Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sorry Hawks


 I have couple of announcements I must make:

1)      The 2013-14 NFL season is over. The Hawks won the Super Bowl, had a really big parade and the season is over. It ended weeks ago.  Fans and the local media need to check the calendar and get on with things.

2)      The Hawks clearly need to improve the offensive production if this next season is to deliver near the success of the last one.

The running game is probably OK. Although Lynch had a growing portion of his runs gain short yardage (2 yds or less) by season's end, nobody really expects much anymore from the running game these days. How many RBs are even drafted in the first round anymore?

The OL should be OK but always needs improvement, new blood, at least quality depth. They seemed to do a better job protecting the QB but then Seattle didn't take a lot of chances or even pass that much last season. King Russell (not yet in the Hall of Fame) was asked to do little that he couldn't handle. Coach Carroll, that great defense and a money FG kicker turned the offensive game plan into a mistake avoidance exercise.  And it worked. But don't count on it working again.

At least two or three times this coming season the Hawks will need the offense to really help win games. Not just avoid mistakes, hand the ball to Lynch, punt and let the D do the heavy lifting. The Hawks, like every other NFL team will ask their QB to pick things up, to drop back, find receivers and complete passes when the opponents know what's coming. And to be better at that EVERYONE understands more depth and more QUALITY is needed at WR. Guys who dictate D schemes, guys who can get open, guys who threaten deep.

I understand the no-mistake Hawks front office spent draft picks and MILLIONS last year on a receiver who missed 95% of the season and who commands many millions more this season. I understand that is a well the Hawks want to avoid revisiting. But a SEVENTH round draft pick for a QB who was about to be released?  I am sure he is viewed as a better back up QB than current Hawks backups. Right? That is the only reason to go get Pryor.

Please do NOT expect me to believe this move has anything to do with Pryor becoming a wide receiver. The Hawks can get better candidates from undrafted rookies and they know it. If Pryor is NOT the backup QB next year then the value of a 7th round pick is equal to a Mario Mendoza rookie card.  It will be mildly interesting to see how this plays out. But the local media as objective as Sea Gals, need to get a grip. 

There is no reason to view this move as clever, smart, innovative or anything other than mysterious.       



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Ball Game Promotion

In honor of all major leaguers STUPID enough to slide into first base head first...I propose the following game day fan promotion:

This promotion will be open to all kids 12 and under AND adults with IQ's equal to or less than Josh Hamilton's 2013 extra base hit total (58).

Each eligible participant will get get to run from the batters box to first, sliding into the base face first, hands outstretched to the bag. For their efforts each runner will receive a simulated, but authentic looking hand and thumb cast with a picture of Curly, Moe, Larry and Josh Hamilton on it. They will also receive a simulated disabled list assignment, similar to the 6-8 week DL assignment Hamilton is on. Fans will NOT receive a facsimile of a $17 million contract like the real one Hamilton has for this year.

Yup, veteran and wealthy guy Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton slid into first base last night damaging his thumb to the tune of 6-8 weeks on the shelve. And no, he was NOT safe. If you wonder if Hamilton is really clued in at all just remember how smart he makes everyone else feel. If you are an Angels fan, you are excused. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Home opener, Safeco Field, bottom of the fifth, Cory Hart at the plate, hits a medium depth fly ball to left.  Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton settles under the ball, makes the catch AND as he is taking the ball from his glove with his throwing hand he drops it. It was clearly a catch. Much of the sellout crowd of 45,000+ and all of the press box groaned as McClendon walked onto the field to contest the catch call. The replays clearly validated the call that it was indeed a catch and an out. But everyone went through the review process. And....after nearly FIVE MINUTES they got it wrong.

The correct call was reversed. This call was screwed up like a soup sandwich. It was the worst call in the history of calls! If this would have been a playoff World Series game the review official would be hung in effigy, then hung for real!

You know what I like about the instant replay?
Not a ^%$*#@ thing!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ENOUGH Russell Wilson!!!

Sorry folks. I have heard and read enough bout the Seahawks AND more than enough about Russell Wilson!!!!

Wilson apparently will throw out the first pitch at today's Rangers-Phillies game in Arlington Texas. THEN April 8 he will appear here at Safeco Field at the Mariners home opener. I assume Alaska Airlines is taking care of his  upgrades

My guess is that with Thursday-Monday  open Wilson will be having dinner with Obama one day then Putin the next.

