Mariner?! They’re Killing Her!

I think it’s finally happened. I’m finally done with baseball before the end of the baseball season. I’m still going to be at the games I have scheduled – there is an Orioles series coming up, after all (I will be at all three games!), and a few other event games at Safeco that I want to attend (fireworks, Oktoberfest), and the absolutely necessary last game that I always go to every year (and always will unless some great catastrophe happens) – but watching this team be who they are and made up of guys I really genuinely do love dig their way to the basement is finally, after years and years of promise, taking its toll. I will go to the games I have scheduled because they already have my money, and because I do still truly enjoy going to the park, bad team or no bad team (remember how perky I was in 2010?) But I’m not really happy with the way things have panned out this year.

We are, after the All Star break, 11 games back, 7 games out of the Wild Card, and at .452. The best team in the league right now is the Kansas City Royals (ugh, these guys again?!) at .598. We are 6-9 after the ASG. Our offense has gotten better due to Edgar Martinez having come aboard as our hitting coach (I was very excited about this, and clearly have every right to be, as Edgar has been working some magic on one Mike Zunino, who is currently on an 11-game hitting streak, if I remember correctly), but our pitching has totally collapsed up to the point where we just handed over JA Happ to Pittsburgh because of two terrible starts, forked over Mark Lowe to the damn Jays, and sent Dustin Ackley to the New York Yankees, where he will finally be able to get a haircut and a shave. And for what?


Allow me to digress…in the club scene I am part of, there is a song called Dead Stars. When it came out in 2000, it became very popular. You couldn’t go clubbing without it being played, it was everywhere. In and of itself, it’s a good song; but after you hear it night after night, when you leave the state to go on tour and there it is again, when you can’t go onto a dancefloor and just dance to new stuff without hearing it, it gets really annoying and tedious. Plus, though it is a really catchy song, it’s repetitive as all hell (because that is the nature of dance songs).

Prospects are the new Dead Stars.

When Jack Zduriencik came on board in 2009, he promised a team made of pitching and defense. He promised better prospects. He promised a better future, and certainly in baseball, the word “prospects” is nearly synonymous with “future”. The problem with the future, for the Mariners, is that the future never comes. And what has my ire up so early today (yes, it’s nearly noon, but that is early for me on a Saturday) is this article with the headline “Jack Zduriencik says Mariners moves before trade deadline ‘more about the future’” This is a song we’ve heard before. I’ve been to this dance club a billion times. They’re taking away my favorite DJs (Jason Vargas, Adrian Beltre, Doug Fister, Brendan Ryan, Ichiro Suzuki), but they’re still playing the same tired club hit. And I still dress up and go out on a Friday night for this, expecting not to hear it.

So Zduriencik did what he said he would when he got here; he promised a team built on pitching and defense, and we got that. He promised to bolster our farms, and he’s done that, too. But the Mariners front office completely ignored that baseball is a three-slice pie, and unless you have the offense you need, you’re not going anywhere. Now we have a better offense slice, but the pitching slice has rotted in the sun this year, the offense slice hasn’t been great for years, and nobody wants to eat the pie anymore. We could have done better with our offense/defense ratios earlier on, but we didn’t; and I’m not telling Mariners fans anything new. Players we traded to other teams for prospects have gone on to remain solid players and to sometimes even flourish in their new homes. Prospects come on board, don’t do well in the minors, and then get sent somewhere else. Sometimes we dodge those bullets, sometimes they Dustin Ackley their way onto Safeco Field grass. More often than not, they just hang out in Tacoma, seeing major league playing time in September, or when someone gets injured, and there they stay, making the Rainiers a pretty good AAAA team, or a really good AAA team.

