Saturday, January 24, 2004


Is there any better thing to do when in an upscale neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela than getting drunk and shooting a 9mm out the window of an SUV?

Closer extraordinaire and egomaniac Ugueth Urbina doesn't think so. He apparently is also willing to hold out until he gets a reasonable offer from ANYBODY. It's one thing to hold out during spring training or training camp (other sports) for more money or a contract extension or whatever, but the U-boat holding out (as a free agent) isn't going to hurt anybody, and I think he's crazy enough to not realize that.

Or maybe he's willing to take less money from whatever team ends up signing Ivan Rodriguez, because, well, you know...I can't tell you how many times I see "Google search: pudge urbina kissing" in the referrer logs; it's insane.

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I don't think I'm wrong in assuming that the Detroit Free Press is a more legitimate source than the Detroit Sports Net, which I'd never heard of until yesterday.

That said, Gene Guidi is reporting that the Detroit Tigers and Ivan Rodriguez have agreed on four years, and are trying to hash out the money details (a tad over $40M). Rotoworld is saying that Boras may have put an out clause into the proposal in case the Tigers are still looking crappy.

If this goes through, it looks like Mariner fans have someone (Justin Spiro) to join Jim Bowden on the journalists-that-reported-crap-that-didn't-happen-but-gave-the-fans-false-hope list. Of course, with Jim Bowden, the term "journalist" is loosely used.

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Hey, I might as well add my two cents to this whole rumored deal between the USS Mariner and Sports and B's...

to USS Mariner: 3 Arkansas Razorbacks Hog Hats, a case full of humidity, Nolan Richardson's horse, and a few Southern girls (you'll appreciate the Southern hospitality)

to Sports and B's: 4 round trip plane tickets to Seattle and a case full of Dairy Queen blizzards

That shall do her, I think.

Trade rumors are so much fun, don't you think?

Well, the Rafael Soriano to Toronto rumor isnt fun at all...

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I have heard from sources about the trade rumors that the USS Mariner has mentioned concerning Jason Barker and Sports and B's. These may be arising due to my impending six-week field school that is coming in mid-June and will last until late July. Thus, that may be six weeks where I have no internet access and no links to the esteemed Mariner blogosphere. Any Jason Barker-related rumor would probably have to do with plugging the six-week-long void facilitated by what will probably be a horrendous geology field camp experience in the sticks of north central Oregon.

Here's what I've heard as to what may be going back-and-forth in a possible trade --

to USS Mariner: 2 Portland TrailBlazers "Rock the Garden" thundersticks, the remaining 11 coupons in my Papa Murphy's pizza coupon book, two dozen ice balls (to be shipped in a cooler) from the iced-over snow that's still on the ground in Ellensburg, canned air, and a conditional 5th-round draft pick in a draft that is yet to be determined

to Sports and B's: Jason Barker, 2 bags of Bold flavor Chex Mix

Again, I don't know who the source is, and I don't think there's too many people I've talked to about the status of my Papa Murphy's coupon book. To those wondering, I have a garlic chicken gourmet family-sized pizza sitting in the fridge right now. When you live alone, you buy a pizza on Friday and then try to make it last the whole weekend. This is especially easy with the huge Chicago-style pizzas they sell. Anyway, no word has come from Jeremy or I concerning such trade rumors. If they ever do, turn here or to USS Mariner for the official word.

By the way, I was half-asleep this morning with the TV on, flipping the channels when I saw a guy that looked a lot like Art Thiel. Turns out it was him, and he was on the TVW channel (that's the government channel for our Washington contigent) on the Author's Hour show promoting the Out of Left Field book with the two hosts. It was basically book rehash, except for the story where Thiel's plane back from Texas in 1995 took too long and after he touched down in Seattle, he was in a taxicab with a foreign driver on the way to the ballpark who had trouble complying with Thiel's request to turn on the radio for the M's/Angels one-game playoff. When the radio finally turned to the game, Thiel heard Rick Rizzitello screaming "EVERYBODY SCORES!!" as he lamented his P-I column for the next day.

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(For Jeremy's take on this, see the post directly below mine -- he beat me to the punch, though our points-of-attack are somewhat different)

Regular readers here at Sports and B's have known for a while that I think Darrin Beene at the Tribune is crap. Worse yet, the Tribune has posted a picture of the enemy in the upper right of the page for what I'm about to reference.

Today, this is all you need to know to make your judgment about Darrin Beene...

Catching and pitching are not weaknesses for this team.

Yes, you heard him right -- Oliver Beene here (is that show still on?) thinks that catching is not a weakness for the Mariners. In his mind, there is NO OFFENSIVE BLACK HOLE at catcher, even to the point where he tried to use statistics to back up his point. His rationale for not wanting to sign Ivan Rodriguez:

Ask yourself this: Are six home runs worth $5 million?

