Monday, July 30, 2007

Hey, Jose -- Scoscia's in Town!!!

With Trent dusting off the cobwebs and writing a fine post as to why the M's should not go anywhere near a contract extension for Guillen, neither of us are actually in the mood to see him leave right now, either. At Churchill's Prospect Insider party on Saturday, I brought up the idea of "Selling high" on Guillen, since he's hitting the ball well, kicking butt in the clubhouse (in a good way), and has shown that the TJ surgery didn't stop his awesome arm. We came to the conclusion that if you did that, you're basically giving up on the season.

Guillen's one of the reasons why the 2007 M's are having any sort of success whatsoever against lefty starters. Moving Ibanez out of the 3-hole is another. Heh. But anyway, not only is Guillen performing well, he's also very much leading the charge in the clubhouse. I know the M's are leading the league in overpaying for (and overvaluing) veteran leadership, but in Guillen's case, I'd be willing to be that the M's would lose a lot if they took him out of the clubhouse right now. His bat is hot, hot, hot right now (as is, of course, Beltre's), and he's leading the charge both with his bat and his tongue.

He also hates Mike Scoscia, or so the story goes. Maybe they've patched things up, maybe not. Still, the M's have the best opportunity they've had in years to propel themselves directly into the playoffs. A series win could very well push them over the same hump that reared its ugly head back when the M's couldn't get past the 3-games-over-.500 mark. A series sweep? Yeah, unlikely, but still. In spite of being their real staff ace, Kelvim Escobar has struggled against the M's. They've also seemed to have figured out Jered Weaver's stuff recently, too. And the M's have this knack of dominating tough SPs and struggling vs. weak SPs.

This series is crucial for the M's playoff hopes. It's ironic that it hinges on the non-waiver trade deadline. With T-Rex out of the division, and especially not going to Anaheim, it's time for Guillen to lead the charge and destroy those Angels once and for all!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


Yeah, well, rough game for George tonight. But an even rougher night for the offense, again.

Still, had Reitsma been able to get one guy out, and not walk the heck out of the A's, the inning would've been over before Swish got to the plate. Yeah, George served a meatball. Just like JJ's yesterday, though, it was bound to happen. Reitsma's the guy that can't get an out if he tried.

One of the first changes needs to be the DFA of Reitsma. He's clearly not a high-leverage RP anymore. Let Green and GS52 handle those situations, and EOF and Lowe take 'em in the 6th-7th.

And, of course, Beltre went waaaay out of his way to try and grab a foul ball in left field. Where the heck was the LFer??? Right.

They've picked a baaaad time to start slumping.

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Ranting and Raving

Paul invited me to stop by periodically in December and leave my two cents on certain issues and I'm finally getting around to throwing something together. Seven months later. It's been a little while since I've written anything of substance for a blog so bear with me as I'm dusting off the cob webs. I'm hoping this will be a series of short rants over the next week that address certain issues with the Mariners that I think need to be addressed.

I've got to start off with Jose Guillen. Guillen was signed off the free agent scrapheap this offseason and has exceeded expectations on and off the field. That's where the happy warm feelings end. For lack of a better descriptive word, Jose Guillen is an asshole. He's been run out of several teams not for a lack of talent but because of his abrasive personality. Yes, he has been a model citizen this year. Now ask yourself, why? Could it be that after a decade of being run out of a variety of organizations he has finally grown up and changed? Or is it because his body is breaking down, he's getting older and knows that this could be the last chance he has to cash in on a multi-year contract?

While I can't guarantee it, I think the Jose Guillen from the past four months will slowly disappear once he is rewarded with an extension and has a guaranteed paycheck.

Not convinced? Still believe that Guillen's grown up and has now become a model citizen and more than the average to above-average ML right fielder he is? Fine. My above diatribe probably fell on deaf ears. So let me approach this from a different angle. The M's have two of the best OF prospects in major league baseball currently in AAA in Adam Jones and Wladimir Balentin. Wlad will have to be carried on the 25 man roster next season or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft, where he will easily be the first guy drafted (as long as he's not traded for some mediocre addition in the coming week). Wlad will be 24 years old next season, will cost the league minimum, and has the potential to put up some serious power numbers (he's drawn comparisons to Carlos Lee). Would using two young players in the OF corners be a stretch for the M's? It shouldn't matter but it probably wouldn't be something they'd do. If a guy can produce, why does it matter how old he is? And more importantly, why pay a guy $10 million per season if you can get similar production out of a guy making the league minimum?