I still watch because it is baseball, but this is the earliest since 2008 that it has turned into a low priority for me. We still have two months left, and maybe something great will happen in that time, but the Mariners seem to be eternally looking forward to tomorrow, next month, next year, five years from now, without ever concentrating on the here and now. With every loss, fan confidence goes down and that is three hours of Netflix I could be watching, or a walk outside I could be taking, or something more productive than sitting in my hot living room, watching my team fall 8-2 to Arizona. And don’t even get me started on driving home after dinner yesterday, hearing ads for season ticket holders to jump on the chance for 2016. Are you guys for real?

I spoke with Mariners marketing VP Kevin Martinez once a while back, and apologized to him for being so negative over Twitter during a game that went particulary sideways for the boys. I hate negativity in general, and especially over something like sports. It’s a game, right? I should just suck it up and go hang out with friends or something. But Martinez said he understands we are mad because we care. And he’s right. I do care. I love baseball. I love the Mariners. I just want them to do well. It’s not a matter of personal pride or anything; I’m not some knuckle-dragger that’s going to punch someone because they don’t like my team. It’s because the game is part of this country’s history and it’s time I put my life into, and it’s become part of who I am as a person. It’s fun to watch baseball, and having fun is part of what makes us human. I enjoy it. I care. I just want the Mariners to do better.



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Refuse To Abuse 5K, The End…?

It appears to be a few degrees hotter in NYC today than in Seattle, and the Mariners and Yankees are tied as of the start of this writing. We are still having issues with situational hitting, even with the new acquisition of Edgar Martinez as a hitting coach, and after the All Star break, which is apparently some magical window in time where bad teams get better and vice versa. We have a split series with NYC at the moment, but it’s the 7th inning, Felix is out of the game after some 97 pitches or so, and Mike Zunino is at the plate with a 1-1 game, and Dustin Ackley on second. Things are not looking good.

So update on the post the other day for the Refuse To Abuse 5K that I and some other friends (three of which are fellow Mariners fans)…

My friends Cynthia and Fes ran/walked the thing, and came in well ahead of the rest of us, but myself, Su, Christie, Sheryl and her husband Stan did the course at a brisk walking pace in around 54 minutes. All told, we raised $1,740.00 for the cause. I came in third place for individual fundraising, which I had been notified might happen, but was not expecting. Friends, family, and Mariners fans came to the rescue though. My prize was a ribbon, a signed Lloyd McClendon jersey, and a signed and framed picture of Lloyd. I am definitely getting a frame for the jersey as soon as I can, and all of this stuff will be put up in the house somewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.20.19 PMThis was everyone on the team. Stan was standing in the sun, with a lot of other people who felt it was too cold in the shade at 8AM. I was wearing my Section 331 jersey, and Tom took the picture, telling us we should look like we were refusing to abuse. Ironically, we look like we’re going to punch a cartoon. So much for fierceness.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.27.32 PMWaiting to start. Starts are staggered, so while the race began formally at 9, we didn’t even get past the start line until aroud 9.10 or 9.15.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.24.29 PMThe route to do this was crazy, but involved both the stadium and the parking garage, so this is a little over the halfway mark to being done. They take you around all the levels in the stadium, under the stadium, around the back between that building and the train tracks. My only goal was water at this point. I’ve said it numerous times, but I have no idea how players play in jerseys. I won’t even wear one for fun to games when the weather is too hot. Shortly after this photo was taken, after we’d gone east through the suite level, and then up to the 300’s, we were walking down the north end ramp and I had stopped to take what turned out to be a not-great picture of a part of the stadium. A couple was jogging past us, and a man asked me if I was “the blogger Section 331”. I said yes, and he high-fived me and kept going. And that was really the kind of atmosphere there; not for me, but for everyone. People were kind to each other, friendly, energetic, happy to be there. I had gotten up so early after such little sleep that it was nice to be in a place where everyone was so upbeat. So thanks, random high-fiving guy!

