June 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Friends, Seattlites, Lend Us Your Tickets

In our continuing “Seats at Safeco” Project, where we write up a short essay on every seating option at Safeco (Part 2 was the Avaya Terrace Club, for instance), we need to get our hands on a couple of Diamond Club tickets, which are the only tickets we can’t get through normal means. Now I know there are tickets going unused: even Sunday, there were stretches of those seats unoccupied. We’re looking for a pair (me and Jason), and because we’d just be writing up the seats & stuff, we don’t care who’s visiting. Or anything else, really. In exchange for the tickets, we’ll be available for in-game commentary, witty banter, and, uh, signed USS Mariner merchandise, and pre-or-post-game entertainment.

I know that out of our surprisingly vast readership (side note: You readers rock! Wooooooo!) someone can help us out. If that’s you, or you have a connection that can hook us up, please drop us a line at ussmarinerblogspot@hotmail.com. Thanks.

In other news, Larry Stone, the only Officially Endorsed Seattle Baseball Reporter of the U.S.S. Mariner, wrote a column today about Sunday’s loss and Box Melvin’s reaction, and writes this about Melvin’s success so far:

“Virtually every move has been the right one. Every button pushed has coaxed an exhilarating result. The Mariners have emerged as the best team in baseball, one that has raised new hopes that this will be the year with an October celebration.”

I have a couple of thoughts about this: first, I think the best record in baseball is not a defense. I railed on some of Piniella’s decisions when he was down and when he went 162-0 (seriously, did we lose any games that year? I don’t remember any losses), and Lou’s shortcomings weren’t any less short because he won 162 games. Certainly, you have to consider that you’re wrong, that what you think is counter-productive actually has beneficial effects you’re not thinking of.

But let’s take another case. Say my wife leaves town (to our female readers: Dave’s the only eligible bachelor on the good ship Mariner, and I wholeheartedly endorse him for your flirtation and emailing needs. In fact, we’re so impressed with Dave Cameron, we’re giving him our full endorsement. Email him now, you know you want to), and I walk into a local Indian casino and bet my house on #22, because that’s the number Will Clark wore. I have no knowledge of roulette, previous spins, the table, the croupier, it’s a cold bet.

Now, as the ball dances, have I made a good decision or not?

No, clearly not. The house wins overall. There’s a 1 in 38 chance any number will come up, but the payoff for gambling isn’t $38 to a $1 bet, it’s $35 to $1 if you’re in a reasonable casino. I’ve just lost, if you’ll bear with me, 3/38ths of my bet. There are 37 chances I lose the house and you never read another post from me, and there’s 1 chance the ball stops on 22 and I’m in the money.

Say I lose: have I made a bad decision to bet? Certainly.

Say I win: have I made a bad decision to bet? Certainly.

No one should confuse a positive outcome with a good decision. If Melvin uses his bullpen to protect wide leads while punting tie games and close losses, and he ends up with the most wins in baseball, that doesn’t mean the decision is wise.

Think of Melvin as an expert blackjack player. He knows when to hit and when to stay, split and double down (always on 11), and maybe he’s counting cards or just aces/face cards and maybe, just maybe, he’s got someone at the next table with an angle on the cards relaying information on cards Melvin shouldn’t be able to see. Box Melvin’s going to be able to even the odds against the casino, maybe even scrape out some money.

The trouble is that Box has a quirk. He decides that whenever he has over 18 and both cards are black, he’ll hit. Every time. This makes him a less able player, even though for the most part, he may be doing a good job and still able to stay above water.

You see where I’m going with this. That the Mariners failed to score 1 or more runs in a game Melvin gave up on when they were only 1 back doesn’t mean that he pushed the right buttons in letting the game get away from the team. To run my blackjack analogy into the ground, every hand is a random outcome. You can’t say “oh, if only you hadn’t folded, I’d have gotten that 3 of spades and beat the dealer”. Well, you can, but it means you’re dumb. If you replayed Sunday’s game again with the same pitching changes, you almost certainly get the win out of it, but that doesn’t mean that Melvin made the right moves, or that Bochy didn’t win the game by throwing everything at Melvin and then, when Melvin was distracted, clocking him with the kitchen sink.

I miss Piniella, in a way. I was talking to my Dad about this this weekend — Piniella didn’t care what the score was, all he cared about was how he was going to win the most games. A tie game was a game the M’s hadn’t taken the lead yet. A 1-run deficit? He’d scratch that out any way he could, small ball or whatever. 2 runs? He was looking for a way to put his foot in the other manager’s ass. Piniella challenged every team he ever managed to win: he expected it of them, and he settled for nothing less. I frequently didn’t agree with his tactics, but I always respected that about him.

Melvin concedes the tie, he concedes the losses. I know that Melvin manages a veteran team of professionals blah blah blah, and I know chemistry’s bunk yadda yadda yadda, but I still wonder — what does his team think about it? Are we going to see his players mail it in in any situation where they’re not in the lead because Box clearly does?

