Game report, Royals over M’s 7-3

DMZ · August 26, 2004 at 11:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’m going to get real subjective and touchy feely here, so please, be prepared.

Einstein is commonly quoted as explaining the theory of relativity by comparing the length of time it seems to take for an hour to pass while talking to a beautiful girl, as opposed to the hour in the dentist’s chair. This felt like the second choice tonight: this game draaaaaagggeedddd. Final game time was only a little over three hours by my scorebook, but those first two took for-freaking-ever.

I think I should be banned from having good seats. Every time I’ve gone this year and gotten my mitts on some nice seats, the team gets shelled. Tonight? Good seats. Maybe the Mariners should comp me bad seats (they certainly have enough of them empty) in return for a promise that I won’t sneak in to better ones unless it’s a blowout.

They kept the roof open while it was raining much longer than I’d expected. I wondered if they were looking at radar images guessing that the shower would pass. In past games, though, they’ve been aggressive about closing the roof if meant any significant amount of discomfort. I’ve only been at a couple games where they left it open through a couple light, short showers. It was kind of cool sitting there in the mist, watching the players up close. It reminded me of trying to get a game in when I was a kid, and somewhat bad conditions were all you’d get for most of spring. Anyway, what a bunch of whiners we are in Seattle. You’d think we were adjusted to year-round sunshine, and never suspect we have to endure eight months of constant rain every year, from the way people were yelling for the roof to close when they felt the second drop of rain. Wimps.

It’s hard to watch Moyer struggle. I love Moyer, and watching him work his craft has been one of the greater joys of being a Mariner fan. But tonight, against the dregs of the AL, guys with sub-.300 on-base percentages, he was throwing too many pitches, wasn’t setting them up well, couldn’t close the deal when he did get them set up. It was painful.

Bloomquist really showed off today, demonstrating quick reflexes, a strong and erratic arm, along with some poor judgement and a fielding assist by Bucky. Mmm… defensive excellence.

And what the hell did Boone get hung out to dry for between first and second, five runs behind? It looked like Wilson missed a hit-and-run sign, but what the hell are they calling a hit and run for, down by five?

This is not a well-coached, well-disciplined team.

Of course, maybe Wilson ignored a sign because it was so freaking stupid.

Ichiro! I charged that error to Bloomquist, and then Ichiro! got a rare ! notation in my scorebook for that double play. That was sweet to see. Then when Ichiro! came up in the ninth, crazy random cheering — I didn’t undertand why, and there was no scoreboard prodding, only people clapping and cheering.

I’ve never bought the argument that Ichiro! could hit 40 home runs if he wanted. It’s like saying Bonds could hit 200 home runs a season if he expanded his strike zone: Bonds is so valuable because of his approach, his swing… speculating on what happens if Bonds became less selective isn’t even meaningless — it’s a complete waste of time. It’s like saying your car would be even better if it was a strawberry. Ichiro! can yank his pitch into the right-field stands, but his approach is that he’d rather hit singles for a very high average, even if that limits his home run power.

Tonight seemed like a rebuttal. Ichiro! up in the ninth, down five runs, the crowd cheering and stomping all around him, looking for his 200th hit, he put a charge in that ball that made me go “woooooaaahhh” — just turned on it and pushed it out.

And now I wonder… what if he looked for that all the time? Is it possible?

Is anything really impossible for Ichiro? What if next year he decides he really wants to win the triple crown… well, he won’t, unless this offense gets a lot better, but — could he? That I’m even sitting at home after this game turning it over is amazing to me.

Oh, and the Mariners — those stands that replaced the beer garden are there, they’re permanent. If you ever need a better summary of the team’s attitude towards their fans and the city that built them this stadium, consider the tradeoff they made:
We make a modestly higher amount in tickets for some games we normally sell out

The rest of the time, we’re just shifting people around
We destroy one of the only cool, distinctive features of Safeco Field
We destroy the fun buzz of that section
We destroy the fun and revenues we get from the whole food section behind the beer garden

It probably took them all of ten seconds to make the choice (“So you’re sure we’ll sell more seats sometimes, but this other stuff is all intangible?”)

As an added bonus, the Mariners pay to build capital improvements like this and then bill the PFD for it (like the concourse rails, for instance, or their adventures trying to solve the CF glare problem). Yayyyyy.


19 Responses to “Game report, Royals over M’s 7-3”

  1. James on August 26th, 2004 11:57 pm

    For Ichiro to win more thn the BA title, they’d have to do something radical and way over due… move Ichiro permanently to the number 3 slot. They need to return to the days where Ichiro would get regularly intentionally walked because runners were on base and/or in scoring poisition, and Ichiro was automatic in those situations.

