Saturday, December 18, 2004



Mark Mulder has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitchers Danny Haren, Kiko Calero, and catcher Daric Barton.

Coming off of the Tim Hudson deal, I didn't think Billy Beane would even think of trading Mulder or Barry Zito this offseason. But I was wrong. So now the Big Three is just one, with Zito remaining in Oakland.

I've probably watched more Cardinals games than anybody in the Mariner blogosphere, considering my location. What do I think of Haren and Calero? Haren has been highly touted by the Cardinals. He spent most of the 2004 season at Triple-A Memphis, where he went 11-4 with a 4.15 ERA. I think the A's have another pitching gem on their hands, this time with Haren.

As for Calero, he was one of the main reasons why the Cardinals bullpen was successful in 2004. In 45.1 IP, Calero was 3-1 with an ERA of 2.78. He will definitely help the A's bullpen, no doubt about it.

So I wouldn't write this deal off for Oakland at all. But obviously, the Cardinals come out the winner in this deal. They had to add another starting pitcher this offseason. Pitching was the reason why they didn't win the World Series.

But with the addition of Mulder, the Cardinals just made themselves a better ballclub. General manager Walt Jocketty deserves a lot of credit here for bringing Mulder to the Gateway City. There had been talk of the Cardinals being interested in Randy Johnson, but obviously, that will not happen now. And that's not a bad thing, considering that Johnson is 41 years old and Mulder is just 27.

Man, being a Mariner fan right now is great, isn't it? Not only do the Mariners sign Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson, the A's unload 2/3 of the Big Three. Good stuff.

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I'm glad the Mariners did what they did the last couple of days, because losses by the Sonics and Tomahawks last night would have just made me pilfer the mocha almond fudge ice cream in the fridge even more. Mocha almond fudge ice cream -- the dinner of champions.

Adrian Beltre is officially a Mariner. Howard Lincoln is saying that this is what they had to do. Beltre is happy that the deal was done. He attributes his monster year last year to turning the corner, and partially to fatherhood. When I saw a clip of the press conference and saw that Scott Boras was fielding questions, I had a chuckle. I wonder if he negotiated that into Beltre's contract like the daily Alex Rodriguez press conference was negotiated into his contract.

Does anyone really think Bret Boone will lead the Mariners in home runs next year? He thinks he will. Can that happen without significant injuries to Sexson and Beltre?

And good gracious, just let him be the first Adrian Beltre and give him a couple years before putting these Sammy Sosa comparisons on him. I almost puked when I saw the headline. That was before I even read the part about the colostomy bag.

Bill Bavasi suggested that the Mariners would start the season with an outfield of Winn, Reed, and Ichiro, relegating Raul Ibanez to DH, something "he's not crazy about." I can tell you what Jeremy's reaction was: "Did I miss something? I didn't realize Raul Ibanez is a superstar player." Well put. I move Winn and Bucky is DH if I get my way. If I really get my way, Ibanez is gone (won't happen). But that's just me.

Darrell Jackson is zeroing in on some team records: receptions in a season, receiving yards in a season, and career 100-yard receiving games. All this amidst all of his grief and adversity.

Chad Brown is back and starting. I don't expect him to be too much of a factor on Sunday, but I'll just hope he's feeling a lot better and getting back into the swing of things against Arizona and Atlanta.

Sunday: North Carolina at Virginia Tech (12:30p), NC State at Washington (5p)

To get my postgame thoughts, scroll down a post or click here if archived.

Since I pretty much said all I wanted to say about the Sonics in my postgame blurb, I'll just pick out key sentences in the Sonic articles...

O'Neil: "Ridnour scored six points in the first quarter when he made two of three shots, but he missed his final six in the game."
Condotta: "As painful as the outcome itself, however, was the manner in which the game was lost."

Wednesday vs. Denver
Monday (27th) at Utah

Seattle beat Prince Albert, 3-2. The Thunderbirds have won three straight and have finished out their six-game road swing 4-1-0-1, grabbing nine of a possible 12 points. Tyler Metcalfe scored the first two Seattle goals, one in the first and one in the second period, which have the T-Birds a 2-0 lead at the time. Derek Couture scored Seattle's third goal, just before the midway point of the second period. Seattle was able to hold back an attack by the Raiders, who drew within one on a powre play goal with just over four minutes left to play in the third. The Raiders' regular goalie, Rejean Beauchemin, didn't start because he was with Team Canada. Seattle outshot Prince Albert 34-18, and Gavin McHalen stopped 16 in the Seattle net.

Vancouver beat Everett, 4-2. On Teddy Bear Toss Night, the stuffed animals flew onto the ice for a goal that was later waved off. Gilbert Brule scored his 20th of the year 40 seconds after the delay, though. About seven minutes later and halfway through the period, Mitch Bartley gave the Giants a 2-0 lead. Ryan Blatchford scored not long after to get the Silvertips within one on the power play. Tyler Dietrich tied the game just short of eight minutes into the middle period, but the Giants took the lead for good with a Tim Kraus power-play goal with a 3:17 to go in the period. Chad Scharff's goal with 3:01 left in regulation put the win in the bag for Vancouver. Vancouver outshot Everett 26-20. Mike Wall stopped 22 for Everett, and Adam Jennings stopped 18 for Vancouver. Jennings is in net because Marek Schwarz is playing for the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championships. Kraus also had two assists, as did Conlan Seder.

Tri-City shut out Portland, 5-0. Carey Price stood on his head and stopped 48 shots for Tri-City. He'll be one of the top goalies selected in the next NHL Draft, whenever it is. Portland is without Braydon Coburn, who is playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. Portland outshot the Americans 48-34. Dustin Butler, making his 16th straight start, stopped 29. He could use the week off. Thanks to Portland play-by-play man and recap writer Dean Vrooman, without whom I would have never known that failure to wear a mouthguard in WHL play is punishable with a 10-minute game misconduct penalty.

Hamilton beat Manitoba, 4-3 (video). The Moose never led in this game. The Bulldogs scored just 55 seconds into the game, and into the second period as well. They added another goal in the first period before Joe DiPenta got Manitoba within one after twenty minutes. The aforementioned second early goal for Hamilton came in the second period and was followed by another goal by the Bulldogs that put them up 4-1 with 11:40 left in the second. Lee Goren was able to break through with a shorthanded goal to make it 4-2 Bulldogs after two periods. Moose leading scorer Peter Sarno scored the final Manitoba goal just outside of seven minutes left in the game. The Moose had chances late, but were unable to get the tying goal. The Moose were outshot 33-30. Alex Auld stopped 29, one of them a penalty shot.

Portland beat Puget Sound, 7-4. This wasn't a home game, so I can't give you much description of it. Any Sun article in the morning will be linked, though the Sun does require registration now, which is truly abominable. God, do they really need your mailing address? Sheesh. [Update upon reading article -- Mike Truex had a hat trick in the second period alone to provide the bulk of the Tomahawks' offense. Luke Winkelman scored in the third period. The Tomahawks were down 3-0 after the first period, and down 5-3 after the second. A goal by Carl Horten that would have cut the lead to 6-5 in the third period was disallowed, for which Tomahawk coach Kim McConnell received an apology from the head referee.]

Tonight: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Have a great Saturday, everybody.

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Friday, December 17, 2004


(final update at 11:28p)

Suns 112, SuperSonics 110
Some in-game notes...definitely not along the lines of a Seahawk game post, but it's something.

The Sonics led 37-21 at the end of the first quarter. Rashard Lewis had 12 points. They shot 62% in the opening frame. Reggie Evans looks like he made an adjustment in his free-throw shooting; it looks like maybe he's putting more of his legs into the shots and getting some more arc.

The Sonics put five bench players on the court to begin the second quarter. The Suns answered with three straight three-balls. I wonder how long it's going to take for Ron Murray to get worked into this offense. I wonder if it will happen at all. If not, he's darn good trade bait.

The Sonics were a little slow in the second quarter at times getting back on defense in transition after their missed shots. They also were a step slow at times in the halfcourt defense, when the third or fourth pass by Phoenix would find a wide-open Joe Johnson for a three or outside jumper, which he kept hitting. Seattle's rebounding also saw a stiff decrease in the second quarter, and Phoenix took much better care of the ball. The Sonics were 10 for their last 29 from the field to end the half, and shot 9 of 24 in the second quarter. They end the first half 24-for-48 from the field.

Okay, that's the second damn time Ray Allen has dribbled the ball for about 10 seconds and it ended up as a shot clock violation. The Sonics' offensive execution just doesn't seem like it's clicking right now (7:30 to go in the quarter). I know the Suns are good, but whenever I see the Sonics blow a double-digit lead, I get ticked off.

Hey, Sonics? Start playing defense. Thanks.

Why are the Sonics making so many dumb plays when the shot clock runs down and they don't have many options open? Luke Ridnour is 2-for-8...ugh.

Ray Allen with a clutch three (later changed to a two) at 1:59 left in the third quarter. Vlad Radmanovic played two great plays in a row, catching the ball down low and making two or three moves on Steven Hunter, a good shot-blocker, and putting in a shot over him. Then he intercepted a pass in the lane on defense, and Allen hit the three on the other end. Sonics are up four.

