SECTION 331

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


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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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What Do The Mariners Do Now?

I have been listening to the new-and-improved (I think, anyway), Brock and Salk show in the mornings, followed up by The Michael Gray show. This makes my mornings at work go a ton faster, and it has made Seattle sports radio a lot more fun than it was. After Mike Salk departed for Boston a few years ago, ESPN sort of lost its luster for me; not because of Salk specifically, but because his leaving basically “broke up the band”, destroying a radio show that I just adored a few years ago. When working in the engineering department for Todd Shipyards, and then going to school, that show kept me sane. After they took the show off the air, I stopped listening to ESPN on any sort of regular basis, and started to feel very disconnected from the world of sports, particularly baseball. Brock and Salk  talk about the Mariners with both a seriousness and lighthearted humor that you really only find in a fanbase itself, and made baesball fun to think about, regardless of how the team was doing at the time. So I was elated to find out that duo were coming back to the airwaves starting Monday of this week, and have been listening every day. I have enjoyed Gray as well, but am not as familiar with him just yet. So far so good, though! Makes the first five hours of work really breezy.

The most recent talk lighting everyone up, of course, are the rumors of the Mariners possibly obtaining both David Price and Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays. The baseball fan in me sort of winces; Price and Zobrist have always been Rays, and it seems wrong to take them away from Tampa for 1) sooooo much money, and 2) possibly short-term (I am talking like a year or two, though admittedly I am not sure what either player’s contract situation is, currently). But the Mariners fan in me is all about throwing as much cash and as many prospects at this problem as possible. I realize that is a very knee-jerk reaction to the rumor, and that there are many things to be considered here outside of  the desire to winwinwin, but man do I really want to winwinwin right now.

So clearly for such a large deal, we need to consider what the trade would entail on our end. The names that have been brought up include Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, DJ Peterson, and I have even heard James Paxton’s, Justin Smoak’s, and Dustin Ackley’s names being tossed into the mix from various sources (fans, mainly), along with Brad Miller’s (on a personal note, nooooooooooo!!!)  The Rays aren’t stupid, though, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a team that would take a look at either Ackley or Smoak and hand over two major pieces like that, without a lot of other chips being thrown on the pile as well; and then at that point, you’re just giving guys away for free, really, and there is no point in adding Ackley or Smoak to the deal, and we’re still stuck with them and vice versa. Then again, this is just my impression from a Mariners standpoint; there are a lot of our ex-players who have found new life on other teams because those teams saw something we didn’t or got lucky. You never know. Hear that, Tampa?! You never know!

In any event, a lot of feathers are being ruffled in a positive way, seeing the possibilities that might come with a Price/Felix/Iwakuma rotation (or a Felix/Price/Kuma rotation, or whatever combination you want to throw them into the mix in), and I have to admit it’s ridiculously tempting to just give up prospects for this….

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The above paragraphs were written on my earlier break. I have now had the opportunity to finish listening to the Michael Gray show before lunch, and he had Scott Weber from Lookout Landing on to talk a little bit about the rumors floating around. Weber’s on-air assessment featured something I had been mentally tossing around earlier today, but due to the nature of how I am having to write this while on breaks at work didn’t get around to actually saying; that a Price/Zobrist deal now could actually mean being all in for 2015. I harbor no illusions that this Mariners team is going to the World Series. I believe they will come out above .500, and might even make a go at the division title, depending on what moves the front office makes in the next few weeks, but I just don’t think that we make it past Oakland at this point in the year, and the Angels are reportedly heating up lately, with Mike Trout going nuts all over the place, so it would be a very difficult thing for us to do in 2014. But next year? A Price/Zobrist deal could definitely tip our hand.

Look, I’m as tired as anyone of the next year, next year mantra, but we are finally in a place where it might actually be true. Not Cliff Lee true, but for really real true. And while some others don’t have a lot of faith in Jack Zduriencik, I think we might actually finally be seeing returns on what he promised us when he came onto the scene in 2009. The main problem might be the fact that Price is largely thought to have an anti-Mariners trade clause, but perhaps if we show him that we are absolutely serious about this move, he might change his mind? Seattle’s really not a terrible place, Mr Price, and we’ll love you like one of our own!

