Saturday, May 08, 2004


This first game of the Yankee series may have been the Mariners' best-played game of the year. Okay, maybe the Yankees had something to do with it. Still, the Mariners did what they haven't been able to do all season: get the lead early, hold on to the lead, and add on to it. For fans, it was probably the best game of the year. Offensively, this was Edgar's game, and thankfully the hitters ahead of him were actually able to get on base. On the mound, Ryan Franklin pitched well enough to win. Nothing more, nothing less. He only went 6+ innings, and he got into some formidable jams on the 4th, 5th, and 7th, all of which he was able to get out of tonight (Hasegawa got out of the 7th) without having things go massively wrong, which the month of April made us grow accustomed to.

top 1 -- Lofton 0-1 6-3; Jeter 1-1 8; Rodriguez 0-2...2-2 9

bot 1 -- Ichiro 1st-pitch 4-3; Winn 0-2 1B LF; Spiezio 3-0...3-1 1B RF; Ibanez 0-2...1-2 F2; Edgar 0-1 2B RF (SEA 2-0); Olerud 1-2...full 8 -- Attaway, Edgar

>> Franklin went 1-2-3, and Edgar drove in Randy Winn and Scott Spiezio on his 500th career double. Spiezio and Winn were in on a perfectly executed hit-and-run.

top 2 -- Giambi 2-2...full swing K; Sheffield 1-2...full swing off-speed K; Posada 0-2 swing high K

bot 2 -- Aurilia 0-1 U3; Cabrera 0-2 1B CF; Wilson 1-1 6-3 (runner sent); Ichiro 2-0 1B CF under Wilson glove (SEA 3-0); Winn 0-1 4-3

>> How often is Ryan Franklin going to strike out the side against the Yankees? Are the Mariners going to keep scoring in the second inning? Tonight was only the second time this entire season in which the Mariners scored in the second inning.

top 3 -- Matsui 2-2...full...BB; Sierra 2-0...2-2 1B track RCF (runners cross on track ball, Ichiro catches/drops at wall, Sierra out); Wilson 0-2 8; Lofton 1st-pitch 8

bot 3 -- Spiezio 1st-pitch 9; Ibanez 0-2...full high 1B RF; Edgar 0-1 HR LF (HR 299, SEA 5-0); Olerud 0-2...2-2 4-3; Aurilia 0-2 running in 7

>> If Ruben Sierra is five years younger, that ball goes over the fence. I thought it was gone off the bat, but it was warning track power. Either way, Winn and Ichiro got crossed up by the warning track, and apparently Ichiro had the ball and dropped it. This jam could have been a ton worse, but then Sierra passed Hideki Matsui on the basepath. Not good. Raul Ibanez got down 0-2, worked a full count, and then swung at ball four for a single. Edgar then belted home run number 299 to give the Mariners the 5-0 lead.

top 4 -- Jeter 0-2...1-2 U3; Rodriguez 1-2...2-2 1B CF; Giambi 2-0 shallow 8; Sheffield 4-pitch BB; Posada 1-1 8

bot 4 -- Cabrera 2-1 bunt 1B (3rd side); Wilson 0-2...2-2 swing K; Ichiro 1st-pitch FC 3-6; Winn 1-2 swing K

>> I thought Franklin was starting to lose it. He fell behind on Giambi, then walked Sheffield on four pitches. Putting runners on base with this lineup is never a good thing. Again, Franklin got away with it. Jolbert Cabrera bunting for a base hit? Man, I hope everyone out there cherished this one.

top 5 -- Matsui 1st-pitch 1B CF; Sierra 2-0...3-1 track jump 9; Wilson 3-1 BB; Lofton 1st-pitch 1B CF (SEA 5-1, weird play at home); Jeter 0-2...2-2 look K; Rodriguez 1-2...2-2 swing K -- weird play at home, but Franklin mows Jeter and Alex

bot 5 -- Spiezio 0-1 3-1; Ibanez 0-1 7; Edgar 0-2...1-2 9

>> Once again, Matsui gets on for Sierra, and once again, if Sierra's five years younger, the game is 5-4. On the play at home, it looked like Wilson's glove was slid into by Matsui's leg before Matsui got the plate. However, I'm glad this play went the Yankees' way. Why? For the degree to which we've ragged on Randy Winn's arm here at Sports and B's, I know that I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if Matsui was called out on that play. There is no way Randy Winn should be gunning down ANYONE at home. Jon Lieber finally settled down and had a 1-2-3 inning.

top 6 -- Giambi 0-2...full F5; Sheffield 1-1 5-3; Posada 1st-pitch 6-3

bot 6 -- Olerud 1st-pitch 2B LF; Aurilia 0-1 4-3 (runner moves); Cabrera 0-2 (WP, SEA 6-1)...2-2 6-3; Wilson 1-0 5-3

>> Ryan Franklin had a 1-2-3 inning. I need to see the Lieber wild pitch again, because JOHN OLERUD SCORED ON A WILD PITCH. It must have been quite wild.

top 7 -- Matsui 2-0...(HASEGAWA WARMING) 3-1 BB; Sierra 1-0 1B RF; HASEGAWA IN; Wilson 2-0...2-2 swing K; Lofton 2-0 FC U4 (Lofton beats it out); Jeter 3-1 1B LF (SEA 6-2); Rodriguez 1-2...full F2

bot 7 -- WHITE IN; Ichiro 3-1...full 1B CF; Winn 1-2...6; Spiezio 0-1 checkswing FC 5-4; Ibanez 0-2...2-2...1B CF; PRINZ IN; Edgar 1-1 track 7

>> Franklin was yanked after letting the first two hitters reach base. Shigetoshi Hasegawa managed to evade his early-season meltdown tendencies, and let only one of Franklin's runners score. Hasegawa was able to mow through Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to end the inning. Edgar came very close to hitting career home run number 300.

top 8 -- SORIANO IN; Giambi 1-2...6; Sheffield 1-1 1B LCF; Posada 1-2 FC 5-4 (no DP); MYERS IN; Matsui 2-0...2-2 6-3

bot 8 -- Olerud 3-1 U3; Aurilia 1-0 F3; Cabrera 2B LF; Wilson 0-1 track 8

>> Rafael Soriano was brought in, and he got two outs, but allowed one baserunner. Until Mike Myers is cut loose by this team, any in-game move involving him will make me feel extremely uncomfortable because I feel like he can blow up any second. If I've got a choice between an 80% or so Rafael Soriano or Mike Myers to face Hideki Matsui, I'm going with Soriano every time.

top 9 -- GUARDADO IN; Sierra 1-2 swing K; CLARK PH 0-1 F9; WILLIAMS PH 6

>> The Yankees were about ready to empty the end of their bench, but Eddie Guardado was more than up to the task.

