April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

For people who might be wondering about Brian Sweeney, he’s another guy who gets by with very little in the way of “stuff,” so he’s often overlooked. He’s not as bad as Craig Anderson in that regard, but he certainly doesn’t have what people would consider major league stuff. And yet, he always seems to perform well. Here are some numbers:


2002 3.80 30 23 1 1 4 2 142.0 157 571 67 60 16 28 113 .275 4.0:1

Winter 2.39 29 7 0 0 16 5 67.2 66 259 21 18 0 10 58 .255 5.8:1

2003 1.65 4 1 0 0 1 0 16.1 13 61 4 3 2 2 19 .213 9.5:1

TOTAL 3.23 63 31 1 1 21 7 226.0 236 891 92 81 18 40 190 .264 4.8:1

I hope that looks right. … OK, not too bad.

The first line is what he did at Tacoma last year, the second line is what he did at winter ball this off-season, and the third line is what he’s done so far this year at Tacoma. The total is, well, the total of these three. It’s pretty clear the guy can pitch, stuff or no stuff. This might not be a good example because Giovanni Carrara is only making $400K, but is Carrara really any better than Sweeney? Where this question really becomes relevant is in cases where teams are paying a guy like Bob Wells a million or so dollars to be their mop-up man and emergency starter, which just doesn’t make any sense when guys like Sweeney (or to use another example, Joey Dawley from the Braves) are more or less floating around for free.

In other news, I see what you mean about the all-HTML posting, Derek. Although I do think it’s cool we can use the fixed-width font for stat lines, because they just don’t work otherwise. Anyway.

April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Hey Derek,

It wasn’t much warmer in the 100 level either. And for anyone who ever wants to get a better seat after buying a $6 bleacher set, let me recommend section 114. Worlds coolest usher. I’ll leave it at that.

Jamie Moyer, strikeout king. This is a weird, weird season.

April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Seats at Safeco: The Avaya Terrace Club

part 2 in a continuing series (1 was the press box, which, uh, I don’t think I’ll be posting, ever)

On the 24th, the first-place M’s played the Indians at home for the third time, looking for a series sweep, and I could not give the tickets away today. After I traded my pair in for one Terrace Club seat, I got something to eat at Sluggers. The guy next to me, who puported to be some kind of city planner, talked to his new friend the entire time I was there. He riffed about his experiences drinking in England, mail-order brides from former Eastern Bloc countries, and then into how his friend in Romania paid for a 19yr-old girl’s apartment while he was there, and while she was free to do whatever she wanted, when he came over, “he was king.” Sluggers was packed, I was starting my second 32oz cup of Bud and digging into my chicken sandwitch (and biting my lip over and over). Which is to say I was stuck as he went into giving advice on gentrification: people were moving into White Center, he said, buying fixer-uppers, and the comperable bad neighborhoods he brought up were all California widely-recognized-as-black ones, like Compton, Watts.

A delicious chicken sandwitch and 64oz of beer later, I’m off. People sometimes ask me “Derek, how do you drink so much beer?” and I say “Carefully, so as not to spill any.”

The walk down Occidental was strange, more open than I’m used to, fewer scalpers, the vendors selling but not busy. The weather forecast was bad, the game might get down to 50, maybe lower. These nights are revealing something interesting about the Mariners fan base: the people at these games, the ones hunkered down in layers for at least seven, eight innings in the wind, these twenty thousand people are the baseball fan base. Nice weather will bring more out, late-season contention, the Yankees road tour, but the Mariners could draw 20k year-round. Why do the Mariners schedule early-season weeknight games? They would do at least as well with mid-day or early-afternoon games, and more people would come out knowing they wouldn’t have their frozen bodies shattered by foul balls they would be unable to dodge.

A revelation: the Mariners are just as willing to screw the Terrace Club ticket holders as anyone else. If you look on a seating chart, they look okay, but actually the 233 and 227 (and, I suspect from eyeballing them, 249 and 211) sections are not square, they’re more

Section 233

+ uuuuu \
+ uuuuuu \

And if you’re on that angled end in the first four rows, those seats right up against the rail have half the legroom of a normal seat, so your legs are forced away all game long, and that can’t be comfortable. I’m 6’4″. They gave me one of those seats. Are those seats discounted in any way? Do they give you a refund if they pour you an all-head beer? Don’t be silly.

