Sunday, July 25, 2004

My version of memory loss.... 

And I was hard on Ron Fairly's comment! How on Earth did I forget something such as this in a game that I attended?!

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.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

A look at the future.... 

Here's my first (and only, at least for a long while) minor league report! As I had hoped, I went to see the Tacoma Rainiers game at Portland. This was my first time going to an away game, as all the previous games I went to (M's and Sonics) took place in Seattle. It sure was a little funny when I was like the lone voice rooting for the M's prospects (while most everyone around me had weird looks at me). I had a pretty good seat, just 3 rows back from 3rd base. However, it was rather difficult to judge inside and outside pitches from that angle. I also got to the game a little late, but just in time for the last part of the big scoring 2nd inning the Rainiers put up. The bases were loaded with Jeremy Reed at bat. Then came a wild pitch to score a run and advancing all runners, and after that a single to center by Reed to score two more to cap a 4-run frame. I don't claim to be a scout, and I simply lack the experience to be one. I just enjoyed watching the game and soon enough forgot about assessing players. Though I did manage to remember some details of certain performances I saw. So, without further ado, here goes nothing. (My version of game wrap)

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.

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Another step forward 

Wow. First Leone homered in 2 consecutive games, and now it's Bucky's turn. Could we be seeing A.J. Zapp as well later this year? I only caught the last part of the game today, but I got to see Bocachica's great catch in center to bring back a HR. Though I wonder just how many more times we'd have to see Hasegawa in a ball game protecting a one-run lead, as I don't even remember when the last time he successfully held the lead was....

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!

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

The 2nd half begins.... 

The past two days I was busy with timing the last two episodes of Galaxy Angels Season 3 for the fansub group Anime Haven. Seems like once again I've missed some action of the M's. Justin Leone homered in consecutive games! Bucky and Sherill also made their ML debut. Fans can now at least have something to look forward to seeing in this already lost season, instead of seeing the same ol' decline of a team as a whole.

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....

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

There'll probably be a second half decline... for Tacoma! 

Congrats to Bucky and George Sherrill! So the "youth movement" goes on, and there're rumors/deductions of another imminent trade. It might be a more interesting second half this time around comparing to the past two years, even though the team isn't in contention.

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Friday, July 09, 2004

Memory loss 

Joel Pineiro threw side-armed on a 2-2 pitch to Sandy Alomar Jr. and ended up hitting him.

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.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Wednesday's child is a child of woe.... 

After today's loss in Toronto, the Mariners are 1-13 on Wednesdays, and began the second half of the season (the 82nd game of the year) being blown out. Seems like it'll take a bit of time for Travis Blackley to settle in, though perhaps starting back to back with Jamie Moyer, who has a similar pitching style, might've contributed some to the rocky times.
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.

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Monday, July 05, 2004

What difference two weeks make! 

I never would've thought that I "picked" such a good time to disappear for a while. (It was due to moving across the state. I was too preoccupied to even do anything on my birthday, the 27th.) It had to be the most eventful weeks in the sports world this year, barring major out-of-the-ordinary happenings at the Olympics later this summer.

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!

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