Gameball: Jolbert Cabrera. 3-for-4 with a double and a bunt single.

Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-4 with a strikeout, stranding two. Rich Aurilia was hitless too, but stranded only one runner, didn't strike out, and has already been hit with the goat by me enough lately.

Jolbert Cabrera went 3-for-4 AND bunted for a base hit. This happened in the same game where John Olerud scored on a wild pitch. This happened in the same game in which the Mariners actually scored in the second inning. This happened in the same game where the Mariners actually scored early and held on to win.

If you recall, the Mariners did do pretty well against the Yankees. Jeremy was quick to remind me after the game was over that sure, the Mariners can raise their game against the Yankees...but you do remember all those games last year against the Tampa Bays, Torontos, and Clevelands of the world, right? The Mariners can steal a few games here and there from the good teams, but they have to make their bread and butter against the patsies of the AL.

Mussina. Meche. Fifteen hours. I know Meche has done well against the Yankees, but the Mariners are Mike Mussina's bitch. The Mariners have collectively been Mike Mussina's bitch for longer than they've been Tim Hudson's bitch, and longer than they've been Pedro's bitch.

Every time Mike Mussina faces the Mariners, I think of the bench- and bullpen-clearing scuffle that ensued after Mussina nailed Bill Haselman.

Three cheers for Edgar.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004


Steve Sandmeyer tonight echoed the exact thought that I had after the last out was made in the final game of the Minnesota/Seattle series...

This is exactly the type of game the Mariners have to win.

On a more scary note, this may be the method that the Mariners have to go about winning. This is sad considering the go-ahead run was plated on a Dan Wilson double-play ball. Even Dave Niehaus was lamenting the inning that had passed, saying "the Mariners load the bases with nobody out and score one measly run." Rick Rizzs has a microchip implanted in his brain which gives him a small electric shock every time he mentally constructs a sentence using any negative words (including measly) in context to the Seattle Mariners, heretofore referred to as "the Company."

The Company baseball team had a paltry five singles on the night and still won. The Twins had Torii Hunter only for a pinch-hit at-bat and did not play Doug Mientkiewicz tonight. The Twins had JOSE OFFERMAN batting CLEANUP tonight.

The Mariners were 0-14 in games where they were outhit by the opposition until tonight. That was a KJR stat, and if someone at KJR comes to me and bitches about me using a bunch of their stats, then sorry, KJR.

Two ways to take this latest stretch of Mariner baseball...

-- They won two straight series!! Yayyy!!!
-- This offense stunk it up in the Twins series and the only way they can hope to win is if the starting pitcher stands on his head.

I guess there's a couple simple thoughts running through my mind, and it kind of reiterates what I've said. The Mariners absolutely have to win games like this. If a starting pitcher does this well or even lightly less as well, the Mariners absolutely cannot afford to lose these games and fail to scrape together enough runs. This can also be taken as: the offense can't keep screwing the starting pitchers out of wins. This of course is when the starting pitching is actually deserving of the wins, which hasn't happened often this year, but has happened with Freddy.

I'll try to sum it up again because I'm losing mental coherence here...the Mariners have to win these types of games because the offense is nowhere near potent enough to win high-scoring games in a regular basis.

The Mariners won't be able to win with their offensive output of the Twins series against the Yankees. Yes, I do realize I'm saying that even though the Yankees will trot Donovan Osborne (do something about that, George) out to the mound for one of those games. Also, if Jon Lieber's 60% of his Cub form, he should be a solid back-end guy for that rotation. That guy used to be a workhorse before the ol' arm injury.

Lastly, yay for no Spider Man 2 on the bags. I liked Scott Miller's take the other day about MLB apparently deeming its own game "[not] good enough to sell to kids anymore." I just think they should put a ton more money into things like RBI and many outlets of youth baseball. Anyway, everyone can bring their children to the Montreal/Seattle series June 11-13 without having to explain what the new red square-looking patterns on the base bags are.

Gameball: Freddy Garcia. Because it wasn't going to be one of the hitters. Tonight, it's either this guy or Guardado, and I'm picking Freddy. 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, and 8 K on 109 pitches.

Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-3 stranding one, and having that weird in-betweener fly ball with Rich Aurilia. Steve Sandmeyer mentioned that the Mariners have the best fielding percentage in baseball right now, but we've been reminded countless times (or converted wholly, in my case) just one month into the season of how overrated fielding percentage is as a statistic. Balls like the one between Aurilia and Ibanez tonight HAVE to be caught. No questions, just catch the ball. They may not make plays that count as errors in the scoring, but we know on a daily basis whether the defense is doing its job or not.

The Mariners' two series wins also mean they've won four of six. But is it really a good time for the Yankees to come to town?

Lieber. Franklin. Tomorrow.

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Thank you to Corey, for bringing up the infamous waiver wire.

WE'RE GOING FOR THE WAIVER WIRE, BABY!!! (August 31, 2003 here at Sports and Bremertonians)

A little history for all of you there. Enjoy yourself.

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If I didn't tell you who got hired in place of the contract-nonextended Canuck GM Brian Burke, I just wouldn't be fulfilling my obligation here at Sports and B's.

The new hire is Brian Burke's right-hand man, Dave Nonis.

In my opinion, if the GM had to be someone that wasn't Brian Burke, I really don't mind Nonis at all. He's had a great teacher after all (i.e., the guy who they just let go). He's seen the organization built up over these past few years from his old position (one from which he handled player contracts as well as many other things), and now he's going to run the team he's loved since his childhood. To go from childhood fan of the team to running it at age 38...that's one hell of an ascent.

I've heard Nonis speak on a few occasions as an intermission guest on the Canuck radio broadcasts, and he certainly has the capable knowledge and feel for this job and this team. Time will tell whether all of this carries over to the GM job, but I think the team's in good hands.

For me, this move means that the Canucks probably just wanted a different perspective at the GM post (and probably that Stan McCammon had it in for Brian Burke), but most importantly, I don't think it means the Canucks are going to blow everything up and start over again, both on the ice, and in the front office philosophy.

And with that, Nonis undergoes the trial by fire right away, needing to decide what happens in goal, to make sure Markus Naslund keeps playing for the team (or to find out as soon as possible if he's not), and to petition Gary Bettman to reinstate Todd Bertuzzi.