We shall see what has to happen. I am hoping it happens sooner rather than later, so that the fans know that Zduriencik is serious (and the team knows it too), and my fingers are crossed – as always – for the best possible outcome. Better writers than I have claimed that we now have something we haven’t had for a long long time; hope. I think I’m feeling it a little bit, too, finally. Now let’s play ball!


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ASG, And Going Back Into The Season

I wish I was better at headlines…

I watched most of the All Star Game with some friends at a nearby pub the other day. The game itself didn’t turn out to be as big a deal as some of the events contained within or around it, and while I would love to be able to write about some of those events as vehemently as others, the wind has by now gone out of my sails; the Mariners have bigger fish to fry. I do have a few words on it, though, just like everyone else who watched…

Starting pitcher that night for the National League (and pitcher for the Cardinals) Adam Wainwright apparently made some comment about soft-tossing one to Derek Jeter (a pitch some analysts believe turned into a double for the Yankee during the early stages of the game). I didn’t personally hear the remark or see it or understand how it was transmitted to become public knowledge, but the FOX broadcast sent Erin Andrews down to the dugout to Gallahad for Jeter, because suddenly she was down there with a microphone in Wainwright’s face, demanding Wainwright explain himself. This was clearly FOX making a much larger deal of something than they should have, and the spectacle of Andrews practically shaking with barely contained fury was a much larger distraction than Wainwright’s joke. But FOX wanted to make the evening all about Jeter, and they (very annoyingly) succeeded. That’s fine, whatever, it’s over.*

The other furor over the game seems to be regarding the attention given to a not-yet-retired Jeter, vs the lack of attention given to Tony Gwynn, who passed away earlier this year, and then someone also pointed out later that evening that nary a word was said about Don Zimmer as well. I know that there are a lot of accusations from fans that there is media favoritism given to the New York Yankees, and there are just as many denials that it happens; but when something like this occurs, can you really blame people for thinking that? I don’t want to get nasty here, but by the way they were behaving, you would think the FOX broadcasters were all in line for Jeter baskets at the end of the game. And lest anyone get crabby at anything I have said here, look; I’m an outsider to all things Yankee. I know how well Derek Jeter is revered, I know he’ll go into the Hall of Fame, I know he’s been with the team all his career, and that is fine. But with what I don’t have any sort of inside scoop on, I have to call as I see; and my comments here are nothing compared to some of the things I was seeing on Twitter during the game. Fans, bloggers, and even some reporters were not happy about the way FOX handled this game. You can take that or leave it, but it’s true.

As for Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney? They were just fine. Cano and Seager both went 0-2, and while you’d like to see your boys get a hit at least in the ASG, I have no objections to the fact that they didn’t. Felix did a good job in the only inning he pitched, and Rodney let the arrow fly not once off the mound in the 8th inning, but also during his introduction, too. Kyle Seager was very pleased with his outing, just to be there for his first time. I think the next time this happens, I’m just going to host a viewing party at the house. The bar we were at somehow didn’t think we needed sound, even though the people who showed up at 5 were clearly there to watch the game. It would have been more fun at home, though I can say that The Bridge in West Seattle has some pretty good food, and is a nice place to chill at.

And that is all I really have to say on the matter. Like I said, we here in Seattle have other things to worry about. The second half of the season is coming up, and we have a lot of work to do over the next two and a half months. I’m not expecting anything huge, but I do have my .500 tattoo drawn up now (like I actually took pains to complete the design, rather than just have it in my head), so they have to at least maintain that edge, right?

Jeff Sullivan at USS Mariner has a post up grading the players on the first half of their season. At first glance, I didn’t agree with the grades, but after reading them again, I think I find them pretty dead on. I might raise James Jones to a straight C or C+, but I think that is all based on how likeable he is, and maybe not as much on performance. In any event, with the A’s evening out the D’s, we are just about average. The last time we were average was in 2009, and if I remember correctly, the Mariners were mentioned – at least once – in conjunction with the words “wild card” back then. Well, these are the wild card standings right now. Pretty neat, huh?

One more day off tonight, during which I am going to attempt to get some fishing done if the weather holds (I have heard reports of rain in the upcoming days), and then we get back into it tomorrow in Anaheim, battling our wild card foes at the top of the pile. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, and I am looking forward to all of it.

 

*Except that it isn’t, really. Wow. I thought she appeared far more upset than she should be, for a professional reporter doing a job, but name calling is unacceptable. Incredible, WEEI.

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