I got up to wander around the Avaya Terrace Club. Oh– Avaya. People come to me some times and say “Derek, what the hell is Avaya anyway, and why do they sponsor the Terrace Club?” I respond “They claim to be a leader in communications systems, which is meaningless, and they sponsor the Terrace Club in the hopes that the affluent people who buy those seats will think of Avaya when they want someone to deliver “communications networks and services that enable business of all sizes to achieve superior results.”

How’s it working out for them? Their stock trades under $3 on low volume. The big Avaya news this week was that they had reduced their money hemmoraging and made progress turning their falling sales around. They IPOd at 20 in mid/late 2001, got up past 25, and then came the long slide, all the while burning tons of cash, not making money… this ringing bells for anyone? They’re either going to give up this sponsorship or go away, just like Lucent, and we can start calling the 200 level the Doomed Telecom Terrace Club. Sprint can sign on next, I’d love to see those guys go under.

Caldwell High School sang the national anthem, and it was the fastest I have ever heard. I timed it at 70s, and applauded wildly when they were done. Waiting for the game to start, I looked out across Safeco.

Left field bleachers, nearly empty

Center field bleachers, nearly empty

Lower outfield reserved (left field), nearly empty

Field seats, filled towards home, completely empty towards the corners

View reserved seats on the top deck: same deal, almost totally empty out past first and third

Crowd announced at 26,000. 49 degrees at first pitch, NE wind 7mph. For our Canadian readers, that’s -120 C and really cold. The slightly cushioned, slightly larger (it seemed) seats were much better on my back, but doubly good was being able to get up and walk around the enclosed, heated Terrace Club concourse. Terrace Club bathrooms have quality stainless steel dividers at the urinals (PA: “Fans, the Mariners appreciate your desire to not have your package given the once-over, and for your convienence have installed…”). The refreshment stands are all crap, “Rolling Roof” though there is a bistro-type counter where you can have a nice sandwitch made for $9. There are two beautiful circular wood bars on each side, and along much of the concourse runs a counter and stools, so that people who didn’t want to sit out in the cold could watch from behind clear rolling barriers and remain nice and cozy.

But what about the in-seat service, you ask?

It’s a rip-off, but not that huge of one. All items include a “17% service charge distributed to the In Seat Service Staff.“(and that’s how it reads on the flyer). That 17% means a 16oz bottle of beer goes from $6 to $7. A $7.75 micro (domestics aren’t served in the large cups for seat service) becomes $9 (which is actually 7c off what a straight 17% surcharge would be), a small is $7.25 (61c off what 17% on a peon-served beer would be, if it’s the same 12oz size). The food selection is limited to some bad items (no Ivar Dog, for instance, the high point of Safeco concession entrees), but they’re only a hair more expensive than bar food you might eat at Sluggers while the drunk-and-loose-tongued city planner makes a big deal about how he’s not bringing up Compton as a terrible neighborhood because it’s black, no, even though he’s unable to come up with non-race-related bad neighborhoods.

The Mariners busted out a new lie I hadn’t heard before — in-game advertisements claim that their program is “critically acclaimed”. If anyone can provide a citation, I’d love to hear that. By the way, the U.S.S. Mariner? Winner of critical awards. My car? Certified awesome by noted authorities.

Game got down to 46, with some wind, 0-5mph, but pretty calm. I was glad I brought a blanket, because my Parappa ski cap was not cutting it for me.

Terrace Club’s a nice place to see a game. The view is good, the seats are nice, and even with a woman behind you yammering about SARS on and off all game (“Have the cured anyone? I don’t think they have. It’s like the earth just said ‘I’ve had it up to here with you guys’ and let us have it”), it’s nice enough. It’s not worth 2x what my season tickets go for, faced with the sunk cost of the pair, it worked out pretty well.

