Saturday, October 02, 2004


.337 BA, 39 HR, 126 RBI

He's your 2004 American League Most Valuable Player.

I will now light myself on fire, peel my skin, and eat it. Threeve times.

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Well, there's only two real things I have to say here before Edgar Martinez Day festivities kick in at the Safe.

-- A light bulb went off in my head (rare occurrence) and I finally thought of a way to get the sidebar headings to jive with the title logo bar/thingy. I like how it turned out, but that's just me.

-- A sifting through about 500 links' worth of Google searches last night led to my happening upon three other blogs for the Seahawks, as I've been wondering where the Seahawk blogosphere is. Maybe I'm just looking in all the wrong places, but surely there's a ton of Seahawk fans with opinions out there, right?

Enjoy Edgar Martinez Day, and enjoy your next stroll/drive down Edgar Martinez Drive South (South Atlantic Street). It's an 800-foot drive. Ah, the play on words.

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I've now read the Rick Reilly column in this week's Sports Illustrated and let's just say that it's a load of "bushido", pardon the pun.

I won't go into detail about his thoughts on Ichiro, because they have been documented. But this part of the column just irked me:

The six biggest home run years in major league history have come in the last six years. SS (The balls, players, and stadiums are all juiced.)

You may remember a year or so ago when Reilly challenged Sammy Sosa to take a steroid test. Reilly has had his moments of greatness at times. Unfortunately, there are columns like this one that make him look like a complete moron.

Here's another gem from Reilly:

Jerry Rice caught at least one pass in 274 straight games. PU (Propped-up stat) [...] Early in every game it was slant to Rice, stepback toss to Rice, one-yard buttonhook to Rice.

Catching a football is not as easy as some people think it is. Try doing it at least once for 274 straight games, as Jerry Rice did. Again, more ignorance from Mr. Reilly.

Overall though, this is a very good issue of Sports Illustrated. They've picked it up lately. This week's issue features a follow-up from Friday Night Lights author H.G. Bissinger. It's a must-read, no doubt about it. The movie "Friday Night Lights" comes out this Friday. I know I'm going to go see it. You have to read the book if you haven't already.

Go Edgar.

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The Mariners opened the third inning against Ryan Drese with seven straight hits to break the ballgame open and put the outcome out of doubt; the Mariners pushed six runners across the plate in the inning. Drese was pulled after the sixth hit of the seven.

But the big story of this game revolved around one of those hits in the third, as well as a hit by the same guy before that and another after that.

Ichiro hit a chopper over third baseman Hank Blalock's head on a 1-2 pitch to tie George Sisler at 257 hits (see posts from Jeremy and I below that have a more immediate reaction). Ichiro didn't wait too long to break the record, ripping one up the middle for hit number 258 and the new single-season hit record. Add to this the fact that Ichiro's first hit got him the record for most hits over a four-year span; Ichiro has 921 hits from 2001-2004, breaking Bill Terry's record of 918 from 1929-1932. Of course, Rick Reilly will bust the chops of Ichiro on this one, too...154-game seasons were still in effect in Terry's years, but that's Reilly for you.

Well, I don't have to do the Ichiro countdown thing tonight because it's over and done with -- the record is now Ichiro's.

Two more spectra left...

Mariners on defense/pitching (bad to good)
massacre < terrible inning < some damage < fighting out of jam < decent inning < 1-2-3

Mariners on offense
I hate this team < come on, y'all < ho, hum < minimal damage < some damage < big inning

TOP 1ST -- some damage
Ron Villone started out the night ominously by walking Eric Young to start the game. However, he did get Blalock swinging and Michael Young looking. But then Mark Teixeira mashed one (TEX 2-0) after Jeff had a one-way exchange with Dave Niehaus.

BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
I use the term "damage" if there's runs, but this is probably the best "ho, hum" inning of the year. Ichiro singled for hit number 257 to lead off, the crowd loud, the flash bulbs bright. Randy Winn singled two pitches later. Edgar Martinez stepped to the plate, and surely saw the huge EDGAR 1987-2004 emblem painted behind the plate. He drew cheers (there'll be more Saturday night) and flew out to Teixeira at first. Raul Ibanez then hacked at 3-0 and singled to load the bases. But in came Bret Boone with a 5-4-3 double play. Around the horn, ah yes. In a related story, I, Max is infinitely more entertaining than Around the Horn post-Kellerman. We'll see if Kellerman can last as long on Fox Sports Net as Jim Rome did.

TOP 2ND -- 1-2-3
It wasn't the easiest 1-2-3 inning, but it ended with Laynce Nix being caught looking on the 8th pitch.

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Dan Wilson got aboard on a two-out infield single. Though this is rare, it's not really something to jump up and down about.

TOP 3RD -- 1-2-3
Another good inning for Villone, perish the thought. Hank Blalock was hacktastic, flying out on his second pitch to end the inning.

BOTTOM 3RD -- big inning
I don't get to use the phrase "big inning" with this offense often, but this was it (surprise, there were no homers). First off, Ichiro worked his count full and his single up the middle broke Sisler's record. Hit number 258 was followed by multiple acknowledgements of the crowd by Ichiro, the Mariner dugout emptying out onto the field in congratulation, the Ranger infield tipping their caps, fireworks (I miss the post-homer fireworks of the Kingdome), and even smiles on the usually emotionless face of Ichiro. With the ink dry in the record books, it was time to play ball again. I'll try to keep it short. Winn singled to move Ichiro to third. Edgar singled (TEX 2-1) and moved Winn to third. Ibanez doubled to right (2-2) and moved Edgar to third. Boone hit a 3-0 pitch the other way (SEA 3-2) and moved Ibanez to third. Jeremy Reed then singled (SEA 4-2) and moved Boone to second. Bucky Showalter had seen enough and pulled Drese for grizzled veteran John Wasdin. I hadn't seen a Texas manager that flustered since Alex's new Ranger team was getting their butts handed to him in the first Texas/Seattle series at the Safe. Yes, the days of Doug Davis, Ryan Glynn, and Colby Lewis, ah yes... Anyway, Wasdin gave up a single on the first pitch to Greg Dobbs (SEA 5-2) and Wilson hit an RBI groundout (SEA 6-2). Jose Lopez was caught looking and Ichiro swung on 3-0 before getting robbed of a double by Nix out in centerfield on a catch where he had to jog toward the wall and reach back at the same time. I hope you saw it with video, because my description is brutal.

TOP 4TH -- fighting out of jam
Michael Young and Teixeira both flew out to start the inning, but then things got interesting. Jose Lopez made a bad throw to first, and Kevin Mench got aboard. Villone fell behind on Brian Jordan and walked him. The inning would end on a ground ball from Chad Allen.

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Winn got aboard with a leadoff single and was stranded. It's a familiar story, really.

TOP 5TH -- decent inning
Both a Ken Huckaby one-out walk and an infield single by Blalock were sandwiched by outs.

BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
Wasdin gets his easiest inning of the night, going 1-2-3 with Reed, Dobbs, and Dan Wilson.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Villone didn't come out for the 6th. Julio Mateo was brought out. Eleven pitches later, he'd gotten through Teixeira, Mench, and Jordan fairly easily.

Villone's line: 5 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 87 pitches (54 strikes). Three walks in five innings is never anything to write home about (not in a good way, at least), but for some reason I'm passing this as decent a five-inning start we would ever see out of Villone. Hopefully he can make five-inning starts with someone else next year.

BOTTOM 6TH -- minimal damage
With one out, Ichiro legged out a ground ball to Michael Young for hit number 259. Winn walked. Both runners moved up on Edgar's whiff, but Ichiro came home on a bad throw from Huckaby (SEA 7-2). Ex-Marlin Michael Tejera was brought in and he mowed down Ibanez to end the inning.

TOP 7TH -- 1-2-3
Mateo needs only five pitches to get through Allen, Nix, and Huckaby. Though it's nice to see Mateo throw two shutout innings, I've still got qualms about him pitching in the big leagues this season rather than being shut down after the injury. Sure, the possibility of the Mariners being competitive next year is probably not that good, but with two games left in the year, I'm pretty sure I know where they'll end up. So why is Mateo throwing in these ballgames? Again, these moves that I would rather pass on are simply interpreted by me as Bob Melvin trying to get himself fired. Sure, it's probably not true, but it gets me through and gives me the only possible closure I can have on this matter.

BOTTOM 7TH -- ho, hum
Boone led off with a single, and Dobbs legged one out with one out. Nothing was doing, though.

TOP 8TH -- some damage
Shigetoshi Hasegawa was called in for Mateo. Blalock singled with one out, and Teixeira singled with two out. Mench bounced one to Hasegawa, who was charged with an error on his throw to first. Blalock scored on the play (SEA 7-3). Hasegawa caught Jordan looking to end the inning.

The Mariners were tagged with three errors tonight (all on throws), all on plays at first base. I can't remember all three of the plays right now, but I have this hunch that at least one of those had to be an error on Ibanez at first. That or he just doesn't have the picking skills that you need out of a first baseman.

BOTTOM 8TH -- minimal damage
Ichiro was caught looking by Michael Tejera and boos directed at the home plate umpire Joe West rained down from the crowd, pegged at 45573. Travis Hughes trotted in from the bullpen and got Winn to whiff. Edgar, Ibanez, and Boone singled to cap the Mariners' end of the scoring (Jolbert Cabrera pinch-ran for Edgar and scored, SEA 8-3).

TOP 9TH -- decent inning
JJ Putz has Allen get aboard with an infield single, but Nix grounded into a double play. Adrian Gonzalez pinch-hit for Huckaby, and he flew out on a nice catch by Reed in centerfield to end the game.

Gameball: Ichiro. 3-for-5, scoring twice, with the strikeout thrown in there. It can't be anybody else tonight, even though three other hitters got three hits. Ichiro capped a season that we thought would never take place given how he'd started out in April. Five months, he's given us one of the main things to cheer about in this abysmal campaign. I hope that this Ichiro thing trumps Hideki Matsui over in Japan, because it should. I said last offseason that Ichiro isn't worth $10M a year, and I still believe that it wasn't necessarily the exact contract I would have given them at the time, but damned if Ichiro didn't go out there this year and become an absolute singles machine. You know, Ichiro could have had a decent April, but teamwise (even with him in the "catalyst" role), it still wouldn't have mattered because nobody would have driven him in. In other news, Ichiro was probably a decent April away from hitting .400, as well as breaking this record about two or three weeks ago. But that would have taken away a little bit from this homestand, I think.

Goat: Jose Lopez. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error, stranding four. Yes, even on this night, there has to be a goat. You'll have better days, Jose. No one will ever get me to use that phony nickname (Lopey). Ninety-five percent of all nicknames ending in -y or -ly are phony; can we not agree on this?

Why is the recap so late? Well...have you ever fell asleep in front of the keyboard?

Edgar Martinez Day festivities will be held in less than twelve hours. As Pat Cashman would say in those fake Roscoe's Oriental Rug Emporium commercials on Almost Live!, miss your son's Little League game, miss your grandmother's funeral, miss your period, but DON'T MISS THIS!!

Rogers. Moyer. Thirteen hours.

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Friday, October 01, 2004


I could care less that it took Ichiro more than 154 games to get the hits record. The fact is, the game has changed so much in 84 years. What Ichiro has done this season is simply more impressive than what George Sisler did.

Not only does Ichiro have to deal with the Seattle media and fanbase, he also has an entire country behind him. Not to mention the Japanese media covering each and every one of his games. As far as I know, Sisler didn't have to worry about having the pressure of an entire country on his back.

In recent years, the long ball has been showcased. But what Ichiro has done not only in 2004 but in his first 3 seasons has also given fans an opportunity to appreciate the art of the single. I'll admit, I've bashed Ichiro on a few occasions. But in the end, I appreciate and respect Ichiro. He's a damn good ballplayer.

I've never really entertained the thought of Ichiro not getting the record in 154 games. It simply doesn't matter. Ichiro is the new all-time hits leader in a season. That's all that matters.

Oh, and Ichiro just got #259. Good stuff.

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For me, I'll remember Ichiro's place in the record books as this...

Ichiro (2004, 161 games played) -- 2xx hits
George Sisler (1920, 154 games played) -- 257 hits
Ichiro (2004, after 154 games) -- 251 hits

This isn't me trying to cheapen Ichiro's record or anything, this is just fact. Ichiro needed 159 games (played) to tie and break the record, and that was behind the pace of Sisler.

That said, what Rick Reilly has done with his Sports Illustrated article (I'd link but that requires an online subscription; Softy on KJR read off some article quotes which I'm going off of) is basically to take what Ichiro's done, drag it out to the barn, and blast it with a 12-gauge, all the while being juvenile in the process. A bin marked "SS" for "Stupid Stat"? Preposterous. There's pointing out the difference in amount of games, and then there's just plain hating, per se. I can't think of a more intellectual word to sum this up, so I'm going street; Reilly is being a hater. I don't know how else to put it. This might just be Reilly trying to ruffle some feathers and stuff, but sheesh. Furthermore, the online tease to the article is "[a]s Ichiro chases the hallowed hit record, join me in standing and saying, in unison, 'What a load of Bushido!!!' "

Ichiro didn't get the 257 hits in 154 games, sure. But this record has stood for 84 years. The only players to get 240 hits or more post-1930 are Ichiro himself (242 in 2001), Wade Boggs (240 in 1985), and Darin Erstad (240 in 2000). There haven't been many assaults on the record. As a total aside, my dad has wondered aloud on many occasions, "how many hits would Wade Boggs have had if he'd had Ichiro's speed?" The mind boggles.

