Live Game Notes

Jeff · April 20, 2006 at 10:16 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I might not be a unique snowflake, and I might not have seen Ray Allen’s record-setting performance, but I will be able to tell my great-grandnieces that I was part of the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history.

The stadium’s emptiness was obvious before you even entered. Free parking was plentiful. There was no waiting for walk-up tickets. You could hear every word of the TV broadcast while entering, because the crowd noise was Marcel Marceau-esque.

All that would change, of course, as the improbably rally got started. But that was three hours after The Lovely Wife and I strolled out to the right field bleachers. In the meantime, I noticed a few things:

* 17,613 was the announced attendance, the lightest yet, and there’s no way 17,000 people showed up. Wide swaths of seats were uninhabited. I’d put it closer to 12,000 if I had to guess.

* The minimal meat in the seats enabled one to hear virtually everything other fans were saying and doing. This ranged from the sophomoric (a guy who looked like the unholy offspring of John Elway and Secretariat repeatedly informing Kevin Mench that he “sucked” and “is tubby”) to the heartwarming (a group of five young women conspiring to shout “ICHIRO!!!” all at once, and then wave at the right fielder. He shot a glance their way, inspiring many blushes and giggles).

* Why not walk Hank Blalock in the seventh inning? It sets up the double play and prevents your right-handed pitcher from facing a left-handed batter that has hurt you already. Blalock’s ensuing two-run single sent about a third of the Mariner faithful scurrying for the exits, not that there were many to spare.

* Nice to see Roberto Petagine get a meaningful at-bat.

* Adrian Beltre still looked utterly lost for two of his four plate appearances. It was, however, nice to see him finally come up with an extra-base hit, and to be fair, he narrowly missed another when he smoked a loud foul the first time up. Note: Scott Spiezio has one more home run than Beltre does, Bronson Arroyo two more.

* Not that you need me to tell you this, but Kenji Johjima is for real, and is well on his way to becoming a fan favorite. He can’t run, so he will ground into some double plays, but he hits the ball hard an awful lot.

* Jamie Moyer looks like he is throwing wads of tissue paper. Not wet wads of tissue paper: bone-dry wads of tissue paper.

So yes, I passed up a chance to see Felix pitch, instead watching a junkballer more than twice his age — and got to see a win powered by a Carl Everett walk-off home run. I guess Joaquin Andujar was right. The most important word in English is “youneverknow.”


123 Responses to “Live Game Notes”

  1. Mr. Egaas on April 20th, 2006 4:43 pm

    93 – Also has to do a quite a bit of boosting for the “ego” scale.

  2. Evan on April 20th, 2006 4:46 pm

    is he going to hit some unpresidented .750 the rest of the month now?

    Given Ichiro’s streaky hitting, would that even be unprecedented?

  3. Thingray on April 20th, 2006 4:48 pm

    I bet it does boost the ego! I can’t imagine having to deal with some of my softball teammates if they hit one!

  4. LB on April 20th, 2006 5:00 pm

    There’s an interesting excerpt from Dave’s linked article relating to the discussion of running for Sexson:

    First-year Mariners manager Bob Melvin thought about using a pinch-runner for Martinez after he walked in the seventh.

    “I’m sure glad I didn’t now,” Melvin said.

  5. Oly Rainiers Fan on April 20th, 2006 5:04 pm

    Back to #32 and #29 regarding attendance and bonding to players.

    Yeah, people bonded to Edgar way back when, when the Ms weren’t winning and were playing in the awful kingdome. And there were teeny tiny little crowds. The kinds of crowds you have at a AAA game. And so, even though you were in a big stadium, you still had a semi-intimate experience with the players on the field.

    That’s gone with Safeco. (Or, maybe coming back this season!). Safeco has been filled for the past several years with lots of people who wanted to come out and see the new ballpark (that’s over now), or impress their clients with the new ballpark (probably has run its course as well, as Qwest field is the newest ballpark in town and actually housed a successful team recently). The Ms didn’t particularly treat their season ticket holders well in the transition from the Kingdome to Safeco (no more special entrance, no more essentially guaranteed promo items, lots of them got bumped from location due to charter and diamond club seating, and the prices have been rising). Traffic has also gotten increasingly worse, which matters a great deal to a team like the Ms whose constituency (season ticket base) actually comes from a lot of zip codes outside of King County.

    So maybe the folks that are left, coming to the games now, will bond and bond quickly with the young players, like my people bond with the young players in AAA. But for the rest of those folks that the Ms have lost over the years, I just think it’s gonna take more than a good ad campaign to get those butts back in the seats on a regular basis.

  6. shortbus on April 20th, 2006 5:06 pm

    #85 You’re not a moron! You were just thinking of the case where a home run on the road is struck so well that it takes out the lighting aparatus at the stadium, ending the game. Hey, it could happen.

  7. Oly Rainiers Fan on April 20th, 2006 5:16 pm

    As if to illustrate my point, I just picked up my mail from the living room floor. And, I have a postcard from the Mariners telling me how much they miss me and want me back. They’ve set aside a pair of complimentary tickets for me at the upcoming CWS, CLE, or TAM series.

    AND, I could even buy season tickets again and if I do so before May 9, I don’t even lose my previous season ticket priority (from my 8 years of season ticket holding).

    Go figure.

  8. Thingray on April 20th, 2006 5:17 pm

    Thanks shortbus! I’ll take that excuse and run with it! All of you enjoy the rest of your conversations, I’m off to play ball myself.

    Go M’s!!

  9. gwangung on April 20th, 2006 5:22 pm

    #96: Net_Stolen_Bases = Stolen_bases – (2 * Caught_Stealing).

    Which should mean a net stolen base count of 0, sorry. Still not worth trying to steal if you believe in the 66% break even point.


    That IS at the 66% break even point. And given the small sample size, it’s worth it to a) think about stealing and b) get speed on the basepaths.

  10. Red Sox Girl on April 20th, 2006 5:29 pm

    Dave, didn’t Boone have an extra innings walk off HR in early 2004? Or was it an away game and just the game winning HR?

  11. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:31 pm

    It’s not a small sample size; it’s a whole season’s worth. Just because the numbers are small doesn’t mean the sample is.

    And I think the break-even point is probably closer to 75%. The incremental value of the stolen base is extremely small, while the cost of getting caught is massive. Outs are the most precious thing you have. Only a small number of players have ever made a significant positive contribution by base stealing. Even when Lawton was 26-for-30 in 1999, the amount of offense that added was pretty trivial.

  12. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:40 pm

    Ibanez hit one on April 20, 2004 (in the 9th, not extra innings) against the A’s. I can’t find any walk-off homers in extra innings by Boone or anyone else in the first half of 2004, though Scott Spezio had a 16th-inning walk-off groundout on May 4 against the Twins.

  13. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:43 pm

    Hang on. It wasn’t “early” in 204, but on July 19, 2004 Boonie hit a walk-off grand slam in the 11th off of Curt Leskanic. Scoring ahead of him were Miguel Olivo, Dave Hansen, and Randy Winn.

  14. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:43 pm

    2004, not “204”, duh.

  15. Rusty on April 20th, 2006 5:44 pm

    Thanks for the notes on the game, Jeff. Highly entertaining!

    I called a friend at the game who has been going to M’s games since 1991. I swear, it didn’t sound like he was at a game. He made the comment that the low noise and low attendance made it have an early 90’s vibe. Perhaps Mariner management has unwittingly launched a new retro feel to the games.

  16. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:49 pm

    Two nights later Bucky Jacobsen hit a walk-off in the 10th against the A’s. Then, on August 28, Randy Winn hit one in the 12th against KC.

    Someone else can paw through last year’s.

  17. Red Sox Girl on April 20th, 2006 5:52 pm

    I found the one that I was thinking of, it was on April 12, 2004 against the A’s. It wasn’t a walk off, but it was extra innings and it won the game.

    I hope the link works *crosses fingers*

  18. doorbot on April 20th, 2006 5:55 pm

    Just wanted to add one quick thing to the “pinch-running-Gibson-for-Edgar Great Debate” about those 9 CS in a Mariner uniform. After eponymous coward brought how relatively rare they were, I decided to check the box scores. Turns out, the situation described by the original poster was vastly exaggerated; borderline hyperbole.

    In fact, Gibson pinch-ran for Edgar and was caught stealing a grand total of one time in his brief tenure with the club. Once. And they won that game two batters later.

    But I do agree, they (hitters of Richie’s ilk) shouldn’t be pinch-run for unless the potential need heavily outweighs the loss; subjectively of course, heh.

  19. LB on April 20th, 2006 5:56 pm

    #109: Break even = “no net gain.” So I say, stand there and don’t risk giving away the out.

    Anyway, the situation last night reminded me of two different games in recent Division Series games.

    In game 3 of the 2004 ALDS, Red Sox vs Angels, David Ortiz walked with two out in the 8th inning with the score tied. ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe was all over Terry Francona for not running for Ortiz in this situation. “You’ve got your closer in the game! You’ve got to make something happen here!” The Angels got the last out and the game went into extra innings.

    Ortiz came up to bat in the 10th inning and won the game on a HR on the first pitch he saw from our old friend Jarrod Washburn.

    Contrast that with game 4 of last year’s NLDS between the Braves and the Astros. It went 18 innings because the Astros’ manager, Phil Garner, took one of his best hitters, Lance Berkman, out of the lineup for a pinch runner with 2 out in the 10th.

  20. Steve T on April 20th, 2006 5:57 pm

    Link is broke. Try this:

    It was the 11th, not the 12th.

  21. Red Sox Girl on April 20th, 2006 6:09 pm

    Yeah, sorry, I’m stupid. Forgot that the article wouldn’t have been written until the next day. Thanks!

  22. G-Man on April 20th, 2006 7:19 pm

    If anyone is still reading this,…

    Managers seem to manage in the ninth like there’s no next inning. Hence, the PR for Richie.

    Earlier this month, there was abn instance when I was sure that Hargrove should have used a PR but didn’t.

    It went something like this: Petagine PH for Betencourt in the 8th and reached first, then ws on second with two outs and the M’s down by a few runs. Bloomquist HAD to come in to play SS the next half-inning, and there was no way Willie was going to PH for the top part of the order. Willie would have had a much better chance of scoring from 2nd on a single than Roberto, and he was detined to come in (and did) in that same slot in the batting order.

  23. BelaXadux on April 20th, 2006 7:42 pm

    If Ichiro hits .750 for a month, he can definitely be President.

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