Saturday, June 05, 2004
Smarty Jones was the darling of Arkansas. He had won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park before winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. So, when Birdstone passed Smarty Jones down the stretch at the Belmont Stakes today, there was sadness in Arkansas. Well, not from me...THE SMARTY PARTY IS OVER!
KATV, ABC affiliate in Little Rock
Hot Springs, AR - Arkansans let out a sigh of disappointment today at Oaklawn Park. More than twelve-thousand racing fans gathered at the park to watch the race via satellite TV.
As Smarty Jones soared to the front. Fans threw their arms up in glee, but as the Colt fell behind, smiles disappeared.
(Margaret Galloway, fan) "I am mad, that guy should have never won."
Margaret vents her frustration, standing next to Damien Jones- he bet on a different horse.
(Damien Jones, fan) "Birdstone won- I knew smarty would be second or third but I knew Birdstone would put it in for me."
While the chance of losing for Smarty Jones has become a reality- many fans like Margaret still say the smallest horse on the track- deserved to victoriously glide across the finish line.
(Galloway) "It has never happened, in 23 years, it has never happened."
Folks, this was high comedy at its best. It's too bad KATV didn't post a video of this report on their website. In the report (shown on the news after the Stanley Cup Finals), Jones was next to Galloway. Jones had bet on Birdstone to win. He was hyped up about it.
And when Galloway talked about the Triple Crown (it's been 26 years BTW), Jones just put his thumb in the air, just mocking the poor woman. Classic stuff.
The Triple Crown is one of the toughest achievements in all of sports. Move along, nothing to see here, because the Smarty Party is over!
Seriously. See what you have down in the minors, because there is no shred of evidence that suggests that this team can play crazy/nuts/insane baseball and somehow win 90 games or more. I remember late last summer there was somewhat of a rift at KJR between negative nellie David Locke and optimists Dave Grosby and Mike Gastineau. Locke and Gastineau had some monumental crosstalk segments at the time where Locke would just seem to get under the Gas Man's skin. I remember at one point they were discussing whether John Olerud would turn around his horrible season, and Gastineau's reasoning was "because he's a career .300 hitter." We saw where that went. I think quite a few people have been using this line of thinking, but can you still use it with guys that are this aged? I guess you can turn around the same thinking and say "they've sucked collectively as a team in the second half of the past two seasons, so they're more adept as a unit to do it again." That'd be sad because, well, that would require them to suck worse in the second half than the first. Let's be honest with ourselves, the only thing worse than seeing a bunch of declining and unproductive veterans in the first half of the season is witnessing the slow burn of the same thing happening in the second half.
Surely it can't keep happening, right? Well, with the words that Bill Bavasi is planning to fill 40-man roster spots with waiver-wire hacks, it just might. Does anyone want to put a wager on how long it takes for the entire Mariner fan base to fall into a baseball coma? How would we measure this? Ten grand at the Safe per night?
To think this team might have a worse record than that Bill Plummer team of 1992 -- it's just unfathomable. Heck, even 1999 seemed like a lean year to me; that was the year Jeff Fassero went from an decent starter to not being able to throw a beachball over the plate to being cut loose. Overall, though, what the hell happened to this team? How did this happen?
A thinking-out-loud very abridged chronology here...
1995 -- self-explanatory
1996 -- Randy's back hurts; Sterling Hitchcock not as good as advertised
1997 -- Mike Mussina owns the Mariners in the playoffs; Randy wasn't good in the playoffs until he went to Arizona
1998 -- Randy tanks/doesn't tank it, gets traded; David Segui calls trade "horsesh!+"
1999 -- Jose-squared in the pen; Mariners try to find themselves, rotation trying to find shape as Fassero loses his mind
2000 -- Jay Buhner (26), Edgar (37), Alex (41) prove that yes, you can hit homers at the Safe; bullpen significantly upgraded; Jamie Moyer misses last month or so and the playoffs; Freddy hurt most of the year; team gets within two wins of World Series appearance; I have bad dreams about Rhodes-to-Justice for the rest of my life
2001 -- Ichiro comes over, the whole thing goes nuts; no one gets hurt; Mariners let September 11th throw off their rhythm a bit, was really the only adversity they faced through the whole season; Game 4 decided the ALCS, in other words, blowing a 1-0 lead cost them the series; Aaron Sele still sucks true to form in postseason
2002 -- second-half fade; James Baldwin experiment fails miserably; team forgets how to beat up on weak teams; playoffs missed; no deadline acquisitions again; Pat Gillick has Luis Ugueto in his back pocket even though Charles Gipson is the same guy; Lou plays with 24-man roster through season; offense starts really showing its need for a power hitter; waiver-wire goldmine yields slugger Jose Offerman
2003 -- almost a carbon-copy of 2002, except with a less competent manager and the feeling that "oh my goodness, it's happening again"; Raf Soriano showed things that we someday hope to see again
This brings us to now. Since I don't want to think about the big picture, let's see how bad tonight's game was.
Jon Garland was good. Freddy Garcia was probably as good, just facing better bats. Did anyone place bets on how long the Mariners' 1-0 lead would hold up? I was sitting there watching the matchup of Freddy against Frank Thomas. Frank hit the ball, and about three seconds before the ball came down, Dave Niehaus just called it and said "it's 2-1 White Sox..." It was absolutely hilarious. Usually Dave at least waits for the outfielder to look up and back, but in this case Jolbert Cabrera was still running back trying to see where the ball was going.
How good was Jon Garland/how bad was the Mariner offense? Garland mowed through the first six Mariners in order before the 3rd inning when the Mariners came up with their early run, and what a rally that was. Rich Aurilia led off with a double, and it seemed he might not score as Jolbert Cabrera moved him to third and Dan Wilson watched strike three. Ichiro for some odd reason tried to bunt on a 3-1 count (!!!!!) but then ripped a single to drive in Aurilia.
So maybe the Mariners might have been solving Garland? Well, no. Garland would set down the next 12 straight. In that span of time, the Sox had scratched out another run in their favor. In the 8th, the Sox chased Freddy from the game via a Carlos Lee double that drove home Willie Harris (aboard on a leadoff single).
As for the Mariner 8th, they had two in scoring position with one out. Ichiro lined out to left after Paul Konerko muffed one in foul territory. KJR's postgame touched on the fact that apparently Bob Melvin really REALLY didn't want Dave Hansen (tying run at the plate, in lieu of Randy Winn) to come in to face Damaso Marte. Why? I have no idea. But in all likelihood, it's probably moot at that point with their luck.
Oh, and Shigetoshi had a struggle of a 9th. Surprise. Somehow, no one scored.
Right now I'm chatting with Jeremy as I make the latter part of this post. He has brought up one of the instance where Randy Winn just seems to be a few steps slow, he goes backward for balls, and they just fly over his head. Just more of these GI Joe's Mike Cameron Would Have Had That moments, that's all.