Last season, Mariners catchers Dan Wilson and Ben Davis had as many RBI, 85, as Rodriguez did. While Rodriguez had a higher batting average and six more home runs than Wilson-Davis, he also earned $10 million. The Mariners paid about half of that to their two catchers.

What about Pudge's defense, and his ability to shut down a running game? Those are worth something.

They are, and they're overrated. Wilson is solid behind the plate, and he is noted for his ability to call a game.

Can you guess what I'm going to say to this? I'll give you thirty seconds to guess...
...And time's up. Here I go...

So Beene thinks Pudge's defense and ability to throw out runners are overrated? I've got news for him: Dan Wilson's ability to call a game is overrated. Wilson's inability to gun out runners is also heavily overlooked. Anybody can steal on the guy. Beene is also somewhat presuming that Ivan Rodriguez calls an inferior game compared to Wilson, and I can hardly believe it's that much superior. As far as I'm concerned, Wilson's ability to call a game is washed out by his inability to gun down runners and his inability to hit (especially for power). And that whole thing about Wilson/Davis being a near-offensive wash (factoring in the money)? Beene is correct (in statistical form, anyway) in pointing out that Ivan Rodriguez has had his home run numbers decline over the past few years, and that he outhomered the Mariners' catching duo by six homers last year. Last year, Dan Wilson and Ben Davis combined for a .238 average, 10 HR, 85 RBI, an on-base of .277 and a slug of .358 (check me on those last two if they seem wrong, but I get an OPS of .635). Ivan hit .297 last year with an on-base of .369, and a slug of .474 (OPS of .843). I'm not sure how familiar the Tacoma News Tribune readership is with the OPS stat, but I'd have to say a pretty important fact is hidden from them when I can clearly see that the similarities between Ivan and Wilson/Davis last year end with the 10 HRs and 85 RBIs. The differences lie in the fact that Ivan had an OPS that was a whole .208 better than the Mariner catchers (and .232 better than Wilson's .611 OPS). All I had to do was crunch through some OPS to say that Beane was full of crap -- no WARP, no VORP, no EqA, nothing like that. No one needs any advanced stats to rebut Beene here.

It's one thing if you don't want to say sign Ivan Rodriguez because he may not play a full slate of games, and I'll give Beene a little credit for mentioning that a little later in the article. But to try to say Ivan Rodriguez wouldn't be a significant offensive upgrade over Dan Wilson and Ben Davis is total crap, in my opinion. To say catching is not a weakness for the Mariners and then use offensive numbers to try to prove the point is pure hogwash.

Would signing Ivan Rodriguez be a high-risk move for the Mariners? Hell yes. Would I think differently of the offseason if the Mariners picked him up? Yes also. Of course there's a chance Ivan could get hurt. If someone told me the day after the Marlins won the World Series that the Mariner offseason would end up with a net result of what the Mariners have right now, I'd be pissed. If someone told me at that same time that there were some irrational moves but then Ivan Rodriguez was included, I'd be a little less irked about the other moves.

Some people out there will manage to find something wrong with a possible Pudge signing. The way I look at it, this would be the one risk this offseason that has the most chance for upside and for general production. With a guy like Rich Aurilia, the Mariners are hoping they get the production that he displayed for one season in his entire career. With Pudge, we know that he's put up high-caliber seasons at least four or five times. And hell, I'd take Ivan's totals from last year anyday...his home run totals were his lowest since 1995 (16 when playing 130 games in a 144-game strike-shortened year), and his .297 batting average was his only sub-.300 batting average since 1994 (.298). Ivan had lows in those categories which he hadn't seen in nearly a decade. Yet, his Marlin team didn't turn out too bad.

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Oliver Beene's latest piece of crap

Holy Rotisserie League, you're probably thinking to yourself. Did you just say the Seattle Mariners, who will soon have an extra $9 million or so at their disposal, don't need Pudge Rodriguez or Greg Maddux?

That's right. And before you send me an e-mail or leave a message on my voice mail, hear me out.

As tempting as it might be to have either in a Mariners uniform, it's just not necessary. Catching and pitching are not weaknesses for this team. Save the money for a rainy day, because heaven knows there have been plenty of gray skies over Safeco Field the past two Octobers.

But Pudge is super, you say. He's superfluous, I say.

Ask yourself this: Are six home runs worth $5 million?

Last season, Mariners catchers Dan Wilson and Ben Davis had as many RBI, 85, as Rodriguez did. While Rodriguez had a higher batting average and six more home runs than Wilson-Davis, he also earned $10 million. The Mariners paid about half of that to their two catchers.

What about Pudge's defense, and his ability to shut down a running game? Those are worth something.

They are, and they're overrated. Wilson is solid behind the plate, and he is noted for his ability to call a game. As far as preventing stolen bases, this is the American League. Teams don't steal that much, especially in the AL West, where Oakland, Texas and Anaheim are as plodding as plow horses. The Mariners need Pudge for his defense about as much as the team needs Jamie Moyer for his fastball.

