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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 30, 2007 9:29 PM

M's lose, bloggers go insane

Posted by Geoff Baker

I was warned when I moved to Seattle that the fan base here takes a little getting used to. Something about massive doses of caffeine being consumed at roughly the same time other matter drains from ears when losses by the home team occur. I have to admit, I wasn't prepared for stuff like this. For the venom. Can't say I like it to this extreme. I understand it, having been a sports fan myself growing up and rooting for the home team every night, like it was life or death. I've seen some extremely knowledgeable baseball fans in Boston and New York go apoplectic when their teams lose. But rarely do these fans exercise the level of "group think" that I've seen around these parts of late. It's as if there is one right idea out there and if this idea isn't shared by all, then the entire season will be spent hounding those other people into submission until they cry "uncle!'' Be they your fellow bloggers, myself, or the bloggers on other sites.

So, now I'm being called an "idiot" for having an opinion. When I was calling for Adam Jones to replace some anemic hitters in early July, I was a hero, but now that I suggest those same two guys, hitting around .380-.400 for the month, heading into the stretch run, should be the ones playing over a rookie, all of a sudden I'm a moron.

I see that someone hiding behind the anonymity of the keyboard is asking whether I will show any "guts" (a charitable substitution) and crucify the manager? Interesting. So, going after the GM and veteran players this year wasn't enough? Now you want more, right? I see. So, you're more like a "What have you done for us lately?" crowd? I'll make note of that.

It's OK, I understand. You're all fans. Some of you love to debate. Some of you are just angry people. I get it.

Am I going to let myself be bullied by an angry mob into changing some of the things I've said about John McLaren these past few weeks? No. If that's the kind of thinker you want running your blog, then you should probably go elsewhere. I don't want you here. There are plenty of blogs in this town where angry people run to vent and attack others 24/7. My goal this year was for this to be a place for intelligent dialogue, where people -- be they stats-lovers, or traditionalists -- could come to argue baseball passionitely and with respect for others. Where you can come to vent with reasonable intelligence. Where you won't get chased off the site if you like numbers, or if you're turned off by them.

Yes, I know you have passion. Though, I must admit, I haven't always seen this level of passion at Safeco Field, where opposing teams' fans often outcheer the home side supporters. But I understand: sometimes going nuts in public isn't the same as doing it from behind the keyboard. Believe me, I'm a terror with words.

Anyway, on to tonight, I will admit that I was surprised to see Rick White come out to pitch that inning. I'm not a fan of using the closer in non-save situations. But J.J. Putz was rested. He's sat idle, as some of you have mentioned, in key situations before during this losing streak.

Could McLaren have been a little less conservative and gone with Putz there? Probably. Was Mike Hargrove doing that earlier this season when he ran Julio Mateo out there instead of using other relievers a little earlier? No, Hargrove wasn't doing that. He did the same thing. He liked roles.

My view now? Rick White hasn't shown he can get out of these innings yet. That is worrisome and the M's don't have time to mess around with any more experimenting. If this situation happens tomorrow night, you go to Putz for the multiple-inning job and use your longer relievers later on.

What we're seeing now is McLaren feeling his way as a manager. He's used a lot of tradition, he's used some riverboat gambling, and he's used some numbers in limited samples to back up some decisions. No, he hasn't always done the thing that's going to win him games. Lately, many of the losses can bew traced back to growing pains and some decisions he's made.

Can the entire loss be pinned on him tonight? The end result can, but only to an extent. As I wrote at the top of this blog, I didn't think White had pitched all that poorly in high leverage situations before. I do think he pitched poorly tonight. Yes, he didn't get some close calls, but, bottom line? You can't walk the bases loaded and walk home the winning run after that. You just can't.

And right now, he hasn't shown he can be trusted with the game on the line. But if we're going to criticize the M's for using White, or Richie Sexson, where is the consistency? Are there other areas of the team slowly coming undone? Like a once-impenetrable bullpen now giving up hits and runs with greater frequency? There were two big no-nos committed tonight. The biggest was Eric O'Flaherty hitting the guy on an 0-2 pitch in the ninth. O'Flaherty isn't supposed to be working in such tight spots and we saw the reason why tonight.

Did Brandon Morrow get the job done? No, he didn't. That's twice in a row. Does the team get criticized for sticking with him? Or do all the young guys get a free pass? You tell me.

Another no-no? Geroge Sherrill walking lefty Grady Sizemore. Can't do it. It cost the team a big run. Are these guys wearing down? Probably just a bit. The whole bullpen is being overworked (save, J.J. Putz, ironic isn't it?) because the starters again are not going deep enough.

Before the trade deadline, I identified my two biggest areas of concern. One was adding another starter who could go deeper into games. Failing that, adding another hard-throwing set-up type, preferably a veteran, to make the games "shorter". The team chose to do neither.

Picking up other teams' waiver castoffs isn't what I had in mind. So far, Rick White isn't the answer, though the team is clearly looking for one. Looking a little too late, if you ask me. The good news? The club will still have Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien to trade this winter. I know that's what many of you argued for on this blog and you will now get your wish.

I'm not going to tell you that you were right or wrong. Only that you can't have it both ways. In many ways, this was the price of seeing those prospects kept.

And this now is the price of seeing Mike Hargrove go, something a lot of you wanted. I have seen and worked with a lot of managers in my time, some good, some bad, some experienced, and some lousy. None of them ever walked into a new situation and performed the job perfectly. Some were terrible at it. None ever had to manage under the strain of a pennant race, or deal with a situation as explosive as the Adam Jones situation was in the clubhouse.

Did McLaren's call lose the game tonight? Of course. Was it the "wrong" call to make. In his mind, it was the only call. He is feeling his way. I've already told you that I think he may do some things a little differently down the road, once he gets burned by some of these decisions a few too many times. That's life. You can fire McLaren after this week if you want, bring in a new guy and then what happens next? What happens when his first moves don't pan out? You going to keep on firing and hiring?

Remember all the predictions the M's might be in for some rough times swapping managers mid-stream? We're seeing them right now. Nobody said the transition would be completely smooth. It's rough right now, I know. McLaren is trying to be true to his sense of what is right and wrong and learning on-the-fly. It's not a permanent excuse. It can't be. The object of the game is to win. Six games ago, he was winning. Not anymore. And your patience is running out, I understand. But what I said this morning stands. McLaren has only had two months on the job. He has to get a full year. It's a tough pill to swallow, I know. The good news? This team is very streaky and is due for a hot streak after this latest cold one. It's going to be a rough ride, that's for sure. It will be easier to get through if we all don't blow a gasket and run collectively amuck whenever something bad happens.

To summarize: I think McLaren has to show more flexibility throughout a game. And from everything I've heard about him, I'm sure he will once he gets his feet completely under him. He hasn't yet. And the losses are piling up at a really bad time.

Get some sleep. I know I have to go. It's 1:30 a.m. here in the pressbox, I have to wake up at 5:45 a.m. for my flight and I'm as tired as all of you are after another long, draining game. I like doing this with you, having these dialogues. But I have limited patience for people who go off half-cocked. It was a tough night. Get some sleep and we'll go over this tomorrow.

By the way, be sure to catch USS Mariner guru Dave Cameron's segment on KJR tomorrow. I'm sure McLaren will come up and have no doubt it will be interesting.

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*Required Field


Posted by Rick White

10:48 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff,

Thanks for the kind words. You and me, let's share some pizza sometime soon.

Posted by C. Peenerson

10:53 PM, Aug 30, 2007

In the early portion of the season, I read your blog quite frequently. Lately, though, your passive-aggressive bashing of "fans" and your rhetorical questions are really annoying and I have been disinterested in what you have to say. Please, move on and write more objectively.

Thank you,

C. Peenerson

Posted by David Hart

10:54 PM, Aug 30, 2007

As a long-time and long-suffering (is there any other kind) Mariners fan, it just hurts to see this happening all over again. Why can't we keep a lead? Why can't we score more than one run when we have 2 on, no one out and a 3-0 count on Adam Jones??? It is just frustrating to see the manager trot out a guy in a crucial, crucial situation who has yet to prove himself, have all that pressure on him and yet again fold under the pressure. Two walks and a hit batter in the bottom of the 9th in a game that is tied??? Just unbelievable. I don't know what to do, but with 3 in Toronto, 3 in New York and 3 in Detroit, it is looking grim. I suppose anything can happen, but with Seattle, it seems that anything is usually bad.

Posted by Dustin in Corvallis

10:57 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, I think you're finally appreciating the bipolarity of those who live in the Pacific NW. It has everything to do with the nine months of overcast weather we endure, I'm sure ...

Rick, you should lay off the pizza. Also, please shave your face. That bleach was a pretty bad idea.

Posted by SilencedParrot

11:03 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, please ignore the stupid posts and move on to the good stuff. It's fine to reply specifically to fans who bring up new points and would like an answer. That's what I liked about the blog, how you'd get audio for somebody who was curious about a certain thing. Instead of focusing on the bad-harsh-cruel comments, revert to the way you were blogging before. Change is good, but not when you focus on the bad. (I'm not even sure if I'm making sense because I'm so tired *caffeine has worn off*)

Posted by Mike Schooler

11:06 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Rick White wishes he could pitch like me.

Posted by Wally

11:08 PM, Aug 30, 2007

It's not that Morrow is getting a free pass, it's the fact that we are using a guy who was in the minor leagues the past few months in arguably our 3 most important games of the year. The fact is that Putz is the teams best pitcher and to not use him in 6 straight games just doesn't make sense. Just because he is the 'closer' doesn't mean he can't be used in a different situation. Now, I'm not calling for him to be fired here, but it won't take much more outings by Rick White, John Parrish, or our next AAA special until I am.

Posted by Scott

11:11 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff,

Don't leave (I don't know if you are but there is a different twist to this post) - this blog is what this town needs. This is the best damn baseball blog out there. Period.

Posted by Maui Mariner

11:12 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, know that these people are frustrated and because of the caffine they tend to...............well, VENT................kinda like Mt St Helens. But there are Mariner's fans out there that are hanging in, just because..........I know, faux pax, two cliche's or errrr maybe three in a row. But what the heck, it IS so easy to manage from a keyboard, and at times gutlessand other times prophetic. Things are a lot tougher with millions of dollars and fan's galore and hoopla and everything involved from bereavement to lazines/apathy to, you name it, on the line!!
The point is, it takes all kine! Let's step back (from the ledge Frankie although I agree with you at times) and take a deep breath and just live. Live this moment, it is great, even in its downs because surely as the sun sets in Maui, it'll be another day tomorrow and we'll be having those UPS.
Life is good, now quit acting like crazys and hold the vitrol. And please , please SPELLCHECK! HA, that is my plug for the "little old schoolteacher"
Here's to sanity, cheers.
Aloha to all
Maui Mariner

Posted by thewyrm

11:13 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Joseph D. Hebert
1301 4th Ave. Apt#1009
Seattle, WA 98101


Now I am no longer an anonymous poster hiding behind my keyboard.


Geoff, I'm sorry if you are angry at our "venom" as for my part it is not directed at you. The only thing I have ever said about you personally is that I wish you would take a harder stand with the front office. Seeing as you tend to agree with them more often than not I understand why you wont do that.


I'm sorry but I refuse to hold my tongue when you call me a bad fan. You are at every home game, do you not feel the M's sucking the energy out of the place with boneheaded move after boneheaded move? Tuesday night the atmosphere was electric, and we were with the M's no matter how aweful right up 'till we heard Rick White was coming in. 44,000 people collectively said this is a mistake, and we were right.


Hargrove and McLaren make terrible managing descisions and when they blow up in their face WE WILL call them on it. No matter how you try to sell it, I know calling on White tonight was a terrible descision. Terrible.


How about this, you don't accuse me of being a mindless groupthinker, and I won't accuse you of being an outsider afraid to bite the hand that feeds you. Deal?

Posted by rb

11:15 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, insulting your audience is not the answer. Maybe some of us got on you about defending White/McLaren, but the "group think" that White is not a Major League pitcher seems pretty damn accurate. And to most of our eyes, McLaren is managing like a moron. That is not because we are all high on caffeine, it is just because we are paying attention.

Posted by oregongal

11:17 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, I always look forward to your blog, though I don't agree with you on everything. You always give a reason for your opinion and sometimes that makes me question my own opinion. There are definite bad nights for postings, and this was one of them. At least the rest of us have the luxury of ignoring whoever we want to.


I've already said I don't agree with Mac's baseball philosophy but I wouldn't fire him. I stand by that. As long as the rest of the management shares Mac's outlook on baseball, there's no real point in exchanging him for someone else who will make on the job learning mistakes. As long as the team motto is "veteran uber alles", it won't make much difference.