Both Jeremy and I have reacted adversely to this actual line from the AP wire story (here's SportsLine's version)
- Garland faced a Mariners lineup without their best power hitter, Raul Ibanez.
The other thing we've reacted to is something that we both saw on FSNNW after the game. I had the TV down low and thought I'd seen a familiar face on the postgame coverage. Jeremy informed me that it's just-ousted Seahawk radio broadcaster Brian Davis. Jeremy's assertion of "he should just take over for Rizzs" led to a hilarious exchange of one liners.
- David says:
THE MARINERS ARE NOW WITHIN SEVEN!!!
that'd be hilarious
Scott Spiezio with the solo home run!
MARINERS ARE ON THE BOARD!
WHITE SOX 11, MARINERS 1
Howard and Bill...you've sucked the glory out of our team, and now look what you've done to our blogosphere. I hope you're happy.
Gameball: Freddy Garcia. He gets into the 8th (7 2/3) on only 111 pitches, walks two, fans six, and his only brutal mistake was the Thomas homer. But that's well past the margin of error with this team.
Goat: John Olerud. We're relegated to seeing Olerud in the cleanup spot? Ouch. 0-for-4 tonight striking out once, yet he never had any runners on to strand, which isn't his fault, but man...this guy was their cleanup hitter tonight...
In a related story, former Mariner greats Salomon Torres and Jose Mesa got the win and save against the Pirates tonight. Ugh.
Schoeneweis. Franklin. Later today (it's after midnight).
Friday, June 04, 2004
-- Mark Prior apparently ditched an autograph session back in Illinois, leaving kids crying in the parking lot and people screaming for refunds. Jay Mariotti chronicles, and is the same guy that asked some pointed questions to some White Sox honchos at their version of FanFest.
-- A hearty shout-out to former Seattle Thunderbird Oleg Saprykin, who scored the biggest goal of his life last night to get the Calgary Flames within one win of the Stanley Cup. Since I'm more than likely moving some of my stuff from my apartment over to the bunker in Bremerton, I may have a chance to see the Flames win a Stanley Cup on CBC. Canadian team, Canadian station, Canadian Stanley Cup...it'd be absolutely bonkers. Of course, the Edmonton Oiler fans would probably hate it.
-- After the hockey game last night, my natural instinct was to search for a Mariner game, even though there wasn't one. What ended up on the tube? Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm. Yes, the WNBA was on my television. Perish the thought. Phoenix had a one-point lead at the half, but the Storm went absolutely nuts (they scored more than 50 points in the second half...that's more than the Pistons most of the time) and Lauren Jackson found her shooting touch. I'd never seen her play at length before but damn, she is reeeeeaaaallly good. She's got some moves, no doubt about it. Of course, the telecast was worth it just to hear Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma say that Diana Taurasi (who helped win a national title for him just three months ago) was "not a good one-on-one player." Hilarious.
Last note about women's basketball: I didn't watch a ton of women's basketball during the tournament, but I did see UC Santa Barbara almost take down Connecticut in the Elite Eight. April McDivitt was the gal that almost singlehandedly took down the mighty Huskies, but alas, it was not to be. Dammit. And I think she was cut by the New York Liberty, for what it's worth.
-- Sighting today. As I was getting lunch here at Central Washington University, I walked past former Bremerton Knight quarterback Tim Olsen (1998 class) and alongside him was former Knight point guard (1999 class) and two-and-a-half months departed Pacific point guard Miah Davis, who took his team to the Sweet 16. I, as an introvert, managed to not say anything. I could have asked if he was playing ball anywhere next year (though that might have been a little intrusive, given he was just out and about), or I at least could have congratulated him on a bitchin' season. But alas, I have no social skills to speak of.
-- The Canucks season has long been over, and that means that season reviews have started to pop up. Lucas at CanucksWorld has had his season review up for about a month, whereas recapper extraordinaire Kevin Kinghorn posted part 1 (regular season) of his season review to the official site yesterday. Yes, now you can live through the happenings of most of my Canuck posts in one sitting.
Got some schoolwork to finish off here in the next three hours. I better git. Thar be a Mariner game tonight, oh yes.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
I like to see
How you all would bleed for me
--- Alice In Chains "Bleed The Freak"
As of tonight, the Seattle Mariners are the worst team in the American League at 19-33, or in percentage terms, a .365 winning percentage. Tampa Bay is 20-32 (.385) and Kansas City is 19-32 (.373).
The worst team in baseball is the Montreal Expos at 17-35 (.327). And they're coming to Safeco Field next weekend. I WONDER HOW MANY FANS WILL COME OUT FOR THAT SERIES!
By the way, Vladimir Guerrero is 3-for-4 tonight against Cleveland. He's now had 10 RBIs in the past two days ( 9 RBI last night against Boston and one RBI tonight against Cleveland). For comparison's sake, Raul Ibanez, that all-world nice guy, is on the DL.
Way to go, Mariner management. You'll be seeing a lot of green this summer for sure!
The damn computer ate my frigging post the first time, so this one's going to be shorter. The computer in the Central geology undergrad room let me hit "publish" but then gave me the automatic error page, you know, the one where you click and it doesn't even hang for a second and just switches to an error message. Pissed me off.
I was gonna bring up the whole Qwest Field thing, but Jeremy already did. All I'll add to that is that the whole thing where they honor high school teams isn't bad, but the whole bypassing-the-Public Stadium Authority thing is.
I'll be touching on three sports in this here post.
-- If the Mariners trade Freddy Garcia, they might not be screwed only by their general manager's ineptitude, but by the market as well, according to Larry Stone's anonymous GM canvassing. Says one GM: "I think Garcia will bring you back a good prospect," he said. "I'm not saying he would be in the 'A' category, but he's going to be a good 'B' category prospect." Yup. Great. Who wants a good B-level toolsy prospect? I hate this team.
-- Willie Williams. He's going back to the Steelers, which will mean no tall receivers will be reaching over him and no faster receivers will be burning past him in the Seahawk secondary. This day is probably two years too late.
-- Obligatory hockey note because I miss hockey: is there anyone out there juiced up over this World Cup happening Aug 30th to Sept 16th? There hasn't been a hockey world cup in eight years. Steve Tambellini from the Canuck brass is the director of player personnel for Team Canada. The site notes that he was born in Trail, BC, also home to the great Chicken Parm fiend and ESPN/Edmonton Oiler broadcaster Ray Ferraro. That team is stacked. Something I forgot to mention the other day with the Canucks on all these rosters is that Canuck farmhand Jaroslav Obsut is on the Slovakian team.
