Tonight I had the rare opportunity to watch a great doubleheader on TV, the first featured Felix Hernandez and the Mariners, the second was the baseball documentary “The Tenth Inning” . They were both winners. The actual live baseball game down in Arlington resulted in the third win in a row for the semi-surging Mariners 3-1 over a Rangers lineup that was minus half of its starters who were being rested for the postseason.
Second-string or not the Mariners Ace Felix Hernandez was pitching for the Cy-Young award and once more he proved he deserved it in what could have been his last outing of the season.
King Felix went 8 innings allowing only one run to improve his record to 13-12 on a night when both CC Sabathia and David Price won for their respective two AL East clubs to keep the Cy-Young race interesting. It is now up to sportswriters to vote after the season is over based on the performances to date. The King has proved he is the best in the AL so far, though there is an outside chance Felix may get the ball again on Sunday which could seal the deal.
Felix was the beneficiary of a two-run homer by Justin Smoak in the top of the 4th, and even though you could tell Felix may not have had his best stuff tonight, three runs is more than he usually gets and thus made it work. Glad to see Smoak on a little roll here with his second home run so far in this series. My new hero Dan Cortes was warming up in the eighth, but Darren Brown went with Brandon League in the ninth to close out this game.
Speaking of Darren Brown, I wanted to say that while he may be no Pete Carroll as far as enthusiasm, he has done a good job in keeping this club on an even-keel since taking over the helm. If nothing else he deserves a serious interview for next year’s managerial opening, based on his handling of the team and himself under less than ideal conditions.
The second half of tonight’s doubleheader featured the new Baseball documentary : “The Tenth Inning” co-directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS. Ken Burns has once again put together a stunning and poignant portrayal of our National Pastime. Of course the clips and photography were great, along with the insightful interviews, but that’s not what caught and held my attention tonight. Rather it is the way that this documentary which focused on the 90′s, had a way of tying all the big events together in a way that was both magical and sad, much like baseball in general.
There was a few references to the Mariners, most notably showing Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime competing against other stars of the era like Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa for the national spotlight. It is important to remember that in the 90′s Griffey was not only idolized here in Seattle, but became a household name across the country. While there was a few cameo shots of Edgar Martinez and A-Rod, there was little attention paid to our great run in 95, or the powerhouse Mariners teams of that era. The Yankees of course had a lot of time lavished on them, including a good inside look at Joe Torre and the kind of man he is.
One of the major themes covered was the strike in 1994 and it’s effect on the players, teams and fans. The Montreal Expos were on a good run that year and never got to find out if they could have gone all the way because the bitter strike got in the way. I also remember very clearly that the Mariners team of 1994 was just starting to get noticed and feared around the AL as the team to beat in 1994 right before the season got cut short.
There is a lot more to see in the first part of this documentary and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but you can still get back in the game in case you missed tonight’s show, by tuning-in Wednesday at 8pm on channel 9 PBS.Till then keep her between the rocks….http://jeffsmariners.com