Seattle up 81-78 after three. It's a nail-biter, folks. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems some of the Sonics are calling for the ball a lot more than I'm used to seeing. On the other hand, I might just be crazy.

Is there any way Phoenix can keep having their starters play so many minutes? Are their legs just going to turn to jelly around March?

The first two minutes of the fourth quarter have just passed by, and the Sonics look like they have no idea what mistake-free basketball is. Crazy passes, passes getting batted in traffic...it's just not happening on the offensive end.

Phoenix by four and a time out by Nate. Pick it the hell up. Also, GET RON MURRAY OFF THE FLOOR. Nothing's happening with him out there.

Sonics at the limit at 8:28 left in the 4th. Not good. Phoenix can drive the ball all day and shoot free throws. Great.

Lewis...PLEASE don't be hurt. He looked like he was grabbing his knee after falling down on that Barbosa foul under the basket. He stays in the game...and blocks a shot on the other end.

I'd be ticked about that goaltend/foul call for Ray Allen too. But I'm rooting Seattle here...great call.

I've got Calabro and Ehlo on over the muted game, and man, they play a ton of Sprite ads with that damn doll with the 'fro. As if Li'l Penny wasn't bad enough. Anyway, I'm not sure which is more annoying: Thirst, Li'l Penny, or the Babboon off of early Adam Sandler comedy albums. I know which is more funny, though.

If Danny Fortson hadn't gotten five fouls called on him so quickly, we wouldn't have to worry about Reggie Evans at the line...at least he hit one of them at 6:06.

Suns at the limit at 5:24. It looks like Nash blatantly pushed Evans. Not because of Evans' flop, but Nash's hands. Evans hit both free throws.

Defensive three seconds is the new illegal defense.

Nice move on the layup and one by Antonio Daniels on Stoudemire.

What a pass down low by Allen to Evans for the easy layup. VLAD FOR THREE!! WHAT A ROLL!!! MULTIPLE BOUNCES! Calabro: "Serendipity!" Sonics by 7.

Did I mention that whole thing where Allen holds the ball for about 10 seconds with the shot clock whittles down? No violation this time, but there was an intercepted crosscourt pass.

Ridnour back in at 1:31. I don't think he'd played the whole fourth quarter.

1:10. Allen lays one up off the bottom of the basket, and Quentin Richardson gets a foul and one on the other end. This game's over.

Rashard misses the second free throw, Joe Johnson's shot gets pinned, and then he gets the shot right back. Phoenix by three instead of two. In a related story, Danny Fortson is sitting on the bench with five fouls.

AFTER ALL THAT BALL MOVEMENT, LUKE RIDNOUR TAKES THE FREAKIN' THREE BALL?!!?!!!! WHAT IN THE HELL?!!?!!!?!!! Yes, it is really over right now. Down by five with eight seconds left.

Thanks for those too-little-too-late threes, guys. They tacked on 0.4 more seconds after the second three, though. Sonics down one. A Sonic win here would be an absolute miracle. Doubtful, though.

But hey, Radmanovic fouled before the ball was inbounded. Thanks for putting it out of doubt, Vlad.

I could be a lot more ticked off about this loss. Normally blowing a 16-point lead in the first half and blowing a 7-point lead WITH 3:14 LEFT in the fourth quarter would have me ticked off. The Sonics didn't seem to get the offense going at all once the first quarter was over. I don't know how to gauge the defensive play, either. I know the Suns are good, but sometimes it seemed like the Seattle defense was a step too slow, and they'd leave guys wide open, or have to foul them on the way to the basket. Again, I'll note that Danny Fortson was out with his fifth foul very early in the fourth.

Remember that hot streak that Luke Ridnour had earlier in the month? That's officially done. He's scored 10 points combined in the last three games on 4-for-26 shooting. At least he's had 24 assists over the same span, but if Luke doesn't find his shot again, his minutes are going to get curtailed. There's a reason he wasn't on the floor in the fourth quarter until inside two minutes remaining.

The Sonics also wasted a double-double night by Reggie Evans. They wasted a 16 and 11 night out of Fortson in the Boston game.

The Suns beat the Sonics and are the best team in the West. Come on, guys. It doesn't have to be that much like the early '90s.

The Suns scored 17 points in the last three minutes. Sheesh. Thanks to the KJR postgame for that stat.

starters: Ray Allen 32 pts/5 reb/3 ast (15-26 FG), Rashard Lewis 26 pts/7 reb (10-19 FG, 4-10 3pt), Reggie Evans 13 pts/10 reb (3-4 FG, 7-11 free throws), Luke Ridnour 6 pts/4 reb/9 ast (2-9 FG)
bench: Vlad Radmanovic 14 pts (6-12 FG, 2-7 3pt), Antonio Daniels 11 pts/4 ast/3 reb (3-8 FG), Danny Fortson 2 pts/3 reb (12 minutes)
Jerome James Watch: 6 pts/2 reb (3-3 FG)
team: shot 48.9% from the field (43 of 88), shot 30.8% from three (8-for-26), had 14 turnovers for 16 Phoenix points, outrebounded Phoenix 43-40, bench outscored Suns' bench 27-7, were outscored by Suns 26-8 on the fast break

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Now that Pedro Martinez is a New York Met, will he bring his little friend Nelson de la Rosa along with him?

Remember a few weeks ago when Anna Benson, wife of Mets pitcher Kris Benson, told Howard Stern that "she would screw everybody on (the Mets)" if Kris ever cheated on her? Well, that raises the question. If that ever happens, does Nelson have a chance? Who the hell knows.

But in a Kevin Bacon-related note, Nelson cracks the Bacon Number More Than Two Challenge:

Nelson de la Rosa was in Island of Dr. Moreau, The (1996) with Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando was in Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) with Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon

See, there was a point to this post.

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It's almost two on the west coast, and there might be people in the great northwest that are just wasting away at work, waiting for the time to pass. And it's for them that I pass along the greatest link since I found out what Zefrank was (Everysecond is a simple yet addictive game, and the new Christmas Carol Maker is...fun).

I got the link through those pages of links that Bill Simmons' interns put up.

The link? From the same folks that designed the Oracle of Baseball over at Baseball-Reference.com, it's the Oracle of Bacon at Virginia. Yes, it's the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game in the form of a computer algorithm. You can click off to the Star Links option and you'll be able to see how many links there are to anyone or anything in the Internet Movie Database and more.

...But the real challenge to the whole thing is the endless pursuit to stump the computer algorithm with some actor or actress that we have actually heard of that has not been linked to Kevin Bacon. Last night, I had Jim Thomsen and Jeremy on the IM, and the obscure actors and actresses coming out of this were just amazing. Seriously, it was getting down to movie stars from the '20s and '30s, Chilean silent film actresses, etc. Jeremy couldn't stump the computer with the female coach from the second Mighty Ducks movie.

The challenge basically is to get a Bacon Number of more than 2. You'd be amazed at how hard this is.

I introduced this link to Jim and Jeremy last night, and I think it effectively killed an hour of their lives. Jim promised himself he would immediately forget what that site was and how to get to it. So if you don't want to see the Oracle of Bacon ever again, just clear out the internet cache, blow out the history, delete the cookies, everything, and then try to remember not to venture low enough in our Miscellaneous Links on the sidebar.

It's the Bacon Number of More Than Two Challenge!!

Good luck!

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Week 14 was pretty good for me, since I went 12-4. As long as my Pick Me Up record is above .500 at the end of the season, that's all I care about. Three more weeks of 12-4 and no doubt I'll be above .500.

Week 15 features three Saturday games, all on national television. This doesn't deter the Pick Me Up at all, since the Pick Me Up is usually posted on Fridays. However, next week the Pick Me Up will be posted next Thursday, because the Packers and Vikings play on Christmas Eve (next Friday).

All the small talk aside, here's my Week 15 picks...


Pittsburgh at New York Giants (CBS)
(Eli Manning is going to get Blitzburgh'd!)

Washington at San Francisco (FOX)
(This was a great matchup.....in 1992)

Carolina at Atlanta (ESPN)
(The Panthers are on a roll right now)


Houston at Chicago
(Well, at least Chad Hutchinson is better than Jonathan Quinn)

Buffalo at Cincinnati
(Jon Kitna will start for the Bengals)

Minnesota at Detroit
(Despite their attempt to choke away the season, the Vikings will still make it to the playoffs)

San Diego at Cleveland
(San Diego, Super Chargers...San Diego, Super Chargers!)

Seattle at New York Jets
(Curtis Martin will probably run for 150 yards. But somehow, someway, the Seahawks pull off the W)

Dallas at Philadelphia (FOX, televised in Arkansas)
(Dammit, I wish I had Sunday Ticket)

Denver at Kansas City (CBS, televised in Arkansas)
(UPSET OF THE WEEK. Jake Plummer, you're not #1)


St. Louis at Arizona
(LOCK OF THE WEEK. The Rams have Chris Chandler starting at quarterback. Haha.)