Pudge's 2nd Half of 2003:
.294, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 16 2B
Marlins were 42-25 in the 2nd half, earning the N.L. Wild Card, and ultimately, a World Championship.

Nice Guy Dan's 2nd Half of 2003:
.239, 3 HR, 18 RBI

Ben Davis' 2nd Half of 2003:
.140, 1 HR, 10 RBI

We all know how the Mariners season ended...

Dammit, I'm sick and tired of assclowns like Darrin Beene trying to spew garbage like this. Did he not watch the 2003 Florida Marlins? What Pudge did with that team was just incredible. More importantly, during the postseason, he showed me something. I wasn't sure if he could ever be a solid player in October, considering his previous appearances with Texas in the postseason. But we all know what happened with Pudge and the Marlins...

Did we consider Pudge as a possible "big bat" to land this offseason? I didn't. I considered Miguel Tejada. But he signed with the Orioles. Vladimir Guerrero? Nope, he signed with the Angels. Face it, the only guy out there that even fits the "big bat" label, without trades, is Pudge Rodriguez.

I really loved Beene's gem "catching and pitching are not weaknesses for this team." What the hell is he smoking, Howard Lincoln's old weed from Cal-Berkeley?

Now, pitching is not a weakness. But catching is. If the Mariners get Pudge (not too likely, but what the hell), that's an upgrade. A very serious upgrade.

At the start of this offseason, I didn't think the Mariners needed Pudge. But with the "moves" they have made this offseason, it is very obvious that a person of Pudge's caliber is needed. Sorry, I'm not that impressed with Sandfrog and Former Suckass Mariner- Now Mariner Once Again.

If the Mariners get Pudge, I'll call them the favorites to win the West. No, really, I will. The Mariners are one big bat away IMO. Pudge would be that big bat.

Do it for Edgar.

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Friday, January 23, 2004


Detroit Sports Net

Detroit Sports Net has just received a tip from a source close to Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez that the catcher has plans to sign with the Seattle Mariners. The source claimed that “the deal is not official, but everything from this point forward is a technicality”.

I'm not saying that the DSN is credible or anything of that nature. But if Pudge does sign with the Mariners, then that will make me say WOW.

I have always hated Pudge. However, I'm also desperate. I want to see this team win a world championship. I don't know about any of you, but I think Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate in Seattle is MUCH, MUCH BETTER than Nice Guy Dan Wilson.

Anyways, back to doing research for my two projects...

English paper on whether amateur athletes should turn pro, and preparing for a speech on how to fill out your NCAA Tournament bracket. Tons of fun.

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Our hometown B-town Sun has an article by a former coach of mine, Chuck Stark. Unfortunately, it's a Bloomquist article. Apparently, it's his versatility and his low salary that make him "valuable," and that of course stops short of saying that his bat is valuable, so no complaints there.

... Even when the M's faded down the stretch, [Bob] Melvin went with his regulars.

"Last year we had a very, very good bench, but I found out you don't use your bench in the American League as much as the National League," Melvin said. "We didn't have too many guys we pinch-hit for and we were healthy for the most part."

Yesterday, Melvin lauded the acquisition of switch-hitting Clinton
[sic] McCracken, who can play all three outfield positions and gives the M's a base-stealing option off the bench.

"I feel good about Willie Bloomquist backing up in the infield and (backup shortstop) Ramon Santiago," he said.

Now I know he's partial to Crack and everything -- Melvin loves Crack. But is he on the other sort of crack when he says he actually feels good about Ramon Santiago? Is this just because Bavasi probably told him that Santiago is good because "he can pick it up and throw it"?

To sum up the article, though, Bloom is being counted upon to be the new McLemore. Zzzzzzzzzz....

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Let me present to you, once again, the stupidity of Buzzie's boy.

Bavasi, asked to rank the four AL West teams going into spring training, went with Anaheim, Seattle, Oakland and Texas, in that order. "Seattle and Oakland are real close," Bavasi said. "The Angels spent money wisely, and they spent a lot of it. I think Oakland or Seattle could get them."

"I think Oakland or Seattle could get them."

Well, time to bring up the 2004 marketing slogan:


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Thursday, January 22, 2004


That title only works if you pronounce it as "Miles."

Maels didn't break 90 on the gun in his San Salvador workout with a ton of agents watching. Safe to say his stock crashed as bad as the Euros' Beagle spacecraft did on Mars. If I were Pat Gillick and Bob Engle, I'd stay in Costa Rica a few more days, maybe soak up the sights and stuff, because hopefully Maels wasn't the only reason they were down there. If they want to, they can go check out where all the Rawlings baseballs are made and stitched up, but of course, that would mean they would see the nice work conditions that I'm sure they have at the ol' Rawlings baseball-making factory.

