don’t normally see playing the game, play the game. I will try and do the picture thing and whatnot on Sunday. Until then, we are still over .500, and we just helped put the Royals in second place. This season is not too bad so far, Mariners fans. Not too bad at all.

 

 


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Aquasox Season Getting Off to a Rough Start

I had tentative plans to go up to Everett last Friday to see a game, but was unable to make it. I heard there was a lot of rain, so I would not have been happy with that (one of several reasons I don’t get into football as a live event is because of the weather during the winter here), but it looks like the Sox are not starting out on a very good foot this season. They are in third place so far at .250, while the Spokane Indians have been tearing a 4-0 swath through short season single A. I had hoped to see Alex Jackson on the roster, like Mike Zunino was when he got drafted, but no dice so far. It looks like we have some time though, while Jackson’s agent (if you say his name three times he will appear) haggles with the organization until (or possibly after, signing and trade deadlines in baseball are so flexible) everyone comes to a number they are happy with. When he makes it – if he makes it – to Everett, I will make more of an effort to drive up and see him. Until that point, my schedule is pretty full of Mariners games and other extracurriculars this month, so I might have to lay low until July. But I do miss it up there, and have fun every time I go, so I am looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, this happened last night, summary courtesy of Connor Madden, with the Sox Media Relations team:

EVERETT, Wash. – One bad inning spoiled an otherwise quality start by Noel De La Cruz and the Hillsboro Hops tacked on some insurance runs against the Everett AquaSox bullpen to roll to a 7-3 victory at Everett Memorial Stadium Monday night. After winning 3-2 on opening night, Everett has now dropped three games in a row and has not held a lead at any point in those contests.

For the fourth straight game, the Hops jumped out to a lead in the first inning, plating four runs against De La Cruz (0-1). Todd Glaesmann continued his hot streak, crushing a first-pitch breaking ball over the batter’s eye in center for a two-run homer. Cesar Carrasco then reached on an error by third baseman Chris Mariscal and Grant Hayman singled before a pair of wild pitches by De La Cruz brought home Carrasco and moved Hayman to third. After Nate Robertson walked, the Hops executed a first-and-third double steal, with Hayman coming in to score when catcher Kyle Petty threw down to second base, making it 4-0 Hops.

The Frogs’ starter settled down after that and blanked the Hillsboro Hops over the next five innings. De La Cruz allowed five hits over 6.0 innings, just two after the first, and surrendered four runs, three earned, while striking out five and walking one. In the third inning, Seattle Mariners’ third round pick Austin Cousino, making his pro debut after arriving in Everett yesterday, homered leading off the third inning for Everett, trimming the lead to 4-1. It was his first professional hit and home run.

Glaesmann knocked in a run in the seventh with an RBI single off reliever Troy Scott that scored Pedro Ruiz to make it 5-1. It was Glaesmann’s sixth RBI of the series. The outfielder has batted .471 (8-17) over the first four games with Everett, with four doubles and two homers.

Everett got within three at 5-2 in the home half of the seventh. Luke Guarnaccia singled, moved to third on a couple of wild pitches by Alex Byo, and scored on shortstop Justin Gonzalez’ throwing error. But Gonzalez made up for the miscue with a two-run homer in the Hillsboro eighth, a shot over the manual scoreboard in right-center off Scott. Gonzalez’ first home run as a pro pushed the lead to 7-2.

The Frogs got a run in the bottom half of the inning after Bryan Brito, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Mariscal, singled and scored on a groundout by Wilton Martinez. But that would be it for the ‘Sox, as Cody Geyer worked a scoreless ninth for Hillsboro and sent Everett to a third straight loss at home.

Nick Baker (1-0) got the win for the Hops. He worked 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, surrendering just one hit while striking out three. Brent Jones, who was taken by the Diamondbacks in the fourth round out of Cornell this month, got the start for Hillsboro. He went 3.0 innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out four. Glaesmann was 2-5 with three RBI.

A day after striking out 17 times, the AquaSox cut that number to 10 Monday, but the Frogs continued to struggle offensively, stranding 15 men on base and managing only six hits. Mariscal collected a hit in his third straight game, singling in the first. Taylor Smart got his second straight start and picked up his first hit as a pro on bloop single to right field in the fifth.

The AquaSox and Hops conclude their series tomorrow as Everett attempts to salvage another win and end its three-game slide. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05. Dan Altavilla will make his AquaSox and pro debut when he takes the mound. Scott Schultz, of Gig Harbor, will make his first professional start for the Hops.

I really would like to get down to Portland to see the Hops as well. I have heard the stadium there is really nice, and it would be kind of neat to see some baseball in my hometown area – even though I would have to go to Hillsboro to do it. Maybe I should figure out a weekend I can make it down there, visit some family and friends, eat some hotdogs, root for Portland…well, let’s not get too crazy…


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What I did on my summer vacation

I am nearly out of time on my vacation. While the impetus for my two weeks off was the United States Bowling Congress’ annual Open Tournament in Reno, I certainly also watched a lot of baseball, visiting Coors Field in Colorado and AT&T Park in San Francisco. I actually started the trip a little early, helping out by recording statistics at the Washington State High School baseball championships for 1A and 2A out in Yakima. The eight games I watched there, plus the other three games I went to in the last couple weeks (and I go again tonight) add up to 83 innings of baseball.

So let’s start in Yakima.

