West Coast Mariners ashore on the Eastern Seaboard

  As I write this our Seattle Mariners, fresh off another series win are ashore in New York City preparing to do battle with the Yankees before sailing up the coast to the Port of Boston. I imagine for some of the guys including the new Skipper this must be an exhilarating experience as they wander around Manhattan enjoying the sights. The NY media will not consider our crew too much of a threat, and thus this series will only be seen in the light of the current tight pennant race the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are in. Of course a few fans and players in New York probably remember the last game that Felix Hernandez pitched against them where he dominated the Bronx Bombers, and will want to avenge that loss on their home turf.

  The last time our gang was in New York earlier in the season way back in the Cliff Lee era, we managed to win the three game series and many in NY were a bit upset and amazed that the lowly Mariners could pull-off such a feat. But guys like Jeter, Rodriguez, Posada and Mariano Rivera are true professionals with only one thing on their mind…..winning. So in the calm before the storm I hope our team is enjoying itself. It is hard to say if young Adam Moore or the newly resurgent Matt Tuiasosopo will be intimidated by the big stage, or rise to the occasion against a superior foe and shine under the bright lights, we shall see tomorrow.

   I imagine Ichiro with his celebrity status has some interesting friends in New York; perhaps he is even dining with Yoko Ono in some eclectic underground spot tonight. I can’t quite imagine what a guy like Michael Saunders is doing in his day off in the Big Apple……maybe a museum or just staying close to the hotel. Hopefully Russell Branyan will be safe in his hotel room and manages to avoid any injuries at the hands of any devious furniture lurking in his room. Mostly I am happy that our crew is heading into the lion’s den with a little momentum under their belts and with any luck we may be able to win another series against either the Yankees or Red Sox.

    Back here in the remote outpost of Seattle it seems as if the average sports fan has begun to shift their attention to the upcoming football season and trying to cram in a little more of the great outdoors before fall sets in. Speaking of which your truly is heading out on a weeklong vacation starting tomorrow. I will be heading down to Brush Prairie; Washington to play in what could be my last softball tournament of my long career. I know it is not Yankee Stadium but it should be fun and I hope to get some closure around this whole Baseball bug that I have had for over 40 years so I can focus on my budding career as a sports journalist! I have decided to bring my laptop and will be making posts where possible on my journey which will end up at some small Port on the Coast of the great state of Oregon. Go Mariners!…..http://jeffsmariners.com

Curtain call for Cliff Lee Friday at Safeco?

Farewell Captain Lee

    As many of you know Cliff Lee will be sprinting out to the mound this Friday to pitch for quite possibly his last time at home as a Seattle Mariner. Perhaps it is fitting that he will be going up against the New York Yankees giving Mariners fans our best hope of being able to maintain some semblance of dignity in this dismal season. Of course there will be several thousand loud and semi-obnoxious East Coast transplants at the game cheering for the Bronx Bombers. But this is our chance to show our appreciation for Cliff Lee and the magnificent job he has done for our city and ballclub this year.

  As the trade rumors circulate around the country it will be a night to enjoy our beautiful weather, stadium and perhaps the best pitcher in the game one more time. However if you are like me it will be hard to keep your mind off the irony and bitter reminder of how our franchise is still mired in obscurity due to an absentee owner, poor management and inept players over the last several years.

 And yet Cliff Lee will still throw strikes…

  Cliff Lee is a champion biding his time till he gets his next assignment, playing the game hard as if he was pitching in the World Series every night.

  And  Lee will sprint out to the mound late in the game…

  Cliff Lee is not Randy Johnson who our short-sighted management cabal of Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong let slip through our fingers, but we will miss him.

  Cliff Lee will remind us about our great region and independent can-do character even if it is just for one more night.

   Thank you Cliff Lee for making Seattle your home port so far this year. You are an inspiration for all the Seattle fans young and old who work hard, play by the rules and love life.

   Maybe someday when you are in some crowded, muggy, and mean-spirited distant city you will think of the shipmates you left behind in Seattle Captain Lee, and know we love and respect you  not only for what you do but how you do it. http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners beat Yankees 7-4

 

