How dare I get numb to the notion of a cold, baseball-less season?
I have such amazing news about the Mariners….
….which I’m sure everybody and their brothers know about already but what the hey.
No exciting build-ups, no beating around the bush….
MARINERS SIGNED CLIFF LEE!
Can I just say, WOW? I knew we had plenty of money this off-season to acquire some great players but Cliff Lee? I’m almost overwhelmed by the news. Lee rocked the World Series beating the Yankees not only once, but twice, and not only that, but Lee has a 5-1 3.49 ERA at Safeco Field! This Cy Young winning southpaw with a Cy Young contender (Felix, of course), both backed up by one of the league’s best defense, we are going to have a vicious starting rotation.
Watch out AL West, we’re gonna take all of you down.
Oh and to put the cherry on top of this wonderful Mariners sundae, we acquired Chone Figgins (he’ll be sporting a No.9 jersey) last week from the Angels. He is the guy I always get nervous about when we play the Angels…gosh, not having to worry about him is going to be awesome. Figgins signed a four year, $36 million deal with a vesting option for 2014. Figgins was a third baseman for the Angels which brings up the question as to where he’ll be defending next season if Beltre chooses to stay. Personally, I think he would own second base but I would hate to have to see Lopez benched for that. As far as I’m concerned, the only spot available right now is left field and with his third baseman arm, I figure he would excel. With his above-average batting and last year’s career high runs and doubles, I have no doubt he’ll be sending Ichiro home more often than not.
Our starting lineup will consist of Ichiro batting first (duh), Figgins, Lopez/Gutierrez, Branyan (still crossing my fingers for that one)….
…and of course our deathly pitching rotation.
Fellow Mariners fans, my baseball itch is worsening as we speak! The 2010 season is going to be…enthralling, captivating, engrossing, and riveting; I can hardly wait!
Now for all non-Mariners fans, you should probably be afraid.
Very much afraid.
I end with an evil laugh.
As little as there is to write about Mariners baseball lately, I’ve been having blogging withdrawals along with my obvious baseball itch.
Let me start with what I do have of Mariners updates:
1. Mariners offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (3B). I’m not surprised and I’m sure most Mariners fans expected this. However, the chances of Beltre returning are slim; apparently the Phillies and Red Sox are interested in offering Beltre a multi-year contract. You know what? I think I’m going to be ok with it.
2. Mariners did not offer arbitration to Erik Bedard (SP). Am I surprised? Not really. His injuries every other game was just tiring. I don’t blame the Mariners at all for not inviting him back.
On top of the fact that the Mariners really haven’t had much going on these days, I miss writing…so I decided to start an Off-Season Funblog! I plan on writing about random things that you just might enjoy reading about :]
Today I would like to introduce you to my fairly new friend I live with.
This is Kenji. Yes, he’s a parakeet. He’s roughly 12 weeks old and he’s been with me for about 2 weeks.
Some of you may be wondering…did I name him after the now-departed catcher Kenji Johjima?
Yes I did.
Call me crazy, it’s ok, it wouldn’t be the first time.
He still can’t fly but I see him practicing all the time; it’s pretty comical.
As some of you may know, all I’ve been doing is driving up and down Interstate 5 from Seattle to Portland and vice versa for work. Although Kenji has his huge bird-condo that he lives in, he travels with me in his miniature cage. It’s been pretty fun having him around so far! :]
Other than work, spending time with family and friends, I have yet to find a remedy for my stinkin’ baseball itch. As depressing as this sounds, I suppose I’m finally getting used to the fact that baseball isn’t happening. It’s quite the tragedy but at least I know I’m not the only person that’s going through this!
Well, hope everyone enjoyed my first Funblog and is finding better things to do with their time than sulking over this cold, cold, very, very long winter without baseball. Sob!
I’m slowly adjusting back into the working girl life (thank you for the wishes, I got the job!) in the best coast…I mean, west coast, while I, together with my Grandpa, sulk that baseball season is practically over.
