- @frommsb Hey, at least they're actually holding the baby, rather than just leaving it behind. ;) 1 hour ago
- @kingkube Fingers crossed. We've been patient for a long time. 7 hours ago
- REALLY?! We really have to remind people of this?? wapc.mlb.com/cutfour/2014/0… #youreabadparent 7 hours ago
- Justin Smoak confirmed at 1B? I can deal with that... 8 hours ago
- @Notorious_DAD I can't do platinum, I have been told. Looks like it will be ...interesting. 1 day ago
Pushing a Giant Baseball Up a Hill and Watching It Roll Back Down Since 2008
September 27, 2013Posted by on
I was going to wait until the absolute end of the season to make this post. I had pictures I was going to put up, and thoughts I was going to try to collect, and all that stuff that I normally do to be as thoughtful and thorough as possible when writing. I had a bunch of pictures I had taken of Rivera’ s last game on Seattle soil, but I am lacking the storage space and time at the moment. So it’s time to do it. Today is the right day.
Mariano Rivera is leaving baseball. Not because of injury, not just for the offseason, and not because he’s been let go by New York and is waiting to get picked up by another team; he is retiring. He’s done. Last night was his final game. He was met on the field by Andy Pettite and Derek Jeter, two other Yankee greats, and led off the field in a very emotional sendoff, which you can watch at this link here. That is a little over four minutes of hugging, cheering, and yes, even grown men crying, and if you are a baseball fan and find yourelf with absolutely no emotional response watching that clip, then you, pardon my language, are a hard motherfucker. It’s beautiful, even though I feel like he deserved even more than that. I don’t know what else the team and fans could have possibly done, it just feels like it should have been longer. I am glad that it was Pettite and Jeter who met him on the hill, and I am further glad that Alex Rodriguez was nowhere to be found. Alex Rodriguez doesn’t deserve to so much as lick the dirt off Rivera’s cleats.
Joe Posnanski has an excellent article that I feel a lot of baseball players need to read and take to heart. It should be required reading for anyone called up to the majors. Mariano Rivera is exemplary of how every player should conduct themselves. It makes me immensely sad to think that maybe he is a dying breed.
Mariano Rivera averaged 34.3 saves a year every year he played baseball. In seven of those seasons, he had 40 or just over 40 saves. In 2004, he racked up 54 saves. His next largest number prior to that was 50 in 2001, the fateful year that saw the Yankees topple the Mariners in the playoffs, after a history-high 116 wins for Seattle. I am mentioning this because when JJ Putz had 40 saves back in 2007, I thought it was a pretty big deal; it was, after all, part of what got me invested emotionally in closers, and in baseball itself. In his 19-year career, Rivera never once had negative WAR. Some years lower than others, but never negative. With my vague understanding of WAR and from what I’ve seen from position players, that’s an accomplishment. Maybe for pitchers not so much, but still it’s worth recognition, in my humble opinion.
This is one of those things, though, that is far more emotional for me than it is scientific. I have a lot of words in my vocabulary, but none can truly do this any justice. I find myself wishing I’d paid more attention to Rivera over the last few years. I find myself wishing that the sinking feeling I’ve had in my stomach when Rivera stepped onto the hill in Safeco was maybe replaced by more of a reverence – I had respect, I had awe, but I don’t feel ever had the amount of either of those things that I probably should have had for this player. He was amazing to watch. When Ichiro homered off of him a few years ago, I was well aware that that was something to be celebrated. Mariano Rivera was and is something special.
Rivera is, to me, the perfect closer and yet there was something not quite closer-y about him. He isn’t weird like a lot of them are; he didn’t tilt his cap or grow crazy facial hair, or make strange comments to the press. He doesn’t have a lot of visible tattoos (if any – sorry Yanks fans, I really don’t know), he doesn’t give an air or indicate that he is anything but a human gun firing a baseball bullet; but truthfully, that’s kind of all you need to know about him. His demeanor on the hill was that of a blank slate. An amazing, terrifying, serious, wonderful blank slate that made the top, middle, and bottom of any batting order cower in fear. Always expressionless, mostly always flawless, and always there for the purpose of getting the game done and over and securing a Yankees win. There was no flair, not a lot of stress as far as I could ever tell. He was there to do a job, and he did it very very well for 19 years.
I really don’t know what else to say. I can’t rattle off stats or incidents in Rivera’s history that I might have fond memories of. In his career, my fandom is but a blip on a radar somewhere; and even that might be giving me too much credit, as I have never been a Yankees fan. All I know is that baseball is a worser place for his departure. The season isn’t even over yet, and early on when his retirement was announced, it made me feel as if there was a massive hole in 2013. And if this is the way I feel, I can’t even imagine how Yankees fans must feel. It has to be devastating. This is the one instance that I will absolutely not poke fun at or make light of a Yankee loss. I feel for all of you, totally. You, after all, have my Ichiro.
So goodbye, Mariano Rivera. You can leave baseball knowing that you were the classiest act, a master of your craft, and feared and respected by batters and fans alike. I will miss you, Sandman.
September 12, 2013Posted by on
I was unable to exchange my Sunday Rays ticket for another night game (just no time in my schedule this month), so I forfeited fishing for pinks and Coho in the Sound for a Sunday afternoon baseball game with my friend Jessica. Due to the clear skies and heat, and the fact that we are both pale, pale girls even the strongest sunscreen will not protect, we opted for the higher climes of the upper deck, sitting high above the right field foul pole, and wandering further up to safety as the sun moved around the south side of the stadium. The Mariners lost their shirts at 4-1 to the Rays, but took the series, so I didn’t feel too badly.
As we were parttaking of sodas and ice cream and trying to avoid the sun during the later innings of the game, for whatever reason, discussion turned to Brad Miller vs. Brendan Ryan, since Miller was in the field at the time. I don’t remember what triggered it; might have been something on the HD screen, might have been an error or missed hit by Miller, I don’t know. What I do remember is waxing sadly that Brendan Ryan would not be able to come back in 2014. For as much as I have enjoyed watching Ryan in the field, and feeling that oh-so-cozy feeling that comes with having a virtually impenetrable wall there in between 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 2nd and 1st!), we need offense. I know I’m not saying anything new or shocking here. There is only so much that Mariners fans should be expected to take, though, and Ryan’s .192 AVG and -0.7 WAR is just…it’s not good. Ryan’s best year with us was 2011, when he managed to dazzle everyone with his defense as well as a reasonably passable bat. But after that, it was like stepping off a cliff into an offensive desert, and while his defense will always be some of my favorite, I think, he was always the number 9 guy with good reason.
I’m not even mad though. I am going to miss him badly. He gave the team character, he gave the team solid defense, he gave Tom Wilhelmsen something to do in his spare time. He showed us what good defensive short-stopping should be like, after a few years of torture with Yuniesky Betancourt. The hitting – while it would have been nice – never really mattered all that much to me. I loved his double plays, his diving catches, his jumping catches, his shoulder-licking everywhere…and I’m not going to deny that yes, it absolutely sucks that once again, a player I like gets shuttled off to the Yankees, where he will either flourish for another few years, or flounder miserably in triple, double, single A…i don’t know. I think the fact that I knew it had to happen made it a little easier, but it was so weird to watch last night’s game and know that Ryan had unceremoniously packed up his things, and headed off to New York. No fanfare, no whistles, no time for any of us to prepare to say good bye. Just…gone.
I am glad that there is a very limited about of baseball left, because I’m kind of tired of seeing Ichiro in pinstripes, Munenori Kawasaki in Blue Jays blue, now Brendan Ryan in pinstripes, Morse in Orioles orange (though this one isn’t so bad)…I know that these moves are all done in the best interest of the team and indeed are the right moves as younger kids come up. And I have been very encouraged by what I’ve seen so far from Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, who made his MLB debut the other night the same day that his grandfather died. I have enjoyed watching Brad Miller in his short time here so far.