-- That guy I thought the Mariners should get a couple years ago instead of James Baldwin...yeah, that Jason Schmidt guy? He's your NL Pitcher of the Month for May. He was 5-0 with a 1.53 ERA and fanned 54 and walked 13 over 47 innings, which is quite crazy.
-- Anyone wanna bring back a former Mariner with little chance of upside? We know Bill Bavasi likes this type of player, and it turns out Paul Abbott has been cut loose by the Devil Rays.
-- Jeff is hilarious with his corporate postgame notes from last night. "Not one, but two people called in and told Bill that he was "doing a great job" and the Mariners were "lucky to have him." Hey, I can see their point. Well, except for that whole turning a 93 win team into a 100 loss team thing." Sarcasm is the fruit of life, kids.
-- Cracker Jack is returning to Yankee Stadium. They went to Crunch N Munch because Cracker Jack went to bags instead of boxes in an effort to preserve freshness. But come on...it's Cracker Jack!
Well, I got home last night and thought there would be hockey on, but I was one day early in that thinking. Think of what a horror it is to expect the Stanley Cup Finals on ABC, turn on the TV, and see the local news of the Yakima affiliate. Yikes. You haven't observed hackneyed TV news until you've seen local news in a rural or semi-rural market, everyone. The graphics get dumbed down, and most of the on-air personnel are straight out of college. Seriously. I've surfed around and seen the websites of many markets in the sticks, and you read their bios, and sure enough, a lot are straight out of college, looking for that big jump to a major market, and using the rural market as a stepping stone. Not to say all the fresh-from-college people are crap, but the ratio's a little higher than in the seasoned-veteran major markets, except maybe for that deal where Susan Hutchison was bumped off of KIRO for Kristy Lee. That one still perplexes me.
See y'all later.
Alex Trebek: Let's just go to Final Jeopardy. The category is...oh come on, why would they do this? The category is Famous Mothers.
Sean Connery: [ laughs ] My day has come! [ keeps laughing ]
Anyways, I did not follow the Mariners game last night. Instead, I watched the Boston-Anaheim game on ESPN2. Vladimir Guerrero is awesome. HE IS THE BEST RIGHT FIELDER IN THE GAME! If you even try to dispute this point, you are an idiot.
There was a reason why I didn't follow the M's game last night. My internet wasn't working, therefore the only way of "following" the game was checking out the bottom line. Needless to say, Josh Phelps GOT ALL OF THAT!
How about some non-Mariner news?
---So the name of "Qwest Field" isn't "official" yet.
The Washington State Public Stadium Authority must approve of the name change, which I think they will soon enough. Qwest Field isn't a horrible name by any means. It could be worse. There were rumors of Comcast buying the naming rights to Seahawks Stadium. The stadium exhibition center will be renamed Qwest Center. Creighton's basketball arena in Omaha, NE is also called the Qwest Center, in case you were wondering.
Personally, it will always be the Hawks Nest to me.
---These "Take Me Fishing" commercials are brutal. David hit on this the other day, so now I will as well.
I just hate it when these commercials come on. The first person to come on is a little boy, who can't be any older than 7. He's about ready to cry, because he wants to learn how to ride the boat. YOU'LL GET NOTHING AND LIKE IT!!!
But the old man at the end of one of the "take me fishing" commercials is just a sad figure. He's going to die if he can't see his boy. Touching. If I want to see an old man in a commercial, just replay the Viagra commercial 200 times over. The old man coming out the door (3rd scene) is just hysterical.
What would my "take me fishing" commercial consist of? Well, here it is:
"Take me fishing, because I don't give a crap about Major League Soccer, dad!"
(9 year old to his father)
"Take me fishing, because I'll make you a grandfather soon!"
(13 year old girl to her father)
"Take me fishing, because the Trail Blazers were eliminated from the playoffs months ago!"
---Speaking of the NBA, the Finals don't start until Sunday. The Finals will end by the time fall semester starts up again for me.
Oh, the Lakers will win. Not that I want them to win it all, but it's more than likely that they will. The only way to stop Kobe Bryant is to put him in prison. Screw this whole "innocent until proven guilty" deal, I hope he's found guilty. I've never bought his smug attitude from day one. He's not a hero, folks.
At least the Pistons aren't full of Bad Boys. They got that going for them.
---Bill Laimbeer sucks. So does Jake O'Donnell.
---The Nolan Richardson trial is taking forever here in Arkansas. This is a waste of time. It's too bad to think that Richardson's legacy in Arkansas won't be for his tenure as Arkansas basketball coach, but for this stupid trial.
Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. --- "Billy Madison" (1995)
---Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals is in Tampa tonight. Regardless of what Flames coach Darryl Sutter has said, the one-game suspension of Ville Nieminen was justified. While Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier is OK, it was a cheap shot. Nieminen is no stranger to cheap shots. See Game 4 of the Detroit series.
I hope the Flames win the Cup. I can't imagine the Cup in Tampa-St. Petersburg.
---It's June 3 and I'm already thinking about football. Not only am I thinking about the Seahawks, I'm thinking about college football as well. This is what happens when there is no hope for your baseball team whatsoever.
Then again, I'm always like this. Football is great, dammit.
---Bob Melvin doesn't need a hug, Angie Who's Had Hundreds of Men Tink A Little Stars On Her. He needs to get the hell out of Seattle. So does Bill Bavasi. I would say Howard Lincoln, but he's not going anywhere.
---On that note, this post is over.
Well, well, the one game I get to see this weekend, I get a Jamie Moyer-Esteban Loaiza matchup. That's Sunday, by the way.
I absolutely zonked out (had something to do with the ~1 hour of sleep I had the night before) on the couch with the score 5-1, so I missed about half the game in real time, but that's where game logs fill the spaces.
At first, it didn't look too good for Joel Pineiro, as he picked the second inning tonight to have his early troubles (Joel Pineiro Struggling Early is brought to you by the Rocksport Bar and Grill). Joel gave up three straight singles to start off, then struck out Howie Clark. Josh Phelps then lofted a fly ball to right that took full advantage of the 8-mph breeze blowing out to right and drifted over the fence. Grand slam, 4-0 Toronto. This wasn't a good thing to see after Gil Meche stunk up the cavernous (dimensionwise and fanwise) Safe the night before.
Other than the brutal second inning, Joel had a decent night. He had 1-2-3 innings in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th. Toronto's fifth run scored in a fashion in which the Mariners like to score runs, with a leadoff double (Gregg Zaun), groundout to move the runner (Chris Gomez), and a Howie Clark RBI bunt "to the pitcher," according to the log, and I don't remember much about the play, but the bunt was either nicely placed or Joel didn't get to it in time. I'm betting on the latter, though it would kind of make it a sort of squeeze play. Me being awake would have helped.