For Mariners fans anyway.
Now call me cheesy but I got teary-eyed watching the final game of the Mariners season. The boys won 4-3 against the Texas Rangers and so much happened in the game. Not one player gets honorable mention because practically everyone did. Felix got his 19th win this season while he vies for the Cy Young, David Aardsma closed the game, Ichiro had a hit and a run, Griffey had a hit, Guttierrez scored some runs, Lopez scored the winning run, Batista had a perfect 8th inning and Wakamatsu led the team for their 85th win of the season.
I cannot believe the Mariners had such a great rebound year after last year’s 101 game loss. With Bavasi gone, that should have been a good sign anyway, but when the new GM chose Wakamatsu, there were definitely some speculation as to how he was going to perform as the new skipper for a disconnected 40-man-40-cab team after the 2008 season. I hate to say it but the 2008 Mariners were plain sad to watch. No player chemistry or respect, no smiles or hugs….and of course barely any wins. I am a Mariners fan through thick and thin but no season was as tough as the ’08 season.
Hiring Jack Zduriencik (GM) and Don Wakamatsu was truly the best change the organization could have made.
Now only if they would hire me as the assistant coach, right? :]
Actually, I’ve always wanted to organize a dance team for the Mariners. I admit, one of the many things I like about baseball is that there are no cheerleaders or dancers dressed in close-to-nothing making provocative moves. However, as a former dancer (jazz/hip hop) and a Mariners fanatic, I would have so much fun making up a dance team for the M’s! It would consist of dancers of all ages, we’d wear Mariners jerseys and have dance moves that everyone in the stadium can learn! Oh I wish ♥
As the Yankees and Phillies compete for the World Series Championship, I truly wish the best for both teams! I’m going to have to jump on the Phillies band-wagon though, because I’m assuming the Yankees have enough intense supporters and I think the Phillies can use some DG oomph ♥ Good luck to both teams, though!
Also, I’d like to say a special farewell to my favorite catcher, Kenji Johjima. The news came as a surprise when the fans were informed that he was breaking his 3 year contract to return to Japan. In a nutshell, there was some controversey with the reason of breaking the contract. Joh had told the Mariners he was leaving due to the fact that he wasn’t close to his family. However, Joh told the Japanese media that he was leaving because he wasn’t going to get any playing time next year with Johnson taking most of the spot-light this season. Joh had told them he wanted to be their main catcher, not their back-up. According to a Japanese article I read, you can’t opt out of a contract just because you aren’t satisfied with your position or playing time; yet you can opt out if it’s for a family issue. Apparently Mariners management are not happy with Johjima and his communication discrepancy between the Japanese media and the U.S media. Ah well. As a fan, none of that matters. I just have to say I’ll miss him and wish him the best back home in Japan. I’m sure he’ll continue to play amazing baseball.
But jeez, now I have to buy a new Mariners t-shirt. I’m starting to accumulate ex-Mariners t-shirts in my bottom drawer. It’s kind of a dilemma for a Mariners fan to choose whose t-shirt they should buy without it becoming unwearable after a season. I’m guessing I’m good to go for a few years if I buy an Ichiro t-shirt.
As far as next season….
……will the Mariners go for 85+ wins next season? Is Griffey returning for perhaps one more season? Is Johnson’s hip surgery going to affect his performance next season? Is Moore going to be a sufficient enough catcher to fill the shoes of a departing Johjima? Will Ichiro keep breaking his own record and go for 10 years in a row to hit 200+ hits? Will Felix get 20 wins? Will Aardsma have 45+ saves once again? Is Beltre coming back to man third base? Which J.Wilson (Jack or Josh) will rise above during the off-season to dominate as SS? Will Gutierrez continue to build on his successful season? Is Branyan signing with the Mariners and will he lead in HRs again despite his back? Will Zduriencik and Wakamatsu find an efficient third-base coach?
