Saturday, April 01, 2006
Wow, I've never thought this would actually happen. Matt Thornton the hard throwing (but essentially useless) lefty got traded to the White Sox for Joe Borchard, a switch hitting outfielder with some power. Borchard is probably going to have to fight for a bench spot but this should mean the bench could be improved from being more or less mediocre....
Moves were also made in my fantasy league. Somehow Travis Hefner and Pat Burrell were cut from another team, and while I held the 2nd position on the waiver wire... for some strange reason I decided against claiming either of them. (The teams 4th and 6th in line ended up picking them up.) This is a non-move that I'm probably going to regret soon enough....
Saturday, March 18, 2006
This year I'm playing fantasy baseball in the yahoo public leagues again. (See: St. Wong Utd.) Last year I was dragged down by Bret Boone's downfall and Beltre's down year and ended up 4th. This time I hope for better luck. I tried to get the more productive Mariners onto my team and ended up with Ichiro, Big Richie, King Felix, Every(few?)day(s) Eddie, and JoMAMA. (I hoped for a rebound year from Beltre but he was snatched up by someone else.)
Also, it's old news by now, but the 2006 Mariners commercials are out. I thoroughly enjoyed watching "Big Richie", and "Wall of Adrian" was a nice idea that unfortunately lacked decent delivery. (Though the very end of it was kind of cute.) I'd also like to give special mention to "Epidemic" because it managed to capture the essence of Ichiro while he didn't actually make an appearance. (I assumed that he's away on WBC duty with the Japanese team and wasn't around for a commercial shoot.)
Well, here's to another comeback attempt. I'm probably going to talk about some more old news soon (such as the Winter Olympics and the soon to be over World Baseball Classic).
Monday, January 31, 2005
In the blogsphere there has been some changes too. I'll update my links soon. Congrats to Lookout Landing (formerly Leone for Third) for their move! And also, I'll definitely miss Mariners Wheelhouse.
The past month was just quite chaotic with the holiday season, working on anime episodes (Galaxy Angel Season 4) at the Anime Haven, watching the Australian Open, and every bits and pieces of life happenings. Hopefully I'll post more regularly now that the baseball season is approaching. Once again, thank you for everyone who has stopped by, and I hope there'll be more content worthy of visits! :-)
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
In addition to being local (Brush Prairie, WA, which is just about 15 minutes from where I am), Sexson will reunite with new M's manager Mike Hargrove. As for the new manager bringing in his own guy, Sexson is obviously much better than McCracken and Cobrunn. (On a somewhat related note, the AP should proof-read their articles better... than to confuse the M's with the Seahawks!)
Friday, December 10, 2004
Ok, back to sports. The baseball winter meetings starts today, with no news to report so far. However, the FA signings have already picked up after the arbitration deadline. My opinion is pretty much in tune with most bloggers. With Glaus signed and Kent using up part of the Dodgers' available budget, I'm hoping for Adrian Beltre. There're mentionings and rumors all over about this, including the Seattle newspapers, but I'll stick to my general take on such matters (which also is in tune with other bloggers) -- to be patient. So far only one signing has been made by the M's -- re-signing Dan Wilson, which is a move that I liked. Signing him as a backup at a decent price is much better than bringing in someone else from the outside for a similar amount. At least Dan is good defensively and already knows the pitching staff well. I'm also hoping that Olivo will be able to learn how to block pitches and call games from him. As for Villone, I'd like to see another team signing him. It's probably better to have a draft pick than to have him pitch for the M's.
The Sonics... who would've thought at the beginning of the season? The young players are improving, Rick Sund made a fantastic trade that actually helped the team, and Mcmillan also have improved on his coaching. At this rate they will probably make the playoffs. (While having the league's best record is cool and all, I'd still like to have a somewhat higher draft choice for next year, and realistically this team probably won't finish the season with the best record anyway.) The return of Murray should help the team as a whole with Allen being able to rest more, but I'm somewhat worried about Potapenko coming back. He is a force inside, but he's relatively immobile and sets terrible screens, if we can call them that. (His poor "screens" allow the defender to simply go around him, while his marker also chases down the player with the ball, hence creating a double-team instead of brushing off a defender.) Anyway, while it's fun during the season, it's going to be very interesting to see what will happen in the off-season, with many key players and the coach on the last year of their contracts.
Before I call it a post, I have to vent some: I thought I heard somewhere that FSN NW was going to broadcast Sonics games at the Portland area as well when the Blazers are not playing, but so far all the games have been blacked out. Truly local/regional coverage at its best!!
