Thursday, March 31, 2005


Welcome to Thursday. It's been a couple days off for me. I had some time-intensive paperwork to do for something that hopefully punches my ticket out of Bremerton for the second time. College was the first.

For the random...dollar store shower curtains are cheap. That was one of the first things I'd bought about 22** months ago when I moved into my apartment on campus. Unlike every other shower curtain I'd been around in my life, this particular curtain was easily blown astray from vertical by any sort of air movement. Unfortunately, that bathroom in my apartment was pretty small and still had a heater in it. Though that's a good idea for when you come in from a 12-degree day outside and have to use the bathroom, it's not so good if you're taking a shower and absolutely have to have the shower curtain not mess with you. I like to make sure the bottom of it is water-welded to the side of the tub myself. It got to the point to where I think I had a gigantic bottle of shampoo or detergent that I held the curtain to the side of the tub with. This is almost as inane as the Dane Cook joke where he tries to explain kicked-in doors in public restrooms ("I don't LIKE to s*** in a perfect square!").

[**It used to say I moved into the apartment 10 months ago, but I was a whole year off. Only a year, that's all.]

To the post!

It's officially season preview day for the Seattle dailies.

John Hickey has quite the big piece on the Mariners' upcoming season. The biggest question, of course, remains to be how the pitching shakes down. Bill Bavasi has said on occasion that after the Mariners couldn't get Carl Pavano, they then went after Sexson and Beltre. Why do I like that it turned out this way? One, just about everything would have to break right for the Mariners to make the playoffs this year. Two, how good is a free-agent pitching market when top names include Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano? Come on. Three, I'm not so sure that Carl Pavano won't be a one-year wonder, and the Mariners don't have a Randy Johnson to put in front of him. Frankly, since I don't believe the Mariners are going to make the playoffs this year, I'm glad they were able to strengthen the corners of the infield, and this year they can wait for the pitching to solidify and/or they can wait to see what happens with next year's free-agent pitching crop. I'm not just kicking this year aside, but I'm incredibly anxious to see what the 2006 Mariners look like. The Mariners can win 85 games this year and miss the playoffs, and I won't be ticked. That won't fly for me next year, though. I needs me some playoff baseball next year.

Hickey also has a piece about the Mariners' minor-league system. He likens it to the UN, but I say it's more like IHOP. If you play word-association with a layperson and then give them South Africa, I'm guessing they'd say "Mandela" or "apartheid" or something. As a geology major, I can tell you that if you say South Africa to a geologist, you'll probably get "KIMBERLITE PIPES!" or "DIAMONDS!" in return, and it'll probably be incredibly dorky too. Just thought I'd let you know.

Wanna know another reason I'm looking forward to 2006? It's not a nice multiple of 5 or 10, and is therefore one less reason to beat everybody over the head with 1995 (though the chronological Times quotes article is a good read). I liked it, it was great, but in the decade since, we haven't seen the Mariners get to the World Series, but we've seen the subsequent injustices of Anaheim winning it all and Florida getting rings twice. I'm not saying anybody has to let go of 1995, but from this point on, if it's not the 25th anniversary of it, or any multiple of 10 thereafter, I'd like to hear about it just a bit less; in my opinion, that'd make the observance of the year that much more special. We'll all have the memories of 1995, sure, but sometimes I feel that people are just too content with hanging onto those memories than to expect more out of the team they have at the moment; I felt this was especially the case in 2002 and 2003.

John Levesque also tempers the excitement a bit. I might have said it a couple times here at the ol' weblog, but I have this team pegged for a 77-85 season, with a .500 season being a marked improvement (81-81 would be an 18-game pickup over the previous year). Also like I've said, though, if this team starts out 42-19, all bets are off and expectations change. I'm looking at you, 2003 Mariners.

