The Seattle Mariners ended their successful 2013 spring training today with a 4- 3 win over the Colorado Rockies in Salt Lake City. Young Brendan Maurer got the start and went four innings giving up a couple home runs which the Mariners matched themselves off the bats of Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak, both of home look to play a major role in the 2013 Mariners season. It was a beautiful backdrop today of the mountains in Salt Lake City, almost as nice as it is here in Seattle today. Salt Lake City holds a special spot in my heart as both my Grandfather Gordon Dusty Rhodes and my grandmother Leah Riser hail from Salt Lake City. As you can see by the photo above when my grandfather was playing for the Yankees their marriage was big news in Salt Lake City and this photo of Babe Ruth with them is a prized memento from a bygone era. The Salt Lake City fans packed the house today hungry for major-league baseball since they haven’t seen a Major League game there is 1970.
We got to see what probably is the starting lineup for Monday’s opener against the Athletics today. And after everything Eric Wedge and his club have done this spring gives us hope for a least day .500 ballclub in 2013 and maybe more. Hope springs eternal in the spring and with Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and a returning cast from last year we just may do something in 2013. So now it’s on to the regular season, one hundred and 62 games in a long grueling season that may determine the fate of manager Eric Wedge and Jack Zduriencik, who both know that the fans here in Seattle are tired of rebuilding and are ready to win now. I probably won’t make it to opening day as I like to go on day number two or three when the real fans show up at the Safe. But rest assured I’ll be down at Safeco Field hopefully a few more times than usual this year along with all of you as we head into the 2003 13 Mariners season. Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
The Seattle Mariners took the day off down in Peoria today giving us fans a moment to stop and savor the hot start the club has made this year. We may very well have witnessed the best part of the Seattle Mariners 2013 season in this past 10 days even though only one game so far has actually been televised. Right now the Mariners are leading the Major Leagues in both OPS and slugging percentage coming off of eight straight multi-home run games. It seems that everybody is hitting the ball including Carlos Peguero, Casper Wells, Kyle Seager, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Bay and on and on.
As much as I would like to think that somehow the baseball Gods are paying us back for all the miserable seasons of the last 10 years, and that aging veterans and promising rookies alike have all suddenly found the magic potion and we will continue to score runs and hit home runs and beat teams for the next five months, something inside me is cautioning me to be more cautious. I actually attribute a lot of this early going success to the fierce competition in camp this year forcing players to come out of the gate charging hard as they try to make the 25-man roster. Not that that is a bad thing and it is refreshing after watching the last three spring trainings where it appeared that neither the veterans nor the young players were really major leaguers. Our farm system has finally produced some quality players and Jack Z. did a good job in finding enough hungry veterans to throw into the mix to create this sort of phenomena.
Unfortunately the Mariners have been so bad for the past three years offensively that even if they win 20 games in a row down in the desert it still feels like some sort of mirage. I hope I am wrong, and I don’t even need to be one of those smarty-pants writers in the Mariners Blogosphere that have already predicted exactly who will and won’t make the club. I remember the howl that went up in cyberspace locally when Mike Sweeney had a big spring in 2011 and made the club. I would love to see somebody like Carlos Peguero, Jason Bay or even Carlos Triunfel somehow beat the odds and through their own achievements in Peoria make the club and head north to Seattle when the Mariners break camp. At this point I am just enjoying the fast start that we are having this year and am glad that manager Eric Wedge at least has some tools to work with this year as he tries to put together a winning combination of players to represent our city in the campaign ahead.
The next two weeks should be interesting as the field is narrowed out and the veterans get more time on the field including the debut of Felix Hernandez on the mound this Thursday. In the meantime we have the World Baseball Classic (WBC) getting underway with the team USA making its debut Friday. I have watched a few games so far and they are both odd and exciting especially teams like Cuba and Japan. All we need now here in the Northwest is a few wing weeks of sun and the reality of spring will really be here. In the meantime let’s just enjoy this twilight zone experience of watching the Mariners win games and hit home runs. Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
The Seattle Mariners continued to roll today down in Peoria thumping the Texas Rangers 8- 6, putting on another wonderful display of power today for the fans down in Peoria. Today’s heroes on the offense side were Jason Bay who hit his second homer of the year, Mike Morse who broke out for his first dinger, the lanky Michael Saunders who clobbered one and none other than Carlos Peguero who hit his third home run in two days down in the desert. As you can see by the clip above the Seattle Mariners are starting to create a little buzz down in Peoria as Eric Wedge in the final year of his contract seems to have been finally given some offensive tools to go along with the Mariners strong defense and pitching from the last couple years.
