Well we have a few days off for the All-Star break giving everyone a chance to relax, reflect and maybe clear up a few things before heading into the second-half of the season. I am sure the players and coaches will be glad to have a few days to rest and see their loved ones. As for me and most of the other Mariners fans I have been talking to we need to try and unwind and try to decipher all that has happened in this bizarre and mostly difficult to watch first half.
I thought it might be a good time for some comedy relief and as I saw our new first baseman Justin Smoak’s name penciled into the DH slot today, I thought of the old Abbot and Costello routine Who’s on First? which is a funny, famous old baseball skit that I found on Utube that is worth watching if you have never seen it before:
As we look at the situation in regards to the Mariners in 2010 it gets almost as comical and confusing. First off last year we had Russell Branyan a fan favorite who hit 31 dingers before going down with a bad back. Branyan tells everyone he wants to come back to Seattle, but Jack Z. signs Casey Kotchman and Branyan languishes unsigned while all the fans wonder if he will be back but he eventually goes to the Indians. Casey Kotchman comes in and has a nice April with the bat combined with his great glove but then tanks in May and June.
Don Wakamatsu who is busy putting out fires everywhere with Milton Bradley, Eric Byrnes and the Griffey fiasco feels the heat and gives Mike Sweeney a couple shots at first. Sweeney did ok defensively and was swinging a hot bat at the time so it looks he may get the job. But that didn’t last long as Sweeney disappears from the scene and we get to see old Casey back at first for awhile, and he still can’t hit.
The next solution is to try Josh Wilson at first after he sort of lost his “Paperboy” job when the senior Wilson comes back from his odd rehab assignment complete with stories of him retiring. Josh Wilson now a vagabond with a hot bat didn’t last long at first but played ok there. But Casey Kotchman does get to come back long enough to set the all-time record for games played at first without an error.
Meanwhile Jack Z. is cooking up another surprise and lands Russell Branyan again to come back and play…….Where else…First Base.
Ok so now it’s solved Branyan will play first, hit for power and we will forget all about our platinum gloved but no-stick 1st baseman Casey Kotchman……or so we thought till suddenly in the last couple of weeks Casey Kotchman has found his stroke and is starting to hit for power and average. Great! We can DH Branyan and mighty Casey can take over first again and this thing will be settled once and for all……
But alas this riddle has a life of its own so it seems, and Jack Z. being the crafty fellow he is makes a huge trade last week sending Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe with 2 million dollars to Texas for 3 prospects and…..you guessed it a young 1st baseman by the name of Justin Smoak who Jack Z. says he has had his eyes on all along……hmmm
So Justin Smoak arrives in Seattle with much buzz and anticipation by the local fans wondering what gives with this move and Don Wakamatsu the friendly guy he is announces to the press a few days ago that “Justin Smoak” will be the new first baseman of the future. Don is funny that way and likes a fella to know he has faith in him and that once a “belief system” is declared that something magic happens. So ok the fans are exhausted by now with trying to figure out “Who’s on First?” and we hated losing Lee for this kid, but what the heck Don said he is his everyday first baseman so that is that……….
Then just today I almost fell out of my game-watching chair when I see that Dustin Smoak is DHing today and Casey Kotchman is back at first! Smoak goes 1-4 and Kotchman goes 3-4 with a homer……..So you tell me “Who’s on first” in the second half of the season? http://jeffsmariners.com