Saturday, August 30, 2003
Oregon, in those piss colored jerseys, go down to Starkville and beat Mississippi State. I have to give credit to Mike Belotti and his guys. Being down here for four months, I can tell all of you West Coast residents right now: The humidity is terrible. It could have brought Oregon down, but they proved to be better than that tonight. And it's nice to see the Pac-10 represent well on the road in a SEC stadium.
Cougs are beating Idaho, no big surprise there.
But what is this? The Huskies defense proves to be terrible once again? Why of course? I saw the highlights on ESPN tonight, and did I just see Jimmy Newell get ran over? Jimmy, surely your SK masters taught you how to tackle better. I've always thought that Newell was overrated myself, and tonight just proves my point. Sure, he's been hurt for most of his UW career. But you can't argue my point here. Try to prove me wrong.
Rich Alexis carried the ball 14 times for a measily 24 yards. September 9, 2000 will be known as the day Alexis' career began and ended, because he has not been the same since that Miami game. Obviously, some of you also know that day was the last time the Hurricanes lost a ballgame until this past January 3 against Ohio State.
Anyways, I'm happy as hell that college football is back. There's a chance I may check out UA-Pine Bluff next Saturday, so we'll see if that happens or not. Their game against Alcorn State was on TV tonight and I didn't watch a whole lot of it, but I did watch their halftime show. Their band was very impressive. If you want to see a real black college band, do not watch "Drumline". You need to come down South and watch a game that features a Historical Black College (HBC), i.e. UAPB, Grambling.
In baseball news, the A's picked up Steve Sparks off of waivers. I would laugh at Billy Beane for picking this guy up, but I do remember the times when he has dominated the M's. It's the pessimist in me, folks.
One more thing...Auburn is overrated. War Eagle this, fools.
The Huskies are down 21-0 at half, and there was a graphic right before the half that said the Huskies had rushed for exactly -1 yards. That's great. That's what we like to see. You know, I'm sadistic. I wanna se a Buckeye 74-0 drubbing. Sure, it'd be bad for the Pac10, but these Husky fans on KJR are so in over their heads it's not even funny. They badly need to be put in their place.
Now for the Mariners. For the first time in a LONG time, they did just what I hoped they would. They were down 1-0 originally, but then reeled off the 13 runs. They got the benefit of some errors and some walks. Finally, they had a chance to take advantage of a team, and they sent 14 batters to the plate and absolutely BURIED the O's in the 5th. We haven't seen the Mariners put a team away like that in a very long time. Like I said yesterday, we would really see what yesterday's 9th inning win meant to these guys after we saw how they would follow it up. Well, I think they did great. I also think Meche was finally a little sharper, though he did throw a bunch of pitches early in the game. Anyway, pretty much a good day all around for the Mariners. Now I'm not expecting a sweep tomorrow (though DAMN, THAT WOULD BE GOOD) because they usually don't score too many runs after pasting a team, but the last 10 innings (Mariner comeback Friday followed by shellacking) have been fairly encouraging. And the pitching on the homestand has been very encouraging.
I should be back later, y'all...
But they are ahead 7-0 on Mississippi State and it's not even 3 minutes into the game yet. As always, the Pac-10 is underrated.
Gold: The Mariners put up 13 runs today in a 13-1 rout of the Orioles. This is what they should be doing to teams like the O's.
More Crap: Auburn is total crap. Enough of the Auburn Top 10 talk, please. Take it from a West Coast guy living in Arkansas: Pac-10 Football is underrated as hell. USC's offense isn't as good as last year, but their defense is very solid. Look out Washington, Oregon State, and the masses.
BTW, it's 14-0 Buckeyes in the second quarter. One thing I know is true: Rich Alexis still sucks.
The Bremerton Patriot, which can be found for free on any Bremertonian's doorstep even though the price on it is fifty cents, ran a full-page feature on the upcoming McKnight era in B-town HS football. He's a good guy and probably the best in-house hire they could have made. That said, there's a whole negative mentality around most of BHS sports that hopefully disappears someday. The four best things that have happened in recent memory to BHS sports are the 5th-at-state basketball run in 1999, the winning football season from a couple years ago, anything the Kirk sisters have done, and anything Marvin Williams has done. The rest of the things that have happened to Bremerton HS sports probably revolve around losing, and the losing doesn't get publicized, which can be taken as both good and bad. Good because no one gets lambasted or embarrassed, but possibly bad because nobody cares. Just a few random thoughts on HS sports on the town of B. They'll probably evolve into something coherent later, but that's where it is for now.
One hour from the Mariner game...let's hope they come out hackin today.
Friday, August 29, 2003
But the Mariners still did play a little over 8 innings of crappy baseball, sans the pitching. Blown scoring opportunities: in the 3rd, the first Mariner hit was a one-out Wilson double, and he was stranded at second by Bloomquist (YAY!) and Ichiro (crap lately). In the 5th, with Guillen on second and one out, Winn walked, Wilson whiffed, and Bloomquist (YAY!) lined out.
