***So this didn’t go where I thought it was going to go, and now it’s too late. I’m posting it anyway.
I didn’t watch the game yesterday. We had a few friends over for a casual dinner and hang out time, and I was actually at Friday’s game, so it seemed like I could skip a day. We watched some stuff on HBO, and in between one movie to the next, the TV landed back on the game, which I had checked when the score was 1-0. It was the 9th inning at that point, and my friend Jennifer suggested I might want to watch it because “something important” might happen. But I am already very much aware of what happens when a Mariners game is in extras, and opted for a Louis CK comedy special instead. Turns out that was a better idea than the 6-3 loss I would have witnessed.
A short while later, I checked my email and found that I had been right. And then discovered over Facebook that Fernando Rodney had been DFA’d.
It is hard for me to see a guy who did so well by us last year fall into utter and complete ruin. Rodney seemed like he was genuinely happy to be here, too, and seemed to get along with everyone. He was part of last year’s seemingly escalating success, and in spite of the whole Fernando Rodney Experience situation, when he nailed it, he nailed it pretty good. I was speaking with a friend yesterday regarding whether or not Rodney was “dominant”, and he did not consider him to be so. But really, sometimes with sports, I don’t care how the job is done, just that it actually gets done. And for that, in spite of the Fernandocoaster, 48 saves is not a bad number at all. So it feels like kind of a bummer, but frankly, we need a better guy out there. We need a lot of things, but the one thing we truly need is a pitcher who can come into a tight game or a game at risk and just throw strikes. I know better than to try and project anything as far as what might await Rodney in the future, so I will just hope that maybe another team kicks the tires on the pitcher and it works out for him. I don’t wish him any ill will, it’s just that his time in Seattle has to be over.
I think the thing I find most alarming about the designation of our former closer is that Lloyd McClendon is rumored to have requested it over a month ago. I know the Mariners front office and ownership gets a lot of criticism, and I have long thought that maybe it was just disgruntled fans looking for a reason for the team’s continued failure; but now? Now I think I finally believe some of the things people have been saying about the people who run and own this team. The former main owner of the team, Hiroshi Yamauchi (RIP) had never attended a Mariners game, and Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln was apparently completely OK with that. “A man of his age and stature” shouldn’t have to explain why he doesn’t go to see a game played by a team he owns. Seriously?! Corporate shill much, buddy? The problem with the Mariners, of course, is that they are a team owned by people who don’t really seem to care all that much about the game of baseball. The front office can sit around and have cocktails in their suite and pat themselves on the back all they like about landing Robinson Cano, nailing Felix and Kyle Seager down, and nabbing Nelson Cruz for a few more years. But not making the moves necessary when the guy who is closer to the game than any of them is requesting a DFA of a pitcher who is failing so miserably is absolutely inexcusable. I guess as long as the money keeps coming in, right, guys? Ugh.
I was talking to Tom about this while we were grabbing some ciders at FX McRory’s prior to Friday night’s homestand against the White Sox. He was pointing out that things – of course – would be better if the team was a winning team, that the Mariners would be able to get more money out of a team that was going well. But the ugly secret nobody seems to mention all that often is that even if the team is terrible, the Mariners raise their ticket prices anyway. So it doesn’t really matter to them if the team is awful, because left field bleacher seats aren’t selling for $14 anymore; sometimes they sell for $22 or $24. Sometimes. And don’t even get me started in on “premium” pricing; that is a whole other rant I have rattling around in my head. Premium for whom? Not those of us who don’t make a lot of money, that is for damn sure; I am thankful I don’t have kids, or I’d never attend a game, either. When I first started sitting in left field a few years ago, my two spots on the bleachers were just a bit over $500. Now? Easily over $700. And what has this team done since my first season ticket holder year of 2008? Outside of 2009, and 2014 – both winning seasons – this team has been a dismal excuse for a major league ball club. Yet I and people like me are being penalized financially for sticking it out through two years of 101 losses, and this terrible year as well. It shouldn’t cost over $150 to take a family of four out somewhere (given the fact that most families sit in the 300 section, you’re already looking at seats around $30 a pop). Baseball is a game that is meant to be enjoyed, and I’m not sure how one can enjoy it when you have to empty out your wallet just to walk in the door. The Mariners are already running ads about getting season tickets for next year. I dread to know what my 20-game plan is going to run me, and how many payments I’m going to have to make, and seriously debating not maintaining my STH status if it’s more expensive. I didn’t do it last year, and the decision made to do it this year was made because of last year’s good season; but wanting to hand the Ms my credit card after this year is going to take some serious thought on my part.
As for the disaster of Friday’s game, I don’t know what to say. I had a bunch of friends at the ballpark that night, and sort of chalked it up to just a social night at the game. And after Chicago had a solid grasp on a lead in the 6th inning, I figured it was pretty much downhill from there. Felix didn’t have it, Danny Farquhar and Fernando Rodney really didn’t have it, and I just ate my fish and chips and waited for our turn to sit on the field for the fireworks display.
I don’t know what to do with this team anymore. I’m no longer naive enough to think they can pull it around in August, and sometimes I feel like being more than a casual fan has sort of ruined my chances of ever enjoying the Mariners again; knowledge is power, and power is exhausting. But I will continue to stick it out until early October, and I will follow my other teams then and if that fails, there is always bandwagon space on the Lesser of Two Evils train as my teams get weeded out and I have to choose teams I don’t really care about all that much…I don’t know. The Astros seem kind of plucky this year, don’t they?
Sorry, it’s a downer post. I had some opinions on things. Here’s a picture of Felix to make up for it.