Can We Keep Him?

I was fortunate enough this past weekend to have a season ticket that fell on Sunday, the Mariners only win against the Angels, rather than either of the other two games. The weather was nice, I was in good company, and I remembered my sun hat (but wound up getting burned anyway, somehow). The Mariners hit well enough to keep their heads above water, and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched a nice seven innings and change before having to leave in the 8th inning after allowing Angels on base. It was a nice afternoon for a ball game, and an even better afternoon to win one.

The Mariners are currently 15 games back, but only four games away from .500. Our division got pretty tough this year, what with Oakland going nuts and the Angels and Rangers still being difficult teams to beat. It’s weird to think that this year is nearly over. I was trying to find time and money to get to one more Aquasox and one more Rainiers game before the end of the year, but I was too late, and for whatever reason the website was not working for me so I couldn’t find schedules to see that I was too late until it was…too late. I saw at least one photo from the last Aquasox game – the game that eliminated them from the playoffs the other night – and the crowd was pathetic. Maybe Everett fans are already becoming jaded with the past two years under their belts. I can’t believe that there is such a thing as  team that is too good – especially a short season team, and especially when that short season team is a Seattle Mariners affiliate, but I don’t go as often as I’d like to, so maybe I have no grounds for comparison. If I’m a regular Aquasox fan, I’m there until the very last pitch, and I encourage as many people as I know to go there and cheer them on. I wish Everett was closer so I could make good on that assessment.

On Monday, Tom and I drove out towards Carnation to a farm we sometimes go to for sauces and fresh vegetables and the occasional pickling cucumber. On the way there and back the Mariners vs Boston was on the radio. During the post-game show, Matt Pitman was talking about Jason Vargas’ start that day, and about how he felt that the Mariners should think about locking Vargas down for a few more years, given that he’ll go all free agency here pretty soon. He’ll be 30 next year, but with the way he’s been pitching, I don’t think a few more years will hurt our youthful bottom line. Plus, I have really grown to like him over the past three seasons, and while he will likely command a great deal of money after this season (he is 14-9 so far), I have to think something that will work out for both the organization and Vargas himself could be worked out. The Mariners are obviously wanting to keep him on for at least a little while longer, or he would have been given up to whomever claimed him off the waiver wire the other week, right? If they don’t see him as a valuable roster member going forward, why not sell him away? I would feel safe with two more years, I think. That feels like a very positive way to deal with the aging vs. current record situation. Then again, I’m all about long enough to figure things out but not too long that we get stuck in another Figgins situation, so two years seems good for everyone.

My parents are coming into town this weekend for our annual family ball game. My ticket-fu was right on the mark last week, and I wound up with 6 front row tickets for my own current section 182. Granted, they’re no Terrace Club or lower deck, but front row is front row, and I will take it. Hisashi Iwakuma will be going up against Brett Anderson, who has a 3-0 record and a terrifying 0.90 ERA with a 2.50 FIP. Iwakuma’s record is not as good, but Iwakuma has also spent his entire season in the majors. Iwakuma’s start this past Sunday gives me hope that we will see a good game, but the A’s have been tearing it up lately, so we’ll see. I have a very long weekend ahead of me, and a little bit of an extended weekend that includes family, baseball, and fisihing; so while I am trying to remain grounded in the reality of what’s currently happening with Oakland, I’m feeling pretty positively about this Saturday’s contest. Bring on the baseball!

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