Still not convinced? How about 10 more reasons? Jose Cruz Jr., Milton Bradley, Bobby Kielty, Rondell White, Reggie Sanders, Richard Hildago, Trot Nixon, Cliff Floyd, Corey Patterson, and Luis Gonzalez. All ten of these guys figure to be free agents at the end of this year. All ten of these guys are as risky a signing as Jose Guillen was last offseason. Wouldn't rational thought processes suggest that if you were able to catch lightning in a bottle by signing a scrapheap guy cheaply, you might be able to do it again and avoid committing to a guy long-term? Wouldn't letting Guillen walk at the end of the year, offering him arbitration and then collecting the picks while signing a guy like Reggie Sanders or Luis Gonzalez to a one year deal to platoon with Wlad and possibly Adam Jones make a ton of sense?

Hello? Bill? Is this thing on?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Crank up that Hot Seat!!!!!

Seriously. This team needed to be changed months ago. I can see some hesitation to not want to make changes when things are going well. However, since the All-star break, things are not going well.

A CG from Weaver should've been taken advantage of. But no, instead, he gets charged with a loss. That's a problem! Especially since he is showing signs of actually being a major-league starting pitcher. And a league-average one, even!

Strangely, outside of Felix melting down in Toronto and Ho-Ram pitching on the road, the pitching hasn't entirely been the problem. I'm really actually starting to trust Weaver again.

I don't however, trust Richie Sexson or Raul Ibanez. I was honestly starting to worry about Jose Vidro, but he's been the best hitter on the team since the break. Maybe he's just hoggin' the luck like he's hogged his share at the buffet line.

Still, there's a few guys that have quit pounding on the door and are about to bust it down, if they haven't already unlocked it.

This team's broken, has been since day one, and repair isn't too difficult to manage. It doesn't even require any effort on the trade front, although there's certainly lots of room to explore there...

Ugh. Someone re-light that fire under Bavasi. Remind HIM of the hot seat...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Opportunity Wasted, Making me More Afraid. AKA 2006 Draft, Revisited...

Okay, I've got a major problem. The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get.

I'm actually writing this during the ballgame tonight, but I have been chewing on this all afternoon.

It should surprise no one that I'm no fan of Howard Lincoln. While I won't call him cheap, I will say that he doesn't have a good sense of baseball economics. According to many sources, the Mariners chose to follow Bud Selig's unwritten policy of slotting monies for draft picks and it was for that reason -- not because of a perceived talent gap -- that the Mariners left tonight's starting pitcher for Detroit on the draft board in favor of Brandon Morrow. That came from Howard Lincoln, and not from Bob Fontaine. Miller's signing bonus with Detroit was $3.5 million, and Brandon Morrow's was $2.5 million. Granted, four teams who drafted ahead of the Mariners also passed on Miller, likely because they didn't want to give him above-slot money either. It's entirely possible that Miller didn't prefer to sign with Seattle, and would've wanted more bonus money to sign with Seattle. Even if it took an extra, what $2 million -- or even crazier -- DOUBLE the signing bonus -- that's still, at max, an extra $5 million above what they gave Morrow.

That one decision, by Howard Lincoln (if the reason given for not drafting Miller is as stated above), cost a heck of a lot more than the extra $5 million above what they gave Morrow.

Right now, the M's are a playoff contending team. If you don't believe me, just ask Ichiro, who's on the verge of surrendering likely his last opportunity of really testing his market value on the open market as a player in his prime. The biggest need for the Mariners is pretty much commonly understood as a top-shelf, #2-3 pitcher to keep the M's from losing more games 12-3, 16-2, etc. From here on out, every win is very important, and they need to optimize this team and improve it any way they can to help their chances of winning the division, if not the Wild Card.

Right now, pitching for Detroit, is the pitcher that should have filled that need. Okay, it's the 6th inning right now as I type this, and in spite of the numerous pitches, and the botched play by Carlos Guillen leading to three Mariners runs, I still believe Miller's that pitcher.

I believe the M's opportunity to patch their rotation for 2007 and beyond was blundered like nothing else.

