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Seattle Mariners: Baseball Legend Dave Niehaus Passes Away

Being a Mariners fan has always been a tough thing to be and now it’s even tougher. Longtime Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus passed away of a heart attack at the age of 75. 

I never had the fine opportunity of meeting Mr. Niehaus but I still feel as if I knew him by just listening to him call games every spring and summer night in Seattle. 

I was born in 1991 and watched the Mariners as early as I can remember. The first thing I can remember about the Mariners is that great voice of Mr. Niehaus. If the Mariners were losing by double-digits, which happened a lot, he made it entertaining to keep watching the game.

Ichiro would come up to bat and Mr. Niehaus could tell you the funniest story about him. Mr. Niehaus was more than just an announcer, he was family to the Mariners players and management. 

Mariner great Ken Griffey Jr. thought of Mr. Niehaus like a grandfather-like figure. Another Mariner great, Jay Buhner, said he was like a father figure to him.

Mr. Niehaus is also the only Mariner enshrined in Cooperstown where he will soon be joined by the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. for sure and hopefully Edgar Martinez.

But the thing I will most about Mr. Niehaus is how I was raised with him by my side every spring and summer and how well he called the games. He was such a brilliant announcer with many crazy funny stories that made everyone smile. 

He made really awful announcers sound good because he was so easy to work with. He was very friendly and cheerful with everyone he worked with and overall just loved the game of baseball.

And we can’t forget about his great calls of all-time such as when someone hit a grand slam, “Get out your rye bread, grandma, it’s grand salami time!” We can’t forget the oh-so-famous one that was said every time something great happened, “My, oh my.”

Lastly, maybe the most famous call of all time in Mariners history which came during the 1995 American League Divisional Series versus the Yankees:

“Right now, the Mariners looking for the tie. They would take a fly ball, they would love a base hit into the gap and they could win it with Junior’s speed. The stretch…and the 0-1 pitch on the way to Edgar Martinez, swung on and LINED DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE FOR A BASE HIT! HERE COMES JOEY, HERE IS JUNIOR TO THIRD BASE, THEY’RE GOING TO WAVE HIM IN! THE THROW TO THE PLATE WILL BE…LATE! THE MARINERS ARE GOING TO PLAY FOR THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP! I DON’T BELIEVE IT! IT JUST CONTINUES! MY, OH MY!”

Those kind of calls made Mr. Niehaus the best announcer ever in my opinion because of his enthusiasm and love for the game. 

The baseball world has lost this great legend and even better a kind man who just loved the game, so please rest in peace, Dave.

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The 2010 Seattle Mariners Have a Storm Brewing

After a season that disappointed most Mariners fans, it seems as if more disappointment is coming.

Yesterday during the game against the Boston Red Sox, Mike Cameron hit a line-drive against the left field wall. Michael Saunders picked it up threw it in to second where second baseman Chone Figgins didn’t even attempt to pick it up and let it roll by, having Cameron make the double into a triple.

The play seemed like a lackadaisical attempt at anything baseball, so when Figgins came into the dugout manager Don Wakamatsu had a word with him.

Figgins did not take too kindly to it and things got physical.

Third baseman Jose Lopez had to keep Wakamatsu and Figgins apart, then first baseman Russell Branyan got into it. It seemed as if he was angry with Figgins, too and was yelling at him, and then Lopez started yelling back.

Everyone was separated with even starting pitcher Jason Vargas helping, which is never a good thing. It seemed as if this frustration had been building since the beginning of the season and finally exploded.

After a offseason that was filled with great trades and signings, it seemed as if the Mariners might have a chance to win the AL West this season, especially after a surprise season in 2009 where they finished eight games above .500.

Cliff Lee came in as the second man in the rotation behind Felix Hernandez who was Cy Young-worthy last year so the Mariners looked stacked at pitching, but, of course, that didn’t work out very well.

The pitching worked well most of the time but our offense came in struggling more than anything.

The pitching is ninth in the MLB with a 3.90 ERA and a MLB-high 10 complete games, but the offense is last in RBI’s and batting average. No other team in the MLB with a ERA lower than 3.90 has a record lower than .500 and even some teams with a higher ERA are above .500—such as the division-rival Los Angeles Angels with an ERA of 4.42.