    This move, signing a free agent hitter (such as Beltre or Drew), having Jacobsen in the lineup fulltime and signing a pitcher (such as Matt Morris) to a below-market deal could return the Mariners to a competitive situation without hindering the long-time future of the team.

  2. Jeff Wood on August 27th, 2004 1:46 am

    I have a suspicion that Ichiro is playing games with someone: hit N° 50 in July was also a home run. Is he doing this at will, or what?

  3. nifan on August 27th, 2004 3:27 am

    Besides that, do not forget he hit a second-floor homerun from Kevin Brown of NY in the first inning while his manager of Japan League invited to visit Seattle. Tonight is another evidence that Ichiro can really turn the ball into the outfield seat if he wants to. His body size is not homerun size. He only hit 2-3 opposite side homerun during his 4 year MLB career but his bat speed, eye-hand coordination and excellent waist-turn strength gives him sharp chances to challenge homerun. I do want to see Ichiro hitting No.3 spot for all season and see what numbers he will bring out. It’s an interesting mystery.

    I wonder that Ichiro just wanted to hit a simple single to achieve 200 hits before his tonight’s last bat. He had tried to do that for 3 nights (11 at-bats) after he got his 199th hit and missed some control-mistaken-ball to hit. It’s nice to see that he decided to make his 200th hit happened and to chanllenge the ball in the 9th inning.

    58 hits more to break another greatest record. Go,Ichi.

  4. globalhawk on August 27th, 2004 6:46 am

    if you have ever shown up early to watch batting practice at 5 pm, you know Ichiro can hit them out anytime he wants. we have seen him hit 7-10 in a row off the second deck in right field. … no doubt he could win the Allstar game home-run derby if he put his mind to it some year.

  5. DMZ on August 27th, 2004 7:50 am

    I’ve never bought the batting practice argument. Ichiro! puts on a show for certain, but that’s a situation where he’s getting slower pitches, no breaking stuff, in the location he wants. Now certainly you don’t see Bloomquist putting on a HR clinic in BP, but then Ichio’s batting gloves could hit for more power than WFB.

  6. Troy Sowden on August 27th, 2004 8:07 am

    Good one about Ichi’s batting gloves Derek. I too don’t buy the power argument for Ichiro. Could he hit more than 10 HR a year? Probably. Could he hit 25 or 30? I doubt it. Personally, I like him right where he is, at the top of the lineup. I could see dropping him to the number 2 slot if we had the right leadoff hitter, but I’d never bat him lower than that. And yes, I know all the theories that state batting order is irrelevant. It just seems like it has to make SOME kind of a difference, doesn’t it?

  7. bob mong on August 27th, 2004 8:37 am

    I think it’s a bit hilarious that you, of all people, are mulling over the idea that Ichiro! could win the freaking triple crown!

    Yeah right.

    Amusing to read though.

  8. DMZ on August 27th, 2004 8:44 am

    Oh come on Bob, do I have to be rational or even reasonable all the time?

  9. Erik on August 27th, 2004 9:01 am

    If Ichiro was deliberately trying to make his 200th hit a HR, I hope that he never does try to hit for power: He was 0-11 before hitting that HR.

  10. James T on August 27th, 2004 9:24 am

    The commentary here about Suzuki and his ability to hit homers is eerily familiar to what we Red Sox fans went through with Wade Boggs. Amazing singles hitter? Check. Surprisingly able to pump pitch after pitch deep into the stands in batting practice? Check. Only extremely infrequently demonstrates this power in games? Check. At odd moments, seemingly by conscious choice, (3000th hit for Boggs with Tampa) turns on the power? Check.

    In the end, these guys are comfortable doing what they do and their personalities don’t seem to be fit their trying to stretch their games that way. Good luck. Appreciate what he does do and don’t let exasperation at the tantalizing glimpses of still greater ability annoy you too much.

  11. JBS on August 27th, 2004 10:17 am

    About Boone’s bad break to second, I’m pretty sure he lost track of the count. The scoreboard said it was 3-1 (when it was really 2-2) and I was surprised when Dan didn’t get the walk and Boone got caught in the run down.

    All the same, the scoreboard is for the fans, not the players.

  12. Paul Weaver on August 27th, 2004 11:14 am

    After his abysmal 1992 season Wade Boggs said that he was trying to hit home runs to impress the crowds and get a renewed contract. If we are comparing Boggs and Ichiro, then let’s be happy with the singles.
    Speaking of singles, this is exactly why Ichiro should not be in the third hole. You want your leadoff man to have a high OBP – Ichiro is over .400 and you want your #3 man to have good extra base hit ability – Ichiro does not have very many extra bases.
    Besides, with the season lost, the M’s might as well do the best they can to help Ichiro at least approach Sisler’s 84 year old record. Batting leadoff will get Ichiro the most at bats, and the most likely chance of breaking it.

