Friday, June 27, 2008

Enough is Enough and It's Time for a Change

Finally, a candidate who can be trusted

My fellow Ranier beer swigging Mariner fans, for too long have we dwelt in me mediocrity!

Too often have we felt the eerie numb silence that is a lost season!

If the history of this team has taught us anything, it is that it takes a miracle only to achieve a slight modicum of success.

And I for one can stand it no longer! I have straddled the line for a long while and I am dangerously close to cutting my northwest ties and devoting myself full time to the Red Sox nation. An act that makes me physically ill.

I propose to you, my fellow M-Heads, my actions if elected General Manager for the 2009 season. I know, I know, it will probably never happen. Just like a Black man being a viable candidate for the presidency of the nation only forty years after the civil rights movement...

Philosophy: Rebuilding

Anyone who has watched this season unfold thus far should note that rebuilding no longer means dwelling in the basement of the division. This is not basketball here, where players mope and grow indifferent with going through the long grind of a season. No, in the modern era, in which prospects are coveted more than anything, rebuilding is becoming quite the norm.

I propose that the Mariners do everything in our power to start the season with as many young players as possible on staff. While many will deem this foolish, given how weak the farm system compares to the rest of baseball, I am a firm believer that young players can flourish when given a chance to play without constantly fearing a demotion to the minors. A young team grows together and that is the clubhouse I want to foster. A place that sparks cohesion and leads to the unit playing out of their ability. Sound familiar? Its only the same principles that compelled a team of castoffs and unproven talent to win 116 games. Its the same principle that has made the Brewers, Rays, and Diamondbacks viable contenders for the playoffs this season.

Prediction: The Mariners will rebuild, but to a far less drastic degree. If the current team continues to adequate baseball, then look for a comparable roster to begin the season next year. The front office is playing tough at the moment, but we shall see if they are leading with thier head's or their heart's come the trade deadline.

Coach: Larry Bowa

While I want a young team, I want a grumpy old cuss as a coach. If anything, to only avert the impression that this is a soft team. While no one will ever truly recapture the essence of "Sweet" Lou Pinella, the M's certainly need someone with some fire in the belly. Especially after the three previous regimes.

Bowa is a wild man, who has calmed slightly since his time on Joe Torres' staffs. He brings passion to the park and will not accept any laze faire performances on the field. Furthermore, he is an old school hard nose type, who will bring a young team together if only to stay on his good side.

When I think back to spring training 2008, the most compelling storyline was that of the Tampa Bay Rays scuffling with the Yankees over a hard slide by Shelley Duncan. I view this moment as the turning point at which the Rays realized that they no longer had to bend over to what was perceived to be superior competition. Not only did they send a message to the Yankees that game, but they followed it up later in the year, with a scuffle with the Red Sox as well.

With Larry Bowa at the helm, I would be shocked not to see him leading the charge out of the dugout if said situation arose. This is not to say that I condone fighting on the field, so much as I feel that this is a way to gain synergy amongst members of a youthful squad. Bench clearing brawls allow players to realize that they have people backing them. When players back one each other all the time, then the unit has a higher chance of success. Provided that the players do not unite under their great hatred of Larry Bowa, then I see this working out favorably in changing the culture of the franchise.

It should also be noted that I would offer the position of bench coach back to John McLaren. He was the perfect foil to Pinnella and would work very well at mentoring the youngsters along. His abilities are comparable to that of Bob Melvin, who failed in Seattle, but has succeeded in an environment in which his calm demeanor is favorable.

It is my hope that in 2009, McLaren will be right there with a steaming cup of hot cocoa after a pitcher gets called into Bowa's office to be verbally lambasted. Kind of like the Oscar and Felix of the clubhouse.

Prediction: Jim Riggleman

Riggleman actually fits this mold as well, albeit in a more controlled manner. The M's will probably finish out the year playing like a .500 ball club and that will probably be enough to keep him on staff.

First Base: Kenji Johjima

First things first, we are designating Richie Sexson for assignment. Not only are we doing so in the middle of a home stand, but we are doing so immediately before he comes to the plate for his first at bat. Immediately following the announcement, Steam's 1969 "Kiss Him Goodbye (Na Na Na Na)" will be played for forty five minutes straight on a continuous loop. My only regret is that I have been brought in too late for this to occur on Richie Sexson bobblehead night.

In terms of the field, I want Kenji Johjima learning the position. I expect a steep learning curve, but I never agreed with the concept of him catching for my team full team. If I bring on a non-native speaking catcher, I am leaning towards those of Latin decent, due largely to the versatility of the language. Both Erik Beddard and Carlos Silva have openly complained about tossing to Johjima, which leads me to believe that their is no cohesion between pitchers and catchers. Jeff Clement is young enough to grow my future arms (Aumont, Morrow, Hernandez) and Johjima's contract is too large to deal him. Since his bat is not good enough to DH full time, the only way he makes this team is at first.

Designated Hitter: Bryan LaHair

Their is also a large part of me that wants to cut bait with Jose Vidro as well, but after much deliberation I feel it best to let him ride out the season on the the bench. Vidro reminds me a lot of Stan Javier, the perpetually underrated pinch hitter that was a major cog in the 2001 big blue machine. If he takes a pay cut on his vesting option, I would consider him for the bench. Otherwise he is most certainly finishing his career in 2009 as an unsigned free agent.

Sexson's roster spot will be given to Bryan LaHair, whom will start out as DH. From what I have been told, this kid flat out rakes. While I rarely believe what I read about Mariner prospects, I will take my chances over Mr. 220. I predict LaHair to be comparable to Casey Blake of the Cleveland Indians. Classic moneyball player.

Second Base: Yung Chi Chen

Jose Lopez must be dealt ASAP. His value is very high now, due to his incredible ability to produce brilliant half seasons. I know that the previous GM had envisioned Betancourt and Lopez growing up together as a double play tandem, but we have all seen where his logic got us. Meanwhile, I have watched enough professional wrestling to insist that sometimes the best tag teams are comprised of a rehash of an old idea with new pieces. DX version two perhaps? The one with X-Pac, Badass Billy Gunn, and The Road Dogg, over Sean Michaels, HHH, and Chyna? How about NWO Wolfpack versus NWO Black?

Case and point. Lopez can be dealt for prospects, preferably of the pitching variety, and Yung Chi Chen will be brought up from AAA. I heard that he was MLB ready at the beginning of the season and if anything he will only be a modest drop off talent wise.

This off season has a particularly bad free agent class, meaning that I have no intention throwing top value dollars at mid level players. This being said, we are selling where we are strong and filling in holes when we can.

