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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Mariners Start Thanksgiving Early

Yesterday it was announced that the Mariners made a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks; the first for the new Arizona GM Mike Hazen. We sent them Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker, and they sent us Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, and Zac Curtis. I had been out running errands so the house looks presentable for our guests today, and had just started a major overhaul of the living room when I took a break and checked Twitter and saw the news.

My initial reaction was that kind of sinking feeling one gets when you lose your keys and are late for work. I genuinely liked both players and losing especially Walker is a little frustrating, I thought maybe 2017 would be the year he finally nailed it down. And it might be, he’ll just do it in Arizona. I enjoyed (maybe too much of) the hype surrounding Walker. He and his family seemed to like it here, and I felt like he was a good personality to have on the team. He is certainly projected to do much better next year, so perhaps he’ll provide my fourth team with some needed oomph on the mound. Marte was so-so, delivering moments of fun, and it would have been nice to see him go further here since he’s still so young, but it seems like Jerry Dipoto has a plan, and last year’s plan worked out pretty well for us, so I’m going to go with the plan.

After spending some time moving furniture and ripping up flooring, I took another break and found this article by Dave Cameron via Twitter. Dave is right, Segura is the guy I’m focusing on, because of his .319 average, and his .368/.499/.867 line this season. Guy’s also only 26 years old, and already comes with a nickname; Jean the Hitting Machine. Getting a shortstop who knows how to handle a bat is not such a terrible thing, not for a team who could use just a little more power at the plate.

The other two I’m holding out judgement on. They’ll still be rookies through 2017, so who knows how much we’ll see them. I need to make this short because we need to get started making dinner and expecting company, so I don’t currently have the time to research what either Haniger or Curtis might have done, but again, I’m trusting The Plan. I think Arizona fans will enjoy our guys, and I hope to be enjoying theirs in a few months.

In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving however you choose to spend today, and stay safe out there, everyone.

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When my coworkers suddenly talk baseball

It’s always strange to me when people I know outside of the relationships I’ve built with Mariners fans talk to me about baseball. You know, people you see every day but never catch wearing a team cap or t-shirt or anything like that. Baseball is boring, or so popular culture will lead you to believe. It’s too slow, there’s not enough excitement, the NFL is superior, whatever the argument is, baseball is just sort of there, existing. This World Series, though, certainly turned everyone into a Cubs fan, and I had a number of people ask me what I thought about the Series as I walked past them in the hallway or got on the elevator or was in the middle of something else. Of course the thing for me, though, is there’s not enough time in one of those interactions to really get into it. I have nuanced thoughts that cannot be contained in a conversation as short as a tweet.

 

At the start of the playoffs, I didn’t have much care about who made it this year. I didn’t have favorites so much as I felt like I had teams to root against. I wanted the Rangers’ one-run luck to become apparent. I wanted the Blue Jays out to spite the fans of Western Canada that fill the seats at Safeco. I couldn’t root Cleveland because the Mariners should have an intense rivalry with them after 1995 and 2001, but somehow don’t. Not that the Indians were really desirable anyway due to the Corey Kluber Cy Young and Chief Wahoo’s continued existence. Baltimore? I didn’t really have a strong feeling about them but I could probably work myself into some annoyance if I think long enough about the Erik Bedard trade. Lastly on the A.L. side, while I didn’t want the Red Sox to win the World Series, I didn’t think that Red Sox fans would become appreciably worse if they did win it, so that made them maybe the “best of five evils.”

 

On the National League side, I wanted the Nationals to lose so it didn’t leave the Mariners as the only team to never make the World Series. The Giants have had an embarrassment of World Series riches over the last several years and may be getting too big for their britches, though I like their radio broadcast team. The Dodgers’ payroll surpassed the Yankees this year, and that’s never a thing I feel good about rooting for. I can’t say I have strong feelings about the Mets, so I suppose they would have been fine except they lost the opener to the Giants. The Cubs, well, I have a family affinity for the Cubs and I always liked Ryne Sandberg as a kid, but I’ve long predicted that the moment the Cubs take the Series, fans will come pouring out of the woodwork like Red Sox fans did in 2005, and I don’t care to be associated with that. Even aside from that, there are serious Aroldis Chapman problems there that just haven’t been addressed to my liking.

 

Was I rooting for the Cubs in the World Series? Yeah, I was, and probably the best part of that story for me is the retirees who are just getting to enjoy a Cubs championship for the first time. But did I feel 100% good about it? Not with Chapman on the mound, and not with Cubs fans showing up in Cleveland for Game 7 like they were Blue Jays fans coming down out of Canada for their series with the Mariners. I like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant and especially Ben Zobrist, who drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th, but I don’t think I can quite get over supporting a team that features a known domestic abuser.

 

I should take that back because I’m in deep enough with the Mariners that I would do it anyway, but I hope that the Mariners never test me (again) on that, and I hope that the players on the M’s current roster treat people with the respect they deserve.

 

Could I have rooted for Cleveland? I suppose. Their team was fun. Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp are entertaining players. Francisco Lindor is great, Kluber is not a pitcher who is undeserving of awards (even if I want Felix Hernandez to win all of the awards for all of time), and Terry Francona was willing to push the envelope on bullpen usage, using Andrew Miller in ways that may advance the play of baseball for the future. Aside from that, not winning the World Series since the ‘40s is still compelling and I have a few friends who are Cleveland fans and I could root in their interests. Ultimately, though, the biggest strike I had with them is the continued use of Chief Wahoo as a logo and some of their fans’ use of that logo as an excuse to paint their faces red like the caricature. They really need to clean that up.

 

In a way, it seemed to me that the Cubs were the team of choice for most everyone who pays only passing attention to baseball, and that Cleveland was the team of choice for people who are contrarian by nature. Given that, I guess I fit better into the “Go Cubs” camp, if only because contrarians tend to be smart but maybe want to show it off too much for my liking.

 

In any event, we got to witness one hell of a Game 7 in Cleveland last night. It was a beautiful season finale, and maybe baseball will be better for it; maybe the Mariners can pick up a few more fans for 2017.

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