Saturday, May 22, 2004
How about that Jason Johnson? His only hiccups were the Scott Spiezio home run in the 4th, after which he retired 11 straight, and when the Mariners were starting to catch up to him in the 9th. You know, after the game in Detroit where he faced the Mariners a couple weeks ago, I can't think of Jason Johnson without looking for that blood sugar pump on the back of his belt. He's pitching with a catheter into his thigh, for goodness' sake. This might not be as rare as I think it is, but yikes. I pitched a few years in my youth baseball foray, but the movement associated with it doesn't seem too conducive to having a catheter (or is it vice-versa). Enough of this, though. I wish the guy could have tossed the complete game, but Alan Trammell had a relatively short leash on Johnson, with John Olerud (pinched with Jolbert Cabrera) and Rich Aurilia coming up and with the pitch count at 105.
How about that Joel Pineiro? Yeah, the first inning was crap, but we've come to expect some early-inning struggles from Joel. Joel appears to be finding himself, with a string of decent starts. In his horrid 35-pitch first inning, Joel faced seven hitters and went to three-ball counts four times. Two of those hitters walked, one struck out, and one singled (Bobby Higginson RBI). Somehow, Joel only gave up the one run. From there, it was 74 pitches over the next six innings, and Joel gave up three hits, no walks or runs, and struck out six the rest of the way.
Say you're managing the Mariners, it's the 8th inning, Joel Pineiro is at 109 pitches, and you have a 2-1 lead. Do you...
-- Leave Joel in until a baserunner gets aboard?
-- Bring in JJ Putz because he's been pretty solid most of the year?
-- Go to Eddie Guardado to get the final six outs?
Well, you know Bob Melvin, and if you heard him with the press after the game, he mentioned Eddie only in the situation of having to get one hitter out, which to me meant that Melvin was thinking of using Eddie for a save that required his needing to get no more than four outs. Melvin didn't go with Eddie, needless to say. Melvin's rationale with not trotting Joel out there again was that he'd thrown 120 pitches or so in his last start, though he'd had an extra day of rest in between starts, and he'd get another extra day off before his next start also.
Melvin went with JJ Putz. You had to figure that JJ would get bitten by the mucho suckage bug one of these days, right? Putz lasted 13 pitches. Four went to Alex Sanchez, who singled to rightfield. Four went to Carlos Guillen, who bunted Sanchez over. One was all Ivan Rodriguez needed to hit a double and tie the game. Finally, four pitches gave Rondell White a free pass to first base. JJ Putz, welcome to the crappy train!
Mike Myers walked Bobby Higginson to load the bases, then struck out Greg Norton. Julio Mateo hadn't sucked in a while, so he figured he'd give up consecutive doubles to Craig Monroe and Eric Munson to send four more Tigers across the plate, what the hay.
The damage was done, but Julio Mateo used the 9th inning to carry out some more suckage, as he got Ivan Rodriguez to pop out, all the while giving up two singles, a double, and two walks to his last two hitters. He was so bad that Ron Villone was called in to get the last two outs.
The Mariners are back at .333, which probably means they'll win tomorrow. They've got Freddy going tomorrow, so they've probably got a decent chance at winning. Of course, if Freddy from the last start appears again, then everyone in town will be wondering if Freddy's first few good starts this year was a fluke and if Freddy will be good ol' enigmatic Freddy of the recent past.
Gameball: Joel Pineiro. Nowhere else to go tonight. The offense was crap, the bullpen blew up. Raul Ibanez got three hits, but had a horrible error in the 9th, but I would never have given him the gameball anyway. Joel went 7, gave up a run on five hits, walked two and struck out seven on 109 pitches. Joel, buddy, you got screwed tonight.
Goat: Rich Aurilia. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, stranding one.
In the 4th inning after Scott Spiezio's home run, Bob Melvin came out immediately after Spiezio rounded the bases and he talked to home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Dave Niehaus and Ron Fairly were up in the booth thinking Melvin might have been complaining about some lights in the stands in the outfield. Melvin went back to the dugout. Alan Trammell came out to see what was going on, and he headed back to the dugout. Players in the Mariner dugout were smiling and laughing. John Olerud was nowhere to be found, his turn at the plate apparently being delayed. Dave Niehaus then told the story of Buddy Bell on the clubhouse toilet on opening day at Jacobs Field, when the Secret Service pounded on the door saying the President had to use the bathroom. So, I assumed that maybe nature called for John Olerud, and it was taking a while. Olerud came out eventually. Niehaus made some sort of reference to Spiezio's homer, saying that Scott "dumped it" into the first few rows of seats, then correcting himself by saying it really went ten rows back. Anyway, nice choice of words, Dave!
Then we heard after the game about the real reason John Olerud was late to the plate -- he and Rich Aurilia were locked in the video room, and a drill had to be used to free the two from the room. Jason Puckett had a great line on the KJR postgame show, saying that they should have left the two in the video room. They would have had the same number of hits while locked inside the room as they did if they were freed (Aurilia was 0-for-4, Olerud 0-for-3).