Prediction: Lopez will maintain his numbers for the entire season, prompting the front office to keep him on staff. His contract will also factor into this decision, as he is signed through 2010 at a reasonable rate.

Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt

Shortstop is actually a position of strength in the farm system, given the ridiculous contracts Bill Bavasi handed out to several foreign born prospects. Still, these players are at least a couple of years away from truly showing their talents.

That being said, Betancourt is the man for now. Hopefully he continues to improve, as he is locked up until 2011. Ideally he will play out of his mind for a half season, like he did in 2007 and we can deal him to a competitor. If not, then his play is still consistent enough to warrant a starting position.

Prediction: Yuniesky Betancourt

Probably the biggest no brainer on the list. The chances of upgrading at this position are scarce and he is still young enough that he could develop into an All Star yet. The modern shortstop position is not nearly what it used to be in the late 90's.

Third Base: Adrian Beltre

This one goes against a lot of my theories, as Beltre may be one of the more trade able veterans on staff. Still, the farm system lacks any real possible breakthrough stars at third, barring the Tuiasosopo kid catching fire.

Beltre has played well enough to warrant his contract (which is actually quite reasonable by today's standards) and he would be a solid bastion for a youthful infield. I wish that he was a better leader of men, but this is to be expected from another Bavasi hiring.

Prediction: Adrian Beltre

Baseball pundits are calling for the M's to deal Beltre to kick start the rebuilding effort. While he has value on the market, he does have a limited no trade clause. Thank agent Scott Boras for that one.

Third base is the premiere position in baseball now, with many budding stars (Evan Longoria, Alex Gordon, Kevin Kouzmanoff) coming into their own. Since Beltre is on the books for 2009, it is highly unlikely that a team like the Dodgers will take him on at the sacrifice of developing their own corner stalwart.

Outfield: Ichiro, Jeremy Reed, Wladimir Balentin

Ichiro is a God in Seattle. I know that this sentiment has caused some derisive rumblings in the
clubhouse, but the city would never allow him to be dealt.

The knock on Ichiro as of late revolves around his ability to lead. Like Erik Bedard, he is a rather introverted individual, who prefers to lead through example. But, he does have the ability to cause a stir, if prompted to.

Take his performance in the World Baseball Classic. In that given situation he was surrounded by his fellow countrymen, who looked at him as a once in a lifetime athlete. Think Michael Jordan if he had joined the Wizards in his prime. Ichiro not only fired the team up through public comments regarding arch nemesis Korea, he single handedly forced the team to get better, by adding an element of grit to his game.

Not only did he play hard, but his cadence in the locker room was that of a man who would accept nothing less than perfection from his teammates. Truth be told, this was the only time that I have ever watched Ichiro's mannerisms and believed him to be a viable coach in the future.

Still, ideally the coach will handle the leadership role and Ichiro can be allowed to do his own thing. If 2001 proved anything, its that Ichiro can get along in the clubhouse if the team is winning. What people forget about that year, was that he was permanently affixed next to Lou Pinnella, whenever he was in the dugout. Having a manager that Ichiro respects is the key to channeling his abilities.

I will not be bringing back Raul Ibanez. I like him a lot. I always have. I still think he can play at a high level and in many ways would be great if moved back to first base.

However the Mariners have too long of a history of holding onto sentimental players for far too long. While it was fun watching Edgar Martinez and Dan Wilson rot in front of our eyes, I just can't continue the tradition. The synergy of the team has been week ever since his arrival, so he doesn't have the same club house clout. Raul, its been fun, but your spot in the outfield is better served going to a prospect or a low level free agent (Kevin Mench, Juan Rivera, or Willy Mo Pena perhaps).

The rest of the outfield is a wash. Willie Bloomquist will never be more than a poor man's Mark McLemore. Wladimir Balentin is probably a year or so away from showing his true talent. Mike Morse is an embarrassment to the organization and should have been dealt a when he had value.

The only real hope lies in Jeremy Reed. The same Jeremy Reed that was at the centerpiece of the Freddy Garcia trade. The same guy who could have landed the M's either Clay Bucholz or John Lester from the Red Sox two years ago.

While Reed has always underperformed, he still projects to be a Lenny Dykstra type outfielder, who would compliment Ichiro well at the top of the order. Let's allow him to enter the season as the starter in center, without anyone directly chasing him. This will be the best way to gauge how much he has matured in his two years since being demoted to the minors.

Prediction: Jeremy Reed, Ichiro, Mike Cameron

The Mariners have been notorious for treating their outfield like a turnstile. 2009 will not be any different. Reed will be given a short leash, probably getting most of his playing time in late innings as a defensive replacement. Balentin will start the season on the bench and lose out on valuable at bats. And of course, the front brass will sleep on any undervalued veterans and settle for a has been big bat.

Mike Cameron fits the mold the best, as he will command less money than some of the big names on the open market and Mariners faithful still have fond memories of his time roaming the field. He also became fast friends with Ichiro and will be a boon to his attitude entering a year with an unproven squad.

Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva, Jarrod Washburn, Brandon Morrow

Closer: Phillip Aumont

Erik Bedard, if we are lucky, can be resigned. I honestly feel that the biggest mistake the Mariners made was by naming him the opening day starter. If anyone has read an interview about the guy, they should see that he is not a spotlight type of player. In Baltimore, he was an overachiever in a bad situation. After the trade he was suddenly viewed as Baseball Jesus in the northwest. After all, Seattle only gave up more for him than the Met's did for Johan Santana.

But I digress.

Felix is our Jordan figure and Bedard can be a Pippen, provided we get him in good with Clement.

With C.C. Sabathia recently shipped to Milwaukee and Rich Harden sent to Chicago, their is a chance that Bedard could fetch interest at the trade deadline. Nothing would disgust me more than taking five cents on the dollar for Bavasi's biggest acquisition. Unless a can't miss outfield prospect is offered, then the M's would be wise to avoid cutting bait early.

Morrow needs to be starting. No questions asked. I am going to be like Hank Steinbrenner on the Joba issue about this. I am sick of hearing the hype and seeing him pitching out of the bullpen.

Putz is coming back soon enough (hopefully successfully so we can trade him) and we have Josh Fields, who is very close to being big league ready. Closer is the most over rated position in baseball. So while other teams push K-Rod and Brian Fuentes into a new tax bracket, I am targeting middle relievers with my dollars. I want my budget in the $80 million range maximum, but I think that this is achievable through relying more on youth than veterans. Still, Dan Wheeler and Juan Rincon are much higher on my wish list than Trevor Hoffman or Jason Isringhausen. It is my intention to groom Aumont like Morrow this season and have him eventually move to starting next year when Fields is called up.