The Seattle Mariners won the first game of a three game series against the New York Yankees 7-4 tonight. The Mariners who are currently in last place in the AL West came into the Bronx as definite underdogs to the storied Yankees who currently sit on top of the competitive AL East. Cliff Lee got the start tonight against young Phil Hughes in front of 45,780 fans who produced a dull roar in the background tonight as the Mariners managed to have one of their best nights offensively of the season. Lee did not have his best stuff tonight as was evident early in the game where Cliff Lee started out several Yankees batters with a ball instead of his normal 0-1 count. Cliff Lee who is on everyone’s mind with the trade deadline approaching proved he was human tonight giving up a walk for the first time in 38 innings, as well as allowing 3 earned runs including two homers to Nick Swisher. Lee who was interviewed after the game tipped his hand regarding his desire to play for a winning team when he said “It is fun playing in front of a knowledgeable fan base that doesn’t need a tele-prompter to know when to cheer”. Well Cliff try sitting in the stands with them for 25 years! You do deserve to play on a winning team in the limelight and the Mets apparently want you. But hey can you just stick around for a few more starts to make things more interesting for those of us who do love the game and the way you do your job?
   Offensively the Mariners looked aggressive most of the night with the exception of a couple of base running gaffes early in the game that didn’t cost us anything but looked a bit bush-league. Russel Branyon was in the lineup tonight and though he didn’t do anything spectacular he did get a hit along with everyone else on the team tonight which is the first time I remember that happening all season. Franklin Gutierrez provided the only home run for the Mariners in the top of the fourth; otherwise it was a team effort in getting runs scored. Rob Johnson had a pair of doubles tonight and narrowly missed a third in his last at-bat, nice to see him produce. Another guy who produced was Jack Wilson who knocked in a couple of runs with a two-out single in the 6th inning. Wilson has come back from his injury playing good defense and has boosted his average up to .273 which is third on the club.
  The Mariners managed to keep the crowd subdued for most of this game until the bottom of the ninth when the Yankees put a little rally together. After Posada doubled in Robinson Cano making it 7-4 with one-out the energy in Yankee stadium changed as the fans smelled blood. However after a quick visit to the mound by Rick Adair, Lee settled down and got the final two outs sending the fans home shaking their heads wondering who those guys from Seattle were. Well to be honest it felt like a different team to me tonight as well and I believe the addition of a genuine power-hitter batting third made a difference. We shall see as this season moves along as the pressure is not only off the other hitters to be who they are not, but in all reality the pressure is off the whole team when you are in last place at the moment. Hopefully our team can play looser, have fun and win some more games like they did tonight. http://jeffsmariners.com

Confession of an occasional Yankees fan

Gordon "Dusty" Rhodes with Babe Ruth and wife Leah

THOUGHT I WOULD REPOST THIS AFTER THE YANKEES BEAT THE TWINS TONIGHT. I AM OFFICIALLY ON THE YANKEES BANDWAGON FOR THE REST OF THE WAY THOUGH IF THE GIANTS MAKE IT TO THE WORLD SERIES I MAY HAVE TO SWITCH WAGONS! 

 The Seattle Mariners are in New York resting up on a travel day before embarking on a three game series with the New York Yankees. Over the years I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Yankees. On the one hand I can recall the intense rivalry of the 95-01 era highlighted by the play-off victory in 95. I was so excited by that series that I met the Mariners at Boeing field at 5 am after they had just dropped the first two games in New York. There were only a handful of fans there at that time of the morning and yet after going to every game they played at the dome from mid-August on, I felt compelled to be there. Those were the glory years of Mariners Baseball and the upcoming series pales in comparison to those days of lore.

  There is another part of me that has always been in awe of this franchise and their 27 World Championships. My grandfather GordonDustyRhodes  pitched for the Yankees from 1929-32 before being traded to the Red Sox in midseason missing out on going to the series with them that year. Dusty pictured above with his wife Leah (my grandmother) and Babe Ruth, though highly touted coming up had pretty much a mediocre career in the big leagues see stats:   http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rhodego01.shtml  . I need to confess that in recent years I have sort of been having a long-distance affair with the Yankees, culminating in me actually rooting for them last year as they went on to win it all. I know some of you may be shocked but after so many years of disappointment with the Mariners I sort of went back to my roots, partially to honor my Grandfather and partially because the Yankees play the game  the way it should be played.

  The Yankees in almost every era with the exception of the 80’s and early 90’s have always been the team to beat. This year’s team represents perhaps the end of an era as Jeter, Posada, Riviera, Pettitte and A-Rod try to repeat and go all the way. Now to be clear nothing would make me happier than to see the Mariners play respectable ball and win this series, but on paper we just don’t measure-up to this franchise. They just have too much talent, history and poise on the field. Sure Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez are throwing the first two games, but unlike the Mariners the Yankees have great pitching and hitting.

    I was thinking today about all the various players and teams the Mariners have put on the field since the endless re-building period of the post Lou Piniella era. Unlike the Yankees we always seem to have 2-3 weak spots in our lineup that good teams like the Yankees don’t seem to have. The recent addition of Russell Branyon will help but we still are huge underdogs going into Yankee stadium tomorrow night. One of the perks of starting this expansion blog this year is getting to say what I really feel knowing that only a few hundred people may actually read any given post. For the most part I have tried to stay positive about the Mariners with the exception of a few jabs at upper-management and players and coaches that were deserving of a little heat. Trust me many of the other bloggers and journalists have been less civil towards the club. So now you all know that under the right set of circumstances I too am capable of cheating on my home team.http://jeffsmariners.com

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