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Seattle Mariners Playing Inspired Baseball, but It’s Too Little, Too Late

In the final game of June, the Mariners came out swinging against Javier Vasquez and the New York Yankees. Putting up seven runs for the second consecutive games against the Yankees, and finishing out the month with a 14-13 record. Including wins in seven out of the last 10.

Over those 10 games, The Mariners have averaged 4.3 runs per game. Thanks in large part to rookie Michael Saunders, who has cracked four home runs, and driven in 10 over that span, and a resurgent Chone Figgins who has stolen 10 bases, and helped the Mariners create runs.

With Cliff Lee being the best pitcher in the American League, Felix looking like his dominant self again, and the reacquisition of slugging first baseman Russell Branyan, things are beginning to look up for the once struggling Mariners.

I’m here to warn you, however: do not expect that magic from the 1995 season to show itself again 15 years later.

I would love nothing more than to see the Mariners, the team I love, make another historic run at the postseason. But sadly the pit the Mariners dug for themselves with that awful May will, in the end, keep them from making that surge toward glory.

Despite the fact that the Mariners have shown great improvement over the last two weeks, Cliff Lee is still as good as gone. While this sucks for the fan, it would be more damaging in the long run for them to hold on to the former Cy Young winner just to finish out the season as a .500 club.

With Lee, the Mariners have a chip that will allow them to bring in guys who can help the club next year.

If they keep Lee, they still don’t make the playoffs, they’ll get two draft picks when he goes and signs with another club—and he will sign with another club—and the team ends up worse off than when they started just to finish off a disappointing season as an average ball club.

I know playing the rest of the season with Felix, Lee, and a healthy Eric Bedard in the rotation is an exciting scenario, and there is always that eternal hope that lives in the fans mind that says, with a little luck, they can pull this off, but we also have to think about the future.

I’m glad to see the team I love playing better ball, but I fear it’s just too little, too late.

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Not Pulling Their Weight: 10 MLB Stars Having Poor 2010 Seasons

Baseball is a funny game, the line that separates the all time greats, and the unknowns is far more thin than in any other sport.

In a game where the best in world fail seven out of ten times, you need a little luck on your side. For some, that luck never comes. For others, it shows up, only to leave again like a cruel mistress in the night,

Here are ten former stars in the league who, for whatever reason, seem to have lost the edge on their opponents, and have been brought back down to the ranks of mere mortals.

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Seattle Mariners: What’s in Store for 2011?

Well Mariners fans, lets face it, the 2010 season is a bust.

There will be no comeback, no 1995 style legendary run to the post season. No, I’m afraid the last exciting moment for the Mariners will be watching who they dump in the upcoming midseason fire sale.

Cliff Lee is a lock to be traded, and rumor has it that everybody not named Felix or Ichiro is up for grabs. I’d expect a lot of familiar names to be playing in different markets come August.

So, what does that mean for the 2011 squad? What does the future hold for Seattle baseball?

Well for starters, expect a lot of call-ups here in the second half of 2010, young players auditioning for a role in the 2011 campaign.

I expect Mike Carp to get a lot of reps at first base the rest of the season. But I do not expect to see him starting there following the end of the year.

Who do I see as the Seattle first baseman in 2011?

Prince Fielder.

I imagine that the Seattle will make a heavy push for the hefty slugger in the offseason to anchor what is this year a horrid offense. This is more than just a pipe dream from a fan with an active imagination as Fielder has connections to the club.

The man who drafted Fielder, is current Seattle general manager Jack Zdurineck.

After his failure to improve the offense, while actually ending up with a worse team, Zdurineck must make a move like signing Fielder to save his job.

Felix Hernandez has been inconsistent this year to say the least, unable to capture his 2009 form that saw him finish second in the American League Cy Young voting.

He will still be the top starter in 2011, and I fully expect him to regain his consistent dominant form.

But who will follow him in the rotation?

Lee will be gone by the deadline, and even if they make the foolish mistake of hanging on to him all year, they will have virtually no chance to bring him back in the off season.

Rumor has it they have been talking with the Mets, about Jon Neise, but New York seems hell bent on keeping him around.

So who follows King Felix?

Doug Fister had been fantastic before going on the disabled list, and Jason Vargas has pitched way above his career standard.

But who would really be comfortable going into a make, or break year with them as your second and third options in the rotation?

I wouldn’t be, and I doubt anybody in the Seattle front office is either.

Look for them to pick up a decent, middle of the road guy in the offseason.

Tim Hudson, Jeremy Bonderman, Kevin Millwood could all be solid options to bridge the top and middle of the rotation.

That brings us to the bullpen.

For the rest of the 2010 season everybody in the bullpen will be auditioning for their own jobs.

Including David Aardsma.

After blowing onto the scene last year and being the definition of a lights out closer, he has regressed dramatically this year, posting a 5.85 ERA with four blown saves.

