Saturday, June 12, 2004
The Arkansas Razorbacks are going to the College World Series for the first time since 1989.
Dave Van Horn will take his third team to the CWS in four years. He took Nebraska to the CWS in 2001 and 2002 before leaving the Cornhuskers for Arkansas.
Omaha, get ready for the Hogs and their rabid fans. They are nuts.
One day, I'd love to go to the College World Series. It's one hell of an atmosphere. Dave at Dave's Mariner Blog can vouch for that.
Quinton McCracken is headed back to Arizona. He signed a minor league deal with the D-Backs. But he won't stay down in Tucson very long, because the D-Backs are decimated with injuries. I guess that means that McCracken will get some PT and try to prove Bob Melvin right.
So here's the deal...
December 15, 2003
Mariners trade Greg Colbrunn and cash to Diamondbacks for Quinton McCracken and his $1.75 million salary.
And almost six months to the day, McCracken is back in Arizona.
I hate this organization.
Friday, June 11, 2004
From an offensive standpoint for the Mariners, the only positive thing was that they scored more runs than the Expos to end the scoreless drought at 29 innings. That's about the only thing you can take out of this 1-0 clunker of a game between two positively horrid teams.
With the way the Mariners were having their runners erased from the basepaths, I thought there was no way they would win this game.
Cases in point:
-- in the 1st, Ichiro was trying to score from second on a base hit by John Olerud to leftcenter, and he was gunned down by Brad Wilkerson.
-- in the 2nd, Scott Spiezio drew a one-out walk, but was erased with Rich Aurilia on a strike-'em-out/throw-'em-out double play.
-- in the 3rd, Jolbert Cabrera was moved to third after Ichiro grounded out for the second out. Cabrera was caught napping too far off the third base bag and was picked off between third and home plate.
-- in the 4th, Edgar hit a fly ball to centerfield with one out, and Randy Winn tagged up from third. Endy Chavez rared back and fired toward the plate. Winn claimed that he reached over the tag, though the umpire claimed catcher Brian Schneider had tagged Winn on his arm.
-- in the 8th, Dan Wilson led off with a single. Willie Bloomquist was brought in to pinch-run, with Ichiro due up. Did I say pinch-run? I meant pinch-get picked off. Ichiro would then single as a big cloud of South Kitsap Wolf pride hung over the Safe.
What you just read were five instances (count 'em, five), where the Mariners had some unconventional ways of getting their runners out on the basepaths. This wasn't futility here, folks. This wasn't Olerud grounding into an inning-ending double play. This was a smattering of pickoff plays and guys getting nailed at the plate. How do you think the fans felt in the ballpark watching those first four plays happen in four consecutive innings?
I know Ryan Franklin was great out there and everything, but that Expo team is just brutal at the plate. They had three runners in scoring position in the entire game. One instance was where Brad Wilkerson was moved to second on a more-than-likely idiotic 1st-inning bunt call by Expo manager Frank Robinson. Frank would get a dose of Mariner tonic, as Jose Vidro bounced out to move Wilkerson to third, and Tony Batista also grounded out (third out). Another runner in scoring position was stranded on a double play in the 2nd. Brad Wilkerson was left standing on second after his one-out double in the 8th.
Though Franklin got absolutely zero run support, his line was sparkling: 8 innings, no runs, five hits, two walks, four strikeouts, 99 pitches. Sure, it's the Expos he was facing, but it's something. Bonus points to Bob Melvin for putting in his best bullpen arm (Ed Guardado) to hold the game scoreless in the top of the 9th.
Did anyone almost shed a tear when Edgar was caught looking in the 9th (runner on first, nobody out)? Was I the only one that yelled "wring him up!" as the pitch from Livan flew into Brian Schneider's glove? I'm telling you, Edgar's just making me sad.
As for that 9th inning, the kudos have to go to John Olerud for actually getting the hit, and Hiram Bocachica as the pinch-runner, stealing second and getting himself into scoring position. An intentional walk to Rich Aurilia followed, and an unintentional walk to pinch-walker (wasn't a pinch-hitter here) Dave Hansen followed that. Pat Borders then got something he could catch up to, which I hope he would because it was Livan's 135th pitch of the game. Bases juiced, old guy, tired pitcher, game over. I know he's used to throwing a lot of pitches, but man...anything over about 125 is pretty ungodly.
Gameball: John Olerud. 3-for-4 with a double, and he got the ball rolling for the run in the 9th. He is now up to .262.
Goat: Bret Boone. 0-for-4 striking out twice and stranding three. The Boone is now at .227, and I wish I was talking about the TV show, and not Boone's average.
I'm bitter, but this series could have been Reds/Mariners. Instead, we got the game we saw tonight. Gakk. Now I don't even get a worthwhile diversion from cleaning out my apartment and apprehensively anticipating a six-week field camp.
Vargas. Moyer. Tomorrow.
The NHL handed out their 2004 set of individual awards. Here they be...
Hart Trophy (MVP) -- Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Ross Trophy (point scorer) -- Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Jennings Trophy (goals-against average) -- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
Vezina Trophy (goalie) -- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
Rocket Richard Trophy (goal scorer) -- Jarome Iginla, Calgary; Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta; Rick Nash, Columbus
Norris Trophy (defenseman) -- Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey
Calder Trophy (rookie) -- Andrew Raycroft, Boston
Selke Trophy (defensive forward) -- Kris Draper, Detroit
Lady Byng Trophy (gentlemanly) -- Brad Richards, Tampa Bay
Masterton Trophy (~comeback) -- Bryan Berard, Chicago
Adams Award (coach) -- John Tortorella, Tampa Bay
I'd have to say the only thing that surprised me about all of this was how wide of a margin Tortorella had over Darryl Sutter and Ron Wilson (San Jose). Then again, I'm pretty sure this voting took place before the end of the season, and therefore way before Calgary made their mark.