The seven-game gap isn't the only difference when comparing the hit leaders. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you the game has changed a ton in 84 years -- how tightly the baseballs are woven, number of pitchers in a starting rotation, weightlifting, nutritional supplements, travel on road trips (trains versus planes), expansion, and the list goes on. Ichiro is more than likely the only player in our lifetime that will do this. Take solace in one fact, Mariner fans -- Ichiro broke an 84-year-old record tonight. The Boston Red Sox haven't won a World Series in 85 seasons and counting. Sorry, Sox fans, I had to. Of course, I've probably cursed the Mariners to never win the Series in my lifetime now.

So yeah, you can hate on this record and you can hate on Ichiro all you want. You're only cheating yourself.

I'll say something in a couple days about Edgar Martinez Drive as well as Edgar.

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258 hits.


Yeah, I think Japanese players can play in the big leagues.

What a scene at Safeco Field. I'm glad that Ichiro was able to break the record at home, not in the Black Hole. Thanks to ESPN for allowing me and the rest of the nation to see Ichiro's at-bats live via bonus coverage from Fox Sports Northwest.

Ichiro is good. So good, he's now the all-time leader in hits for a season.

Take that, Ichi-haters.

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CHICAGO -- WGN-TV analyst Steve Stone met Friday with Chicago Cubs president Andy MacPhail, general manager Jim Hendry and manager Dusty Baker after the broadcaster questioned managerial strategy and criticized the team's approach.


"You want the truth. You can't handle the truth," Stone said. "The truth of this situation is an extremely talented bunch of guys who want to look at all directions except where they should really look and kind of make excuses for what happened.

"At the end of the day, boys, don't tell me how rough the water is, you bring in the ship."

Stone went on to say that the Cubs should have already clinched the NL wild card by six or seven games, instead of trailing by one entering play in the final weekend.

Hooray for Steve Stone.

I've watched the Cubs on WGN for most of this season. The Cubs have lost 6 out of their last 7 games (lost 2 out of 3 to the Mets last weekend, 3 out of 4 to the Reds earlier this week, and lost to the Braves today). They're all but eliminated in the National League Wild Card race, depending on whether the Astros and Giants win tonight.

Stone is dead-on here. There's no reason why the Cubs aren't the N.L. Wild Card. I usually don't like to say a team choked, but let's face it, the Cubs choked. You can't lose 2 out of 3 to the freaking Mets. Hell, you can't lose 3 out of 4 to the mediocre Reds...at WRIGLEY FIELD!

But hearing the players and Dusty Baker complain about Stone's criticism isn't surprising to me. After all, the Cubs and their fans have made plenty of excuses over the past 96 years. Goats, black cats, Steve Bartman, etc.

The Chicago Cubs, never ones to blame themselves. They have to blame Steve f**king Stone for their problems. It figures. No wonder they haven't won anything in the modern era.

Screw the Cubs, the whole lot of them.

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While the national media will focus on Ichiro's quest to break George Sisler's all-time hit record, I'm more focused on the final weekend in the baseball career of #11, Edgar Martinez.

It's really sad to think that his career will end this weekend, especially since the Mariners are in the basement. It wasn't supposed to end like this. But it is what it is. And this post isn't about the Mariners' lack of success in 2004.

It's all about Edgar.

Edgar Martinez is without a doubt the best designated hitter in the history of baseball. Sure, there are still some folks out there who hate the DH with a passion. But if it weren't for the DH, it's more than likely that we wouldn't have seen Edgar play ball for the past decade. Hell, the Mariners may not even be in Seattle if it weren't for Edgar.

While Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez left Seattle via trade or free agency, Edgar stayed in Seattle. That's loyalty. I respect the hell out of him because of that. Being a Seattle sports fan, I've been used to seeing my sports heroes leave town. Not Edgar.

Webster's Dictionary doesn't have the term "professional hitter". But if it did, a "professional hitter" would be defined as "Edgar Martinez, 2-time batting champion for the Seattle Mariners". Chicks dig the long ball, and Edgar's had his share of long balls. But I know a few chicks who dig the doubles as well. There's a certain double that we all remember.

My favorite Edgar memories?

Obviously, everybody has "The Double" near the top of their favorite Edgar memories, and with good reason. But "The Double" wouldn't have been possible without his Game 4 grand slam against the Yankees the night before.

But there are two Edgar moments that I will always remember.

August 29, 2000
Mariners 5, Yankees 3
---Edgar hits a grand slam off of Jeff Nelson. I was standing on the 100 level concourse around the left field foul pole when he hit that grand slam. That was the first night I've ever seen Safeco Field go insane.

June 27, 2002
Mariners 7, Athletics 4
---Edgar returned to the M's starting lineup after being out for over 2 months early in the 2002 season. He had a few pinch-hitting appearances in the week before during interleague play. But on June 27, it was his first appearnce in the starting lineup since April 11.

In his second at-bat against Barry Zito, Edgar hits a solo shot into the lower center field bleachers. David and I were sitting in the center field bleachers (the cheap ones) and just couldn't believe what we saw. First game back in Safeco and he does that. Great stuff, indeed. Edgar was 2-for-5 that night.

Edgar Martinez is Mariners baseball. His #11 must be retired ASAP, no matter what the stupid Mariner Hall of Fame policy says. And he should be in Cooperstown one day.

Thank you, Edgar.

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I was .500 last week. Needless to say, last week was a terrible week for the Pick Me Up. This is exactly why I don't bet on sports.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (CBS)
(Carson Palmer vs Ben Roethlisberger. This should be a good rivalry for years to come)

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (CBS---televised in Arkansas)
(No last-second heroics for the Jaguars this week)

New England at Buffalo (CBS)
(I'm an idiot for picking the Bills as a wild-card team.)

New York Giants at Green Bay (FOX---televised in Arkansas)
(UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK. Kurt Warner will torch the Packers secondary.)

Oakland at Houston (CBS)
(Kerry Collins makes his first start as a Raider)

Philadelphia at Chicago (FOX)
(The Eagles sneak out of Soldier Field with a win)

Washington at Cleveland (FOX)
(Hey Joe, got timeouts?)

Atlanta at Carolina (FOX)
(The Falcons only scored 6 points against Arizona last week?!? Unreal.)

New Orleans at Arizona (FOX)
(Denny Green gets his first win as Cardinals head coach)

Denver at Tampa Bay (CBS)
(My god, the Bucs offense is terrible)

New York Jets at Miami (CBS)
(Just a month away until Shaq and the Heat start their season, Miami fans)

Tennessee at San Diego (CBS---televised in Arkansas)
(If Steve McNair can't play, Billy Volek will get the start)

St. Louis at San Francisco (ESPN)
(The 49ers will rebound this week. Mike Martz is a f**king moron.)

Kansas City at Baltimore
(The Chiefs will finally win a game. Yes, against the Ravens defense.)

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

The Seahawks have are off this weekend.