Carlos Peguero is a guy that people love to hate, the local media and bloggers have all but written off the big kid due to his weak plate discipline over the past couple years. But it looks as if Carlos has a better approach this year and is being a little bit more selective of the pitches he is seeing as evidenced by his three home runs in two days. As for Jason Bay the aging veteran, his second home run of the spring certainly doesn’t hurt his chances to make the club as the crowded outfield competition continues down in the land of sun and dreams. It was good to see Mike Morse get his first home run of the spring as well along with Michael Saunders who appears to have tweaked his swing once again in the off-season thanks to his personal batting coach.
Young Brandon Maurer got the win today pitching two innings of two hit ball to keep his earned run average at zeros for the young spring. Maurer is a guy to keep your eyes on as despite all the hoopla around Hultzen, Paxton and Walker people down in Peoria are saying that Maurer perhaps has the best chance to crack the starting rotation of any of the youngsters when the club breaks camp.
After today’s home run derby down in Peoria, coupled with the fact that the fences are moving in at Safeco Field this year I’m starting to get a little hope that maybe we can indeed put some runs on the board this year. Of course it is hard to tell what is really happening down there as I get my news from listening to the games, talking to my friend Rob who is down there and promises to send some photos up, and whatever else I can pick up on the Internet. But rest assured if this new offenses rejuvenation is for real I will be paying a lot more attention in 2013 to our Seattle Mariners and will bring you the latest here at this Mariners blog. If you haven’t subscribed via email now is your chance to do that or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
Tags: Brandon Maurer starting rotation, Carlos Peguero third Home Run, Eric Wedge Mariners, Jason Bay Home Run, Mariners Beat Rangers 8-6, Mariners Blog, Mike Morse home run, Seattle Mariners Peoria, Spring 2013, Uncategorized
It has been a rough weekend for me as I attended a couple of memorials for friends of mine who passed away recently. On the way to the second one for Jack Brenner today I did manage to listen to the radio broadcast of today’s Mariners- Padres game featuring the soothing voice of young Aaron Goldsmith recently brought up from Triple A Pawtucket to call games this year with Rick Rizzs. Jack was a great baseball fan and like myself was a former jock, if he were still with us he would appreciate the photo above which includes my grandfather Gordon Rhodes in St. Petersburg Florida in the early going of spring training 1932
Life has its rhythm, birth and death, winter and eventually spring which heralds the advent of a new season of baseball our national pastime and with it the battles for jobs featuring rookies and aging veterans plays out in front of the lucky few who make the pilgrimage to Spring Training each year. As you can guess I usually root for the veterans to hang on for one more season as I gradually move into my Golden Years! So I was glad to hear that Raul Ibanez hit a three-run home run off former teammate Freddy Garcia in the first inning today in the Mariners a to three victory over the Padres. Garcia made his debut with the Mariners in 1999 when Ibanez was enjoying his first stint with the Mariners, and the old warhorse is struggling to find a home with the Padres, sadly today’s outing didn’t help his case much as he gave up five runs four of them earned and also hit a batter. But at lbanez had a good day going two for three as he like veteran Jason Bay who homered this weekend try to rekindle the magic in their swings in order to make the 25 man roster. Young right-hander Erasmo Ramirez made his first start of the spring, throwing one inning of one-hit ball; Ramirez saw limited action and only threw 15 pitches today.
Left-hander James Paxton also gave up a lone single his one inning of work in the second. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen topped out it 96 mph on the radar gun when he threw a hitless third inning. The Mariners ended up taken two of three from the Padres and will play the Angels tomorrow at 12:05 PM Peoria in a game that will feature veteran right-hander Jeremy Bonderman who hasn’t pitched since 2010 when he was with the Tigers, Bonderman is coming back from shoulder and elbow injuries and is another interesting guy to watch as he tries to make the club.
