Saturday, August 14, 2004


Some of you already know about the Mariners blog at the Seattle P-I.

But get ready for the brand new Seahawks blog at the P-I.

Mike Thompson is running the show. He also runs the M's blog as well. Mike's a good guy. He's supported us and we've supported him.

So there you go. Visit the brand new Seattle P-I Seahawks blog. Besides, the P-I is the best Seattle paper for Seahawks coverage.

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The Yankees have not lost a series at Safeco Field since the 2000 season. According to Conan O'Brien, the year 2000 was when men landed on Mars and were edged out for the cover of Time Magazine that week by Jewel. With today's 6-4 win, the Yankees increased their leading-after-eight-innings record to a mere 880-26 (.971) since the 1994 season. That's mostly the Mariano Rivera tenure as closer, but there was some John Wetteland action as closer in that span also.

Jamie Moyer got two quick outs in the first before Gary Sheffield mashed one a few rows above the manual scoreboard in leftfield on the first pitch (NYY 1-0). The Mariner bullpen would later find a creative way to keep Sheffield from hitting homers. Four pitches later, it was Bernie's turn, as he managed to reach the bleacher seats in left, just inside the foul pole (NYY 2-0).

Ichiro led off with a walk in the bottom of the 1st. Randy Winn was caught looking, Ichiro was frozen between first and second, and John Flaherty gunned the ball to Derek Jeter at second. Jeter pump faked Ichiro enough times, then beat him to the first base bag. I don't like Jeter much, but that's probably a play that you'd want to teach your little middle infielder. Of course, you'd have to be coaching a team or raising a kid who plays middle infield.

How would the Mariners fare against Yankee midseason acquisition and toast of NYC Esteban Loaiza? They almost got to him early. In the 2nd, Raul Ibanez singled with one out and reached second on a 2-2 wild pitch to Bucky Jacobsen. Bucky put a ball on the ground, but right to the shortstop; Raul had to hold at second. Dan Wilson would whiff to leave Raul at second.

In the 3rd, Derek Jeter did some more infuriating things. He battled back from 0-2 to double on a 3-2 pitch. He stole third base on the first pitch to Sheffield. Sheffield grounded out to Boone, and Jeter scored (NYY 3-0).

The Mariner offense finally put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the 3rd. Jose Lopez hit a one-out double to left (I think this was the play where Hideki Matsui called off Derek Jeter and backed off at the last second) and went to third on a hacktastic first-pitch Ichiro groundout to John Olerud at first. Randy Winn walked, and Edgar Martinez singled up the middle to score Lopez (NYY 3-1).

In the 5th, the Mariners would put together a more sustained rally against Loaiza after Lopez led off with a homer to the base of that staircase leading from the concourse over the bullpen (staircase had no net shielding it in 2000, NYY 3-2). Ichiro singled. Randy Winn fouled off six pitches in his at-bat en route to a single of his own, moving Ichiro to third. Edgar walked to load the bases with nobody out. Bret Boone didn't quite get all of it (he's not the only one) and hit a fly ball deep enough to center to score Ichiro and move Winn to third (score 3-3). Raul Ibanez then hit another fly ball to score Winn and give the Mariners the lead (SEA 4-3). Bucky got aboard on an Enrique Wilson misplayed grounder, but would be forced out at second on a Dan Wilson ground ball to end the inning. Loaiza gave up a leadoff walk in the 6th to Justin Leone and got a fielder's choice out of Lopez before getting pulled for CJ Nitkowski. An Ichiro lineout and a Winn fielder's choice followed.

Moyer gave up a one-out double to Enrique Wilson in the 7th, the first hit Moyer had surrendered since Derek Jeter's leadoff double in the third. That's a span of 14 batters, for anyone wondering. Unfortunately, John Flaherty doubled to tie the game at 4-4. Jamie Moyer would not come out for the 8th, and would not figure in the decision (most importantly, he wouldn't win). His line: 7 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 116 (there's that forsaken number again) pitches (70 strikes).

So with the game tied, who does Bob Melvin call in from the bullpen to keep the game close? Why, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, of course!! Who else? Shig's first pitch to Sheffield nailed him right in the thigh. His fourth pitch to Bernie was mashed off the face of the wall in centerfield. Shig was pulled after five pitches in favor of George Sherrill. Sherrill would get Matsui to bounce out to first and hold the runners. Ruben Sierra was walked to put the inning-ending double play in order. John Olerud hit a rolling single to rightfield to score Sheffield and Bernie (NYY 6-4). How fitting. Months in a Mariner uniform and he can't hit, then he goes to New York and Don Mattingly apparently finds something in his swing, and now it's off to the races. Totally rumor-based here, and I was in the sticks of Oregon when Olerud was released: Olerud blocked a trade to the Giants, from what I've heard. Somewhere in there he said he wanted what was best for his family. Is east coast over west coast (i.e., where he lives) really better for his family? I'm just sayin'... That said, the warm welcome of the crowd was well-deserved, as was Moyer and Wilson deciding to have a "conversation" when Olerud came to the plate.

Clint Nageotte nearly lost his mind again in the 9th. He walked John Flaherty to lead off. Miguel Cairo laid down a bunt to move Flaherty over. Jeter bounced out to Leone. Sheffield was beaned once again, this time on an 0-1 pitch. For the record, Gary Sheffield saw eight total pitches in the game over a span of five plate appearances. He was beaned by two of the last three pitches he saw. Nageotte would gain a little composure, even fooling Bernie with his breaking ball before getting a whiff.

The Mariners faced Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon, and Mariano Rivera in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, respectively. All three pitches allowed baserunners. Quantrill had two on with two out, but he got out of it, thanks to Derek Jeter's diving stab on a ball up the middle. It helped that the ball was hit by Dan Wilson also. Gordon allowed a leadoff single to Leone, but that didn't get anywhere. Rivera allowed a single to Edgar (what's new?) and mowed down the next three hitters (again, what's new?).

Gameball: Jose Lopez. 2-for-4 with a double and a homer out of the 9-slot in the order. Why the hell was Dan Wilson batting seventh? Wilson stranded five runners today, and somehow is not getting the goat. Anyway, it's good to see Lopez get some hits, and seeing him hit for power is even better. In a horribly obvious way to look at Lopez' output today, he had six total bases. It would probably take Ichiro at least two games to come up with that same number. Yes, I want more doubles out of Ichiro.

Goat: Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Well, I've self-imposed my own rule to have only players in these gameball/goat decisions. If I relaxed the rule, I'd put Bob Melvin as the goat. In any event, Shigster threw five pitches and two runners ended up in scoring position. In a flashback moment, I remember giving a lot of these to Shig, Mike Myers, and Kevin Jarvis for exactly the same thing that happened today.

Now to somewhat of a departure from the post. Every few days, I find a local unoccupied field or one with the sprinklers not running. My bat bag from high school is still in the trunk of my car. I take out said bag and head to the field. I stand near home plate, toss baseballs to myself, and hit them with an old Louisville Slugger Omaha bat (33" 28oz, now illegal in high school) that's about five years old. The whole occasion is somewhat of a solo blast-off, just what the doctor ordered for socially reclusive baseball lovers like myself. So, if anyone here is close to Kitsap County and has a lot of time on his/her hands, I have a challenge for you. Go to the Pendergast fields on the far western edge of Bremerton, up the hill from the Maaco, Parr Ford (visible from SR-3), and the Washington State Patrol building. Assuming no one is using the field with the scoreboard on it (pretty sure it's field 2), go to it, and stand at or near the plate with your baseballs at the ready (I use six because I haven't bothered to buy more). Since there is a "you need permission to use these fields" sign, it's probably best to wear sneakers instead of wearing spikes and tearing the place up since, in their opinion, you're not supposed to be on the fields anyway. Finally, toss baseballs up to yourself and hit them, aiming for the gap in leftcenter, to the right of the scoreboard. The challenge? If you can bounce one up onto the path behind the trees, consider yourself my equal. If you blast one further than that, then you're more powerful than me, but you also probably lost the baseball in the process in a dense area of stickerbushes. I don't know how far the fence is at that point, it's probably just 290 or 300 feet or so, probably just a flyout to Randy Winn. Anyway, I hope someone takes the challenge. Also, even though the fence is definitely not of Major League proportions, a ball over the fence can give you a quick ego boost anyway.

Basically the summary of that last paragraph: everyone I knew from high school that could throw me some live-arm has gotten the hell out of Bremerton.

Oh yeah, the Yankees and Mariners...yup, Alex won't be playing. Also, it seems damn humid at my house right now, probably on account of the clouds that rolled in. One more game against the Yankees tomorrow, and it's a trifecta of Royals, and Tigers, and Rays, oh my!!

Brown. Meche. Tomorrow.

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Hopefully in the next month and a half, there will be more "Fire Melvin"-related signs at Safeco Field.

