I took a trip down to Safeco Field today and was rewarded with not only a semi-sunny day and a big crowd but a decisive 6- 1 Mariners win over the visiting Oakland Athletics to win this series. Since it was Mother’s Day there are a lot of moms out with their kids enjoying the popcorn, peanuts, and baseball right here in Seattle. Of course I couldn’t help but think about my own Mom Suzanne seen in the picture above with her mother, my Grandma Leah and her sister Patsy as they too went out to the ballgame and watched their dad my Grandfather Gordon “Dusty” Rhodes play ball. Today’s post is for all you mothers out there who work year-round to raise families, support kids in various sporting activities, and be the rock for players to fall back on when the going gets tough.
But for today our Mariners looked like champs, as Joe Saunders continued his roll at Safeco Field to get the win even though he looked shaky at first against the Athletics. Kendrys Morales hit a three-run homer in the first to set the tone, and as it turns out that was all the support Joe Saunders and the Mariners were going to need today even though they tacked on three more runs including a solo homer by Jason Bay in the seventh which was also his fourth dinger of the year. There isn’t much more of an American event than going to a baseball game on Mother’s Day and though it’s oftentimes awkward being a single guy around all the families and kids I thoroughly enjoyed myself down it Safeco Field today.
The Mariners get a day off tomorrow before heading to New York where the surprising Yankees have managed to put together a winning season despite the fact that a lot of their veterans are dinged up. In many ways New York is where it all started for baseball and my family as the Yankees was the team that brought my grandfather up in 1929, and my mother was born in New York City as well. As usual when the Mariners play the Yankees I root for the Mariners despite all the nostalgia involved.
The Mariners now stand a game and a half behind the Athletics in the AL West with an 18- 20 record, and our boys are playing the kind of ball we were hoping for this year, meaning competitive though perhaps not dominating the league type baseball. There was a good crowd of over 27,000 on hand today which was nice given that the Mariners are going to be on the road for much of the rest of the month and it was good to show our team that we are behind them.
In another interesting development I received an email yesterday from a distant relative that found me on the Internet due to this Mariners blog, here is what he had to say:
My name is Jeff Barker, and I think my grandfather’s sister (Louise) was Dusty’s mother. I am not much for researching family history, so here is what I know.
My father, William Barker was the son of William Barker (my grandfather). He (my grandfather) was the captain of the USS Pennsylvania, and attended a game where Dusty was with the Yankees. Apparently Dusty gave my grandfather a baseball signed by several of the Yankee players, including Babe Ruth. Other players’ signatures visible include Allen, Ruffing and Johnson which leads me to believe it was during the (early) 1932 season.
I did some online research to see about perhaps auctioning off the baseball, and ran across your blog page. If my information is correct, Dusty’s mother’s maiden name was Barker.
I hope you find this interesting and enlightening- I know I have!
Best regards, Jeff Barker..
As you can imagine I was quite excited to receive this message from Mr. Barker andhe just forwarded me his phone number so I will be calling him tonight hope to connect to reminisce about the good old days and perhaps make an offer for that baseball to complete my Dusty Rhodes collection. Baseball once again has proven why it is the Great American pastime today bringing families together to follow current teams, and sometimes even past eras of this beautiful sport. Go Mariners! Htpp://jeffsmariners.com
Since the weather is starting to turn, and it appears as if the Mariners luck is beginning to turn as well, I decided to head down to Safeco Field last night to watch the Mariners take on the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of their three-game series. As it turns out Brandon Maurer the young rookie pitcher got clobbered for four runs in the first inning by the feisty Orioles and the Mariners were never able to catch up, and went on to lose 7- 2 in front of 13,000+ fans at Safeco Field in Seattle.
By now I sort of have a system as far as procuring tickets parking, food etc. when I head to Mariners games. As usual I talked down one of the scalpers outside into giving me a box seat at a good price, in this case 25 bucks for a seat that was 12 rows back in section 125. As it turns out I was seated next to a guy who has been a season ticket holder since 1977, we chatted a bit but he was kind of a grumpy guy as one could expect from attending so many Seattle Mariners games over the years. In the box seats you generally get a little bit better of a baseball crowd or at least more dedicated than in other places in the stadium such as in the outfield drinking holes where the youngsters go to be seen, and have frat parties etc. Having said that the fans at Safeco as we all know are pretty dead. It is rare to hear our fans let out any catcalls, booing, or even talking about the game and paying strict attention to what’s going on the field versus their cell phones which doesn’t even driving crazy anymore I’ve gotten used to it. Or perhaps is the old Pink Floyd song goes I’ve just grown comfortably numb.
