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

I wish I shared this guy’s optimism.

Unless I’m mistaken, the 2004 Mariners are going to be on par with, if not a slightly better team than the one that won 116 games in 2001, albeit a tad older.

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

With a couple of days left in the year, I’ve been thinking about writing a couple of things: “Six Pitches” a long piece about single pitches out of the M’s season that turned them from division winners into also-rans (and why, ultimately, such speculation is meaningless), some others, but instead, here’s my favorite moment of 2003.

On April 22nd, the M’s led 3-2 going into the ninth. Kaz came in and put three guys on, one scoring, and left the tied game with back trouble. Second-lefty-in-the-pen Carrara was called in to face Josh Bard, and walked him to load the bases. Selby hit for Blake and singled in two runs and Mike Cameron made a beautiful catch in center to get the team out of the inning.

And then Randy Winn got on with a cheap single, Boone walked, Edgar singled in Winn (5-4 now), Olerud walked, and with the bases loaded Mike Cameron steps to the plate. He takes a strike (“Boooooo” said the anti-Cameron crowd) and on the second pitch pulls a high fly ball — and Jason, and Dave, and I all started to stand, feeling my skin start to crackle with electricity, screaming “Get out! Get out!” at a stupid ball with no ears and then laughing with joy as it went into the stands over the scoreboard and the place went insane. All was forgiven — the bullpen’s ninth-inning collapse, original sin, whatever — Mike Cameron won the game.

That’s what I think of when I want to cheer myself up this off-season. I was at the game cheering Cameron’s home run into the stands, in fine company. That’s why we play the games.

No matter how stupid the team acts, it’s worth remembering we’ll be able to see thirty Jamie Moyer starts, Edgar hit, and hopefully, we’ll see the first full season of Soriano in the rotation as he develops into (I hope) the Cy Young candidate we saw in his future this year.

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

RIP Ivan Calderon

The former M’s outfielder was shot to death in Puerto Rico Saturday. Calderon began his ten-year MLB career with Seattle in 1984 before being traded to the White Sox for Scott Bradley in 1986. He later spent time with the Expos and Red Sox before finishing his career back with the White Sox in 1993. His career line can be found here.

December 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Pokey Reese signed a 1 year, $1 million contract with the Red Sox earlier this week. Last week, Ben Grieve signed a 1 year, $750,000 contract with the Brewers. Both of these players were on my suggested off-season acquisitions, and their combined salaries will be $400,000 less than the Mighty McCracken will take to the bank.

We’re getting a lot of requests for write-ups on some of the more obscure minor league guys, and I’ll make this a priority after the new year. I’ll update the Future Forty (goodbye Allan Simpson…) before Spring Training as well.

Also, it has gone mostly unnoticed so far, but as it stands on December 26th, the American League West sucks. First one to 85 wins gets the crown?

December 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion.

In today’s Times, Larry Stone has a longish feature on the Bavasi family and their involvement in professional baseball over the years. If nothing else, this should serve as a reminder that despite his relative youth (45), current M’s GM Bill Bavasi is very much from the old school in the way he approaches his job. It would be a huge upset if he were to suddenly — as someone at our recent gathering suggested might be possible — change his ways to what is currently considered “enlightened” baseball thinking.

I don’t mean this to sound negative, because certainly Pat Gillick built some very good teams with his manner of thinking. However, I do think it’s important to understand the sort of GM Bavasi is going to be and go from there when we all consider, critique, evaluate, etc., his decisions.

December 23, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I know I haven’t been posting much lately, as I try to spend as much time with my family as humanly possible in a one-week stretch. I hope all of you have a great Christmas, and challenge you with one piece of advice that I’m attempting to take to heart myself; don’t let the thoughts of your heart go unspoken, assuming the opportunity will come again. Carpe Diem.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

December 23, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Larry Stone in da’ house.

So it’s nearly Christmas, and Mariners fans are in pretty much the same place we left them last September, a simmering collective mass of skepticism. And Mariners’ management has the same answer, one that doesn’t have quite the same soothing power it once did:

Trust us. We know what we’re doing.

December 22, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I’ve updated the Big Board.

Looking over the major league roster I’m showing presently, there are probably three spots up for grabs — those of Luis Ugueto, Jeff Cirillo and Aaron Looper. With Willie Bloomquist on the roster and the team interested in Rich Aurilia’s services, Ugueto could very easily start the season in Tacoma with Jose Lopez. Cirillo will almost certainly not be with the M’s when they break camp, either because they’ve found a trade he’ll accept or simply released him. The final spot in the bullpen, currently Looper’s, is up for grabs as well. I’m sure the M’s would like to see that spot go to a lefty, be it free agent Scott Sauerbeck or a minor leaguer like Bobby Madritsch or George Sherrill. Barring that, it’s the sort of spot that could go to whomever has a good run in spring training, be it Looper, JJ Putz, Brian Sweeney or even someone like Rett Johnson or Jeff Heaverlo.

December 22, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Judging by our traffic today, most of you aren’t at work checking out the USS Mariner. But hey, that’s cool. It’s the holidays, afterall, and of course many of you turned out on Saturday for our first-ever gathering, which we really appreciate.

I found yet another new M’s blog today. What’s interesting about this one is — wait for it — unlike the rest, it’s not hosted on Blogger. Amazing, I know. In any event, enjoy DC M’s, “Seattle Mariner talk, from a pessimistic, East coast, ignorant fan.”

In other news, 58 players became non-tendered free agents this weekend. At least a few of these guys have some appeal for the M’s, particularly if they’re serious about signing another lefty for the bullpen (Boston’s Scott Sauerbeck is probably at the top of the list). Over in the Times, Bob Finnigan has more about this.

December 22, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Aha– reader-submitted site “100000 Watts” noted in an update Friday:

“KNDD 107.7 Seattle WA shifts its format slightly, moving from modern rock to “classic” modern rock, focusing on alternative music from the 90s onward. “The End” is giving its air staff the holidays off (at least as far as listeners are concerned); they’ll return to the air in January. ”

And then today:

“KYPT 96.5 Seattle WA dropped its 80s pop format and “Point” nickname Friday afternoon at 5, following crosstown competitor KNDD 107.7 Seattle WA to a “classic alternative” format, under the new nickname “96.5 K-Rock.””

Yup. I’m not crazy after all. The End’s site is down for shift-related-reasons, too. I will now re-adjust my antenna so I can pull in KEXP at work (I was going to complain “who’s going to play Death Cab for Cutie now?” but I looked on their site and they just played White Stripes, Halo Benders, Gorillaz (boy, did that novelty wear off), Cibo Matto, and Stereolab. Yeaaah. I don’t know what I’ll do during the weirder shows (“John’s Hour of Distant Scratching and Whistling Noises”). Seattle’s become the best argument for satellite radio I’ve heard in a while.

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