Joel somehow got into the 8th inning, and I say somehow because Joel threw 30 pitches in the second inning. After throwing Ryan Franklin for 126 pitches the other day, it appears that Bob Melvin may just be trying to burn out everyone's arms in the rotation now that Gil Meche has been sent down. "I can't have the same five guys anymore? Let's blow it all to hell!! HHAAHHHHHAAHAAHHHAAAA!!!! (demonic)" --Bob Melvin after the Meche move. Joel ended up with 121 pitches, which frankly doesn't raise my brow as much as the Franklin outing, but it's still a lot of pitches, especially for someone who's not a strikeout/power pitcher.
As for the Mariner offense, they were facing possibly my least favorite player in the Majors, Ted Lilly (Jason Grimsley is up there too). Lilly came in 1-5 in 11 previous games against the Mariners with an ERA of 6.31 (thanks, AP wire). Of course, Raul Ibanez was 0-for-14 against Keith Foulke before Saturday, too. The point is, you get to throw out the previous stats for tonight, because Ted Lilly was able to wriggle his way out of trouble for the most part.
This segues nicely into tonight's Cloverdale Meats Mariners' Blown Scoring Chances.
With runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out, Jolbert Cabrera struck out, Rich Aurilia walked, Dan Wilson whiffed, and Willie "Whiff-Whiff" Bloomquist popped out. End of threat.
Before I go on here, I'd like to say to the antagonist commenter Mikey that when I said I'd have my day regarding Raul Ibanez, I meant that he'd suck, not necessarily that he'd strain his hamstring stepping on the first base bag.
With Ichiro and Randy Winn on second and first with nobody out thanks to an error, Edgar whiffed, Hiram Bocachica flew out, and Bret Boone bounced out. I know Bocachica was a replacement, but that's quite a job by the meat of the order.
With Randy Winn on base with a leadoff double, Edgar was caught looking, Bocachica walked, Winn stole third, Boone whiffed, Winn stole second, and Cabrera flew out. Great team clutch effort there.
Rich Aurilia stood on second with a leadoff double, was moved to third on a Dan Wilson flyout, and John Olerud flew out.
I should note that the False Hope rally in the 9th that brought the tying run to the batters' box (Bret Boone) was brought to you by Tesoro.
Of course, once again, I can't discount the runs that the Mariners actually did score. Dan Wilson drove in a run from third with one out in the 4th. Rich Aurilia hit a leadoff homer in the 6th. Yes, another Mariner solo shot. And there was Dave Hansen with the false hope in the 9th, driving in Ichiro with two out.
But all in all, sleep was a nicer option for me than watching the Mariners do their thing. If I had the option to see Red Sox/Angels tonight, that would have been great too because Vlad Guerrero went nuts. Sure Pedro hasn't been up to speed his last couple starts, but it's Vlad against Pedro, for goodness' sake.
Gameball: Rich Aurilia. 2-for-3 with a homer and a walk, bringing his average to a hefty .238.
Goat: Bret Boone. 0-for-4 with a hat trick, stranding six. Yes, that trumps Willie Whiff-Whiff's 0-for-3 (stranding four) outing, even for me.
Does anyone fully realize that Joel Pineiro is now 1-7?
After seeing the final pitch of the Baltimore/Yankee game tonight, I have a question: say you strike out to end the game, and hate the call. The umpire obviously can't throw you out of the game, so you basically have free reign to argue about balls and strikes all the live long day, right? I've never heard of someone getting thrown out for the next game or anything like that. And if someone got fined for arguing balls and strikes...well, I'll just say it shouldn't happen often.
Is everyone prepared for Frank Thomas to square off against Ryan Franklin on Saturday? They should hand out hard hats to the folks in the leftfield bleachers before that game.
Garland. Garcia. Friday.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
The "Gil Meche to the DL" stint is waiting to happen.
David will tell you, I've called this since last September. So, I'll set an actual date for the Meche DL stint:
There, I said it.
Jeremy | Email | Homepage | 04.22.04 - 1:50 am | #
Gil Meche has been sent down to Tacoma and Hiram Bocachica has been called up.
Just another example of my "When you win, you lose" theory. No sponsor has been found yet, although it won't be Quest. They're busy.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
If there's only one thing we should agree on, it should be this: Gil Meche has punched his ticket out of the starting rotation. He doesn't appear to be making progress at all, really. In a snippet of the first part of the game that I saw, Dave Niehaus and Ron Fairly pointed out that Meche was getting only the fastball over out of all of his pitches. From what I remember (long no-sleep jag of late), Gil kept throwing a bunch of junk up there, none of it was getting over, and four walks in two innings is a hell of a lot of walks. The Mariners as well as Meche were lucky to get out of those first two innings with the Blue Jays having only scored twice. Keep in mind that this Blue Jay lineup is an absolute mash unit, and Carlos Delgado isn't at the Safe to make visitors' batting practice twenty times more entertaining than it probably has been over the last two days. If the Blue Jays' full-strength lineup was Michaelangelo's David, the one that was out there tonight was the Hammering Man made by a kindergartener out of five cans of different colors of Play-Doh that combined to make that God-awful gray color that contradicts everything you were taught beforehand about primary colors.
You might remember the rant I had about the possibility of the Mariners needing to send five hitters to the plate to get a three-spot on the scoreboard. In the first two innings tonight, the Blue Jays sent 13 batters to the plate and only scored twice. That is some futility right there.
The Mariners scored two runs on a single hit in the first to get a lead that wouldn't last past the next half-inning. The Mariner 6th inning is tonight's "Yup, This Offense Still Sucks" Inning (sponsored tonight by Osborne-McCann Cadillac), as Jolbert Cabrera led off with a double and was masterfully followed by Pat Borders striking out, Ichiro being put on, Randy Winn grounding out (probably praised at that point for "moving the runners over," but Ichiro can score from first on a single anyway), then Edgar getting 2-0 and 3-1 counts before popping out. Yippee!! And who can forget the Novus Windshield Repair False Hope Inning, which tonight is the 8th? I'll bet you one of the guys at the kettle corn stands outside the Safe was probably ready with a screen-printing press and a bunch of blank shirts, as with two out, Dave Hansen drew a pinch walk, Ichiro singled, and Winn walked. Edgar came up in another key situation...and lined out to centerfield. Put the shirt press away, Guy At Kettle Corn Stand.
Of course, I'm not going to gloss over the good happenings of the Mariner offense tonight, including a Raul Ibanez homer to lead off the 5th (fitting, he homers with nobody on..."even when they win, they lose" may get copyrighted soon in Jeremy's name, we'll look into it). The Mariners also drew blood in the 4th (I'm looking at the log in a weird order here), which is probably why I can think of the guy at the kettle corn stand firing up the screen-printer, because this one was a two-out rally. Jolbert Cabrera must have had one hell of a triple, because John Olerud scored from first. This instance of John Olerud scoring from first is brought to you by a little scenario called "running on contact with two outs." Then Pat Borders chipped in with a rare base knock, driving in Cabrera. An Ichiro single and a Winn walk would load the bases for Edgar, who would fall behind and hit a comebacker to the mound. Ouch.
