Mariners FanFest kicks-off another ______ Mariners season…

  In keeping with the “FamilyFriendly” business plan that has proved profitable for the Mariners Organization up till this point, The Seattle Mariners will be hosting FanFest this weekend down at Safeco from 11-4 Saturday and Sunday. I will be attending a SABR meeting Saturday at noon at the Elliot pavilion and may pay my 10 bucks as well later in the day to support the team and maybe run around the bases or enter the home run contest.

  Of course Jack Z, Eric Wedge, Felix and other big names in the organization will be there to sign autographs etc. in this sort of prelude to spring training and another season of Baseball here in the Northwest.

Apparently Brett Boone and Jay Buhner along with Dan Wilson will be roaming around as well. This may be a good chance to catch Buhner outside of his normal Northwest haunts over on the East Side, or hovering around the airwaves trying to get a full time job. As for Boone I’m not sure what they are thinking as far as “Family Friendly” considering this guy was pretty well-known to be a steroid user , as well as pretty much a loud-moth jerk in the clubhouse [ask Ichiro about this ]. But I guess Boone did make the HOF ballot this year and perhaps the Mariners are getting us ready for a season where they need to slip-in Josh Lueke and Milton Bradley into our annual summer mix of mediocre baseball and bland entertainment. To be honest I wouldn’t mind the focus shifting away from the whole artificial “Disney Land” experience, back to the basics of winning some ball games for the home fans.

    Oh well what can we do, it’s the only game in town so to speak and football is all but over excluding the anticlimatic Super Bowl between the Steelers and Packers. Either way I am attempting to slowly come out of my  bloggerhibernation period in order to get this blog rebuilt sometime in the next month or so, so as to have her up and running on all  eight cylinders by opening day. Grab your cleats and ink pens and come on down to the “Safe” this weekend, as rain or shine the ” Show must go On”.http;//jeffsmariners.com

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mariners Nation

With visions of improvement in 2011 dancing in his head…

As we head closer to that special time of the year when we all do our best to be good and spread goodwill towards our fellow-man, I want to take the opportunity to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all those who have followed my humble Blog over the last year.

 
  The 2010 season was painful in many ways including the most painful of all…losing our dear friend Dave Niehaus. But though may of us will be reflecting on the past this Holiday Season thinking about loved ones who are gone or perhaps far away, let us try to remember that it is ok to look back…but don’t stare!
 
  Yes sure enough a new year as well as a new season of Mariners baseball will be upon us quicker than you can say: Jack Zduriencik…
 
  For myself I have been able to move on slowly but surely from the dreadful 2010 campaign, and have begun to feel the smallest kernel of hope for 2011. Of course I don’t have any of the naive expectations that we all had at this time last year, but somehow I gotta believe next year is going to be better in some surprising ways.
 
  At this point it does not look like I will be spending the money and emotional resources to head down to Arizona for spring training like I did last season, but I hope to stay involved with this team via Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog in 2011.
 
 
I hope to make a few small improvements to the look and feel of my Blog, adding more Podcasts and a few other bells and whistles in order to keep-up with the neighbors here in the blogosphere of Mariners Nation. But mostly I will try to give an honest opinion of our hometown team from the perspective of a fan who loves our team, much like those of you who read this page.
 
   Once again I want to wish everyone out there reading this and especially any actual Merchant Mariners who make their living from the Sea as I once did, a warm and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Tugboat Jeff @ http://jeffsmariners.com

Dave Niehaus lives on in our hearts and imaginations

At Dave's Celebration Saturday

I made a point of heading down to the Safe Saturday despite the monsoon conditions to be a part of  ” A Celebration of Life for Dave Niehaus“. I am glad I did. As powerful and beautiful as the tributes were for Dave, I went to be there with, and for my fellow fans. I needed some healing and a start on some closure so I  can try to move on, though things will never be the same without our old shipmate.

Rick Rizz did a marvelous job as the MC, sadly he broke down at one point in tears and looked back at a picture of Dave in centerfield, as if looking for back-up from his old reliable partner, before being surrounded by the strong arms of support from Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez who came up to the stage to support the grief-stricken Rizz. This was one of the powerful moments of the event, as perhaps it finally hit Rizz that his partner is really gone.

It was also very touching to hear from Dave’s children Greta and Andy as they described our Dave at home. And we all finally got to see his marvelous and strong wife Marilyn when the camera panned onto her off and on through the event. You could definitely see the resemblance between Greta and the old man and she went out of her way to let all of us know how much it meant to the family for us all to be there Saturday, along with all the support and messages of love the family has received in the past month.

