Thoughts on Olivo, Mune

So game one of the World Series did not go at all as I had hoped it would. Justin Verlander wasn’t really on his game, and the Giants came out of the gate swinging. The Tigers were swinging too, but the Giants actually made contact, so obviously things worked better for them in the end. In particular, Pablo Sandoval’s three homers (!!!) were of interest.  Isaw the first one but not the other two. I spent the first three to four innings or so sitting in Jimmy’s across from Safeco having beer and trying to concentrate on what was going on in the game over the heads of other bar patrons and waitstaff (the TV could have been mounted just a little bit higher). By the time the Giants had run up the score 4-0, Cynthia had arrived and I was more than happy to leave the bar in favor of the chilly confines of Century Link Field, and live soccer in which the Sounders routed the Marathon from Honduras 3-1 in front of a half-filled stadium full of enthusiastic fans. It wasn’t a large crowd (not even the ECS were in full effect last night), but people were loud and singing and cheering along with the game.

On my way home on the bus to get the car, I read on Twitter that the Mariners had not picked up Miguel Olivo’s options. I know that will be of relief to a lot of people, myself included; but I never hated Olivo, and I wish him well. At the Oktoberfest game a few weeks ago, he was in the bullpen adjusting his catcher’s mask before hunkering down for pre-game warmups, and I found myself looking at him thinking “I think I’m gonna miss this guy.” And I was right, I do a little. I know that it is in the best interest of the team that he not be on our roster anymore. We have younger guys coming up who need the playing time, we should probably secure John Jaso sooner rather than later and I am still hoping that Jesus Montero sticks around a little bit longer. So I will miss Olivo as a person and a guy who seems like he gets along well with the rest of our team, but it is time for him to go find work elsewhere. I wish him all the good luck in the world.

So this was a thing I knew about yesterday afternoon, and then when I was in the car driving down to the stadium area, they announced it again, and I nearly tuned out for a moment until I heard whomever was making the announcements on 710 yesterday (Matt Pitman, maybe?  I couldn’t tell) that the Mariners had also opted to release Munenori Kawasaki. This news was welcome to several people in the Mariners internet-o-sphere, but not really to me. Mune was not and is not a great player. He will probably not go into any Halls of Fame or history books as a record-breaker or exceptional player. But I really liked him. He made our team interesting. He danced in the dugout with the grounds crew, he sang to and “played” the music that was coming out of the stadium PA on an air piano, he made sure to be the first one to high-five, the first one to hug, he waved at the crowd as the Mariners poured onto the field after a win. He took the time to get a long lead off first and make sudden movements to throw an opposing pitcher off balance a little, and he mirrored a lot of Ichiro’s stretching routines, constantly on his feet, constantly buzzing. He said earlier this year that the only MLB team he wanted to play for was the Mariners. And then he came here and played, and now we let him go. I realize that the move was made in the best interest of the team as a whole, but it kills me that we got rid of yet another player who gave the team a little character. I know character doesn’t win ball games, but I wish it did. I hope he manages to find another MLB team; maybe his foray into MLB has whet his appetite for staying in the States. I can only hope he gets picked up by a team I like.

Tonight Doug Fister goes up against the Giants in AT&T Park down in San Francisco. I love that Fister is in the World Series. I miss him terribly, but it’s a chance he would not have if he had stayed here. Looking forward to getting home, doing some housework, and watching Fister dominate the Giants. Fingers crossed.

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5 Responses to Thoughts on Olivo, Mune

  1. Blaine Wright says:

    I’ll miss both the players we dropped. Not for their play, but for their personalities. Both worked hard, played hard and were very likable people. I never hated on Olivo because he gave us just exactly what we knew he would, and if a player isn’t what a team needs, that’s more the organization’s fault.

    If you watch tonight look at how much fun the fans have. The announcers last night said that the crowds bigger and louder than usual for the playoffs, but that even in the regular season they had a lot of fun. When I’ve posted at some of the ‘expert’ Mariners sights about baseball games are for having fun, people just don’t get it. Maybe the Series will give them a hint.

    • Megan Shear says:

      Well, people like to back a team that wins, and the Mariners don’t do much of that. I go to games for fun; my enjoyment of baseball is not wholly dependent on whether the Ms win the game. I don’t know if that makes me a “bad fan”, but I don’t care much; it’s a game. And while watching your team win is definitely fun, this is a game where someone has to lose. It sucks that it’s us a lot of the time, but I go for the love of the game itself, really. If I went just to watch them win, I would not have kept renewing my tickets year after year. 😉

  2. Bart's Evil Twin says:

    I felt that Olivo was tough and worked hard, but Mune made the team a lot more fun to watch. I’ll miss Mune more than I will miss Olivo, but wish both of them well in the future. Hope this is an indication that the M’s are planning to kick the tires on some free agents.

  3. Wayne says:

    Olivo is one of my favorite players. He’s tough. So tough he can pass a kidney stone and return to finish the game. He’s so tough he can take a back swing from Pujols and stay behind the dish.

    I love Olivo. Sad to see him go but I got to meet him, get a picture and have him sign a baseball bat.

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