I do get to see the Rams-Seahawks game next Sunday on FOX. I just hope they don't put Ron Pitts and Tim Ryan in the booth for that game. But I won't be shocked if FOX does that.

Enjoy the games. And as always, use these picks at your own risk.

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Thursday, September 30, 2004


Today's day game with Oakland included Ryan Franklin's final start in a brutal 2004 season for the pride of Spiro, Oklahoma. Franklin bailed himself out of a 17-loss season by throwing a three-hitter (and giving up only one earned run) and going seven innings.

Once again, the Ichiro update.

Ichiro went 1-for-5 this afternoon to bring his 2004 hit total to 256.

So to cap it off, in similar format to how I was presenting it before...

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record before the end of the season...
>> if he averaged four at-bats per game the rest of the way (3 games remain), he would need to go 2-for-12 (.167).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 2-for-15 (.133).


Mariners on defense/pitching (bad to good)
massacre < terrible inning < some damage < fighting out of jam < decent inning < 1-2-3

Mariners on offense
I hate this team < come on, y'all < ho, hum < minimal damage < some damage < big inning

TOP 1ST -- ho, hum
Mark Redman doesn't let Ichiro lead off the game with a hit (Ichiro grounded out), and also sets down Randy Winn and Edgar Martinez in order.

BOTTOM 1ST -- 1-2-3
Ryan Franklin followed suit, mowing down Mark Kotsay, Mark McLemore, and Eric Chavez.

TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Raul Ibanez led off with a double. Bret Boone hit a fly to rightfield and Ibanez tried to tag up and go to third. Jermaine Dye gunned down Ibanez on the 9-5 putout. Jolbert Cabrera bunted a fly to the catcher to end the inning.

BOTTOM 2ND -- 1-2-3
Franklin kept the A's off the basepaths, getting Scott Hatteberg, Dye, and Crosby to undergo exercises in futility.

TOP 3RD -- minimal damage
Miguel Olivo doubled with one out and went to third when Willie Bloomquist reached base on a Bobby Crosby muff. Ichiro then knocked one into rightfield, a single marking hit number 256 on the season (SEA 1-0). Then Winn grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to make sure that rally went nowhere.

BOTTOM 3RD -- some damage
Franklin's perfect streak to start the game was stopped thanks to a Bloomquist error (Melhuse hit the ball). There were two outs when the error occurred. Then Kotsay doubled to centerfield, and Melhuse scored (1-1) from first (Winn's arm in centerfield, lest we forget). McLemore whiffed to end the inning.

TOP 4TH -- ho, hum
Ibanez hit a one-out single and Cabrera hit a two-out single, but that was about it.

BOTTOM 4TH -- some damage
Would it be a Ryan Franklin start if there wasn't a home run involved? Dye got his with two out (OAK 2-1), and Crosby drew a walk after him. Nothing else of note happened, though.

TOP 5TH -- minimal damage
To lead off, Olivo intriguingly hit his second double of the game. He scored from third on a two-out game-tying Winn single (2-2). The secodn out in the inning was an Ichiro whiff.

BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Six pitches was all Franklin needed to get through Eric Byrnes, Melhuse, and Kotsay.

TOP 6TH -- ho, hum
Boone walked with one out and Jose Lopez singled with two out. Redman was chased for Justin Duchscherer, who walked Olivo to load the bases. Duchscherer was pulled for Ricardo Rincon, who induced a foulout from Jeremy Reed, Bloomquist's pinch-hitter today.

BOTTOM 6TH -- 1-2-3
McLemore, Chavez, and Hatteberg didn't get too far in this inning.

TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Rincon got a little jealous and threw his own 1-2-3 inning, except it was against the top third of the Mariner lineup. Ichiro flew out in the process.

BOTTOM 7TH -- decent inning
Crosby singled with one out. This gave Franklin two stretches during the game in which he retired eight straight hitters. Franklin got out of this by catching Nate Swisher looking and getting a foulout from Byrnes.

TOP 8TH -- ho, hum
Rincon was pulled after a two-out single by Cabrera. Chad Bradford came in for Rincon and got a quick flyout from Lopez.

BOTTOM 8TH -- fighting out of jam
Franklin didn't come out for an eighth inning of work, as he was replaced by Matt Thornton. Kotsay singled with one out and scooted to second on a wild pitch. However, Chavez was put aboard. Three pitches later, Hatteberg flew out to centerfield.

Franklin's line: 7 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (66 strikes). Pretty solid outing today; not a lot of walks, and only one homer. Here's to a better year next year for Ryan Franklin, wherever he ends up next year.

TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Octavio Dotel. He can be fairly fast. Greg Dobbs got a pinch-hit whiff, Reed flew out to centerfield, and Ichiro followed with a whiff of his own.

BOTTOM 9TH -- some damage
On the third pitch of the inning (with one out), Crosby went yard to end the game (OAK 3-2).

Gameball: Miguel Olivo. 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk. I've been waiting for quite a while for Olivo to have a game like this. Actually, probably more like 2 weeks or so. Anyway, it's nice to see some signs of life out of him.

Goat: Edgar Martinez. 1-for-5 with a strikeout, stranding one. He's saving it for the farewell series.

What more is there to say...hmm...It's time for three against the Rangers; the fans will be appreciated tomorrow via giveaways and free crap rather than by being given a good baseball team. Saturday is Edgar Martinez day, definitely must-see television throughout the region. Sunday is Kids' Appreciation Day, and that's the season. Three games left. O where has the season gone...

Drese. Villone. Tomorrow.

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The State of Football (Seahawks.com)

Last Friday, the Seahawks and Qwest unveiled "The State of Football" at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field. "The State of Football" honors all 331 high school football programs in the state of Washington, featuring replica helmets from each school.

If you've been to Seahawks Stadium since it opened in July 2002, you have noticed the lack of identity in the lower plaza level concourse. Adding "The State of Football" to the concourse certainly adds more to Seahawks Stadium, no doubt about it.

A lot of the credit has to go to CEO Tod Leiweke. Some of the hockey fans who read Sports and Bremertonians may know about the Minnesota Wild's "State of Hockey" campaign. Leiweke was the president of the Wild before coming to Seattle. In his year-plus tenure with the Seahawks, Leiweke has done a great job.

Now Seattle has "The State of Football". If only I could see the wall myself. Maybe next summer, when I hope to visit the Northwest again.

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I guess the game went over a little better when I subconsciously decided to root for the Angels to retake the lead in the AL West. Do I like the Angels? Heavens no. I just wanted more hell to be raised atop the AL West. And thanks to Bobby Madritsch fighting back from a very untimely Jose Lopez error, the Mariners came away with a 4-2 win in Oaktown.