Other things off the wire...
Some lame Bavasi quotes, but nothing much. Just the status quo until Kazu is completely off the books, basically to the effect of no post-Kaz speculation until it's official.

Freddy Garcia had successful surgery to repair his ruptured eardrums. Trainer Rick Griffin says the eardrum thing didn't have anything to do with Freddy's struggles. I almost hoped that the eardrums and the struggles were linked so that Mariner fans could hope for more upside from Garcia. Of course, this is Rick Griffin, a member of the Mariner medical staff, and we know what great things they've done to the minor-league arms and Carlos Guillen's TB (thanks, Steve). Also, it's Freddy frigging Garcia. Anything, ANYTHING can get into this guy's head -- I don't think it's a stretch by any means to think that the eardrum thing got into his head, preoccupied him and made him pitch crappily.

I've been thinking about this Eric Gagne arbitration thing for a while and I'm not sure where I'm going with it. The Dodgers are offering $5M and Gagne wants $8M. I'm trying to gauge this with the Sasaki situation. Sasaki had two good years for the Mariners (after a bunch in Japan...but it's Japan) and got his nutty extension in 2002 that netted him the $8.5M/yr figure. Eric Gagne has nailed down 107 saves over the past two years, won the Cy Young Award last year, and just turned 28. Most of us agreed that Kazu Sasaki was grossly overpaid with his extension. Is Gagne asking for too much? I don't know if any closer is ever worth $8M/yr. Derek says only three relievers might be worth $8M/yr, and their names are Wagner, Gagne, and Rivera. I'd have to agree.

Know what sucks? Reading textbooks. Hell, reading anything that you don't have a passing interest in sucks. I know I'm a guy who hates reading, but I like my reading in short, article-sized doses. Scientific papers? Hell no. Dry and term-heavy; I know that's not good for being a geology major, but hey, I hate reading, and that's who I am. That said, I gotta read four chapters on cartography tonight, and do a one-page outline/review for each. It's not hard, just cumbersome, and I have no attention span. And I have to write two pages (due tomorrow) about my upcoming project. I don't know what my topic is yet. I'm thinking pro sports stadiums, and I'll rank different cities by how much taxpayer money was spent on the stadiums? Who knows.

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You all know President Bush's plan of "leaving no child behind"?

Well, this "child" is the general manager of our baseball team.

As the days and weeks go by, Bill Bavasi proves to be a bigger idiot. Say what you will about Pat Gillick, but at least he completed his sentences and kept his eyes in their place.

More funny stuff...

Chappelle's Show has officially entered its second season. Two words on last night's season opener:

Racial draft!

If baseball had a racial draft, could we make Vladimir Guerrero Japanese? Oops, too late. He already signed with the Angels.

Well, Carlos Beltran is a free agent after the 2004 season. Why not make him Japanese?

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, please for the love of God check out Chappelle's Show. You won't regret it.

Shopping reminder: The first season of "Chappelle's Show" will be coming out on DVD February 24. That's my birthday. Guess what I want for my birthday?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Man, they needed this one. They REALLY needed this one. I'd realized I'd never worn my Todd Bertuzzi shirt in 2004 yet, so I wore that today hoping it would turn the Canucks' luck around.

There was a debate during the first intermission on the radio about whether the Canucks had come out tight or come out flat in the first period. Both Dan Russell and his guest agreed that they were playing "tight." Why? Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring at 9:22 of the first period, and the Canucks kept that lead for exactly 19 seconds. The first period ended with Tampa Bay ahead 3-1 (and 15-8 in shots), and the in-house fans were giving it to them at the Garage.

The Canucks scored twice in the second period to tie the game at 3-3. The first goal was Markus Naslund's 26th goal of the year, good for his 600th career point. Mattias Ohlund got his 200th career point on the goal. Trevor Linden scored in the period, finishing a tic-tac-toe play with the Sedins.

It looked a tad bleak in the third period when the elder statesmen Dave Andreychuk tipped one in to put the Lightning up 4-3 with 9:13 left in regulation. The big line came through with 6:23 left in regulation Todd Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the game to force overtime and was assisted by both his linemates (Morrison, Naslund).

Again, it looked somewhat bleak in overtime as far as getting a win was concerned. Fredrik Modin of the Lightning ran into Dan Cloutier and was sent to the penalty box. On the ensuing power play, the Canucks managed to get ZERO shots. Not long after, the Canucks had a 3-on-1 rush (or was it 3-on-zero?) and Ed Jovanovski had crashed the net, kept hammering at goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, and the puck leaked through Khabibulin's pads (to his credit, he had control of the puck), but the whistle had blown and the goal was waved off. Luckily, off the following faceoff, Naslund chipped in the rebound to net the Canucks their two points to keep pace with the Colorado Avalanche, who picked a great time (for Colorado, that is) to start playing like they're capable of playing.

The Canucks scored three goals in 4-on-4 situations tonight, which may either be an anomaly, or a sign that the Canucks really like the open ice.

