Mariners sink to Davey Jones’ locker 12-3

The Seattle Mariners dropped the third game of this four game series tonight by a score of 12-3 and find themselves 10 games back in the AL West after being mauled by the first place Texas Rangers. Ryan Smith lost his right to having two last names with his performance tonight and will probably get heaped into the bullpen or perhaps over the side of the good ship Mariners. Brandon League got slammed around the deck as well by the Rangers and the whole team is starting to look like F-troop. If I never have to see Vladimir Guerrero hitting another line drive off his shoe-strings, or their pitching coach Mike Maddux going out to talk to his pitchers even when leading by 7 runs, I will be a happy man.

   Going down to Texas everyone kind of knew this was going to be a make or break series for the struggling Mariners, and all the finger-pointing and hand wringing in the world won’t put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. We now are faced with a long summer, or perhaps maybe it will just keep raining all year in solidarity with our washed up Seafarers.

    I should have known when I saw first hand down at spring training this year the way the veterans were disrespecting  Don Wakamatsu that we were heading for trouble this year. Here are a couple of examples: One day I was watching the veterans taking BP and Wak asked some of them to play catch while they were waiting to hit. In this instance it was Sweeney, Jack Wilson, Griffey and Figgins,and a few others. The veterans just kept  doing their usual shucking and jiving ritual while they ignored the skipper. So then Wak  trying to lead by example grabbed a glove and started playing catch with one of the younger players, and I overheard Mike Sweeney say “Its overrated” meaning staying active and playing catch, instead of hovering around the cage while all the rookies were busting their butts is overrated. It struck me as odd and disrespectful and more importantly that Wak did not have respect of the veterans.

   In addition I saw Ken Griffey barely going through the motions during sprints and drills always being the instigator and trying to always get some of the guys to go along with him. I remember thinking what was Ted Williams or Ty Cobb like during their  final spring training and knew in my heart that guys like that would have worked just as hard as the rookies to set an example.

    You may be wondering why I’m saying this now after all the times I came to the defense of both Griffey and Sweeney on this Blog when everyone else in town was calling for them to go. Well to be honest I was hoping it was no big deal and we were going to kick butt this year, and some things are best left alone. So there it is, as an ex-player and long time fan who has reverence for the great game of Baseball, I knew in my gut that this team was lacking in discipline and leadership from the gate. And now my worst nightmare has come true……

Slow News Day for Mariners

Yesterday I took a nasty tumble at second base while I was playing softball,  after I shook it off the first thing that came to my mind was I’m to old at 52 to be playing shortstop. Jack Wilson is 20 years younger and he is thinking the same thing, Ken Griffey is 40 and looking at the end, and Milton Bradley is taking a deeper look at life himself for perhaps the first time. Americans have always loved to compete, and we seem to derive a little to much of our identity based on what we do for a living in comparison to other people around the world. You could make the case that our will to win is what made this country great. But at what cost to ourselves, our planet, and those we care about do we need to keep pushing the envelope?

  In my case it is a no-brainer, this will be my last season. Jack Wilson sounds like he is ready to give it up. Ken Griffey will probably finish the year in some capacity. And perhaps Milton Bradley has hit some sort of bottom spiritually and emotionally and may surprise us all by evolving into a more well-rounded human being. Of course no one much cares about my baseball career, but it is a slow news day and I thought I would break things up with a feel-good story.

  Baseball is a bit different from most sports with all the history, metaphors, and parallels to real life. When I look through my scrap-book of old players that my grandfather GordonDusty”  Rhodes played with in the majors, and look at the faces, I see people like us in their timeless poses. Somehow when I put on my cleats or head down to the Safe I get lost in to a time-warp. For the players who are actually in the dug-outs it must be even more surreal and difficult to let go of. Chone Figgins must somehow still be holding on to his confidence, Griffey to his faith in his swing, Rob Johnson to the time when he was a top prospect. In reality it is our higher nature that has to intercede and tell us when it is time to move-on, if we listen. If not the game of baseball can be a cruel Mistress indeed.

The Plot thickens, Brian Goldberg Griffey’s agent speaks out….

In another bizarre twist to the Larry Larue/Griffey saga, I just found out that Brian Goldberg  Ken Griffey’s agent spoke to Bill Swartz at KIRO today with more of this story. Goldberg says the napping story was accidentally published by Larue before completing the story. According to Goldberg ,Larue felt horrible about posting the article before talking to Don Wakamatsu or Ken Griffey and tried to get the newspaper to retract the story but the Tacoma News Tribune refused. Goldberg goes on to say that Larue didn’t actually speak with two players but got the info from someone else in the organization.