Good luck, Canucks, and good luck, Dave Nonis.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Tonight, Carlos Silva joined the hallowed ranks previously held by such luminaries as Jorge Sosa, Doug Waechter, and Eric DuBose. Silva was absolutely brilliant, shutting out the Mariner bats. However, the sign of concern here is that Joel Pineiro still hasn't turned the corner.

You know what? If I ever hear "oh, we've never faced Silva before" as an excuse, I'm just going to puke. How come I never hear of other teams just crapping the bed whenever they face a pitcher they've never seen before? Surely you would figure the Mariners would get lucky once in a while, maybe take advantage of these youngsters because THEY'RE YOUNG and the Mariners ARE VETERANS, which by conventional wisdom means they're more experienced and should no how to handle no-name pitchers...

Discussion on KJR's Baseball's Best Postgame Show right now: they're discussing the Twins' offensive gameplan of sitting back in the count and waiting Joel Pineiro to make mistakes, and a couple of times, he did.

So went the end of the Mariners' big two-game winning streak...

top 1 -- Stewart 2-1 8; Guzman 0-1 2B RF (base of wall); Mientkiewicz 2-2...(PB Guzman 3rd) full DP 1-3-2

bot 1 -- Ichiro 1-0 6-3; Spiezio 3-0...3-1 4-3; Boone 2-1 9 (Niehaus tricked "deep rightfield")

>> A one-out Cristian Guzman double was the only Twin offense in the first. Guzman was then doubled off on the front end of a 1-3-2 double play. What have we learned the last two nights? Guzman runs hard, but he doesn't run smart. Dave Niehaus was tricked on Boone's fly to right, saying it went to "deep rightfield" even though it was far from that.

Oh God, Dick Fain is suggesting using Joel as the righty long man and flip-flopping him and Ron Villone in the rotation. Ugggghhhhh... Also being discussed, Joel concentrating on just having three pitches instead of trying to throw five. Joel STILL went 16-11 last year after LOSING six straight last year.

top 2 -- Koskie 2-2...lineout 4; Offerman 1-2...2-2...U3; Jones 2-0...2-1 1B RF; Ford 1-0 2B LF (scoreboard, MIN 1-0); Blanco 1-2...2-2...IF 1B (off Pineiro glove, no play); Rivas 0-2 9

bot 2 -- Ibanez 2-1 1-3; Edgar 1-0 9; Olerud 2-0...3-1...full IF 1B (hard off Koskie glove); Cabrera 1-2...look K

>> Joel fell off again with two out, as Jacque Jones singled and Lew Ford bashed one off the scoreboard that Raul went to the board for then had to run all the way back to the field after the ricochet. The opposition scored first once again. Joel Pineiro had another play where the ball went off his glove and the runner got aboard. John Olerud got aboard with two outs, and we all know where that went.

top 3 -- Stewart 0-2 IF 1B (3rd); Guzman 1-1 FC 6-4 (beat out DP); Mientkiewicz 1-1 7; Koskie 5-3

bot 3 -- Davis 1-2 look K; Winn 0-2...1-2 U3; Ichiro 1st-pitch 1B LF; Spiezio 1-0 7

>> Joel got the much-needed double play after Shannon Stewart got aboard. Ichiro got aboard with two outs again, but you know...

top 4 -- Offerman 0-1 1B CF; Jones 1-0 HR LF (MIN 3-0); Ford 1-2...full (E1 Pineiro hits runner, though inside restraining lane); Blanco 2-0...2-1 4-3; Rivas 1st-pitch 2B LF (MIN 4-0); Stewart (WP)...4-pitch BB; Guzman 1st-pitch SF 7 (MIN 5-0, Ibanez drops, no throw); Mientkiewicz 1st-pitch 4-3

bot 4 -- Boone 4-3; Ibanez 1-2...full 5-3; Edgar 1-0 8

>> A base hit and a blast spelled the wheels falling off the wagon, as Jacque Jones gave the Twins all the runs they would need. Also happening in the 4th, Joel Pineiro had a comebacker on Lew Ford and threw the ball into him. In a shrewd way, Joel Pineiro found a way to quell the ballooning of his ERA. The Mariners went 1-2-3.

top 5 -- Koskie 1st-pitch 8; Offerman 2-0 9; Jones 2-0 track 7 -- 1-2-3 for Joel

bot 5 -- Olerud 1-2 7; Cabrera 0-1 2B CF (OF sleeping); Davis 1-0 8; Winn 2-0 6-3

>> Pineiro mowed down the Twins 1-2-3. Jolbert Cabrera bounced a ball up the middle, and Cabrera caught Lew Ford napping in centerfield and snatched second. Ben Davis and Randy Winn then came to the plate afterward.

top 6 -- Ford 2-2...5-3; Blanco 1st-pitch F5; Rivas 1-2...2-2...swing K

bot 6 -- Ichiro 1-1 4-3; Spiezio 1-0 4-3; Boone 0-2 half-wave low/away K (looked like idiot)

>> Pineiro went 1-2-3 again and had mowed down 8 straight. It looked incredibly grim at the beginning, but Joel did manage to get through six innings after having 73 pitches through 4. Carlos Silva was still slicing through the Mariners, including Bret Boone to end this inning. Silva struck out Boone on three pitches, getting him to wave awkwardly on a low and away breaking ball.

top 7 -- Stewart 0-2...1-2...1B CF; Guzman 2-2...full...BB (Joel 110); PUTZ IN; Mientkiewicz 1-1 7; Koskie 0-2...swing K; Offerman 0-2 1-3

bot 7 -- Ibanez 2-0...2-1 7; Edgar 0-2 4-3 (Fairly "they're not taking good swings"); Olerud (best-hot ball may be Spiezio's line drive out --Niehaus) 0-2...1-2 U3

>> Pineiro yielded a single and a walk and was yanked after 110 pitches. JJ Putz came in and slammed the door shut. The Mariners went away 1-2-3 in the 7th again. When Edgar was up, Ron Fairly noted that the Mariners weren't taking any good swings tonight. Dave Niehaus noted that the hardest-hit ball all night was a Spiezio lineout to an outfielder. Yikes. Silva had retired 8 straight, and had thrown a mere 80 pitches.

top 8 -- Jones 1-1 6; (HASEGAWA WARMING) Ford 2-0 1B LF; Blanco 0-2...1-2 swing K; Rivas 1-0 9 -- Putz solid

bot 8 -- Cabrera 0-2...1-2...look K (tie inning career-long Silva); PH HANSEN (train whistle stuck) 2-2...full...BB (1st runner since Cabrera); Winn bouncer 1-0 U3 down line; Ichiro 1-1 looper 1B LF; Spiezio 2-0...(FULTZ WARMING) 3-1 1B RF (MIN 5-1); Boone 1-2 swing K

