It was bound to happen sooner or later: Mike Zunino had to be called up to the big leagues. The end result was imminent, yet the timing of that end result was a point of contention for pundits and fans alike. It was never about if, but always about when. That “when” hit today, as news broke this morning that the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 Draft would be making his way to Seattle to take over as the team’s starting catcher (or at least part-time starting catcher, with a nod to Kelly Shoppach).
Almost immediately, opinions on the move flooded the internet. The prevailing sentiment, naturally, is that this promotion was more of a job-saving maneuver than anything else, a way for those on the hot seat — namely, general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge — to try and salvage employment at season’s end.
As fast as one could ejaculate words onto the internet, the first person of note to comment on the matter was USS Mariner’s Dave Cameron, who cited that rushing prospects to the big leagues is “what bad organizations do.” And he’s absolutely right.
Fans will recall that back in 2007, the Mariners converted former No. 5 overall pick Brandon Morrow into a relief pitcher in order to maximize his value at the big league level. The move tabled Morrow’s development as a starter and ultimately backfired. It wasn’t enough to save the jobs of general manager Bill Bavasi and his staff, and ultimately resulted in Morrow losing his job, too, as he was traded to Toronto by the team’s current regime prior to the 2010 season. Of course, we all know now that Morrow as a Blue Jay has regained his form as a starting pitcher, while the M’s remain scalded by a transaction that netted them two now-departed commodities in reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez.
If the rash handling of Morrow was a lesson in desperation and stupidity, the organization seems to have not heeded a great deal from the teachings of the past.
It’s evident to almost anyone that pays close attention to the M’s that the Zunino call-up is cut from the same mold as that of Brandon Morrow. The team is in a similar state of struggle as they were some six years ago, and the men relied upon to build a successful on-field product have scuffled in their ability to provide exactly that. All of this leads to a cynical smirk of a reaction to the breaking news of the moment and the resulting effect it will have on this ballclub.
Regardless of how you feel about Zunino’s worthiness as a big leaguer (you can view his minor league statistics by clicking here), there is something to be said here about Jack Zduriencik’s ability to keep his head above water despite players determined to sink him.
At the season’s outset, Zduriencik and Co. were inextricably bound to the likes of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak, or so we thought. General opinion was that if this trio faltered in what was seen as a make-or-break campaign for all three individuals, Zduriencik and staff would be axed before the calendar turned to 2014.
Alas, in what could be viewed as some sort of wizardry, Zduriencik has managed to untangle himself from the Ackley/Montero/Smoak mess and somehow intertwine his future with a completely different gaggle of players, namely the likes of Nick Franklin and the aforementioned Zunino. Ackley and Montero have been jettisoned to Triple-A (where Ackley’s now hitting over .400 and Montero faces bigger issues with the looming threat of a performance-enhancing drug suspension), while Smoak has provided mediocre results before finding himself on the disabled list. No matter, however, as Franklin and Zunino have spearheaded a damn near seamless changing of the guard.
Perhaps it’s a testament to Zduriencik’s restocking of the minor league system that the organization has managed to deftly sidestep the scuffles of one set of prospects in order to propagate another. Subsequently, even though at least one of these moves (Zunino) has been viewed as a redirection of attention — like a magician performing a sleight of hand or a department store photographer squeaking a stuffed animal to induce a child’s laughter, some might even call this a “distraction” — it won’t matter down the road if a) this new crop of young players succeeds, and b) the team wins, slash, shows visible signs of improvement.
Ultimately, the future of this organization and its key staff members comes down to an Al Davis quote: “Just win, baby.” If the Mariners, along with their newest contributors, can somehow find a way to scratch and claw their way back to relevance in the coming weeks, it won’t matter what we think of Jack Zduriencik right now. He and his staff may in fact do what many have thought to be impossible in the wake of seemingly foolhardy moves and the foibles of the past: they might just save their asses.
Filed under: Mariners
SSN Twitterbag: Antoine Winfield’s future, Mariner busts, the limit on what we’ll let fall in our beer, and more
It’s like a mailbag, but with Twitter. Because outside of work, no one sends emails anymore. To participate in future Twitterbags, look for the #SSNTwitterbag hashtag and follow along, @alexSSN.
Will Antoine Winfield sign [with the Seahawks]? -via @caseyc8
Winfield, a 35-year-old free agent cornerback just released by Minnesota, is one of the premier players at his position, even at this late stage in his career. A former All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl honoree, Winfield reportedly worked out with the Seahawks just a few days ago.
To atone for my relative ignorance on Winfield’s contractual prospects, I went to one of the brightest football minds I know for some help. My buddy Curtis Crabtree (speaking of Twitter, follow him @Curtis_Crabtree) — who covers the Seahawks for Sports Radio KJR, as well as the west coast for ProFootballTalk — was able to provide some insight for us on the situation:
“Winfield would fill a big need for Seattle as a slot cornerback,” said Curtis. “Seattle has more cap space available than Minnesota and his release from the Vikings wasn’t particularly amicable. Minnesota is pushing hard to keep him, but the manner of his release may push him to head to the Seahawks.”
Winfield was released by the Vikings on March 12, a move made in large part to clear cap space. His termination was brought to his attention while he was working out at the team’s facility, hence the less-than-amicable separation.
With more money to offer and the potential of a Super Bowl season ahead, it certainly appears like the Seahawks may have the inside track on Winfield right now.
Is it still too early to call [Dustin] Ackley and/or [Jesus] Montero a bust? -via @AndyTheG
Yes. Without a doubt, yes.
Sure, both Ackley and Montero have struggled for the bulk of their tenures in Seattle, and have especially struggled of late. While each were deemed top prospects, both have been seemingly cursed by the expectations that come along with such lofty praise.
Though there’s still time for both Ackley and Montero to develop, perhaps most concerning is the fact that neither player has shown much in the way of improvement over much of the past year. Ackley has showcased a revamped batting stance that looks about as comfortable as a pair of skinny jeans, while Montero’s weight transfer has been atrocious, sending him flailing out in front of pitches before they’re halfway to home plate.
Ackley will be granted plenty of time to work out his issues, with seemingly no other options at second base. (Unless the team wants to shift Kyle Seager over there and see what they have in a third base prospect, such as Nick Franklin; unlikely at this point.) Montero, on the other hand, is under the gun with 2012 first-round draft pick Mike Zunino off to a blazing start at Triple-A Tacoma. Fans are already eager for Zunino’s arrival, and if the organization is forced to promote him out of merit, it will likely be Montero that either finds his way to the minors or suffers from limited playing time.