What I want from baseball is a little bit of stability. And I don’t know how long I’m going to have to wait, but I am hoping it won’t be long. Given the kids coming up so far (and their small, small sample sizes), I’d like to believe that change is right around the corner. Please let change be right around the corner…
In positive news though, my enthusiasm is certainly not gone. Doing some preliminary planning for my trip east next year, if all goes according to plan, I will be able to see the Mariners home opener before flying east, where (again, if this all works out), I will be able to take in a Nationals game in addition to the Orioles and Phillies games I already had planned. I haven’t missed an Ms home opener since 2008, and I don’t want to make 2014 the year that happens. So things are shaping up there, at least. If the Mariners don’t give me something else to look forward to, baseball itself certainly will.
In the meantime, good luck Brendan. I will miss you, and I hope that the change does you some professional good. Thanks for playing here.
August 30, 2013Posted by on
So Mike Morse – a player I have long liked for no reason – has just been traded to the Baltimore Orioles for a prospect named Xavier Avery. Morse is a free agent at the end of this year, has not done terribly well in Seattle this year, and the Orioles are in 3rd place at 6.5 games back as of this writing, so I don’t know what the O’s hope to accomplish with this situation exactly, but I am alright with this move, as it means that Morse still stays in my personal “family” for a while longer. Morse is just one of those guys who probably won’t land anywhere for all that long enough to define his career as an ‘x’ or ‘y’ team member, but I like him and wish him well. It will be interesting to see if he stays in Baltimore for longer than the next month. More about that in a bit, I have some things to address first…
I had hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, but it sort of has. I tried initially to chalk up my lack of activity here to my own personal time constraints, and to an extent that is indeed true. Work kind of takes it out of me; being up at 5AM on the daily creates a bit of a ragged schedule and it is difficult for me to want to do anything else other than watch a game or just tune out the minute I clock out. I can’t regularly stay up much past 9-10-ish (10 being on the bad side of that hour), so full games are right out unless I’m actually at the park, and of course that happens maybe 16-25 times a year, in a 162-game season with some day games tossed in, so that much I can handle. I hate even having to think about what I’m about to type, but I have never been anything less than honest here, so here goes nothing.
In this 2013 Seattle Mariners season, with some very few exceptions, this baseball team has been absolutely uninspiring. We have had what, seven catchers or something crazy at this point in the year? The roster changes its ranks more frequently than I change my mind about what to wear to go out on a Friday night. The bullpen seems fractured and broken. Even Felix Days don’t hold much anymore, since the offense is deader than the deadest horse one could beat with a stick, and our prize, our great treasure Felix Hernandez, has been charged with more losses than he deserves to be because our lineup can’t hit the wide side of a barn. We have had some good games, some amazing extra-inning craziness and the team has occasionally fought very hard only to lose by one run or a walk off or some other ridiculousness that leaves me wondering why I bothered to pay any attention. I stayed up for that 15-inning Boston game. i was at the park for another in extras, and my friend Daniel and I were steadfast in our devotion to sticking it out on a weekday when both of us had to get up early the next day. I still stay until the end when I’m there. I still have fun at the park. But not like I used to, not this year. The Mariners are getting more and more difficult to watch.
Something has to change.
I could do game recaps, sure. I could sit on the couch and go over the game like I used to. I could upload a bunch of pictures and talk about them…but I am simply not motivated to do so. If this organization doesn’t care about making the players that I love into a winning team, why should I care enough to write about it? I’m not getting paid; this site is a labor of love and $20 every year. It is quickly becoming a labor of $20 a year only. I hate thinking this, I hate saying it in public, and I really hate the amount of energy I spend wondering how and when things will change. Because they have to, they really do. My first season was, as many know, 2008. I also survived 2010. At least there was horribleness to write about; those Mariners teams knew how to fail spectacularly, and that was at least something that was worth writing about, even if the writing was merely done to acknowledge my drive to stick with a team that was so very very awful.
The Mariners would have to literally murder puppies to get me to stop being a Mariners fan; and so far that I know of, puppies are still safe. I’m still here, I’m going to be here next year, I’m still going to continue with my struggle to keep up this blog as best I can. I still love my jerseys and wear them when the occasion calls for it. But I’m going to say something I have never said before in any seriousness; I am actually looking forward to football and hockey season. Because what’s been happening in Seattle baseball is simply not acceptable, and I am glad that it is almost over. I’m finally frustrated and angry enough at this team. I know I’m late to the party, but better late than never, right? I just want the playoffs to happen so I can finally see some ball played by teams whose organizations care about making them great. I don’t believe that the Mariners office actively wants to lose games; but I am no longer convinced that they are capable of making that happen.
Taijuan Walker gets his first major league start tonight, which makes me feel like kind of an ass writing this in the face of the possibility of a ripple of change. I won’t be able to watch the game tonight, as I have promised to watch a Miami Hurricanes game with a friend. Yes, I am violating one of my own rules by getting involved in college football; but I need a bit of a break tonight, even with the Mariners’ future on the hill. I’ll keep track via Twitter and such, and I have a few more games left to attend in person this year, so I still plan to do that. I still love the Seattle Mariners. I just also love my sanity, and I need it back.
As for the Orioles’ acquisition of Michael Morse, it is my hope that he does well so perhaps I can maybe see him, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones next year in – yes indeedy – Baltimore. I am taking a trip to the east coast to go to Camden Yards and Citizens Bank Park to see an Orioles game and a Phillies game. I will be documenting that trip both here and on Twitter, and I will be flying by myself. This is a pretty big deal to me, so my documentation will hopefully be thorough. I have a lot of research to do.
For now, I finish my work day and meet my friend Jennifer to watch her alma mater after work. I hope the Mariners can give Taijuan Walker the support that he deserves, and I will be casually paying attention from the periphery, because that is all the desire I can muster lately.
I just want the Mariners to play better ball. I hope that is not too much to ask.
August 15, 2013Posted by on
I do have some photos and words about my recent trip to the Safeco Field suite level, but I need some time to go through them, and time is at a premium currently for me. I will have them up soon; it was a Felix game, it was a Sunday, it was quite nice. There were good and bad things about suite viewing. More later.
Today, I got notice that the Mariners are having yet another fireworks night, as part of a September-long fan appreciation month. I’m not going to lie, I’m super happy about it. Tom and I went to the last one, but he started not feeling well just around the time the game started, and it wasn’t a very fun night He kindly refused to leave even though I offered a few times because I know what it’s like to not feel well and be somewhere you don’t really want to be to begin with, so we stayed put. When your significant other isn’t feeling well, it’s hard to enjoy yourself. So we definitely need a do-over. The issue with the September 27th game, though, was that it was two days before the only day this year that my family’s schedules all are free, and we can get together for our yearly game. Through panicked emails earlier today, I managed to get everything set up right, and now our yearly game is happening on the 27th. This means I will not be attending the last game of the year, which has been a yearly tradition since I started getting into baseball. But this will have to do. I have to take my dad fishing that weekend as well, so it will be a busy one. I do hope the Mariners will understand and forgive me.
The Mariners have also added some more early gate openings for season ticket holders, and they are as follows: Friday August 23rd, Saturday September 7th, Wednesday September 25th, and Friday September 27th. I will only be able to make the one on the 25th, when I will be taking a friend who is from Kansas City to see the Royals. Just a word about these early opening games; I love them. I really do. I love the calm before the storm, just sitting in the stadium listening to music, having a cold drink, and hearing the crack of the bats from the cage, watching little kids and full grown adults alike scrambling for autographs at the wall, chatting with the ushers and other fans. It’s a very calming atmosphere to be in, and a wonderful way to sort of wind down, particularly after a work day. I hope this is a thing that is continued through next season. I am sure it makes things a little harried for the staff, but I mean to say that it is much appreciated by at least one fan here; and I don’t think I’m alone. More information can be found at this link. Take advantage of this stuff, folks. They didn’t used to do this not so long ago. I don’t know what other teams do, but for fan experience regardless of team performance, the Mariners really do make the ballpark a pleasant place to be. Nobody is making me say this; I say it because I honestly believe that they do their best to make up for the shortcomings on the field. If I can’t have a World Series, I can at least have a nice day watching a game I love and being involved in about five super solid hours of escapism. There is room for team improvement, clearly, but for now I will take what I can get.
