Lookout Landing: Column Archive

2013

  1. October 24, 2013: Is “The Plan” working?
    • “The thing is, it’s two years later, and I can’t remember what The Plan is anymore. Was the plan for Raul Ibañez to become the hottest hitter on the team? Was it for Jack to chase overpaid, big-name free agents, only to settle for overpaid, washed-up “clubhouse leaders”? Let’s see if we can figure it out.”
  2. October 27, 2013: Mariners Memories: 1977-1979
    • “The Double. Back-to-back father and son home runs by Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr. Edgar’s grand slam in the 1995 ALDS. The 116th win. […] There’s no doubt that these events have had the most impact on the franchise, but is there any value to be found in the other 35 seasons?”
  3. November 1, 2013: Who should replace Tim McCarver?
    • “Here are three former Mariners that may be better suited for the job of keeping our TVs un-muted and our ears from bleeding. (Remember, the bar is set at “Harold Reynolds.”)”
  4. November 3, 2013: Mariners Memories: 1980-1985
    • “Randle ran towards the ball, flopped onto his belly, and started scooting alongside it, blowing it over the foul line until home plate umpire Larry McCoy called it foul.”
  5. November 7, 2013: Rumor mill: Shin-Soo Choo
    • “Choo would give the Mariners a definite upgrade in the outfield, but is the 31-year-old worth the lucrative contract his agent is after?”
  6. November 10, 2013: Mariners Memories: 1986-1990
    • “It seems crazy to say it now, but Seattle took a while to warm up to Edgar Martinez.”
  7. November 14, 2013: Trade target: Dexter Fowler
    • “All the Mariners want for Christmas is Dexter Fowler. And Matt Kemp, Nelson Cruz, and Carlos Beltran. And okay, maybe Brian Wilson, even if he won’t shave his beard. Throw in Jhonny Peralta, too, while you’re at it.”
  8. November 17, 2013: Mariners Memories: 1991-1995
    • “For the first time in his career as a Mariner, Bret Boone hit over .300 in 2001. Back in January, Jeff examined this phenomenon, noting the distinct un-Bret Boonness of his second stint in Seattle. Boone mashed 37 home runs. He led the league with 141 RBI. He finished third on the ballot for 2001 AL MVP. In 1992, Boone made a different, less baseball-centric kind of impression. He was celebrated not on his own merit, but simply for stepping onto the field as the third Boone to wear a major league uniform.”
  9. November 22, 2013: Evaluating Mariners’ top prospects
    • “As we eagerly anticipate the development of up-and-coming stars like Taijuan Walker, D.J. Peterson, and Danny Hultzen, let’s take a look back at some of the M’s first draft picks.”
  10. November 24, 2013: Mariners Memories: 1996-2000
    • “I was nine years old when the Kingdome imploded on January 9, 2000. I have clearer memories of that day than of the days I spent inside the Dome. I remember watching it on TV with my family, feeling an inexplicable sense of sadness as the stadium collapsed in a cloud of dust.”
  11. November 27, 2013: Getting Edgar Martinez into the Hall of Fame
    • “It’s that time of the year again. No, not the excruciatingly long stretch between Thanksgiving naps and Christmas dinner, but the six weeks between the release of the Hall of Fame ballot and the announcement of its inductees, if any. Among Mariners fans, there will be the familiar refrain calling for Edgar Martinez’s name to join 300 others in Cooperstown.”
  12. December 1, 2013: Mariners Memories: 2001-2005
    • “It was spring, and the Mariners had a reputation to uphold.”
  13. December 7, 2013: Assessing Robinson Cano’s debut
    • “The first time Robinson Cano stepped onto Safeco Field, he grounded out to Willie Bloomquist. How’s that for a bit of irony?”
  14. December 8, 2013: Mariners Memories: 2006-2009
    • “In an odd twist of fate — or, more accurately, a funny intersection of talent — Ken Griffey, Jr. crossed paths with Ichiro in the 78th annual All-Star game.”
  15. December 13, 2013: Russell Wilson, baseball player
    • “Yesterday, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Texas Rangers. While it’s difficult to entice a playoff-bound QB to the bottom rung of professional baseball, it did prompt some fun memories from Wilson’s earlier days in the minor leagues.”
