I don’t know why I feel compelled to write anything during the All Star break, but here we are.
Every year I plan not to watch the Home Run Derby, and every year I watch it. I’m not sure why; I know the whole thing is just done for fun and to sell commercial time (probably far more the latter than the former). I know that it’s not much of a contest (technically speaking), having guys hit soft toss balls over the wall*, and I know that every year I will be “treated” to Chris Berman doing this for two hours straight, but for some reason I just can’t stop myself. I don’t know if it’s the laid-back atmosphere, or watching the little kids run around in the outfield, or watching players kids, all wide-eyed on the backstop warning track while the contest is going on, or just seeing how far a ball will go when hit by a player who can, in fact, hit. But every year I make a decision not to watch, and every year, I find myself somewhere in front of a TV. I may have to grudgingly accept that I am a Home Run Derby fan. Yoenis Cespedes won. I was hoping for Chris Davis to win (yay, Orioles!), but by and large I don’t really care who hits the most; it’s just kind of a low-pressure baseball-related thing to watch during dinner, and enables me to be in bed at a decent time without missing anything.
Not so much a fan of the All Star Game. Since I started following baseball, I have watched maybe three or four years of the ASG. If memory serves, last year I did it on accident; I was at a pub with Tom and it was on TV, and we stayed until it was over. This year, I watched until Felix pitched, and then switched over to a movie (a movie called The Bay, produced by Barry Levinson, that made me wish I had just watched the remainder of the ASG). I think the ASG is more fun with friends; but unfortunately for me, the only friend of mine who wanted to watch it was unable to get away from work in time, and I was too tired to really pay attention to baseball, so this year was a wash. Felix pitched alright, allowing a hit to Carlos Beltran to break up what was starting to be a no-hitter in the 4th inning. As it was, the American League shut out the National League, giving a team I will likely have no interest in watching in October the home field advantage in the World Series. At least the managers were able to put Mariano Rivera into last night’s game to complete the shutout. It’s probably not that significant to anyone other than Yankees fans, but really, I am all for that guy doing as much as possible before he retires.
I went to two games last week; one Red Sox (we lost miserably), and the other Angels, a delightful 6-0 contest in the Mariners’ favor on a Felix start. Saturday was an early gates night, and I found myself being given a Dustin Ackley garden gnome (?!?) and a small gift bag containing a t-shirt, some certificates for that-day-only discounted food and drink, and a little bag of beef jerky. The gnome will be going to a place where it will be loved, the beef jerky was already dispatched while I was watching batting practice. I hate to say it, but I feel like I am getting way too many free clothes from the Mariners this year. I love them, but I am running out of hangers (I have a sports-specific closet in our spare room where jerseys, t-shirts, and scarves are kept). It’s getting a little absurd. This is not a complaint, I just realized that by the end of this season, I may be able to open my own store.
While at the Angels game on Saturday, game play was halted temporarily so we could see a bit of the 8th inning of the Giants game in which Tim Lincecum was dealing on 100-some pitches to a stymied San Diego Padres team. Our game resumed in Seattle to the sounds of field-wide protest, then after the half inning was over, the screen turned back to the final few outs of the 9th inning, and when all was said and done, Lincecum had thrown 148 total pitches (just typing that makes my shoulder hurt), and the Padres had not managed to hit any of them. I am happy for Lincecum, I’m just surprised that it took him so long to get himself into the log books with a no-hitter. But good for him. I don’t have the same kind of regrets that a lot of Mariners fans have over the fact that we did not manage to procure him in Seattle; that was literally just as I was getting into the game, when Bill Bavasi opted for Brandon Morrow instead. But I have liked him for no other reason than that he is an oddity and an excellent pitcher. I think that’s reason enough.
At this point in the season I would imagine that a lot of fans are probably wondering whether or not the Mariners are buyers or sellers before July 31st. I would hope they are not sellers, but I don’t know that we need to be buyers either. Being 11-ish (depending on how the wind blows this weekend) games out of first place is probably not going to get us to even second place by the end of the season. Especially behind Oakland and the Rangers this year, I am not holding my breath for a sudden burst of crazy success. But the Ms have been better recently. And if you haven’t been paying attention or won’t take my word for it, I have backup! Really, I just like to link to backup; but unless you truly haven’t been paying attention, the Mariners – like Dave says – have been pretty fun to watch lately. I don’t go to games thinking I already know the outcome. Hearing the names of guys coming up to the plate no longer strikes fear into my heart. I don’t take a whole lot of photos lately, but I do enjoy going to games a little more now; it was starting to sort of become routine for a bit there in May and the beginning of June. So what do we do?
Scott over at Lookout Landing has suggested that Brendan Ryan be a trade chip this month. I am on limited time at the moment to write this, but I would prefer they didn’t. I totally agree with Scott, that the world really does need to see Ryan play, and his presence on the Mariners has not done him any favors in gaining him the fame that is rightfully his for his defense. But it seems clear to me that the Ms are improving this year and might actually be doing really well in 2014 if we don’t make any dumb decisions now. Not to say that I expect Ryan to remain on the roster next season; I don’t. But as a fan, I would rather have Ryan’s defense for the remainder of 2013, than a so-so prospect who will likely be traded to some other team in some other low-level deal; and I really can’t stand the thought of him going to New York; enough with that, already. I can deal with Ryan in the 9-spot for years to come, if it means no balls hit up the middle to left. Also, yes; get Kyle Seager to stay here forever. After Adrian Beltre had to go away, I thought I’d never feel comfortable again with our third base slot. Seager is not Beltre, but he’s also not bad. At all. I’d like him to stay here as long as possible. .293/.359/.488? Yes, please!
I’m sure I have more, but am running against a work deadline and have to get back to it. Will enjoy getting back to the rest of the season, and keeping my fingers crossed that Brendan Ryan hangs out here for a while longer.
*Unless your name is Bryce Harper and your dad is apparently trying to win a roster spot somewhere by throwing strikes you don’t hit.