As you can see, fans and I have a lot of questions. Yet, all I want to do now is sit back and reminisce on the fantastic season the Mariners have given us this season.
Thank you boys for giving me a reason to be passionate!
Rest up though, because spring training will be here before you know it ♥
Let this be the first “real” entry I’ve written since…oh, a month ago? Either way, too long ago! Not only do I finally feel settled back in the Pacific Northwest, but I even have internet! I haven’t been up to much, just working from home and waiting for a response from the interview I had last week (crossing my fingers!). No offense to any Michiganians but I am truly glad to be back here where I’m surrounded by friends and family and am extremely excited to see how my life pans out from here on!
First of all, congratulations to all the teams (and their dedicated bloggers) that are competing in post-season! I only wish I could say the same for my boys but it’s alright because this season has been such a huge turn-around for them; who would have thought we would go from 101 losses to 85 wins? I definitely didn’t! I believed in baby steps but apparently the Mariners are making much bigger steps than that!
Now speaking of making big steps into a successful season, I’d like to present to you the 2010 Mariners lineup DG style.
Skipper: Don Wakamatsu – No brainer here; as a first-time Major League skipper, he invented the “belief system” for the then-40-man-40-cab team of 101 losses in the ’08 season and with the help of Griffey Jr and Sweeney‘s amiable nature, Wakamatsu (aka Wak) made a family out of the team. ..and not to mention a winning season with 85 victories.
1st Base: Russell Branyan. Yes, this poses a couple problems. 1, he has been out of the active roster for the past month and a half with a herniated disk in his back. Apparently his back had been an issue for almost the whole season despite leading the team with 31 homeruns (none of the Mariners caught up to that even after he was placed on the DL) and setting career highs in RBIs and doubles…but that’s probably because Wak gave him a chance to play (also a career high) 116 games. Of course the other problem is his number of strike outs. 149 of them this season but perhaps it comes with swinging for the fences? Oh and another thing…Branyan was a gamble for the Mariners and only signed him for a year. Now he’s a free agent and although he’s expressed his intentions of returning, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
2nd Base: Jose Lopez. Another no brainer, especially after this season where Lopez reached his career high in doubles (42), homeruns (25) and RBIs (96). He’s even nominated for the Heart and Hustle Award after his performance and improvement this season. With this years’ stats, he was one of the most productive AL second baseman.
Shortstop: This one is a complete tossup. Do I want solid defense and poor quality offense, or do I want mediocre defense in such a crucial position and a matching level of offense? I’m talking about Jack Wilson (mid-season addition from the Pittsburgh Pirates) and Josh Wilson (also a mid-season addition but from the San Diego Padres). Jack Wilson’s defense is stunning but it seemed as though he was having a hard time maintaining the same average from his Pirates days. As far as Josh Wilson, his defense is not as great as Jack’s yet his batting average is a lot better. I’ve talked to a lot of Mariners fans and interestingly they all fall 50/50. Who will climb to the top and take on the daily role of SS in ’10? Only the off-season improvements will tell.
3rd Base: This will largely depend on Beltre‘s return to the team or the lack thereof. Beltre is a management and fan favorite at third base which mean if he returns, he’ll be back manning the territory. However, the base is empty if he chooses to leave. Who would be able to fill Beltre’s shoes as far as defense goes? Jack Hannahan has played third base while Beltre was on the DL and did a phenomenal job, yet his batting average of .213 is not all too impressive. Perhaps Bill Hall, one of our newest members of the family from the Brewers can attempt to take on the role. However it’s the same issue as Hannahan; batting average issues.
Right Field: I’ve got 3 syllables for you and no explanation; I-CHI-RO.
Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez. Wow what a great idea to acquire Gutierrez from the Cleveland Indians! Not only can he play center field seamlessly, but this man can hit! He’s played very well batting after Ichiro with an average of .283 and 70 RBIs which are both career highs.
