October 31, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

There’s sad news tonight, folks — Ken Cloude has signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I wish him the best, but somehow reuniting with Lou doesn’t seem like the best career choice. First Mabry, now Cloude… the organization is falling apart.

Also, I notice that the Yankees have declined their contract option on LHP Gabe White. He’d make a nice addition to next year’s bullpen, either along with or instead of Arthur Rhodes.

October 31, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

The Mariners have declined to bring John Mabry back for next year, the Everett Herald reports. Manny cleared waivers, so the team didn’t bite on him. Thanks to reader Michael Lewis for the link.

October 31, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Forgive me for a slightly contemplative mood and a completely unrelated post to the usual topics at hand.

For me, November 1st, 2002 is one of those days that I will always remember. My parents talk of where they were when JFK was shot, we landed on the moon, or the space shuttle exploded. For me, 365 days ago, I found out what that feeling was like.

I was sitting in church on a Friday night when my roommate left the room to take a phone call. When he returned, his expression changed, but I paid little attention to it. As the service wound down, Chad told the speaker that he had received word that friends of ours had gotten into a car accident in Charlotte and were being treated at the North Carolina burn unit in Chapel Hill. At that point, we were told that it was time to pray, and the names of those involved were read. I heard the name Elizabeth Dunnagan, whom I had never met. Then came Vito Cheong, an acquaintance but not someone I was particularly close to. My heart sank, however, when the words Steve Coffey rolled through my ears.

We did not know the extent of the injuries, and my first reaction was that I hoped it wouldn’t effect Steve’s plans to come see our new apartment. After a few minutes, though, my eyes began to water, and I headed outside and broke down. Something inside of me knew it wasn’t good. I knew I had to go to Raleigh and see my friend. Chad and I took off in my car, him driving, as I was too shaken to steer. We got to the hospital around 11 p.m. and were told that Vito was fine, treated at the scene, and resting in Charlotte. Steve and Elizabeth were fighting for their lives.

At about 3 a.m., they told us they had an update and gathered the 100 or so people who had come into a meeting room, where they informed us that Steve Coffey had passed away after 23 years of life. I cried a bit, but not as hard as earlier, when I thought he was still alive. I hugged a few people who were as stunned as I was, not knowing what else to do. Chad and I drove home, nearly silent the entire time. Saturday was a blur filled with teary phone calls and a numbness I hope to never feel again. I called my parents and told them that I loved them, and tracked down a friend in Canada who was the only person I felt I could tell how I was really feeling. I called friends of Steve’s that hadn’t heard yet, waking them up with unbelievably bad news. I cried a little more, did absolutely nothing, and hoped to wake up from what seemed like a bad dream.

Steve was the first person to say hello to me when I walked into our school, thousands of miles from home and wondering what I was doing. Surrounded by strange people in a small town being melted by humidity, I felt out of place. Then he came over, said hi to me, and took the time to introduce me to some people feeling a lot like I did. On the day that I walked into that building, I needed a friend. I got a lot more than I asked for.

Steve and I were different guys, ran in different circles. We never became best buddies and didn’t do that many things together. However, had you seen the way he treated me when we were together, you would have thought he was my older brother. He treated everyone that way. He genuinely loved people and cared about everyone he ran into. He gave until he had no more to give, and then would ask if you needed anything else. Steve loved people, more than anyone I have ever met, and went out of his way to make sure that you knew he was there for you.

He had an effect on me. I was clearly not the only one, though, as nearly 1500 people crammed into a building designed for 600 to attend his memorial service. It was the most powerful two hours of my life, and I still watch the video from time to time to remember why I am here. His impact on my life is tangible, but for many others, he was more than a friend. He was a brother, a son, a coach, a mentor, a teacher, and someone to look up to. There were so many sides to Steve, but they all revolved around other people and how he could help them.

He grabbed a hold of the truth and ran with it, inspiring people along the way. He lived what he believed and reminded us all that there was far more to life than we had experienced. He was taken far too soon, but his death was the fuse that ignited change in a vast number of people. Even in passing, Steve Coffey was causing people to change. A foundation has been setup in his name to help build the youth camp that was one of his dreams. You can also call the 800 number on the page and order a copy of the video of his memorial service if you feel the need to be inspired. However, above all else, there is one lesson to be learned from his life; you can help someone in ways you never thought possible. There are a lot of 18-year-old David Cameron’s wandering around, looking for a friend. You are someone else’s Steve Coffey, and the chance to have an impact on someone’s life is the best thing you could ever accomplish.

I miss you Steve. Thanks for everything.

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

If nobody else is talking about it, I might as well — the M’s have hired Paul Molitor as their new hitting instructor. The most interesting part of this typically bland AP story, however, is this: When Molitor was interviewed recently, [Bret] Boone and [Edgar] Martinez were in the building and got word of his visit. “The message from Edgar was, ‘What are we waiting for? Let’s hire him,’ ” [Bob] Melvin said.

Now I don’t know about you, but that sure makes it sound to me that Edgar is planning on being back next season.

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

Update! Because I don’t want to leapfrog Dave’s post: problem’s solved, thanks again to the helpful intervention of readers, I’m up and running again. Content, content, content tonight. And I promise now to not to talk about what it cost to set up the site, as the site has now clearly given more back to me than I invested.

