Game Report, Athletics over Mariners 7-4

DMZ · September 18, 2004 at 5:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I go to a lot of games. With its combination of ten-minute funeral dirge national anthem, pervasive boredom, low temperature with slight warmth-stealing breeze, many pitchers for no reason, futility, long inning breaks for the national broadcast, slow, slow A’s team that on the bases would take their sweet time walking back… this was the worst game of the year for me. Even worse than the couple of times I’ve eaten there and gotten an upset stomach free with my $10 purchase of concession food.

Here’s my question, though, and I mean this sincerely: the Mariners are out of the race, yeah, sure, I understand there’s a natural tendency to Boone it and not try so hard. But when one of your teammates is making a run at a historic achievement, one that he will certainly hit if everyone can only feed him enough plate appearances, shouldn’t this be an occasion where you try and fight that?

I’m frustrated with the hacking, the dumb plate appearances in general, the stupid baserunning that costs us outs and Ichiro! a chance to set a cool record. Run those balls out. Work that count. If you’re that distracted thinking about how tonight you’re going to order the other item on the room service menu you passed up yesterday that you can’t give a respectable account of yourself, you shouldn’t be in the lineup. You shouldn’t be written into the lineup.

I also got mad because I was walking to the Ivar’s stand where I buy my stomach-upsetting concessions (seriously, it’s a three-game streak for them now as I type this), and they were playing the pre-game show over the PA. It featured a discussion between whoever, Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune, and Norm Charlton, and LaRue was the only one who seemed to have two brain cells to rub together. Charlton is chock-full of the old-school baseball cliches, and between him and whoever was running the show (Waltz? Hutler?) every couple of seconds you got a factual error and a bizarre error in reasoning.

Will anyone ever win 30 games again?
LaRue: No, the 5-man rotation requires pitchers to be too perfect, and they’d need a great bullpen.
Charlton: No way, pitchers today are wimps.
Host: Yeah, you talked earlier about how pitchers used to throw 140-pitch innings (yes, I know what he meant)…

Charlton then managed to say that the 4-man wouldn’t come back because it was more expensive than the 5-man (because it requires that you hire four really good pitchers, who are expensive, which was another weird jump in logic), and then also that the Yankees had gone to the 6-man for a while this year because “it was a luxury only the Yankees can afford” (which, again, not true, and ineffective rotations are a luxury teams would build if they had the money? what?)

People worked on that program — somewhere, there were engineers, and producers, and the end result of their efforts was Norm Charlton claiming that all the workouts and pitch counts that were part of a modern pitcher’s life hadn’t “paid off” because they couldn’t pitch both ends of a double-header and then go 12 rounds bare-knuckle with a notorious boxing bear from Vladivostok. Do these people go home at night and dream of producing intelligent baseball programming?

On another note, Eric Chavez’s home run was impressive. It was one of those home runs where it comes off his bat, I said “woah” and by the time I got to the “h” it was three quarters of the way to its final destination in the stands. That dude can hit.


21 Responses to “Game Report, Athletics over Mariners 7-4”

  1. eponymous coward on September 18th, 2004 5:41 pm

    Now you see why I call KOMO “Pravda”. They have the cuddly ex-Mariners like Blowers and Charlton spewing “traditional” baseball.

  2. tede on September 18th, 2004 6:19 pm


    Pack you own food for the rest of the year. Do not give this ownership another dime in concessions to put in their pockets for this product on the field (and Section 101).

    Loafing today did not cost Ichiro an at bat since got his 5th at bat. Last night however, Randy Winn’s loafing on a strike ’em out throw ’em out double play in the 7th inning (with Boone hitting!) cost Ichiro his 5th at bat.

    Barring a perfecto, Ichiro is almost guaranteed his 4th plate appearance every game. On road games and losing home games, he needs 10 net baserunners (minus those erased by DPs and bad baserunning per game). When they win at home like Friday night, he needs 13 net baserunners to hit 5 times with no bottom of the 9th to hit in. I find it difficult for him to get 5 at bats a game in games against Oakland and Anaheim with the bats (Olivo, Bloomquist, etc.) in the current lineup.

