I need to get on the ball soon and start listening to sports radio again. It is difficult at work because my radio is stationary, and I have to be up from my desk a lot, but I’ll figure out a way to make it work. So far, I hear that Spring Training isn’t going so great for the Mariners; we’ve got an injured Hishashi Iwakuma who will miss pretty much all of Spring Training with an injured tendon in his throwing hand, a slightly overweight and profusely apologetic Jesus Montero who has only a fraction of a chance at even making the team out of spring, a Franklin Gutierrez who is feeling so awful that he has already let the team know he just can’t play at all this season (hail to our Canadian overlord Michael Saunders), and from what I understand Taijuan Walker has some issues as well, though I have not been as up on the news lately as I’d like to be. EDIT: a bad shoulder that is “nothing major“. Oh, boy…deep breaths, deep breaths…
In any event, pitchers and catchers have reported, the rest of the team is not far behind, and I am currently planning on attending what will be my first baseball “event” of the season, with a few folks from Lookout Landing at a little joint called Gastropod in March. I have actually been wanting to try this place, since my bus goes past it just about daily, so what better opportunity? I hope to find some good beer, some great food, and some excellent baseball conversation. Or at the very least, a group of people with whom to yell at the TV when everything goes horribly, horribly awry.
Now for the good stuff, pictures!
Brad Adam and Dave Valle get ready for a little pre-game broadcast shenanigans on a nice sunny day. Valle has recently been appointed to take over as manager up in Everett for the Aquasox, and I could not love that news harder if I tried. Now that I have a better work schedule that allows for things like Friday night games and easy travel up north Saturday, I will have to see about going more frequently. Lead them to single A short season victory, Dave!
Tom Wilhelmsen, doing a bit of pre-game (not pre-9th) warm-up. I have recently started collecting MacFarlane baseball figures here and there when I find one I like particularly, and have a few extra dollars. They sit on the corner of my desk at work. One of them is Cliff Lee in a Phillies uniform, and it is posed almost exactly like this. Planted foot twisted inward, back foot up in the air, arm flexed across the body, leaned forward. Lee leans much more forward than Wilhelmsen does, and Lee’s throwing arm is bent at the elbow, but that front foot is what I love about the figure (all the ones I own have a specific feature to them that makes me think the manufacturer really got it right), and it’s what I love about this photo. That and the fact that it’s Tom Wilhelmsen, who I hope to see plenty of this year. I also hope to see plenty of Fernando Rodney, who passed his physical and is coming in to help the bullpen this year.
Words cannot express how much sadness I have over Franklin Gutierrez’s health issues. I feel tremendously awful for him and for his family (he will not be paid this year for having to opt out, of course), and I feel just horrible for What Might Have Been. To see such a light stomped out so soon is heartbreaking. He is 30 now, and sadly I have known people with IBS and Crohn’s Disease. It doesn’t go away, and it doesn’t get better. It can be managed, but Gutz will probably never be the same as he was in 2009, when the late great Dave Niehaus named him Death to Flying Things. I wish him much health and healing this year, and do hope he can play again; preferably in Seattle.
Other than all of this, my plans to head out east are still shaping up nicely. I plan to make the jump to the three-hours-ahead future with purple hair, and am still trying to scrape up the money to have my jersey lettered at STT Sports in SoDo. I am hoping to stop by their office next Friday after work and see what they can do for my plain navy blue. Baseball starts in only a few weeks, folks! Time feels like it’s dragging, but we’ll be there before we know it. Have a great weekend!