Left field: Oh boy, what a tough one. The most interchanged position of the season. We’ve had Bill Hall, Ryan Langerhans, Mike Saunders. We’ve already discussed Hall so onto Langerhans hailing from the Washington Nationals. He had a couple walk-offs which was memorable, but two walk-offs and a .218 average isn’t going to get you a permanent spot on the daily lineup. Now Mike Saunders seems like another management favorite although his batting average is .221; sure a little better than Langerhans but he did play more games than he did. Actually, I’m going to go on a limb and say Saunders. This is because my Grandpa loves Saunders and thinks he’ll succeed. But mostly because I love my Grandpa.
Catcher: Putting aside my bias for favorites, I’m going to call up Rob Johnson as next season’s daily catcher. He was Felix’s personal catcher all season and obviously he was successful. His offense struggles but are there many catchers with great batting averages with the exception of Joe Mauer? Johnson is such a fan favorite and I think I’m alright with Kenji Johjima being back-up. At the end of the season, we were introduced to Adam Moore. I can’t judge much considering he played only a handful innings but as far as watching him bat, I’m not too optimistic. Perhaps he’ll be back next season and prove me wrong.
Well there we go, If I were the GM, I would have it this way. A team mostly full of newbies but just enough veterans to keep them together. After this successful season, I can’t imagine them doing anything but get better, and it’s never been more exciting!
1. A rookie catcher that can remain in the game for 14 innings and catch 213 pitches.
2. A struggling starting pitcher that is newly back from AAA.
3. 7 relief pitchers that can hold the White Sox down.
4. 1 homer in the bottom 7th for joy.
5. 1 homer in the bottom 9th (0 outs) for hope.
6. 1 homer in the bottom 9th (2 outs) for a tie.
7. 14th innings worth of time.
8. A ‘single’ drop of Ichiro.
9. A sprinkle of quick feet.
1. The Mariners had their newbie catcher, Moore, making his Major League Debut after getting called up from AAA Tacoma. He didn’t drop one ball and caught all 14 innings and an unbelievable 213 pitches.
2. The Mariners starter Brandon Morrow had much proving to do to Wakamatsu, his teammates and fans after becoming a little bit of a let down earlier this season; thus getting sent to AAA Tacoma for a while. Considering the great line up of the White Sox, I think Morrow did alright. Went 5 and 2/3 innings giving up 6 hits and 3 earned runs.
3. Not only did newbie Moore catch the whole game, he was basically introduced to 8 Mariners pitchers in total. After Morrow, 7 relief pitchers came out to throw an outstanding 8 innings while the Mariners offense tried to conjure up some runs.
4. A home run from Beltre in the bottom 7th gave fans at the game some joy knowing at least the Mariners scored once even if they did lose (because we all know that as much as we love our home team, when we’re at a game, we’d like to see them score…someone! Anyone!).
5. After a quiet 8th inning and praying for a miracle, Lopez hits his 24th home run with 0 outs against White Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks.
6. 1 out….2 outs….a few fans starting to pack up…until Hall comes out to hit a game tying home run!
7. Awesome! Extra innings! Maybe 10…maybe even 11 innings? Yeeeeaaah, no. The White Sox and Mariners decided to pitch it out for 14 innings. Thank goodness the game started early yesterday or else lil’ ole me couldn’t have witnessed the victory here in Mo-Town!
8. Bottom of the 14th, Langerhans hits a single against the soon-to-be losing pitcher Linebrink who beans Johjima (Joh gets beaned a lot..I think he actually held a record there for a while.). 2 men on base and our future Hall of Famer comes up to base. *Drum rolls please*. Ichiro hits a line drive single between CF and RF just enough for Langerhans to score the winning run.
9. Oh, and the quick feet? You need quick feet because if you don’t, you can’t chase after a grinning Ichiro as he runs away from his teammates. It’s true.
Don’t believe me? Click Here! It’s pretty comical, actually.
There you go, a perfect recipe for a home cooked Extra Inning Victory.
…oh wait, IT WAS!