Another factor in all this is Justin Smoak, who may be closer to “bust” status than either of his younger counterparts. Smoak is hanging by a final thread with the M’s, and if he can’t reveal any promise over the first few weeks of the season, his days in a Mariners uniform are undoubtedly numbered. Smoak and Montero are inextricably tied to one another in that each can lay claim to a finite number of at-bats in the lineup. Should Zunino arrive in Seattle and remain entrenched behind the plate, as expected, the team will need to find an alternate plan for Montero. Were he to shift to designated hitter, that would push Kendrys Morales over to first base, eliminating Smoak’s role with the ballclub. Longer term, the M’s may have plans to utilize Montero as a first baseman, since that is really the only other position on the field he could capably play.
Either way, one fact remains: Zunino’s arrival in Seattle will dramatically alter the roles of either Montero or Smoak, and possibly both. And it’s not so much “if” Zunino arrives as it is “when.” Between Montero and Smoak, will a bust emerge in due time? Probably so.
How much are you going to miss Abdul Gaddy running the point next year? -via @AZinSeattle
About as much as I miss Ed Hardy shirts, episodes of Gilmore Girls, awkward middle school slow dances, and Chone Figgins, combined. Good riddance.
What will our NHL team be called? Thunderbirds, or something new and fierce like Seattle Frozen Rain Droplets? -via @waltswarriors
First of all, nicknames that invoke nature or acts of nature are usually reserved for WNBA teams. The Sun, the Storm, the Sky, the list goes on. That said, a fiercer act of nature like Frozen Rain Droplets may have potential. Perhaps something even more geographically relevant — like Seattle Icy Pavement, or Seattle Drive Slow In The Rain — might be worth considering.
In reality, the favorites in the clubhouse so far seem to be Thunderbirds and Metropolitans, with Metropolitans getting the early nod. The Metropolitans reference is a tip of the cap to days gone by — the Seattle Mets were the first Stanley Cup Champions, after all — while the Thunderbirds are of course most pertinent to today’s generation of local hockey fans. Personally, I’m not really biased towards either nickname, which may mean we need something new altogether. Perhaps a naming contest is in order…
How good will Husky hoops in general be next year? Nationally ranked? Tourney bound at least? -via @AndersJorstad
Over the span of a few weeks, the Huskies have gone about revamping their roster in a curious fashion, putting themselves in the conversation for a return to Pac-12 relevance in 2013-2014.
Back in March, the Huskies landed a verbal commitment from JUCO swingman Mike Anderson, a 6-5 guard-forward who averaged 16.9 points and 9.8 rebounds at Moberly Area Community College this past season. Though not a big name, Anderson’s résumé immediately invoked memories of another former junior college transfer from days gone by, Tre Simmons.
In addition to Anderson, it’s been rumored in recent days that UNLV forward Mike Moser will be playing his senior season on Montlake as a graduate transfer, meaning he’s eligible to contribute immediately and will not need to redshirt. Moser is finishing up his undergraduate studies this year and because of a prior redshirt season taken when he migrated from UCLA to Las Vegas, still maintains a year of NCAA eligibility. Though he’d only play one year with the Huskies, the 6-8 Moser would undoubtedly be a major contributor if healthy. Coming out of high school in the Portland area, Moser was heavily recruited by a number of teams across the nation, including Washington. Though Lorenzo Romar ultimately missed out on Moser, he may have a chance to secure the ex-Rebel for his collegiate swan song. You can read more about the impending transfer here.
With another senior, 6-9 power forward Perris Blackwell, set to make his Washington debut in 2013, the Huskies suddenly become an intriguing blend of young and old. Should C.J. Wilcox forgo the temptations of the NBA and return for his senior campaign, the Dawgs will boast a trio of fifth-year players who could lead them back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons.
Beyond the aforementioned additions, Washington brings in a freshman recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American Nigel Williams-Goss, a 6-3 point guard from Happy Valley, Oregon. Darin Johnson, a 6-4 shooting guard from Sacramento, and Jahmel Taylor, a 5-11 point guard from Los Angeles, round out the crop of first-year players. Williams-Goss, especially, should have an instant impact, offloading some of the playmaking duties from returning redshirt sophomore Andrew Andrews, and likely assuming a fair share of the scoring duties, as well.
It will be interesting to see how the new players blend with the returning roster. With a marked improvement in talent, at least on paper, it will be up to Coach Romar and staff to mold personalities and ensure a comfortable working environment for all involved. Should this team play up to its potential, and more importantly play together, a return to the Big Dance and national relevance isn’t out of the question at all.
You seemed so confident about the Sonics next season. Are you still? -via @bryanwhite05
For months, I’ve operated under the assumption that the Sonics will be playing in Seattle in 2013. All of Kevin Johnson’s pomp and circumstance, all of the NBA’s rhetoric, and all the back-and-forth between the Maloofs and the city of Sacramento can’t change my opinion: I’m convinced the Kings are destined to become Seattle’s team before year’s end.
Sure, I’ve followed the saga on sports radio, in the news, on Twitter, etc., but I’m not letting the roller coaster ride sway me. I’d rather stay positive, trust the businessmen (and the lawyers) involved, and look towards that light at the end of the tunnel. I’m absolutely confident.
Regardless of how you may feel, however, we should have a better idea of where things are headed within the next eight days. Assuming everything goes according to schedule, we’ll know by April 20 whether we will or will not have an NBA team in the Emerald City next season.
Will Saved By the Bell ever do any 20- or 30-year high school reunion specials? -via @HuskyThor
This is one of those things that’s near and dear to my heart. Saved By the Bell is without a doubt one of my favorite sitcoms of all-time, and in recent years the people behind the show have gone about teasing us with the prospect of a reunion special on more than one occasion. Problem is, there are two holdups: Lisa and Screech, or more accurately, the real-life actors who play them, Lark Voorhies and Dustin Diamond.
Voorhies has battled her own personal demons, a battle that has been documented in the press over the past year or so. It’s rumored that she may be bipolar and, as a result, has all but given up acting while she sorts out her personal life.