Also of note was that Martin St. Louis was the first since Wayne Gretzky in 1987 to get the triple-dip of the Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy, and Stanley Cup in the same year.
Also, the All-Star 1st team as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association...
LW - Markus Naslund, Vancouver
C - Joe Sakic, Colorado
RW - Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
D - Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey
D - Zdeno Chara, Ottawa
G - Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the Canuck news of the past week, notably that Stan Smyl (one of the greatest Canucks in franchise history if not THE greatest) has moved out from behind the bench in Manitoba to become director of player development for the Canucks. Also going on in the last week was the Canucks' annual postseason equipment sale (pictures included).
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Wade Miller was the guy having his way with the Mariners tonight, only having semi-jams in the following innings...
Runners on first and third, one out
-- John Olerud pops out in foul territory to the third baseman
-- Bret Boone walked to load the bases
-- Scott Spiezio flies out to the third baseman
-- Randy Winn doubles to lead off
-- Edgar chops one to Adam Everett at short (citing Jeremy). Mike Blowers on the grandpa station (ChainCast player problems again) said that the ball was to the right of Randy Winn enough to where he could be let off the hook if he broke for third. He did, and Everett nailed him at third
-- Olerud bounced into a double play
Really, that was about it. Miller retired nine straight from the 4th through 6th innings.
How did Freddy Garcia do? At his best, he set down 14 Astros in a row. He got into three turbulent innings in the game...
Bases loaded with nobody out
-- Richard Hidalgo whiffs
-- Brad Ausmus whiffs
-- Jason Lane flies out to left
DAAAAAAMN!! It doesn't quite make up for the bottom of the 8th yesterday when John Olerud hit a leadoff triple and could have put up a lawn chair, but still, that's clutch. He wouldn't be so lucky in the 3rd though.
-- Craig Biggio leads off with a double
-- Adam Everett muffs a bunt, and Garcia is able to nail him going to third (hat tip to Steve on this one)
-- Jeff Bagwell hits an RBI double
-- Jeff Kent flies out
-- Lance Berkman hits an RBI double
-- Morgan Ensberg walks
-- Richard Hidalgo hits an RBI single
-- Brad Ausmus flies out to right
Garcia's only other jam was in his final inning (8th) where he got out of a first-and-second-with-one-out jam (Ensberg whiff, Hidalgo flyout).
Is it safe to say that the Mariners' horrid offense will probably screw him out of an All-Star appearance? Tom Glasgow on the grandpa station was speculating about this, saying that the Mariners are probably one of those teams this year where only one player will be sent to the Midsummer Classic. If it's one player, it's going to be Ichiro. Yup, Freddy's screwed.
Two plays in particular drew attention after the game. One was the Randy Winn catch reaching over the wall in centerfield. Impressive, yes. It was nice to see. I know it's not fair to bring up Mike Cameron every time Randy Winn's centerfielding comes up, but let's be honest -- Mike Cameron probably would have been standing on top of the wall waiting for the ball to come down. The other play was Rich Aurilia's homer-turned-foul ball on a 2-1 count in the 7th. Amazingly, from what the postgamers said, the umpire that was straddling the third base line was the only one that got the call wrong, whereas the other three ended up overturning the call (correctly) when the four umpires were in conference after the play. Bob Melvin then got tossed (I want a written transcript of the argument so I can search for curse words), and Aurilia hit into a double play.
What a great way to head into an off day, right?
One last thing before I study for my final that takes place in 13 hours -- the new logo on TBS, the lower case letters over the half-circle, possibly indicating a smile (many sitcom reruns are on the network)...IT SUCKS!!! The logo makes me think I walked into the '70s or something, until I realize the picture quality is a lot better. I haven't had a chance to be this weird about a TV logo since TNT went from the red/yellow big 'N' logo to the ghetto circular logo we see now.
Back to business...
Gameball: Freddy Garcia. Edgar had two hits, but there's nowhere else to go again tonight. Eight innings, three runs, even hits, three walks, nine strikeouts, 117 pitches.
Goat: John Olerud. 0-for-4, stranding four. What more would you expect out of your cleanup hitter? Of the course, the fact this guy is batting cleanup isn't his fault, but rather the guy that is wearing the number 3 for this ballclub. By the way, if another number is retired throughout all of baseball like Jackie Robinson's 42, it should be number 3, no questions asked.
Livan. Franklin. Friday.
[Edit ~11:58p -- A little more of what I was going for on the Adam Everett fielders' choice in the 3rd.]
[Edit Thu ~2:07p -- I had my last final today, so I was a little slow to rectify the obvious fallacy I'd put up regarding the Adam Everett messed-up bunt.]
GET ALL OF IT!!!
A few notes on the game tonight:
--- Freddy Garcia is going to choke a bitch. What does he have to do to get some run support? Bueller? Bueller?
Unfortunately, Freddy will have to leave Seattle in order to get run support. I'm sorry that it has to be that way. But that's the way this franchise is.
--- So the Mariners leave the bases loaded (again) in the first inning. I'm not a gambling man, but maybe I should be. It was inevitable.
--- What in the hell was Randy Winn doing out in center field? So he made a nice catch to rob Richard Hidalgo of a home run. I saw Mike Cameron's robbing of Derek Jeter on April 7, 2000, and Randy Winn, YOU ARE NO MIKE CAMERON.
