Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Best M's Commercial Ever!!!!

Likely to make up for the totally lame commercials this year, the M's have archived all of their hit commercials going back to 1994. Like Deanna from Marinerds implied, an hour spent reliving these brief segments of glory is much, much more entertaining than watching the M's. Okay, maybe aside from tonight's Luke vs. Darth duel.

Yes, indeed. "Norm Norm" still sounds pretty cool. My soon-to-be-4-year-old still referrs to his Norm Charlton autographed toddler glove as his "Norm Norm" glove. And he had to wait in line for 90 minutes (as a 2-year-old) to get that autograph...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Love 'em or Leave 'em?

It will be written about, talked about and debated in blogs...
So writes Mariners Morsels-endorsed P-I reporter John Hickey in this morning's P-I. The subject of the article? Whether or not Bill Bavasi will be the M's GM beyond this season.

Hickey tries to poke around M's CEO Howard Lincoln's brain to see what he's thinking about keeping Bavasi around. His response? Not surprising:
"I'm simply not going to talk about that," Lincoln said politely but firmly. "Not at all."
Now, since Billy Beane has been given partial ownership in the Oakland A's and isn't leaving his position any time soon, I'm not so sure there's a better fit for GM with this team. Is Bavasi perfect? Absolutely not! Spiezio, Guillen, Aurilia, keeping Thornton and Franklin, are all moves that were undebatably bad. Some of the tougher moves, though, like trading Cirillo and DFA'ing Boone and Olerud, were definitely harder to pull off for him, and could be considered admirable moves.

Overall, I'd give Bavasi a B- for his performance. Slightly above average, about what I expected. I honestly don't think Bavasi is a huge source of the problems of this team. Even though I've softened a bit on my stance (due to the signings of Sexson and Beltre), I still think the problems hinge mostly on Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong. Closer to the field, too, I'm not at all impressed with Hargrove, and believe he's doing more harm than good. Bavasi, on the other hand, is willing to take risks and shake things up when they're stagnant. Is he the greatest judge of talent? I'm not convinced. Does he have good people around him who are, and who can help him make good decisions? I believe so.

Bottom line: Love Bavasi, leave Lincoln, Armstrong, and Hargrove.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Or Not...

Well, it's obvious to me that the M's have totally given up on salvaging this season. Add into that mix that Hargrove is willing to stretch Felix out to over 120 pitches a game, causing DMZ and a few others to flip out, it's time to officially throw in the towel.

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. I'm tired of this team being their opponent's Pep Pills. Isn't it nice to know that we can be the stress relief victim for Texas and any other team coming off a bad road trip or a bad losing streak in general? We're now officially the Seattle Mariners Opponents' Stress Relief Chicken:

Since we can't face Kansas City every series, and can't seem to beat anyone else, I'm done. Done trying to find something positive to concentrate on. Done trying to focus on how this team might actually have some semblence of hope for the future.

Sorry, King Felix, but you're on a sucky team. You're going to have to be more than a king to help this team find success -- you'll have to be its messiah. In my book, there's only one messiah, so it's pretty unlikely that will happen.

Thank goodness the season's almost over. Even were we to completely regenerate a pitching rotation, and add one or two more thundersticks to the lineup, I wouldn't have much hope for next season.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Momentum is Building!

Mariners Morsels endorsed P-I writer John Hickey has picked up the torch for the Take Out Texas crusade. Of course, in this situation, as Hickey points out, it's a battle for who can suck less moreso than a battle to get back into contention. It's really only a battle because Texas has fallen, not because Seattle has risen. However, if the M's make it their goal to step over Texas by the end of the season, that would be a step in the right direction, and the signs would point up for the long-term mission of this team.

Moyer, Franklin and then Harris face Chris Young, Juan Dominguez, and Joaquin Benoit. We can pretty much concede tomorrow's game, even though Dominiguez isn't much to write home about. Ryan Roiding Flyball Franklin pitching in Texas is never, ever a good thing, although we can be thankful that Jeff Harris is taking the hill on Thursday instead of Gil Meche, and his 14.50 ERA in Texas over the last three years.