  Ok so I’m going to pause and take a breath now before saying something I regret later…..Hmmm well I’m not quite sure how Griffey’s agent got in the act. It looks like this may be some sort of compromise so everyone can save face. However in all fairness this doesn’t feel quite right. Larry Larue needs to set the record straight for himself. If this story is correct so be it, let Larry speak at some sort of news conference and put this to bed. If it is not then it looks like we are heading towards a complete melt down of credibility for all concerned parties. I guess todays melt-down by Brandon League is not going to be discussed today by the local media,rather more of this blather. This is getting to be a little like high-school with all the he said, she said stuff. It should be noted that Darrin Beene the sports editor at the Tribune has disputed the claims of Goldberg. So it looks like we are back to square one.

 After todays game I’m begining to wonder if we could just go back in time and start this season over as it is going from a bad dream to a reoccuring nightmare that gets worse in different ways every day. The drama off the field only intensifies the frustration and has somehow turned many fans against each other in some sort of surreal Civil-War. I think it’s time for a truce.

Griffey asleep,Larue a creep…

Larry Larue a small town reporter for the Tacoma Tribune has made his mark as a big-league journalist by scooping a story on Hall of Famer Ken Griffey supposedly taking a nap during a game in the clubhouse. Dirty Laundry sells papers I guess, and with the demise of good reporters jobs I guess Larue is desperate. Makes me glad to be a non-commercial blogger and can’t wait till Larue has to join me someday when his paper folds.

  To be honest I’m more concerned about players like Chone Figgins, David Aardsma, Casey Kotchman, and Rob Johnson amongst others who appear to be sleeping on the field. The recent call-ups, Josh Wilson in particular seem to be wide awake. And how about us fans, no one seems to care about what it is like to try to stay awake while we listen  to Dave Sims and Rick Rizz night after night as they try to be clever.

 Unfortunately there is a 90% chance of rain in Baltimore for Tuesdays game against the Orioles. I can’t imagine what sort of story will be coming out of the center of sophistication and culture known as Tacoma, if we don’t get back to Baseball soon.

Lee Throws Smoke, Mariners Choke lose 2-0 in 12

Cliff Lee took the mound  tonight for the Seattle Mariners and was everything we have been anticipating and more. He threw 7 innings of 3-hit shut out ball against division rival the Texas Rangers in what turned out to be a wasted performance as the Mariners went on to lose this one in 12 innings. Fortunately the Mariners are playing in a division where the top two teams are tied at .500 and thus our boys are only a half a game back!

  The first 20,ooo fans who came out on this chilly night  got a Felix Hernandez bobble-head doll along with another nail-biter that almost had a play-off type atmosphere as it went on and on and on….. For some reason Wak brought our closer in to pitch the top of the 9th and since we didn’t score, the ball got handed to Brandon League who by all rights should have got the win, if only…we could have executed.

 How we lost this one I will never know as it looked like we had it in the 10th when Griffey lead off with a single, then Bradley doubled and suddenly we had runners on second and third with no outs. Kotchman came up and on a weird check-swing popped out to third. The Rangers then intentionally walked the bases loaded to get to Wilson who was sat down and Sweeney came in to pinch hit with 1 out and the bases loaded. Right away he hit into a double play and that was that. Brandon League did his job in the top half of the 11th and once again opportunity came knocking.

 Ichiro lead off the top of the 11th with hir third hit of the night, Figgins  bunted for a base hit and it looked like we were in business again. Gutierrez our best hitter was asked to bunt and he tried but eventually struck out and Lopez walked. Eric Byrnes who had replaced Ken Griffey in the previous inning as a pinch runner came up with another chance to end this one. Instead Wak put on the suicide squeeze sign, but sadly Byrnes couldn’t get any wood on the ball and Ichiro got nailed at the plate. Byrnes went down after that and another 5,ooo fans headed for the exits.

  By then you knew lady luck was not on our side tonight, and sure enough the Rangers were able to score a couple of cheap runs off a couple infield plays that could have gone our way coupled with a throwing error from Tui and a wild pitch. By the time the bottom of the 12th came those of us who hadn’t left or perhaps were too stunned to move as was the case with me, got to watch the Mariners go down in order and that was it.

  But again on the bright side Cliff Lee pitched well and we are only a half game out of first place! I can tell this is going to be an interesting year and not one for the timid of spirit.

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