Can the Mariners drop below the .333 mark tomorrow? As sickening as this loss tonight was, I was mildly disappointed that the method of losing wasn't really new and exciting. There's only so many times I can take the starting pitcher sucking, the bullpen sucking, or the offense sucking as direct causes to a loss. Can we have a hard-fought game lost on a two-run homer in the 9th or something? Some close but disheartening losses? It'd sure be a welcome change.
Bonderman. Garcia. Tomorrow.
(post title tonight lifted from an old Almost Live! sketch, entitled "Things You Can Do for Ducks.")
For every game this season, I've given out gameballs. Since the 16th of April, I've been giving particularly not-good players the "goat" award.
Here's the gameball and goat tallies with three-fourths of the season to go...
Gameballs: Freddy Garcia 5, John Olerud 4, Rich Aurilia 3, Edgar 3, JJ Putz 3, Ryan Franklin 2, Gil Meche 2, Scott Spiezio 2, Dan Wilson 2, Bret Boone 1, Jolbert Cabrera 1, Dave Hansen 1, Shigetoshi Hasegawa 1, Julio Mateo 1, Jamie Moyer 1, Joel Pineiro 1, Ichiro 1, Ron Villone 1, Randy Winn 1
Goats: Raul Ibanez 6, Bret Boone 3, Ichiro 3, Randy Winn 3, Rich Aurilia 2, Kevin Jarvis 2, Dan Wilson 2, Willie Bloomquist 1, Pat Borders 1, Jolbert Cabrera 1, Shigetoshi Hasegawa 1, Edgar 1, Gil Meche 1, Mike Myers 1, John Olerud 1, Scott Spiezio 1
I think I tallied this up correctly. Neither the gameballs or goats add up to 41 due to early season Canuck interference.
Friday, May 21, 2004
There's not much else to describe the offensive performance tonight by the Seattle Mariners. Nate Robertson throws seven shutout innings in (wild guess) probably his best outing of the year, and Ugueth Urbina and the Tigers weather the Jack Carroll's Lynnwood Dodge Mariners False Hope Comeback (TM).
Eight singles, ten flyouts for the Mariner offense tonight. Dave Niehaus said on the radio that the Mariners popped out so many times that "you could put them in a popcorn bag" and "have enough for a movie doubleheader" which I'd usually call a "double feature," but Dave Niehaus isn't getting any younger, so I'll give him some leeway. Back to the offense -- wholly putrid in every way.
The 3rd inning set the tone for the Mariners. Ichiro led off with a single, then Nate Robertson uncorked a wild pickoff throw that went down the rightfield line. Ichiro was standing on third with nobody out. I was on the fence; after last night I thought maybe there might have been a chance Ichiro would score in the inning. Randy Winn flew out. Bret Boone lined out to Carlos Guillen. Edgar was caught looking.
That wasn't all of it. In the 7th, Rich Aurilia got aboard on an infield single. Willie Bloomquist flew out on the second pitch (welcome back). Quinton McCracken bounced into a 5-4 fielders' choice. Ichiro singled to move McCracken to second. It was Ichiro's 2001st professional hit [Edit ~11:30p -- not the 2000th as I thought, which was in the 5th], and the "crowd" that was at the Safe tonight was a little riled up, with two on and two out. Randy Winn flew out to rightfield, and the boo birds came out, though in a lot of ways, it wasn't truly a chance as good as in the 3rd. Or the one in the 8th.
Edgar drew a one-out walk in the 8th, then Jolbert Cabrera singled to move Edgar to second. Dan Wilson got aboard when Eric Munson failed to shorthop a grounder, which loaded the bases. Rich Aurilia swung at the first pitch (he did so in another at-bat and also had a three-pitch at-bat) and bounced into a double play. Boo birds reappeared.
David Locke on KJR has brought up a great point (yes, I'm listening to the postgame show). With the bases loaded and one out in the 8th (Mariners down 4-0), Edgar was still on base (no pinch-runner, but not the point here), but Rich Aurilia was still in the game and at the plate in a key situation. You could rail against Bob Melvin here for not bringing in John Olerud or Pat Borders to pinch hit...but he would have had to decide between John Olerud and Pat Borders. Remember the "pep talk" closed-door meeting that Bill Bavasi and Bob Melvin had with John Olerud a couple days ago? Jolbert Cabrera was at first today.
I guess I'll throw in the "chance" in the 9th also. Raul Ibanez drew a one-out walk in the pinch. Ichiro flew out to short (clutch). Randy Winn singled. Bret Boone walked on nine pitches to load the bases. Of course, there were two out, so everyone knew not to expect much. Edgar was caught looking to end the game. No argument from him this time.