On the other hand, if we go in a different direction next year (build a team more suited for the park, for example, or enforce even a tiny bit of plate discipline), I won't be sorry to see him go.


Yes, Mac put Rick oh-my-god White in and I thought it was idiotic at the time. But it wasn't like that was the only mistake the team made. Pitching, defense, and hitting are still done, or not done, by the players. Much as I love watching AB, the game would have been different if he'd made the throw to Vidro to get the DP. And along with the pitching problems, we had 6 LOB. It wasn't like it was a stellar game that tanked with one bad move in the 9th.


The reason I look critically at games that are won is to learn the right lessons to prevent losses like this one. I'm afraid the Mariner management doesn't always do the same.

Posted by EdgewoodPhil

11:22 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff - The mistakes John McLaren made by not walking Vlad Guerrero intentionally Tuesday night and then not bringing George Sherrill into the game to face Garret Anderson are still haunting him. How?
(1) Instead after the damage was done McLaren used Sherrill to pitch the 9th inning Tuesday when the Ms were losing 10-6 which means today Sherrill pitched for the 3rd day in a row and was ineffective.
(2) McLaren publically criticized Eric O'Flarety for not striking Garret Anderson out in Tuesday's loss and then expects him to win the game with Cleveland with the score tied in the 9th. Is that the correct way to handle a young pitcher? Obviously not.
(3) McLaren brought Rick White into Tuesday's game instead of a well rested JJ Putz and now has compounded that error by using White three games in succession with devastating results. White may have some velocity but all of his pitches are thigh high and up and belt level 93 mph fastballs get hammered by major league hitters.
I agree with you about not using the closer except in save situations but when you only have Putz or White there is no real choice. You mentioned Dave Cameron will be on KJR and I guarantee you one of the first things he will point out is the front office error in evaluating and then signing Rick White. I would not be at all surprised if White was optioned to Tacoma at least for the day as he has no business being on the playoff roster. Actually I'm curious about the make-up of the Mariners' playoff roster which must be set Friday. Any ideas or have you heard any rumors? All of this playoff talk is quickly fading to wishful thinking but the Mariners certainly won't need 12 pitchers if they do make the playoffs.

Posted by Adam

11:23 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff - those who call you names need to grow up and leave, that's for sure.


As for your "McLaren feeling his way" comment - it really irks me that, in the middle of a pennant race, we have to put up with a manager who clearly is in over his head. It's a slap in the face of these players, who have busted their tails for so long, to be led by such a dunce. They go into each game at a disadvantage because McLaren is their manager. You'll have to excuse me, at least, for not having much patience with McLaren. He's costing us games.


And I strongly disagree with the idea that you shouldn't usually use your closer in non-save situations. What is the more important situation: facing the #4 hitter with the bases loaded in the eighth in a tie game, or facing the #5 hitter with the bases empty in the ninth inning while winning a one-run game?


If you have the best reliever in baseball, you use him in the former situation, rather than hope you get a chance to use him in the latter. I could care less if Putz gets another save this season, just so long as he gets the chance to pitch in the most important AB of the game.

Posted by Will

11:23 PM, Aug 30, 2007

I was majorly ticked off after seeing White walk in the winning run, but a few hours separated from it and I've settled from anger into a vaguely dissatisfied stupor.

It's wrong to shoot the messenger. I'm not happy about the length of the leash McLaren has, but you are right that there won't be any kind of a change for at least the length of 2008. In the meantime, Geoff, I've said it before, but I'm glad you have this blog.

Posted by scottM

11:24 PM, Aug 30, 2007

GEOFF, I don't think you read the 300+ posts on your last blog entry carefully enough. Clearly, there are several idiots in this blog who wanted to blame you for McLaren's decision to bring White in again. This is not some orchestrated mob as you seem to imply. Most of us like the independent minded approach you take. Some tell you not to get defensive, but I like it when you own up to your hyperbole and when you are willing to alter and adapt your positions as the season progresses. This enhances your credibility in my mind.


The mob ire is because McLaren's decision to bring in White was completely indefensible. Indefensible that is if the man had any common sense and if he considered the morale of the team in the event his gamble failed. I've subscribed to your give-the-new-manager-a-chance philosophy, but after the White debacles, I am beginning to seriously wonder about the McLaren's judgment under pressure. If you disagree, that's cool. McLaren still has a chance this season to stop digging his own grave.


FROM THE PREVIOUS BLOG:

from TOM: "But when you have young relievers, and management demonstrates no confidence in them by bringing in lesser (albeit more experienced) players, the young players live down to the expectations of management."

This is an interesting theory, Tom. I've also noticed until very recently, that the relievers have mostly played their worst in mop-up situations and their best when there is something on the line. This helps explain the often mentioned run differential where the M's lose really big but win the tight games. (Until lately).

In addition to your theory, I think the younger members of the bullpen also feed off of the intensity of having JJ Putz pitch every couple of days. When was the last time he pitched, six games ago?

Which brings us to tonight's game. When looking at who was left in the bullpen, why did McLaren not believe that JJ Putz had two innings in him. Especially considering the highly unpredictable alternative--Rick White?

McLaren essentially went for the tie when he had Adam Jones sacrifice bunt. But why did he let this move box him into conventional thinking for his next big move? Stupidly, he bought into the conventional thought that you don't use your closer on the road when tied. BUT JJ WAS RESTED AND HAD TWO INNINGS IN HIM. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE GAMBLE. GIVE YOUR OFFENSE ONE MORE CHANCE.

McLaren is taking rightful abuse tonight for a complete absense of common sense. Even if JJ had failed, there would have never been such an incensed reaction as this.

Wise up, Mac. You're digging your own grave.

Posted by Jason

11:44 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Seriously, Rick White AGAIN??????????? He has pitched like you know what every time he has taken the hill. Couldn't get out of any jam no matter how many chances. Yet he keeps running him out there to no end. The guy is NO GOOD. Is it that hard to see?? Is it??? McLaren tries to take a piece of junk pitcher, throw him out there 3 or 4 times, let him get lit up every time or maybe all but once, then say oh he looked sharp getting that one guy out. First Parrish now his twin White. Put a fork in the M's with McLaren at the helm they are a sad team. Bad leadership and decision making. Talent is there, effort is there, brains....?? hahahahahahahah.

Posted by wedgwoodwillie

11:46 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Bravo, Geoff. That was one from the gut, and I appreciate it.

I was saying the same thing a couple of nights ago. The M's lose a few and a few moves by the coach backfire and he's "an idiot." Suddenly, all the fat-behinded, sit-behind-desk-all-day, former slo-pitch softball players know more about baseball than a guy who has spent his life in it -- and had success everywhere he's gone.

It's whining and it's annoying. And it brings the blog down.

There's no realization (or admittal) that the M's are a better than average team, an over-achieving team, and that the Angels are simply better at this point. Bavasi has made the team better. These guys are close. What would these same fans be saying, if Felix had broken out this year like many people expected? Say, he had 16 wins instead of 10? The M's would be a half-game up on the Angels. Or more if 1-2 wins would have come against the Angels.

And those same fans would be saying that Bavasi is a GENIUS -- and, no doubt, slappin' themselves on the back, talking about how they "knew it."

"Front-runners" -- is that the term for it? I don't know that it's that simple. I moved in 1988 from LA. I was immediately struck by what a "small-town" mentality the place had. A real focus on the hometown team, pull for them at all costs, and not much knowledge or care about the national perspective, where things fit in.

Much has changed. But this town is still in transition. It's still trying to become a bigtime town. And not always sure it wants to be (think Sonics, struggles to get Safeco done). In many ways, I see a parallel between the M's franchise and their fans. The team is in transition, too. It's starting to play with the big boys on salaries. It ventured out with a few recent free agent signings -- Jose Guillen in particular stretches the M's way of thinking. A passionate, fiery guy who isn't always hunky dory smiles in the clubhouse and in the community. I say he's the team MVP, though, for his clutch hitting, insistence on playing tough (from himself and others). (by the way, someone compared him in this regard to Carl Everett -- not even close. Everett did nothing here).

How do the fans here mirror this? I can't exactly put my finger on it. But there's something about going into the tank when the team hits a bad stretch and lashing out. So much hurt turned to blame. Hurt feelings or something. Taking it personally? I don't know but the venom is surprising and doesn't make for good blog reading.

This is a good team. It's taken more than a big step this year. I agree that McClaren is finding his way. Partly as a manager but in large part finding his way with these players and who can do what. But the vitriol and dismissiveness -- I don't get it, don't agree with it, and it's pretty much a drag.

My focus is all about can these guys find the pieces, push the right buttons and slip into the playoffs and throw the dice. The interesting conversations, to me, are what those moves and buttons are. It's a fun game -- until someone starts flippin' over the board and stomping out of the room.

Go M's.

Posted by Idaho Invader

11:49 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Seriously Geoff...


Just how much alcohol would it take to make YOU put in White ahead of Putz in that situation?

Posted by dave p

11:51 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff, you do realize the team is on a 6 game losing streak in the most crucial part of the season, right? This has been no mere string of bad luck, bad bounce here and there. This has been a week long ass kicking of epic proportions.


The Mariners playoff chances have gone from 60% to less than 20% in that span. Chances of winning the division have gone from 20-30% down to about 1%. This is not something that a "hot streak" will fix, unless the hot streak is about 30 games.


I wrote it elsewhere and I'll write it again. McLaren and Hargrove are cut from the same cloth - old-school dinosaur baseball guys who get easily outmaneuvered by smart managing. You weren't here last year when we wnet through the 11 game losing streak when, oh, who was the manager? Oh yeah, a certain Mike Hargrove.


Grover and Mac have looked identical during the losing streaks - deer in headlights, unable to make a right move if their lives depended on it.


As a 13 year season ticket holder I expect better management all around. Sure, replacing McLaren with some other third rate talent wouldn't improve the situation, but then nobody is saying that hiring third rate talent is a requirement.

Posted by First-time caller

11:52 PM, Aug 30, 2007

I agree about bloggers' group-think and the crazy meanness of certain M's blog.

But really, Geoff -- have you every managed a bullpen? I haven't either.

Regardless, saving your "closer" for a "closer situation" -- i.e., one in which that closer can get a save and seal a win -- is a decadent trend whose time has come to be gone.

LaRussa would've pitched Eckersley instead of a Rick White, if this was a '90s A's game.

Torre would've pitched Mariano Rivera in this situation.

Goose Gossage? He probably would've been in there already, and ready to last another 2 innings. Same with Lee Smith. And Bruce Sutter. Even K-Rod, as we've seen in the past few years.

None would walk in the winning run, especially one night removed from playing the goat already.

If you're a Mariners fan and not questioning McLaren's decision tonight, you're not paying attention. Having lived long enough in this city to know that people paying attention to the Mariners but a recent occurrence I'd say celebrate the dissenting bloggers. They sure have more to say than D-Rays' writers.

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:53 PM, Aug 30, 2007

I don't like the make up of this team,and here is why.
We learned from watching the big hackers in the 90's that lived off the long ball,that those types of teams can't win when it matters.
We learned when we won 116 games that pitching and timely clutch hitting was the best formula we have seen in seattle,at Safeco and they had the record to prove it.
Bavasi seems to favor the hackers ,and has reverted to a lineup of free swinging hackers that cant lay off a 2 strike curve in the dirt.
The payroll is tied up in too many free swinging hackers when it should be tied up in Pitching.
The Seattle Manures are not put together right.
We don't have the starting pitching,and we don't have enough bat control.
We have improved over last year but that is about it.
Signing Guillen was a mistake.
He is a classic example of a big hacker that gives up on pitches on the corners,Falls behind in the count,Then whiffs at a 2 strike pitch off the plate. When a top notch starter throwing against us you can pencil it in..
In fact you can say that about everyone except vidro and ichiro.

The Manures need more starting pitching and more hitters that can lay off a two strike pitch off the plate,fight off corner pitches until the pitcher has to come over the plate.
Bavasi has the wrong formula for safeco,and the playoffs.
We might as well move in the fences and put up big home run totals and attract the fans until the playoff chase eliminates another Seattle manure team that does not have what it takes to win in the post season.
We need to face the fact that we have no starting pitching,and have an offense made up of free swinging big hackers that give up on pitches on the corner ,Fall behind in the count,look awful on strike three off the plate.
Rick White needs to cut back on the beer and pizza.
I wont call him a fat tub of goo.
I will let someone else do that.
I will call Mateo a fat tub of goo.
When you put your season on the line,you want someone that helped you get where you got out there...
No offense Rick.