April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I’d be stunned if Sasaki’s back in two weeks. I’m guessing it will be closer to a month. Having Soriano around does give them the flexibility of a long-relief guy that they haven’t had, but I hope Melvin doesn’t save him for just those situations. Soriano’s not going to develop by sitting around for six or seven days waiting to pitch, so they should make an effort to get him in the ballgame. With the Tigers in town, this is a perfect time to let him continue to face AAA hitting.

Good to see Slaton mention Brian Sweeney as one of the guys they considered. I’d really like to see him get a shot somewhere this year.

By the way, Jamie Moyer is 5th in the American League in strikeouts and 6th in strikeouts per nine innings. His change-up seems to have actually gotten better since last year, and he’s getting great fade on it away from right-handed batters. He made Shane Spencer look absolutely foolish on several occasions last night. We may need to address the fact that Jamie Moyer is actually getting better at age 40.

April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I suppose there are a couple of ways to look at this Soriano thing. When I first heard the news that it was him and not Aaron Taylor, I was pretty surprised — Soriano has been starting, while Taylor has been pitching well in relief. I had assumed they’d just go with the quick fix while Sasaki was out. My first reaction was that this was a reflection on Sasaki’s injury, that calling up Soriano meant Sasaki might be out longer than just the requistite 15 days (that may still be the case, as Sasaki won’t even throw for another week). Then I remembered that Bob Melvin has been quite reluctant to use Julio Mateo, and that he’d probably be even more reluctant to use an even less-experienced Taylor. That would essentially leave the bullpen two pitchers short, obviously not an ideal situation. Instead you’ve got Soriano, who has had success at the major league level, particularly in relief. I don’t expect that he’ll be the closer or the top set-up man, but at the very least you have to assume Melvin will be more willing to use him than he is Mateo, or would be Taylor. Today is Soriano’s normal turn to start, by the way, so hopefully they can get him some work tonight against a bad, bad, bad Tigers offense.

April 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Minor League Highlights for Thursday, April 24

Tacoma 9, Tucson 3. LHP Craig Anderson, who has struggled to get hitters out this year, put together his best start of the season (7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) to notch his first victory. Anderson, if you recall, gets by with a “fastball” that tops out around 82 MPH, an assortment of breaking pitches and just plain junk. 1B Craig Kuzmic led the way at the plate with a homer, a double and four runs batted in. RF Kenny Kelly added two hits, and DH Adrian Myers drew an impressive three walks. We’re still waiting to see who will replace Rafael Soriano in the Rainiers’ rotation, though RHP Brian Sweeney seems a good bet.

San Antonio 5, Wichita 4. RHP Chris Wright started and pitched six strong innings (7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), leading the Missions to their second consecutive win over Wichita. DH Jamie Bubela, 1B AJ Zapp and 3B Justin Leone each had two hits, including a triple and homer for Bubela, a homer for Zapp and a double for Leone. RHP Josue Matos, a favorite of David Cameron’s, closed out the game to pick up his first save (1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K).

Inland Empire 8, High Desert 1. The 66ers were able to keep High Desert’s offense in check thanks to outstanding pitching from RHPs Cha Seung Baek and Glenn Bott. Baek started and allowed just one hit (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K), and Bott finished things off with four strong innings of relief (3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) to earn his first save. Offensively, LF Shin-soo Choo stayed hot with a double, a triple and a walk in four at-bats, lifting his season average to .241. CF Greg Jacobs had four hits in five trips, and three players — 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez, C Luis Oliveros and Jacobs — homered in the winning effort. In all, the 66ers saw 10 of their 16 hits go for extra bases.

Wisconsin 3, South Bend 2 (13 innings). For the second straight game, the Timber Rattlers won in the bottom of the 13th inning. This time the hero was LF Dustin Delucchi, who singled with two outs to drive in 3B Corey Harrington from third. Harrington, who doubled to lead off the inning and was then sacrified to third, also scored the winning run on Tuesday. As you might imagine, the pitching was excellent. LHP Bobby Livingston started (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), followed by RHP Renee Cortez (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and the eventual winning pitcher, LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). 1B Jon Nelson had three hits in five at-bats to lead the hitting attack.