New Orleans at Tampa Bay
(These are the Saints, the inconsistent Saints)

Jacksonville at Green Bay (CBS, televised in Arkansas)
(If the Packers don't show up in the first three quarters again, they will lose)

Tennessee at Oakland
(Drew Bennett should be on my fantasy football draft board for 2005)


Baltimore at Indianapolis
(Will Peyton Manning set the touchdown record? Cut that meat!)


New England at Miami
(Watch the Dolphins wear those hideous orange jerseys)

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

The Seahawks have never beaten the Jets in Giants Stadium.

What better time than Sunday to erase that fact?

Enjoy the games.

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I'll just say I haven't been this pumped to write one of these in a long time. On second thought, I don't think I ever have.

Before yesterday, when was the last time you were that happy to be a Mariner fan? The signings of the past two days haven't made this a complete Mariner team by any stretch, but man, does it have some punch now. I think even I would be able to hit five homers if I was batting in front of Adrian Beltre or Richie Sexson.

I guess there's another way to look at it. As last offseason drew to an end, a lot of us looked at this team and thought it was slightly worse than the 2003 version. A lot of us saw the team and thought, "man, there's no way they're better, but they can't be much worse." They ended up being a lot worse. However, there were few (and definitely few in the blogosphere) that thought the 2004 edition of the Mariners would be better than their immediate predecessors.

But now it's December 17, we're looking at a possible Adrian Beltre-to-Seattle press conference sometime today, and how does it look now? Sure, anything looks good after that 99-loss debacle last year, but...YEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!!!!! Excuse me there, that's unbridled happiness flowing over the brim, you'll have to forgive me. One year ago, the Mariners were blowing everyone's offers out of the water when the player being pursued was Raul Ibanez. This year...they stepped it up, to say the least.

My only regret is that this didn't happen in time for Lou, for Jay, for Edgar (and especially Edgar), et al., to be able to know that their management did everything they could to get them a World Series ring. I almost shed a tear just thinking about Edgar never getting to play in a World Series. It could be a hell of a ride from 2006-2010, and I just wish this big swing by the management could have coincided with the new place opening its doors. Or at least if they would have kept Alex.

Okay, that's my spiel.

Is this real? Let's recap. The Mariners just shelled out $114M in the span of 48 hours. They just netted the number two free agent on the market, a Scott Boras client, and they beat Paul DePodesta in the process? I'm speechless. It was somewhat of a surprise to see that Beltre tapped on Hiram Bocachica for some input on how the city of Seattle is. If Bocachica was of any help in landing Beltre here, I take back anything bad I said about him (I won't go back into the archives to check, but I'm guessing stuff along the lines of "no business being on a Major League roster"). He may have just proven his weight in gold. As for his assertion that balls carry better at Safeco Field than at Dodger Stadium...at first thought, I don't see how that can be possible (thicker, heavier air in Seattle, dry air in LA), maybe I'm wrong. I'm not a pro ballplayer, but it just didn't seem right after the first read.

The P-I is reporting that the Beltre deal is worth $64M over five years, while the Times is reporting the deal as five years and $60-65M. In a chat with blog colleague Jeremy last night, he suggested that Beltre wear 30, which would seem like a good fit, and it'd be close to 29, his number from last year (Boone's). I jokingly said Beltre should flip it around and wear 92. Of course, 92's hardly a sexy number when it comes to baseball, and a very close number, 91, has some press lately (Artest), and had some press when NBC was still televising basketball (Rodman). Back to the baseball, this infield defense is the best since opening day of 2002. The outfield defense of 2003, well, we may never see that again, but presuming Sexson is healthy, the remaining infielders will have a few more inches of vertical leeway to loft the ball than they did even when John Olerud was in town. I think they just cut two overthrows out of Jose Lopez' season.

John Hickey points out something that for some reason I didn't think about. The team as a whole may finally be going young. Though the Sexson signing prior at his age 30 season won't bear much weight into the argument for most in the blogosphere, the Mariners signed Beltre at the age of 25. Last year, Mike Cameron and Carlos Guillen were replaced by players all over age 30 -- people may remember the phrase "veteran leadership." The team got older, and there was much declining performance in Seattle. But now, after some housecleaning, the Mariners have somewhat of an offensive youth movement which consists of Jeremy Reed, Jose Lopez (stability on big club TBD), Miguel Olivo, and Beltre. Youth will be scattered throughout the pitching staff as well, for better or for worse. The quote of the article is from Howard Lincoln: "We don't like to backload contracts. But sometimes you've got to do one thing in order to get something else done." What?! Has someone abducted the Howard Lincoln we've all grown accustomed to over the past few years? Did I read that right?

Why did I for the most part completely forget to listen to KJR today? I know Softy loves the hometown teams to death, but the thought of hearing him tear up on the air (possibly for the same reasons I nearly did earlier in this post) comes close to pegging the Bill Simmons Unintentional Comedy Rating scale. That said, he's the only regular host on KJR that's a Seattle-area native. Slam him all you want, this guy has suffered through the tough times of Seattle sports along with every one of us who've dealt with the futility in this town over the decades, and in the Mariners' case, the steadfast unwillingness to take a chance, roll the dice, and take a big risk -- to show the fans that they do indeed want to win. Granted, the transformation from a 63-win team to a playoff team to a World Series contender won't happen in one year, but...THIS IS THE BEST OFFSEASON I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED AS A FAN OF THE MARINERS. Getting an Odalis Perez, Kevin Millwood, or Matt Clement at this point would be icing on the cake. It'd be very scrumtrilescent icing, though. I can't forget to mention that from the same article, Dave Niehaus is liking how the team looks, and he says it best: "It tells me they have gone the extra mile, and they have done everything they said they were going to do. You go from 93 wins to 99 losses, and it's a slap in the face. Last year was the longest year of my career." Niehaus felt our pain. As bad as it was watching the Mariners last year over 162 games, could you imagine how hard it would have been to travel with the team and broadcast it?

Steve Kelley feels a bit like the rest of us. Did anyone really expect this? Seriously? I was absolutely sour on any Mariner rumors this offseason after feeling burned after the Mariners lost out on the Miguel Tejada sweepstakes last season. Then the rumblings started to pick up, but I still didn't believe them. I'd always thought there'd be some kind of out, some kind of escape hatch the Mariners could pull if Lincoln and Co. could open if the money got too high. And then I saw that SEXSON 44 jersey in the press room at Safeco Field. Then, 24 hours later, all sources and news media outlets say that Adrian Beltre is a Mariner. If you've been riding the rollercoaster of these rumors this offseason and found them come to a happy conclusion, then I'm happy for you and I hope you enjoyed it. I tried that route last year and it was a collapse the day Tejada went to Baltimore. This year I held out until the last possible moment that the Mariners might not get anybody worthwhile. Guess what? The last 48 hours have hit me like a brick wall, and I'm loving every second of it. Sudden and sweet. I like surprises.

John Levesque has the article with a tiny sprinkle of cautiousness, where he says Sexson won't truly know he's all the way back until he plays again, and that Beltre had the bone spurs removed from his ankle. What do I say? Heal up, guys, we've got you here for four and five years. Levesque's best line in the article: "Seeing is believing." That's what we've been saying here in this space all along, and when I see Beltre with a Mariner jersey, it'll be the capper on the greatest 72-hour span in the offseason history of the Mariners.

It's defensive backfield day for the beat writers. Clare Farnsworth takes Michael Boulware, and Jose Miguel Romero takes Marcus Trufant. Boulware has had key interceptions that were critical to four of the Seahawks' seven wins. The humble Boulware is a rookie, which means he buys doughnuts on Fridays for the other defensive backs, including Trufant. He hasn't missed a start since he was drafted. He's broken up 16 passes and leads the team in tackles (more of a testament to the defensive injuries up front this year). Last week in Minnesota, Trufant broke up three passes in the end zone, all of which were intended for Randy Moss.

Les Carpenter brings up something of which I'm well aware. Nine of Seattle's starters are unrestricted free agents after the season. There's no way all of them are coming back. Basically, they've got to win as much as they can now, and go as far as possible because this team is going to look a lot different next year.

Before you get prepared for your weekend, don't forget that the Huskies (7-1) are home against NC State (8-0) Sunday at 5pm on a nationally-televised game on FSNNW. At 12:30 earlier in the day, Bremerton grad Marvin Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels will be traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. In other words, there's a ton of stuff to keep you occupied after the Seahawks finish their early game.

If the Mariners didn't just sign two big free agents in a 48-hour span, Suns/Sonics would be the biggest thing on the calendar. Don't forget about these guys, they've held the Seattle sports landscape afloat for the last month and a half. It's nationally televised and it should be a fast-paced game. This isn't Knicks/Heat, no way. I think we can pretty much chalk up Luke Ridnour getting schooled by Steve Nash. However, the Sonic front line has given headaches to Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki this season. Can they do the same to Amare Stoudemire?

Bob Sherwin reminds us that even though the All-Star Weekend is an absolute farce these days, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be mounting some voting drives for Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Lewis isn't even in the top 10, which is inexcusable.

