Saturday, February 28, 2004


There's four somewhat-related-to-the-Mariners articles floating out there today...

Scott Miller of CBS SportsLine does a story on the Devil Rays' camp, specifically the fact that there's four closers in camp and three of them are former All-Stars. Yes, somehow, back in the not-too-distant past, Todd Jones, Mike Williams, and Lance Carter each went to an All-Star Game. It looks like Lou Piniella might be reacting to what happened before Sasaki came to Seattle, when his only choice in the closer's role was Jose Mesa. Sure, I don't think the Rays will break camp with all four of these guys (Williams and Jones are non-roster invitees), but maybe in a perfect world they could use the leftover closer(s) for trade bait. Best quote in that article is from non-roster invitee and former single-digit number-wearer Rob Bell, saying the multitude of closers in camp is "like being in a strip club with only $40 in your pocket." Rob Bell has a sense of humor. If Rob Bell had Eric Gagne-type stuff, was a Mariner, and made the strip club remark, we'd be talking about his release from the Mariners today.

No. Actually, the best quote of the article was this...

These guys are going to be good, and sooner rather than later. In Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Jose Cruz Jr., the Devil Rays might just have the best defensive outfield in baseball.

Sound familiar, Mariner fans? Best defensive outfield in baseball? Remember when the Mariners grossly overpaid Raul Ibanez when they could have had Jose Cruz Jr for much less? Sure, losing Mike Cameron in CF would have taken down their best defensive outfield status, but getting Cruz sure would have helped. Getting Ibanez, well, it blows. I'm sure Lou had a good guffaw over this.

In other news related to our old friend Lou Piniella, Victor Zambrano was named the Devil Rays' opening starter, and will take on the new New York Yankees. Mariner fans may remember Zambrano from this game, the day after Piniella returned to Seattle. Zambrano came in leading the AL in walks and then pitched into the 9th for the win as I threw up all over my apartment in disgust.

Here comes another entry from 2003's long list of no-name pitchers that beat the Mariners. This time it's Josh Towers of the Blue Jays, who stuck it to the Mariners last August and went 8-1 last year. Also, I think he was on fire for half of the 2001 season, and it looked like the Orioles might have had something with a Towers/Jason Johnson combo in their rotation. Then I think Towers busted his arm. Anyway, the article here is about how he is dealing with the death of former Oriole system teammate Steve Bechler.

Now to the AL West. Ken Macha says Eric Byrnes has a chance to crack the starting lineup for the A's on opening day. Of course, I remember him for absolutely flaming out over the second half of last year. He's a great hustle guy, but when I saw him fall off the face of the earth last year, I couldn't help but wonder why the Mariners didn't get him last offseason because he fit their identity so well. However, since Byrnes would probably make the bench better than it is right now, Bill Bavasi probably didn't even think about it, and instead chose to make a cube out of his Duplo blocks. Also, if Jermaine Dye goes down, an A's outfield with the best player being Mark Kotsay doesn't scare me that much. It wouldn't scare me any more than a Mariner outfield without Ichiro, and you never know with injuries these days.

Finally, to the Mariners. We have yet another article on our favorite enigma Freddy Garcia and his eardrums. I think Bryan Price is still miffed over Garcia's 2003. Why? Isn't that what you'd deduce if you heard a quote that started out with "[a]ll I care to say is that..."? This seems like a dead giveaway to some angry or disagreeable thoughts, much in the line of when a significant other suggests that "we need to talk."

And by the way, when Fox Sports Net NW is running those schmaltzy Mariners-when-they-were-really-young segments in March (with horrible homer Rick Rizzs doing the voiceover spots in the promos), let me just say it's a big vat of Must-Not-See TV. I can give you the story of Willie Bloomquist right now. He grew up in South Kitsap, was fairly good, then went to South Kitsap High School in the South Kitsap School District; a district in a pool of voters that has managed to fail every levy to build a second high school. South Kitsap High School has long since been the most populous high school in the state. When you have the most crowded high school in the state, you get a huge talent pool of kids to choose for your sports teams, right? Don't forget the fairly steep user fees that SK had to institute for players. Hope none of the good players were too far below rich. I may be a bitter B-towner here, but I'm not completely unfounded here.

Bloomquist then went to ASU, where they taught the hitters to throw the knobs of their bats at the ball; something which never worked for me, but look who's still playing; Bloom 1, Me 0. His best gesture was giving the rest of his full-ride scholarship to an ill teammate. This was the last time Willie was good. He latched on in the Mariner system and never hit well with any consistency in the minors. He rode the organization's infatuation with goody-goody local boys and cracked the Major League roster, where somehow he still resides.

And if I hear Rizzs call him "Willie Boom Boom" ever again, I'm going to grab a baseball bat. At some point after that, I'm going to black out, so anything that happens is not my fault. The path of a completely insane person at that point may try to hunt down Rizzs and smash his headset to pieces. See? You all thought I was going to inflict physical violence on Rick Rizzs, but I didn't. I tricked you all.

[Edit ~7:45p -- I don't think I finished that Bloomquist thought. What I'm trying to say is (in semi-mathematical form) is that levy failures => no second high school => huge pool of players to choose from => state championships in damn near every sport => more exposure for Bloomquist => everything else]

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Let's give the Suckass Factor a floor run...

Major League mean batting average for 2003 was about .2642305. Here's some other players' SAFs for 2003.

John Olerud had a SAF of .325
Raul Ibanez had a SAF of .186 (not sure if I factored in the multiple fielding percentages correctly)
Barry Bonds had a SAF of .080
Todd Helton had a SAF of .047
Bret Boone had a SAF of .341
Dan Wilson had a SAF of .423

Well, for now, it worked for Dan Wilson. I need to find a way to get Bret Boone to suck less ass than John Olerud, because we all know Boone was damn good last year and Olerud was crap. For Boone, I probably need to reweight the strikeout ratios in the original stat. And for Barry Bonds to suck less ass than Helton, I'd probably need to throw in walks somehow.

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In comes Bob Finnigan to try to warm up Mariner fans' hearts to submarining hack Mike Myers. Surely fans will remember all the clips ESPN has shown over the years of him basically cheating because his back foot is nowhere near being on the rubber when he goes back with the ball in his throwing hand.