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.29.36 PMWe got to come out of the center field tunnel, and do a little over half of the warning track. While I am sure that a lot of people simply did the race, our group was taking pictures of everything all the way around.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.31.09 PMMe, after finally finishing over by the left field wall. Hot, dehydrated, a bit pink, and happy to be done. After this we got to walk  through the Mariners side of the bullpen to pick up participation medals (they have little bats and a baseball on them), and get some water, bananas, health bars, and a few other goodies near the center field entrance. Awards were also announced, near the area the Root Sports desk is located.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.33.48 PMMy ribbon! The bag I’m holding has the McClendon stuff in it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.35.20 PMA terrible photo, but I don’t care. After this, we then had to walk (nooooooo!) back around the stadium to the parking garage. I am a bit sore; we didn’t run, but we weren’t just sauntering along, either. And while I’m working on it, I’m still not really in the best of shape. But it was fun, and I will be doing it again next year, and anyone who wants to join us is welcome to do so. It’s a cause that is worth getting up early for on a Saturday morning, and being able to walk around the park is just the icing on the cake.

I want to thank everyone who donated their money, effort, time, whatever, to help us out. I’ll be trying to get the band back together next year and do it again.

As I’m finishing this up, Fernando Rodney has taken the hill for the Ms in the bottom of the 8th inning, and left the bullpen pouring Dixie cups of water on his head. He is also sporting a fancy new rusty red highlight in his goatee; and he just gave up a home run to Mark Teixeira basically right in Tex’s swinging sweet spot, so we have that going for us.

The Mariners don’t come home until next weekend, which means I can watch most of the series against Detroit due to the time difference. Su and I will be attending this next Friday’s game against the Blue Jays, which means more drunk people than you can shake a stick at, but there will be fireworks, so we have that going for us. Today’s heat is also an anomaly at 91; the remainder of the week looks to be in the upper 70s, and I can totally deal with that. Here’s hoping the four-game series in Detroit goes better than this terrible murder in NYC.

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Team Section331.Com And the Refuse to Abuse 5K

I avoid socio-political issues here because that is not what this blog is about, but I wanted to make an exception today because this is a race that the Mariners have been hosting for a while now, and this is my first year participating. I plan to make it an annual event, at least for myself, if not for the folks who will be running and walking with me tomorrow.

Domestic violence is a subject close to me; I have housed a friend who was dealing with such a situation until she could get back on her feet, and I have known other victims both male and female. It affects everyone, people from all financial, social, and economic backgrounds, all races, colors and creeds. My friends had help; they got out of their situation and were able to get back to their lives out of danger; but a lot of people don’t have that, and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence aims to help those in need.

The Mariners have provided a venue for the race, and frankly I cannot think of a better place to walk around for charity than Safeco Field. So tomorrow, I will wake up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning, and go down there to participate in this event. If anyone who reads this would consider a donation – no matter how small – I will be honored. Below is the link to follow to donate, and you can do so anonymously if you wish. And I will likely not be wearing that fleece cat suit, as I understand the temperatures will be a bit out of control.


To learn more about WSCADV:

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Mariners Dramatically Take Game From Tigers In 11

So after a while of not being able to watch games (even my attempt at taking one in at an Ocean Shores pub last Friday was thwarted by obnoxious bar patrons and a very small TV in the corner where I could barely see the score) I was finally able to actually go to a game last night, with my friend Jennifer. Jennifer is an alumni of a Michigan college (forgive me, I cannot remember which one), and became a Tigers fan a few years back, when she was visiting a friend who took her to Comerica Park and she first saw Prince Fielder; so now she and I go to Tigers games (and Rangers games, so she can follow “Princey” around) every year. I went to the season ticket holder early entry yesterday, and she followed shortly thereafter. We used our coupons for discounted beer and a pretzel, and then hung out in The Pen chatting and debating what we both wanted for dinner. I checked into the ballpark on the MLB Ballpark App on my phone, and decided that we should upgrade our seats, so we were able to have dinner in and watch the game from the Terrace Club for a few extra bucks. I don’t know if the same perks exist for non-STH fans, but it’s worth the free download, for sure.