I don't normally read Jim Moore, and I'd rather hear sound clips from Jim Mora. But this one's about the breaking-in of Craig Ehlo into the color commentating role on the broadcasts. He's gradually getting better. You can kind of pick out the awkward moments in the broadcasts, and Moore pretty much lists what Ehlo's mainly getting tagged with. But it's becoming apparent that Kevin Calabro and Ehlo genuinely like being broadcast partners, and they're having fun doing it. It isn't quite to Calabro/Marques Johnson levels, but it's getting there. Speaking of which (it's revealed in the article), MARQUES JOHNSON WAS INTERVIEWED FOR THE COLOR COMMENTATOR POSITION?!!?!! That would be the only thing that could make this 18-4 start better!! It's not just having the broadcast team from the last era of Sonic glory, it's the amazing camaraderie that those two had -- Calabro and Johnson were an amazing duo, and the games they did were an absolute joy to listen to.

I bet the Sonic brass is glad to have the team start this well, because it softens up the masses for the tax reallocation proposal to renovate KeyArena. The proposal, which has the mayor's support, would direct the hotel tax and sales tax that are paying for the Safe and the Q back over to the Key. Is it just me, or does the phrase "tax-anticipation bonds" not seem right? It's definitely some sort of debt polygon. The arena plan seems interesting -- widen the concourses, rip out some luxury boxes because a lot of people with the financial wherewithal for luxury boxes got them for the Seahawks or Mariners instead, then rip out the south courtyard to basketball floor level to open up 390 parking spaces and other loading areas and rooms. They definitely do need more parking around there. The Storm could be out of the Key for a season, but they could go to Hec Ed, and there's definitely people over at campus that are backers of women's basketball. Any sort of peaceful coexistence or partnership that the Storm and UW can only be a good thing.

Tonight vs. Phoenix
Wednesday vs. Denver

The Puget Sound Tomahawks have two absolutely huge games this weekend in Portland against the Pioneers. The Tomahawks are 22-2, and the Pioneers are 21-2. The last time the teams met, they split the two games. The Tomahawks will return to action with two home games here in Bremerton on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day against the Tri-City Titans.

No games were played last night, but I will tell you that EA Sports simulated a season of NHL 2005. The Canucks finished tied for eighth in the Western Conference but lost a tiebreaker and missed the playoffs. Somehow the Canucks played upwards of 30 overtime games and lost 11 of them. Assuming they won some simulated overtime games, they would have had about half of their season's games go to overtime. Sorry, but that's just not realistic. About as realistic as the Canucks not making the playoffs after taking their division last year. The best thing about the EA season is that the Cup final is all Canadian -- Calgary over the Habs in 5.

Now, league scoring leaders...

Western Hockey League (rank_player, team, goals-assists-points)
5 Gilbert Brule, Vancouver Giants, 19-22-41
11 Aaron Gagnon, Seattle Thunderbirds, 20-16-36
14 Adam Courchaine, Vancouver Giants 14-21-35
21 Dan Da Silva, Portland Winter Hawks, 14-17-31
23 Brian Woolger, Portland Winter Hawks, 11-20-31
25 Tyler Metcalfe, Seattle Thunderbirds, 13-16-29
33 Darrell May, Portland Winter Hawks, 11-16-27
37 Torrie Wheat, Everett Silvertips, 13-13-26
39 Chris Durand, Seattle Thunderbirds, 12-14-26
49 Ladislav Scurko, Seattle Thunderbirds, 8-17-25
59 Andrej Meszaros, Vancouver Giants, 7-17-24

American Hockey League
9 Peter Sarno, Manitoba Moose, 5-24-29
20 Jason King, Manitoba Moose, 16-9-25
23 Lee Goren, Manitoba Moose, 14-10-24
51 Ryan Kesler, Manitoba Moose, 9-10-19

Northern Pacific Hockey League
1 Mike Truex, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 19-48-67
6 Carl Horten, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 19-26-45
12 Kyle Stoumbaugh, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 19-13-32
13 Jeff Alexander, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 14-16-30
14 Corey Coxon, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 10-19-29
18 Chase Ambuter, Puget Sound Tomahawks, 15-12-27

Tonight: Tri-City at Portland, Seattle at Prince Albert, Everett at Vancouver, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
Saturday: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Have a happy Friday out there. I know I will.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004


Now that Adrian Beltre is a Mariner, one can only hope he can convince his former Dodger teammate and fellow Dominican Republic countryman Odalis Perez to come north as well.

I wouldn't mind if the Mariners took a flyer on Kevin Millwood, but Perez is a lefty and IMO has more upside. I'm a believer in Hubie Brown's School of Upside, dammit.

Did I mention that I'm absolutely loving life as a Mariner fan right now? We now know what the other side feels like.

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(Let's imagine Lil Jon was a Mariner fan today...)

Hey, Lil Jon! The Mariners signed Richie Sexson yesterday, and they've reportedly signed Adrian Beltre today!!
photo from Comedy Central

The Mariners got Sexson yesterday and Beltre today!! They've got some pop in the lineup now!!
photo from Comedy Central

I'm freakin' serious here!! Sexson! Beltre! The newest corner infielders for your Seattle Mariners!!
photo from briancrawford.com

Just be cautious though...we should probably wait until we see Beltre's number on a jersey at the press conference before we release ourselves into unbridled joy. You may now resume your tour with the Eastside Boyz.
photo from Tim G., collegeslackers.com

(You'd be surprised to know how hard it is to find pictures of Dave Chappelle as Lil Jon on the internet, hence the real Lil Jon as the third picture. I was amazed. I had to Google AND Yahoo search.)

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I'm stunned.

However, I'm stunned in a very good way.

You mean to tell me that the Seattle Mariners have signed two players to contracts that are a combined $115 million?


(Don't expect me to make lame slogans like that too often here)

Oh, and Tim Hudson is now an Atlanta Brave. Wow.

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Well, some things certainly happened yesterday, didn't they? Let's cut to the chase...

You can get my thoughts on the Richie Sexson signing by scrolling down a post or clicking here (if archived), and you can get Jeremy's take about three posts down from this one or clicking here.

In the tease for KING-5 News at 11, I swear Don Porter's line was, "the Mariners talk Sex and get to first base."

Larry Stone proclaims the Mariners are finally proving themselves to be the big-market team to match the high incoming revenue streams the past four years. Like the $50M price tag or not, the Mariners have finally put their money where their mouths are. I'd like to be whoever's batting in front of Sexson next year. You know, as displeased as I am that there are no shoulder clauses in the contract, I almost hope there's a no-basketball clause because this guy likes roundball. He used to be on some select teams back in the day, and I just don't want him pulling an Aaron Boone.

Then comes Finnigan, saying Adrian Beltre could be next. Finnigan says that multiple sources are saying the Mariners are on the verge of getting Beltre. Finnigan even says there are rumblings indicating the Mariners might pull their off to Carlos Delgado off the table. As for Beltre, let's hope that if the Mariners bring him on, he has years closer to last year instead of Adrian Beltre circa 2003 or, heaven forbid, Esteban Beltre, whose rookie card I probably have stashed away somewhere. I've been iffy about the one-year wonder possibility of Beltre, but he is young, and he's a third baseman with some pop. As to why one year doesn't look like the others, Dick Fain of KJR said around 9:15 last night in a line of wrought speculation that just maybe the words "cream" and "clear" were involved. While that is pure off-the-wall speculation, Fain did affirm that the out-of-placeness of Adrian Beltre's 2004 season is "Brady Anderson-esque." Also, I hate injections in general, but Sexson had dye injected into his shoulder as part of the physical...ouch.

The Seahawks are just going to have to put as many points on the scoreboard as they possibly can in the swamp on Sunday. Why? I don't see this depleted defense stopping Curtis Martin. He's averaging 4.5 yards a carry. Damn. Worse yet, the Jets' best play is the draw. Yuck. Chad Brown calls the draw "tough to defend." Basically I can't see the Seahawks winning this game if they score any less than 30 points. Darrell Jackson was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance on Sunday. He is in Florida to attend his dad's funeral and to be with his family, and he won't return to the team until Saturday. At least he'll be physically rested. Not sure about sleep, but he won't have any wear and tear going on this week. Also, Mike Holmgren is having some second thoughts about ushering in instant replay a few years ago, and Antonio Cochran's non-sack is just another thing on the laundry list of calls that even with instant replay have not gone the way of Seattle. In other news, Chad Brown will start, and Tracy White will play.

The uber-playoff scenario this week (thanks to Jeremy for the tipoff on this one) is that the Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth if (1) the Seahawks beat the Jets, (2) Carolina loses in Atlanta, and (3) Dallas (at Philadelphia), the Giants (home against Pittsburgh), Detroit (home against Minnesota), and the Bears (home against Houston) lose or tie. If the Seahawks take care of business, there's a decent chance of all five of those teams losing. The Giants and Panthers play on Saturday, so root for the Steelers in the early game and the Falcons in the night game.

What's helped the Sonics and Suns to their records this year? Great perimeter players and a more strict enforcement against hand-checking on defense. Scoring is up and small guys are less likely to get pushed around. The most telling quote was from Boston coach and former Knick Doc Rivers, commenting on his mid-90s Knicks: "Our rule, honest to God, was foul them every single time and they'll stop calling it. And that was our thought, if we fouled enough in the first quarter the refs would just say, 'I can't call them all.' And it made the game almost unbearable for the other team." Thanks to Jeff Van Gundy, it made a lot of basketball on television unbearable to watch as well.