The email also included the complete Hall of Fame ceremony for last Saturday when Ken Griffey Junior was inducted into the Mariners HoF. I have seen a few pictures from it, and I am sort of sad I missed out, but there was just no way scheduling-wise I could have made it down there. I am OK with missing the game itself. A 10-0 loss on such a wonderful occasion is kind of a bummer. If you were not there, you can watch the entire thing here. There is also a photo gallery located here, just for the heck of it. Seeing all those guys together again brings a bit of a tear to my eye, even if I was never there to see them. Knowing that the Mariners have such a great history makes me feel a little better in the worst moments of some of our seasons lately. It happened here once. It can and will happen again.
The Ms are currently playing Tampa Bay, and while I would love to do a game recap this evening, it’s not going to happen. I got home too late to start from the beginning, and it is muggy and hot outside and I just want to relax with a beer and shake off my busy day. I am going to try and milk the next month and a half for as much baseball as time and money will allow. I’ve gone to quite a few games this year, but I don’t feel like it’s been enough. It never seems like it is. Every year I go through this same thing.
And lastly, how about that Brad Miller, eh?
August 6, 2013Posted by on
Ah, baseball and steroids. No subject seems to stir up more controversy for fans, journalists, and anyone who has an opinion on baseball in general. I usually steer clear of such things. I have no control over it, it does no good to get angry at something you have no control over (I try to be as Zen as possibly about this), and steroids themselves have nothing to do with the rules and intricacies of the game I love in and of itself. The game of baseball was never planned to make room for the steroid debate; it’s just a game and like any game there are going to be players who try and bend or get around the rules. In baseball, of course, this has been going on for a long time. If it’s not holding onto runners belt loops to prevent them from advancing, it’s scuffing a ball. If it’s not scuffing a ball, it’s taking amphetamines to stay awake during the season’s rigorous schedule. If it’s not illegal drugs, it’s a deke or a balk, or something that blurs the lines to the rules and gives a player or a team an advantage.
All I know about Alex Rodriguez’s time in Seattle, I know from hearsay. I wasn’t a baseball fan when he was here, I have none of the same scars a lot of Seattle fans have from his abrupt departure to the Rangers before he went to New York. He still gets booed in Seattle, people still curse his name online, in person, and over the wall at games. Seattle fans are called “bitter” and ”jealous”. We’re told we need to get over Rodriguez’s leaving, the fact that he always said that it was never about the money, the fact that frankly, we’re not the only ones who hate him. And it’s become very fashionable to hate Alex Rodriguez.
But you know what? The guy makes it easy.
Yesterday, Tom and I took the kayaks to Rattlesnake Lake to do some paddling and get a little reprieve from a very hot sunny Monday. On the way there and back, we were inundated on KOMO and ESPN with whole sound clips and bumper snippets from a press conference both live and recorded, with Rodriguez boo-hooing his way through questions asked to him, pretending he didn’t hear parts of questions, redirecting his answers to deflect from actually having to be honest about things, all classic methods used by anyone caught doing something very wrong in a very public manner. I’m not going to lie, we both made fun of him, mercilessly. Some of the things he was saying and the way he was saying them were just so bombastically ridiculous we didn’t have much of a choice (some of it can be found here in this article). I found myself involuntarily rolling my eyes while stuck in traffic on the way home. I yelled at the radio as I was driving, a few times so loud that I realized I might be making Tom a little uncomfortable because I sounded so angry. I did manage to clip it back a few notches, but to say I was steamed is putting it mildly.
I have decided that I am pretty much done with steroids, PEDs, or whatever the new buzzwod is for the substances players put in their bodies in an attempt to increase their ability to perform. It just needs to stop. It’s maddening to me, what they have done to this game. The fact that I am suspicious of anyone and everyone who plays well now, of any player that has a certain body type. And I can’t be the only one (as a friend of mine recently said at a game, “You can’t spell “Pedroia” without P-E-D!”). It’s frustrating that baseball has nobody to blame but itself, and the too-little-too-late actions of Bud Selig in suspending ARod for 211 games (while still allowing him to play, which only further proves they’re not all that serious about it, appeals or not) is not going to make this problem go away. It’s also irritating to me that, while a lot of players are angry about Ryan Braun’s lies in regards to his own PED use, not nearly enough of them are coming out to speak against this situation. I wonder if they all realize how bad this makes the entirety of baseball look to the rest of the US sporting world. Baseball is already a joke to a lot of other sports fans because it’s “boring” and has no set time limit. Knowing that there are possibly countless players using drugs to improve on what looks like a pretty hit-or-miss (pardon the pun) skill to an outside observer just adds fuel to the notions that the game is not worth getting into (and spare me the “everybody does it in other sports too” line – two wrongs don’t make a right, and I’m not talking about other sports).
The thing about PEDs is not necessarily the usage itself, though these guys are doing possibly irreparable damage to their bodies with it. It’s the attitude towards the outside world that the usage seems to foster that is disgusting to me. Rodriguez’s attitude seems to be that he is untouchable. News that he basically pulled a Lance Armstrong with intimidation and attempted destruction of evidence only further proves that he was doing something he knew well and good to be wrong, but he probably figured he’d never get caught, or that he’d get yet another swat on the butt and pat on the head for his troubles. I have no sympathy for the man or his fans; he’s been caught doing it before, and was given the proverbial slap on the wrist. There has been speculation for years that he’s continued doing it, and people seem genuinely surprised that he finally got caught in such a major way. If your punishments are so trivial when someone gets caught doing something wrong or “against the rules” when you finally decide to pay attention to the problem, don’t expect them to stop when all you do is waggle your finger at them and say “No!”. Major League Baseball is responsible for this whole thing as much as Rodriguez and the Yankees themselves. And nobody should be surprised about this. Nobody.
So what do we do about this, one might wonder? It wouldn’t be right for me to complain without presenting a solution, would it? Well, I have one. MLB must have a zero-tolerance policy on PEDs, unless those medications are medically necessary and prescribed by a team doctor (as is the case with, say, cortisone shots for inflammation). It needs to be a one-and-done situation. This may annoy people and it may seem excessive, but it isn’t like everyone – everyone – isn’t aware of the fact that this is a rule-breaking situation. There must be a strict and strictly-updated list of banned substances to keep abreast of new medications that come out on the market, and if a player is caught with that in their system, they need to go find another job. If you get caught using performance enhancers, it needs to mean the end of your career, period. That is the only way to clean up this game. Everything else is just lip service, smoke screens put up so that MLB doesn’t actually have to deal with the real problem at hand; that they have never put their foot down on what they will and won’t accept as methods of cheating the game, and have allowed players to bend the rules with a lot of gray area.
Alex Rodriguez, at the age of 38, is getting suspending through the 2014 season. By the time he is allowed to get back on MLB grass, he will be 40 years old, and may be facing obsolecense, as newer players have the opportunity to come up and fill the ranks. MLB won’t give him a lifetime ban presumably because they want the Yankees to be forced to deal with his contract, thereby punishing them a little too for not cleaning up their house. He was booed in Chicago last night before he even stepped up to the plate; and will be booed again if he ever comes back after his suspension. I may have to deal with the fact that my only reward for this as a fan will come in 2015, if he attempts to play baseball again, and his skills will surely have declined considerably by then. I can accept that, if MLB can accept that a lot of us are going to continue to be extremely skeptical of the product we’re paying for; though I’m sure that they don’t really care about that, so long as we’re paying, right?
As for me and my relationship with baseball, I appreciate the fact that Jesus Montero did not bother to try and appeal his suspension, regardless of the evidence against him. It definitely makes me wonder how much of our brilliant “find” in the trade that brought him here was actually powered by hypodermic needles and secrecy, but he’s not really my problem. His performance took a nose dive this year anyway, so perhaps that suspension will make room for farm players that really and truly want to play a clean game. Maybe we’ll go through all of this again next year or the year after that…only baseball can solve this quandary. In the meantime, I am not going to overspend on this game like in previous years. It is not lost on me that we have other players (like Michael Morse) who have also been caught or suspended at various points in their careers. I have been viewing those players with a suspicious eye as well. I hate that I have to do that, but I do have to do that. Once suspicion and proof is cast, it’s there, like it or not. Maybe someday it will be different. I wish it was different now. I would love to some day be able to watch the game with no asterisks or footnotes hovering over players heads. That is likely asking a lot, but it’s my blog and a girl can dream.