I am actually relatively content with the spot starters and long relief. When Washburn and Batista are off the books in 2010, I will be ecstatic.

It is really a shame that Silva is only an adequate pitcher, as his competitive fire is greatly appreciated. I hope that he can help in mentoring some of the staff.

Prediction: Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva, Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn
Closer: J.J. Putz

The brass adores Putz and will not trade him. Morrow will start in the bullpen and be moved into the starting rotation finally when the imminent starter injury occurs sometime in June.

Bedard will be dangled at the trade deadline, but his lingering injuries will be enough to scare off any interested suitors.

Expect at least one more over priced arm added to the fold.

Free Agents: Dan Wheeler, Brendan Donnelly, Hideki Okajima, Juan Rincon, Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu, Freddy Garcia

Wheeler's cost is going to be driven up if the Rays season continues at this pace. Donnelly on the other hand, is a retread, that if given an opportunity can still throw heat.

Rivera is in a similar position, as he has yet to recover from a broken leg suffered last year. He will be cheap and hungry to prove himself.

Abreu is my dream player for the outfield, as his presence would make this roster ideal for small ball. However it is almost assured that he will re up in New York. This is probably for the best, as his lack of leadership qualities are what single handedly contributed to him getting booed out of Philly.

Garcia may seem like a sacriligeous name on this list, but if he is not signed this season, he will be available for a minor league deal, (think Bartolo Colon in Boston). Garcia may be soft and not nearly as dominant as he once was, but hew thrives as a lower tiered starter. Anytime a team can add a former ERA champion for a minimal contract you make that move.

Prediction: Ben Sheets, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Mike Cameron, Ken Griffey Jr.

If the Mariners look to address pitching through free agency, they will most certainly end up with an oft injured phenom. Thankfully, I am going to assume that they learned their lesson with Bedard.

What is all but guaranteed, is that the M's will sign on underachieving slugger to fill in the gaping void left by Sexson.

The next GM would be wise to jump all over Griffey if he is in fact available, as it will buy the franchise one year to develop before fan duress takes over. While I personally would rather see a young team gel together and prosper, I would welcome back "The Kid" for one last run.

So there you have it M's fans. Unlike the presidential candidates, I have actually laid out for you exactly what I intend to do if elected to general manager in 2009. And just like Ralph Nader, I will sit back and watch someone else screw everything up and use these failures as confirmation that I was right all along...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Major League Baseball: Bastion of Professionalism

Shawn Chacon, Working Class Hero

In a non-Seattle related sports story *gasp* Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon may be out of a job. Not a big deal, right? He's probably sucks, you say. Actually, of the little I know about the 'Stros, he is their best pitcher. Well then what possible reason could Houston have for wanting to get rid of him?

The answer? Performing an act we have all spent countless work hours dreaming about over our working careers. He went all Undertaker on his boss, GM Ed Wade, during a heated argument where Wade would not get out of Chacon's face. Check out the full story here.

Way to go Shawn Chacon, we here at NLS tip our cap to you. Here's to you for pulling of a feat I have dreamed about since I was advising people not to rent "Master of Disguise", to no avail, at the local video store. In your choke slamming your boss you have become a hero to working class Americans everywhere, way to be.

Perhaps next time my boss pulls out the classic "Are you working or are you watching?" line despite witnessing me bust my hump all day, I'll rise up like Mr.Chacon and let him have it. I can see my boss and his mustache quivering in fear as security pulls me off him, it warms my heart. Keep the dream alive Shawn.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Ya Like Me Now?

According to Jose Romero over at The Times the 'Hawks have signed rookie long snapper, Tyler Schmitt. I, for one, am super stoked about the signing of the 6th round pick.

Many people questioned GM Tim Ruskell's sanity when he took this kid in the 6th, when normally long snappers are undrafted free-agents signings, not something to "waste" a draft pick on. I, however, trusted the man. I saw how horrid our long snapping was last year, which is why I defended the pick thusly in my 'Hawks '08 Draft recap.

rd.6 #189 Schmitt, again. This time it's Tyler Schmitt long-snapper from San Diego State. Some people questioned the logic of taking a long-snapper in the 6th round when they are normally picked up as undrafted free-agents after the draft. But anyone who watched the 'Hawks vs. Saints game last year knows just exactly how important a long-snapper can be.

I was vindicated by a this little video out on the always brilliant Here you can see why, exactly, the 'Hawks felt like "wasting a pick" on this guy. His snapping is just gorgeous. After being subjected to the painful events of long snapping last year, watching this workout really gets me excited.

Seeing Tyler hit the "perfect laces" drill 9/10 times(the last he missed cuz he was pressing to be a perfect 10/10) I feel like something out of a Tex Avery cartoon. My eyes pop out of my head and grow absurdly large as my jaw hits the floor and my tongue rolls out like a red carpet. This is followed by a guttural howl of appreciation and admiration, to let 'em know, I'm diggin it.

Just look at how tight those spirals are. And he's SNAPPING the ball!!! I know most of us here at NLS couldn't dream of having a spiral that tight throwing it normally. Granted, we are a bunch of pale "indoor" kids, for the most part. Point remains, I don't think we are going to see very many botched punts/kicks this year due to long snapping. And that makes me a happy panda.

I said that the '08 Draft class was The New Mutants, and that we would have to see who is ready to contribute on the X-Men(The 'Hawks). If that's the case then Tyler is "Armor", a character from Joss "Buffy" Whedon's arc on the X-Men. A person who wasn't even a blip on the radar to join the team that made the jump to the X-Men faster than anyone would have thought, when given the opportunity. To me, my X-Men!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Page 2 luv for Seattle

It's great getting a little love when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Currently, I'm watching the M's win a big one, 10-0 8th in NYM land, and reading this ESPN Page2 article from Jim Caple:

Bennett acknowledged during the trial that Key Arena has excellent sight lines for watching basketball but dismissed this as inconsequential. Meanwhile, he complained that the arena isn't large enough to account for separate seating areas with special amenities for the wealthiest fans. So what interests Bennett and fellow owners is further establishing the stratification of classes in our society. This is the precise opposite of why we value sports. Sports should unite a community, giving young and old, rich and poor, doctors and laborers, meat lovers and vegans something they all can cheer. Instead, the new wave of sports arenas and stadiums further divides us into the rich who have private clubs, the richer who have private clubs and private ushers, and the richest who sit in luxury suites with the darkened windows sealed and their backs turned to the action while they watch the games on plasma screen TVs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Exercise in Fine Simile and Metaphor

Remember that episode of "The Simpsons” in which Lyle Lanley (voiced by the late great Phil Hartman) convinces the town of Springfield to purchase a monorail with excess city funds? You know the one that Leonard Nimoy made a cameo in?