Nothing happened until the 9th when ICHIRO ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING!!! And they sure needed it. Ichiro sets the damn table, and then it goes from there. Cameron walked and then Eric "Pedro" DuBose was pulled for closer Jorge Julio. He then yielded a clutch single to Edgar to make it 2-1. Boone whiffed after Mac stole second, and Guillen was put on to load the bases for Olerud, which was a great strategy move considering Guillen and Olerud are both slow and a ground ball in the infield ends the game. Olerud hit a ground ball to the second baseman. It just got under Brian Roberts' glove. Cam scored from third and Mac scored from second. Game. It feels great to have some good karma again. Sure, it doesn't mean much if they don't win tomorrow, but it's about time there was a little morsel to feel good about around here.
The Mariners have scored 3 or less runs in 11 of their last 18 games. That from David Locke. So even with the pitching the way it has been the last four days, if the Mariner pitchers give up four runs (say, average MLB starting pitcher), they're gonna lose most of the time.
Basically, the rest of the true meaning of this comes tomorrow, when we see how well the Mariners play and how loose (or tight) they look tomorrow. Hopefully they feel great out there.
To follow up that "18-41 (updated, .305) when the Mariners don't score first" stat, some quick math will show that the Mariners are 60-16 (.789 winning pct) when they DO score first.
Pedro Martinez has an alias tonight of Eric DuBose, who has allowed ONE DAMN HIT through seven innings of work against the Mariners.
I was going to do some research about how bad the Mariners are when they don't score first, but Niehaus and Co. did that for me. The Mariners have a 17-41 record (.293 winning pct) when not scoring first. That's right, kids, when you see the other team scoring first, that means the Mariners lose more than 70% of the time. Does anyone out there still have confidence in the Mariners coming from behind to win? I sure don't. I hardly did in the first place, but other than that freak 2001 season, I never had the belief in the Mariners as a come-from-behind team. There were countless times in 2000 when the Mariners would be down 7-2 or something like that and then rally back to 7-6 and lose. Sure, the rally is nice, but it's an L.
Make that 2-0, another dong, this time to Batista. But Franklin's done his job so far. He's into the 6th, and given up two home runs, but they're solo shots. The Mariners offense is crap. Plain and simple. And Bloomquist in the lineup sure doesn't help.
There's a belief among some that the Mariners will draw well next year regardless of whether they make the playoffs. To that, let me say this. I'm flipping back and forth between the Mariners and a Seahawks preseason game tonight. If people that usually go through the Safe gates find something else more interesting to do, say a good Husky team, a great Seahawk team, or a fun-to-watch Sonic team, the fans are going to go to that instead, rather than seeing a Mariner team who they know has a tendency to cough it up in the second half. Take this, for example. I'm going to give you the attendance figures from April, the first 16 home games. Tue 8th-Thu 10th (Anaheim): 45931 (opener), 35492, 32746; Fri 11th-Sun 13th (Texas): 37784, 36591, 35496; Mon 14th-Thu 17th (Oakland): 26567 (OUCH), 26666, 29674, 33412 (day); Tue 22nd-Thu 24th (Cleveland): 25231, 26036, 26263; Fri 25th-Sun 27th (Detroit): 34458, 36258, 39678. Safeco Field capacity is just over 47000. The draw against Cleveland is a little more excusable, but the draw against DIVISION RIVAL OAKLAND is putrid, I don't care if it's a mid-week series, they drew like crap. And take a look at this article in the Puget Sound Biz Journal. Sure, there's some other factors that go into the attendance drop, i.e., high unemployment rates in Oregon and Washington, and the slowing tide from the freak 2001 season, but it's a safe bet that a good portion of those fans had in the back of their minds that this team failed to get into the playoffs last year. Proof in numbers: season ticket count: 23608 (2002), 20236 (2003). The Mariner brass (I know, the players need to also) needs to realize that they have to raise the bar and expect more out of what they can do to this ballclub. If the brass just wants to keep treading water and wants to be good but not good enough, they're gonna get less season tickets and less walkup crowd and less everything, especially if something like a good Seahawk team or a good Sonic team or a good Husky team comes along. There really is a lot to do on the east side of the Sound, and if the Mariners don't watch out, it'll blow up in their face like it has in Atlanta, though even they won the World Series to half-validate what they did. Sure, Atlanta is considered by some to be the most dominant team of the '90s with all those NL East (and West) division titles, but I keep pointing to the World Series rings. They won once, but the fans have gotten sick of seeing that team be good, but not good enough, and people stay away from Turner Field in droves. They can't sell out frigging PLAYOFF GAMES in Atlanta. It's pathetic. And it's something that your Seattle Mariners could turn into in four or five years. And the Mariners have only had three division titles, compared to the buttload that Atlanta has. Go figure.
Franklin has left down 2-0 in the 8th. Well, the Mariner starting pitchers in the homestand have gotten at least into the 7th every time, and they have one damn win to show for it thus far. So now the starting pitching comes around and the bats don't show up. Ugh. THIS TEAM SUCKS!!!!!
AND TO TOP IT OFF, the Red Sox have already won tonight, so the Mariners will be 1.5 games back in the Wild Card, and Oakland is up 5-2 on the Rays, so the Mariners will be THREE (oh, it's the magic number, yes it is) games back of the A's.
So with the Mariners this bad, the Husky football overload on KJR today was made almost (but not quite) bearable. It was better to hear KJR Husky-slanted broadcasting from the Frog Bear & Wild Boar in Columbus rather than hear abhorrent Mariner talk which I've long since stopped caring about.
