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

Folks, check out this nice new server. Here at U.S.S. Mariner labs, we’re working day and night to bring you the best Mariners commentary we can, for free. Why? We’re not sure.

Our new server contains some cool features I’m working on exploiting. The most important, blogspot was okay for a tiny site but with our current massive readership, I felt like it wasn’t good enough: it’s not a big deal if it’s hard for me to log in and use the tools, but when I went to view the site and it took ages to load, or bombed halfway through, or rendered the page in the wrong character set… I can’t have you all put up with that. It’s almost disrespectful. “Thanks for coming to our site, sorry it’s really hard to read anything. Try hitting ‘reload’ ten or fifteen times.”

This should help. I think the only downside is I’m likely to be a little more paranoid about using up bandwith.

The most common feature requests I get are (in order):

– comments

– forums

– uh, something else I forget but people really wanted. I have a to-do list around here somewhere

And our wish list is pretty short:

– better posting tools so Dave can do tables without cursing up a storm (behind the scenes I’m tinkering with WordPress, for instance) (also, I don’t think Dave really curses) (certainly not like me)

I’m working on those, but it’s slow going, and I’m taking the time to do this well rather than something quick (as opposed to many of my posts, yes, it’s an amusing contrast). Me and MySQL aren’t getting along as well as I’d like, for instance. I’m also working on a nice new template and some other good stuff. And in general… I have to say that I’m not convinced that comments and forums will turn out to be worth it.

But given the quality and volume of the email we get every day, I have faith that the USSM readership has a lot to say that’s worthwhile, and maybe I can build something that supports that, and doesn’t turn into Trollorama 20000.

I think I speak for Jason and Dave as well when I say that U.S.S. Mariner has grown from years of email conversations between the three of us into a much larger dialogue with our readers, who absolutely and totally are the coolest bunch of people. It’s been educational, funny, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been continually impressed that when we make some unrelated comment (XP ate my networking stack again/my wireless phone cuts the network off) we get emails from all kinds of people willing to offer helpful advice or just sympathy.

If investing in our own server, keeping the site ad-free, and adding new features helps us pay back some of the debt we owe to the people who check us out every day, then I would look at that debt and find it still massive.

As always, if you’ve got a feature request or something you’d like to see us do now that we’re freed from the tyranny of a server that doesn’t let us do scripting and stuff, or if you’ve noticed something broken, please drop me a line.


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

A couple quick points

  • We wanted Mike Cameron back for his defense.  Despite hitting .165 in May while playing through a broken hand, Cameron hit his 19th and 20th homers today, and as of right now, would rank as the Mariners 3rd best hitter.  Refusing to even offer him arbitration was the Mariners biggest mistake of the offseason. 
  • The sample is ridiculously small, but Bucky’s EqA right now is .351.  Among qualifying hitters, Manny Ramirez leads the AL with a .343 mark.  Since being called up, Bucky has been hitting at a mark that would make him an MVP candidate over a full season.  Good thing Melvin thought Willie Bloomquist had a better chance of getting on base in the 9th on Tuesday. 
  • In case we had all forgotten, Aaron Sele sucks. 
  • Not that line-ups matter even if we weren’t 341 games out of first place, but Scott Spiezio hitting 6th? The man is hitting .208/.282/.353.  If you feel like you need to play him for his glove or because he’s on the roster, whatever.  But why hit him 6th?
  • Gil Meche rejoins the club tomorrow.  If he doesn’t pitch well in the bigs the next two months, I don’t see how you can justify offering him arbitration.  It’s the story that no one is talking about, but unless Meche shows something between now and the end of the year, he’s a non-tender.  Spring Training is filled with non-roster invitees with good stuff who just can’t get major league hitters out.  Gil Meche could very well be one next spring.
  • For the “Willie Bloomquist just needs to play regularly” crowd, he only took 6 days off in July, garnered 48 at-bats, and hit .271/.286/.333.  At this point, there’s absolutely no way to justify a major league roster spot for Bloomquist next year.  If he’s on the team in 2005, it’s simply because he’s from Port Orchard and the team is run by baboons. 
  • The Texas Rangers announced that Grady Fuson will resign at years end after being stabbed in the back by John Hart.  Hire Grady Fuson.  Getting promoted to assistant GM is all-around smart guy Jon Daniels, just 26 years old, who is already John Hart’s right-hand man.  Hart, when giving him a compliment, called him “one of the young, brainy types”.  If you want to see just how far behind the sea change the Mariners are, know that the Texas Rangers are now letting a man make important decisions about their roster construction who would be the third youngest player on the Mariners active roster.  The only people on the active roster who are younger than Daniels are Travis Blackley and Gil Meche.  Not surprisingly, the Mariners front office does not contain any “young, brainy types”.

