Saturday, June 05, 2004


If I hear about Bill Bavasi saying that they'll be adding at the trade deadline, I think I might just have to pick up the nearest object within reach and hurl it across the room, because there's absolutely no hope or fire in this team. They just don't have "it," and it's that intangible "it" -- you just can't expect this team to win on a nightly basis. Hell, if you expect them to lose, you're correct about 65% of the time this year.

Seriously. See what you have down in the minors, because there is no shred of evidence that suggests that this team can play crazy/nuts/insane baseball and somehow win 90 games or more. I remember late last summer there was somewhat of a rift at KJR between negative nellie David Locke and optimists Dave Grosby and Mike Gastineau. Locke and Gastineau had some monumental crosstalk segments at the time where Locke would just seem to get under the Gas Man's skin. I remember at one point they were discussing whether John Olerud would turn around his horrible season, and Gastineau's reasoning was "because he's a career .300 hitter." We saw where that went. I think quite a few people have been using this line of thinking, but can you still use it with guys that are this aged? I guess you can turn around the same thinking and say "they've sucked collectively as a team in the second half of the past two seasons, so they're more adept as a unit to do it again." That'd be sad because, well, that would require them to suck worse in the second half than the first. Let's be honest with ourselves, the only thing worse than seeing a bunch of declining and unproductive veterans in the first half of the season is witnessing the slow burn of the same thing happening in the second half.

Surely it can't keep happening, right? Well, with the words that Bill Bavasi is planning to fill 40-man roster spots with waiver-wire hacks, it just might. Does anyone want to put a wager on how long it takes for the entire Mariner fan base to fall into a baseball coma? How would we measure this? Ten grand at the Safe per night?

To think this team might have a worse record than that Bill Plummer team of 1992 -- it's just unfathomable. Heck, even 1999 seemed like a lean year to me; that was the year Jeff Fassero went from an decent starter to not being able to throw a beachball over the plate to being cut loose. Overall, though, what the hell happened to this team? How did this happen?

A thinking-out-loud very abridged chronology here...
1995 -- self-explanatory
1996 -- Randy's back hurts; Sterling Hitchcock not as good as advertised
1997 -- Mike Mussina owns the Mariners in the playoffs; Randy wasn't good in the playoffs until he went to Arizona
1998 -- Randy tanks/doesn't tank it, gets traded; David Segui calls trade "horsesh!+"
1999 -- Jose-squared in the pen; Mariners try to find themselves, rotation trying to find shape as Fassero loses his mind
2000 -- Jay Buhner (26), Edgar (37), Alex (41) prove that yes, you can hit homers at the Safe; bullpen significantly upgraded; Jamie Moyer misses last month or so and the playoffs; Freddy hurt most of the year; team gets within two wins of World Series appearance; I have bad dreams about Rhodes-to-Justice for the rest of my life
2001 -- Ichiro comes over, the whole thing goes nuts; no one gets hurt; Mariners let September 11th throw off their rhythm a bit, was really the only adversity they faced through the whole season; Game 4 decided the ALCS, in other words, blowing a 1-0 lead cost them the series; Aaron Sele still sucks true to form in postseason
2002 -- second-half fade; James Baldwin experiment fails miserably; team forgets how to beat up on weak teams; playoffs missed; no deadline acquisitions again; Pat Gillick has Luis Ugueto in his back pocket even though Charles Gipson is the same guy; Lou plays with 24-man roster through season; offense starts really showing its need for a power hitter; waiver-wire goldmine yields slugger Jose Offerman
2003 -- almost a carbon-copy of 2002, except with a less competent manager and the feeling that "oh my goodness, it's happening again"; Raf Soriano showed things that we someday hope to see again

This brings us to now. Since I don't want to think about the big picture, let's see how bad tonight's game was.

Jon Garland was good. Freddy Garcia was probably as good, just facing better bats. Did anyone place bets on how long the Mariners' 1-0 lead would hold up? I was sitting there watching the matchup of Freddy against Frank Thomas. Frank hit the ball, and about three seconds before the ball came down, Dave Niehaus just called it and said "it's 2-1 White Sox..." It was absolutely hilarious. Usually Dave at least waits for the outfielder to look up and back, but in this case Jolbert Cabrera was still running back trying to see where the ball was going.

How good was Jon Garland/how bad was the Mariner offense? Garland mowed through the first six Mariners in order before the 3rd inning when the Mariners came up with their early run, and what a rally that was. Rich Aurilia led off with a double, and it seemed he might not score as Jolbert Cabrera moved him to third and Dan Wilson watched strike three. Ichiro for some odd reason tried to bunt on a 3-1 count (!!!!!) but then ripped a single to drive in Aurilia.

So maybe the Mariners might have been solving Garland? Well, no. Garland would set down the next 12 straight. In that span of time, the Sox had scratched out another run in their favor. In the 8th, the Sox chased Freddy from the game via a Carlos Lee double that drove home Willie Harris (aboard on a leadoff single).

As for the Mariner 8th, they had two in scoring position with one out. Ichiro lined out to left after Paul Konerko muffed one in foul territory. KJR's postgame touched on the fact that apparently Bob Melvin really REALLY didn't want Dave Hansen (tying run at the plate, in lieu of Randy Winn) to come in to face Damaso Marte. Why? I have no idea. But in all likelihood, it's probably moot at that point with their luck.

Oh, and Shigetoshi had a struggle of a 9th. Surprise. Somehow, no one scored.

Right now I'm chatting with Jeremy as I make the latter part of this post. He has brought up one of the instance where Randy Winn just seems to be a few steps slow, he goes backward for balls, and they just fly over his head. Just more of these GI Joe's Mike Cameron Would Have Had That moments, that's all.

Both Jeremy and I have reacted adversely to this actual line from the AP wire story (here's SportsLine's version)
    Garland faced a Mariners lineup without their best power hitter, Raul Ibanez.
We know Raul's the best power hitter by default thanks to everyone else sucking, but...ouch. Ibanez was the Mariners' best power hitter? These are the times that try men's souls, indeed.

The other thing we've reacted to is something that we both saw on FSNNW after the game. I had the TV down low and thought I'd seen a familiar face on the postgame coverage. Jeremy informed me that it's just-ousted Seahawk radio broadcaster Brian Davis. Jeremy's assertion of "he should just take over for Rizzs" led to a hilarious exchange of one liners.
    David says:
    Jeremy says:
    David says:
    that'd be hilarious
    Jeremy says:
    Scott Spiezio with the solo home run!
    Jeremy says:
    Jeremy says:
Lastly (Jeremy also brought this to my attention), we're gonna miss you, Steve. You've brought so much to the blogosphere, and though you say you won't completely be out the door, it's sad. But you gotta do what you gotta do. And if you have a life (I obviously don't, you see how long my posts are), you've more than likely got better things to do than try to somehow take a constant theme of crappiness by your favorite team and keep it fresh on a regular basis.

Howard and Bill...you've sucked the glory out of our team, and now look what you've done to our blogosphere. I hope you're happy.

Gameball: Freddy Garcia. He gets into the 8th (7 2/3) on only 111 pitches, walks two, fans six, and his only brutal mistake was the Thomas homer. But that's well past the margin of error with this team.

Goat: John Olerud. We're relegated to seeing Olerud in the cleanup spot? Ouch. 0-for-4 tonight striking out once, yet he never had any runners on to strand, which isn't his fault, but man...this guy was their cleanup hitter tonight...

In a related story, former Mariner greats Salomon Torres and Jose Mesa got the win and save against the Pirates tonight. Ugh.

Schoeneweis. Franklin. Later today (it's after midnight).

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