At the time of the 2006 draft, I saw the glaring holes in the M's rotation, and the lack of upcoming free agents who I really wanted. I wanted a pitcher who could've spent the rest of 2006 in pro ball in the minors, and maybe a few months of 2007 at most, and then jump into the bigs early in the 2007 season. In the off chance that the M's were to be playoff contenders in 2007, I knew that pitcher would need to be a reasonable factor in that equation. Lincecum was projected to be one of those types of pitchers, and the same goes for Miller, obviously. A hard-throwing lefty who's tough to hit (except, of course, unless for tonight your name is Jose Vidro)? Yes please. Imagine a 1-2 punch of Felix and Miller right now, even if Miller's still a little raw. They both pitched equally well tonight.

At the time of the draft, I wanted Tim Lincecum over Brandon Morrow. It was a common debate back then and certainly drafting Morrow over Lincecum was Fontaine's call. I'm less likely to bash Fontaine for taking Morrow over TL. I'd heard some people say that Morrow was most likely to end up as a relief pitcher, and may take awhile to develop as a starter. And that was even WAAAAY before the M's were even considering having him start 2007 in their bullpen. I'm not going to drag Fontaine and the Morrow vs. Lincecum debate into this discussion too much further, because I have other points to make. But that's because I didn't think Miller was going to be available to the M's at #5. Clearly Miller was rated as the consensus best pitcher available and was going to spend very little time in the minors. I believed Lincecum was the same way, and that Morrow, while perhaps having a bit more upside over Lincecum in the long run, needed a fair amount of time in the minors to develop as an MLB starter. There was also the fear that the M's were going to pigeonhole Morrow into the bullpen.

While Morrow also may have fewer health concerns (I guess -- I'm not really convinced myself), I would argue that TL, control issues inclusive, is a better pitcher more prepared for the majors today than Brandon Morrow is, even disregarding the point that Morrow's a RP and TL's a SP. Miller's arguably the best of all three right now, too. Both Lincecum and Miller are MLB-quality starting pitchers right now, and likely only will get better as the season develops. Morrow is barely passable right now as a MLB RP.

That 2006 draft decision, that wasted opportunity, is forcing the M's to have to really work the phones and find a starting pitcher on the trade market - all in a clear seller's market. There are lots of teams looking for starting pitching, and the price, in terms of prospects in trade, is going to be high. The Mariners actually have a decent stable of prospects to trade, but does anyone trust Bavasi as a buyer -- look back to what he got for Soriano. Um, yeah. Horacio Ramirez as a #3 starter? Maybe in the AZ Rookie League. I won't even mention how that trade was the second bad domino to fall -- trading Soriano for a bad SP, forcing you to pull a fastball-throwing SP prospect out of his development as a SP and even MORE insanely to rely on him as an 8th-inning high-leverage reliever. Whoops, I just did.

Now that Ichiro's behemoth contract extension is on the verge of being announced, there's a little less need to completely refuse to trade Adam Jones. While I'm still very reluctant, were I GM, I'm certainly not completely opposed as I might've been with Ichiro's status still uncertain. Even still, though, there are very, very few players that I would trade Adam Jones for straight up. Several of those are pitchers who, of course, aren't going anywhere, since their teams are just as in the race as the Mariners.

But I'm not GM, and Bill Bavasi is. And he judges talent MUCH differently than I do. I'd like to say that since he's the one on the M's payroll that his judgements deserve to be trusted more than mine do. But I wouldn't've even traded Rene Rivera (I believe I clearly dilvulged my thoughts on him earlier today) for either of Horacio Ramirez or Jose Vidro, let alone Emiliano Fruto/Chris Snelling and/or Rafael Soriano. Even knowing Snelling's career is possibly (sadly) done, and Soriano had some injury concerns at the time, too.

That's why I'm afraid.

Now, I do believe that Bavasi recognizes Adam Jones' stardom. I think he's still very, very hesitant to trade him. But again -- I'd be willing to bet significant money that the list of players I'd trade AJ for is quite different than Bavasi's.

The news of the day Tuesday seemed to point to Adam Jones being promoted for the game today. Then, yesterday, that news was dismissed and denied for whatever reason. Even if there was no specific, confirmed plan to bring Adam up for the game today in the first place, they're still keeping him down in Tacoma when he's clearly ready for the majors.