Just to add, Steve Sandmeyer predicts some sort of move before the Mariners leave for the road trip, and definitely expects something by Memorial Day. Sandmeyer was also hoping that maybe Ramon Santiago wouldn't have been sent down when Willie Bloomquist was brought back off the DL and maybe some crazy roster move would have been made. David Locke says that if the Mariners hadn't extended Bob Melvin's contract, they definitely would have fired him by now.
Lost in all of this was the outing from Gil Meche. For maybe another week, Gil managed to put the rumors of his losing the rotation spot to rest. Though I'm never ever EVER going to be comfortable with this guy throwing 118 pitches (especially if he's only going to get six innings out of it), striking out 11 batters is no small task. Sure, there were some deep counts. Sure, it seemed like the Tigers may have been getting around on Meche's fastball. Sure, he gave up two home runs (Eric Munson, Carlos Pena). I would have liked to have seen Meche be a little more efficient, but for a pitching-to-stay-in-the-rotation start where he had no margin of error and the game was effectively over as soon as Eric Munson's ball flew over the wall in right, Gil Meche did a pretty good job.
Gameball: Gil Meche. I could have gone with Ichiro here (those really are the only two choices), but Gil came through and trusted his stuff like everyone wanted him to. Eleven strikeouts really jumps out on the stat sheet. Did Microsoft bump up the K's for Kids donations after Randy Johnson left? Needless to say, there's been a lot less strikeouts for Mariner pitchers since then. Anyway, eleven strikeouts reminded me of those days where Randy Johnson would strike out ten guys every time out.
Goat: Edgar Martinez. I really hope this guy comes around, but is there any hope? His five at-bats tonight: flied out, caught looking, grounded out, walked, caught looking. The KJR guys were wondering if Edgar can see the ball at all right now and quite frankly, I'm left asking the same thing. I know if there's anyone that can defy the laws of age, it's Edgar, but man...it's looking bleak, and with a team like this, what's the motivation? If only Edgar would have taken the advice of Sports and B's and had seen the writing on the wall in spring training...
David Locke suggested the Seattle Storm (he's the play-by-play guy) and Major League Lacrosse (Seahawks Stadium) tomorrow as worthwhile alternatives for tomorrow. I suggest the Flyers/Lightning Game 7. It's a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (East final), for goodness' sake.
Johnson. Pineiro. Tomorrow.
First off, I think it's an interesting little thing at the Sports Law Blog -- I know people out there play the Madden NFL games a lot, and here's a post saying that rumors have surfaced that EA Sports and the NFL might agree to an exclusive licensing deal. Yes, this means that EA's Madden NFL would be the only football video game that would be able to use the names and likenesses of the NFL players. It also means there wouldn't be an incessant blitz of ESPN NFL 2K5 commercials in the near future, if they followed through on the deal.
Another thing I discovered...since we're at the quarter point of the Mariners' season, I was going to gather up all the gameballs and goats of the year and see who's got the most. However, I discovered back in the archives that I didn't give goat awards until the 16th of April, a.k.a. the Chan Ho Park game. I was very disappointed in myself. Blame it on the Canucks, I guess; I was kinda wrapped up in hockeymania at the time.
More to come tonight...
Thursday, May 20, 2004
It started off bleak as usual, this time against Rodrigo Lopez. This time, the swing-at-all-first-pitches game plan didn't grossly backfire. With Lopez on the mound, the Mariners swung at 11 first pitches out of the 21 batters they sent to the plate. Lopez finished with 66 pitches in his 4 2/3 innings, sure (he supposedly was on an 85-pitch count), but he threw 28 pitches in the 5th. Yes, the Mariners won and everything, but Rodrigo Lopez had thrown 38 pitches in the first four innings. I'm telling you, if the Mariners fell in line and didn't have the big inning, this hack-o-riffic game plan would get diced like crazy. It hasn't been that hack-o-riffic since the one Hudson game earlier this year.
Anatomy of a big inning --
Edgar singled on the first pitch. John Olerud singled. Dave Niehaus suggested not having Dan Wilson bunt and hoping for the big inning instead, except incorrectly saying that Dan Wilson is the best bunter on the ballclub (comical). Wilson singled and the bases were loaded with the three slowest baserunners on the team with nobody out. I was waiting for the Mariners to get through it without a run. Rich Aurilia probably had the at-bat that turned the game, not necessarily for the result, but for wearing down Lopez; he fell behind 1-2 and fell off a few pitches before walking to put the go-ahead (and first) run across. After Quinton McCracken tallied his obligatory flyout, the roof fell in on the joint. Ichiro singled, Scott Spiezio hit into a 3-2 fielders' choice, Bret Boone hit a 2-run single (probably the nail in the Baltimore coffin tonight), and Lopez was pulled. Raul Ibanez joined the parade with a bloop single, then Edgar got up for the second time in the inning to punch a single. For good measure, Olerud grounded out to end it. Six runs. Savor this, folks.
