Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I'll Trade Ya...

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to start trying to figure out what direction your favorite team is headed. Fourth of July weekend is nearly upon us. It's a time when traditionally, GMs sit down and either buy some glorious mortar shell fireworks to celebrate their team's accomplishments, or some high-powered M-1,000,000's to blow their team apart. In the M's case, it appears the latter is what's about to happen.

It's now been two days since the first anniverary of the Ben Davis trade. How the heck we got Jeremy Reed, Mike Morse, and even Miguel Olivo for him is still beyond me. Oh wait -- what's that you say? I forgot someone? Well... I guess we did include Freddy Garcia in that sweet deal. I've been so consumed by pining for the days of Ben Davis behind the dish, that I nearly forgot about The Chief. Kidding, really. As unpredictable as he was -- would we see Freddy Garcia or Freddy Krueger? -- and as overrated as I see him, the M's probably miss him in the rotation. He'd be the Ace of this staff, for sure (though Garcia is no ace). I'm still expecting Morse to come back down to earth (he's only 2 for his last 12), and Reed to hit a little better (and for both of them to continue to surprise people with their defense). But even with our need for pitching, and the still-unsolved-as-of-yet-but-we-thought-we'd-solved-it-with-Olivo problem of catcher, I'd do that trade again twelve days a week.

Common thought in the M's blogosphere, and perhaps even in the media, is that we don't have a guy like Freddy to trade this year. We don't have a blue-chip, everyone's-gotta-have-him-to-stay-in-contention player, or so people think. However, I'm not totally convinced that we don't. Obviously Ichiro, Beltre and Sexson are not going to be traded. I'd seriously doubt we'd trade Reed right now, either. Rumors abound, and have been well-discussed already by bloggers, about Winn, Boone, and even Moyer being on the trading block. I'm not expecting a Garcia/RJ/Langston blockbuster on any of those guys. In fact, with Boone and Moyer, I wouldn't be surprised to see them get treated with much more respect than John Olerud did last year. Winn might fetch a decent prospect, but even that I doubt.

But perhaps we do have a blue chip to throw out on the market and cash in on -- Eddie Guardado. I'm still trying to nail down whether or not Eddie has a no-trade clause in his complex contract. I recall that he did, and (if you believe him) Ken Rosenthal said (July 11, 2004) he's got one, too:
The Braves and Astros are among the clubs seeking lefthanded relief help, but perhaps only the Yankees would take on the complex contract that the Mariners awarded LH closer Eddie Guardado last offseason. If Guardado's club declines an option of $6 million in 2005, he can exercise a player option for $4 million. The same goes for '06, when the club option is worth $6.25 million and the player option $4.25 million. Guardado also can earn up to additional $1 million if he exercises the player option for '05 and finishes 60 games and up to an additional $1.25 million if he exercises the player option for '06 and finishes 60. He also has a blanket no-trade clause.
What? How can we trade our spark plug, and one of our most exciting players, if not one of our best players? Well, I'm of the mold that believe an ace closer is a huge luxury which a bad team cannot afford. This 2005 M's team is bad, folks. I know Bavasi's still making up his mind (so he says, anyway), but I'm already convinced. It's time to throw in the towel, and see what takers there are for our massive surplus of spare parts, with Guardado potentially having nearly as much value as Freddy did last season (depending on who's after him).

So, unless there's indeed a no-trade clause, I'm all for heavily selling Everyday Eddie. Here's why:
  • I'm more concerned about Eddie's shoulder than I am about Richie's.
  • George Sherrill will be back soon. He's been lights out closing in Tacoma, and would be lights out in Seattle.
  • Rafael Soriano has also expressed interest in the closer's job. He wouldn't suck at it, either.
  • Eddie is not in the long-term plans for the M's. It'll be awhile before the M's have a winning club again, let alone one that competes for the playoffs. I like Eddie a whole ton, and love to watch him pitch. But he needs to have his talent utilized by someone who can actually put him in a save situation, especially in a high-pressure one. The M's haven't had one for awhile, and I don't expect them to have many in the near future. Eddie needs to seal the deal on a playoff-caliber team. Otherwise, he might lose interest and focus, and completely fall apart.
  • Eddie is the most valuable trading commodity we have that we actually might consider trading.
There you have it folks. I'm getting out my punk and lighting off some Black Cats. I lead both of my fantasy leagues in transactions. If I had some money to burn, and knew where to get an M-1,000,000, I'd probably use it on the M's roster.