Jim Moore gathers a little list of all-time Mariner defensive players at every position. In the article coming before the list, Moore mentions the error-hating Mariners of the 2003 season, a defense so great we may never see that kind of defense played by a collective team in Seattle again. I thought the 2002 team had a pretty damned good infield myself (Jeff Cirillo did start in 121 games that year). High-arcing throws aside, I was also a big fan of David Bell at third and the 2000 infield as well. Back to Moore's piece though, I'm disappointed not to see any references to Tom Niedenfuer or Brian Turang.

More defense. This time, it's Bob Finnigan on the infield. If we have a full year of Bret Boone postgame quotes referring to the new first baseman as Big Sex, it's going to be fun. If you ask me, Big Sex could be a title for a horribly bad sequel to the Lindsey Buckingham-penned Fleetwood Mac song "Big Love." In another weird random note, Fleetwood Mac had a woman named Stevie and a man named Lindsey. Don't try to wrap your head around that one.

It's unofficially official. Aaron Sele and Jeff Nelson aren't packing, so they'll be heading north with the team since they're not having to exercise their early-out-if-not-making-team contract clauses. The make-or-break date has come and gone. This is the part where I root for Franklin to eventually crack the rotation after they figure out Sele can't pitch more than five innings. If you can't tell, I'm not putting too much stock in his spring. Bottom line for me is that this guy better be getting you six or into the 7th if he's going to be the (gulp) fourth starter (I did see that printed somewhere) on this team.

Art Thiel supplies an article with a boatload of Mike Hargrove quotes which I think we'll be able to use for future reference. He concedes that managers usually have little bearing on the outcomes, but that his challenge will be to put players in the right places to succeed and to maintain the clubhouse. Speaking of Hargrove, keep an eye on the boxscores this season to see whether the crew including Alfonso Marquez is involved. He tossed Mike Hargrove yesterday, and I guess the season must be getting a bit closer if managers start getting tossed in the spring. If there's a bad call at some point during the season and Marquez is anywhere on the field, I give all of you readers permission to crank out some conspiracy theories.

SHAAAAROOOON!! No word on if we'll hear Hargrove call out for his wife this year, but here's some material about Hargrove and wife, a story grown in a small town called Perryton, Texas. If Mike asked that guy if he "need(ed) some wood?" before he socked that guy, I'll laugh for a good five minutes.

CD. Not just something I've spent way too much money on, but also the useless Roman translation of a number asked many times in this Steve Kelley piece -- Why not .400? If that happens, I'm fairly confident in saying I'll never see a two-year run for a hitter like that ever again. Could you imagine if he hit .400 this year and made a run at 56 next year?

If Meche gets torrid this year, we might be able to trace it back to a conversation with Cal McLish when Gil was sent down. From there, Gil simplified the repertoire and played high-low with his pitches and trusting his stuff more rather than nibbling on the corners. Early returns of the final half of last season seem okay. We'll see how he starts out, but I'll be elated if this guy wins 15 games this year.

I was waiting for a follow-up story on this, and current roving minor-league instructor and former Everett bench coach Darrin Garner is eternally grateful for everyone that helped his family got back on their feet after Hurricane Charley tore through their home and quite literally blew the roof off the joint.

The Seahawks were able to retain two key unrestricted free-agents by signing center Robbie Tobeck and all-world special teamer Alex Bannister yesterday. It's great to see the integral parts of the offensive line stay intact for anyone running or throwing behind them, and it's good to know that Alex Bannister will return to the special teams unit. The special teams unit was bad when Bannister was healthy last year, sure, but when Bannister got hurt, oh man. Incessant vomiting on my part, that's what that led to. Tobeck is on for 2 years at $1.875M ($250k signing bonus) and Bannister is on for 4 years and $4M ($1M signing bonus).

The Miah Davis Update
In last night's 108-93 loss by the Roanoke Dazzle to the Columbus Riverdragons, Miah Davis scored 8 points on 2-for-8 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from the line. He also grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in 29 minutes of play. In 11 games as a starter, the Bremerton 1999 graduate is averaging 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in 36 minutes per game.

