I’ve had a relatively sleepless night, and insomnia has been my constant companion for about a week now; so this may all come out sounding disjointed and confused, but I feel like I should say at least a little about yesterday’s game, and maybe things in general. We’re back at .500, so there’s that…
I watched it, and I took a few notes, but my heart just wasn’t in writing much about it. The game became disappointing in the 6th inning, and just when I got comfortable thinking we were going to lose, the guys pulled another run out of their sleeves (or possibly elsewhere), and David Aardsma came in for a save. I should probably know by now that the 2010 Mariners may be very much like the 2009 Mariners, but I don’t want to make any assumptions just yet. One-run games can’t possibly be our specialty two years in a row, can they? Ryan Rowland-Smith did a great job by limiting the Royals to only one run up until the 6th inning, and our offense small balled their way into a 4-run lead before Billy Butler and Jason Kendall had anything to say about it in that 6th. People were complaining online about the delayed removal of Hyphen in that inning, but the subsequent relievers did their jobs, and David Aardsma got Yuniesky Betancourt to swing at a pitch he really shouldn’t have to end the game.
I just realized, after reading a few things online, that I’ve become totally and completely comfortable with Jose Lopez at third base. This is of significance for me because I was totally and completely uncomfortable with him at second, so much so that I was pegging Matt Tuiasosopo as an upgrade there from the end of last year. But I don’t have that same unease about our infield this year as I had about (at least the middle part of) it last year. It’s not that as if there was apprehension here that dissipated over the last few weeks, it’s just that Lopez has been so secure in the hot corner that I don’t think any sort of pit-of-stomach terror ever arose about him there. I am completely down for admitting that I wasn’t really sure when they first announced the trial, and the eventual solidification of his position. There was some video floating around during Spring Training, and yeah, he looked good, but it was still just weird to see him there, and it made me a little edgy. But since the season has started, I can’t complain. Sometimes, it’s even as if Lopez is attempting to do honor to Adrian Beltre by barehanding hits, lasering balls over to Casey Kotchman at first, assisting Jack Wilson if necessary, and looking as if he very much wants to jump over the wall or the dugout when a foul pop comes his way. So this whole Lopez/Jack Wilson/Figgins/Kotchman thing is very much working for me.
Conor Dowley at ProBallNW has taken a piece of Jon Shields‘ “40-Man, Player by Player” series, up now on Eric Byrnes. I like Byrnes enough, although I know that he, like Milton Bradley, can be a bit of a polarizer depending on who you talk to (Rockies fans, I’m looking at you). I haven’t seen any of that, however, so all I care about is how he plays, and he plays hard. It doesn’t always work, and he may injure himself sooner rather than later, but fortunately we have the depth of Bradley and Ryan Langerhans; so I’ll take Byrnes’ spider-like wall crawls, his death-defying headlong run into the left field warning track, and his crazy hair and constant smile while I can. As Conor points out, it is obvious that Byrnes is aware of the status of baseball as a game, and it is very obvious that he enjoys it. I love his joie de vivre, and hope he’s able to stay plenty healthy for the rest of the year.
Anyone who was watching yesterday’s game (and I believe it was heard over the radio broadcast as well) heard a Royals fan yell “Lou Piniella says hello!” as Milton Bradley came up to his last at-bat yesterday. This was eye-roll inducing to me. I have no problem with heckling players under normal circumstances, but for some reason I feel very protective of Bradley. Maybe it’s the Mariners uniform, maybe it’s the fact that he has taken great pains to snub the Chicago press by letting them know how much he loves it here, maybe it’s because the rest of the team seems to have fallen in line with keeping him happy and integrated, I don’t know. But I disagree with any attempts to rile the man, and thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be falling for it. Granted, we still have several months to go, and who knows, maybe some day this year he just completely snaps and throttles a hapless drink dispenser during the course of a game, but so far, he’s proven to be nothing but classy. No fans of teams where Bradley has indulged in Crazy Times will ever agree to let it go, but I don’t care. He’s ours now, and I feel we’re better for it.
That’s all I really have to say today. Enjoying the off day for once; being tired doesn’t help with my tendency to use certain words repetitively, and I need to at least try for a decent night’s sleep before I do anything remotely resembling a game recap. Fridays at SafeCo tomorrow. Cheers, everyone!
EDIT: I just listened to the most recent Lookout Landing podcast. Jeff and Matthew have some similar things to say about Milton Bradley, and other hilarity ensues, as normal. If you’re not listening, you should be.