Weekends are just too short, aren’t they? We are way into the doldrums of winter in Seattle at this point, and still lacking any sign that the weather is going to do anything more than remain popsicle cold. My kingdom for a plane ticket to Arizona.
Fortunately, there is baseball to talk about. I got this article in my daily Seattle Times email this morning, a summary of a Japanese TV interview with – who else – Ichiro Suzuki! It’s worth clicking on that link simply to see the PeeWee Herman-esque jacket and bow tie Ichiro settled on for the interview. Like other Japanese-initiated interviews of Ichiro, you get much more than you pay for here. I wish he would be so candid with American journalists, but I’ll take what I can get, and I understand why he doesn’t speak so freely here. Also, after looking at the 4-photo series in this article by Brad Lefton, I have come to the conclusion that I really like the new practice jerseys. So much so, I feel I must spend some time today online seeing if they’re being sold yet. Geoff Baker wrote over the weekend on the budding friendship between Ichiro and new DH Jack Cust, and Ichiro has some things to say about new manager Eric Wedge. He also says he’d like to forget 2010. Whereas maybe before I would have liked to hear what players had to say about a previous bad season, this time I think I’ll pass. It’s not like they don’t already have enough pressure on them to do a lot better this year, and it really is important to just move on. For lack of a better verb, we all know 2010 sucked. This is a new year, new players, new manager, etc. Get on with it.
Jerry Brewer has written a sort of like a general overview of Justin Smoak’s career-to-date with the Mariners, and what Smoak thinks he needs to do to solve his struggles from last year. By now we all know more or less what to expect from Smoak, but his main problem seems to be not being able to find any sweet tea in the northern states. Even though I maintain my assertion that players likely do not read anything I write here, I’d still like to point out that the internet is a wonderful tool for finding things one might be in need of. Physician, heal thyself! Plus, it’s an Alton Brown recipe – you can’t get much more exacting than that.
Jeff’s got some news (a little more in-depth than the Tweet from Greg Johns) about the battle for middle infield. Conor from ProBallNW (and sometimes here, though now that he’s all huge on ESPN and whatnot, we’ll probably never see him again) wrote a bit on this situation about a week ago. It sounds like we have nothing but a positive situation here. Making guys actively battle for their positions is usually a normal part of Spring Training (or at least that’s what they keep telling everyone), but this time I really believe it. Last year, the lineup was pretty much solidified the minute the bats and gloves came out – this year? Not so much. Health, age, and varying skill levels really do play a part in how things are going to shape up this season, and I don’t get the impression that our new manager is going to be nice or automatic about anything here. Not to take anything away from Don Wakamatsu, but Wedge seems like more of a taskmaster.
Larry Stone puts former Mariner (and still Section 331 favorite) RA Dickey back in the news, talking about the new contract the New York Mets recently gave Dickey, and how he feels about his place in the world of baseball. I just can’t read the quotes there without thinking of that accent. I’m so happy that he has found a team willing to pay him well, and that he has come into his own on the east coast. I just wish it was us. It may be the only time you’ll hear a baseball player compare himself to a character in The Odyssey, too. Dickey is apparently aiming at finishing a degree in literature, in his mid-to-late 30s. I guess it’s never too late.
Lastly, this is my big news from the weekend. If you follow me on Twitter, you would know that I went to PAWS this weekend and adopted a new family member. I present Joseph Jason Tobias Shear: