Fuck You Angels! The Mariners Got The Sweep

When I was a kid, I gave much more of a shit about baseball rivalries than I do now.  I hated the Yankees, obviously.  I disliked the Rangers quite a bit (especially when they signed A-Rod).  In the early 2000’s, I REALLY hated the Athletics, because even though the Mariners won 90+ games from 2000-2003, the A’s were the reason why we only made the playoffs twice (in spite of a couple 93-win campaigns).  In recent years, I guess I hate the Astros, but I don’t even know if they qualify as a rivalry, from my fan’s perspective.  It’s more of a looming dread whenever I see HOU coming up on the little pocket calendar I have hanging up at my desk.  When the switch flipped and Houston became HOUSTON, it’s been utter annihilation (and even before they were good, they still won an annoying amount of times).  Besides, this is really the first year where the Mariners and Astros have been on the same level, record-wise.  They may indeed grow to become my most hated baseball enemy when the season’s over.

But, for now, I think I hate the Angels the most.  Granted, they’re clearly the better franchise.  They’ve actually WON a World Series, for instance.  They’ve been to the playoffs 10 times to our 4; they’ve consistently been more of a winning team in general (and haven’t had those bottom-out years like the Mariners have).  Nevertheless, with the Astros way up there, I’ve always seen the Angels as more of our peers.  Whenever you find the Mariners contending for a wild card spot, the Angels always seem to be right there with us.  Also, from 2010 onward, the Angels only have the 1 playoff appearance, so it’s not like they’ve been super awesome of late.  And, they’ve had a number of players I couldn’t help but despise, from Mike Trout to Jered Weaver to (retroactively) Chone Figgins to John Lackey to Troy Glaus to Tim Salmon to Chuck Finley.  The only Angels player I ever really liked was Vlad, because he was fucking amazing and I secretly never forgave the Mariners for not making a bigger push to sign him when he was a free agent after 2003.  Can you even imagine?  That would’ve been so much fun!

Anyway, the Mariners just swept the Angels yesterday in the 3-game series, and I couldn’t be happier.

I didn’t hold out a ton of hope in yesterday’s game, even when the Angels’ starter was pulled after 2 innings with an injury.  Marco Gonzales really wasn’t as sharp as he’d been of late, only lasting 5 innings, giving up 3 runs.  We knew ahead of time that Edwin Diaz wasn’t going to be available, after pitching 3 games in a row, and in 4 games in 5 days.  That slotted the bullpen all kinds of wonky, and accordingly the bullpen wasn’t as sharp as it had been of late either.  Newcomer Mike Morin – in just his 2nd appearance since being called up from Tacoma – gave up a run on a triple and a sac fly.  Chasen Bradford – who has been all kinds of good this year – gave up 2 solo homers in the 7th to put us behind by 2 runs.  And, there we were, late in the game, facing the prospects of losing for just the third time in the month of June.

That’s when the offense went back to work.  Gamel and Zunino had RBIs in the 2nd to stake the Mariners to a 2-0 lead.  Then, after an RBI by Trout (who somehow didn’t homer in this one, though he did have two hits and two intentional walks), Nelson Cruz hit a 2-run bomb (which is his 5th in the last 5 games) to put the M’s up 4-1.  In the 7th, after Bradford gagged up the homers, Segura hit a guy in on a double; followed by Healy solo homering in the 8th to re-tie the game; ultimately setting the stage for a bottom of the 9th showdown (thanks to a couple scoreless innings out of eventual winner Roenis Elias).

With one out, Segura on at first, Mitch Haniger took a mistake by the Angels pitcher and deposited it into the left field stands for his second walk-off home run of the season.  Not for nothing, but that’s his 16th homer of the season (tying his mark of 2017) and his 52nd RBI (surpassing what he did in 2017, in 29 fewer games).  Can you imagine what it’ll be like if he can stay healthy all year?  He truly is deserving of a slot on the All Star team.

The Mariners are still 0.5 games ahead of the Astros, but are now 7.5 games ahead of the Angels, which is just the best.