  16. December 15, 2013: Mariners Memories: 2010-2013
    • “Felix was 24 years old when he became the youngest Seattle pitcher to record at least 13 strikeouts in a game. It had been 12 years since a Mariner had attempted the feat, and the first time since 1993 that someone not named Randy Johnson would pull it off.”
  17. December 21, 2013: Is Jack Sticking to “The Plan”?
    • “The real question may be this: If Jack stopped tweaking the roster today, would the Mariners have a legitimate shot at the division title?”
  18. December 22, 2013: Mariners Memories: Readers’ Edition
    • “You don’t choose Mariners fandom. Mariners fandom chooses you.”
  19. December 25, 2013: Munenori Kawasaki returns to MLB
    • “Everyone’s favorite baseball player is back.”
  20. December 30, 2013: Mariners trivia test
    • “Forget perfect games, walk-off home runs, and WAR. Let’s get down to a question that really matters: Which Mariners used a magical bunt to defeat Bigfoot in their comic book series?”

2014

  1. January 4, 2014: Appreciating Aaron Harang
    • “I promise there is a good reason why you are staring at Aaron Harang’s face right now. Okay, maybe not a good reason, but an interesting reason. A surprising reason, even.”
  2. January 12, 2014: Projecting Mariners’ 2014 frontrunners
    • “Four and a half weeks from now, we’ll all be waxing poetic about the fresh turf of Peoria’s back fields, the crisp February sky, and each thwack of ball on bat on glove. Until then, the best we can do is speculate.”
  3. January 18, 2014: Kazuhiro Saski honored in Japan’s Hall of Fame
    • “They may not be bound for Cooperstown anytime soon, but Kazuhiro Sasaki, Hideo Nomo, and Koji Akiyama are finally receiving the accolades they deserve.”
  4. January 19, 2014: Projecting the Mariners’ top pitchers
    • “We’ve seen how Mariners batters project for the 2014 season. Now, let’s take a look at the progress the M’s staff needs to make.”
  5. January 25, 2014: Mariners trivia: 2013 edition
    • “It might go without saying that 2013 was no one’s favorite Mariners season.”
  6. February 1, 2014: Taijuan Walker places #16 in Keith Law’s top 100
    • “The Mariners’ lack of major league-ready prospects shouldn’t be taken as a sign of failure — on the contrary, the system is working well if their most promising players are already carving out big league careers. Hopefully, the young talent at the bottom of the M’s system will follow suit.”
  7. February 3, 2014: Predicting the Mariners’ 2014 season
    • “There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect. There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect. There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.”
  8. February 8, 2014: Mariners’ state of defense
    • “I used to brag about Brendan Ryan a lot. Back in 2012, before the perfect game, the no-hitter, or the 27-run slaughter in Texas, I was acclimating to the particular brand of apologetics that only Mariners fans understand. When King Felix wasn’t on the mound, I hinged my fandom on Ryan slinging a double play or leaping for a line drive to make the final out.”
  9. February 14, 2014: The danger of small sample sizes
    • “There’s no doubt that spring fever causes us to make some rash decisions. We see a few home runs clear the fence of the Peoria Sports Complex, an improved grip or stance, a little extra speed on the basepaths, and we take it as incontrovertible evidence that Big Changes are coming to the club when spring ends and the real season begins.”
  10. February 22, 2014: Previewing the Mariners’ 2014 infield
    • “Where did Jesus Montero come from?”
  11. February 23, 2014: Previewing the Mariners’ 2014 outfield
    • “I don’t know why I thought the above paragraph would ease any concerns you might have about watching Ackley flail around left field for an entire season. Sorry.”
  12. February 25, 2014: Previewing the Mariners’ 2014 rotation
    • “We’ll always have Felix.”
  13. February 26, 2014: Previewing the Mariners’ 2014 bullpen
    • “Let’s talk about Hector Noesi. Actually, let’s talk about the spectacular beard on Joe Beimel’s face.”
  14. March 9, 2014: Mariners defy expectations, beat Rangers
    • “Spring training games don’t matter. We’re not going to the World Series (yet).”