Yes of course you do.

In retrospect, that episode is eerily similar to Bill Bavasi era of Mariner baseball. After the city grew weary of Pat Gillicks’ disdain for major activity as a GM, it succumbed to the allure of a salacious shill. A rook, which brought promises of greatness. Of prosperity. Of Championships.

This and more could all be achieved… Through investing just a tad bit more cash than normally allotted. In the range of say, twenty million.

The logic made sense at the time. The Mariners had remained a fringe contender for the better part of the decade. Imagine adding one more potent bat to the 2003 lineup that won 97 games and still came in second in the division. Or for that matter, another solid pitcher to the 2002 team that won 93 games and finished third.

And so under Bavasi’s rule, Seattle took the gambit and became a large market team.

Then immediately began playing like a small market team.

Coaches were fired. Players vilified.

It did not take long for the mojo to die.

And in the end, Mariners faithful and the residents of Springfield were faced with the same dilemma. A train wreck to clean up.

My biggest fear entering this season was the fact that it was common knowledge that Bavasi was on his last rope with management. Desperate GM’s are always scary, as they mortgage everything on the hopes of a playoff appearance that will assure them job security. This is why we traded for Erik Beddard, why we were rumored to be getting Griffey for months and why we cut bait on Brad Wilkerson’s 3 million dollar contract.

But we have taken the first step to righting the ship. Bavasi is no more. Seattle bars are still replenishing their supplies of bourbon after the announcement was made.

Seattle also bid adieu to Jon McLaren. A necessary move, yes. However McLaren never really stood a chance. When his contract was extended entering this season, it reminded me of “Transformers: Heavy Metal,” when Optimus Prime bequeaths the Autobot matrix to Ultra Magnus. A soldier thrust into a leadership role. You would have thought that Seattle would be cognizant to the perils of promoting longtime assistants after the Bob Weiss debacle.

So the stage is set for a new era in Mariners baseball. Which direction will they go? What moves will they make? That is for time to decide.

In the meantime, while I wait it out, I am going to go watch the episode of “The Simpsons” where Bart saws the head off of the statue of Jebediah Springfield. You know the one where he hangs out with Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph? The one where he redeemed himself by admitting his character flaws and threw himself upon the mercy of the mob?

Howard Lincoln, I suggest you go dig out the DVD player and look this one up. It’s a classic.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It was only yesterday...

Watching Ray Allen set the 3 point record in game 6 the other night brought me back a few years. It seems like only yesterday shortly after turning 21, that I got the chance to watch the Supes pwn the Spurs - live at a bar, it was great.

I got completely belligerent with my fellow Seattleites, yelling, clapping, drinking, and chest bumping as the Sonics went on to win their first game in the 2nd round of the playoffs. My Dad and brother were at the game, so we all met up afterward as the arena was emptying out. Everyone was totally stoked and rowdy. Fans from all molds - skinny, fat, black, white, bald, dreaded, stoned, sober -- you name it (we're a diverse bunch); we were all together as one, basking in the short term glory of a 2nd round playoff win. None of this would be possible without #34 Ray Allen.

I spent the long walk to the car cheerfully chanting with my bro, "FUCK THE SPURS, FUCK THE SPURS, FUCK THE SPURS." Clearly we were drunk off of our asses, but nonetheless, the feeling of winning in the playoffs and pure inebriation overcame me like a 200 hundred dollar bar tab and a last-call whore.

I attended the rally on Monday, chanting Save our Sonics, Gary, Super [pause] Sonics!, and whatever else the crowd felt like yelling. It reminded me of the comradery I shared with these otherwise total strangers shortly after becoming 21. The day after rallying in front of the court house, I got to see Ray Allen win a ring with a team that has also had a similar terrible stretch minus an unexpected playoff run 2 years ago (17 Championships is another realm of glory). I have also had the pleasure to see Gary play for the Heat and win their Championship in 2006. Through them, I have felt like a winner and a Champ as well. It fills me with great pride that my heroes who've escaped the shitty decade of Wally Walker have gone onto winning it all with another team (And Gary getting it without Malone and the Lakers is even sweeter!!!!!).

Isn't it ironic, that a man who was a minority owner for the team that took our hopes of a championship in the 2nd round only a few years back, manifests into the creeper that conspires to take our very team away?

I have more respect for a man who let's me know where he stands, even if he's wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil. - Malcolm X

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Where do we go from here?The words are coming out all weird..." More On The Bavasi Firing

In an effort to realize the deep seeded fears I expressed in my previous post Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong answered questions from the press corps after announcing the firing of GM Bill Bavasi. Suffice it to say, their answers did little to quell the mounting fears growing in my heart.

I could find no official transcript of the press conference but luckily for me DMZ at USSMariner did his best to transcribe what he could. So that's where i will be pulling my quotes from. "L" denotes Howard Lincoln and "A" denotes Chuck Armstrong.

It is interesting to note that for most of the season upper management has been publicly backing Bavasi and said he was doing a "good job" despite the fact he obviously was not.

When asked something along the lines of "How is this ship going to right itself?" Howard responds
L: I’m sure our players and coaches will get going and get this thing turned around. New approach, new thoughts, new direction. But we’re all responsible. Players, coaches, managers, all of us.
This is what bothers me about Lincoln and Armstrong. There is no mention that He or Chuck Armstrong are responsible. He says "all of us" but still leaves the responsibility squarely on the players and managers. Pass that buck, Howie.

When asked about he fact that he was a part of he decisions that led to this happening, Amrstrong passes the buck again.
A: We’ve been improving every year since 2004, seemed to me we were doing great, didn’t want to change horses in midstream. All of us, and all of you, recognized that we made some great moves, thought we’d get even better.
First off improving every year after nearly losing 100 games is not hard.

Second what great moves did "we" all recognize and in doing so think we would get better? If the FO really believes many of Bavasi's moves made us better, then they are horribly out of touch with reality.

These beliefs without any given evidence to back them up is what scares the crap out of me. Hiring a new general manger shouldn't hinge on some antiquated belief system lacking any kind of supporting evidence, i.e. "He's been around baseball for a long time so he must know what makes a good team."

When asked about John McLaren's job security...
John’s our manager. I’m not in the mood to sing the praises of anyone right now. I expect John and the players to get going and turn this thing around, and if that doesn’t happen, further changes.
"...John and the players to turn it around."? How do they expect this to happen, exactly? The no-talent bums with over sized contracts prior to BB's firing are still the same no talent bums wit over-sized contracts post-firing.

Richie Sexson, open stance and all, won't suddenly become the Richie Sexson of 2004-2005 era and magically recover his long lost bat-speed.

