As a Seattle Mariner's fan the last three weeks have been baseball hell. The M's have lost 14 of 16 games and are working on losing another one tonight against the Oakland Athletics. The M's at one point were 20 games over .500. At the rate they are tanking they will be lucky to get above .500 by the end of the season.
The slide began in Texas then continued at home being blitzed by the Western Division leading Los Angeles Angels. Then they lost 9 of 10 on a brutally long road trip to Cleveland, Toronto, New York and Detroit. What computer genius made the schedule? Sadly the M's have risen to their level of incompetence!
Who is to blame or is it just bad baseball karma? As they say baseball is a game of inches. Earlier in the season the M's were golden as the come back kids. Their bench pitching held things together for the hitters to bring it home in the late innings. So much for then, now it's down and out time.
Earlier in the season the M's might have been playing above their potential. But then again who will ever know for sure? But one thing for certain, many of the problems can be put at the doorstep of the management of the M's, especially the "Dubya-like" performance of GM Bill Bavasi who got the job via the Peter Principle.
When CEO Howard Lincoln and President Chuck Armstrong assess why things fell apart, they should start with the GM. Also, when one looks at the pitchers there is only one quality starter in the lineup, Felix Hernandez, who needs to grow up if he's really going to be a great one! The rest are merely bit players who are past their prime or never had one!
The first order of business is to rearrange the deck chairs of the starting pitching rotation for next season. Brandon Morrow deserves a shot, so does Ryan Rowland-Smith and maybe Ryan Feieabend. But starters Jarrod Washburn and Jeff Weaver should be put out to pasture as trade bait. They had their chances and blew them.
To have any chance to build a quality team will require something the M's have shown little ability to do, trade, deal and open their deep pockets. Deal Richie Sexson and Jose Lopez out of the lineup deck. Richie is the team strike out king and a miserable .200 hitter. Jose is weak at hitting, bunting and fielding. Put Willie Bloomquist at second.
Build around Ichiro, Raul Ibanez, Jose Guillen, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Vidro and Adrian Beltre along with young guns like Adam Jones, Mike Morse and Ben Broussard. Go for a bonifide home run hitter and a premier starting pitcher. Check whether Ken Jr. really wants to end his career in Seattle. You want to compete with the Yanks and Red Sox open up the vault!
But something else stinks in Denmark. The behind the plate umpires of MLB stink! There is NO consistent strike zone any more. It forces pitchers to be too fine trying to hit the corners, but then when they don't get the calls they are forced to put the ball center cut. Well we all know what happens then!
RAD has long felt that ever since the umpire strike years ago, MLB was being maimed by the control freaks behind the plate in the field of dreams. In the '50s the strike zone was from your knees to your arm pits. Who knows where it is now, it changes each game with each damn ump. And don't tell me the primo players get the same calls!
But at the end of the day the M's are their own worst enemy. They are too free swinging and impatient as ex- M's pitcher, now commentator Bill Krieger has been saying all season. If you work the pitch count and with a little help from the idiot savant behind the plate, you'll wear the pitcher down just like the best teams do, Boston and the Damn Yankees.
You want to win then be like Tiger Woods, focus, focus and focus and don't accept anything less than being the best in the game. How many times have you seen an M's pitcher have the sulks on the mound this season or a hitter have a melt down at the plate watching a third strike? You get paid the big bucks, now earn it, damn it!
Manager John McClaren inherited the job at mid-season as a result, in retrospect, from one of the most cowardly decisions made in modern baseball, Mike Hargrove's resignation when the team was flying high. Hargrove deserves the fickle finger of fate award not the M's players. He took the oath but didn't keep the faith, shame, shame.
Oh yes, final score Oakland 7, M's 4. My, Oh My - when will the pain stop?
Now if the M's were playing in the National League they'd still be in the hunt. My bet is that we're going to see the Angels, Boston, Cleveland and the Damn Yanks. Anyone but the Damn Yanks. Who will be the NL champ - who cares! Go Sweet Lou and the Cubbies!
PS: If the M's management thinks they can live off this season's 2 million fans, think again! You went from a full house before "the fall" to half the house and boos after the fall. Read your history, where are the Seattle Pilots these days? Safeco won't save this franchise after 6 disaster seasons! Learn from the Portland Trail bums!