  13. Kenny H. on August 27th, 2004 1:48 pm

    Re: BeerGardenBleacherGate: This from my friend El Jefe, Junior Club Brick Owner, recently sent to Times/PI editors:

    As I’m sure you’ll recall, in our zeal to support Seattle Mariners baseball and the construction of Safeco Field (which was originally supposed to be called something else), we spent a big chunk of change to buy a personalized brick with our names on it. The Mariners thanked us profusely for our generosity and dedication, sent us a suitable-for-framing Certificate of Ownership and installed our brick in centerfield concourse Block 29, Row 2, an area that used to be called Junior’s Landing. It was a fun spot from which to watch the games and take in the sweeping scope of the field.

    It has been trashed. And it has been trashed by the same useless, arrogant punks who have trashed the team itself.

    On Tuesday night I cast my eyes out towards the Landing, only to discover it had disappeared under a rolling block of cheaply constructed bleacher seats. Remember when the Kingdome used to roll in extra bleachers for Seahawks games? It has now happened at “America’s Most Beautiful Baseball Park,” state-of-the-art $517 million Safeco Field. Which we paid for. Would you like to know where our brick is? Buried under a corner of this portable bleacher monstrosity; out of sight, out of mind, inaccessible. Pretty much like the team is these days. Most of Block 29 has been reduced to similar invisibility, a slap in the face to all the fans who ponied up their $85 and who might want to show their kids — and their grandkids in 20 years — the family shot at baseball immortality. “Hey dad, where’s the brick with our name on it?” At Safeco, seven-year-olds don’t get to see those bricks. But they can sure stop by the Candy Store and load up on expensive sugar, while dad quaffs an eight dollar beer to drown his sorrows over a stinky team and an avaricious, morally bankrupt ownership.

    As the wretched, hapless, rudderless, leaderless, tired, boring, predictable, awful Seattle Mariners, on pace to lose 112 games, inexorably and ignominiously crash to within 1/2 game of being the Worst Team in the American League, ponder this:

    Next time anyone thinks I’m being too harsh on Mariners ownership, when they tell me how great it is to still have Major League Baseball in Seattle and how grateful I should be to Lincoln, Ellis, Armstrong and the rest of those self-important weasels for “saving baseball” here, just be thankful I don’t have a brick in my hand. I might be tempted to use it, and the personalized inscription on it won’t say “Go Mariners.”

    Jef Jaisun
    Pissed Off and Short-Changed Mariners Fan

  14. Ryan C. on August 27th, 2004 2:06 pm

    Best comment of the night from Rizzy: (paraprhasing) “Bloomquist never seems to leave the game with a clean uniform.” God, after reading the piece on how to become a fan favorite, this one put me in stitches.

  15. Ralph Malph on August 27th, 2004 2:24 pm

    He ought to leave the game with a clean uniform — from sitting on the damn bench.

  16. Ralph Malph on August 27th, 2004 2:27 pm

    By the way, am I the only one who is irritated by Rizzs pronouncing Angel Berroa’s name “Ba-R0H-ha”? I always think he’s remembering Salome Barojas. Which only irritates me more.

  17. John Wiebe on August 27th, 2004 2:39 pm

    Yesterday I had an afternoon to kill in Seattle, so I spent $7 for the guided tour of Safeco.

    I had read about Derek and others being upset with the beer garden bleachers, so I asked the tour guide about them. He said they are new this year, and they only pull them out for big games, like the Yankees or Sox.

    Hmmm…I’ve been to two M’s games this year, one vs. San Diego (the day Garcia was traded) and one vs. the Yankees. The bleachers were definitely there for both of those games. As we gazed out at them from the press box, the Mariners were going to play the Royals in six hours, and the bleachers were obviously set up for the game.

    So it sounds like a temporary thing that is now permanent, as Derek wrote, but the guide maintained that they were temporary. To his credit, the guide didn’t like them, saying that it used to be a neat spot to mingle. I feel bad for Mariners fans.

    Just looking around the park, it also appears that when they installed the beer garden seats, they took a few extra rows and squeezed them in to the upper left-hand corner of the left-field upper deck, to the foul-territory side of the foul pole. The Giants did the same thing at Pac Bell, putting in a few rows of seats behind their LF bleachers and cutting into a main walking thoroughfare, thus creating a horrible traffic jam right in front of that stupid Coke bottle.

  18. DMZ on August 27th, 2004 2:57 pm

    Thanks John.

    Temporary my ass. Big games my ass. Lies! Lies!

  19. clarence credence on August 27th, 2004 9:18 pm

    I’ve never been motivated to post here before, but I have to agree with your thoughts about putting seats in the outfield garden area… it’s penny wise, pound foolish. I was at Wed’s game against Tampa, and when the game started there were EXACTLY two people in those seats!