Now, we’ve got a 4-game series against the Red Sox.  I hope you like a lot of annoying Boston fans, because they’re coming out in force!  The good news is Chris Sale pitched yesterday, so we lucked into avoiding one of the best lefties in the game.  The bad news is the rest of their rotation is also really fucking good.  And, James Paxton is saddled with Friday’s “Fireworks Night” game, which I believe the Mariners have lost every fucking time they’ve done it.  Here’s to hoping for a little of that old Felix magic tonight as he squares off against David Price.  This series could get REAL dicey in a hurry.

Free Agent Watch: There Are No Free Agents, There Is Only Zuul

The Dodgers signed Zack Greinke, the Reds traded for Shin-Soo Choo, the Angels have now signed Josh Hamilton to 5 years, $125 million.

The Mariners have signed Jason Bay.

I’m not going to sit here and kill the Mariners for not giving truckloads of money to Greinke or Hamilton, just as I’m not going to kill them for not trading away truckloads of prospects for Choo or Justin Upton.  As with any deal, you have to consider the risk/reward factor.  If you’re a team that’s a piece or two away from legitimately contending for a championship (unlike those 2008 or 2010 Mariners teams, coming off winning records in 2007 and 2009 respectively), then it’s okay to assume a little more risk in trading away the farm for an impact bat.  Especially if that impact bat will reward you with getting over that hump.

Unfortunately, the Mariners aren’t a piece or two away.  They’re about 9 or 10 pieces away.  EVERYONE on the team, except for a select few, sucked last year.  Of course, we’re not going to overhaul a team like this just because Ackley and Smoak had down years; you’re going to give them another chance and hope they improve.  That having been said, it would be pointless to trade away all those farm animals we’ve cultivated just to bring in one guy.  That’s risking EVERYTHING, with the reward being … what?  1/9 of your offense?  Just so we can start all over trying to re-stock our farm system?  No thank you.  And what happens if that one bat is a bust?  Then, we’re royally fucked once again.

As far as I’m concerned, trading prospects for other prospects is a risky venture.  Robbing Peter (our wealth of pitching in the upper Minor Leagues) to pay Paul (our dearth of hitting at the lower Major Leagues) doesn’t exactly give me the biggest boner in the world.  Everyone talks about the Mariners and their minor league pitching like we’ve got it growing on trees, when really we’ve just got a small handful of guys.  And each of them struggled in the second half of last season, so who knows if even THEY will pan out?

The fact of the matter is, they’re prospects.  And if you’re trying to trade prospects for legitimate Big League Bats, you’re going to need to trade A FUCK-TON of prospects to get what you’re looking for.  Prospects flame out all the time!  That’s just the nature of the beast.  But, they don’t ALWAYS flame out.  Sometimes, they turn into All Stars.  At which point, you really regret your decisions when you trade away All Stars and you get benchwarmers in return.

Again, that’s the risk.  There’s also the matter of value.  We, obviously, value our prospects a lot more than other teams.  We know them, we’ve grown with them, and we’re also tainted because they’re ours and we want so desperately for them to be good.  Other teams don’t have that kind of attachment.  Likewise, other teams aren’t trying to help us out.  They want theirs.  They want to take as many prospects away from us as humanly possible.  What would be the incentive for them to just give away proven bats with team-control?  That’s why it takes five guys to bring back one good guy.  And if that one good guy turns into Erik Bedard, while a number of the other guys turn into All Stars, that’s how people lose their jobs.

People talk about trading prospects like it’s just this easy thing to do.  That Jackie Z can wrinkle his nose and make a trade appear out of thin air.  But, really, at this point we’re talking about a team (The Seattle Mariners) who isn’t even REMOTELY on the cusp of contending.  It will take three or four additions, and a lot of improvement by guys already on the team, to make the Mariners into a playoff contender.  So, trading the farm for one impact bat is out.  At this point, if I’m in charge, I’m only comfortable with something along the lines of last year’s Pineda for Montero swap.  A one-for-one type of deal that brings back seemingly equal value.  A high-end pitcher prospect for a high-end hitter prospect.

Of course, that still leaves us with Free Agency.

Free Agency.  Man, talk about a losing proposition!