As for Clint Nageotte's Major League debut, I think it's fair to say he had the horrid 4th inning sandwiched between some decent innings. He went 1-2-3 in the 3rd, fell off the wagon in the 4th, had Cabrera make an error with two out in the 5th, and then did what probably a lot of people have done in the 6th against Toronto: hitter in front of Vernon Wells hits a single, pitcher falls behind 2-0 to Vernon Wells, pitcher has to come in with something juicy, Vernon Wells homers. What are you gonna do? The kid's young, so he gets a pass there, albeit in a very pivotal situation considering that made the game 6-5. But that 4th...three walks in the inning. What more do we need to say?
Gameball: Julio Mateo. Three shutout innings, one hit, one walk, and four strikeouts. The Mariners could really use an in-the-groove Julio Mateo. We'll see what happens with Julio's next few outings.
Goat: Edgar Martinez. Tough one here. I'd usually go with Gil Meche for forcing the bullpen to be burnt, but the Mariners have on off-day on Thursday, so they can afford to load up on bullpen innings a little bit more than usual. As for Edgar, he did have that 2-run double in the first, but with what we've come to expect from this guy, he comes up in three situations (all with two out) and comes up empty. Is it a case of our expectations being too high, or is he just falling off quicker than we think?
19-32. Wow. A season at this pace comes out to 60-102. But would the century mark in losses be brought to us by Century 21???
Ladies and gentlemen, I have just looked at the boxscore, and yes, that was the smallest crowd at the Safe this season, at a grand total of 24848. You know, I remember when 19k at a Kingdome game was a lot, and it coincided with baseball of a similar winning percentage as this current team.
And to anyone that didn't know, Roy Halladay had soreness in his throwing shoulder before the game. So the Mariners didn't face Halladay, didn't really blow the doors of a guy making his first Major League start (Jason Kershner, not to be confused with Eric Kirschner, Metro Traffic Control, KING-5 News), and the winning pitcher (Aquilino Lopez) was a Mariner farmhand at one time. Nice going, guys.
Lilly. Pineiro. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~11:49p -- Yeah, the right record is posted...the wrong one was 60-100, which of course doesn't add up to 162.]
[Edit Wed ~12:45a -- Correction...smallest crowd EVER at the Safe.]
Qwest has bought the naming rights to Seahawks Stadium.
A press conference has been scheduled at 11 a.m. Pacific time. No word on what the actual name of the stadium will be called, but it will definitely have "Qwest" in it.
Well, maybe this is an omen. The Seattle Seahawks are on the quest for a world championship!
However, the Seattle Mariners are on the quest for mediocrity. I predicted June 2 as the day when Gil Meche would go on the disabled list. But we all know that won't happen. Bob Melvin is trying to set a record.
You know, the record of having all 5 starters pitch for an entire season. Again.
-- You know, without a glance at Baseball (Think Factory) Primer, I wouldn't have found out that a true tragedy was averted in the world of college athletics. The tragedy? Sports at Rice University were nearly wiped off the face of the earth. Now, I don't know much about the infrastructure and economics at Rice, but to me, it'd be completely different if the baseball team weren't kicking major tail every year, and sending their share of players to the pros. What helped save the future of sports at Rice? A big-ass email campaign sure helped.
-- Also with assistance from Primer, this article from the LA Times (I'm an idiot, I've registered already; here's the main quote)...
- That's one of the changes Lon Rosen, new Dodger executive vice president of marketing, is strongly considering to "try to insert a little bit more energy" into things at Chavez Ravine.
"I think two-thirds of the Major League Baseball teams have mascots," Rosen said Monday. "The Angels have a mascot, the Yankees don't have a mascot, Philadelphia has a famous mascot, but I don't know if it will work. We're going to take a look at it and talk to people about it."
-- I can appreciate fishing and all, and the nuance and skill and relaxation that goes with it and everything, but what the hell is up with all these sappy-as-hell "take me fishing" commercials? "Take me fishing before the earth crashes into the sun." "Take me fishing so all the voices go away." "Take me fishing so I don't have to see any commercials about people begging other people to take them out fishing."
-- Once again, SportsLine's Power Rankings are in. Your Seattle Mariners are now a stout 27th, a spot lower than the week before, having been leapfrogged by the Indians and Devil Rays.
-- Token offseason mention of hockey here. The Vancouver Canucks have managed to land 10 players on the various rosters for this year's World Cup of Hockey. Alphabetically by nation...
Canada -- Ed Jovanovski
Czech Republic -- Marek Malik, Martin Rucinsky
Finland -- Sami Salo, Jarkko Ruutu
Russia -- Artem Chubarov (Russia just named their rosters today)
Sweden -- Markus Naslund, Mattias Ohlund, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin
Sometimes I forget how many Swedes the Canucks have on their roster. On another note, I'd be surprised if Rucinsky was a Canuck next year. I like him, but for a goal-scorer, he just plum couldn't find the back of the net after coming over at the trade deadline. Lots of chances, but not a lot of goals. Of course, one could easily argue he could find the touch again. I wouldn't mind having him back, but who knows.
To those of you wondering where all the USA players for the Canucks are, well, they didn't have a player born on this side of the border on the roster (to our Canadian readers, we're stateside here) during the season until Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Michigan) was called up about midway through, which I think was because of Magnus Arvedson hitting the shelf (damn, he was red hot when he got injured too, skating beside the twins...DAMN!).
Okay, I've let out the hockey in me for now. Wait, no I don't, I just dug something else up...
-- We've seen this in the referrer logs, and I didn't manage to trace back the Google search until today. We posted the Heritage Hockey Classic rosters back when the Habs and Oilers had that outdoor game in Edmonton. Lee Fogolin was on the Oilers roster, and he was a longtime captain of theirs. So why were we being searched for Lee Fogolin? His son Michael Fogolin, a player for the Prince George Cougars of the WHL, had his funeral held today after dying in his sleep last week at the age of 17, possibly due to a heart condition.
Life is beautiful, everyone.
I might be back with a Mariner post later, but if I know better, I won't because I have to have a poster designed with some legitimate analysis by noon tomorrow. I think I may have something going here though, in terms of actual progress. If I don't know any better, though, keep coming back to see if I've posted or not.
[This post aided by the Internet Hockey Database Player Encoder.]
Monday, May 31, 2004
On Bill Bavasi's wish list before the season started: tonight's win multiplied by about 96. Too bad I think it's still quite boring. That's why there's Jamie Moyer to keep the hitters off-balance all night.