We grabbed some dinner (the barbecued beef carved sandwich up there is pretty good, and they have serve-yourself pickle spears, which I could make a whole meal of anyway), and then got situated in our seats, completely unprepared for 11 innings of what turned out to be half pitcher’s duel, and half home run derby.

Austin Jackson turned into the hero of the night, hitting a grand slam, the first of his career. I almost couldn’t believe it, but by the time the ball was hanging over the middle of the outfield, it was pretty much a no-doubter; and even then I still couldn’t believe it. A grand slam is a rare sight to behold. A Mariners grand slam is even rarer. That was the only hit Jackson got over the course of the evening in four at-bats; but if you have to only get one hit, that is a hell of a hit to get. Franklin Gutierrez followed it up, answering the Tigers back to back homers in the first inning, with a dinger of his own, which apparently (I read on Twitter) sent the dugout into paroxysms of joy. I wish I could find the .gif of Logan Morrison twirling his finger in the air, mouth open in a giant smile; it was good to see Gutz hit something like that, after so long. His last homer before he descended into sickness was in September of 2013. He might not be able to bring himself back to Death to Flying Things level, but it was wonderful to see him bringing a little power to the table, regardless. Robinson Cano also wound up with a solo HR in the 5th inning, the last truly significant bit of hitting we would see until the bottom of the 11th, where the score would lie tied at 6-6 until he singled into a walkoff. The dugout was empty and running into the right midfield to pile on Cano before Austin Jackson was even halfway to home plate, and those of us still left (not the Tigers fans) cheered in appreciation.

I had told Jennifer that we should wait until the Mariners hit in the 11th before slowly exiting the building. It was approaching 11PM, and both of us were yawning over each other to the point where my eyes had started to water. I had been up for 18 hours at that point and wasn’t entirely convinced we were going to win. I also feel a little guilty making non-fans stay up past their bedtime due to my own obsession, so I was going to kind of strike a compromise by staying but then not really staying. So we sat there and watched as Tigers pitcher Ian Kroll dealt to Austin Jackson and Franklin Gutierrez, then gave up that single to Cano. Jennifer wasn’t entirely pleased with the outcome, but I think was happy for me, nonetheless. We bailed back to her car as quickly as possible through what was left of the crowd, and I fell asleep nearly the second my head hit my pillow at home.

I am currently besieged by allergies from the thick layer of smoke from wildfires east and north of us, but it is also blocking out a lot of the sun, so it helped make last night’s game cooler than the 94F that it was originally projected to be. Jennifer was marveling at the green-ness of the grass at Safeco; it might actually be the greenest grass in town right now! This Saturday, Tom and I are going to check out season ticket holder appreciation day. I don’t know that I’ve ever been, so it will be fun. Hopefully the weather will be nice then, too.

Oh, and I wound up on the jumbotron with Jennifer, as I was absent-mindedly rocking out to some pop song and checking Twitter between innings. We went to get ice cream, and as we were walking back to our seats, some random guy walked past us and said “hey, you were on TV!” Just when I feel like I blend into the crowd, it turns out I’m awkwardly recognized by strangers. Sweet. Also, here is a photo I took of myself and Jennifer, with Travis the TravelTiger. Travis is not a Tigers fan, no matter how much Jennifer insists…


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Hisashi Iwakuma to Make Rehab Start in Everett

Announcement from yesterday:

Iwakuma Scheduled to Make Rehab Appearance in Everett
Seattle Mariners starter recovering from back injury
EVERETT, Wash. – Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to pitch for the Everett AquaSox on Saturday, June 20, as part of his injury rehabilitation, the organization announced today.
Tickets for the game can be purchased in the AquaSox front office or online at The Saturday, June 20, game begins at 6:05 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Iwakuma, a 34-year-old right-hander, injured his back earlier this season. He struck out 11 batters in three starts earlier this season, before injury held him out of the lineup. Iwakuma holds a 3.18 ERA in his MLB career, with 451 strikeouts.
A native of Japan, Iwakuma joined the Mariners via free agency in 2012, and has only appeared in one other minor league game. He threw a four-inning rehab start in 2014 for Triple-A Tacoma, striking out two batters.
Iwakuma will join an AquaSox squad that also features top prospects Alex Jackson and Luiz Gohara. The team opens play in the Northwest League at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Season tickets, group outings and mini-plan game packages are available now. Call (425) 258-3673 or visit the AquaSox office at 3802 Broadway in Everett for more information.

