Mariners Commercials Are Here!

And you can find all four of them and a blooper reel at this link here, which I have to post because my job still uses IE 10 as a browser and will not allow me to hyperlink for some reason: http://mlb.mlb.com/sea/fan_forum/commercials/?partnerId=ed-11189079-975363333

In any event, I think the clear winners are Bat Flip and Felix Day, with nods to Kyle Seager for the treadmill line in Nelson Cruz’s workout commerical and Mike Zunino for handing out a balloon to an A’s player for striking out. Your mileage may vary, of course. It’s great that what started out as a blogger wish to fans from Lookout Landing has turned into a marketable slogan for the team, and has become a widespread greeting now for anyone who loves the Mariners on any day Felix pitches. Perhaps the good folks in marketing should look into a way to purchase some rights for “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” and work that in somehow. Commercials, a King’s Court shirt (or other, non-yellow apparel), something on the PA system at some point on days that Felix starts…just a thought.

Because I may not get another chance to write this week, just a reminder that there is still a Spring Training viewing planned for this Saturday at 1pm, at Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle. Details for anyone who might not have already seen it here (again, no hyperlink): https://section331.com/2017/02/07/spring-training-viewing-gathering/  The more the merrier, and seating should be plentiful at that hour. I will be arriving a bit early to secure the same spot in front of the TVs that we had last year.

In non-Mariners news, and just because I haven’t discussed it recently, planet tickets to Chicago have been purchased, as well as Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers tickets. Stadium previews will be forthcoming as soon as I have time to do some research. I’ll be headed to two Cubs games at Wrigley Field, one at Miller Park, and at least one game at what is now being called Guaranteed Rate Field which has to be one of the worst corporate ballpark names in the history of the game; not that US Cellular was any better (or Safeco, for that matter, place should be called Griffey Park or something if you ask me). You would think that a team as rife with history as the Chicago White Sox could do a bit better than that, but I am one of those people who isn’t terrifically fond of the ridiculous lengths corporations will go to in order to cram themselves down all of our throats. But let’s not walk down that particular road at the moment…my point is, I’M GOING TO CHICAGO! And I’m going to Cubs games the year after the Cubs made baseball history. Can’t wait!

Other than that, minor league cuts have already started to shape the roster, the photo windows on the west side of Safeco are being replaced maybe even as I write this, and I have my left field tickets in hand for the home opener on April 10th, a friend to go with, and time requested to ditch work early. Only 26 more days!

 

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Meaningless Post About Meaningless Baseball

Lineup today against the Oakland A’s:

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I was able to catch four out of the five games streamed on the ESPN app this week at work, and while I love listening to the sounds of the stadium and the crack of the bat over the radio, there is nothing quite like being able to watch it unfold in front of you. Today was that day.

An interview with Felix recorded sometime prior to the game featured a pretty confident and calmly fired up pitcher talking about the chip on his shoulder and feeling like he had to prove himself after a 2016 spending so much time on the DL. Regardless, he still allowed two runs in the top of the first inning courtesy of Oakland’s Ryan Healy and Mark Canha. In the bottom of that inning, Leonys Martin and Guillermo Heredia both caught outs before Kyle Seager managed to plate himself with a left field single. Daniel Vogelbach took four pitches before a swinging strike sent him back to the dugout. Felix had better luck in the second inning, though a pickoff attempt went awry at the glove of Vogelbach; but Vogelbach had the chance to redeem himself for the final out of the inning, with the help of Mike Freeman, who took a dive and tossed the ball to first.

Boog Powell gave the Mariners an advantage in the bottom of the second, hitting a nice stand up triple off the back wall of the field that the A’s fielders just couldn’t get a hand on. Shawn O’Malley took one for the team to plate Powell with an out at first. Minor leaguer James Ramsey showed some plate patience and managed a walk to first with two out, but Leonys Martin hopped out to second on the first pitch, probably thinking he had more of a handle on it than he did, and that was the end of that.