So there's a part in the article where it says Myers has been throwing three-quarters in an attempt to have something decent to throw at righties so he doesn't always get tattooed. What does such a situation bring to my mind? This situation would be a submariner throwing three-quarters. I remember good ol' knuckleballer Tim Wakefield trying to put a fastball past Mike Blowers in the Kingdome with the bases loaded. Small sample size, I know, but memories can last a lifetime. Or at least eight to ten years or so.

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Andriesen weighs in with a notebook article...

Chris Snelling now has the secondmost famous broken hamate bone in Mariner history, just behind Ken Griffey Jr when he broke the ol' hamate bone after fouling off an Erik Hanson (Toronto-era) pitch back in 1996. Junior missed six weeks and homered in his third at-bat after coming back, off the immensely-hated-by-me Jason Grimsley. We here at Sports and B's have constantly blamed third-base coach Dave Myers for anything wrong that occurs involving Snelling, and will continue to do so. One question I am now asking myself is this: who is the more frustrating constantly-injured Mariner prospect: Chris Snelling or Ryan Anderson? Don't think too long about it, it's not really that important. Also closely related but not related at all to the hamate bone is the word "hamstring" (ref. Edgar).

Also in the article is Ichiro's refusal to do AP photos with photog Elaine Thompson due to contentions over what were and weren't suitable locker-room type photos. I know it's somewhat unrelated, but when I think of locker rooms and female reporters, I think of the Sam Wyche incident from long ago. Here is a broader little article with a Wyche reference.

There's some Aaron Boone-to-Seattle speculation in the article. Of course, if the Mariners are stupid enough to bring on Olerud past 2004, sign Aaron Boone, and still keep Scott Spiezio on the roster with the contract that he has (something that wouldn't have entered my mind until Bill Bavasi came to Seattle), then that moment back in summer ball where I lost a fly ball above the lights (night game at Legion Field in B-town) in left field and the ball landed twenty feet behind me doesn't look so stupid. Of course, Aaron on the roster along with Spiezio and Olerud could be possible next year, because an overpaid DH (instead of a DH named Edgar) would be involved. Of course, if I were involved in any of this, Ibanez and Spiezio would have never been brought on and Richie Sexson would suit up for the Mariners in 2005.

In the MASH unit, we have AJ Zapp with eight stitches on the upper lip after a ball went off his helmet and onto said lip. Eddie Guardado is feeling pain behind the left knee. Pat Borders, well, this happened. And yes, the photo is by the Ichiro-disliked Elaine Thompson.

And in the part of the story that nobody gives a crap about (and that showed up on the AP wire article too) is the part about Bob Melvin's daughter holding an Oscar party back at the house in Cave Creek. I don't have much to say about it, other than I hope David Wells doesn't follow Bob Melvin home in an unmarked car and try to sneak a keg into the party. I also hope for everyone's sake that R Kelly and DeShawn Stevenson are far, far, far, far away. (Yeah, it's sarcasm, y'all. Just had to go for the R Kelly and DeShawn line.)

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Friday, February 27, 2004


Building on the suggestion of suckass factor by Jeremy (on-base plus suckass, specifically), and the initial calculation by Chris, I now give you my suckass factor calculation to end all suckass factor calculations...until the next one that's better comes along. For the convenient three-letter abbreviation, we'll pick SAF, which just subconsciously made geologically inclined people all over the world cringe (San Andreas Fault). Certain classes will make you learn and dread certain things.

Here it is...

SAF = 3(ML mean batting avg - player's batting avg) + 2(1.000 - player's fielding percentage) + 4(GIDP/AB) + 1.5(K/AB)

So yeah, this did somewhat build on Chris' original K + CS + 2(GIDP) suggestion, though I didn't factor in stolen bases because although getting caught stealing sucks very much ass, there's tons of slow guys that won't even be sent in the first place (i.e., John Olerud), and therefore won't be registering on any stat where being caught stealing (cue Jane's Addiction) will be involved.

The way I thought about this was to get the GIDP and K ratios in there, along with the deviations from mean batting average and from perfect fielding percentage, and then debating with myself how each should be weighted. Of course, I'm sure that there's a ton of things wrong with the stat, but I'll let it stand on its own for now.

If anyone has an Excel spreadsheet ready with all the ML stats on it and can run this with little labor involved, please let me know, because it'd be damn cool. I have to say, though, this stat should probably reserved for players with 500 or more at-bats.

[Edit Sat ~3:15a -- Make that a minimum of 500 PLATE APPEARANCES, because 500 at-bats leaves out a lot more players than I originally thought, i.e., Barry Bonds.]

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CBS Sportsline

Good grief, Chris Snelling cannot catch a break.

He will have surgery on his broken right wrist, an injury suffered Thursday during batting practice. He only took 2-3 swings before injuring his wrist. Surgery is scheduled for later today.

I blame Dave Myers for this. That rat bastard.

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[Bonus edit 27 Feb ~1:40p -- Onion article, "If Al-Qaeda Had A Hockey Team, We'd Totally Kick Its Ass"]

In the middle of tonight's game, the Saint Louis Blues rallied from down 2-0 to tie the Colorado Avalanche. This meant the Canucks could gain a point on the Avalanche with a win tonight, and thank goodness they got it, as the Canucks got their 9th OT win of the year to pull to within two points of the Northwest Division lead. Tonight's win made it the first time since Jan 31st that the Canucks won consecutive games.

The Canucks beat the Sharks for the first time this season, and nearly lost it in somewhat of the same way as the last SJ/VAN game at the Garage. In that game, Trevor Linden coughed up the puck deep in his own zone that led directly to San Jose's game-winning goal. Tonight, Brent Sopel was beaten on both of the San Jose goals. Fortunately, he scored two goals himself and assisted on another. Mattias Ohlund scored the other Canuck goal, facilitated by Fedor Fedorov raising some ruckus in front of the net.

San Jose lost both Mike Ricci and Kyle McLaren in the first period to injuries. Ricci was smashed into the boards by Jarkko Ruutu while Kyle McLaren took a deflected-off-teammate-Scott Parker's-glove Sami Salo slapshot off part of the helmet near the forehead, causing a forehead laceration. San Jose dominated the first period, while Vancouver returned the favor in the second period, well after the injuries thinned out the Shark bench.