  15. March 23, 2014: Mariners craft predictable comeback against A’s
    • “But then I had that niggling thought at the back of my mind, the one that pesters me in even the most dire situations: What if they come back? I closed my laptop and tried not to jinx the team any further.”
  16. April 5, 2014: Confessions of a long-distance fan
    • “‘You’re the worst, Seattle!’ one particularly vocal group shouts from the upper deck. ‘Go back to inventing Starbucks!'”
  17. April 5, 2014: Felix beats A’s at baseball, life
    • “This is what it looks like when baseball is done right. The infield is dry, the umpires are steady, and the King is on point.”
  18. April 10, 2014: Maurer, Pryor on track to return
    • “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. The Plan, if I remember correctly, required the Mariners’ brightest and most promising prospects to develop healthy, stable careers, driving the team’s success for years to come. Instead, we’re 11 days into a new season, and James Paxton is now the fourth and final member of the “Big Four” to succumb to injury.”
  19. April 12, 2014: Mariners lose to A’s, don’t get ice cream
    • “Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember that the A’s are good. Like, win-the-division good. Forget-where-first-base-is-on-fielding-blunders-and-still-win good. Part of me will always believe that they’re on par with the Mariners, locked in an endless tug-of-war for third place behind the Rangers and Angels.”
  20. April 19, 2014: Using and abusing MLB’s new challenge system
    • “Are the new rules creating more problems than they are solving?”
  21. April 29, 2014: Robinson Cano gets prematurely booed in NYC
    • “Stay classy, Yankees fans.”
  22. May 2, 2014: April report card: Evaluating M’s management
    • “One of the beautiful things about a 162-game season is the relative insignificance of April. Sure, 25 games comprises a sizable chunk of the year, but it can hardly be depended on to chart the team’s course over the remainder of the season.”
  23. May 4, 2014: April report card: Grading the M’s offense
    • “When I first sat down to write this post, only two words popped into my mind: Kyle Seager. Maybe that’s all we really need to know about last month’s performances. Kyle Seager was great; ergo, the Mariners were also great. If only it were that simple.”
  24. May 5, 2014: April report card: Grading the M’s defense
    • “Who didn’t get hurt in April? Or, perhaps more to the point, who owns the voodoo doll that sent every viable starter to the disabled list? If it wasn’t Hisashi Iwakuma’s finger, it was Taijuan Walker’s shoulder… then James Paxton’s back, then Walker’s shoulder again.”
  25. May 23, 2014: Fun with clutch hitting
    • “Clutch hitting is a mythical beast. Its existence and usefulness has long been debated between traditionalists and sabermetricians, with no clear-cut conclusion between the two. In general, the ability to hit well in high leverage situations continues to be extolled by the champions of RBI and batting average, while sabermetrics classifies the skill as both unstable and unpredictable.”
  26. May 24, 2014: Willie Bloomquist takes Astros to task, wins 6-1
    • “I hope that is the chord that was struck in fans’ hearts tonight when Willie Bloomquist hit his first home run in three years. It was a glorious shot off of rookie southpaw Rudy Owens, parked right in the corner between the King’s Court and Edgar’s. It was beautiful. It was everything a home run should be for a man who hasn’t hit a home run in 663 plate appearances.”
  27. May 31, 2014: This week in Mariners history
    • “If there’s any silver lining to be gleaned here, it’s simply this: regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Mariners will finish the second month of the season at .500. That, in and of itself, is reason to celebrate.”
  28. June 2, 2014: May report card: Evaluating M’s management
    • “Despite a depleted roster and broken rotation, both McClendon and Zduriencik have steered the Mariners in the right direction this month.”
  29. June 5, 2014: May report card: Evaluating M’s production
    • “Speaking of strong starters, Felix Hernandez is still good. I know it, you know it, your mom knows it. The King put up 1.5 fWAR in May, for a total of 3.2 fWAR on the season — the highest among major league pitchers.”
  30. June 7, 2014: This week in Mariners history: June 1-7
    • “The real winner of the day, however, was neither A-Rod nor his teammates, but a woman named Pamela Altazan. Prior to the game, the M’s orchestrated a contest: if any Seattle player hit for the cycle, one fan would receive a prize of one million dollars. As luck would have it, the ball that jammed in the right field corner made Altazan a millionaire.”