One problem with that sign though: The Yankees won't take Bob Melvin.

To paraphrase Lawrence from "Office Space" in his conversation with Peter: "Yeah, I don't want you f**king up my life either, man"

And Alex Rodriguez is a little biggity bitch. (Yes, I know why he isn't playing. Save it.)

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In recent years, football fans have heard about the "Madden Curse". What is the "Madden Curse"? It is a tag that has been slapped on the players who have appeared on the cover of the EA Sports NFL video game since 2000.

Madden 2001 (2000 season) --- Eddie George, Tennessee
The Titans couldn't defend their AFC Championship, losing to the Ravens in the divisonal playoffs in Nashville.

Madden 2002 (2001 season) --- Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota
The Vikings went 5-11 in 2001, just one season after they had played in the NFC Championship Game.

Madden 2003 (2002 season) --- Marshall Faulk, St. Louis
Faulk only ran for 953 yards, his lowest total since the 1997 season. The Rams missed the playoffs (7-9) after winning the NFC Championship the year before.

Madden 2004 (2003 season) --- Michael Vick, Atlanta
Vick broke his right leg in the Falcons' first preseason game in 2003. The Falcons would struggle without him, going 2-10. When Vick came back, the Falcons were 3-1, finishing 2003 at 5-11.

Madden 2005 (2004 season) --- Ray Lewis, Baltimore
It remains to be seen what happens with Lewis and the Ravens in 2004.

Before the 2000 season, no NFL player was featured on the cover of the Madden game. John Madden was the only person to grace the cover. After all, it is his game.

Anyways, I've thought about this for a while now. Is there more to the "curse"? Well, judging by these results, it's very possible.

Dating back to 1993, there have been 39 players featured on the covers of 38 various NFL video games.

(Games listed by title, player featured on cover)

(* - games that I have owned)

1993 season
--- NFL '94, Joe Montana* (Sega Genesis)

1994 season
--- NFL '95, Joe Montana

1995 season
--- NFL Quarterback Club, Steve Young
--- NFL Gameday, William Floyd

1996 season
--- NFL Quarterback Club, Dan Marino
--- NFL Gameday, Daryl Johnston

1997 season
--- NFL Gameday '98, Jerome Bettis

1998 season
--- NFL Gameday '99, Terrell Davis* (Playstation)
--- NFL Blitz, Kordell Stewart
--- NFL Extreme, Mike Alstott

1999 season
--- NFL Gameday 2000, Terrell Davis
--- NFL Extreme 2, John Randle
--- NFL Quarterback Club, Brett Favre
--- NFL 2000, Randy Moss

2000 season
--- Madden NFL 2001, Eddie George
--- NFL Gameday 2001, Marshall Faulk
--- NFL Quarterback Club 2001, Brett Favre
--- NFL 2K1, Randy Moss

2001 season
--- Madden NFL 2002, Daunte Culpepper* (Playstation 2)
--- NFL Gameday 2002, Donovan McNabb* (Playstation 2)
--- NFL Blitz 2002, Charles Woodson
--- NFL Quarterback Club, Brett Favre and Rich Gannon
--- NFL Fever 2002, Peyton Manning
--- NFL 2K2, Randy Moss
--- ESPN NFL Primetime 2002, Edgerrin James

2002 season
--- Madden NFL 2003, Marshall Faulk
--- NFL Gameday 2003, Tom Brady
--- NFL 2K3, Brian Urlacher
--- NFL Blitz 2003, Michael Strahan
--- NFL Fever 2003, Peyton Manning

2003 season
--- Madden NFL 2004, Michael Vick* (PC)
--- NFL Gameday 2004, LaDainian Tomlinson
--- ESPN NFL Football, Warren Sapp
--- NFL Blitz Pro, Terrell Owens
--- NFL Fever 2004, Peyton Manning
--- NFL Street, Ricky Williams

2004 season
--- Madden NFL 2005, Ray Lewis
--- ESPN NFL 2K5, Terrell Owens* (Playstation 2)

Out of all of these players, there is only one that has gone on to win the Super Bowl in the same season that he was featured on a video game.

That one player would be Denver's Terrell Davis, who was featured on the cover of 989 Sports' NFL Gameday '99. The Broncos defeated the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

So there you go. It isn't just the "Madden Curse". The point being, the chances of a player winning the Super Bowl are much better if he doesn't put himself on the cover of a video game. Could Ray Lewis or Terrell Owens win the Super Bowl this year? I wouldn't bet on it.

This post is over. Go watch the Olympics, or better yet, go play some video games.

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AP Photo

Focus. Determination. Poise. Hard work. Persistence. These qualities (and many other synonymous ones) have gotten Bremerton native Tara Kirk where she is today, and they are the same ones responsible for her continuing journey.

Everyone walking the halls of Bremerton High School from the years of 1997 to 2000 pretty much knew Tara was an extraordinary swimmer, and an equally amazing student to boot. She was also a very approachable, down-to-earth person, which made her that much easier to root for.

It's been said that Tara has a sort of competitive switch that she is able to flip when in the pool. We didn't doubt this as Tara was swimming in progressively higher-profile events with progressively higher results.

Okay, I'll tell this story one more time. In early 2000, I was sitting with the rest of the baseball team in Coach (Mike) McKnight's room for our annual mental preparedness practice (planned for a rainy day). We went through drills involving visual, mental, and even lingustic and aural awareness. At the end of one drill, Coach McKnight asked if any one of us thought we had the mental toughness to learn to walk again if we'd been stricken with paralysis. As is usual for me, I probably didn't say anything one way or the other. A couple of the ballplayers probably said yes for fun. Coach McKnight then said he believed only two people in the school could regain locomotion after paralysis. He said the two people were female. He said they were sisters. At that point, he didn't have to tell us whom he was talking about.

Any doubts that Tara was going to be racking up some amazing achievements were squashed during School Success Knight (academic appreciation, of sorts), when parents and students learned of her upcoming trip to Athens for the Short Course worlds that year. All she ended up doing there was breaking the American record in the 50m breaststroke. Twice.

Then we learned Tara was Stanford-bound, off to greener pastures and a school with an amazing swimming program, light years beyond the high school from which she came, one that fielded no swim team at the time. She graduated from Bremerton High School a 4.0 student, this even after all those before-school training sessions. For the record, our campus had no pool, and school started at 7:30am.

From here is where I let the links below tell most of the rest of the story. I'll give you some hints, though. She reeled off a career-long 35-race win streak in the 100 breaststroke. She is a 16-time All-American and an 11-time NCAA champion. She has the current world record time in the 100m breaststroke. She beat out Catherine Reddick, April Ross, Diana Taurasi, and Jessica van der Linden (Mrs. Michael Boulware, to Seahawk fans) for the Honda-Broderick Cup in 2004, an award given to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Then there was that whole thing where she made the Olympic team.

Tara Kirk. Olympic swimmer. Amazing student. Member of the Sports and Bremertonians Hall of Fame.

LINKS (surely to be updated as time allows...) --
Stanford bio
Tara Kirk Named Collegiate Woman Athlete Of The Year
CBS SportsLine bio
Kirk edged out at finish, places sixth -- 16 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
Tara makes a splash in prelims -- 16 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
ON TO THE FINALS: Tara advances with third best time in 100 breaststroke -- 15 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
A long wait, and now, they swim -- 15 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
Tara Kirk finishes second in prelims; moves on to semifinals
-- 15 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
Climbing Olympus together -- 13 Aug 2004, Bremerton Sun
Tara Kirk Blasts World Record in the 100m Breaststroke -- 19 Mar 2004, SwimInfo, Lane 9 News
Tara Kirk's U.S. record tops Pac-10 championship -- 3 Mar 2004, Palo Alto Weekly

U.S. Olympic Committee Honors Tara Kirk, Ian Crocker and U.S. National Softball Team for March Accomplishments
-- US Olympic Committee
Bremerton High School scans of local newspaper articles (image-heavy, not recommended for 56k)
Three's a charm for Tara Kirk -- 22 Mar 2003, Bremerton Sun

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Friday, August 13, 2004


No Alex? No problem.

The Yankees come closer to winning another series in Seattle, having not lost a series at the Safe since 2000. Tonight...don't say I haven't been warning people about Ron Villone. Effective wildness is overrated. On a note for the fans that showed up, no one saw Alex Rodriguez (viral infection, apparently) or John Olerud (lefty on the mound) take the field for the Yankees; the reaction Olerud will get when stepping to the plate tomorrow is still somewhat unknown. I'll put my guess toward scattered standing applause, though.

Villone managed to strand Miguel Cairo on second and Gary Sheffield at first in the top of the 1st. In the 2nd, Villone probably was squeezed on the 1-2 pitch to Hideki Matsui. Villone ended up walking Matsui, and it was the prelude to bigger things for the Yankees. Ruben Sierra would slam the next pitch into the gap in leftcenter for a double. Randy Winn fielded the ball off the base of the wall, so Matsui scored from first (NYY 1-0). Villone still had some control at this point, retiring the bottomfeeders of the Yankee lineup in order to end the inning.