Case in point: In the 8th inning, he let Jeff Kent's ball drop in for a hit. It extended Kent's hitting streak to 24 games, which ties Tony Eusebio's club record set in 2000. In related news, Tony Eusebio and Lenny Webster are the same person.
--- In the 7th inning, Rich Aurillia was originally credited with a 2-run home run to left field. But third base umpire Dale Scott and crew got it right, and called it a foul ball. When I saw the play live, I knew it was foul. I've been to many games at Safeco Field and can see those things easily.
What does Aurillia do the first damn pitch after the HR-turned-foul?
HE GROUNDS INTO A 6-4-3 DOUBLE PLAY!!!
GET ALL OF THAT!!!
However, that's not the big story here. Bob Melvin decides to go out onto the field and act like an assclown. IT WAS FOUL, BOB!!! Melvin's little show was staged. He's trying to win a losing battle to get the fans to like him. And it's not working at all.
Folks, Melvin's style of managing simply doesn't work for this ballclub. All along, I felt that he would have been better suited managing for a rebuilding ballclub, not a contending ballclub like the Mariners. Of course, the 2004 Mariners are nowhere near contention. Well, they're in contention for baseball's worst record!
---The Mariners have not scored in 21 innings, dating back to Monday's ballgame. The M's were last shut out in two consecutive ballgames last September 3-4 at Tampa Bay. Yes, this offense sucks. Sure, they went up against Roger Clemens and Wade Miller. But that's not a good enough excuse. Maybe they'll score a few runs this weekend against the Expos. However, I'm not holding my breath.
That's how bad this offense is. Love on the rocks, it's no big surprise.
---Jim Deshaies is a great color man. He works on the Astros television broadcasts. The man is funny as hell. It's something that we as Mariners fans are not used to. Dave Valle and Dave Henderson are just painful to listen to. Ron Fairly, I can tolerate. I still have memories of hearing him call Griffey's home run in 1993 to tie the consecutive homers in consecutive games streak.
"THERE IT GOES, SEE YOU LATER! THE KID HAS DONE IT!"
Deshaies had some good commentary on the Mariners. He noted that as good as Freddy Garcia is, he has his usual bad inning. He said this right before the 3rd inning. And we know what happened.
This weekend the Mariners host the Montreal Expos in what should be a thrilling Interleague series. Check out these promotions for the thrilling Interleague series:
Friday, Hairmasters Class of 2004 Night
--- David and I were a small part of the inaugural Class night, which was on May 30, 2000. James Baldwin earned the 2-1 victory over the M's that night. Since then, the Class night has been a big tradition for Seattle-area schools, including Bremerton High School.
However, I don't see too many high school seniors at this game on Friday. Most of them will be graduating on Friday and the Mariners are a terrible baseball team right now. Bandwagonocity still exists in Seattle.
Saturday, Spider-Man 2 Night
--- The first 15,000 kids will pick up a Spider-Man 2 foam finger and mask.
Well, if I were 9 years old, I don't know if I want to be seen at Safeco Field either. So the masks should work out well. Hell, Kirsten Dunst could probably go 3-for-4 in this lineup. BRING IT ON!
I've seen the Spider-Man 2 promos and I have two words for our readers:
Just wait for this movie to come out on DVD. Most sequels are crap and Spider-Man 2 looks like, well, crap! Thank God that the Spider-Man 2 logos won't be on the bases this weekend.
Sunday, Little League wristbands
--- It seems like every other weekend at Safeco Field is Little League weekend.
The future talent of the Mariners will come from the Little Leaguers that come to Safeco. In 10-15 years, I could see this ballclub being a true Northwest team. There would be players from Yelm, Kalama, Cle Elum, Cheney, and Othello. YOU GOTTA LOVE THESE GUYS!!!
Yes, a thrilling Interleague series indeed. It sure beats having Ken Griffey, Jr. coming back to Seattle.
A few words before I go...
Day off Thursday. Which means the Mariners still won't score.
HOWEVER, if anyone out there comes to me and says it messes with RSS syndication feeds (I was wondering this as I sifted through the template), we might have to go back to what it was before, though that shouldn't be too hard.
We hope you've enjoyed the visual makoever that Sports and B's has gone through in the last few weeks. We now return you to the regular Sports and B's banter, already in progress.
Today, defensemen Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy, and executive Cliff Fletcher were elected to the 2004 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place this fall in Toronto.
Bourque (1979-2001 Boston and Colorado)
--- Five-time Norris Trophy winner
--- All-time leading scorer for defensemen (410 goals, 1,169 assists, 1,579 points)
--- Won Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Avalanche
Coffey (1980-2001 Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Detroit, Carolina, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston)
--- Three-time Norris Trophy winner
--- Second to Bourque in career scoring by a defensemen (396 goals, 1,135 assists, 1,531 points)
--- Won Stanley Cup four times (1984,1985,1987 with Oilers; 1991 with Penguins)
Murphy (1980-2001 Los Angeles, Washington, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Detroit)
--- Second all-time in games played by a defenseman (1,615 games)
--- Won Stanley Cup four times (1991 and 1992 with Penguins; 1997 and 1998 with Red Wings)
Fletcher (General Manager of the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs)
--- Won Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989; lost in Cup Finals in 1986 to Montreal
--- Drafted Mike Vernon, Al MacInnis, Gary Roberts, Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Theo Fleury
It is very hard to argue with the 2004 Hockey Hall of Fame class. All four men elected today were winners. While Bourque didn't win the Stanley Cup until his final season, he helped the Bruins make the playoffs in his first 17 seasons in Boston. The Bruins lost in the Cup Finals in 1988 and 1990. Coffey was one of many great players in Edmonton during the early to mid 1980s. Murphy was a key cog of those Penguins teams that won two consecutive Cups in 1991 and 1992. And Fletcher has been one of the most successful executives in hockey over the past 25 years.
