Thursday, May 06, 2010

I'm concerned, but kinda not

Coming into this season, my general attitude was hope that the pitching and defense could keep the M's in the race until the trading deadline, when Jacky Z would go get some help on offense. I figured the offense would be the weak point, but would be improved from last year. Well, yikes. This offense is baaaaaaaad. Bad dude. Bad. But, amazingly, the M's are still only 3 games out in the West.

Oh, snap! As I write this, it looks like Saunders is on his way up. Ok, I like it.

Alright this post is crap and not finished. I should probably not publish it but I need to go and the Magic needs some fresh verbiage.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Game One In the Books

There is a lot to talk about after opening day so let’s get right to it. First off the cynical side of me thought for sure they were going to blow it when Oakland tied it up. But this is a new team, they have a new dynamic, it was the other side of me that thought hey if they can just get one of the bottom three on then the top of the order is going to roll around and they will have a chance. Sure enough they get a walk from Robo Rob and that rolled the order over which turned out to be the difference.

Let’s discuss a few of the new parts. Kotchman was outstanding. Lookout landing tweeted a blanket statement about him and it really rings true. They said simply “Kotchman saves runs”. That is so true he looks great at first digging low throws, adjusting to wide ones, and snagging grounders. This is a small sample of what this guy can do however I for one was really impressed with what I saw. Of course Kotchman will be talked most about today for his bat. Rightfully so he did everything you could ask of him hitting in the three hole and let’s be honest he was jobbed out of a third hit on a ball which was clearly trapped. He was great all around last night and I am excited to see what he can bring to the team over the year.

I would like to also talk about Figgans. He didn’t get a hit last night but he was on base 3 different times and when on base he completely took the pitcher out of their game, Sheets especially looked so uncomfortable with Figgans on base. He stole two bags and on each steal he made Suzuki make two bad throws which allowed Figgans to get to third and score. Let’s also not forget he legged out that grounder in the 9th which also forced an errant throw. He was fantastic; the combination of Ichiro and Figgans at the top of this order is simply going to fun to watch all year long.

Felix was dominant at times, he did walk a bunch of guys but I honestly feel you could erase a bunch of those due to the umpire simply not giving him a low strike. You can look at this as the umpire costing him or you could say after 3 innings of not getting the call perhaps Felix and Rob should have adjusted their game plan to match that of the umpire. Either thought is fine I think I preferred them to stick with throwing it low and trying to get the call since almost every bit of contact was a grounder of some kind. Keep the ball on the ground with this defense and you’re going to win.

Lots of people didn’t like brining Sean White in was Wak’s first mistake of the year. I agree with Baker on this though that if you think Sean White is good enough to be in the pen then he is good enough to be put in that situation. That being said I think Felix had enough to get one more hitter.

Couple last things, Lopez looked pretty decent at third. He made a great double play where the ball was hit shapely to him and he ran to the bag and threw cross body to Kotchman at first to complete the play. If he can just be good enough at third this is all going to work out.

I know I kind of bullet pointed around in this post but all things said this was a solid opening day, and a sign of good things to come. The moved runners along and got some clutch hits, pitched really well and played absolutely lights out defense. I am excited for game two tonight!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Ben Sheets? ...Uh, good luck dude.

Today is the first day of the rest of our Mariner Magic lives. Breathe it in.

No commentary needed, only the necessary information to enjoy this occasion:

  • Ben Sheets will take the mound at 7:05pm Pacific. Why does he bother? I'm not sure he even knows.
  • Felix, King of Mariners will take the mound some period of time after that.
  • Here is our our lineup, via Shannon Drayer:

RF Ichiro
2B Chone Figgins
1B Casey Kotchman
LF Milton Bradley
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Jose Lopez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
C Rob Johnson
SS Jack Wilson

There you have it. May that lineup be remembered as the seminal list of an amazing season of baseball.

I won't bother posting Oakland's lineup. Frankly, I don't know it and I have to get to class. And does their lineup even matter? It's Felix.

See you after class. Get out at 7pm, and I will be scurrying to the nearest TV, unaware of the unsuspecting people I trample on the way.

Until then...

Fake Opening Day

As you all know, last night was Fake Opening Day. I'm not a fan of the senseless glorification of those two teams -- as if we don't know who they are and need a reminder.

I was not able to catch any of the game last night, but I'm pretty sure it looked something like this:

This is one of the most horrifying images I've ever seen. I don't think I even need to comment. I'll only say that when I saw this picture, I looked something like this. This picture makes me very sad...

In other, less-visually-disturbing news, today is the real deal, non-fake Opening Day. Really, it's Mariners Opening Day! I've been waiting for this day, in a toe-tapping frenzy, since about mid-September. The King will take the mound in a few hours. Can you stand it?! I can't. I feel jittery from excitement.