No firing will me cringe any less when Jarrod Washburn comes back out for the 6th after 95 pitches thrown This is because nothing has changed, he won't all of sudden be able to go deeper into ball games, and also not suck. Tremendously.

Q: You said Bill was awesome

A: Things got worse (he’s mad about this question)

Q: Where are you going to get names?
A: I know a lot of people in baseball, I’ll talk to the commish, come up with a list of names. It’ll be hard to interview people.

Q: Do you have a mental list already?
A: Yes.

Q: Are you satisfied with the job Chuck is doing?
L: Yes. I’m not oblivious to the blogs. I’m not oblivious to the emails we receive. … my entire focus is getting this turned around, don’t take lightly, I believe in it, M’s are part of the community, fans deserve to see it get turned around, they’re as disappointed as I am. I serve at the pleasure of the 7-person board, Nintendo, pleasure of Nintendo as well. I’ve let the ownership group and Nintendo know that I bear ultimate responsibility, they appreciate that.

I enjoyed that Armstrong is annoyed that the reporters ask about his recent "Bill's doing a great job!" stance of just over a month ago. I mean, c'mon, you publicly stated you were behind the man, despite the fact that watching Neil LaBute's 2006 "The Wicker Man" remake is a more enjoyale experience than catching an M's game. And then to get all butt-hurt about the question is ridiculous. Though, I guess if I had no real explanation to why I went from singing the praises of my crappy GM when we were losing, to firing him mere weeks later when nothing has really changed, I may be a little testy too.

The statement that sent chill's down my spine? The comment of talking to the people he's known in baseball for his twenty-some-odd-years. This team doesn't need a mind steeped in the traditional, old, out dated ideas of Armstrong's long time friends in baseball. We had that, often, and it doesn't work. In fact, it's long crippled this team, and is posed to cripple this team in the future if that is the direction the organization takes.

This team needs new blood, new ways to look at things, fresh approaches to the problems the team faces. Throwing obscene amounts of money at crap-tastic free-agents is not sustainable means to build a winning team. The Mariners need to look at organizations like The Tampa Bay Rays or The Cleveland Indians as a guideline. But unlike those two teams the M's play in much larger market, and thus, have far more resources to put into the team. This gives them an advantage that, if done properly, to remain competitive while rebuilding.

The Man for the job, Chris Atonetti . The guy helped turn Cleveland into the team it is today after suffering through a stretch not too dissimilar from the '04-current stretch of M's suckitude. I, and many other far more educated people, believe his fresh take is exactly what he M's need.

Also Lincoln is aware of blogs? News to me. I had no idea he was aware of the series of tubes that is the interwebs. Nothing, from the way they interact with the fans, to the way they evaluate talent leads me to believe they are very techno savvy.

There's more genius stuff, but my keyboard is on the fritz ad it's becoming increasingly annoying to attempt to type. Go to USSMariner, to see what else Chuck and Howie had to say, then bang your head into a wall out of frustration. I'll attempt to post more on this late if I don't end up throwing my computer out the window.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bill Bavasi Fired! "And There Was Much Rejoicing."

As loyal readers of the blog know, I have a very passionate dislike for Bill Bavasi. So when I heard rumors that he was to be fired after the Mariners were swept at home by the worst team in the National League, I was giddy with anticipation. "Could this possibly be true?" I wondered. "Or is it just another cruel trick?" Minutes later it was confirmed Bavasi's horrible regime was brought to an end. Time to use out tanks to tear down those giant bronze Bavasi statues he had erected around Safeco field.

Tons has been written about why Bill Bavasi was one of the worst GM's in the league. Much of it by me. Often ranting against this evil tyrant as I saw him turn my childhood team into a mockery of sport. But most of what I wrote was from an emotional level with a few examples thrown in in attempts to make my point. But to truly grasps why Bill Bavasi is like the Neil Young song "The Needle and The Damage Done" you should read this well thought out post on by Dave of USSM fame, entitled Mariners Foibles.

I am extremely excited about this move, as one might imagine. A chance at a new beginning for everyone is exactly what this organization needs. The New GM, when hired, will bring in his own coaching staff and we will finally be rid of John McLaren, his insipid explanations/rationalizations, terrible in game strategy and shameful lineup construction.

At the same time my head is soaring in the clouds like I just re-lost my virginity, my heart is gripped with a very real and tangible fear. That fear is this, the person who is hired in the off-season to replace Bavasi will be only a slightly marked improvement and will be in the same "old school baseball" mindset, only paying lip service to the proven tools of statistical analysis.

Let us not forget that the root of the evil that plagued this ball club remains intact, Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln. These are the two people that hired Bavasi in the first place.

When Pat Gillick left the team after the '03 season Armstrong and Lincoln presided over the search and hiring of the next man to run this team. Out of all the many qualified GM's, many who have gone on to be successful elsewhere, these two chose Bavasi to be their man.

Nothing in the 5 years since that point has shown me, a dyed in the wool M's fan, that the mindset that led the Front Office to hire Bavasi, has changed in the least. Or that the abuse my beloved franchise has gone through these past years will end anytime soon.

The FO still talks to their fans like they believe that the fans feeble minds cannot truly grasps the will of God. That the moves they make in order to "better" the team, while seems odd and obtuse to the casual fan, would be made perfectly clear if the fans had the "baseball knowledge" and resources the FO does. And this type of talking down to the fan base infuriates me to no end.

I have followed the M's since The Kid was just a kid, fresh out of high school. Not the future first ballot Hall of Famer who just hit 600. Most of my life of watching the M's I was a casual observer, stuck in the old baseball modes, it was all I had ever known. Years later I would read a little book called Moneyball, in which the author lays out how A's GM Billy Beane fields a competitive team year in and year out on a minuscule budget. I saw then, the cracks in the Mariners facade, but did not fully grasps how deep those cracks went.

A couple years after that I was introduced, by a friend, to A Mariners website with a Moneyball-ish bent. It was here that I was shown all that truly plagued the team, not the crap like chemistry and grit that the local beat writers loved spewing on about.

I can see clearly now that if there is any hope that the fortunes of my team to be turned around that it must start at the top. That change could come in the form of a change of heart/mindset in the FO, but a complete 180 degrees change in terms of thought processes are rare. The more likely way to attain this change would be a cleaning of the house.

Short of one of those two events taking place it is hard for me to see a true change coming. I hope so very much that by some stroke of fate that the FO goes with the change of heart. That they now see we live in the 21st century. And that people who use the many statistical tools to help guide decisions do so not because they seek to rip the soul and mystique out of the game but because time and again this tools have been proven highly effective.