Naslund's game-winner in OT was his 4th overtime goal of the season, tying the NHL record he now shares with Scott Niedermayer and Mats Sundin.

Bertuzzi ended a 10-game goal drought (he hadn't scored since New Year's Eve) and had three points tonight. Naslund had four points. Both had two goals apiece.

Sure, the no-wins-in-regulation-on-home-ice-since-Nov-8th streak is still in order, but this OT win does end a three-game losing streak, which the Canucks hadn't seen in two years, and snaps the seven-game home winless streak. Thank goodness.

Goal scorers for the Canucks tonight: Todd Bertuzzi twice (13), Markus Naslund twice (27), Trevor Linden (10).

Next Canuck game is Sunday at the Garage against those scrappy Nashville Predators.

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Darius Miles, Portland Trail Blazer

The Cavaliers traded Darius Miles today to the Blazers for Jeff McInnis and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.

I love days like these, I really do. Today's events mean that I can bring up the Blazers' own "Pledge to Fans".

2. To establish a player code of conduct and to hold our players accountable for their actions both on and off the court.
---Code of conduct created and shared with the team at the start of the season. This code sets clear expectations of our players responsibilities and communicates consequences if not followed.
---We have acted when this code has not been adhered to: examples, Bonzi's issue with fans and coach and Rasheed not speaking to media.

How about these apples???

After playing just eight minutes Saturday in Utah in the final game of Cleveland's road trip and with trade rumors about him circulating, Miles missed practice on Monday, saying he had forgotten to set his alarm clock.

The club was so concerned about Miles' unexplained absence that they sent the police to his house to make sure he was safe.

Miles was fined by the Cavs, but the lanky 6-foot-9 swingman played 17 minutes in Monday's win over Seattle. Miles, who will be a free agent after this season, is making $4.1 million in the final year of his contract.

This is the second time Miles has been traded in his brief 3 and a half year career. He was traded from the Clippers to the Cavs in 2002 for Andre Miller. Yes, the Andre Miller who "wouldn't do sh!t for the Clippers".

I could have sworn that Miles got in legal trouble with marijuana, but I can't find anything on that. But anyways, the Blazers are really trying to clean up their image.....

Yeah, and I'm going to start listening to John Mayer and sing his songs out loud in public. Not going to happen.

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Everyday Eddie Guardado says he's "ready to rock, bro"

If there is one positive thing I can say about this joke of an offseason, it's the fact that Everyday Eddie is a Mariner. I know he's currently the only lefty in the pen, but I'd like to see him close in 2004. Trust me, there's no way in hell the Mariners will leave Peoria with just one lefty in the bullpen. Let Guardado close, that's the bottom line.

But even when this move is a positive, it only happened because he wanted to play in Seattle. For once, I'd like to see this franchise go after a player that doesn't worship the Space Needle and Starbucks Coffee. All I care about is seeing this team win, not the fact that Rich Aurilia likes Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

I'm with Eddie, I'm ready to rock as well.

Speaking of rock, check out our music blog, Music and Bremertonians. I just did a post on the new Incubus album last night, and we'll strive to have more material at Music and B's in the coming weeks. That's if and only if the schoolwork we both have doesn't drive us nuts.

But hey, one of the big assignments for me this semester is to do a research paper on whether amateur athletes should turn pro. Sounds like a lot of fun, and no, there's no sarcasm in that at all.

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We know two places that the sudden $9.5M windfall will not go.

Russell Branyan. The Braves inked him to a minor-league deal.

On the very very happy note...

Marvin Benard will not get a 3-year, $14M deal we were thinking he might get from the Mariners. Instead, he has signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago White Sox.

So what's the first think I think of after hearing all this?
"Dammit," exclaimed Bill Bavasi as he slumped over his desk, lukewarm coffee slowly staining his "Daddy Loves You" coffee mug he got last Christmas...

Maybe I can turn that into a novel or something. Imagine...How to Blow Up A Major League Baseball Team in Six Months: a story of Bill Bavasi's first offseason as the Mariners' General Manager.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004


This is where I try to recreate my entire post that would have been up at about 1am last night. It was a Sasaki-related post. Here I go...

John Hickey, John Levesque, Larry Stone, Larry LaRue, and Dave Boling all take their turns with Kazu Sasaki's sudden departure. Before I respond to these columns one by one, I have one question: does anyone know where the hell Dave Andriesen went? He was gone for a real long time, came back for a couple columns, then left again. Sabbatical? Do journalists have that? I don't know. Anyway...