Still, there are more important things than to Take Out Texas. I won't go into the other more important things than baseball, because that's pretty much a given. But within baseball, and within the M's situation specifically, I agree with the Lookout Landing poll that it's absolutely critical to keep Felix healthy and confident. I'm unequivocally opposed to extending a Felix outing for the mere sake of getting a win to boost our chances of overtaking Texas. We've got George Sherrill to help hold the lead, or as was the case last time Felix pitched, keep us tied. The hits are up, sure, and the other numbers aren't really that close (thanks, Jeff Nelson, for bolstering the ERA). But George actually does have a higher K/9 than Felix. Even if his fastball is just barely faster than a King Felix Curve.

Say it with me:


Monday, August 22, 2005

Welcome Back, Clint!

Everyone except Larry Poncino truly believes that your first and only pitch, upon your return to the majors yesterday, was not intentionally thrown to hit Lew Ford, or even to brush him back. It's entirely reasonable to believe you, and to think that Poncino is a total jackass for throwing you out.

Here's to hoping your next pitch hits him.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A New Campaign

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging...

Join with me. Band together. Let everyone you know in on it. Now that George Sherrill has been freed (at least for now), we need another campaign to embark upon.


Take Out Texas!!!!
As of right now, the Mariners are only 5 games behind Texas for 3rd place in the AL West. As I mentioned before, it's over. We're not going to the playoffs. We're probably not going to make it back to .500, either. That doesn't mean it's time to completely throw in the towel.

In Art Thiel's telling of the story of how the M's climbed out of obscurity (nevermind complete sucktitude), he shares with us Jay Buhner's total bewilderment for having a "Hey, we just won the World Series!" type party, after the 81st victory in 1991. The whole thing centers around how Buhner just didn't quite understand how big of a moment that was in M's history. It meant, for the first time ever, the M's would shed their monkey of "Loser!"

Imagine the momentum it would build for the fans, long term, if the M's pull out of the cellar this season. That would be huge! Sure the season was lost, in that we didn't make the playoffs, and we were'nt even a winning team. But not completely. Were they to reach that goal, it would be one step in the right direction -- it, by default, would make this team competitive.

In order to be a playoff team, they have to be comptetitive. "Put one foot in front of the other..." is how the song goes when Winter Warlock turns into just "Winter" in the claymation Christmas classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The mean ol' Warlock (who my 3-year-old still has nightmares about and fears to this day -- to the point of not even being able to watch the movie) turns into a good guy. If he can do it, then so can the M's.

This is a very reasonable goal. This team has the talent to do it. Sure, it would be at the expense, perhaps, of a top-10 draft pick (maybe not). It also depends upon Franklin, Meche and even Moyer to keep the ball in the park in Arlington -- with Meche's ERA hanging at 14.29 over the last three years in Arlington. Yikes. Even with the weaknesses and complete holes, the M's have the leadership to get things going, my only concern being with Hargrove.

Should the team set that as a goal, I don't see how they couldn't acheive it. Say it with me, though:


Monday, August 15, 2005

A Little Housekeeping...

After spending an hour or so building my new blog, I decided to make some tweaks to The Morsels since I was doing them for the other blog anyway.

After much debate, I've finally decided to create a "Links" section. I added links to other blogs we author, and Corco and CK can add any others I'm unaware of. I also added an "Editors' Picks" section for M's blog links I look at every day. Of course Corco and CK are free to edit the template to add their own. I don't want to go into a "Hey, can you link us!" thing, since that can get really hard to manage. Besides, it's not like this site gets a lot of traffic, and I seriously doubt it's anyone's first tab in Firefox. If it is, and you're really into M's baseball, you should be like me and have your first tab point to LookoutLanding. As long as you're linked somewhere up in the M's blogosphere chain (USS Mariner, LookoutLanding, PI M's Blog), you should be just fine with traffic. Add your link to your comments, too. As Dave and Derek so graciously pounded in me when I evidently hijacked comment threads at USSM -- if you have something really cool to say and people want to read more, they'll click the link on your name. It's a bit more difficult with Blogger, but I do it all the time myself.

Not sure when I'll get around to launching my home-brewed blogging app. I'm soon to be three versions behind in Dreamweaver at home now, so it's really getting hard to build cool stuff with tools that are rusty and dull. And then there's that whole time thing. And the money for hosting on a new server. I've got cheap hosting available that could handle the traffic, so that's really not too much of an issue. I could launch a new domain for this blog for under $100 for the first year, and then $49 a year beyond that. But dealing with the pains of Blogger right now are worth the extra $100 in my pocket for now. I'm still tempted, though, to have a Mariners Morsels basket auction (oooh -- Greg Dobbs/Matt Thornton autographed baseball), with proceeds dedicated to paying for non-Blogger hosting.

Anyway, I'm hoping Corco and CK take a little time to add their personal touch to this blog.

A New M's Blog?


Inspired by the reminiscing of Almost Live! at Sports & Bremertonians, and the general lameness of the 2005 M's, I've created yet another blog.


Don't worry, I'm not abandoning ship here. Yet. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with things to throw at that blog. Especially since it's not just limited to the Mariners, or even sports.

(comments taken across the blog street)

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Dream, Revisited...

Exactly one month ago today, I wrote an article on Dreaming the Impossible Dream. So what has happened in one month to affect that dream? Here's a brief list:
  • Randy Winn, Ron Villone, Miguel Olivo, Pat Borders and Aaron Sele have all left the team. Winn, Villone, and Olivo were traded, and Borders and Sele were released.
  • Ichiro's goal of going 70-6 the rest of the way is no longer a possibility. The M's have gone 10-16 since the All Star break (and my first post on this topic), and remain in last place.
  • The King has arrived, as has this Blog's adopted M, George Sherrill. We've also welcomed newcomers Yuniesky Betancourt, Yorvit Torrealba, and Jeff Harris. Chris Snelling, Wiki Gonzales, and Jorge Campillo have all returned from stints in the minors. Of course, Campillo's elbow proved to be demolished, and he's preparing for Tommy John surgery.
  • Ryan Franklin blew a steroids test, and will return from that vacation on Saturday.
  • Eddie Guardado, with extra special thanks to Willie Bloomquist, blew his first save in a long, long time.
What does all this mean for the dream? Well, it means that they haven't quite caught on. Really, only the appearance of Felix has awoken this team from its slumber. It's a little boost of confidence, rewarded by two good performances (in spite of the first one actually adding a tally in the "L" column), not unlike the infusion of a few blasts off of Bucky's bat in the dog days of last season's power shortage.

As P-I reporter Jon Paul Morosi tells us today, ticket sales are down, but they're still on pace to sell well over their forecasted 2.5 million tickets, and the team might actually turn a profit this season. Whether or not there will actually be 2.5 million butts in Safeco, of course, remains to be seen, but I bet there are fewer no-shows this year than last (in spite of Ichiro's chase of Sisler, and the dawn of Edgar's career). There were fewer expectations going into this year than going into 2004, and people have started to catch on that the M's just aren't a very good team.

So what's to be done about this?

Well, for starters, I think it's pretty clear that the impossible dream of making the post season is officially dead. As the USSM folks point out, the M's technically still have a 0.00128% chance of making the playoffs. But you and I both know that it ain't happ'nin' this year. With the non-waiver trading deadline having come and gone, the youth movement is already well under way. Tacoma's roster is pretty thin in close-to-major-league-ready talent these days, and their subsequent impending freefall in the standings should come as no surprise.

About two months ago, I responded to David Locke's P-I column about how it was a mistake to throw in the towel so early. The argument I actually agreed with is that the youngsters need to develop a winning attitude. However, his reasoning and understanding for the argument still seem to me to be totally flawed. I mentioned, and still believe, that the youngsters we had down in T-Town were as good, if not better, than the players they'd be replacing. They could help the M's win as much as, if not more than, the existing players at the time could. Felix will carry the rotation the rest of the way. He's already inspired a decent outing for Joel Pineiro.

In order for this team to reach the playoffs again, it indeed needs to develop a winning attitude, and an aura of confidence. I'm confident I'm not the only one that saw this appear during the first two games of the Minnesota series, the second of which brought on by the Safeco debut of King Felix, el Cartelua. With the imminent return of Bucky's bat to the fold, nevermind his Paul Bunyan-esque attitude, several pieces are in place.