Felix’s third was super swift and easy; two strikeouts and a flyout. The second swinging strikeout was at Stephen Vogt, a fastball right at the outside corner that Vogt tried desperately to get some wood on. While the broadcasters talked more about Felix and the camera showed him in the dugout joking around with his teammates and watching the game, Guillermo Heredia chopped one out to left field for a double with no outs. A’s starter Jharel Cotton had been replaced with Daniel Coulombe, and I guess Heredia just liked what was being flung at him. While Vogelbach took a couple of pitches, Heredia stole third. Vogelbach slapped one to center so hard it bounced off the wall and landed him at second. Vogelbach is a big dude, but he can apparently rake and run, giving us our own sort of tiny Prince Fielder. I don’t know that I’d trust him to steal, but I also feel like we may see some surprises out of him this year. The Cubs got Mike Montgomery (and Montgomery got the chance to help win the World Series, which was just fantastic and must have been great for him), but I am liking our end of the deal more and more lately. Vogelbach’s hit gave Heredia home, and provided a tied game, but then Mariners catcher Carlos Ruiz sent Vogelbach home and put us ahead by one.

RH Evan Scribner took over for Felix in the fourth and took down his batters almost before I had the chance to sit back down again (I have been trying to do some chores between innings). Chase DeJong (pronounced “dee-yung”), a very recent acquisition from the Dodgers (they got some prospects from us in exchange) took over for Scribner in the 5th, after a scoreless bottom 4 from the Mariners. DeJong allowed a run while I was briefly out of the room, and then another one to give the A’s the upper hand, via a grounder that went right between Mike Freeman’s feet and into shallow right behind him. Heredia caught the final out of that inning in right. DeJong’s 6th was better, no runs were allowed.

More chores, some tea, and clipping all three cats’ claws later, and it was the top of the 8th inning, the A’s were up by two, and Thyago Vieira  was pitching for the Mariners. I haven’t had the time to read up on this guy, but from what I am hearing via Twitter and the occasional bit of news article I’m able to read (sometimes people bring papers in to work), Vieira is quite the firecracker, throwing around 100+. I remember when Edwin Diaz did that last year and we were all a-flutter about it. It’s funny to me, we see guys throwing mid-90s all the time, and that is a pretty normal speed for fastballs; but ratchet that up a few MPH, and it makes all the difference, so long as the control is there too. I’m not sure the control was quite there today, as Vieira loaded up the bases with two outs and seemed to struggle in the windy conditions there in Peoria today. He got A’s Franklin Barreto to strike out swinging and therefore got himself out of the jam, which is great, but it would have been nice to not allow any men on at all, of course. There is always more work to be done, always room for improvement.

DJ Peterson did what DJ Peterson seems to do in the bottom of the 8th, and took new arm AJ Puk yard against the wind. I am really hoping Peterson makes good progress this year. Puk walked Rayder Ascanio, who was behind Tuffy Gosewich at second. Everett Aquaso(ck) Donnie Walton, and this is the point in the game where we’re getting to guys I haven’t really heard of due a severe lack of knowledged of our farm system. Walton struck out, a 5’10” swing against a 6’7″ pitch (AJ Puk is very tall). James Ramsey took a hack to short for a force out at second, and that was the end of that. Casey Fien pitched a clean 9th, and the Mariners batting lineup of Braden Bishop, Eric Filia and Joe DeCarlo (what is happening?!) Bishop slapped out a single against pitcher Ben Bracewell. Filia flew out to center field, and DeCarlo popped up to shallow right, but the A’s fielder who put the glove on it couldn’t keep the glove on it, and two men were on. DJ Peterson struck out, which put Tuffy Gosewich on to get nearly-beaned by the A’s before being called out on strikes by the ump, even though Gosewich clearly thought he had the walk. Gosewich got called out and that was the game, 5-4 Oakland.

A lot of people don’t get excited about spring training games because they don’t count towards the regular season, and some fans just feel like why bother investing themselves in “meaningless” baseball. And I get it, I do; you want to save that energy for Opening Day, you have things to do on the weekends that don’t involve watching 3-4 innings of our guys and the bulk of the game played by prospects. I understand. But I didn’t spend the last few months of wind and cold and rain in this ridiculous wonderful city to NOT watch these games when I can. It may be meaningless baseball, but it means something to me; and I’ll be back on the couch this Wednesday at 6 when they do it again against the Cleveland Indians.

Also, reminder, we are still on for the 18th over here at Beveridge Place for Mariners v Giants! The more the merrier!