Of note for the Canucks were the return of Markus Naslund after 10 days off due to a concussion off the Steve Moore cheap shot (COL/VAN next Wed), and the return of Matt Cooke from a two-game suspension after spearing Matt Johnson of the Saint Louis Blues.

In the statsheet anomaly department, the Canuck radio crew noted that although the Canucks outshot the Sharks 36-21, such a total does not necessarily equate to dominance, as most of the shots by the Canucks were long-range (and therefore low-percentage) shots. Also in the stat department, of all the Canucks' 36 shots, not a one was let loose by Todd Bertuzzi, and of course, that leads to talk about the big line not doing anything again, since Brendan Morrison hasn't been doing a lot lately either.

Sopel's goal came on a San Jose too many men penalty in OT, and quite frankly, if you're on the power play in OT in the NHL and the other goalie hasn't been standing on his head for most of the night, then you should win that game.

John Shorthouse said Vancouver could have been frustrated by the Sharks' playing style, but hung in there. Brent Sopel misplayed on the first Shark goal, and was blown past on the Marco Sturm goal, but had his name attached to all three of the Canuck goals, which is somewhat strange. Tom Larscheid said Ohlund had the huge goal to tie, with under 3 minutes left in regulation. Dan Russell noted that the big Canuck goals were off of big rebounds. John later said that Bertuzzi played a good last two minutes tonight, which was somewhat comical after they mentioned he had zero shots on the night.

Canuck goals: Brent Sopel twice (8, both on power plays), Mattias Ohlund (9)

The Blues visit Vancouver on Saturday for Hockey Night in Canada.

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Not Stuck Mojo, that overrated rock group.

But I digress.

Larry Stone suggests that the Mariners try to get rid of their "bad mojo" , ala the Cubs with the infamous Steve Bartman baseball. BTW, it wasn't Steve Bartman's fault that the Cubs lost the NLCS.

Among the few items Stone has suggested:

Bobby Ayala's bullpen chair, Pat Gillick's phone, Al Martin's USC football letter, Kevin Mitchell's Vick's VapoRub jar, and Josias Manzanillo's athletic cup, to name a few.

So now, I'll suggest my ideas to be thrown into the M's Vault of Bad Mojo.

1. Alex Rodriguez "We Are On A Mission, Sir!" t-shirts
I think all of 6 people bought these shirts. And Alex was on a mission, alright. You all know how that ended up.

2. A "Marcarena" CD
As far as I know, the Kingdome still holds the record for the largest crowd to ever dance to the "Marcarena." For the love of god, please get me a shipment of these "Marcarena" CDs and I'll make sure that it's bigger than Disco Demolition Night.

The same can also can be said for the Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out?"

3. "Raise The Roof" 1997 playoff placards
Yeah, the only thing that was raised was the bullpen's ERA.

4. The teal Mariner jerseys
(Paraphrasing) "They're just a bunch of softball jerseys," Jay Buhner.

5. Every "2 Outs, So What?" bumper sticker, sign, shirt, hat, bandana, etc.
116 wins, so what? That's what Yankees fans keep telling Seattle fans every chance they get. Facts are facts.

So there you go, there's 5 things I'd put into a vault of bad M's mojo.

And for the big bang, if there ever was a presentation to blow up all of the M's bad mojo, it could take place on Occidental Avenue, near Sports Warehouse. I was initially considering the 76 station, but we don't want to have a redux of the "Zoolander" Wham!-gas station scene.

Smash it up, smash it up.

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Because that's what Lincoln's using your beer money for...

To give you a little preview, this is a Go2Guy column from Jim Moore. It involves beer, so it was only fair that a Coug would write this column. You won't believe what has been written here...

"We did not raise beer pricing this year," (Mariners CEO Howard) Lincoln said.

Yes, but the cheapest beer at Safeco Field will still be 5.50. Yikes.

"We provide a fan-friendly atmosphere," Lincoln said. "We have staff people who are trained to watch for excessive drinking. We're not Yankee Stadium and we don't plan to be Yankee Stadium. We don't want to have that kind of environment."

Lincoln said that women and children make up half of the fan base in Seattle, ranking as the largest percentage in baseball.

Well, Howard is right. I've been to Safeco Field numerous times and trust me, it is no Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium features October baseball. The Safe? The only action the Safe has received each of the last two Octobers is when the Seahawks are playing at home and the M's decide to hold their little tea parties, excuse me, tailgate parties.

As for the Women and Children...

Well, Van Halen's "Women and Children First" rocks the house. Oh, and when Scott Spiezio makes his 18th error by mid-July, the cradle will rock and hope for Jeff Cirillo to crawl back up Interstate 5. By the way, have you seen Kevin Jarvis' ERA? And I said, puke now.

Lincoln noted that the team's payroll increases every year and that every dollar of profit goes back into the team, whether in player acquisition, player development, scouting or something else.

"The idea that this ownership group is somehow getting a dime out of this business is not true," he said, adding that he wants to win a World Series as much as the fans do.

He also defended overall price structures at Safeco Field, saying: "It's less expensive to go to Mariners games than the Seahawks or Sonics, and it's our job to keep it that way."

Yada, yada, yada.

If the Mariners want to win a World Series as much as the fans do, explain why they didn't do anything and everything possible to sign Vladimir Guerrero or Miguel Tejada? Now, this isn't to say that they should have tried to overpay these guys. But what I am saying is that this franchise is a viable franchise. Yet we have Rich Aurillia, Raul Ibanez, and Scott Spiezio patrolling the left side of the Mariners defense in 2004?


Folks, you simply can't run a baseball team based on luck. Basically, the 2004 Mariners' hopes are riding on whether guys such as Ibanez or Spiezio can have career seasons. I simply don't see this happening.

Oh, as for the "something else" Lincoln mentioned...

How about using it to help build a legitimate space for the Mariners Hall of Fame? That would be great.

He says that he listens to fans and appreciates their opinions, including those who suggest the Mariners need to spend Sasaki's $8 million on an impact player.

"Part of the joy of baseball is that everybody can be a GM," he said. "We should not be concerned when (people) think we should spend it this way or spend it that way. We should be concerned when they don't care."

Actually, the Mariners organization should be concerned.