It's the Nash/Ridnour article. Needless to say, there are some similarities and some differences. In something I didn't expect to see in the article, Luke Ridnour and Steve Nash are basically the great white hope when it comes to white starting point guards in the NBA, of which there are exactly five. As for play on the court, I haven't gotten used to when Ridnour drives from the wing, dribbles under the basket, and then comes out the other side. I guess I just haven't seen it in a while, or I've never seen it at all. Of course, if you ask Kobe Bryant, the Sonics' way of play is "unorthodox."

Friday vs. Phoenix
Wednesday vs. Denver

In case you haven't picked up on it yet, any hopes of an NHL season have pretty much been dashed. Each side rejected an offer from the other side in the latest round of talks, and no further talks have been scheduled. For a breakdown of the offers which were mutually rebuked, look no further than here.

Seattle beat Saskatoon, 5-1. The Thunderbirds rebounded from their own 5-1 whuppin' from the night before to beat the Blades in the fifth game of their six-game road trip. The Thunderbirds got the early lead late in the opening period on a goal by Zack FitzGerald. Tyler Metcalfe got Seattle a 2-0 lead about halfway through the middle frame, and he scored another with just over two minutes left in the same period. Bretton Stamler and Aaron Gagnon (his 20th goal) scored in the third period to put the game away. Seattle outshot the Blades 35-22. Bryan Bridges stopped 21 for the T-Birds.

Spokane beat Portland, 7-4. Ned Luckacevic had a career night for Spokane, netting a hat trick, three assists, and a plus-4. Portland was a brutal 1-for-9 on the power play and gave up a shorthanded goal to boot. Darrell May staked the Winter Hawks out to the early 1-0 lead just 86 seconds in. Spokane tied the game and took a 2-1 lead before Brandon Dubinsky put in a rebound with just under seven minutes to play in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. But the Chiefs roared back with two more goals in the second period. Spokane eventually got a fifth goal in the third period to make it 5-2 and effectively put the game away. Brandon Dubinsky scored to bring the Winter Hawks to within two before Portland pulled Dustin Butler from the net, which backfired. Portland allowed two more goals and only got one back (Jordie Fike). Butler stopped 31 in his 15th straight start for Portland. The Winter Hawks outshot the Chiefs 38-36.

Tri-City shut out Everett, 3-0. On the night of the annual toque toss, Everett never scored the goal to set off the toss. The Silvertips wound up going 0-for-6 on the power play. Brett Festerling scored with 22 seconds remaining in the first period, and Chris Inglis and Ian McDonald scored late in the second period to give Tri-City their three goals. Carey Price got the shutout for the Americans, while Mike Wall was pulled from the Everett net after the third goal. Wall faced 9 shots and stopped six, while backup Leland Irving stopped all nine of his shots. Everett outshot Tri-City 21-18.

Friday: Tri-City at Portland, Seattle at Prince Albert, Everett at Vancouver, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
Saturday: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Have a jolly day, all.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004



Imagine that tagline at the end of a Mariner commercial in the coming months. In financial terms, the Mariners did outdo Denny Neagle, who paid for the illegal kind.

Is the signing of Richie Sexson the best signing the Mariners could have made? No. Do the Mariners fill a need here? Power-wise yes, positionally no. Am I more happy about the Mariners than I was 24 hours ago?


Somehow when I heard the terms of this contract, a very steep 4 years and $50M, I somehow was reminded of the last big-money contract to be signed in Seattle, the one the Seahawks gave to Grant Wistrom. Granted, the Seahawks were looking for something to put them over the top and win the Super Bowl, and this Mariner team is trying to be competitive again, let alone get to the World Series or anything crazy like that.

This is the first time the Mariners have shelled out the money for big-time, proven Major League talent. We don't have to worry about how a player is going to adapt from the Japanese League, and they didn't have to pay for the right to negotiate with him or anything like that. What Sexson can do at the Major League level is no secret; he's proven he can put up numbers in the Majors year in and year out.

So what can Sexson do?
-- He's a more-than-solid first baseman, and FSNNW's Bill Krueger has said he's close to being a Gold Glove first baseman. Basically, you get the tall first-baseman role filled from when John Olerud left, so the infielders have a big target at which to throw, and Sexson can probably use that height to snag some of the 11-foot-high throws that Jose Lopez could be lofting over his way next year (provided he sees much time with the big club).

-- He can bash the ball. He put up two 45-homer seasons in Milwaukee. A homer during his hot start after he arrived in Milwaukee was the impetus for Matt Vasgersian's immortal "I'm too Sexson for my shirt" home run call. A lot of people have also seen the Roy Hobbs-like shot (503 feet) that Sexson put off the Jumbotron in Arizona last year.

-- He can strike out...but he can walk too. His walk totals went up every year he was in the Majors until last year, topping out at 98 in 2003. His strikeout numbers? Think Jay Buhner. Oddly enough, Buhner never hit more than 27 homers in a season until after he turned 30. In 1995-97, Buhner had 40, 44, and 40 homers. Yes, I know we're dealing with a different home ballpark and a difference in number of major shoulder surgeries. Also on the strikeouts, I've mentioned this a couple times before, but the mere fact that they considered Sexson shows somewhat of a paradigm shift in front office thought for me when I take into account the strikeout totals that were instrumental in driving Mike Cameron out of town.

-- He's a notorious prankster. I mentioned this the other day, but between Sexson, Bret Boone, and Eddie Guardado, I think there's going to be an arms race when it comes to pranks. Sexson's prior pranks on the resume include exploding cans, shock pens, and a broken window incident.

So what don't I like?
-- Man, those terms are steep. I'm almost aghast. Jeff had an aneurysm, though I'd argue that while you're dealing with major shoulder surgery for Sexson, Glaus had not just a shoulder to deal with last year. He was also DL'd for a hamstring strain and a knee sprain. I guess it's just how you weigh the severity of Sexson's shoulder surgery and the chance of recurrence against Troy Glaus' menagerie of injuries in addition to the shoulder surgery he had.

-- I'm rooting for the Mariners to go hard after Adrian Beltre now, because quite frankly, they don't need another first baseman. Why stick a great defensive first baseman with pop in his bat to left field? I guess anything's possible the year after the greatest shortstop in baseball plays third base.

-- If the Mariners land Delgado, Bucky Jacobsen is absolutely screwed unless they relegate him to late-inning pinch-hitting (though it'd be good for the strength of the bench). If Sexson needs to rest in the field, you can have Bucky go out there and play first and have Sexson DH (if the years prior to last are any indication, Sexson's not going to sit down very easily). When Sexson's out there playing first, I want Bucky as my DH. Plain and simple. I'm dying to know what he can do with a full season and a knee that's apparently hunky-dory (he'd played on the bum knee for quite a while).

-- I wish there were some exploding shoulder clauses in the contract. The worst-case scenario here is probably Mo Vaughn redux, and the local GM has had some experience with that. Sexson said he'd felt like he'd gone through some NASA experiments, responding to the amount and battery of tests that apparently the Mariners' medical staff did. Is it good to be thorough? Sure. Is it good when the Mariners' medical staff is in charge of it all? That's highly debatable. At least it's not his throwing shoulder and he's not a pitcher.

So is it risky? Heck yeah. Sexson's shoulder could blow up, for all we know. As for other free agents, Carlos Beltran is probably the closest thing to a sure-fire top-dollar free agent on the market, so there's no way in hell the Mariners were going to get him. What do I think about Adrian Beltre? His greatest asset is probably that he's young. He had a breakout year, sure. He'd never hit more than 23 homers and had hit .240 in 158 games just two years ago. Beltre would be moving from one pitchers' park to another, but to expect him to hit 48 homers again next year would be a stretch, I think. For me, there's the possibility of a one-year wonder, which is the same problem I had with Carl Pavano; I'm glad the Mariners didn't spend too long at Carlpalooza.

Do I want the Mariners to go after Beltre regardless? Well, there is still a gaping hole at third base, right?

Do I want Delgado? No, no, and absolutely no. That's well before I talk about his age and his laundry list of injuries.

Who should the Mariners go after if it's not Beltre? Matt Clement, Kevin Millwood, Odalis Perez, etc. Perez would give the Mariners three lefties in the rotation, Moyer and Madritsch being the other two.

I haven't even thought about the bullpen yet, and I don't think I want to. Yikes.

It's not Beltran, sure. For everyone that's dissatisfied with this...did you really expect Bill Bavasi to make all the right moves?

It's a huge contract, no doubt about it. I was fully prepared for the Mariners to land exactly zero of the free agents they were rumored to be going after. I'm still in awe that they actually got one. They spent money. On a free agent. A free agent that's been good.

Ten bucks says Richie Sexson will be the first Mariner to put one on Royal Brougham in a game. Sorry, Glenallen Hill.

This isn't Raul Ibanez here. This is Richie Sexson. You can feed me what the Mariner brass fed the fans last winter about Ibanez' power, but it's not going to strike a chord for me like Richie Sexson's bat can.