From Beano Cook, top three things that should be done in life: 1) witness an Army-Navy game, 2) watch the dotting of the I in Columbus, and 3) become a parent or grandparent. Further down the list was watching the Trojan ride around the Coliseum, but not get off the horse unless it's the UCLA game.
That last paragraph got me thinking about brighter things. Non-Mariner related, and therefore brighter, things.
Don't worry though David, the CWU Wildcats will be alright. Things like this happen. But the SI Jinx has struck once again, this time in Ellensburg, Washington. Hopefully everybody there will have a grand ol' time at the Rodeo!
That said, I have gone to zero Central games. It may change this year, who knows, but I'm afraid if I decide to go this year, I might inadvertently drop a big fat "bad karma" bomb on Tomlinson Stadium.
And to follow up with a music note here, for the first few days at work, our warehouse guy had the radio playing KISS 106.1, which (my hand to God) plays about SIX SONGS all damn day. I swear they couldn't go 70 minutes without playing Kelly Clarkson "Miss Independent" or "Headstrong" by that horrible band Trapt. Also, "Girls and Boys" by Good Charlotte is a very dumb song, though not anywhere near as dumb as "My Love is Like...Wo" by Mya (gotta keep it real...compared to WHAT?), which may well be the stupidest song I've ever had to hear in my entire life. That song is absolutely mindless. It just might be more stupid and annoying that "Oops" by Tweet from last summer.
Off to work in about 10 minutes here...
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Best quote of the VMAs: "(Good Charlotte)...just a mediocre Green Day" Chris Rock. HYSTERICAL.
Honorable mention: "50 Cent has had more shots in the face than Jenna Jameson", also by Rock.
I hate to be a pessimist, but there is a thing called a track record. And quite frankly, it's just playing itself out again this year. If the season ended today, the Mariners would be on the outside looking in, because Boston would have won the Wild Card by a half game.
If the Mariners don't make it to the playoffs this year, it would be a travesty. This organization could do the right thing and try to improve this team. But they only care about bringing in B2K and Sara Evans to "entertain" the fans at Safeco Field.
Start the "Bring Miggy To Seattle" Wagon ASAP. The Mariners need Tejada in 2004. PERIOD. The 2003 season isn't over yet by any means. But it better start getting better soon. It has to.
BTW, don't hate me for loving Christina Aguilera's "Fighter". The girl got some lung power! And more too...you know.
This team just lost a series to the damn Devil Rays. Pathetic.
Pedro Martinez today bore the name of Jorge motherf(inagl)ing Sosa.
Boone, though he made an error, stepped up and hit a dong to tie the game.
Freddy Garcia pitched okay and got into the 7th, but he did give up a home run to friggin Al Martin. Come on.
Rhodes pitched okay.
First and second with 2 down in the 4th, and Cameron was caught looking. Sick.
Olerud got three hits and drove in a run in the 6th.
In the same inning, Randy Winn came up with the sacks full and two out and bounced out...to the catcher.
The sick thing is all the offensive threats the Mariners had, I just listed above.
In times like these, everything goes wrong. Case in point: Shiggy couldn't hold a tie game. Somehow I had the feeling that the Devil Rays were going to get that run back. I didn't figure it would be on a 2-out home run.
Dick Fain was filling in for Softy today, and before he interviewed Willie Bloomquist, he mentioned Willie's name in the same context with "offensive capability." I was yelling at the radio in my delivery truck I was so mad. Usually I'm akin to the Mariner feelings of one Dick Fain, but this time, such was not the case.
By the way, with the Mariners down to their last out, Bob Melvin pulls Dan Wilson (a good thing)...for John Mabry (a very bad thing)?!!?!!!?!?!?!?!?! Something needs to be done about this bench, but I know nothing will happen.
The Mariners have basically played .500-ball since that 11-1 east coast swing that wound through Philly and Shea. For three damn months we've heard out of Gillick and Melvin, "we'll turn it around" or "we'll come around once we get healthy." Three months. Nothing's happened. What makes anyone think that the team will shake itself out of playing .500-ball for the better part of three frigging months? Humans and the Mariners are creatures of habit, you know.
And just to rub it in (get your barf bucket ready), the winning pitcher for the A's today (who have won SIX STRAIGHT and just might be on their big run again this year): JOHN FRIGGING HALAMA. Barf away.
Anyways, Miguel Tejada is a free agent at the end of the season. Screw Kazu Matsui. I want Tejada. I have wanted Tejada ever since last October, when I first learned that he was a free agent after 2003. Tejada is clutch, and behind Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra, he's the third best shortstop in baseball. Yes, he's worlds better than Derek Jeter.
Unfortunately for Tejada, he's not Japanese, therefore he will not get even a sniff from the Mariners. As much as I like this ownership group for saving baseball in Seattle, they sure don't know how to build a championship team. If they could, they would field the freaking Orix Blue Wave 9 out there on the Safeco Field stage. That's how pathetic all of this is.
And if you think that either I or David are bandwagon fans, well, we're not. We have a very good reason for being concerned about this ballclub. The bench is the worst in all of baseball, the starting pitching has been putrid, and we have a (freaking) moron for a manager. Not to mention that the general manager is continuing to move his furniture in Toronto as we speak.