These guys simply don't realize how bad their P.R. has been. Will they ever learn? Hell, if they are the smart and fiscal businessmen they claim to be, I would hope that they would realize this.

To sum up this column:

I'm simply vexed as to how this brass can continue to sink their P.R. rating even lower.

It's almost like I'm dreaming, but I'm not.

Again, it is a chore to follow this ballclub, because of the collective stupidity of this brass.

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YER OUTTA HERE! Melvin's first ejection from a game came last spring, but nobody noticed. He complained about balls and strikes during a commercial break of a televised game, was tossed and quietly left. Most people didn't even notice. It was a very Bob Melvin kind of ejection.

Melvin was tossed three times during the regular season, but many accused him of being dispassionate. At the winter meetings, he talked with Oakland manager Ken Macha and discovered his fellow rookie skipper wasn't ejected last season.

He promises to get the thumb at least once this spring, if only to give his coaching staff an opportunity to practice running things without him.

.....that we have a fricking moron for a manager.

Folks, it must be known that this moron cost the Mariners a playoff spot in 2003. Well, it was a little of him and the brass. But holy hell, from the material this winter I've seen about Blow-Mel, I don't have my hopes up about the guy in 2004.

It's not that I hate him for being too laid back.

It's his style of managing.

He would have been better off managing a team such as Detroit or Milwaukee before coming to Seattle. But Blow-Mel is just a nice guy, and boy, the Seattle community just can't have enough good guys.

If there's only one thing you need to know about Bob Melvin, it is this:

His managerial idol is Phil Garner. I rest my case.

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Thursday, February 26, 2004


Lon Simmons, 2004 Ford C. Frick Award Winner

Lon Simmons was the radio voice for the Giants and A's for 41 years (SF 1958-1973, 1976-1980, 1996-2002; Oakland 1981-1995). I lived in Alameda during the early 1990s and was fortunate to hear the dulcitones of one Lon Simmons. His famous call "tell it goodbye" still sticks with me to this day.

Maybe next year, we can get Dave Niehaus into the Hall of Fame. Can we start the "Put Niehaus Into the HOF 2005" petition anytime soon? It would be well worth it.

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Damn, an unofficial KJR Callers Hall of Fame.

Well, David named 2 of the guys I would have chosen, George in PA and The Ref (Paul) in Puyallup.

I can't really think of anyone who would be in the unofficial KJR Hall of Fame right now, so I'll just go ahead and create an unoffical KJR Hall of Shame.

The one and only member of the KJR Hall of Shame is none other than......

Irish Mickey.

This guy is a Notre Dame honk, through and through. I fricking hate Notre Dame. They think they are holier than thou and can do no wrong. Well, their football program is in shambles right now, the basketball program is very mediocre, etc.

But I tell you what, he's much more entertaining than any of the callers on Arkansas sports radio. What is this thing you call Arkansas sports radio, Jeremy? Well, it's basically Razorback football and junior high sports. Did you know about the 14 year old running back up in Maumelle? Or the 13 year old linebacker down in El Dorado?

Sports radio has gone downhill, unfortunately. It's mainly to do with the fact that Clear Channel is buying up most of the sports talk radio stations. Hell, KJR is now a Clear Channel station.

Better watch yourself, Mr. Levy. Clear Channel suspended Howard Stern, and Mitch, you may be next...

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Before I get started here with the rest of the post, I'll remind everyone that the KING-5 Greg Bailey piece tonight from spring training was on Shigetoshi Hasegawa, and it was a pretty good piece. We learned that Shig is the Mariners' golf champion and has written a couple of books. When asked what his latest book was about, he joked that it was about "fat American people." The main theme of the whole thing was that last year, Shig finally believed in himself, used self-talk as a tool, etc.

Now for the rest of the post...

I've listened to tons of KJR-AM in Seattle over the years, and I want to take this step to induct three callers into my unofficial KJR Callers Hall of Fame (Jeremy can and probably will elaborate on this) --

George in Port Angeles -- it's just weird when this guy calls in to the Softy show. Softy plays some background music (hick music, with chickens clucking in the background), and George has free reign to rant on the air for a minute or more. The guy's got somewhat of a distinctive and quirky voice also. He had garnered enough of a reputation to the point where Softy and Steve Sandmeyer actually did a whole show from George's house a few years ago.

Gloria in Bremerton -- This woman was very wise with age, and was a dedicated caller to the Mitch and/or Softy shows. She cared about her sports and was very knowledgeable. I think I remember her calling in and crying when the Mariners were almost on their way to Tampa for good. No one shall make Gloria cry ever again and get away with it.

Paul in Puyallup -- This man was one of the most energetic callers (and crazy) callers to ever be on KJR's air. He provided some highly-charged calls on Baseball's Best Postgame Show (I've even heard him on the KOMO postgame show nowadays), and believed in the power of the Sodo Mojo, a phrase that I only liked when Paul in Puyallup yelled it out. People may have seen Paul at the Safe wearing a black-and-white striped referee's shirt, as is per usual for Paul. Paul also went by the name "The Ref" from "the 206" when Sports Fan Radio's JT the Brick show broadcast nationally and on KJR after the David Locke show (or Baseball's Best) got over with at night. Other people may hate him and think he's nuts, but I like Paul in Puyallup...and I think he's nuts.

I shall now tip this glass of Safeway Select Tea with a Twist (ripoff Lipton Brisk Iced Tea) to you all, George, Gloria, and Paul, in my KJR Caller Hall of Fame.

[Edit ~8:25p -- Shig is the Mariners GOLF champion, NOT their GOLD champion, as previously noted. I don't even know what being a champion of gold would entail, but that's not what Shig is. He's a GOLF champion.]

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Olympia Mariner

I'd like to welcome the Olympia Mariner to the Mariner Blognation.

The Olympia Mariner is not full of statheads, and we here at Sports and Bremertonians appreciate that. We're not statheads either. Stats are nice, but I don't watch baseball just so I can figure out Raul Ibanez' on-base percentage plus suckass factor, which is off the charts by the way.

Long live the Olympia Brewery, indeed.

Anyways, go check out Olympia Mariner. They're good guys. Hell, they're from Olympia. Can't go wrong there.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Boy, did they need this.