Or maybe I'll just go find Corco's new digs and hook up with him for a fierce game of tetherball...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flying Solo?

I know Citizen K is probably thoroughly cleansed by now of his baseball addiction, after having spent the last several months going pretty much cold turkey from everything MLB. I'm not expecting any posts from him any time soon, but should the motivation and time appear, I'm sure he'll throw his own Morsel that out-trumps all the threads I've written between that post and the last time he's written. I've seen a faint pulse from Corco in the comments boxes on various blogs, but since he's been noticably absent from the button-pushing ├╝ber-obsessiveness on USSM, I suspect he's got other committments as well . So I guess regular readers of The Morsels will have to put up with me for awhile...

This team is schizophrenic! It definitely has multiple personalities, and you never know which one's going to show up when. The good news is that it's not like last season, when the M's team was dark and sorta goth. There are elements of that personality still evident in this team, but it's balanced by the team with a personality I rather suspect we'll see a lot of in a few years. No, we may not have the next A-Rod/Griffey/RJ/Buhner/Edgar team on our hands, but I do like the core of Reed/Beltre/Sexson/Ichiro. I'm still waiting for Morse to come back down to earth, fully expecting him to do so by the All Star break (or shortly thereafter), so I'm not quite going to add him to that core corps yet. Still, I just hope that the new personality will once and for all overtake the others, and we'll see a team that's fully gelled, even if that new personality is not quite a championship-caliber one.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The "Kiddie Corps"

I'm sorry if that headline causes some major twitching or nightmares about Evil Rick Rizzs, and if you're as annoyed as I am about that term, you probably twinge at the thought of those words...

Still -- it's been almost a week since Locked on Sports begged the fans to resist the urge to throw in the towel by bringing up the youngsters. It's not like Locke has been wrong before. Sure, Mike Morse and Jose Lopez won't end up the season at .400 or higher. I doubt either of them last through June at that clip. To put things in perspective, though, Jose Lopez was more productive this weekend than Bret Boone has been all season (according to Dave Cameron's VORP analysis).

Just about every comment I've heard regarding Locke's article has had an "eat sh*t" tone about it. Even what I wrote, too, contributed to that, I would imagine. Still, that's the nature of a sports radio personality (Locke's day job). He's inspired lots of discussion, even if it hasn't been all together charitible, and that can truly be a good thing. It's vital for us to keep things in perspective, and to avoid looking at things from only one perspective. Life isn't exactly black and white all the time.

It's amazing, too, how many articles have been written a week later in their own way contradicting what David Locke had to say. Here are just a couple of recent samples. I'm not overly surprised by Lopez and Reed. I am, however, quite surprised and excited by the play of Morse and Rivera. Will it continue? I'm not expecting it to. Still, it's fun while it lasts, and makes Mariners baseball, "What a Show!" that much more of an enjoyable show. The key is that they're now here, and they don't want to leave. They're doing everything within their powers to bond and gel, and to ultimately stick in the major leagues. If it means millions of dollars riding the pine, I'm totally fine with that. I want the best team on the field, regardless of the contract cost. Like I said last year, it's all just a game. You have to enjoy it and want to play to be successful. Having youngsters battling entrenched veterans is a good thing for everyone. All the more enjoyable when the team is winning because the kids are succeeding.