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Fridays At Safeco: Bullpen Edition

The Mariners start a kind of weird four-game series tonight with the Rays before heading back to play the Yankees for three more games home here. Monday’s game starts at 10AM PST, but that is still a rigorous schedule, for any human being. I am beat after one day of flying for 5-6 hours. Commercial flight is more brutal than a charter, I would imagine (no layovers!), but wow. I don’t know how they do it. I am kind of happy, though, that the Yankees games are mid-week; I want to go next Saturday, and didn’t want to have to battle for decent seats in LF (or any seats at all, given that LF and CF sell out pretty quickly for the larger ticket games). Plus, I really don’t need to hear it from Seattle-based Yankees fans; so everything pretty much works out for me. I am also stoked that I can watch (or listen to) just about every game in this series due to earlier start times.

Anyway, here are some actually quite-recently-taken photos!

IMG_4848This is as close as you get to a still life in baseball. It’s not exactly a bowl of fruit on a table with sunbeams coming through a window somewhere, but it will do for me.

IMG_4851Roenis Elias is throwing a baseball right at you! This was taken during Salute to Sriracha Night, a game against the Astros that we won 3-1. It was my friend Allison’s first time at a game, and we were able to – with the help of fellow Ms fan Carla – get her a BP ball. Carla also helped my friend Alex get a ball just last Friday. I’m not good at being loud, nor do I know the bullpen staff downstairs, or the pitchers, but Carla is and does. If you remember, from 2009, she is one of the ladies that took on the responsibility for the bullpen’s gladiator helmets, once MLB told the team that such objects in the pen were forbidden. We are all fans in our own way, but Carla is undoubtedly one of the biggest Mariners fans I have ever met.

Speaking of the bullpen…

IMG_4883IMG_4885IMG_4886IMG_4887They are not the guys from 2009, but they still have weird little things that they do. In 2008, I don’t remember a lot of this going on; I also don’t remember how I got so preoccupied with the bullpen in 2009. Maybe it’s just my being still relatively new to the game, but I didn’t particularly notice the Orioles, Nats, or Phillies bullpens doing stuff like this. I’d like to think that this is just a little bit of John Wetteland that has survived through some sort of legend or word of mouth the past few years; in reality, it’s probably just something they do that I have missed due to the 2010 bullpen being so lackluster after Wetteland left, and we were headed once again for a 101-game loss season. Carla and I have actually talked about how we both miss Wetteland. He is retired now, which bums me out tremendously; and I guess I have Eric Wedge to blame for that. What a waste of talent. We should have kept him on for much longer; he was able to get a group of guys to be so cohesive they were considered one of the best bullpens in baseball, on a .500 team. Some of those guys included both Carlos Silva and Miguel Batista He Who Shall Not Be Named, pitchers who were generally considered to be middling at best, severely declining at worst; guys with attitudes so awful they made me loathe them just for that alone. But Wetteland and his quirks made them smile in the pen, and at least appear to be a happy, solid part of the team. And for that, I will always love him.

Well, it’s time for a slightly shorter work day for me, and then home to some baseball and tacos. Happy Friday, everyone!


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Thirty Minutes of Mariners. And A Bit of Coors.

As I clock out for lunch at noon PST, the Mariners have apparently beaten the Braves yet again, 2-0 under the watchful eye of Hisashi Iwakuma. I wish my building wasn’t so terribly full of electronics, and I could get an AM radio signal at my desk, rather than a high-pitched radio squeal that only I and dogs can hear. I miss listening to games on the radio. But we’re back up above .500. Whether or not that is sustainable, I don’t know. I sure hope it is. The 2014 Mariners may slowly be replacing the 2009 Mariners as my favorite team; that was a fun year, though, so it’s going to take a lot. Still a lot of ball to be played, we’ll see.

When last I was at a game with sometime-writer-here Daniel Carroll, we had discussed the situation with Miguel Olivo being let go by the Dodgers for biting off a part of a teammate’s ear. About 3-4 days after that, Ryan Divish posted this article, wherein he came to the same conclusion. There are cleared benches, beanballs, verbal spats, and a player can apparently attack a manager in the dugout, but cannibalism is strictly forbidden! I don’t wish Olivo any more luck. He made his bed, he can lie in it. I just find it funny that it was this – and not his actual ball playing skills – that was the last straw for the world of baseball.

Speaking of sometime-writer-here Daniel Carroll, he is currently on a small bowling and baseball-oriented trip with some friends, and is going to see both the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants. He has already gone to Coors Field, and here he is doing exactly what I want to do when I finally get there, sitting above the mile-high seats:

dacarI actually want to sit in the purple row, because I’m a tourist that way, but that trip is still a ways off. If I’m going to keep checking out stadiums, I want to be able to do at least two at a time, and geographically, I don’t know how Coors will work. I do have friends over that way, though (just like a lot of major cities, I am very fortunate), so it might be doable. And I like Denver as a city in general, and would like to go back to hang out in Boulder a bit, so we’ll see what time brings.

While I would love to know what the expletive is that Lloyd McClendon uses in this article, that’s not the focal point for me. I am still trying to get a grip on McClendon as a manager. I have had a difficult time with that due to not being able to watch as many games or read as much news as I’d like, but I have found myself leaning towards liking him quite a bit. Whereas Eric Wedge rarely smiled and didn’t get results, McClendon rarely smiles and has taken the proper steps (in my opinion) to get the results he is claiming to be seeking. It seems like we used to let guys who weren’t doing well languish on the major league roster for far longer than they should, constantly making excuses for why they were still in the big club and using them in situations they should never be used. McClendon doesn’t seem to do that. Whether this team’s current success is due to the guys on the roster settling in, or McClendon’s management style, or the combination of veteran and eager young newbies, I really have no idea. But so far, 2014 has not been an awful season. I didn’t expect us to run away with a pennant or anything, but I certainly didn’t expect this. This Mariners team has been fun. They’ve been good, and while they don’t seem to be as maybe “fun” as the guys from 2009, they are clearly getting the work done, and I can’t argue with results. Nor do I want to.

And now I have to clock back in. Happy five-game winning streak, everyone!

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