THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN, FELIX LOSES AND I GO HOME TO WATCH FIELD OF DREAMS AND CRY

All the feels.

Joe Baseball

My father has the tendency to over congratulate mediocre things. For example, he often goes through a play-by-play of his day with me over the phone, and it usually includes his stop to McDonald’s for a cup of coffee. “Their coffee is really good,” he says. Is it actually REALLY good? I’m not saying their coffee is bad; it’s actually pretty good, but I wouldn’t call it, “really good” coffee.

I took him to the ballgame yesterday to watch Felix pitch. We stopped for a hotdog and they were okay, not great, but not bad. Approaching the security line to get into Safeco dad said, “You know something, that hot dog was really good.”

Dad’s a pitching fan, especially pitching artists like Jamie Moyer. Before he even read the article I posted last week about Moyer, we discussed him over the phone and Dad pretty much said everything that…

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JAMIE MOYER: OLD AGE, TREACHERY, AND WHAT THE KING COULD TAKE FROM HIS LEGACY

“Jamie Moyer found success when he mastered the art of deception, subdued the fickle twins of accuracy and consistency, and inculcated through his years of tribulations a sturdy belief in himself and his abilities.”

Joe Baseball

By first pitch on September 22, 2003, in Anaheim, CA the Seattle Mariners were two games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race and four back from AL West leaders, the Oakland Athletics, with six to play. The 19-win, tall and frail looking pitcher who made a career of defying time and baseball logic, Jamie Moyer was on the mound—his compact stance just one feature of his technical gambit. It was a must-win game. Never mind that it would be his 20th win; the M’s were in a must-win position to stay relevant in the 2003 postseason chase.

Since 1996, the year he became a Mariner, Moyer’s career clicked into place. Beforehand, he had struggled. He was drafted in the 6th round by the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and was traded to Texas in 1989. After a year, he was bounced to St. Louis…

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MARINERS GO POLE-TO-POLE IN RECORD-SETTING COLD

Joe Baseball

27 degrees at first pitch was the coldest start ever in Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins history. However, with the M’s 3-for-29 the last two games with runners in scoring position, they would have to fight the urge to curl up and fall asleep in the dugout to bust up the scoring iceberg.

Yet, Twins pitcher, Jose Barrios, dawning short sleeves and a curve so wicked he could tell you he was going to throw it and you still couldn’t hit it, appeared to be enjoying the cold as he retired the first 10 batters he faced. However, with one out in the top of the 4th inning, Jean Segura got to second base on a throwing error by Twins’ third baseman, Miguel Sano to break up Barrios’ no-no. Then, team hero and cold weather hater, Robinson Cano became the first to bring the ax down on the scoring…

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Bottom of the 5th: THE WORST INNING OF MY LIFE

Sometimes I hate baseball.

Joe Baseball

Okay, so maybe not the worst, but the bottom of the 5th was bad. Felix Hernandez was throwing goose eggs and had already given up four runs on four hits with three walks. His location was off and his pitches looked flat—flat like the contents of an old 2-liter bottle of root beer from last week flat. San Francisco first baseman, Brandon Belt had already roped an RBI single off Felix in the first and looked eager to add to the Giants’ pizza party. He hit a bomb and made it 5-0.

I was sipping on a bottle of Coors NA at the Sloop when the bartender saw that Felix was imploding and decided to cheer us up with a bizarre story about a homeless guy that shimmied in between the floors of the Ballard Smoke Shop and fell through the ceiling of the bar, picked himself up and…

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THE PROBABILITY OF CHANCE: MY NUMBERLESS THOUGHTS ON OPENING DAY AND THE 2018 MARINERS SEASON

We probably won’t, but then again we might. Borrowing from the famous Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett, “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”

Joe Baseball

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.”   -George Will

Speaking of holes, the projections don’t favor the Mariners winning a spot in the postseason. Hell, half the fans don’t either. It’s been a long time since we’ve played in October, but I’m not going to get into that. Like the legendary pitcher, Bob Feller said, that every day is a new day, and the same goes for baseball, every year is a new year. As that’s the case, I’m going to focus instead on what’s ahead and ignore the numbers against the Mariners’ chances or scour my murky historical memory for the time when we were better. I believe in chance.

The key to this season is quite simple: all of our players have to play well and stay healthy…

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THE BILDUNGSROMAN OF MIKE ZUNINO

“Fan martyrdom is a feckless and meaningless sacrifice when judged outside of the eye of the beholder, but a necessary part of the emotional content of the game. I’ve always judged Zunino in emotional terms because his progression has been defined by a myriad of struggles which, in my opinion, mirror the disarray and hardships of daily life.”

Joe Baseball

June 19th 2017 was the day I started believing that Mike Zunino’s improvement was irrevocable. Granted, he had been on a streak, but I’d seen plenty of those before. Zunino was hot, there was no doubt, but he’d been struggling for so long I wanted to do him a favor and not believe in him or at least ignore his improvement because I wanted him to succeed. I know that sounds contradictory, or even oxymoronic, but it’s a baseball thing to say, at least for a fan. When guys who’ve struggled at the plate heat up it’s best to not jinx the whole thing by making a big deal about it; it’s best to not change anything and let the good times ride out, even if it’s without you.

Fan martyrdom is a feckless and meaningless sacrifice when judged outside of the eye of the beholder, but a necessary…

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PACK ALONG YOUR FRIENDS, DANIEL

I wrote about the Chris Farley of the Seattle Mariners.

Joe Baseball

It’s hard to not be a fan of Daniel Vogelbach right now. As I’m writing this, the first baseman leads the Cactus League in Slugging, OPS (On-base percentage + Slugging), and is one point off the lead in On-base percentage. In 56 plate appearances, the twenty-five-year-old slugger has walked 10 times, struck out only 9, and has collected 18 hits, 5 of them home runs, 3 since last Friday. He currently sits in 3rd place in batting average.

This is a far different Vogelbach than the player who showed up to Spring Training last year, where he hit .228 (13-for-57), with a .313 on-base percentage, .333 slugging percentage, and only 1 home run. Vogelbach has significantly increased his offensive production and walk rate while decreasing his strikeouts by more than half—he’s walked more than he’s struck out this Spring Training.

It was 362 days ago, March 23rd, that the…

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