Jose Lopez hits 3 homers to carry M’s over Jays 6-3!

Jose Lopez connects for 3 Homers!

  Yes you read it right; Jose Lopez the Mariners much maligned third basemen clobbered three home runs tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays to lead his club to a 6-3 victory! Lopez homered off three different pitchers, hitting solo shots in the third and the sixth, then connecting for a 2-run bomb in the eighth. In an interview after the game Lopez said this was the first time in his entire baseball career where he has accomplished this rare feat.

  I am not even sure how to write this post as it has been so long since a Mariner; especially Lopez has been hot for a whole game like this. The last Mariner to connect for three homers in a single game was Alex Rodriguez in 2000, and of course Mike Cameron had 4 bombs on May 2 2002 against the White Sox, so this has to go down as one of the highlights of the season…. Yikes!

Of course Lopez did not do it all tonight as he only drove-in 4 runs, the other two came off the bat of Michael Saunders who smacked a 2-run poke of his own in the second inning. David Pauley also pitched a nice game and came-away with his third win of the year as he finally received some run-support thanks to the mighty Jose Lopez and his sidekick Michael Saunders the Canadian Condor!

  The 12,302 fans in Toronto are used to seeing power displays as their club leads the majors with 233 homers including one tonight by Vernon Wells. However the Mariners who are last with 95 homers silenced the small crowd with a rare power display of their own. The Blue Jays fans however did perk-up every time Jose Bautista came to the plate, hoping to see their slugger connect for # 50 on the year. But alas they will have to wait another day along with the Japanese media and fans hoping to see Ichiro pick-up hit # 200 for the tenth year in a row. Ichiro did manage to move his total to 198 tonight with a single to center in the top of the eighth. Of course the polite Canadian fans even clapped for Ichiro tonight in keeping with their reputation as all-around decent folks (even Geoff Baker at times can be civil!)

  This game was so different from most of the Mariners games this year, as you could for once sense that our pitchers were confident on the mound secure with the knowledge they had a lead. Believe it or not up until tonight’s game the Mariners offense had only scored 14 runs for David Pauley in his 12 starts. That is worse run-support than even Felix Hernandez has had. Speaking of the King, Hernandez will be getting the start in the day game tomorrow in a game that actually has the makings of some real drama and potential excitement. First of all we have Felix Hernandez making his final push for the CyYoung award needing a win to push his total to 13, then you have the home run chase by Bautista, and finally it is possible that Ichiro could reach hit #200 tomorrow. Love to see at least two of those events happening, and plan on watching this series finale in the morning just in case the Mariners can produce one final day of greatness, just like Jose Lopez had tonight!

A day to remember and another day to forget

Lou Piniella and Mariners after 9-11 2001

Today is a day to look back and remember and honor those lost in the tragedy of 9-11 2001. The photo to the left shows the Seattle Mariners in a spontaneous showing of love for their country with an American flag raised at Safeco field. That day changed the world as we knew it and things have never been the same.

Things have never been the same  for baseball in Seattle since the 116 win season in 2010 either,  and today was more of  the same as the Rainiers lost 5-1 at Safeco, while the parent club lost 7-4 in Anaheim.

The Rainiers were never able to get anything going today against former Mariner 37 year-old Brett Tomko who went 6 scoreless innings in front of a crowd(?) of 983 fans. As a result the Rainiers must win tomorrow at Safeco against the pesky Sacramento River Cats or their season is over.

Meanwhile down in Anaheim the Mariners were unable to get it done for their Ace Felix Hernandez who now goes to 11-11, and may very well be out of the hunt for the Cy Young award. As usual the Mariners offense could not produce any offense  until it was too late, scoring 4 runs in the last two innings after Hernandez had already been pulled by manager Daren Brown.

  On the bright side Ichiro still looks like he is on pace to get 200 hits this year as he spanked a 3-run homer in the 8th and had a chance to do the same in the 9th with 2-on but lined-out to end the game.