NHL Awards will be announced tomorrow night in Toronto.
Yes, the Mariners and their fans get the joy of seeing the Expos this weekend, instead of seeing this guy, as originally scheduled.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
If you want it quick, let's look at the Mariner half of the 8th, with Brad Lidge pitching and the Houston Astros up 1-0...
- -- John Olerud TRIPLES to lead off when Craig Biggio misplays a ball (thanks to KJR for adding the Biggio part) (Willie Bloomquist pinch-runs)
-- Bret Boone pops an insufficiently deep fly ball to rightfield, Bloomquist stays at third
-- Scott Spiezio is caught looking
-- Dave Hansen is brought off the bench to pinch-hit for Rich Aurilia, who is 6-for-his-last-19. Hansen whiffs.
Of course, the other obvious story to this game was the pitching, and on both sides, surprisingly.
I can't help but feel cheated knowing that Mariner fans have drawn Pedro and Roger Clemens in close succession and have seen both in less-than-vintage form. Pedro obviously wasn't Pedro when he faced the Mariners, and the Rocket tonight was rocketing balls in places other than the strike zone, as he uncharacteristically walked five batters in addition to his seven strikeouts. It looked like Roger was going to be himself after the Mariners were set down on eight pitches in the first (both Ichiro and Edgar hacked at the first pitch), but that first inning turned out to be Roger's easiest inning of the night. Clemens allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in four straight innings (2nd through 5th). Roger struck out the side in the 3rd, and stranded Edgar at second in the 4th. He managed to load the bases with two out in the 5th and got Edgar to fly out to right. Also, Roger stranded Boone at second after he had hit a one-out double in the 6th.
Time for the other half of the pitching. Time for another great starting pitching outing thrown down the drain. Joel Pineiro finished with 117 pitches on the night, making it less surprising that he finished eight innings after he threw 17 pitches in the 1st, 19 in the 2nd, 19 in the 4th, and another 19 in the 7th. Joel really only had one jam to escape, in the 2nd inning when Jeff Kent hit a leadoff double and was stranded at third with one out. The one jam Joel didn't escape was in the 7th when two runners were in scoring position with one out. Morgan Ensberg's fly ball to left managed to score Jeff Bagwell from third, and wouldn't you know it, Randy Winn and his much-ballyhooed horrible arm were in leftfield tonight (Hiram Bocachica started in centerfield). Of course, KJR now tells me that there was apparently a play at the plate (so it's not wholly Winn's fault) where Dan Wilson didn't catch the ball cleanly and Jeff Bagwell may have gotten a hand in on the ball, though apparently he would have been out by ten feet if Dan fielded the ball cleanly...I guess I need a visual representation.
Steve Sandmeyer is now saying that Scott Spiezio and Dave Hansen (two lefties) were so afraid of Brad Lidge's fastball that they were beat badly on the pitch they should have been looking for (slider down and in). Steve also tells us that Edgar has struck out 50 times this year.
Inexplicably, Bob Melvin brought in Shigetoshi Hasegawa to hold the game close in the 9th, obviously a case in which you could argue for the summoning of Eddie Guardado. Shig made sure to allow two walks, one of which was on four pitches.
I didn't get to the Mariners' 9th yet. The 8th was their BIIIIG chance, but in the 9th, Dan Wilson got aboard with a leadoff single and Jolbert Cabrera (pinch-runner) was frozen two outs later. Randy Winn singled to move Cabrera to second, setting up Edgar, who fell behind 0-2 and whiffed. Yes, Edgar comes up in a key situation once again, and it's getting to be a little too familiar.
Just to add, in the 5th, with Rich Aurilia aboard on a leadoff single, Dan Wilson bunts on 1-0 and pops out to first base. This seems impossible because after all, he IS the BEST BUNTER ON THE TEAM.
If you were wondering how a 1-0 game could go three hours, you got your answer tonight.
Sure, it's Roger tonight, but that doesn't mean it isn't a tough one to lose. That 8th inning...yikes. What more is there to say?
Gameball: Joel Pineiro. There's really nowhere else to go here. Eight innings, one run, three hits, three walks, four strikeouts. When I see a pitcher get screwed like this, it reminds me of a day in 2000 when Jeremy, friend Grant, and I saw Freddy Garcia in the 76 station across from the Safe before the game filling up his car. He started that day, threw eight innings, gave up two runs, and lost to the White Sox. The Mariners got beat that day by Sean Lowe. Yes, Sean Lowe. Does anyone fully realize that Joel is 1-8 on the year?
Goat: Edgar Martinez. 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, stranding SIX. Frankly, it's sad seeing this guy fail in clutch situations, and it seems it's happening a lot more often this season.
Miller. Garcia. Tomorrow.
[Edit Wed ~12:31a -- Roger stranded Boone after a one-out double in the 6th, just to clarify. Someone out there may have been wondering what inning it was, maybe had a bet riding on it or something, who knows...]
[Edit Wed ~3:58p -- Spiezio was actually caught looking in the 8th, contrary to what both SportsLine and ESPN had in their game logs last night, which was that he'd whiffed.]
But what is the diversion, you ask? I went over to the indispensable Retrosheet to see if the detail in the boxscores has gotten better. It has, to the extent that I'm looking at play-by-play of the Mariners' 2000 ALCS with the Yankees. Just so I can make myself sick, let's relive the disheartening events of October 17, 2000.
