Friday, June 25, 2004

The future looks.... 

The Mariners were swept by the Rangers, losing in 18 innings. I think it's already been well documented about Bob Melvin's poor bullpen management, lineup (what is Cabrera doing batting 3rd??!! Hear me now: LEONE FOR THIRD!!!), strategy and such. I have nothing new to say about it. I just wonder who's going to spot start after Garcia being moved up to start Friday's game. It would be nice to see Blackley, but it'd probably be better if he can stay for a longer time when he does get called up.

The first quarter final of Euro 2004 took place. The hosts Portugal edged England 6-5 in penalty shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw after extra time. Beckham missed yet another penalty (as the English lost once again on penalties, almost setting a trend if not for the lone victory against Spain back in 1996). Mixed feelings for me as I saw little used Tottenham reserve striker Helder Postiga scoring for his country on home soil to force extra time. Hopefully he'll get to play more come next season. (Though he seems quite behind in the packing order after Robbie Keane, Jermaine Defoe, and Fredrick Kanoute for the 2 forward positions.)

Meanwhile at Wimbledon, Venus Williams was taken out in the 2nd round by Croatian teen Karolina Sprem. A blunder by the chair umpire undeniably sped up the process, but the 3rd seed of the ladies' draw was basically outplayed by her lower ranked opponent for most of the match. Also, Navratilova's amazing comeback journey in singles came to an end. She actually looked like the more probable winner in the first set as she generally dominated and rarely looked troubled. However, 19-yo Gisela Dulko, who also won against Martina in the French Open just a few weeks ago, settled down and worked the aged veteran around the court and wore her down. Despite the tough loss, it was nothing short of an incredible show of resilience and great conditioning of the 47-yo legend. (In other news, Alicia Molik also won her 2nd round match in straight sets.)

Making it even more eventful a day, the NBA draft also took place. The Sonics finally landed a decent center prospect. Unfortunately, he doesn't look liek he's ready to contribute right away, meaning we're still stuck with the mediocre three headed monster for at least another year.... Well, at least I guess it's not all bad as long as they didn't draft another small forward.
In related news, Northwest college stars Luke Jackson and Blake Stepp both got drafted. Jackson ended up being a lottery pick at #10 by the Cavaliers and will probably form a dynamic one-two punch with Lebron, while Stepp barely avoided being undrafted, being chosen by the Timberwolves with the second to last pick, 58th overall. Washington State PG Marcus Moore and Gonzaga C/F Corey Violette were both undrafted.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

So close, yet so far.... 

Wouldn't we know it? Just when current results almost brought out the Optimist in us (even though against weak opposition), the Mariners had to remind us in a big way how the team is bad. Might as well, since even the M's management must have to realize it at some point, right?
Weirdly, after about 3 innings, the local station (in Spokane) that carried the broadcast of today's game somehow went through techinical difficulties and I couldn't catch the game live from then on. Fortunately (*ahem*), Fox Sports Northwest came to the rescue with Mariners Double Play! That's right! When the team is this bad, people simply need a second chance to see it to believe... not to mention, to Get All Of It!!
Anyway, instead of talking about how the Rangers came out on top by a score of 10-2, there're better things in life. (ok that's a little bit too serious there. hehe) What I meant to say is, it's time for me to rumble about my random thoughts on other sports happenings on the day! Yeah! (If only the M's could get me this excited....)

Since I couldn't watch the M's game, I looked for something else on TV and stumbled upon seeing the Seattle Storm. They ended up losing too but at least it was a good fight, and seemingly the team really have some talent (outside of Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird, even). One thing I didn't understand, however. As much as I love rooting for Lauren Jackson, I wonder why the coach kept on giving her the ball from every set play in the last two minutes or so. Granted, she's tall, pretty strong in the post, and talented, but it wasn't like she was scoring at will since she was almost always double or triple teamed when she touches the ball inside. I don't oppose having her as the go-to player. It's just that, isn't it obvious for the other team to mark her tightly when the ball only kept going to her every single time?

Now for my Euro 2004 portion of the post.... Italy is out! Whoo-hoo! Denmark and Sweden played a thrilling match, it seems, that ended 2-2 which put them both through. Both teams vowed to go for victory but it turned out better this way as the neighbors both qualified for the next round. Also, after losing to Italy, Bulgaria became the only team in this tournament to lose all three games.