"Bottom Babies"; "Kiddie Corps"; "Youth Movement" I don't care what you call 'em (well, I'm still not too fond of Rizzs' "Kiddie Corps"). Bring on the kids! Even if the combined age of our double-play combination is barely equivalent to the age of our catcher. Heck -- keep Borders around. He's acting like someone half his age, even if he's hitting half his age. He's got a big dose of Peter Pan Syndrome, and is helping to keep this team young.

Maybe Cranky Yankee is on to something...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Being a father, it's kinda weird for me to say that since it's my day now, too. But since my father is still with us (though we had quite the scare on my birthday a few years ago), it's totally fitting for me to say it myself.

I may be one of those rare baseball freaks who didn't spend a lot time at the ballpark with his dad. I can count on one hand the number of ball games my dad took me to when I was younger. Heck, I don't even think it would take more than one finger. In spite of Cheney being pretty much in our back yard (I grew up in Puyallup), I didn't attend a game there until I was in college. I do barely remember when I was quite young (i.e. before elementary school) my dad being in a semi-pro league sponsored by the bank he worked for. We'd go watch him every now and then, but I was too busy being a brat to really much appreciate it.

We were huge Sonics and Seahawks fans growing up, though. I went to several games when the Sonics played in the Kingdome, and the pre-Key Arena arena days. I vividly remember the 1978-79 season, and even the year before that. People around here remember that the Sonics won it all in '79, but they forget that there was some seriously bad blood between them and the Bullets, as the Bullets stole the championship from the Sonics in '78. I remember thinking that Jack Sikma could kick Wes Unseld's ass, and passionately hating Mr. Unseld. Of course, I picked up the art of yelling at the refs from my father. He was always passionately into the games. And I, of course, am keeping the family tradition by sharing that skill with my son.

And then there were the Seahawks.

Come Sunday, everything in our house revolved around the Seahawks. Though they'd rarely be on TV, we'd listen to Pete Gross religiously after church. And if the Seahawks game was an early one, we'd be sure to attend the early service. "And Zorn throws it to Largent, who ducks away from one defender and finds his way to the end zone! Touchdown SEA-HAWKS!!!" That tickled my ears so much more than the boring preaching I was subject to in church. Of course, times change and so do priorities. My faith is now much more important to me than my sports fandom (and you all know by now how big of a sports fan I am).

It wasn't Father's Day, but I'll never forget one of my favorite moments with my father. When I was in third grade, my mom put my name into the little box at a local department store one day (waaaay before South Hill mall was built -- likely at the Tacoma Mall) , and a few weeks later we got a phone call. Evidently my name had been drawn out of that box, and I was selected as the Seahawks' Mascot of the Week. Of course, being in a house full of Seahawks fans, did my mom get to take the credit and reap the rewards of that subtle victory? No. While I doubt that my parents played the Sierra Mist version of Rock-Paper-Scissors (or any version for that matter), my dad rightfully was chosen as my chaperone.

To make a long story short, I got to meet my "heroes". Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Dr. Dan Doornink, Dave Brown. And, even before I appreciated him like I do now, Pete Gross. I got to go in the locker room, up in the press box, and out on the field before the game. I also had my picture taken and placed up on the big screen early in the game. My dad whipped out the 110 camera and snapped a few shots of the low-hertz screen. Fortunately he got lucky and synced the shutter speed of the camera with the cycle rate and got one full head shot of me on the big screen (the others either had the top of the frame or the bottom). I didn't know the player I got to have my picture taken with after the game even then, and I've completely forgotten now. That picture, I'm sure, lurks somewhere within the bowels of my parent's house.

Anyway. Unfortunately I can't wax nostalgic on memories of baseball games with my father. I can, though, remember many other great moments.

I love you, dad!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Un-Locked

Bill Bavasi, don't do it. Resist the urge.

Fans, stop clamoring for it. Don't fall for the myth.

The gut-wrenching, three-game sweep by the Washington Nationals has started the call for the Mariners to throw in the towel on the season and start the Sounder train shuffle with the Tacoma Rainiers.

That would be a mistake.