Of course there's more. Derek Jeter singled to lead off the 3rd, then Sheffield hit his second smashed ball in a row, this one being a laser beam that one-hopped under the scoreboard in left about 0.2 seconds after it left the bat (something crazy-fast like that). Bernie Williams gave the Tri-State area a bit of John Sterling's "Bern Baby, Burn" call on a 1-2 pitch at the knees that got too much of the plate, like most of Villone's pitches did tonight. It didn't seem like Bernie smashed the hell out of the ball (looked more like a golfing), but it sure went a long way, toward the back of the bullpen if memory serves me right (NYY 4-0). In the same fashion as the 2nd, Villone would retire the Yankees fairly quickly post-damage.

No, it didn't stop there for Villone. With the score 4-0, he was only halfway done giving up his runs for the night. In the 4th, Enrique Wilson hit a leadoff double and scored on Miguel Cairo's mash of a triple to rightfield. Cairo scored on the same play on a Bret Boone throwing error (NYY 6-0). I must now apologize because I didn't see that particular play. But if there's an error on Boone, I'll guess he cut off Ichiro's throw to the plate and tried to nail Cairo at third, but then airmailed it or something. In the past two innings, Villone had done damage control after the damage had already been done. Not this time. Derek Jeter doubled and Gary Sheffield decided to draw a walk instead of just smashing the ball somewhere. Bernie Williams singled to center, but Jeter was nailed at the plate (by Randy Winn?).

That was it for Villone, as Scott Atchison was brought in with two of Villone's runners on. Things started out well, as he got ahead 0-2 on Jorge Posada and got him to whiff. Then Matsui legged out an infield single. Then came a fateful pitch to Ruben Sierra. You know, before Sierra came to the Mariners in 2002, I as a Mariner fan had always feared him, fearful that he'd come up against Arthur Rhodes in a crucial situation and just pound one. Ruben doesn't get cheated up there, either. If he hits a home run lefthanded, it looks like he pounds the crap out of it. Anyway, this ball flew into the rightfield seats for a grand slam (NYY 10-0). For this night, Ron Villone probably wants to refer to Scott Atchison as "Beyatchison" for letting two of his runners score.

Jon Lieber pretty much had it going tonight, showing why the Yankees signed him to a two-year deal two years ago, knowing full well he would have to sit out one season due to surgery.

Lieber allowed a leadoff single in the fifth to Raul Ibanez, who one out later was plated on a Miguel Olivo smash (NYY 10-2). The Mariners had a small chance to score a run in the 7th; Raul Ibanez hit a one-out double to center. Bucky Jacobsen whiffed, Ibanez took third on a wild pitch, then Olivo flew out to short. In the 8th, the Mariners did manage to put one across. Justin Leone led off with a double, and went to third on a Jose Lopez single. Jolbert Cabrera pinch-hit for Ichiro and hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to leftfield to score Leone (NYY 11-3). Other than the three runs that scored in this paragraph, Lieber had the Mariners at bay for the night, using the slider low and away to cut down the young'uns, and most likely Bret Boone also, who hung up an 0-for-4 tonight. And of course, every time Jon Lieber enters the conversation, I like to point out that this guy was a horse on the Cubs staff a few years ago and all he would do was eat innings and not walk a lot of guys. He'll probably never be as good again as he was maybe three or four years ago, but a shadow of the Lieber of old was on display tonight. Lieber tonight: 8 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, no walks (as expected), 4 strikeouts.

Oh yeah, Jorge Posada mashed one off JJ Putz in the 9th onto the Mariner tarp that covers the groundskeeping equipment entrance in rightcenter (NYY 12-3) for good measure. I don't know what the right term for that entryway is called, but Jeremy more than likely does.

Gameball: Edgar Martinez. 2-for-4. Workin' it.

Goat: Ron Villone. His terribility tonight dug too deep of a hole for this Mariner offense to dig itself out. 3 1/3 innings, 8 runs, 10 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. Brutal. It makes me barely realize that Ichiro/Winn/Boone/Bucky went a combined 0-for-14 tonight. Yes, that ends Boone's hitting streak at 16 games.

Well, if for some reason you used tonight's game as a measuring stick...yeah, this team's crap.

Loaiza. Moyer. Tomorrow.

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My views on the 2004 Olympics Opening Ceremony?




---I wish I had CBC

--- ---- --- --- ---

Oh, and Bjork is hideously awful. That is all.


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The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are officially underway. Thanks to my current jobless status, and the fact that Comcast here carries the CBC in their channel lineups, I was able to watch the opening ceremonies live. Coverage on the CBC was handled by Brian Williams and Peter Mansbridge, who did a solid job. Williams did an interview with Athens' female mayor, Dora Bakoyannis, who has dealt with the security concerns, and all the turmoil involving the unsureness of the Games, and her husband's assassination. She's the first female mayor in the 3000 or so years of the existence of Athens. You probably won't see that interview on NBC. If you do, it won't be with Brian Williams. Anyway...

A few short facts about the ceremony, for those at work or those planning to watch on NBC tonight...

-- The rhythmic display at the beginning was quite a way to start it, and that's not only because I like drums.

-- There's a lot of theatrical-type performance art kind of stuff. Lots of airborne dancers suspended by strings.

-- There was a parade depicting ancient pictographs coming to life, and quite frankly, whoever did the makeup was amazing, because I did look twice at some of the people, who actually did look like they were standing still.

-- 3000 years of Greek civilization were shown in different forms in the aforementioned parade.

-- The Parade of Nations is probably the only parade I will ever sit through. A total of 202 flags have athletes competing under them in this Olympics.

-- I flipped around the channels and I'm pretty sure none of the NBC family of networks that are carrying the Olympics (NBC/Bravo/CNBC/MSNBC) were carrying the opening ceremonies live. I know it's not competition, but still...

-- CBC, who lets the Olympics basically take over the network until the 29th didn't manage to show all the 202 nations. Expect NBC to show even less of the parade.

-- From the blimps and inside, the stadium looks pretty cool.

-- Bjork is not Greek. She's Icelandic. But you knew that.

-- The lady that ran the Athens organizing committee looks kind of like former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, except with much better makeup.

-- The word "doping" was mentioned in the ceremony itself twice, during Jacques Rogge's speech, and during the recitation of the Olympic athletes' oath.

-- Unfortunately, the athlete that most of Greece was expecting to light the torch did not do so. Why? The male sprinter (medal favorite) and another female Greek athlete missed a drug test. Missing a drug test, regardless of outcome, is enough to get thrown out of the Games.

-- The torch looks like a big long expensive pen. It dropped down to take the flame from the final torchbearer. In my opinion, it wasn't quite as awe-inspiring as the archer who show the arrow to light the cauldron in Barcelona in 1992, or Cathy Freeman's lighting of that bitchin' water/torch thing in Sydney four years ago.

-- I'm not sure how many of you saw any of the NHL playoff coverage when the Calgary Flames were playing at the Saddledome. During some timeouts, they'd use the arena-encircling color boards (a.k.a. the Power Ring) to show a streak of flames/fire which quickly encircled the arena. Some of the fireworks they set off outside the stadium in Athens (abbreviated the OAKA) are set off in this quick fashion.

That's about all I can remember for now without totally giving it all away. Well, maybe I did. Oh well.

Good luck to the sisters Kirk.

Enjoy the Games, all.

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Just days after appearing on ESPN for the first time since 1996, Craig Kilborn will leave "The Late Late Show" on CBS within a month.

I've watched "The Late Late Show" and while some people detest Kilborn, I think he's solid. Best of luck to the guy in his post-Late Late Show life.

But wait, there's more...

There was immediate speculation that Conan O'Brien, whose contract with NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" has more than a year to run, might be a candidate — if he could eventually could end up with Letterman's job.

Industry speculation has it that Letterman is likely to exit late-night TV before Leno does.

Can we please make this happen? If Conan left the Peacock Network for CBS, it would be a brilliant move on his part. Man, a Letterman-Conan 1-2 punch would be something.

In related news, does anybody watch Jay Leno? I don't know of one person who likes Leno over Letterman. Yet Leno has higher ratings. Unpossible.

If Conan were to take over for Letterman in a few years, there's no doubt in my mind he would beat Leno, hands down. There's no reason to debate this, so I won't.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004


Ryan Franklin had the crappy outing he was probably due for as the Mariners fell to Johan Santana, Justin Morneau, and the Twins by a score of 6-3 this afternoon.

Ryan Franklin got through Shannon Stewart and Augie Ojeda with relative ease to start off the first inning. Lew Ford worked the count full and doubled to rightfield. Justin Morneau then smashed a 2-1 pitch into the seats in rightfield to give the Twins a quick 2-0 lead out of the gate.