  31. June 14, 2014: This week in Mariners history: June 8-15
    • “Before Felix Hernandez made us cry on one peculiar August afternoon, the Mariners pieced together their first no-hitter since Chris Bosio’s no-no 19 years earlier.”
  32. June 17, 2014: Baseball Prospectus visits Safeco Field
    • “In case you had any doubts, Harry Pavlidis is singlehandedly sucking all the romance out of baseball.”
  33. June 21, 2014: This week in Mariners history: June 16-21
    • “Admittedly, it’s silly to pretend that Barry Bonds had any real competition in, well, anything. While Ichiro surpassed Bonds with 924,758 votes to Barry’s 845,032, both made their respective leagues’ All-Star squads in the middle of incredible seasons.”
  34. June 28, 2014: This week in Mariners history: June 22-28
    • “It was a nice way to cap a miserable 22 years in the chilly concrete dome.”
  35. July 1, 2014: June report card: Evaluating M’s management
    • “To quote the skipper himself: ‘We’ve got our warts. We’ve got our challenges. But we do okay.'”
  36. July 3, 2014: June report card: Evaluating M’s production
    • “Let’s start with the best. Felix Hernandez was named AL Pitcher of the Month with a 1.36 FIP, 54 strikeouts, six walks, and just four extra bases. He’s halfway to his goal of 20 wins on the season. He crafted two games of 10+ strikeouts and limited his opponents to two runs or fewer per start, never pitching fewer than seven innings in an outing. Thanks to the Mariners’ recent explosion of run scoring, he’s receiving an average of 5.32 runs of support on the year.”
  37. July 4, 2014: This week in Mariners history: July 4
    • “This time, however, the Mariners worked a holiday miracle for their unlucky starter.”
  38. July 12, 2014: This week in Mariners history: All-Star edition
    • “You may be able to name the Mariners’ All-Stars, but do you remember what they did?”
  39. July 14, 2014: Examining ejection rates in 2014
    • “For the first time in a decade, the King was ejected.”
  40. July 17, 2014: The best thing the Mariners never had
    • “I could think of nothing better to do than claw my way through rush-hour traffic for a Monday night game. Hot dogs, meaningless baseball, and the chance to watch Danny go for his 20th home run didn’t seem like a bad way to pass the time (okay, so he was four shy of 20, but a girl can dream).”
  41. July 19, 2014: This week in Mariners history: July 13-19
    • “Fifteen years ago, Safeco Field was christened with a loss and a leaky roof. The Kingdome still loomed next door, as one disgruntled fan described it, “the Great White Pimple.” While its proximity to the aging stadium was a drawback for most, fans and critics alike were quick to laud the ballpark as one of the best in the major leagues, praising its press box, spacious concourses, sweeping panoramics of the city, and occasional blasts from the train tracks nearby.”
  42. July 27, 2014: This week in Mariners history: July 20-26
    • “The Devil Rays’ leadoff hitter was one Quinton McCracken, a center fielder who ended up on the Mariners for 19 games in 2004. Quinton McCracken. Is there a better name in baseball?”
  43. August 2, 2014: July report card: Evaluating M’s management
    • “Perhaps McClendon said it best: ‘I think we’ve accomplished a lot, but in the end we haven’t accomplished anything.'”
  44. August 4, 2014: July report card: Mariners offense
    • “Unsurprisingly, the Mariners’ biggest takeaway from July happened off the field.”
  45. August 7, 2014: July report card: Mariners pitching
    • “Running out of ways to praise Felix Hernandez has to be the epitome of first (baseball) world problems. Jeff Sullivan called Felix a “perfect pitcher” over on U.S.S. Mariner during his midseason wrap-up, and it doesn’t get more straightforward — or true — than that. Felix is perfect.”
  46. August 9, 2014: Mariners history: The one with all the blowouts
    • “In 38 seasons of Mariners history, there have been 320 shutouts. Some of them were nail-biting, one-run shutouts. Some were no-hitters or complete game shutouts. One was a perfect game. But there has never been a shutout quite like this one.”
