Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Random thoughts, semi-baseball related

Washington's legislators honored Edgar.
Idaho's honored Napoleon.

Your tax dollars at work, folks. Speaking of tax dollars (and Napoleon Dynamite), Corco planned to post after tax day, and now, it's after tax day and Corco's blog has blown up.

The M's are back at .500 and Beltre is showing some power. A good dose of Texas should do both him and Sexson wonders.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hey it's Good... be back home again!

After not winning a road series until late last season, the M's come home after winning their first road trip this season. That's very good news. Yes, it took a sweep of the lowly Royals to do it, but decent teams should beat bad teams. The M's may not end up a playoff team this year, but at least they're not a bad team so far. Locked in a 3-way tie for first in a division where teams will continue to beat up on each other, the M's remain at .500 for the season. Raul and Reed are starting to find their swings, and Reed is getting the job done in CF. Heck, even Randy Winn has shown that he doesn't always throw like my 3-year-old, having gunned down a guy at second.

If we can keep Sexson and Beltre healthy, and Moyer can continue to pitch like the Moyer of old, we should be able to keep this season afloat. If by the middle of July we're within 3-4 games of the division lead, then we'll have to see if Lincoln truly has changed. We could potentially have a lot of assets to trade to get that extra pitcher or extra bat that we need to make a run at the playoffs. With the majority of the decent players slated for free agency at the end of this season resigning with their current teams, the market for good players that could help us "return to competitiveness in 2006" (a statement I've always had issues with), will be very tight.

Again I proclaim: Why stop now?

Keep hanging around, guys!

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Okay, I watched the last four innings of the game Friday night... The first time I've experienced Mariners baseball this season/preseason.

Who the heck is Valdez? I know I have paid virtually no attention to the M's since Easter, but when did they pick up this character? And just how is he that much better than Ramon Santiago that he would be the starting shortstop while Santiago is not even in the bigs? This Valdez kind of looks like Omar Vizquel, and got a pitch up and over the plate that he could handle, leading to a 2-out rally, (which was great, and had a critical error on a routine double-play grounder, to boot) but can someone explain how it is he came to be playing opposite Boone in the middle infield?

Friday, April 08, 2005

As Robert Plant said, "ramble on."

Nice pics, PP (and brother in law.) I almost wanted to be there with you. But then I recalled how I was, at the time, earning a degree by writing an paper on discrimination against blacks in American society, and how that was so much more worthwhile than watching millionaires trot around in the grass. But, darn it, Sexson hit two homers! (I'm having just a little trouble with my newfound ideological viewpoint, can you tell?)

Actually, I haven't listened to an inning yet this year. Schoolwork tends to make it relatively easy to ignore almost anything. That may change tonight on my "schoolwork-free evening..."

So get this: I see painted onto the stadium grass the phrase "Live For This." Is this a blatant call to join the ideology or what?! "Live for this." Don't live for your kids, your wife, your job. No, live for the Mariners! It'd be funny if it weren't so overtly perverse.

I am glad you got to go to opening day, PP. I hope you kept things in perspective, though. All that excitement, the pomp and circumstance, was fake...

The Presidents are back together? Man, I used to love them back a decade ago. I wore my PUSA shirt while on an orchestra tour in British Columbia in '96 and got many, many compliments on it, even from the doorman at the Empress Hotel. Actually, I just last week decided to sell their CD, along with lots of other discs I no longer get aural pleasure from. I might rescind that desicion for a few days now, just to refresh my memories.

So, 1-2 are the M's now? No offense to speak of? And Madritsch goes down with a shoulder problem? Good gracious, how things stay the same. I'm glad I'm not following them closely, or I might be close to committing hari-kari right about now. Some nice (sarcasm intended) relief by Thornton the other day, spoiling it for my faded flame Meche, nice going, walkie-talkie!