Jamie Moyer pitch a solid seven, finding himself an umpire that he liked tonight. He scattered seven hits, walked one, and struck out two on 122 pitches. Ron Villone mopped up the final two innings.
The Mariners scored first and held the lead to the end for only the third time this year.
Does this win mean anything? It might register a blip on the radar screen if they reel off seven of eight in their favor or something close to that. If not, then it'll be the same result that we've seen after other maybe-they-can-use-this-to-turn-it-around wins.
Gameball: Rich Aurilia. 1-for-2 with the RBI walk. I'm giving the gameball to him not necessarily because of the result, but because I just wanted the opportunity to say something good about Rich Aurilia.
Goat: Quinton McCracken. 1-for-4, stranding four. It has to be somebody.
For my tiny mention of other sports tonight...I didn't want the Flyers to win, but Games 7 are nice; JASON KIDD IS CLUTCH AND CLUTCH IS EVERYTHING IN LIFE!! Can they please pull those stupid Jumpman 23 "greatness" commercials now if they haven't already? Jason Kidd's fate in Game 7 against Detroit is nothing short of unbridled hilarity.
Here comes a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers, notoriously known as one of the better road draws in the AL. Not.
Robertson. Meche. Tomorrow.
(Lastly, for the record, I finally found out how to make it so that if you click on one of our sidebar links, the new page will pop up in a new window, so you'll have the Sports and B's page in one browser and the clicked-on page in a new window. That is, unless Google toolbar kills it for you or something. If that does happen, right click and copy the shortcut and paste the URL. That'll do it.)
[Edit ~11:45p -- To whom it may concern, Ben Petrick has retired.]
[Edit ~11:50p -- Holy hell!! The Optimist is mad, and he's not gonna take it anymore!! One lofty condition is attached, but we'll all miss Corey. Couldn't he at least keep picking ballgames and keep losing fun money?]
I need to bust out a giant thesaurus or something because I'm running out of ways to say that the 2004 Seattle Mariners suck. Badly.
A Sports and B's investigative report (read: paid-off janitor) placed a microphone inside the Mariner clubhouse to hear this conversation...
- Bob Melvin: Well, boys, it looks like we're facing one of their young kids tonight. It's a Canadian kid named Eric Bedard.
Unnamed Mariner hitter: Have we faced this guy before?
UMh: Then F#*& it.
Yes, it's a joke (Sports and B's has no budget). But it'd almost be easier to take sometimes than to realize that the really good team from a year ago has all but evaporated and turned to crap overnight.
Ryan Franklin cruised through the first five innings, allowing only one runner into scoring position. As luck would have it, though, Eric Bedard held the Mariners scoreless for six innings and allowed three runners into scoring position (it's only two in a sense because Bret Boone is listed as stealing second on Edgar's looking strikeout in the first). And you guessed it: all three of the runners in scoring position got aboard with two out.
Franklin was unscathed until Melvin Mora's one-out RBI double, which gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the 6th. Then things got a little interesting.
I'm not going to lie to y'all; I wasn't paying overly much attention to the game because Game 6 of the NHL Western Finals was on, and I was sort of recovering from that, but I did listen to the KJR postgame show, and this part got a little interesting...
In the 6th, Ichiro got aboard on a leadoff 4-pitch walk. Steve Sandmeyer badly wanted Jolbert Cabrera to bunt (blogosphere cringes), his reason being that the Mariner offense only had one hit in the game to that point, and if they weren't going to get a lot of baserunners, they should haved move over the ones they had. His other reasoning: Boone, Edgar, and Raul (Sandmeyer lumped Ibanez into the category of "they hit lefties well," which I laughed at) would be coming up with Ichiro (tying run) in scoring position. Anyway, Cabrera popped out to the catcher. Bret Boone came up and Bedard apparently was throwing to first a ton of times. Ichiro (tying run at that point) apparently was never even trying to steal when the ball was going to the plate (Boone fouled off four pitches in the at-bat), but what a caller and Steve Sandmeyer both agreed on was that Ichiro wouldn't get a full lead and when Bedard would throw over, Ichiro would come back standing up, hands on hips. Is it wrong to ask a guy that just signed a 4-year $44M contract to get the biggest lead he can get and dive back when a throw gets over to first? David Locke said he saw a quote that he equated to Paul Molitor calling out Ichiro over being so obsessed with getting 200 hits that it's overshadowed anything else in Ichiro's mind. Has Ichiro been getting on base at a decent pace the last couple weeks? Sure. I don't know if I'll say he's dogging it (though one could certainly say that if they saw what was going on in this instance), but he's definitely not using all the tools in the bag. If Ichiro has the perpetual green light and he's not taking it, then Melvin should have some balls and give him the steal sign. If Ichiro doesn't like it and says giving him the steal sign is somehow a slap in the face to Japanese culture (as is that whole fun thing where you don't let people know if you're injured), then too bad -- on the field, you're a ballplayer first, and you're Japanese second or somewhere below that. For the record, Boone erased Ichiro on a fielders' choice. Boone moved to third on an Edgar single with two out, and everyone was stranded when Raul Ibanez (3 years, $13.25M) lost a 3-1 count and flew out on a long drive to the shortstop.