So clean it up, jerks.
August 2, 2013Posted by on
Just some quick bits while I am at work…
I have been trying to figure out today how I feel about our sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. I rarely have high hopes going against the Sox; they have been a good team for as long as I’ve been a fan, and even when they’re a bad team, they’re still good against the Mariners. Last night’s game gave me a little glimmer of hope, with Henry Blanco’s grand slam (which I just barely caught after getting back home from the store) that we might not get the daylights beaten out of us this series, but clearly our bullpen had other ideas. The Sox are amazing this year, there is no doubt about that. I guess the only consolation I can take away from this, for what it’s worth, is that we fought pretty hard, all things considered. Extra innings, close final scores, hits hits hits….not enough, but indicative of a team that is clawing as hard as they possibly can. It’s a small consolation, but it is one I will gladly take. We’re on our 11 billionth catcher this season, for the love of kittens! We have certainly not been without our own issues.
Have been vaguely keeping track of the situation with Eric Wedge and his mini-stroke and general health. Glad they caught it in time, and hope his healthcare providers can figure out a way to either diminish the risk of it happening again, or stop it completely. Maybe no more massive omelettes and bacon from the clubhouse chef for a while? Just sayin’. I like you, Mr Wedge. Please stay healthy! I’m glad that he was well enough to come in a few days ago and say hello to everyone, check in and just give them a thumbs up in general on his condition. Now if we can get Jeff Datz back and in good health. Fingers crossed for everyone’s swift recovery.
Jason Bay’s DFA on Tuesday was not much of a surprise. I feel bad for the guy, but they haven’t been using him much lately, and clearly he’s not doing all that well. I wouldn’t hold my breath that he’ll get picked up, but you never know. I still find myself shocked by the guys that land on their feet in other cities, or that teams will want a guy that is generally considered to be on the way out. Not that that is the case with Bay, but clearly he has been faltering over the last month. A good career in triple A is nothing to be ashamed of, and the Rainiers are now 4 games back of the Salt Lake Bees, so maybe Bay can help them out a little if he winds up accepting an assignment.
My time is running out to write, but I just want to express a general sense of happiness that the Ms have not traded, accepted, or otherwise dealt anyone before the trade deadline. I am hoping that this means a lockdown on a few players at the end of the season. Players like oh, say, Kyle Seager. I don’t know everyone’s contracts off the top of my head (this is nothing new, of course), but I would definitely like to keep Michael Saunders, Nick Franklin, and Hisashi Iwakuma riiiight here in the Emerald City. For a while, if possible.
This was an awful post, but the Ms battle the Baltimore Orioles tonight (and I may have news regarding the Orioles and me within the next few months, but it’s only in the planning stages right now, so I’m not hedging my bets just yet), so maybe I’ll have something more worthwhile to write about soon. Have a good Friday, everyone!
July 17, 2013Posted by on
I don’t know why I feel compelled to write anything during the All Star break, but here we are.
Every year I plan not to watch the Home Run Derby, and every year I watch it. I’m not sure why; I know the whole thing is just done for fun and to sell commercial time (probably far more the latter than the former). I know that it’s not much of a contest (technically speaking), having guys hit soft toss balls over the wall*, and I know that every year I will be “treated” to Chris Berman doing this for two hours straight, but for some reason I just can’t stop myself. I don’t know if it’s the laid-back atmosphere, or watching the little kids run around in the outfield, or watching players kids, all wide-eyed on the backstop warning track while the contest is going on, or just seeing how far a ball will go when hit by a player who can, in fact, hit. But every year I make a decision not to watch, and every year, I find myself somewhere in front of a TV. I may have to grudgingly accept that I am a Home Run Derby fan. Yoenis Cespedes won. I was hoping for Chris Davis to win (yay, Orioles!), but by and large I don’t really care who hits the most; it’s just kind of a low-pressure baseball-related thing to watch during dinner, and enables me to be in bed at a decent time without missing anything.
Not so much a fan of the All Star Game. Since I started following baseball, I have watched maybe three or four years of the ASG. If memory serves, last year I did it on accident; I was at a pub with Tom and it was on TV, and we stayed until it was over. This year, I watched until Felix pitched, and then switched over to a movie (a movie called The Bay, produced by Barry Levinson, that made me wish I had just watched the remainder of the ASG). I think the ASG is more fun with friends; but unfortunately for me, the only friend of mine who wanted to watch it was unable to get away from work in time, and I was too tired to really pay attention to baseball, so this year was a wash. Felix pitched alright, allowing a hit to Carlos Beltran to break up what was starting to be a no-hitter in the 4th inning. As it was, the American League shut out the National League, giving a team I will likely have no interest in watching in October the home field advantage in the World Series. At least the managers were able to put Mariano Rivera into last night’s game to complete the shutout. It’s probably not that significant to anyone other than Yankees fans, but really, I am all for that guy doing as much as possible before he retires.
I went to two games last week; one Red Sox (we lost miserably), and the other Angels, a delightful 6-0 contest in the Mariners’ favor on a Felix start. Saturday was an early gates night, and I found myself being given a Dustin Ackley garden gnome (?!?) and a small gift bag containing a t-shirt, some certificates for that-day-only discounted food and drink, and a little bag of beef jerky. The gnome will be going to a place where it will be loved, the beef jerky was already dispatched while I was watching batting practice. I hate to say it, but I feel like I am getting way too many free clothes from the Mariners this year. I love them, but I am running out of hangers (I have a sports-specific closet in our spare room where jerseys, t-shirts, and scarves are kept). It’s getting a little absurd. This is not a complaint, I just realized that by the end of this season, I may be able to open my own store.
While at the Angels game on Saturday, game play was halted temporarily so we could see a bit of the 8th inning of the Giants game in which Tim Lincecum was dealing on 100-some pitches to a stymied San Diego Padres team. Our game resumed in Seattle to the sounds of field-wide protest, then after the half inning was over, the screen turned back to the final few outs of the 9th inning, and when all was said and done, Lincecum had thrown 148 total pitches (just typing that makes my shoulder hurt), and the Padres had not managed to hit any of them. I am happy for Lincecum, I’m just surprised that it took him so long to get himself into the log books with a no-hitter. But good for him. I don’t have the same kind of regrets that a lot of Mariners fans have over the fact that we did not manage to procure him in Seattle; that was literally just as I was getting into the game, when Bill Bavasi opted for Brandon Morrow instead. But I have liked him for no other reason than that he is an oddity and an excellent pitcher. I think that’s reason enough.
At this point in the season I would imagine that a lot of fans are probably wondering whether or not the Mariners are buyers or sellers before July 31st. I would hope they are not sellers, but I don’t know that we need to be buyers either. Being 11-ish (depending on how the wind blows this weekend) games out of first place is probably not going to get us to even second place by the end of the season. Especially behind Oakland and the Rangers this year, I am not holding my breath for a sudden burst of crazy success. But the Ms have been better recently. And if you haven’t been paying attention or won’t take my word for it, I have backup! Really, I just like to link to backup; but unless you truly haven’t been paying attention, the Mariners – like Dave says – have been pretty fun to watch lately. I don’t go to games thinking I already know the outcome. Hearing the names of guys coming up to the plate no longer strikes fear into my heart. I don’t take a whole lot of photos lately, but I do enjoy going to games a little more now; it was starting to sort of become routine for a bit there in May and the beginning of June. So what do we do?
Scott over at Lookout Landing has suggested that Brendan Ryan be a trade chip this month. I am on limited time at the moment to write this, but I would prefer they didn’t. I totally agree with Scott, that the world really does need to see Ryan play, and his presence on the Mariners has not done him any favors in gaining him the fame that is rightfully his for his defense. But it seems clear to me that the Ms are improving this year and might actually be doing really well in 2014 if we don’t make any dumb decisions now. Not to say that I expect Ryan to remain on the roster next season; I don’t. But as a fan, I would rather have Ryan’s defense for the remainder of 2013, than a so-so prospect who will likely be traded to some other team in some other low-level deal; and I really can’t stand the thought of him going to New York; enough with that, already. I can deal with Ryan in the 9-spot for years to come, if it means no balls hit up the middle to left. Also, yes; get Kyle Seager to stay here forever. After Adrian Beltre had to go away, I thought I’d never feel comfortable again with our third base slot. Seager is not Beltre, but he’s also not bad. At all. I’d like him to stay here as long as possible. .293/.359/.488? Yes, please!