The million dollar question now is -- why?

When an upgrade in the outfield defensively clearly is needed, and AJ would clearly help that, why wouldn't you make that move? I suppose one reason may be that they don't want to rock the boat any more than they have to. When things are going well, why change a good thing? An ancient Christian saying is that there's no person too perfect not to need salvation, and likewise, there's no person bad enough that grace can't rescue. To apply that to baseball, it's hindsight, sure, but even in 2001 they could've improved the team and improved their chances to actually make it into the World Series. I argued that back then, and I argue that again this year. I'm fairly certain that the M's aren't wanting to revert to 2002/3 "Stand Pat" mode right now.

Another concern, I suppose, too, could be that the M's management knows how well how clearly awesome Detroit's starting pitchers are, and they wanted AJ to make a softer landing into the majors this season. That's a logical thought, even if it misses part of the point. Taking that a bit further, too, though, what if they're genuinely concerned about having AJ come to the majors and struggle mightily at the plate? After all, he did just that last season (even though he was a) younger and b) not given a clear role and used inconsistently). What if they're so nervous about it that they're keeping him in the minors, where he's clearly beating the crap out of the ball, just so his trade value isn't damaged?

To me, that's the epitome of stupid. Other MLB teams know his value right now, and I'm sure are willing to give legitimate talent to get him, even if he gets off to a slow start in his 2007 MLB debut. I'd be willing to bet that after Felix, Jones' name is probably the first name asked about.

But, I can see the Mariners being somewhat concerned by that. After all, they're the ones who caused a huge roster problem by trading for Jose Vidro. They seem to ignore the fact that Raul Ibanez, too, is a DH in the outfield -- that his years in the Mariners system as a catcher are catching up to him in LF. They also refuse to acknowledge that their current version of "lefty sock" (Ibanez) is hurting their chances to win by placing his .580 OPS (yes, OPS -- NOT SLG) bat vs. lefties third in the order against a lefty starting pitcher. Some of that's McLaren, possibly, but no one's telling him to change the lineup to adjust for that (as far as I know). Likewise, even with a 3-hit night, they also refuse to acknowledge that they have a huge problem at DH.

Certainly the game's not all about statistics, but you'd think that a smart organization would recognize how important it is to maximize the probility of winning as much as they could. Making the adjustments that are most likely to get the most out of what you have.

I'm not sure which starting pitcher they're targeting, if they're indeed on the phones shopping for one. Does anyone believe, though, that they're not? I've heard rumors of several, and I'm sure they were talking to Chicago about Buehrle, before Buehrle signed his extension. But I'm also sure that whatever starting pitcher they may be targeting will cost more than $5 million -- if not over the course of the rest of the season, then certainly likely in 2008 and beyond.

I'm really hoping he also doesn't cost Adam Jones. If it does, then I hope that pitcher is here for a long time and is much better than Andrew Miller. I don't believe such a trade is possible.

Again, Howard Lincoln is not cheap. But if indeed he specifically said no to allowing for an extra $3-5 million above draft slot money it might've taken to get the concensus best pitcher in the draft -- one who clearly was close to becoming a MLB pitcher, in a time when the Mariners clearly needed MLB-ready pitchers (and had few in their system) -- then he needs to also recognize what it very well might have cost the Mariners. I'm not totally convinced Morrow can or will be put back on track to develop as a starting pitcher. It's clear to me anyway that he's not even close to being there now.

This whole branch of problems started with Howard Lincoln, went through Fontaine (to a small extent for drafting Morrow over a more MLB-ready Tim Lincecum), and down through Bavasi (for trading away one of his best late-innings RP aces for a crappy SP, patching not that SP hole and creating a new one in the RP corps AND down on the farm). It's too bad, too. It's a decision that I believed at the time, and still believe today, that will haunt the Mariners for a long, long, long time.

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Free Adam Moore!

There. I said it. Notice the "AKA" change at the top, too.

I think pitchers like Rene Rivera, but the dude's hitting .180./253/.272. In AA. He's taking up a 40-man roster spot that could very likely be needed soon.