  47. August 16, 2014: This week in Mariners history: The perfect week
    • “Twenty years ago, the players’ strike amputated the end of the 1994 season, leaving the M’s two games out of running for first place in the AL West. Twenty years ago, in a different Washington ballpark, a minor league manager scandalized the organization. Two years ago, Felix Hernandez brought the Mariners a perfect game for the first time in club history. Today, the team is sitting on a five-game winning streak, grasping a half-game lead on the second wild card, and looking like a legitimate playoff contender. Baseball is funny, and right now, baseball is also very good.”
  48. August 25, 2014: This week in M’s history: The art of getting by
    • “It wasn’t the worst losing streak for the franchise, nor was it the longest, but there hadn’t been one quite like it in almost a hundred years.”
  49. September 1, 2014: This week in Mariners history: Labor Day edition
    • “Dustin Ackley was 21 years old and on the cusp of his pro league career. The scouts swooned. They lauded his drive, his deft control over the strike zone, the intangibles of rigorous effort and leadership, his eyes.”
  50. September 5, 2014: Management helps push Mariners toward playoffs
    • “As last month came to a close, the Mariners’ organization let slip an early reward for their general manager: a multi-year contract extension. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Zduriencik, who was working through the final year of his contract with the team after receiving a one-year extension last December. At the beginning of the year, it was reasonably expected that Zduriencik’s tenure in Seattle would come to a close if the season went poorly, since the 63-year-old GM has not turned out a winning season since 2009.”
  51. September 6, 2014: Mariners’ pitching staff the ticket to success
    • “The Mariners’ rotation faced a few setbacks in August, but their lights-out bullpen helped carry the team to a winning record.”
  52. September 9, 2014: Mariners’ offense stays steady in playoff push
    • “Seattle hit peak offensive production in August — now, the trick is to keep it going through September.”
  53. September 11, 2014: This week in M’s history: Ichiro makes history
    • “Ichiro Suzuki was the second-fastest player in history to collect 2,000 MLB hits. Only Al Simmons had him beat, reaching 2,000 hits in 1,390 games back in the 1930s. Suzuki needed 1,402 games to match Simmons’ record, picking up a double against one of Simmons’ old teams, the Athletics.”
  54. September 19, 2014: This week in M’s history: When the West was won
    • “The last time the Mariners took a run at the postseason, I was eleven years old and far more invested in my extensive Beanie Babies collection than in the exploits of men in baseball uniforms. Each of the Mariners’ 116 wins came and went without so much as a flicker on my radar, as did their rise and fall in the playoffs.”
  55. September 26, 2014: It’s not time to give up on the Mariners yet
    • “The last game I threw my heart into was played on February 5, 2006. Guests clad in blue and green jerseys spilled into my parents’ house, their cars packed in the driveway under the “Seahawks fans only” parking sign. I clutched a scrapbook of every newspaper headline leading up to the championship game. We gorged ourselves on homemade guacamole and my mom’s secret “football chili,” huddled around the television, and prayed for a win. Three hours later, I was sobbing on the floor of the living room.”
  56. September 27, 2014: This week in M’s history: The last one
    • “This time, there was no illusion of a perfect game to buoy the Mariners’ hopes. Neither Aaron Sele nor Angels’ starter Mark Petkovsek lasted longer than five innings, each giving up two runs before handing the game to their respective bullpens. As in 1995, the seventh inning proved a lucky one for Seattle.”
  57. October 3, 2014: Mariners management ready to shoot for the playoffs in 2015
    • “As Jack Zduriencik and Lloyd McClendon look ahead to next season, they have one thing on their minds: Contending for a World Series title.”
  58. October 5, 2014: A brief history of the Tacoma Rainiers
    • “‘Our ballpark is not going to turn into a beer hall,’ Tacoma Rainiers’ receptionist Jan Plein told the Seattle Times in response to backlash over the Tacoma Tigers’ rebranding in 1994.”
  59. October 10, 2014: A brief history of the Calgary Cannons
    • “On May 16, 1991, the Cannons set a franchise record for runs scored with a 22-7 victory over the Tacoma Tigers. Twelve of the runs were scored via grand slams, making Calgary the first pro ball team to hit three slams in a nine-inning game.”
