I stopped by to see my old friend Dave Niehaus tonight out in Right Field before settling in to watch the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 on a late summer night along with 17,607 of Dave’s admirers. It was nice to see the old chap in his new permanent home down at Safeco Field where both he and I feel most comfortable. Like all of you I do miss his voice on the radio every night in the spring and summer and occasionally the fall. So it was nice to see the beautiful tribute to the man who was the only constant from 1977-2010 for our Seattle Mariners.
I grabbed another great seat tonight for 40 bucks two rows behind the Rangers dugout right next to the whacky fan who holds up the Adrian Beltre picture even though Beltre doesn’t even play here anymore!
As it turned out young Blake Beavan pitched the best game of his brief Major League career tonight going eight innings without allowing a run or a walk and only giving up four hits to the Rangers. The Mariners managed to score three times in the third thanks to a throwing error by Ian Kinsler, a wild pitch by Rangers starter C.J. Wilson and a couple of cheap hits. While it was happening I had the sense that the crafty old Niehaus was playing some sort of trickery on the night his statue was unveiled. The Mariners managed to add another run in the seventh when Casper Wells hit his first home run in four weeks to give Beavan all the run support he would need in order to cruise through the eighth. Brandon League came into the game in the ninth and put the Rangers down in order fanning all three of the Texans.
I sort of figured this was going to be the only game of this series I would attend, but I ran into some fans from Texas who had three seats next to me and they have an extra ticket for Saturday’s afternoon game so I probably will head back to the Safe tomorrow. They were decent folks who are excited about the Rangers push to win the AL West again this year and thus flew all the way out here for the weekend series. I was civil to them though I did razz Beltre a couple of times trying to get him to do that little irritating dance that he used to do at the plate on high inside fastballs back when he was a Mariner. Apparently Beltre was told not to check with he umpires on his own check-swings like he used to do when he was here as the Texas fans next to me said he doesn’t do it anymore. I’m Listening to some old replays of Dave Niehaus calls on the radio as I finish this post and trying not get choked up. Boy do I miss Niehaus, and I miss having my home team in the pennant race in September even more. Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
The Seattle Mariners sent rookie pitcher Blake Beavan to the mound today to replace the injured Erik Bedard in the rubber-match of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres. Beavan who stands 6-foot-7 came over in the Cliff Lee trade last summer from the Rangers showed why he was a first-round pick, going seven innings of three-hit ball to pick up his first win in the Big leagues in front of 28,001 fans at the Safe.
Beavan had great command throwing first pitch strikes all afternoon much like our other Mt. Rainier-sized starter Michael Pineda, though his fastball did not get much past 93 mph today he hit the corners well. The Mariners backed the kid up with just enough offense today scoring early off Padres starter Mat Latos who drops to 5-9 on the year.
Ichiro went 2-3 and scored a pair of runs on a day where he learned that his consecutive streak of All-Star appearances would be snapped at eleven. The Mariners will however be sending Felix Hernandez down to Arizona for the midsummer classic along with Brandon League who got his 22nd save today to lead the AL. While Hernandez is no surprise, it is nice to see League get the call to join the All-Star team for the first time as he has been on quite a roll lately saving fifteen straight games without allowing a run in any of those appearances. As for Ichiro I am sure the veteran will handle watching the game on TV like the rest of us and the vast majority of Major League players, with the quiet dignity that he portrays on a daily basis with the Mariners.
This win marks the end of Interleague play and will hopefully give our guys a little boost in confidence as they head down to Oakland to start an important road trip against AL West rivals the A’s and Rangers. The Mariner are a couple games under .500 after today’s win and depending on the outcome of tonight’s Texas Rangers game, will either be 3 1/2 or 2 1/2 out of first as the month of July rolls in.
It was nice to hear manager Eric Wedge summoned his team together this morning to take responsibility for missing the infamous extra ball from last night’s game that was reported by Scott in his post . Wedge told his crew “Ultimately I’m the Captain of this ship and something like this can’t happen”. Spoken in true Maritime tradition where the Captain of a Merchant Ship has overall command of the vessel, cargo and welfare of the crew. The one thing a Captain of a ship or a ballclub must never lose is the respect of his crew lest morale breaks down and the chain of command becomes shaky leading to all sorts of problems like we saw last year with Don Wakamatsu, and I have experienced firsthand when I went to Sea.Wedge handled this situation with class and he once again is establishing a new way of doing business here in Seattle that is refreshing. I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July tomorrow as we celebrate our Nation’s Independence.Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com