In other news apparently the Seattle Times is going to begin charging for online news beginning next month. As we all know with the advent of the Internet lots of newspapers have either gone under or like the Times begun to charge for subscriptions. It is kind of sad to watch Seattle go from a two newspaper town down to one, and now we will have to pay to read about the Mariners on Geoff Baker’s Blog. I suppose on the upside it may drive a little traffic my way to Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog, where in this case creating and publishing this blog may cost me a few bucks but it is certainly a labor of love. Thanks for the memories Jack…. Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
Tags: Aaron Goldsmith Mariners announcer, Freddy Garicia Padres, Gordon Rhodes Yankees, Historical Baseball, Jeff's Mariners Fan Blog, Raul Ibanez Home run, Seattle Times Geoff Baker, Spring 2013, Yankees St. Petersburg Spring Training
Like many of you in the cold dreary Pacific Northwest my thoughts today drifted down to Peoria Arizona wondering what’s going on as the Seattle Mariners start camp for the 2013 season. There are quite a few questions lingering in the air this year as Eric Wedge tries to put together a starting lineup that will compete in the tough AL West.
One of the biggest questions on the minds of fans here in Seattle is which Justin Smoak will show up for 2013, will it be the Justin Smoak who looks slow and awkward, or will it be just the Justin Smoak that ended the 2012 campaign on a roll? Manager Eric Wedge said today: “Of course, playing against Morales, I know what he’s all about. Right here, sitting here today, we’re lined up where Smoak is going to get the bulk of the time at first base and Kendrys is going to get the bulk of the time DHing. But we’ve got enough flexibility and versatility where we can change off that if we need to.”
So it looks like first base is Justin Smaok’s to lose so to speak, and frankly I would love to see the kid finally break loose and hit 25 or 30 homers in 2013, if not Wedge has some options at first including Kendrys Morales or possibly Michael Morse or even Jesus Montero. Though the media and fans around Seattle like to refer to guys like Justin Smaok, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders as “Kids” the truth is it’s time to put up or shut up for these guys, especially Justin Smoak who came over in the Cliff Lee deal in 2010.
In other news apparently Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Mike Morse put on quite a show at the batting cage on Sunday. If these four guys can produce like they are capable of, coupled with the fences at Safeco Field being moved in, we may just have something to cheer about in 2013 after all. Of course camp is just opening up and we have a long way to go before we get down to the 25 man opening day roster, I look for some surprises and wish I was down there again this year to see the players both young and old competing for jobs with the Seattle Mariners. In other news today :
PHOENIX — Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said Monday he was engaged with a “good number” of teams about Mike Carp, the outfielder-first baseman designated for assignment last week, and was closing in on a trade.
“I would say there’s a good chance we get something done in the next 24-48 hours,” Zduriencik said
So there it stands as we speak, things are looking up and with the addition of the Houston Astros into the tough AL West I’m hoping we can at least stay out of the cellar, and if things come together right maybe even finishing the year with a .500 record. That’s not too much to ask for all of us long – suffering Mariners fans, stay tuned folks lots of baseball to come at Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog “Where the fans call the plays” Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Spring training is underway in Peoria Arizona when the pitchers and catchers hit in the field today, the long wait is finally over. I was hoping to make it down to Peoria Arizona this year for spring training but unfortunately could not get away from work. If you haven’t been down to the Peoria Sports complex it is definitely worthwhile, especially in these early days when only a few fans are milling around and you get a chance to get up close and personal with the players.
In more good news it was announced today that Mariners ace pitcher Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners have come to terms on his contract extension. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik made the announcement today and apparently the Mariners and Felix’s agent made only minor concessions to the extension deal in light of the Kings reported elbow issues. This is good news and will allow the club to get down to business and put this distraction behind us as they try to put together a contender this year.
Manager Eric Wedge has a little more to work with this year than in the past couple seasons with the additions of Mike Morse, Raul Ibanez, Kendry Morales, Jason Bay, and pitchers Jon Garland and Kameron Loe. I’m expecting bitter competition in the outfield for the starting spots which may leave a few guys out in the cold like Eric Thames and Casper Wells but that are life in the Big Leagues. The pitching staff looks to be shaping up as a work in progress as well especially for the fourth and fifth starters spot.
One gets the feeling that the Mariners ownership group is gotten the message loud and clear that the Seattle fan base is tired of waiting around for a winning ballclub, and despite the fact that we are in the tough AL West with this year’s offseason acquisitions the Mariners brass has given us fans some hope. This is the time of the year we can dream and hope up here in the cold and clammy Northwest before the grim realities of long seasons, tough competition, injuries and other forces come into play.
