Today was a beautiful day in Seattle after a long wet spell. The Seattle Mariners brought back former Mariner Luis Sojo to throw out the first pitch and try one more time to get some mileage out of the 95 miracle Mariners memories. It did not work, instead we experienced the reality of the 2010 Mariners dressed up in 1995 uniforms. This game was a new sort of low for an already painful season as the LA Angels trounced the home club 11-2 in front of 31,548 fans. I did see Chuck Armstrong during the pre-game ceremonies as he and Howard Lincoln are now all that is left of the winning era here in Seattle. The team of Lincoln and Armstrong are always looking for new ways to provide some sort of gimmick down at Safeco field to sell tickets. Providing a winning team has not been their speciality however, for they learned long ago in Seattle that as long as the hat tricks, hydros and bobble head dolls are available most people will keep coming to the stadium.
This sort of ” Make Believe” system seems to be employed by the current manager Don Wakamatsu. Wak makes reference quite a bit to this “Belief system” mantra which has been a mystery to me until today. In reality the Wakamatsu Make Believe system is just a way to cover up for Waks inability to be the leader this ballclub needs. Putting Rob “Passed Ball” Johnson behind the plate no matter how bad he gets is part of the system. Only warming up one reliever at a time and waiting till the damage is done before pulling a pitcher is another key component of this system. And remaining aloof and Spock like is the role that Wak prefers to play in order to try and get the players and fans to believe he is on top of more than the dugout step.
Ryan Rowland-Smith who does not deserve a second name let alone a second chance as a starter, opened this one up today. In all fairness he only gave up the one run through five innings before being pulled because Wak has a belief-system fetish with pitch-count limits in this case it was pre-ordained from on high o be 80. The offense sputtered in the first three innings and blew a chance for some runs in the bottom of the third which changed the momentum for good. In the third Michael Saunders lead off with a bunt single, then attempted to steal second four times as Ichiro fouled off pitches with a 3-2 count. Eventually Ichiro walked and with runners on first and second Figgins laid down a bunt that the pitcher threw over to third and caught Saunders sauntering into third instead of sliding and caught the polite Canadian napping. So instead of bases loaded with no outs, we had runners at first and second with one down and Gutierrez and Lopez both struck-out to end the threat. The Angels dodged a bullet and knew it and went on to destroy their weaker opponent in this game in a way that looked more like Gladiators vs. Christians than two strong AL West clubs competing.
Shawn Kelley has been reliable up to this point in the season so perhaps he can be excused for his meltdown, but Sean White and Garret Olson were supposed to be improvements not disappointments. Indeed this was a turn-back the clock game, however it reminded me more of 1985 than 1995. The Mariners never finished above .500 until 1991 and going to a game like todays in 1985 was much easier to swallow as the expectation level was not to high for the 5 or 6 thousand of us who would go down to the old Kingdome. Todays game was ugly and unless somebody flies over to Japan and wakes up the aging owner and lets him know the two dark princes, Armstrong and Lincoln are destroying his kingdom, this is going to be another lost decade. http://jeffsmariners.com