For starters, the best free agents almost NEVER see the light of day!  If you’re smart, and you’ve got a hot-shot young stud still under team control, you’ll extend them out beyond the point where their rookie deal ends (like with the way the Mariners extended Felix).  And, if that player just so happens to be the face of your franchise, at the end of THAT deal, you’ll extend them again.  Because you have to reward your very best players, no matter the cost.

You extend them through what you believe to be their primes.  Once they’ve reached the end of their extension, you should have a good idea on whether or not they’re on the downside of their careers.  At which point, even though they’re on the downside, if they were ever any good, they’re probably coming off of a really great season.  That’s when you’re talking about a guy who wants one final HUGE contract.  It’s at THAT point, you let them test the waters.  See:  Albert Pujols.

In other words, you’re pretty much guaranteed to NOT get any kind of return on investment.  You’re left with a worthless, dried out old husk of a player making too much money.  For every Vladimir Guerrero In His Prime who lands in Anaheim and continues to dominate, there are a million Josh Hamiltons (or Richie Sexsons) out there who are overpriced, will give you 1-2 good seasons, and then completely fall off the face of the Earth.

Unless you’re getting a guy at the end of his rookie deal, who is either just starting his prime or is still on his way up, you’re likely not getting your money’s worth on any big free agent deal.

That’s why, going after Josh Hamilton (when he’s coming off of a season – and especially a second half – where he struggled with his contact rate) and giving him 5 years is insane.  Unless you’re an organization that will be willing to throw more money on top of the problem in 2-3 years when Hamilton finally wears down.  That’s why giving Prince Fielder that super-long contract is equally insane.  You’re telling me that tub of lard is still going to be worth all that money in his final years?  I’ll believe it when I see it.

The very biggest contracts should only go to the guys who are home grown superstars.  They’ve played with you, they’ve won for you, they deserve a nice reward.  Poaching superstar free agents is a great way to kill your franchise.  They have nothing invested with you; they just picked you because you gave them the most money.  They’re hired guns!  The fans don’t know them, except from what little they’ve seen on Sportscenter.  New fans and a new team bring a new kind of pressure that many free agents can’t handle.  Expectations are always higher when you’re talking about a guy going to a new team.

If we were to re-sign Felix today for a 10-year, $300 million deal, I would be fine with that.  You know why?  Because I’m familiar with Felix.  He’s already done so much for this team and I have no reason to believe he would be anything less than excellent for us through the duration of his contract.  However, let’s pretend Felix is a free agent.  And let’s say the Texas Rangers signed him to a 10-year, $300 million deal.  If I’m a Rangers fan, I’m thrilled, but I’m also thinking, “OK, here we are.  This is the guy who’s going to win us a World Series Championship!”  Anything less, from a team standpoint, or specifically from an individual standpoint, and I’m pissed.  If Felix got rocked for the first month of the season, then sort of came around, but ended up with an ERA in the 4.50 range, I would be killing the organization for giving him so much money.

However, if Felix – upon re-signing with the Mariners for the same contract – gave us the same production, I would be more likely to dismiss it as “just a down year”.  I would be convinced that Felix could turn it around because he’s the best!  And, I would probably be convinced that Felix was playing through injury all season and that’s why he sucked the way he did.

So, no, I’m not upset that Josh Hamilton is with the Angels.  I’m sure that team will be very formidable in 2013.  But, how will they look in 2015?  Old and beat up?  I sure hope so.

The bottom line is:  this free agency class sucks.  Probably.  I can’t say that with any certainty, but I really can’t say ANYTHING with total certainty.  Nevertheless, are you really telling me that Nick Swisher gets your dick hard?  A career .256 batting average, a guy who last hit over 30 home runs back in 2006, a guy who couldn’t hit more than 29 home runs while playing half his games in Yankee Stadium?  A guy who just turned 32 and is one of those free agents I was just talking about who’s looking for One Final Huge Score?  Like a master thief trying to rob one more bank vault before retirement, I would expect Swisher’s chances of success to be mighty slim.  He might not fall off completely like a Richie Sexson, but he will certainly taper off the face of the Earth.  Making more and more money each year as his production dwindles and dwindles. 