Let me set the scene for you. The Yankees have a 3-2 series lead going into Game 6 in the Bronx. The Mariners open up a 4-0 lead on RBI doubles by Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez in the first, and a two-run homer by Carlos Guillen in the fourth. John Halama then falls off the wagon in the Yankee half of the 4th, allowing five straight baserunners and three runs, all with one out. The Mariners lead 4-3 at that point, and that score holds up until the bottom of the 7th. Ladies and gentlemen, I now bring you the bottom of the 7th from Game 6 of the 2000 ALCS, courtesy of the good folks at Retrosheet.
- YANKEES 7TH: JAVIER CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING LF); CAMERON REPLACED MARTIN (PLAYING CF); VIZCAINO BATTED FOR BROSIUS; PANIAGUA REPLACED TOMKO (PITCHING); Vizcaino singled to second; same play as on Tino Martinez in the sixth; Knoblauch out on a sacrifice bunt (catcher to second) [Vizcaino to second]; Jeter singled to left [Vizcaino to third]; RHODES REPLACED PANIAGUA (PITCHING); Justice homered [Vizcaino scored, Jeter scored]; upper deck; Williams singled to right; Martinez doubled [Williams to third]; Posada was walked intentionally; O'Neill singled to right [Williams scored, Martinez scored, Posada to second]; MESA REPLACED RHODES (PITCHING); Sojo walked [Posada to third, O'Neill to second]; Vizcaino lined out on a sacrifice fly to left [Posada scored]; Knoblauch walked [O'Neill to third, Sojo to second]; Jeter was called out on strikes; 6 R, 6 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Mariners 4, Yankees 9.
The Mariners haven't been that close since, y'all, and we all know that shouldn't be the case.
Later, watch as I try to use game logs to dissect Roger Clemens' nonsharpitude tonight.
[Edit ~9:14p -- Just being militant with my tense in the setup paragraph, and stressing that the doubles were in fact RBI doubles.]
Originally, MLB had scheduled the return of Ken Griffey, Jr. to Seattle, as Jeremy chronicled last November.
But evidently the MLB brass thought it would be better to have another installment in the heated battle of Ohio (notice I didn't capitalize "battle" because it's just not worthy of capitalization) rather than have possibly the single most important athlete in Seattle sports history return to the city he helped captivate for a decade. Also, they didn't want to tick off the Cleveland Indians, who I guess requested this.
But like Tom asked last night, what would be better for baseball? Some series between a lower-tier Cleveland team and an upstart Cincy team, or Ken Griffey Jr. coming back to the city in which he grew up as an athlete?
Come on, MLB. You know that when Alex came back to Seattle, there certainly were some ratings involved in that. Everyone was talking about it. If Junior came back to the northwest, it'd be the same thing.
I know one thing for sure. I won't be talking about the Cleveland/Cincinnati series as much as I'd talk about Griffey's return, and I think baseball fans would pretty much agree with me on that.
So yeah, we could be seeing Junior and the Reds this weekend, but we're left with...the Montreal Expos, a "double-A team," in Glasgow's words.
Score early and hang on. It's been a large part of the Mariners' winning ways in most of their run of contention over the past few years, but has shown up very rarely this season. Of course, if your pitching staff throws a shutout, it helps a lot too.
Clint Nageotte mercifully broke the completely meaningless same-five-guys-starting-on-the-mound streak with six fairly wild innings. However, all the wildness did not amount to any runs, a surprising thing considering the Mariners' usual run of luck this season.
The Mariners' three-run third made for their highest-scoring first inning this season. They scored their three runs all with one out, on a walk and four straight singles (surprise). The Mariners played a tiny bit of add-on, as Rich Aurilia doubled home Jolbert Cabrera with two out in the 3rd, and Scott Spiezio homered in the 5th. According to Bob Melvin after the game, Spiezio was celebrating the wrap of the first Sandfrog music video. I haven't heard more than five consecutive seconds, but I'll go on a limb and say Sandfrog sounds as easy on the ears as Alanis Morissette on four days of no sleep. As a weirdly placed aside, four of the Mariners' 11 hits were singles.
Let's see how many blown scoring chances the Mariners had tonight, because let's face it, it's always fun.
Okay, it's splitting hairs here, but with three runs already in and runners on first and second with one out, Cabrera whiffed and Aurilia flew out. However, the Mariners did chase Brandon Duckworth from the game. Duckworth's ERA went WAAAAAY UP!! OH, HEMOGLOBIN!!! Okay, I just bit an old Craig Kilborn line from SportsCenter. Sue me. I'll say it: SportsCenter hasn't seen more than two anchors better than Craig Kilborn since he left to host The Daily Show long ago.
First and third with one out. Randy Winn gets caught stealing. Edgar walks, then John Olerud hits into a 4-6 fielders' choice.
Ichiro leads off with a double. Winn flies out, Edgar whiffs, Olerud bounces out to third.
The Mariners load the bases with one out against Ricky Stone. Cabrera bounces one back to Stone on the mound, who forces Olerud out at home. Rich Aurilia takes a 1-1 pitch in the dirt which gets by former Mariner farmhand Raul Chavez. Chavez recovers the ball in time to nail Bret Boone coming in from third.