If he continues to struggle, look for a new gunslinger coming out in the final inning for Seattle.

The expectations will not be high in 2011, it will be a brand new team. One that needs to succeed for the people in charge to keep their jobs.



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This Just In: Stephen Strasburg Is Good at Baseball.

It cannot be overstated how amazing the debut of phenom Stephen Strasburg was.

Personally, I’ve never seen anything like it, and I seriously doubt that you have either.

With so much hype surrounding the young man, it seemed impossible for him to possibly live up to it, especially in his first big league outing. But live up to it he did, perhaps even making it seem like he wasn’t getting enough hype.

Over seven innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the young flamethrower fanned 14 batters, including the last seven he faced. The only blemish on his gem was a 4th inning home run from Delwyn Young, who was quoted as refering to Strasburg as “Just another pitcher”, Well, Delwyn, you may have got your knock off of him, but I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Strasburg is far more than just another pitcher.

We must remember that it’s only game, and that he is certain to take his bumps as he adjusts to major league hitters, and they adjust to him. But whatever “It” is, he has it, and it’s going to take him along way in the glorious game of baseball.

This is a special young man, with a world of talent. He seems to be just like the fictional “Nuke” LaLoosh, the gods reached down and turned his arm into a thunderbolt when he was baby.

The National League East has been put on notice. Watch out for The Nationals.


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Steroids or Not, Barry Bonds is the Best to Play the Game

People like to take the high ground whenever it is convenient for them. If you’ve never been put into an opportunity that could cause you to make a questionable moral decision, than it’s easy to condemn it.

But let’s face it, when it comes down to it, if you say that to save your job, you wouldn’t have at the very least tried PHDs, then I’m calling you a liar.

I think it’s often lost on us who don’t play the sports we love for a living that it is, in fact, a job to these athletes. I don’t have to remind anybody how scary it is living in the real world without a way to make a living. Regardless of your previous income.

I hear a lot of folks say that Bonds stats need to be tossed out prior to 1999. I also hear a lot of these very same people talk about the “human factor” in the game and that Armando Galarragas game effort should not be overturned into a perfect game.

Is not craving to stay on top, and doing whatever possible to succeed a human response? I don’t think it can be argued that it isn’t.

The fact is, Barry Bonds is simply the greatest to ever pick up the lumber and swing it. Like him or not, for most the answer is not. However, his job was not to be liked. It was play ball. Nobody did it better.

The 500-500 club. He invented it. I don’t ever think we’ll see another member.

Not to mention the fact that people often overlook his defense, simply because his offense was so impressive. The man won eight Gold Gloves. No small number.

The bottom line is, who was ever a more complete package? You can argue Willie Mays, and a valid argument it would be. But he didn’t have the pure hitters ability that Barry had. The sweetest swing that ever grace a field belonged to Barry. Anybody who knows a thing about hitting won’t argue.

It’s unfortunate that Barry played in the steroid era, and took them, like so many others to keep his spot.

It’s easy to act high and mighty when not put into a spot where acting low is the most logical choice.

We don’t have to like it, but to ignore the last 8 years of his career is not the way to handle it.

Just like Galaragga’s gem, that was not to be, we must accept it for what it is.

Simply put, part of the game.


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Growing Up With the Kid: How Ken Griffey Jr Has Affected My Life.

Like any kid who grew up in Pacific Northwest in the 1990’s, I idolized Ken Griffey JR.

He was everything that was right about the game of baseball. He had more fun than anybody on the field, always smiling with his signature backwards ball cap. His non-chalant swing seemed to launch homeruns that, to this day, still have yet to come down.

We felt like we grew up with him, like he was one of us. Just a big kid who loved to play a game. Our game. Baseball.

Where would we be without him? Would I be the die-hard fan that I am today?

Would I be on this website writing about the Seattle Mariners?

Would I still consider Opening Day better than Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and my birthday all rolled into one?


Without Griffey, my baseball experience may be much different.

Without Griffey, perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to hold on to my love of the game after the Strike in 1994.

Without Griffey, would I still be able to love the game the way I do after the steroid era came to light, and I had to watch one after another of my heroes fall from grace?

Without Griffey, Would The Seattle Mariners even exist as a franchise today?

All questions I ask myself today as I write this article. All questions that I firmly believe have the same awnser.


Thank you Ken Griffey JR. for you have made the game of baseball a joy for me, and many others.

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Backfired: The Worst Moves in Seattle Mariners’ History

Sometimes, I think that my punishment in life for all the bad things I’ve done, and will do in the future, is being a devoted Seattle Mariners fan.

It’s not an easy life, and one that takes a certain kind of person to fully commit to it.

We must be masochists. The constant pain and despair that my team has brought me over my 23 years on this earth is enough to drive a man straight into the arms of a bottle of Jack Daniels.