But hey, country star Sara Evans is doing a pregame concert before the game today at Safeco Field! She's hot, but as far as I'm concerned, this team needs more than Sara Evans to fire them up. They need the Charlie Daniels Band...something!
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
I was listening to Mike Gastineau on the KJR and he brought up a list of top records of college football teams of the last three years. the Huskies were 15th, though Oregon has the best Pac10 record in the span. Number one and two weren't too surprising, those were Miami and Oklahoma. Number 3? I'll give you a moment...Boise State. Yup, the blue turf boys have the third-best D-I record in college pigskin over the past 3 years. Gotta love that Humanitarian Bowl every year -- The Hum Bowl. Gas also mentioned that the BCS games will now be sponsored by ADT Security, which is somewhat ironic considering the run-ins with the law (some involving stealing) that some delinquent college fb players have had.
Kobe Bryant's accuser is a no-show in classes at her soph year at the Univ of Northern Colorado. I will elaborate no further.
I can't resist. Melvin and all the Mariner cronies have said the pennant race will come down to the six of nine at the end of the season against the A's. It should never have had to come to that.
Finally before I hit the sack here, the 20-year-old off the street that pitched for the Rays tonight was pulled in the 5th and gave up TWO DAMN HITS overall. Basically, the Mariners had 3 runs at that point because of Gaudin's walks, not because they were hitting or anything. Putrid.
Ichiro second half last year: .280. This year: .278. There is also a huge drop in stolen bases in both years. Thanks, Locke.
And by the way, the Mariners are losing against crappy teams again. 2002, anyone? Deja friggin vu.
And what does Joel Pineiro do to keep the Mariners momentum going into the next game? How about a nice 2-run Travis Lee bomb in the second to dig the Mariners a quick hole, out of which they will never dig themselves out? A 2-run lead in the second is a good way to do that. And to put the game out of reach, how about giving up back-to-back dongs to Lugo and Huff in the 5th? Damage done.
David Locke is on fire on KJR right now. He has used the phrase "Ichiro sucked tonight," and he basically has. He brought up that on a night when Miguel Tejada hit 2 dongs and carried the A's, Ichiro has carried his team by...whiffing in the first, bouncing out to end the 3rd with Sanchez on second, flying out to shallow center WITH THE BASES LOADED AND NOBODY OUT in the 5th, whiffed to lead off the 7th, and with one run in and two on in scoring position in the 8th, Ichiro popped out to the third baseman. Ouch ouch ouch.
Also, the pattern of the Mariners offense sucking against guys they should be beating mercilessly continues. Tonight, it's some damn 20-year-old they brought in off the street, along with some guy making his Major League debut. The Mariners can't even take advantage of the mental fragility of these young kids because they're so screwed up in the heads themselves.
I peeked out in the front room at the TV and Mark McLemore and his Mendoza-line average was pinch-hitting in the 9th. Ugh.
The Mariners will never sniff first place for the rest of the year. Book it. You heard it here. Do you see any signs of the Mariners turning it around? Over the last two nights, all I see is the starters turning in 7 innings each, and though that is a very good sign, it's still not a good sign when the Mariners are playing from behind early. The Mariners are a terrible come-from-behind team this year. Just brutal. So when they get down 3-0, Safeco is dead and I sure as hell don't expect them to coem back, which they somehow did last night. Tonight they didn't. Does it surprise me? Not at all. To me, the Mariners (sans freakish 2001) have been a get-an-early-lead-and-hang-on kind of team. And when they don't get the early lead, the odds are highly stacked against them.
Now it's official. The Mariners are done. Tejada hit two bombs for the A's and Pineiro and Ichiro choked. Crunch time is where real players step up, y'all.
I'm gonna sit back and listen to the postgame now. To everyone out there that thought last night's game was the start of a big Mariners turnaround: as great as the first game of this series was, the Mariners have STILL lost seven of eight games, and that is STILL crap.
I guess Arkansas students are a bit behind the times...but at least we have running water and cable down here, but with TWO BET Channels I might add.
Oh, nice win by the Mariners last night. These are the games they have to win. So I'm not going to make a big deal about one measily victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Ho hum, Chad Eaton is out for the season. This could be a blessing in disguise...it's not like he stopped anybody last year when he was healthy. I echo the sentiments of the Seahawks having to win at least 2 games in September. Week 1 vs the Saints, Week 2 at the Cardinals, Week 3 vs the Rams. You can't tell me that they can't win at least 2 of those games.
"I think we all know that the easiest way to get to the playoffs is to win the division and not getting by doing the wild card," said Jay Buhner, who was a clubhouse visitor last night before the game.
Boy, I wish Bob Melvin had the same fire that Buhner does. I still remember the time in 1995 when Buhner ordered the Kingdome staff to take down the "Wild Card standings" banners in right center field along the 300 level facade. This is just one of the many reasons why #19 needs to be retired by the Mariners. But he's not a "Hall of Fame" player, thus Howard Lincoln and his cronies won't do a damn thing. What a joke.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Also a good thing is that Jamie Moyer turned it around and buckled down after throwing over twenty pitches in the first. Another good is that he threw seven strong innings, meaning the bullpen for the first time in a while only had to throw two innings. The bullpen needed some rest or some cutting of the workload, which they got tonight.