I’m sure I have more, but am running against a work deadline and have to get back to it. Will enjoy getting back to the rest of the season, and keeping my fingers crossed that Brendan Ryan hangs out here for a while longer.
*Unless your name is Bryce Harper and your dad is apparently trying to win a roster spot somewhere by throwing strikes you don’t hit.
June 29, 2013Posted by on
Alternately, How Michael Bay Took Over Safeco Field.
Last night at Safeco, I had at least one moment when I was reminded exactly how much I love baseball. Granted, that moment picked a time to come to me while I was witnessing what looked like really glittery stadium destruction, but it was a moment I haven’t had in a while, and was a culmination of my evening as a whole – irritating drunks in left field and everything.
Yesterday was hot. It started out pleasantly enough with a cool early morning walk to the bus stop and a nice day spent in an air conditioned office, but it ended with humidity, sweat, and a blister on the inside of my left foot. Still, very much worth it. When I walked out of my office yesterday, it was like getting hit in the face with a microwave; but there was a breeze, and there were friends and baseball waiting. So I had a nice chat with my mom as I walked the mile or so to Safeco from where I work.
I met my friends Ethel and Gray outside The Pen entrance, and once inside the stadium, went straight for a Caesar salad (I really can’t recommend this enough on a hot day) and one of those big 44oz or whatever plastic cups of soda. It was really the cup and the caffeine I was after. Also, the ice. Drinking soda isn’t any logical way to hydrate oneself, but it’s a really cool cup. I waited for my food and then took it to Edgar’s lower, where the guy checking ID gave me a bit of hassle about the blonde on my driver’s license vs the pink that I currently have in my hair, and we nabbed a table and socialized a bit while the Chicago Cubs took the field for batting practice. Multiple balls were hit into the visitor’s bullpen and into the bar. One of those was hit right over our heads, landed on the net, and when it slid off, into Gray’s taller-than-everyone-else hand:
He was congratulated by those who had lost their opportunity, when suddenly who should walk up and introduce herself to me but the lovely Lisa of Compass Rosy fame! She and her friend whose name I have sadly forgotten were enjoying margaritas that looked amazing (I am currently not drinking alcohol in an attempt to boost weight loss, so I am abstaining), and we chatted for a bit about baseball stuff, like you do. She is a total sweetie, and I was glad to get some time to talk to her that didn’t involve Twitter. Oh- and Mike McCready from Pearl Jam played the National Anthem again.
After our other friends Matt and Nicole arrived, we all split up and went to our seats. When Matt and I got up to section 182 there were of course people all over who should not have been there and were in various states of sobriety. A few totally sober folks enjoying the game, and a group of college students who were apparently in a race to see who could pass out the fastest from beer. The rest of our group joined us after the first inning had started, and we and the Mariners were off!
This one didn’t start out well for the guys. Hisashi Iwakuma was lukewarm, giving up a bunch of runs and leading the score to a sad and familiar 4-1 by the top of the 7th, including two home runs from the Cubbies that were a little depressing. But that changed in a way that was just about unbelievable if you were there. Last night was, in fact, the kind of game that every baseball fan loves being at. And maybe that was why I was so vividly reminded during the fireworks show of why I love this game.
Brad MIller’s first major league at-bat. He got an absolutely rousing welcome to the stadium; I don’t know that I have ever heard a rookie get a response like that before he’s even done anything. Unfortunately, Miller went 0-3, but he was clearly nervous, as he hacked at anything thrown at him on the first pitch. Miller has a nice, even, loooong swing, but his first hit was a short-ish liner to right fielder Nate Schierholtz. More power, more pitch selection, less going for it. Hopefully he’ll get there with major league pitching sooner rather than later. He was doing well enough in Tacoma to be called up, it’d be nice to see that translate here.
It was around the 5th inning that I went downstairs to grab some tacos (and water!) from Edgar’s upper, and also around this same time I learned that a human being is not supposed to consume two of those massive cups of soda. Technically this was something I was already aware of, but sometimes you re-learn things without meaning to. I wasn’t feeling too hot. The tacos helped a little, but I was feeling a little sluggish, so I decided after seeing signs on the walls in the entrances to the left field bleachers urging everyone to do so, that I would take it upon myself to move our group to the 300 level before everyone else did. I met the others down on the main concourse, where it was announced that Matt and Nicole would have to leave due to having child care to get back to. I sent them packing on a tiny guilt trip about missing the fireworks, but parents have to do what they have to do, so we parted ways. Gray went out to smoke, and Ethel wanted to finish her beer, so while they did that, I hopped on an elevator for higher climes. It was around the 7th by the time all of this was decided anyway, and the Cubbies had gotten their four runs, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to “leave” the game for a bit to find fireworks seats. At that point, I figured that this would be just another Mariners game, losing to the most lovable of losers. But no…
I ran to get a soon-closing elevator, much to the surprise of the people who were already on it. I am sure it is not often anyone sees a goth running, let alone jumping into an elevator at the last minute at a baseball game. I verified that the third level was what I needed, too, and the elevator guy took us upstairs. When I got up there, the Mariners were batting again. And Jason Bay had a base! Via walking!
I had to move several times because I wasn’t entirely sure where the fireworks show would start, but once I got the seats we wound up sitting in, this was happening on the top of the Seahawks garage across the way:
The bottom of the 8th of course is when the magic started to happen. With a Cubs pitching change at the beginning of the inning, and a Nick Franklin double and subsequent Kendrys Morales double to score Franklin for our third run of the game, more excitement was building. When Raul Ibanez stepped up to the plate, the crowd was saying “UUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!” before PA announcer Tom Hutyler even got the chance to start his announcement of Ibanez’s name. I’m sure the expression on my face made me look like I had just gotten a Christmas present – and I kind of did, because Raul Ibanez hit a freaking triple to left field! The game was tied! Did we actually have a chance of winning a comebacker and then watching things explode?! This was way too good to be true.
Iwakuma was taken out of the game in the 9th in favor of Oliver Perez, who has a 0.94 ERA or something ridiculous like that. Perez proved to be too much for the Cubbies to handle. Alfonso Soriano and Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging. Ryan Sweeney struck out looking. And then extras!
Yoervis Medina came into the 10th inning to polish off three batters with the help of his defense, even while allowing a single to Dioner Navarro. Then, the bottom of the 10th. I wanted nothing more at this point that simply to go home and take a shower; I was sticking to myself, my clothes felt heavy even though they were super loose and wavy, and my foot hurt from a blister because I had opted not to wear socks because I knew it would be warm. So I really wanted this one to be it.
And it was.
Cubs reliever Blake Parker gave walks to both Michael Saunders and Raul Ibanez. He was asked to leave, possibly even being told to go sit in a corner and think about what he had just done…
Parker was replaced by Shawn Camp. Camp allowed Jason Bay a sacrifice bunt to move runners forward, and then Camp and his catcher decided to walk Justin Smoak to get to Mike Zunino. Smoak’s BA is better than Zunino’s, but Zunino has been known to make contact with a few baseballs; I felt that this was a poor decision on Chicago’s part, but then this happened, so who am I to argue?
And that was all she wrote. The atmosphere in the place was phenomenal when this happene, made even more palpable by the fact that everyone was sticking around for fireworks; it wasn’t a cheer-and-leave situation. People chatted with each other, everyone was smiling, it was so much fun. I am hoping that this post communicates that for anyone who was not there. Ethel and Gray had by this point joined me (that is Gray yelling expletives at the Cubs on the video) and we nestled in for the fireworks show.
It is at this point that I confess that I attempted to capture the entire thing on video, but it has become apparent to me that I need a larger memory card. So I can only rely on the ineffectiveness of the English language (and my sad command of it) to properly explain what a brilliant job this was on the organization’s part.