If they embrace this forward thinking approach to the game I will be the happiest man alive. Then I can openly root for this team without fear that their success only emboldens poor decision making, something I long to do so very much. Sadly, I worry that this will not be the case and in 5 years from now I will be writing about the sorry state the team is in, still. Please, Chuck and Howie, prove me wrong. I will love you for it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sonic Boom legal team had this to say:

"Leases are generally not specifically enforceable"

I'm going to keep this nice and short, I promise. 
I have a hard time holding back my anger when I see a new angle to this complicated web of a situation that Clay Bennett has woven us into.  We are near the 11th hour folks.  Its common knowledge that no matter what happens after Leasegate, Judge Pechman's ruling will be appealed, so this is just a popcorn trial for the time being.  It will be nice to see what Sonic Boom's legal team will come up with other than "whaaaa whaaa whaaa we're losing money!" because "boo-hoo" is all I will have to say (SLAM!)

To the point already!

This quote from Wiley last month sets a new obstacle in retaining our team.  If we win both cases, the Sonics have to play the remainder of the lease in Seattle and sold to a new investment group with interest to keep them in Seattle.  However, Oklahoma seems to agree that a lease is a lease is a lease - if there is no buyout agreement accomplished, then the lease remains intact!  Whereas the Sonics ownership is fighting to do the opposite, if no agreement is met, a settlement in court takes place where grievances from either side are heard and depending on the ruling, a buyout amount may be set and enforced.

Now I don't know who I stand with.  The new best-case scenario seems to be - 
  1. Sonic Boom wins Lease-gate.
  2. City of Seattle appeals the decision - to buy time keeping the team in Seattle for the next season.
  3. Schultz wins his lawsuit - Sonic Boom is sold to a Seattle based investment group.
  4. Supersonics take Oklahoma City to court to settle what a 15 year buyout costs.
No matter what happens in the courtroom in the following 2 weeks, a precedent will be set that may have a direct effect on how (and if) we get to keep the team.  If the City of Seattle wins this case, and Schultz the next, the Sonics may need to take a 15 year hiatus in Oklahoma City before coming back with our loyal management group.

Food for thought - imagine that the latter happens, and Sonic Boom wins two championships in the 15 years in Oklahoma city before returning home - does that make for another painful thorn in the side of a Seattle fan?  40+ years in Seattle, 1 trophy; 15 in Oklahoma City, 2 trophies?

Whatever happens my friends, the worst is over.  Either the scar heals, or the band-aid gets torn off and we bleed to death.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Snitch three and you go free... not so all of a sudden!

For better or worse, a liar and a cheat ought not be trusted- or listened to for that matter.  However the latest coming out of the Tim Donaghy circle must be atleast read, and rejected if you so please.  

I'm a big believer that big time sports can be rigged.  The Black Sox did it, why cant officials?  Hell, Tim Donaghy ADMITTED to doing it; and now, with sentencing looming, he's alleged that the Celtics vs Lakers series is rigged.  Thats where it ends, it really starts out playful and innocent- a la referees using team facilites (not the bathrooms doofus), playing tennis with owners, and receiving rim jobs from star athletes on the roster (sans jelly).

I was disregarding nearly everything said like a Steelers fan when the subject of "officiating" and "superbowl xl" comes up, but the responses from NBA executive vice president and general counsel Richard Buchanan and Lamell McMorris, head of the NBA referees union made me reconsider my viewpoint.  Maybe it wasn't in relation to what Donaghy specifically said, because he's a jerkoff anyway, but it made me think of the people above him, the even bigger jerkoffs whose sputum can be directly linked to David Stern's gold member.

From ABC7
"According to Mr. Donaghy, all of his allegations have previously been made to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, and they are clearly being disclosed now as part of his desperate attempt to lighten the sentence that will be imposed for his criminal conduct," the statement read. "The NBA remains vigilant in protecting the integrity of our game and has fully cooperated with the government at every stage of its investigation. The only criminal activity uncovered is Mr. Donaghy's."  ~ Buchanan
Lets run through this one sentence at a time.

According to Mr. Donaghy, all of his allegations have previously been made to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, and they are clearly being disclosed now as part of his desperate attempt to lighten the sentence that will be imposed for his criminal conduct
  I can understand that the NBA doesn't want its diapers rubbed in national news programs.  That statement is fine by me, though funny that he needs to TELL US that Donaghy is only trying to lighten his sentence, if this was really non-news, I'm sure a statement would not be necessary.  But because these allegations ARE news, the following is brought to you by Vice Czar of the NBA:
The NBA remains vigilant in protecting the integrity of our game and has fully cooperated with the government at every stage of its investigation.
Of course, because the NBA  does have integrity issues.  And I'm not just talking about the plight of our beloved Sonics, the best team to ever touch a basketball until fucktard Schultz sold the team to fucktard Bennett.  I'm talking about Lakers v Kings game 7, the new basketball, Tim Donaghy himself etc... Remember after the Tim Donaghy scandal came out?  We only heard two things; He's guilty (he confessed to it, duh) and that Tim is an isolated event, nobody else who calls fouls in a game is guilty or associated with violating the integrity of a The Game, PERIOD.  And if there were a shred of doubt, I'm sure we'd all hear about it, because after all, the NBA is vigilant about their integrity crisis.
The only criminal activity uncovered is Mr. Donaghy's.
Thats just a slap in the face.  This is like last throes Hillary rhetoric.  Its a garbage statement, and if were in email form, I'm sure Mr. Buchanan would say that what he meant to say was "The only criminal activity uncovered is Mr. Donaghy's if it were deemed no other officials have mob connections" but we havent heard anything about that, and I'm sure we wont, unless somebody outside the NBA says so first!
"Tim Donaghy has had honesty and credibility issues from the get-go," the statement read. "He is a convicted felon who has not yet been sentenced for the criminal conduct he has already admitted to. He may be willing to say anything to help his cause and he may believe these most recent allegations will help his agenda. I'm not aware of any improper conduct by any current NBA referee in the playoffs six years ago or any conspiracy by the NBA to affect the outcome of any game then or now. Frankly we're tired of Tim Donaghy's cat and mouse games."  ~McMorris
What a load of jesus jizz!  And we're expected to lap it up like hungry hungry whores!  Fizzuuuuck  Thaaaaaat!  Look McMasterbate, once the Brooklyn Bridge is doubled in length, eight lanes wide, retrofitted to service light rail, connects Bellevue to Seattle, and all on Clay Bennetts dollar semicolon I'm going to take that statement with a grain of salt.  You're fucking nuts to believe we are going to just accept what you're saying here.  