June 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Aaron Harang is the starting pitcher for the A’s tonight. Aaron Harang is also right-handed.

Dan Wilson is the starting catcher for the Mariners tonight. Do you know what Dan Wilson has done against right-handed pitchers this year? In 95 at-bats, he has 16 hits, only two of those for extra bases, drawn 3 walks, and has struck out 22 times. Thats a .168/.194/.200 line, good for a .394 OPS. Just for comparison sakes, the Mariners pitchers went 5 for 23 in interleague play, giving them a .218/.218/.218 line, good for a .436 OPS.

So, yes folks, when Dan Wilson starts against a right-handed pitcher, the Mariners would theoretically improve by having Joel Pineiro or Ryan Franklin pinch-hit for him.

June 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

The good news: Matt White has been sent back to Cleveland and replaced by Aaron Taylor on the roster.

The bad news: Pat Gillick officially gave up Sheldon Fulse for absolutely nothing.

June 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

If Bob Melvin is the “in-game strategist equivalent of a box of rocks,” as Dave says, what does that say about bench coach Rene Lachemann, who occupies the role usually associated with in-game strategy? I’d like to start calling him “sack of hammers”. The funny part about this is that we got to see another manager, with much duller tools, throw everything he could into a loss and come away with the win. You will never in the course of this season see Melvin gamble everything he has, punting defense and late-inning pinch-hit possibilities, the way the Padres did tonight.

Box o’ Rocks was hired in large part because he interviewed so well with the team. We can rest assured that his interview didn’t include any kind of actual game testing, because — and I mean this entirely seriously — given identical teams I would kick Box’s ass playing any baseball simulation in a seven-game series. Diamond Mind, Strat-o-Matic, whatever you want, set us up and I will make him cry like an unhappy, soiled, hungry baby.

June 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Apparently, Jason was sitting in front of Bob Melvin last night.

Earlier this year, I went through a late game situation where Melvin badly misused his bullpen and bench and turned what should have been a win into a loss. I could do that again today, but I don’t feel like being repetitive. The past few weeks, all we’ve been saying is Melvin is clueless when it comes to using relievers. We’ve known all year that he doesn’t have the slightest idea of who on his bench is actually good (Colbrunn) and who isn’t (everyone else). Now, we’re simply left with one conclusion:

Bob Melvin is the in-game strategist equivalent of a box of rocks.

June 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Overheard at the ballpark, 6/28/03:

Son: Dad, what’s O-B-P?

Father: That’s on-base percentage. It’s what his batting average is when there are runners on base.

Way to breed ignorance, moron.

June 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

What goes better with a new Future Forty than an updated Big Board? My thoughts exactly. In addition to a few other minor changes, please welcome the Everett AquaSox to the party. I haven’t gotten around to listing the rookie level Peoria Mariners yet, mostly because they go through so many players that it scares me. In any event, click, enjoy, and e-mail me if you see something that doesn’t look quite right. Finally, my apologies to San Antonio LHP Justin Lamber, who for some reason has been left off the Missions’ roster all season. Sorry Justin!

June 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Good news; I’ve updated the Future Forty for the month of July. Yeah, I know I’m a few days early, but I didn’t think anyone would complain. The top of the list remains largely unchaged, but there are some big movers and shakers. Ryan Anderson falls off the list after his 3rd surgery, Ryan Christianson drops nearly 20 spots, and 17-year-old Felix Hernandez debuts all the way up at #13. Get used to hearing his name folks, because the M’s absolutely love this kid. He’s been referred to as the best arm they’ve ever signed internationally. They’re going to baby him in Everett this year, but he’s got a world of potential.

Anyways, check out the entire list and feel free to drop me a line with any comments or questions.

June 27, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Oh, and just because we’re not sure Arthur Rhodes can protect a SIX RUN LEAD with 2 outs in the 9th inning, lets go bring in Jeff Nelson and play the matchups. Because its not like Rondell White has had any kind of success against Jeff Nelson lately…

Yet, the next time we trail by a run in the 7th inning, we’ll see Matt White trotting out to the mound. Just awful. Might as well let Bloomquist DH and hit him cleanup.

June 27, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

The San Diego Padres have scored the second fewest runs in the National League, averaging under 4 per game. The Mariners have a 5 run lead with 4 outs to go, and its time for Bob Melvin to go to the bullpen. Who does he go to? Arthur Rhodes, of course.

This is a team that scores 3.9 runs when given 27 outs, and we’re afraid that they might score 5 runs when given 4 outs in Safeco Field? Get a grip, Bob. This was the perfect time to give Rafael Soriano (remember him?) some work. Instead, Melvin’s insane usage of the bullpen continues. Earlier in the year, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for being a rookie manager, but he’s not getting any better. Somebody, anybody, sit this man down and explain to him how to use a bullpen.

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