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Wuv, Twoooo (Mariners) Wuv…

Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria today, it’s a cool but sunny morning in our fair city of Seattle, and it’s Valentine’s Day! Looking forward to getting the first strains of news from camp, and envious of all of those who get to go to Spring Training this year. Send some of that sunshine up here, won’t you?
Have a great day, everyone!

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Spring Training Viewing Gathering!

So I posted this at Lookout Landing over here, but in case you don’t feel like clicking:

It’s that time again! Mariners Spring Training viewing party at Beveridge Place in West Seattle, 1pm. The Mariners are playing the Giants down in Arizona, the pub opens at noon, food is around the immediate neighborhood for delivery, and the beer and wine there are top notch!

Beveridge Place is located at 6413 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136, with many a large TV for watching purposes. There will be no Sounders conflicts, and while March Madness will be ongoing, this was not an issue last year, when we did the game at the same time.

So join however many of us there are, and take in a game!

Sorry, 21+. If I was more brave, I’d offer to host at my house; but our living room is sort of small and if the weather isn’t great, it kind of sucks to pack everyone in.

I’ll be arriving around noon when they open because I am pathologically early to everything, and arranging a large comfy table in the second room for anyone who cares to show up. I am looking forward to the 15-some games that ROOT will be broadcasting this year, even if I won’t be able to watch too many due to being at work. Their schedule is not yet posted at the Mariners MLB site, but I located it online. Join us, won’t you?

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Better Late Than Never Mariners FanFest Post!

I have been battling a cold or a flu or something that I am probably going to head to Urgent Care for after work today, so I haven’t been able to get this up as fast as I’d like to, but I did  go to Fan Fest on Saturday. Wanted to go back Sunday, but got to hang out at home flat on my back watching TV all day as I’d lost my voice from the day before.

I got up early and met Daniel and his mother at Safeco Field around 9, while battling a bit of a sciatica flareup that has since disappeared, for the most part (thankfully; I am not a fan of using a cane). For season ticketholders, they have an early entry and a bit of a continental-style breakfast upstairs with some croissants, donuts and muffins, bananas, and all the coffee, water, and juice you can drink. We had a sit at one of the tables, chatted about our personal itineraries for the day (mine is usually to walk around the main concourse and then settle in for Dugout Dialogue), talked to other fans, and took it all in. screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-4-07-15-am

After we’d had enough of everything upstairs, we wandered around the 100 deck, checking out the Mariners Care merchandise (I wound up getting a signed Casper Wells ball later on in the day) and game-used gear, and generally enjoying the lack of crowds before the main event at 11AM. I took a moment to snap the view from around section 130 or so…

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I don’t remember if they’ve had this in previous years, but there was a case with a whole bunch of bobbleheads in it. Not all of them, but it looked like some of the more “special occasion” types from anniversaries or milestones during the team’s history.

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I never got a Moose bobble; they seem to have been issued before my time by a few years. Now that I look at that case again, maybe it is all of them?

We stolled around to the King’s Court section, voted on the three shirt choices available (for total transparency, I chose the one that is made up to look like a playing card with Felix on it), and then I sat with Daniel’s mom in the outfield while Daniel went up to the roof control room. We watched the tee batters out in center field, and the zip line getting started up out there as well.

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After that we came back around to the Mariners dugout area over section 123, and said hi to Pat Dillon, vocie of the Aquasox, at their booth on the walkway there, before parting ways (them for the downstairs and inside areas where the clubhouse is open and Mariners trivia is usually played, me for the main stands), and I went to watch some baseball players talk about baseball. First up were Mitch Haniger and Leonys Martin with Aaron Goldsmith:

IMG_0716.JPGI didn’t take any notes, but I don’t remember the questions from the crowd being anything super unknown about either of these players. Martin commented on the temperature difference between here and home. Haniger has some fans here already, one of whom had followed him since his early minor league days with Arizona. We also got to see some Martin highlights from last year on the big screen.

img_0717Pitching prospect for double A Jackson and last year’s winner of the Jamie Moyer Pitcher of the Year Award Andrew Moore was up next to talk about his place in the organization. Admittedly, I was horrible about following up with our minor leaguers last year, and had not heard much about him; due to my inability to actually go anywhere to watch games, I have the tendency to sort of lose a lot of guys between Everett and Tacoma, and double A is where a lot of players get weeded out. Moore is from my home state so I hope he does well. If he’s winning awards, maybe he has a shot; he is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training from what I’m told, so it will be fun to see how he does.