Diamond is the cast’s pariah, an abrasive figure who has fallen out with just about all of his former Bell-mates. Whether or not he’d be on board for a reunion wouldn’t so much be determined by his own desires as it would by his standing with those he’d be working with. If Screech can’t get along with everyone else, a reunion project probably can’t be green-lit. While spinoffs of the original show have done okay without Lisa’s character (Lisa did not appear in recurring fashion during The College Years), the role of Screech has graced every SBTB-related project to date.
It’s been two decades since Bayside High School’s most famous class received their diplomas. A 20-year reunion would be well-received by an entire generation that still watches SBTB reruns to this day. For now, though, we continue to wait.
What is the limit to what you would let fall in a beer while still chugging it? Given that a sports beer is ~$8, when is enough, enough? We saw [the beer catch] but what about an earpiece, etc? -via @johng365
First of all, if you haven’t seen Wednesday night’s beer catch, go, now. It’s pretty amazing. Definitely worth a few seconds of your time. Catching a baseball in one’s plastic pint cup has got to be a bucket list item for any self-respecting, beer-drinking baseball fan. Would any of us not be willing to sacrifice a cold one for a souvenir as coveted as a foul ball? I like to think we’d all give up our beers for that.
This raises that all-important question, however: Where is that line on stadium beer sacrifice? A debate for the ages, without a doubt.
For me, personally, the cost of a stadium beer pales in comparison to a moment of infamy. Catching just about anything worth YouTubing in my drink would be valuable. But I’m a media whore, so naturally a bit biased. And this all assumes that a camera is in place to capture the moment of (glory?) glory. For instance, if someone chucked an earpiece into my Coors Light and it wasn’t recorded, then I’d just be some poor sap who wasted $8 or $9 on a now-tainted beer. The thought of guzzling a drink that may contain a fair amount of ear wax turns my stomach, so that beer is bound for the garbage either way. I can happily live with it, though, if I’ve found my way to the pages of Deadspin as a result.
If we operate under the hypothetical of a camera-free world, the list of things I’d let fall into my beer dramatically shortens. A baseball is still a definite yes, and likely rises to the top of the list when it comes to exciting beer finds. Anyone who’s ever taken a baseball home from the ballpark understands the excitement associated with that moment. Including me:
After the prospect of a foul ball gracing your beverage, the awesome sports-related paraphernalia you could drop into an already-full pint glass are few and far between. A hockey puck? Totally cool. A golf ball? Absolutely. A tennis ball? Sure. But then what?
A player’s mouthpiece? Eh, probably not worth it.
A batting glove? Maybe.
A wad of Bazooka chewed by your favorite player? Some might go for it, but not me.
A shooting sleeve? No.
Really, outside of a baseball, there aren’t many coveted stadium items that would warrant losing a beer over. If you want to open the book up to include the likes of a World Series ring or a $100 bill then yes, we can absolutely talk about ditching that ale you’ve been chugging. Beyond that? Well, let’s just be thankful for cameras and the world of social media. Because really, those fleeting seconds of fame and relevance are all that make an $8 waste of money okay.
Thanks to everyone for contributing their questions to this edition of the Twitterbag. Stay tuned via Twitter for our next Twitterbag request.
Filed under: Twitterbag
After watching last night’s 3-2 loss to the Yankees and reading some other Mariners Blogs over the past couple of days I thought I would jump in and give my opinion on the strikeout epidemic which has been on everyone’s minds these days. I guess it is important to state up front that I never playEd Higher than High School ball and thus my opinion is based primarily on my observations as a fan for the past 45 years.
First off I think it is important to realize that we are putting six or seven guys on the field every day that are either rookies or AAAA type players that have minimal experience in the Majors. On a real team like the Yankees, Rangers etc. there is usually only one or two of these sorts of players on the field at any given time being that they have managed to assemble and keep real live Big League lineups together. The situation here is different as instead of easing in a few top prospects every year like the contenders do, the Mariners have thrown a whole heap of these youngsters on the field all at once hoping it will somehow work. This situation itself is problematic as the younger players have no real mentors to give them the inside tips on opposing pitchers patterns and traits. Instead most of our young guys as well as a few of the veterans are stepping into the batters box with no game plan and the results are what we saw last night where the Mariners fanned 17 times as part of a season heading towards setting and all time Mariners record for strikeouts.
Now it should be noted that Ichiro as frustrating as he is to watch, has the ability to adjust his swing in the middle of pitches and thus make contact on almost anything thrown. This of course is a rare quality and not something you can teach. Then there is Dustin Ackley who also seems to have enough hand-eye coordination to adjust his swing as the ball is heading to the plate. But Ackley also seems to have a plan when he steps into the box and is more apt to let pitches go that he knows he can’t square-up on. Once Ackley gets to know the habits and patterns of opposing pitchers he should be able to do what all great hitters do that is: anticipate pitches.
Great hitters like Mays, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez etc. did not achieve their level of success by simply having good eyes, but rather for having good instincts and sitting on pitches then driving them when they came. Unfortunately guys like Wells, Robinson, Saunders and Peguero don’t seem to have much of a clue when they step up to the plate and thus continue to strikeout at alarming rates. Some of this can be taught but much of the art of hitting comes from innate talent and experience. One has to wonder how some of these players made it to this level by simply trying to recognize pitches as they come to the plate rather than having a plan. I will say that Kyle Seager does seem to show some promise at the plate and with some experience he may well develop into a consistent high average guy who goes to the plate with a picture in his mind of exactly what he is looking for and sesnses when it is coming.
This off-season the Mariners need to first and foremost land a couple of savvy veterans who have proved they know how to hit over the course of their careers to help set an example and perhaps help fine tune the approaches of guys like Seager and Ackley. Someone like Lance Berkman or Johnny Damon would be ideal though I just use them as examples of veterans with proven track records who know how to hit. And even with a few veterans around there may come a time when Jack Z. and Wedge simply have to give up on a few of our youngsters who are really no more than prospects and not genuine Major League players. That is my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Michael Pineda pitched a brilliant game today going 6 1/3 innings and allowing only one hit to go along with a career high 10 K’s to lead the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on a beautiful summer day in Seattle. Pineda flirted with a no-hitter before allowing a lone single in the sixth using his overpowering fastball and slider all afternoon to keep the contending Rays off the bases.
Another rookie Dustin Ackley provided most of the offense for the Mariners today with a 2-run homer off Rays starter Alex Cobb in the first to get things going today. Ackley also doubled in the bottom half of the sixth and scored on a clutch single by Mike Carp to put the Mariners up 3-2. Pineda looked like he ran out of gas in the top of the seventh and Eric Wedge brought in Jeff Gray who proceeded to get the final two outs on two pitches. Gray pitched well in relief today and looks to have earned the trust of manager Wedge who will be forced to use Gray more now that David Pauley is gone. Brandon League got to come in and get his 24th save today as well, the first one since July 4th to complete this gem for the 24,985 in attendance today.