Unfortunately for yours truly, I have long-standing plans for this weekend and cannot attend; but if you’ve never been to Everett, it’s a great venue for something like this. Because of the small size of the stadium, you’re never far from the game at all, and if you love taking pictures like I do, you can get some nice ones at Everett Memorial. I understand that the AquaSox have done some food upgrading, too, which is my main complaint with their stadium, so that adds a little bonus to things.

I was going to attempt to get a post up about the game last night and the fantastic time Daniel and I had with Hunter Pence signs, but I was so busy at work I had to work through lunch just to catch up. I may try tomorrow, particularly if I can get some photos uploaded. It was a great night. The Mariners are finishing up their 4-game series with the Giants tonight, but I am about ready to go lay down and get some sleep, so I will not be able to watch. The weekend (and tomorrow’s Mariners Star Wars night!) cannot come soon enough.

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Aquasox Opening Day This Thursday

From the inbox about five days ago, I have just been too busy to post anything lately, Mariners, Aquasox, or otherwise…

First Everett Homestand Includes Father’s Day Giveaway, Bullpen BBQ Special

EVERETT, Wash. – The future stars of the Seattle Mariners bring baseball back to Everett Thursday as the AquaSox host the Eugene Emeralds on Opening Day. All gates will open at 5:30 on the 18th, with the first pitch at 7:05pm.

The AquaSox have a set of great offers and giveaways for the five-game opening homestand against Eugene. On Opening Day, the first 1,000 fans will receive a magnet schedule and kids in attendance will have the opportunity to run the bases after the game. It is also Tasty Thursday, with $2 hot dogs, popcorn, sodas and 12-ounce Coors Light. The second game, on Friday, June 19, will feature the first fireworks spectacular of the 2015 season.

Rosters for the upcoming season are still being finalized and will be available shortly before Opening Day on

“The staff has been working non-stop to prepare for Opening Day. The park looks great and we are very excited to welcome our fans on June 18th,” said AquaSox General Manager Danny Tetzlaff. “We have great giveaways and outstanding deals this season that will make a night at the ballpark a home run for everyone!”

Everett Memorial Stadium is the perfect place to bring dads on Sunday, June 21, because the AquaSox have neck ties for the first 500 fathers to come through the gates as a part of Father’s Day at the ballpark. For just $35 per person, fans can also bring their dads to a special Father’s Day BBQ before the game to enjoy an all-you-can-eat barbeque buffet, participate in a meet and greet with the AquaSox players, and receive an Upper Box ticket.

Tickets are on sale now at the AquaSox front office and online at The AquaSox Home Opener is at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, June 18, versus the Eugene Emeralds. Season tickets, group outings and mini-plan game packages are available now. Call (425) 258-3673 or visit the AquaSox office at 3802 Broadway in Everett for more information.


Unfortunately, Thursdays are normally time spent with Tom prior to the weekend, and I have a game both tomorrow night and Friday to go to, so once again I will not be able to go up to Everett for this, but Aquasox home openers are always a lot of fun, and the weather has been great here lately, so it should be a great day for some minor league baseball, and some of our new drafts will also be up there….

EVERETT, Wash. – The Seattle Mariners’ top prospect, outfielder Alex Jackson, will join the Everett AquaSox to begin the 2015 season. The roster for the 2015 season was announced Monday, June 15, as players and coaches began arriving in Everett.

The AquaSox roster will feature one other player from the top 30 prospect rankings. Left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara, ranked No. 7 in the organization by, joins Jackson in Everett. Gohara is an international signee out of São Paulo, Brazil, and Jackson was the top draft pick in 2014 out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego.