Friday, November 05, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
It's now the off season in baseball but there should still be plenty to talk about sooner or later about the M's as we anticipate the club being more active than ever to try to rebuild/rebound from the near 100-loss season, and of course I'll also post about other things, perhaps including the Sonics (can they out-do the 2004 M's??) and such. I hope that I can still put up things that are worth some time of my visitors/readers!
but please promise me, that sometimes, you will think of me!
Saturday, August 14, 2004
It's a wonderful feeling that the Games get to return to its origin, Athens, after more than a century. I planned ahead to make sure that I would get to watch the opening ceremony last night (which was tape-delayed and there was no live broadcast at all in the NBC network.... Works for a prime-time rating, but truly odd for something this big and this important for the whole world...). For all the negative feelings I had and might have in the future for NBC, I'd have to at least thank them for showing the ceremony in its entity, especially during the Parade of Nations. Even though commercial breaks were frequent, I could take a step back and say that at least they kept the breaks relatively short instead of having us all wait around for a long time whenever they came on.... (I know, it's still too many commercials altogether, but I'm just seeing it in a realistic angle here... they're unavoidable in the current setup for TV broadcasting....)
The ceremony itself was very good to look at, with a wonderful display of drumming to start off. The rhythm that supposedly resembles heartbeat worked out great and it was rather involving. It was a nice touch in displaying a drummer at the historic site of where the first modern games took place on the big screen in the stadium and then have a drummer to respond to him, as if to relay the message and the spirit of competition to link up the past and the present.
Next came some symbolic theatrical performances with lots of extremely well controlled wire work, having objects and performers floated about in mid-air gracefully. Then, there was a parade that presented the gradual visual documentation of greek mythology and history of the culture and the Games. The makeup for the people were simply breath-taking, as they looked very much like statues, puppets, and still pictures coming to life, even from a close distance view. It's as if we saw a moving picture book that told the tale of how things went as years progressed.
After the fantastic theater and some well received lazer showings to compliment the presentation along the way, finally it was time for the Parade of Nations. The athletes from 202 participating countries took quite a while to enter the stadium, this time in an order that's different from most of the past Games. Instead of in English alphabetic order, they used the Greek alphabet instead. That made the US much closer to the front than the back, and somewhat difficult to keep track of who we were still yet to see, though it was nice in its own way. Just by itself, the Parade actually would tell us about how history has changed throughout the years, realizing the frequent thought in my mind of "another former Soviet Union/Yugoslavian State" represented some political changes and wars.... (14 countries from the former U.S.S.R. and 5 from former Yugoslavia) On the other hand it was interesting to see a unified Korean team with 2 flag-bearers -- one from the North and one from the South. I could also feel some national pride when the long awaited moment for me finally came. The 25 athelets from Hong Kong (where I'm originally from) made their entrance as the second last "nation" in front of host nation Greece. Even though they're not medal hopefuls, it was a heart-warming feeling to see that "my country" got represented in the game. (Maybe a bit similar to how the Bremertonians feel about the Kirk sisters, but without the chance for glory.)
The ceremony concluded after the lighting of the torch. (I feel for the last guy to have lit the flame as the last leg of the relay... all those people in front of him only had to run a short distance while he had to cut through the stadium from the far end, and then run up quite a few steps on the stairway to reach his destination!) I'm very happy to have witnessed something incredible as such. Beijing will be hard pressed to produce in 4 years' time to at least meet the standards of display we saw the previous day.
First, Edgar's retiring at the end of the season. Since I only came to the States in the summer of 96 and only started following baseball in 97, I wasn't fortunate enough to have witnessed the magic of 95 and the defining double that highlights Edgar's career. Though it's easy to see how much Edgar has done for this team, has meant for this team, and that "he is the Seattle Mariners" for almost 2 decades. I suppose his achievements and value to the baseball world have already been well covered by everyone, so I don't think I need to say any more about that. I do have a couple of things I'd like to say though, and these are by no means meant to be negatively taken....
Seeing how Edgar's performances are this season after posting fantastic and consistent career numbers year to year, it seems like maybe time and age has finally caught up with him, and it seems to be a good time at the end of this season for such a stellar career to conclude. Considering the aspect of him being a player this year alone, I actually believed that it might've been good for him to call it quits after last year. Though it made sense (and I wasn't aware of) that he would play on, and go on to collect milestone hits like his 300th HR and 500th double. It's just highly unfortunate that he has to play his last year on such a lousy team, while also seeing his numbers not measuring up to the "usual Edgar", as a way many has put. When all's said and done, I'm hoping hard that he'll be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Edgar Martinez is truly a special and unique player. I'm glad that I have the chance to have been able to root for one such as he on my favorite team in my time.