    Hudson may have figured out the way for the contenders to pitch to Ichiro under current circumstances. Since Ichiro is unwilling to steal second base, do not throw him strikes in his first at bat. Make him chase a bad pitch (which he does quite well normally) or take the BB in his first at bat. With first base open and the game in the balance, he is going to be walked (kudos to Macha for not walking Ichiro with 1B open last night in the 7th).

    One thing working Ichiro’s way will be the suspensions in the Texas bullpen and the disappointment they will feel once they are eliminated. Of course Buck Showalter is a jerk and probably would walk Ichiro anyway for wearing his hat backwards or something like that.

  3. Coach on September 18th, 2004 7:40 pm


    There must be a way for those of us who share your frustration in general, to reach this organization. Losing begets behavior that, in turn, begets more losing.

    It would take an exemplary leader in the clubhouse to rally these guys in support of Ichiro or even their own pride. We all know the Mariners do not have that.

    I can imagine that an effective GM, or a courageous owner could also have some effect with a team in this kind of tailspin. Remember though, that we have selected players for their ability to refrain from reacting.

    We have “trained” them not to react to roster decisions by shipping off those who do sometimes respond on the record. We reward those who give milquetoast post-game interviews because they play so well on the late news.

    I yelled at the TV last night after Winn got nailed at second, since it took away an additional at bat away from Ichiro, but what does Randy Winn (the under-rated player) have to fear from Bob Melvin?

    What do any of these guys have to fear from Bob Melvin or Howard Lincoln or Whoever Bavasi? The only thing they have to fear is making a public statement that might be construed by one of the afore-mentioned three stooges as being controversial.

    I think Mr Melvin should have been gone by late June, and I maintain that every day he is here makes the situation worse. However, I wonder how anyone could rally the troups after the natural selection process that has resulted in their being here.

    I can’t wait for this sorry season to be over, yet I am sure that Whoever Bavasi will just collect more of the same characters for his next tragedy. Not very hopeful, is it?

    I think the only way to reach this organization is to avoid Safeco and stop buying the merchandize that results in licensing fees. What else can we do? We seem to want a franchise here so badly that we are willing to accept Management decisions that would get many of us fired from our own jobs.

    We might also want to look inward a bit though. We might need to alter the choir-boy image we seem to want in our players. We don’t want thugs, under any condition. However we might have to accept the fact that the type of player who keeps fighting to support the record chase by Ichiro is the same type of player who occasionally re-arranges some clubhouse furniture, or charges the mound.

  4. RSJ on September 18th, 2004 9:25 pm

    I work for KOMO radio on the Mariner broadcasts, and I’m a huge fan of USS Mariner. I read it religiously (and I see many others in the press box who do as well), and almost 100 percent of the time I agree with you guys more than the analysts I work with. But I have to say that Derek’s post today is an example of one of the main reasons that there exists such a divide between people like Charlton – “old-school baseball guys” – and the so-called “sabermetricians” or “stat-geeks” or whatever you want to call them. You post an incredibly antagonistic piece bemoaning the poor quality of a radio station’s entire pre-game production effort based solely on a snippet you heard of ONE analyst in ONE segment. As is commonly heard on USSM: small sample size. If you want to belittle a station’s staff by suggesting everyone working for them (including “engineers, producers” etc.) possesses fewer than two brain cells, I would suggest that you post something that cites examples drawn from a larger number of broadcasts, rather than just honing in on one segment you happened to hate. Furthermore, quite possibly the biggest reason that “old-school guys” like Blowers and Norm are so hesitant to accept statistical data is that they perceive most of the “stat-geeks” presenting the data to be arrogant smartasses, which is precisely how today’s post came across. Please, post something that would make them think otherwise. Most of the stuff posted here is good. I love it. But for today – is it really neccessary to talk so much crap about a bunch of people who are (and I know this for a fact) suffering through this god-awful season just as much as everyone on USSM? Jesus. Cut ’em some slack.