Back to Nageotte, his outing today was positively non-Mecheriffic. No major blowups, no appearances of mental breakdown, no speculation from the booth over whether his mechanics were off...all in all a nice break that I'm sure all Mariner fans were getting sick and tired of going through every five days. The FSNNW crew spotted Nageotte talking with Price in the dugout and appearing to get some treatment on a finger injury on his throwing hand. Niehaus was thinking it might be a blister, but apparently it was a cuticle. Nothing major. Getting a blister in your first Major League start would reeeally suck. A cause to raise the eyebrows came about when Bob Melvin trotted Nageotte out there for the 6th with his pitch count at 98. Luckily, Nageotte only had a nine-pitch 6th inning and wasn't extended like Joel Pineiro or Ryan Franklin have been recently. The kid's young; you don't want to bust his arm, or go nuts like the instance in Jeremy's post three below this one. Nageotte struck out eight and walked three, which contributed along with six hits to ramping up his pitch count.
How about that Julio Mateo? He got called on tonight and threw the final three innings for a cheap save. This was his 5th straight outing without giving up a run. That span totals out to 10 2/3 innings with five hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.
The Mariners got one. They more than likely won't tomorrow, and they'll look to Freddy Garcia on Wednesday in the rubber game against Wade Miller. Until then, enjoy the Rocket.
Gameball: Julio Mateo. I rattled off his stats and his stretch above of late, but since everyone would probably give Scott Spiezio props for his 3-for-3 with a homer (but no groceries for the chosen sweepstakes contestant), I went with Julio.
Goat: Jolbert Cabrera. One day after drawing the walk-off walk, he goes 0-for-4, strikes out once, and strands six. Looks like there's a Jol in that swing tonight, eh?
Clemens. Pineiro. Tomorrow.
[Edit Tue ~2:15a -- The word "their" wasn't originally in the first paragraph. Might have screwed somebody up.]
Congratulations to John Tortorella, Dave Andreychuk, and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning on their first Stanley Cup. Congrats to the Calgary Flames for getting this far when they probably had no business being there (especially after the Vancouver series, bastards!). The bottom line in Game 7 was that the Flames seemed like they could never get themselves or the puck into open ice. They were never hitting their spots. Not until they got the fortunate penalty did they score and finally get a burst of energy. If they had two extra minutes, they probably would have tied the game. Years from now, the Calgary fans will always wonder about the Martin Gelinas inconclusive non-goal in Game 6. I guess the sad thing is that the fans that were so obviously more rabid had their team's glory upstaged by the team with bandwagon newbie fans. Not that there weren't some Flame fans that weren't newbies, but hey, at least their team has some history. If there's one good thing out of this, it's that the Flame fans won't have the Cup to brag about next year (or whenever it may be). They'll be absolutely unbearable to begin with, and they do have that first-round series to brag about, but at least they didn't get that Cup.
I'll say it, and I'm being impartial here: the Calgary/Vancouver series was the best of the playoffs. Sure Calgary had an off game in Game 1, and Vancouver had a stinker in Game 4, but how can you argue with Game 6 going to triple overtime and Game 7 going to overtime? I'm bitter, and I think Vancouver should have had that series in six games, but even with Vancouver never being able to play their game in that series, it was still a great series.
The Lightning defeated the Flames 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night. Ruslan Fedotenko scored both Tampa Bay goals. Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy, scoring 12 goals during the postseason, including 7 game-winners.
However, what I will take out of this Stanley Cup Playoff year is that Dave Andreychuk finally won a Cup. He has played 1,759 games in his 22-year career (1,597 regular season games). To put that into semi-interesting terms, I was seven months old when Andreychuk began his NHL career.
Andreychuk has played in Buffalo, Toronto, New Jersey, Boston, Colorado, and Tampa Bay. His best years were with the Sabres, where he spent two stints (1982-1993, 2000-2001). He has come close to the Cup Finals on two occasions (1993 with Toronto losing to Los Angeles in the Conference Finals; 2000 with Colorado losing to Dallas in the Conference Finals). If this was Andreychuk's final NHL game, what a way to go out. Seeing Andreychuk raise the Cup was an incredible moment.
I don't care about the current labor situation at this point. Let's appreciate the fact that Dave Andreychuk's name is now off that "most games played without winning a Stanley Cup" list.
Monday, June 07, 2004
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Gene Stephenson will forever second guess himself for a decision he made Sunday involving a pitcher.
But so should Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. A day after getting 6 2/3 innings and 99 pitches out of sophomore right-hander Charley Boyce, Van Horn went to the well again in the Razorbacks' 4-3 regional-clinching victory over Wichita State in Sunday's second game between the two teams.
Boyce was unbelievable, holding WSU to one run in 7 2/3 innings of relief while throwing another 104 pitches.
That's 203 pitches in back-to-back days. Only time will tell whether there is any permanent damage to Boyce's arm.
Arkansas will play Florida State in the Super Regionals, beginning this Friday in Fayetteville. Before the tournament began, the Razorbacks earned the #8 seed nationally. Boyce was named the regional's most outstanding player.
"Look, obviously we're two different types of programs," Stephenson said. "We would never pitch a guy like that, under any circumstances or for any victory, and I don't care if it's the national championship. We would never do that. Now, does that make us right and them wrong? No, because they win. It's frustrating, but we would never do that."
Wichita State is a different type of program. Wichita State is the type of program that condones its pitchers throwing at opposing hitters, who are in the on-deck circle. Former Shockers All-American pitcher Ben Christensen was recently signed by the Mariners. If you don't know the story of his incident with Evansville's Anthony Molina, read John McGrath's column from May 30.
Reading Bob Lutz's column today, it was full of homerism. You know damn well that if the roles were reversed, it would be fine and dandy. But that's typical of people from hellholes like Wichita, Kansas to make asses out of themselves.
Now, keep in mind that just because I'm in the state of Arkansas doesn't mean that I'm a Razorbacks fan. But I've never been a fan of Wichita State. Maybe that's why I get enjoyment out of Darren Dreifort's career.