Opening Day lineups and other nonsense coming soon.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Roll a new love over"

-Adam Duritz, Counting Crows

Let's face it. After 2001, the aughts were pretty awful years for us, Mariner Magic faithful. Not a magical decade. There were 93 wins apiece in '02 and '03, but there were no playoffs and no energy -- we were still reeling from that spirit-killing, disheartening ALCS in '01. The triple-whammy of losing Randy, Griffey and A-Rod began to set in. The 116 wins had allowed us to forget the superstars for a little while. But then Lou left too. And Edgar retired in '04. I was there, I cried a little. The team felt empty. The last of the Mariner Mountains was gone, and we were left with... Bob Melvin? No. Not even Bo-Mel would be around to save us.

The second half of the dark decade was marred by the Bill Bavasi and Mike Hargrove parade of stupid. Their stubborn ineptitude brought into question the ownership's intentions and sanity. Bavasi, Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong became symbolic co-captains of the Good Ship Mariner, now rudderless, and crashing repeatedly onto the rocks at Alki with each tsunami wave of choices.

Rightfully, we called for their heads. Rich Aurilia and Scott Spiezio? Ramon Santiago? Horacio Ramirez? A dude named "Yorvit"? What the hell is a "Wiki Gonzalez"? Seriously. Later there would be Jose "DH" Vidro, and Carlos "Hamburglar" Silva. The list of characters is long.

And for every eyebrow-raising acquisition, another real Mariner wandered out Safeco's gates scratching his head. Magic favorite, Rafael Ninja Soriano went poof. Belltown bosom buddies Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen were forced to suffer through a tearful breakup -- they just couldn't do the distance thing. Jamie Moyer went away to win a World Series. Kaz-Man Sasaki? ...Well, we're still unclear on what happened there. But even Kazu's perpetual schoolboy grin could not endure this hope-shredding, soul-crushing era.

Don't get me wrong, I still loved the Mariners. I was no less a fan. But being a fan almost felt like a chore. Aside from getting my Felix fix every fifth, watching the team play became an exercise in excruciation. Even the good players got into the act. Worse than watching Richie Sexson's decline was witnessing Yuni's transformation from a sparkling Gold Glove into a little ball of goo rolling around on the infield dirt.

It was enough to make even the most loyal Mariner Magician drop his wand and cast a slew of crass four-letter curses at the TV.

I don't think I realized just how pessimistic and jaded I had become during that period of baseball until I went to Mariners Fanfest this past weekend, and noticed that not a single sniff of Bavasi's swirling sewer of decisions remained. No more Hamburglar. No more Yuni. No more maddening Morrow, or positionless Clement. Batista? Nowhere to be found. I could only smell Figgins' snazzy cologne. And hot dogs. And that was heartening.

That's where Duritz's lyrics come in. We've been invested in this team all along, but the time has come to really love the Mariners again. Without having to peer through squinty eyes, afraid to watch.

The past year has been like taking a bath -- loving the Mariners doesn't feel dirty anymore. Does that make sense? It's time to love them like we loved them when Junior was 26. Like we loved them when The Unit shouted down a victim, and his sweat-soaked curls clung proudly to his pelican-like neck. Back when Edgar made the Dome's outfield walls look like his own personal pinball machine. Our baseball innocence has been restored. So roll a new love over, Magic.

The cast of the next great Mariners team is beginning to take shape. They aren't all here yet, but soon enough. You know the headliners by their first names. Felix and Ichiro and Cliff. Franklin and Chone. Supporting roles are played by flamethrowers Aardsma, League, and Lowe, and a left fielder who can actually hit -- and who also manufactures a nifty line of boardgames. Jack Wilson is standing in for Little O. There's an Australian southpaw, and a pudgy yet friendly-looking Venezuelan at second third base. Heck, even Papa Griff is around to lend a hand and a homer or two. Or 50.

Some of the cast will surely shift and change, but most of the headliners are here to stay. Finally. This feels like the genesis of something pretty cool.

Walking around at Fanfest with a favorite album piping through my earbuds, I smiled just as I did when I took the pre-opening tour back in 1999. The energy was back at the Safe, and it was only January. This team feels fresh. It might not feel this way for long, but it's a good feeling, and I'm going to ride it.

Who's with me? Magic, I know you're out there. Time to grease the wheels. Let's get our Mariner train rollin'. I know we're a little rusty, but October isn't too far down the tracks.

Not sure if you've heard. The aughts are over. Amen.

[I think August and Everything After by Counting Crows is the most timeless album I own. Beginning to end, it never gets old. It would feel weird to say out loud, but with a gun to my head and forced to choose just one album, August... would probably be it. Dig it out if you have it.]

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hi there

We are trying to bring the Magic back. Don't hold your breath.

This entry, as well as Mike's Twitter alert below, are a little buffer to fill space, and build some needed momentum. Please click the link below to enjoy one of the many Magic-al moments of 2009 below:

Suck it, Rivera.

Was it really snowing? I don't remember that. If so, dang. That's even more awesome.

P.S. Did you know that you can download 1995 Game 5 for $1.99 in iTunes, and own it forever and ever? You totally can. I can't imagine I've ever spent a better two dollars.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Magic is on Twitter

And tweeting a lot. Check us out. Posts will come. They will come.

Sunday, January 03, 2010