Posted by dave p

11:54 PM, Aug 30, 2007

And, oh yeah, I heartily endorse what C. Peenerson said.

Posted by eternal

11:54 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Geoff - I enjoy reading your blog and i have no problem with you just deleting users/entries that are just insults. Dave over at USSM wouldn't put up with it and neither should you. They don't even require a response. These are discussion boards, not just a place for people to rant the same thing over and over again.

Posted by Bill Swift

11:55 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Mike Schooler, Rick White even wishes he could pitch like me.

Posted by Jason

11:56 PM, Aug 30, 2007

Slip into the playoffs??? I know theres a long ways to go, but the Yankees now have a one game lead, Angels have probably iced the division and ordered their champagne, Yankees are eagerly awaiting 3 Rick White appearances and definitely licking their chops. I mostly like Bavasi. I like the M's squad, I like their effort and their attitude. But McLaren seriously needs his head examined.

Posted by BGR

12:03 AM, Aug 31, 2007

"Does the team get criticized for sticking with him? Or do all the young guys get a free pass?"

Not the only two choices! The world must look strangely random to a guy who attends so closely to such short periods of time. Oh, wow, I flipped a coin and it came up heads TWICE in a row... it must be a rigged coin!

Take the long view. Look at large pools of experience, not this slice and dice b.s. of what has Brandon Morrow done in the last two games, what has Rick White done in three "high leverage" situations, or even what Adam Jones did tonight. Look at the trends that don't vary much over time (e.g., ground out rates don't vary as much as ERAs do). Be analytically patient. Stop emphasizing the predictive power of individual events.

Posted by Jason

12:06 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, I love your work, even when I tend to diasgree, especially about anything involving White. He's not a major league pitcher, other than the fact McLaren lets him throw for the M's. Serious question. Logistics aside, do you think the Mariners would win more games if in game strategy was decided by a fan poll instead of McLaren?? I find McLaren to be rather moronic expecting different results throwing in the same crap reliever. I am fairly certain the fans and bloggers would win more games for this club. Isn't the definition of insanity trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results....??

Posted by Moses

12:10 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, I understand your frustration with the meanness and group-think.

But when the "group-think" differs with your own opinion, and that group-think is well-thought-out, it may pay to question your opinion.

Most of the group-think I've seen appears to be completely right. For example:

- Is Jose Vidro still hot? The case that his hot streak was unsustainable was statistically a pretty strong one. And now he doesn't look hot at all. And he's being played in the field, where he's a huge detriment.

- Richie Sexson had a minor blip of sub-par performance that only stood out when compared to the rest of his season, which has been flat-out terrible. He's now terrible again, and it's possible that he was playing hurt. How many at-bats have been wasted on him, and who should be to blame for that? Especially when a player like Ben Broussard is waiting in the wings, criminally underused? What does it do for chemistry when a player who is not performing gets playing time over a guy who only goes out and performs whenever he gets a chance?

- I understand the sentiment that Adam Jones should sit if the veterans in front of him are hot, even if I don't completely agree. But how badly has his call-up been managed when McLaren is seriously talking about sending Jones to winter ball in the name of giving him playing time? After he tore apart AAA and appears to be ready to help this club, if only he had the chance?

- Frankly, the John Parrish/Rick White decisions have been completely indefensible. The bullpen isn't perfect, but it's still the strength of this team. Why bring in inferior players and use them in critical situations, when you have vastly superior players on the bench? What was the need for Parrish or White anyway? Why go to your worst pitcher in these pressure situations?

These pennant opportunities are precious, why squander them?

- Most troubling, the Mariner decision-making process is completely off-kilter. The Sexson/Broussard situation, the Ibanez/Vidro/Jones situation, the bullpen management, the whole thing reeks of a second-class organization that doesn't approach building and fielding a team in an organized, intelligent fashion.

Some of the blogs that I'm worried you're taking back-handed shots at, such as USS Mariner and Lookout Landing, have taken shots (in my opinion, unfairly) all season for being too negative in looking at these things, and now there's no vindication when they're right.

Perhaps they weren't Chicken Littles after all. It appears they were right.

Posted by JAH

12:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Welcome to the Internet, Geoff. Proof that a million monekys typing at a million typewriters won't write Shakespeare.

But, on the gripping hand, it's so heartbreaking to see the M's start slipping at such a crucial point in their season that fans freaking out is to be expected. Not defending those who made personal attacks, but Lookout Landing has a term for it, called Game Emotion Threads, where nothing said during and the immediate following hours of the game can be taken too seriously.

Posted by Bobby Ayala

12:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007

No...I'm sure Rick White does not wish he could pitch like me!

Posted by Bobby Ayala

12:19 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Did someone say the Mariners might be looking for another bullpen arm?

Posted by JAH

12:20 AM, Aug 31, 2007

*oops, meant Game Thread Emotion. Curse you lack of edit function.

Posted by Bobby Ayala

12:20 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Did someone say the Mariners might be looking for another bullpen arm?

Posted by Bobby Ayala

12:21 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Did someone say the Mariners might be looking for another bullpen arm?

Posted by Mark

12:24 AM, Aug 31, 2007

The fans here and on the other blogs are passionate. And when there's a six game losing streak, it leads to some grumbling. Well, maybe a chorus of people pulling out their hair.

Geoff, I think we all appreciate the amount of work you put into your coverage. You've done an amazing job so far this year. It's just hard for me to see the Mariners make, what seem to me, to be dumb decisions. Of course, 6 game winning streak after this and we'll all be happy.

But c'mon, Rick White? I agree with you more and more about how we needed another reliever at the deadline. And I wasn't completely in agreement at the time. So kudos on that.

Posted by Mark

12:24 AM, Aug 31, 2007

The fans here and on the other blogs are passionate. And when there's a six game losing streak, it leads to some grumbling. Well, maybe a chorus of people pulling out their hair.

Geoff, I think we all appreciate the amount of work you put into your coverage. You've done an amazing job so far this year. It's just hard for me to see the Mariners make, what seem to me, to be dumb decisions. Of course, 6 game winning streak after this and we'll all be happy.

But c'mon, Rick White? I agree with you more and more about how we needed another reliever at the deadline. And I wasn't completely in agreement at the time. So kudos on that.

Posted by thewyrm

12:25 AM, Aug 31, 2007

USSM/LL will never get the respect they deserve, no matter how many times they are shown to be correct.

Posted by eponymous coward

12:28 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Look, the way I see it, you were wrong about White. I think it's pretty clear after watching him be on the mound and blowing THREE Mariner games they had a shot at in five days he doesn't have the skillset to be a quality reliever... which is why Houston dumped him, and why he hasn't pitched for the same team in back to back years since the Mets 7 years ago.

That doesn't mean you're an awful writer, or I don't enjoy what you write, or that I don't value that you're having a conversation with the M's blogosphere... it just means you were wrong. Oh well, time to move on.

What it boils down to is that I'm just not impressed with veteranness as a skill. There are loads of examples where the younger "unproven" player gets it done. It always seems to me to be a copout and lazy thinking when baseball people overvalue "proven" veterans. The fact is a good chunk of "unproven" players can play ball- they have the skills, now they just need the chance. I think it's a good thing when it happens, which is why seeing guys like O'Flaherty, Rowland-Smith, Sherrill and Putz get their cracks makes me happy- and sometimes, like what happens with JJ, we end up REALLY surprised.

Posted by Dave from the Oregon Coast

12:29 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Some of the Mariners' problems are: Inconsistent Pitching. Pitching at the start of the game. Problems with long relievers and set-up men. Pitching mistakes. Lapses in pitchers' concentration. If the pitching was more consistent, things would take care of themselves because Seattle can compete with anyone. Except for, obviously, the Angels, who are just too doggone good right now. As far as this latest game...to battle back from a deficit only to have the pitcher walk in the winning run...yeah, I'd say pitching is a problem all right. One which will really demoralize this team (if they're not demoralized already). Even J.J. Putz is looking more hittable these days. Long season, I guess...

Posted by indiesnob

12:42 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,

I appreciate you as a writer, especially given the track record of past reports.

That being said, I think you're giving McLaren far too much rope. There is zero excuse for him using White in that situation, nor in the Angels series against Vlad. These are critical games, and not the time to be "learning by mistakes" for McLaren. It's also not the right time to throw garbage pitchers such as White and Perish into high leverage situations.

I understand that coaches can make mistakes, and there should be room for error. However, there is zero logic or precedent set for how he has managed the bullpen as of late.

You may think we as fans are too hyper and reactionary, but when you're subject to games being given away due to piss poor decisions, do you really just sit idle and pat poor little McLaren on the head? No, you react with sound reasoning as the crew at USSM and others have done.

Posted by FuManShoes

12:48 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff -

Why give these arm-chair cyber-managers so much credence to begin with? You've been mentioning your blog and others in online and print copy all season and I think it has led, in part, to empowering some very immature people to flame away at will. The "Open letter to Raffy Chavez" incident is a prime example. You blogged about it here and wrote about it in your game stories in the Times and I must say, the tone came across as a tad overenthused that a bunch of stat hacks had inserted themselves into the M's daily operations. That episode empowered a lot of people to believe that they know better how to run an MLB team than the coaches. I'm not saying ignore the blogosphere of which you're a part, but maybe take it down a notch. Fans have gotten their cumupance, and now it's coming back to bite us all with this drumbeat of sour and at times hateful dialogue, if it can even be called that.

Posted by Charles

12:52 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, I appreciate your blog and your insights and I think that most of your readers completely respect you, disagreeing only out of their passion for a team they've loved for many years. Try to understand, though, that for many Mariners fans it's completely dumbfounding when something like tonight happens. It's true that the players ultimately underperformed to cause this loss, but the methods which McLaren instigated did so much to lose the game that it seems as if we're completely voiceless and helpless toward a team we've dedicated a good part of our lives to supporting.

How can you let the (arguably) best player on the team sit on the bench for every consecutive day in a 6 game losing streak? Is it really possible to justify calling for a bunt on a 3-1 count from a player who has been responsible for most of your offense on the day? It doesn't make sense to many of us how someone who cares about the team would do these things?

In the end, one of the reasons you're held so responsible is because you have a voice that reaches much farther than ours, and you seem at times to be the only one in the media who has stepped up at all to ask how this team can truly be better, rather than vacantly accepting every Front Office move and managerial decision as law.

We probably care way too much (I've been a fan since my family moved here from Washington D.C. in 1992 - no Nationals then, but the Orioles were good - and I can only imagine how those who have been with the team since it's inception feel) but it hurts that something you're so invested in is not being cared for properly, and it causes us to do what passionate fans do. Thanks for all your hard work regardless.

Posted by Jason

12:52 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Its really not cyber managing, doesn't anyone else just get the feeling that any time Parrish or White comes in or has come in the game that they simply would not get the job done?? Roster decisions aside, which take a lot more insight and creativity and I can see both bloggers ways and McLarens ways (typically). But does anyone feel that these guys will get the job done? Does management truly deep down have confidence?? You can just see it coming. And did White seriously think he got the shaft on that last call?? That was CLEARLY a ball.

Posted by Jason

12:53 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Its really not cyber managing, doesn't anyone else just get the feeling that any time Parrish or White comes in or has come in the game that they simply would not get the job done?? Lineup decisions aside, which take a lot more insight and creativity and I can see both bloggers ways and McLarens ways (typically). But does anyone feel that these guys will get the job done? Does management truly deep down have confidence?? You can just see it coming. And did White seriously think he got the shaft on that last call?? That was CLEARLY a ball.

Posted by Craig

1:15 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I've only watched one Mariners game this entire year since I've moved to the Bay Area, so my points may not be the best, but as much as you say McLaren is feeling his way about, I don't really see that happening. There seems to be the same static lineup that people complained about with Hargrove, which became more puzzling when Raul and Richie just stunk while two good replacements sat on the bench. It's strange that McLaren is willing to use a very limited sample size in determining which batters a pitcher faces (like Vlad) but chooses to ignore the months long slump of Richie and Raul quick nosedive. Even if Richie does have a "normal" 2nd half breakout, if he's being trotted out every day then there's no motivation for him to work towards that. And maybe a slumping Raul should've meant trying the prospect who got called up in the field, finding out how he performs. But the worst is tonight. I thought they brought up White because Rowland-Smith had improved to the point where he could pitch later innings. White only shone in AAA, rarely ever in the big show. So why put so much trust in him? JJ hasn't pitched for a long while, he needs to get some work in sometime, why not at that point?

Posted by Jacob

1:44 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, I only take issue with one of your points. A closer, being the best reliever on the team, should be used at the most critical times of the game. The save stat was started in an attempt to give credit for this. The stat, however, is badly flawed. The Rangers recorded a save in their 30-3 win.