More from Europe! Wimbledon is underway and ran into rain delays again just like they would traditionally. I haven't been watching much tennis for years but some random things still caught my eyes for picking out players to support. As of this time (in women's tennis), it's Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. I actually haven't seen her play yet, but hey, she shares my birthday! :-p (Good enough a reason for me. Since I usually don't jump on bandwagons, I seldom support the already well known players. It's much more fun to cheer on the underdogs!) Unfortunately, against a certain prediction, she was knocked out in the first round in 3 sets.... Eyes on Navratilova then, to see just how far she can go in singles at the advanced age of 47.... (And maybe quick checks on Alicia Molik, who probably won't make any significant noise....)

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Monday, June 21, 2004

No surprise in Portugal 

In group B of Euro 2004, the supposed stronger teams took care of business. England got by Croatia 4-2 with Wayne Rooney leading the way as the leading scorer of the tournament so far, joining group winner France in the quarter finals. They'll take on the hosts, whereas France will do battle with Greece. The French team once again didn't bring their A game and struggled some against Switzerland, though they came out on top with a little spark provided by substitute Louis Saha and proved to be the team with more quality as they won 3-1 in the end. Though I'm sure they'll need to improve on their well less-than-impressive performance to have any chance at all to retain the championship....

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Sunday, June 20, 2004

They've done it! It's 4 in a row! 

The Mariners defied track record and helped Garcia to his 4th victory for the year, and have a 4-game winning streak for the first time this season. Just one more to go! Just one more! Bring back the Optimist! (Oh well. With the day off we'll have to wait for at least another day.)

So Greece didn't breeze by Russia afterall... they actually lost. Though it's all good in the end as they still manage to qualify for the second stage, with hosts Portugal also booking a place in the last 8 by defeating their neighbor, Spain. The Spanish once again had a flying start but couldn't live up to expectations, remaining as underachievers. England and France tomorrow, playing against Croatia and Switzerland, respectively. Should be interesting as all four teams still have chances to advance. Go England!!

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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Here we go again! 

The Mariners once again built up a winning streak of 3! Jo~el seemingly recovered his good self lately and dominated. It's good to see him staying healthy after a heavy work load last season when so many young pitchers within the organization have set-backs at least at some point of time. The M's probably had luck on their side too to have Awe-really-ah, of all people, driving in 3 runs. Hopefully they'll bust out of their "track record" tomorrow and win the 4th game in a row for the first time this season, by putting up decent run support for Garcia.... (Will they now? Tsk tsk tsk....)

Just like I had hoped, Latvia stayed alive in Euro 2004, holding Germany to a 0-0 draw. With the Netherlands losing their 2-0 lead and the game altogether to the Czechs, Latvia can actually advance to the next round if they somehow beat the Netherlands (not really likely, but...) and hope for the Germans to not defeat the Czechs.
May Greece breeze through Russia and confirm their place in the quarter finals tomorrow! Then we'd get to see two powerhouses Spain and Portugal battling for their lives in a hopefully high standard encounter.

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Friday, June 18, 2004

Getting it done by oneself 

Moyer pitched 6 innings of 1 run (HR) ball while going 1-for-2, driving in 2 at the plate, and the Mariners won by 1 run in the end. Ichiro went hitless for the 2nd time in 6 games that he's batting 3rd....

Meanwhile, Bulgaria became the second team to be ousted from Euro 2004 after losing to Denmark. I'm curious to see if Latvia can somehow stay alive tomorrow, playing against an experienced team in the form of Germany.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

And the beat(en) goes on 

The Mariners almost got shut out by Doug Davis and lost their 2nd straight to the Brewers. Once again they out-hit their opponents but scoring a lot fewer runs. (1 run on a HR... so long balls aren't useful?) Nageotte was shaky at the beginning but settled in a groove not long after. He's now gotten hurt though and don't know if he's going to miss time. It's a pity, since he's started decently in the big leagues. If he ended up on the shelf for a while, maybe we'd get to see the dreaded move of having Villone start... unless it means George Sherill gets called up to restock the left side of the pen, then it might be a good thing afterall....

On the other side of the earth, Russia became the first team to be eliminated from the European Championship. It would be really strange if Latvia still stay in the mix after their second game. That'd be like in the Olympics that one time (was it 1992?) when Lithuania defeated Russia to win the basketball bronze....

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Just a brief post.... 

The Lakers lost! Still no rings for Payton and Malone, yay!! The Detroit Pistons are the NBA champs. Finally, it's time to speculate the draft....
Germany and the Netherlands drew! (Ruud Van Nistelrooy's equaliser looked awfully similar to Van Basten's winner in the semis against W.Germany back in 1988)
The Mariners' win streak snapped at 3 once again and the offense got shut out by a nowhere-near-stellar pitcher, again. Bocachica made another nice catch in center, and Ichiro's getting-on-base streak is snapped. I lost count long ago though.