Franklin would continue to have his problems in the 2nd. Jacque Jones and Mike Cuddyer drew walks to start the inning. Franklin got Henry Blanco to hit a comebacker to the mound, and the lead runner (Jones) was forced out at third. Franklin struck out Luis Rivas swinging for the second out. The third out didn't come soon enough, however, as Stewart tripled to rightfield to give the Twins a 4-0 lead early.

Johan Santana had a more than solid start today. In combination with Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan, the Twins' pitchers did not allow a single baserunner into scoring position with less than two out. Santana didn't escape without some semi-contentious situations though. He allowed the solo homer to Hiram Bocachica with one out in the 3rd (MIN 4-1), then stranded Ichiro on second by catching Randy Winn looking. In the 4th, with two out, Bucky Jacobsen, Jolbert Cabrera, and Miguel Olivo all singled (Olivo infield), but Bocachica bounced a ball to Cuddyer at third to end that "rally." Santana walked Edgar Martinez to lead off the 6th, and then struck out the side swinging (Bret Boone, Jacobsen, Cabrera).

In the 5th, Franklin saw almost the same fate that he had in the 1st. Ford doubled, Morneau mashed (centerfield this time, MIN 6-1). That would be his final inning of work. His line: 5 innings, 6 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 81 pitches (53 strikes). Luckily a combination of the off day Monday along with the deep-into-the-game performances by Gil Meche and Bobby Madritsch left the bullpen in pretty good shape for eating four innings today. By the way, Franklin has lost his last seven decisions. Yes, it's a far cry from last year.

So, the Mariners were down 6-1, and if they ever got close, they'd probably draw Joe Nathan in the 9th anyway, so the game was pretty much lost. That said, there was probably no better time for the likes of Clint Nageotte, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, and Matt Thornton to be called on for some work.

In the 6th, Clint Nageotte loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk (Rivas, Stewart, Ojeda) before getting Lew Ford to get doubled up rather than having him hit a double, something Franklin had grown familiar with. Nageotte then had two assists in a 1-2-3 7th inning. Surely having Clint pitch two innings without completely losing his mind has to be a good thing.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, which surprised me less than Nageotte's two mentally lossless innings, even considering Hasegawa's propensity for putting fuel on the fire this year.

Edgar singled to lead off the 8th, and Bret Boone homered the other way (a good sign for him, MIN 6-3) off Jesse Crain to extend his hitting streak to 16 games and ensure that Joe Nathan would pitch the 9th.

Matt Thornton continued the train of recently maligned Mariner bullpen arms, setting down the top of the order in 1-2-3 fashion in the 9th and not walking anybody.

Sure enough, Joe Nathan was called on to pitch the 9th, and pitch he did. With gasoline. Bocachica, Jose Lopez, and Ichiro all whiffed in succession. Ballgame over. Twins win, then all join a rousing chorus of that time-tested classic, "Win Twins."

Gameball: Matt Thornton. He pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning, struck out two, and didn't walk anybody or give up eight runs or anything like that. It was nice to see one of the non-Madritsch newbies get through without getting into any hot water (like Nageotte did).

Goat: Ryan Franklin. I would have been okay with six innings out of Franklin today. A five-inning start doesn't kill the bullpen by any means thanks to the starts by Meche and Madritsch as I mentioned earlier, but the Yankees are coming in and Ron Villone is pitching tomorrow, and he'll be extremely lucky if he gets into the 7th.

It certainly is weird to think that even with the Mariners' losing ways this season, a win today would have given them the season series over the Twins. Hard to believe, yes.

Now it's time for a sold-out weekend series with the Yankees, i.e., three games whose street equivalent would be knives brought to a gunfight. Or maybe another weapon equivalent would be the Seattle Catapults hosting the New York 500-Pound Laser-Guided Bombs. In any event, one win for the Mariners would be somewhat realistic.

Lieber. Villone. Tomorrow.

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Well, you better hold off on drafting Jamal Lewis. Or at the very least, don't use him after Halloween.

Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Jamal Lewis' drug conspiracy trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1, the middle of the NFL season.

The date, set Thursday by a federal court, comes between the eighth and ninth weeks of the season, meaning that if the trial goes on as scheduled, Lewis could miss a number of games. The Baltimore Ravens are at the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 31, then play host to the Cleveland Browns in a night game the following Sunday.

Lewis and Angelo Jackson, a childhood friend, are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and using a cell phone in violation of federal law. Jackson is additionally charged with attempted cocaine possession.

Who is on the Ravens' November schedule, you're probably asking yourself?

Nov. 7 HOME vs Cleveland
Nov. 14 AWAY at New York Jets
Nov. 21 HOME vs Dallas
Nov. 28 AWAY at New England

With Lewis going on trial in November, this could certainly be a big blow to the Ravens' chances of winning the AFC North. Sure, it may only be for a couple of games in November. But in all likelyhood, the only playoff team out of the AFC North will be the division winner. Every game is important. This isn't anything new. But with today's news, the Ravens will need to keep that in mind.

"The Strike", "The Trenches", "The Raven"...I think I'm playing with madness today. Blame Sum 41 and Will Sasso.

"Take it easy on those chairs, corinthean leather!"

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Today is the debut of "The Trenches", my football-notes posts that will be here at least 3 times a week. I'll keep everybody updated on the latest news in the NFL, including injuries, contracts, etc. There may be times when "The Trenches" includes college football news as well. We'll see how it all goes.

So, here we go:

---Boy, it has to suck being an Arizona Cardinals fan right now. The Cardinals have already lost RB Marcell Shipp for 8 weeks with a broken fibula. Now they have lost last year's offensive rookie of the year, WR Anquan Boldin, for 8 weeks due to torn cartilage in his right knee. Sure, the Cardinals may have Denny Green running the show now, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

---The soldier is now reporting for duty. Kellen Winslow, Jr. has signed a 6-year deal with the Browns, making him the highest paid TE in NFL history. I wouldn't mind seeing Ray Lewis welcome the "soldier" to active duty come September 12.

---Browns QB Jeff Garcia has taken the high road on the comments that his former teammate WR Terrell Owens said in the new issue of Playboy. T.O. was asked a question on Garcia's sexual orientation. Being the prick that he is, he said, "Like my boy tells me: 'If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat." Shut the f**k up, Terrell. While I think the Eagles will be solid once again in 2004, I just have a feeling that T.0. will f**k up the program there. One thing's for sure, Andy Reid is no Dennis Erickson.

---The Buccaneers have signed former Raiders WR Tim Brown. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your Tampa Bay Raiders! By the way, the Bucs face the Raiders in Oakland September 26 on ESPN. The Black Hole will be fired up.

---I like Philip Rivers. I've seen more than enough North Carolina State games over the past four years to think that he's going to be a good NFL quarterback. But get your ass into camp, Philip. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the guy. After all, maybe he doesn't want to be coached by Marty Schottenheimer. But then again, Marty is gone after this season. Anyways, just get into camp, Philip.

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That's it for the first of many editions of "The Trenches". Stay classy. Listen to Rush. And drink lemonade. Sounds good.

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August 12, 1994

The day Major League Baseball changed forever.

I was 12 years old when the strike hit baseball. Needless to say, I was crushed. The baseball strike of 1994 was a cold hard slap in the face to me. From that day on, I realized that baseball wasn't just a game, it was a business.

It's beneficial to look back on the 1994 season and see what events were affected by the strike:

---The World Series was cancelled.

---Tony Gwynn was hitting .394 at the time of the strike.

---Matt Williams had hit 43 home runs by August 12 and was on pace to break Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs.

---The Montreal Expos were 74-40, leading Atlanta in the National League East by 6 games. Baseball in Montreal would never be the same after the strike. However, it is important to note that baseball was already in trouble in Montreal before the strike.

---The Mariners were just 2 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers in the American League West. They had won 9 out of their last 10 games before the strike.

The baseball strike of 1994 was also responsible for the death of baseball cards, at least in my mind. Since 1994, I have bought only a handful of baseball cards, mainly single cards. The prices of cards are downright ridiculous today. Who in their right mind would pay $2.99 for a pack of 8 cards? Come on.

Baseball would not come back to the national landscape on the field until April 1995. The 1995 season was shortened to 144 regular season games. Of course, in the Mariners case, it was 145 games.

What did the strike do to baseball in Seattle? It's fair to say that Seattle is one of the few markets that actually had major success after the strike. When the strike hit on August 12, the Mariners were on the road because of the Kingdome ceiling tiles incident. The 1995 Mariners helped baseball get back on its feet. While Cal Ripken, Jr. is lauded for breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak in 1995, it was the Mariners who were able to bring some fans back to the game. The Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run chase in 1998 brought even more fans back.