EDIT; the bit above this was written early morning Wednesday, and then WordPress refused to publish, and I lost the remainder of the original article. So here are some more photos and I’m just putting the rest of this out there to make sure it gets out. My apologies for the rush job. 

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I really wanted to see Jean Segura and Jarrod Dyson, both of whom I am looking forward to seeing play. They are both very slight men, smaller in stature for baseball players than one might normally see, but that seems to have worked out in both players’ favor, as they combined last year for a total of 63 stolen bases (for comparison, Ichiro took 40 on his own in his 2011 year, so not too shabby for two guys not named Ichiro). Consensus seems to be that even though “everyone” “fights” for their jobs at Spring Training, these two are going to be on the Opening Day roster. I can hardly wait!

So after watching Segura and Dyson talk to the crowd, Su and I went to Edgar’s to grab some much-needed lunch and some adult beverages, and were summoned to the Dave Niehaus statue by some members of Mariners Twitter! This was the result:

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It was then decided that we should all go and recreate The Double over by the Team Store because there were certainly enough of us to do so, and so this happened:

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I am doing the only thing my back could handle at the time, and even that kind of hurt, but I was honored to participate.

Su and I went down to do a bit of shopping after our group parted ways, and I wound up with this little Dae-Ho Lego! At less than $5, it was totally worth it; and I’m not even a Lego person.

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It is currently sitting on my desk at work, next to my Felix Hernandez and Hello Kitty Lego. Everyone needs cool desk tzotchkes.

Su and I went back to the Dugout Dialogue to catch the rest of the talks. I would post photos of that, but regrettably I only brought my phone, and we were sitting farther away, so my photos of Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais did not come out well. On our way over we briefly said hello to Shannon Drayer, and on our way out, we dropped by Mariners Care and I picked up a signed Casper Wells baseball for charity. It’s sitting next to my Garrett Olson ball in the living room, one of those this will never be valuable, but I love it anyway sorts of things.

I had a great time, just like every year. It was a nice distraction from the events of the world, and I was glad to see so many people. I would have gone Sunday, but I had completely lost my voice by that time, and felt pretty rough – wound up staying home from work on Monday, even; don’t get this cold or flu or whatever it is, it is some brutal stuff.

Now, we wait for pitchers and catchers to report, and see when Root Sports NW is going to broadcast the 16 games I hear they’re planning on doing this year. This year more than ever we need baseball ; its been a long cold winter here in Seattle, and I am so ready for hot summer days and warm summer nights, sitting in, again this year thanks to Daniel, section 331.

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The Mariners Retire Edgar’s Number

Yesterday when it was announced that there would be a press conference today at 2.30PM with President of Marketing Kevin Martinez and Mariners DH-and-hitting-coach extraordinaire Edgar Martintez, rumors swirled. What would it be? A hitting coach contract extension? Was Edgar coming out of retirement? Would there be new tacos at the Cantina this year? Turns out that the majority of the guesses were actually right, and the Mariners have decided to retire Martinez’s number 11 this August.

I was not able to watch it unfold live due to a very heavy workload today, but I heard that it was a surprise to Edgar, who had this to say about the idea. I thought for sure that the Mariners might wait until next year, when (hopefully) he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame (finally!), but this is the year instead; and I already have tickets for it via Daniel‘s ticket plan, so that works out pretty well for me. I spent over an hour on the phone last year, and spent over $120 on tickets to Griffey’s retirement ceremony, so I am grateful that I won’t have to do that this year.

Obviously, just coming into this about 9-ish years ago, I didn’t really live through the Edgar times. There are others who have pithier things to say about this than I do. I am fully aware of the impact that Edgar has made on the city of Seattle though, and support this decision wholeheartedly, Hall of Fame be damned. Edgar Martinez has made amazing contributions to the Mariners, and to the game of baseball; and he still continues to make contributions to the team, what with the hitting coach position and whatnot. A lot of people thought that might have been a goodwill move, or something to spark fan interest in a team that has been pretty lackluster over the years. But as it turns out, it was a stroke of brilliance on the management’s part, and last year the Ms were as cohesive as they’ve ever been. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do this year with players like Jean Segura and Jarrod Dyson.