That's all I had to read from David Locke's column in Wednesday's P-I entitled "Playing .500 ball is Mariners' quest." At a high level, sure, I agree. The M's goal should not be to win the division this season. That's an unrealistic goal, and this team was not built to win the division. It's slightly more well-built than last year's team, but the problems of last year (especially relying on players on the obvious downslide of their careers to put up numbers like they're in their peaks) continue to plague this team. Those problems were going to plague this team from day one. A more realistic goal, however challenging it may very well be, should be to get the M's back to .500 and reestablish the Mariners as a team that does and can win. I agree with Locke in that it's first and foremostly important to regain a swagger and a winning attitude.

I agree with the principle that it's not quite time to give the youth a shot, merely to sift through the wheat and the chaff. We need to give them a shot because they'd be better than what we have now! Locke completely misses the boat by assuming that the players in the minors that we'd call up for a "look-see" would not:

a) have a winning attitude already; and
b) perform better than the guys they'd be replacing.

Did Locke forget what he wrote a few weeks ago on team chemistry? If there's anything that would help this chemistry problem, it would most certainly be an injection of youthful fervor. Who will take over second base for Boone, then, if he's the one messing with the chemistry. Bloomquist? Wrong. If there's anyone who'd perform worse than Boone at second, it'd be good ol' Willie. There is this guy down in Tacoma, then, who'd probably be no worse than Boone, and could even potentially be better. But, no, we shouldn't "throw in the towel" and call up the youngsters.

I talked about the chemistry problem several times last year (about this time even) when Bucky Jacobsen was absolutely destroying AAA pitching. The Rainiers were at the top of their division, and the players on that club knew what it was like to win. They were hungry to play baseball in the big leagues. After watching post-game show after post-game show and seeing the frustration and disappointment in the players around the Mariners' clubhouse, I repeatedly mentioned that the M's needed some guys to come up and remind the veterans how fun the game is, and what an honor and complete burst of luck it was to be in the big leagues. Sure, they would be awe-struck at the transition into the luxuries of MLB at first, but it's that humble attitude, full of appreciation, that the players on the big-league squad needed to be infected with. The fans needed it, too. They needed new guys to latch on to in the middle of the season -- new stories to read, and new accomplishments to watch.

I'm sure the fans were not the only ones infused with a bit of excitement when Bucky was at the dish. It was the first time in a long, long time that I -- heck, even my wife -- stopped in our tracks and dropped everything when a player came to the plate. I'm sure my house wasn't the only house in the neighborhood where nothing got done during Bucky's at-bats. As I recall -- there were more players from both teams leaning on the railings in the dugout, too, for his at-bats.

Of course one could argue that we don't really have a player like that in the minors. Hello. Have you heard of a kid name Felix? I'm not sure, though, that Felix is ready. I guarantee, though, that he would be a much, much better pitcher than Ryan Franklin. Plus his justifiable swagger again would add an element to the clubhouse chemistry that Locke so pompously preached two weeks ago is needed. Felix is a winner, and knows how to win. You think that he'd hurt the club's chances of improving their record to .500, whatever shortcomings might crop up from his youthful inexperience?

Last June 27, the Mariners gave the season and Freddy Garcia away. They then worked the transaction wire harder than Billy Martin worked a starting rotation.

Safeco Field became Triple-A tryouts at major league prices. Hiram Bocachica, Matt Thornton, Justin Leone, Travis Blackley, Clint Nageotte, George Sherrill, Bucky Jacobsen, Ramon Santiago, Cha Seung Baek and Jose Lopez all arrived at Safeco Field to showcase how they represented the future.

One year later, the Mariners have nothing to show for it.

An interesting thing to note -- The M's winning percentage on July 15th (the day Bucky and George were called up and Olerud was DFA'd): .379 (33-54). The M's winning percentage from then on: .400 (30-45). I could, I suppose, take the time to compare stats between the players that were DFA'd and the youngsters who took their place, but I don't have the time (Corco -- you feel up to the task?). I do remember the M's winning a little bit more, and (in spite of being somewhat masked by 'Gar's retirement announcement and Ichiro's chase of Sisler), the overall winning aura and clubhouse chemistry being much, much different. It still had tons of room for improvement, but how can Locke say that the M's had nothing to show for the likes of guys like Bucky and Bobby? Aside from Ichiro and 'Gar, those two altered the atomosphere of Safeco, and brought a new excitement to the team. Did Locke miss out on the excitement of seeing Bucky and Bobby?