>> JJ Putz was solid, setting the Twins down 1-2-3 in some long work. Dave Hansen drew a pinch-hit walk and scored when Scott Spiezio decided to be a bastard and spoil Silva's shutout. You gotta love the not-good-enough comeback, don't you?

top 9 -- HASEGAWA, WILSON IN; Stewart 1-1 2B LF line off stands jut; Guzman 1-0 6-3 (fast, not smart); Mientkiewicz 0-2...full 6-3 (hard); Koskie 0-2 swing K

bot 9 -- FULTZ IN; Ibanez 3-1 4-3; Edgar 1-2...full BB; Olerud 1-1 track 8; Cabrera 0-2 swing K

>> Jeremy was bellowing over Melvin not leaving Putz in and then burning Hasegawa's arm when down 4 runs in the 9th. A KJR caller brought up a great point: Dan Wilson had caught 16 innings the night before and if anyone deserved the night off, it was him. So why did Melvin pinch-hit for Davis (16/124 since last year's break) down four runs in the 9th with one out and nobody on? Anyway, Hansen gets on and Wilson has to get the gear on one night after catching the longest game in the Majors this season.

Discussion on KJR right now: Is Joel Pineiro feeling pressured after signing the big contract in the offseason and after basically being named the number two starter on this team? Steve Sandmeyer himself is saying he didn't like Pineiro's body language after giving up the homer to Vlad Guerrero earlier in the year (threw arms up helplessly).

Most of the talk on KJR right now is centering around the worries of Joel Pineiro, which certainly has ramifications going into the rest of the year. But we can't forget about the offense here. They were absolute crap tonight. The Mariners 3-4-5 hitters tonight (Boone/Ibanez/Edgar) were 0-for-11.

Another sick KJR stat: Ben Davis is 16-for-124 since last year's All-Star break. Can we all agree that he's better off getting four at-bats every day in Tacoma trying to get his swing back than he is being a black hold in the bottom third of the lineup? Yes, this would mean Pat Borders would come up, and yes, I would never bring up Wiki Gonzalez. If Borders pulled something, Raul Ibanez could catch. Before you question the rationale of Raul Ibanez catching, keep in mind the exact same rationale is being used by the Mariners to justify playing Scott Spiezio at third.

Gameball: JJ Putz. Two very good innings in relief, which would have been three if Jeremy was managing the Mariners. He struck out two.

Goat: Bret Boone. 0-for-4, striking out twice and stranding two. Carlos Silva had Bret Boone incredibly off-balance all night, and it came to a peak on the strikeout where Boone sort of waved at the ball.

Radke. Garcia. Tomorrow.

[Edit Thu ~9:38a -- The KJR stat that I had floating loose in the recap was this (I jotted it down quickly, but I'm pretty sure it's correct): Joel Pineiro is 4-10 with a 6.49 ERA over 94 1/3 innings in 16 starts dating back to last year.]

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Thanks for playing, Colorado Avalanche. Go back to Sweden, Divesberg.

(credit to Divealanche.com)

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Just this last April 15th, ballparks around Major League Baseball held ceremonies and festivities in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.

What's the next event that will occur in ballparks nationwide?

How about Spider Man 2 Weekend?

I wish I was lying...
    Ads for "Spider-Man 2" will be placed atop bases at major league ballparks during games from June 11-13 as part of a promotion announced Wednesday.

First it was ads on the outfield fences. Then it was ads behind home plate. Now...ON THE FRIGGING BASES?!?!!?!!!!


[Edit Thu ~9:30a -- Here's Scott Miller blasting off on this...
    ... this entire Spidey deal was planned for June, when the little munchkins are all out of school and free to come to the ballpark. Which, translated, means that the game alone isn't enough to sell to kids anymore.

    How about scheduling one afternoon game each fall in the World Series so that kids on both coasts could actually stay up to see the end of it? Or perhaps bumping up the start of the All-Star Game, or other World Series games?
    [Bob DuPuy] admitted concern as to the length of games and as to the lateness of games, but said, "We don't think it diminishes, frankly, from this part of the promotion."

    Heck no. Why would a kid want to see a thrilling conclusion to a World Series game when he could be going to the ballpark to get a foam Spider-Man finger and look at cool movie logos on the bases instead? It's not like baseball is in danger of losing an entire generation to soccer -- insert gagging noise here -- or anything because soon there will be no adults with memories of World Series games from long ago.]

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I'll just list some points I saw from when I was mostly watching the game, because it's really late and I want to sleep.

-- Between bunts in the air, baserunning blunders, and bad calls, neither team deserved to win this game tonight.

-- Jamie Moyer DID deserve to win this game tonight.

-- I thought from the moment I saw it that Corey Koskie had his hand in before Dan Wilson may/may not have come close to him. Twins would have been up 4-3 and the Mariners would have faced Joe Nathan in the night.

-- I'm not so sure Randy Winn wasn't out to end the game, but I'd have to see it again.

-- If you thought Joe Brinkman might have been a little trigger-happy tonight with the checkswing calls at first base, you'll really enjoy him behind the plate tomorrow because I'm pretty sure the umpires rotate clockwise and I'm pretty sure Brinkman has the lazy delayed straight-arm-while-kneeling strike call.

-- What an inning of little-ball futility for the Mariners in the 13th. Dave Hansen hit a 30-foot high chopper and beat the Cristian Guzman throw (no chance). Randy Winn bunted the ball in the air to Koskie. Ichiro swung on 1-1 (not sure if he was swinging just to protect or if the hit-and-run was on, but if it was...that was pathetic) and pinch-runner Quinton McCracken was dead meat at second. Ichiro later popped out to Guzman.

-- Who can forget the 14th and 15th, when the Mariners got the leadoff runner aboard both times and failed to advance the runner even to second?

-- Thanks to Cristian Guzman in the 11th, Twins fans can pull up the play-by-play on their browsers and see "Mientkiewicz grounded into fielder's choice to right, Guzman out at second."

It's time to end this...

Gameball: Ron Villone. Vanilli came on with Mateo's baserunner in the 14th and got the final nine outs, walking one, fanning one, and beaning one. The walk and bean were both in the 14th. Man, maybe I shouldn't be giving him the gameball, the 14th was pretty turbulent. Well, it's late. If it's not him, it's Moyer.