The Hickey column brought the obvious news that I had already known at that point regarding the Sasaki dealings. It also threw in the tidbit that the Mariners had signed Joel Pineiro for three more years and $14.5M. I like Pineiro and I'm glad that they've gotten him locked up. It's been amazing watching him mature on the mound for the last couple years and it'll be great to see him go farther and truly be this team's number one starter (let's face it -- Freddy's not the number one and Moyer's not a power guy). I guess the whole travesty in it all is this: Joel Pineiro is now making Raul Ibanez money. Or Raul Ibanez is making Joel Pineiro money. Yes, there's something wrong with those sentences, and Raul isn't in the right.

John Levesque lets us know that Kazu came in and helped the Mariners on the way in, and thanks to the $9.5M he may free up, Kazu may help the Mariners on the way out. But Levesque's column really made me want to raise my own bar as a wee B-town weblogger, because guess what? John Levesque reads the blogs! He says it right in the column!!

Larry Stone had the most solid column of the handful (not surprisingly), refreshing my mind to the fact that the Mariners seem to have a certain faction over in Japan that can take issues straight to the top (Hiroshi Yamauchi) of the Mariners food chain to get what they want. Sasaki's Japanese agent sought an audience with Yamauchi leading to the Sasaki departure, much in the same way that Sasaki left the team for "personal reasons" in May of 2002 (i.e., meeting with Yamauchi) and returned to Seattle with the absurd and well-documented two-year, $17M contract in hand.

Larry LaRue presents a couple more annoying tidbits about Sasaki, namely how he wanted to know by the 7th inning if he was going to be used in the 9th. You know, for that mental preparation and stuff and how he would throw 49834904 pitches in the bullpen before he came into the game. The other annoying thing cited was how Sasaki would stay in the training room getting therapy or massages until the 5th inning of games. The vibe of the LaRue column seems somewhat clear to me, though: the Mariners and Sasaki will have to try like hell to make this a clean break.

Dave Boling rounds out the handful of Sasaki articles here. Boling is along the same lines as Levesque in a way, pointing out that Sasaki helped on the way in, and will do so on the way out. He also brings up the torturing of "Who Let the Dogs Out" that Satan (Howard Lincoln) and Sasaki did after beating the Angels in Anaheim on the final day of the season to earn a trip to the 2000 playoffs. Frankly, I didn't think that horrible drivel of a song could be tortured. And it probably wasn't. I think I would have rather heard Satan and Sasaki's version of the Dogs Out song rather than that of the ill-fated Baha Men.

So what do I have to say about all of this? Kazu Sasaki had a solid career in Seattle. Two things are unfortunate about it, yes. One is the aforementioned-by-Jeremy home run given up to Al Soriano in the 2001 ALCS that put the final nail in the coffin of the regular season (Rhodes brought the hammer via Bernie Williams earlier in that game, and Aaron Sele was a mere formality). The other is the brutal happenings of last season. That's one lousy hell of an unceremonious way to go out as a baseball player (at least in the US if he doesn't stay out of baseball altogether). The good things? I remember 2000. It brought the Mariners one of their top two playoff runs ever (that's right, screw 2001). Coming into the season, all Mariner fans wondered if they really could have that sense of security when the Mariners had a lead going into the 9th. By golly, the fans really got what they were hoping for. The fans of Seattle had never seen a closer perform like Kazu. He wasn't Mike Schooler, and he sure as hell wasn't Bobby Ayala. I remember the feeling that sometimes the game was just as good as over when the Kazman came in. That and I remember the feeling that if Kaz had two strikes on a hitter and the "thang" was coming, you just knew sometimes that there was nothing the hitter could do about it. I remember when Kazu blew his first save of that season at Kansas City (June 14; look at that boxscore -- Ricky Bottalico was 6-1?!) and the callers on the KJR postgame (then hosted by Seth Everett and Bill Krueger) were absolutely freaking out. They were wondering if that was going to be the end of it, if the Mariners had paid him too much, if leads would never be safe in the 9th, that his fastball just wasn't fast enough (I hardly ever thought it was), etc. Art Rhodes and Kazu Sasaki that year gave the Mariners something they'd never had before in the form of dominant pitching in the latter half of games. It got them as far as they've ever gotten in the playoffs. It enabled them to go far enough to give me my best memory of that 2000 season -- when Alex put one off the foul pole in the Bronx in the ALCS. That one moment felt great as a sports fan and as a Mariner fan. At the same time, Rhodes' and Sasaki's playoff failures also brought the team to its knees in either year.

That said, happy trails to one Kazu Sasaki. I'll miss the "thang," I'll miss the smile after the final out, and on a local note, I'll miss the guy that calls in on KJR's Groz and Gas Mails as Kazuhiro Sasaki.


Sorry to everyone could could have used this post EIGHTEEN HOURS AGO. Sorry, I really am.

[edit ~7:47p: as Peter noticed, Levesque has been scouring the wild-West-style P-I weblog comment listings, NOT the much more classy (but still wild) Mariner blogosphere. Thanks for getting my hopes up, John. I'll go back to writing crappily now.]

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Something that I haven't hit on here about the Carolina Panthers is the fact that they have been through a lot of deep stuff over the past couple of seasons.

