Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! To honor this wonderful day, I would like to metaphorically raise my glass to five wonderful events from this last year of Mariner baseball.
1.) The Parting of “Friends”
Note that “friends” is in quotation marks. I did not shed a single tear between the release of Chone Figgins or the trades of Ichiro and Brandon League. Figgins was an absolute disaster with the Mariners, and I feel relieved to know that I will never have to look at him wear a Seattle Mariner uniform again.
Ichiro did a lot of good things for the Mariner organization and the city of Seattle during his stint here, but it was time for him to go. He was no longer contributing to the team’s success and he seemed to cast a negative spell over the locker room. Following Ichiro’s departure, the team excelled which proved that parting with him was the right decision.
Although his stats were not terrible, Brandon League gave every Mariner fan a heart attack every time he stepped on the mound. There was no such thing as a save without suspense for League, and most were glad to see him sent to Los Angeles were he can no longer scare us. The fact that we got a few decent prospects in return was just the icing on the cake.
I am very thankful that each of those players are no longer Seattle Mariners.
2.) The Making of History
On August fifteenth, King Felix threw the 23rd perfect game in baseball history. All of us got to witness history and one of the finest moments in Mariner history. His performance that afternoon was absolutely masterful and the fan reaction was very exciting as well. For Felix’ following start, Safeco Field filled with fans, and the King’s court was spread throughout the whole stadium. I hadn’t seen that much energy in Safeco in almost a decade. The fan base needed the boost that the perfect game gave, and I’m sure all of us are thankful that Felix achieved perfection that day.
3.) The Coming of New Players
This year’s MLB Draft was very productive for the Mariners. The third overall pick, Mike Zunino, had a phenomenal first year in the minor leagues. His .538 wOBA and 234 wRC+ in short season Everett confirmed his status as a prospect and he is now ranked the 44th best prospect in baseball and 3rd best catching prospect. There were several other good selections made in the draft. Names like Joe DeCarlo, Tyler Pike, Patrick Kivlehan, Chris Taylor, and Timothy Lopes have already started to gain attention just months after being drafted by Seattle.
4.) The Stadium Alterations
The fences are moving in! This has been an idea tossed around by Mariner fans for years. While there are pros and cons to the change, the Seattle offense which has been at the bottom of the league for years, will certainly get some help from the shorter fences, but the pitching staff will struggle more. However, considering the strong future of the pitching staff, I feel confident that we will continue to have a solid staff and still get more run production from the batters. The smaller field also allows Seattle to pursue and attract top free agent bats. This was a very good all-around move for the organization.
5.) The Astros
Tired of being in the division cellar? At least for now, the Marines will no longer be the worst team in the AL West with the Astros around. Having the 107-loss Astros in the west will also mean that Seattle will have more games against the poor Houston team and far less against the three good teams in the division.
Overall, there has been a lot to be thankful for over the past year, and I hope that we will have many more things to express our gratefulness for in a year from now.
Tags: American League West, Brandon League, Chone Figgins, featured, Felix Hernandez, Felix Hernandez Perfect Game, Ichiro, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners General, Mike Zunino, Popular, Safeco Field, Season Reviews, seattle mariners
Newsflash: The Mariners are not going to run away with the AL West this season. Their bid for wild cards #1 and #2 has been denied. Third place has been staked and claimed by the Angels.
If you look hard enough, you can find Mariner fans who, season in and season out, continue to point out the light at the end of a decade-long tunnel. When the postseason rolls around, its underdogs predetermined by the baseball gods and any number of pagan sacrifices by Bud Selig, our spirits sink a little lower as the Mariners use the last of their strength to grapple for .500.
In eleven days, the Mariners will take Safeco Field for the last time in 2012, leaving Seattle fans with the opportunity to enjoy a stress-free postseason or select a contending team to root for. Here’s a simple way to soothe the sting of a long offseason and another wasted series of playoff titles: cheer the team with the most ex-Mariners on board.*
This should come as little surprise. Since Seattle’s playoff surge in 1995, the Yankees have mined countless players from the Northwest: most notably, Freddy Garcia, Alex Rodriguez and the newly-pinstriped Ichiro Suzuki. Provided you can bring yourself to watch Ichiro slugging away in Yankee Stadium, you won’t find a team more resembling the most despised and loved former Mariners in MLB.
Nearly an exact month apart, Thornton and Lopez made their major league debuts in Seattle in 2004. Matt would last just two seasons before beginning his seven-year tenure with Chicago, where he made a handful of postseason appearances in 2008. Over 540 appearances, Thornton recoded a single start, giving up three hits, three earned runs, four strikeouts, and a career-high seven walks. By contrast, Lopez lasted seven years with Seattle, batting .266/.297/.400 and earning one All-Star berth in 2006.