  Another nice development as of late has been the play of Chone Figgins who not only got a couple of hits tonight, but continues to show some real flair in the field and on the bases. While this day like most of the rest of the season will be another to shove back in to our already overflowing holding tanks of misery, it does seem that there is a nucleus of players between the Rainiers and Mariners that could be part of an improved club in 2012. This offseason may not be as busy as last year’s but with perhaps a couple of free agents from other teams we may be able to compete next year. Notice I said “compete” not win, yes folks I am breaking through my denial and realize we are still a few years away from a playoff team no matter what happens this winter.

   Anyway I know most of you are already switching gears to football given the state of the baseball in the NW, so if you happen to be downtown after the Seahawks game Sunday and are still hungry for action, walk over to Safeco and cheer on the Rainiers at 7pm.

  In closing I hope everyone takes time to once again honor those who died on Sept. 11 2001 and the servicemen and women who fought in or are still fighting the  subsequent conflicts abroad , whether you supported the decision to fight them or not.  I particularly want to salute my nephew Eric Lawson who served twice in Iraq with the Air Force, as well as all the Merchant Mariners who are entrusted with carrying the nation’s war goods in times of conflict.

Mariners beat Athletics 7-5 in a sloppy but fun game

The Mariners managed to hold-on to beat the Oakland Athletics tonight 7-5 in a game that featured a little of everything tonight in front of 10,067 lonesome fans at the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight’s starting pitchers, Doug Fister and Dallas Braden started off the season as if they were bound for Cy Young consideration. But tonight they both looked quite average as they each were not locating their pitches and this one could have gone either way.

Fortunately for the Mariners they were able to have a big inning early scoring 5 runs in the second sending 11 men to the plate in one of the few big innings the Mariners have put together this year. Granted the 5-run outburst was helped along with a few bloopers, flairs, a broken bat single, a bad throw, a walk and before you knew it we had 5 runs on the board against Dallas Braden. After averaging 2 runs a game for the last 12 games I’m sure our guys were not ashamed to rock the opposing pitcher in this sort of lucky break rally. As a fan it was fun to watch the Mariners send 11 guys to the plate and go 5-5 with men in scoring position at one point in the inning.

 This game actually meant something to the A’s who are chasing the Rangers  but after tonight’s loss still remain 7 back in the AL West. The A’s of course sit across the bay from the more glamorous SF Giants who are closing in on the Padres in front of packed houses. However in working-class Oakland it is not unusual to see only 10,000 in the stands for a team that is basically a Green-collar sort of club that doesn’t get much respect, but makes the most of what they have.

  After the Mariners added another run on a homer by Adam Moore to make it 6-0, the scrappy A’s finally got a couple of runs in the 5th inning after which Daren Brown went to the bullpen. Both Garrett Olson and Jamie Wright did their jobs holding the A’s scoreless for 3 innings aided by another run in the top of the 7th by the Mariners.

  But this goofy game sort of had a mind of its own tonight and with two-out in the top of the 9th the wheels started to fall off for Brandon League. The A’s managed to get a little rally of their own together and before you could say Jack London the A’s had  3 runs in and 2 on base before David Aardsma was called in to close this one out.

All together the Mariners had 13 hits on the night compared to 12 for the A’s in what was a fun game to watch even with the sloppy play by both sides.

Mariners bats don’t work on Labor Day

Crew of vessel FV Tian YU being held for ransom

 The Oakland Athletics picked-up a game in the AL West race today with their 6-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners in front of 11,581 diehard A’s fans at the Oakland Coliseum. Jason Vargas picked-up the loss and now drops to 9-9 on the year against a scrappy Oakland team who are now only 7 games back in the West despite being a game under .500

  Today’s game was more of the same for the Mariners as the offense never really got on track outside of a home run by Franklin Gutierrez in the 7th. The A’s have built another low-budget team around pitching, defense and timely hitting and for them somehow it actually seems to work. Brett Anderson got the start today and went 7 2/3 innings picking-up the win to improve his record to 4-6 to go along with his 2.97 era.