  5. Dave on September 18th, 2004 10:01 pm


    I can see how Derek’s post could be taken as a slam on everyone who works for KOMO, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his intent. Knowing Derek, I’m guessing his line of thought was something along the lines of “it must be depressing for all those hard-working engineers, producers, tech-people, and other behind-the-scenes guys to put so much effort into putting Norm Charlton on the air.” Basically, he’s simply saying that all the hard work you guys are doing is unfortunately being spit out in an end product that is poor, and you have no control over it. I believe he was lamenting the fact that Norm was wasting all your hard work by failing to think critically. The shot was intended at Norm, not at anyone else. It probably just wasn’t communicated in the perfect way. The lack of an editor is one of the great and not-so-great things about a blog.

  6. Jeff on September 18th, 2004 11:06 pm


    Doesn’t Derek really need to be the one to interprete his blog regarding KOMO, rather than yourself?

  7. stan on September 18th, 2004 11:25 pm

    Comment #4 is right on target. The arrogance of much of the commentary here is, to put it politely, unseemly.

  8. Bela Txadux on September 19th, 2004 12:09 am

    Stan: unseemly beligerence is an endemic, disagreeable by-product of online forum interactions. I wish it weren’t so, but I have been in and seen enough different forums over enough years to say this with certainty. I try to filter it out, and to keep my own hoggish lexi-flagellations to a minimum, but. Goes with the territory.

    -Bela Txadux_

  9. DMZ on September 19th, 2004 12:09 am

    Dave’s comment is exactly what I said!

    “Here’s this crazy stuff I heard on the KOMO pregame over a couple-minute period. I imagine the people who work on it must wish for better analysis too.”

    What is so amazingly arrogant about that? Why is that dumping a load of crap on someone? My frustration’s with Charlton and my sympathy with the people who work on the show. If that’s not as obvious as I just made it, I’m sorry.

    So: I could have been clearer. I was in a really bad mood and didn’t have the time to read it closely enough with an eye towards possible misinterpretation before I had to take off again.

    And having said that — come on, give me a break once in a while. I’m on the side of anyone who wants to have an intelligent M’s conversation, or better the state of coverage. If it ever seems like I’m not, maybe I’ve just messed up the telling of a message.

  10. Beer Bothell on September 19th, 2004 12:43 am

    According to the KOMO website, the weekend pre-game host is Tom Hutyler. In case anyone was wondering.

  11. Jerry on September 19th, 2004 3:07 am

    RSJ, I agree with you that I think Derek sometimes did tend to take small sample size and jump on players or things he dislike. But that said, I really don’t think he intended to insult the employees for KOMO. I listened to the same show and honestly could not stand Norm and not just this time,whenever he came in for Mike Blowers. In my opinion, it is not old school or new school, he is just plain boring. So now, how about some inside interesting stories at KOMO for us?

  12. janet on September 19th, 2004 9:54 am

    Regarding the Norm comment, I have been annoyed by similar comments coming from baseball commentators both on local and national games. I don’t know much about either medicine or pitching but it seems obvious to me that–assuming that pitcher once threw a lot more pitches than they do now–something has changed about the nature of pitching today that makes it a lot more stressful physically than it used to be. Think about the commonness of major surgical intervention for pitchers today–torn rotator cuffs, torn labrums, bad elbows. Is it really plausible that once upon a time pitchers just pitched through those injuries? And somehow remained effective? Nope, doesn’t add up. I remember when the split finger was first introduced, the received baseball wisdom was that it was a pitcher-killer. Maybe they were right on that, but nowadays it is necessary to throw arm-killing pitches to stay competitive. You don’t have to be a stat-geek to know that Norm’s comments were silly at best.

    And speaking of pre-game comments, I’m surprised that Dave Henderson didn’t get more flak from his pre-game comments the other day when asked to comment on the chair-throwing incident. His response was that in his day, he handled heckling by wading into the crowd and beating the fans up. Which, he said, meant that the incident in question had ended happily. You could hear the stunned silence from Hudlyer, who gave him a chance to retract though Hendu declined. I suppose in the greater scheme of things having an announcer who thinks that assaulting fans is a good idea isn’t the worst crime of the broadcast staff this year, but I’m still surprised that the “family-friendly” M’s haven’t done anything to respond to it.

  13. jwb on September 19th, 2004 10:02 am

    What’s new about local media getting slammed on this site? Local papers? Check. Local radio? Check. Local TV? Check.

    I never believe everything I hear/see/read. But cranking out the massive volume of information/analysis/commentary that consumers demand in 2004 leads to errors and ill-formed thoughts at times. The media have to rub some dirt on it and go back out there the next day, just like the guy in the lineup that takes the sombrero. Pretty sure the media minimum salary isn’t $300,000, either. And, it’s a job — if everyone did their job perfectly there would be no room in the world for Bill Bavasi to rise to “the top.”

  14. RSJ on September 19th, 2004 10:59 am

    Derek and Dave:
    Thanks for the clarification. I think I understand what you were trying to say. I, too, was in a terrible mood when I read the post, which probably led me to interpret it in a bad way. I just wanted to make sure you guys realized that people at KOMO are working hard, despite suffering through this season along with everyone else. After reading the responses to my comment, I think you do realize that. ‘Nuff said. No hard feelings here – keep up the good work.

  15. Pete on September 19th, 2004 2:16 pm

    Sunday afternoon…

    Batting 6th…Hiiirrraaam Bocaaa-chica!!


    …the end of the world is near…

  16. eponymous coward on September 19th, 2004 4:23 pm

    What, you’d rather have Scott Spiezio?

  17. eponymous coward on September 19th, 2004 4:28 pm

    And Boccachica batting 6th is better than Willie Bloomquist playing 1st- which he’s done multiple times in September.

    Great to see Bob’s so concerned about “the integrity of the pennant race”, isn’t it?

  18. Matt on September 19th, 2004 10:10 pm

    It sure is nice to see the centerpiece of the Garcia trade getting playing time, oh wait he’s not.

  19. Paul Weaver on September 19th, 2004 11:23 pm

    Yeah, I didn’t interpret that post as a slam on KOMO employees either – rather a sympathetic, ‘professionals had to work for a unprofessional (who’s probably better paid).’

    The M’s need to put a more professional effort in, not necessarily for Ichiro’s sake so much as the fact they are a) getting paid a lot, and b) playing in front of people (who paid), and c) playing against other players who will judge them,….and d) their own performances will dictate their own futures!

    I could probably keep parading out the ‘why the mariner’s shouldn’t be giving up’ arguments. Maybe they are just sloppy and it has nothing to do with their professionalism so much as their ability….

  20. Paul Weaver on September 19th, 2004 11:39 pm

    Oh…and pitchers, Norm:
    EArly on, pitchers threw underhand, hence the 70 starts per year.
    After that, pitchers still didn’t typically throw hard on every pitch for a while.
    Prior to 1969, the mound was 6 inches higher.
    Using relief pitchers and situational pitchers has become a more and more dominant strategy with every new decade.
    There are more reasons than this, but the Sherriff should know these things – he was a relief pitcher for a Cincinatti team that won using it’s relief pitchers, giving Jose Rijo short effective starts. How this relates into pitchers being wimps?
    Six man rotation? A luxury? Does he even follow baseball?

  21. eponymous coward on September 20th, 2004 12:48 am

    Bill James has quotes in his Historical Baseball Abstract from the 1890’s through 1980’s when older former players say how these young players don’t play the game as well, are wimps, and so on.

    Uh, yeah, Norm.