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Monday, June 14, 2004

Chances are scarce 

Ok so maybe there are a few countable games of Euro 2004 on Fox Sports World. Most of them involve Italy, which makes me wonder why. (It's not like they're the favs of North America.) Though I can't complain too much about being able to see a game live. It was a stalement between Italy and Denmark. Truth be told, regardless of what the match report may suggest, the Danes for the most part outplayed the Italians who turned in a poor performance as one of the favorites to win the tournament. Star players Francesco Totti and Christian Vieri were mediocre at best and it was their defense and goalkeeping that were up to standards just to scrape out the draw. The Danes dominated possession in midfield, but had little to show for in the end as Italy held up in defense, limiting shots to mostly long range efforts. Italy actually looked more likely to score given their far and in between chances when they did get them. Thomas Sorensen was good in goal for Denmark as he made a few nice saves. It was not a good game for the traditional number 10 on both ends with the fore mentioned Totti and Martin Jorgensen also almost non-existent before being substituted. In the end, the result was satisfactory for Denmark who're unlucky not to come away with 3 points, but a poor outing for Italy as they need to regroup and pick up their game for the next match.

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Eventful summer in Europe 

The M's win! Jo~el finally got a win in two months! Against... the Expos! The M's once again piled up half a win streak needed to bring the Optimist back. Well, that's all I'm going to say about that for now. :-p

There're bigger things happening this summer in Europe, with the European Championship (soccer -- a big deal to everyone outside of the U.S.) underway in Portugal and the Olympic Games in Greece not long after. Greece grabbed the headlines in Portugal though, by upsetting the hosts 2-1 in the opening match. Then yesterday, the highest profile match to have taken place so far, France came from behind in the dying minutes (2 goals in injury time) to see off England -- my favorite national team, 2-1. Beckham's missed penalty has to be a key turning point as England would probably have sealed the match at that point. Though the team I like lost, there's a mixed feeling for me because the French team's coach, Jacques Santini, will take the helm at my favorite team Tottenham Hotspur after the tournament. I'm hopeful that he will lead Spurs to contend after what seemed like an eternity of underachievements. That being said, even though I'm not a France supporter, I do hope to see them do reasonably well.
It's too bad that all the coverage I can get of the tournament is only what I read from the official web site. There's no TV broadcast of the event other than pay-per-view. I wonder if the Mariners one day become a dynasty like the Yankees, would the money-hungry management make a lot of the M's games on pay-per-view only?

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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Scoreless streak snapped; so did my "postless" streak! 

I'm finally back after a few days' absense. I fell sick for the past week. Needless to say I didn't follow the M's. Though as I feel better the offense also woke up, even though it shouldn't be much of a shock to win against the Expos. Ichiro batting 3rd is an interesting idea, but I agree with everyone that Melvin shouldn't put Aurilia in the 2-hole at least. Winn leading off isn't all that great either but there really isn't any other options... unless we have Jamal Strong, that is.

Lately I'm also involved in an anime fan-subbing group, Anime Haven. Before I got sick, I managed to finish the timing of subtitles for Galaxy Angel Season 3 43-44. It's been a very nice experience to try out something new and being able to contribute to a product that I enjoyed. I should be timing episode 45-46 soon as well. Those who're interested in anime should really give this show a shot! It's a very funny comedy. Season 1 and 2 are already licenced in North America and the first season is released on DVD available in most video stores. Meanwhile one can try getting some episodes of the 3rd season through bit torrent at animesuki.com.
Later on, I'm going to typeset (setting fonts and effects for the subtitles) for a new anime that's just newly coming out in Japan! It's called Phantom Memory Kurau. It's a futuristic show, but so far I don't know much about it yet. I'm just happy to be in charge of an aspect of a fan-sub release at this point. :-)

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Powered by the Rocket, the Astros take flight 

A sac fly the difference in the ball game as the M's offense was shut out by a great pitcher. Jo~el pitched very well, giving up only 1 run in 8 innings but see his record fall to 1-8. Seems like he's the most unlucky one with matchups this year, having faced Pedro and the Rocket. Ichiro had his 14-game hitting streak snapped but walked to keep his streak of reaching base alive. Bocachica started in CF again and did a fine job defensively.
Anyway, it seems like maybe I should keep slamming the M's as they generally had better success the following days when I did. Hehe.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

Clint up the Meche! 

Ok, it's late in the night and my mind is going blank as to what title I should give this post. hehe. Anyway, Nageotte had a nice outing as a starter, going six shutout innings with 8 Ks and 3 walks. Mateo also seems to have come around, recording 3 scoreless frames for his first save of the season. The M's have now quietly piled up half of a win streak that would bring back the Optimist! But with Jo~el going against the Rocket tomorrow... well, one can only hope for a similar type of luck that saw us scoring runs off of Pedro to happen again....