The other piece of news was also bad news for the M's, as both Eddie Guardado and Rafael Soriano will go under the knife and miss considerable time. This topic has also been well documented as well, so no need for me to say much more. I only wonder out of the group of "youth" arms getting called up, if when Aaron Taylor pitches well with his comeback and if he gets called up in September, if he'd get some consideration for the closer role, since I believe he spent quite some time doing that in the minors....
Saturday, August 07, 2004
In the last play of the game, Carl Crawford was sent home because of obstruction by young shortstop Jose Lopez. After seeing the replay quite a few times, on both ESPN and FSNNW, it was evident that Crawford had a "fake going" type of a thing, breaking for home for a few steps and then retreating because he wasn't tryly trying to score on the not-quite-deep-enough-fly. (Tampa Bay's third base coach said after the game, "(Crawford) was going to bluff it, go down the line and the throw came in and he wasn't going. All of a sudden Paul (third base umpire Paul Emmel) yelled out obstruction.") He tagged up and took off from third the exact moment Ibanez caught the ball, which meant his view wasn't obstructed at all. That being said, I totally believe that it was a mental mistake by Lopez, who rushed over to third base from deep short while having no play at the ball and while there was already Bloomquist covering third base if the ball was to be thrown that way. (Jose said after the game, "I was doing everything all at once. I was looking at Raul, looking at home, seeing what was going to happen. I looked back and the umpires pointed at me. Everybody was in shock to see what happened." No way, Jose. Sounds like he looked everywhere but where he was going as he obviously "didn't see/notice" Bloomquist.) It was inexcusable, just like the other scoring play in the game where he ran into left field to catch a ball that Ibanez would've gotten to routinely, and which Raul would've had the momentum towards home to make a decent throw to prevent the runner on third from scoring. I think our young shortstop was somehow trying too hard, so much that it crossed the line between hustling and thoughtless play.... Good thing that this happened in an already lost season though.
Today was also a somewhat busy day on the trading front after the non-waiver trade deadline. Mike Myers was traded to Boston for a PTBNL or cash, while Larry Walker went to St. Louis for 3 minor leagers. The Walker trade was probably what we would've liked to see our team do back when the M's were contending (seems so long ago now...?), adding a big bat to win now.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
He may have his flaws, his bad moments, and may lean towards praising the team more than anything, but I'll take Bill Krueger in the broadcast booth over Dave Henderson or Dave Valle any day of the year. He's a lot easier to the ears, and when he's wrong about his analysis, the errors of ways are more techinical rather than plain stupidity that we've come to expect out of the other guys.
One thing for sure though. Today he had a comment that was in tune will what the USS Mariner talked about, power score runs. They had a list of the teams in the AL with the lowest batting averages, and the Yankees were 5th. (The M's were 3rd, while Tampa Bay were 1st.)
"It's strange to see the New York Yankess on this list..."
"When they get their hits, they get them in the 3-run homerun variety. That's how you score runs."
Finally, we get to hear it during a Mariners broadcast.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
As the trade deadline passes, the roster should be generally set for the rest of the season. We get to see some of the "future" of the ballclub in the form of Leone, Bucky, Nageotte, Blackley, Thornton (*cough* walks!), Sherrill, Lopez, and even Atchison getting their chances in the bigs. Hopefully, A.J. Zapp and Jamal Strong will also have a chance in September, as I believe they've done enough in AAA to show that they at least deserve a chance. (Will we also see Luis Ugueto, the name that we dread but the club loves??) As for Jeremy Reed, I've only gotten to know him through reading the blogs, it sounds to me that the general take on him is that he should stay for the full season in Tacoma and then maybe compete for a job next Spring. Anyways, it's always good to have things to look forward to for the future.
I hope the M's AAA affiliate will move to Portland. Then I might even try to be a season ticket holder there and try to learn/practise to be a casual scout! Hehe.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
It was wrong to say Tim Christman went through an "uneventful 9th" in the Rainiers' game in Portland on Thursday. Well, unless we strictly only talk of baseball runs of play, then there really wasn't much going on.... Right after the first pitch was thrown to the second batter in the inning, a streaker appeared on the field, making his entrance by jumping off the top of the Rainiers' dugout. He took the security guards for a nice ride around the bases and into the outfield before finally being tackled and "escorted" off the field. Given that it was a blown out loss for the home team, it was the last thing for the fans to make some noise for before calling it a night.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Tacoma 9R, 12H, 0E, Portland (SD) 3R, 8H, 3E
Clint Nageotte: 6IP, 6H, 3ER, BB, 4K, HR (W 5-6, 4.89)
He was perfect through 3, then gave up a lead-off single in the 4th on a full-count fastball. His real problems came in the 5th when the lead-off man got aboard again, and then suddenly he lost his command just enough to be hittable. The first run scored on an infield single to 3rd base, but nothing after that as he got out of a bases loaded jam. In the 6th he might've run out of gas a little, giving up a single then a HR, but that's about it. It seemed like a decent outing for him, especially the beginning part of the game when he dominated.