Earlier in the day the Mariners announced that Doug Fister and David Pauley had been traded to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Casper Wells, left-handed pitcher Charlie Furbush, third-base prospect Francisco Martinez and a player to be named later. Jack Zduriencik said the player to be named is a “significant” prospect for what that is worth. Though it wil be sad to see the lanky Fister in a Tigers uniform, he deserves to go a team that will provide him some run support after posting a 3-12 record this year with the M’s despite his 3.33 ERA. David Pauley gave the Mariners a lot of good innings during our two month winning stretch but looks like a guy who will be easily replaced at this juncture.
Casper Wells can play all three outfield positions and was hitting .257 with four home runs, 12 RBI’s and a .323 0n-base percentage in 64 games this year with the Tigers. While his numbers don’t sound overwhelming he may be able to replace Franklin Gutierrez who seems to look worse every day at the plate. There is a lot of talk that Francisco Martinez the big five-tool third baseman may be the best player in the deal though he still has some development to do and will head directly to AA. Overall it looks like the Mariners did well on this deal as the Tigers like other teams in contention have a tendency to overpay in order to get to the playoffs which is fine by us. We may never know how our old shipmate Doug Fister would have fared here had he gotten some run support, but we wish him well. Fister was quoted as saying : “I’m excited for the new adventure,but sad to leave the clubhouse and the Seattle Mariners”.
So today proved to be one of the most positive days here in “Mayberry with Skyscrapers” that we have had in a long time. I am hoping that the rest of the way “the cream will rise to the top” so to speak and this whole painful rebuilding project will start to make some sense and give us fans a reason to believe. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
The Seattle Mariners snapped a painful 17-game losing streak by trouncing the New York Yankees 9-2 as all of us in Mariners Nation let out a sigh of relief. Mariners Ace Felix Hernandez went 7 frames allowing only a run and for once he got the backing of his teammates who scored 9 runs thanks to a season high 17 hits. Mike Carp had 4 hits and 4 RBI’s today including a huge bases-clearing triple in the seventh to prove he really can hit in the Majors. Ichiro also had a 4-hit day and Dustin Ackley continued his impressive play with three base knocks and 3 RBI’s of his own.
The flight home will certainly be a lot looser thanks to this win today after a losing streak that felt like it would never end. In my last post I wrote I would not be writing again till the Mariners won two games in a row but that was over a week and two mustaches ago (mine and Eric Wedge‘s) so I figured I would try to reconnect with any of my readers out there who are still following our club.
This losing streak dating back to the July 5th win over the A’s certainly tried my patience as a Mariners fan and though we have managed to drop completely out of the AL West race I can’t help but feel giddy today as if we just won a playoff game! It was nice to see our guys smiling as they exchangEd High-fives on the mound after the game and as much as this streak sucked for us die-hard fans you can bet it was way worse for Eric Wedge and his crew who have certainly been up and down this year.
I was feeling kind of lost this past week as the anguish progressed and even went so far as to watching the Pittsburgh Pirates on an ESPN game trying to learn their names so I could jump on their bandwagon for the rest of the season. But after today’s victory I am back in the fold, as like it or not this is our team and after following them for 30 years I really have nowhere else to go.
On a sadder note I just learned that Rick Kaminski the ” Peanut Man” has passed away today at age 67. This is indeed sad as Rick was a fixture here in Seattle over all the years flipping peanuts behind his back and always quick with a joke and a smile. I talked to Rick a couple times in Peoria over the last few years and he was a delightful human being. With Niehaus and now Rick gone there is not much left for and old SeaDog like me to remind me of the old Kingdome days when I head down to the Safe these days, but like a good sailor I will sail on….Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
By Scott Rinear
The Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland A’s in extra innings tonight down at the Oakland Coliseum to take the second game of this 3-game road series against the AL West cellar dwellers. I’ll admit it was difficult to stay inside and watch the Root Sports broadcast of the game with summer having arrived alive and well in the northwest, albeit a little late. Coming off a very fun and relaxing 4th of July weekend down at my family’s beach cabin in Normandy Park, I feel ready for a summertime pennant race in the AL West as the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers both won, again, and yet the Mariners are back to .500 and remain a mere 2.5 games out of first place.
Felix Hernandez brought his typical dominant A game, pitching 8 solid innings of 1-run ball. Felix gave up 4 hits on the night, and I was almost glad Oakland leadoff batter Jemile Weeks lead off the game with a hit, that way Dave Sims wasn’t able to jinx a potential no-hitter by mentioning a potential no-hitter with 2 outs in the 3rd inning. Felix also finished the game with 10 strikeouts, striking out 7 of the 9 A’s batters at least once each. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that Oakland mounted a threat off Felix, with a solo home run by Kurt Suzuki just out of reach of left fielder Carlos Peguero‘s leap.
The majority of the Mariners offense tonight had both a name and a steadily bearding face: Dustin Ackley. I get more and more excited about this kid with every at bat. Ackley singled, stole second, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Peguero in the 2nd. Then, not to be outdone by himself, Ackley smashed a solo home run to dead center field in the 7th, pushing the Mariners lead to 2-0. Maybe if more than one Mariner could have provided some offense in the first nine innings of this game, Felix would have gotten the victory he deserved rather than the no decision he actually got, because All-Star closer Brandon League blew his 4th save of the season, allowing the game-tying run in the ninth.
The Mariners took the lead for good in the 10th when a potential inning ending double play relay throw missed first base by a good 10 feet, allowing Franklin Gutierrez to score easily after leading off the inning with single. Adam Kennedy followed up with an RBI double, putting the Mariners up 4-2. Jaimie Wright pitched the bottom of the 10th to pick up the save, and, as happens only in baseball, Brandon League’s blown save turned into his first win of the year, as he was the pitcher of record when the Mariners regained the lead.
It was nice to see at least two members of King’s Court at the Oakland Coliseum, although Oakland isn’t the most opportune stadium to wear yellow shirts, but A for effort guys. And although I really wish the King’s Court was an organic grass roots phenomenon, it is a much more productive promotional strategy than bobbleheads and rally fries, because at least it has more people paying attention to the game once every 5 games.