Goat: Rich Aurilia. 0-for-6 with two strikeouts, stranding three. I know he's not hitting in front of Barry Bonds anymore, but .216?? .216???

Silva. Pineiro. Later today.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Calgary vs San Jose in the Western Conference Finals.

The Saddledome

The Shark Tank

Series starts Sunday afternoon in San Jose. Darryl Sutter returns to San Jose, as does Miikka Kiprusoff. The best thing about this year's Western Conference Finals?

No Red Wings and Avalanche.

My God, this series is going to be insane.

Enjoy yourself.

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Monday, May 03, 2004


Just thirteen days ago, I said a little something to Jeremy during the Flames/Canucks Game 7 of the last series...

"I'm really afraid of Martin Gelinas"

His first two playoff OT goals were the clinchers of both series for Calgary this year.

Martin Gelinas is clutch and clutch is everything in life. (--adapted from Buccigross)

Calgary will play for a chance to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Detroit...choked. Granted, Calgary just worked harder (again), but Detroit was more talented than Vancouver. So what happens now for Detroit? It'd be weird if Mike Ilitch started spending his Little Caesar's money on the Tigers instead of the Red Wings, wouldn't it?

Lastly, no one should dare pin this on Curtis Joseph. He was awesome tonight.

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>> Reason #210930 why I'm watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs instead of the NBA Playoffs:

In Game 1 of the Nets/Pistons series, the halftime score was Detroit 37, New Jersey 25. And yes, that's only the lowest-scoring first half EVER. Something's really got to change about the NBA before I can watch it with enjoyment again. The Sonics being good would help, but if they were in 84-80 games on a nightly basis, then I'd just have to throw up everywhere. Of course, there's a chance that such boring games would sap my motivation to where I couldn't even make myself throw up in displeasure over a sporting event.

>> Of all the things on Jim Rome's resume (radio host of "Sports Jungle," host of Talk2 during the infancy of ESPN2, calling Jim Everett "Chris" and getting rushed by the former Rams/Saints quarterback), I never thought "master of ceremonies at Pat Tillman's memorial service" would ever be one of them. To his credit, he did a good job.

I wish ESPN could have obtained some sort of FCC waiver or a better 7-second delay button for the memorial (there was a good amount of curse words), but their dump button was bleeping out more than just curse words, such as vital parts of the Tillman stories.

Bottom line is, Pat Tillman was absolutely nuts, gave his opinion whether you wanted it or not, was larger than life, and genuinely cared about the people around him. Big loss.

>> If by chance you didn't get the "Chris" reference that Jim Rome threw at Jim Everett, just think about pro tennis from a couple decades ago and you should piece it together.

>> If you drink orange juice after brushing your teeth or eating lemon bars, you just can't win.

>> I don't mind rooting for the Flames against the Red Wings right now, but I have the feeling I'm really going to hate them next year when I settle back into my Canuck phase.

>> Dennis Dodd has a long article on Mike Price settling into his new digs at UTEP.

The passage catching my eye...

    [UTEP president Diana] Natalicio is a baseball fan. The St. Louis native once tutored one of Stan Musial's daughters while attending Saint Louis University. Her current favorite book is Moneyball, the Michael Lewis account of how Oakland A's GM Billy Beane beat the system.

    "UTEP is the higher education equivalent of the Oakland A's," she said. "We have to be very strategic because we don't have George Steinbrenner's money. Hiring Mike Price was a Moneyball decision. We would have never been able to recruit him here under normal circumstances. He would have been at Alabama."

>> The former Pedro Lite, Ramon Ortiz, is so putrid right now the Angels have removed him from the rotation for Aaron Sele. Ouch. Arte Moreno needs to unload Sele if he hopes to have that team win the World Series. I'm still a firm believer that the Angels would NOT have won the World Series in 2002 with a healthy Aaron Sele. Presuming he was far back enough in the rotation (I'm thinking 4th), the Angels would have been eliminated in the ALCS. If he was top-3 that year, the Angels don't make it past the first round. It's that simple.

>> Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks was the "student" on the SportsCenter Final Exam today. One multiple-choice question asked the question "which of the following could you legally serve alcohol to?" The answer was Josh Beckett. The other choices were under 21. Shaun's choice? Freddy Adu. All 14 years of him.

>> Jim Moore has written his 23094450845th column involving Amber Lancaster (former Seagal). She is moving to the brighter lights/bigger city of LA.

Okay, I'm gonna get my walk on over here in Ell'burg. More later.

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Brian Burke is gone as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

In a way, it was bandied about all year as to whether Burke was going to get an extension on his contract or not, but when the relations between Burke and the rest of the brass seemed a bit cold, it seemed more and more likely that Burke would not return.

Hired to the GM post in June 1998, Brian Burke inherited a floundering team with a huge payroll that had missed the playoffs for two straight years. He managed to be budget conscious and arranged a core group of players (Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, and Todd Bertuzzi had played for the Devils, Penguins, and Islanders, respectively) which helped get the Canucks to the playoffs each of the last four years.

The problem is, they've only gotten past the first round once, last year when they lost Game 7 of the second round at home against Minnesota. Herein lies part of the reason Burke is gone -- it appears management felt they had hit a plateau with him, and needed someone else as GM to get to the next level.

That said, Brian Burke did a hell of a job. He helped resurrect the franchise from the post-Pat Quinn and Mike Keenan-era doldrums, and got the fans to come back to the Garage every night, to the tune of 86 straight sellouts.

Yes, there's some assessment going on as to the makeup of the Canucks right now, and Brian Burke is probably not the first change which will occur with respect to the team. I'll get to those as the hopefully regular-length offseason goes along.

But for now, make no mistake about it -- whoever hires Brian Burke is going to get a good one.

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Oh, hell, here's my twenty riffs. Jeremy's riffs are here, and here are mine, straight off the top of my head...

Scorpions "Rock Your Like A Hurricane"
Joe Satriani "Satch Boogie"
Black Crowes "Sting Me"
Nirvana "Scentless Apprentice"
Soundgarden "Jesus Christ Pose"
Alice in Chains "Sea of Sorrow"
Rush "The Spirit of Radio"
Van Halen "Somebody Get Me A Doctor"
AC/DC "Rock N' Roll Damnation"
Candlebox "You"
Judas Priest "Heading Out to the Highway"
Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"
Stone Temple Pilots "Interstate Love Song"
Led Zeppelin "The Ocean"
Aerosmith "Mama Kin"
Jane's Addiction "Mountain Song"
Iron Maiden "Run to the Hills"
Queensryche "Queen of the Reich"
Heart "Barracuda"
Megadeth "Hangar 18"

Just random, and I'm pretty sure I didn't duplicate any of Jeremy's songs, so y'all get twenty new riffs here.