The Mariners got some more pop today. It's high-risk, but they're new at this top-dollar free-agent game when it comes to actually getting the players.

Guess what? I'm giddy with considerably more anticipation for spring training than I was 24 hours ago. Pitchers and catchers report in about two months...

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AP photo -- Kevin P. Casey

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Our long national nightmare is over.

Well, if you are one of those fans who didn't want the Mariners to sign Richie Sexson, your nightmare has just begun.

However, I'm in the minority here about Richie Sexson. Is he overpaid? We don't know the contract details yet and we will know sometime tonight (press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. Pacific). But let's face it, the Mariners have to improve their ballclub this offseason.

Is Sexson the big bat that the Mariners need? He's ONE of the big bats that they need to improve a lineup that couldn't do didily poo offensively in 2004, save for Ichiro.

As some of you may know if you've visited Sports and Bremertonians before today, David and I are big Richie Sexson fans. Now, we won't be total homers here and tell you that we aren't concerned about Sexson's left shoulder, because we are. But as big of a risk as Sexson is, there isn't one guy out there on the free agent market that isn't a risk.

Sexson is signed for 4 years, contract details to be announced later this evening. For a franchise that didn't believe in signing players longer than 3 years, I'm impressed by this move. Does signing Sexson make up for not signing Miguel Tejada last winter? Hell no. But that was last winter. Nothing can be done about last winter now.

For the first time in over a year and a half, I'm enthusiastic about the Mariners. Bob Melvin has been fired and Mike Hargrove is the new man in charge. Of course, with the signing of Sexson, there is going to be talk of Hargrove bringing in "his guys". Lou Piniella brought in his own guys (Norm Charlton to name one) and Melvin did as well (Quinton McCracken, ugh). It is very safe to say that Sexson is the best of the "Hargrove guys" that will come to Seattle.

Before hurting his left shoulder early in the 2004 season, Sexson was one of the more proven middle-of-the-order hitters in all of baseball. He did hit 45 home runs and drove in 124 runs during the 2003 season in Milwaukee, his last season as a Brewer. If Sexson can hit at least 30-35 home runs in Seattle, I'll be just fine with that.

Now that Sexson is aboard, I'm hoping that the Mariners throw some of their money at Adrian Beltre. I don't want to see Sexson in left field, because that would be a waste of time. The man is very good defensively at 1st base. Why sign Carlos Delgado when you already have a damn good 1st baseman on your roster already? That's nothing against Delgado, because I think he's a damn good player in his own right. But the Mariners don't need to spend big bucks on two first basemen. Sign Beltre and put him at 3rd base, a position that is just as big of a black hole as left field has been for the Mariners historically.

You're probably asking yourself, is this for real? Is Jeremy actually being positive about the Mariners for a change? Yes, this is for real. I can't help but be excited about Sexson coming to Seattle. I know there are a few fans out there who wish that Sexson gets hurt again, so they can be right. But I'm not one of those fans, because I am better than that.

Richie Sexson is a Seattle Mariner. Deal with it.

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[UPDATED -- found latest video link, and a poll]
[originally posted 11 Dec at 1:50p]

Over 400 students at Texas A&M were waiting in line for Cotton Bowl tickets. The Aggies will face Tennessee in Dallas on New Year's Day. But apparently, one woman thought that she was too good for the line. Nevermind the fact that the majority of the students had waited in line for three days. So what does the woman do?

Not only does she cut in front of the long line, but she ate the roll-call list! I can't make this stuff up.

And here's a link to a student's take on the event. It's over 11 minutes long, but it's well worth it. (Windows Media Player required)

Texas A&M has many traditions. Could the tradition of being "The List Eater" be next? Of course, that would require the Aggies to be in a bowl game every season.

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Before we go anywhere here, I'll warn you...the Times has changed their look. It's trippy, and it might make you freak out at first. Though it looks a bit more sleek, I'm a bit dismayed that now only the top three or four articles get snippets under them, but other articles are relegated to "link with headline only" status.

Richie Sexson: still not a Mariner. Hickey reports that Sexson has taken the physical, with results pending. Kevin Millwood and Odalis Perez have their names appear in the article, and frankly, I don't mind either of them, though I think I'd rather have the lefty.

After a good few days' worth of Larry Stone, we're left with a Finnigan article (there's your warning). Technically Bob is only half-right in saying that Seattle would have a chance to win a game or two more, at least not next year. As Jeremy pointed out to me, the Mets show up on the Mariners' 2005 schedule, so Pedro does have the chance to get a sure win. And there it is, the quote that was used repeatedly on FSNNW, the Baltimore Sun saying that the Sexson deal with the Mariners would be 4 years and $48M. It's steep, no doubt about it. But if this has anyone dismayed, perhaps they're less dismayed that Adrian Beltre (according to Finnigan) is becoming more of a possibility than Carlos Delgado. But any optimism of that is probably thwarted by the mere thought of the Mariners offering Edgar Renteria four years and $44M (if I were Sexson's agent and heard of that, I'd ask for a big bump). Warming the seat for Jose Lopez, I can see that, but compared to the money that Sexson would be getting, there's no way I'd throw that kind of coin at Renteria. There's the obligatory figure of how much money the Mariners have left to spend, which apparently is $16M this time. I wonder if there will be an "exploding shoulder" clause in this contract if/when it's all ironed out, but I doubt it, based on what Sexson's agent says.

By the way, if Sexson signs, I'm betting he wears 44, which he wore in Cleveland. He wore 11 (his old basketball number) in Milwaukee because a certain Hank Aaron has his number retired up there. Needless to say, if the Mariners sign Sexson and they turn around the jersey and it says "SEXSON 11," there will probably be an angry mob with pitchforks and flaming bags of poo headed toward Safeco Field.

Shaun Alexander has called him Mister December. Matt Hasselbeck has only thrown for 715 yards and six touchdowns the past two games. His numbers in Decembers since 2002 have been nothing short of sick and wrong -- darn near 310 yards a game. Of course, the surge now compared to the swoon of the past month or so is no doubt due to the healing of ankle sprains for Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram, and Jerry Rice, as well as the long-awaited healing of the mother of all charley horses. My most surprising part of the article...the Falcons are 21st in pass defense? Wow.

Antonio Cochran has played nearly everywhere. Call him the Mark McLemore of the defensive line. He will be in Grant Wistrom's spot at right end for the rest of the regular season. Cochran is second on the team in sacks, but he got jobbed on the final play in Minnesota, where apparently the final ruling on the play was that it was an incomplete pass. Also, the Sporting News named Wistrom to the All-Overrated Team.

For my postgame thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if archived.

A funny thing happened in the Bryant/Allen matchup -- Rashard Lewis stole the show. The weird thing was, he was the only guy that wasn't passing the ball a lot (see Allen, Ridnour, Daniels). Good gracious, Jerome James even had 12 points last night. Of course, that can be seen as a combination of James getting great passes or Chris Mihm being a horrible defender (the Lakers are full of those). The Sonics had three players scoring in double figures at the half. The pace of the game was furious at the start, and it seemed like the Kobe/Ray thing was going to go off as planned. Then Rashard stepped in. Kobe on the Sonics' style of play: "unorthodox." Kobe on the Sonics: "explosive."

And the Times has ran an article by another Times, the paper from LA. It's Kobe-centric, this article. The Kobe story started out all roses, then it started getting progressively worse, even before the court case. What does the article tell me? Kobe was whipped. Beyond belief. Bill Simmons once said that no man in the history of mankind was whipped more than Lionel Richie was on the day he wrote "Truly." After reading the second half of that article, I think Richie might have some company.

Also, Rashard Lewis wasn't selected for the Olympic team last summer, so he didn't even have the chance to turn it down at all. What happened last night? He lit up Lamar Odom (Olympian).

Vitaly Potapenko, who did get off the bench last night, is Ukrainian. Needless to say, the events right now in the Ukraine are pretty important to him. The article is pretty interesting, including some tidbits about Soviet life and a peek inside the Soviet basketball machine of old. Some touted Vitaly to be the next Arvydas Sabonis. Ah, injuries.

Friday vs. Phoenix
Next Wednesday vs. Denver

The NHL is screwed. I saw a CBC news story last night about some bar owners and merchants who are feeling the pinch. The fans aren't the only ones losing out.

Here's the one junior game from last night...

Seattle beat Brandon, 5-1. The Thunderbirds roared back and pummeled the Warriors after losing their last game to Brandon. They have not lost two straight games this season. The Warriors had an early 1-0 lead in this game, but the T-Birds scored the next five goals unanswered, accounting for the final score. Derek Couture tied the game a little over two minutes after, and the rout was about to commence in the second period. Tyler Metcalfe scored just over three minutes into the second period to get what stood up as the game-winner, putting Seattle up 2-1. Bud Holloway scored Seattle's third goal later in the period. Chris Durand and Yashar Farmanara put the game away with third-period goals that were 53 seconds apart. Seattle goalie Bryan Bridges got his league-leading 18th win. Bridges stopped 14 in the easy win, and Seattle outshot Moose Jaw 49-15.