Following this series in Oakland the Mariners will enter a brutal 47 game stretch between now and the end of August against some top tier competition, including 10 games versus the Angels and 7 against the Rangers. Also included in that stretch are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Cleveland Indians. In fact, during July and August, Mariner opponents are a combined 42 games above .500. Needless to say the next month will be a big test for this 2011 Mariners team and will go a long way in determining whether they stay in the race as summer roles on.
Will the Mariners be buyers or sellers this year as the trade deadline approaches? Your guess is as good as mine. I still say they should make a move to improve the offense if possible, but I don’t have an answer for what move they should make. That’s what Eric Wedge and Jack Zduriencik and the Mariner scouts get paid to figure out. Let’s see what kind of deal they can get done. In the short term this team is at a tipping point, and the next couple of months hopefully will see this team keep pace in the West and challenge for a playoff spot, albeit a little earlier than planned. Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
By Scott Rinear
The first ever Seattle Mariners road series at Safeco Field came to an end in tonight’s first ever 7:10pm Sunday night game, as the Mariners beat the Florida Marlins 2-1 in 10 innings.
Once again Doug Fister pitched very well, throwing 8 solid innings, walking none, and surrendering only 1 earned run. Fister decided to address his own tough luck run support problem when he laced a double into the right-center gap past the drawn-in Marlins outfielders in the 5th. He then personally scored the game’s first run on an RBI single by Brendan Ryan. In fact, in their Safeco Field offensive debut, Mariner pitchers batted .250 with a double and a run scored in 8 at bats.
It would have been a great story if the single run Fister scored ended up getting him the win, but it was not to be. After an 8th inning single by our old pal Jose Lopez and a sacrifice bunt, Marlins second basemen Omar Infante fouled off pitch after pitch in a great 12-pitch battle with Fister. Infante ended up with the bigger half of the wishbone, lining a 2-out RBI double down the left field line to tie the game. So it would be another no decision for Doug Fister, and extra innings for the Mariners.
Dustin Ackley lead off the 10th with a double, finishing the game a home run shy of the cycle. Ackley then tagged up and moved to third on a fly ball to left by Miguel Olivo. You wanted a bizarre ending to a weird series? The Marlins “attempted” to intentionally walk Carlos Peguero, and relief pitcher Steve Cishek missed the catcher completely, allowing Ackley to score the go-ahead run on the wild pitch.
It was a crucial win for the Mariners as the Athletics, Angels, and Rangers all lost on Sunday, pushing the M’s back into 2nd place in the AL West, and only 1.5 games out of first.
In the spirit of this goofy road series at Safeco, I wanted to deviate somewhat from the normal subject matter and talk about a few pet peeves of mine. Let’s call it the first installation of what I like to so cleverly call “Scott’s Pet Peeves.” Mainly I want to know if I’m the only one.
Pet peeve #1: The behind-home-plate camera angle Root Sports seems to grow fonder of with every pitch. Bottom line: we can’t see anything! Sure we can see the ball on its way to the plate, which is kind of neat. But once the ball gets to the hitting zone, the place where a lot of the action of baseball occurs, everything becomes a jumbled mess of umpire/catcher/batter with a flash of the ball heading somewhere that we won’t really know until they switch camera angles. Enough Root Sports! Stick to the center field camera please. Am I the only one?
Pet peeve #2: Booing the opposing pitcher for trying to hold a baserunner close. This Major League-wide phenomenon is more of a curiosity than a pet peeve. Holding a runner close by throwing over to first a couple of times is as much a strategic part of the game as a pitcher working the corners. I’ve never understood why keeping runners close ALWAYS warrants an appearance by a flock of boo birds. Am I the only one? If anyone out there reading this goes to games and boos in this situation, I just want to know why.
Pet peeve #3: Dave Sims. I can’t be the only one?
The Mariners will be right back on the field tomorrow night as they welcome the Atlanta Braves to the Safe, although this series will see the DH position again. I wonder if the Mariners should just pretend it’s National League rules again, because .250 with a double and a run scored actually looks pretty good. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
By Scott Rinear
First off, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially to my dad, who I hope was able to catch some of the game today. The Seattle Mariners won yet another series on this 2011 Father’s Day, taking rubber game of this series from the Philadelphia Phillies in front of a sellout crowd at Safeco Field. The story of the day was Mariners starter Jason Vargas, who put on an absolute pitching clinic, hurling his 2nd complete game shutout in his last 3 starts.
It’s difficult to describe a performance like the one we saw today from Vargas other than it was a true pitching gem in every sense of the phrase. Vargas mixed pitch speeds beautifull, working the inside and outside corners all game, inducing many easy ground balls and lazy flyouts. The final stat line for Vargas was 9 innings pitched, 3 hits, 6 K’s, and only two walks. And the third Philly hit didn’t come until bloop single by Ryan Howard with 2 outs in the 9th. At one point Vargas set down 15 Philly hitters in a row,. The only thing resembling trouble came in the 4th when the Phillies managed to get a few runners on, but that threat was promptly ended by Chone Figgins when he caught a soft liner and doubled Carlos Ruiz off at first.
Most people around the country probably assumed that the dominant left-hander in this match-up would be the Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Hamels’ record is an impressive 9-3, but that third loss was today facing Vargas and the Mariners. Hopefully this series against the Major League’s best team might help put the Seattle Mariners more clearly on the national map, as our carefully crafted mix of rookies and veterans have now won a series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees. There shouldn’t be any 3-hour time difference excuses after today’s afternoon game. Philly fans, both in Philadelphia and the pockets of red that came out to the Safe this weekend all know this team is for real.
With Vargas pitching out of his mind, 2 runs were all the Mariners needed to get the win. Justin Smoak had 2 hits and one of the RBIs driving in Ichiro Suzuki in the 6th. Ichiro ended up with another multi-hit game, and now has had at least 2 hits in 7 of his last 8 games, driving up his average to .277 (haters beware, you’re time is done). Dustin Ackley continues to prove he belongs, both offensively and on defense. Ackley lined a ball to the right-center gapl in the 7th and legged out his first triple, then scored the second on a pinch hit RBI single by Adam Kennedy. Ackley also made some solid plays at second base, showing some impressive range on a couple grounders. If Ackley can manage a double against the Washington Nationals in a couple of days, he’ll have a 4-game cycle in his first 4 Major League games. Somebody help me out, has that ever happened before?
