Thursday, September 28, 2006

Credit, where Credit's Due

With CHowArmLinStrong's latest letter to season ticket holders, I officially rescind this post.

How was that for a reaction? I'm better than that. This post, I suppose, can be reinstated.

Man alive, does it feel good to have some time off from work. Unfortunately, it's at the expense of having to suffer through the typical transitional bout of flu that hits me annually about this time of year. Nevertheless, it's allowing me to not feel so guilty about spending time on the blogs, getting caught up on my non-animated/PG movies, shopping on eBay, reading books, and (aside from having to be very careful which direction I'm sneezing) do pretty much what I feel like at home. Sorta reminds me of my college days, which, too, this time of year sort of brings me back into waxing nostalgic. Hard to believe it's been 10 years since I started my last year of college.

But I digress...

So often, this space in the blog-o-sphere has been used to criticize and demoralize certain individuals in the M's organization. I wanted to take a few moments to give some credit to two folks in particular who I have been quite critical of during their tenure with the M's organization.

Mike Hargrove

What? Yup. That's right. Maybe this credit is misdirected, but it has to be noted that the Mariners continue fight and haven't shown a lot of signs of quitting. While his in-game strategies and managing tactics certainly are still deplorable, one other important aspect of managing is keeping your players into the game, and battling until the end of the 162nd game of the season. Even if you're out of the playoffs -- and especially while balancing the health of players so you're not jeopardizing the future of your team.

It remains to be seen whether or not Hargrove is fired at the end of the season. I still believe he will be and that he should be. But as much as I darn near equally hate the Angels and the A's, it has been really, really nice playing spoiler. We helped bring down the Red Sox, when they came to town and left with 0 wins. We helped bring down the White Sox, even if we lost a game we shouldn't have after the rain delay. And, like Derek says -- after last night, no clinching in our house, baby! You have to give some credit to Mike Hargrove for keeping his players motivated to win. Sure, Oakland still has a pretty good shot of clinching at Safeco. But nothing's guaranteed. The Mariners seem to be doing well in the role of spoiler, and I believe that some credit has to go to Hargrove for helping them do just that. There's still an outside shot of .500 and third place, too. I could regurgitate my "Take Out Texas!" post from last August, but that could risk jinxing the M's.

Willie Bloomquist

Well, what more can I say. Mr. Not-Quite-October came through in a big way last night. Sure, you could argue that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. But, seriously, how can you really not like a guy like Bloomquist. I understand that some people love him waaaay too much, and give him waaaay too much credit (Hello Mr. Rizzs!). But others react to this lovefest by showering Bloomquist with barbs and sticks and stones. Willie's a big leaguer, folks. Barely, sure, but he fills a very important role on this club. It may not be as a starter, or the equivalent of an ace reliever. But it's very important to have a guy who can make things happen on the bases, as a pinch runner late in ballgames. No, that wasn't his role last night -- Ichiro was the feared baserunner who messed with the pitcher enough to get himself in position to score. Indeed Bloomquist came through with an important base hit to win the game -- and a Bloomquist base hit is almost as rare as the unassisted triple play.

While the specifics were a little different last night, I still find room to cheer for Willie Bloomquist. People in my fantasy league read this blog occasionally, so they're probably wondering why I just picked up Boom Boom on my team (especially during the championship series). I'll tell you after I beat ML to defend my league title. The folks over at Detect-O-Vision have a basic way of evaluating players that certainly is logical, even if it is simplistic: will this player help me win my next championship? In Willie Boom-Boom Dynamite's case, I honestly believe that's true. As a consistent starter, it's less true, but in his proper role, WBBD certainly can and will help the M's win their next (first?) championship. For that reason, I'm going to give some credit to Willie.

So, disagree with me all you want. You're probably right. It's probably the Dayquil that's affecting my reasoning and logic points. Now you know exactly why I'm not going to work today...


At 9/26/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's posts like this which make me think you're maybe intellectually honest and behind the idea of seeing the world as it is.

Agreed. Let's try to get Bloomquist used for what he's good for. Let's try to get Hargrove to manage well while we've got him and to get rid of him as soon as possible.

At 9/27/2006 12:05 AM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Thanks, tbakajani! I'll actually take that as a compliment.

Indeed my MO is to try and look at the reality and ID things that are indeed true and shed some helpful, pleasant light on that reality. I can be harsh, sure, at times. But I'm always positive. It's just what form of "positive" we're talking about in a situation.

It's disappointing to see the M's hand Oakland the AL-West title on their turf. I'm sure several of the players who were in Tacoma for the PCL title game loss to Nashville last September at Cheney Stadium probably were living moments of Deja vu. But it's hopeful, too, in that it reminds everyone just a little bit of how it feels to acheive such success. I really don't like the A's -- and I especially don't like the fact that they've taken the title on our turf. It could be used as a future point of motivation, however, and give the M's youngsters some motivation to press harder in battle against the A's -- both tomorrow and next season.


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