Daniel Sedin scored all four Canuck goals in possibly the best night for either of the Sedin twins as members of the Vancouver Canucks. The last time a Canuck scored four goals in a game was earlier this year when Markus Naslund scored all four goals in a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh. The last time anyone scored four goals against the Red Wings, it was 1995 and Brett Hull (then a member of the Saint Louis Blues) was the culprit.

The Canucks won only their third game in their last ten overall, though the three wins are against Detroit, Colorado and New Jersey. As we all know as sports fans, though, losing to teams you should beat is not a good thing. Losing your NHL-scoring leader of a captain is also not a good thing.

The Canucks are now within three points of the division lead, as Colorado was shut out by Calgary tonight. The Canucks used this win against the Red Wings to climb within four points of the Wings themselves for the conference lead.

Detroit was 2-for-2 against the Canucks' top-ranked penalty-killing unit; it seems like ever since they took over the top spot in the NHL on the kill, they've dropped off a bit. But hey, if they want to shut down the Colorado power play as well as they've been doing, I won't mind a few slipping by, especially if someone scores four goals so there's less pressure on the kill.

In collision/hard contact news, Todd Bertuzzi fell on Chris Chelios after a faceoff, and Chelios left the game with a bruised shoulder. Also, Bryan Allen was challenged to a squabble by Darren McCarty, in response for the game in Detroit where Allen slashed the leg of Henrik Zetterberg and broke it.

As for Daniel Sedin, though, the Canuck radio crew had a few nice things to say about him, as well as twin brother Daniel. Color man Tom Larscheid said Daniel is playing with a lot of confidence, and that both twins have made tremendous strides since Christmas and are playing as well as anyone on the team. As noted by postgame host Dan Russell, this was supposed to be the year in which the twins broke through. They didn't start too hot, but Daniel has 25 points in his last 22 games (stat from John Shorthouse, play-by-play man). Tom also said that it's good to see the hard work of the Sedins pay off because they didn't skate fast enough initially to become more than a third line in the NHL. Russell noted that Crawford played the hell out of the Sedins tonight after it appeared to be working for the Canucks. Daniel scored on four of five shots, and the miss was a puck off the crossbar which would have given him his fourth goal with 3:44 left. He would later tally the fourth goal on the empty net. Shorthouse also said the twins are extremely competitive with each other, even in things like "who can cross Georgia Street the fastest." Daniel now leads Henrik in career points 143-142. Barbs will be traded between the two.

As for other players, Bertuzzi was commended by Larscheid for his leadership skills, and Marek Malik got the third star and played possibly his best game of the season, helping pick up the slack for the absence of Ed Jovanovski on the blueline. Malik leads the Canucks in plus-minus with a plus-26. Larscheid also said Dan Cloutier had a good game on a night where the Canucks won with a great team effort, though the scoresheet might signal otherwise, unlike Naslund's four-goal game, where he was the one-man show.

Detroit had played the night before, but Russell thought Vancouver was playing well more than the Red Wings were playing tired. Shorthouse noted that Vancouver played aggressively and made things happen, which hasn't happened too much of late.

Needless to say, Canuck goals: Daniel Sedin four times (16).

I'm hoping this is the turning point in the season and that the Canucks tear through the schedule like they did in November.

San Jose at Vancouver on Thursday.

[Edit ~10:50p -- Bonus hockey tidbit; here's a message thread about today's firing of Saint Louis Blues coach Joel Quenneville, the Blues' franchise leader in victories. His main undoing is probably the Blues' mediocre playoff record and the team's lackluster play this year. The Blues haven't missed the playoffs in 25 years, and they're 9th in the conference right now.]

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KING-5's Greg Bailey (he's great, but...) had a fluff piece just ran on the 5pm newscast. It was a Raul Ibanez piece. Apparently the Mariners' video batting replay guy (I forgot what the better, more accurate title was) stuck pictures of Don Mattingly, Ted Williams, and George Brett up around Ibanez' locker, saying his swing is a lot like those three. I had to tie off my neck with surgical tubing to keep from vomiting non-stop for as much as three days after hearing that. That's baseball sacrilege to use Raul's name in the same sentence with those three names, unless words or phrases like "has an average .500 less than" or "coudn't sniff the jocks of" or "is way more overpaid than" were included in the comparisons.

Basically the story had what I just talked about, a little deal about the Mariners "giving up on him" (he played his way out of Seattle, we all know that), and that Kevin Seitzer is the man responsible for Ibanez being anywhere near good. I guess the only consolation is that Paul Molitor and Kevin Seitzer put up some great numbers together.

I was sad to see KING-5 run a fluff piece such as this, though. It makes me think we should have Mariner Blogosphere Television. We could at least run for maybe a half-hour each week, you know, somehow get a hold of a half-hour block on a local WB affiliate and bring our contributions to a wider audience. Hear that? That's the sound of my mind running wild with no financial support (from viewers like you). That parenthetic part really didn't mean anything, I just had to continue my PBS thought.

[Edit ~6:35p -- Finished the first paragraph correctly so that the last sentence conveyed a complete thought. Sorry to anyone who was baffled, because the sentence had ended with the word "than."]

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But I'm not going to bitch and moan too much about it

Baseball has produced the most blog sites of any sport, and the Mariners are one of the leading teams to have blogs sprout up from fans and critics alike.

Here are some of the top Mariners-related blogs, thanks to baseballblogs.org, which acts as a clearinghouse and global link to numerous sports Web sites (you can get links to more M's blogs by visiting the P-I blog):

U.S.S. Mariner: Regular columnists, lots of opinions and news links: ussmariner.blogspot.com.
They're very good. No argument here.

Mariner Minors: Follows all the minor league moves and the entire developmental system of the Seattle big league club: marinerminors.blogspot.com.
This is where I go to find M's minor league info, not the "offical team pages".

Mariner Optimist: Billed as a "dissenting viewpoint to the Mariners' biogosphere" on the Internet: marineroptimist.blogspot.com.
We need optimists in the world. Corey is a good guy, so we won't bash the optimism too much.

Trident Fever: "A cynically optimistic" baseball club critique: tridentfever.blogspot.com.
"Under construction". DO YOUR RESEARCH, SEATTLE P-I!!!

Sodo Oh No: All Mariners all of the time: sodoohno.blogspot.com.
Not bad.