Behind Ichiro and Lopez, Mark Lowe is the most recent Mariner to jump ship. He got his big league start in the Northwest, hopping between minor league rehab assignments in 2006 and 2007 after an elbow injury. In 2010, Lowe was involved in a blockbuster trade to the Rangers, packaged with Cliff Lee for Josh Lueke, Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, and Matt Lawson. Adrian Beltre struggled through a five-year stint with Seattle, leaving his mark with the club’s first inside-the-park home run and consecutive Gold Glove Awards in 2007-08.
Longest tenured Mariner: Travis Blackley, 1 season
Blackley barely squeaks by with a nod to the Mariners. Like 10 of the other 14 players on an AL playoff roster, he also began his career in Seattle. His first impression was a fleeting one: in six starts, Blackley earned three losses with a 10.34 ERA and 8.97 FIP. His one-month stint with the team resulted in another season of minor league assignments before an eventual trade to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Jason Ellison.
Chavez managed a brief 54 games with the Mariners in an injury-shortened season, when he tore his ACL two and a half months after his team debut. A little less forgettable is Adam Jones, who made his first MLB start with Seattle in 2006, a pitcher turned shortstop turned outfielder who hit .230/.267/.353 over two seasons. He was one of five players dealt for Erik Bedard in 2008, and has remained in Baltimore ever since.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
*Okay, I wrote that sentence before scanning the expanded rosters. While I would never advocate supporting an AL West rival, let alone the almighty Yankees, if it makes you feel better to watch Ichiro vie for his first championship ring, by all means, have at it. Given the lack of former Mariners dawdling in the National League, potential postseason bandwagons have been limited to American League candidates only.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
As you may have noticed, we are approaching the halfway point in the season, and around this time every year the rumor mill starts to creak and churn. The Mariners have more than a few pieces to deal as they look to find just the right return to finally put this thing together for the 2013 season. The Mariners will look to be sellers, but instead of shooting for prospects several years out, the Mariners are going to look to acquire functioning, major league ready, talent.
With that, we have several polls that we desire your opinion on. Have a look and be sure to vote.
As the All-Star Break approaches, the rumor monster will awaken from its slumber. As the monster frantically spews it’s rumors across the baseball world, several Mariners are sure to be caught in the fanatical chaos.
Since 2001 all Mariners fans have known at the top of the lineup is Ichiro Suzuki. We have enjoyed year-in and year-out 200 hit seasons. We have witnessed a numerous awards and the breaking of records. But all of those occurrences are things of the past and the Ichiro of current is a shell of his former self. Looks don’t look to be on the up and up for the Japanese import either. The team is getting younger and younger, and as Ichiro’s production continues to slip, Wedge continues to find ways to get him out of the lineup. For the first time in several years, the Mariners may seriously be considering finding Ichiro a new home.
It would be incredibly hard to let go of what has been the face of the franchise for quite some time, but as the youth movement continues its stampede through Seattle, Ichiro could be aging his way off this team. Would you do it?
Could you do it?Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
One of my … [visit site to read more]
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
Just yesterday I was pondering how much longer the Mariners would wait to trim a few loose strings. Today those strings have been neatly trimmed…kind of.
Here is your Seattle Mariners 2012 Opening Day Roster.
Tags: alex liddi, Blake Beavan, Brandon League, brendan ryan, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chone Figgins, dustin ackley, Erasmo Ramirez, featured, Felix Hernandez, George Sherrill, Hector Noesi, hisashi iwakuma, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Vargas, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, justin smoak, kevin millwood, kyle seager, Lucas Luetge, Mariners General, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, Mike Carp, Munenori Kawasaki, Popular, shawn Kelley, Steve Delabar, Tom Wilhelmsen
Everyone seems to have their own take on Ichiro, and this blog, and just about every other Mariner related site, has talked about him a lot. I hope you are not sick of Ichiro yet, because it’s my turn to give you my opinion on the … [visit site to read more]
Not exactly a pleasant welcome to Spring Training Baseball.visit site to read more]
Shannon Drayer recently posted an article on Ichiro Suzuki‘s thoughts of the 2011 season. It seemed that he was very candid during the interview, and in her words, it was revealing. It felt like Ichiro came clean with his performance during the year. It felt like he wasn’t justifying his poor performance. It felt like he was just as confused as the fans were. We’ve been spoiled with the consistency of Ichiro up until this season. Now that his performance is obviously in the decline, most of the fans opinions are conflicted. Should Ichiro be moved down in the lineup, should he still play the field, should he reject the final year of his contact and go home – you know, those opinions.