About a year ago, right after the 2006 MLB draft, I claimed Adam Moore as one of my new Adopt-a-players over at SportSpot. My comment then was "potentially the best bat taken by the M's in the draft," even though I really didn't know a whole lot about him. Yes, I recognize that High Desert's home park is offense-inflating. But from what I read from those who follow these things more closely, Moore is pretty likely to stick at catcher. From all my conversations w/Churchill, too, Moore is a good bet to actually become a real prospect, even calling him "The top candidate for sleeper prospect of the year" in a May Farm Report for the Seattle P-I. Dave Cameron has him, now, in his "Future Forty" (along with Austin Bibens-Dirkx, too :-)

After a blazing first half, where Moore had a .930 OPS -- roughly .886 on the road and 1.009 at home -- he's started out the two games in the second half on fire, too. While indeed the High Desert launching pad certainly has helped him, he actually has hit more HRs (and XBHs) on the road, and had more RBIs, too.

So, Bavasi/Looper/Mattox/Hunter -- free yourselves of the 40-man spot and, if you want, after he clears waivers and presuming you still want him in the system, move Rivera down a level to see if he could at least OPS .600 in High Desert. And free both Adam Moore and Austin Bibens-Dirkx from High Desert. They're probably both ready now.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All Star Game Day Reaction

What a day. Upon hearing the Ichiro news, I instantly lost any semblance of focus at work. I'm an addict, and I need to re-read the-blogger-formerly-known-as-Munchausen's treatise on baseball and ideologies to help me come back down to earth.

But I can't.

This season, it feels like baseball has loved me back and thanked me. My fandom of George Sherrill in particular has almost always been rewarded (even tangibly), and my die-hardedness in sticking by the M's through thick and thin and Howard Lincoln is also beginning to result in joy that honestly feels as real as a lot of joy I've experienced from more tangible and un-ideological events.

But that's for another post. I want to jot down a few things that crossed my mind during the few glances I got at the game yesterday. I didn't see much of the beginning of it, but I did listen on the radio, and I saw some highlights after the game.

1) Hearing Griffey gunning down A-Rod on the radio was just awesome. Seeing it on the highlights afterwards was even better. I could almost hear Griffey's thoughts about his Seattle homecoming and the reception that A-Rod still gets in Seattle. The camera didn't show him in the field afterward, but I'd bet that trademark grin was at least somewhat cracked.

2) Would you expect anything else from Ichiro? I mean, here he comes into one of the NL parks where a lot of people thought he might be playing at in 2008 and beyond (Dodger stadium would've gotten my vote, though) , upstaging a mega-bopper in his home park, on his own stage, by making history in his own unique way -- hitting the first ITP HR in ASG history. To borrow from a common Lookout Landing joke -- Ichiro is selfish because he rewrites history...

3) Speaking of the ITP HR, it's also fascinating that the RF victim was, yes, Ken Griffey Junior. Gunning down A-Rod, but being the unfortunate victim of a horrible bounce, along with the 2-RBI night that, had the NL held the lead, might've helped Griffey win the ASG MVP. Griffey's still got his game. No RF in the game would've prevented Ichiro's ITP, likely even one that plays RF every day in SF. Maybe I'm biased, but that was a wicked, wicked bounce that fooled everyone. I love Jose Guillen -- seriously, I'm not advocating trading him at all, although I can accept the thoughts from those who do want to trade him -- but Griffey's defense is still acceptable, if not very solid in RF. He's not a CF anymore, and his defense has definitely lost several steps. But he's not a DH-only either. I know Adam Jones is coming up to play RF for now with the M's. Having Griffey come back in 2007 and take over RF, shifting AJ to LF would be the icing of the cake, and would help the M's chances of contending at least as much as adding another starting pitcher would. I know it ain't happening, but if it did, I don't know how I could contain my excitement. Heck, I might even go to FanFest next January and ask Howard's permission to give him a freakin' hug!

4) So indeed Ichiro goes all MVP on the ASG, on the day where the news has pretty clearly leaked out around the world that he's pretty much baseball's newest $100 million man, yet in the interview during the award ceremony, Jeanne Zelasko closes her interview with Ichiro by stating something like "See San Fransisco fans? Ichiro can hit home runs, and he'll be a free agent!" The look on Ichiro's face (after all, Ichiro does know English very well, he just is more comfortable w/a translator because, well, he's neurotic about details) and his body gestures seemed to suggest that he was about ready to make a comment about that. And it was going to be his own way of saying "STFU!" if my memory serves me correctly. EDIT -- Here's the clip on YouTube (at least for the time being -- note that it's not there anymore)...