My recommendation is to forget the playoffs. Focus on a simpler goal that's a lot more in their control. Even .500 might not meet that "simple-to-accomplish" parameter for their latest goal. In the remaining 49 games, they'd have to win 33 to make it back to .500 -- a winning percentage of over 67%. That'd be the impossible dream from here on out. I don't think they're quite there yet.

However, in looking up just a little bit in the standings, and down from the impossible dream, I do see one more realistic possibility. Since the All Star Break, Texas is 10-18, and in spite of getting Kenny Rogers back a little bit early from his suspension and having swapped "The Ho" -- Chan Ho Park -- for Phil Nevin, the Rangers are not a very good team either. Yes, they've got one of the most potent offenses, especially at home. But it's not like they're a team built to go on a hot streak and rattle off 12-15 game win streaks like Anaheim and Oakland. Replacing Ho with Aaron Sele, especially in Arlington, is bad news for Texas.

So, here's my recommended goal for the M's. Go after Texas. Don't concede last place. We've got better talent than we had before, even if the youth evaluation period has begun. Start building a winning attitude in these guys, so we can grab a few more necessary parts and make a run at the playoffs in the next couple seasons. Set a goal and accomplish it.

Let the new era begin!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Because a Picture...

...says 1000 words.

(Thanks, Yahoo)

Mariners fans can be joyful for the future. And that future started, really, yesterday.

Wow. Just. Wow.

In spite of the lack of need to spell out 1000 words with the aforementioned picture above, here are some quotes on yesterday's performance that merit mentioning:

Can you imagine what it must be like to be Felix Hernandez's mom? Just think about the conversations she must have with other mothers.

"Your son got an A- on his geometry test? That's pretty great. Mine shut out the Minnesota Twins."
--Jeff Sullivan, Lookout Landing

Poise? I don’t think we’re talking about poise here... I think we’re talking about a 97 mph fastball with a curveball from hell.
--Twins Manager, Ron Gardenhire, courtesy of The News Tribune
What’s that, the game—oh the _Game_! : 69 strikes, 25 balls, 8 innings, 5 H, 5 K, 0 W, 0 R, one 1-0 W for a 1-1 record: that’s how ‘Hernandez’ is spelt in these parts, sez I.
--Bela Txadux, USSM Commentor
Having seen thousands upon thousands of pitchers in person over the years, it's great to see one who throws a pitch that makes you say 'What the heck was that?!'
--Jonah Keri, Baseball Prospectus
By the way, still didn't make the front page of Also unbelievable. News flash, idiots. The Yankees and Red Sox don't need to be on the front page every *&$#-ing day.
--Colin Hesse, Crushed Optimists
Will he win 300 games in his career? Who knows? Will he throw out his arm in two years and win 15 games in his career? Who knows? But excitement about a rookie pitcher doesn't come along this often on a big league scale. Sure, when Francisco Liriano finally moves up and makes his big league debut, there will be incredible excitement, but primarily in Minnesota. Hernandez's call up is the talk of the entire league and the subject of many articles and much debate.
--SethSpeaks, Minnesota Twins blogger
(except, as Colin points out above, on
Hernandez signed on the Fourth of July, 2002, not even three months past his 16th birthday. At the end of a spirited bidding war, the Mariners gave him an extraordinary signing bonus of $710,000 -- and Hernandez said Seattle was not even the highest bidder.
--David Andriesen, Seattle PI, July 29, 2004

Monday, August 08, 2005

I So Love My Wife!!!

I just wanted to write a little note to say how cool my wife is. Last week, she got to fly out to Buffalo for one of her two annual conferences (last year she flew out on our anniversary). Although she's not as huge of a baseball freak as I am, she still likes to watch the game, and, like me, has a special affinity for minor league baseball.

Last Monday she called me. From the Buffalo Bisons game. Evidently she'd sampled a little too much "Ballpark Red" (the wine that didn't have a label, and so it ended up with that moniker) with her fellow companions, as she was a little bit giggly. What she didn't tell me, though, was that she picked me up a special gift. Half awake on Sunday morning (she came home Saturday night), I struggled to get my crusty eyes open as she walked into the room and said "I forgot to give you something last night." I tried even further to wipe away Mr. Sandman's abundant blessings, and when I finally was able to chisel out enough room with my fingernail for one eyeball to open, she handed me this box. It contained something that I'm quite certain no one else in the M's blogosphere has.

