Sweeney sparks Mariners comeback over Tigers 5-4

Today I joined 22,422 of my closest friends down at the Safe to enjoy an indoor matinée played out on a grass field between white lines on another gloomy Seattle late May afternoon. In the first 8 innings it looked like the visiting gladiators from Motown were toying with our Mariners from the soggy Northwest before finally unloading their lethal bats on us. But for some reason the Detroit Tigers were unable to put the hurt on our boys despite hitting line drives all over the park that were just playable by our crafty sailors.

  Jason Vargas managed to keep this game close by going 5 full innings and giving up only 2 runs despite not having his best stuff. On the other hand Jason Bonderman pitching for the Tigers only got touched for a single run in the second and it looked like he would coast to an easy victory. The Tigers have a tough line-up and got a long ball from Ordonez and added two more in the sixth off of Ryan Rowland-Smith, who should have gotten out of the inning were it not for the error by Jose Lopez.

 But then came the bottom of the 8th…. Franklin Gutierrez lashed a lead-off single to right, followed by a strikeout from Milton Bradley. This brought up Mike Sweeney who has been on a tear lately and played an awkward first base today. Mike Sweeney has a knack for the dramatic and today was no different as he unloaded for a 2-run bomb that suddenly made it 4-3. Jose Lopez managed to get on with a single to bring up Rob Johnson who replaced Josh Bard who came out with an injury earlier in the game. Johnson is sometimes difficult to watch at the plate and he knows he is on the bubble with the Mariners. However today Johnson managed to drive a double off the wall in left and we had runners at second and third with the “Paper Boy” Josh Wilson coming to bat. Josh Wilson continued to make us forget about ailing Jack Wilson with a clutch 2-run RBI single that put the Mariners up for good at 5-4.

  With the 2-game sweep the Mariners pulled to 7 1/2  games back of the Texas Rangers who lost today. But more importantly the last 2 games have shown everyone that the Mariners, though still ten games under .500 have not given up on the season and in fact are starting to gel. We now have a day off  before heading to Anaheim for a 3-game series with the Angels. This was a decent home stand where we went 4-3 and could well be the turning point of the season. Between now and the All-Star break the Mariners have a chance to get back in the race slowly but surely with the formula of good pitching and timely hitting. Jose Lopez and Chone Figgins will be a key component of any comeback and they both are overdue to break-out and start producing like they are capable of.  It looks like our ship hasn’t sunk yet so remember: Hope Floats! http://jeffsmariners.com

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. http://jeffsmariners.com

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