There is no more important situation, and thus no better time to use the closer, than a 9th inning jam in a tie game. There is no excuse for losing a tight game without using your best rested reliever. If you refuse to use your closer in non-save situations, you are being a slave to a stat. Imagine there was no such thing as the save stat. How would you use your best reliever? Why should it be any different because the stat does indeed exist.

McLaren is not the only manager who fails to grasp the relatively simple idea that your best reliever should be used at the most critical times.

Posted by g

2:43 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Mr. Baker I think you are starting to realize the beast that is blogging. No offense to you but if you expected something more then you didn't do your homework. Check out any team blog or just blogs in general and the comments. People can get pretty nasty because it is so anonymous --- people feel free to let their emotions go. It would be nice for some civil discourse but this ain't college, it's just blogging. Besides all this, I really do appreciate this service you provide because it gives me a lot insight into newspapers, reporters, the sports world, and the M's. Thank you.

Posted by Sean

3:03 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, the thing about the internet is that it enables anyone with a connection to voice their opinion regardless of the validity of their argument. I've been lurking all over the M's blog world for few years now and have seen it happen elsewhere. The thing is, other blogs tend to pull out the ban hammer when things like this happens. If a person has nothing but personal attacks to contribute to a conversation, they should be cut out of it.

Anyways, I would like to say thank you for your fresh view in the Times. Even though I may not agree with all points, I do appreciate what you write.

Thanks again,

Sean

Posted by Gary

3:33 AM, Aug 31, 2007

The way closers are used today is non-traditional. Elroy Face, for example, was often used in tie games, sometimes even in games where his team was a run down. Ditto Mike Marshall & Dick Radatz. The point then was that you use your best reliever when he will have the most impact, not when he will necessarily garner a save.

All that aside, if you want to win a game, you certainly don't use your least proven reliever in a situation where the game is on the line.

That's not just growing pains. In my opinion a fairly intelligent nine year old would have known not to use White in that situation.

McLaren has made this sort of mistake consistently, even predictably. I never thought I would say this, given the hide-boundedness of many upper management types in baseball, but maybe there was a good reason that McLaren wasn't given a chance earlier.

I like his passion but I could outmanage him myself, and I say this with no iota of pride.

Posted by jeffrey

3:59 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Man i had to smoke a big joint after that game. Im so angry i pulled out my gun and cleaned it.

Posted by jeffrey

3:59 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Man i had to smoke a big joint after that game. Im so angry i pulled out my gun and cleaned it.

Posted by Heathcliff Slocumb

4:19 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Rick White wishes he could pitch like me!

Posted by Mr. X

5:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I would never suggest that Geoff should go as far as to use the tactics employed by the Stalinists at the USSR Mariner. That's a bit drastic, IMO. You wouldn't try to debate a 12 year old who came up to you and said that your blog sucks, so there's no need to respond to one on here either. I don't always agree with your opinions, but it sure beats struggling through the fantasy baseball/trivia/hit points and 12 sided dice websites that are out there.


I think it's only fitting that McLaren has his biggest "brain delay" of the season while Mike Hargrove was in attendance. The best way to make sure that White is never used again is for Bavasi to get rid of him. Time to cut that loss.

Posted by Tony in Dallas

5:21 AM, Aug 31, 2007

AUGH! I defended McLaren yesterday in this blog and then he sends Rick White out to lose the game. I saw White trot out to the mound (or in his case roll out to the mound) and I couldn't believe it. I won't be surprised if we don't see much of White the rest of the season or maybe the M's will get smart and simply release him today.


The overall problem? Once again because the starter (this time Horam) couldn't go deep into the game, McLaren was forced to go deep into the bullpen.


This is the fourth time the M's have had a losing streak of 6+ games in a row...the M's ship is sinking fast and so are their playoff hopes.

Posted by oneiric232

5:32 AM, Aug 31, 2007

The difference between Rick White and the Young Guys, Geoff, is that the young guys are the ones that got us here in the first place.

Rick White got fired from a pitching-starved, last place team. Our young guys pitched well enough to get us into playoff position. Our young guys earned the chance. Rick White earned a flier from a desperate GM by sucking really bad and getting fired.

Why should White be given priority as the go-to guy??? Because he's a veteran? Veteran status is nice, but it means **nothing** if he's simply an inferior pitcher.

Rick White is a giant mistake.

Posted by Bob

5:38 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Come on Gee-off,

Mac sucks. He has proved incapable. It has been shown over and over again that Adam Jones should be playing, from defense to hitting, and Rick White was not good when he got here. Rich White should not have been several games to lose to "prove" he sucks as much as he always has sucked.

Posted by Rich

5:43 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,

you do some terrific work, very enjoyable and one of the better off-season aquisitions surrounding mariner baseball,even with no official connection to mariner baseball.

I just hope you aren't to quick to judge our whole batch of fans by the fanatics that unfortunately flock to the blogosphere, and hope to make a couple of points.

1st up Rick White probably never really was an option, and this sort of a summary of Bavasi's tenure. (rich aurilia in place of C-lo Guillen, to 25yr old A ballers for Jamie Moyer, asdrubal cabrera for Eduardo Perez, Freddy Garcia for the proverbial bucket of baseballs, and my favorite the aquisistion of Scott Spezio) As a passionate and sometimes agitated fan, who refrains from public outbursts, the constant milling around with average or below average talent gets really old.

My 2nd, hopefully well described thought, is the manager's tendancy to stick with the vets, or the status quo. You said on KJR (rough summary) that very few of the veterans had earned thier playing time considering the lack of success of the team over the past few years, you are dead on. So with Lopez essentially doing very little or nothing right, and Richie still really unable to find a groove, why is Mac so determined to ride the wave? I realize they are where they are because of the teams overall output, but the mere presence of Jones seems to have sparked the heck out Raul Ibanez, why not use bloomquist and broussard to energize the bejesus out of our slumping left side of the infeild? Why not one of the young arms from AAA (Mark Lowe? injured or not?) to fill Ricky boy's spot?

I think fans would interpret the use of our youngsters as the team using everything they had, as opposed to finding some washed up veteran for the sake of having a washed up veteran. If it wasn't good enough then so be it, but at least we wouldn't be watching an attempt to resurect a career in the midst of a playoff race, that looks bad and gets an angry reaction via the perception of ineptitude (i.e. everyone screaming about Mac-- the Bavasi complaints are lying in wait.)

Posted by Dylan

6:03 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff-

You've done a fantastic job since you have been here. Keep it up. And you are spot on, the Mariners blogosphere is one of the most bitter segments of the internet. The "herd mentality" is in full effect no matter where you look. That's not to say that I agree with everything you say, but like the quote thats mis-attributed to Voltaire, you have the right to say whatever you damn well please. Again, great work.

Posted by Dylan

6:27 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Also, to add:

It is not Geoff's job to question the FO, the manager or the ball boy. He is a reporter, not a fan of the team who happens to run his own blog. I think some people around here forget that.

Posted by NJ

6:37 AM, Aug 31, 2007

You are a moron.

Posted by dave p

6:55 AM, Aug 31, 2007

So Dylan, is it the job of the White House press corps to blow smoke up GWB's ass? I don't think so.


Sure, it's a delicate position because being overly critical can lead to less cooperation and access, but this losing streak is for McLaren what Katrina was to Bush. Blithely giving him a "pass" for gross mismanagement is hardly what I'd call good reporting.


And I'll point out once again that the educated M's blogosphere has called this all year. This is no sudden emotional turn - it's pointing out the inevitable consequences of bad managing after a season of being lucky.

Posted by ms

6:58 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Simply put...

Let Raul DH - too slow and awkward in the field - let Vidro share 2nd duty

Start recruiting a new manager for next season; McLaren is not top management material even though he's trying and his decision making is terrible

Put Ben on 1st and bench Richie with the intent to permanently bench him - past his prime

Send White back to AAA along with that awful chin hair which is a humiliating site to the team and the fans

Bavasi should be replaced after the season; terrible judgment on player selection

The M's front office and ownership should look at the successful teams and copy their ways. Fans have been loyal and made these folks lots of $$ and it's time they think of the people who are spending the money to see good baseball and not rag tag

Posted by ms

6:58 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Simply put...

Let Raul DH - too slow and awkward in the field - let Vidro share 2nd duty

Start recruiting a new manager for next season; McLaren is not top management material even though he's trying and his decision making is terrible

Put Ben on 1st and bench Richie with the intent to permanently bench him - past his prime

Send White back to AAA along with that awful chin hair which is a humiliating site to the team and the fans

Bavasi should be replaced after the season; terrible judgment on player selection

The M's front office and ownership should look at the successful teams and copy their ways. Fans have been loyal and made these folks lots of $$ and it's time they think of the people who are spending the money to see good baseball and not rag tag

Posted by dc

7:10 AM, Aug 31, 2007

May I have your attention Please. We are now convening the members of Mariner nation to declare a new achievement in the organzation. It is time to annoint an honorable member the Mariner front office with the award for the worst GM blunder in the history of the Mariners. For years, that award sat squarely on the shoulders of those fine men who saw fit to screw away players like Jason Veritek, Randy Johnson, David Ortiz, Omar Vizquel, and Carlos Guillen. Yes, they occasionally stumbled upon a winner (Bragg for Moyer) but those types of diamonds in the rough were few and far between.

Folks, we are proud to announce that the mantle has been passed to Bill Bavasi...the baseball expert and highly skilled negotiator who saw fit to trade Rafael Soriano to the Atlanta Braves for Horacio Ramirez.

Congratulations Bill. You're plaque will be sent to you.

Posted by Will

7:16 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,
I hate to call your integrity into question because you seem like a nice enough guy, but if you're still defending McLaren after a debacle like this then you're clearly just trying to maintain your access to him. It's okay, many local writers have to be this way because their jobs are dependent (or a least made a lot easier) by having the manager of a team actually willing to give them quotes and sound bites. But please don't call out your readers for being reactionaries when all they are doing is pointing out an indefensible lapse in judgement by Mac.

He has cost the team a couple games just this week with his bullpen "strategy" and it is unacceptable for someone to be "feeling his way" as a baseball manager DURING A PENNANT RACE. You're right that there needs to be consistency in criticism of this team, but for a manager to continue to make the same mistakes over and over again shows that he just isn't smart enough to make decisions for this team. Sexson should be plattooned, Raul shouldn't bat against LHP (much less play the OF), and Rick White shouldn't be pitching in the majors period, but McLaren continues to do these things because he is a wimp who cowers to any player who has been around for a few years. Maybe he's a nice guy who the vets like, but he clearly should not ever be put in the role of the decider.

If you don't want to call out the McLaren publicly because you wouldn't get the same access as a reporter that is fine. But don't you dare criticize fans (or bloggers) for doing so, we have the ability to be a lot more objective than you because our jobs don't depend on the ability to extract pithy comments from the manager regarding his latest screw up.

Posted by MtGrizzly

7:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007


Nice post, Geoff.

I wonder what the blogosphere would have been like if it had existed when St Pinella was continually bringing Bobby Ayala into high leverate, late inning situations? Or trotting Fassero out for start after start in his melt down, 4 win season?

Posted by Merrill

7:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Who ya talkin' to, there, NJ? At 6:37 am...

Oops, sorry, don't bother wasting your time answering, no one cares what you have to say if that's all you can think of.

Some people above, Geoff, mentioned ignoring the idiots. Please try your best to follow their advice and carry on.

Without going back and reading previous threads, it seems as though a lot of you are giving Geoff undeserved flak for simply trying to explain Mac's side without necessarily taking it. He's simply taking a moderate position. You don't have to agree with it, and I appreciate those of you, above, who have stated your disagreement with civility.

I used to like reading everyone's posts, but time issues aside, the constant whining negativity is a drag. I'm sure you'll all continue to do just fine without me, but I just want to mention before I drop off the earth again that there is a school of thought that "venting" is healthy.

Research doesn't actually support this school. Research shows that you build pathways in your brain of habitual emotional reaction and that you then have a higher and higher probability of following those pathways.

Sort of a self-created predetermined emotional reaction.

Don't get me wrong, I get as worked up and negatively emotional as the next guy, but I've noticed over the years that not only does this not make me happy, but the people around me don't enjoy it at all.