So, yeah, I agree with Dave Cameron. Yesterday was the biggest day in Mariner Fandom since 10/8/1995. For those of you too young to remember, or not paying attention back then -- I just have two words: "Edgar Double." That should jog your memory...

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

...But McLaren's the Right Man for the Job

How amazing is it that the M's could start their road trip losing a series against the Royals, yet still gain a half a game in the division race? After a tough battle for a loss in extras, followed by a Feierabend meltdown for a complete blowout, McLaren had a tough job to do to inspire the troops to avoid the sweep.

Sure, a manager's direct effect on the win-loss totals is likely fairly low. But having a manager that players are excited about playing for might actually inspire the players to perhaps dig a little deeper and give a little more to contribute to the team's overall success. I'd bet that the players had some respect for Hargrove and liked him as a manager. But McLaren's been in there all along drinking a morning coffee w/JJ Putz during the winter, putting "Sisler" on tongue depressors as a makeshift bat holder for Ichiro's special bats, etc. That kind of relationship can help a coach or a manager help connect with his or her underlings so much better, and is more likely to motivate them even slightly to perform more to his/her expectations.

To me, that's huge. He's got the respect of the players, already, and as mentioned in Andriesen's article linked above, the coaches. That sort of thing is very important when transitioning from one manager to another. Especially in the middle of the season, during a winning campaign, with a decent shot of competing for the playoffs. Of course, this current situation, where the manager resigns during a winning streak and the team on a big roll, never happens, so having a guy like McLaren take the reins and make the transition seemless is very important.

From Baker:
McLaren got a post-game beer shower to celebrate his first win since taking over for Hargrove on Monday. Richie Sexson actually gave him a plastic sheet to cover himself and McLaren was allowed to remove his cap, glasses and a sling his arm has been in since shoulder surgery last week. He also got the game ball, lineup card and a bottle of Dom Perignon autographed by the entire team.
I could be wrong, but I would be very surprised if Hargrove got the same treatment after his first victory. Checking the PI archives from April 2005, I'm not seeing any such mention. Maybe it's unfair, since Baker's a n00b and a pretty darn good reporter, and the other beat writers, well, sucked back then, and we didn't really get access to this type of info. And maybe it's unfair to make the comparison between manager types, since Hargrove's always been a quiet, reserved type and McLaren took classes from Lou Piniella's charm school (and skipped his special education courses on how to properly flip out and get ejected). But I'm guessing it's no small thing that McLaren got a bottle of Dom Perignon autographed by the entire team.

It shows, ever so slightly, how the team feels about him. It shows, perhaps, too, that he's already won over the team. He's certainly won over Ichiro, whose latest comment, as LaRue reports in the Tacoma News Tribune, seems less enigmatic or philosophical than other comments Ichiro has made regarding the manager:
"We don’t know what the future holds for manager John McLaren," Ichiro Suzuki said. "But to be part of his first victory was emotional for all of us. I want to help him win a lot of games in his career."
With Ichiro in his corner, McLaren's got clear control over this team from the get-go. He'll keep them loose, but give them the leadership and motivation they need when things aren't going so well.

I don't know about you, but I'm most certainly excited about the Mariners now. I love the little insights that McLaren gives us on why he makes the moves he makes. Sure, we'll all probably second-guess him constantly. But at least we'll be a little more likely to understand the reason behind those decisions.

McLaren's a guy who, through the media, can connect with the fans, too. We haven't had a manager like that for awhile. That will go at least a little way to winning back fan loyalty. As will, of course, winning.

McLaren's gonna help that, too.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Not Off to a Good Start...

Mr. McLaren, I support you. I trust you a little more than I did Hargrove. One thing, though:



Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tip o' t' Hat to Hargrove!

What a shocker. No idea why he made the decision and chose today to resign. But he does go down on top, and with the second consecutive sweep, he avoids losing # 100 w/ the M's.

Welcome, John McLaren! You're the right man for the job.

Thanks, Hargrove, for making the decision. You're a good man, and I'm glad to see you make the choice, rather than having the choice made for you.

Go off into the sunset with your Harley! And enjoy the hell out of it.