Key hits were the game-letter-back-inner in the Guillen smash, then the Winn go-ahead single to drive in Olerud (Dave Myers was crazy for sending Olerud home from second on a single to right field; I can guarantee you we'd be lambasting Myers right now if Olerud gets gunned at the plate or injured -- remember Snelling -- and the Mariners lost). Then after the 7th inning stretch, the Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out, then Edgar GIDP'd before Sanchez was put on and the Mariners got singles from Wilson, McLemore, and Guillen (he drove in five runs) to get five two-out runs (I will physically destroy any making or pressing of any "Two Outs...So What" shirts I see occurring from now to eternity, so don't think about starting now).
And John Parrish of the Orioles loaded the damn bases full of A's in the 12th and Hector Carrasco came in and dished up a single for Scott Hatteberg. Still a tie, ladies and gentlemen. The good news out of this is that the bullpens of both teams got a ton of work and that the Mariners will be facing the O's and their hopefully overworked bullpen after this T-Bay series. The O's blew it in the 12th when they had runners on the corners with nobody out and Conine bounced a ball to Foulke and they nailed Luis Matos coming in from third. Ugh.
Anyway, more detail about this later. Lastly, big props to blogging counterpart and colleague Gabriel at the Safe Blog; he's even been linked by the USS Mariner, much like Jeremy from this very page was credited by the USS Mariner. We're tied in USS Mariner props.
See you tomorrow.
Just listening to ESPN radio here...Jeff Weaver has been sent to the minors? Ouch. How far has this guy's star fallen? He was a damn stud in Detroit, and I thought if the Mariners traded for that guy in either 2000 or 2001, they would have had another big cog in the rotation. He ate up innings and his stuff was filthy. New York screwed up Jeff Weaver, and that is sad, kids.
I'm really going to sleep this time.
And to Jeremy, I didn't have to read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" because I got switched from Cleverdon's class to Ozolitis' class just in time. "Caged Bird" was the alternate to the book you guys were reading in Clev's class. All teachers mentioned in this paragraph no longer teach at B-town HS.
BUT can you believe that the Padres did NOT have to take on Jason Kendall's contract? Again, this just goes to show you that the Mariners organization is not committed to winning.
I don't mean winning 300 games in 3 years either, that's a load of B.S. as far as I'm concerned. OK, I'm going back now to reading "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings".
Tonight's Mariners starting lineup brought to you by Seabeck Pizza...
MARK MCLEMORE LF
CARLOS GUILLEN 3B (IN THE 3HOLE????????)
Bret Boone 2B
John Olerud 1B
RANDY WINN CF (Gee, Edgar's not in the lineup again, and Cameron's bat would be nice to have here...IT MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE)
JOHN MABRY DH (If the M's were a championship organization, this POC would have been dumped in MAY)
Rey Sanchez SS
DAN WILSON C (OK, Jamie Moyer is pitching, so Wilson always gets the nod when he's pitching. But you know, maybe it would be nice to see how Ben Davis would handle Moyer?)
That being said, I'm not going to waste my time with the game tonight. 1) I'm in school again, therefore I do have to get up in the mornings. 2) This lineup is absolute crap and I feel bad for all the real fans at Safeco Field tonight who paid good money to see a "Major League Baseball game". 3) Well, I have better things to do with my life, like reading one of my "required" English novels. Hey, Maya Angelou is one of the all-time literary greats...and she can play better ball than John Mabry.
Oh, and sleep! Hopefully a few blind squirrels find a few nuts tonight in Seattle, and we don't have to worry about seeing the M's in the second bar in your local sports pages' A.L. West standings.
What was sick about Saturday was that before the Mariner game even started, the Blue Jays just rolled over and died and lost 17-2. WHAT THE HELL?? When did Oakland finally learn how to score runs? If this, or anywhere near this, keeps up for Oakland, the Mariners are dead. By the same token, if the Mariners losing streak gets much longer than the current six, then they're toast anyway. And I'll get to how the planets (and the Red Sox staff) aligned and Pedro got penciled in for Monday's start, essentially dooming the Mariners.
Think about this. All the Mariners really had to do was tread water. Everyone figured, oh, they could play crappy .500 ball the rest of the way out and they'll still win the division because Oakland doesn't have what it takes to make a run. Well, let's break down that last sentence. They're playing crappy, but now it's not anywhere NEAR .500. As for winning the division, they have to play ONE GAME better than Oakland the rest of the way (31 games; this Fairly Obvious fact brought to you by the Washington State Forests and Fish Law. Yes, that's a joke). Two months into the year, or even as recently as two to three weeks ago, any Mariner fan would have proudly put up their rotation against an Oakland rotation free of Mulder and with Hudson missing a start. Now...well, let's just say this is the first time in about three years that the rotation has collectively sucked as a whole. Seriously. The last time I can think of the Mariners sucking this bad as a whole is probably when they lost 8 straight in the dead of August (12th-20th, started when Niehaus and Co. decided to broadcast from the stands around the park for the first time) against the Indians (decent) and the friggin Tigers (still putrid back then, but swept the Mariners). They dropped a 1-5 homestand and then were swept at the Jake. That slide ended on August 22. The 2003 slide BEGAN on August 20. Yikes. As you all remember, the Mariners did happen to lose the division that year to the Oakland A's. Is there any dumbass left out there who's gonna use this argument (provided the Mariners win 90 games and miss the playoffs): Hey, the Mariners won 390 games the past four years; THAT'S SUCCESS? If law and order went out the window and our country was in a state of anarchy and chaos, I would punch anyone that said that. As a sidenote (and there better be a similar sidenote waiting in the wings this year), the 2000 team reeled off an 8-game winning streak (Sept 12-20, exactly a month after the losing streak), then lost three of four against Oakland at the Safe.