Let's take the innings in which the Mariners scored...
- single (Rich Aurilia)
- sacrifice (Dan Wilson, who apparently learned how to bunt again?)
- RBI single (Ichiro)
- RBI triple (Randy Winn)
- 6-2 fielders' choice (Edgar Martinez)
- single (Raul Ibanez)
- flyout (Bret Boone)
Chalk another one up for Jeremy's Win/Lose Mariner edict: isn't it fitting that Winn gets a triple, and the guy on the basepaths is the fastest guy on the team? Just to throw in, I wish I could have seen the play on which Winn was thrown out trying to go home, because just reading it right now, it seems like that's a dead giveaway for a baserunning gaffe.
- strikeout (Scott Spiezio)
- double (John Olerud)
- RBI single (Aurilia)
- walk (Wilson)
- flyout (Ichiro)
- RBI single (Winn)
- looking strikeout (Edgar)
Taking advantage of scoring opportunities? Whose team is this? Surely this can't stick around for too long, can it?
- walk (Olerud)
- popout (Aurilia)
- walk (Wilson)
- bean (Ichiro)
- RBI sac fly (Winn)
- RBI single (Edgar)
- groundout (Ibanez)
Singles and walks and sacrifices, oh my! Luckily those three innings were really their only legitimate scoring chances of the night, but man...this I guess is the most optimal case for a team that usually needs three singles to score a run, which by logic requires at least three batters. By the same logic, to put up a three-spot in an inning would require sending at least five batters to the plate, and then there's the three outs to play with. Of course, with this team, who knows what happens to those three outs. Okay, take all of this and think about it for a second...the Mariners could conceivably send eight hitters to the plate in an inning and get only three runs. Take a second to think about what the Angels, Marlins, or Yankees would do if they sent eight hitters to the plate. It's almost sickening, isn't it? Of course, those teams either have hitters with a little pop and/or are able to smell blood when they know a pitcher is in trouble. Can you think of an instance this year in which you've thought of the Mariners in the same sentence with the phrase "smell/smelling blood" this season?
Nothing bad-looking on the stat sheet for the pitchers tonight -- Jamie Moyer throws 105 pitches and almost finishes eight innings. Seven hits, two runs, a walk, and four strikeouts. Solid outing, and it's a good thing the defense didn't find some way to not get to some key balls. Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in with Jamie's runners on and two out in the eighth (surely making many cringe), and he struck out Josh Phelps, though Shig had to make sure he went to 2-0 and full counts before doing so. He had to throw in that cliffhanger for us all, you know, show us that there's still signs of 2004 Shig.
Eddie Guardado was brought in with a four-run lead in the 9th, which was mildly surprising. Of course, Bob Melvin probably figured JJ Putz' arm was burnt after yesterday. This of course leaves the question of "is a four-run lead large enough to send Ron Villone or Mike Myers out there to get some work?"
Well, from my point of view, this is exactly how the Mariners had it drawn up with this set of guys. Let's see how uppity everyone in charge gets over this one. They'll probably say, "hey, we're 19-31 on Memorial Day...we came back from a huge deficit in September of '95, and we can do it this year, too!! Rah rah rah!! Buy the Mariners' wives cookbook!! Come to Workout Shirt Night!!"
In a related story, the Mariners are 11 games back. The shortest path to .500 baseball involves winning twelve straight games. If only I had the time to do some math, I would have the remaining three teams in the AL West play .500 ball for the rest of the way, and see how long it would take the Mariners to play at their 116-win percentage (~.716) and get to first place. If it never happened in 162 games, then I would have a hearty laugh. If the Angels played .500 ball the rest of the way, they'd finish 86-76.
If the Mariners played 116-pace the rest of the way, that would be an 80-32 pace. Add that to their record right now, and you get 99-63. Does anyone like pie-in-the-sky thinking? Because there's no way in hell the Mariners are going to go on an 80-32 tear. I would soil myself (daily) if that happened. If you have the Angels finish 86-76, the Mariners' finishing 87-65 to overtake the Angels would require them to go 68-44 (.607).
So, I guess if you believe this team can play just-better-than-.600 ball for the rest of the season, they might have a chance at the division title.
But that depends on everything (and absolutely everything) going right that's gone wrong already for this Mariner team.
Can you see that happening?
Halladay. Meche. Tomorrow.
[Edit Tue ~3:45a -- added vital word "if" to .600-ball paragraph toward end of post]
-- There's a Peter Gammons column out today. As both Jeremy and I like to suggest, not a lot of the stuff that Gammons seems to have a scoop on actually end up bearing fruit, but that's not to say there isn't something half-interesting material here. He suggests that "the fact that the Mariners will not even try to re-sign him sends up a flag." Gammons then suggests the Twins as possible trade partners, as well as the White Sox, a team that I used to playfully hate as a child and call the "White Sux" and redraw their logo accordingly. There's also a nice home/road offensive comparison table at the end of the article involving some Colorado and Texas players. It's icky stuff.
-- Scott Rolen has 53 RBIs. It's Memorial Day. The Cardinals have played 50 games. Who knows if he'll keep up the pace (it's pretty torrid), but if he does, he'll end up with a paltry 172 RBI. Not much. It might be pure ignorance on my part right now, but I don't even remember who went to the Phillies in the Rolen trade, and I guess I really don't care in a way. Was Placido Polanco involved?
-- Anyone want Rich Gannon, Larry Allen, Kurt Warner, and Eddie George for cheap? It gets easier as of tomorrow, because teams can cut these players and spread the cap hit over two years. The article notes that the Patriots have cleaned up in this market as of late, getting Antowain Smith and Roman Phifer, who were sort of instrumental in all those Super Bowl wins. By the way, Boston is Cold Pizza's "5th most-tortured sports town."
-- My recap for tonight's game (when it comes) might be a little short, on accord of a big poster project being due on Wednesday at noon. Add to that a subsequent paper on said poster, but that's due the following Monday.
-- Lastly (I notified Jeremy of this last night), guess what is "[o]ne of the most popular shirts the [Portland] Beavers have to offer"? Here it is...
Hope y'all are having a good Memorial Day, and I hope your May was a good month.
"I know the overall result today wasn't what we wanted," Ibanez said. "But for me, there were a lot of positive things in the way we came back against Schilling, then Foulke. There's a lot of good to take from this game."
There's nothing good to take from Sunday's game, Raul.
Either you win or you lose, it's that simple. There are no moral victories, Raul. This team is 18-31 and all the moral victories in the world cannot save this trainwreck of a season.
Curt Schilling had a perfect game going through 5 2/3 innings. Like David, I was hoping for some history as well. Randy Winn's breakup of the perfect game is the definition of my "WHEN YOU WIN, YOU LOSE" theory. Sure, the Mariners broke up Schilling's perfect game. That's good, right?
