Well I’ve done some crazy things over the years as a Mariners Fan but staying up till 3 AM for a game on TV actually being broadcast by ROOT Sports from Bellevue is an All-Time low. I’m sitting here in my robe like a 12 year-old kid waiting up all night for Santa even though he knows that Santa Claus is a myth. It’s with the same sort of bitter-sweet anticipation that I sit here with the faint hope that this year may be different and the Mariners will magically be a contender this year.
It should be interesting to see how Ichiro performs in the three-hole in front of his fans at the Tokyo Dome this morning.It is appropriate that we are playing another Pacific Rim Port city Oakland in this odd Season Opener. Will try to stay up for the whole game but no promises!
Ichiro Suzuki delights the local fans with a lead-off infield single but is stranded in the first as the season gets underway with Felix Hernandez coming in to reclaim his throne as the Mariners Ace for another season. Felix gives up a single to Weeks and a stolen base but no runs as we head to the second as the Mariners are still tied for first-place in the AL West!
Just found out they opened Safeco up this morning and a few hundred hard-core fans are down there, some in pajamas! Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba is the A’s big acquisition this year and just got to see him fan in his first Major League at bat. I’m committed to staying awake till the Mariners score a run….could be a long night…But wait Michael Saunders just started the third off with a line drive single and then steals second but gets thrown out on base running mental error, I hope he proves me wrong and becomes a productive Major Leaguer.
Mariners looked like our familiar team in the top of third figuring out a way to ruin a scoring opportunity with dumb base running…..But King Felix is looking sharp so far with 4 K’s through three innings and getting stronger as he goes having retired the last nine A’s in a row.
BOOM! Dustin Ackley hits one 400 feet out of the park for a solo shot and the Mariners take a 1-0 lead, followed by another infield hit by Ichiro.
Well Folks thats it for me I’m going to go to bed happy knowing the Mariners were ahead when I went to bed and Felix on the mound. By the time you read this youll probably know who won and I’ll still be asleep. Feel free to fill in the blanks with comments while I snooze with visions of Mariners wins dancing in my head! Go M’s! http:jeffsmariners.com
First of all, let me start by saying that I’m Asian. Half-Japanese, in fact. And if there’s anything I know about Asians, it’s that we tend to be a little proud and a little selfish. I realize that this is what sensitive people call “stereotyping.” Frankly, I don’t care.
I, for one, fall under the umbrella of proud and selfish at times. I’m not going to lie to you. It is what it is. The guy driving 50 miles per hour in the fast lane on the highway? He falls under that category, too. And if you want yet another example of the proud and selfish Asian man, look no further than Ichiro Suzuki.
Ichiro is a bad teammate. There’s no getting around it. The man plays a team sport in selfish fashion. You can say what you want about his talent level, his ability, his meticulousness, his craft, but at the end of the day, he’s more concerned about Ichiro Suzuki than he is about the team he plays for.
I’ve played baseball my whole life. I’ve watched baseball my whole life. I enjoy baseball. Baseball makes me happy. Watching Ichiro play the game of baseball frustrates and upsets me. Both as a fan of the game, and as someone who shares an ethnic background with the Mariners’ right fielder.
One of the things that really bugs me about my people, those of Asian descent, is that they tend to love Ichiro because he’s a successful Japanese major leaguer. That’s great and all, but expand your horizons. Ichiro may be skilled, but he rarely gives the game his all. He lays up on fly balls, swings at pitches that he should be taking, bunts at the dumbest times, and generally focuses on what’s best for No. 51, rather than the twenty-four other individuals who he shares a clubhouse with.
On top of that, excuses are constantly made for Ichiro. He’s representing an entire country, they say. The M’s are already out of contention, they argue. Personal records mean something, too, they cry. But you know what? Excuses are bullshit.
If Ichiro was on my team, I’d kick him off. If you can’t rely on your teammates, who can you rely on? I certainly wouldn’t feel safe trusting Ichiro to have my back in a situation that called for it. That’s the unfortunate part about his selfishness. It exposes the weakness of his character. How can you trust somebody that so blatantly worries more about himself than about those around him? How can you put your faith in that person? Not just in baseball, but in any walk of life. That’s how Ichiro comes across to me, as a fan, and I’d wager that many of his teammates feel the same way, even if they’d never say it.