   There were a lot of funny stories and anecdotes as well from Jay Buhner, Ron Fairly, and Dan Wilson mostly revolving around some quirk of Dave’s, especially his old-school wardrobe. Dave represented not only the Mariners and our city, but a generation of Americans that were my father’s age and still thought Frank Sinatra was King. Dave I guess represented a Father to some, a Grandfather to others and most importantly a close friend to us all.

  I grew to know and like Dave and his style after listening to him for 30 years through thick and thin dating back to the old Kingdome days, where I along with Dave were there when Edgar hit “The Double” in 1995. I ran into him only once at Boeing field, and yet like a lot of us I feel like I have lost a close friend and indeed someone I loved. I loved Dave for not only the wonderful announcer he was, but because he was a creative, funny and warm man.

   I even was sort of able to come to a truce with Chuck Armstrong today after he announced that the Mariners will be wearing a patch on their sleeve next year for Dave and that there will be a statue created for Dave as well.

  As the crowd cleared out in orderly Northwest Fans style, I could not help but linger in the barren stadium and look up at the announcers booth hoping to catch one more glimpse of my old shipmate  perched up in his crow nest aloft the good ship Mariners. But alas he has sailed away never to be heard from again except in our imaginations, where he always will be with us as long as we can still believe in the magic of Baseball. Smooth Sailing Dave, Tugboat Jeff. http://jeffsmariners.com

Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame, who belongs where..

  A few years back while I was in New York for work I took a bus up to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is certainly a must for anyone who considers themself to be a true fan of the game. In addition to looking at all the displays and walking around the grounds, I was able to do some research on my Grandfather Gordon “Dusty” Rhodes” and get copies of some old photos from his 8 years in the majors.

   Of course there was one gaping hole at the Hall of Fame and that was the absence of any Seattle Mariners player with his own plaque in the shrine for Baseball’s immortal figures. Of course subsequently our recently friend and announcer has been inducted, though it is not quite the same as having one of our players there. I have a deal with another old-time friend and Mariner fan that we will go back to Cooperstown when and if one of our beloved Mariners finally get the call.

   That brings us to this years ballot where Edgar Martinez will try his luck again at getting the required 75% of the votes,or at least continue to add to his total which seems more likely. In addition as many of you know, three players who spent some time with a Mariners uniform on back in the glory days between 94-2001, are on the ballot this year.

  John Olerud who had a nice career ending up with 255 homers,500 doubles and a career .295 average is on the ballot along with Brett Boone and Tino Martinez who finished up with a lifetime .271 average along with 339 homers and 1271 RBI’s.

   Of this group perhaps the one who struck the deepest chord emotionally for me was Tino Martinez, not so much because I think he was the best player of the three, but more from when I recall the bitter feeling towards management for trading him away after 1995. Tino went on to enjoy a great run with the Yankees and most people will remember him a being part of that great Yankees era between 1996-2001. For me and countless other fans it was the first of the trades made by Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln to dismantle the powerhouse club we had here in Seattle in the 90’s in order to save money or line the pockets of someone in the front office. Both of these guys are definetly candidates for “Hall of Shame” status for the way they have steered the good ship Mariners on to the rocks…

  As far as Brett Boone goes, outside of his big year in 2001 he seemed always to be a bit cocky to me. Of course as we all know by now he is another guy from the “Steroid Era” who may be headed for the “Hall of Shame” rather than Cooperstown.

  Another great player who just could not seem to understand the difference between right and wrong that is on the ballot this year is Rafael Palmeiro. I always enjoyed watching Palmeiro play over the years as he steadily put together the numbers to get him into Cooperstown over his 20 year career playing primarily for the Orioles and Rangers. Palmeiro ended up with 569 homers along with 1835 RBI’s to go with a respectable career .288 average.

  But alas it appears that Rafael Palmeiro is destined for the purgatory of the “Hall of Shame” along with Mark McGuire and  soon Barry Bonds until perhaps a new generation of Baseball writers figure out how to handle this mess. Palmeiro flat-out lied about his use of Steroids even after testing positive. It certainly is a shame that guys with this sort of talent could not follow the example of Ken Griffey Jr. the one player from the Mariners who stands the best chance of making it into the Hall of Fame who played by the rules. http://jeffsmariners.com

Another fan against expanding playoffs in MLB

Expanding MLB Playoff System,* Podacast:note it may take a minute to load after clicking, thanks for your patience!