Randy Williams: 2IP, H, BB, 3K (3.27)
A strong throwing lefty who was slightly wild, falling behind hitters quite often, but only gave up 1 walk. He was hard to hit with 3 Ks.
Tim Christman: IP, H, K (4.50)
As most of the crowd in the stands left by then, he went through a quiet and uneventful ninth to close out the game.
Jamal Strong, LF: 3-4, 2R, BB, 2SB (.313)
His speed was surely a huge asset, as he stole two bases and forced two throwing errors. (One by catcher Ramon Hernandez when he stole 2nd, and the other had "Ichiro!" written all over it; beating out an infield single to the first baseman who threw it away with the pitcher covering late at the bag. Both times the Rainiers ended up scoring a run during the play.) His defense out in LF looked a little suspect, however. There was a foul ball to LF into the Portland bullpen area just outside of the LF line that looked catchable, but somehow he couldn't get it. (My view was obstructed so I didn't know if he dropped the ball or plainly missed the catch.) And then there was another play that should've been an error if there wasn't a runner on first. It was a shallow fly to left, he came in for the ball but it hit the heel of his glove and dropped to the ground. He then quickly picked up the ball and fired it to second base for the force out. A terrible catch, but heads up play by Strong to erase a runner (and an error). I understand that he's probably a good defensive outfielder who's just having a bad day though.
Micky Lopez, 2B: 0-3, R, BB, K, HBP (.264)
Nothing much doing with his bat, while unspectacular but effective on the field.
Jeremy Reed, CF: 1-4, 2RBI, BB, 2K (.262)
He delivered with 2 outs in the 2nd for his 2 RBIs, and walked once. But he also struck out looking and swinging. He didn't agree with the call for his looking K and discussed it with the umpire some... all the while the ball was in play. (The same play as the previously mentioned Hernandez throwing error.) In this particular game he wasn't very impressive at the plate, but then he never looked overmatched either. On the defensive end he seemed to have some decent routes to the balls and he made all the plays that he should have, and he surely doesn't have Randy Winn's arm.
Jose Lopez, SS: 1-5, 2B, RBI, K (.285)
Since he hit his double in the first inning, I missed it and only saw him going 0-4 the rest of the night. His defense looked alright too except for one play which he bobbled the ball a little but recovered to make a throw to first in time. (The runner on 2nd advanced to 3rd on the play, however.)
AJ Zapp, 1B: 2-5, HR, 2R, RBI, 2K (.292)
He showed power, hitting a shot of about 380-feet to RF. (My distance estimation could be wrong as it was the opposite side from me.) He looked like a dead pull hitter somehow, with all three balls in play going to the right side. His second K was ouch because it was with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. He played steady defense on first, but he was no John Olerud.
Ryan Christianson, DH: 1-5 (.188)
Nothing much going for him tonight other than singling to left with a ground ball through the hole. Didn't look like having much power on his swings, especially on the one swing he had that hit a weak liner/pop up to 3rd base that didn't leave the diamond. (Looked like typical M's baseball in the first half.) He may still be facing a long road to reestablishing himself?
Greg Dobbs, 3B: 1-5, 2B, R (.293)
Much like Jose Lopez's case, I didn't get to see his hit. He didn't look like drawing walks all night because he usually had 2-strike counts (as he fouled off pitches and such, kind of like Jolbert Cabrera in this one aspect). There wasn't much for him to do defensively at third, other than the one run-scoring play in the 5th when he dove to his left, cutting off the ground ball headed into the hole, got up and threw to first just a tad late to get the runner.
Brian Moon, C: 0-5, 2K (.250)
Other than pulling one deep but just outside of the LF foul pole, there was nothing to account for offensively for him. He seemed to be an alright defensive catcher though, handling the sometimes wild looking pitching staff just fine. Dan Wilson II??
Greg Jacobs, RF: 3-3, 3R, 2RBI, SB, HBP (.270)
Put in a wonderful performance tonight, even though all his hits were singles. The M's announcers (or at least Rick Rizz and Dave Valle) should like him lots... "he hustles, always looking to take the extra base." He had virtually no chance to show what he can do defensively though.