It adds to the enigma of Ichiro. He’s always been the silent, quiet type. The Erik Bedard type. His success was unprecedented, and conversely, his decline felt unprecedented. It felt like he could perform like he did in 2004 forever. It felt like his rookie season set his personal performance bar, and he was always trying to better it. It felt like we’d never have to worry about him.
Now, it doesn’t feel right. As fans, we have to worry. Not because of Ichiro, the person, but because of Ichiro, the player. Ten years without a playoff berth is too long, and the Seattle franchise has to start putting together the pieces of this convoluted puzzle to start winning. Thing is: is Ichiro a part of the solution, or he is the problem?
With football season in full effect, it’s hard to focus on baseball. I mean, it’s not that hard for me – because I love baseball. But it’s hard for the media. All attention is on the money-making-machine we call the National Football League. I mean, what is there not to like? Football is turning into the American pastime. The World Series party is dwarfed by the popularity of the Super Bowl Party. No one talks about the World Series commercials, do they?
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of football, too. The play is intense. The image of seeing grown men slamming into each other at full speed is enough to satiate the populous of America. It’s an outlet for people to fill a physiological void, living vicariously through their violence. There is no violence is baseball, and if there is, it’s random.
And then there are games like tonight. Tonight, the Mariners brought to the field what they had been lacking most of the season: offense. The crowd was clamoring for Miguel Olivo to hit for the cycle. If he did, he would join the ranks of Jay Buhner, Alex Rodriguez, John Olerud and Adrian Beltre. That’s pretty good company. Tonight, the fans got onboard. They cheered when they weren’t prompted. They were into the game. Baseball has it’s ups and downs, and tonight, for the Mariners, it was definitely on the up.
Baseball may seem random to some people. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. You never know what you’re going to see.
I was just reading through what Alex linked earlier and this paragraph jumped out at me.
Still … John Updike once challenged Ted Williams’ critics (who said that he was only interested in individual numbers) by saying that for Ted Williams to organize his hits so that they wouldn’t help anyone but himself would “consult a feat of placement unparalleled in the annals of selfishness.” Well, for a pitcher to be lousy AND win 20 games — especially in the age of five-man rotations and active bullpens — would be a magic trick worthy of a big room in Vegas. - Joe Posnaski
Between 2001 and 2011 only 5 players have produced more WAR than that of our very own Ichiro Suzuki. The short list includes that of Pujols, A-Rod, Berkman, Beltran and Chipper Jones.
There’s a couple different things I enjoy doing to keep myself entertained. One of those things is music. I’ve been a musician as long as I can remember, and it also flows through my blood, so I guess I was kind of born into it. As creativity flows, the dynamic process of writing music is more than satisfactory to my short attention span. Another one of those things is writing. As I’ve discovered my passion for writing articles, I’ve found that it is quite the outlet for creativity. The structure and vernacular of writing is intriguing to me -much like writing music – writing stories or articles takes creativity to keep from being stale.
One thing that is getting harder to do to keep myself entertained is watching the Seattle Mariners. This season has been a tale of two seasons: before the trade-deadline Mariners, and after the trade-deadline Mariners. At least it feels that way. During the post-game show, Brad Adam said that while the Mariners scored five runs, that would usually be enough but the pitching couldn’t hold it together. I decided to hop on over to baseball-reference to see if there were facts to back that statement up.
Although the records are skewed because the halves of the seasons are uneven, we can still look at the win percentages and team ERA to see if we can find a correlation to that statement. Before July 31st, the Mariners went 45-61, a .424 winning percentage, a they posted a team ERA of 3.57. July 31st and afterwards, the Mariners have gone 13-20, a .393 winning percentage, a they posted a team ERA of 4.94.
One of the most impressive things about the Mariners first half was their pitching rotation. Not only were they reliable, they were durable. The Mariners used the same five pitchers in the rotation for one of the longest amounts of time in the majors. We were pretty lucky to be able to witness a feat like that. No injuries, no pitcher was so bad they had to be shipped off to sent down – the rotation was stable.
Fast forward to today: and then there were three. Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda and Jason Vargas. Although currently, his FIP is an unremarkable 4.34, Vargas is a shell of his former self. Using those same time-frame references as before, he posted a 4.09 ERA and then a 6.30 ERA.
Either way, pitching was the problem today. The arms couldn’t get ahead of batters, and while they fooled some batters, they couldn’t fool them all, and the Mariners lost to the Athletics 5-8. I still watched, however. I guess they fooled me.