And, dare I mention it, the excitement of Greg Dobbs becoming the first Mariner in history to hit a homer in his first major-league at-bat?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Swept While Sweeping

Across the country, in the "other" Washington, the M's were swept. Here at home, though, the AAA Mariners swept a 4-game series with the AAA Dodgers. Considering how hot the Nats have been (and how hot it's been over there), while rising to first place even without a legit "superstar," I'm not surprised. Does anyone really expect Ryan Franklin to stop the bleeding and avoid the sweep? I'm wondering what his final HR/9 will be. It's got to approach two.

Back at home, the AAA Mariners are starting to catch fire. At the Lookout Landing gathering on Friday night, I mentioned to Jeff what a relief it was not having to see Baek pitch. Of course, the LL gathering was rained out, even though they eventually got the game in. It was inevitable, then, that on my next visit to Cheney I was graced with a start from Baek. However, the Baek that pitched tonight really looked like a genuine prospect -- 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. I won't complain at all about seeing that.

I've never sat in the GA bleachers before, so thanks to free tickets from my parents, I sat in right field. It's a different game there than from where I usually sit (Section H). Plus it was MUCH easier to take the 3-year-old to the "Running with Rhubarb" from where we were sitting. As an elderly lady learned from Joe Thurston, though, you have to really keep alive for foul balls. The lefty Thurston hit two of them in our general vicinity, but was only 1-2 in the fan-beating department. Poor lady had an awful bruise on her arm. I've seen worse at Safeco, though.

T-town gets Portland to battle for a few days. Whomever wins the series gets ahold of second place in the division, depending on how Salt Lake does. Portland's a game out of first, and Tacoma is a game and a half. We all know how heated the rivalry is between Seattle and their "natural" rival the San Diego Fathers. However, there is a genuine rivalry between their AAA clubs. Maybe that's where we can start generating some anti-Padre fervor.

Well, it might work, except for one problem. The M's are horrible at managing their minor league talent.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hot off the Presses!

Breaking news just posted on USSM by Corco -- Wilson Valdez is gone! We got a 2-for-1 deal, even!!!

I guess he probably played rock-paper-scissors with Ramon Santiago and remebered Jim Gaffigan's strategy.

Kudos to Bavasi to actually getting something, however useful, for someone we got for nothing. Of course, it's another secret handshake deal with the Padres. Now go get us something for Spiezio, Thornton, Villone, Sele, Nelson, Dobbs, and Bloomquist.

Public Service Announcement

Most morsels need milk -- especially those made of chocolate. Inspired by a KOMO TV news story this morning, I'm encouraging everyone to do what they can to save the milk man! There's not much time left, but please visit http://www.keepmilkpriceslow.org/ and send the USDA a message. Read another story in the Times on this.

Now, you may be wondering why in the heck I would even post such a thread on a baseball blog dedicated to the Mariners in general and "Free George Sherrill" in particular. I suppose I could stretch the creative side of my brain and come up with a relationship that may or may not pique your interest. No, I'm not going to do that. I generally don't like to get into political discussions either. Still, one wives' tale that I recall learning somewhere is that you can measure the direction of an economy by, oddly enough, looking at milk prices. I also believe in drinking good milk, and I'm sure all good, strong baseball players drink their fair share of it, too. Good milk is just as important as good baseball. Taste the difference. It's like the difference between locally-grown strawberries versus the Arnold Schwarzenegger variety. Or, for you beer drinkers out there -- it's like drinking a fine microbrew over, say, a Schmidt. Sometimes it costs more, but actually in this instance, it's not necessarily the case. So, that's the correlation. Oh, and you'll also see the occasional ad from "The Dairy Farmers of Washington" when watching the M's. I have my doubts, though, that the smaller dairies are part of this cooperative.