Where do I even start? It’s been almost a whole year since I was at Safeco Field last and I definitely got goosebumps when I walked up to it. My favorite seats are in the left field bleachers, 1st row. I’m right above the bullpen (my friend and I debated whether we should fall on top of the White Sox pitchers to prevent them from going out there) and only costs $15. They’re my favorite place to sit in Safeco Field so if any of you are ever around, trust me and give those seats a try :]
The weather was amazing; sunny yet low humidity, a cool breeze passing through beautiful Safeco Field. It was raining earlier but we didn’t even need the retractable roof.
My friend and I got there around 5:30, just walking around and enjoying the festivities. I was this close to getting the infamous garlic fries (heart burn anyone?) but I think I’ll wait till I’m with my family and won’t have to worry about spreading garlic breath towards anyone :] Instead, I got me some Ivar’s clams ‘n’ chips.
Um, yum! A White Sox fan was sitting next to me and was complaining about how horrible our food selection was. I’ve been to a few Major League parks and I can appreciate anything they have and definitely don’t have the image that Safeco has poor food selection. If they’re right though, I’d love to go to whatever park they go to!
My friend insisted I have a beer but as some of you may know, Asians scientifically are not capable of breaking down alcohol as rapidly as other races so there was no way I was risking getting sick and not fully enjoying the game in lieu of an over-priced beer. :]
Last night’s game was the ultimate pitcher’s duel. Felix Hernandez vs Mark Buehrle. Both two digit game winners with low ERAs. I’m sure everyone knew this was going to be a low-scoring game but when it was 0-0 in the 13th inning, boy did it truly hit me that this was a pitcher’s duel, even way after Hernandez and Buehrle were gone! Sheesh!
They were both absolutely amazing. Felix went 7, Buerhle went 8, both giving up exactly 6 hits. As a biased Mariners fan though, I also would like to mention that Felix had 10 strike outs while Buerhle only had 3. It definitely felt like Felix was getting himself in more of a jam than Buerhle was, though. Felix almost put me into cardiac arrest a few times, that’s for sure!
It’s always a great game when you get to watch Ichiro in his zone. You always see his excellent offense on TV but it’s truly a treat when you get to witness his ninja-like defense in person. In the top of the fifth, Nix was on third base while Alex Rios (his frist start as a White Sox) hit a medium deep fly to right field.
Ichiro ran up to the ball, caught it and within a split second (literally), he threw the ball to Johnson to tag Nix out at home base.
It seriously sent chills up my spine. Johnson didn’t even have to move one bit because of Ichiro’s accuracy in locating the ball.
That’s some serious stuff. :]
After the grueling 14 innings of play, the grand total of hits for each team was 10 for the White Sox and 9 for the Mariners. Of course the only hit that amount to anything was the one that came in the bottom 14th. With Beltre on 2nd base (from a single, then a walk), the lights dimmed in Safeco Field as they played the inspirational yet stressful music while Griffey stepped up to bat. Everyone stood up nervously and was praying furiously (
oh wait, maybe that was just me).
♥ KA-POW ♥
Can you imagine? Everyone’s hands over their heads nervously while Griffey swings at a pitch…just watching the ball go deep into the very corner of right field….and as soon as the ball lands, it’s over. The insanely lengthy 14 inning game was over. I had to be careful not to fall off the ledge into the visitor’s bullpen! We were screaming, shouting, dancing, hugging, shimmy-shimmy-ing, in-your-face-ing the White Sox fans that were on my right, left and behind (why is it that I always end up surrounded by opposing fans whether or not I’m at Safeco?).
Ah, who cares? We won!
On the drive back, I was pretty determined that that game had to have broken some sort of record. I was right! After some minor research before I wrote this blog, I found out I was a part of the longest scoreless game in Mariners franchise history! Nothing to be particularly proud of, but it’s a good feeling :]
I tip my (pink) Mariners cap to the White Sox. Just like the Tampa Bay Rays (which unfortunately I missed blogging about :[), it’s a great, strong team to beat, the type of team you can really feel good about beating. That’s not trying to be rude, it’s actually a twisted compliment.