The whole thing started out with some light banks going out, and the big screen lighting up with fireworks graphics while gradually-swelling music played in the background. This went on for about two minutes or so while flashbulbs popped off in a darkened stadium. At the apex of this, it was announced that we would be seeing some “more memorable fireworks” or something to that effect, by way of audio clips and on-screen stills of some of the bigger home runs in the team’s history. Dave Niehaus’s voice could be heard on almost all of them. The crowd cheered for all of them with varying levels of noise depending on the popularity in history of the play, and then with the last featured homer, everything went up. You’re about to be bombarded with photos and video clips.
They only played the first verse or so of the song, but this was all that happened during that time, just a soft beautiful shower of sparks flying down from the sign while the song faded out to Dave yelling “Swung on and belted! Deep to right field! My Oh My!” during the bridge. If it had gone on for longer, I won’t lie; I would have cried a little.
That faded out into “Centerfield”, and more timed and attempted-timed explosions everywhere.
And with that, one of the best baseball games I have ever been to was done. What a night!
Today of course is Turn Back the Clock Night. It is just a bit after noon, and I need to drop into work for a smidge today, so I need to stop writing now, but I strongly urge anyone who was not there last night to go to the next Fireworks Night on August 9th. With a debatable ability to have a winning season, and a certainty that we are not going to the playoffs this year, one must find a bit of joy where one can. I declare the first Fireworks Night a rousing success for the team and fans alike. Now, I shall don cotton clothing, and spend my day drinking far more water than Nature intended. Cheers!
June 28, 2013Posted by on
I am taking a bit of a longer lunch today because I am an adult and I can. Also because I can’t get into Safeco later until my friend shows up to the will-call office, so there really isn’t any point in leaving work early today…
I have wanted to write lately, but I have been putting it off due to a camera issue: that is, I cannot find my camera cord to transfer all the pictures I have taken over the past few games I’ve been to; and without the pictures, writing feels kind of pointless. I thought I would be able to find it this week after my Aquasox adventure last Sunday, but I haven’t been home a lot the past few days due to games and other out-of-the-house things, so I am still without a way to post photos just yet. Will work more on that later, maybe a few photo-only posts just to get stuff out there.
But, last Sunday was good fun. It was my first glimpse of newbie DJ Peterson, and Justin Seager, both of whom have a lot of hype to live up to. And you know, both of them were pretty good. The opposition over the weekend series were the Hillsboro Hops. That’s Hillsboro, Oregon. I guess after the departure of the Beavers from Portland in favor of the MLS Timbers FC, Hillsboro built a stadium, and the Yakima Bears were moved southwest. They are a Diamondbacks affiliate.
The Hops’ pitching stymied the Sox until the fifth inning, when Everett loaded up the bases, and DJ Peteson stepped to the plate. With an amazing swing of the bat, Peterson sent a pitch up over the wall to bring everyone home, and erase the 5-0 score that we had been dealing with that far. There was a bench clearing in the 6th inning after Sox runner Jamodrick McGruder ran into the Hops’ catcher at the plate, resulting in a brief pile of both men; the catcher Yosbel Gutierrez puff-chested his way into getting everyone to come into what looked like it was going to be quite a fray; but no punches were thrown, and after the managers for both teams aired their grievances nose-to-nose, everyone went back to their posts as he inning was finished after this last out.
The game itself was won with a walkoff single courtesy of Justin Seager, and we all jumped up and cheered as the rain started to fall much harder than it had been all game long. There are certainly worse ways to spend a vaguely-gray and humid Sunday.
This particular game, though, is made far more significant to me by it being my first in-person kitty-on-the-field sighting! In the third inning, a cat attempted to make its way along the right field fences to places unknown. It was eventually corraled by the outfielders and a coach and released on the proper side of the fence for cats, but not before giving their right fielder a bit of a battle. All said and done, kitty was wrapped up in a warmup jacket and set free, much to the “oooh”s nd “awwww”s of the crowd present. I’ve got audio of Pat Dillon’s call on 1380AM during the ordeal, and video footage of the incident can be found here. I was absolutely delighted at both the win and the cat; I love firsts!
I was at this last Tuesday’ game against the Pirates with Daniel Carroll, my partner in crime on the Mariner Basho Twitter account. What we lack in haiku as of late, we made up for in cracking jokes at the actual game. He is one of my favorite people to see a game with, particularly if the game is going poorly; a laugh is definitely needed during those times. We did the early-in thing for season ticket holders and watched the Mariners take BP, chatted with various people, and hung out in The Pen until just before game time. Watching the Pirates take BP, we noticed an increased amount of baseballs finding their way over pretty much every wall in Safeco. I had hoped it was due to the soft-pitching they might have been getting from coaches, and surely, surely against Joe Saunders, the hits would be far less frequent….right? Clearly not. The game was a vast disappointment and honestly the only thing that saved it for me was the company and beer. The Pirates swept us, of course, our bats being quiet once again for Felix Hernandez and the King’s Court during the afternoon game on Wednesday. I am not saying anything new by publicly agonizing over the fact that we have this wonderful pitcher, this guy who has chosen to stay here rather than go anywhere else, and the organization has not produced an offensive line worthy of that dedication to this city. I am tiring of “there’s always next year”; and I’m not even expecting a World Series; I just want a winning season, at this point. But we are 12 games back near the All Star Break. I guess at .430, a .500 season isn’t absolutely impossible, but getting there is becoming painful.
Tonight and tomorrow, I will be at Safeco watching the Ms take on the Chicago Cubs. Tonight is fireworks night, the first one at the park. I am curious as to how they’re going to pull this off, given what I perceive as a lack of space and the general odd concept of having a fireworks show in a stadium in a metropolitain area. We don’t have water to put a barge in like for 4th of July and NYE. Should be entertaining. Tomorrow, if it’s not too humid out, I plan to get spruced up in some of my best 1920s-inspired clothes and take in Turn Back the Clock Night from the comfort of the Terrace Club. Tom is out of town at a music festival, so I decided to take myself out on an expensive date. If it’s too hot out, I will likely toss on a t-shirt or something a little less complicated, but I am hoping for a nice evening out on my own, and am looking forward to what the Ms come up with, turning the clock back to the early 1900s. My favorite so far was the 1938 one they did a few years back. So much fun!
See you at the park!
Tonight I am going to be going to
June 16, 2013Posted by on
Alrighty. It’s been a while. The stories and whatnot are piling up in my inbox, so it’s time for one big post with a few words on a lot of things. I haven’t had time to delve into a lot of what’s going on in Mariners territory. It seems like every time I feel like I will have a scrap of a moment to sit down and write, something comes up and I get pulled out of the moment. I don’t like writer’s block, but I’m dealing with it as I can.
- -The Nick Franklin call-up. Since being called up, Franklin has seen 68 Plate appearances. In that time, he has managed a .300/.382/.500. That gives him an OPS of .882. I am so not going to complain about this. I know it is early and there is still the majority of the season to go, but I have been really impressed with Franklin so far. His defense isn’t bad either, based on what I’ve seen (while I am still working on the defensive stats, I’m not working very hard, so I’ve only got what I’ve seen to go on). I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I am happy about the strong start in the majors. I really hope he pans out; we’re about due for some nice things to happen to Seattle baseball. I got to see Franklin’s first homer, but only just barely after napping on the couch immediately after dinner the other day. Thankful I woke up in time.
- -Mike Zunino was also brought up recently, of course, and has had only 8 plate appearances, so I really don’t know how to deal with that, and I know I shouldn’t worry or anything now. He’s got a 1.089 OPS or something ridiculous like that. In his 208 PA with Tacoma, he had a more reasonable Triple A OPS of .806 which is encouraging, but I would be more comfortable if/when that is sustained over a far longer period of time. I have no idea how he is at catching, but I really don’t want to have to put his name on the list with Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement. I am very frustrated with our situation at catcher. It seems like once I get used to someone, they’re gone. It was nice knowing you, Kelly Shoppach. I missed Zunino’s homer last night, while at a friend’s birthday party practicing drunk archery.
- -Aaron Harang pitched a complete game against Houston at Safeco last week. That’s pretty much all I want or need to say about that.
- -The Arizona Diamondbacks will be starting the 2014 season in Sydney, Australia. They will be playing the Dodgers. I will absolutely, totally, 100%, without a doubt be getting up (or staying up, depending) to watch this. Nobody needs that information, but I’m very excited about it, so I’m posting it here.
