Sweet Lou Piniella is apparently hanging up his angry face and angrier vocal cords, and retiring from professional baseball at the end of this season. I am glad I got to see him throw a fit in Seattle, even if it wasn’t really a true Piniella tantrum; it was good enough for me. I am of the opinion that he should celebrate the end of hist professional career by completely losing his nut on the final day of the Cubs’ season. Kick an ump, throw all the bases into the crowd, maybe invite R. Lee Ermey onto the field for a tandem swear-off; just spend a nice leisurely half hour or so just going bonkers. Make those Astros fans feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. It’s unfortunate that Piniella’s last game will not be in Chicago. I’m sure that Cubbies fans will give him a great send-off anyway.
Tonight’s game was hard for me to pay attention to. Baseball is my nightly getaway from the rest of the world, a little 3-hour vacation I can lose myself in. But I don’t want to get lost in what’s been going on lately; if I get sucked into this particular abyss, I fear I may never love the game again. I keep watching because what if something awesome happens, but every time I turn on FSN now, I sort of dread my evening. I hate feeling that way about something I love so much, but it’s getting a lot harder than I thought it would get to watch this team continue to lose. We make every opposing pitcher look like Zack Greinke or Cliff Lee. I’d say our offense looks like it’s playing at a Single A level, but that would be an insult to Single A teams. And it’s so so very difficult to continue to watch these guys struggle, because, as I’ve mentioned before, I find them absolutely lovable, nothing like 2008’s Mariners. I’m not saying I won’t watch, but it’s going to be more difficult for me to generate any excitement about it. Unless of course I’m actually going to a game, which I will be both this coming Thursday (Mariners/Red Sox) and Sunday (AquaSox/Volcanoes). Feels like I haven’t been in forever – then again, I think that being at losses has the tendency to make one feel like they’re not actually at a ball game. Or at least, a ball game of any consequence. And it’s certainly not that sort of relaxing zen thing that being at the park usually gives me.
The only thing that saved tonight’s game (although not by much) was the fact that Ozzie Guillen called JJ Putz into the 8th inning, after John Danks had managed a 2-hit shutout through 7 & 2/3. JJ took care of Chone Figgins, getting him to fly out to center to end the 8th. Figgins just looked lost at the plate, and also very, very tired. Earlier today on the Kevin Calabro show as I was driving home, they were talking about how the Figgins-at-second thing needs to be done with now. They are not the first people I’ve heard mention that. I’m not too sure I disagree with them. In a perfect world, where Jose Lopez was not a liability at second…but we don’t live in a perfect world, we live in Seattle – and we’ll likely be seeing Figgins at second until the last pitch is thrown this year at the beginning of an October that Seattle fans won’t have much vested in.
Speaking of which, I don’t normally pick my bandwagons until the playoffs actually happen, but I’ve been giving a little bit of thought to who all the lesser of the evils might be this year. None of the teams currently at the top really bug me all that much, with the exception of New York in the AL, so I guess I’ll still have to wait and see who comes out on top as September draws to a close. September. July isn’t even over. We have two more full months of Mariners baseball to go. Normally, that would excite me; but right now, it just feels like I’m about to take a drive on I-70 across the state of Kansas; I’ve never looked forward to that, either.
Tomorrow I will be getting another break from all of this because of dinner at a friend’s. Conor may or may not cover the game, if he can stomach it. I have hope because of Felix Day, and that may or may not be foolish of me this year, but I just can’t let it go.