Yes, I still post here. Sorry for the long wait - work, non-baseball life and rock and roll have conspired to keep me away from the blog for a while. I'm going to ease back into the swing of things here...
1: The M's offense today was positively Kansasian (royal? Um, KC-esque?) against a pitcher who came in with a, um, Kansasian line. What is it about guys like this that give the M's fits? It used to be left-handedness, but the M's are ecumenical when it comes to plain old not showing up against untested and or tested-and-failed pitchers. It's depressing, and it won't be the last time. It's amazing how much good will and, if not excitement, at least a modicum of interest the M's managed to piss away today. The general optimism (no, really - in the M's blogosphere! At least a little..) of the past few days swept away thanks to an utterly punchless offensive performance.
It's the sort of thing that underscores how precarious their situation really is: yes, things would be much more rad if Sexson, Beltre and Reed started doing what they're paid to do. But if Lopez/Ichiro have bad games, which they will from time to time, the M's are just hopeless. Imagine, if you dare, this line-up *without* Lopez for any extended (i.e., over 48 hours) period. It's a sweater! No, it's a pillow! By day, a mild-mannered line-up - by night, the fearful INEFFECTOR!
2: At the risk of turning this into Bad Observational Comedy night here at the 'morse, what the hell is with prospects' names these days? I talked about this briefly with Deanna at that Rainiers game a long time ago, but it's really getting to me. The Rainiers SS has the colorful first name of Asdrubal. For those who slept through Roman history, Hasdrubal was the brother of legendary Carthaginian general Hannibal. Again, Hannibal = legendary. His brother? Eh, not so much. But which phoenician name is translated into spanish and slapped on a baby Venezuelan?
If that's weird, then what about the fact that there are TWO prospects named Ambiorix (burgos, P, KC; Concepcion, OF, NYM). Ambiorix was also a lesser-known enemy of Rome. As the leader of a Belgic (germanic people living in flanders) tribe called the Eburones, he succesfully destroyed one of Julius Caesar's legions while the Roman general was away in Britain. 300 days later, Caesar returned and eliminated the Eburones. All of them. Like the previous case, he was by no means the most well-known Celtic general who fought Caesar: that honor goes to Vercingetorix, who so impressed Caesar that coins were struck showing Vercingetorix at Rome. Ambiorix is sort of like a belgian version of the British celtic leader Boudicca - someone who revolted, killed some Romans, and then suffered a nearly genocidal reprisal. So: *why the hell are two Dominican baseball players named after this guy?*
A little closer to home, M's LHP prospect Ryan Feierabend's got a weird name as well. Feierabend is the name of a German restaurant in Seattle, so he's already got a place to eat if he makes the majors. His last name means, literally, celebration evening, or, more colorfully, Party Night. I cannot fully express how cool it is to have the name Party Night - I'm hoping I don't have to. Interestingly, the word 'feierabend' in German is usually translated as 'quitting time,' as 'nach feierabend' means 'after work.' That's a very different spin, but it's also quite cool - Ol' Ryan 'Quittin' Time' really had it going today, etc., etc. His own quitting time came quite early Wednesday in San Antonio's 17-2 loss, but hey, he's still got an awesome name.
What are your favorite names in sports? We M's fans are tremendously lucky, as we're blessed with my top two: Jetsy Extrano (J of Mariner Minors is a big fan of this one) and Yorman Bazardo. There's no better first name than 'Jetsy', but it's Bazardo's consistency (both names are funny, and together, they're invincible) that wins the day for me.
The rest of the top 5:
3: Scientific Mapp - the world of basketball spits out great names like so many sunflower seeds. Scientific Mapp was a great small-college ballplayer, and was a highly touted recruit out of the Bronx, along with his brother, I swear I'm not making this up, Majestic Mapp.
4: Exree Hipp - quality swingman who played for the University of Maryland and, later, the Harlem Globetrotters.
5: Merkin Valdez (Merkin is an archaic term for, um, look it up, and has an even funnier current meaning...which you should look up. Maybe not at work, though).
in the team photo: Margin Hooks (WR, BYU); SirValiant Brown (PG, GWU/ Roanoke Dazzle); Brian Wetnight (TE, Chicago Bears).