Andrew Moore, the Mariners’ second selection in the 2015 MLB Draft, will begin his minor league career in Everett. A 5-foot-11 pitcher taken No. 72 overall out of Oregon State University, Moore will be the top pick to join the AquaSox from this year’s draft. He led the Beavers with a 1.91 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 122.1 innings pitched during the 2015 season.

Sixteen other members of the 2015 draft class are anticipated to join the AquaSox to begin the season. Matt Clancy, Darin Gillies, Logan James, Anthony Misiewicz, Joe Pistorese, Dylan Silva, Lance Thonvold, Colin Tornberg, Art Warren and Kyle Wilcox join Moore on the mound. Catcher P.J. Jones, infielders Conner Hale, Drew Jackson, Logan Taylor and Ryan Uhl, and outfielder Braden Bishop round out the members of this year’s draft.

Four players on the anticipated 2015 roster have local ties. Bishop played center field for the University of Washington, and P.J. Jones and Joe Pistorese played for Washington State University in 2015. Jones is also from Vancouver, Washington, joining Covington product Jordan Cowan as the only players from the state.

And of course the Mariners take on the Giants again tonight in a four-game, split-location series in San Francisco. Daniel and I will be there tomorrow at Safeco Field to watch Felix go up against Madison Bumgarner, and then again for Star Wars fireworks night on Friday, which I have been looking forward to all season. Tonight, it’s JA Happ against Mariner fan heartbreaker Tim Lincecum, so it should be interesting to see what this current Seattle team can do against one of the other best pitchers in baseball.



EDIT; Oops! Game is going on currently. That’ll learn me to not pay attention.

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Mark Trumbo and a Mariners-Style Player

Some thoughts on the Trumbo trade:

The M’s biggest offensive problem has been players underperforming. The general strategy, we felt at the beginning of the season, was sound enough. Trumbo fits the model that we had at the outset and has performed even with expectations thus far. To some degree, the trade is rearranging deck chairs, unless you’re confident that the current roster won’t regress. Basically, if we believe the plan was good at the start of the season, then the plan is still good generally, but this move could be a patch in a positive fashion.

People hate on the deal because Trumbo is a very “Mariners” player — high SLG, low OBP — but I also wonder what high-OBP guy is actually available and what the price would be. Many of the players at the top of the list for 2014 OBP leaders are among the most valuable in baseball; you’re not trading for McCutchen or Stanton. The M’s did get a nice deal on Seth Smith, though. You wonder if they even talked to Nori Aoki. You might have wanted them to have a look at Dexter Fowler, who was traded for Luis Valbuena (both of whom were top-60 OBP guys) or Perhaps Ben Zobrist. At that point though, we’re talking about a bunch of trades and roster turnover from a team that was almost there last season. It might not make a lot of sense unless you think Jack Zduriencik is Billy Beane.

I would also submit that it would take at least two high OBP guys to overhaul the offense to my preference, so while it would be nice to have a single guy like that, one bat won’t change the team in its entirety either.

When people complain about the “Mariners-style” player, I always want to remind them that the amount of resources actually committed to these players really hasn’t been all that great. There’s been a guy every year or so, but the alternatives have not been amazing. Yeah, I probably preferred having Michael Saunders play over Michael Morse, but this is the same team that gave ABs to James Jones and Abraham Almonte. The Mariners made serious commitments to Franklin Gutierrez, a premium defensive CF at the time, Chone Figgins, who was thought to be a high OBP guy, Ichiro, Robinson Cano, King Felix, and now Nelson Cruz.

If the Mariners believed strongly in a dingers-only offense, where were the multi-year commitments to Russell Branyan and Raul Ibanez? I think the more likely explanation is that quality OBP guys can cost a lot, whether that’s in money or years, and slugger types are cheaper precisely because they break down and are more risky. The M’s have been too flawed and/or haven’t developed young talent enough to be an effective back up plan.

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