       From December 6-9 the MLB owners will be holding their annual meeting in Lake Buena Vista Florida to discuss a wide assortment of things. Many of these items will be done behind closed doors and we may never really know what the real agenda was, or who said what and how decisions were arrived upon. However one issue that is being floated by the mainstream media and Commisioner Bud Selig is the concept of expanding the MLB Playoff system  by adding another wild-card slot for each League.

  After mulling this over with a handful of other Baseball fans and thinking it through I have to say that I think this is a bad idea that will hurt the game we love in the long-run. While I am sure that the motivating factor by MLB and the owners in this matter will be how adding another layer to the postseason will increase revenues which already hit al all-time high of 7 billion last year.

   In my podcast* I will put forward an opposing position and explain why I feel this way. Check it out and let me know what you are thinking through the comment attachment below. Happy Holidays, http://jeffsmariners.com

Hail the King! Felix Hernandez wins Cy Young award

Felix Hernandez 2010 Cy Young winner

Felix Hernandez brought some solace to a grieving Mariners Nation today by winning the 2010 Cy Young award. Hernandez received 21 of 28 first-place votes. Tampa Bay Ace David Price got four first-place votes and the other three went to CC Sabathia of the Yankees.

But this day belongs to Felix Hernandez as he wins his first Cy Young award after dominating AL hitters all year long, despite receiving paltry run support from the last-place Seattle Mariners.

There was some suspense leading-up to todays decision as Felix finished the 2010 campaign with a 13-12 record and historically writers have never given the coveted award to a pitcher with so few wins. But anyone who saw King Felix pitch this year could not deny that he was the best in the AL. Hernandez may have started out a little slow, but in the second-half of the season he was lights-out nearly every time he stepped onto the mound.

 Hernandez led the majors with a 2.27 ERA and topped the AL in innings as well as finishing second in strikeouts. The Mariners lost a 101 games this year but every fifth day Felix Hernandez gave the fans something to cheer about.

  Hernandez seemed to come-on even stronger after Cliff Lee left Seattle for Texas, as perhaps the King was uncomfortable being seen as second fiddle here in Seattle. Well there is no doubt now as to who the Ace in Seattle as well as the American League is.

 The crowning of King Felix as the Cy Young winner may help the Mariners fans begin to heal and find some hope for 2011 after the dismal 2010 season and the passing of the beloved broadcaster Dave Niehaus last week.

   Thanks for the great season Felix! And thanks to the sports writers for getting this one right….http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners Nation adrift with passing of Captain Niehaus

Jeff's good bye creation for Captain Neihaus

Today was a little different from last night when we first heard about losing our beloved Dave Niehaus. Not that anything is settled, but it was nice to hear that several of the old-gaurd Mariners who live around here had made it down to the “Safe” to be there for each other and talk about the recent sad news.

 Like a lot of you I wore my Mariners gear today and got a chance to talk to old friends about the Great One and his sudden passing. It is way to soon to guess what the future for our club will be like without Niehaus at the helm.

But it has been so wonderful to hear and read about the outpouring and love for our voice of the Mariners. Much has been written in the press and there is an impromptu Memorial planned between noon and 3 pm down at  Safeco Field Saturday. Also there will be a special airing of the final game of the 95 series with the Yankees on 710 Kiro at noon Saturday along with TV specials featuring Dave Niehaus  running on FSN through Sunday. 

  It is good to know that we really are a united group here in the Northwest when the call goes out in distress for the good ship Mariners. But frankly like a lot of you I am not sure where we go from here. The Mariners franchise was in deep trouble before this tragedy, and now it feels rudderless for sure.

  While I don’t want to abandon ship yet, it still seems like the future is so bleak now without the one shining star to help us get through the long summers ahead. It was nice that Ken Griffey Jr. stepped-up right away with his call yesterday and I echo the sentiment in Geoff Baker’s article that it is time for healing and we need Junior around now to lend-a-hand till we become seaworthy again as a community.

  I am sure that there will be more goodwill gestures coming from unlikely places in the next few days as we try to come to grips with our loss, but for now it is just another sad rainy night in Seattle with no Baseball and a crew without a Captain to help us navigate through our collective grief. Yes it is starting to sink in that our voice of summer Dave Niehaus really has been called up to the Big Leagues in the sky.http://jeffsmariners.com

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