The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Seattle Mariners 3-0 today, winning the series 2-1. This was another game with a familiar 2010 Mariners story-line. Good starting pitching, in this case Jason Vargas, and no offense. Throw in the usual odd ways to kill rallies such as the 8th inning where Ichiro attempted a bunt with 2 on and 1 out, and then went on to line into a double play to end the threat, and you know how the story turns out. The whole Milwaukee experience was quaint with the sausage races and all but now our club is heading into the Lion’s den known as Yankee stadium.
If you thought the Cubs fans were a bit pushy last week, try going to New York the center of the baseball universe. While Jeter, Rodriguez, Posada and Riviera may be aging they still have a great team. Many of you may remember when we had a sort of rivalry with the Yankees in the 95-01 stretch that was quite intense. Ken Griffey Jr. once even stated “I’ll never be a Yankee” and “Yankees Suck” t-shirts had to be banned at Safeco field. Of course the difference then was that we had teams who could and did regularly beat the Bronx Bombers. Now it has become almost an odd ritual for the Yankees fans to come to Safeco and practically take over as Mariners fans are trying to watch the hydro races or the hat trick.
I would venture to guess that there won’t be more than a few hundred Mariners fans at the game when the first pitch is thrown Tuesday night. Those that do attend will be treated more like an oddity than any real threat unlike the dreaded Red Sox fans. Guys like Michael Saunders, Rob Johnson and Josh Wilson do not even show-up on the radar for the knowledgeable Yankees fans and their overzealous media. But the guy throwing that first pitch for the Mariners Tuesday night is well-known in the Big Apple. Cliff Lee was able to shut down the Yankees twice last year pitching for the Phillies in the World Series. The media will be out in force as the speculation about Lee’s future grows stronger every day.
Meanwhile Jack Zduriencik has just brought back Russell “The Muscle” Branyon leading some people to speculate that the Mariners may not be receiving any offers for Lee that make him worth trading at all, thus Jack Z. went to get a power bat and now we will stand pat. Ok it is a stretch, but just maybe all this talk about Lee being a good influence on the Mariners and worth keeping around to teach the young pitchers a few things is indeed true. Perhaps Jack Z. is playing a chess game of sorts and he is setting up some later move. I hope so; we deserve something out of this season even if we just thumb our noses at the rest of the country by keeping Lee for the rest of the year. Jack Z. has stated that in order to develop players they need to do it by winning. Well what better way than to keep Cliff Lee around, hope Branyon produces and try to have a good second half to build on. If we somehow manage to re-sign Cliff Lee that would be a bonus, otherwise we get to win some games and help teach our younger players how to compete like true professionals, plus get some draft picks
So as it turns out there is a lot of subtext going on that may allow our team to once again represent the independent nature of the people who live in the Northwest. Maybe not as direct as when Griffey made his declaration but it could turn out to be just as sweet. Http://jeffsmariners.com