Evidently, August 1st was Ernie Young bobblehead night. Whoever Ernie Young is, I'm not exactly sure. From what I've read, though, Ernie Young bobblehead night is probably not unlike Pat Borders bobblehead night, although Ernie Young hasn't ever been the World Series MVP, isn't quite 42 (not too far, though), and isn't a catcher. It sure would've been sweet if it were a Jhonny Peralta or a Grady Sizemore bobblehead. But she couldn't exactly be picky.

Besides, it's the whole thought that she loves me enough to remember how she was leaving me 50,000 miles or so away with our 3-year-old, and partaking in a baseball game not held in the greater Seattle/Tacoma vicinity that I find pretty cool. She was given the opportunity to go elsewhere, and thought it would be fun to go to that game. Especially since they were giving away Ernie Young bobbleheads.

I love you, dear!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Is it Just Me?!? 8/5/05

Is it just me, or:
  • Does it seem like Mike Hargrove is asleep in the dugout before, during, and after all M's games? It's highly unlikely, of course, but still, I cannot shake that feeling, with all the lineup and pitching decisions he's made lately.
  • Did the King's first appearance go nearly completely as expected? He struggled early, wriggled out of it with minimal damage (1 run), and dominated pretty much the rest of his outing. It so reminds me of guys like Clemens, RJ, Ryan and Pedro. You really have to get to guys like them early if you're to have any hope of winning at all. Give Felix a league-average to above-league-average offense that actually scores some runs, and his win-loss ratio will be staggering.
  • Are you torn on how to feel about the Moyer 10-5 veto thing. On the one hand, Jamie's a cornerstone both to the community and to the team, and he's definitely earned the right to stay if he so chooses. On the other, the package of prospects (rumored to be Burke and/or Nieve, two of the Astros top 10 prospects according to Baseball America) would've made this trade perhaps only a notch below the trade we made with Houston exactly 7 years earlier. In all interviews I've heard and read with Bavasi discussing the trading deadline, he appears frustrated that this deal wasn't consummated, in spite of ultimately deflecting all the direct questions.

    Sure, the Ryan 'Roiding Flyball Franklin suspension and impending TJ surgery for Campillo exacerbate the need for Moyer to eat innings for the remainder of this futile mission, called the 2005 season. I'm sad that Jamie won't pitch in a World Series -- he's not a part of the M's long-term future, even if he does pitch into his 50's. He'd have to pitch into his 70's in order to see the playoffs with the M's. It would've been nice to have the package of prospects Houston was offering for Moyer and Winn or Villone. In that sense, then I'm a little bit frustrated with Moyer. However, I can't blame him for not wanting to go to another team, let alone a different league, when his home-road splits clearly show a huge gap.
Postscript added 4:00 p.m. Can anyone tell me if MLB can test and subsequently suspend a positively-tested player on the DL under the steroids testing policy? No matter what the answer, is it just me or is it fishy that Barry Bonds hasn't hastened his return to baseball?!? Sure his injury is quite serious, but is there any reason not suspect that he's taking an extra long hiatus to purge his body from certain substances?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Home Run Derby -- Spiezio vs. Beltre

Well, call me a cheap-o, call me a lame brain, I don't care. I've never been really into games, so investing any dough whatsoever never really crossed my mind.

Until now.

Just yesterday I got the Sony Playstation (PS-1) I bought off eBay for $25, which included the likes of Tiger Woods golf, Star Wars Rebel Assault II, Spec Ops Elite, Nascar 2001, and Sammy Sosa baseball 2001. I went with the PS-1 because my roommate had one back in college, and I was hooked on Wipeout and Extreme Games (both of which I bought on Sunday at a pawn shop for $5 a piece, also adding NBA Live 2000). I also wanted a system that I could actually save my games (I have a few retro plug-the-joystick-into-the-TV games, including Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man -- two of my favorite games). And then there's this whole challenge of wanting to shelter my kid enough so that he grows up normally, yet allowing him to experience life in the modern US culture. He's already got good hand-eye coordination, so video games will help him enhance that talent. And I'm not too worried about getting him hooked, because I don't see anything standing in the way of his lust for playing the drums and reading books. I was looking for something that he and I could do together other than watching Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/Wiggles/Veggie Tales/Superman videos.