  60. October 13, 2014: Examining the decline of ejection rates in 2014
    • “Although it’s not crystal clear why ejections decreased across the league from July to September, we can be sure that umpires like Bob Davidson didn’t have a sudden, collective change of heart towards irritated players and managers. So, then, what happened?”
  61. October 17, 2014: A brief history of the Salt Lake City Gulls
    • “One of the best-known Mariners only lasted seven innings here.”
  62. October 19, 2014: A closer look at Danny Hultzen’s return to MLB
    • “Not all pitchers are this fortunate. Hultzen’s chances of debuting next season look promising after his rehabilitation, but three outings is no guarantee of a spot on a major-league roster. Although he will likely make a full recovery in the near future, any expectations the Mariners have for him in 2015 should be set very low.”
  63. October 24, 2014: A brief history of the Spokane Indians
    • “The Mariners won just 184 of 427 games in Spokane, but hey, at least one of them had a really killer suntan.”
  64. October 26, 2014: Mariners trivia: The early years
    • “Remember, it’s not who hit the best or supplied the club with the most value — it’s who got there first that counts.”
  65. November 1, 2014: A brief history of the San Jose Missions
    • “Sometimes, a ballpark can make or break a team. At least, that’s how it went for the Sacramento Solons, who were uprooted from Charles C. Hughes Stadium when the venue was required to undergo earthquake proofing in 1977. The renovations were expected to cut into the Solons’ season, and with no other suitable park available in Sacramento, club owner Bob Piccinini had his back against the wall.”
  66. November 3, 2014: Mariners are competent on defense, not exceptional
    • “Playing with such small sample sizes doesn’t give us a clear picture of the Mariners’ defensive abilities, but it’s an interesting starting point – especially considering that Seattle pulled itself up from an eighth-worst defense in 2013 to third-best.”
  67. November 8, 20 14: A brief history of the Jackson Generals
    • “After 13 years, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx were laid to rest by a 93-year-old woman.”
  68. November 15, 2014: A brief history of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx
    • “Can you remember the last time Carlos Peguero tied Giancarlo Stanton’s home run totals?”
  69. November 17, 2014: A final look at the Mariners’ APL performances
    • “Despite Taijuan Walker’s early departure from the Arizona Fall League, several other high-profile prospects made strides towards their big league careers this fall.”
  70. November 21, 2014: A brief history of the San Antonio Missions
    • “Have you ever seen a jalapeño play baseball?”
  71. November 24, 2014: The Hall of Mariners
    • “Every year, sportswriters and fans alike regurgitate the same tired debate. What constitutes a Hall of Fame-worthy career? Do otherwise outstanding players deserve accolades if they used, considered, or looked at performance-enhancing drugs? If no players are inducted in a given year, has the system failed? Does the Hall of Fame even mean anything anymore?”
  72. November 28, 2014: A brief history of the New Haven Ravens
    • “The only team to garner the compliment, ‘These guys just battled their butts off.'”
  73. December 5, 2014: A brief history of the Orlando Rays
    • “Much was made of the younger Buhner, who skirted a major league call-up while wearing “Jay Buhner Fan Club” t-shirts around the Rays’ clubhouse. He acknowledged his brother’s successes — as well as a natural respect and competitiveness between them — but refused to draw any significant comparisons.”
  74. December 12, 2014: A brief history of the Memphis Chicks
    • “Craig Griffey, younger brother to Ken Griffey, Jr., brought his seven-year minor league career to a close halfway through the 1997 season. After a two-week respite in the middle of June, Craig requested an unconditional release from the club. “There was no definitive reason given,” player development director Larry Beinfest told the Times. While the split was amicable, Junior feigned a more heated reaction. Following news of Craig’s release, Griffey spent his next batting practice session moaning about how much he wanted to be traded away from Seattle. “The only thing I’m mad about is people comparing people,” he later told the press after confirming that all trade threats had been made in jest. “Everyone has different styles. My brother is not a home-run hitter.””