Posted by Mike Eliason

7:21 AM, Aug 31, 2007

As a former Seattleite, this mean-spiritedness and cynicism looks awfully familiar to me, Geoff. We're used to our teams letting us down, so when they do again, it just confirms what we know is true. McLaren has made some bad moves (clearly) but the front office didn't provide much help in the way of a decent short-man. Of course, it was debatable if any wre even out there (see Gagne) but I still say that Bavasi should have lost his job on Ramirez-for-Soriano alone. Anyway, big picture- this slide out of the playoffs was inevitable, the future is still bright, and the fans are still are fatalist cynics.
Bottom line Geoff, quit focusing your posts on the handful of angry weirdos, and remember there is a huge majority who started reading the blog for interesting baseball opinions and insider clubhouse stuff.

Posted by ricofoy

7:30 AM, Aug 31, 2007

So you put Putz in and the game stays tied. The M's don't score in the 10th and then what - throw Putz out there for another inning? If yes, then he has pitched 2 innings in a tied game and you STILL would have to put another pitcher in to either save the game if the M's score in the 11th or to keep the game tied. If that happened then people would be bitching that Maclaren used up Putz in a non-save situation.

McLaren DID NOT make the wrong decision by not using Putz in that situation. If Sherrill and Morrow did their jobs, we wouldn't even be having this discussion

Posted by Terry

7:32 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Concerning the playoffs, the boys in Texas dug us a grave, the Angels threw us in it, the Indians threw a shovel ful of dirt in our face, and the teams on this road trip threaten to bury us.
Concerning Bavasi, Jason Davis, John Parrish, Rick White.....the parade of castoffs dredged up by Bavasi has not been pretty. Just once, I'd like to see a meaningful trade deadline acquisition, some quality
Concerning the manager, I didn't always agree with Lou, Melvin, or Hargrove, but they were competent decision making managers. McLaren's reasoning bewilders me. I have never seen so mistakes running a game compressed into a two month period. We have been caught flatfooted, we have made strategic blunders in the field, we have been outmanaged. All in all, while this season our team has been strengthened considerably, the prospects for post season play looks bleak. And it's quite disappointing, cause I really think it didn't have to be this way. Bavasi and McLaren let us down, period.

Posted by Terry

7:32 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Concerning the playoffs, the boys in Texas dug us a grave, the Angels threw us in it, the Indians threw a shovel ful of dirt in our face, and the teams on this road trip threaten to bury us.
Concerning Bavasi, Jason Davis, John Parrish, Rick White.....the parade of castoffs dredged up by Bavasi has not been pretty. Just once, I'd like to see a meaningful trade deadline acquisition, some quality
Concerning the manager, I didn't always agree with Lou, Melvin, or Hargrove, but they were competent decision making managers. McLaren's reasoning bewilders me. I have never seen so mistakes running a game compressed into a two month period. We have been caught flatfooted, we have made strategic blunders in the field, we have been outmanaged. All in all, while this season our team has been strengthened considerably, the prospects for post season play looks bleak. And it's quite disappointing, cause I really think it didn't have to be this way. Bavasi and McLaren let us down, period.

Posted by Dylan

7:33 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Um, what? You're comparing the beat writer for the Seattle Mariners to the White House press corps? That's nothing short of ridiculous. The White House press corps is PAID TO INCITE CONTROVERSY. Geoff Baker is not. He is paid to report on a team. This is not Pocket Lint all over again, brown nosing the team. Geoff simply doesn't agree with the opinions of a lot of the bloggers out there, and guess what, that's OK. Like he said, it's a lot easier to sit behind a computer and second guess all day than it is to go out there and actually do it. Would I like to see him take the FO and McLaren to task about what's happened? Sure, but this isn't fantasyland. It's the real world.

Posted by Troy

7:34 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff...
I understand your ire at a herd mentality...People are sheep, and they tend to hop on board in situations like this, but I don't think it was a herd mentality or "group think" situation you were dealing with last night. The memory of Mac's questionable and costly decisions against the Angels were still fresh in all our heads. I was angry and befuddled by some of Mac's decisions in the Angels series (especially pitching to Vlad in crucial spots). Last night's blog explosion was far more likely just hundreds of extremely passionate, but frustrated, disappointed, and yes, probably angry FANS venting to ANYONE that would listen (myself included). Of course, I'm calmer now, but still frustrated and saddened by what appears to be happening. Now, being pretty passionate about the M's, I can't exactly lecture on the wisdom of living and dying with every pitch during a pennant race...it's probably a bad thing...but admittedly I do. I watched that game last night hoping against hope that each player that came to bat would get a hit...that each of our pitchers would come in and do the job. I wasn't questioning or criticizing anything until late in the game...when our apparently overworked (or formerly overachieving?) bullpen completely came unglued. Sherrill hurt us with that walk to Sizemore. The two bloop singles afterward?..well..just our luck lately I suppose, but you can't excuse the walk. Morrow only made things worse when he was unable to get Garko. Credit the M's hitters for fighting back again to tie it...but it would have been nice to get a bigger lead earlier...Ichiro struck out in a key situation in the 7th...then Vidro followed suit in the 9th. O'Flaherty hitting Garko in the 9th on an 0-2 pitch was a real killer. I didn't mind AJ bunting...it was essential to get the tying run to third in that situation to give us the best chance to tie...If AJ grounds into a double play in that situation, Mac gets crucified for sure. However, calling for White in that situation in the 9th was clearly a bad move. He'd already worked 3 days in a row. Putz was rested and ready, and accustomed to pitching in those critical situations. Moreso, he had proven to be able to get out of those tough binds. It was obviously the better move to bring JJ in there. I think we, as fans, have an easier time dealing with losses on the field...and respond more bitterly when it seems the players on the field were not put in the best position to win by the old man sitting in the dugout.

Posted by faithful

7:38 AM, Aug 31, 2007

If Clement and Balentien are traded, as you suspect, it certainly causes one to wonder what 'plan' Bavasi really has for the future. There are home grown prospects who could help the team as much or more than some of the 'has beens' now on the team. Long term contracts for journeymen in their 30s who block younger players and eat up millions assures an aging marginal future.

Posted by ricofoy

7:44 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Scottm,

Here's the point I was trying to make on ownership. I wasn't comparing them to Bennett or Schultz. Or even Behring, Argyros or Smulyen. I'm quite familar with bad owners.
However, you can't deny that this ownership group keeps a firm eye toward the bottomline. They're extremely reticent to pay a penny more than what they have coming in. Don't believe they would have the payroll they have if the revenues weren't there to support it. That's fine if this team was their primary asset. But like I said, this team accounts for 1/10 of 1% of their total net worth. If they wanted to, the Mariners could have a team that competes at a high level year after year...easily. But they don't have a burning desire to win..like some owners. They don't hire the best and the brightest. They're more concerned with placating the casual fan who goes to Safeco for a picnic and if a game breaks out then that's a bonus.
Also don't forget that if Safeco hadn't been foisted on taxpayers after they voted it down...this ownership group would be long gone.

Posted by Troy

7:53 AM, Aug 31, 2007

By the way...there was a pretty good article on Fox Sports.com by Kevin Hench that questions the traditional wisdom of not using closers in non-close situations. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7134422

Posted by Garces

7:56 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, my abhorrence for McLaren not withstanding, I have tremendous respect for not only the job you do, but the way you handle your critics.


The one thing I might note is that over at Lookout Landing we have what's known as "GTE," or Game Thread Emotion. Nothing said between first pitch and last out is held against the user.


That being said, folks, back the **** off of Geoff. He's doing an incredible job.

Posted by tony

7:56 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,

I really don't know where you stand. You critized the readers for getting on McLeran for his bullpen decisions, yet you seem to agree they were questionable moves.

I think there are a lot of moves that can be debated and both sides have reasonable arguments but McLeran passing on Putz on Tuesday against the Angels with 2 outs in the 8th and last night against cleveland was flat out wrong. Maybe they still lose both games if they bring in Putz but I think the fans (and very likely the players) would like to have found out. It's an absolute joke.

Tony

Posted by tony

7:56 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,

I really don't know where you stand. You critized the readers for getting on McLeran for his bullpen decisions, yet you seem to agree they were questionable moves.

I think there are a lot of moves that can be debated and both sides have reasonable arguments but McLeran passing on Putz on Tuesday against the Angels with 2 outs in the 8th and last night against cleveland was flat out wrong. Maybe they still lose both games if they bring in Putz but I think the fans (and very likely the players) would like to have found out. It's an absolute joke.

Tony

Posted by Jeff

7:59 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, I do appreciate the blog. I don't agree with everything you believe (mainly trading top tier unproven talent for crappy 37 year old, overly expensive relievers--btw I am more than happy to live with the consequences of not doing trades like that even in a pennant race) but all in all I feel your views are pretty well balanced and well thought out.

Blogs are a tough place. Cyberspace has made it possible for every 95lb weakling who was picked on in school to enter a forum where the nerd is now the biggest backyard bully -- tough, mean, ready to kick everyone's arse.

I've appreciated how you've handled it since if you go to Churchill's or Cameron's blogs, those guys, when responding to posters seem pretty terse, impatient, and even condescending at times. But that is what the verbal meanness will do to someone. I hope that doesn't happen to you.

If I had to say one blog that was totally handled (but now is dead since he's moved on) was Mike Sando's Seahawk blog for the tribune. He had his share of detractors and 95lb cyberspace bullies, but he kept it in good fun, didn't take it personally, and at the end of the day kept posting his articles, opinions, etc. His blog is greatly missed.

I guess what I'm saying is try not to take it personally, because I think more people appreciate your blog than those who don't and keep coming back.

Posted by Adam

8:03 AM, Aug 31, 2007

ricofoy - So let me get this straight: You think it was a good idea not to use Putz because it wasn't a save situation?


I asked this question above: Would you rather have your best pitcher face the #4 hitter with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a tie game, or face the #6 hitter with nobody on in a game you lead by one in the ninth inning?


Why you wouldn't use your best pitcher in the former situation, in a pennant race, no less, is beyond me. But hey, so long as he gets the (S) next to his name in the boxscore, right?


I could care less if Putz gets another save opportunity all year, so long as he's brought in in the most important spot of the game. He's our best pitcher, let's start using him, for crying out loud.


And BTW, Morrow and Sherrill's struggles have nothing to do with Mac's idiocy. He still made the wrong choice.

Posted by Farty

8:09 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Aw Geoff, don't let the bums get you down. This is a nascent baseball town. The passion comes first, then the learned wisdom; I'd say that bodes well for the future. Now, onto the M's: This has been a fun year for sure, but I think they are playing over their heads. The rotation is truly a shambles, but the offense is geared up for a good three year run. So, what do you do? You trade, and build now for a serious run at a world championship. That means you trade young fellas. That means you trade Jones and Clement and whomever to rebuild your rotation, and you do it now (after the season), and you take your shot.
Period. You can't trade Sexson for a pitcher. Nobody wants the new Dave Kingman/Rob Deer. It's value later for value now, and that means making a sacrifice. I say you shout the naysayers down and let your sports expertise shine through, and damn the Jones camp (and be sure to point out how much he struck out at AAA - never a good sign). We are glad to have you! Now, get out there and report!

Posted by Adam

8:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Yeah, forget the near-1.000 OPS that Jones put up while playing half his games in Tacoma. Clearly his K rate held him back...


Let's trade the bum while we still can. Maybe we can get a grizzled veteran who has been through the wars, right?

Posted by Kyle

8:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I think everyone is frustrated because Rick White is starting to throw our season away when he has not been apart of the team all year. If the M's are going to go down, at least go down with the guys that got you here in the first place.


All in all, this team is WAAAAAAAY better than I thought they would be at the start of the season, and while that isn't an excuse for playing poorly down the stretch, it is nice to be paying attention to baseball in September again.


Look, everyone makes mistakes, it's just that when we make them, three million people aren't there to watch them.


Not sure about anyone else, but if you would have told me in April that the M's would be a game out of the Wild Card heading into September, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.


In reality, we have allowed the Yankees to gain 5 games on us in 5 days not once but TWICE since the All-Star break, and we are somehow only a game back. Let's all take a deep breath and get ready for a stretch run and try to stay optomistic.

Sometimes when I read this blog or USSM I feel that people would rather see this team fail miserably to try to prove themselves right than actually see the team succeed. Like people get more satisfaction out of questioning moves/players and having them fail than if the M's just won. The highs aren't high enough and the lows are WAAAAAAY to low. I just don't understanid it sometimes.


Anyways, Geoff, keep up the good work.


Go M's!

Posted by Kyle

8:19 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I think everyone is frustrated because Rick White is starting to throw our season away when he has not been apart of the team all year. If the M's are going to go down, at least go down with the guys that got you here in the first place.


All in all, this team is WAAAAAAAY better than I thought they would be at the start of the season, and while that isn't an excuse for playing poorly down the stretch, it is nice to be paying attention to baseball in September again.