Tim has about as much honesty issues as a drug dealer whom when approached gives the cops 3 names, and ... those people don't get arrested?  I know a few people who wished everybody went with your logic on this one.  While I'm sure Saddam would say before the Military Tribunal  "Well North Korea actually has a nuke, Genocide is actually occurring right now in Darfur, and Iran is a bunch of imbeciles" only a fool wouldn't believe him and it wouldn't help his sentence one bit.  

While I'm sure Tim would say anything to make his situation better, your tone comes off more as an accomplice, than a witness.  And for that, one more fan has to wonder, wtf is going on in the NBA?  Because even with your efforts made in good faith to all fans of the NBA, Seattleites know what they're worth.

Friday, June 6, 2008

10 Things You Must Do Before You Die

Bavasi Edition

10: Hire Dave and DMZ as think tank consultants
09: Get Richie Sexson to restructure his contract
08: Admit that you really screwed the pooch on this year, and stop talking about how well EVERYONE AROUND YOU *THOUGHT* THE MARINERS WOULD BE THIS YEAR!!!
07: Beg McLaren to remind us of the real things we loved about Lou, rip first base outa the ground and throw it like a real man rants!
06: Bring back Ken Griffey Jr. so at least we have a feel good story for the duration of our worst season in franchise history (And thats about as fugly as a red cox fan).
05: Trade Clutchy Suxy for your dignity back, it'll be a good deal either way.
04: Cancel your subscription to
(I think this translates to Save Ichiro) 一郎を除けば :
02: Witness the Mariners win A World Series
01: Accomplish the previous two by quitting if Armstrong can't see you for the used up worthless sacka clutchy-suxy you are.


And Lesbian Kissing is a-ok at the Safe.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Da M's

Greg Briley. Rich Amaral. Pete O'brien. Mike Blowers. Sterling Hitchcock. Russ Davis. Scott Bradley. Jeffrey Leonard. Alvin Davis. Paul Sorrento. Mike Schooler. Dave Fleming.

The unsung heroes. The hard hat and lunch pail crew who carried the team from a one time laughing stock, to a credible franchise. The pillars who lifted budding stars Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. to a new plateau.

I will never forget these names as long as I remain cognisant. They send a Pavlovian charge in my brain stem whenever anyone brings up the Mariners. These are the players I grew up worshipping. The guys I looked up to in awe.

Most of these guys were out of the league before the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies were even conceived. Let alone the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays. Four teams with four World Series appearances and three sets of rings amongst them.

Meanwhile the Mariners have zero.

I will be the first to acknowledge that the vast majority of my childhood favorites were not fantastic major leaguers. They did not have to be. Times were different then. The Mariners did not hold the ninth highest payroll in sports. Sportswriters never projected Seattle as a potential lock for supremacy in the AL West.

Until recently it was never the marginal players at fault. If anything, the Mariners were always guilty of releasing or trading them too soon. If anything , they were a strength. And then after some success early in the century, the marginal players started being paid like all stars.

And performing like Little League All Stars.

Most of the problems in the Mariners system have derived from their willingness to hold onto old fan favorite players far too long. This is why Edgar Martinez was allowed to toil in mediocrity for the waning years of his career. Others, such as Dan Wilson and Brett Boone decomposed before our very eyes. Simply put, if a particular player struck a chord with the community, he was kept on staff. And this in turn affected playing time and development for potential solid replacements.

Look at it this way. If Shaun Alexander were a Mariner, he would have never been cut.

I like all Mariner faithful loved these guys as well. However I also am aware that sometimes you have to say goodbye to a fan favorite to stay competitive. The Sonics knew this when they dealt Desmond Mason and Gary Payton for Ray Allen. As did the Seahawks when they released Cortez Kennedy to gain flexibility under the salary cap.

Toting out the local hero players was ideal only for the bandwagon Seattle Mariners fan. The folks who are more enthralled with the concept of garlic on french fries at Safeco than the poor production on the field. The yuppies who lean over the rail and snag live balls in play, squelching late inning rallies.

For a short while it was okay to let the hometown greats have their curtain call, if only to appease the folks in the luxury box who have to ask why a player gets a free base on four balls. The bourgeois crowd that bought season tickets when the team was up. "Fans" who had no idea that all of the Mariner teams that have achieved success were made up of mostly mid level players who raised their level of play, not solidified superstars.

However these crowds are dwindling. With the losing culture, the game is being brought back to the real fans. The folks who view the team as a representation of themselves and boo accordingly to to signify disapproval at underachievement. The old ladies who tally their own box scores. The handicapped savants who can list the entire Tacoma Rainier's roster. The little kids who still bring a glove to the park.

The same folks who get misty eyed recalling the aforementioned players, as they can actually put a face to the name. People who know that winning comes easier with solid role players than through throwing money around. A crowd that will demand more from management and the front office than ever before.

Jeff Cirillo. Pokey Reese. Brad Wilkerson. Ben Broussard. Scott Spiezio. Jose Paniagua. Luis Ugeto. Giovanni Carrara. Julio Mateo. Jeff Weaver. Ben Davis. Miguel Olivo.

Somehow these names do not have the same ring to them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Geoff Baker: Mental Midget

So as I promised yesterday I will bring you, my dear loyal readers, more ammo for our fight against Geoff and his blog. I will keep tirelessly doing this until Geoff confronts me and accepts my challenge of a blog off.

So today's Geoff-ism comes from his pre-game post yesterday "There should be smiles galore out in blogland today. That's because Richie Sexson is back in the Mariners lineup, batting seventh."

Give me a break Geoff, there wasn't a single fan in Marinerdom that was excited about the return of Richie to the lineup, especially when the act of reinsertion seems wholly random. As I said in my last post, peole just felt that Richie gave the team a better shot to win in that given situation. Nobody was advocating Richie as The Igniter II (The Original Igniter being Willie Bloomquist).

Coming out and putting incredibly imbecilic words into your readers collective mouth is no way to endear yourself to them. Nor does it do anything to settle the disagreement on poor in-game management. Yet Geoff seems to revel in making these kind of comments. Like throwing rocks at a hornets nest.

Anyway, shortly after picking up an anti-Richie pinch-hitting ran he throws us a highly confusing little quote from manager John MacLaren on why Richie was back in the swing of things, so to speak. Note his little parting jab at the MacLaren haters/Richie pinch-hit people, classy Geoff, real classy.

"What I was thinking was, I wanted him with a fresh start,'' McLaren said. "He cleared his mind, he worked hard and tonight he's going to get that start. I understand, some people have told me there's been a lot of talk about why we didn't use him yesterday. I'm kind of glad. Maybe we're rallying around this guy a little bit. He needs that. And we need him.''