Then Franklin got a little roughed up in the 7th. Jay Gibbons punched a homer about three to five rows back ("threeve" rows back) in rightcenter to make it 2-0. A double and error (Ibanez misplaying the ball after it hit the angled part of the fence down the line), followed by a double and single put the Orioles up 4-0 and the game was basically over.
Of course, the Mariners in their half of the 7th staged what Jeremy and I have agreed to call the False Hope Comeback (TM). We should have a fake sponsor for it. Tonight's Olympic Boat Center Mariners False Hope Comeback started with one out when Dan Wilson singled and Rich Aurilia rattled a ball in the gap or reached the wall at the very least (is that possible?); somehow Wilson scored from first on the play. Winn bounced out to move Aurilia to third, and Ichiro walked. Cabrera got an infield single and Aurilia came across. Boone walked to load the bases, then Edgar had a 3-1 count before he was caught looking on a somewhat questionable pitch. Knowing that it's Edgar, we usually trust Edgar's eye. From pure conventional wisdom, with two strikes, you have to swing at anything close. Edgar was a little ticked, but of course he wouldn't call otu the umpire after the game; that's just not what he does. Bob Melvin said it was a bad call after the game, and I'm waiting for him to get fined, though that might be the NBA-watcher in me talking. It was 4-2 at that point, but come on. We knew it was over.
Every-four-days Eddie Guardado came on to work the 9th, and retired Javy Lopez and Jay Gibbons in quick succession. Then Luis Matos hit a ball into over the bullpen benches. Orioles 5-2, game over.
In the 9th, the Mariners mounted their Heartland Toyota Semi-False Hope Comeback, where Randy Winn reached on an infield single to lead off. Ichiro was clutch and flew out to left. Winn stole second with Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera flew out and moved Winn to third. Bret Boone walked on four pitches and stole second, but Edgar whiffed to end the game.
The Mariners are 13-26. They've reverted back to the .333 mark, which probably means they'll win tonight (that's what they've done the last couple times they hit the .333 mark). But man...
One caller called into the KJR postgame show and correctly stated that not only do the Mariners have a bad baseball team to worry about, they have a BORING baseball team on their hands. Who wants to pay for overpriced tickets, overpriced parking, overpriced food, and hang with corporate folks if you're watching a team that's bad and boring?
Gameball: JJ Putz. Five outs, one walk, 11 pitches. He just keeps not sucking.
Goat: Raul Ibanez. When in doubt, I guess, but he's got a worthy line. 0-for-4 with a strikeout, stranding two in the five-slot. Don't forget that fielding error.
The hockey game tonight won't run most of the length of the baseball game tonight (East finals tonight instead of West), so those who likey the hockey and likey the baseball can watch both. I've said this before, but the last three times the Canucks and Flames got together in the playoffs, the winner of the series has represented the west in the Finals. The Flames won the Cup in 1989, the Canucks lost to the Rangers in the finals in 1994, and now the Flames are in the Finals in 2004. For the record, the Canucks went to the Finals in 1982 (swept by the Isles) after sweeping Calgary in the first round.
R Lopez. Moyer. Tonight.
[Edit ~10:35a -- David Locke's recurring theme from last night: what is the point at which someone begins taking responsibility for what's happened to this team? Locke said if he was Howard Lincoln, he'd wake up in the morning and wonder what the hell Bill Bavasi did to this baseball team. Steve Sandmeyer summed up the mood of some unnamed workers for the Mariners. I don't know if these are vendors, press box attendants, suits, or what. But he said the one thing they hate about Howard Lincoln is that when things are going good he's "on the parade chair," "kissing babies" and flying the Mariner flag high, etc. But when the s#*$ hits the fan, the guy's nowhere to be found.
Part of the conversation between Locke and Sandmeyer last night...
- Locke: Have you heard from Howard Lincoln lately?
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
---The Seattle Mariners are 13-26. 13-26.
Bill Bavasi ruined my enthusiasm for this ballclub, dammit. It's unjust.
---Metallica and Godsmack put on one hell of a show this past Saturday night in Little Rock. It was well worth the money. The kings of heavy metal (Sully Erna's words) showed why they are just that. 2 and a half hours of power, 18 songs in all. To put the newer stuff into perspective, Metallica should just re-release the "St. Anger" album, but do a live version of it. It's amazing how much better "Frantic" and "St. Anger" sound live. They played "Holier Than Thou", a rarity for them live, as well as "The Wait" off of "Garage,Inc". It is so great to see James Hetfield clean and sober. This band was thisclose to being no more not too long ago. Thank goodness they are back. They can rock as long as they want to.