However, 10 years later, there are still people who have not supported baseball since the strike. While the game of baseball has been great in previous seasons, I would be kidding myself if the game wasn't great before the strike hit. I do miss the pre-strike era of baseball. But I also know that particular era of baseball will never come back.

Since the strike of 1994, there have been 13 new ballparks that have opened in America. Baseball also expanded to 30 teams in 1998, with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Salaries have increased in the past 10 years. FOX paid $2.5 billion to televise Major League Baseball in 2000, a deal that is up after the 2006 season. The network has televised baseball since 1996.

While baseball has had success in the past 10 years since the strike, there has been failure as well. The youth of America are not as interested in baseball as in previous years. There was talk of contracting the Minnesota Twins. The Expos are most likely headed to the Washington, D.C. area after this season.

Baseball narrowly avoided having another work stoppage almost 2 years ago. If the strike of 1994 didn't kill baseball as we know it, the 2002 work stoppage may have very well done it. But thank God it didn't

As for current news of labor in professional sports, the National Hockey League is more than likely headed down the unfortunate road of a work stoppage. Their CBA ends on September 15, and barring any last-second miracle, there won't be any hockey for a while. I want to feel confident about the issue, but as the days keep going by, I don't know what's going to happen. Hockey is an different boat in 2004 than baseball was in 1994. If the NHL were to miss out on the 2004-2005 season altogether, it could kill the sport. But hopefully we won't have to worry about that happening.

Wow, I've gone through almost this entire post without mentioning Bud Selig and Donald Fehr. Well, I guess I just mentioned them. Damn.

We have ourselves some day baseball today, with Ryan Franklin going against Johan Santana at the Safe later this afternoon.

As always, leave your thoughts in the comments box below or e-mail me (address over on the top of the sidebar). I'm sure the majority of the people who read Sports and B's have an opinion on the 1994 baseball strike.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004


I've got some things to say before I go on with the recap tonight.

-- Why the hell was Scott Spiezio in the lineup tonight?

-- Try as he might, Willie Bloomquist will never hold a candle to Charles Gipson. I will not argue this.

-- The TV broadcast went along nicely with Dave Niehaus, Ron Fairly, and Jay Buhner on the landing on leftfield, but it just went to hell with Rick Rizzs, Jay Buhner, and Dave Valle out there. They were having waaaaay too much fun. Granted, the latter half of the telecast did end up being more entertaining (in my opinion) because it gave the three amigos less time to exhibit their blatant homerism.

-- That said, more fans were involved with the broadcast. Best wishes to Matt from Cheney, the groom-to-be on his bachelor's party at the Safe (is that really what you'd call a bachelor's party?), nice job by Michelle from Bothell on reading the disclaimer and throwing in some unexpected humor about her staying away from contact sports due to being "uncoordinated." Nice job by Courtney the intern on reading the promo, and Kristin from the barbecue stand, warning everyone about "Man sauce," the spicy sauce that really should be renamed as soon as possible.

The umpiring crew met right away after Bobby Madritsch was done throwing his warmup pitches in the first. Niehaus, Fairly, and Buhner had no idea what was going on, but right away I thought of Madritsch's tattoos. No really, I did; this isn't hindsight here. I remember reading an article about some guy that was on the Blue Jays a while ago that has to cover up his arms because of his tattoos. Nonetheless, no immediate action was taken against Madritsch, and he was allowed to pitch the first inning as usual. The lefty started out shaky, allowing a leadoff walk to Shannon Stewart. Stewart got a jump off Madritsch and stole second with Cristian Guzman up. Guzman singled, and Stewart was held at third even with Randy Winn's arm. Lew Ford flew out to center. Justin Morneau, he of the home run off the second deck last night, singled on the first pitch to score Stewart (MIN 1-0). Madritsch got Torii Hunter to bounce into a fielder's choice for the second out. Runners were on second and third. Jacque Jones doubled down the line in right to score Guzman (MIN 2-0). Madritsch got Corey Koskie to whiff and end the threat. Madritsch threw 24 pitches in the first, and never looked this shaky in the start in Tampa Bay.

Brad Radke was pretty much dealing (sans having Ichiro on second with one out in the 1st) until the Mariners managed some two-out noise in the 4th on back-to-back doubles by Bret Boone and Raul Ibanez (green-lit on 3-0, MIN 2-1). The Mariners appeared to crack Radke, as they did some more damage in the 5th. Scott Spiezio drew a leadoff walk (at least he was somewhat useful) and went to third on a one-out Jose Lopez single. Ichiro whiffed on a wild pitch and Lopez took second. Spiezio and Lopez scored in a Randy Winn single to centerfield to give the Mariners the lead (SEA 3-2).

Madritsch would settle down from his wild first inning, and after having to put sleeves on before the 2nd inning. The next runner to make it into scoring position off Madritsch was Mike Cuddyer in the 6th, who was nailed trying to stretch a double into a triple on a play in which Corey Koskie scored from first on a ball hit to leftfield. The play ended the inning, so Koskie scoring from first (running on contact; two out) makes a little more sense.

Madritsch had thrown 100 pitches through six innings. Bob Melvin ran him out there again for the 7th, and frankly, why the hell not? It's late in the season, the season's gone into the tank. It'd be different if this were April or May or something. If he had any trouble, then yank him. However, Madritsch had pretty much been cruising since the first. He needed 16 pitches to get through Jose Offerman, Stewart, and Guzman in the 7th to cap his night. Though not quite as sharp as the last start in Tampa, it was a more-than-solid start by Bobby Madritsch tonight: 7 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 116 pitches (74 strikes). I guess my only problem with Madritsch is that it seems to me he misses high a lot. Here's to those high pitches not getting bashed.

Both teams were held at bay by their opposing bullpens until the bottom of the 9th. It started out innocently enough. Scott Spiezio singled (huh?) with one out, and Willie Bloomquist pinch-ran. With the count 1-1 on Justin Leone, Juan Rincon made an errant pickoff throw that got past Justin Morneau at first and explored some foul territory. Bloomquist scooted to second and Dave Myers threw up the stop sign from the third-base coaches' box, though Bloomquist probably had a chance to nab third on the play. On the next pitch, Bloomquist took off toward third. Henry Blanco (a catcher with a past of decent gunning-down-runners rates) threw to third, with the throw being wide (away from the foul line). The ball hit Bloomquist on the nose during his headfirst slide into third, and went into foul territory as Bloomquist ran over Corey Koskie, tweaking the Minnesota third baseman's knee or ankle on the play. Bloomquist got up off the ground and scampered home. Ballgame.

Gameball: Bobby Madritsch. Just another solid start by the lefty. He wasn't rattled at all by having to put on the sleeves, and after the game, he didn't appear surprised about the decision due to the fact that he's a rookie. Here's an interesting thought: if this guy makes the rotation (probably back-end) out of spring training next year, how many innings do you think he could eat up over the course of a year?

Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-3, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, stranding one. I know Dan was probably helping Madritsch immensely, but there's no way in hell I'm goating Edgar for his 0-for-4.

We've seen the Mariners win and lose by walk-off balks, obstruction calls, and balls going off the runners' noses while trying to steal third. Can it get any weirder? I guess it could if you were listening to the KJR postgame show tonight. I'm not sure if they got through the Around the Horn segment (scores around baseball), and I don't think they gave out gameballs, of which the issuing is standard protocol. After they read off the score from the Arizona/Montreal game, they tried to dig up the attendance, which barely cracked 5000. It was also season ticketholders' night, where season ticketholders could exchange their past unused tickets for tickets to the game, which sort of makes no sense since they'd already have tickets to the game anyway. The producer looked at some of their promotions, and unlike the Mariners' giveaways which usually give to the first 12000 or so, the Expos' cutoff is 5000. One of the Expos' upcoming promotions is Blood Drive Night. Then I think one of the guys at the station had put their Edgar Bear on Ebay, so they were checking that. One bear was going for $100. The show went to hell in a handbasket, and was actually very entertaining.

Santana. Franklin. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~11:54p -- Forgot to mention the final two innings thrown by Scott Atchison and George Sherrill, the latter of whom got the win, which I think is his first Major League win.]

[Edit Thu ~12:40a -- I swear I did not steal the words "it," "started," "innocently," and "enough" from Batgirl's post, i.e., the part about the bottom of the 9th. Really, I didn't.]

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Dan Wilson is batting 6th tonight.

And it just continues, my oh my!

(Wilson is 12-for-36 against Brad Radke in his career. Hooray for small sample sizes. Yeah. Right.)

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From that fine website of news that you should use, Rotoworld.com

James Jackson - RB - Browns

Fourth-year RB James Jackson is back at practice, but frustrated at being buried behind Lee Suggs and William Green.

