And So It Begins…

Woo hoo! Baseball is finally (technically speaking) here!

The Mariners opened up their 2013 season with the annual charity game against the San Diego Padres today. I was able to listen to most of it, but not all – today’s workday was fraught with one problem after the other, and I am sort of responsible for spearheading problem solving in my particular job. So I got to listen on my little radio until about 2PM, and then it was training time. But it was also enough time to make some observations…

Hector Noesi isn’t that good. Yes, it was the first meaningless game in a month-long string of meaningless games, but this guy was a starter for us for some of last year. He started 18 games, in fact, and he came out of 2012 with  a 2-12 record, and a 5.53 FIP (ERA 5.83). Yes, he was at the back of the rotation. No, nobody seemed to expect him to be great before he graced the grass in Safeco. And yes, it seems that the back of the Mariners rotation for the past few years has been reserved for pitchers who really shouldn’t be in the major leagues. I just can’t help thinking “we let Shawn Kelley get away for this?!” Unloading Kelley’s near-million-dollar contract was probably not a bad thing, but Kelley was a sure thing. I just don’t feel like I can say the same about Noesi, and I have never really felt that way. I feel kind of badly going after him like this. While I am sure that others have and are saying worse things about today’s performance, I try to always be on the positive side as much as possible. I’m just going to shake today off, hope his next start goes a little better after some more coaching, and hope he can shake it off too. And also, that he doesn’t read the internet.

The game ended before my training did, at a nice decisive 9-3 in favor of San Diego. This is disheartening as a fact of the game, and a lot of people were half-jokingly referring to it as Mariners baseball(TM) but I am encouraged because six of those runs for the Pads came at the expense of Noesi. The rest of the boys in the lineup – with the exception of Danny Farquhar in the 9th – did a great job keeping the Padres from batting us into a sad, charitable hole in the ground. Things could have been worse. Take Noesi’s inning away, and it’s a tied game. The thing I feel I should be a little more concerned about is our hitting. Again. We had Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez, Eric Thames and Jesus Montero at the plate at some or several points in the game, and we come out of this with five hits?! And Michael Saunders, with all his wacky, newfangled, training devices; two plate appearances, two times making contact with the ball on 7 pitches, no hits. Oh, you kids. Do better!

Mike Carp is gone! I know y’all know this already; I didn’t have the time to go into it the other day, but trust and believe I was sad. I went from liking Carp, to not really liking him that much, to loving him; this last bit was specifically because of last year, even though his numbers took a pretty big dive from 2011. Carp was a fan favorite, and I had hoped to see him perform well at the plate with the walls moved in. Mike Carp home runs were fun home runs. He was a fun player to support; my favorite baseball persona, Guy Who Just Wants to Play. There was no pretension about him, and he seemed to genuinely enjoy interacting with fans. I know the gals in the “Girls Corner” by the bullpen will miss him, probably far more than I do. And chants in the King’s Court just got a little more lifeless. No more Seafood Special for you, Seattle. Good luck, Mike. I hope Boston treats you well.

I was looking at the headlines today, and they are as follows:

More of this, please. I have really come to enjoy the fact that Casper Wells is on our team. I like that he’s been embraced by the fans, and I like that he knows we love him. I wish the team would maybe use him a little more and send him to Tacoma a little less, but that is not for me to decide. Keep fighting the good fight, Friendly Ghost!

Lastly, today was the radio debut of new announcer guy, Aaron Goldsmith. I am impressed. He worked well with Rick Rizzs; their banter back and forth sounded natural and easy, and I heard no noticeable errors in announcing names or stumbling on his words at all.  And he has obviously done his homework very well. He talked about our team like it’s been his own since day one. I know Goldsmith is a pro, but I have to think that having only a handful of weeks makes for some super brutal crunch time to remember player names, prior performances and stats. No matter how many notes you have in front of you, or how much help you get, a new team is a new team; I would be terrified, but that is one of the many reasons I am not in broadcasting. Goldsmith blended in seamlessly. Welcome to Seattle, sir!

Tomorrow we showdown with the Pads again, a veritable mano ‘y mano of terror and Mariner-ness. I don’t know if it will be on the radio, but I hope it is, because I will get in some degree of trouble for trying to use GameDay at work; I guess our servers are not interested in live streaming sports nonsense, so I’m at the mercy of ESPN. And Twitter.  Oh, and if you haven’t already, follow up the Mariners Haiku account on Twitter. I started doing some haiku a while ago with a hashtag, so friend Daniel Carroll (current president of Dave Sims’ Sweet Hat Club) decided to create this account, as he, too, is familiar with the subtle art of haiku. I cannot promise they’ll all be good ones, but they’ll all be fun to write!



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