Stephenson and the Shockers faithful can bitch all they want. But the fact is, they are sitting at home in Wichita, Kansas.
I know absolutely nothing about this particular Tuiasosopo's skill set and everything, but with the Mariners drafting some local kid, a shortstop out of high school...I just don't know about this...
This kid could well bolt and go play Husky football if he knows what's good for him. The payoff is probably more immediate. Husky glory within four years, or Mariner glory from a 93rd pick within God-knows-how-many years.
None of this should reek to me, but for some reason it does. I'm sure others will cover the draft much more intensively than I as the days progress...
[Edit ~1:13p --
Post part 2
Matt Tuiasosopo is apparently only choosing either baseball or football, and therefore will not try to play minor-league ball in the summer and Husky football in the spring.
Matt was on KJR saying that he should know within the next couple days which sport he picks.
This brings up something...if the Mariners didn't go into this knowing that Matt can use "I could go leave and play football" as leverage, there's going to be hell to pay. While I don't think the Mariner front office are complete idiots to realize this, they're going to catch some major heat if they don't sign this guy.
Hence, the Mariners are probably screwed either way. They're going to have to overpay Matt to even get him into the system (or to not play football), and if they don't he walks. They could overpay him and have him stink it up in the minors. Or they could let him walk.
But I think the Mariners player development people may have realized one thing...
Michael Garciaparra sucks.]
Sunday, June 06, 2004
But let's get to the game here.
This didn't look like one of Jamie Moyer's sharpest outings by any means, as he featured a lot of deep counts in his five innings and 101 pitches. He threw five or more pitches to 12 of the 25 batters he faced. Since I was driving back to Ellensburg during the game, I'll take a guess and say he was really nibbling on the corners against these Chicago bats.
Moyer had a couple of jams, and either got out of them or exhibited damage control when runs were scored...
Paul Konerko was on third with one out and didn't score.
With two runs already across, Moyer had a situation with two runners in scoring position and one out with the 2-3-4 hitters coming to the plate. He whiffed Willie Harris, walked Frank Thomas (picked the right guy to walk), and whiffed Carlos Lee, he of the hitting streak.
Ron Villone then came in and pitched 2 2/3 not-so-bad innings, though Shigetoshi Hasegawa needed only one pitch to push Villone's leadoff bean across the plate to give the White Sox an insurance run in the half-inning following Randy Winn's mammoth shot off the Hit it Here Cafe (a la the stretch run last year when he seemed to be the only Mariner that didn't do worse than in the first).
The 9th came, and Billy Koch came in. He had Hiram Bocachica, Ichiro, and Randy Winn to face. He struck out Bocachica, handling the number 9 hitter as he should. Ichiro then singled. Ichiro took some advantage of Koch's high leg kick and, get this, STOLE second. He ran!! Oh my!! Randy Winn then hit a double (I think this was the ball that got by Lee and rolled to the wall in leftfield) and Ichiro scored. John Olerud then walked (HE WAS BATTING THIRD!!!!), with Randy Winn nabbing third on the full count pitch. Billy Koch then tried to sneak a high 1-0 fastball past Bret Boone. As I said earlier, that might have worked two years ago. Tie game. The Mariners pulled a double steal on an 0-2 count with Edgar at the plate. With the two runners now in scoring position with one out, Chicago decided to put Edgar on, even with two strikes on him. This brought Jolbert Cabrera to the plate, who didn't even get a pitch to hit on 3-1. He got a ball.
I wanted to reach through the television screen and strangle Jon Miller (though I like him) after he said that the Mariners were "revisiting" their shenanigans of three years ago. This team was 20-34 coming into the game, at the one-third mark of the season. That's a breakneck pace of 60-102.
I think it's time for the Mariners to go for the glory again. This time, let's make it the glory of a 46-116 record. That's right, 116 losses. Come on, team, enough of this false hope. If you're gonna suck, suck bad.
This brings me to an old Late Report soundbyte off of an old Almost Live! episode. John Keister was reporting that the Mariners had just drafted Cha Seung Baek. The punchline was that in a later round, the Mariners drafted a pitcher by the name of I Suk Baad (picture of Bobby Ayala shown).
Who's ready to see the Astros light up Joel Pineiro on Tuesday night? Roger Clemens is going that night; there's no way in hell the Mariners are winning that game. They've probably already lost the mental game for Tuesday.
Gameball: Randy Winn. I can't much argue with 4-for-5 with a homer, double, and two singles. Bret Boone following his day yesterday with a 2-for-4 outing wasn't bad either.
Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-4, striking out once and stranding four. Say, friends, Dan ain't the man anymore. One of these days when I get back from field camp (July 24th or so), I might do an investigation on whether the Mariners need a crappy-hitting Dan Wilson to be good. Obviously, early in this season, Wilson raked, and the team sucked. Now it appears that Wilson is sucking, but let's see how the team does.
Duckworth. Nageotte. Tomorrow.
[Comment-aided edit Mon ~11:50a -- Ichiro singled, and therefore did not walk, in the 9th. That's why I'm not getting paid a red cent to do this, folks.]
I was piddling around in Lind Hall a couple weeks ago and saw a little flyer for one of those long bike races, which isn't unusual because there's a good load of avid cyclists and outdoorsy people on campus. The race is the Dam2Dam 2004.
What's special about the race? Maybe I should give you the full title as it reads on the flyer: Dam2Dam/Thumbs Up Bike Tour/To benefit the Mike Utley Foundation/2004.
Before I go further, I'll give you a paragraph from the page
- Mike Utley was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1989 and became their starting right guard in his rookie season. He was injured in the Los Angeles Rams game on November 17, 1991 when he fractured his 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae. Mikes' courageous "Thumbs Up" gesture as he was carried from the field has come to symbolize his fighting spirit.