So, there you go. Congratulations. Apparently, the fan voice has been heard loud and clear. Um, maybe.

No comment on how little sense MacLaren's reasoning makes, or why it's necessary to sit out an entire week to fix your swing, or why Miguel Cairo suddenly stopped "hitting the ball pretty well" Grow some huevos there Geoff and question why things are happening.

This kind of taking nonsensical answers at face value is how this country got into the post 9/11 quagmire of Iraq, Domestic Spying, Secret Prisons, etc...

It's the same way this team thought it was a contender last year despite giving up more runs than scored. It's what led the team to deal a ton of prospects for a #1 Staff Ace and declare itself a contender. It led to the Soriano for Ho-Ram trade and if no one calls them on this BS they'll continue to make poor decisions and back them up with half-answers and flawed logic.

But rather than ask a tough question, Geoff chooses to let it go at face value and instead pick a fight with his readers. In the process Geoff just adds fuel to my fire.

Don't Sleep on the Gingers

The hullabaloo over the NBA Finals has reached fever pitch. Baseball has finally turned the corner into the realm of competitiveness. In the short, shallow distance, the poignant, musty aroma of football tantalizes the cognisant nostril.

And all the while, the red headed step child of the four major sports is attempting to crown a champion. Two American teams battling it out, for a chance to defile Lord Stanley's cup in the off season. However, no one seems to care.

And its a damned shame.

Despite being all, but locked in an attic and fed fish heads for sustenance by the networks, playoff hockey is back. The return could not have been scripted better if penned by Charlie Kaufman himself.

The dashing young prince, Sidney Crosby, LeBron James of the ice, matching mettle with the Yankee-esque Red Wings.

Two major sports towns in Detroit and Pittsburgh, battling for the rights to upturn cars and set fires in celebration.

But no one cares. They may as well be playing for the Champions League title.

Yesterday I watched as the Penguins tied the game with twenty seconds to play in regulation. Utilizing the pulled goalie tactic that never seems to work, they passed the puck effectively as the seconds waned, looking to set up a perfect shot.

This was followed by two and a half overtimes of intense breakneck action. Sudden death. Detroit on home ice. Both goal keepers logging over one hundred minutes of ice time.

Shots were fired. Bodies strewn. Blood spilled.

With every break in the action the Detroit crowd rose to their feet, like a modern day Roman aristocracy, applauding the efforts of both side. Wishing for an eventual outcome, but relishing in the exacerbating tension.

All this and not a single point was scored until the third overtime.

And for the die hard loyal hockey fan, this matters naught. Much like so many soccer crazed nation, effort is valued over result. inspiration is drawn, not from seeing a player dominate, but from seeing his composure as a game drags on and frustration mounts.

But to the casual American sports fan, this concept is fleeting.

Why applaud Torry Holt for his ability to run crisp, pristine routes, as a decoy, when Chad Johnson is one deep ball away from a zany end zone celebration?

Should Tom Glavine receive a curtain call for his perfectly executed draw bunts over Jim Thome crushing a home run out of the DH spot every other week?

Is Rip Hamilton held to a higher esteem for his movement away from the ball, as opposed to Dwight Howard's constant lurking underneath the basket?

Of course not. Should they be? Not at all.

But perhaps if the casual American fan watched the game with this perspective, this would be the case. Then maybe perhaps, hockey would be accepted back into the main stream. Highly unlikely, but possible none the less.

And then maybe then Soccer will even have a chance in the States.


Monday, June 2, 2008

I Wanna Start A Feud!!!!!

And I think it's gonna be with Geoff Baker, the Seattle Times Mariners blogger.

I'm a fair man. I'm always willing to listen to all sides of an issue, weigh all things equally and formulate my opinion. I often give the benefit of the doubt, sometimes when it's not really deserved. A fuck-up once, does not a fuck-up always make. With that said I am getting tired of Geoff Baker, over at The Times.

As a loyal reader of USS Mariner for years I always enjoy and respect their insight into the game. Even when I do not fully agree with those insights, I always have to give what they say some weight because of how well they lay out their points of view. There are scant emotional ravings over there, arguments are often backed up with mounds of data(kinda like the opposite of here). So when they claim time and again that Geoff is the best beat writer the M's have had in some time, I give the statement some credence.

Reading some of his posts I could see what the guys at USS Mariner were talking about. He seemed not to be a victim of blind homerism, like so many other M's beat writers. He made some pretty good arguments that though ran slightly counter to the USS Mariner stance, were well thought out. But then it seemed the job got to him.

Now whenever I go over and read his take on the state of the team I cringe. Now he seems content to offer quotes and audio clips from players and managers without critique. No one is asking him to be Helen Thomas out here and constantly ride the team for every little flaw. I just expect that when someone backs up a dumb decision with a drivel like this "I just think that Cairo has been swinging the bat pretty good and so forth and so on," McLaren said. "So I would have stuck with Cairo." they get called on the fact that Miguel Cairo has not EVER "been swinging the bat pretty good". And then they could be enlightened of the fact that in a 2 run game with a man and 2 out you don't want a washed-up singles hitter deciding the game for you, especially if there are better options on the bench(however marginally better those options might be, Richie).

When people point out the flaws in Geoff's logic he seems to get really defensive and almost seems to start talking down to his readers. The fact that he has been a beat writer for years and has the closest and, in his eyes, the best perspective of the team is held over the readers head and used to end arguments without resolution. "I Know more than you, shut-up!"

He has a penchant for putting arguments into readers mouths like this little gem "Most of you wanted Sexson gone a month ago. Now, he's the team's savior? Not sure I get it." No one was saying he's the team savior and the fact that he is a better option pinch-hitting than letting Miguel Cairo swing away is an indictment of the Mariners Front Office and their atrocious roster construction skills. But no one, no matter in what kind of altered state, would ever rationally believe that Richie is the team savior.

To act like people believe that somehow Richie is the answer to the season because they wanted to see him pinch-hit for a crappy singles hitter is highly disingenuous and demeans the intelligence of his readers. It seems every time someone has a reasonable argument against the M's current strategy for winning, Geoff gets defensive and throws up a straw man to make the argument seem ridiculous.

I, for one, am sick of this style of passive aggressive blogging. The only way to stop this is to Call Geoff out on a large platform, and while NLS isn't exactly that, it's as good of a starting point as any. So, I encourage you loyal readers to go out and troll the shit out of his board. Tell them Willie Mays Haze over at Nobody Likes Soccer sent ya and if he don't like it to come to the page and challenge me to a blog-off.

Until this day happens I will continue to post any flaws I see in his arguments and lay them bare. Geoff Baker will know my name when I lay my hand upon him...