How about Michael Bourn, the other swingin’ dick free agent on the market?  Does his career .272 batting average, his history of injury, his history of high-strikeout seasons, and his complete lack of power sound like something you might be interested in?  He’s turning 30 in two short weeks.  Feel like over-spending for six years of a guy who bats leadoff and gets a lot of steals?  Doesn’t that sound like someone we just got rid of?  Doesn’t that sound like someone who was killed by the local media because smart teams don’t put all their money into slap-hitting singles machines?  Remember when the Mariners had TWO of those guys, and they were supposed to be the 1-2 punch that would jumpstart this offense?  They get on base, they steal bases, they get in scoring position … all sounds good to me, until you realize there’s no one behind them to hit them in.  And then they get old, so they’re not even on base enough for anyone TO hit them in!

Yeah, can you PLEASE sign me up for another six years of THAT?  I can’t fucking wait.

This offseason is a trainwreck, in case you haven’t heard.  You can twist the numbers any way you like, but those numbers aren’t created in a vacuum.  There’s something to be said about the fact that all these big-name free agents are coming from winning organizations.  If the Seattle Mariners signed them, they’d immediately be transplanted into a losing organization.  So, not only do they get the added pressure of trying to impress a new city, but they also get to be “The Savior”.  The guy who is FINALLY going to bring winning ways to the city of Seattle!  All of our hopes and dreams and criticisms are going to be levied upon you, the great baseball hope.

Do you ever wonder why Ichiro went from being a .261 hitter to a .322 hitter in the very same season?  Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that he went from a Loser to a Winner?  Do you think that maybe, just MAYBE, playing on a GOOD team, surrounded by GOOD players, might make it easier for one’s peace of mind?  Instead of focusing on how everything sucks, you can focus on a stretch run for the playoffs.  Instead of being faced with the burden of trying to carry an entire franchise on your back, you can just go out and play baseball like a kid again.

It goes both ways.  You know why there are so many under-the-radar type of free agent guys who go on to have some serious success?  Because they are signed without hype, without expectations.  They can go out on a 1-year deal, play their hearts out, and try to earn that next big deal the following offseason.  It’s not sexy, but the risk/reward ratio is phenomenal!

Obviously, I’m not saying we should go out and sign 9 more Jason Bays.  But, there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.  Guys who are younger and more spry than Jason Bay, but who aren’t necessarily big-name albatrosses like Josh Hamilton.  Can we get a couple of THOSE?  I guarantee we’ll end up happier in the long run.

Ichiro Has 2,504 Hits

This post was supposed to commemorate Ichiro’s milestone of 2,500 hits, but if I’m anything it’s punctual, so here is a post commemorating Ichiro’s less-sexy milestone of 2,504 hits.

With 2,504 hits, Ichiro is now 95th on the all-time hits list.  Assuming Ichiro doesn’t completely fall apart between now and the end of the season, I think it’s probably a safe bet he will have around 160 hits on the season.  He’s got 76 now, so my conservative estimate would put him at 2,588 hits at season’s end.  Assuming Manny Ramirez’s comeback doesn’t pan out, 2,588 hits would put Ichiro 82nd on the all-time hits list, two behind Vlad Guerrero.  Think about THAT!  Vlad had 16 seasons to amass 2,590 hits; Ichiro should be right on his ass after only 12!  And Ichiro started when he was 27 years old!

I don’t have a whole lot else to say on the subject, so I’ll refer you to this article.  Did you know Ichiro was the 4th-fastest to 2,500 hits?  You do now!  Who was faster?  Click on the link!  And then go on with your life.  Or not.  This might be the last major milestone we see from him in a Mariners uniform.  It’s going to be weird watching Ichiro get to 3,000 hits in an Oakland A’s uniform, that’s for damn sure.

The Mariners Are Getting F’d In The A

I can’t believe the Angels signed Pujols.  This is absolutely unREAL!