So if you're an avid cyclist and can get up to Lincoln Rock State Park in East Wenatchee on September 25th, feel free to go support a good cause. There are prizes involved too, in case you needed any more incentive. To those wondering, from what I've read, the course is a U-turn and its length depends on whether you want to go 25, 50, or 100 miles.
Anyway, I saw bits and pieces of the first half of the Mariner game, long enough to see the Mariners tie the game at 2. The Bret Boone homer I did not see live, but did see on the reel.
Also, I was able to listen to Baseball's Best Postgame Show, where there were definitely some issues. Jason Puckett had to tell producer Tyler Orsborn (sp?) multiple times back at the station to take the echo out of his headset. Also, Jason attempted to take a couple of phone calls, which the listeners could hear, but which Jason could not hear. End result: Jason Puckett had to fly solo on Baseball's Best Postgame Show. He did all right, with only some locker room clips and Tony Garassi toward the end of the show to bail him out. No callers, though. I remember this happened once with Steve Sandmeyer, but people just plain weren't calling him.
So...how do I ail myself out for post material if I didn't actually see most of the game? Scoring chances, of course...
1st inning (scored)
Ichiro draws a leadoff walk, moves to second on a Randy Winn groundout, and scores on an Edgar double. Edgar is stranded on second.
3rd inning (didn't score)
Ichiro leads off with a double and moves to third on Winn's infield single. Edgar is caught looking. John Olerud whiffs, but Winn takes second on the third strike. Bret Boone walks, then Rich Aurilia bounces out to short.
4th inning (scored)
Hiram Bocachica leads off with a walk and moves to second on Willie Bloomquist's single. Pat Borders bunts and Ichiro hits a sufficiently deep ball to score Bocachica. Winn grounds out.
5th inning (scored)
Olerud draws a one-out walk and Boone puts a 2-2 pitch into the leftfield bleachers.
One could say the Mariners were incredibly lucky that Boone's homer made it 4-2 since they only got two baserunners the rest of the way after the homer (Aurilia single right after the homer, and a Bocachica 8th-inning walk). The Mariners touched up Scott Schoeneweis a little, though they really could have roughed him up in the 3rd. For the final three innings, though, the Mariners were shut down by the likes of Mike Jackson and Cliff Politte. They're lucky Boone hit the homer, because how else does seven hits seem like a good thing? Holy crap, I didn't realize that Bret Boone is hitting .222. Damn. Jason Puckett suggested that maybe the health of his grandfather as well as issues with his wife (I'd have to investigate this, that's the first time I've heard anything about it) may have affected him mentally and in turn affected his game in some manner.
Did anyone like the lineup submitted by the thousand reject monkeys that couldn't type Shakespeare? Olerud cleanup? The bottom third of Bocachica, Pat Borders, and Bloomquist? Those Killer B's would only kill rallies, not the baseball.
Ryan Franklin went seven fairly solid innings, giving up two runs on six hits, walking three and fanning four on 103 pitches, telling us once again that he was extremely dependant on his defense. After throwing a horrid 24-pitch 1st inning, Ryan would settle down over his final six. He allowed only one runner to get into scoring position from the 2nd through the 7th, and that was on Paul Konerko's leadoff double in the 7th. Sometimes I don't know how Ryan Franklin is getting the job done, but when he gets it done, he gets it done. Of course, it helps when he doesn't get bitten by the long ball.
As for the bullpen, JJ Putz tilted the crap-per-time ratiometer, walking the only two men he faced in the 8th, in his best Shigetoshi Hasegawa impression. Julio Mateo set down the next two guys he faced (could he be coming around slowly?), and Eddie Guardado came in to record a four-out save. Eddie walked his first batter to load the bases, but hey, from what I know, that's part of an Eddie-type save. He forced a Konerko to end the 8th, and had a hitless 9th, though with a Miguel Olivo walk. It's gotta be something with Eddie, but man, the guy's fun to watch.
So...did anyone like the whole thing where Hiram Bocachica started in centerfield and Randy Winn started in left? How does Randy Winn take this? Does he get ticked off and start sucking? Could they just move Raul Ibanez to rightfield when he comes back and just move Ichiro to center, which has made perfect sense to me since last winter?
Two baseball notes on the semi-local to local level...
-- that thing the other day where the Giants cut Jeffrey Hammonds also meant that Central Kitsap graduate Todd Linden is back up with the big club
-- Mike McKnight, i.e., my high school baseball coach, is stepping down from that post. I think this means he sticks around as head football coach though. The picture they had of him in the Bremerton Patriot (the non-Sun indy rag) did appear to show him with the pencil over his right ear; no surprise there.
-- As I drove past Cheney Stadium on the way home, the sign outside said that today was T-Man Dysfunctional Family Day. Can anyone explain this to me? The Mariners' "family-friendly" approach apparently doesn't reach beyond the Safe, because no one can convince that the T-Man did something that could be "family-friendly." The guy can get pretty raunchy, and I know that not only from KUBE, but also from his short-but-mythical stint as a night show host on KJR.
Gameball: Bret Boone. This isn't just for the home run, because that'd be too easy. For a guy that's been atrocious for a while, he was 1-for-2 with two walks (and a token strikeout). He got on base three times, which of course means he didn't hit into an out three times. It's a start for The Boone.
Goat: JJ Putz. How much longer until he gets Meche'd? Ten pitches, two balls (two walks). Who wants George Sherrill or Bobby Madritsch??
Loaiza. Moyer. Later today.