"In high school, Fred Taylor [was a teammate]," Jackson said. "In college, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, Najeh Davenport. Out of all these backs, what's going on? I guess I'm the crap out of all these backs. Somebody mentioned something about me battling Dee Brown [for the No. 3 job]. C'mon, man. I laugh at this stuff. I am here every year. Just write the truth." The Browns may be seeking to trade Jackson to Miami or Arizona. The Cardinals may want to seriously see what it would take to get him.

Don't be so hard on yourself, James.

I couldn't help but notice that the word "crap" and Packers fullback Najeh Davenport were used in the same paragraph. You may remember the former Miami Hurricane for this little incident. I know I do.

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In the past 48 hours.

---Edgar Martinez was going to retire immediately on Monday. Oops.

---Stuart Scott is still a tool. I felt embarrassed for Gayle Gardner for having to put up with that tool Tuesday evening on "Sportscenter".

---But Old School Sportscenter gets better! Greg Gumbel will be paired with Chris Berman tonight! Oh boy, I can't wait for that.

---I learned this morning from "Cold Pizza" that The Sporting News has Pine Bluff, Arkansas as the 369th best Sports City in America in their list of Best Sports Cities. By the way, 369 is considered dead-last in the TSN list. Hooray, Pine Bluff! Proud of ya!

---Also from "Cold Pizza": Richard Marx is the musical guest this morning. I realize he was a co-writer of the Grammy Award-winning song "Dance With My Father" with Luther Vandross, but is anybody really prepared for the comeback of Richard Marx? Well, I guess anything is possible. After all, Everyday Eddie Guardado is now called SEE YOU NEXT YEAR EDDIE GUARDADO.

---Musical recommendation for you on this Wednesday morning: Green Day's new single "American Idiot" (Hi-speed link) (Lo-speed link). Their new album, "American Idiot", won't be out until September 21, but judging by the title track, it's going to be solid. Like I've told David, it's high time for a new Green Day album.

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It's rare that I post this early in the morning. But in the coming weeks, expect more of it. So keep truckin'. And stay classy.

Go f**k yourself, Mariner ownership.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004


...but the two biggest hits involving the Mariners had to do with two players not on the field tonight, and those two players won't be on the field for a loooong time (pending second opinions).

Gil Meche had probably his best start of the year tonight, with the only two hits off him being solo bombs by Justin Morneau in the 5th (a booming shot off the ads under the Hit it Here Cafe in right) and Lew Ford (pinch-hit to left) in the 8th. Meche threw a ton of first-pitch balls tonight (17 of 29 overall, 9 of 12 in innings 1-3), but instead of trying to nibble on the corners to try to get hitters to chase borderline or out-of-zone pitches, he realized he was a power pitcher and started to trust his stuff and blow pitches by people. It helped that the breaking ball was working for the most part also (sans Morneau HR and a couple of 55-footers). Five Twins total reached base against Meche; two walks, two homers, and Corey Koskie in the 2nd on Jose Lopez's throw that went through the webbing in Bucky Jacobsen's first baseman's mitt. The one thing that makes me cringe about Meche's line though is the pitch count, which topped out at 125. Regardless of how he says his arm feels, I'm going to be wary of pitch counts for a guy that has a torn labrum in his past. That's no minor injury by any means, but it sure was a popular one in the Mariners' minor league system. Gil Meche lowered his ERA tonight to a paltry 5.97. Yikes. His line: 8 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 125 pitches (77 strikes).

The Mariners did something that (I thought) was a trademark to their 2000 run: score early and hold on, except now without the luxury of having the starter go six or seven innings, and then handing it off to Arthur Rhodes, Jeff Nelson, and Kazu Sasaki. Tonight, they scored all four of their runs in the first inning, and they all scored on homers off Terry Mulholland, who did a yeoman's effort tonight (7 innings after throwing 19 pitches to end an 18-inning game on Sunday). Yes, the Mariners played longball tonight, and they won. Ichiro had an 8-pitch at-bat to lead off the game with a single, his 324082034th hit of the season, or something like that. Randy Winn whiffed. Edgar took a ball on the first pitch, and took the next ball for a ride, an extremely concave downward parabola (and the math dorks smiled) ending a few rows above the scoreboard in leftfield to net the Mariners a 2-0 lead and send the crowd into a scene of unbridled happiness. Bret Boone got a 3-1 count and a pitch to drive, doubling to the wall in center. Bucky Jacobsen got a pitch up in the zone and put a hurtin' on the ball, a laser beam into the bullpens to put the Mariners up 4-0. The Mariners had five of their 10 hits in the first inning. Ichiro had two of the remaining five, and Edgar had another one in him also.

So good times, right? Edgar announces his retirement the day before, then hits a homer on the second pitch he sees. Crowd goes crazy, then Bucky hits one out too. Big fun, right? Some might say it was a changing of the guard of sorts. Fun to see, right?

Well, if they didn't flash the news on the scoreboard tonight (I'm guessing not) and if I went to the ballpark tonight and didn't have a radio, I'd be in for a really rude awakening when I got home.

Eddie Guardado: torn rotator cuff

Rafael Soriano: torn ulnar collateral ligament, something that would require Tommy John surgery

With Soriano and with TJ surgery, it could be a year before he can even throw. With Guardado, I think the time frame was 8-12 months. These are prognoses from team doctor Larry Pedegana, and both will be getting second opinions.

Before I go grim here, I'll just mention that some pitchers throw even faster after Tommy John surgery because a stronger ligament (correct me if I'm wrong) is put into the arm. Think Billy Koch when he had those good years with Toronto. Rafael Soriano threw flames already. Now imagine if he could throw even faster.

Okay, back to earth. We all sat here last offseason and were thinking the bullpen, though retooled, would be solid. A lot of that depended on Rafael Soriano and Eddie Guardado. We sit here on August 10th and are given the possibility that both of them might not pitch next year. Aaaaand, who knows how long it may take Joel Pineiro to bounce back from that strained flexor bundle or whatever the hell he's got.

Mariner fans, readers of Sports and B's, I now ask you this: do the Mariners have any choice but to rebuild now (i.e., ditch the "retooling" idea)? I mean, a good chunk of this team's success (which obviously it's not having right now) was going to depend on Soriano throwing flames like last year (i.e., the Garciaparra at-bat last year) and setting up the aggressive bulldog from Stockton, CA that is Eddie Guardado in the 9th. Blow those guys out of the bullpen, and what do you got? Granted, this season's been screwed for a while, so we know what it's like to have both of those guys out on a crappy team, but is there even a chance for the Mariners to be competitive in 2005 thanks to the news we've just been handed tonight?

One thing's probably for sure: they can't use the Sasaki money all on one guy (everyone that was still thinking about Carlos Beltran can shut up now), because unless they want to tear everything down next year, they're going to have to plug the holes. Soriano and Guardado obviously won't be your rightie setup guy and your closer. Pineiro, who the hell knows about him. Really, is there any choice but to tear everything down and go young all over? Do they think Shigetoshi Hasegawa can bounce back and gain half of his 2003 form? Is Ron Villone going to have to start for the 2005 Mariners? Ugh...

Unless Howard Lincoln comes out tomorrow and says the payroll next year is bumped up to $115M, I fear that next year is not going to be much better than the one Mariner fans are currently seeing. To those saying an extra $20M would get them a very good team, just remember how efficient the Mariner brass is right now with ~$90M or whatever it's at. To add, a lot of people I've been hearing on the radio (okay, you might take it with a grain of salt) who have forecasts for next year's lineups, etc. have placed both Randy Winn and Scott Spiezio on the bench. Folks, that's an expensive bench.

Boy, I haven't spent a lot of time these days thinking about the future of these Seattle Mariners. I'm usually just mindlessly cranking out the game recap night in and night out, giving a gameball and goat, trying to think of a nice title and a decent closing/looking ahead line, but a night when you discover two cogs of the bullpen will be gone for next year, I feel I don't have much choice other than to grieve and speculate.

Gameball: Edgar Martinez. 2-for-4 with the 2-run homer. Before the crap hit the fan, Edgar made everyone's night. If Edgar doesn't do that, Gil Meche is a lock with his eight innings of great pitching.

Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-4, one strikeout. Maybe I'm being a little hard, what with Raul's injury to his side or whatever. It's not my fault Willie Bloomquist wasn't in the lineup tonight to protect Raul from getting the goat.

Your 2004 Seattle Mariners!! As Jeremy would say, even when they win, they lose!!

Radke. Madritsch. Tomorrow.
[Edit Wed ~11:58a -- Says Steve in the comment box, Meche had a frayed labrum as opposed to a torn one. If there's anyone I want correcting me on this, it's Steve. Check out his post backlog on the Mariners' busted arm situation if you haven't already.]

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I just learned of the news that not only is Rafael Soriano likely scheduled for Tommy John surgery, but Eddie Guardado has a torn rotator cuff and likely won't be back until later next season, if lucky.

Yep, nothing can ever go well for my teams. Big f**king shock.