  75. December 19, 2014: A brief history of the Port City Roosters
    • “Halfway through the Roosters’ second month of competition, they earned a two-game suspension for a bench-clearing brawl with their old team, the Jacksonville Suns. According to the Times’ account of the dispute, three of the 24 players escaped punishment: “Two of the three […] were in the stands charting pitches and manning the radar gun, another was in the clubhouse getting his arm iced.” In order for the 21 players to successfully serve their suspension, two position players and one pitcher had to take turns sitting out each night.”
  76. December 21, 2014: The value of clutch pitching in 2014
    • “Thankfully, the strength of a pitching staff does not rely entirely on its ability to be Clutch, but to perform well in both high-pressure and low-pressure situations. If the 2015 Mariners can manage that, they’ll be just fine.”
  77. December 27, 2014: A brief history of the Jacksonville Suns
    • “In 1996, two years after the Mariners left Jacksonville, the Suns made history when right-hander Pamela Davis won an exhibition game against the Australian Olympic team. The 21-year-old pitched a scoreless inning of relief and, at the time, was thought to be the only female competitor to play for a major league affiliate in baseball history (perhaps disregarding a certain Jackie Mitchell back in 1931). When she was pulled from the mound in the sixth inning, the crowd responded with vehement chants of, “We want Pam!”, prompting Davis to re-emerge from the dugout for a well-deserved curtain call.”

2015

  1. January 2, 2015: A brief history of the Williamsport Bills
    • “The only baseball team to retire a player’s number for throwing a potato.”
  2. January 7, 2015: Adjusting expectations for the Mariners in 2015
    • “Somewhere out there is a universe where the Mariners dominate the AL West in 2015, where Kyle Seager hits the series-winning home run of the ALDS, Robinson Cano drives in the winning run for the American League pennant, and Felix Hernandez pitches his second perfect game to clinch Seattle’s first championship title. This is probably not that universe.”
  3. January 9, 2015: A brief history of the Vermont Mariners
    • “The storied, one-year rivalry between the Mariners, the Yankees, and an 18-year-old Ken Griffey, Jr.”
  4. January 12, 2015: Remembering the Seattle Steelheads
    • “By the time the idea for the West Coast Negro Baseball League had formed in the mind of Harlem Globetrotters’ owner Abe Saperstein, Brooklyn Dodgers’ general manager Branch Rickey had already signed Jackie Robinson to a minor league deal.”
  5. January 17, 2015: A brief history of the Chattanooga Lookouts
    • “In order to draw attention to the fledgling Chattanooga Lookouts, the young scout marched elephants onto the field for Opening Day, let loose canaries in the stands, awarded houses and cars to loyal fans, and, most memorably, traded shortstop Johnny Jones for a 25-lb. turkey, which was later served to a posse of local sportswriters deemed too critical of his tactics.”
  6. January 24, 2015: A brief history of the Lynn Sailors
    • “Perhaps strangest of all, however, was the single appearance of 37-year-old Bobby Floyd, who pitched four innings and allowed one hit, one run, one walk, and struck out two batters. Floyd hadn’t appeared in a pro ball game in six years, and had never before taken the mound for a team. Even weirder was his full-time role on the Sailors — as their manager.”
  7. January 26, 2015: What we learned from the Mariners during FanFest
    • “Body-swapping, hot yoga, and dance-offs, oh my!”
  8. January 31, 2015: A brief history of the High Desert Mavericks
    • “The only minor league team to give Joe DiMaggio a run for his money.”
  9. February 2, 2015: Quantifying Seattle’s playoff success
    • “For all the joy and heartache it brings us, there is at least a small comfort in knowing that the playoffs are little more than a crapshoot among the best teams.”
  10. February 7, 2015: A brief history of the Inland Empire 66ers
    • “In the spring of 2002, the Mariners arranged an exhibition game against their High-A counterparts. Inserted in the Stampede’s lineup was actor Kevin Costner, who hadn’t stepped on the set of a ball field since his 1999 film For Love of the Game.”
  11. February 9, 2015: The next big moment for Felix Hernandez
    • “Felix’s position in this statistical field is unique, not only because of his young age, but because of the speed with which he would accumulate 2,000 strikeouts, since 2015 will mark his eleventh season in the major leagues. This would put him in an even more select group, as only 20 pitchers have reached 2,000 strikeouts in 11 or fewer seasons, and just seven of those have done so by age 29.”