I love that manager Eric Wedge showed his confidence in Vargas letting him take the mound in the 9th. Even after Howard’s hit with Brandon League warm and ready, Wedge called his infielders to the mound and had a quick pep talk with his starter. I can’t read lips, but I imagine it was something like: “you’re the man, now finish this!”
I’ll bet that Ben Francisco was going to be Vargas’s last batter regardless because if Francisco had reached base, you never want a pitcher who threw the game Vargas had to that point to have any chance of taking the loss, and Carlos Ruiz would have represented the go ahead run.
None of that speculation ended up mattering, as Francisco flew out to end the game. And so it continues, as the Mariners went toe to toe with the mighty Philadelphia Phillies and came out on top. I can already here the Debbie Downers playing the “we didn’t have to face Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay” card, but if you look at the numbers, Cole Hamels is currently the best pitcher on the staff so I’m not hearing that.
The icing on the Father’s Day cake was a Texas Rangers loss to the Atlanta Braves, meaning the Mariners are back to within a half game of first place as they gear up to head to the nation’s capital for series with the Nationals. And, thanks to the band U2, our upcoming road trip will only be those three games, as the Florida Marlins will be coming to Seattle at the end of the week but will suit up as the home team. So if you want to see our pitchers step into a Safeco Field batter’s box, come on out for the Marlins series. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
by Scott Rinear
And without further ado, I bring to you the excitement that is the 2011 Seattle Mariners! Every now and again the stars in the baseball universe align in such a way that situations like the present state of affairs in Mariners land come to pass. Even before tonight’s game, the first of three against the cream of the National League crop Philadelphia Phillies, the buzz and excitement had stirred up the hibernating butterflies in my stomach. The good kind of butterflies; the kind you feel when baseball games actually mean something.
First, Dustin Ackley made his Major League debut tonight in one of the most highly anticipated Mariner debuts I can remember. Add to that some recent multi-hit games by Ichiro “double-trouble” Suzuki, a lucky but game-winning 2-run single by Carlos Peguero, and Greg Halman’s first big league home run to dead center field no less, and what you get are two of the most valuable intangibles in any sport: momentum and confidence.
Tonight’s game included a brilliant rookie vs. veteran pitching matchup with Mariner rookie sensation Michael Pineda taking on the Phillies’ Roy Oswalt. Pineda was looking to get back to his dominant winning ways after a couple of rocky starts, and he was threatening to do that in a big way as he flirted with a no-hitter through 5.2 innings.
But first, the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for, “The Debut.”
Mustached magician Eric Wedge decided to put Dustin Ackley in the 7th spot in the batting order, and in the top of the 2nd, Ackley stepped into a Major League batter’s box for the first time. I can only imagine what was running through the young kid’s head as he shifted around in the box and took some practice swings. I watched the game on TV and even from my couch I could feel the immediate embrace by the Safeco crowd. And it was loud! “Welcome To The Show Ackley!” was the hand-drawn sign Root Sports chose to point a camera at, and it was certainly an electric welcome by the fans.
Facing Roy Oswalt pitching for the Major League’s best team is not the softest of landings for a young rookie. The first pitch was a 90+ mph fastball near the middle of the plate. Ackley probably decided at some point prior to the game that he would take a look at the first pitch, and why not? It’s the biggest moment in his life. If it were me I’d want to soak up every second. The 0-1 pitch was off the plate away, but the home plate umpire called it a strike, his own personal “Welcome to the Show, Rookie.” Oswalt’s 0-2 pitch was a beauty, painting the outside corner at the lower realm of the strike zone. But, like most naturally gifted hitters, Ackley fouled the strikeout pitch off. Still no balls and two strikes, Oswalt came in with a low change-up, hoping to fool Ackley after three straight fastballs.
As Ackley’s base hit made its way past Oswalt, over the mound, and into centerfield, I found myself screaming and jumping up and down in my living room. The large crowd at the Safe did the same. I haven’t heard Safeco that loud in while. And so the Dustin Ackley era begins with a single up the middle, the place where every hitting coach instructs a player to attempt to hit the ball. I still remember my dad telling me that over and over again at an early age, that my approach at the plate should always be: “Think up the middle.”
It’s not very often you get to write about and describe a successful Major League debut, but there were other fireworks in this game. Ichiro continued his torrid hitting with his sixth multi-hit game in a row, this time with 3 base knocks. Miguel Olivo broke out of his slump with his 11th home run of the season, and Brendan Ryan found his stroke again with an RBI triple in the 3rd and RBI single in the 7th.
Michael Pineda was lights out for the first five innings, holding the potent Philadelphia offense hitless until a 2-out single by Shane Victorino in the 6th. Pineda finished his night’s work with 5 K’s and 1 earned run in six innings. Brandon League closed the door in the 9th for his league leading 20th save as the Mariners won 4-2.
The Mariners remain a half game out of first after a Rangers win, but it’s getting harder for people to ignore this team, especially if they can take game 2 tomorrow with Felix Hernandez taking the mound. Dustin Ackley lived up to the hype. One game in you can already tell he’s going to hit, and he played solid defense. The anticipation of his debut now transitions into the anticipation of how good he might be, and, after beating the best team in baseball, how good the Seattle Mariners might be. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Tags: dustin ackley
by Scott Rinear
Much like the weather today in Seattle, the Seattle Mariners offense was unseasonably cold with only a few bright spots. Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver made pitching in the Major Leagues look rather easy tonight, breezing through his complete game shutout giving up only 5 hits. I expect the typical reaction regarding the Mariners offensive struggles. But, after a performance like this one, you have to tip your cap to Weaver, as he was flat out filthy on the mound.
Mariners starter Doug Fister was lights out for 6 of the 7 innings he pitched. The first inning proved to be the difference in the game, as Fister gave up 4 runs on 4 hits with an uncharacteristic display of wildness and missed locations. It was an unfortunate time for a bad inning, especially facing a pitcher like Jered Weaver. Fister was able to find his rhythm, and quickly. Over his next 6 innings, Fister shut the Angels down, giving up only 3 more hits and no additional runs.
The lone bright spots were the 5 hits and some defense the Mariners were able to muster. Ichiro Suzuki checked in with a single and a double in the game and made two stellar running catches near the right field corner. If Ichiro’s slump warranted so many questions about his so-called deteriorating abilities, then I ask a similar question after tonight. Since his rare day off on June 10, Ichiro is 8-17 with four straight 2-hit games, and has flashed some of his vintage leather in right field. Do four games make a big enough sample size to welcome back the Ichiro who has spoiled fans with unbelievable offense and defense for 10 years? Anyone who reads my posts can guess my answer. Yes. I think Ichiro is back and will once again have at least 200 hits and hit over .300. I want to know what everyone else thinks.