Look, everyone makes mistakes, it's just that when we make them, three million people aren't there to watch them.


Not sure about anyone else, but if you would have told me in April that the M's would be a game out of the Wild Card heading into September, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.


In reality, we have allowed the Yankees to gain 5 games on us in 5 days not once but TWICE since the All-Star break, and we are somehow only a game back. Let's all take a deep breath and get ready for a stretch run and try to stay optomistic.


Sometimes when I read this blog or USSM I feel that people would rather see this team fail miserably to try to prove themselves right than actually see the team succeed. Like people get more satisfaction out of questioning moves/players and having them fail than if the M's just won. The highs aren't high enough and the lows are WAAAAAAY to low. I just don't understanid it sometimes.


Anyways, Geoff, keep up the good work.


Go M's!

Posted by Kyle

8:20 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by scottM

8:22 AM, Aug 31, 2007

from Dylan: "The White House press corps is PAID TO INCITE CONTROVERSY."


Don't insult our Canadian blog host, Dylan. GEOFF has shown far more independence than the oh-so-carefully-screened White House Press Corp that only get called on if their questions meet the propaganda agenda of the President. If you want to the hear suck up take on the M's, then listen to the KOMO 1000 postgame commentary.

Posted by scottM

8:22 AM, Aug 31, 2007

from Dylan: "The White House press corps is PAID TO INCITE CONTROVERSY."


Don't insult our Canadian blog host, Dylan. GEOFF has shown far more independence than the oh-so-carefully-screened White House Press Corp that only get called on if their questions meet the propaganda agenda of the President. If you want to the hear suck up take on the M's, then listen to the KOMO 1000 postgame commentary.

Posted by Gomez

8:23 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, readers give you a lot of flak and I don't think nearly all of it is deserved. Agree or disagree, I still consider you one of the best beat writers out there, let alone arguably the best covering this team.

Keep up the good work and don't let the excess of disagreement and criticism get you down. Bloggers are a highly critical bunch. They just need to realize that you're not the reason this team's struggling, and to get off your back.

Posted by Adam

8:26 AM, Aug 31, 2007

People, click "Post" ONE time.


It will go through.

Posted by Philippe

8:28 AM, Aug 31, 2007

A new day, a new start. We are in this thing to win it. Ms still got it.

Posted by Jim B

8:29 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I've been waiting for the M's to break our hearts all summer and absolutely knew they would. Simply not enough starting pitchers, much as in past years. Until Felix becomes a stud, nobody on the M's "Staff of Aces" (I HATE that ad...) is better than a #3 on a good staff. I never liked Andy Pettite, but man can he end a losing streak. Uncanny.

And interesting that if one holds an opinion contrary to one's own, he's a moron. I'm enjoying your thoughtful opinions, regardless of whether I agree. Many of the responses too.

Posted by Jim B

8:29 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I've been waiting for the M's to break our hearts all summer and absolutely knew they would. Simply not enough starting pitchers, much as in past years. Until Felix becomes a stud, nobody on the M's "Staff of Aces" (I HATE that ad...) is better than a #3 on a good staff. I never liked Andy Pettite, but man can he end a losing streak. Uncanny.

And interesting that if one holds an opinion contrary to one's own, he's a moron. I'm enjoying your thoughtful opinions, regardless of whether I agree. Many of the responses too.

Posted by ricofoy

8:45 AM, Aug 31, 2007

No Adam, I never said that. I already said why I wouldn't have used Putz in THAT situation.
"Would you rather have your best pitcher face the #4 hitter with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a tie game, or face the #6 hitter with nobody on in a game you lead by one in the ninth inning?"
Well, that's not the situation we're talking about. They had Frankie Gutierez up for crying out loud. Even Rick White should be able to get him out. As he should Kenny Lofton.
I'm far from being a McLaren apologist but you can't blame him every time the Mariners lose. The players need to perform too. You can win and win it all with a bad manager ( Jack McKeon, Bob Brenly) but you won't win anything with bad players.

Posted by RonfromBeaconHill

8:48 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I read this blog for the insight of a beat reporter. And Geoff delivers in a big way. Numerous posts through the day, facts to back up opinions, and an interaction with the posters. What more could you ask for it? Nothing.
You want a more partisan blogger, them by all means go read some other blog.
The majority of posters here love the blog as is. It's just there is a core group that post a lot and are complainers. Micro-managers who won't be happy until the M's sweep in a World Series. And until then everyone should be fired, and the lineup should be filled with minor leaguers, blah, blah, blah, waaa, waaa.....


Posted by scottM

8:56 AM, Aug 31, 2007

from ricoroy:
"you can't deny that this ownership group keeps a firm eye toward the bottomline. They're extremely reticent to pay a penny more than what they have coming in. [...] the Mariners could have a team that competes at a high level year after year...easily. But they don't have a burning desire to win..like some owners."


I don't mind ownership groups (or Governments) that keep an eye on the bottom line. Considering his numbers, I don't like what Richie Sexson is being paid, but I do appreciate that this ownership, unlike the other M's owners you mentioned, are willing to offer salaries that allow them to compete. Remember when Seattle was called Major League Baseball's AAA team with all of its best players--Bannister, Honeycutt-- cultivated for the other teams to benefit from when it came time to pay them their market value. That is not the case anymore.


I razz GEOFF for being a mercenary, and I shake my head sometimes and wonder why I expend any energy on professional sports considering how calculated and mercenary the entire system is.


I took pride in the fact, in the mid-70's, that Seattle, without noteable civic corruption, built the Kingdome for $44 million, while New Orleans, one of the slimiest cities in the US, spent $90 million to construct the Superdome. I don't like the way the NBA/NFL/MLB ransom cities to subsidize state-of-the-art stadiums/arenas/ballparks that, in the case of the Key Arena, are obsolete after a handful of years. We taxpayers are getting scr**wed to play these games in our towns. I don't get why the Seahawks and Mariners can't play in the same facility.


Bottomline, though, the M's have a solid ownership group. They are competitive enough to field winning teams. (The FO/on-field management strategies are a different discussion). The system is what it is, and those of us in this blog love the game and with notable exceptions (think Rick White) are enjoying this pennant race. Frankly, I shake my head at the discussions over what the players are paid. Even above average $8mil a year players are making unfathomable amounts of money (one-fifth of what it cost to build the Kingdome).


In other words, I think your energies on this issue, are wasted. Count your blessings, at least we won't be seeing the team in Japan anytime soon.


Posted by byebyeSexson

9:01 AM, Aug 31, 2007

"Brandon Morrow came on and allowed a screaming line drive to left that nicked the glove of lunging left fielder Raul Ibanez for a double that put Seattle behind by a run."
.
Yep, that says, "that nicked the glove of lunging left fielder Raul Ibanez..." There are a lot of bloggers out there that would have had Raul at DH. I suppose we can agree that AJ catches that ball?
.
I suppose everyone agrees that Guillen needs some rest. I would only rest him if he asked for it or went o fer about 10 days in a row. (Kinda Richie-like) Then rest him totally for a day.
.
Lots of places to throw the blame in this one.
.
Any chance Richie is hurt bad enough to go on the DH until about December? Crap, AJ could learn to play first.
.
Someone out there got Richie's percentage for August? I suppose it is better than his .207 season...
.
byebyeSexson

Posted by Bharath

9:03 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,
In the mornings (and, coming to think of it, as the game is progressing) your blog is the first thing I read. You're doing a fabulous job. The M's losing their mojo isn't exactly your fault :)
Second-guessing is unfair, but not when it's even before the outcome. I, like many other fans I suppose, was in disbelief when Flaherty opened the ninth and then followed by (gasp!) White. I don't think even a rookie manager gets a mulligan on that one.

Posted by tayzoog

9:06 AM, Aug 31, 2007

As a younger Mariners fan who has been following this team all year, it's taken me awhile to realize all the ups and downs that a team takes throughout the season. I think that this slump the M's are in is consistent with how the season has gone. Even though we are at a crucial point in the season, the M's are good enough to start the climb back up. It's been obvious that most of the players have been off this past week, so for us as fans all we can do is hope for the best. Ultimately, that is all the power we have.

Geoff, I'm so glad I found this blog. Your comments are right on the money 99% of the time, and your updates are great for when I can't find a TV.

Posted by byebyeSexson

9:11 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, forgot to say, still like the blog and your comments. I agree though that you should ignore the venom a bit more. Many post a "heat of the battle" comment, then come back with an upbeat post later.
You (and many of the posters) make me think about the game and enjoy the game much more than I would without the Blog. Thanks.
.
byebyeSexson.

Posted by ricofoy

9:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Scott,

I'm probably one of the few people around here who misses the Kingdome. I shared season tickets 25 rows up behind home plate when the M's played there. A working stiff like me could actually afford it. Once Safeco opened that ended. Now I go to a handful of games a year - nowhere near home plate.
Yes,I'm still bitter about it.

Posted by dfb

9:14 AM, Aug 31, 2007

All this second-guessing is dumb. McLaren didn't have a lot of options. None of the relievers except JJ have been consistent lately but that isn't their fault for the most part. The M's have needed better starting pitching all year and everyone knows it. While I know you think the M's should have dealt for something at the trade deadline it just wasn't there to be had. As I have posted consistently the M's were overachieving, and doing it quite well, until this point. The thing is they have a 6 game losing streak and they still are only a game out. The M's have come back from this all season and there is little reason to think they won't now, except for maybe exeperience in a playoff race. But they are getting it now.
One last thing, Geoff is right. A lot of people here need to get a dose of realism and act like humans again.

Posted by EdmondsFan

9:18 AM, Aug 31, 2007

The facts:

a) McL brings in JJ in a non-save situation against the Angels where the Mariners were blown out to give him some "work" and where this work will not affect the outcome

b)McL DOES NOT bring in JJ against the Indians because he believes he shoud come in in "save situations"

c) Despite White's "experience", "bloop singles", "bad breaks, etc", performance is what counts in the big leagues. His performance both before he came to the Mariners and since has been sub-par.

d) In post-game interviews, both McL and KOMO talked about White's experience in these situations and the notion of saving JJ for a save situation.

LOGICAL? No.

Posted by silentQ

9:21 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff wrote: "Yes, I know you have passion. Though, I must admit, I haven't always seen this level of passion at Safeco Field, where opposing teams' fans often outcheer the home side supporters. But I understand: sometimes going nuts in public isn't the same as doing it from behind the keyboard."


I feel like it's important to make a distinction here. I am a Northwest native who has followed the M's through the highs and the (plentiful) lows for many years, but I am now living on the east coast. I still watch 90% of the games via MLB.TV, and I rely on this blog, LL, and USSM to be my community of rabid Mariners fans, since we're so few and far between out here. I was yelling at my laptop in the 9th inning last night, and after the game was over, I logged on to see what other people who were as upset as I was were saying. This blog offers those of us who can't go down to the local bar and vent our frustrations with other fans the ability to express ourselves. I agree it's over the top at times, and there is no excuse for name-calling Geoff Baker, who has been nothing short of incredible (on a side note, as someone who works in online media, no other journalist-blogger I've ever heard of actually takes the time to respond to comments directly...this is a huge time commitment and Geoff deserves our heartfelt thanks). For those of us who don't live in the Northwest, blogs are the only way we can express our emotions with people who have even heard of McLaren.


For those of you Seattlites who post here every day: shame on you. You should be at Safeco, screaming, cheering, booing, standing, and clapping. I made it a point on a recent trip back to forgo sleep and drive hours out of my way so I could see one M's game. Although sold out, the game was packed with families who were more interested in the hydro races and the cotton candy vendor than the game on the field. I was the only one in my section standing and clapping--not prompted by the scoreboard--when M's pitchers got two strikes on batters. This is ridiculous. For those of you who live in Seattle, you should be at the games, period. I would be if I still lived there.


Leave the blog venting to those of us who are 3,000 miles away from the place where your voices really should be heard.

Posted by Sec 108

9:31 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Sportswriters come and go. GM's come and go. Managers come and go. Players come and go. Team Owners come and go. Hardcore fans are always there. I refuse to be taken to task by anyone making money off of the game of baseball in any facet. I am one of many who are the reason all of the people listed above are making a nice living being involved in the game of baseball. You can't take the quirky people of the NW? Your problem. We are not going anywhere. This is our home.

Posted by Steve Trout, Steve Ontiveros, Mike Moore, Mike Morgan, Bill Wilkinson, Bill Risley

9:31 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Rick White, Brandon Morrow & HorribleRam wish they could pitch like us!

--former Mariner pitcher mutual admiration society.