Godsmack has really stepped up, let me tell you. Enough of the comparisons to Alice In Chains, alright? Hell, if anything, they are the "best" of those bands that are being compared to AIC. Do yourself a favor and crank up "I Stand Alone" 10 consecutive times and you try to get back to me and criticize Godsmack. Metallica couldn't have picked a better opener as far as I'm concerned. One more thing, the drum solo with Erna and Shannon Larkin was great. Not as great as the Neil Peart drum solo David and I saw back at the Gorge in September 2002, but what is?
---The NHL will be on NBC in 2004-2005. Nice hustle, Peacockers. My favorite NHL on NBC moment had to be the 1991 All-Star Game in Chicago Stadium when the great Wayne Messmer performed the national anthem. I still get chills thinking about that moment. And I miss the old 185 foot rink at the Stadium.
I hope NBC can try to get Marv Albert to come back and call the games. But Mike Emrick wouldn't be a bad choice either.
---Andy Kaufman is alive.
Andy Kaufman is alive. I'm at a loss of words over this.
---Tom Petty fricking owns.
That's all for me right now.
I'm back. Believe it.
-- Surprising nobody, the Pittsburgh Pirates terminated the contract of Raul Mondesi.
-- The guy who cleaned the Cincinnati Reds' team bus when they were in San Diego overnighted Danny Graves' lost wallet with $1400 (he even traded in the cash for travelers cheques to prevent theft through the mail) in it to Graves' house.
-- Sprinter Kelli White is forfeiting her past four years' worth of medals and a trip to Athens after testing positive for the stimulant modafinil at last year's worlds and nationals. The catch? The US Anti-Doping Agency says that some of the evidence against White was through the BALCO case. Marion Jones could be looking over her shoulder. Her husband's gotten nailed for doping already.
-- Pete Prisco's power rankings are out. Your Seattle Seahawks are number 5 at this point in the offseason. I've been juiced for the Seahawks ever since the Mariners signed Raul Ibanez.
Lastly, for those wondering about Jeremy, he says that Metallica kicked some serious tail, and that he will be blogging once again in the foreseeable future, i.e., whenever the internet gets back up at his place. Sports and Bremertonians will truly be Sports and Bremertonians again when Jeremy gets back, until I'm forced to attend geology field camp for six weeks, in which case it will be Sports and Bremertonian (singular) again, much like the past few days.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
The trend of Freddy Garcia having a solid outing every time out, the trend of the Mariners being singles hitters, and the trend of Rafael Palmeiro tearing the Mariners a new one at the Safe were all put out to pasture tonight.
First off, the Mariners (two of them inparticular) put on their power-hitting shoes. Problem is, not many of them wore the any-other-kind-of-hits shoes. Ichiro had his two hits, Bret Boone and Raul Ibanez had their solo homers, and Scott Spiezio and Dave Hansen had their singles. The 5th through 9th hitters in the Mariner lineup tonight (including Edgar in the pinch for Dave Hansen in the DH slot) went a combined 1-for-18 with two walks and three strikeouts. Danny Cabrera is good, but come on...he's not THIS good. He's tall, he's got a good fastball, and has control over his curveball that has drawn raves. He's good, and he may be even better later. Tonight, he faced the Mariner lineup. Enough said. One last thing: if I hear anyone say "oh, they hadn't faced Cabrera before, so they didn't know what to expect," then UGGGGHHHHH!!! I just heard Rich Aurilia say this. You know, I bet the Mariners see new names of pitchers in advance and say "oh, a pitcher we've never seen before? F*$# it." Well, maybe not. But if they did, it'd be more likely to happen this year and last year than in years past.
Steve Sandmeyer had these stats tonight:
-- in the last 14 games, the Mariners have tallied a grand total of 17 extra-base hits
-- on the last road trip, the Mariners got 72 hits (12 hits/game), and 58 were singles
Freddy Garcia finished out his six innings in a performance reminiscent of some April outings of his past. In his six innings, he was tagged for five runs on seven hits, walking three, and striking out four on 123 pitches. I heard Ron Fairly try to laud Garcia's outing, but come on, it wasn't that good. It wasn't a vomit-inducer, but it wasn't good, really. The Mariners were conceivably in the game until Larry Bigbie covered a ball that caught too much of the plate for a homer into rightcenter on Freddy's 118th pitch.
But hell, the Mariners hung an 0-for-4 on Rafael Palmeiro tonight, which surely sent everyone home happy. Yay!!! The Mariners didn't get beat by Raf!! Small solace indeed, I guess, and it's something that the Optimist will probably pick out of this, along with the two home runs part.