Tonight: Seattle at Saskatoon, Portland at Spokane, Tri-City at Everett
Friday: Tri-City at Portland, Seattle at Prince Albert, Everett at Vancouver, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
Saturday: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Enjoy your Wednesday, everybody. Wednesdays are nice. Wednesdays are good.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004


SuperSonics 108, Lakers 93
Rashard Lewis had 17 first-quarter points, including a three with 1.7 seconds left. Luke Ridnour had six assists in the opening quarter alone. The game started with a very quick pace and hasn't let up too much. Ron Murray got onto the floor again, and the Lakers didn't put together a massive run with him in, so that's a good thing. The Sonics were up 32-23 after one quarter of play.

There was a play about midway through the second quarter where he hustled back on a Laker fastbreak and hindered a Chris Mihm shot at the basket. The Sonics came back and fed him for a bank shot on the other end. Lakers started out 0-for-10 from downtown.

Sonics were up 53-43 at half, with Ray Allen's three at the buzzer waved off (correct call). The Sonics let off the pedal a little bit at the end of the first half, and especially once Kobe Bryant came in and nailed back-to-back threes. However, Kobe had zero assists at the half. Jerome James had double figures in points in the first half, which was amazing.

The Lakers stuck around for most of the third quarter and Kobe Bryant did his thing in the fourth quarter, but in the final minutes, the Sonics started raining threes and they were falling like crazy.

I'm not going to lie; I was away from the TV for the second half, but was near the radio. I can still tell you things such as how Jerome James drew his fifth foul in the third quarter, though he'd already had ten points at the half anyway. Vlad Radmanovic missed his first few shots but managed to get in a pretty good line. I thought Vlad was having a miserable game, but I knew he'd hit some threes toward the end.

The hype coming in was all about Kobe Bryant against Ray Allen. Kobe scored 35, Ray 26. But this night belonged to Rashard Lewis. He had a night, people. The numbers will be in the peek.

It was noted multiple times during the telecast that the Lakers couldn't defend the pick-and-roll, and that manifested itself as the Sonics dished out 28 assists, while they average 19 a game (according to Craig Ehlo on the broadcast).

Ron Murray did roll off a pick and score his first basket in a long time. Vitaly Potapenko played a minute, but didn't score. Nick Collison's only basket of the night was a real nice putback, the kind of basket I've seen him make multiple times this year -- grab offensive rebound, pivot a couple times, attempt layup.

What a way to bounce back after getting beat again by the Celtics, and nice job by Ray Allen to bounce back too, with his best shooting night in a while. Good times. That game against Phoenix is going to be quite the matchup.

starters: Rashard Lewis 37 pts/7 reb (13-22 FG, 7-12 3pt), Ray Allen 26 pts/5 reb/5 ast (10-18 FG), Luke Ridnour 2 pts/4 reb/11 ast
bench: Vlad Radmanovic 10 pts/7 reb/3 ast (4-9 FG, 2/4 3pt), Antonio Daniels 8 pts/7 ast/3 reb, Danny Fortson 7 pts/5 reb
team: shot 50% from the field (42-for-84), hit 12 of 27 threes (44.4%), were outrebounded 44-40, outassisted the Lakers 28-12, only turned ball over 9 times
Jerome James Watch: 12 pts/2 reb/2 blk...possibly his best game of the year

Like I said, the Suns/Sonics matchup on Friday should be a doozy.

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I just saw the greatest segment on Sportscenter ever.

In their look at the pitiful sports town that is New Orleans (the Hornets have only won 1 game, the Saints are the most inconsistent team in football, etc.), they played the "Six Degrees of Separation" game. I didn't really pay attention to all six degrees, but there were two parts of the segment that made me just lose it.

Jim Everett making Jim Rome his bitch on ESPN 2

Jim Mora "Didily poo"

Oh, and if you want my opinion on Richie Sexson possibly signing with the Mariners, you're just going to have to wait for it. Yeah, when I see him in the Safeco Field interview room located on the third base side of the ballpark wearing a Mariners jersey and cap. I have no reason to bitch and moan about something that hasn't happened yet.

Didily poo.

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It's another day. The Mariners haven't officially signed anybody yet. Grant Wistrom's MRI came in. It's Kobe against Ray tonight. The NHL probably will have no season for sure now. And Making the Cut is having its two-hour season finale tonight on the CBC, so you can see who the final six will be that get invite to NHL training camp (provided that it ever starts again). As a Canuck fan, I want Drew Kivell. HOLY CRAP, the DVD set is coming out March 22 and they're taking pre-orders in Canadian coin. I suppose 13 hours (one-hour episodes) would have been a little much, so they've boiled it down to five hours total from all the episodes and threw in some bonus stuff to fit on three discs. I got my wish, though I'm not going to throw down cash. Yet.

Did anyone enjoy the completely random and unnecessary Seinfeld-inspired post title?

Here we go...

As Dave Andriesen correctly points out, none of the deals involving the names Sexson, Pavano, Wright, and Koskie have become official yet. This could be due to any number of reasons, be they pending physicals or minor contract nuances. Sexson's agent denied that his client was in Seattle, and saying the Orioles were still in the running, amid reports that Sexson was indeed in Seattle to take a physical. Call it a safety net, I guess. Remember, Omar Vizquel did not wear a Mariner uniform in 2004, so anything can happen. One thing I did find intriguing at the end of the article was the drop of AJ Burnett's name. Tommy John surgery aside, the guy can throw, and was slated to be a big part of the Florida rotation before going under the knife. But ah, the injury risk. Not a full year of ball since 2002. For what it's worth, he's still getting just above eight K's per 9 even after the injury. That's about the most complicated stat you're going to get from me. It was right there for the taking. Furthermore, if Burnett had pitched enough games last year and had that same ratio, it would have placed him 9th overall in the Majors in strikeout rate.

Larry Stone's got some more on the Sexson situation. Rumors have indicated that some in the Mariner camp aren't getting far on the Carlos Delgado front and may direct more of their attention to Adrian Beltre, which is good because, well, they need a third baseman. There's tiny tidbits about Sexson toward the end of the article, indicating that he wasn't one to take many days off, if at all, before the shoulder injury. He played every single inning in the 2003 season for the Brewers. Basically, if Richie Sexson is out of the game, the injury must hurt like a bastard.

Let's go to Fantasy Land for a second. Imagine if Sexson, Mike Cameron, Bret Boone, and Bucky Jacobsen were on the same Mariner team. I swear to you, they'd strike out 650 times between the four of them. I think the fact that the Mariners are even thinking about taking on Sexson might tip off to a smidgen of a paradigm shift away from the front office's anti-strikeout philosophies that so marked the Mike Cameron era in Seattle.

Lastly, we did our job. Dave Niehaus was the leading internet vote-getter and is a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award. Now we just have to hope that the 20 members of the voting committee see it our way.

Also (it's in a couple of those above links), the Mariners let the clock run out despite having the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. Sure, you could get ticked, but I guess my positive spin is that the no-pick takes away one chance of having a lead-balloon Luis Ugueto to shorten Mike Hargrove's bench. Yeah, I know Ugueto's probably more of an exception than a rule, but I'm thinking of Ugueto in 2002 when I think of Rule 5, not Jon Nunnally coming up with the Royals and getting hot for a week or two.

My paying attention to the Husky football team might die down for a while because I was just having fun with the coaching search, but now it's over. Are there enough articles on the Willingham hiring? I think it's a top-notch hire. Willingham definitely wasn't on their list when Keith Gilbertson decided to step down, but Notre Dame's stupid move is the Huskies' gain. I heard Grosby and Gastineau on KJR yesterday with John McGrath. Groz asked McGrath if he could get Willingham to ax the "ferret" (current Husky logo) and get something that actually looks like a Husky. If I were a Husky fan, I'd lobby for something between what it used to be and somehow not quite as evil as the Timberwolves' logo.

Say you're the head of EA Sports. Say it's last August and your company releases Madden NFL 2005. Say your competitor, Sega Sports, releases ESPN NFL 2K5 around the same time, but they charge $19.99 while your game is going at $49.99 like usual. Say that the competing game is even getting rave reviews. What do you do? If your answer is "pay the NFL to license their logos and names, etc., exclusively to our video game and ours alone," then you win a free prize! Okay, maybe not.

I liked this one. People are burning for the Seahawks.

Grant Wistrom? Gone for up to six weeks. Torn MCL, according to the MRI. He might be ready for the playoffs. Of course, the playoffs are hardly a given right now, but the Seahawks put themselves in much better position thanks to Sunday's win. Wistrom is an emotional guy, but Coach Holmgren wants him at home rehabbing -- having him on the sidelines during the game could be a little edgy due to Wistrom being "a little bit nuts-o." He might try to defend his NFL Big Man Dance Challenge title if they take him along to the Meadowlands. Also, Marcus Tubbs and Rocky Bernard won't play, and Chad Brown and Tracy White might play. Itula Mili is free of serious injury after running into the goal post.

You know it's late in the season when playoff scenarios get talked about. As of now, the Seahawks control their own destiny. They just have to win one more game than the Rams, or have the Rams lose all of their remaining games. If something bad happens, the Seahawks hold the tiebreakers against Minnesota and Carolina (thank goodness they caught the Panthers at a good time).