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming right after this...

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Michele Tafoya has been hired by ABC Sports to replace Lisa Guerrero as the sideline reporter for "Monday Night Football" telecasts, the network announced Monday.

Tafoya, who spent last football season as ESPN's on-site reporter at "Monday Night Football" games, joined ABC Sports two years ago as a courtside reporter on ABC's NBA telecasts. She will work her second NBA Finals for ABC Sports in June.

This news isn't shocking at all.

I sensed that Lisa Guerrero wasn't going to be on Monday Night Football too long. She isn't fit to be a sideline reporter, quite frankly. Unfortunately, this means that she will not be on the sidelines at Seahawks Stadium December 6 when the Seahawks host the Cowboys on MNF.

I thought that ABC was going to hire Jill Arrington (she was signed by ESPN/ABC earlier this year), but I was wrong. Tafoya's solid, so it's not a bad deal at all.

It's May 3. And you know what?



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UK's Total Guitar Magazine has released their 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs list. Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine" was ranked #1. Not a bad choice.

However, since I love lists, I'll make my own list. Yes, these are my Top 20 Guitar Riffs of All Time, in no particular order.

Rush "Limelight"
Van Halen "Unchained"
Ozzy Osbourne "No More Tears"
Queen "Another One Bites The Dust"
Metallica "Master of Puppets"
Rage Against The Machine "Down Rodeo"
Guns N' Roses "You Could Be Mine"
Megadeth "Symphony Of Destruction"
Queensryche "Breaking The Silence"
Pantera "Walk"
Red Hot Chili Peppers "Around The World"
Motley Crue "Live Wire"
Led Zeppelin "Immigrant Song"
Gin Blossoms "Found Out About You"
Sevendust "Separate"
Queens of the Stone Age "Monsters in the Parasol"
Soundgarden "Rusty Cage"
Van Halen "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)"
AC/DC "Shoot to Thrill"
Extreme "Hole Hearted"

So there it is, my Top 20 (again, in no particular order). Van Halen appears twice in my Top 20. Sue me.

Fire away...

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Sunday, May 02, 2004


So...did anyone see Harold Reynolds on Baseball Tonight conducting an all-out assault on on-base percentage as a stat?

His point was basically that if the hitter with the high OBP has wheels, then great, but if a Jason Giambi or a Frank Thomas gets walked or hits a single, he's not going to score on a gapper. Harold hates basecloggers.

This was just shown on BBTN, and I'm not sure I totally get what Harold's trying to say, so I might have to think about it for a while. I'm trying to differentiate between whether an actual point was being made about on-base percentage or if Harold just really needed to bash the stat/statheads.

I'll sleep on this one.

Now I see Harold going off about Arizona pitching out with the pitcher batting and a runner on first (Matt Mantei pitching, Robby Hammock catching, Doug Glanville on first). I can understand blasting off about this because, well, that's Bob Brenly Baseball, baseball from the mind of an idiot.

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Well, it was about time, wasn't it?

The Mariners finally scored a couple runs early and held on to the lead to win. Of course, it helped to have the lead get really big.

One question about this though...shouldn't the Mariners have saved a few runs for the homestand? This won't mean crap if they come home on Tuesday and score one run against the Twins. The Mariners haven't won consecutive games since the last game of the 4-game winning streak on April 20th, which brought them to 6-8. Of course, that was followed immediately by a 5-game skid.

The Mariners plated two in the first on back-to-back doubles by Bret Boone and Raul Ibanez. They drove the dagger in the 5th, plating four on a Scott Spiezio 2-run bomb and a John Olerud 2-run single.

From there, it was just a matter of protecting the lead, which Gil Meche did outside of the 2-run Tiger 5th. He threw 95 pitches in his 6 innings of work, striking out 4 and walking 3. The Mariner bullpen also managed to hold the lead which grew exponentially from four as the game went on.

On this day of fifth starters possibly on the edge, Gil Meche did well to keep his rotation spot, while Nate Cornejo probably punched his ticket to the bullpen.

Since I didn't track the game meticulously, there really isn't more to say. The Mariners scored early, played add-on, held the lead...they took care of business today. It's just a matter of maintaining momentum. Single wins are fine and dandy, but wake we when you start winning 7 of 8. That might actually get them close to .500. The sick thing is, the hole's big enough to where that kind of stretch can't put them OVER .500. This team's got their work cut out for them, no doubt about it.

Reason #45950 why I flip the radio on in the bottom of the 5th of every game: Dave Valle was saying Eric Munson's bat had really come alive and that he belted a home run into the bleachers in rightfield last night. He's not completely wrong; there definitely was a homer hit to rightfield off Franklin yesterday. It was hit by Greg Norton. I had forgotten to turn the radio on for some reason, and this just made me race toward it.

Gameball: Randy Winn. He had a fun time hitting in Detroit, going 3-for-5 today with a triple to add to his 2-for-4 game on Friday. After Friday, his batting average was .225. Today's outing puts it up to a bad-but-not-incorrigible .247.

Goat: Rich Aurilia. 0-for-4, stranding five. It has to be somebody, and Ben Davis' 0-for-5 would be a little too obvious. Besides, we're not expecting as much offensively out of Davis as much as we are with Aurilia.

Lohse. Moyer. Tuesday.

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Full recap here, just late because I was out doing stuff for most of the afternoon. To hopefully keep my stuff half-original, I've fasted from Mariner weblogs for the day to keep the material fresh and hopefully not ripoff anyone else's postgame reactions; just me being paranoid, I guess, and not wanting to be redundant by subconscious instead of by chance. If that happens, then I guess great minds think alike.

Jeremy Bonderman had his longest start of the year and the way his first six innings went, I thought he would at least make it to the 9th and have a chance for the complete game until the Mariner offense showed some shred of worth in the later innings and started fouling some pitches off and even scoring runs. Two of them.

With the 4-2 loss, the Mariners once again find themselves at the familiar .333 mark, now at 8-16. Not too long ago, we heard some people (maybe even a couple players and/or people in the organization) saying something along the lines of "hey, there's still hope, the Yankees are struggling too."

The Yankees have won five straight. Before their current winning streak, the Yanks were 8-11, which could be construed as their "rock bottom." The Mariners got their 8th win on Friday, but are now 8-16. Not surprisingly, the better team out of the Yankees and Mariners managed to right the ship. That team that did isn't the one whose name fits better with the nautical play on words.