Another positive tonight was the play of newcomer Mike Carp, both at the plate and in left field. I’m not sure if Carp has played left for this team yet, but I liked what I saw. Carp’s solid throw to home in the first may have cut down Erick Aybar trying to score had Figgins not cut the ball off. Then he made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the nightmarish first inning. Carp was also 2-3 at the plate, putting some good swings together against one of the better pitchers in the game.
With Carp, Carlos Peguero, and Greg Halman all having spent some time in left field, which one of the three has the best chance of being the everyday left fielder? For that question, your guess is as good as mine. Honestly, I like all three players, and I hope the organization can figure out the best way to take advantage of their young talent.
Speaking of young talent, Dustin Ackley will hopefully be making his Major League debut next week. It’s looking like Monday against the Washington Nationals could be the start of the Ackley era, according to Geoff Baker’s blog for the Seattle Times. There has been a lot of speculation in the media and blogosphere about why Ackley has not been called up yet. Whatever the reason, it’s only a matter of time, a matter of days most likely, and I can’t help be excited.
I remember when the Mariners picked Ackley 2nd overall in the 2009 draft, and a few days later I was able to catch a North Carolina baseball game on TV. I was excited to see Ackley play live so soon after he was drafted. I only watched a few innings, and only watched one of Ackley’s at bats. Home run to left center.
It’s obvious everyone in Mariners land wants Ackley on the team yesterday. What isn’t obvious is what people are expecting from this kid. I made the mistake last season of expecting Justin Smoak to hit 5 home runs in his first game as a Mariner and set myself up for disappointment. The questions become: What are people’s expectations of Ackley this season and beyond? Will the second base experiment pan out, or will the scouts who say he should move back to the outfield be correct? Personally, I have a really good feeling about this team’s future. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
I love this team. Don’t get me wrong. I just happen to hate this version of this team. It’s like when you’re a kid and you screw up and your parents get mad at you. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you anymore. They’re just upset for the time being. That’s all it is.
On paper, the 2011 Seattle Mariners are grosser than a Brendan Fraser movie. They’re flat boring. Brendan Ryan? Adam Kennedy? Jack Cust? Eh. Let’s be real here. None of those guys get you excited about the future of this team. They just don’t. But at least we got rid of Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Minus. Addition by subtracting the Subtraction. Though I suppose we could reacquire his goofy didgeridoo ass since he was just cut by the Houston Astros. Seriously. And he spent his entire offseason doing MMA workouts with Jay Glazer, too. Gee, I don’t know how that didn’t lead to success.
Anyway, here’s the thing about this year’s Mariners. The real media is obligated to make you believe in ‘em because currently they’re tied for first place with the best record in the league. Me, on the other hand…well, let’s just be honest, I have absolutely no obligations to anybody. So I’ll give it to you straight. Don’t think of this as a preview of the season. You would never read that garbage. Treat it as a heavy dose of reality.
Point No. 1: Everyone get off Tom Wilhelmsen’s dick
Tom Wilhelmsen. If you don’t know who he is by now, Google him. Every beat writer and columnist in the entire frickin’ world has written about Wilhelmsen and his quote-unquote story. Story, my ass. Let me give you the real Tom Wilhelmsen story, free of charge:
Athletically gifted dude gets paid a lot of money at a young age, blows said money on weed, wastes his talents, smokes aforementioned weed, quits job, goes AWOL, realizes he’s doing jack sh*t with his life, kicks weed (supposedly), puts talent to good use, gets a job. End of story.
But the way the scribes tell it, Wilhelmsen is a GDMFing hero. Why? Because he stopped smoking pot? Tim Lincecum started smoking pot and became better at his job. So suck on that.
The reality of Tom Wilhelmsen is that up until a year or two ago, the dude was a lazy motherf**ker. That’s not a knock on the guy. Hell, there are millions of lazy motherf**kers in the world. Most of them can’t throw a baseball 95 miles per hour, however. Wilhelmsen can. That doesn’t make him Mother Theresa.
I can’t fault Wilhelmsen’s plan. It was genius. Set the bar ridiculously low for yourself, then hop over it…hero status. Way to go. We wish we could all be the benefactors of our own shallow expectations.
I’ll still root for the guy. Not because he’s a hero now or whatever. I could care less about that. I’m intrigued by the fact that he was so passionate about life that he up and quit his job to pursue, well, nothing. More people should do that, and I’m dead serious. We tend to wait until we’re old and decrepit before we really enjoy life. So good for you, Wilhelmsen. Even I can applaud that.
Point No. 2: You better not screw this up, Bedard
You know the crazy girl you used to date but keep messing around with on the side? The one who you have no foreseeable future with, who you kind of hate, who your friends don’t like, but who has mad skills in the sack? That, my friends, is Erik Bedard.
Bedard is the most frustrating player in the history of baseball. He’s talented as all hell, but he can’t stay healthy. And yet we keep giving him chance after chance after chance, and what does he do? He tantalizes the fan base. He’s the world’s biggest cock tease. The hot actress on the cover of the magazine with her own hands covering her boobs. Just splay your fingers or something. Christ.
So what if we’re not really granting Bedard much of a salary anymore? He’s basically working off commission at this point, anyway. The money doesn’t matter. It’s the way he plays with our emotions every year. Pitching lights out when he’s on, stagnating on the DL when he’s off. And now here he comes with this phenomenal spring. Getting our hopes up one more time. For what? To let us down again? Is that how this will all play out?
I can’t do it anymore, Bedard. You’re the Jerry Maguire to our Dorothy Boyd. We want to believe in you, to complete you, to trust you, to love you, but it’s such a freaking struggle.
I hope this is the year. I really do. Don’t screw it up, Bedard. We need you.
Point No. 3: Milton Bradley is your starting left fielder
I mean, I don’t even know what to say really. Just let that sh*t sink in. Milton Effing Bradley. Unbuckingfelievable.
Point No. 4: Brandon League is your closer
God, I hate Brandon League. I do. I really do. There’s no other way to put it. The guy is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. He’s Bobby Ayala 2.0. And the thing that really bugs me about League is that so many people think he’s good. Okay, yeah, whatever.