I know there are other fan bases out there with similar, or even harder, teams to root for. Looking at you, Cubbies, I feel your pain.

Perhaps the largest cause of headaches for us Mariners fans is the fact that it seems that the moves we make to improve seem to always blow up, ending in tears for all those involved.

And now, we go back into the darkness, and look at some of these front office mishaps.

P.S. I hate you Bill Bavasi.

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Hang ‘Em Up: 5 Major Leaguers Who Need To Call It a Career

We see it in every sport, a once great player hangs on too long, refusing to accept that his time has passed. It’s hard to watch our heroes become mere mortals right before our eyes, and many fans seem to take it personally.

It’s no great mystery why it happens. All these athletes know is the game they have dedicated their lives to, given their blood, sweat, and tears for.

Could you walk away if you were in their shoes?

Regardless, this article isn’t about the choices that face these players, it’s about shining light on once great ball players who are now, sadly, shells of their former all-star selves.

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Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik Must Take Some Blame for Mariners’ Poor Start

Well my friends, another series has come and gone for the Seattle Mariners, and the result remains the same. Swept. This time by the Tampa Bay Rays. The final game of the series, an 8-0 shellacking, saw them once again fail to push any runs across the plate.

Not even the return of Cliff Lee has been able to inspire the M’s, who appear to be nothing more than a shell of the fun loving team we saw in 2009.

What has happened? What’s gone wrong? Well for starters, as much credit as we gave general manager Jack Zduriencik for turning the Mariners around last year, and deservedly so, he must also take some of the blame for failing to go out and fix what has ailed the Mariners for years: offense.

Nobody can argue that pitching and defense are important, especially in a park like Safeco. However, Zduriencik ignored the fact that the lineup features not one consistent run producer. Did he expect Casey Kotchman and Milton Bradley to fix this? Kothcman has failed conclusively  everywhere he has played, and Seattle is shaping up to be no different.

Speaking of Bradley, he’s been a head-scratcher of an acquisition since day one. High risk, high reward, that was what this was all about. Well, the risk won out. After hitting just .214 with two home runs, Bradley’s anger finally boiled over after being lifted from a game by manager Don Wakamatsu following a pair of strikeouts.

Bradley is now seeking help for his personal issues, and for that I salute him. I truly hope this helps him get his mind right.

That, however, does not negate the fact that in early may this trade can already be labeled a disaster.

I’m not saying this is all Zduriencik’s fault, but a lot of this does fall on his shoulders.

He had options out there to improve the offense. He chose to ignore them. Now he must fix the mess that has been created before it’s too late.

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Seattle Mariners’ Troubled Offense, and How To Fix It

Four runs. That’s how many The Mariners managed to push across the plate in a three-game series that saw them get swept by the rival Texas Rangers. The lack of offense wasted not only a spectacular Seattle debut by Cliff Lee, but also another gem by surprise of the year thus far, Doug Fister.

Not that this is the first time this year that Seattle’s offense has let down a spectacular pitching performance. In fact, it seems to be an everyday occurrence at this point in the season.

Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez are the only two in the lineup making any kind of consistent contact, hitting .320, and .317 respectively. After that, the next highest average on the team is .243, by light-hitting shortstop Jack Wilson. As a team, they have just nine home runs all together, and have gone one week since their last long ball.

Newcomers Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins have got off to horribly slow starts. Bradley hitting just .224 with 2 home runs, and Figgins at a dismal .209 clip. Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr. just look old out there. It pains me to say this about my hero, but Griffey simply does not have it any more. His bat is slow, and his knees are gone. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Seattle has the pitching to make a run, and a deep run at that. However they cannot do it without run support. So the question is how do they fix this?

I don’t want to sound like I’m panicking, I know it’s early, but they must act fast. If they wait till the trade deadline to do something, I fear it’ll be too late.

First, release Mike Sweeney and Eric Byrnes. I know everybody loves Sweeney, and Byrnes is a hard-nosed guy, but they simply are not getting it done. Go after Jermaine Dye or Carlos Delgado to fill the DH slot. Everybody knows they can still hit, and a shift to the DH role will keep them fresh.

Second, Figgins must get on track. If he can get on and they can put some offense in the middle of the lineup, they will score runs. I have faith that he will get his knocks, but it’s got to come soon.

Third, they got to relax. When you’re in a slump, you tend to try and force it, try and make something happen rather than just letting it come. It’s obvious to me that a lot of the Mariners hitters are doing this right now. They have to relax, remember what got them there, and above all else, have fun. It’s a game. Go play it.

The Mariners have the ability to go a long way this year. They must address the offensive problems however if they expect to climb to the top of the tough AL West. Pitching alone will not be enough. It’s time to move, no time to waste. Free agents, trades, minor leagues, it doesn’t matter, something must be done.


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