To the game, one where Bretn Boone was scratched from the lineup with back spasms. I think this conversation might have taken place before the game...

Boone (seeing Edgarless lineup card): What the hell is this crap? Hansen as the DH? What the hell's the point today?
Melvin: Do you have something to say about the lineup, Boonie?
Boone: I think I've got "back spasms," Bob...

On to the game...

top 1 -- Ichiro 1-1 1B LF; McCracken 1-2 SAC 2-3; Spiezio 1st-pitch 8; Ibanez 0-2...1-2 F5

bot 1 -- Sanchez 2-2 8; Vina 1-0 2B LF corner; Rodriguez 1st-pitch HR CF (DET 2-0); Higginson 1-1 6-3; Monroe 1-2...full 5-3

>> Looks like Ichiro has to hit a leadoff bomb if he ever hopes to score early in a game. He got aboard and was on second with one out, but was left there. I wish I was tracking that Mariners-start-out-behind stat, because I would have been able to add to that right here and bring a little more legitimacy to the post. Anyway, Fernando Vina doubled into the corner in left and Ivan Rodriguez made Ryan Franklin look like the homer-yielding wizard that he is. It was called a double at first, but an umpire conference got it right, and they were proven right with the quick replay that showed the ball going off the top of the wall and off the padding of the old wall. No argument from me. Two run deficit right away.

top 2 -- Hansen 1st-pitch U3; Cabrera 1-1 5-3; Olerud 0-2...1-2 slider swing K

bot 2 -- Guillen 1-2...look K; Pena 0-1 IF 1B (SS); Norton 1-2...full swing K (Pena SB); Inge 1B CF (DET 3-0, Inge out 8-3-5?)

>> The Mariner offense was futile, which would become a familiar site over the next few innings as Bonderman started to catch fire. As for the Tiger bats, they added another run, thanks in part due to a bad Dan Wilson throw when Carlos Pena took off on a full count, which put the runner in scoring position. Brandon Inge came through with the two-out hit, and was gunned down going to second in another one of those weird plays where John Olerud cuts off Randy Winn trying to nail a guy at home with a 50mph throw. The run scores, but they nail the guy for the last out of the inning. It's like yesterday when I was doing laundry and I had all the quarters I needed. I had to wash three loads, and that's 12 quarters total. I tried to put the quarters in for the first load, and one quarter seemed to be unusually pesky, and I thought, "hey, maybe it's just one of those pesky quarters that just doesn't go in the first time." So I hit "coin return" and took the quarter out and put more quarters in to add up to 75 cents before trying to put in the suspect quarter again. It still wouldn't worked, so I looked at the quarter. It was Canadian. I can't tell you how much I hate the fact that stateside quarter slots won't take Canadian quarters, yet people are stupid enough to keep the Canadian quarters in circulation here, however so anomalous it is. Point is, the damage was done, so I had to leave my laundry unattended for two minutes and climb up the stairs to my room to get a single quarter. Grr. Okay, maybe the story had nothing to do with the Mariners except for me forcing the punchline. My laundry did get done, but I had to be unlazy and get the final quarter. The Mariners got the last out of the inning, but the run scored.

top 3 -- Wilson 0-2...2-2 9; Bloomquist 0-2...6-3; Ichiro 2-2 3-1

bot 3 -- Sanchez 1st-pitch 1-3; Vina 0-2 4-3; Rodriguez 0-2...3-1

>> Bonderman had set down nine straight. Franklin had a fairly short inning against the top third of the Tiger lineup.

top 4 -- McCracken 2-2 4-3; Spiezio 1st-pitch 9; Ibanez 1-2...full 3-1

bot 4 -- Higginson 1st-pitch 9; Monroe 1st-pitch 4-3; Guillen 1-2...full BB; Pena 1-0 U3

>> Bonderman ran his streak to twelve straight as Scott Spiezio flew out on the first pitch for the second time in the game. Dave Niehaus congratulated Ron Fairly on getting the AFLAC trivia question correct, saying Ron could have a "12-gauge shotgun to take care of Clyde." Clyde must have rubbed Dave the wrong way or something. We'll look into this. Franklin got two outs on two pitches, walked Carlos Guillen, then used two pitches to get the third out.

top 5 -- Hansen 1-1 lineout ladder climb 3; Cabrera 1st-pitch running 8; Olerud 1-0 7

bot 5 -- (AURILIA IN) Norton 1-0 HR RF (DET 4-0); Inge 0-2 swing K; Sanchez 1-2 1B LCF; Vina (1st-pitch sanchez CS 2-4) 2-2 1B RF; Rodriguez 1-1 F3

>> Jeremy Bonderman threw six pitches in the 5th to run his streak to 15. Rich Aurilia came into the game not because Willie Bloomquist sucked, but because Bloomquist wrenched his back touching first base on a groundout. Greg Norton capped the Tiger scoring with a SHOT to right field which cleared the bullpen and reached the stands. Luckily the Mariners guessed right on a pitchout and nailed Alex Sanchez at second, because he probably would have scored in Vina's single into centerfield, because I'm pretty sure that was Winn's ball.

top 6 -- Wilson 0-1 near track 8; Aurilia 1st-pitch 1B LF; Ichiro 2-0 4-6-3 DP (4th this year)

bot 6 -- Higginson 1-0 F5; Monroe 1-1 F3; Guillen 1st-pitch 8

>> Rich Aurilia's first at-bat of the game broke Jeremy Bonderman's string at 16 straight Mariners retired. The Aurilia single was all for the Mariners though, as Ichiro bounced into his 4th double play of the year. Simple stupid multiplication says he's on pace to GIDP over 25 times this year. If that really happens...yikes. As small worthless consolation, Franklin set the Tigers down 1-2-3 in the 6th. Now for something completely stupid, Jeremy Bonderman had thrown 56 PITCHES through SIX INNINGS. Did the Mariners try to use the same game plan they used the first time against Tim Hudson this year? Is Paul Molitor behind this? I'll elaborate on this later if I don't forget...

top 7 -- McCracken 1-2...2-2 7; Spiezio 3-0...3-1 9; Ibanez 1-2...full...3B RCF; Hansen 2-0...2-1 4-3

bot 7 -- Pena 0-2...1-2 1B RF; PUTZ WARMING; Norton 1-2...2-2 DP 4-6-3; Inge 1-2...2-2 1-3

>> Raul Ibanez hit a triple, but who cares? It's anomalous, and it's with two outs, so he's not going to score. Carlos Pena's leadoff single went for naught as Greg Norton bounced into a double play. On another note, the Mariners finally started ramping up Bonderman's pitch count, as Quinton McCracken, Spiezio, and Ibanez got into some deep counts and fouled off a few pitches.