Oh yeah, and about the management...notice how they addressed the Mariners needs so well at the deadline: lefty reliever, third baseman, lefty bat off the bench. What did they get? Shortstop after Guillen busted his groin (immediate stopgap move there) and a righty closer to use in a setup role. Why did they need a righty reliever who it's becoming apparent that they have less and less confidence in?
I guess I can leave all this with a few things. One, the bullpen might have their arms fall off next week unless each guy in the rotation gets into the 7th or 8th. But I know, the chances of that happening are slim to none. But the starters getting deep is what needs to happen for the bullpen to get adequate rest. Second, I've said it here before and so has Jeremy; Soriano should never throw a pitch before the 7th inning coming out of the bullpen ever again. Third, Julio Mateo still rocks. Fourth, let me echo the sentiments of the almighty USS Mariner when I say that Mac and Mabry need to get the hell off this team. I don't care what the hell they did for this team and even though they got some hits in Saturday's game, they cost the Mariners a three-run swing thanks to an error and two boneheaded baserunning mistakes. Fifth, the trend was that the Mariners were beating the good teams and losing to the crappy ones; well, they just lost to the good teams; how good should we feel about the Mariners facing the crappy teams now? Sixth, if this team tries to hold on to the Wild Card, not only will I be sick, but if you don't think the Red Sox just got a huge boost of confidence, then you are out of your mind. Seventh, the Red Sox will probably succumb to a dose of Yankeeage come divisional play time and the Mariners have 6 against the A's in a 9-game span toward the end, and hopefully they aren't out of it by then, because that doesn't look so far out of the realm of possibility right now.
If we fans go through all this crap and get a World Series out of it, it'll all be worth it. If they don't, the fans who know any better won't let the Mariner brass get away with this. If the Mariners do get a WS out of this, it's sad that some people will actually try to justify Lincoln and Gillick's hackneyed method of maintaining and operating a baseball team. All I know is that Edgar deserves a WS ring, and the brass didn't do everything they could to give Edgar the best chance of getting one. Not even close. If the Mariners don't get Matt Stairs in the next 5 days...I don't have to tell you what I'll think. It's not like they even have to give up anything for this guy. And you know what trade would make me the happiest man in the world? Willie Bloomquist for Matt Stairs. I would love that immensely.
I have to say the last time the Mariners showed me anything to prove they belonged in the playoffs was the Yankee series, which was a mere 16-18 days ago. How quickly things change. Since then, these Mariners haven't shown me a damn thing to indicate that they even deserve to be a second place team. They've been crap.
Okay, almost 1am now and I gotta work at 8am tomorrow. More thoughts tomorrow after work when I dissect the game logs of these last two horrible games at Fenway. Seeya.
Monday, August 25, 2003
In the back of my mind, I saw this coming. If the Mariners don't get to the postseason, the ownership should be ashamed of themselves. Sure, it's August 25 and we have another month of baseball left.
But remember, at this time last year, with almost the same freaking team, they lost their lead in the A.L. West. I hope this isn't the case once again.
Matt Stairs. Yell it out loud, wake up your neighbors. If they ask what the heck you're yelling, yell it again. Maybe Pat Gillick will hear you. I doubt it though.
Reality hits square in the noggin...you can expect to see Pat Borders and Luis Ugueto as the main "pickups" for the Mariners in the next week. This is me vomiting.
But "heaven" to me right now are the girls at Southeast Arkansas College. It's not going to be this hot for too much longer, so the ladies have to take advantage of showing more skin, if you know what I mean.
However, when it does get colder here, it's SWEATER TIME!!! I'm a sucker for girls in sweaters, what can I say? Heck, I'm just a sucker for beautiful girls period (cue Van Halen).
The 2nd best thing in Arkansas behind the beautiful ladies are the 88 cent Pop-Ables. They are shameless ripoffs of Hersheys Bites, but who cares? Pop-Ables are in four flavors: Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, and Snickers Cruncher. Mmmmm.
Finally, after cueing the Van Halen classic "Beautiful Girls"...go ahead and cue the title of my post, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" by Temple of the Dog. Yeah baby.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
But hey, ATTENDANCE will be over 3 million this year!
Matt Stairs. Say it loud, say it proud.
Edgar Martinez sits in favor of John Mabry at designated hitter?
Bret Boone takes the night off so Willie Bloomquist can play second base?
And does Ichiro get another night off, so Mark McLemore can make us go ZOO! in right field?