I got wind of this from KJR, but I have to repeat it here. If NC State beats Louisiana-Lafayette tomorrow (highly likely), that will set up a matchup of 8-0 NC State in Seattle against 7-1 Washington on Sunday, nationally televised on FSN at 5 that night. It'd be a dandy.

Kobe's in town. Percy Allen says it best when he says that Bryant is second in the NBA in scoring and tied for first in turnovers, and that the Lakers are 4-0 when he doesn't set the game-high for the team (they're 8-8 when he does). He also shoots 39% and the owners love the hell out of him. Why else would they have let Shaq go? And who can forget the Allen/Bryant semi-feud? It's on tonight. Also, Ron Murray will probably play.

Tonight vs. Lakers
Friday vs. Phoenix
Wednesday (22nd) vs. Denver

If the leaked memo is indeed true, there's not going to be an NHL season. Stick a fork in it. How stupid. What I wouldn't give to have Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Ted Saskin, and Bob Goodenow sequestered to individual desert islands. It's probably a bad comparison, but at least baseball played most of a season before they went stupid on us all. The NHL won't even have a season to begin with. Do they even know how bad they're screwing themselves? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if the season's gone, there's no way the same number of teams exist for the next NHL season. No way.

Since there were no games last night...standings.

Western Hockey League
(rank_team games..record[points] streak last10)

1 Kelowna Rockets 33..19-7-7-0[45] W3 5-1-4
2 Kootenay Ice 34..20-11-3-0[43] L1 5-4-1
3 Vancouver Giants 33..18-12-1-2[39] W2 8-1-1
4 Prince George Cougars 34..14-16-3-1[32] L1 5-4-1
5 Kamloops Blazers 34..12-18-2-2[28] W1 5-5-0

1 Seattle Thunderbirds 29..20-8-0-1[41] L1 6-4-0
2 Everett Silvertips 32 17-8-5-2[41] T2 6-1-3
3 Portland Winter Hawks 33..14-13-2-4[34] L2 3-6-1
4 Tri-City Americans 31..11-14-4-2[28] W1 3-6-1
5 Spokane Chiefs 32..10-15-6-1[27] T2 3-3-4

American Hockey League
(rank_team games..record[points])
1 Manitoba Moose 26..17-7-0-2[36]
2 Saint John's Maple Leafs 27..17-9-0-1[35]
3 Rochester Americans 26..13-7-3-3[32]
4 Edmonton Road Runners 25..13-7-2-3[31]
5 Syracuse Crunch 25..10-9-3-3[26]
6 Hamilton Bulldogs 26..10-11-4-1[25]
7 Cleveland Barons 25..10-12-1-2[23]

Northern Pacific Hockey League
1 Puget Sound Tomahawks 24..22-2-0[44]
2 Portland Pioneers 22..20-2-0[40]
3 Tri-City Titans 25..8-17-0[16]
4 River City Jaguars 24..4-20-0[8]

Tonight: Seattle at Moose Jaw
Wednesday: Seattle at Saskatoon, Portland at Spokane, Tri-City at Everett
Friday: Tri-City at Portland, Seattle at Prince Albert, Everett at Vancouver, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
Saturday: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Stay dry, Northwesterners current and former.

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Monday, December 13, 2004


From yesterday's Seahawks-Vikings game:

"We salute you, Mr. Human Beverage Coaster!"

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It's official.

Tyrone Willingham is the new head football coach at Washington.

Since Jeff Tedford decided to stay at California, Willingham was the best fit for the Huskies. He knows the Pac-10, from his days down on the Farm at Stanford. And it's important to note that the University of Washington is the only Division 1 school with both the football and basketball head coaching positions filled by African Americans.

Will Willingham lead the Huskies back on the winning track? Who knows. But the sun is definitely shining on Montlake for the first time in a while.

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I'm on very light sleep, so this one might seem a little short, but maybe you'll enjoy the conciseness.

Sexson it is, apparently. Pending a physical, they say. Anything could happen, though, and not just failing the physical. Anyway, I'm waiting until I see the 6'8" guy in a uniform before I dive even more into this. Or at least until the terms of the contract come out. If Sexson is indeed a Mariner, one thing's for sure: between Eddie Guardado and Richie Sexson, there may be prank wars or a prank arms race, and such could be the stuff of legends. I guess the one thing I can definitively say is that I'm sour on the idea of Sexson playing left. Throw that money at Adrian Beltre, not Carlos Delgado.

Ty willingham is it, P-I style. Since the P-I doesn't publish Sundays, this is their take.

For my gamepost for yesterday, scroll down past this post or click here.

A road win against a winning team. That hadn't happened since the 2002 finale (Chargers). What a game for Darrell Jackson, with all he was dealing with. Chris Berman made him his Prime Time Player of the Week. Matt Hasselbeck was also great for the second straight week,

And yes, we're awaiting the MRI results for Grant Wistrom, who was helped off the playing field and then carted to the locker room . The first sentence of the Farnsworth article is a close cousin of a particular sentence we've used here many times.

In the Twin Cities, they're no doubt lamenting the call of Randy Moss throwing the ball on third down. Why not? Tice said Moss is the best player on the team, but he's not getting paid to throw footballs. Sheesh.

There were a few things said about the final play. I'll just say I wouldn't have been surprised if that would have gone the other way. It would have been the capper. But Culpepper planted his knee, so thank goodness. If Wiggins comes down with that ball, perhaps a replay would have overturned that because Culpepper was down and the videotape clearly showed that...but Keyshawn didn't catch that ball last Monday, and that wasn't reviewed...

Could it be? Matt Hasselbeck has his second straight good game in a row, and might finally be coming around. Better late than never, I guess. Or better late than too late.

But really, we're all together in the end, are we not?
photo by Rod Mar, Seattle Times

The Marvin Williams Watch
In North Carolina's 109-60 win over Loyola of Chicago, Marvin Williams recorded his first college double-double. He racked up 16 points and 10 boards (5 offensive) in 24 minutes of play off the bench along with a steal for good measure. The Tar Heels face go on the road next Sunday to face the Hokies of Virginia Tech.

The Huskies are 7-1 after beating Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles by a score of 100-91. Nate Robinson scored 28, Tre Simmons 26, and Bobby Jones 21. The Huskies are home against NC State next Sunday as part of ACC Sunday Night Hoops on FSN nationwide.

Percy Allen can hype up this Ray Allen/Kobe Bryant matchup/feud from here to high heaven, but it won't compare to Kobe claiming that Karl Malone made a pass at his wife. You know, Kobe Bryant's already lost big in the court of public opinion, and he'd have a better time with everything if he would just shut his mouth. Let your playing do the talking, Kobe. I don't want to hear it.

Tomorrow vs. Lakers
Friday vs. Phoenix

Todd Bertuzzi did show up in that charity game last night.

Brandon beat Seattle, 3-2 in overtime. Brandon jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this game, but the Thunderbirds tied thanks to Tyler Metcalfe on a rebound off a power-play shot in the second, and Aaron Gagnon 6:10 into the third period. The Thunderbirds lost the game with twelve seconds left in OT on Lance Monych's second goal of the game. Seattle badly outshot Brandon 42-18. Gavin McHale stopped 15 of 18 for the Thunderbirds.

Kamloops beat Portland, 3-2 in overtime. The same thing that happened to the Thunderbirds happened to Portland. They rallied from down 2-0 to tie the game, and lost it in overtime. Kamloops got their 2-0 lead early in the third period, and Garrett Festerling cut the deficit in half with a goal about three minutes after the Blazers' second goal. Michael Sauer scored the tying goal fresh out of the dressing room in the third period. Kris Hogg netted the winner for Kamloops, just short of two minutes into the extra frame. Portland outshot Kamloops 38-36, and Dustin Butler stopped 33 in his 14th straight start in the Portland net. Braydon Coburn will miss eight more games due to his being selected for Team Canada's World Junior Championship team tryout camp.

Manitoba beat Edmonton, 3-2 (video). Edmonton led 2-0 after 40 minutes thanks to a goal each in the first two periods. Then the Moose erupted for three goals in the third period to steal the win on the road. Johnathon Aitken, Josh Green, and Kirill Koltsov spearheaded the comeback effort, and the Moose took both games in Edmonton, widening their division lead over the Road Runners to five points. Edmonton outshot Manitoba 25-24, and Alex Auld stopped 23 in the Manitoba net.

Tuesday: Seattle at Moose Jaw
Wednesday: Seattle at Saskatoon, Portland at Spokane, Tri-City at Everett
Friday: Tri-City at Portland, Seattle at Prince Albert, Everett at Vancouver, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
Saturday: Everett at Portland, Vancouver at Tri-City, Hamilton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at Portland
(no WHL or AHL games from the 19th to the 26th, NorPac is off the weekend of the 24th and 25th as well)

Wow, the Seahawks won on Sunday, therefore I'm happy Monday. It's simple. The Mariners haven't signed Jay Canizaro to a 4-year, $20M contract to play short, so that's a good thing too, not that it was ever rumored to happen, because it wasn't. I'm losing my mind here.

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