I remember in 2004 when the Angels signed Vlad; it was probably the worst day of my life.  That’s only a SLIGHT exaggeration!  Over the next six seasons, he earned every cent of that $82 million deal just by being the single greatest Mariner killer who ever lived.  And why didn’t we get him?  I’m sure we would’ve ponied up the dough – in fact, we did less than a year later with Sexson and Beltre (two guys combined who didn’t come close to what Vlad did by himself) – but in the end it had to have been the years.

The Mariners FOREVER have been one of those teams who have been more than reluctant to give out anything beyond four year deals.  Which means we’ve been stuck with an endless string of Washburns and Figgins’s and Sexsons.

You know what?  It’s a gamble!  It’s ALWAYS a gamble!  Giving a guy anything more than a ONE year deal is a gamble!  But, sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and take the plunge.  Be open to making a mistake, just so long as you’re willing to do what it takes to compensate for that mistake later (instead of tucking your tail between your legs and reverting back to your penny-pinching ways).

Yes, at his age, signing Pujols for 10 years and $250 million is pretty idiotic.  He’ll be in his early 40s when it’s all over, and when have we ever seen a guy worth upwards of $25 million per year in his 40s?

But, you know what?  It’s not out of the question for Pujols to keep producing at a high level for 5 of those years!  And if he’s the missing piece to their puzzle, wouldn’t you pay that kind of money if it means a World Series championship or two in the next five years?  If it means being in the playoffs in each of those five years?  If it means always being in contention, having your ballpark sold out every night, having the national media talk about you all the time?

These are the kinds of things nobody thinks about after you’ve had a 100-loss season with a $100 million-plus payroll.  When THAT happens, everyone freaks the fuck out!  They overcompensate by saying things like, “Nobody is worth that kind of money!”  Hell, I’VE said that on many an occasion!  And to an extent, it’s true:  no one man is worth $250 million.  Even if he’s the single best hitter in each of those 10 seasons, he’s still not worth all of THAT.

But, if he’s the final piece.  If he’s able to build up those hitting around him.  If he takes your team from 85 wins to 95 wins and makes them a World Series contender, can you really put a price tag on what that’s worth?

I know if I had the money, and I was the owner of the Mariners, I’d shell out whatever it took to put us over the top.  I’d buy EVERY God damned free agent and I’d cut them the instant they started looking like they’ve lost a step!  But, I don’t have that kind of money, and I’m not the owner of the Mariners.  Some fucking corporation owns the Mariners and they run them strictly like a business.

It’s a disgrace.  We should’ve had Prince Fielder signed WEEKS ago!  And we should’ve padded this roster with a bunch of other studs too!  Instead, we’re making back-alley deals for minor leaguers in hopes that one day we might swap them for something useful.  Fat fucking chance.

We’re currently MUCH worse than both the Angels and Rangers.  Happy fucking 2012 everyone!  Enjoy your fucking losers!

Everybody Loves Pineda

I’ll go ahead and assume everyone’s read this, but if you haven’t, then there you go.  It’s a good thing he’s good, because this nickname situation would be open-and-shut if he was bad.  Pin-head!

Wow, are the Minnesota Twins bad right now.  They could very well turn this thing around with a second half surge, but my GOD!  The Mariners are 28th out of 30 teams in runs scored, but the Twins are dead last!  To put that in proper perspective, the Mariners have played 1 more game than the Twins, but have scored a whopping 22 more runs!

The Twins are bad.  2010 Mariners bad!

And you know how we’ve been helping teams out of their funks lately?  Baltimore and the White Sox go on a roll, Detroit’s been much better since the embarrassment of us sweeping them finally sank in; well, don’t look for Minnesota to get off the schnide anytime soon.  (Granted, it’s only a 2-game series, but still, FELIX!)

Michael Pineda was brilliant last night (too soon to tack on “as usual” to that sentence?).  7 innings, 7 K’s, 3 hits, 0 runs.  And, don’t look now, but this is the second time this year he’s stopped a lengthy losing streak (in mid-April, he shut down KC after a 4-gamer).  The Seattle Mariners have two of the brightest pitching flames in baseball right now; and since he’s a rookie (so he’s new and exciting), Michael Pineda is overshadowing King Felix a little bit.