I could've shelled out $200 for a game system with the latest graphics and incredible games, but the thought of how much dough that would take really set me back, let alone my wife. Plus, any games I'd want to buy would cost upwards of $20 a piece, even more for the latest and greatest. So, I checked out prices for used systems, and found a good deal on eBay for the PS-1. $25, Buy-It-Now, including 5 games, a memory card, and two rumble controllers. Under $10 to ship (a lot of sellers wanted $12-15 to ship!). Throw in the $15 I spent on three additional games, and $50 is a much more palatable amount than the $150 for the PS-2 (or other similar systems) without any games. And, not being a huge gamer, the PS-1 is plenty cool enough for me.

The first game to get opened by my 3-year-old (as I was plugging everything in) was, of course, Star Wars. He hasn't seen any of the movies yet, but he's already a huge fan. So, after finally getting everything plugged in, he wanted to play, of course, but I made him wait so I could check out the game. It was fun, but not one I think he's ready for.

I loaded a few of the other games, and found Extreme Games to be one that we could play together. After fumbling through the menus, fighting him with the controller, we started the game. It was perfect! He was laughing his little heart out while crashing into the barrels and trying to figure out how to move. That 5 minutes of laughter was worth every dollar I paid for the system. I cannot wait to play that one with him again.

Okay, so now I've taken up 1000 words explaining myself a little without getting to the baseball-related point. Sorry. I have a tendency to ramble.

I loaded Sammy Sosa High Heat 2001, having read some reviews on it. Of course, the first thing my son wanted to do was to find Ichiro. I had to explain that he wasn't on that game. Darn -- maybe I'll have to try and create Ichiro for him, since you can create players on that game (yay memory card!). However, if a much more experienced gamer has a hack to add him (or recommendations for a newer baseball game for PS-1 that has Ichiro), then I'm all ears.

Wanting to do something easy, I loaded the home run derby. I used Buhner, then Edgar, then Boone, and finally Bonds, trying out a few different stadiums in the process. I was surprised to see both the Kingdome and Safeco Field on the game, as well as a few historic parks and what-not. The graphics are, of course, cheesy, but still. The whole thought of Buhner cranking one out in the Polo Grounds is quite intriguing. And I used Bonds in Modesto.

So after giving it a few rounds myself, I decided to let my son have a go. I asked him who he wanted to be, and he said "Ichiro!" Of course. Well, since I still haven't created him, I asked him for someone else. He said "Ra-UUUUUUUUUUUUL!" I thought -- perfect, that looks promising. Since the game includes the rosters for 2000, I thought he might be on there. I scrolled through the M's, and didn't see him, and went over to KC. Of course, he joined KC in 2001, so he wasn't there either. I'll have to research this a bit more. So, after throwing him a fastball down the middle (no Ichiro) and a curveball (no Raul), I asked him for another player. Know what he said?

Jeremy Reed.


So, finally, I scrolled through my brain trying to think of what player on another team (he doesn't know Griffey, and I'd already played Edgar and Boone) he'd want to play. I scrolled through the Dodgers and found my favorite M's third baseman, Adrian Beltre.


So, I gave him a quick intro to the controller, and told him to hit the "x" button to swing. Of course, he pushed it obsessively for the first 6-7 swings, and didn't make contact until I told him to wait until the ball came. Next pitch -- "Swung on and Beltre'd, deep to center field." No, it wasn't quite a home run, but at least he made contact. In the remaining 12 swings, he hit 2 home runs and 3-4 balls in the outfield. Not bad for a 3-year-old (not to mention that he beat my score for Boone in Ebbets field).

I asked him one more time who he wanted to be next, and the words out of his mouth made me roll over in laughter.


Sure enough, I found him on Anaheim's roster, and let my son have a go. The final result? I'm not sure if it's my son's skills with the Playstation, or if Spiezio's to blame.

Spiezio didn't even make contact.