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

I think there’s a better way to look at the switch-outs.

Leone’s hitting .212/.293/.481. Leone and Bloomquist move Spiezio to splitting time at first and third, at first Spiezio bumps Olerud, who was hitting .245/.354/.360.  Bloomquist’s hitting .250/.276/.313 and with Leone also replaces Aurilia, who was hitting .241/.304/.337.  Bucky’s hitting 263/.404/.658, which is awesome. Go Bucky! Bucky’s playing time has come at the expense of Olerud and Edgar. Edgar’s hitting an Un-Edgar .254/.344/.383.

As a whole, the offense is improved. It’s certainly a lot more interesting and powerful, but that power upgrade from Leone’s come with more playing time for Willie F. Bloomquist and a loss of Olerud’s OBP, particularly vs right-handers. As a guy who sees tons and tons of games, I like it.

The real issue, and I’m repeating myself from many past posts, is that I wanted to see Leone play not as 3b of the future but as an upgrade over Cirillo last year/Spiezio’s awful performance this year. Compared to either of those two things, he’s much cheaper. I didn’t expect great things from him, but given that I reasonably expected him to perform as well as those guys and possibly be a lot better (which we should note — would still not be great), calling for Leone to get more playing time made a lot of sense, and given the team’s situation right now, continues to make sense.

What playing these guys all season should tell the team is what we’ve been arguing for ages:

– Bloomquist can’t hit and can’t contribute enough to be a good use of a roster spot. Hopefully getting him a ton of playing time will put this beyond the realm of reasonable doubt and they’ll finally stop keeping him around for local kid pixie dust. This is good.

– the team desperately needs top-level talent, young or old, at SS/3B for the future. Now will they make another Spiezio move or look to do something creative?

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

Bucky Jacobsen now has as many homers (5) in 38 at-bats as John Olerud had in 261 this season. Justin Leone has as many (4) in 52 at-bats as Rich Aurilia had in 261 at-bats. Hmm.

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

I really need to stop reading columns on ESPN.  I’ve thankfully freed myself from the train wreck that is John Kruk, but for some reason, I found myself compelled to read the latest

ramblings from Joe Morgan.  If there is a man who sums up “self-centered” moreso than Morgan, I hope I never meet him.  Keep in mind, Morgan authored “Baseball for Dummies”, which is probably the most appropriately named book in the history of mankind.  Here’s a few gems from Morgan’s latest column:

I have to believe that part of Texas’ success this season has been the addition of Soriano and his winning attitude.

Let’s see here; Alfonso Soriano obviously has a winning attitude because his teams have always been good.  The Yankees haven’t fallen off without him because Miguel Cairo obviously possesses this same winning attitude.  Alex Rodriguez had a winning attitude in Seattle, but didn’t take it with him to Texas, but now that he’s been rejuvenated by moving to New York, has found this “winning attitude” again.  Okay, moving on, before this nonsense causes my brain cells to go on strike.

Moreover, Soriano has excelled at the plate (.281-19 HRs-63 RBI). In effect, the production of the three-time All-Star has replaced Alex Rodriguez (.280-25 HRs-64 RBI).