Of course, that will likely change when Felix starts to turn on the jets.  What better time to do so than tonight?  Though, to be fair, I’d REALLY rather he take the extra day’s rest and then go out tomorrow and pound L.A.’s shit in, but whatever.

In other news, Jack Cust and Justin Smoak both had RBI doubles to post us to an early 2-0 lead.  I’m not gonna lie to you, that’s EXACTLY how you draw up these games!  Let’s see more of that, especially from you Jack!

And let us not forget Carlos Peguero’s 2nd career homer.  How about that!  He’s a lot like Vlad in that he’s a beast when he makes contact; but he’s very much NOT like Vlad in that he whiffs a shit-ton more.  Let us hope that he figures out a way to rectify that a little bit.  It’d be nice to have a masher in left field going forward.

And Here Comes Miguel Olivo

I’m not even going to bother with trotting out stats.  It’s Miguel Olivo!  He sucks!  And he’s our starting catcher for the next two years (barring sanity-relieving major injurie(s)).

In case you’ve blocked Miguel Olivo out of your memory, he embodies the worst traits of both Rob Johnson and Jose Lopez.  Passed balls will be a big part of our lives once again, so look forward to that.  Surely that means any hopes of extending Felix in games will be in jeopardy as his pitch counts will be elevated thanks to a limp-dick catcher’s mitt. 

And, while batting, Olivo couldn’t possibly be bothered to take a fucking walk.  In fact, he swings at anything and everything, only unlike Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Olivo sucks dick and misses a ton.  And when he DOES hit the ball a long way, it’s always ALWAYS to left field.  Which is a son of a whore when you play at Safeco Field, because left field is a fucking mile long.

But, that’s baseball I guess.  As soon as you get rid of one crap sandwich, management loses their fucking minds, forgets about all the traits that made the recently-released crap sandwich so shitty, and signs another fucking turd burger in replacement.  And the cycle continues until ultimately the GM is fired and we start all over again with a new GM saddled with the last GM’s excrement.

Hey!  60% of our off-season available payroll has been spent on Olivo and Cust!  Only in America Seattle!

The National Pastime Is Up For Debate

I absolutely love this discussion, I don’t know why.  I just find these major glacial shifts fascinating.

Of course, you could say the argument is over and has been for some time.  Football has been pulling in bigger ratings, making more money, and generating more fan interest for quite some time now when compared to baseball.  But nowhere was it more explicit, more black and white, than in the overnight numbers from Monday night.

A regular season, Monday night football game featuring two small-market teams without much in the way of big name stars beat out Game 3 of the ALCS featuring the Yankees and the Rangers.  Andy Pettitte vs. Cliff Lee.  A-Rod & Jeter & Mark Teixeira & Robinson Cano vs. Vladimir Guerrero & Josh Hamilton & the rest of these upstarts looking to take it to the defending champs in their home stadium.

That’s just what we knew going into those two games.  What transpired made it that much more galling.  A 30-3 snoozefest where both teams’ starting quarterbacks were knocked out in the first half beat out a game that was 2-0 going into the top half of the 9th inning where Lee was dealing and the Yankees were looking to make a dramatic comeback.  Now, the top of the 9th notwithstanding, WHY was anyone watching that football game?

I mean, I know why I was watching that football game.  I had a fantasy game to win, I had MJD and Tennessee’s defense, and with every Trent Edwards gaffe that game became more and more exciting.

I won’t discredit that argument, by the way.  What’s more popular right now in sports than Fantasy Football?  It gives the casual fan a reason to follow the game on a daily basis when they only play games 2 days a week most weeks.  It enhances those games you do watch because, even if you’re a fan of a horrible team, you can still root for the players on your fantasy team.  So, people are less apt to tune out once the Seahawks are down by 20 in the second half.  Aside from actual gambling, Fantasy Football is the best thing that’s ever happened to Real Football (and it’s about time these old dogs in the business finally realized what’s making their league the most popular in the country, so they should stop fucking discrediting where their bread is buttered).

