June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Randy Winn during June, pre-tonight (so this is slightly low):

.290/.385/.470, 100 AB, 11 XBH, 14 BB, 15 K, 4 SB

There may be a chance we get out of that contract just yet. He’s one of the guys the M’s should be actively trying to move, taking just about anything in return. There are much better ways to spend $4 million come this offseason.

Update: Just about to shut off Mlb.TV and go to bed when I hear the following phrase: “Winn (drawn out last sylable, pause), can’t get to it.” I’m guessing that ranks right up there with “frustrating loss” and “another blown opportunity” as the three most used terms during M’s broadcasts this year.

June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

On the game, at 8:30 — I totally support the abolition of the balk rule, followed by a limitation on the number of times a pitcher can throw to a base before delivering a pitch. Trickery and stealing bases are fun. Throwing to first 9,000 times when someone fast is on first is fricking boring.

June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Is there any real reason Clint Nageotte is still in the majors? He was pretty obviously not ready when they called him up, and he hasn’t done anything to show that he deserves to stay. He’s burning service time and development opportunities. Send him back to Tacoma and let him continue to work on his command and a third pitch. Having him in Seattle isn’t doing anyone any good.

Felix Hernandez makes his Double-A debut for San Antonio tomorrow night. A few people have asked about his time table and when we might see him in the show. I mentioned during spring training that the club believed he could end 2005 in the majors, and he hasn’t done anything to change those thoughts. There’s a very real chance Felix is going to be in Safeco Field a year from now.

June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Yes! Exactly! That’s what I should have said after I got all mad there: carried the argument in a worthwhile and interesting direction.

Also, here’s the other issue: maybe the M’s demographic is as skewed as it is because they *make it that way* by marketing and shaping the experience to that demographic.

June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Just my quick $0.02 on the female fan issue. I don’t think there is any disputing that, as a group, female fans view the game differently than males. Just like they view everything else on earth differently than we do. Even the women who have written us who were upset by Thiel’s column will agree with that point, I’d imagine. However, I feel that the breakdown in Lincoln/Thiel’s argument is the assumption that their different perception of the team necessitates a different product be placed on the field. To me, this sounds like a “reasonable” assumption that a bunch of men would come to about women that, in all likelyhood, is completely wrong.

As an example, I work for a division of a major corporation that makes prodcuts strictly for women. However, our division is run by men, planned by men, organized by men, and almost completely driven by the male point of view. Almost all of my coworkers are female, however, and some of the products we’ve put out have become the running jokes of the office. They’ve been designed with seemingly well thought out motives and been analyzed by some of the top male minds in the industry, but it takes the women in our office 10 seconds of practical use to realize the giant design flaw that the men never caught a hold of.

Thats what this whole thing reminds me of. The men in the Mariners front office have, no doubt, ran numerous demographic surveys and realized that they have a significantly large portion of their fan base that is female. The normal assumption, then, as a male, is that the Mariners have more casual fans in their fan base that care less about winning and more about personality than a normal major league organization, and feel the need to make sure that those traits are covered in player acquisition as well.

I’d argue that this is where the logic breaks down. My Mom is a huge Mariner fan. She loves Dan Wilson, in spite of the years I’ve spent extolling his weaknesses to her. She thinks its great that the team has a bunch of family-values guys who do charity work and aren’t out partying on the weekends. And, while thinking all that, she’s been to exactly one game this year, far less than normal years, because she thinks the team stinks and isn’t any fun to watch.

I think a large majority of the female Mariner fans would tell you that they really cared about how nice the players were and love the ad campaigns and family friendly atmosphere. And I think a large majority of those woman aren’t coming to the games anymore because the product on the field stinks. Just like the men in their lives aren’t coming to the games because the team stinks.

Male fans and female fans certainly view the game differently. When it comes right down to it, though, they are all still fans, regardless of gender, and what they really want is for the team to be playing in October. If the Mariners want to cater to their female fan base, they should concentrate on winning ballgames. Because women love winning too.

June 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Art Thiel’s column “Sentiment blurs Mariners’ vision” is one of the more disturbing columns you’ll read this year.

Bavasi’s not trading Dan-Edgar-Jamie because the fans have a connection with them.

“There’s absolutely no question that the nature of this market is different than nearly every other in baseball,” team president Chuck Armstrong said.

His strongest evidence is consistent fan surveys done by the club and major league baseball that show more women and families attending games here than any other park in the country.

Thiel then mentions but passes over the really disturbing part:

That doesn’t mean women can’t be hard-core fans demanding excellence, or that men can’t enjoy just hanging at the yard.

If that’s the case, then what’s the whole point of mentioning women as a factor in the decision? Doesn’t this reasoning demand that you believe that women, even allowing for that token exception, don’t care about quality of baseball and want to see their players cute and cuddly (as Thiel puts it)? Or that parents who bring their kids want to see clubhouse guys over quality of play?