I’m sure many of you are thinking “I sure wish I knew how Derek was doing with his computer.” Let me tell you: Badly. I overnighted all these replacement parts, got the computer to power up, to find that it wouldn’t boot — it’d go to boot, and then I’d see a flash of the blue screen of death, and it would reboot before I could do anything. Repeat. I end up re-installing XP off my CD, which I had (to my credit) removed from the flimsy envelope it came in, put into a solid jewel case and stashed with the enevelope away from everything else. So install install install… boom, I need the flimsy envelope… and it’s nowhere to be found.

I get email sometimes from people who complain I’m too full of myself, but I sit down to write an article, or a post, and I remember all the things I’ve got wrong, from last week’s inability to remember Sterling Hitchcock got sent to the Cardinals to years and years back. I’m a guy who can’t succesfully keep a 25-character code for Windows XP attached to the CD it absolutely must not be separated with.

Anyway, this whole adventure has now cost me hours and hours and $hundreds. If there’s one thing I can pass along today, here:

Don’t buy cheap RAM for your computer unless you’re not attached to it, or your data, or your time.

I’d really have rather updated the GM scoreboard than torn my room up looking for the CD key. #@$@#%!@%!!!!

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

The Red Sox placed Manny Ramirez on waivers yesterday, allowing any team that wants to inherit his contract to take him off of Boston’s hands. These are irrovocable waivers, so if anyone claims Ramirez, the Red Sox lose him and are not awarded any kind of compensation. These waivers are different than the ones in place during August, when teams can pull players back and then complete a trade. If the Mariners were to claim Ramirez (and be the team with the worst record in the AL to do so), they would simply take on his contract and not have to work out a trade with Boston.

However, I can’t imagine them doing it. If they won’t pay $25 million for Alex Rodriguez, they won’t pay $20 million for Manny Ramirez, a vastly inferior player with character issues. I don’t think I would claim him either, if I were in their position. The market for free agents has deflated in the past several years, and I don’t expect anyone to fetch that sum this year. If you offered me a choice between Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero, I’d take Guerrero. Guerrero will sign for less than what Ramirez is slated to make over the next 5 years.

For what Ramirez will cost, you could probably acquire Ivan Rodriguez, keep Mike Cameron, and make a run at Kazuo Matsui. I’d rather have that trio than Ramirez, whose defensive issues would be exacerbated in Safeco Field.

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

David may well be right, but let’s be honest — giving the M’s more draft picks is like giving a twenty to a drunk bum you meet in the malt liquor section. The team’s only going to blow any picks they pick up this off-season on tall left-handed high school pitchers.

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

The free agent rankings from the Elias Sports Bureau are here, and they’re as wacky as ever. The best player in the American League this year; Roy Halladay. Yep, this is our system.

Anyways, this is what matters to Mariner fans. Type A free agents, if offered arbitration, will net the Mariners a compensatatory first round pick and either a 1st round pick (if the signing team picks 16th-30th) or a 2nd round pick (if they pick 1st-15th). Type B free agents are like Type A’s without the compensatory pick (which is why the Diamondbacks got the Mariners selection so we could sign Greg Colbrunn…). Type C’s bring lesser compensation, usually a 3rd round pick.

M’s free agents:

Type A:

Edgar Martinez. But he’s not leaving, and we don’t want him to.

Mike Cameron. They have to offer him arbitration, and probably won’t bring him back. Hello compensation.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa: Please let someone else sign him. Two high draft picks for a middle reliever? This is theft!

Arthur Rhodes: I want him back, but won’t weep if he leaves and the M’s reap the benefits.

Armando Benitez: Won’t be offered arbitration, so this point is moot.

Type C:

Rey Sanchez. If they offer him arbitration, I’ll burn something down.

No Compensation:

Mark McLemore. Shocking, I know.

John Mabry. Elias knows what Gillick did not; this guy sucks.

Pat Borders. Helping Freddy Garcia is not part of the formula.

In the end, I’d expect the Mariners to end up with extra picks from whoever signs Cameron and Hasegawa. I think Rhodes and Martinez will be back, and Benitez will be non-tendered. As long as we don’t get crazy in the offseason, we should have an extra 2-4 picks in the first two rounds of next years draft.

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

By the way, Bartolo Colon is officially insane. I can’t imagine anyone will give him more than the 3 year, $33 million dollar contract the White Sox offered, especially considering that Colon will almost certainly be a Type A free agent and cost the signing team a draft choice as compensation.

Here’s to hoping that Texas decides that Colon is the savior of that rotation and throws oodles of money at him. He would go well with Chan Ho Park in the “remember when we thought this guy was actually good?” rotation.

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

Oh, and Jon Wells of the Official Unofficial Mariner Program of the U.S.S. Mariner, the Grand Salami, emailed us this gem:

At the Mariners very own website — the truth about the ’03 payroll. Not even close to $92 million…

Q: Where did the Mariners rank in total payroll in 2003? Thank you very much for the information.

— Von Lammers

A: According to USA Today, the Yankees began the 2003 season with a $152,749,814 player payroll, followed by the Mets ($117,176,429), Braves ($106,243,667), Dodgers ($105,872,620), Rangers ($103,491,667), Red Sox ($99,946,500) and Mariners ($86,959,167).

What’s the over/under on how long that question stays up? A day? A week?

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