I'd just like to ask this question. What did Seattle sports fans do to deserve this bullcrap? It's bad enough that the Mariners are going to finish dead-last in the West. But now this?

Seahawks-Saints, one month from Thursday. The waiting is the hardest part.

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I usually don't make short posts when I feel motivated, but I have to make this one...

Did anyone see Ron Fairly's keys to the game for Gil Meche tonight? If not, here they are:

-- Get ahead of the hitters
-- Keep the ball down

Thanks a ton, Captain Obvious. It's not like those two keys could apply to every other pitcher in the league or anything like that.

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Great work by the Seattle Times, especially with the pic above.

Here's their special section on the Athens games, complete with a Ron Judd story on Tara and Dana Kirk.

Check it out.

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Monday, August 09, 2004


In honor of Charley Steiner returning to ESPN Monday night for "Old School Sportscenter", I present Carl Lewis' stirring rendition of the national anthem.

"...and the rocket's...RED GLARE!!!"

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The Seahawks will now have all of their 2004 draft picks in the fold.

DT Marcus Tubbs, the Seahawks' 1st round pick, has agreed in principle to a deal. He should report to Cheney tomorrow.

Good news on that front. Let's just hope that Walter Jones is pushing trucks right about now, getting ready for the season.

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October 8, 1995

Do I need to say more?

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(Once again, it's a rough transcript of part of Edgar's Q&A session with the reporters. I couldn't quite hear some of the questions, but hopefully I've clued you in enough via the answers.)

Edgar Martinez: I've been thinking about it (the announcement) for a few weeks, but the decision came with the last few days.

I knew it (retirement announcement) was going to be hard and...I guess I didn't want to think about it...kinda wanted to block that moment. Even when I came here, I said "oh, this is going to be a piece of cake." I'd been trying to block it, but it's hard.

It was tough. As a player, I feel that my mind and my heart want to keep playing, but my body's saying something different. It is a hard decision. Sometimes you feel you can keep playing and playing, but your body doesn't feel like it can do it.

I thought about it (the announcement) myself and talked to Holli...we basically kept it to ourselves.

Baseball to me is a game, but also it's been a big part of my life so it's...baseball has this magic that you just feel this way, a sad way, when players leave. When Clemente passed away it was real hard for me, I was 11. It's just baseball. Baseball has that effect on people.

I don't know for sure (about future w/organization). We're probably going to be talking about that in the near future. At this point it remains to be seen.

Well, I'll be spending more time (after retirement) with the family, with Holli and the kids. I have some ideas that have been playing in my mind, but nothing concrete yet. I know one thing, I can't sit at home and not do anything.

It's been hard. We had a lot of expectations out of spring training. Everything looked great and exciting. Everything has gone in a different direction. It's been hard for me, and it's been hard for everyone in the clubhouse. ... It's been great for years, we had great runs for many years in a row. I never saw this coming (the bad season). You learn from those experiences, so it's also a learning experience.

I don't know what to tell you (about the last 7 wks of play). I'm looking forward to it, and trying to enjoy more...trying to enjoy the teammates, coaches, try to enjoy it more, now that I know it's going to be the last.

I feel like it's some relief. My mind and my heart wanted to keep playing, but when you struggle, a decision like that can make you feel better.

It's something that I've been thinking of (announcing retirement) for some time, and I thought it was appropriate to do it now.

Probably 1995 was the greatest moment against the Yankees. That last game against the Yankees was probably the greatest moment.

I hear that (fans talking to him about the double) probably the most. I remember the whole month of September was like a playoff. It was a lot of excitement. You coule feel the excitement from the fans. Everywhere on the street, if we showed up early you could see the fans waiting outside for the players.

(regarding why he stayed in Seattle when the other stars left) The relationship that I had with management...I enjoyed playing here, I always felt at home here, and Holli, my wife from here...I had many factors in place here already, and I felt it was the perfect setting for me.

Personally, I was prepared for failure in some ways...I felt that I could do it (succeed), but mentally I always felt there was the possibility that I could have a bad season and things could go the wrong way. I consider myself a realistic person and thought things like that could be possible for someone my age. It was harder to see the team go in the direction they did this year.

It's up to you guys, the writers, to determine if I'm worthy of it (Hall of Fame). ... I think that the position, DH, a lot of people don't think it's worthy of being in the HOF, but it's up to you guys to see if the numbers are enough.

(Once again, this is kind of rough, so if anything seems a little weird, wait for an official transcript to come out, if an official transcript does indeed come out. Why I didn't have tape rolling during this, I have no idea.)

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(This is a rough transcript of Edgar Martinez's words that began the press conference at 2:30pm today. It is rough, I got in as many words as I could. I'd like to thank KJR for broadcasting it, and I'd also like to thank NW Cable News for repeatedly losing the video feed to the press conference, robbing me of transcribing the whole thing. That said, here are his words...)

Edgar Martinez: I have decided that I will retire at the end of this year and I (would) like to thank all the fans in the northwest. (They've) been great fans to me, welcoming me to this area, and my wife Holli, my kids Tessa and Alex, and also baby that is on the way; we thank you for everything that you have done for us and we are proud to be part of this community. I would also like to thank management from the past and (present brass) and all the different GMs and managers that I've played for in the past. I would also like to thank teammates, (I couldn't type fast enough), Jay Buhner... I enjoyed playing with you guys over the years, and you made me be a better player. I'd like to thank Holli and the kids for their patience...you're the most wonderful person I know. This is a difficult moment for me, but it's also an exciting moment for me. I'm looking forward to a new chapter in my life, and looking forward for the future...I hope that the Mariners in the future will bring a World Series to this great city.

(Howard Lincoln announced that October 2nd will be Edgar Martinez Day, with an on-field ceremony occurring after the game against the Texas Rangers.)

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According to ESPN News, Edgar Martinez has decided to retire, effective immediately.

We'll definitely know more at 2:30 Pacific...

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ESPN.com's Greg Garber has a column today on the Kirk sisters, Tara and Dana.

The Olympics start up on Friday in Athens. We'll definitely keep you updated on the latest news with the Kirks. And as David noted earlier, there is an Olympics sidebar full of links. Check them out.

And last, but not least, Edgar Martinez has called a 2:30 press conference. I would assume that it has something to do with retirement. However, I'm still hoping that it has something to do with the creepy looking Edgar Bears. Maybe he found the boxes full of Edgar Bears and wants the press to see him destroy each and every one of those bears. We can only hope, right?

Preseason football begins tonight, with the Hall of Fame Game between the Redskins and Broncos. It sure beats the X-Games, that's for sure.

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Just a couple of really short ones here before I go hit some baseballs or something...

-- I don't know how I didn't hear of it earlier, but now-former Seahawk announcer Brian Davis has been hired on to the Fox Sports Net crew for the 70 or so Sonic games in the upcoming season (along with some Pac10 football and basketball games). He'll be working with Kevin Calabro and Craig Ehlo. In a related note, I have no idea how this is going to work. For many years, Calabro and whoever was with him would just simulcast the radio calls over the TV airwaves, which I found highly enjoyable. With Calabro and Davis both presumably as play-by-play guys, does this mean they switch off like Rizzs and Niehaus on the Mariner telecasts? I'm guessing this would leave Billy McKinney on the radio side, unless he got canned or something. Will Elise Woodward do sideline reporting for the radio broadcasts? Does anyone know the answers to these questions?

-- Some people may remember that Athens lobbied hard for the 1996 Games. Why? Those Games marked the 100th anniversary of the very first Olympiad. Why did they lose out to Atlanta? It's probably a leap, but I always thought it had something to do with sponsorship dollars, and the Coca-Cola Company (based in Atlanta). Come on, it makes sense, right? People over there complain about how hard it is to get to Braves games (not just because they're horrible sports fans, the transportation layout just sucks), let alone an Olympic games. One could only imagine how brutal it was when the Braves quandary was multiplied by 20 or so when the Games came to Atlanta. Hence, Coca-Cola pumps money into it, and the IOC looks the other way. Just a hair-brained semi-theory.

-- As I posted a while ago, the Greek Olympic baseball team is made largely of North American-born players of Greek descent. Okay, it's a bad setup, but Andrew James Brack and Derek Nicholson tested positive for stanozol and diuretics, respectively. Both have been thrown off the team. Both have been minor leaugers.

-- In a more positive Olympics note, we've added some Olympics links to the sidebar for NBC and CBC, their broadcast schedules, and some bio pages for a couple of local swimmers (sisters) that kind of got into the Olympics themselves. Y'all can thank Jeremy for digging up the links because I've been a little lazy lately.