Now, support your local small dairy. Buy produce and dairy from your local Farmer's Market -- and if you need a good one in the greater Seattle area, come down to Olympia. They're open Thursday through Sunday, and have some of the best darn stuff available. The music isn't usually half bad either. And, no, no one has asked me to write something on this. I felt the urge to say something before we lose yet another bona fide treasure in this capitalist economy.

Go Mariners!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

M's Catch Draft, Cool Off Florida

I'm actually surprised I didn't see that headline in one of the local newspapers. The Olympian came close, but this actually was my final thought before hitting the hay last night. Okay, maybe I'm just to big of a linguistic dork and not enough of a journalistic editorialist for something like that to fly. I was a German major, for pete's sake, and have only taken 2 journalism classes ever. Plus, I'm a web geek by trade, so writing is just something I do for fun. Give me a break!

I'm glad we beat the Marlins last night. Today and tomorrow looks to be much more of a challenge. I'm just hoping Beltre can stop swinging at pitches low and away and finally start to catch some fire against his old NL nemeses. Imagine how good this team would be if Beltre even lived up to his most pessimistic predictions!

I know I said I didn't want to draft Clement. In spite of saying that, I'm not disappointed at all. Indeed Maybin might be a better long-term investment, but he's likely further away from MLB than Clement (unless those Griffey comparisons are indeed accurate). We've drafted several college pitchers, who may pan out. If Clement can stick as a catcher, and has as much power as they say he does, then he'll indeed be a good fit for this team.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Decisions, Decisions. The Unofficial Mariners Morsels Draft Thread.

Harkey or Griffey? Dreifort or A-Rod? Hey, we got both of those decisions right! For the first time in a long while, we've actually got a top-notch pick in the June draft. The chances of us getting a good player this high, and reaping the long-term rewards of a horrible season, are quite high. In spite of generally being an optimistic person, though, I'm still a little scared that the M's will completely mess this pick up.

If Upton and Gordon are gone, should we take a pitcher or T2 (a much-easier-to-type nickname for Troy Tulowitzki)? I'm leaning towards a pitcher. I definitely don't want Clement. I'd take Maybin over Clement, and any of the top pitchers over either of those guys. Edited 1:00 p.m. Tuesday: The M's indeed took Clement. When it all comes down to it, though, I'll admit that I don't know squat about any of these guys. Every last shred I know is from reading various blogs (some more reliable than others of course) and the local press.

However, even I'm aware of basic principles in the modern game of armchair GM-dom, especially in light of having read "Moneyball". Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe that the M's front office is anywhere close to being an enlightened group. Several other bloggers more knowledgable than I on the draft are fairly confident in Fontaine. The good news is, though, that a) money shouldn't be an issue (neither, too, should the Scott Boras factor); and b) we don't have an owner demanding we pick his favorite player.

Still, I see pitchers as much more valuable commodities than position players, especially when we have a huge need for both in our system. Since there are some good college pitchers (which according to one theory, are much lower risk than high school pitchers) available, I'm inclined to grab one, even if he's not quite the "best player available" at #3. If both Upton and Gordon are gone, I highly doubt that the gap between T2 and the best pitcher available is that huge. I'm not convinced, though, that if AZ and KC pass up one of these guys that we should as well. Clearly Upton and Gordon are top-notch talent, head and shoulders above the rest of the draft crop. The dropoff after these guys is pretty significant (at least from what I've read). Not so huge, though, is the dropoff after these two. For that reason, I think we should take a pitcher. I agree with Trent -- we need to address all our needs, and pitching certainly is one of them.

The M's indeed filled a position of need, though it wasn't my first choice. In the long run, if everything that those more knowledgable than me say is indeed true, it's probably a good choice. A lefty-hitting power hitter should be a good fit for this team. Hopefully he'll stick at catcher. With our 4th-round pick, too, we took LHP Justin Thomas, and I just heard we drafted a second pitcher Stephen Kahn. Good. We're filling some needs.

