I woke-up on this beautiful August day and decided to head down to Safeco Field to see if the Mariners could continue their little winning streak against the visiting Oakland Athletics. I usually take the bus downtown from Fremont, buy a ticket outside the game and take a taxi home. Today I broke my own tradition and drove down and parked for 20 bucks before grabbing a box seat 21 rows behind home for $30. Speaking of tradition check out the new banners plastered around Safeco that say “Celebrate the Tradition” complete with photos from the 116 win season, 1995 etc. Can’t quite fathom what goes through the minds of the marketing people for the Mariners, perhaps we are supposed to be celebrating this sort of season next year…..
Everything was picture perfect for me and the 31,560 fans that came to root for the Mariners except the final score which ended up to be 5-1 Oakland. The Mariners sent Luke French out on this lovely day to face the scrappy A’s even though French really only has two pitches, a below average fastball and a change-up. Apparently as French attested on the post-game interview he is still working on his slider so he doesn’t throw it for now. Somehow I just can’t figure out how a guy gets to start in the majors with two pitches unless one happens to be a fastball over 95. But I guess this is not for me to ask, as my job today was to try to enjoy the sun in a family friendly environment, and spend money along with the others there. I can honestly say that though the crowd had little to cheer about today most of them seemed content to watch this sort of AAA+ team of ours complete now with a AAA manager and 3 or 4 AAA players on the field at any time.
I do have to give credit to the A’s starter Dallas Braden who got the start today for the A’s and kept our guys off-balance at the plate with his assortment of mostly off-speed stuff. The A’s got a little help in the outfield from us today as Matt Tuiasosopo attempted to fill-in for the injured Michael Saunders and did a less than stellar job. Tuiasosopo let a couple of costly drives in the gap get by him and was slow catching-up to a Mark Ellis drive down the line in the 5th allowing an extra run to score. It should be obvious to Daren Brown that Tuiasosopo doesn’t have the ability to get the kind of read on a ball to enable him to make the kind of tough plays which are required of outfielders at Safeco. Speaking of which Franklin Gutierrez made another spectacular play against the wall in the first inning off the bat of Coco Crisp. Gutierrez really had a chance to be a hero today when he came-up with the sacks full and one out in the 7th, however Gutierrez only managed to drive-in one run on a deep fly to left-center that looked for a minute like it would get out.
I did like the way manager Daren Brown wasn’t afraid to utilize his bullpen (as underwhelming as it is) making two changes in the 7th and more importantly having the foresight to have a couple of guys up and warm in case he needed them. Former manager Don Wakamatsu had a tendency to only warm-up one reliever at a time and if that didn’t work out we were kind of just stuck with whoever was on the mound. As it turned out it wasn’t that effective, as Chris Seddon who was brought in with one down in the 8th surrendered a walk then a double to Mark Ellis who got another RBI and had a big day going 3-4 and driving in 3 runs for his club.
It was nice for the icon of the Oberto sausage family; Art Oberto to get acknowledged in the crowd today. Art Oberto in his 80’s looked fit and sharp with his 1950’s hat as he stood-up to take a bow in honor of the victory for the Oh Boy Oberto Hydroplane boat that just won the Seafair race a few days ago on Lake Washington. Of course Art Oberto is the kind of guy we can only wish owned the Mariners as he is local, hands-on, and cares about the product his family name goes on. Unfortunately our owner Hiroshi Yamauchi has never even been to a game at Safeco relying instead on Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to fill the stands by putting a mediocre product on the field dressed up with gimmicks. I have been pleasantly surprised to read articles both in the local as well as the national news recently acknowledging the point I have been making on my Blog all season that the root of our problems comes from the inept front office. This is encouraging and one can only hope that this city and its fans will be fed-up enough after this season to somehow get some new blood at the top of the food chain instead of just firing managers every other year.
So now we go on the road after a decent home stand, starting with the Indians and Orioles then finishing up with the Yankees and Red Sox before coming home. There are a lot of great pennant races going on around the majors as we move towards the stretch including what could be a sneak preview of the AL playoffs tonight as Texas and the Yankees go at it with Cliff Lee on the mound. Smooth sailing to you…..http://jeffsmariners.com