Posted by scottM

9:33 AM, Aug 31, 2007

from silentQ: "For those of you Seattlites who post here every day: shame on you. You should be at Safeco"


This is as ridiculous as GEOFF all but treating the bloggers in here as one orchestrated mob (e.g. "MARINERS LOSE: BLOGGERS GO INSANE"). Some in here have season tickets, some have to be selective to spent at least $100 to take their families to the game. And, most absurd of all, virtually all of us, (not Frankie), had to listen to yesterday's untelevised game on the radio. It was in Cleveland. The collective ire at McLaren's decision to bring in White in the ninth was spontaneous.


Your logic is torqued--only people living 3,000 miles away can use this blog. That will help the Seattle Times pay GEOFF's salary.

Posted by silly1

9:36 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Thanks for such a great blog. It is the only one I read everyday. Forget the whiners. Anyone who has followed the Mariners for any serious length of time knows that the Mariners, despite the recent slump, are already Exceeding Expectations. The season, to this point anyway, has been a success and that is despite some pretty amazing and unforeseen obstacles (snow-outs and hargrove abruptly leaving) and not so unforeseen obstacles (pitching, pitching, pitching.)
Lets all just calm down and hope that the team can turn it around like they seem to have done a few times already this season. You never know. This is why they play ALL the games in a season.

Posted by Mariner Optimist

9:39 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Nice summary, EdmondsFan.


Don't get bitter, Geoff. Some people should not go near keyboards when they are grumpy as they type things they would not say in person.


I have seen McLaren's management for two months now, and I cannot recall an in-game management move I really liked (though I'm sure there were some), and certainly none where I said, Wow great move!


The boneheaded moves are piling up, though, and the talk of making him a manager of the year seems even more laughable than it did a week ago. Easy to secondguess, and even more painful to watch.


Groupthink? Because a number of us think JJ Putz should play in a high-leverage situation over Rick White? Hmmmm...

Posted by gribbit

9:47 AM, Aug 31, 2007

"where's the consistency" you ask, Geoff?

The blogosphere is being totally consistent-- White is a horrible pitcher and Richie has been terrible this year. You want us to criticize the whole bullpen because it's giving up runs now? which part of the bullpen is giving up the runs? and the wins? It's the veteran reliever part-- so we're criticizing McLaren for USING the WORST part of the bullpen in high-pressure situations.

As Dave at USSM said today, Talent > Experience. McLaren clearly lacks both, and that's certainly not acceptable at the major league level.

So where's your consistency, Geoff? you say the M's need experience in the bullpen, but an obviously overmatched, inexperienced manager who in your words is still feeling his way is just fine?

Posted by rsrobinson

9:48 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I agree with you to an extent about the groupthink at places like USSM where I've been something a contrarian. But McLaren's game management has been so bad it's becoming almost impossible to take a contrary position on much of it.


Rick White is a 38-year old career journeyman reliever who is years removed from his prime and was was having a terrible year this year against National League pitching before he was released. What part of this equation suggests that White was going to be an effective reliever in crucial situations against American League hitting? There's never been a reasonable expectation that White would be useful as anything more than a mop up reliever so why has McLaren been constantly inserting him into crucial situations? If Rick White is your best option in the ninth inning of a crucial game then you've mismanaged your bullpen.

Posted by Adam

9:51 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Rob Neyer made a great point in his blog today re: Geoff's "McLaren is feeling his way" comment.


McLaren managed in the minors for eight years, and has spent twice that time on big-league benches.


He should know better.


FIRE JOHN McLAREN.

Posted by Bobby Ayala

10:04 AM, Aug 31, 2007

I can pitch better than all of you mentioned above.

Posted by Adam

10:07 AM, Aug 31, 2007

ricofoy - Because it was Franklin Gutierrez and not Victor Martinez, you were cool with using Rick White?


Here's the bottom line. McLaren obviously thinks Putz should only be used if the team is ahead in the final inning. It's a ridiculously stupid strategy, one that clearly hasn't paid off. At this point, given the fact that this team is inferior to the other playoff challengers, we need to maximize every opportunity to win. McLaren does just the opposite. He is a terrible manager.


FIRE JOHN McLAREN.

Posted by Non-apologist

10:10 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff: Maybe it is groupthink to steal a post from Dave at USSMariner, but it really is indisputable that management's continued search for veterans (even, or especially, crappy ones) has killed this team: combined, Reitsma, Parrish, White: 34 innings, 58 hits, 31 runs, 14 walks, 15 strikeouts, and a combined ERA that is 42 percent below the league average for all pitchers (significantly worse when compared to just relievers).

Being old does not equal being good. Learn from your mistakes. Talent > Experience.


Geoff, any team can lose at critical times, and no one really expected much from the Ms at the start of this year. But that does not entitle Bavasi and Mac to a free ride when they continue to make the same mistake over and over again. And no, you don't have to have spent your life working in baseball to see that (just like you don't have to be a chef to recognize bad food)

Posted by Ryan

10:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

J.J. is the best reliever we have. Why the hell was he not used in that situation?? Oh yeah, that's right. It wasn't a save situation. I don't freakin' care when you use him, just use him. Often times the " save" is earned in a situation like that, especially when you are battling for a playoff spot. All that conventional crap should go out the window. Find a way to get the win!!

Posted by Choska

10:15 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Hey Geoff

I totally understand the argument for trading Clement and Vlad for pitching. I was against that, and am still against that, for a simple reason.

The Mariner's Front Office has proven itself completely incapable of judging Major League talent.

As we saw with the Soriano for Ho Ram deal, Bavasi got fleeced. (And the trio of guys he has run out there to replace Soriano have been absolute disasters. The best we can hope for when he makes a deal is that we break even, and usually it takes a career-ending injury happening to the guy we traded away to make it work out like that.

Yeah, more pitching would have helped. Though I'm not sure who those magical pitchers were since nothing was available at the deadline. But even if pitchers had been available, Bavasi and company would not have been able of getting it without getting taken to the cleaners.

Pushing the argument further, even if he had made those deals for those imaginary players, I doubt there would be a game's difference in the standings.

So, yeah, I'm still happy with the fact that Bavasi did nothing.


And judging by the acquisitions he has made He would have traded away key chips

Posted by Ken Griffey III

10:16 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Vlad hits a broken bat bleeder and the coach is now a dork. If Vlade's bat doesn't break, we get an out there for sure, right? And then we are only 3.5 out of 1st place and tied for the wild card. We will sweep them in Anaheim!

Posted by Rick Ankiel

10:17 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Hey, maybe I can still pitch!!

Posted by Sec 108

10:21 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Would people stop calling Vlad's broken bat hit against White lucky please? The ball was crushed! Yes his bat broke, but more from his repeatedly smashing baseballs with it than from anything Rick White did.

Posted by Ryan

10:22 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Person masquerading as Ken Griffey III-


It's more than a broken bat bleeder. Vlad has killed us for 3 years now, hitting well over .400 against us. John McLaren has made several boneheaded decisions that have cost us alot of games. He's way in over his head. I will now say it.


FIRE MCLAREN!!

Posted by Jake Squid

10:31 AM, Aug 31, 2007

You know, McLaren was being criticised while the M's were hot. Criticised for exactly the sort of ignorance that leads to putting Rick White in the game in high-leverage situations. So the criticism of McLaren's lack of in-game strategic ability is not something that just appeared during the current losing streak.

The man has been a professional baseball coach and manager for over 20 years. There is no "feeling his way" excuse given his experience. Either you know baseball strategy or you don't. Sure, you can learn, but if he hasn't figured it out over the past two decades, what makes you think he'll figure it out soon?

(Note: Criticism does not mean that one is not a fan. We criticise because we care and want to give the team the best chance to win.)

Posted by thewyrm

10:32 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Had a nights sleep and I have to say I am still very offended by your comments last night Geoff. It is absolutely absurd that just because I agree with the overwhelming majority of posters about the job Mac has been doing that I suffer from groupthink mentality.


Yeah, the fans have SafeCo lack passion somtimes, you know why? 'cause the Mariners have been aweful for 30 years. I have said before and I will say it over and over again. Winning is a state of mind. Until we get a competant GM and Manager who can use the payroll and HUGE geographic fanbase of the pacific to win pennants, northwest the fans will never become passionate. PASSION IS BORN IN OCTOBER.

Posted by thewyrm

10:36 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Sorry that last paragraph was a little disjointed. Typed a little to fast. That line should read . . . HUGE geographic fanbase of the pacific northwest to win pennants, the fans. . .

Posted by 1 m's fan

10:44 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,
Thanks for the blog. It's very good reading and even when I disagree with your insights I respect your opinion. Please ignore the reactionary elements herein and focus on the baseball. For the morons: It's always easier to second guess moves after the game is over. The fact is that any one game is still just one game and until the M's are out of it totally we have an interesting forum for discussion. At least those of us who want to have an interesting discussion rather than vent. To those who feel the need to vent, go buy yourself a typewriter and bang away on the keys all you want. Just leave this blog to serious baseball talk and fans. And don't think you are better than McLaren or those out on the field. You are not. They are the best players at their positions for their entire careers and that is how they are playing in the show and you are typing behind the scenes. The fact that we are even discussing the playoffs and the M's in the same sentence after many previous Septembers where the highlight was watching the call ups shows that there is a reason to be optimistic. The schedule, while it may appear to favor NYY, has to be played out to the end. And the M's are still in the chase. Let your venting go away. One game at a time. One game out of 162 per season. One season where we are still in it in September. Go M's!!

Posted by Scott

10:49 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff:

Welcome to our little corner of the baseball world.

I've never seen so many people on the ledge, ready to jump over a friggin' baseball team. I'm passionate about the M's, too, but get real people: it's only a game. Mariners baseball doesn't define my life. I'm happy when they win and I'm sad when they lose...but when I walk out of Safeco or away from my TV, I get on with the rest of my life. Which is way more important than Rick White walking in the winning run.

What I'm trying to say: get some perspective.

Your blog and game reports are terrific -- don't let the goofballs get you down.

Posted by thewyrm

10:53 AM, Aug 31, 2007

- 1 m's fan


As has been pointed out NUMEROUS times, but I guess I have to don so again, it is only second guessing if you do so after the fact. I, for one, knew the second Mac made the call to White it was an inexcusable call. I didn't need to wait for White to blow the game to come to that conclusion. It is the fact that McLaren, a man paid to understand and use basball strategies did not, that caused the explosion of anger last night.


There are many times when fans fall victim to bouts of insane Hyperbole, you know "If I was managing this team. . ." This time it is not hyperbole, it is just simple truth.

Posted by Shoan8

10:54 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Well, today's the last day to set playoff rosters. I hope Mr. Bavasi is out there looking to add an arm or two, if he expects to get these M's in the playoffs.

White was clearly on the waiver wire for a reason. Isn't there some way Morrow can pitch more than one inning? I thought he was penciled in as a future star starting pitcher? Not a bullpen hack.

Geoff, I still remember your Ballard Bridge analogy for Mr. Bavasi. Wouldn't Jaime Moyer's guile look pretty good in the rotation? Then Ramirez (or Soriano, because you wouldn't need to trade for Ramirez, if you hadn't traded Moyer for the Andrews) would be available to eat up innings in the pen. Or Soriano would be in the pen to close down the 8th, shortening games (now there's an original thought...) sigh...is Cha Seung Baek ready yet?

Posted by dave p

11:05 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Scott, when you say, "I'm passionate about the M's, too, but get real people: it's only a game." you ignore the fact that many M's fans buy season tickets that cost a lot of money.


Mine are $3200 for two seats for the year. Are we guaranteed results? No, but this is actually a business transaction as well as an entertainment one. I also subscribe to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and you can bet your ass that if they put out a product as inferior as we're seeing now with the Mariners, they would be out of business rather quickly.


Then consider that the Mariners have taken advantage of the opportunity to sell playoff tickets to season ticket holders in the last two weeks. $2280 for 2 seats. Sure, most of that money will be refunded if we don't make the World Series, and all of it if we don't make the playoffs, but guess what? The mariners want that money by Sept 4, and if we don't make the playoffs we don't get it back until November.


Thus, you couldn't be more wrong - it is way more than just a game.