Let me rattle off the names...

Rae Carruth.

Fred Lane.

Kerry Collins.

Carruth was convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend. Lane was shot by his wife, who was sentenced to eight months for voluntary manslaughter. And Collins, the man who led the Panthers to their first NFC Championship Game in 1996, had a huge problem with the bottle.

As for events on the field, this Panthers franchise was 1-15 in 2001.

Two years later, they are in the Super Bowl. I'll go as far to say that John Fox deserved Coach of the Year honors more than Bill Belichick did. What Fox has done with this Panthers team is just incredible.

That being said, 2004 will be the year for the Seahawks. We can only hope.

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Monday, January 19, 2004


I'd have to say the two greatest Super Bowls that I can remember (I started paying attention at the 25th one) are Super Bowl XXXV (Scott Norwood) and Super Bowl XXXIV (Titans one play short of the game-tying TD).

As for this year, it's possible we have a horrible bore of a Super Bowl on par with Ravens-Giants (XXV).

Pete Prisco has some things to say about what will probably be a horribly boring game.

[later edit 20 Jan ~7:35p: I mistook my Roman numerals and labeled the great Scott Norwood game with the number of the dreadful Ravens-Giants game. Sorry to all parties who were offended.]

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Well, the Canucks played a pretty great third period. The problem is, they played a crappy first period. Not a good thing against a trapping team like the Dallas Stars.

The Canucks' infinitely frustrating home ice funk continues; the Canucks are winless in their last seven games at the Garage (0-5-2).

The Canucks trailed 2-1 after one period of play. The Vancouver goal was the 9th goal of the year for Trevor Linden, his first goal in 18 games. Brendan Morrison scored the other Vancouver goal (Turco played a puck that could have been iced) on the power play, his 14th of the year.

Sami Salo ended up with two assists in the game.

Vancouver outshot the Stars 10-5 in the 3rd quarter, but it wasn't enough.

The Canucks have started out their important key homestand with two losses.

The Canucks unfortunately continue again at home on Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

This is frustrating as hell. In case you haven't noticed, I haven't bothered to cover the Sonics' last few games because let's face it, they're enigmatic as hell and don't do anything they're supposed to do. You don't lose to Cleveland AT HOME. With the Canucks, I thought I had something the first month of the year, I think they've just been treading water since [later edit: I've been vindicated! Tom Larscheid just used the phrase "treading water" on the postgame show!], but this home thing is beyond ridiculous. It's infuriating.

[more later edits: Todd Bertuzzi has no goals in 10 games, by the way. 13 goals in his last 67 games overall. Yipe. This is the Canucks' first three-game losing streak since...last year's playoff series against the Wild when they blew the 3-1 series lead. UGGGHHH!! Tonight's postgame topic on CKNW: should we take the word "elite" out of the conversation when describing the Canucks?]

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Kazuhiro Sasaki will not be a Mariner in 2004

Kazuhiro Sasaki's agent, Tony Attanasio, confirmed Monday afternoon that the right-hander has decided to forfeit the final year of his two-year, $16 million contract and remain in Japan.

"It's true. He's not coming back," Attanasio said. "He wants to be with his wife and two children. They weren't with him last year and it played on him the entire year."

Hopefully Sasaki can find some happiness in his personal life. More power to him.

Anyways, don't expect the Mariners to spend Kazu's 2004 dough on anything useful. They will use it on some hack like Marvin Benard or use it for another gameday employees cake party.

As good as this news is, dammit, it just doesn't matter. Philly fans, you don't know what hell is like. Seattle fans know what hell is like.

Third place here we come. And like the top of our page says:

"Mariners Baseball: We'll Show Up and Give Them a Good Run".

Bill Bavasi's words, not ours.

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But I echo David's sentiments.

In the "spirit" of Kazu's possible departure, here's the free agents the Mariners will look at. Bill Bavasi has money to burn. He might as well make this offseason even worse than it already is.

Ellis Burks: He's 39, and he's a "professional hitter". Just what the Mariners like.

Ron Villone: He's 34, and he's a former Mariner. Oh, and he's a lefty.

Marvin Benard: He's already been rumored to be a Mariner. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tony Womack: He's hurt, but he has playoff experience. He's a Melvin guy, i.e. former DBacks.

Personally, I'm glad Sasaki won't be a Mariner in 2004. I still haven't forgiven the guy for giving up that home run to Alfonso Soriano in Game 4 of the 2001 ALCS.

But again, I'm not too pleased over this. Expect the M's to give Marvin Benard a 3 year deal worth 12 million. I am.

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I'm just linking the same thing here that Derek linked...and that is a Ken Rosenthal report that Kazu Sasaki will not be coming back to the Mariners for next year, and will therefore renounce his remaining $9.5M on his contract.