top 8 -- Cabrera 1-0 IF 1B (3rd); Olerud 0-2...full 2B RF foulish (DET 4-1); PATTERSON WARMING; Wilson 1-0 4-3; Aurilia 0-2 (MYERS, PUTZ WARMING)...(Dave and Ron on Aurilia circling after foul balls)...2-2 swing K (12 pitches); Ichiro 1-2...2-2...1B E6 (SS, DET 4-2, Guillen throw foul ground); PATTERSON IN; EDGAR PH 0-2 slider low/away K

bot 8 -- WINN, MYERS IN; Sanchez 1-1 bunt 1B (Myers bobble); Vina 0-1 SAC 5-3; Rodriguez IBB; Higginson 1-0 4-6-3 DP

>> The Mariners finally put up a crooked number as Bonderman was running into trouble. Two straight hits netted the Mariners their first run, followed by two straight outs, the latter of which was a very long at-bat by Rich Aurilia where he fouled off a bunch of outside pitches. Dave and Ron noted Aurilia's circle-clockwise-around-behind-the-umpire-and-back-to-the-box routine. Ichiro got aboard, then Guillen threw the ball way wide of first base. I was unclear if Ichiro's ball would be ruled as a hit, and it was, giving Ichiro a multi-hit game, his first since April 23rd against Texas. In the stretch since the last multi-hit game, Ichiro went 4-for-27, which is a spectacular .148 clip. The Guillen play gave the Mariners their second run. Then Edgar struck out on three pitches in the pinch. Mike Myers came on in the 9th and gave up a leadoff bunt single when he had trouble fielding the ball off Alex Sanchez' bat. The little ball approach for the insurance run backfired for the Tigers here, as Ivan Rodriguez was walked and Bobby Higginson bounced into the double play.

top 9 -- URBINA IN; Spiezio 1-2...2-2 swing K; Ibanez 2-0...3-1...full...9; Hansen 2-1 8

>> Ugueth Urbina had a 1-2-3 9th. Raul Ibanez had two favorable counts and flew out to rightfield.

Jeremy Bonderman threw 56 pitches in the first six innings. Just to give somewhat of an indication of just how good he was, the only three-ball count he got into in the first six innings was to Raul Ibanez in the 4th. His next three-ball count was to Scott Spiezio in the 7th, a five-pitch flyout after McCracken had forced an 8-pitch at-bat.

In the first six innings, Bonderman threw a first-pitch ball to five of 19 hitters. What happened to these five batters? (source)
(2nd, 1 out) Jolbert Cabrera: Ball, Foul, grounded out to third.
(3rd, 2 out) Ichiro Suzuki: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, grounded out to first.
(4th, leadoff) Quinton McCracken: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, grounded out to second.
(5th, 2 out) John Olerud: Ball, flied out to left.
(6th, 1 out) Ichiro Suzuki: Ball, Ball, grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Aurilia out at second.

So, even when Bonderman fell behind the hitters to begin with (I'd have to REALLY have no life to look at what happened if he got behind with 2-1 counts because I really only take note of 2-0, 3-1, 2-strike, and full counts), he got ALL FIVE of those hitters out in those first six sparkling innings.

Sure, the Mariners scratched across their two runs in the 7th, but to only have one batter to be at the plate for more than 5 pitches in the first six innings (Ibanez 6-pitch groundout in the 4th)...AAARGHGHGHHH!!! The Mariners also swung at the first pitch seven times in those first six innings (Spiezio twice). So, to sum the Mariners' first-pitch doings in Bonderman's first six innings, they took five first-pitch balls (and got outs in all of those at-bats), swung at the first pitch and made outs four of five times (Aurilia singled), fouled off the first pitch twice, and took seven strikes.

The Mariners did not draw a SINGLE WALK in this game.

Ryan Franklin's outing? Okay. He gave up four runs, which on a good team might net him a win a little more than half the time (anyone keep stats on that?). On this team, probably not. He gave up 8 hits, 2 of them being homers.

Gameball: John Olerud. 1-for-3 with an RBI. Ichiro with his first multi-hit game in a while could be here, but this double play crap has got to stop.

Goat: Scott Spiezio. The guy made outs on two pitches total in his first two at-bats. In his other two at-bats, he flew out after having a 3-0 count in the 7th then whiffed on a 2-2 count in the 9th.

Three...three-three! Not the number of the beast by any means. If the Mariners won at the same clip as Iron Maiden's hit song, they'd be winning two-thirds of their games. With this number, well, I'd rather have Shaun Alexander rush for that many yards twice against the Rams next fall. a, I just saw Shaun Alexander in an ad for Christian Life Center. I was sort of surprised, not being one conditioned to see a pro athlete of such high stature in such a commercial for a religious organization. I guess if you like the idea, you like the commercial, and if you hate it, then I guess the commercial's worth it to see pastor Casey Treat get leveled near the end when Shaun participates in Take Your Pastor to Work Day.

Before I leave here, I have one off-topic thing...I've watched Saturday Night Live since I was a third-grader or so. The 17th-19th season were some golden times for the show, then the 20th season came, and the cast ran its course. Everyone was fired, and the cast started anew, making the 20th and 21st seasons the weirdest of my years. Things started picking up steam, then Norm Macdonald was axed by then-NBC president (and OJ golfing buddy) Don Ohlmeyer basically for making one too many OJ jokes during the Weekend Update, which has never been as good since, with Colin Quinn being lackluster and Fallon/Fey being twenty times more indulgent that Norm ever was (Fey's stupid rants against Norm's many anal rape jokes). Will Ferrell left, and the show's been treading water since. Darrell Hammond is STILL their only truly solid impressionist (this basically means Jimmy Fallon has been misused this whole time).

Anyway, my SNL point is this. This season has been really weird, and tonight the guest combo was Lindsay Lohan/Usher. Lohan, 17, is promoting the flick Mean Girls, a Tina Fey vehicle, so getting a host for this episode probably wasn't too tough. They had a Harry Potter sketch where the feminine character (sorry, I forgot her name) came back from the summer and "grew up," so to speak. Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong with making a comedy sketch centering around references to the chest endowment of a 17-year-old girl? If she was 18, okay, make the sketch, but the girl's 17!!! If my 17-year-old daughter was in that sketch and wore something with THAT neckline, taking away her car for a month wouldn't be the worst punishment I'd give. Just something I had to say.

Meche. Cornejo. Eight hours.

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