Interleague Play is Coming

[edited to move down because draft is much cooler --DJC]
What to do? We have 5 perfectly capable outfielders and 1st basemen and DH's, and only 4 spots to fill.

For the 1st game:
Because Moehler is right handed, you bench Sexson, not to mention that Sexson has a .182 career average vs Moehler (2 for 11, 3B(!), K) Winn hits Moehler really well, 6 for 11 with three doubles. Ibanez isn't good against him (0 for 8, 2K), but he's been swinging the hot stick lately, so I'd start him at 1st base.
Probable: Ibanez in left, Winn on the bench

For the second game of the series:
Logically, you keep a lefty out against the D-Train, leaving you benching Reed, Ichiro, or Ibanez. With Ryan Franklin up for us though, a feller who doesn't seem to ever give up ground balls, the logical choice is to bench Ibanez.
Probable: Reed gets the shaft, Ibanez to left, Winn to center

For the third game v. Beckett:
I'd put Reed on the bench.
Probable: Reed gets the shaft, Ibanez to left, Winn to center or Ibanez gets the day off

In the next series, I'd give Ichiro a day off, and then I'd probably give Winn and Reed another day off.

We'll just have to see.

As far as putting Ibanez at 3rd like the P-I suggested, I think I'd do it, but only after having him take grounders at third base from the minute they got to Florida tonight until midnight, and only if it looks good. Will it actually happen, though? Don't bet on it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Prism of Perspective

It's one's perspective
To see the half-empty glass
As though it's half-full...


No, I'm not starting another Senryu protest. I just thought I'd throw that out there to calm the waters a bit. Speaking of calm, I'm fairly certain Citizen K has likely yet to read a box score this week (usually on Fridays, from what I understand). He'll probably have a slightly different take on the state of the M's as those of us who, sucked into the ideology however willingly, feed our baseball addiction daily (let alone hourly). He'll notice that the M's have just rattled off two series wins in a row. If he overcomes the speedbump of having been swept by the AL-East-leading Orioles, he'll also notice that we took the series from the NL-West-leading Padres. That's three out of the last four series -- two of them against over-.500 teams. Being a generally positive guy (one of the reasons, though not the main one, for my blog name "PositivePaul"), I can actually cut through the crap that seems to have covered the M's as of late, and I'm sure that Citizen K can, too.

Of course, we all can look at the overall record for May (9-18), and look back on the Baseball annuals to see that it was, percentage-wise, the worst May ever in the history of the M's. Yes, even worse than last year's May, when we lost nearly 100 games. We can also look at the horrendous slump our highest-paid player (and highest-paid ever free agent signing) is in, and how baffling it is that Hargrove keeps putting him in there in the #3 slot. That would twist the guts of even the most loyal and dedicated M's fan.

Or, even without being an "optimist" (i.e. one who always believes good things will happen, no matter how bad the outlook is), we can identify the good things that have happened and do exist within our favorite team, the M's. I don't always agree with what Thumper's dad pounded in him (and his mom so gently reminded him, after teasing Bambi): "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all." But there are definitely certain times where it's extremely important to say something nice. Back in January, I had the urge, and now I've got it again:
  • The Mariners have just won 3 out of the last 4 series (and 4 out of the last 6). All but one of those series wins have come against good teams.
  • The M's are not in last place. We're not the worst team in the division this year so far.
  • Bill Bavasi has recognized the need for change, and has made changes. Sure, more changes need to be made, and the moves have been relatively small, but at least something's being done early.
  • There's a whole lot of baseball left to be played.
There. I've said something nice. Not one of these statements are purely optimistic. These are facts. All of them. It's really not that hard to say something nice, yet purely optimistic, about this team. It's quite easy to criticize, and throw zingers at people, but we also have to make the effort to look at things from a positive perspective.

Now it's your turn.