Normally I'd be really jazzed about this, but I'm honestly afraid to see how Bill Bavasi will spend an extra $9.5M, I really am. I wonder what hack he's going to overpay next. The article mentions the Mariners could make a run at Greg Maddux or Ivan Rodriguez, but let's be serious here -- we all know how the Mariners love dealing with Scott Boras clients (that's not at all, except for Rey Sanchez, who was cheap). And that'd be putting way too much money into one place. Of course, that's management's plan, to win a World Series without a superstar, which by the way will never work.

I know family issues are cited for a reason as to why Sasaki would stay in Japan, but is it just a Seattle fan's luck that this couldn't have happened BEFORE Tejada and Guerrero were already signed? I know it would have only added to the first years of their deals, if the Mariners actually had the cojones to sign them, but it's something.

Maybe Kazu is just outsmarting everyone. Maybe he just knows next season will be a train wreck for the Mariners and not even $9.5M is enough for him to stay in the same country with this new God-awful version of the Seattle Mariners. Frankly, if I were Edgar, I'd come to that revelation too, except it'd be Puerto Rico instead of Japan. I'd also pull one on the team and retire as soon as I "realized" that the team that was going north from spring training was a horrible one.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004


I had no idea that the homer Carolina Panthers radio analyst is none other than former Seahawks safety Eugene Robinson.

In Houston, let's just hope that Eugene behaves himself. He sure didn't do that in Miami during the week of Super Bowl XXXIII when he was with the Atlanta Falcons.

Two weeks of hype...get ready for it, folks.

Or not.

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What a choke job. Absolute choke job. But I won't blame Donovan McNabb here. He's doing all he can. However, HE NEEDS HELP! Give him a receiver that isn't afraid of anything. Give him a defense that will TACKLE! Give him a head coach that isn't so friggin conservative.

Anyways, great job by the Panthers. They're going to the Super Bowl for the first time in their 9-year history. BTW, it truly does suck to be a Seattle sports fan right now.

As for the Colts and Patriots...


So now, we have a Carolina Panthers-New England Patriots Super Bowl. This could rival Super Bowl XXXV as the worst SB ever.

Hide the kids now...

Crank up that CBS music...


I'll watch the game, because well, I have nothing else better to do that day...

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Much like the great Red Sox and Cub fans got screwed last October, let us now add the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles to that list.

Fans of the Eagles have had to suffer through RICH KOTITE, for God's sake. They have had some lean years over there, though yes, this was their third straight NFC title game (and loss) in a row.

But man, what a monumental choke job by the Eagles. The score of 14-3 doesn't do any justice to the absolute manhandling that the Panthers did to the Eagles today.

Take the Patriots and lay the points, if you're the gambling type.

As much as it must suck to be an Eagle fans right now, it still sucks more to be a Seahawk fan. Why? The Eagles were in the Super Bowl in 1980, and that's more than the Hawks can say. And yeah, three straight NFC title games (though losses) is more than the Seahawks have ever seen. The Hawks? Not even a sprinkle of luck throughout their history in the postseason.

Seahawk fans out there, think of this: the Panthers were 1-15 two years ago and are now in the Super Bowl. In a related story, HE HATE ME is in the damn Super Bowl and Matt Hasselbeck is not.

Once again, life is not fair.

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When I managed to spill the Papa John's garlic butter (it came with the pizza eaten by a geology classmate and I) on my couch, I thought that that would be the worst moment of the night.

Then I saw this score on the ESPN2 BottomLine. Come on. What the hell. It's the frigging Ducks. This Canucks home funk is plain sickening; I've only been following the team with regularity for about a year or two, and this is ticking me off like a Mariners 2-for-56 funk with runners in scoring position would.

Let's see what the Ducks had going for them going into the game. The Ducks were winless in eight games in the new year. Vaclav Prospal was overpaid in the offseason and was in a 17-game goal drought. JS Giguere has sucked all year. The Ducks were also 0-6-2 in their last 8 games in Vancouver.

Tonight? The Ducks won and snapped both of the team streaks in the last paragraph. Prospal snapped that goal drought. Jiggy nailed down the game.

Vancouver is in a spectacular 2-for-27 run on the power play.

Henrik Sedin scored his 6th goal of the year for the Canucks. Twin brother Daniel was blocked by Jiggy's pad on a penalty shot which would have tied the game at 2-2 late in the second period.

Not a good way to start the homestand. There's four games left in it. At least Colorado lost tonight.

Vancouver traded defenseman Jiri Slegr to the Bruins for "future considerations" and recalled Ryan Kesler, returning the US-born contingent to the Canuck roster. Happy trails to Jiri Slegr, who I thought wasn't used enough by the Canucks, especially when Sopel was out there giving the puck away a bunch. And it's not like Jovanovski has been too good lately either. Anyway, here's to hoping Slegr gets more ice time in Beantown.

The Dallas Stars come to Vancouver on Monday. Can they have another road trip? Please?

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