Game 162, Rangers at Mariners

September 30, 2007 · Filed Under Game Threads · 123 Comments 

King Felix Day to end the year! 1:05 (which means 1:10), KSTW.

Jones plays! Morse plays! Burke plays!

Texas respects the season by playing an even worse lineup than we’ve seen.

Game 161, Rangers at Mariners

September 29, 2007 · Filed Under Game Threads · 34 Comments 

Apologies – I was off helping a friend work on his house, and didn’t get back until now. What’d I miss?

5-1 in the 9th? Wow. Go M’s.

Aaand it’s over. Well. Sorry folks, I blew that.

Comment moderators sought

September 29, 2007 · Filed Under Site information · 32 Comments 

Hi all — Dave and I are increasingly falling behind in comment moderation. So we’re considering deputizing, to the point where we’d take help if it’s available. We’d like to have kept on top of it, but we can’t, and it’s pretty clear it’s eating into our available posting time, the quality of comment discussion, and it’s increasingly frustrating for the two of us to try and keep up with, which in turn shows with our curtness and short tempers… and only the trolls win if we’re constantly on edge and angry.


If you’re at all interested in the glamorous, exciting world of helping us keep the discussion worthwhile, please let us know.

Bonus points for:
– length of USSM association
– attended USSM feeds
– previous comment contributions
– other endorsements that assure us you’re not going to go insane with power
– knowing why comments that start “off-topic, but” get jumped on and how
– having lots of time on your hands

There’s no pay, but that’s okay, because the hours are terrible. In the future if USSM has a remotely positive income, we’d discuss that, but it’s not. Right now, all we offer is gratitude and what will likely be a horrifying look at what the comments that get deleted look like and the abuse we take for deleting them.

I have no idea how we’d do a selection process if we get multiple responses.

If there are comment rating plugins you’d like to suggest, you can email us about those, too.

Site work

September 29, 2007 · Filed Under Site information · 11 Comments 

I’m pushing out a new WordPress version. Please report any wonky behavior that recurs for more than a couple minutes to us at Thanks.

10:15: still doing backups
10:30: new files are up, checking
10:45: wonky caching behavior, wheee
10:50: think I cleaned that up
11:10: fixed another couple of secondary issues… looks pretty good
11:20: tags are up. I wonder how this will go. Breaking.
11:30: wow, this thing is fast
12: good thing no once noticed *that*
1:20: done for now

Game 160, Rangers at Mariners

September 28, 2007 · Filed Under Game Threads · 171 Comments 

Volquez v Weaver. Fortunately, the Rangers aren’t very good.

M’s run out Clement at DH again, because… I don’t even know. The 1B is Morse. Jones continues to be punished for God knows what. You stink, McLaren, extension or no extension.

Hey, let’s play an end-of-season would-you-swap-em, then…. Mayybe, yup, yup, nope but maybe… nahh, no way, sure, no, why not.

KJR gig

September 28, 2007 · Filed Under Mariners · 30 Comments 

We’re doing it at 1:35 pm today. I’ll give you one guess what the main topic of discussion will be.

Reaction From the Scribes

September 28, 2007 · Filed Under Mariners · 141 Comments 

The day after the announcement, the local writers weigh in.

Larry Stone: Mariners Go for Stability.

Stone writes a straight news story instead of the opinion column, getting some solid quotes from all involved.

“John McLaren stepped in, and he led the team to a winning season,” Lincoln said. “He certainly has the confidence and trust and respect of our players. That’s extremely important. So I think he deserves another season.

Mariners record under John McLaren: 40-41. So, apparently, you can lead a team to a winning season while simultaneously losing more games than you win.

“In Bill’s case, Bill has produced a winning season. That was the first challenge. He didn’t get us to the playoffs, but I think he deserves to continue on as the general manager. It’s so disruptive to an organization to change general managers…

He’s got a point here – we really don’t want to disrupt this good thing we have going in Seattle. After all, we just had a winning season, our first in four years, despite outspending 80% of other teams in payroll. Can’t mess with that kind of success.

“Certainly, in baseball you cannot please everybody,” he said. “I fully expect some people will support this decision, some people will not. But somebody has to make the decision. And somebody has to figure out what’s in the best interest of the franchise. And that’s my job.”

The faction they’ve chosen not to please – the people who want to see this team win.

Said Armstrong: “No matter how you slice it and dice it — and we are disappointed with falling back — we’re still over .500. We’ve made great improvement. We are appreciative and greatly impressed at the job McLaren did coming in at a very difficult time, right before the All-Star break, and keeping this team together. They never quit. They’re not quitting now.”

Do you think that Chuck Armstrong is aware that the Mariners have been outscored by 27 runs this year? They didn’t have to quit – they were beaten instead.

Geoff Baker: M’s celebrate in win over Indians.

Baker gets some of the player’s perspective in his game wrap-up. Jose Guillen, Baker’s personal quote machine:

“Hopefully, we got the right man for the job, but we’ll see,” Guillen said. “We’re going to have to wait and see next year what kind of manager he’s going to be.

“He’s too nice to everybody. I want to see him get tougher and get mean to a lot of people. That’s what I want to see from him, and I told him. I don’t care. That’s what I want to see from him.”