I think it's Bob Melvin's modus operandi to put JJ Putz into the 9th inning of any game that doesn't involve Bobby Madritsch. Madritsch threw a complete-game three-hitter tonight, sure, but 133 pitches is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Once again, I read this as another subtle cry from Bob Melvin, saying "pleeease fire me after the season." I guess what's unnerving is that I think I heard Tim Kurkjian on KJR allude to the possibility of Melvin returning if there aren't any big names out there in the offseason. Kurkjian even said that Melvin deserved another chance, but to that I say one thing -- granted, the team's changed a lot since spring training, but Melvin said he was going to put more of a stamp on this team this year, and look where it's gotten them. Furthermore, Melvin was brought in to manage a veteran ballclub, and some think Melvin should be axed because the job description has changed -- he's dealing with younger players now, and would have to do so next year also, if brought back. In short, I have to say Bob Melvin isn't the only problem, but I don't see him as part of the solution, either.

Oh, the game. Two hours and forty minutes of decent baseball watching. Jeremy Reed is good, and his September is nuts, except Reed has way more upside than Willie Bloomquist did when he had his anomalous September a few years ago.

Ichiro went 1-for-3 tonight (he also whiffed, grounded out, walked, and was beaned in the back) to bring his 2004 hit total to 255.

So to cap it off, in similar format to how I was presenting it before...

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record before the end of the season...
>> if he averaged four at-bats per game the rest of the way (4 games remain), he would need to go 3-for-16 (.188).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 3-for-20 (.150).

There's not many more spectrums remaining in the season...

Mariners on defense/pitching (bad to good)
massacre < terrible inning < some damage < fighting out of jam < decent inning < 1-2-3

Mariners on offense
I hate this team < come on, y'all < ho, hum < minimal damage < some damage < big inning

TOP 1ST -- ho, hum
Rich Harden had some trouble keeping the ball down in the early going, including throwing a pitch to the backstop with Ichiro at the plate. Ichiro walked, and Randy Winn bounced a ball right to Marco Scutaro at second for the easy double play. Bret Boone chimed in and gave Scutaro another ball to scoop up.

BOTTOM 1ST -- fighting out of jam
Madritsch didn't have the best first inning to start. It was reminiscent of Joel Pineiro, actually, one of those first innings where he throws a bunch of pitches and manages somehow to not give up a run (that's not to say that Pineiro always came away unscathed). Madritsch walked Mark Kotsay to lead off, and walked Eric Chavez one out later. Jermaine Dye bounced out to Boone to move the runners into scoring position, but Madritsch got Erubiel Durazo to chase a high pitch out of the strike zone for a popout to Greg Dobbs at third to end the inning.

TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Reed hit a two-out single into centerfield and was caught leaning off of first a little too far with Dan Wilson at the plate.

BOTTOM 2ND -- 1-2-3
Scott Hatteberg, Scutaro, and Bobby Crosby were retired in a fairly quick inning for Madritsch.

TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
It's another two-out single for the Mariners, this time by Jose Lopez. Lopez wasn't picked off like Reed in the inning before, however. Like the Mariner 2nd, there were no other baserunners in the inning.

BOTTOM 3RD -- some damage
Madritsch faltered with two out. Eric Byrnes doubled into leftfield, and Chavez singled him in to put up the first crooked number of the ballgame (OAK 1-0).

TOP 4TH -- minimal damage
Harden followed suit by allowing some two-out damage. Raul Ibanez doubled and came home on Jolbert Cabrera's single to tie the game (1-1). Cabrera stood on second after the unsuccessful throw home. Reed was put aboard, and Harden got a grounder to short out of Wilson.

BOTTOM 4TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch got through Durazo (8-pitch at-bat), Hatteberg, and Scutaro.

TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro (hit number 255) and Winn singled with two out. The two hits were flanked by Harden striking out the side, all via the whiff.

BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch got through Crosby, Adam Melhuse, and Kotsay (whiff).

TOP 6TH -- ho, hum
Harden followed with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, needing seven pitches to get past Ibanez, Cabrera, and Reed.

BOTTOM 6TH -- some damage
Byrnes doubled to lead off, putting the go-ahead run into scoring position right away. Chavez bounced out to Cabrera at first, but Byrnes moved to third on the play. Dye was put aboard to put the inning-ending double play in order. Durazo flew out to Ibanez on the first pitch, and it looked as if Madritsch might escape the inning unscathed. Madritsch walked Hatteberg to load the bases, but all he needed was one out. A ground ball to Lopez at short seemed to be the inning-ender. But Jose didn't glove it right, and bobbled the ball, allowing Byrnes to score (OAK 2-1). Lopez fielded his next grounder cleanly off Crosby's bat to end the inning.

TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Harden nets his second straight 1-2-3 inning, predictably setting down Wilson, Dobbs, and Lopez.

BOTTOM 7TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch follows suit, putting the costly Lopez error behind him and putting away Melhuse, Kotsay, and Byrnes.

TOP 8TH -- some damage
Ichiro started off the inning with a groundout, but it took 13 pitches (eight fouls) from Harden to force that outcome. But then Winn legged out an infield single and Boone doubled off the face of the wall in the gap, too hard to score Winn, however. Harden was pulled at this point, with both the tying and go-ahead runs on base being his. Ricardo Rincon was brought in to go lefty/lefty against Ibanez. This worked, as Ibanez whiffed. Former Mariner farmhand and screwballer Jim Mecir was brought in. Cabrera singled on the second pitch and drove in both runners to put the Mariners in the lead and put Harden on the hook (SEA 3-2). Reed then singled into centerfield, and Kotsay came up trying to nail Cabrera at third. The throw sailed into foul ground, of which there is a lot in Oakland, as Cabrera easily scored (SEA 4-2). Wilson flew out to center to end the inning for good measure.

BOTTOM 8TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch had thrown 106 pitches through seven innings, but we know Melvin, and his habit is generally to leave Madritsch in for at least 120 pitches (yikes!). Madritsch picked a good time to have a 1-2-3 inning though, fresh off his team getting the lead back, and against the meat of the A's lineup (Chavez whiff, Dye, Durazo).

TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Three groundouts for Justin Duchscherer, along with nailing Ichiro in the back with two out, firing up Madritsch in the process.

BOTTOM 9TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch had thrown 120 pitches through eight innings. Still, Melvin rode the hot hand (or arm) and it worked. Hatteberg, Scutaro, and Crosby (looking) were no match for Madritsch.

Madritsch retired ten straight to end the game. He didn't allow a hit to his final 15 batters, with the Byrnes leadoff double in the 6th being Oakland's final hit of the game. The tatt man's got himself a spot in next year's rotation, one would think. The only ways in which I can't see that happening are through total organizational incompetence (always possible with this group) or the acquisition of multiple top-tier free-agent starting pitchers (not happening). Way to go, Bobby!

Madritsch's line: 9 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 hits, 4 walks (eek?!), 4 strikeouts, 133 pitches.

Bob Melvin is out of his mind.

Also, at least the Mariners didn't have a 3-year $9M contract with Charles Gipson when they were using him as a late-inning defensive replacement. Raise your hand if you're enjoying the Scott Spiezio Era in Seattle. "I can't read this guy!"