Roanoke hosts Asheville tomorrow and travels to Asheville on Saturday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are in the Final Four at Saint Louis, where they will face Michigan State (Saturday at 5:47p) for a spot in the national title game against the winner of Louisville/Illinois.

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

They sucked. They never led. They were down by 10 or more points for nearly a combined three quarters of gameplay. The Sonics also had a grand total of seven assists in the game, tying a franchise low.

I think it was Brad Miller earlier in the year who had some comments about how Reggie Evans plays defense. Now it's Ray Allen (swollen left wrist) on Bruce Bowen, "I don't know what he does. They put him out there to throw punches and throw elbows. I don't know what he's doing. That's not basketball that he plays." Bowen on Allen, "I've never heard the great ones say anything like that. You never heard Michael Jordan say, 'Oh, John Starks doesn't play basketball.' John Starks may play physical with M.J., the Detroit Pistons may have been physical with him. What did he do? He went and hit the gym hard and continued to play."

Though I don't think I agree with Allen on that remark, I do agree that Danny Fortson would have "put Tony Parker on his butt." That would have helped in the first quarter.

So who didn't suck last night? Damien Wilkins. He's coming on strong lately. Did anyone expect this?

Tomorrow vs. Portland (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Golden State (3p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Seattle beat Tri-City 3-0. The goal that held up as the winner was Aaron Gagnon's penalty shot with 3:58 to go. I bet that took the air out of the arena. Ladislav Scurko gave Seattle an early lead on the power play late in the first period. Aaron Gagnon scored his non-penalty shot goal with 4:27 to go right after a Shawn Belle unsportsmanlike conduct penalty had expired, making it a 2-1 score for Seattle. Tri-City coach Don Nachbaur blamed Belle for the loss. Vancouver Canuck prospect Matt Hansen had two assists for Seattle. Shots were 31-23 for the Americans, and Bryan Bridges stopped 29 for the Thunderbirds. Seattle leads the series 3-0.

Everett beat Portland 3-2 in overtime. The Silvertips won all five overtime playoff games last year, and have another overtime playoff win this year. The Silvertips blew a 2-0 lead before getting the overtime tally. Karel Hromas and Kyle Annesley scored on the power play for Everett in the second period. Mike Funk and Brendan Mikkelson (power play) answered for Portland in the third period. You'd figure that scoring two third-period goals would create some momentum, though nothing in the boxscores or articles says as much, and the result sure doesn't. Zach Hamill netted the winner for Everett in the extra period. Shots were 40-35 for Portland. Blake Grenier stopped 32 for Portland, and Mike Wall stopped 38 for Everett. Everett leads the series 3-1.

Kelowna beat Vancouver 2-1 in overtime. Two untimely defensive lapses ended up in two Kelowna goals. Vancouver coach Don Hay thinks goalie Marek Schwarz didn't have a chance on the winner, but Schwarz himself thinks he didn't have a chance on the first goal but should have had the last one. Nonetheless, Adam Courchaine got the early lead for Vancouver in the first period before Kelowna tied it in the second period and won it in extra time. Shots were 31-17 for Kelowna, and Schwarz stopped 29 for the Giants. The series is tied at 2-2.

Hamilton beat Manitoba 2-1. Well, the Moose scored first, but never again. Jesse Schultz managed the only Moose tally of the game early in the first period. A shorthanded goal late in the period turned the game and Hamilton took control before getting the winner in the second period. Shots were 33-26 for Hamilton, and Alex Auld stopped 31 for the Moose.

Tomorrow: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 4), Everett at Portland (Game 5), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 5), Manitoba at Syracuse
Saturday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5 if necessary), Portland at Everett (Game 6 if necessary), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6), Manitoba at Binghamton
Tuesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 6 if necessary), Everett at Portland (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba
Wednesday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 7 if necessary), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba

Have a happy Thursday.

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