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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?
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.
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.