Old News, FanFest, and My Upcoming Baseball Adventure

Going over some old news, just because I haven’t yet…
Franklin Gutierrez was offered and accepted a one-year contract with performance incentives to stay here in Seattle. According to Ryan Divish, he had other offers but decided to stay with us in the Pacific Northwest. I love this because I love Gutierrez, but it makes me sad because I really miss him and the way things were before he started having injuries and intestinal issues and Michael Saunders took over in center. I love Saunders in center, too, but it feels like the days of Death to Flying Things are over. I have no criticism for Gutz, I have nothing but love and sadness for the way things could have been before he ran into that wall in Cleveland; it seems like that started the long road downhill, even though the IBS and ankylosing spondylitis would have happened with or without injury. Right now, I’m just happy to watch him play if he can, and not to spend a ton on him if he can’t.
As I mentioned the other day, I was glad to see Raul Ibanez able to continue his career another year, Yeah, he’s in LA now, and yeah, we all hate the Angels, I know. But Raul is always going to be a Mariner to me regardless of where he plays, and for him to pick up a possible regular DH shift down in Anaheim at the age of 41 is not too shabby a deal. I’m glad for him; and if he likes it down there, so much the better. It make me sad to have to say goodbye to him again, but at this point we need to. The organization is still working towards staying young, and the roster needs room.
So Lloyd McClendon has been quoted as wanting to enforce a team “covenant“, which seems like an ominous word for “cohesion”, but I can deal with it. I haven’t really seen much of McClendon to get an impression of him, and I didn’t feel like I was able to get a complete feel for him at FanFest this past Saturday. He seemed very level-headed and keen to get started, and friendly without being a pushover. It will be interesting to see if he uses our bullpen (whatever it turns out he’s given there) in a different fashion than Eric Wedge did. I never really had a huge issue with Wedge’s lineups at all that I can particularly remember, but our relievers have been kind of a mess for a while. McClendon is a change, and we need a change, and I’m hoping that maybe the fact that he’s new at this manager thing will create some new ideas and ways of handling things that maybe a more seasoned leader wouldn’t see or get into. It could also create a huge backfire, but I’m trying to keep positive for this season, so yay, change!
Speaking of FanFest, I’m just going to come out and admit I kind of phoned it in this year. I had a blast and we were there for a good three and a half hours or so, but sadly the super-long lines limited our capacity to be there for as long as I usually like. I went down with my friend Jessica, and when we saw crowds of people wrapping around 1st Ave S and down Royal Brougham at 10.30, we decided to kick it for a bit at Jimmy’s across the street until 11. Sadly, things didn’t move quickly, and after running to the Team Store to pick up a ticket for her, we still wound up not being able to get in until almost 12.30. I really had wanted to see Robinson Cano, but they had him speak first, which I feel was a huge mistake; there were hundreds, maybe thousands of people outside still after the season ticket holders got in early, and none of them got to see or hear him speak, either. Because of this, the wind was out of my sails for taking notes at Dugout Dialogue, and I just decided to chill at Edgar’s with Jess and then a certain Mr Daniel Carroll and his mother showed up, and we watched some of the interviews on the CC TV while we ate tacos and drank beer. It was probably one of the most relaxing FanFests I’ve been to, but any reporting I might have done on it suffered due to late entry. I simply cannot stand in lines for long periods of time, it kills my back. I’m glad that there were so many people there though (there were two ziplines this year!); it is clear that people are excited for baseball, and given all the Seahawks jerseys running around, I’m thinking football probably has a little bit to do with that. I’ll take it; any enthusiasm contributes to mine.
We did get to see Logan Morrison speak, which was entertaining. As we were standing in the bar, Morrison was asked by a female fan how he got so good looking. He responded with an expression that was half embarrassment, half ego, and said something about his genetics, and his Macklemore-esque haircut. Daniel leaned over and said “He is such a bro.” And Morrison is total a “bro”, but because he’s got an Ms uniform on, I don’t even care. Erik Bedard was a bro, too, but he was a silent bro. I have the feeling we’re going to get a lot of interviews out of Mr Morrison this year. He will fit in well here, what with Tom Wilhelmsen’s odd sense of humor, and it really makes me wish that Munenori Kawasaki was still with us (other than the fact that I love Muni to death). If the team does badly this year, I am hoping that at least we have a bit of character.
In personal news, I finally have my trip shored up a bit more now. I have tickets for the Mariners home opener, and will be up in Section 341 with Tom. I plan on going home after and trying to crank out a photo post, and then depending on what time it is, either trying to get in a quick nap, or just staying up for my flight, which leaves for San Francisco and then DC at about 6 in the morning. Yuck, but my choices were limited. I have an evening in DC to try to acclimate, then Thursday, a Washington Nationals game at 4. After that, my friend Rick and I will be driving up to the Philly area for whatever it is that happens in Philly on a Thursday night. Friday will be a Phillies game at Citizens Bank, then Saturday we head back down to Baltimore for an Orioles game. Sunday will be another Orioles game if I feel I haven’t squeezed enough out of Camden Yards the night before, and then Monday is a free day to do whatever in the DC area before I have to get on a plane back on Tuesday. I have been stalking Orioles tickets online for weeks now, hoping that they will go on sale soon. I am paranoid that I will miss an announcement! In any event, I am terribly excited about this trip. It will not only be chock full of baseball, but will be the first time I have flown by myself. Ever. I am positive that I have mentioned my fear/dislike of flying before in this space, so this is kind of a big deal. To give myself a little padding in that area, I chose to pay more to fly Virgin America. I hear it’s like a space disco. A space disco to baseball.  Of course, I will be doing plenty of Twitter and blogging about the experience, and if anyone has any questions or photo requests for any of these three stadiums, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to make it happen.
In the meantime, we wait for the Superbowl to be over, and Spring Training to begin…
EDIT: Apologies for the formatting issues, I started this post in Gmail and it seems to have caused some trouble between that and my work computer.
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