Soriano is hitting .281/.324/.464 in the best hitters park in the American League.  His road numbers are a mind-numbing .226/.281/.383, reminsicent of the late season collapsed that saw him benched in the world series in favor of Enrique Wilson.  Rodriguez is hitting .280/.372/.518 and is hitting better on the road than at home.  He’s also playing excellent defense at third, while Soriano continues to be an average at best second baseman with the glove. 

Remember, the first job of an infielder — especially a middle infielder — is to play defense. Offense is an added dimension. 

Which is why Rey Ordonez, Neifi Perez, and Deivi Cruz can’t hold a job, and lead-gloves like Jeff Kent and Derek Jeter are on their way to the hall of fame, right Joe? Just for fun, here’s the 2004 all-star middle infielders for the AL and NL:

Alfonso Soriano.  Poor defensive player.

Derek Jeter.  Poor defensive player.

Ron Belliard.  Poor defensive player.

Carlos Guillen.  Average defensive player.

Miguel Tejada.  Average defensive player.

Michael Young.  Above Average defensive player.

Edgar Renteria: Good defensive player.

Jeff Kent: Poor defensive player.

Mark Loretta: Average defensive player.

Barry Larkin: Poor defensive player.

Jack Wilson: Average defensive player.

That’s four bad fielders, four average fielders, and two that could reasonably consider their defense as an asset to the club.  But, hey, defense is what matters. Apparently just not to the fans, coaches, players, or general managers. 

The Cardinals feature Scott Rolen at third (my NL MVP so far)


We’ve covered this before, but there’s absolutely no way you can make a case for anyone in the National League besides Barry Bonds.  You just can’t do it with any kind of rational thinking that doesn’t include a complete hatred of the man’s personality. 

Now let’s look at the question of the best overall infield in baseball history. I’ll admit that I might be biased, but I don’t see how you can top the infield I played with on the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine team. While I haven’t been discussing catchers in the debate of the best infields today, I’m including the catcher in the best-ever debate. Why? Well, the catcher is of course part of the infield. And our catcher in Cincinnati is the best who ever played.

I mean, just read that paragraph again, and then try to tell me that he didn’t just throw any credibility he might have had out the window.  “I realize I’ve been doing it a certain way this entire column, but I have a point to make that will pad my ego, so I’m now changing the criteria that we’ve been using to allow me to say how great I am.”  Makes me want to punch the guy in the nose. 

Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel are considered by most fans today to be the best defensive shortstops in baseball history


Really? I can’t think of more than a handful of soccer moms who think Omar is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball history.  He’s pretty obviously not, and unless one’s criteria is “most barehanded plays where he should have used his glove”, there’s no case here.

If you’re considering offense and defense and team leadership, Concepcion still might be the best all-around shortstop ever — not counting A-Rod, since he’s a third baseman now.

Davey Concepcion’s career line: .267/.322/.357.  His OPS was above league average in just 6 of his 19 seasons, and for his career, his line is 12 percent below average for that era.  He hit 48 career home runs in 8,723 at-bats.  He’s something of a cross between an old-school Omar Vizquel and Royce Clayton.  If you consider Davey Concepcion to be the best shortstop of all time, you should start following another sport.  There are 22 shortstops in the hall of fame.  Davey Concepcion is not one of them, and for good reason. 

You know the one-hop throw you’ll see shortstops make from deep in the hole? Davey started that. Sometimes he’d make the throw to Perez from short left field. Concepcion would practice those one-hop throws to learn the best place to bounce the ball.

This just shows that Concepcion never bothered to take a simple physics course, as its been conclusively proven that bouncing a throw is significantly less effective than throwing it in the air.  But, hey, great invention.  Toss that right in with the head first slide into first base, and you’ve got two worthless creations born of ignorance. 

This entire piece is an ode to his own greatness and a tribute to friends of his.  It’s drivel, and for a site that extolls itself as the “worldwide leader in sports”, its a black mark on their reputation.  Time to toss Joe Morgan into the John Kruk Memorial Ignored Pile.