Cust, left field, and the Ms go green

I think my enthusiasm for Spring Training has officially been dampened this year. I’ll enjoy the next two Wednesday nights of watching games on TV, but I’m really and truly ready for a finalized roster and for games to start meaning something. A month of pseudo-suspense is getting on my nerves. I never thought I’d say that, but I think the slow offseason has finally taken its toll. Currently, I’m watching a Red Sox/Phillies game on MLBN. It looks so nice and sunny there, and the announcers are acknowledging my malaise, saying that this is the point in Spring Training where the players are just ready to go. I feel vindicated.

Rebecca Hale works in the marketing department for the Ms, and she earlier Tweeted that the Mariners and several other teams from the area had joined a Green Sports Alliance. Since I am generally pro-earth, I decided to run to the Google Machine and figure out what she was talking about. Turns out that this organization is a local one. I know that for the past year or so the Mariners have been using “plastic” cups that bear the written claim that they are made of corn husks or some sort of corn derivative, and SafeCo is well-stocked with recycle bins – but there has never been any sort of formal informational announcement made that recycling of, say, food containers is an option, and I think a lot of people just toss theirs away in the trash. If these teams truly want to make an impact, I’d suggest addressing this issue during the pre-game announcements, letting people know that this is now an official situation, and that fans should and can recycle things within the stadium. I think people would definitely do it, but we need to know what we can and can’t throw in those bins. All of this might be a non-issue anyway, since most people just leave their food trays under their seats, leaving the task to the post-game cleanup crew. This is me, then, hoping that this becomes a bigger deal.

Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez just collided in left field, and Victorino is down on his stomach in the grass, hat knocked off and surrounded by players and other personnel. Victorino emerged “OK”, but was taken off the field. It looked like he dove and took a hip or knee in the face. Ouch.

Geoff Baker has an article up about Jack Cust. Granted, I have not been able to take in as much Spring Training as “normal” (whatever that means), but from what I’ve seen and heard from Jack Cust, we may finally have that ever-elusive prize, the DH who can H. I have been mostly lukewarm over Cust after his arrival on the team, but as far as I can tell, he provides noting but a giant package of ball-swatting goodness. I’m certainly not thinking like Vladimir-Guerrero-a-few-years-ago awesome, but our DH situation has been so iffy over the past few years (Jose Vidro?! Random positional guys coming off the DL?….Griffey…sigh) that Cust so far appears to be a massive improvement.

There has been a bit of talk over whether or not Matt Tuiasosopo will make the final roster this year, as he has been asked to focus his positional play anew. I know Tui’s not the first name on the tongues of analysts, but he has been on two PCL-winning teams in the past few years, he’s seen some decent playing time in the majors, and I just want him to succeed. Michael Saunders inspires more confidence in the left field slot, though. It looks like the Ms are really relying on Milton Bradley to take that post, but let’s face it – Bradley’s likely going to find himself being tossed from some games this year, and we need a bench guy who can really move. Tui doesn’t appeal to me as having the kind of range it takes to solidly play an outfield position, and I’ve seen Saunders out there plenty enough to feel comfortable with him (and have the photos to prove it). If there is a bench slot for a first or second base, then great – but the outfield…I just don’t know. I have witnessed occasional blasts of brilliance from Tui, but not enough for me to say “I really want this guy here (in ‘X’ position)”. Don’t get me wrong, I like him in a way that has nothing to do with his locality, and maybe with this new shift, the coaching staff is thinking that he’s doing well enough to grab the spot over Saunders this year. Obviously, there is no stopping them from changing their minds, should things not pan out I guess, so perhaps my concern is all for naught. He just appeals to me as more of a Rainiers lifer, and I want him to prove me wrong.

Jay Yencich has some good news about Steve Baron! Generally, I’m not much of a prospect person – most of the Double A players, those who make up quite a fair chunk of our system, are completely lost on me because they are not immediately accessible like the Rainiers and AquaSox are. But Baron has kind of an interesting story, and I really don’t mind him defensively. It is obvious that the organization sees some value in him, as they have chosen to keep him over other catchers, and this is his second ST invite. I am glad to hear that he is honing his swing. And hey, what’s not to love about him hitting a home run off of Felix Hernandez? So far, he has not been reassigned. I had hoped to see if he was in today’s lineup vs the Reds, but what I found was this instead. Undefeated against the AL West? I, uh….well, that’s something.


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