Thiel then falls into the trap himself!

“I don’t know if the word ‘fault’ is right, but it’s probably our doing,” Armstrong said. “We said, ‘You gotta love these guys.’ We end up keeping players longer than other teams.”

It isn’t just female fans who have pull. A 1996 decision to keep popular second baseman Joey Cora came from some of the local minority owners who couldn’t bear to see the cute little guy go away.


See, he’s gone back and tipped over the cart while you weren’t looking. It’s not “women and families” anymore. No, it’s those darn female fans, with their love of Dan Wilson, that are the reason the Mariners can’t compete by picking up good but unfriendly players.

Where is the evidence — any evidence — that female fans of the Mariners don’t care if the team wins or loses? Isn’t that just the basest of gross stereotypes, that women are shallow and concerned with appearance over performance, emotionally invested in personalities but not competition?

I’m disappointed in Thiel. If he’s parroting Mariner management, he passed up a prime chance to grill them on these deeply sexist, offensive views of female fans and the parents who bring their kids to the ballpark.

If it’s his own view that female fans are this way, I’m even more disappointed.

June 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Trying to stave off a few emails here, because this is apparently a topic for discussion on some message boards somewhere.

Michael Morse is a shortstop in the same way that Wil Cordero (probably the best comp. I can come up with for Morse, overall), Gary Sheffield, Julio Franco and Chipper Jones came up as shortstops. In 10 years, if Morse has a major league career, people will look at you and say “really?” when you tell them that Morse once played a meaningful defensive position. Apparently, I understated just how abysmal Morse is with the glove, and folks who have no first hand knowledge of his defensive skills find it necessary to speculate on whether he can stay at the position.

Just to be clear, he couldn’t play shortstop for your beer league team. You’d hide him in left field and pray to God that the team had a bunch of left-handed pull hitters. Reactions to watching him range to his right vary from “I could have gotten that” to “a paraplegic hippo makes that play” as the ball bounces into the outfield. Toss in a general malaise in the field, consistent lack of effort, and a reputation as being uncoachable, and improvement just isn’t in the cards here.

These opinions were born out of watching him play several times a week last year as the regular shortstop for the Winston-Salem Warthogs, more or less my home team. I work 5 minutes from Ernie Shore Field and have been a regular at the park for the past three seasons. These opinions have nothing to do with the statistical bent that I know some people hold against us. This is purely observational and completely based on traditional scouting. Whether you think we’re computer geeks or not is pretty much irrelevant in this case. Having watched Michael Morse play more often than just about anyone on earth not employed by the Chicago White Sox, it is painfully obvious to me that he’s physically incapable of playing shortstop at an acceptable level, and I don’t believe his defensive abilities translate well at any position. You can live with his shortcomings in the outfield or first base, but in the long run, Morse’s position is probably going to be “hitter”, and if he develops tremendously, might have a nice run as a DH for some American League team.

All that said, I still think he’s a decent prospect, more than a throw-in, and I’m glad the M’s picked him up in the deal. Even when he was hitting .240 last year, it was apparent that his offensive talent held some untapped promise. His bat has potential to carry him to the majors. But one thing should definitely be clear and not really be up for discussion; he can’t play shortstop at the major league level.

June 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Shameless self-promotion two:

I’ll be on the air tonight with Pat Dillon during the Everett Aquasox pregame show. You can listen live via their internet site, or old fashioned radio at 90.7 on the FM dial.

And, if you’re looking for a reason to go watch the Aquasox this year, how about Casey Craig, who I called the potential steal of the draft last year. In his first 32 at-bats, he’s hitting .313/.463/.438 with a 9/7 BB/K ratio. Not bad for a 19-year-old in the Northwest League. Look for Craig to move up the charts pretty quickly in the soon-to-be-updated future forty.

June 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Shameless self-promotion: Today’s free article at Baseball Prospectus is my column on whether Edgar should retire. Free means even those of you who have suffered head trauma of some kind or have another reason not to subscribe to BP Premium can read this and see what you’re missing.

June 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

If you were a little leery about getting too excited about an A ball prospect, it is now okay to bust out the word phenom. King Felix has been promoted to Double-A San Antonio at the ripe age of 18, after the hitter-happy California League poised little challenge. During his time in San Bernardino, he posted a 2.74 ERA in 92 innings, giving up 85 hits, walking 26, and striking out 114. He leaves the Cal League as the league leader in wins and strikeouts, and he was 4th in ERA. He’ll likely end the year in San Antonio, but if he continues to dominate, don’t be surprised if he’s throwing in Tacoma next spring, and there’s a real chance he could be in Seattle by next summer. At age 19. This kid is for real.

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