Mariner Talk: Analysis of the latest Mariners happenings: marinerland.blogspot.com.
Nothing since December 23 from these guys. NOTHING. That's a good two months with absolutely nothing.

Seattle P-I: Our own Mariners blog updated a least five days a week: blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball
Cheap plug.

Well, big shocker, Sports and Bremertonians wasn't mentioned by the Seattle P-I. That's cool. We do have three things working against us:

1) We do bash management from time to time. Can't have Mae in Roy read bad things about Dan Wilson on the internet.

2) We're natives of Bremerton, Washington.

3) I'm currently living in Arkansas.

But the thing that really pisses me off about this story is that Mariners Musings wasn't even mentioned once. Peter brings it every single time, and he gets swept under the rug for crap like Mariner Talk?


But hey, today's my birthday, so I can't feel too bad today.

Things like this can make my day anyday, you have to see it to believe it.

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Ben Davis seems to be a favorite target on this day, as both Hickey and LaRue ran stories on the plight of the switch-hitting catcher.

In the Hickey article, Ben Davis' at-bat toward the end of that first game of the series at Fenway was cited as a microcosm of the entire second half of the season, and in a lot of ways, it was (here's my reaction post, way back in the archives, after the second game). I think this was the last day in a multi-week period in which the Mariners kept treading water and hovering with their division lead at 3 and 4 games. The next three days would spell the dagger to the Mariners' playoff hopes. We know how the Mariners ended up. The A's were in Toronto at that time doing what a good team is supposed to do against no-name Toronto pitching, except when you look at the pitchers they faced that series, they were Sturtze, Escobar, and Lidle. Sturtze is crap, Escobar is decent at best (I think Anaheim has him grossly overrated and overpaid), and Lidle is decent, with flashes of brilliance. The bottom line is that none of those three guys are named Mark Hendrickson or Josh Towers. And Oakland beat all three of them.

Anyway, to those two articles...mentioned in both is Davis' current weight and where it was at the beginning and end of last season. Also mentioned in both was Ben's .140 clip after the All-Star break. Ouchness. The Tribune also had their short recap of the Ben Davis really-deep flyout to Trot Nixon, in that both Melvin and Davis thought it was a home run. What was pathetic was when Melvin came out and tried to argue the home run. It seemed sore loser-ish at the time. Replays clearly showed a cup behind the bullpen wall being sent airborne after the catch. At some other point in the series Melvin was ejected for arguing balls and strikes (I think it was the Saturday game) and it was the most pathetic argument by a manager I'd ever seen.

Hickey and LaRue also weighed in on the Rafael Soriano strained left side muscle. KJR today says (via Bob Melvin) that Soriano has undergone an MRI and that its results will come in later today. I'm really hoping this doesn't turn out to be serious, because if it does turn out that way, that gives me one less reason to happily invest my time in the Mariners. I'll still invest time, I just hope I'll be happy while doing it.


From the Tribune article,
"Eddie Guardado is our closer, but on nights he can't go, I'd have no problem using Rafael to close a game," Melvin said.

This somewhat flies in the face of what Bob Melvin told Mitch Levy on KJR this morning, basically saying that if Eddie goes three days in a row, he'll more than likely go to Shig and use Soriano in the 7th and/or 8th. Melvin also said he might have done a few things differently at the end of last year, but didn't because he didn't want to deviate from the precedents set early in the year. Case in point: Jamie Moyer had been going on four days' rest for the whole year, and questions were asked as to whether Melvin would run Moyer out to the mound on three days' rest; the Mariners had taken two games of the three-game series in Oakland heading into the Sunday game (21 Sep). He didn't. The matchup that Sunday when I was driving back to Ellensburg was Gil Meche (who was burning out and had a horrible second half) against Ted Lilly. End result: 12-0 shellacking, Oakland. As Steve Sandmeyer pointed out this morning on KJR (conveniently after Melvin was off the air, but Mitch was the one interviewing him), not only was Melvin wrong in not throwing Moyer on three days' rest (Sandmeyer's rationale: you do everything you can to make the playoffs, and worry about the ramifications later...there's no tomorrow; you go all-out), but Moyer going on three days' rest shouldn't have even been an issue. On the 8th of September, the Mariners had an off-day heading into division play. There was a big debate at the time after Melvin laid out the pitching assignments. Jamie Moyer was slated to go in the final Oakland series at the Safe, but not in the series at Oakland. I know there was some argument in favor of Melvin sending Franklin, Pineiro, and Meche out there in Oaktown, but frankly, I forgot what it was. The point is, Moyer was 17-7 before divisional play (he was fresh off getting beaten by Eric DuBose...ugh), and had been the most solid pitcher in the rotation all year. Why the hell wouldn't you want him to go twice against Oakland?

Hell, if there's two things I want to change about last September -- tweak it so Moyer goes twice against Oakland, and leave Ryan Franklin in to face Rafael Palmeiro instead of bringing in Armando Benitez to throw meat. Granted, the Moyer thing would change all of the matchups that took place, but at a purely mathematical and transpositional standpoint, those two things I mentioned could have bought the Mariners two games in the standings. I'm sure it won't be hard for someone else to think of a third game the Mariners could have had. The A's won the division by...three games.

By the way, looking at last September's schedule, notice that Ryan Franklin went 2-2 in the month. His two losses were by scores of 1-0 (to Tampa Bay -- Jorge Sosa, anyone?) and 2-1 (Anaheim -- I'd like a side order of Kevin Gregg).

Final two articles are on Jay Buhner getting inducted into the Mariner Hall of Fame, and minor-league arm George Sherrill.

The Sherrill article has some tidbits regarding the difficulty of maintaining a somewhat healthy diet, some Winnipeg stuff, and his travails of this winter. It's good to know some other stuff about Sherrill, but the kick I got out of the online version of the article is that there's two photographs in the article and neither of them are of Sherrill.

One topic on Softy's show this morning on KJR is, where the hell's the Mariner Hall of Fame? Softy knows already that it's an area stashed away in the corner of the team store. Softy suggests many outlandish things (vintage Softy) including ripping out the playground in CF to put up the Mariner HOF ("screw the kids!"), or moving the bronze hole-in-glove statue (he says it's there just so bums can sleep in or on it) outside the NW gate. Callers suggested removing some of the huge posters and moving from there.