No, it isn't.
For me, Schilling tossing a perfect game would have been the highlight of the season so far. When your team is in the cellar, you tend to think like this. But don't blame me, blame this inept front office. They're the ones who constructed this trainwreck of a roster.
For the optimists who say, "don't panic"...it's past time.
IT'S MEMORIAL DAY AND THIS TEAM IS 18-31. 11 and a half games behind Anaheim. So much for some people's theories of hoping that the M's start off slow and finish strong, a "reversal" of past seasons.
IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY, FOLKS!
This team is done. It's not the first time I've said this, but the fact is, it's Memorial Day. DOES ANYBODY SEE THIS TEAM MAKING A RUN? I don't see it. If you do, please send me what you're smoking. I could use some of it right now.
Well, the M's are back home this week to kick off a 2-week homestand, beginning tonight against Toronto. I get to watch 2 games over the next two weeks, Sunday night against the White Sox on ESPN and next Wednesday against the Astros on Fox Sports Southwest.
Yes, I'll watch these games. Because quite frankly, I need some high comedy in my life.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Sadly, Jay Glazer has written his farewell column at CBS SportsLine, his sendoff before leaving for Fox Sports Net, Fox Sports Radio, and Fox NFL Sunday. There some good tidbits in the column like the time his advice was sought when Max Weinberg needed to be shot full of painkillers before a Springsteen show, being bored on draft day, adverse reactions to his scoops, talking to Dan Marino's post-autistic son, and more.
It's too bad I haven't weaned myself off of totally hating FoxSports.com. I've just visited the site to make sure I still hate it, and I do. I guess if I get turned off badly enough by a layout, I never go back, and that was the case with FoxSports.com. At one time, I'd never thought I'd hate a layout more than ESPN.com (I still hate ESPN's layout...clutter), and then I visited FoxSports.com for the first time. Granted, it's a little better, and they have SportsLine-like mouse-over sport menus, but there's something really inconcise-feeling about their layout. I'm sure everyone's picked up that I'm a hopeless SportsLine addict, but I always found their layout really easy to move around with. They've had the mouse-over sport menus for as long as I can remember (~1999 or so) and when they added the multi-sport single-click scoreboard feature on the left sidebar, that just added icing to the cake.
Good gracious, I'm talking about layouts.
Stop, David. Stop.
Things have been added:
-- Logos for some sites which will make things stand out more than simple text and having to distinguish between red/maroon letters.
-- The addition of popping up extra windows with the sidebar links was actually added a couple weeks ago, but we're still hoping you enjoy that, which you might not be if your Google toolbar is killing off the new window every time.
-- The additions of our Blogger profiles under "Our Other Sites." Learn a tiny bit more about us. Probably not much, but just a little. You still won't know what Jeremy looks like (his "pic" is a 2000 pic of Jay Buhner), and you won't know what I (Markus Naslund pic) look like, unless you really really dig for it. Interestingly, my hairstyle right now is a lot closer to Jay Buhner than Markus Naslund.
-- Here's the fun part of the process. Using our weak sister of a music blog as a guinea pig (we'll get to you, o poor underappreciated and underused music blog), and the fact that I have the templates saved on my computer and in an email account, I was able to bite one of the previous post portions of code from one of the newer templates that came along with the Blogger relaunch. The result is that Sports and B's now has a "Recent Posts" niche on our sidebar where you can access our last 10 posts, and I managed to finagle our names into the code, in case you've remembered one of our posts by whoever wrote it.
We're just trying to make it more convenient to you, the reader, the user of Sports and B's.
Have a great day, have a great Memorial Day, and Jeremy and I hope you enjoy the new changes and additions here at Sports and B's.
I've said it once, but if I have a bunch of extra time and I find a way to tinker with one of the new templates and get the same colors and stuff out of everything, we may move to a sleek template here at Sports and B's if Jeremy and I get around to it. But for now, I think the current template is doing all right, and these refurbishments hopefully make it better.
Lastly, the difference between ESPN's NBA coverage and TNT's NBA coverage --
ESPN -- Stephen A. Smith yelling constantly and irrationally. This reminds me of the Samuel Jackson Beer ads on Chappelle's Show. "NO, I CAN'T STOP YELLING!!! THIS IS HOW I TALK!!!"
TNT -- The following happened last night, toward the end of the Inside the NBA show...
[TNT upcoming movie promo graphic shown on screen]
Ernie Johnson: [reads off the movie promos, one of which is The Glimmer Man]
Charles Barkley: That Glimmer Man is a terrible movie.
Ernie Johnson (amidst laughs in the background): Thanks for that, Charles.
Of course, Magic Johnson on that crew is like the record skipping when the unwelcome guest walks through the front door at the party. The guy just weighs it all down like a lead balloon. It's terrible.
Anyway, have a great rest of the weekend, y'all.
I referenced Jeremy's line yesterday about the Mariners (even when they win, they lose).
(The other thing: I have to really try to restrain myself every time someone comes up with some idiotic Raul Ibanez nickname. Ee-BOMB-Yaz? Yeah, that's a great nickname just like a milkshake I would make after hearing it: bananas, crushed brick, strawberries, and razor blades.)
How does Jeremy's line fit in today? Randy Winn Breaks Up the Perfect Game is brought to you by the Seattle Monorail Project. Randy Winn cheated me and the rest of the baseball fans out there out of seeing Curt Schilling throw a perfect game in close temporal proximity to that of his former teammate Randy Johnson. Let's face it, if this team is going to lose, why not just do it in style and set some records? A perfect game by Curt Schilling? Why not? The franchise has let Roger Clemens whiff 20 of them twice in their history. After the perfect game was broken up, I was hoping for the Mariners to make history in a different way, because I felt absolutely cheated. Twenty errors in an inning, a 35-run inning by the Red Sox, SOMETHING to make up for it.
Anatomy of Schilling's part-perfection -- 17 batters, 8 groundouts, 3 flyouts, 1 lineout, 1 foulout, 4 strikeouts
And it was all spoiled when Randy Winn sliced a ball in no-man's land down the leftfield line. If you're going to break up a perfect game, at least do it with a solid base hit or a homer or something. Or charter a flight for Ben Davis so he can lay down a pinch-hit bunt. The worst part was that it looked like those perfect game-type things were happening. Schilling had fallen behind leadoff hitter Jolbert Cabrera 3-0, then fought back to a full count. Cabrera bounced one up the middle, but not quite hard enough for a base hit. Cesar Crespo was able to nail Cabrera at first. Then Schilling struck out Dan Wilson on three pitches. It was looking great. Then Randy Winn spoiled it for all of us.
Predictably, my attention wavered because I was no longer watching what I thought would be history. That left us with the rest of the game.