Yes, I'm glad I'm out of the loop. I didn't even realize until today that the Sox and Yankees had started out the season playing each other. And the knowledge of such a world-entrancing matchup would have benefitted me so much (more sarcasm.)

So I'll get off the soapbox now, and speak as a (now small-time) M's fan: They'll be fine. The offense has too many good batters not to come around. But for pete's sake, Bret Boone - pull your head out of your @$$ and start hitting the ball. Do you want Jose Lopez to take over even before the team has a chance to deal you? And note to Hargrove et al.: Thornton = no. It was a bad decision. You'll see soon enough, nay, you've already seen it soon enough. He'll be singing along with Britney, "oops, I did it again, I gave him first base, I walked in a run, ooh grover, grover," etc.

Gotta get back to the homework. This was a pleasant diversion for a minute.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Open For Business

10 am
Pregame Widmer at J&Ms
It's definitely 2 beer 30...

Gates open, bag searched, Baby Megan's first game. How can a 6-month old girl be so excited? Sweet!

noon 30
Had to partake in $5 beer. Nothing like a pee-sized dixie cup:

noon 35
Hiked up to row 27 - only 1 row from Elliott Bay. Mmmmm Garlic Fries (not)...

noon 40
Spilled $.78 worth of beer on bro-in-law. Gulped the rest. Mmmm Bud light (not)...

Dipstick behind me has taken his seat. Not sure how many pregame beers he's had, but I'd guess at least two or three. By the time the Presidents play, he's downed a few more.

Good music! The Presidents! Glad to see 'em back together recording again.

Teams come out on the field. Home team shows up through flashing strobe lights and smoke machine. Everyone involved with the team, from the assistant floor scrubber to Ichiro, gets the same royal, red carpet treatment. Can barely hear from the fireworks. Poor chaps in the LF bleachers.

Roof opens. I tried to sneak a peak through my zoom lens to see if Edgar had his garage door opener handy, sitting on Edgar Martinez Drive. Nope. It's some other dude with a power trip. Besides, Edgar was warming up in the bullpen.

Edgar throws a strike to Dan Wilson. Okay, it was outside a bit, but as long as Edgar was throwing it, it's a strike.

Jamie's first pitch. Ball. Great. Way to start off the season. Next one's a ball, too. Got Shannon Stewart, though. 1-2-3 first for Moyer. Excellentttt........

2:18:14 PM
Ichiro's first hit (timestamp courtesy of digital camera).

Beltre's first M's at-bat. Reaches on a throwing error by Radke. Ichiro's safe at second, Beltre's safe at first.

Sexson's first pitch seen as an M. Saw it pretty well, I'd say. So did the hand-operated scoreboard in LF. 3-0 M's. Here's the aftermath (from my "analog" camera), with the three M's representatives to the 2005 All Star Game:

Hi-5'ed Obnoxious guy behind me. What the heck -- I was in Sexson awe.

Brother-in-law peels me from the ceiling. Game continues. Oh, yeah, it's Boone up to bat. O well, he made an out.

3rd inning (lost track of time).
Beltre singles, and Sexson jacks it out again (bringing Beltre home again). Why do I have the feeling we're going to see a lot of that. 5-0 M's. Call the wife to check on how her workday's going. They don't have the radio going, so I give her the news. Can't complain...

Between the 3rd and 8th innings.
Justin Morneau fans in front of us boost their cheering up a few decibals. Obnoxious Guy behind me (completed a 6-pack, has two beers in reserve) shouts "Justin Morneau Loves his Porno!" I'm surprised that security hasn't grabbed him yet. I wish they would've. Ichiro as Brad Pitt. Raul as Yul Brenner. I'd say the latter is a more accurate look-alike. I was 1-2 on the scoreboard games. Ball was indeed under hat #2, but I cheered for the yellow boat, instead of the red one.