So now that our season is over it seems like the worst is here.

Not true.

In the offseason general manager Jack Zduriencik will have a lot to decide with this team. Will Don Wakamatsu be the manager after a season that was full of high hopes, and especially after this later incident, can he control this team? What kind of moves will be made to better this team?

I know the Justin Smoak trade was made recently and will better this team in the future but it more than Smoak will be needed to improve this team.

Zduriencik needs to find bigger and better bats to compliment this pitching, such as maybe Prince Fielder as a DH.

The pitching looks fine with Jason Vargas having a career year and Doug Fister maturing. Of course something will have to be done with Ryan Rowland-Smith and the fifth pitcher of the rotation.

Maybe they can bring up Michael Pineda who has been having tremendous success in the minors. Also the bullpen needs some help but maybe putting Rowland-Smith in there would help.

Overall this team needs another makeover just after a makeover that was supposed to help last season. This team needs a lot of changes and a lot of decisions will be made in the offseason and hopefully these decisions actually work out this time.

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Say Goodbye to Cliff Lee and Hello To Justin Smoak

At the beginning of the MLB season the Mariners looked like serious contenders in the AL West.

That hasn’t been the case.

The Mariners are 34-51 at the All-Star break and now they are trading perhaps their best pitcher, Cliff Lee, to the Rangers.

The trade goes like this: the Mariners trade Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe to the Rangers for Justin Smoak and minor leaguers Blake Beavan, Josh Leuke, and Matthew Lawson.

We all knew this was going to happen and I think it might have been the best trade possible.

The Mariners are way below .500 and there is no way the Mariners could come back to win the AL West. So trading away a 31 year old pitcher for a 23 year old power hitting first baseman in Justin Smoak seems a smart choice.

Smoak has hit over .320 in the month of July and has a huge swing that could really propel this offense.

The Mariners also get 6 foot 7, 250-pounder Blake Beavan who is only 20 years old and is pitching very well in double A with a 10-5 record and a 2.78 ERA.

And the Mariners only give up Mark Lowe who has been injured for the past year and is only a bullpen guy.

My only worry about this trade is that Smoak hasn’t convince me yet that he can be a steady major leaguer.

I know he is up and coming with a lot of power and he could be very good but in past years with Bill Bavasi these trades have not worked out.

And I know that Jack Zduriencik is way better general manager and is known for his scouting, so we’ll see what happens.

Overall, I think this will turn out well for the Mariners in a year or two after Michael Pineda steps up to the majors and Smoak becomes a solid hitter.

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Keeping Felix Hernandez Out of the MLB All-Star Game Isn’t Right

The All-Star game rosters were announced today and there are a couple of snubs like there are every year.

But one stands out to me not just because I’m a Mariners fan but because statistically he deserves to be part of the All-Star game.

Felix Hernandez was robbed of a spot on the American League All-Star roster, because of his 6-5 record.

But that record is skewed. Hernandez plays for one of the worst offensive major league teams in the MLB and gets absolutely no run support at all.

He only has two starts where he allowed more than three runs and only one start where he pitched less than six innings.

Hernandez is also tied for the most quality starts with 14, which by the way is more than CC Sabathia, David Price, and Andy Pettite.

But his stats don’t stop there. Hernandez has three complete games and is third in strikeouts in the American league. He has also been on a tear lately, pitching three straight complete games with at least eight strikeouts in each complete game.

And last Wednesday he threw a two-hit shutout against the mighty New York Yankees.

Hernandez also is better statistically in almost category than Sabathia other than wins. He also has better stats than Fausto Carmona and Phil Hughes except for wins.

Maybe the managers or players should have voted him in because he deserved it. Going through a year of adversity like this, he deserves a nod to be in the All-Star Game.

King Felix deserves to be in the All-Star Game and it’s not his fault for having a lackluster offense behind him that doesn’t give him any run support.

I know it’s too late now to start a campaign, but maybe stats should be more incorporated into getting an ace pitcher with stats better than his peers into the All-Star Game. But that’s just me.


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