Posted by Terry

11:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, As far as I am concerned, I am glad you are calling out the so-called fans of the NW. Perhaps, they are just getting used to what being a fan really means. For too many, it means supporting the team only if they win and staying away in droves if they don't. I have been a baseball fan all of my life. Mariner season ticket holder since I moved here in 1991. I don't like losing streaks, errors, bad trades, underperforming millionaires any more than anyone else. However, the fans should be looking around the league a little more intelligently. If they did they would notice that this is a team who has improved greatly over last year. It has a financially stable and committed ownership who responsibly invests in their ball club. All of this boorish behavior by too many fans does not escape the attention of the rest of the country. Every time we boo Richie Sexson for advancing a runner or failing to make an impossible catch of a foul ball as we did on Sunday only exposes our ignorance of the game and our spoiled behavior when we don't get our way. I wish the Mariners would make every play correctly and never miss on the signing of a player. Mostly, however, I wish that some of these so-called fans would pull thier collective head out of thier butts and enjoy watching a pretty good team doing every thing they can to win a pennant.

Posted by Terry

11:13 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, As far as I am concerned, I am glad you are calling out the so-called fans of the NW. Perhaps, they are just getting used to what being a fan really means. For too many, it means supporting the team only if they win and staying away in droves if they don't. I have been a baseball fan all of my life. Mariner season ticket holder since I moved here in 1991. I don't like losing streaks, errors, bad trades, underperforming millionaires any more than anyone else. However, the fans should be looking around the league a little more intelligently. If they did they would notice that this is a team who has improved greatly over last year. It has a financially stable and committed ownership who responsibly invests in their ball club. All of this boorish behavior by too many fans does not escape the attention of the rest of the country. Every time we boo Richie Sexson for advancing a runner or failing to make an impossible catch of a foul ball as we did on Sunday only exposes our ignorance of the game and our spoiled behavior when we don't get our way. I wish the Mariners would make every play correctly and never miss on the signing of a player. Mostly, however, I wish that some of these so-called fans would pull thier collective head out of thier butts and enjoy watching a pretty good team doing every thing they can to win a pennant.

Posted by Lance

11:16 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, thank you for your analysis of the flamers. Let them go to 'Seattle Hardball' with their nastiness, where they belong. Or, stick with their own kind at blogs that only say what they want to hear/read. They sure don't belong here.
.
Funny, these people whose entire knowledge of baseball couldn't fit into Mike Hargrove's little finger and the venom they spew and the culture they wrought were probably a large part of why he finally threw up his hands and said "no mas!" to the job.
.
Without the actual physical gesture (in public, anyway) Hargrove told the Mariners Nation they could, well, you know.
.
Now, instead of having a manager with pennant race and World Series experience we're left with a first-time manager who is still feeling his way through the job, and it shows.
.
When I think of these blog flamers it reminds me of a saying that's quite apropos, I believe.
.
Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool then to speak and remove all doubt.

Posted by dave p

11:24 AM, Aug 31, 2007

OMG, if you think Hargrove ran away because of a few bloggers, then he's a way bigger wuss than anyone could have possibly imagined.


Geez, the groupthink around here is coming from the idiots that think that the Mariners are doing a bang-up job of managing the team.

Posted by Lance

11:36 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, your blog has really taken off, and rightfully so. As such, your employer should invest in a webmaster to edit comments and discard the worthless ones. That would certainly help to allow its readers to be able to more easily focus on the worthwhile comments.
.
Also, creative handles are fine. But, taking on a persona of a well-known individual that isn't their own should never be unallowed. Names like "Rick White", "Mike Schooler", "Billy Swift", and "Bobby Ayala" should instantly be banned unless they can prove that's who they truly are.
.
It would be nice if people could be trusted to act responsibly on blogs, but that's not possible, as it isn't in society. That's why addition measures need to be taken so that responsible people can continue to enjoy the forum. Otherwise the bloggesphere will quickly sink to the lowest form of communication, if it isn't headed in that direction already.

Posted by Scott

11:38 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Dave P -

Sorry to disagree...it IS only a game. I'm a season ticket holder, too. Our investment provides us with the opportunity to see MLB -- but with no guarantees of wins and World Series titles. When I go to a play, I have no guarantee that's it going to be a great show. But I am guaranteed I'm going to be entertained for two hours. Just like I am at Safeco Field.

And by the way, even in the midst of a five game losing steak, we still have one of the best records in baseball.

Posted by MrMitra

11:38 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff,

As I am sure you have read this similar line of thinking at USSM, what is the point of blindly starting and inserting clearly declining veterans? Popular belief is that if Adam Jones started on a regular basis the clubhouse chemistry would catastrophically suffer. But look at the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Red Sox inserted Papelbon as a closer despite the presence of struggling veteran Keith Foulke. If the Sox would have only occasionally used Papelbon, say every week or two in throw away situations, my bet is he wouldn't be nearly as dominant as he is now. They started rookie Pedrioa worrying about stepping on someone's toes. The Yankees have been looking internal at their rookies to solve their pitching problems, not shifting through the dumpster for a long since defunct veteran.

Rick White does not have a future with this team. He will be lucky if he is even on the roster when the season is over. It's obvious he's not an improvement to this team and he's not going to get any better. If someone like Morrow, Sherrill, or Green end up blowing a game, it still sucks but they have a future in this organization. At least they are learning to pitch in crucial situations.

On any other contending team if a player is struggling like Richie Sexson is, their manager will not give them all season long to find themselves again. Especially when we have someone perfectly capable on the bench in Ben Broussard. Or Vidro or Ibanez can play first, and Adam Jones can get some much needed playing time in LF.

Don't give any excuse that Adam Jones is not a proven athlete. He has demolished AAA this year. Countless scouting organizations have rated him as one of the top prospects in the league. Just because he performs below expectations in his rare starts doesn't mean he isn't ready. I bet you if we only started Ichrio 3-4 times a month that he would start sucking too. The only way you can expect Adam Jones to live up to his expectations is to have him start regularly.

You have said the people Jones would replace don't deserve being replaced yet. Fine, I don't agree but they don't have to sit. Richie Sexson is benchable and both Ibanez and Vidro are capable of playing first. No one on a "hot streak" gets benched and Adam Jones gets playing time. Tell me why this wouldn't work.

Posted by dave p

11:50 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Scott, then you are way more easily pleased than I am.


I was at the 6-0 spanking on Monday. I would have had more personal satisfaction from poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick. I was also at the July 31 8-0 Lackey CG SHO. Sure, taht happens, but put ion a larger context, the team is a money making machine that can't duplicate the success of teams with half the payroll (e.g. the A's - who don't do it with smoke and mirrors.)


And, oh by the way, it's a 6 game losing streak where our playoff odds went from 56% to 14% and our chances of winning the division went to just about zero. The team is a .500 club that got lucky in the first half. And the fact that the NL is a hodge-podge of random crap hardly makes the Mariners look better.

Posted by Nat

11:55 AM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff- sorry you felt picked on last night. The answer to that is banning certain posters for a time. But you also insult us by saying we exercise a certain level of group think. The truth about McLaren's move to go for JJ or Rick White is that it wasn't JUST another boneheaded move by a new manager "feeling his way" but the fact that it simply lacked common sense. You don't have to be around the game of baseball for twenty years to recognize a move that lacks common sense. I think it scared a lot of people to realize that after your manager weighs the pros and cons of who to bring in that situation, that's what he does. It translates to a loss and we all saw it coming. Everyone saw that coming! How could McLaren makes such a mind-numbing move? That's the reaction you got from us on this blog last night, what you call groupthink! A reaction to a manager who lacks common sense.

Posted by Sec 108

12:08 PM, Aug 31, 2007

A game is when I go to the park and play Frisbee Golf with my wife and friends. Major League Baseball is a business based on an athletic contest. If it was just a game would a Canadian move here to cover the team? Would the roster have players from Japan, Cuba, Australia, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic if it was just a game?

Posted by Trev

12:21 PM, Aug 31, 2007

Do you realize you just called people who are DISagreeing with the traditional management of this baseball team "group thinkers?" That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Isn't it possible that a bunch of people just saw the most critical part of our season go down the toilet while arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball rode the pine and decided, "hey that was an incredibly stupid thing to do."

The ridiculous "closer" role was started because it is logical to save your best pitcher for the most critical part of the game. But what some people don't understand is that sometimes the most critical part of the game comes BEFORE the ninth inning of a game you are winning.

Failing to apply this logic while managing your bullpen is called being a "group thinker," and buying into tradition instead of using your own logic while managing your bullpen.

Go ahead and add hypocrite to the list of names you've been called.

Posted by Lance

12:42 PM, Aug 31, 2007

"But, taking on a persona of a well-known individual that isn't their own should never be unallowed."
.
Oops. I obviously meant 'never be allowed'.

Posted by Utis

1:51 PM, Aug 31, 2007

It is human nature to look for scapegoats. It is easy to (justifiably) pick on McLaren for his use of Jones and the bullpen. That is not the primary reason the team is struggling, however. The primary reason for the slide is that the patchwork starting rotation faltered at a key moment and the offense ran out of power (not enough XBHs). On offense, we did not get what we needed from Sexson, Ibanez, and Beltre. Batista, Weaver and Felix faltered at a crucial time. We needed Felix to be a stopper and he did not come through.

Mac's and the FO's biggest mistake has been the inability to find better starters and to utilize the bench more (to keep the veterans fresh for the stretch run). I question but do not blame the FO for sticking with the veterans. Mac and the FO's mistakes could have been survived, however, if the big guns on the team had performed at their expected level.

This is a flawed team. Some luck and above average performances from the players who are expected to produce will be needed to make the playoffs. Felix needs to pitch like a #1 pitcher, the other starters need to pick up their game, and someone needs to hit for power.

It may be too late to catch the Angels and keep up with the Yankees. Even if we don't, there is no denying that it has been an exciting season and a step forward. If we fall out of the race, I look forward to watching Jones and Balentein paly in more games.

Posted by Ann

2:03 PM, Aug 31, 2007

I get so sick of hearing the stereotypical caffeine comments. The game sucked, the loss hurt. The fact that Rick White was left in with the bases loaded when Putz was available to pitch in that situation was absurd.

Posted by joefedill

2:46 PM, Aug 31, 2007

I'm sick and tired of this. McClaren needs to go and he needs to go now. Anyone who had ever managed a single Little League game would not have put Rick White into the game.

And Sexson is a bust. I don't care if he's hurt. I'll be his every plate appearance the rest of the year.

I'm sick and tired of all of the excuses these guys make. It's time to win some ballgames. Just get it done. Stop all the talk and just win some games.

McClaren should start only making moves that work -- no more decisions that don't work. Sexson should start hitting the ball with power and close the many holes in his swing. Ichiro isn't immune here either -- he can start hitting for more power and a little higher average.

I won't tolerate this. It's indefensible and just plain wrong. Bottom line, the teams needs to start getting more hits and pitching better and -- the bottom bottom line here, folks, so listen closely -- winning some DAMN games by scoring more runs than the other guys.

It's not that hard!

Posted by Marysville

2:51 PM, Aug 31, 2007

While I agree that the Seattle fanbase may be a bit different than others, I feel it is because we never win anything! While I am only 23 years old my life as a Seattle sports fan has been one of agony. When I was young is when Griffey first started getting big time. The losses piled up until 1995 and then the magic happened and we won the magical series against the Yankees. I was at the playoffs series and I still get goosebumps whenever I think about it. That was the first time I truly got to feel what a winning team was like. However, the magic ended quickly against a better Indians team. Then in 2001 the wins kept coming and coming but towards the end of the season baseball people could see the players starting to tire, and Sasaki's splitter wasn't doing much splitting. Once again, record amount of wins, end result, disappointment. The Sonics used to be good, but ran into Michael Jordan and the force that was the Chicago Bulls. Once again disappointment. How about the Seahawks? Years of being terrible and finally have a good thing going then we get jobbed in the Super Bowl. Disappointment again. Meanwhile I am a lifelong Coug fan and a current student at WSU so I don't even need to get into our agony. In between all that we lose Griffey, A-rod, Randy Johnson, Lou Pinella, Gary Payton, Joey Galloway is a bust, Rick Mirer is a bust and now we have the Mariners. Giving us a good ride and now it is all crumbling down because of poor management. So yeah, I would say I have some venom. I am sick and tired of losing year after year. I'm also tired of the M's doing nothing about it. The Seahawks have changed, the Sonics are leaving but the M's do nothing. The FO is more concerned with family atmospheres, hydroplane races on the reader board, and rally fries. Nothing against you Geoff, you write a great blog and I look forward to reading your opinions every day but I think you can sum Seattle up as being sick and tired of being taken for the same old losing ride.

Posted by Anna11

5:06 PM, Aug 31, 2007

Geoff, we love you. Really. We're just a bunch of cynical folks who have seen our Mariners fall flat on their faces one too many times. All that hope just died after the 2001 season, when the "anointed" Mariners won 116 games but didn't get anywhere in the playoffs. I'm sure you're taking everything we have to say with a rather large grain of salt. I am too.

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