Here's the lineup tonight...subject to change:
Mike Cameron CF
Willie Bloomquist 2B
Randy Winn LF
John Mabry DH
John Olerud 1B
Mark McLemore RF
Dan Wilson C
Jeff Cirillo 3B
Rey Sanchez SS
To think that this team is still in first place...man. But hey kids, it's only August 24. At this time last year, the Mariners lost their lead in the West when they were beat by the Cleveland Indians. So don't send in your playoff deposits just yet.
As noted earlier today, I need to see a huge brawl break out at Fenway Park tonight.
For those musically challenged, Hagar was the lead singer of Van Halen from 1985 to 1996, and has released many solo albums over the years. I still think that Sammy Hagar is one of the most underrated rock stars of all time. For those people out there who think that the Hagar era in VH was bad, then you are shortchanging yourself. Every VH album in the Hagar era was solid.
I could use a trip to Cabo Wabo right now, but school is starting tomorrow for me at Southeast Arkansas College. Just trying to stay cool...because it's too darn hot.
I need to see John Mabry throw a punch, and in the process, he hurts his right wrist, knocking him out for the rest of the season. And then I need to see Mark McLemore slip on the Fenway grass, tearing his ACL.
If those two things happen, then Stand Pat Gillick will go out and get Matt Stairs, because Greg Colbrunn is officially done for 2003.
And the USS Mariner is campaigning for the Mets' 1B Tony Clark. You might know him when he used to play in Detroit.
It's really sad to think that Tony Clark would be a huge addition to the Mariners bench, but that is reality we are facing. By the way, say hello to our 2 GAME LEAD. Can Ryan Franklin cure his longball addiction tonight? Enquiring minds in Ellensburg, Pine Bluff, AR, and other places in between and around the world are wondering. It's a 5 PM start EBurg time, 7 Central.
Time for me to play some Madden...
Todd Linden went 1-for-3 in place of Barry Bonds, who was with his family on Sunday.
The Seahawks won their exhibition game against the Chiefs at Seahawks Stadium. Trent Dilfer threw a touchdown pass to Koren Robinson in his first action since the death of his son, to whom he spoke to in the heavens after the pass. Emotional moment.
Lastly, Larry Stone of the Times on pennant races.
Oh yeah, the Mariners need Matt Stairs.
First off, Garcia turned in a crappy outing. It definitely isn't his worst, but it was reminiscent of one of Pineiro's outings where Joel sucks, but he doesn't suck like he did in Friday's game. Early on, Freddy was trying to do his best Joel-of-Friday impression, throwing 25 pitches in the 1st. Damon singled after being down 0-2 in the count. He scored from first when Todd Walker (this guy sucks, I don't know why the Mariners can get this guy out) doubled on a 3-1 pitch. More on Garcia later.
The Mariner bats succumbed 1-2-3 (Cameron, Winn, Boone) off the putrid John Burkett in the 1st. In the second, Olerud and Guillen hit one-out singles and Mabry then doubled to score Olerud to tie the score at 1-1. McLemore then singled to score both Guillen and Mabry to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead. This seemed nice at the time for the Mariners. Maybe a little confidence, maybe Freddy would feel more comfortable on the mound.
What does Freddy do with a lead? He didn't want to keep the lead, so he gave up back-to-back homers to Trot Nixon and Bill Mueller to tie it at 3. Garcia threw 29 pitches in the 2nd, for a total of 54 pitches in 2 innings. Freddy always throws a lot of pitches, but if he was really on, 54 pitches gets him into the 4th or 5th. We haven't seen him at his best in quite a while though.
Then the Mariner offense replied to the game being tied by...going down in order in the 3rd (Winn, Boone, Edgar).
Garcia walked Ramirez on four pitches to start the 3rd. Ortiz then walked, though Ramirez was going on the 3-2 pitch. Davis threw to second, which was moot until Ramirez left second base to pick up his helmet without time being called. McLemore tagged him out (he'll nullify this shortly), and it was probably the best thing to happen to the Mariners in the game. Kevin Millar singled to right to put runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out. On the first pitch, Trot Nixon bounced the ball to Mac, who stepped on second to force out Millar, but then threw the ball about 20 feet to the left of Garcia at first. A good throw ends the inning, but Ortiz scores and the Mariners are down 4-3.
In the 4th, the Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out on an Olerud double, Guillen walk, and Mabry single. Davis and Mac hit sac flies to give the Mariners the lead again at 5-4. Cameron then hits a single to leftcenter and Mabry breaks for home and beats the throw. Problem? He didn't stick his hand out to touch the plate after he past Varitek's leg, which was blocking the plate. It was an easy thing to do. Touch the damn plate. This would figure into the outcome...
Mariner bats went out 1-2-3 in the 5th (Winn, Boone, Edgar -- AGAIN), and Olerud hit a leadoff single in the 6th and was erased on a double play ball by Guillen, then Mabry bounced out (three batters).
Soriano pitched the 6th for the Mariners, and did okay. Scott Sauerbeck faced the Mariners in the 7th, and yielded one-out singles to Mac and Cameron. With runners at 1st and 3rd with 1 out, Mac took off from third on a Winn bouncer to the Sauerbeck. Sauerbeck throws to Varitek, and Mac stops short of the plate and gets in a rundown, which is bad enough to begin with, but worse yet, it doesn't last long enough for the runners to advance. But the real stupidity in this play is that Mac arguably would have scored because he was close enough to the plate and Varitek would have had to lay down the tag. Mac could have scored. Yes, that's the SECOND TIME Mac managed to screw up in this game. This was right about the time where I said "if the Mariners lose this game by one or two runs, I'm going to be so pissed."
