At long last we have reached that part of the season often called the “Dog Days of Summer’’ this term refers to the hot late summer months when teams in the pennant race need to cowboy-up, and teams like the Mariners usually melt into obscurity. If you happen to live in a city like New York, San Francisco, Atlanta or Philadelphia these hot and humid days offer some grueling and intense ballgames where the best teams will battle for a spot in the post-season. For us here in the NW it is the time when a lot of fans just check-out and head outdoors to enjoy boating, fishing, swimming etc.
For the players on non-contending teams this time of year can be particularly draining as they try to muster the energy to play with the intensity and enthusiasm necessary to compete with teams like the Texas Rangers who are focused and goal-oriented. Last night’s game our boys were holding their own until the melt-down in the 7th. In this case we had two down with runners on first and second when Jose Lopez fielded a little dribbler by the speedy Andrus of the Rangers with Molina slumbering into third. Lopez who often appears to be in La La land decided to throw to first rather than going for the easy play at third. To add insult to injury Lopez held on to the ball and double-clutched before releasing the ball allowing Andrus to reach safely and load the bases. At the time the score was 7-6 Rangers and we were still in this game so this mental error by Lopez was a critical mistake, had Lopez been thinking he would have either got the out at third or fielded the ball and come-up firing. As it was Josh Hamilton proceeded to hit a grand-slam and this game melted away into the books.
This sort of play has been happening all year for the Mariners but as we drift further into the Dog Days, it could become even more common if that is possible. Last week of course we got to see Chone Figgins “Dogging it” when he didn’t back-up a throw leading to the scuffle in the dugout that seems to be still lingering in the hot August air. Of course like a lot of you I have begun to emotionally distance myself from this year’s dismal voyage even going so far as to going on my little Rehab assignment to Tacoma. But I am back now facing my own “Blog Days” trying to move beyond the blame-game into some sort of positive journalistic accomplishment beyond just “Playing for Stats” and watching my Google rating as I struggle to finish the season.
There are still a few interesting things to look for as this season wears on into the Dog Days such as the whole hoopla around the young players development, will Griffey come back for a send-off, will Wakamatsu make it the rest of the way etc. But for now I think I will head to Alki beach and soak-up some sun and decide if I will watch the game tonight…..http://jeffsmariners.com