Amen, Jose. Amen. Hopefully, John McLaren can learn how to be a manager, and not the veteran’s best friend, by next spring.

“I think he did a great job,” Ibanez said. “He’s got great qualities as a leader and he’s a stand-up guy. He looks you in the eye and tells you the truth. What you see is what you get with him and I really appreciate that, not just as a boss but as a human being.”

Great qualities as a leader = He lets me do whatever I want. Asking Ibanez if he likes McLaren is like asking the eight year old who is eating chocolate cake for dinner and playing video games til midnight if he likes his babysitter.

“Since Bavasi’s been here, the record’s gotten better,” (Sherrill) said. “Hearing you [media] guys talk, some people out there aren’t real happy with how we run stuff but I think our record speaks for itself.”

Winning ~85 games while being outscored by your opponents on a $110 million payroll does indeed speak for yourself. It just doesn’t say what you think it says, George.

“You’re managing people,” Ibanez said. “Twenty-five different personalities. You’re managing different people than in other industries. You’re managing personnel. Intense, driven. There’s an obsessive drive with that. So it’s not an easy job to come into.”

The moment a manager thinks his job is more about managing people than winning baseball games, he’s lost. Managing people is certainly a huge part of his job, but it absolutely cannot come at the expense of the primary goal. That’s something the Mariners have just failed to grasp.

John Hickey: Bavasi, McLaren to return for 2008 season.

Here’s Hickey’s version of the story with a few different quotes.

As always, the Mariners need starting pitching, but Bavasi already made it clear he will not trade the players he considers his best prospects in exchange for pitching. Outfielder Adam Jones and catcher Jeff Clement will not be dealt, Bavasi said.

Wladimir Balentien, on the other hand, should start packing his bags right now.

“When all is said and done, we had a good year,” McLaren said. “We got into the final week of the season in contention for the wild card. I think we’ve come a long way.”

Only in McLarenville is “if the Yankees lose every game the rest of the way, the Tigers don’t get hot, and we win eight straight to end the season” a definition of contention.

“We didn’t finish quite the way we wanted,” Washburn said. “But we’re in position now to have solidarity going into next season.”

Oh, well, hold your horses – the team is going to have solidarity next year. That should make up for the lack of talent.

Larry LaRue: Standing Pat to Standing O.

A few quotes here that only LaRue worked into his piece.

“We are not at all happy with the big collapse at the end. But when you look at the overall, big picture we finished way above anybody’s expectations,” Washburn said.

“So we’re disappointed that we didn’t get to the playoffs. … But I think we exceeded everybody’s expectations, and it’s pretty ironic that people are bashing people at the end because we didn’t make the playoffs.”

This is just a myth that needs to die. Almost everyone here had the team pegged for 80-85 wins, which is almost exactly what they’re going to end up with. They exceeded expectations for four months, then regressed heavily to the mean. With all apologies to Dennis Green, they are what we thought they were – a mediocre team with strengths and weaknesses that wasn’t good enough to get to the playoffs.

“It’s a complex job, it’s not as simple as it seems. It’s not fantasy baseball. It just isn’t,” Bavasi said. “We actually deal with the day-to-day realities of putting humans out there.”

And, there you go – the obligatory reference to fans not understanding how things work in the real world and trying to run the franchise like a fantasy team. Here’s a little hint, though – we don’t want you to run the Mariners like a fantasy team – we want you to run them like a real baseball organization, utilizing all information possible and not holding yourselves above learning new things. You know, like the Red Sox, Indians, A’s, Diamondbacks, Padres, Yankees, or Brewers do. Real analysis isn’t just for nerds with spreadsheets anymore.

Game 159, Indians at Mariners

September 27, 2007 · Filed Under Game Threads · 66 Comments 

Byrd v Baek. With McLaren supposedly assured of retaining his job, it’ll be interesting to see if his… Clement’s DHing? And Ibanez is… really? We’re going to have a whole other year of this?

Cleveland shows their respect for the rest of the league with a sub-tastic lineup.

Status Quo! Woo!

September 27, 2007 · Filed Under Mariners · 125 Comments 

Chuck Armstrong announced a few minutes ago that Bill Bavasi and John McLaren would both return to their jobs in 2008. P-I story is here.

“We’d just come off three losing seasons,” Lincoln said, “and it was important to put a winning team on the field. Bill did that. And John came on in very difficult circumstances and did a superb job. He had the confidence and the trust of the players, and he’s maintained it.”

Regular readers of this blog will know our general reaction – this isn’t a surprise. The Mariners need an organizational overhaul, but they’re blissfully ignorant of that fact, just like they’re ignorant of every advance in baseball analysis in the last 50 years.

If you’re looking for a good side of this, look at this way – if we’re right, then we’re going to see another terrible offseason, the team won’t win next year either, and we’ll be talking about new GM/manager candidates twelve months from now. If we’re wrong, the team will make a good move or two, some players will take a step forward, and we’ll hopefully be preparing for a playoff series twelve months from now. Win-win? It’s all we got right now.

Game 158, Indians at Mariners

September 26, 2007 · Filed Under Mariners · 140 Comments 

Game Two game thread.

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