Just writing in this space has me jacked up for FanFest this Saturday. Daniel and I will hopefully be attending the season ticket holder earlybird version before the gates open to the public. I say hopefully because last year didn’t go so well for me; between a meetup SNAFU and me underestimating the number of people that would be there and how early, I made it to the last 10-15 minutes of the Terrace Club breakfast party, before we were herded back down to the main concourse with everyone else. I am looking forward to my literal cup of coffee Saturday morning, and picking up maybe a new jacket or hoodie from the team store with a Christmas gift card I received last month. All of this is so exciting!

Well done Edgar and see you all at FanFest this weekend!

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I Miss You, Mariners Baseball & Friends

I know things have been super quiet around here. I want to try and rectify that this year, I feel like I could use the distraction. The middle of January is coming up soon. As of today, we are 34 days from pitchers and catchers reporting, and only 16 more days and a few hours worth of change to Saturday’s Mariners FanFest. Player, manager, and other guest  announcements have not yet been made, but I am looking forward to getting back into the park, nonetheless. It’s always a nice little taste of summer, usually in the very, very cold.

Lookout Landing had a little post-holiday party last Friday that I was not able to go to, but seeing the party aftermath photos made me realize how much I miss baseball around this time of year, and all of the trappings that come with it. I have changed my game viewing habits a lot since 9 seasons ago (man, has it been that long??); I don’t watch every game; maybe 50-70% of them I watch now or am actually at. I follow along more on Twitter than on the game threads at LL (though I do want to get back to LL, since I have more followers on the Twitter now and doubt very highly that all of them want to be forcibly involved in my exclamations during a daily 9 innings), and I no longer have the time to follow trades and personnel as closely as I used to be able to (having a job where high attention to detail must be paid will do that for a person – when I started out, I was in school and had a lot of time during my day to catch up on news).

More than that, I miss all of you, even those of you I don’t know well. Current events and a slow offseason have kept us all in a different grind the past few months, and after the World Series was over, everyone seems to have gotten involved in world happenings and our own personal lives. It has been both entertaining and horrifying, and I am looking forward to getting back to “normal” over the next few months. I miss the game emotion both online and in person, and I miss seeing all your faces around the ballpark. I miss The Pen. I miss getting to the game early and standing around downstairs and just breathing in the salty air and having my vision full of green grass and green seats and blue sky. I miss the smell of kettle and popcorn, of hot dogs, of pizza and burgers and garlic fries. I miss the way the smoke shoots up from the grill above the Kidd Valley on the north side of the stadium while I’m waiting in line on the sidewalk below to get in. I miss interacting with the Mariners Twitter account about baseball things that matter. I miss taking pictures of the game while I’m there. I miss high-fiving strangers, and poking fun at fans of the day’s opposition. I miss the King’s Court, Felix starts, and Edwin Diaz closures. I miss Funk Blast. I miss seeing all the employees in their teal jackets, letting people know where they’re ticketed. I miss Tom Huytler’s voice announcing Robinson Cano at the plate. I miss the staff at the Hit It Here. I miss watching an outfielder leg it to the wall. I miss Kyle Seager’s grin. I miss looking out over the stadium and seeing the Space Needle, the Great Wheel, and the downtown area of the city. I miss that first sip of a good cold Manny’s Ale on a hot July day. I miss waiting in line for that Manny’s. I miss the buzz of the HVAC system by Edgar’s when you first walk in, and watching my fellow fans compete with each other for batting practice dingers that make it over the net there. I miss “All Right Now” at the end of a game. I even miss the slow shuffle out of the stadium and then navigating the traffic home from SoDo.

So as I sit in this office with our work systems down (as they have been for over four hours now since I got in), I look outside at the cold sky and construction going on across the street, and I think of simpler times. Of better times, when I can just toss a dress on and walk out the door, without having to layer myself awkwardly in everything I own before leaving the house. And I look forward to the moments when we will all be able to see each other again, have that beer, high five each other and our unknown seatmates, and watch the beautiful game of baseball. Not too long, now. Hang on, summer is coming…

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