As you can see by the photo above the crowd really thinned out in the late innings of this one, and I swear to God that by the time the eighth inning started we were down to three or four thousand fans at Safeco Field. During the game the usual occurrences happened such as the goofy Hydro races, the casual fans insisting on doing a wave which is another one of my pet peeves along with that stupid find the ball under the hat game. For whatever reason unlike in Oakland, Boston, or New York our fans are pretty self-contained though I did hear several whistlers trying to outdo each other throughout the game last night which was somewhat amusing and different. As it turns out I kind I got a little goofy last night and started yelling stuff at the players, the umpire and even the bat boy who wouldn’t throw me a ball! It was fun and I know I was amusing some of the fans around me who were left, and some of them were also letting loose with some catcalls all in good fun and supportive of our local club. To top it off I led a cheer right before the start of the bottom of the ninth and for a minute had a couple hundred fans letting out a mighty roar that must have caught the attention of the players and media as otherwise it had gotten to the point where you could hear individual conversations around the stadium!
As you can see I haven’t been writing this Mariners Blog that often but I felt somewhat motivated after last night’s game in the comfortable feeling of being at my home ball field watching my home team after all these years whether they lose or not. In the final analysis when they say take me out to the ballgame, and I don’t care if I ever come back, I suppose they were talking about guys like me the infamous hard-core fan. You can tell the types like me to it are kind of odd and a little too focused on the Mariners when you look around the crowd, lots of times we are alone, or with a radio headset, or wearing old gaudy Mariners regalia. I suppose at this point my life I’m not going to change much and I am grateful to live in a city that still has Major League baseball, even though the ownership group knows that the Safeco experience is primarily for the casual fan not the infamous hard-core goofballs like me. Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
I’m packing for a weeklong trip to London in a minute but thought I would put together a quick post about my thoughts from week 2 of the 2013 Seattle Mariners season. What strikes me most so far is not only the cold start we have gotten off to, or the cold weather but the blatant fan apathy as evidenced by the low turnout this past week. The Mariners set, and then reset the all-time low record for attendance this week in games 2 and 3 of the ill – fated Houston Astros series. Things weren’t much better when Felix Hernandez took the mound for the opener against the Texas Rangers when despite the hoopla of the Kings court etc. only 22,000 braved the cold weather to make it down to Safeco Field to watch that bitter loss. Last night Hisashi Iwakuma threw another nice game to beat the Rangers Ace Yu Darvish and yet was backed by only15, 000 fans on a Friday night. And I’m going to bet that with the Hail and thunderstorms we are having today here in Seattle there won’t be more than 12 o 13 thousand “ True to The Blue” Mariners fans in the stands tonight which doesn’t bode well for the marketing folks and bean counters who are frantically trying to fill seats in 2013.
So one can only speculate that if fewer and fewer fans are actually make it down to Safeco Field than probably even fewer are watching the game on TV, and still fewer are reading Mariners Blogs like Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog! Of course you might want to read this blog a little more if I were to write a little more, but I’m thinking that after the last three years of demoralizing Mariners seasons I’m at best going to be a part-time Mariners Fan blog writer this year. And of course once again I welcome anyone out there in the cyber world who feels they have something to say about this ballclub to get a hold of me and we can arrange a way for you to write once or twice a week. If not it will be hit and miss as far as production here, sort of like our offense with this year’s Mariners.
I’m not even sure where to start as far as a recap for week two except to say that is has been predominantly dismal, coupled with a rash of injuries but as they say it is still really early. If somehow we could win this Texas series and the Detroit series (I know this is a tall order), we may weather the early part of this season all right and the fair weather –fans will start coming out to the ballpark, if not it could get real ugly if we’re seeing home games with only 7 or 8 thousand fans down at the Safe.
Now I’m not going to subject you go on my usual tirade against the Mariners ownership or Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, or Jesus Montero. Instead I’m just trying to test the waters and see what the rest of you out there feel about this franchise, our chance of winning, and what it’s going to take to keep you actively involved in this 2013 season? It’s amazing that just a few weeks ago we were all holding our heads high anticipating a .500 season after that great spring, which we know now really does mean nothing, but reality is here in what I would considered to be a make or break season for both Eric Wedge and Jack Zduriencik. As most of you know by now I’ve been following this team for most of the past 36 years through good times and bad, but I think finally the Mariners so-called ownership group has wasted the chance to bring in almost a full generation of potential Mariners fans by giving us such a weak product for the past 10 years. This really is a pity as I know how much people in Seattle like to support their teams, one only has to look over to the Seahawks this year to see the zaniness and enthusiasm are residents exude once our teams start winning. So time will tell, I will be out of the country until the 22nd so won’t be posting anything, for all I know I may not even keep track of the standings, which to be something new for me but I will probably at least check my twitter account and keep track of what’s going on here in the Mariners world. Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
The Seattle Mariners are flying back home tonight after dropping the final game of a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox 4 to 3 in the bottom of the 10th inning after Cameron Lowe served up a walkoff home run to Viciedo in what was almost an expected outcome in the Wind City. I have watched parts or all of this week’s games and have mixed emotions about our prospects for 2013. The bright spots are Michael Morse who has five home runs already, Kendrys Morales, who had three hits today including a home run and Hisashi Iwakuma who has pitched two great games, including today’s eight inning outing. Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez are both ready to contribute with their bats along with a resurgent Brendon Ryan who is contributing not only with his glove as usual but with his stick so far this year too.