  12. February 15, 2015: A brief history of the Lancaster JetHawks
    • “It’s not often that the transfer and relocation of a minor league club brings along its major league affiliate. In 1996, however, that’s just what the Riverside Pilots did.”
  13. February 22, 2015: A brief history of the Riverside Pilots
    • “The contents of a minor league concession stand can often tell you everything you need to know about the staying power of its franchise. No matter how choice the location or how prime the prospects, the ingredient needed to keep crowds in the stands is often far easier to find: a sudsy plastic cup of beer.”
  14. February 23, 2015: The beard effect
    • “Werth’s teammate and Washington infielder Adam LaRoche grows his beard for one thing: hunting season. In a series of interviews given last spring, the 34-year-old explained that the beard was intended to help him “blend in” during his offseason hobby.”
  15. March 1, 2015: A brief history of the Peninsula Pilots
    • “To this day, no other pro baseball club has set foot in Hampton, Virginia.”
  16. March 2, 2015: Getting to know your M’s coaches: Chris Prieto
    • “Chris Prieto’s major league career began with a cup of coffee.”
  17. March 8, 2015: A brief history of the San Bernardino Spirit
    • “Among the Spirit inducted in 1990 was a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher named Scott… Pitcher.”
  18. March 9, 2015: Getting to know your M’s coaches: Mike Rojas
    • “Mike Rojas never touched major league turf as a player, but his legacy is steeped in professional baseball.”
  19. March 16, 2015: A brief history of the Clinton LumberKings
    • “They don’t call them the Comeback Kings for nothing.”
  20. March 23, 2015: A brief history of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
    • “As Alex Rodriguez once put it, ‘Here is where it’s at, the jokes, the fun.'”
  21. March 30, 2015: Another brief history of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
    • “While Rattlers’ prospects like Felix Hernandez and Wladimir Balentien excelled on the field, the club’s overall success waned in the second half of their 16-year relationship with Seattle.”
  22. April 20, 2015: Another brief history of the San Bernardino Spirit
    • “A Triple Crown wasn’t the only thing Ruben Gonzalez won with the 1989 Spirit. The 22-year-old bested San Bernardino general manager Bill Shanahan in video baseball, taking the GM down four games to one. His hard-won prize? A Spirit dress shirt.”
  23. April 21, 2015: A brief history of the Wausau Timbers
    • “Who’s the guy who thought it was a good idea to sneak into the park and pull back the tarp?”
  24. May 9, 2015: A brief history of the Salinas Spurs
    • “According to the Rockmart Journal, Jay Goldinger received four assets when he assumed control of the Spurs in 1986: two hot dog bun warmers, a malfunctioning hot chocolate warmer, a broken popcorn machine, and a stray cat.”
  25. May 18, 2015: A brief history of the Bakersfield Mariners
    • “While rumors of the Mariners’ potential move to Lodi surfaced and sank, Michelle Sprague, the longtime owner of the Lodi franchise, was flabbergasted by the sudden move. ‘I have no idea why they want the Dodgers down in Bakersfield,’ she told the Lodi News-Sentinel. ‘It’s so damn hot.'”
  26. May 28, 2015: Another brief history of the San Jose Missions
    • “Untangling the relationships between major league clubs and their minor league affiliates is sometimes as challenging as a 15-person game of Human Knot.”
  27. June 6, 2015: A brief history of the Alexandria Mariners
    • “Without the haze of golden suds to distract the fanbase, the rundown condition of the park was even more unbearable. The backless outfield bleachers seated several hundred people, and the weather ran hot and humid next to the Potomac River. As one fan later described the stadium, “It seemed held together back then by band-aids.””
  28. June 11, 2015: A brief history of the Stockton Mariners
    • “The Mariners had checked most of the boxes on their big league to-do list. Secure a claustrophobic concrete ballpark? Check. Field a lineup of generally competent ballplayers? Check. Revive the spirit of baseball fandom in the Pacific Northwest and help to heal the wound left gaping in the absence of the Seattle Pilots? Check and check.”
Advertisements