It will be interesting to follow things from afar this year though I’m quite sad that I’m not down there in Peoria with the boys of summer due to work considerations, but with the Internet age there will be a lot of information coming our way through various sources to keep us abreast of every little thing that happens on and off the field. Until the last week or so of spring training most of it will just be guesswork, projection, and conjuncture. The young guys aren’t quite so young anymore, and the older veterans brought in are hungry to prove they can still produce, so perhaps coming out of Peoria this year we will actually look like a real ballclub ready to do battle instead of the AAAA teams we have been fielding for the past two or three years. Offensively we are in a much better position especially in light of the fences being moved in at Safeco field. I am hopeful and I look forward to writing more about the upcoming 2013 campaign, make sure you follow me by subscribing to this blog via email, Twitter, or Facebook so you can participate and comment on the campaign as it unfolds. Go Mariners!
I missed Fan Fest this year but got a chance to redeem myself today when I took the tour at Safeco Field with an old colleague of mine from Japan and his wife. If you haven’t taken the tour at Safeco Field I highly recommend it especially on one of these long cold winters day when spring seems so far off. My friend Shoji played baseball himself as a young man in Japan and is of course a huge band of Ichiro and was quite impressed with our stadium. Shoji and I felt at home on the field and in the dugout as pictured above like two young kids playing the game for the first time. Baseball is funny that way as it has a special way of making one forget about time and age as the smells and sights of the game takeover the imagination.
It’s funny how we take major-league baseball for granted here in Seattle, perhaps it’s all the losing season’s we have endured the past 10 years, but I was very proud to show off our stadium and talk about the Seattle Mariners and our shared history with a game that our two countries love. The tour even included a stop in the owner’s suite where I got the picture of the actual home plate from the Kingdome pictured here.
For nine bucks you get to go in the clubhouse, on to the field, media room and as a special treat I got to observe the construction going on in the outfield where the fences are finally being brought in. In a way our Mariners are under construction again too after an off-season of acquiring several key offensive tools that could just make this season a little more bearable. Since my friends were from Japan there was a special tour guide who himself was a Japanese baseball player who was interning with the Seattle Mariners and he provided us an excellent and fun tour.
We talked about baseball, Ichiro and the link between our two countries around this great game. It was fascinating for me to hear from y guests that during World War II Japanese people were not allowed to play the game of baseball, and as a matter of fact they were not even allowed to speak English. Being that we have a Japanese owner, and have been privileged to have several Japanese players here in Seattle including the great today’s tour was sort of a special moment for me. I guess one doesn’t fully realize how lucky we are to be in this great city and have a team until you get the perspective of a guest from out of town or in this case out of the country.
We bought a few souvenirs as the Ichiro stuff is on sale, had a good time and rekindled our old friendship, a friendship with each other built around our work in the Maritime Labor Movement and in our common love of the great game of baseball. Until today I really was not looking forward to this year in the way I have in the past, but I even began to think about going down to Peoria for spring training for a few games if I can get away from work. We will see about that, in the meantime for better or worse the Seattle Mariners are my home team and a bright an important part of my life as well as many others here in this city. Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
Well the Super Bowl is over and with it another long NFL season will come to an end. This can mean only one thing, that’s right baseball season is just around the corner. The 2013 Seattle mariners have already sent a few trucks loaded with gear down to Peoria Arizona and the pitchers and catchers will be reporting in about a week.
This site will be up and running soon as we prepare for the 2013 campaign. We have added some offense this winter, as well as finally moving in the fences so hopefully this year we will see it turn around and perhaps even compete.
In the meantime please follow me on Facebook and Twitter at: Jeff’s Mariners on Facebook and @Jeffs Mariners on twitter. You may also subscribe to every post on this exciting upcoming season by clicking the orange icon in the right-hand column in order to subscribe to my blog and receive email updates every time I publish a new article.
I look forward to season number four with Jeff’s Mariners fan blog and as usual welcome not only comments but any articles my loyal readers want to have published here. Let me know if you are interested in being a part-time writer on Jeff’s Mariners fan blog “Where the fans call the plays”. Go Mariners!