Anyway, I've been sitting here for a long while posting this, and I gotta get to other stuff...stuff like hoping Soriano can bounce back after staying off an oblique muscle injury for a month. Apparently Dan Wilson had the same injury last year and Bill Bloomquist has had said injury also.

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Monday, February 23, 2004


August 17, 2003

Boston Top 8th
- Todd Walker flied out to right. None on with one out and Gabe Kapler due up.
- Gabe Kapler grounded out to short. None on with two out and Trot Nixon due up.
- Trot Nixon walked with two out. Runner on first and Bill Mueller due up.
- Bill Mueller doubled to center with two out. Runners on second and third and Nomar Garciaparra due up.
- Rafael Soriano enters the game with runners on second and third and two out.
- Nomar Garciaparra struck out looking to end the inning.

Mariner Notebook on the Soriano-Nomar matchup

Losing pitcher John Burkett admired what Soriano did.

"Those were great pitches to Nomar, and he's a fastball hitter," Burkett said. "Soriano really blew them in there."

Yes, Rafael Soriano should stay in the bullpen. That's where he belongs.

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Art Thiel goes in-depth on the Alex trade, the BALCO scandal, and basically what amounts in his eyes to (everyone's favorite phrase in Seattle lately) a lack of institutional control, regarding both management of any semblance of salary restraint and regarding the lax attitude toward steroid use.

John Hickey's notebook article talks about the lowered expectations for Freddy Garcia, the difference in the approaches of Kazu Sasaki and Ed Guardado in the 9th, Art Rhodes arriving in Oakland's camp, discomfort in Jeff Heaverlo's shoulder, and rain in the valley.

Hickey's other article, though, is about one of the higher points in the Mariners' 2003 campaign: Rafael Soriano blowing down Nomar Garciaparra with three fastballs in a pressure situation on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August.

Hickey's article draws many comparisons between Soriano and Mariano Rivera and Rivera broke into the league in a somewhat similar fashion. Soriano also has the perfect closer-type persona. But I can feel most of Mariner blognation cringing as they read this article, worrying that Soriano's ultimate goal should be to start, develop that third pitch, and be able to stretch himself out. The problem is, he's mentally set himself toward the late innings now. And he likes it.

Bob Finnigan turns in a relatively painless article on Julio Mateo's pursuit to duplicate and/or improve on his success of last year. I almost forgot (but was reminded by Melvin) that Mateo sometimes went 12 days between game situations, and I was always worried about him staying sharp. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief, because if it wasn't for Giovanni Carrara being brutally pathetic last year, Mariner fans may not have been given the chance to see Julio Mateo twirl the magic he did last year, whether it was just bridging the gap between the starters and the back-end bullpen guys, or eating some innings up (5 1/3 innings) for Freddy after the Chief got bombed by the White Sox and booed the day after the deadline (ref. ESPN game log, though the Ws and Ls are flipped...it screwed me up). The article also says Mateo is trying to put himself a cut above a stash of Mariners that had that one moment in the sun or two, then faded away. I have to say, though, Russ Swan (in said stash) did come to my baseball camp in 1998 to speak to us ballplayers, statesiders and Canadians alike. A teammate of mine from Forks dared one of us to pitch Adam Sandler's "stop looking at me, swan" line from Billy Madison to Swan himself, but no one did. Baseball camp in Canada is also where you learn the finer things in life, like how Spitz sunflower seeds are infinitely better than David sunflower seeds. Yes, quality trumps the great name of David sunflower seeds.

What better way to close out the post than by mentioning that Wiki Gonzalez (one San Diego-area beatwriter called him the laziest player in baseball) is named after some obscure German singer?

[I came out with the post headline last...sorry to anyone offended by an ebola joke.]

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Sunday, February 22, 2004


I know poetry in the blogosphere isn't anything new, as Peter at Mariner Musings is currently doing a series of Haiku, and USS Mariner has written or adapted many poems and songs and turned them loose on the blog-reading masses.

Here now, is my contribution. I'd like to announce first that Dr. Pepper is not sponsoring nor saluting my inherent lack of originality. Today's poem is inspired by many, namely Alfred Lord Tennyson, Iron Maiden's hit "The Trooper," and the Mariners' offseason of ineptitude. Big thanks and apologies to Tennyson, whose structure I stuck with for the most part...Hope y'all like it.

"The Charge of the Mariners"
Adapted by David, original poem and structure by Alfred Lord Tennyson

April, May, June, July,
August, September onward
All in the year of strife
Played the twenty-five.
"Forward the Mariners!
Charge for the bats!" Bob said.
Into the year of strife
Played the twenty-five.

Forward, the Mariners!"
Was not a fan so swayed?
Not tho' the blogger knew
Lincoln had blunder'd.
Some did not realize,
Some who did not surmise,
Fans would soon want to cry.
Into the year of strife
Played the twenty-five.

Angels to the left of them,
Athletics to the right of them,
Yanks and Sox in front of them,
Smashed and bludgeoned;
Beaten with bat and ball,
Fans only watched them fall,
Into the trap of strife,
Into the stiff brick wall
Played the twenty-five.

Watch as the tendons tear,
Watch Edgar's hamstring scare
Mariner fans aware,
Fielding a roster, while
Cooler heads wondered.
Not the division lead
Planted were not the seeds;
Pitching and defense
Latter cut just enough.
Brass said they'd win, but not,
Not the twenty-five.

Angels to the right of them,
Athletics to the left of them,
Rangers behind them
Smashed and bludgeoned;
Beaten with bat and ball,
Owners, we'll show them all,
Players answered the call
While in the trap of strife,
Left at the stiff brick wall,
All that was done by them,
Done by twenty-five.

Much money they were paid?
O the big stink they raised!
Baseball world wonder'd.
No battle there to win!
Let the season begin,
Makeshift twenty-five.

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Larry LaRue checks in twice in the Sunday Tribune.

First off is a short blip on Bob Melvin. We learn once again that he really really likes to throw batting practice, saying he learns a lot about his hitters this way. He also told all the young arms that there is a chance that they could head north with the team -- look at what Julio Mateo did last year.

The second piece is a peek inside the head of Freddy Garcia.

What Garcia remembers aren't the six wins in June, or a solid September in which he had a 1.95 ERA over five starts, though he won only once.

