All aboard!

I think I’ve just realized part of what happened to my enthusiasm, outside of a slow offseason…no radio. If you lose touch with your main lifeline to the world of baseball when there is no baseball proper, you have the tendency to get less excited about things revolving around baseball (and by ‘you’ I mean me). I credit my listening to the radio a lot over the past few years with getting me hopped up about the game and the season – but over the last few months I haven’t really had that at my disposal. I tend not to listen when I’m home and unemployed (most of the last few months of last year), and now I am stuck in a building that eats AM radio signal all day long. I can technically listen to 710 ESPN, but it would be very dim, and very much accompanied by a block of static, which I can only take for so long before I want to either strangle someone or jump out the window. So in the interest of just about everyone I encounter on a daily basis (and empathy for anyone who would have to scrape me off the sidewalk 21 floors down), I have been avoiding AM radio altogether. There is also the issue with ESPN during this time of year that it is mainly occupied with the end of football and continuation of basketball, and anyone who has read this space for any time knows how I feel about that. So I’m out of touch now. I have been gradually getting back into my reading schedule, but it’s an uphill climb. In a show of overcompensation, I am right now listening to the Hot Stove show on 710AM on the laptop, with the MLB Network on TV. I need to get on the train.

Reports are already starting to trickle back from Spring Training, so it looks like it’s time to buckle down and get to business…

Because I am constantly on the cutting edge, I found this Larry Stone post today from last week. Sure, it’s cool that someone got a well-done tattoo in tribute to Ken Griffey Jr, but that’s not what piques my interest here. What interests me is Stone’s assertion that the Mariners are working to find/create a position in the front office for Griffey. Despite my annoyance at Junior’s not knowing when to say when, and the dust-up that happened last year between him and Don Wakamatsu, I find myself very pleased with this news. I never wanted to dislike Griffey, and I was very happy with him in 2009. I believe in new beginnings, and I’m not ashamed to love my city – while Junior has a good long career under his belt with the Cincinnati Reds, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that yeah, of course, he belongs here in the Emerald City. We won’t see him as often, but knowing he’s hovering around somewhere, maybe taking some time to go into the clubhouse before games and poke at Ichiro or glue someone’s spikes to the floor or something, well, that’s kind of neat.

Shannon Drayer has a photo up on her blog of some of the guys wearing what looks like new practice jerseys (I keep wanting to say they’re at  “rehearsal”), and Felix Hernandez sporting his new haircut. I liked his hair at FanFest, but I’m not getting into that discussion here; these guys do not want me busting them on fashion. It looks like Erik Bedard is throwing with no pain, and Josh Bard is there to “confirm” it. In the interest of full disclosure, some of my reading over the past few months has rendered my skept-o-meter off the charts with stuff like this. What else are they going to say? That Bedard’s in a lot of pain still and can’t throw a fastball over 80MPH? No! Bard’s going to layer on the status quo, everyone’s going to say they feel awesome, and the rest of the year will progress like normal. I feel like every time I mention Bedard’s name, I need to quantify it with the fact that I like him, but I’m still wary. I think at this point, I’d be crazy not to be giving him the sideways eye, but I’m happy that he is throwing with what he describes as a lack of pain, and that he’s there at ST, rather than at some rehab center somewhere, or not playing ball at all. So get on with your bad self, Erik Bedard.  I’d threaten him with a punch to the noggin if he doesn’t stay healthy, but it’s not much of a threat; I hit like a girl.

A little bit on some words that came out of Eric Wedge recently. I know Jeff’s just poking fun, but for some reason I imagine Wedge saying this stuff in the same manner as Seargeant Apone from Aliens. I don’t envy these guys their jobs sometimes – having to figure out how many different ways to say that you’re feeling well about something – especially when you know that there is a pretty big demoralized fanbase that you’re saying it to – must surely get tiring. If this is a one-time occurrence, then let it roll.  But I find a little voice in the back of my head, worried that this year’s slogan might be “Mariners baseball – You Gotta Love These Eyes“.  Part of me dreads the possibility that this may get worse, the other is looking forward to seeing if or how much it snowballs. If guys are getting points for good eyes, though, Garrett Olson deserves some sort of cake.

I am out of steam for now. I was going to talk about Alex Rodriguez boo-hooing about being caught on video with whomever his girlfriend of the week might have been feeding him popcorn during the SuperBowl, but I think that the whole thing really speaks for itself, and others have already been far more sarcastic than I want to bother to be. I don’t have it in me to be mean, even though I think him complaining about it is pretty hilarious. There has to be something lacking in one’s life that one requires that much attention, whether good or bad. So much maintenance defies my comprehension.

Anyway, baseball is finally here, and I’m going to try to be around as much as I can. I wish I was at Spring Training, if for nothing else other than to be out of the misery that is Seattle’s current weather. I should start stocking up on socks and mittens for Opening Day, if this is any indication of how things are going to be. Meanwhile, Mariners Mondays have started (a few weeks ago), the MLB Network is revving up its team previews, and some day soon, the skies will be clear, the evenings will be warm, and the baseball will be existent. This will not be an easy wait.


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