Sunday, June 19, 2005

Game 66: Sweep! ...A New Era

A genuine Mariner pride is welling up deep within. This weekend, our beloved Mariners cast aside the New York Metropolitans. It really wasn't even close. It was less a baseball series, more a stroll along the slew. Less Leo vs. Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York, more Bruce Willis vs. the asteroid in Armageddon. Yeah, I'd say we pretty much blew 'em in two and sent 'em hurtling into the remote reaches of space. [sidenote: I asked my wife for a good comparison. Her response: Austin Powers vs. Alotta Fagina. Not sure what that means].

There are so many things to be grateful for. The curse of Pedro is broken. A new era of youth has begun. And it's been at least 36 hours since Bret Boone has flailed away hopelessly at a fastball down the middle.

This afternoon's 11-5 drubbing concluded the M's first sweep in over two months, when they broomed aside the hapless Royals in the season's second week. Were it not for more floundering from the aimless Matt Thornton, Seattle's pride might have registered its first double-digit victory in...(not sure I want to research that one).

They've won five of the last six; 13 out of 20. Not bad for a team that took the better part of a third of the season to find its identity. But the surprising part isn't how long it took - it's what they found.

After nearly 3 years of trying to squeeze out every last morsel of that delicious run of the latter half of the 90's through early 2002, the Mariners have happened upon a fresh brand of Mojo. Meet the infield of he future (knock on something wooden, preferably the Light Bat). Beltre. Morse. Lopez. Sexson. Righty Row. The Diamond of Danger. A combined 7-for-16 in the game. A homerun and a double; 5 RBI's scattered about. It may have been game 66, but it seemed like game number one to me.

As for the rest, Ichiro, Raul, and outta-nowhere Rivera smacked three hits apiece. And Gil Meche built on some solid outings with a strong 5.1 innings. Thornton made the box score look messier than it should have been. If Gil continues to throw his curve for strikes, a great second half could be on the horizon.

But let's face it. This weekend is a celebration of youth. Morse and Lopez and Rivera and Reed. They have energy and spunk. They're hitting for contact and average. They're not striking out, overmatched by Major League stuff. The other night, Morse took the best fastball the Bigs has to offer and shot it right back at Billy Wagner himself. Today, they made the soft-tossing, crafty Glavine look tired - Reed went with a pitch low and away and poked it down the left field line for an RBI. Lopez took a pitch on the outer half and shot it up the middle for another. Rivera turned on a fastball for a double, again. This is fun baseball. There are rallies, and the kids are the cause.

A new era has begun. There's a new energy at Safeco. And I'll be there tomorrow night...

...for Game 2.

9 comments:

  1. Great post PWhit. Does this new era need a name?

    It's been so fun to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but FOUR young bucks come up and make a splash so quickly.

    I better get ready for work.

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  2. OK I have a couple minutes before I enlighten the minds of 22 3rd graders in Baltimore City. Quick thoughts:
    -I love the youngins

    -Good to see Beltre get a couple of knocks and draw a walk. I could definitely have seen him be impatient at the plate and try to do to much after he got those 2 doubles and had to sit for a week. If he keeps this approach at the plate, the power numbers will come.

    -I better read "Mariners designate pitchet Matt Thornton for assignment" very soon

    Alright better get going, but this is fun again! I find myself looking at what the Angels and Rangers are doing. The lowly A's are in town, have fun tonight Pete.

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  3. Yes! The Curse of Pedro is broken! We sweep the New Yorkers! We continue to gradually gain in the AL West! The kids come through! (I know the statistical sample sizes are small, but hey... who doesn't enjoy seeing several .400+ batting averages down at the lower end of the order? It's a thing of beauty, eh! Go kids, go!)

    Whether or not we sweep the A's, now I at least feel the M's are capable of doing it against any team. This is a big step forward in my outlook for the remainder of the season. I can feel the old optimism creeping in again!!

    Mike, I agree re. Thornton... ! Who would be replace him with? I'm not thrilled any time I see Nellie take the mound either, but then again I've never really been a big Nellie fan. 8-)>

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  4. This site is awesome. Finally hitting next blog pays off with a great site. As a transplanted fan I've missed the mojo of the Seattle Area this season, having to suffer sandwhiched between the A's and the Giants. Which by the way are both sub-par to my beloved Mariners. Proudly watching the M's win and quietly reading the commentary at this fine blog. Keep up the mojo.

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  5. fauxturtle we're in the same boat! I'm here stuck in Orioleland where both the O's and Nationals are in first place.

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  6. Fauxturtle, thank you for your comments...and you are the winner of the first Mariner Magic ode to a reader sweepstakes. Look for a post praising your overall greatness as a human being later tonight.

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  7. As far as Thorton is concerned I don’t think they can send him down without losing him permanently. He will not clear waivers, some team will claim him. He has too much talent potential. They are kind of in a bind with him. Sending him down is what he needs but I don’t think it is worth losing him to another team, IE Scott Podsednik

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  8. THORNTON SUCKS!!!! F* his potential.

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  9. Yeah, Mike is right. Thornton has less than desirable control, and doesn't appear to have the capability of correcting it any time soon. I'd say that pretty legitimizes the use of the term "suck." Yeah, pretty much, big time.

    If the M's were closer to first place, I'd think releasing him and replacing him with Sherrill would be automatic. I think they've been willing to tolerate his suckage in favor of Trav's argument because we're out of the race. If we get back in it and he continues to pitch poorly, he'll be outta here for sure.

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