Seattle Mariners postsTuesday April 18, 2017
Is There Anything Better than Ichiro Doing Junior's Swing at Junior's Statue?
The Seattle Mariners posted this pic today, which, if you're a Seattle baseball fan, or just a baseball fan in general, or just a human being in general, can't help but make you smile:
My friend Andy and I went to the game last night, in the drizzle, under the roof, and it was bizarre: M's got an early lead, 3-0, on back-to-back homeruns by Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz in the 1st inning, and never looked back. Ariel Miranda pitched 7 strong innings, we got good D, we added three more runs. Final: 6-1, good guys. Marlins and Ichiro never had a chance. It was our fourth win in a row.
Tonight, we didn't have a chance, nearly get no-hit by Chen Wei-Yin. Actually we did get no-hit by Chen. But he was pulled after 7 innings and 100 pitches, and Mitch Haniger saved us from ignominy with a 1-out double in the 9th. Tomorrow is getaway day. Also Ichiro dual-bobblehead day. Think two Ichiros (M's/Marlins) rather than Ray Milland and Rosey Grier.
Again: Nice pic. Our first HOFer and (I hope) our third.
This was unveiled in front of Safeco Field today. Not as beautiful as Junior's real swing, of course, but that's tough to top. Actually, the more I look at this, the more I like it. It's got that cocksureness that Junior had post-swing. Kinda like: “Yep.” I'll see it in person on Monday night with Andy—if not sooner.
The sculptor is Lou Cella, who's done quite a few bronze statues for various teams in the Midwest, including Ron Santo for the Cubs, and Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko for the ChiSox.
“It was nice,” Griffey said after the unveiling. “It looked like me.”
How many of Junior's homeruns did I see in person? Close to 50. Kiss it goodbye.
Mariners 40th-Anniversary Season Tickets Honor Darnell Coles, Spike Owen, Not Alex Rodriguez
A week ago I got together with our Mariners season ticket group to divvy up the 2017 tickets: two seats in section 327, row 9. There was one game everyone wanted: Saturday, Aug. 12, the night the Mariners do what they should've done 10 years ago—retire Edgar Martinez's #11. That went with the No. 1 pick. I got the eighth pick (out of eight guys) but I still got good games spread out over the season. When I picked last night's game, I made a joke about the second game of the season being when true fans showed up, and our host, without missing a beat, said, “Say hello to the other guy for me.” Laughter all around. Good group.
This being the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Mariners futility, each season ticket is decorated, not with one of six current decent players repeated ad nauseum throughout the season as we usually get, but one-shots of current and historic players. So Ken Griffey Jr. appears once (on Ken Griffey Jr. replica statue night this Friday) and Edgar appears once (on Aug. 12) and Robinson Cano once (last night), and so on. I got 10 tickets total and wound up with a pretty solid 3/4 of an infield:
- Robinson Cano - 2B
- Omar Vizquel - SS
- Adrian Beltre - 3B
I also got Jeff Nelson, Mike Jackson, James Paxton, Dave Henderson, Kenji Johjima, Darnell Coles, Danny Meyer.
Who wasn't on any of the tickets? One of the greatest players of all time: Alex Rodriguez.
The next day, I searched to see if any of the Mariners blogs or The Seattle Times or somebody had commented upon this snub but I couldn't find anything. Nobody cared. Last night, I found one guy who did: Jon Wells, publisher of The Grand Salami, the Mariners fan magazine sold outside the stadium. In this month's issue, he's got a short column on the topic, titled “Was Spike Owen a Better Player than Alex Rodriguez?” Here's its sweet spot:
I get it. His departure was messy. Most Mariners fans hate him. He was suspended for steroids. But really? Celebrating lousy players like Mickey Brantley and Spike Owen but ignoring A-Rod? It makes the franchise look rather petty.
I'd be curious to hear a rationale from a Mariners official.
On the first pitch of the game last night—my first game of the season, and that game for true fans—Houston's George Springer homered to left off the M's Ariel Miranda. Not a good omen for the year. But Miranda pulled himself together. The M's were actually leading 3-2 in the 6th, when, with two outs and nobody on, he seemed to tire. He walked one guy, then another. He was pulled for reliever James Pazos, who gave up a high infield chopper. Based juiced. Houston went with pinch-hitter Evan Gattis, who looped a fading fly ball to right, Mitch Haniger slid to catch it, and ... the ball bounced off his glove. Three runs scored. The Astros added another that same inning. M's lost 7-5, to go to 2-7, the second-worst record in baseball. Announced attendance: 18,527. Hello, other guy.
A-Rod in '94: the cleanest of slates.
My All-Time Seattle Mariners Team
The other day, via social media the Seattle Mariners organization encouraged fans to vote for their all-time Mariners team as the 40th anniversary of the team that has never been to the World Series nears.
So I bit.
Right away it was tougher than I thought. We got four options for 1B and none were overwhelming choices:
- Bruce Bochte
- Alvin Davis
- Tino Martinez
- John Olerud
I suppose if I was going off the Mariners-only record, I would go with Davis, since he was with the team the longest. He was also before my time. I arrived in Seattle in '91. I might also go with Tino for his fierce determination to win—a determination which wound up benefiting our enemies. But in the end I went for the calm grace, good glove and high OBP of Washington's own Johnny O.
Second base wasn't any easier:
- Bret Boone
- Robinson Cano
- Joey Cora
- Harold Reynolds
Reynolds was with the team the longest, Boone had that suspect Rogers Hornsby-esque year, but I had to go Cano. I figure he'll make up any difference in a year or two.
I'll cut to the chase: Here's my lineup:
- Ichiro Suzuki (LF)
- Robinson Cano (2B)
- Alex Rodriguez (SS)
- Ken Griffey Jr. (CF)
- Edgar Martinez (DH)
- John Olerud (1B)
- Jay Buhner (RF)
- Kyle Seager (3B)
- Dan Wilson (C)
- Randy Johnson (LHP)
- Felix Hernandez (RHP)
The biggest internal debate was third base: Seager vs. Adrian Beltre. Adrian's going in the Hall, Seager most likely no; but Adrian had his worst years here. Couldn't do it.
Then I got to closer. Good god. The options:
- Norm Charlton
- J.J. Putz
- Kasuhiro Sasaki
- Mike Schooler
I wound up tossing in the towel. I couldn't in all conscience choose any of them.
Closer nothwithstanding, I'd put this all-time team up against many. That one-two punch on the mound? The top five in that lineup? That's impressive. And makes the zero pennants flapping in right field all the more dispiriting.
Mariners on Top Again! (In Years Since Postseason)
It's time for this again. I would've posted a few weeks ago but I've been distracted by the end of American democracy.
Mariners on top, Cubs on bottom! Except you want to be on bottom. It's the list of teams who have struggled the longest without a postseason berth. For most of this period, eight of out 30 teams made the cut, so in an ideal situation, you think you'd go every four years? On average? Then it became 10 out of 30 teams. A 33% chance! Yet my M's have still been postseasonless for 15 years; 16 next year.
And really there's no one close. Marlins,sure, but the last time they went, in 2003, they actually won the World Series. The Mariners have never even been.
Really, only the San Diego Padres comes close to us: nothing for 10 years, and just two LDSes this century. Maybe that's why they're our natural rival.