Lost in all of this was Ryan Franklin getting into the 7th inning. He let the first two baserunners into scoring position in the first, and they both scored. He beaned Kevin Youkilis in the third and Manny Ramirez doubled him home (you may remember this as another "Mike Cameron Would Have Had That" Moment, brought to you by BMW of Seattle). Franklin allowed eight hits over his 6 1/3 innings, and was yanked in the 7th after at-bats of nine (Pokey Reese strikeout), six (Mark Bellhorn single), and five (Kevin Youkilis single) pitches, ramping up Franklin's pitch count to a surprising 126, a long leash by usual Bob Melvin standards.
Ron Villone came in (man, I hate the way this team was built) for Franklin, got David Ortiz to foul off two pitches, then struck him out with the third. He was pulled for Julio Mateo. It was an All-Star outing for Julio Mateo, as he walked Manny Ramirez to load the bases, and then he made the kind of play the Mariners seem to be really good at coming up with this season. On a 1-1 pitch to Brian Daubach, he threw a pitch that got by Dan Wilson and rolled all the way to the backstop. Mateo ran to cover home, Wilson threw the ball to Mateo, and Mateo tried to come down with the glove for the tag on Bellhorn before he had actually caught the ball. The ball got by Mateo and rolled out toward the mound, where no one was covering, and Kevin Youkilis came around to score. It's not history, but seeing two runs score on a play involving a wild pitch certainly isn't something I see every day. Think about it though -- there was a wild pitch, and somebody scored FROM SECOND. I know there was this play we had back in Legion ball that was a bunt-and-run with two guys in scoring position, and somehow the guy from second ended up taking off toward home on the play, but I forgot how the play worked. Anyway, this wild pitch play reminded me of that. A LEGION play. This is supposed to be MAJOR LEAGUE Baseball I'm watching here.
The game would now leave Mariner fans with TONS of False Hope, today brought to you by Kitsap Sports (one convenient location; don't be fooled by the ads about the new location in Silverdale. Location is new, but Kitsap Sports has had a location in Silverdale for years).
The Mariners had an ungodly 8th inning. They had two in scoring position with nobody out and managed to score both runners. Rich Aurilia had a pinch-hit single. Edgar drove in a run with a single, but we're used to that. Something we;re not used to seeing (not even Raul himself) was Raul Ibanez (0-for-14 lifetime against Keith Foulke coming in) hitting a homer into the bullpen on 0-2 to get the Mariners a 2-run lead. One, don't get used to it. Two, why the hell is Keith Foulke hanging a pitch on 0-2? Three, Jeremy will tell you this, Raul could keep doing this over the course of the season, and it won't matter with this team.
As it turned out, it didn't matter after that point in the game. Dave Niehaus said at one point, "man alive, how big is that wild pitch and error now?" Not to say there wasn't any drama.
Eddie Guardado was summoned in the 8th to get out of Shig Hasegawa's completely futile two-in-scoring-position-with-nobody-out mess, but let's face it. Guardado was going to have to get some nicely-placed ground balls, get some high or shallow popups, or strike out two hitters to get out of that unscathed. Johnny Damon hit a pinch-hit sac fly, and Andy Dominique had a pinch-hit RBI single (first Major League hit) to tie the game. Guardado blew the save. He is the closer. Should he have been brought in to start the 8th? Probably. I knew as soon as the Mariners got the lead in the top half of the inning that Hasegawa was coming in; it seems almost like a telegraphed move nowadays. Granted, Shig hasn't been too bad in his last couple outings, but I just had a feeling about this one. In the end, Shig didn't set the table too nicely for the closer.
The Mariner bullpen would then help extend the game to the 12th. Guardado struck out the side in the 9th. You know, there's few things I like about this season, but one of them is that it is an absolute joy to watch Eddie Guardado pitch. I wish he was the closer the last four years in Seattle. It sure would have been nice, and it would have given the team a much-needed dimension the last two years. Of course, he may have had the guts to say something at the deadline, so he would have been out the door with Jeff Nelson.
JJ Putz took the bump from the 10th to the 12th. He got two quick outs in the 10th. Dominique hit a grounder toward third, and Jolbert Cabrera tried to throw to first even though he probably didn't have a chance. Ball in stands. Winning run on second with two outs. JJ then got the clutch strikeout of Mark Bellhorn.
In the 11th, JJ got a Youkilis groundout before getting some key strikeouts of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, surely a confidence-builder for the young'un.
From the 9th to the 12th, the Mariners sent two batters over the minimum to the plate. They had three baserunners (one erased on a Scott Spiezio CLUTCH pinch-hit double play). Only one got into scoring position (Raul Ibanez on second with two out in the 11th). This happened against a relief corps of post-blown save Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, and Anastacio Martinez.
So it was time for the bottom of the 12th. JJ Putz was out there again. He got Cesar Crespo to fly out on the first pitch. He had a 2-2 count on Jason Varitek before he beaned him in the back pocket. Putz fell behind 3-0 to former Mariner farmhand David McCarty. Knowing how former Mariners always seem to do against the Mariners, why not let him swing on 3-0? Young Putz has to come in with a fastball, right? Bingo. Shot to centerfield, into the green-shirted folks in a section that used to be overlain with a black tarp for a hitters' backdrop. Surely JJ could only have been so good for so long before the mucho suckage bug bit him again, right?
So, in short, Randy Winn screwed us out of history, and Raul Ibanez helped steal an extra hour of my life. The Mariners had absolutely no business winning this game, and I'm really glad they didn't.
How bad is it when I'm rooting against my own team? I've surely gone mad.
Gameball: Edgar Martinez. 2-for-4, the only hitter with a multihit game today.
Goat: Julio Mateo. Without the wild pitch/error combo, the Hasegawa situation might not have turned out quite as bad, and the Mariners quite possibly could have won this game. Add to this the fact that he walked Manny Ramirez before that after falling behind 3-0 on his first three pitches out of the bullpen.
Both Eddie Guardado and Keith Foulke blew saves in the 8th inning today. In a related story, Arthur Rhodes blew two saves in two days in Cleveland this weekend.
Hentgen. Moyer. Monday.
[Edit ~Mon ~5:26p -- I hope everyone doesn't solely depend on us when it comes to being off with days, because I thought the Mariners had this Monday off again. Nope. The little white space on their schedules confused me. They have the next two THURSDAYS off, weirdly enough.]
Jim Nabors singing "Back Home In Indiana"
Mari Hulman George: "Lady and Gentlemen, start your engines" (I hate Tony George, however)
ABC's Paul Page
That's right, Emerson Fittipaldi. MILK, not orange juice.
Coverage starts at 8 a.m. Pacific. 10 a.m. Central.
The Indianapolis 500, TRULY A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER.