Weekend in Seattle roundup
I have to be up in 5 1/2 hours to catch a flight back to the east coast, so this won’t be a comprehensive wrapup of everything that I saw the five days I was in town, but here’s a quick recap.
Thursday’s USSM/LL event in Tacoma was a lot of fun, and of course, a big thanks goes out to Bill Bavasi for spending over an hour of his time on a day off hanging out with us and answering almost every question we threw at him. Part of the reason he’s willing to keep doing this with us (this is the third time we’ve had Bavasi for a get together) is because the chats are off the record, so some of the stuff will just stay with the 45 people who were around for the Q&A, but he did give us some interesting answers about different things that I’m okay sharing – namely, that we’ve been totally wrong about Wladimir Balentien’s option status.
I’ve been telling anyone that will listen that he’s out of options after this year and would have to stick on the 25 man roster next spring, but that’s not true – he qualifies for the fourth year option exception, and if the Mariners don’t trade him this winter, they can send him back to Tacoma next spring. And yes, Bill confirmed that there is no chance whatsoever that they begin 2008 with two rookies in the outfield (as we’ve believed all along), so you can stop wishing for a Jones-Ichiro-Balentien outfield next year. It won’t happen.
There was also the great humor of watching the people arrive about 15 minutes before first pitch only to find Bavasi standing in their row blocking their seats. Having no idea who he was, they actually asked him to move, then proceeded to completely ignore what was going on around them. Hilarious.
The game in Cheney was fun, though I spent most of my time answering questions rather than intently watching Robert Rohrbaugh shut down the Memphis Redbirds. A couple of guys definitely got their $25 worth. As Devin noted, I should have charged by the hour. But I was happy to do it, and hope those guys enjoyed it as well.
The Friday night event up in Everett was just as enjoyable, though for totally different reasons. The pregame Q&A guest was Bob Fontaine, the Mariners scouting director, and we got a solid half hour of his time before the season ticket holders booted us from their seats. Bob was great, and if you were there, you could tell he really enjoyed it as well. We’re definitely going to have him back for another (longer) Q&A at some point in the future, because as Derek noted right after it ended, we could have picked his brain all night.
The Aquasox then treated us to a night of interesting events, from the monstrous home runs from Gregory (don’t call him Greg) Halman and Kalian Sams to the physical assault of Jeff Sullivan by a yellow inflatable bird. I won’t spoil you with the details, as I’m sure Jeff will provide his own account, but let’s just say that we got pretty close to having to break up a fight between a 6’5 20-something and a mascot wearing glasses full of compressed air.
Saturday night saw Derek, Jeff, Devin, and I hitting up the Mariners game at Safeco. Best story of the night, among many – during Beltre’s first at-bat, a six or seven year old kid starts an “O-ver-ra-ted” chant, which didn’t particularly endear himself to any of us, all dyed-in-the-wool Beltre fans. About twenty seconds later, Beltre deposited a Dice-K fastball into the center field seats. Needless to say, we didn’t let the aforementioned child off the hook without retribution, and it’s unlikely he’ll be casting aspersions at our third baseman any time soon.
I also got the pleasure of meeting a good number of the commenters from both here and Lookout Landing and enjoyed the company of many good people. All in all, it was a successful good trip to the Northwest, and if you missed out on either of the USSM/LL events, you should make a point to come to the next one. We do our best to make sure you guys get your monies worth, and I don’t know of too many other teams that get to regularly sit down with their GM and Scouting Director and ask them anything they’d like.
Ugh – less than 5 hours before I have to get up for a day of cross country flying. I’m glad the last five days were worth it.