Oh yeah, the Mariners had some pathetic defense tonight, and no, it doesn't involve the two errors that are in the boxscore. In the first inning with one out and a runner on first, Miguel Tejada hit a fly ball to centerfield. Randy Winn was involved, so mentally prepare yourself if you don't know about it. Mistake number one: he takes an idiotic route to the ball, and lets it roll to the wall. Mistake number two: Winn misses the freaking cutoff man (I know from personal experience as an outfielder for too many summers -- if you don't have a gun for an arm, you are WORTHLESS defensively if you don't hit the cutoff man). The result: Melvin Mora scores from first on the play. Yes, there's also another pathetic defensive play. Jay Gibbons was on first after hitting a leadoff single. Luis Matos hit a single to rightfield. Prepare yourself mentally: Ichiro is involved. Ichiro suddenly decides that he can nail Jay Gibbons at third, but the throw is offline. Result: Matos scoots to second, giving the Orioles two runners in scoring position. Pure hindsight, but if Ichiro lets Gibbons have third and gets the ball in to second to hold Matos at first, Larry Bigbie grounded to Boone on the next play, which could have been a double play and yes, a run may have scored anyway, but the run that scored later in the inning may not have come across. Fundamental baseball here wipes two runs off the scoreboard, and the game could have been tied before Freddy gave up the bomb to Bigbie.
Steve Sandmeyer has said on KJR tonight that...
-- Bill Bavasi and Bob Melvin had a closed-door meeting with John Olerud. Make your own conclusions.
-- Grady Little, now a scout for the Cubs, was in the press box tonight because apparently Dusty Baker has an unhealthy appreciation for Rich Aurilia.
-- Meche will start Friday against Detroit, Moyer will start Thursday in the final game of the Baltimore series.
As for attendance figures tonight, the tickets-distributed number was 21819, but just one look into the stands spelled the fact that the actual amount wasn't even close to that.
The first five to ten minutes of KJR's Baseball's Best Postgame Show were spent talking about...Randy Johnson's perfect game. Is it not sickening that this guy got a World Series ring and a perfect game in a uniform other than that of the Mariners? This team has missed that number one horse in the rotation ever since Randy left, and until maybe the last two years, the deadline banter among fans had centered around a number one starter in addition to that big bat. Anyway, Randy stuck it to the Mariners for dissing him, and he hasn't looked back. As soon as he got traded to Houston, I knew right away that he was going to sign with Arizona. He did, and the rest is history. And by history, I mean he pitched in a World Series where there was a damn swimming pool behind the rightfield fence.
Gameball: Bret Boone. 1-for-3 with the home run, walk, and a stolen base, all fresh off the shelf and most likely hurting like hell at times out there.
Goat: Randy Winn. I chronicled his defensive ineptitude above, and that would probably be enough to warrant his goatness tonight. To add icing to the cake, though, he was 0-for-4, struck out twice, and stranded a runner.
Lastly, and totally unrelated, that Flyers/Lightning game was nuts tonight. Goals were in quick succession, surely causing fits for those with rooting interests. Isn't it sick to think the Lightning have eclipsed the Buccaneers as the best pro team in Tampa right now?
Bedard. Franklin. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~11:07p -- With their victory over Milwaukee tonight, the Montreal Expos now have a record of 14-25, a half-game ahead of your Seattle Mariners (13-25). Only the Royals and Devil Rays are worse.]
[Edit Wed ~9:47a -- The attendance figure I had originally posted was 21819, when in fact it was 29819. I either heard it wrong or mixed up the numbers. Hopefully no one had an over/under bet riding on that.]
-- Here's an article that says the MLB teams getting the revenue sharing loot are putting the money into player development, and makes no mention of padding the bottom line, which my evil mind thought had taken place, and it probably still does to some extent. Also of note from the article is that the Mariners paid the third-highest amount of revenue sharing last season, to the tune of $31 million.
-- The Power Rankings are in. The Mariners have a stranglehold on 27th place.
-- The team with McCracken, Cabrera, Bloomquist, Santiago, Borders, and Hansen on their bench is 11 1/2 games back of the team with Amezaga, Halter, Quinlan, DaVanon, Figgins, Jose Molina, and Paul on their bench, along with injuries to Greg Jones, Brendan Donnelly, Bengie Molina, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, and now, Troy Glaus (2 months or more in his case).
-- Everyone has heard the old conundrum, "if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?" Here comes an adaptation: if Deion Sanders leaves the CBS NFL studio crew and is replaced with Shannon Sharpe (yes, he's retiring), will I even give a damn, let alone watch The NFL Today?
-- Something tells me I might be glad I don't have a rooting interest in a series where the road team has won all five games. Then I remind myself that the team wearing red in the series beat my team in the first round in a seven-game epic heartbreaker of a series. Then I cry. And eat BonBons. I forgot to get ice cream at Safeway last night...I need some wallowing-in-denial food.
-- A guy named Frederick Bouchat was suing the Baltimore Ravens for profits from the team logo, which he claimed he had designed before the Ravens used it. I frankly hate all of the Ravens' logos, though their first one sucked a lot more than the current one. The Supreme Court yesterday denied the chance to hear the case.