What he remembers most are three games pitched at Safeco Field - the booing that followed him off the mound in each.
"The fans at home booed me. I tried not to show it bothered me, and I even said after the game that it didn't bother me," Garcia said. "But I felt it. I was surprised, I guess, because it had never happened before."
Garcia was asked if he could sit down with a Mariners fan who booed him last year, what he would say.

"Nothing," Garcia said, shrugging. "They pay good money, they want to see a good game. They're allowed to boo. Maybe they don't know what we're feeling out there. Maybe they don't care. I can't tell them how hard I'm trying - what would that matter?"

I miss the awesome Freddy. I miss the days where I can see his name come up in the rotation and know he's going to give seven strong innings, maybe get into the eighth. I miss the Freddy that did so well in the playoffs, the one that beat the Yankees twice in the 2000 ALCS. It used to be that I'd worry when he thought he had to strike everyone out instead of using his repertoire to just get hitters out. Now I just want him to get his head back on straight.

Come back, Good Freddy. We Mariner fans will gladly let you into the little moving picture box in our homes for seven or eight good months. Just don't suck again. We need consistently good, not consistently erratic.

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Just thought I'd tell everyone that our other stuff section does have the array of photos from yesterday at Peoria (credits given), with nifty mouse-over captions.

You know what they always say this time of year...you know baseball's back if you get multiple senses into it. You can see everything through these pictures or sights, but you can't smell the pine tar, and you can't hear the crack of the bat as it hits the ball, and you can't hear the pop of the ball in the catcher's mitt after a pitch. Back in baseball camp in the summer of 1998 in Oliver, BC, one of the instructors by the name of Byron Tait made us come over and smell the pine tar rag. Why? That smell just reeks of baseball, and if you got your mind focused the right way, I'm sure you could have that scent be another step in the path of mental preparedness, maybe having a similar effect as a cup of coffee to wake oneself.

I would say I live for this, but MLB already took that slogan, those bastards, so I'll have to think of something else.

Baseball -- the only thing that can keep David's mind focused for more than 30 seconds.

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The Canucks got outplayed. However, they did have the lead after two periods. They had leads of 2-1 and 3-2 before the Oilers tied it in the third to force OT. And in the OT, Eric Brewer skated toward the net in (Tom Larscheid's words) a parting of the Red Sea by the Vancouver defense. The Canucks were outplayed (and outshot 37-21) by a more hungry Oiler team, but did get the point, so at least there is some positive out of this.

That said, the Canucks closed out their little three-game road trip with a 1-1-0-1 record, netting two points out of a possible six. They are now within three points of Colorado.

The effort of the Canucks was better in this game than in the putrid Minnesota game, but it still wasn't anywhere close to what the team is capable of. The Oilers basically had a must-win game tonight if they wanted any chance at all to make the playoffs.

In another weird anomaly, the NHL's worst power play (Oilers) has managed to burn the NHL's best penalty killing unit (Canucks) on multiple occasions, including 2-for-5 tonight. The Canucks chipped in to further exhibit their futility on the power play, going 0-for-3.

Todd Bertuzzi continued his enigmatic season, tallying two assists, but also committing a stupid slash penalty which indirectly led to the Adam Oates goal (his first one in forever) that tied the game at 2. Fedor Fedorov had a decent night, originally scoring a goal, but then having it given to Artem Chubarov after the game. Dan Cloutier had some of his best saves of the season tonight, but also had a combination of bad defense (the OT goal) and the puck sitting under him (Oates goal) that contributed to some badness.

Canuck goals: Marek Malik (2), Daniel Sedin (12), Artem Chubarov (7)

In short, the Adam Oates/Ales Hemsky/Ethan Moreau line sunk the Canucks tonight, and in Larscheid words again, Moreau "skated like the wind" tonight.

The schedule gets brutal for the Canucks. They have the Red Wings at home Tuesday. The upcoming schedule brings San Jose, Saint Louis, at Colorado, at Detroit, at Columbus, Colorado, Minnesota, at Edmonton, Ottawa.

This is where the Canucks willl hopefully show us what they can do.

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Well, Bob Finnigan does...

HEADLINE: "Mariners might have pursued A-Rod"

The Mariners say they would have jumped in, spikes up, if they had known the Texas Rangers would be so generous in getting rid of the former Seattle shortstop.

Asked if Seattle would have gone after Rodriguez, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong called it "a no-brainer."

It's a no-brainer among most of the Mariner Blognation that Chuck Armstrong is a moron.

Why didn't the Mariners try to work out a deal like that with the Rangers?

"We would have, but we had no idea Tom Hicks would take on that much money," Armstrong said of the Texas owner. "After seeing the Red Sox unable to work out a deal, we didn't think Hicks would want to pay that much. In fact, our reports were that he wasn't willing to take on that much money."

Hey Chuck...


However, with Hicks paying some $67 million of the $179 million still owed A-Rod, the deal the Yankees got is much more feasible.

"But it's all academic for us," Lincoln said this week. "Obviously, Hicks was not going to move Rodriguez to another team in the division."

No kidding, Howard.

Could this front office actually stick their foots in their mouths even further?

Finnigan then goes on to speculate that the Mariners could be interested in new Texas Ranger IF Alfonso Soriano. You may remember that the M's were rumored to swap Jose Paniagua to the Yankees for Soriano 2 years ago. But of course, that didn't happen.

Soriano is not going to be a Mariner. There's no way in hell that the Rangers would trade a player like Soriano to a division rival.

But remember who the Mariners general manager is:

"I can't say yes or no," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said when asked if he'd be talking to Texas about any newly acquired players. "I sure wouldn't say no, since we will be talking to them, because we will talk to every club this spring."

I'm afraid. Very afraid.

You should be as well.

Oh, just to sum up the Alex "might have been a Mariner once again" story.....

It was a waste of ink. The Seattle Times should be ashamed of themselves for running that piece of crap story in their Sunday newspaper.

Carry on...

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Steve Kelley: Even though I didn't see him at his best, my gut feeling is that he is the best

Folks, one of the best high school basketball players in America is from our hometown of Bremerton, Washington.

His name is Marvin Williams. He's going to North Carolina next year. He's a McDonald's All-American.

Read the Steve Kelley column, and you'll be even more impressed with the young man.

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