But despite the power surge provided by Morse and Morales, Mariners still stranded seven base runners in both today’s and in yesterday’s losses to the White Sox. This looks so much like what we have seen for the past three years that it’s grown commonplace around here which is unacceptable. However I do have faith that Eric Wedge and Jack Zdurierncik, along with the Mariners ownership group understand that we Mariners fans are ready to compete now, and won’t be rushing down to Safeco Field after Opening Night to spend our hard-earned entertainment dollars on a losing team anymore. I could be wrong but I doubt Justin Smoak or Dustin Ackley or anyone else for that matter, will get a free pass to flounder in the Major Leagues indefinitely like they have in the past when we have so much talent in the minors itching to come up. In the pitching area alone we have the big three: Hultzen, Paxton, and Walker down in the minors as well as Jeremy Bonderman and Erasamo Ramirez all close to being ready to go, and after watching the back three of our rotation all looking shaky this first week I would imagine they won’t be given more than four or five starts before someone is called up.
It gets a little more interesting with Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak, especially Ackley who had a rough sophomore season and so far is only one for 20 with his new batting stance that looks even more awkward than what he was using last year. Somehow it seemed that Dustin Ackley was considered untouchable no matter what he did but now with Nick Franklin and Brad Miller down in the Minors looking good I think that mentality may be shifting. As for Smoak Initially it seemed he had a new approach at the plate, but the past few games he’s look awkward, nervous and just sort of “Rookie Like” which we have been watching for three years now and it’s getting really old. I saw him today in the seventh inning try to stretch a single into a double and get thrown out by 5 feet and then follow that up later in the game swinging at a third strike that was way outside of the strike zone in a key situation, this sort of looks like the same old Justin Smoak of the past so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kendrys Morales get a few more days starting at first base especially in light of his big offensive outing today.
But having said all that it will be nice to have our boys back home here at Safeco taking on the hapless Houston Astros for three games starting Monday night. I have been to opening-night before and enjoy all the pomp and excitement, but I will be taking a pass this year and instead I am planning on head down to the Safe on either Tuesday or Wednesday night to catch a game. With the soggy weather outside it really doesn’t feel much like baseball season here in Seattle but I needed to put a post on this Mariners Blog for my few loyal fans out there who read me on a regular basis. As usual there is an open invitation for any of you fans of: Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog to post articles yourself. If you feel like writing here, send me an email or a comment and we can work something out. Because after all this is the Mariners blog where the Fans call the Plays! Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
Tonight I joined 15,367 other Mariners fans down at Safeco Field for an open house sponsored by the Seattle Mariners organization to show off their new giant big-screen, the new fences, and more importantly the all new 2013 Seattle Mariners. It was a surreal environment at the Safe tonight with all the fans milling around and looking up at the giant big-screen of the opening game in Oakland as Felix Hernandez led his club to a 2-0 victory going 7 2/3 innings giving up only three hits, one walk, zero runs and striking out eight hapless Athletics.
I’m not sure what to say about the new giant big-screen except that it’s indeed huge and hopefully it will not provide too much of a distraction for so many of the fans who only seem to go to games for the Hydro races and other little gimmicks that the Mariners ownership has relied on for the past 10 years since they haven’t put a real team on the field. But for tonight the Seattle Mariners did put a real team on the field down in Oakland against their division rival Athletics featuring the King himself who was up to the task of providing his usual opening day leadership with this gutsy performance. The Mariners offense only managed a couple runs when Franklin Gutierrez drove in Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan with a single up the middle in the top of the fifth inning. But thankfully Felix was on his game and though the relievers looked a bit shaky we managed to pull off a victory in what was sort of a home opener.
It felt really good to be down at the Safe again wandering around, eating hot dogs and watching baseball. It only cost me 10 bucks tonight for my parking so that was a steal, and considering the way the Mariners have played the past 10 years the ownership group might want to consider having a free night every now and then to draw some of us shell-shocked fans back into the house that Griffey built. It was nice to see Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales in the middle of the lineup tonight though they didn’t do much tonight you could just tell that the dynamics have changed with these two sluggers hitting in the middle of the pack. It’s hard to hate the Oakland Athletics, though they probably are our only real rival so to speak, it seems like I’ve watched them play 1000 times and no matter who they have on their team they always seem to look the same with those goofy green uniforms. You gotta love the Oakland fans, as they were definitely loud and boisterous tonight coming off their AL West championship last season. So off we go to the races now folks with another year of my Mariners fan blog and an improved club that is now 1-0 with only 161 games to play! Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com