8th inning.
Obnoxious guy dumps one of his two bullpen beer cups in his lap. Problem is, I was sitting downhill. My coat and pants are soaked, as is my camera bag. Fortunately it'll be awhile before we make it on the road, and my clothes somewhat dry. Definitely spilled more than the $.78 worth that I dripped on my bro-in-law. Grr.

9th inning.
Ed-die Ed-die!!!! Can't believe Guardado is pitching, thought he'd go on the DL. Who needs spring training? Strikes out first two guys, and damn near gets Ford.

Made it back to the car.

Finally out of the parking garage.

On I-5 now. Postgame show on. Guy by the name of "Positive Paul" calls in from Puyallup. I just about flipped. I've heard of this guy, since I get accused of being him all the time. I'm Paul. I'm Positive. So, how can I not be "Positive Paul?" I swear this guy on the radio is not me -- I was driving, and my cell phone was buried under my beer-soaked coat. My brother and bro-in-law can attest to it.

Finally got dinner and am home in Oly. Aaah...

Thanks to my bro for taking several of the early pix (including Ichiro!, Pres's, SafecoSign). I was too busy manning the analog camera, and don't have those pix yet...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

For "Charlie Joe"

Charlie Joe never quite made it to 500 home runs. I doubt if he even ever hit one. He thought it was wrong to steal bases, considering stealing is a sin. I heard he had a great arm, though, and people often forget how incredibly athletic he was. No, though, "Uncle Charlie" was not named after him. He would've argued masterfully with umpires, and if there were ever a manager who would've gotten them to change their mind, it would've been Charlie Joe.

I never got the chance to meet Charlie Joe, but I did meet someone who knew him very well. He taught Charlie Joe English. In return, Charlie Joe ordained him, reluctantly at first, as a priest. The stories that Father Patrick would tell, in the two brief encounters I had with him, made me really love the man that was Charlie Joe, better known as Karol Josef Wotyla. Of course, about 26 years ago, Charlie Joe took the reins of a job bigger than life itself. Over those 26+ years, he showed us the REAL value of VORP.

If there's ever anyone who's stats produce an infinite VORP, it's Charlie Joe - even though he never swung a bat in a major league game. Today, at 9:37 PM Vatican time, Charlie Joe moved on to his field of dreams.

Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Six Miles Per Hour

So we all got the news yesterday that Sele and Nelson have both made the club, and that Matt Thornton will be the third lefty in the pen. Of course none of these moves are official as of yet, but since the March 30th deadline passed for Sele and Nelson to be relieved of their M's duties (and their camp tents are still pitched), and George Sherrill has been optioned to Tacoma, it's as official as it's going to get.

I've lobbied both for and against Sele, so I'm not as concerned with that move. It's actually the last move that I'm quite irate about. According to the P-I's John Hickey:

Sherrill being sent down almost certainly means Matt Thornton will start the season with Seattle.

Both men struggled with their control, and Sherrill had a better spring ERA (5.40) than Thornton (8.71). But while Sherrill throws 89 mph, Thornton throws 95.

So, while Spring Training numbers are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, Dave Cameron argues that Spring Training performance is not. While probably due to my jinxing him, Sherrill gave up two runs in his last outing, and struggled a little in his previous outing. Evidently Thornton has pitched well enough the last few games to propel his value over Sherrill.

According to Hargrove, "Sherrill has got to be more consistent with his control." Excuse me -- did I just read into this comment that they sent Sherrill down and are keeping Thornton on the roster because Sherrill has a control problem? If there's one thing Sherrill DOESN'T have that Matt Thornton DOES have is a control problem. Looking at Matt Thornton's 2004 Tacoma stats, (which ARE meaningful in the grand scheme of things) we see that he pitched 83 innings and had 63 walks. George Sherrill, on the other hand only pitched 50 innings -- with a grand total of 9 walks. I did the math for you -- projected to 83 innings, Sherrill would've had 15.

But Thornton's fastball is 6 MPH faster than Sherrill's.

So freakin' what.