- -The Mariners first round draft pick DJ Peterson will be joining the Everett Aquasox this year. The Sox have already started their season off with the yearly exhibition game, and then in Spokane. Regrettably, I will not be able to be up there for Opening Day tomorrow night at Everett Memorial, but maybe if things go right for me, I can make it up there next Sunday for their home game against the Hillsboro Hops, whose mascot appears to be an aggressive yet friendly beer ingredient. I miss minor league games. I haven’t been to a single Rainiers game this year yet, and I only managed to make it to one Everett game last year. Just no opportunities for me to drive that far either way. I want to go to at least a few Everett games, given that I have a friend I can stay with there now, and my roller derby buddy Jeri skates at Comcast; hoping I can get a roller derby/baseball double header weekend in at some point this year.
- -I’m concerned about Tom Wilhelmsen, guys. I just am. And don’t click this link unless you want to be super sad. I hate seeing players I really like agonize over their failures. It just bums me out. His ERA has skyrocketed to 14.85 over the last 8 times he’s seen the hill, from 0.41. ERA is a flawed stat, of course, but I cannot imagine his FIP is any better over that same period of time. The positive is that on the season this far, his FIP is still only 3.17. So here’s hoping he can reverse his skid before things take a turn for the awful. We’re not winning any prizes this year, but when all you’re asking for is a winning season (and that is all I’m asking for, currently), having your only closer option collapse on you is horribly depressing.
- -Henry Blanco. I got nothin’. He apparently hit a grand slam yesterday (which of course I also missed), and he’s Kelly Shoppach’s replacement at nearly 42 years of age. He comes to us via the Toronto Blue Jays. I have no personal experience watching Blanco play, really, that sticks out to me for other teams, so I’m at a loss. I am guessing he will likely be going away at the end of this season, so I won’t get too attached. He’s a baseball player in a Mariners uniform, and for that I will give him the only thing I really have to offer any player, supportive clapping and maybe the occasional kind written word.
- -Two words; Hishashi. Iwakuma.
That is pretty much all I have at the moment. I do have some pictures to share, but will take care of that later (hopefully some time this week). For now, I’m going to spend some time watching the rest of this game with Oakland before I get the kayaks on the car to go out paddling with a friend later this afternoon. At 2-0 in the second inning, here’s hoping the M’s keep themselves afloat against Bartolo Colon. I am having a similar reaction to Marc W’s. I cannot believe that Colon has been an effective pitcher lately, let alone allowed to continue on a major league team after a period of running away from his baseball responsibilities. If I just didn’t show up to my job, I’d get fired. But athletes don’t live in our world, I guess. Whatever the case, he’s not doing so hot against us at the beginning of this game. Hit him hard, boys…
June 11, 2013Posted by on
From ye olde email inbox, just now. Sorry for the lazy formatting:
The Everett AquaSox announced their roster for the 2013 season on Tuesday, June 11th. Nine players are returning from the 2012 AquaSox, including three pitchers, two catchers, an infielder, and three outfielders. Jamodrick McGruder, a ninth-round selection from Texas Tech University by the Mariners in the 2012 draft, headlines the group of returning AquaSox. McGruder played in 65 games last season, batting .237 with 39 walks and 20 RBI. McGruder demonstrated his speed on the basepaths, swiping a Northwest League-leading 30 stolen bases, and showed strong plate discipline, striking out just 37 times all season. Also returning to Everett this season is left handed pitcher Steven Ewing, a 20th-round pick by Seattle in the 2012 draft out of the University of Miami. Ewing made 14 appearances in 2012 and went 4-2 with a 4.53 ERA in 59.2 innings. He struck out 42 batters while walking 33. Other 2012 AquaSox returning to Everett include outfielders Alfredo Morales, James Zamarripa, and Michael Faulkner, catchers Carlton Tanabe and Christian Carmichael, and right handed pitchers Mark Bordonaro and Jose Valdivia. The 2013 AquaSox roster is geographically diverse, with players signed internationally from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Taiwan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. The 2013 AquaSox also feature local connections in pitchers Aaron Brooks and Luke Taylor. Brooks, a right handed pitcher taken by the Mariners in the 26th round of the 2012 draft out of Edmonds Community College, is from Mountlake Terrace. Taylor, also a right handed pitcher, was a ninth-round pick by Seattle in the 2010 draft out of Woodinville High School. Both players join Everett from the Peoria Mariners of the Arizona League. Tyler Olson will make his professional debut in Everett this season after being selected in the 7th round (207th overall) by the Mariners. Olson, a left handed pitcher from Gonzaga University, was selected in the 17th round of the 2012 draft by the Oakland Athletics, but returned to Gonzaga for his senior season. In 2013, Olson was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year after going 9-4 with a 2.38 ERA for the Bulldogs.Everett manager Rob Mummau returns for his second season after leading the AquaSox to a 46-30 record in 2012. Rich Dorman also returns as pitching coach. Rafael Santo Domingo joins the AquaSox as the hitting coach after serving as a coach for the Pulaski Mariners in 2012. Head athletic trainer Spyder Webb returns to the Mariners Northwest League affiliate for the 35th consecutive season. He has been with the AquaSox since 1995. The AquaSox play an exhibition contest against the Everett Merchants on Wednesday, June 12th before opening the 2013 season on the road against the Spokane Indians on Friday, June 14th. The AquaSox play their home opener Monday, June 17th, kicking off an eight game homestand against the Tri-City Dust Devils and the Hillsboro Hops. Tickets are available by phone at 425-258-3673 or online at http://www.aquasox.com.
May 23, 2013Posted by on
Things are just not looking good. I was planning on settling down and writing some game recap posts during our two-game implosion in Los Angeles, but…it was a two-game implosion, what else is there really to say? I suffered through both of them, even though I really didn’t want to, especially as both games had the Angels up by like five runs within the first two innings. I couldn’t feel any worse for Aaron Harang or Brandon Maurer if I tried; they got pelted fair and square, and helped seal our fate at 6.5 games out of first place. I haven’t found a whole lot of love for Harange just yet, but I had hoped for big things from Maurer since he made the team out of spring. His 2-6 record makes me cry giant mental tears. Seems like all I have left to do here is deal with June and see if he turns around after the All-Star Break, because as we all “know”, that is something that is supposed to happen. I’m still pulling for both of them, though, because that is what I do.
It looks like Jesus Montero may very well be sent down to Tacoma in exchange for another guy named Jesus. This is one of those can’t-really-lose moves that could pan out well or could totally tank. It seems like there was a point in time where I had more faith in the Triple A guys, but I think my inability to absorb the same amount of news and information I had time for when I wasn’t working is hampering my ability to really know for sure what this move might mean for the Mariners. Obviously, Mike Zunino isn’t ready, but hopefully he’ll make an appearance up here in September. Jesus Sucre’s .253 average and 42.4% throwing out of basestealers is a positive sign. Maybe not so much the BA, but I’m willing to give a catcher a chance. Kelly Shoppach and his .229 average (pulls hair out) can’t handle this all by himself.
It doesn’t seem to me, however, like Montero should be the sole flower picked out of the garden for the team’s recent failures. Now that AL pitchers can see that pitching inside to Mike Morse is a great idea, Morse’s number might be up for the rest of the year. His strikeout rate already sits at 24.6%, and his OPS so far this year is already below where it was for all of 2012 with the Nationals. He still gets on base a fair amount of the time at .310, but (and this is without having looked at it for a while), I am fairly sure his hitting and walk rates have gone down at least a little bit. In general, without being able to compare numbers from April to now as I write this, it seems his overall performance has declined a smidge since the year started, just watching. I’m not giving up hope, I just wish he’d stop swinging and stuff that is low and inside. Ground outs are no fun, especially for a guy we all know can smack the cover off the ball when given the chance. I’m not saying to bench him or anything; more just thinking “aloud” about what I’ve noticed lately.