Aside from that, if you just took the NFL out of it, Major League Baseball is doing itself no favors.  They’re not doing a damn thing to market their league to the younger fanbase.  Here are the usual suspects:

  • The Games Are Too Long
  • The Games Start Too Late
  • There Are Too Many Games
  • Chicks Dig The Long Ball
  • There Are No Stars
  • There Are Too Many Off-Days In The Playoffs
  • The Yankees & Red Sox Always Win

As for the first point, there’s nothing they can do about it without completely revolutionizing the game.  What are they going to do, make all the games 6 innings long?  Would that even be considered baseball at that point?

The second point is much more valid.  Games starting too late.  Take this series with the Yankees and Rangers; most games are starting at 5pm PDT.  That’s 8pm where it counts (on the East Coast, where most of the country’s citizens live).  That means that the game is dragging on into the 11 o’clock hour.  Now, if you’re a kid in elementary or middle school, are your parents necessarily going to let you stay up until midnight – on a school night – to watch a baseball game?

These are the fans of tomorrow, you understand this right?  You know how cigarette companies would market their product to children, so they could cultivate future generations of smokers?  That’s what baseball should be doing, but isn’t.  Football, on the other hand, starts in the early afternoon for most people (in the morning for us west coasters).  A kid can wake up, sit with his pop, and watch a bunch of football all day and still be in bed at a reasonable hour.  That same kid can see, maybe, 6 innings of a baseball game before his mom comes in and throws the gauntlet down (which sucks, because all the action happens in those last three innings while he’s asleep).

Too many games in the regular season?  You betcha.  It’s a grind.  You either have to root for a winning ballclub or be a real fan’s fan to withstand such a grind.  But, again, what’s baseball gonna do?  They’re not going to take money out of their pockets by reducing the number of games; that’s rediculous!

The lack of exciting home runs and home run chases I’ve discussed before.  That kind of corresponds with the lack of stars; the more homers you hit, the more popular you become.

These off-days in the playoffs are pretty rediculous.  It shouldn’t take 10 days to complete a 7-game series.  The season ended October 3rd; it’s now October 20th and we’re only in the middle of the second round.  It’s not fair to the fans to drag this shit out and it’s not fair to the players who have to sit around and wait forever.

As for the Yankees and the Red Sox, again, what are you going to do?  It’s a free market.  I just wish my team knew that.  At least for the casual Mariners fan, if you’re still remotely interested in the sport of baseball, you can always root AGAINST the Yankees and the Red Sox whenever they’re on TV.  That’s better than nothing I guess.

The debate is over.  Baseball has lost.  The NFL is king.

Felix Flirts With The No-No, Buys Her Drinks, Takes Her Dancing …

… and goes home with blue balls.

Last night, my guy and yours, Felix Abraham Hernandez, got into the 8th.  He needed just 6 more outs.  And by no means was he gassed; he was somewhere around 80 pitches at that point.

Danke Schoen, Darlin' Danke Schoen ...

At that point, he’d retired 21 in a row.  Leadoff hitter in the 1st inning, Elvis Andrus, walked to open the game.  He was erased on a fielder’s choice; then David Murphy struck out swinging and Vladimir Guerrero flew out to right.  From then on:  3 up and 3 down.

Until that chickenfucker Nelson Cruz blasted a solo home run to leadoff the 8th inning.  Right into the beer garden.  Whoever threw the ball back out onto the field almost made it all the way to second base.  There was a nice ovation from the crowd once Cruz finished rounding third base.  There was a little trouble after that – Kinsler flew out to deep center, followed by 2 singles, a pop out to third base, 2 cases of indifference, and a weak grounder to short stop to end the affair with runners at second and third – but nothing our guy Felix A. Hernandez couldn’t handle.  Walking off the field, he gave a tip of his cap to the crowd.

Fortunately for him, David Aardsma came in for the 9th and shut down the heart of the order (the heart, that is, before Nelson Cruz).  Because if he hadn’t, I was right there.  Section 114, row 7, seat 8.  Wouldn’t have taken much for me to run out on that God damn field and give him the pummelling of a lifetime!

