I have spent the past week or so battling a cold, finishing up the World Series, and watching a rugby game. Every day I mean to write, and every day I manage to schedule myself out of it, whether by work or health or just being tired with the time and light change as autumn and winter set in. So I have all these thoughts on things that are backed up from like mid-October…
Chris Young of course was named Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News, by a group of voters that was comprised of baseball players and not members of the press. This is actually surprising to me, since it seems like so many awards surrounding baseball are determined by the BBWAA, the fans, or managers and coaches. I approve of this greatly, but not just because I’m a Mariners fan. Young had his moments, certainly, every pitcher does, but he also engendered quite a bit of confidence when he was up in the rotation. I started the year out not being so sure about him; I had no prior experience with Young, so all I had to go on were blogger opinions and jokes (yes, I could have looked it up on Fangraphs, but I didn’t, just naturally assuming that everyone else knew more than I did), and everything I heard – outside of quite a few jokes about Young’s height – sounded like Young might be a decent back of the rotation guy and nothing more, after spending 2013 out recovering from shoulder surgery. But he proved that he still had a lot of gas in that shoulder, and had a super solid 2014 with a winning record. I am glad that his fellow players voted accordingly. Some of them were likely on the receiving end of the Chris Young slingshot, and could see that comeback for what it was.
Justin Smoak got snatched up by the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of last month, a move that both thrilled and saddened me. Smoak, of course, never turned into what he was supposed to, and we have dealt with the fallout from that for a little over four years now. I literally had to sit here and count the years on my fingers, feeling like I was over-counting but no; it’s been that long. Smoak went from the reason we traded Cliff Lee to the Rangers (aside from the fact that our season was down the drain before the All Star break was even being mentioned in 2010) to a great Tacoma Rainier and bad Mariner, to a great Tacoma Rainier and so-so Mariner, and then…a Blue Jay. I would find it funny if Smoak did what a lot of fans think he will do, and became an amazing ball player while in Toronto, but I have the feeling we’ll be seeing him here in Tacoma again as a Las Vegas 51 more often than in Seattle as a Blue Jay.
And because apparently our work servers are powered by hamsters in a wheel somewhere and I am nearly out of time on my lunch break, I need to cut things short, but I will say that while I was glad the Giants managed to eek one out over the Royals this year with a very close and exciting game 7, I am really glad that playoff baseball is over so I can get back to Mariners news, and planning next summer’s baseball trip, which will be a short flight to Denver and Coors Field to see some sweet Rockies action. Have to plan a smaller trip this year so I can afford season tickets again. I really missed having them last year.