  It is amazing to think that the A’s are still in the pennant race after the way Texas was playing for awhile, but sure enough the Rangers are doing their traditional fade-away act thus allowing the A’s to stay in the hunt. If you recall at the beginning of the year people were saying the AL West was wide open this year and that the Mariners had a good shot in 2010. Well they were right, except for the fact that our team never got things rolling.

Oh well enough of that already as today is Labor Day, a holiday to honor workers as well as the traditional end of summer. In honor of the working people and their Unions around the country  who have struggled for things like the 40 hour week, overtime, and safety on the job I have attached an electronic petition hoping you will sign it. As many of you know I have a background as a Merchant Mariner and I still work in that industry fighting to protect the rights of Mariners on Foreign Flag ships known as FOC’s as my day job.

  One of the big issues facing Seafarers and their families today is the problem of Piracy occurring off the coast of Somalia. Unfortunately Piracy is a real issue that effects modern-day Mariners like those pictured above, as their ships are held hostage for ransom money. Sadly the sailors and their families are often not mentioned, as the primary concern is often just the ship itself and the cargo.

  At any rate being that it is Labor Day and I am a former Merchant Mariner, and yes this is a Mariners blog I am wondering if you would be willing to sign the online petition I have attached a link for, as well as circulate the petition to your                                                                    

 This is a serious matter and we need to bring it to the attention of the UN and other government bodies to demand action on behalf of all the Mariners and their families that are adversely effected by this problem. Thankyou and Happy Labor Day….

Rain out ramblings from the road

Well after all my worries about watching the Mariners today while on vacation rather than enjoying myself here on the Oregon Coast……they got rained out so it looks like I was saved by divine intervention. 

Jeff in action over weekend

So I thought I would give you this photo from my last weekends softball tournament where due to injuries I got to fill-in at shortstop for several games and actually made a few tough plays. Not quite Jack Wilson type plays but at 52 sometimes it is an effort just to put on my cleats! 

Still out-of-town currently on the Oregon Coast enjoying the beautiful weather and forget all my worries. Unfortunately I scanned my usual news sources and came across an interesting article by Geoff Baker at the Times regarding journalistic integrity of bloggers vs. the main stream media see:Call me an idiot, Mariners fans. Just don’t call me an idiot on steroids . While as usual he makes some valid points, I couldn’t help but wonder if he like a lot of paid sports journalists these days is feeling the heat from amateur bloggers like myself and the other folks who write about the Mariners. 

  I doubt he reads my blog and his comments were not directed to me, but I still felt like saying something. So for the record I do post opinions and analysis of the games I watch, primarily because I am a fan of the Mariners. I try to research things before posting and though I have written some spoof articles, I do not find it necessary to make up lies to slander anyone. In fact if anything I would say that the main stream media (not necessarily Geoff) do a pretty good job of  creating stories such as the Larry Larue piece on Griffey to grab the limelight. 

   It is unfortunate that journalists like a lot of American workers including real Merchant Mariners, have lost their jobs due to technological advances and outsourcing. But like most of the Baseball Bloggers I know, I do this as sort of a hobby  for free and to express myself in a creative venue I enjoy. 

   So I am going to keep writing as long as you all keep reading, using my moral compass that has guided me through rough waters through all my years as an actual Merchant Mariner and now as a  blogger on the sport and team I love.

Tuiasosopo delivers ” The shot heard around Ballard”

  Last night Adam Moore proved he can hit in the big leagues, and tonight Matt Tuiasosopo made a statement of his own driving in 4 runs in the Mariners 4-0 win, including a huge 3-run blast in the top of the 9th . It has been a long time coming for these two guys that up until the last few nights looked like they were not destined for careers in the Bigs. In a season where much of what happens on a daily basis is judged by how the future will unfold, these past two days have given us some hope.

  Luke French also pitched a great game tonight giving up only 3 hits and no runs before being pulled in the bottom of the 8th with runners on the corners. Fortunately for the Mariners, Brandon League was able to get the final out of the inning setting the stage for Tuiasosopo to crush a slider out to the left field bleachers. Ironically a Mariners Fan in an Ichiro jersey retrieved the home run ball! League was able to handle the Orioles in order in the 9th including fanning last night’s hero Adam Jones for the last out to preserve  the win for French.