So Soriano pitched in the 7th with a 1-run lead instead of what could have been a 2-run lead or 3-run lead (thank you, Mark McLemore, you cost the Mariners a run both ways). Soriano wasn't sharp on this day, nor was he sharp in Toronto. Ortiz homered on a full count (tied the game) and gave up a single to Millar, and a walk to Mueller, and then he was pulled for Benitez. Benitez had Varitek 0-2 and then gave up a single to score Millar to give the Sox a 6-5 lead. He's had a couple decent chances and I'm not liking the Armando Benitez era in Seattle so far.
And the Mariners bats responded in the 8th by...going down in order (Martinez, Olerud, Guillen). Clutch is everything in life.
On came the Mariner 9th against BH Kim. Ichiro pinch hit (why he wasn't in the lineup anyway is an outrage) for Mabry and grounded out, and it looked like the Mariners were dead. Davis grounded out and then they looked really dead. Then McLemore hit a fly ball to Nixon which was lost in the sun and went for a double. Cameron singled to score Mac and tie the game at 6. Cameron stole second but Winn struck out to end the threat.
Sasaki came on in the 9th and it was pretty hairy. Nixon lined out, Mueller singled, and Varitek whiffed. Two out, one on, and then Damon walked to put the winning run (Mueller) in scoring position. Then Sasaki uncorked a wild pitch to put the winning run at third. Luckily, Kapler bounced out to Mac, who threw it to first without any harm this time.
Boone, Edgar, and Olerud went 1-2-3 in the 10th. Again, clutch.
Sasaki came on to pitch the 10th and gave up a 1-out single to Damian Jackson. Rhodes then came in and got Ortiz to fly out to Mac. But Rhodes hasn't pitched well for about three months. Millar looked for a first-pitch fastball and took it to the right of the Monster, and Cameron jumped and snow-coned the ball, which fell out on the way down. Jackson scored, game over.
Assessment: McLemore cost the Mariners a 2-run swing (error and bonehead baserunning play). He is a defensive liability ESPECIALLY at shortstop, and is an offensive liability on any day except for this game. Mabry cost the Mariners a run, and I don't know what the hell he was doing in this game, and he also is an offensive liability any day except for this one. And Melvin is a dumbass -- you mean to tell me Ichiro can rest against the Red Sox and NOT next week against the Devil Rays and Orioles teams of the world? That's absurd. Freddy was crap, and if he turns in even 3/4 of how he pitched the three outings before this, the Mariners easily win this game. Garcia was getting squeezed with the strike zone (which Melvin argued and got ejected for), and it's possible there was some sort of conspiracy theory for the umps to make up for how they squeezed Burkett back in Seattle in the last Burkett/Garcia battle. Sure, Soriano blew a one-run lead and deserves a little blame, but am I gonna blame him more than the guys who have sucked most of or all of this year? No. Benitez gave the Mariners the lead, so that was bad. Sasaki allowed the runner in the 10th, which Rhodes scored. Bad on both ends there. From the boxscore, the Mariners' 2-3-4 hitters (Winn, Boone, Edgar) went a combined 0-for-15. That's a black hole we usually see out of Wilson, Bloomquist, and McLemore, but to have it in the teeth of the lineup hurts. Olerud showed some much-needed signs of life, going 3-for-5.
I guess I almost wished Trot would have caught that ball in the 9th, so the Mariners didn't have to burn two more innings out of their bullpen, though it turned out to be Sasaki and Rhodes, who are crap. The Mariner pen needs rest badly and having Franklin going the next day does not help the cause at all. Franklin won his last start on Tuesday, but went only 6 innings (pen pitched 3 innings). Meche sucked on Wednesday and went 6 innings (pen went 2 innings). Moyer wasn't himself on Thursday and went 6 (pen 2). Pineiro sucked horribly on Friday and went 4 2/3 (pen 3 1/3). Garcia sucked in this game and went 5 innings (pen 4 2/3). Put it all together and on this road trip, the starters have gone 27 2/3 innings (avg 5.53 inn/start) and the bullpen has gone 15 innings (3 per game). This cannot continue, folks. The bullpen is burning out fast. If the pitchers get into the 7th and 8th the next time through the rotation, it will help very very very very VERY much.
And while I'm on the bullpen, Rafael Soriano should never be pitching in the 6th. This should never ever happen. I don't think Lachemann would do it, so it was probably Melvin running the game from the tunnel, and giving out decisions like Soriano pitching the 6th and Sasaki pitching the 9th when it should have been the exact opposite. The way Melvin's using this bullpen lately is atrocious.
AND TO TOP IT OFF, the Oakland A's frigging won. With John Halama starting. You gotta be kidding me. Bottom line is the Mariners have lost four straight, and are now a measly 2 games ahead of the A's; the lead hasn't been this small in a looooooong time, and I don't like the feeling. The way the Mariners have gone though, they're lucky the A's haven't taken over first place in the past week, because they easily could have. Easily.
Being a Seattle sports fan sucks. It also means that no two pro teams win on the same day, so the Seahawks won a preseason game. Go figure.