Well that's all for the report, folks! I hope I did ok on this.
It was also interesting to see some familiar names in the Portland lineup, including Ramon Vasquez, Ramon Hernandez, Kerry Robinson, and Jose Nieves. With the family discount tickets of $2.99 being such good seats, I'll be seriously considering going again when the Rainiers roll into town again! Though I wonder how different the lineup would be by then.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Onto a different subject. Cory Violette's name sneaked up on me, as he's taking a chance with the Atlanta Hawks' summer league team. I wish him luck!
Saturday, July 17, 2004
It was a very unclassy move for the M's, however, designating Olerud for assignment. Ole specifically pointed out that he refused trades because of his concern for his family. The M's in their own way went completely against the image they were trying to sell.... They've casted off a family oriented all-round nice guy. IMO, Olerud deserved to play out this season with the M's, even if it meant he'd be on the bench most of the time. He's done plenty of good things for the team and the community for the past few years and he should've been sent off with an ovation from the fans as he went towards his likely retirement (along with Edgar). Not like this....
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Ron Fairly: Joel did something that he didn't do all year long, doing something fancy and ended up hitting the batter.... Do you remember when Joel threw side-armed? I don't think he had all year.
Well, the answer would be yes, in a game in Boston, when he faced Manny Ramirez I believe. That time Joel struck him out with a side-armed slider to end the inning. That move had 2 runners stranded on base if I remember correctly. It was also the game which the M's scored some runs off of Pedro Martinez and then ended up losing.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
On to a brighter note. Congratulations to Justin Leone on his first Major League hit! Nice job coming back from an 0-2 count, working the count full, fouling off some pitches, and then finally driving one into left-center.
Monday, July 05, 2004
I'll start with the Mariners. I got to watch a few games here and there on TV whlie packing and unpacking, and saw some interesting things. First, the return of Cirillo to Safeco. I was actually expecting him to do something significant during the 3-game series, and boy, did he ever. While not appearing at all in the first game, he got into a nice setup in the 2nd game, entering as a pinch hitter with 2 on and 2 outs with the Padres down two. I was actually rooting for him to hit a HR, but at least he didn't make an out (and walked instead). Though it did happen the next day, when he started against Jamie Moyer. He hammered a first pitch fastball to give the Padres a 3-0 lead, which also turned out to be the winning hit, on my birthday! It felt pretty good. And then later on, something even more significant happened, as the game went into the 7th inning. It was the announcement of the Freddy Garcia trade to the White Sox. I had to admit that I have little knowledge of minor league players outside of the M's system so I didn't know how to take it at the time, but I'm pleased to see that the entire blogsphere praised the team (in making such move) in unity, which never happened at all this season. I'm looking forward to seeing Jeremy Reed now, later in the month when the Rainiers play the Beavers in Portland. (I forgot to mention that I moved to Vancouver, just across the Columbia River from there.) I originally thought I might get to see Travis Blackley and Justin Leone, but they got called up on the day that I wasn't looking, thus missing out on Blackley's first start. I did watch Leone's first start at SS, however. He was visibly nervous, but in the second at-bat I believe the umpire gave Suppan the outside corner all the way. It was predictable but disappointing to see he got pinch-hit for by Edgar in the 7th, but hopefully we'll still see Leone in the lineup for a while.
Next, the European Championships concluded. It was an endless story of upsets and surprises as the two finalists were both reaching the final of major tournaments for the first time, and it's also a historical first for a foreign coach to lead a country to win the trophie since both teams had foreign coaches. Greece made up an absolute fairy tale, upsetting hosts Portugal, France, and the red hot Czech Republic to reach the final, just to beat Portugal again to steal the tournament. Portugal had most of the game in control with lots of shot attempts but they failed to break down the well organized Greek defense, while Greece scored on their only shot on target, a headed in corner, which proved to be enough of a difference maker. With them hosting the Olympics too, I wonder if they'd have some pleasant results there as well.
At the same time, Wimbledon also came to a close with Maria Sharapova being the surprised winner in women's singles. In a very overlooked event, Todd Woodbridge made history by winning his 9th men's doubles title.
Phew... anyway, as things settle down, I'll be back posting regularly. I might have something to write that's totally not sports related too, on my birthday thoughts/wishes.
Note to Kurau Fans: The show is now licensed by ADV films. As quickly as it was picked up, there're only 2 episodes that are subbed by fan-sub groups. You can stop searching for its bit torrents now!