-- Thanks to David Locke for this one...Scott Spiezio's month-by-month batting average: May .194, June .188, July .167, August .150. Melvin: "If Speez is hitting well, fifth is a good spot for him." Spiezio hit 5th yesterday. He has 1 RBI since the All-Star break. He has played in 18 of the last 23 games. Right now, Locke is on a roll, saying Spiezio is hitting worse now than Jeff Cirillo was when he was here. It's not out of the realm of possibility, folks. Granted, the pressure is a little less being on a team of such craptitude, but Spiezio is hitting worse than crap. What was his contract? Three years, $9M? Yup, looks great. Earlier, Locke was using clips from Mitch Levy's interviews with Gillick, Piniella, Lincoln, Armstrong, Bavasi to see what the hell happened. I think it was Lincoln who said after last season that he gave Lee Pelekoudas and Pat Gillick extra money needed to make a deadline deal last year, but that other teams weren't drooling over the Mariners' offers. Locke's conclusion: perhaps the Mariners misevaluated their own prospects. Hopefully this changes with Bob Fontaine now in house, but given some of the control problems and inconsistency that we've seen from Clint Nageotte and Travis Blackley (might be a stretch, though Blackley had six starts or so), perhaps the Mariners just hyped the hell out of these guys to the point were they and the fans believed that they were incredibly good, whereas talent evalutors from other organizations viewed their prospects as nowhere near as good. I know it's probably not the first time this has been touched upon in the blogosphere, but I just got around to it, thought it would make for decent post material, etc.

-- Koren Robinson has returned to Seahawks camp, and Brock Huard has been sent back to Seattle to have some more tests run on the tightness in his back.

Okay, so the tidbits weren't so short. That happens when you find some other stuff to talk about, I guess.

Enjoy your Mariner off-day! Looks like it'll be mostly sunny in the Jet City, so if you have a laptop with wireless capabilities and a wireless network nearby, feel free to sit in the sun and pull up Sports and B's outdoors. If someone actually does do this, please let us know and give us a shameless ego boost.

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Not the band, mind you, but rather the Devil Rays on Sunday, who "exploded" for 15 hits after accumulating 61 over their ten previous games. Of course, the barrage of hits off Jamie Moyer was predominately singles (12 of 13, quite a few dinkers), but the Rays will take it.

The game started out ominously when Rob Bell struck out the side in the 1st, allowing a Bret Boone single (13-game hit streak) inbetween. Jamie Moyer got a key Aubrey Huff comebacker to the mound for an inning-ending double play.

The Mariners' first scoring chance came in the 3rd. Willie Bloomquist led off with a single and moved to second on an Ichiro single. Randy Winn was en route to an 0-for-5 day and bounced a ball to BJ Upton at short, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. There was still enough time to force Ichiro out, but Winn beat out the double play. Bret Boone came up with runners on the corners and one out. He stung one right at Upton, who threw to first trying to double off Winn (didn't get him). Randy Winn stole second on the first pitch to Bucky Jacobsen, who later whiffed. End of inning.

Jamie Moyer ran into some small ball in the Devil Ray half of the 3rd. Rey Sanchez led off with a single and moved to second on a Brook Fordyce bunt. Carl Crawford flied out to left, something that won't advance a runner from second. Julio Lugo then hit a two-out single to drive in Sanchez (TB 1-0). Aubrey Huff singled to move Lugo to second and amp up the pressure a bit, but then Tino Martinez bounced one to Spiezio at first.

But you know these Mariners...as Rick Rizzs would tell you, "these guys never quit!!" Jose Lopez bunted himself aboard and went to second on a Scott Spiezio single (cherish the single, Scott). Rob Bell knew Dan Wilson was up there to bunt and hurled two pitches up and in, and somehow Dan managed to get the second one down to move the runners into scoring position. Justin Leone then popped out to Upton (inopportune). Bloomquist hit a grounder to Huff at third that probably should have ended the inning. Huff hurried the throw and threw into the runner at first, allowing Lopez to score to tie the game at 1-1. Ichiro then got up and did exactly what we thought he'd do with runners on the corners and two out -- he bunted on the first pitch. That goes in the scorebook this time as a 1-3 putout.

The game remained tied and Moyer mostly cruised through the 4th and 5th before running into some danger in the 6th. It helps that Tampa Bay is a crappy hitting team, sure, but they do hit lefties better than righties. Not good for Moyer. Tino hit a leadoff single and went to second on Rocco Baldelli's bunt (would it be wrong to say Lou loves small ball if the five-hitter who hit third the night before just bunted?). Jose Cruz Jr. didn't get any runs in (flyout), but Upton (moved to second on the relay throw) and Sanchez followed with RBI singles to break the tie (TB 3-1). Did I forget to mention that the Mariners were done scoring their runs for the day?

Moyer would be chased in the 7th. Crawford led off with a single and went to second on Lugo's second bunt attempt. Crawford scored on a Huff single (TB 4-1). Singles by Tino and Baldelli to load the bases with one out chased Moyer. Who better to put out the fire than Shigetoshi Hasegawa? Cruz hit an RBI single to cap the scoring (TB 5-1), but Upton grounded into a double play on the first pitch to end the carnage.

The Mariners succumbed once again to the powers of Jesus Colome in their half of the 8th before Cha Seung Baek made his Major League debut for the Mariners in the bottom half of the inning. He pitched a scoreless 8th, allowing a one-out Fordyce single and a Crawford walk along the way.

Colome allowed a one-out single to Leone and got pinch-hitting Edgar Martinez to pop out. Ichiro hit a single to push Leone to third and bring the tying run to the on-deck circle (a stretch, I know). Lou Piniella freaked out and brought in Danys Baez to get the final out. Ichiro took second (indifference) on the first pitch. The result of the at-bat was a 12-pitch struggle ending in Winn stinging one into Tino's glove for the final out of the game.

Gameball: Dan Wilson. You won't see me do this many times, but if this guy bunts, I don't get ticked off because I'm not expecting him to come up with anything if he swings away, and he did manage to get a single along with a supplementary walk. 1-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. It's not an 0-for-4, let's just put it that way. If you don't agree with this, yeah, I probably should have given it to Cha Seung Baek for throwing a scoreless inning for his debut.

Goat: Randy Winn. I'm probably being hard on him because he's been doing decent lately, but if the meat of the order is batting behind you and you don't get on base at all without making an out (fielder's choice in the 2nd), it's not a good thing, 12-pitch final at-bat be damned.

Before I end it here, I did get to see some Blue Angels action when I was at the Fry's Electronics store in Renton. Crazy aerial maneuvers, crazy electronics store. The place is freakin' huge, people. You know, one of those deals where they set up a coffee shop-type thing because they expect people to spend a long time in the place, a la Barnes and Noble? Kinda like that, except I can't find a Fry's experience to parallel reading through most of an entire book at Barnes and Noble and then putting it back on the shelf.

Yes, it's a split in Tampa Bay for the Mariners. Terry Mulholland let in the final runs in the 18th of Sunday's Oakland/Minnesota game and threw 19 pitches. The teams play on Monday, so I haven't heard anything as to whether Mulholland will still start against the Mariners on Tuesday in Seattle. Until then...

Mulholland. Meche. Tuesday.

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Sunday, August 08, 2004


No, this isn't quite as "memorable" as Mark McGwire's 70th home run in 1998.

But the Mariners are the first American League team in 2004 to lose 70 games. Congratulations, Howard Lincoln and crew. Proud of ya! Or as some Southerners like to say to me from time to time, appreciate ya!

In related news, Craig Kilborn will be on Sportscenter tonight. As far as I'm concerned, that's must-see TV. However, I wish the family of networks could have had Keith Olbermann team up one more time with Dan Patrick this week. But there's still some bad blood between Olbermann and ESPN.

Oh well. It's a celebration. Carlos Tosca has been sh*tcanned. Have a Labatt's on me.

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Carlos Tosca, say hello to the pink slip.

No link as of yet, I just saw the headline in the bottom right hand corner on ESPN News. But this is great news. Of course, I had predicted Tosca to be fired on April 30, but I can live with him being fired on August 8. Close enough I guess, heh.

So there you go. The biggest joke of a Major League manager ever is now out of a job. Yes, even a bigger joke than Bob Melvin. Now that's saying something.

Update at 2 p.m. Pacific: ESPN.com report

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Sunday afternoon in Canton, Ohio, John Elway and Barry Sanders will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with Carl Eller and Bob Brown.

Do I feel glad for Elway that he's in the Hall of Fame?

Hell no.

Of course he deserves to be in the HOF. But as a Seahawks fan, do you expect me to come out and be happy for Elway? No way in hell. I'm still bitter that this guy won two Super Bowl rings. The lesson here is, I will stay bitter until my team wins the Super Bowl.

As for Sanders, he was stuck in Detroit for his entire career. He never got to play with a decent quarterback. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Erik Kramer, Rodney Peete, and Andre Ware qualify as "decent quarterbacks".

Needless to say, this year's speeches will most likely not be as emotional as Jim Kelly's 2003 HOF speech. But nonetheless, congrats to this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yes, even John F***ing Elway. That stupid looking horse.

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