This is the point every offseason where I vaguely start to wonder if the time, energy and thought I invest in the game of baseball is all worth it. The SuperBowl is next weekend, signifying the near start of Spring Training, and FanFest is this weekend, a horrible teaser for the Real Thing, but the hours start to drag, and even with Mariners Mondays, I feel like baseball will never, ever come back to me. I even stop posting its picture on telephone poles in the neighborhood, getting to the point of hopelessness. As much as I enjoy watching the old games on FSN, nothing quite matches up to a game where you don’t already know the outcome. But I try to be focused. Baseball may yet still be found by the police in an abandoned warehouse on the wrong side of town – I have to stay strong. Now, bullets!
- It is by now old news that Ben Sheets signed with the Oakland A’s. They must have been pretty happy about it, as they got him all press-conferenced up as soon as possible the other day, rather than waiting. This signing alone apparently makes the A’s more of a threat than initially thought, so this year’s AL West might be a little more of a nailbiter than it was even last year. I’m not taking any AL West teams for granted, we’re all going to be at each other’s throats. Even with the departure of some of their AL West-winning guys, the Angels are like cobras and must be treated with respect. I think we definitely have made upgrades of course, but I am not as ready as some to call the win this year. If the Mariners could do me the honor of making me a liar, I’d greatly appreciate it.
- Miguel Cairo signed with the Cinncinati Reds. It’s a minor league contract, but good for him for being able to extend his career. I liked Cairo. He wasn’t great, but he was at least reasonably competent defensively from what I saw, and always seemed like he was having a good time, regardless of all the issues that year. My last memory of him in an Ms uniform involved him tossing baseballs to little kids in the front row during one of the last games of 2008, and there are fewer things I find more endearing about players than taking the time out for the kids. Being awesome in the dirt is always great, but recognition of the little guys – literally – is just a nice additional quality for an athlete to have.
- Johnny Damon’s name has been brought up in Mariners talk a few times over the last few days, which I find both alienating and oddly compelling. I keep having to remind myself that we do in fact have some long-term deals with good guys, and that bringing Damon in for a year might not be such a bad idea. It seems to be taking a little longer than I thought it would, me getting used to the transitory nature of the game. To me, Damon will always be a Yankee, despite his residence on several other teams (for multiple years, even!) – but the Yankees allegedly don’t seem to see it that way, so why not be a Mariner for a year, Johnny? We have a nice field, excellent restaurants, and nice sea air; you could do worse. Things have been too quiet for too long, we need another pre-ST surprise.
- The Orioles have designated Dennis Sarfate for assignment to clean house for Miguel Tejada’s presence, removing yet another name I was familiar with from their roster. Technically, there is no reason for me to like Baltimore; George Sherrill is gone, Chad Bradford is gone, Luke Scott’s playing time will be reduced, Erik Bedard will likely be gone from Seattle, severing yet another connection…yet I still cling to this weird fascination I have with the Birds. I don’t know what my deal is, either. Baseball is funny like that. There was brief talk over Twitter last night about bringing Sarfate here, but it was quickly shot down. I guess Sarfate has some difficulty with that whole strike-throwing thing.
- I took a pass by SafeCo yesterday on my way home from school and noticed that, two days from FanFest, Adrian Beltre, Kenji Johjima, Carlos Silva, and Miguel Batista were still on the big west-facing wall (I’ve just referred to it as “The Wall”, for lack of something better; everyone seems to know what I mean, so it stays). I have been assured by Rebecca Hale, Director of Public Information for the Seattle Mariners (whew!) that Cliff Lee’s photo is soon to be up. I’m honestly not terribly concerned, it just gives me something to do/talk about/take pictures of while waiting for things to fire up again.
- Matt Tuiasosopo and Dan Wilson have been added to the festivities this weekend at FanFest. I have this odd feeling that all the players are going to be involved in autographing instead of taking part in the Q&A, but that’s just because my luck is bad like that. Based on previous Fests, I’m guessing that Chone Figgins may come down and bless us with his presence as the new guy, but hope that some of the other fellows do, too. I will be bringing a blanket; sitting on plastic chairs in January gets to be a bit cold, regardless of how many hot dogs one eats, and I’m not showing up under-prepared like I did last year. Brrr!
- I need to remember to mark my calendar with the promo schedule, then try and cough up enough money to go to certain games. Priority games include Ichiro-Designed T-Shirt night (this will depend entirely on whether or not the t-shirt in question is white, though; I’m murder on white), Mariners Beach Towel Night, and possibly the Oktoberfest game, or College Night, though I’m not sure if I will still be in school at that point in time. I’m sure I’ll take in some Family Pack Nights with my friends and their family of three, as my cash flow allows. We get our hot dogs, and supplement them with food from home – and I am glad that the Ms allow their fans to bring food from home; sometimes on a hot day, I just want a cold sandwich, and this is not really a luxury afforded by SafeCo Field in the regular seating areas. The bobbleheads are a little interesting. Little plastic Felix is…uh…dramatic.
- SodoMojo.com is looking for a third writer. One of their writers decided to go another direction with his own blog, and the two that are left feel that having three writers is in their best interest. Follow the link if you have any interest, they have posts up requesting writers, and the type of writer they’re looking for.
So now, I just sit and wait the next 48 hours for FanFest on Saturday. Will have my camera in hand, and return with a full report, as per usual. Brock & Salk are going to be broadcasting from the Diamond Club in SafeCo in about five minutes on 710AM ESPN Seattle, and Don Wakamatsu and some players are going to be making on-air appearances. I have some time this morning before embarking on homework, so I believe I’ll take a listen and see what everyone has to say. It will likely do nothing to quell my excitement for Spring Training, but what can you do? Go Mariners!