Gameball: Jolbert Cabrera. 2-for-4, with 3 RBI (all with two out). I don't give a lot of gamers to the Joly One, but he drove in all three of the runs tonight, and that's got to account for something.

Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-4, stranding four. Once again, Dan gets everything in front of the ball except for his bat.

Well, unless Ichiro gets three hits tomorrow, the home fans should be in for some history when Ichiro comes back to Seattle. Also, it's Edgar's farewell, and Edgar Martinez Day is on Saturday. I don't know if number 11 will be hanging from the rafters after the game, but if 11, 19, and 21 aren't hanging from the rafters after next year, something's wrong. Add 24 and 51 later as necessary. No, that 51 isn't Ichiro; 51 only belongs to one Mariner for me, and he's tall.

Looks like I'll be at work for the nine-inning lunch...I'll see if I can hijack the radio.

Franklin. Redman. Ten and a half hours.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


God bless the internet. (Thanks, Boston Dirt Dogs)

Oh, and it gets better.

Pedro Martinez's little friend, Nelson De La Rosa, was on some Spanish television show a few years ago and did a little dance. It's called the Mahow Mahow. I'm having difficulty breathing. Seriously.

If the Red Sox can't win the World Series this year, what's next? Taking Ted Williams' frozen body out of some tube in Arizona and having Johnny Damon bringing it out to home plate yelling "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!"?

Who knows. All I know is that Pedro Martinez is an insane person in 2004. First, the Jerri Curl. Now, his little friend. And he also called the Yankees "his daddy".

I'm vexed.

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The Mariners have five games remaining. They stand at 61-96 after tonight's 7-2 victory in Oakland against Tim Hudson (three uncharacteristic things when you consider it's also September) and have to win two games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1983. In yet another fact pulled from the wire article (thank you, AP), the A's have gone 11-15 this September after going 70-30 in Septembers 2000-2003.

I can't configure the Ichiro updates like I did before I left for the prairie because Ichiro is past the mark of 154 games played. In terms of that mark, George Sisler produced his 257 hits, and Ichiro had 251 after Sunday's game at Texas (his 154th game of the year). So, if Ichiro goes on and gets 258 hits or more, it'll be the Maris 61 to the Ruth 60. That said, not many people alive right now have seen the type of season that Ichiro is having right now. So, yeah, I've said that an Ichiro record at this stage wouldn't be an outright record, but damn, that's a lot of hits. He's hitting .372 right now and is raking (singles) at a .486 clip during his current 8-game hit streak.

As for tonight, Ichiro went 2-for-5 to bring his 2004 hit total to 254.

So to cap it off, in similar format to how I was presenting it before...

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record before the end of the season...
>> if he averaged four at-bats per game the rest of the way (5 games remain), he would need to go 4-for-20 (.200).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 4-for-25 (.160).

For anyone wondering, Bresnan Communications in Butte, Montana, carried the cable duties in the motel room I was at last night. It's weird because they carried the Mariner game, and carried the Northwest Sports Report right up until the Colorado Rockies finished their game in LA, then the coverage cut over to FSN Rocky Mountain. FSN Rocky Mountain also carried the programming before the Mariner game. In an unrelated note, the Rocky Mountain Sports Report ballyhooed the Broncos as having the number one defense in the NFL, but based on yards per game rather than points (in which the Seahawks would be number one). The other weird thing? I don't know if it was the strength of AM radio waves at night or a bitchin' relay, but KOMO 1000 was coming in crystal clear in Butte. I couldn't believe it. I think that's something like 600 miles away.


Mariners on defense/pitching (bad to good)
massacre < terrible inning < some damage < fighting out of jam < decent inning < 1-2-3

Mariners on offense
I hate this team < come on, y'all < ho, hum < minimal damage < some damage < big inning

TOP 1ST -- some damage
Ichiro drilled a 3-1 pitch from Hudson into the gap in rightfield, as Jermaine Dye had to cut the ball off to prevent Ichiro from stretching it out to a triple. In a move that probably sickened most of the blogosphere and drew a second-guess from Dave Niehaus, Bob Melvin had Randy Winn bunt Ichiro over to third. Edgar Martinez then pounded a single up the middle to drive in Ichiro (SEA 1-0). Raul Ibanez then doubled down the leftfield line, but no runs would score (Edgar on the basepaths). Boone hit a grounder right to Eric Chavez, who had a bit of trouble handling it, but got Boone at first as the runners held. Jeremy Reed then bopped a single into center to score the runners (SEA 3-0). Reed nabbed second before Jose Lopez bounced back to Hudson.

BOTTOM 1ST -- 1-2-3
Gil Meche got through Mark Kotsay, Eric Byrnes, and Eric Chavez quite easily.

TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Hudson responded by getting through Greg Dobbs, Miguel Olivo, and Ichiro quite easily, if you don't count Olivo working the count full.

BOTTOM 2ND -- decent inning
Erubiel Durazo dinked one into leftcenter for a single, but Meche got flyouts from Dye and Scott Hatteberg, and caught Marco Scutaro looking.

TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
Make it seven straight retired by Hudson, as Winn grounded out, Edgar whiffed, and Ibanez bounced out to Bobby Crosby.

BOTTOM 3RD -- decent inning
Kotsay hit a two-out single in an inning where Meche picked up two more strikeouts, amazingly his final strikeouts of the night.

TOP 4TH -- minimal damage
Reed singled and Lopez mashed a double to left with one out. Dobbs hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to score Reed (SEA 4-0).

BOTTOM 4TH -- some damage
Chavez doubled and Durazo tripled him in (SEA 4-1). I wish I could have seen this play to verify whether the adage of "every fly ball to Jeremy Reed is an adventure" is really true. Dye then hit a fly ball to Ichiro that took him backward, and was therefore enough to score Durazo (SEA 4-2). Meche encountered mild turbulence due to a Hatteberg single and a beaning of Crosby, but no more runs crossed the plate.

TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro got hit number 254 on the year and was promptly erased on the front end of a double-play ball off Winn's bat. Edgar bounced one back to Hudson, and I wonder how far Edgar made it down the basepath before he was out.

BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Meche set down the top third of the Oakland lineup once again. First inning redux, basically.

TOP 6TH -- some damage
Four hits from the Mariners in the inning, yes, it's true. Ichiro's fielder's choice ended the inning, weirdly enough. Ibanez led off with a single and came home on Bret Boone's bash (SEA 6-2). Reed made his presence felt once again, mashing a double to rightfield. He went to third on a Hatteberg foul catch in Oakland's acres of foul ground. Dobbs' single capped the scoring in the game (SEA 7-2). Olivo whiffed before Ichiro did the fielder's choice thing.

BOTTOM 6TH -- decent inning
Nothing other than a two-out walk to Hatteberg.

TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Tim Hudson didn't come out for the 7th, leaving his line along the lines of 7 runs and 11 hits (ouch!). Chris Hammond came in and allowed only a two-out Ibanez single. I knew that when I was gone, Ibanez had that 6-for-6 game, and quite simply, the dude is nuts right now. For all the bashing I put him through in the offseason, Ibanez is hitting .298 right now. I've still got my argument, though, because his money (or at least the margin in which they overpaid him) could have gone to sweeten the deal that should have gone to Tejada, but how about we not relive last offseason, shall we?

BOTTOM 7TH -- fighting out of jam
Meche got outs from Crosby and Kotsay, but the bases got loaded via an Ibanez error, a Byrnes single, and a walk to Chavez. Melvin pulled Meche for the now-bearded Ron Villone (this scared me as I watched the game from Butte, MT last night). Villone went to 2-0 on Durazo and got him to foul out to Ibanez.

TOP 8TH -- ho, hum
Dobbs dinked a two-out single, but Hammond didn't let the Mariners have much else.

BOTTOM 8TH -- decent inning
Scutaro legged out an infield single with two out, but Scott Atchison didn't let the A's have much else.

TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Justin Lehr came on for Oakland and got the top third of the Mariner lineup in order, which of course included Ichiro.

BOTTOM 9TH -- fighting out of jam
JJ Putz got through the 9th. The bases were loaded after singles by Kotsay and Chavez, and a beaning of Durazo. Luckily, Putz had gotten two outs before having to face Dye with the bases loaded and bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle (it's a stretch, but true). A fielder's choice to Lopez ended the game.

Gameball: Jeremy Reed. 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI. At the very least, we know he can hit. Hopefully he'll be tearing it up two years from now if/when the Mariners have a chance to play for something.

Goat: Miguel Olivo. 0-for-4 with a hat trick. I'd been giving him the benefit of the doubt when he'd have that one game every week and a half or so where he'd go 2-for-4 and hit a homer or something, but this is a tad bit unbearable. He's hitting .229. I think the last time the Mariners had a catcher that could hit, it was Dan Wilson in his All-Star year, and since I'm bad with my trivia and that was quite a few years ago, I can't remember what year that was (and the computer's too damn slow for me to look).

Anyone watching the Mariners for something other than Ichiro chasing a record, Edgar's final go-around, and Dobbs and Reed cutting their teeth are probably coming away ungratified. But hey, the AL West is tied! If you love baseball in general, you shouldn't have trouble finding something fun to follow. The West has not been won, and the NL Wild Card race is looking quite dicey. It's fun.

Madritsch. Harden. Seventeen and a half hours.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004


...no, I'm not talking Shaq-Fu.

Well, all, it's good to be back. The quick summary of what I missed was basically that Ichiro didn't get to 257 hits in 154 games (he'll need a few more games than Sisler) and that the Seahawks pasted the 49ers at the Q, prompting KJR callers to say that it was almost Kingdome-loud there on Sunday. All this and apparently the hot topic on KJR (Gastineau show) as I was driving home was that ISC has chosen the Marysville site as their choice of site for a NASCAR track in western Washington. Of course, from everything I've heard, the traffic infrastructure there needs work, badly, and that Snohomish County doesn't have a definitive plan yet. And yes, to anyone wondering how NASCAR could possibly make it onto KJR airwaves, Mike Gastineau is from Indiana (so is Kevin Calabro). Basketball and racing.

I just saw the second episode of Making the Cut, and I enjoyed it just like I thought I would. Once again, I have to say that the CBC would get a few of my dollars if they end up putting the series on DVD. Anyway, they cut a few players off of Scotty Bowman's team in tonight's episode and they'll be showing Mike Keenan's guys in the next episode. I was surprised to see a 5'5" guy and a 5'7" guy make it into the main field of 68 that went up to the resort in Vernon, BC, though. The first round of cuts is from 68 players to 40 players. Apparently the players that are cut can stay aboard and possibly play themselves back onto the elite squads, or they might be injury replacements, too. I've only seen one show, so I only know so much.

I only kept the following up for three days, but it was a short little running thing I had for the first three days I was out in the prairie.

21 September (Tue)
-- Lauren Phinney of KTVM 6/42 (NBC) in western Montana...my goodness. Is there any way we can bring her to the Seattle market? Anyone wanting visual proof of this will have to get some friends in Montana with VCRs or something, though, as I've failed to get any images from a simple Google search [Edit Fri ~1:12a -- Jeremy found some visual proof. She's still better in motion, but you get my drift.] I'd put her on par with Elisa Hahn, except she does anchor work for the Montana Today morning show rather than the on-scene stuff that Hahn does.

-- 6/42 sports guy Jeff Lasky mentioned a football team with a Montana team facing a Canadian team. If the Montana team had the ball, they played by American rules. If the Canadians had the ball, it was Canadian rules, with 12 men on the field and everything. Lasky's delivery was something like "you get to see the other kind of football. That. Nobody. Really. Cares. About. Down. Here."

-- Ichiro was 5-for-5 when I left the television. I think he was at 242, needing fifteen by Sunday to break the real record.

-- Props to guy at the Taco Bell in Butte for nicely handling the drunk guy cursing up a storm over freakin' sour cream. So they got it wrong twice...just calmly tell them you'll never go back there again, but don't cause a freakin' scene. You never it's never a good thing when the employee says "if I ever see you in this establishment ever again, I will call the cops. That's a promise."

-- Most politically incorrect team name ever: the Warriors from Savage, Montana. That's right, they're the Savage Warriors. They've got a logo that looks kinda like the Chicago Blackhawks logo and everything.

-- The peaks surrounding Bozeman are snow-covered already. Absolutely beautiful.

-- Montana and North Dakota run tickets for the governor's office, I think. It's weird.

22 Sept (Wed)
-- Ichiro is at 245, 3-for-5 when I turned in for the night. Raul Ibanez was 5-for-5. What the hell is wrong with Bartolo Colon? Damn. The Mariners had 22 hits when I saw the last look-in.

-- Tambrey Laine of KXMC 13 in Minot...not quite Phinney, but good nonetheless.

-- After seeing Baseball Tonight "Switched," I must say that Kelly Barons should be every team's ballgirl and every team's ballpark ambassador. The number of Kelly Barons fan sites going up on the internet is probably going WAY UP! OH, HEMOGLOBIN!!

-- Noah Lowry was very impressive tonight, with his only mistake a Jeff Kent solo shot in a 5-1 complete game over the Astros. You don't know how badly I want to deflect all credit away from Phil Garner regarding the Astros' turnaround.

-- There's a couple of ballfields out by the school that look ripe for hitting balls, and I did bring the bat bag, and I did buy two new balls before I left to replace the two that I lost the last time I went to West Hills (sad day).

23 Sept (Thu)
-- A further update of last night reveals to me that Ichiro is at 247, ten away from Sisler. Of course, if Ichiro remains his torridity and Bucky Showalter actually lets his guys pitch to him, Ichiro can break the 154-game record with 11 hits in the three games this weekend. I highly doubt it, though. I doubted he'd be this close a week ago, but if he can get that 154-game record, I'll be absolutely floored.