This is baseball season. Focus fans, focus!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014

Notes from Spring Training


Endy Chavez accepted a Tacoma assignment today. These decisions are usually based on several factors, primarily likelihood of a call up. Another factor nobody talks about is interest, or lack of but other teams

Lloyd McClendon notes

 Most of the regular press along with GM Jack Zduriencik and Lloyd McClendon were out to watch the Mariners AAA vs. AA game at noon. It was a bit of a show case for frontline pitchers Taijuan Walker, Brandon Maurer, Stephen Pryor, Hector Noesi and Fernando Rodney. McClendon shared Walker “looked good…a little rust but looked good” Walker threw 50 pitches, will throw again Monday, with pitch count increasing each outing. “Maurer was exceptional… has electric stuff”. McClendon was pretty strong in his view that Maurer just needs to do what he can do consistently. And he repeated “he has great stuff”.

When asked if the rotation decisions were easier (with the departure of Baker) he said “not really”. McClendon remains very guarded about revealing anything.  Asked if Hart could start the season on the DL “I hope not” was the answer.

Yesterday and today (Tuesday) were the two warmest days of the spring, mid to upper 80’s.

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Spring Training Notes March 24, 2014

11:30 am Hisashi Iwakuma

We had a brief conversation with Hisashi Iwakuma. The subject and interest obviously is his rehabilitee and recovery from the injury to his middle finger on his throwing right hand.

He said the ball felt good coming out of his hand. He added he “could feel his finger”. Sometimes, he said, when throwing a fastball the ball can slip a little coming out of his hand. His instructions were to throw six to seven minutes from about 45 feet.

 This was his first time out with a baseball so he took it easy. Full flexibility of the hand is not there. He does not have full range of motion. There is still soreness and stiffness as the finger was in a splint for 6-7 weeks.

Next steps are playing catch every day. He will throw a little farther each day throughout the next week. Next Monday he will take the tape off the finger and continue. In general, this is going well, but will go very slowly. Sounds like a couple of weeks until throwing from 60 feet six inches.

Peoria, Spring Training

Monday March 24, 2014

McClendon 8:00 daily talk

What can provide buzz or excitement around a major league spring camp?  A big name player or players are injured. Worse, long term (miss half or the entire season injuries) injuries happen. A player coming out of nowhere, getting red hot (Brad Miller, not from nowhere but very hot). A player expected to do great things instead struggles badly. In the distant past we even had fun off the field stuff. Like one of the M’s big free agent signees getting arrested for soliciting a lady (hooker) strolling the street.

This morning’s talk with manager reinforced how relatively uneventful this camp has been the last 10 days or so. The 20 minute session lasted barely half that. Not very many questions, short answers followed by long quiet gaps. Even McClendon smiled and noted “you guys are really struggling”…to come up with significant issues to ask about. For the most part, that is a good thing.

 After stating that Iwakuma was doing fine McClendon was asked about any setbacks. “With a tennis ball?” he responded. The manager has good naturedly poked at the medical staff for the tennis ball drill. He has made it clear he has no idea why the tennis ball.

Other pitchers on the mend all are doing well. Walker will pitch again Tuesday, three innings in the AAA game. Prized reliever Stephen Pryor also come through his one inning outing in good shape and will pitch again tomorrow. Brandon Maurer (SP) will throw one inning as well. All three will get their work in the AA game here in Peoria. The progress of all three of these arms will have significant impact on the overall performance and plans for the Mariner pitching staff. That includes the bull pen, rotation and starting pitching depth.

When asked, the manager shared that moves are coming but he will not divulge when.  Obviously the roster has to be down to 25 so moves are coming. McClendon says the last cuts are always tough. He has been through several final cuts, but it is always tough regardless of who is involved and how well or poorly they have played. He showed some real emotion describing that part of his job.

With the McClendon classic eye twinkle at full wattage he offered this “breaking news…Felix is opening day pitcher” and “Robby Cono will bat third…”.

More comments:

McClendon would “love to have three lefties in the pen… I’m just not sure that can happen.”  

The rotation is probably pretty set. McClendon stated it is “getting pretty late…” for pitchers to pitch themselves into or out of the rotation.

The Mariner outfield is “pretty well set” as well. The approach will be to try and play the backups as much as possible, especially early in the season. He also anticipates rotating positions a little. That means those that are capable (Saunders, Bloomquist, etc) will play left, right, center or all three.

 Elias will pitch again before the end of camp.  He could be the surprise starter.

Ordinarily we would think Baker would be

perfect but he has an out. If Baker is NOT put on the Mariners big team roster by this week he can opt out and go to another team. In other words, if he decides not to start the season with the Ms if it means getting sent down when Iwakuma / Walker return he could go now. A lot of that will have to do with what he anticipates from other teams.  Randy Wolf’s situation is similar.

When asked he would NOT state Miller is his starting shortstop He smiled at the question and simply said “he is today”.