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We had a good Winn for once! 

It's almost as if responding to my last post, the M's won again right away, coming from behind to chase White Sox closer Billy Koch. Randy Winn had a good game at the plate going 4-5 and hitting his first HR of the season. Perhaps the move to LF has somehow "rejuvenated" him? Hopefully he won't be back in CF again and spare us of his terrible routes to the ball and rubber arm. Bocachica stayed in the lineup, which puts him in front of Bloomquist and probably Cabrera in the packing order. With hits in both his starts, hopefully he'll turn out to be useful.
Interleague play starts today and Clint Nageotte makes his debut as a starter. I hope that this time his command and control will be better than his first outing out of the pen, since he had days to prepare for the start. It's good to see him getting a chance though.

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Saturday, June 05, 2004

We won today, somehow! 

Franklin started the game terribly and gave up two runs in the 1st, but settled down and did a good job the rest of the way to tally 7 innings without any more runs. As I was watching the 1st I thought "uh-oh", but I guess luck was on Ryan's side today. The bullpen almost coughed it up, walking 4 in the last 2 innings, but squeaked by without giving up any hits. When Mateo was warming in the 7th I thought he'd start the 8th, but instead it was J.J. Putz who went in and walked the only two batters he faced. Mateo then came in and did a great job on Frank Thomas and Carlos Lee, then Guardado uncharacteristically struggled finding the strike zone but still managed the save.
Bret Boone won the game with his bat flip making a rare appearance of late (2nd hit in his last 20 ABs)... what a rally killer, right Bob?? Otherwise, the offense didn't look particularly good... at least now the whole country got to see some of our agony on offense with Willie Bloomquist and Pat Borders both starting, making up the bottom of the batting order. (I wonder if the Fox network would demand a money-back from the M's for featuring such quality [or lack thereof] in a nationally televised game?)
Anyway, it was good to get a win. Hey now, get all of it!! (Because who knows when our next win would be? It could take a while!)

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Winn in LF again finally! 

Unless the yahoo box score is wrong in showing the starting lineup, Melvin seems to have finally heard some of our fellow bloggers' voices or come to some senses. Randy Winn has been moved to LF while Hiram Bocachica starts for the M's for the first time, taking over in CF. Hopefully this is one of the baby steps Melvin would make (like utilizing Everyday Eddie comparatively better), even though it's way overdue.

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Another loss for the Mariners (blogsphere) 

It's been quite a while now that I haven't even been able to comment on how games went because I'm reduced to sporadically peek at a TV broadcasted game to check the score. As the M's losses pile up, they are losing fans, or at least the enthusiasm of the fans. It's simply sad to see that the M's blogsphere took another big loss. It will certainly take a long time (and big personnel changes, especially at the top) to retain the fan base already lost.

So Ramon Santiago, who slugs less than .200 in AAA, is the one called up to take our cleanup hitter's roster spot....
I think we should brace ourselves for the second half of the season.... It could still get worse yet!

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Thursday, June 03, 2004

More from the Times! 

On a day that I don't have much to say about an M's game the previous night since I didn't watch it, the Times saved me by letting me link to a couple of articles. This time Larry Stone talks about how we probably shouldn't expect too much if we do end up trading Garcia, and quotes from Melvin suggesting that we probably wouldn't have to see Villone taking Meche's spot in the rotation. All in all, realizing who our current GM is, I wouldn't say that I had high hopes in the trading front. Though I'd welcome the news if Nageotte does end up starting regularly. Even if he doesn't perform all that well, he won't be missing "developement time" he would've gotten in Tacoma versus sitting in the Seattle bullpen.
Now that it looks like Ibanez will head to the DL, here's hoping that the M's would bring up someone actually good from AAA, which means they probably won't.... Meanwhile, I'll be making use of my voice here, no matter how small it is, to root for Justin Leone in Jeff's absense.

Leone for 3B/LF/SS, or wherever he can play, in Seattle!!

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Final Fantasy... A+!! 

For all Final Fantasy fans out there, check this out! I think it's a very well made little piece for a project.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Similar to 20 years ago? 

There's a piece in the Seattle Times today mentioning the similarities between the current prospects of Leone/Dobbs and then Jim Presley/Edgar from years ago. Since I only started watching/getting to know the M's in 1997, I have absolutely no idea how things were back in the earlier days. Though I believe it might be an interesting comparison. (And I hope Justin will fare much better than Presley, as what I read from other blogs seems to tell me the latter turned out to be a less than satisfactory player for the M's.)

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