Sure, the dude throws hard. I get that. We all do. But unfortunately he has the mental fortitude of a kindergartner. He crumbles under pressure, inflates his numbers in garbage time, and all in all becomes an average major leaguer when you take everything into account. He’s basically the Ricky Davis of baseball. Again, if you don’t know Ricky Davis, much like you may not have known Tom Wilhelmsen, please Google him.
It was bad enough last year when League was our top setup man. Now he starts this season as the team’s closer because David Aardsma has Bo Jacksonitis or something.
How’s League supposed to protect a one-run lead? Huh? Riddle me that. Because there were moments last year when he seemingly wasn’t capable of protecting the world’s tiniest penis. He’s like a perforated Trojan Mini. Good luck with that.
I don’t know, League. I wish I could like you, but I just don’t. Maybe one day after you give up baseball and go become a hair stylist for the blind I’ll learn to appreciate you more.
Point No. 5: Where the sh*t is Dustin Ackley?
I don’t care if he’s not ready. Billy Downtown Anderson wasn’t ready in Major League: Back to the Minors, but what did Roger Dorn and the Twins do? They called him up anyway. To sell tickets. And breathe some life into a moribund franchise. That’s what they did. And did it work? No, it didn’t. But who cares. At least they had the moxie to pull the trigger on the move anyhow. You have to like the attitude.
I don’t care if Ackley still needs seasoning in the minors. I want to watch him play. Now. Yes, I realize how selfish this is. But the dude was the No. 2 overall pick a few years ago. People want to see this man in a Mariners uniform!
Prove to me he’s not ready. You’re paying him millions of dollars to do his job, why not make him earn it a little bit? That’s all I ask. Bring him up here, install him at second base, ship Jack Wilson down to the Caribbean so he can hang out with Jack Sparrow, and let’s do this. Ackley ain’t getting any younger and you already poached him from the college ranks, so his body clock has to be ticking. Sh*t, if he was Dominican you would’ve had him up here two years ago. But then again, he would have told you he was like 18 back then when in reality he was really 34 or 35. That’s the thing about Dominicans. They use a different calendar than we do and hence don’t count the years the same way. It’s the metric system is what it is.
All I’m asking is for a little excitement. And Ackley brings that. Excite me, Mariners. This is going to be a long season. I’d at least like to see more than frumpy stopgap veterans slogging their way through the tail ends of their careers. We deserve better. Let’s make it happen.
Filed under: Mariners
Just a few quick thoughts about the importance of the upcoming 2011 Mariners season before I head down to Peoria Arizona tomorrow for Spring Training. I am not quite sure the Mariners ownership group are reading the Mariners Nation fanbase correctly, but from my vantage point there seems to be a lot of apathy here in Seattle after the last 10 years of mediocre baseball, culminating in the dismal 2010 season.
While most of the die-hard fans like myself realize that this will be rebuilding season, I am starting to wonder if it is in the clubs best interest to start Michael Pineda and or Dustin Ackley in AAA to utilize the Super 2 rule and thus keep them under team control longer to save money. The fans are starved for at least a competitive and fun team to watch and by not putting these two budding prospects on the initial 25 man roster the Mariners could be losing money in the long run.
I hope to see for myself when I fly down to Peoria tomorrow if these two players, along with a host of other new names are indeed ready to step-up under the new skipper Eric Wedge and give us something to cheer about over the long season. Looking forward to getting some sun and will be posting pictures,videos and stories while Im down in camp. Hope you will be there with me. Go Ms! http://jeffsmariners.com
Well I finally had enough of the Mariners and drove down to Tacoma to watch the Rainiers beat the Reno Aces 8-2 tonight and it was fun! Yes that is right watching baseball can be fun, especially if the team you are rooting for wins and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming like it was at Cheney Stadium tonight. I joined 7,571 other baseball fans on family night and got to see a great game featuring the first-place Rainiers who know how to score runs and even hit the long-ball.
I have not been to Cheney Stadium since Carlos Guillen was down there in 1998 and as far as the stadium and fans attending, not much has changed. Cheney stadium is 50 years old and has seen many a young prospect as well as fading veteran play on its well manicured field. The crowd was primarily families and working-class, and they know how to have fun. The place was full of youngsters gathering autographs from the players and older fans actually laughing and having a good time. Sure the PA guy messed up a few names, and the electronic screen did not always match the correct numbers up with the right players but I felt I was in a time-warp putting me back into the 70’s.
The Rainiers brought-up a young pitcher named Yoervis Medina to make his AAA debut tonight and he went 5 and 2/3 innings of 3-hit shutout ball while his offense unlike the Mariners gave him run support. As a matter of fact the Rainiers look like they could beat the Mariners as far as position players go. I got to see Greg Halman hit his 24th homer in the second inning along with home run #15 for right fielder Mike Wilson, and #13 from Matt Mangini who I would swap for Jose Lopez tomorrow. Of course the main event was watching young Justin Smoak recently demoted drive in a run with a screeching shot past third in the big eighth inning as part of a four run rally. All the while I was chatting with the friendly couple in front of me who have had season tickets since the 60’s and even gave me a couple of tickets for Tuesday’s game.
Yes this was a different experience from fighting the traffic to get into Safeco and paying $65 for a box seat. In fact I paid $25 for a seat two rows back behind the Reno Aces and felt like I was sitting in the dugout. The food is a little cheaper though heavy on the carbs, but so what this team knows how to win games and the crowd was a lot friendlier and more into the game than I usual experience at Safeco. I sort of felt like I was skipping school while I was watching this game instead of painfully going over today’s 4-0 loss to Minnesota and trying to create another clever post for a team that has sucked my creative juices dry.
It was interesting to watch Mike Sweeney dig-in at the plate like usual, Sweeney walked three times, stole a base, and delivered a clutch 2-out RBI in the 3rd. He looks healthy to me and I really am starting to believe that Jack Z. is leaving him down there to help groom some of the younger guys in a winning environment. I guess there is no point in bringing-up guys like Dustin Ackley into the toxic morass of the Mariners 2010 season so Jack Z. has his little incubator of baseball players project going on down in Tacoma. Actually most of the starters in the field either have been or should be up with the big club this year. So take my word for it and head down to Tacoma and enjoy the game of baseball in a fun, winning environment while it lasts….http://jeffsmariners
Tagged: Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Mariners, Mike Sweeney, Reno Aces, Tacoma Rainiers