So with a 6-game losing streak and heading into a three-game series against the frightening Texas Rangers, what else should we do? Dave has some suggestions here, and there really isn’t much we can do. Tacoma hitters aren’t ready, and technically speaking, he’s right about Harang; we simply don’t have the personnel to really do much that would improve the situation greatly at the moment. I would rather chew my own arm off than watch Hector Noesi, but I may not have a choice, so I guess I’ll make myself comfortable and get started. It’ll be a lot more difficult to take pictures and type, but it’ll be the right thing to do.
Going to enjoy another night off before Joe Saunders goes up (again? It feels like we just saw this guy) against Justin Grimm who, for Mariners purposes, has a name that makes great headlines and Twitter jokes. I have seen at least one person refer to Saunders as “Safeco Joe”, but he’s got a better record and ERA/FIP than Aaron Harang, so I’ll take what I can get, as always. Speaking of FIP, it is interesting to me that while Harang has an ERA of over 8, his FIP sits at 5.54. Harang may not be great, but the guys backing him up are not cutting it either. So like Dave says, Harang may not be the worst idea to keep that the Ms have ever had…not this year, at least.
May 20, 2013Posted by on
Ugh, ugh, ugh. What is there to possibly say about this series in Cleveland? How frustrating. The home runs from Justin Smoak, Endy Chavez, and Brendan Ryan plus Ryan’s increased hitting over the past few games are great, but they are eclipsed by getting swept in a four-game series in a city we just don’t seem to do well in at all. The team as a whole has been hitting decently; during the Cleveland series, 10-7, 9-13, 4-9, and 12-11. All in all, the double digits are definitely encouraging. But the past four days have been sort of a comedy of errors, as the Mariners have found some really interesting ways to lose. When Tom Wilhelmsen came in today with a one-run lead, I thought we had a shot at avoiding the broom, but no. A botched tag at first on Wilhelmsen’s part, and some handy hitting from the Indians both served to be our undoing. We simply don’t seem to know what to do with runners in scoring position; the offense is there, but not when it counts.
My schedule the past few days has made it nigh impossible for me to watch games; in fact, this morning’s was the only one I have been able to watch in the series. The AL Central is still kind of ‘blah’ to me as far as being able to get excited about the games against those teams. I have a healthy respect for the Tigers, but that’s about it. As of today, though, all those teams present a valid threat to us, and Cleveland, with their 26-17 record, is definitely to watch out for, especially on their home grass. Yuck. It’s a hard team that takes out both Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. What a mess.
But now we head back to the comforts of the West Coast and the fourth place .386 Anaheim Angels before getting a home Felix start next Saturday against the first place Texas Rangers. Hopefully we can stop our skid a little bit and continue the climb back to second place on the backs of more familiar pitching.
May 5, 2013Posted by on
I had debated doing a game recap post today, but am so very glad I decided against it. Today’s game was not pretty. I can totally get behind the taking of the series, and the 15-18, .455 record is pretty spiffy as things are so far, but when Joe Saunders collapses, he really collapses. Love him at home, not so much abroad. This is the third series in a row the Mariners have won, and now they go to Pittsburgh for a two game series and a little interleague play.
As April is now officially over, I think I’m getting a little more comfortable with what the Mariners are doing. Things looked pretty bleak there for a while, but the guys seem to be settling in a little harder and playing better baseball. We have offense now, which is awkward for me to witness; the last time things were going this well was 2009, and that didn’t really pick up until the last month and a half or so. It’s disorienting and yet very exciting to watch one of our guys step to the plate and not be 100% convinced that it will end in strike/fly/ground out or something worse. I’m not convinced that we’re World Series bound, and at 5.5 games out of first place and it still being pretty early in the year, I don’t even know if we have a shot at any sort of title, but right now I am not completely embarrassed about being a Mariners fan. Not that I ever truly was, but it has been a little difficult to defend myself over the past few years. I’d love for Mariners fans to be able to stop living in 1995 or 2001, and fully embrace the team again within this decade. I’m still a wee bit gunshy, but the idea of the Mariners and what they’re doing is becoming more and more appealing with every game, win or lose. There are actually 14 other teams doing worse than we are; that’s got to count for something, right?
I wanted to make sure and watch the Mariners All Access show to see Jen Mueller’s conversation in English with Kendrys Morales. I don’t know much about Morales or his career. He has up until now been a dangerous Angel. I had completely forgotten about his broken leg during a home plate celebration a few years ago. I was kind of bummed out about that when it happened, especially since it was such a weirdly dumb way to wind up on the DL. Watching the clip, there was no way anyone could have stopped it or known what was going to happen when he entered the fray. Poor guy. In any event, he’s ours now, and I will gladly take his .259/.352/.393 line, his .289 BABIP, and his .2 WAR.
There is no real point to any of this. It’s a beautiful day out in Seattle, I’m going to be out in it pretty soon here, I get to go watch a friend play some ball with his league later this evening on the Hill, and I’m happy to be a Mariners fan. Looking forward to catching the game on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. I don’t think i have ever properly seen PNC Park. From what I remember of two visits there, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, and it looks like PNC is right on the water. Gorgeous. Time to go mow the lawn. Happy first sunny weekend in Seattle, everyone!
May 2, 2013Posted by on
Last night saw the Mariners winning their second series of the year, and playing very well against 2012 second place Baltimore. If Adam Jones had been feeling a little more up to par yesterday, maybe we would not have had victory – or at least not as much of a victory – but he wasn’t, and Aaron Harang pitched well at home (as he is apparently wont to do), and the Mariners bats were wide awake and hungry for hits. We won 8-3 at the game I originally had tickets for; I chose to exchange those tickets for Tuesday’s 7-2 loss for a Brendan Ryan shirt. I’m glad for the shirt, but I would have had far more fun at last night’s game.
Last night was also significant in that Jesus Montero hit his first-ever career triple. This was thanks in part to Adam Jones, who tried to make the catch but failed miserably, crashing into the center field wall in the process. Montero was, I think, a little amazed at himself, and visibly very happy about his accomplishment. I tweeted to vote him ROOT Sports player of the game, because we will probably never see anything like that ever again. I could have also voted Harang POG, because he pitched a nice clean 6 innings with only 4 hits and 2 runs (the only two the Orioles managed to get), but Montero’s massive grin was just too good to pass up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him move that fast. ‘Twas glorious.
Monday night I was not able to watch the entire game, but I watched just enough to know that the Mariners were probably going to win. Things looked good, but I was tired and had to go to the game on Tuesday, so I opted for sleep. Apparently at some point in the game that I must have missed, third base coach Jeff Datz made a call that was questionable and cost us a run (as is my understanding catching up on Twitter the next day at work). Around the same time I read those tweets, news came in of Datz having a closed door meeting and announcing that he has recently been diagnosed with cancer. This news really puts the error in perspective. I can’t imagine what pressure it must be to be in that position doing something you love and knowing that you are sick and have to leave your job for a period of time, possibly putting the team in a little bit of jeopardy because you know them and the replacement guy won’t as well. Cancer is kind of a big deal to me because I have lost two very good friends to it; so I wish nothing but the best for Datz and his family. Good luck to you, sir, and hopefully we’ll see you back in uniform soon.
I am really looking forward to the next three games, and am very thankful that they are on east coast time. Felix goes up against the Jays and Ricky Romero tomorrow night, then Hisashi Iwakuma and RA Dickey duke it out on Saturday early in the morning. I took Saturday off for an event Friday night, so I will probably have to still set an alarm for this game (but better an alarm that goes off around 9.30 than 5!) Joe Saunders and Brandon Morrow start on Sunday. Per the current standings, both teams are fairly evenly matched. Also per the current standings, the Seattle Mariners are in third place. That’s a new one. I kind of like it. If the Mariners decide to win the AL West this year, my promise of a tattoo still stands. Can they make that happen? Guess we’ll see.
More good Mariners news; the Rainiers are tearing things up down in Tacoma. If you are so inclined, the Rainiers are doing a $25 ticket package for all three games this weekend. This includes fireworks night, and Throwback Night, and a free hat. More details here. I am only mentioning this because it’s an amazing deal to see Mariners Junior, and I’m annoyed that my weekend is already so busy I cannot take advantage of it myself. I’m not a fan of hats, but I do love going to Cheney Stadium. Also they do Craft Beer Thursdays there now? Who knew?