Hey, a quick shout-out to Julio Borbon, centerfielder and all around pussy-bitch who bats 9th for the Texas Rangers:  quit being a little pussy bitch!  With 1 out in the 6th inning, this little fucking wanker BUNTED; can you even fucking believe it?  Had that ball not went right back to Felix on the mound for an easy throw-out at first, he would’ve been absolutely murdered in the sports press.  You can’t do that!  After the 4th inning of a no-hit bid, if you’re trying to bunt your way on, you should have your ass kicked by your own team!  In my scorecard, I changed his name to “Bunt Pussy” and I suggest you do the same.

Yeah, C.J. Wilson went the 8-inning Complete Game, yeah he only gave up 2 runs, but let’s not sit here and say he was any kind of good.  The guy is slower than old people fucking out on the mound; put a runner on and you’re in for a 30-minute half inning.  And, for a lefty, he is BALLS when it comes to holding a runner.  We had FIVE stolen bases (all in the first 3 innings), including 2 in the 3rd for Ichiro, another in the 3rd for Figgins, one in the 2nd for Gutierrez (could have had two, but the hit-and-run fielder’s choice to get him to 2nd wasn’t necessary with the jump he had), and one by Michael Saunders of all people!

I’ll give Wilson no credit for “Settling Down” after giving up those 2 runs to us; settling down against the Mariners offense is pretty much just not sucking a lot of dick.  He’s a junkballer if I’ve ever seen one, and on this night, 2 runs was all Felix would need.

One of these days.  God damn, one of these DAYS!  Felix IS going to throw a no-hitter!  I will see it in person, I will keep score that game, and it will be GLORIOUS hanging framed on my wall!

6 little outs.  I’ve seen him get those last 6 outs before.  Some games, he looks stronger, nastier, pumped to the utmost with swagger in that 8th inning.  Pitching like his life depended on it.  Throwing bolts of lightning with so much movement the catcher doesn’t even know where they’ll end up (last night, he threw a 93 mile per hour change-up … 93!).  I’ve seen those 6 outs go down in order before; with his pitch count WELL above 80.

One of these days, those 6 little outs, one by one, will be dismissed back to their road dugout along with the 21 batters before them.  Felix will be perfect.  And I’ll probably cry like a little girl when it happens.

A Paragraph With The Mariners – 67

I guess one of the points I was trying to make in that last post was Revenue. The team still has to make money if we expect them to let Jackie Z SPEND money. Of course, the team DID, in fact, make money last year, only to go ahead and presumably reduce our payroll from 5-10 million dollars, depending on who you ask. Money that could’ve been spent on a Vlad or a Dye or a Damon. Money that could’ve been spent on bringing Branyan back directly instead of trading for him halfway through the season. So, it’s hard to know what to think. I can say with confidence that if the team suffers another 100-loss season this year, and attendance starts hitting more of these all-time lows we saw back in April against the A’s, then I’m pretty sure payroll won’t INCREASE next year. Could, in fact, decrease some more. It’s hard to know what the owners think, as they’re so hands-off on this whole experience. They were willing to give Bavasi $110 million after the 2007 season in hopes we’d take a winner and make it even more winner-y. But, that was after a real solid run of seasons following Safeco’s inauguration where we saw lots of butts in the seats and a lot of cash entering the organization’s bank account. Needless to say, attendance has been dwindling pretty hardcore starting with 2008’s disaster. While last year may have been a nice little blip to the positive, it still had the freshness of supposedly being Griffey’s last season, as well as the team not being the disaster many expected. And even then, it’s not like we were anywhere near breaking records for tickets sold. More than anything, I think Branyan is an attempt to stop the bleeding. If we can avoid making headlines for futility as far as paid attendance is concerned, maybe we can avoid a hemmoraging budget for next year’s team. Maybe we WILL be able to buy a bat or two to compliment a few nice pieces having some unlikely bad seasons to date. After all, you have to expect Figgins and Lopez will get better (as they’ve shown over the last couple weeks). You have to hope Guti and Ichiro won’t hit a wall. You have to pray there’s something a little better than these Mendoza-like performances out of Bradley and Saunders. And you have to riot if the team can’t get a cornerstone catching prospect ready to shoulder the load starting next season in the upcoming Cliff Lee trade. So help me God if I see Rob Johnson as our everyday catcher again next year, I’m going to be homicidal.