  Matt Tuiasosopo did not even know he was going to start tonight until Ryan Langerhans was scratched 20 minutes before the game and sounded humble in his post-game interview saying he “Just wanted to have some fun and help the team out”. As far as French’s outing my observation is that he looked more confident as the game went on as he dueled with the Orioles starter Kevin Millwood. French had a no-hitter going into the 6th and had 16 first pitch strikes tonight to get ahead of the Orioles who besides their threat in the 8th were never really in this one.

  So now the Mariners need a win tomorrow to try to win another series for their new skipper Daren Brown, before heading on to play the Yankees and Red Sox as our sailors try to navigate this long hot East Coast road trip. So far in August the Mariners are playing the kind of ball they were playing in June before the July nightmare.

  Many of you like myself were not alive in 1951 when Bobby Thomson hit “The shot heard around the world” which resulted in a dramatic victory by the NY Giants in a 3-game playoff with the Dodgers. Sadly Bobby Thompson passed-away today at the age of 86 as one more link to Baseball’s colorful past moves on. The following article has more on Thompson: Bobby Thomson, ‘shot heardround the world‘ hero, dies‎

Even with Adam Moore,Mariners can’t stop Baltimore

     Tonight in Baltimore 12,375 paying fans got to watch an eleven inning game between two struggling clubs who are playing for pride at this point in the season. Both the Mariners and the Orioles under new managers, played tonight as if it was the 7th game in the World Series, right up to the last at-bat when ex-Mariners Adam Jones laid-down a surprise squeeze bunt scoring the winning run from third to win the game 5-4.

   On a hot and humid night one Mariner stood-out however having his best night ever going 4-5 including a homer, yes indeed Adam Moore finally has arrived on the scene showing us why he is the catcher of the future for Seattle. And even though it sucked to see David Aardsma have another meltdown (it’s been awhile) it was a treat to watch Moore gunning-down runners and swinging the bat like the tough, athletic guy he is. In my book after tonight’s debut of the real Adam Moore there is no going back to the Rob Johnson show.

  Doug Fister pitched like….. Well the real Doug Fister. After starting out looking like a superman early on I’m afraid to say that Doug Fister is really just a back of the rotation guy on a mediocre team. The Orioles got to him early and he never really looked in control tonight, but he did get through 5 innings and only allowed 3 runs on 10 hits. Doug’s shipmates Jamie Wright and Brandon League pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief tonight, as neither team really looked like they wanted to win this one, or perhaps they just forgot how.

    Jose Lopez did his usual multiple personality routine giving us a display of power, finesse and dorkiness all in one game. Lopez is definitely unique in his ability to drive fans crazy one minute, and the next play look like the real deal. But really both of these teams have some talent and fighting spirit and this game was kind of fun to watch, as the spectacle of two beautiful losers engaged in a death match has always been high on my list of favorite types of games to watch. This was the sort of game where you got to know the individual voices of the fans yelling in the background as this game unfolded. There is something magical about being on a losing team in a 3/4 empty stadium in extra innings and just letting it all out, sort of a cleansing experience that I don’t begrudge the loyal Orioles fans tonight in their bright orange jerseys.

   So that was tonight’s battle, a classic almost campy clash of two teams everyone has long forgotten about giving it their best for a handful of fans on two different coasts who have long ago quit feeling the pain of losing and instead, like the players watch for the love of the game.

  I wanted to thank Graham Womak from the Blog Baseball Past and Present who published an article on his blog about my grandfather: The original Dusty Rhodes story    Graham wrote the article  after          interviewing me this weekend and going through some old photos and scrapbooks. Graham is an earnest young guy from the Bay Area who helped begin to start thinking and talking about my Grandfather’s career in a realistic way in order to not only help me with the book I’m planning, but to also begin healing around his wonderful yet tragic career. Like tonight’s emotional rollercoaster the game of baseball is full of highs and lows and if it doesn’t kill you, can make life a lot richer and deeper.

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