-- I was searching through the ESPN channels over here tonight to see how the Mariners did, but then I forgot it was an off day. Fiddlesticks. I'm used to them having Mondays off, but not Thursday.

-- I tried out the southeast-facing softball field at the Kenmare Public School for blasting off with baseballs. I ran into some thick grass patches, which I've unfortunately had too much experience with over at West Hills. However, the grass thinned out over the centerfield fence, which is where I aimed my hitting for the rest of the time. The fence is much less of a chipshot than at West Hills, but at the same time, the West Hills field seems a bit downhill and the Kenmare field seems a bit uphill. The farthest I got a ball was into a (dry) ditch on a bounce, next to a road. The road is about ten feet above the ditch. If I get any chances for the remaining time I'm here, my goal is to park one and at least get it onto the road, if not hit the road on the fly. Of course, I've got to make sure no cars are coming by.

-- Message seen above gate upon entry into Minot Air Force Base: "ONLY THE BEST COME NORTH"

-- Message seen above gate upon exit from Minot Air Force Base: "AND THE BEST GET BETTER WHEN THEY GO FORTH!"

-- Every time I play computer solitaire, I always play Vegas style, draw three, with cumulative scoring. I fired it up tonight here, and (this never happens to me) I won the first two times. After winning the second time, it lands the winner $416 into the black. This may never happen to me again, so let it be known that yes, I indeed did win solitaire twice in a row on the 23rd of September, 2004.

Once again, it's good to be back, and I should be firing up the Mariner recap machine in the next hour or so, or whenever the game ends and my computer stops being dumb.

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I'm going to miss hockey. I'm one of the few people in the South that will actually miss the coolest game on earth. I digress.

But the real reason why I'm posting is so I can profess my respect for the Hartford Whalers. Why the Whalers logo hasn't been seen more prominently in this age of the retro sports craze is beyond me. To me, the Whalers logo is still one of the best logos of all-time.

I already have an old school Edmonton Oilers Vintage Hockey shirt. But what I really want is a Hartford Whalers Vintage Hockey shirt. Sadly, Majestic, who's responsible for the Vintage Hockey shirts, doesn't have a Whalers shirt. It's unjust.

Take hold of the whale!!! And crank up Brass Bonanza while you're at it.

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Monday, September 27, 2004


It's gotten so bad at Washington that they are #5 in ESPN.com's "Bottom 10" list.

Husky fans, you better pray for Keith Gilbertson to get fired after this season. Maybe Dennis Erickson will get tired of the pitiful situation down in San Francisco and come home to coach the Huskies. This isn't out of left field at all, if you think about it. Hell, Erickson should have never left Corvallis.

Heaven is certainly helping the foes of Washington, that's for sure.

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Sunday, September 26, 2004


It's hard for me to say that a game in Week 3 can be considered a game that a message can be sent.

But today, a message was sent.

A week after a less-than-stellar performance in Tampa Bay, the Seahawks come home and just dominate the San Francisco 49ers, 34-0. It was the Seahawks first home shutout since December 8, 1986, when they beat the Raiders 37-0.

However, the most important shutout factoid is that the 49ers were shutout. Their consecutive games streak of not being shutout has ended at 420. The last time the 49ers were shutout before today was October 9, 1977, when they lost 7-0 to the Atlanta Falcons in Fulton County Stadium. So it's been a while.

Head coach Mike Holmgren played a part in the long streak. He was the 49ers quarterback coach from 1986 to 1988 and was the offensive coordinator from 1989 to 1991 before heading to Green Bay. Needless to say, I would think that he's a little excited today.

There's reason to be excited if you're a Seahawks fan.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this team is for real. Let the experts eat Donovan McNabb's chunky soup. Let them. So far, the most impressive team in the NFC has been the Seahawks. By no means am I being biased here. To win their first two games on the road and come home and flat-out dominate a team they were supposed to is pretty damn impressive to me.

Today was by far the best showing the offense has had to this point. Matt Hasselbeck was efficient, as he was 21-of-30 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shaun Alexander, who's still nursing his sore knee, scored 2 touchdowns on the ground and 1 in the air. He ran for 52 yards on 19 carries. The bye week coming up is only going to help Alexander.

Darrell Jackson caught 7 balls for 97 yards. A flu-ridden Koren Robinson only caught 1 pass for 12 yards. Bobby Engram had 4 receptions for 95 yards, including a 60-yard reception that set up the Seahawks first touchdown.

Today's game ball belongs to the defense, again.

Since when could Seahawks fans say "WE HAVE A DEFENSE!"? Through their first 3 games, the defense has only allowed 13 points, leading the entire NFL. Yes, it's early. But this defense is only going to get better.

Shutting out the 49ers, regardless of how bad they are, is impressive. This was the first shutout recorded in the 2004 season. Notice what I just said. The Seahawks recorded the first shutout in the 2004 season. Not the Baltimore Ravens. Not the Carolina Panthers. Not the New England Patriots. The Seattle Seahawks.

Ken Lucas played a great ballgame, recording 4 tackles and an interception. He's finally becoming the player Holmgren expected him to be. As KJR-AM's Dick Fain said, he and Marcus Trufant may be the best pair of cover corners in football.

Is there anybody still bitching about how much money Grant Wistrom is getting paid? Four tackles and he's flying around on every damn play. He's made the Seahawks defensive line much better. Chike Okeafor had 3 tackles and a sack. Rashad Moore ended a late 49ers drive, recovering a Ken Dorsey fumble caused by Okeafor. Cedric Woodard had 3 tackles and a sack.

The Seahawks couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2004 season. Is the offense clicking on all cylinders yet? Not even close. Is the defense as good as advertised so far? Yes. Can this team get better? You bet your ass they can.

Going into the bye week at 3-0 is huge. Granted, they were 3-0 going into the bye week last year, only to get dominated by the Packers in Green Bay. But here's the difference this year. The 'Hawks get to stay at home after the bye week, hosting the St. Louis Rams on October 10. I may actually get to see that game on TV here. I hope that is the case.

Right now, the Seahawks have a 2-game lead in the NFC West over the Rams (1-2). The 49ers and Cardinals are both 0-3. The Rams travel to San Francisco next week while the Cardinals host New Orleans.

There's reason to believe, 'Hawks fans. These are not the "same old Seahawks". And they're 3-0. Drink up, be merry.

But don't get too ahead of yourself. There's still plenty of football to be played. It's easy to think about the Oct. 17 matchup in Foxboro against New England. But the 'Hawks have to take care of business against the Rams two weeks from today. The Rams are very vulnerable. They aren't the "Greatest Show On Turf" anymore. You know damn well Wistrom is going to be hyped up for that game.

Next week, bye week.

Two weeks from today, the Rams come to Seattle.

I love this team. You should too.

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