-- Everyone's good friend Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes an interesting article about Rodrigo Lopez and the long-relief role, and laments his return to the starting rotation...
- He finally got his wish after the club's young starting rotation came unglued -- and will start tomorrow or Thursday against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field -- but the Orioles could come to regret digging a new hole to fill in an old one.
In a perfectly balanced baseball world, Lopez might have realized that he had found the place where he fit perfectly on the Orioles' pitching staff, but he would concede only that the role was "necessary." The reason: No one has ever aspired to be a long reliever.
-- Eight ballplayers from the University of Utah are under investigation for their roles in painting the block letter Y above BYU red. In what probably puts this in the dumb criminal file, a Ryan Breska tried to get photographs of the incident developed at a local store. A store employee squealed to police after seeing the pictures come out of development.
Lastly, I think Jeremy must still be recovering from Metallica, because I haven't heard from the guy since before Saturday. As you all know, I can only do so much here at Sports and B's, and a core thing that makes it all work here is the different thoughts and the different deliveries of the both of us. Come back, Jeremy!
Which was worse?
The "innovative" glowing puck from Fox's NHL coverage
The Baseball Network, which gave us 8pm starts for Mariner home games.
Yes, they're both crap, I know. I'm not sure which one I hated more.
[Edit Mon ~10a -- I fetched some links for y'all. Some good did come out of the glowing puck thing. Read...
- It looks like Stan [Honey, News Corporation executive Vice President of technology] had the last laugh in this one. He along with two other News Corporation executives decided to start their own venture called SporTVision. After Fox passed on Stan's idea to apply the technology behind FoxTrack to other projects, he packed up and left. Fox actually sold him the FoxTrack equipment for a 10% stake in SporTVision...The company's first product was that little yellow first down line you see every Sunday. ... SporTVision gets $20 grand a game for the line and with the equipment already paid for, Stan and the boys are laughing all the way to the bank. All thanks to the cheezy glowing puck.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Brown was solid today, though I was hoping he would be dead on, or at least enough to strike out Raul Ibanez at least twice. Turns out Raul got two hits instead and never struck out. That's the last time I do that.
Offensively, there were seven scattered singles, Rich Aurilia's double, and Scott Spiezio's solo homer for the only Mariner run.
Ichiro kept the hitting streak going with a 2-for-4 day on which he didn't score, the day after he got three hits and scored only once (Randy Winn's 0-for-5). He was quickly doubled off to negate any threat in the 1st, and Scott Spiezio flew out behind him in the 3rd. FSNNW, the broadcast crew, and Bob Melvin have been spouting off about the importance of the number two hitter lately, and though it might have some merit, they're trying to make it seem like it's some revolutionary thing to have some guy that can hit to the right side in the 2-spot. They've drilled it into my head so much that I don't care anymore. Anyway, Scott stranded Ichiro once, and erased him the other time.
Joel Pineiro gave the bullpen a much-needed rest, which is probably the main positive out of today. He had the curveball working, and without one bad pitch to John Flaherty and Raul Ibanez' brutal throw "home" (in that home plate is south-southwest of leftfield), the Mariners may well have won this game 1-0. Alas, against the Yankees and Kevin Brown, this is what you get.
If I could give a Yankee gameball today, it'd be John Flaherty for hitting the homer today and catching again the day immediately after catching 13 long innings.
Gameball: Ichiro. The guy's getting on base. Granted, he's not stealing much, but it'd be nice if the guys behind him would drive him in. Especially instead of bunting him over, but I don't think that happened today. Right?
Edgar had a terrible day, striking out twice and going 0-for-4. However, he stranded zero runners, which may or may not be amazing. He's non-goat by default.
Goat: Pat Borders. 0-for-3, stranding five. He wasn't catching Freddy, so this leaves me to think to myself: Ben Davis couldn't have done this?
Short recap today...the 10-page project paper thing is due in less than 24 hours...
Cabrera. Garcia. Tuesday.
The one thing I wanted to mention here, though, is a moment during the halftime show. They were running through a little reel of first half play tonight that involved Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. They show a couple plays, and while the reel's still going, you hear Barkley say "Oh my God!!" At this moment, I'm wondering whether someone just got hacked really bad on the highlight reel or something. They cut back to the studio with the camera, and Barkley has interjected once again. They ask him what he's reacting to, and he says, alluding to one of the TVs off to the side, "Roy Jones just got knocked out!!" Yes, leave it to Chuck Barkley to derail the halftime show. Guess what, though? It had me in stitches.
How do they end a great halftime show? Jeff Van Gundy was a guest panelist. They ended the halftime show by showing him getting tossed around in that Knicks/Heat fight of a few years ago. Hilarity.
Sidenote: I finally figured why my posting time's been off. The Blogger post clock freezes from the time you load up the post page, rather than actually keeping time like it used to. Dumb, dumb, dumb. For the record, I set my own time for the stamp before I click on "publish."