It’s not that I don’t like Ichiro. I don’t know him, so honestly, who am I to judge? All I can do is call it as I see it. And what I see now, and what I’ve seen over the years, is a person who would rather do right by his own self than by those he works with, those who call him a teammate. There is zero selflessness there.
Fact is, this wouldn’t be a problem if Ichiro was self-employed, if he played golf, tennis, or owned his own business. Who cares at that point, right? No one else is depending on him under that scenario. Ichiro could do as he pleases if his work didn’t demand any level of professional accountability.
But that’s not the line of work he’s chosen. And as a result, everyone pays for Ichiro’s narcissism.
The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs in a decade, not since Ichiro’s rookie year. While the man, himself, has piled up the individual accolades, the team has suffered in his midst. The organization has paid Ichiro millions of dollars to be a figurehead for a franchise immersed in suckitude. Congrats, Ich. You’re the best of the worst.
Additionally, while fans have been treated to eleven seasons of Ichiro bobbleheads, they haven’t yet been able to redeem a postseason ticket. How the f**k are we supposed to feel about that? Our mantles can’t hold all these figurines. Put an end to that garbage and give us some memories. No more of this material BS. We want to be able to tell our grandkids that we were there — WE WERE F**KING THERE — when the team won it all. Instead, all we’ll have to bequeath unto future generations are these piece of sh*t dolls with the big, springy noggins.
And then there’s the whole Ichiro conundrum, which to me isn’t a conundrum at all.
Ichiro, my man, my brother, my compadre, go home. Your heart isn’t in this game the way it needs to be. You’re too proud. You’re too selfish. You’re going 50 in the fast lane. Retire. Go back to Japan. Do right by your teammates for once. Let us move on without you. Let us evolve. Let us celebrate as a fan base. Let us pay witness to guys who get their jerseys dirty, who go balls to the wall on every play, who seemingly care more about the name on the front of the uniform than the one on the back.
Ichiro, it’s time. You need to leave.
Filed under: Mariners
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
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’m not a huge baseball fan. I’ve played the sport and occasionally watch games, but I would never consider myself a diehard.
As a homer, my rooting interest in the Seattle Mariners should be quite obvious.
The Mariners have always been a bridge between football seasons; baseball is something that keeps me occupied and somewhat entertained throughout the summer.
I would compare the Mariners to Charlie Whitehurst: probably not the answer, but a definite bridge to the future.
If the Mariners stay competitive until July or August and I’m happy – anything to keep me entertained until most of my attention is diverted to football. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case this year. The Mariners have been a train wreck since April.
At least I had the NFL Draft and spring ball at the University of Washington in April. After that, however, May through July has been a tough stretch.
What happened to the Seattle Mariners? It doesn’t seem too long ago that fans at Husky Stadium were chanting “I-Chi-Ro! I-Chi-Ro!” – during a Seahawk game.
If my memory serves me correctly, the Seattle Seahawks were playing the Denver Broncos on the same day the Seattle Mariners played the Cleveland Indians in the American League Divisional Series.
Of course, this was in 2001, when the Mariners won 116 regular-season games and the Seahawks would struggle through Matt Hasselbeck’s first year. The shouts for Ichiro Suzuki were most likely followed by chants of “Dil-Fer! Dil-Fer!”
Life was good. Despite starting a new quarterback, the Seahawks were a nine-win team and in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season. Even though they fell short, everyone knew the Seahawks were on the verge of something great.
And to make things better, the Mariners were a competitive team worth watching during the NFL offseason.
I doubt we’ll hear chants for the Mariners at Qwest Field anytime soon (or ever), but I have never been more relieved to watch the first Seahawk game of the preseason. Even though the Seahawks have only won nine games in two seasons, optimism is always high in August.
Tonight, I can officially forget about the Seattle Mariners (until next April). Tonight, football is back!
Tags: ALDS, Charlie Whitehurst, football, Husky Stadium, Ichiro Suzuki, Matt Hasselbeck, National Football League, nfl, preseason, Qwest field, Seahawks, seattle mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Trent Dilfer