Besides, the White Sox broke my heart (thanks also goes to Aardsma) the night before when they won in the top 9th (3-1) so last night makes up for it, right? :]
P.S Here are some extra pictures taken at Safeco Field last night. Enjoy! ♥
Our famous and awesome retractable roof ♥
“Russell Muscle Power” – from a funny poster ♥ Love him ♥
Ok so a little bit of a false alarm. I didn’t think I was going to have any easy access to internet let alone from my own laptop but turns out my host has wireless internet and the first thing I thought?
Sweet, I can blog during down-time ♥
So here I am in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I have jetlag of +3 hours so I was wide awake on my vacation at 6:30am. Unfortunate but this gives me time to blog while my host sleeps in so it’s a wonderful thing! :]
I know this is off-topic but my flight from Detroit to Portland was hell. I had a great window-seat exit row but had an extremely obese woman sitting next to me and her muffin top was spilling over the arm-rest and into my seat. Not only that but she kept wanting to look outside the window and mercilessly leaned over me to do so. Couldn’t breathe! Although I’m used to flying 9+ hours on a plane back and forth from Tokyo to Seattle, this flight of a mere 4 hours seemed never ending. I’m sure you guys have had horrible flight experiences. Just thought I’d share.
The most amazing thing that happened to me yesterday apart from the fact that I’m back home and spent the whole day with best friends, it was when I was scrolling down the comcast remote and when I selected “MLB Baseball“, it was the Mariners vs Royals game. Wow, how nice is it to be able to watch your favorite team on TV without having to log into GameDay or paying for MLB Extra Innings? Wow I’m going to be so spoiled for the next month. Sounds ridiculous I’m sure. :]
I didn’t watch the entire game; I actually started watching in the top 4th and the Mariners were down by 1. Rowland-Smith was our SP and definitely didn’t do a repeat on his last start where he went hitless for 6 innings. He struggled by giving up 5 runs within the first 4 innings and he was done. As I’ve mentioned before, the Mariners relief pitchers make me extremely nervous but Kelley, Batista and Lowe did a great job. Kelley gave up the 6th run to the Royals but ended up with the win. Aardsma came out to close the game and succeeded despite loading the bases for himself.
a little help from Ichiro. He blasted a homerun in the first inning, went 2 for 5 with 3 runs, but the biggest oomf that saved the Mariners was this…….
In the bottom 9th with 2 outs bases loaded, Buck hit a slicing foul ball towards right field, right in the corner where absolutely no one but Ichiro could see. It was quite a long dash for Ichiro but as soon as the ball dropped, we saw a blow of dust and a glove rising from the corner. Ichiro had caught that insanely difficult catch and rescued Aardsma from a blown save. Ichiro isn’t an 8 time Gold Glover for no reason, huh? I wonder if he was on the Web Gems last night? He should’ve! He’s amazing!
We definitely can’t forget the man that gave the Mariners the one run lead which ended up to be the only one we needed.
Russell Branyan! He’s been in a little slump as of late but turned that around for himself and for the team last night. Branyan hit a line drive between Butler and Callaspo scoring Jack Wilson. Branyan went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Good job, Russ! :]
As far as watching the game (on TV, yay!), it’s always been so fun to watch the Mariners take on the Royals because of all the former Mariners players that they’ve acquired throughout the years.
They were all great players for the Mariners and it’s always so nice to see their smiling faces. Not only that, but Olivo and Yuni both went 2 for 4 last night scoring half the runs that the Royals produced.
Miss you boys! So much! ♥
With all that said, I’m happy I managed to write up an entry this morning. Busy day ahead but turns out my friends are having a party for me at Buffalo Wild Wings where they have TVs in every corner, and at 4pm which is exactly when the Mariners start.
Am I completely ridiculous and horrible for thinking that?
*=Missed the most by me. Hehe. ♥