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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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April 24, 2008 11:42 PM

M's lose a gut-wrencher

Posted by Geoff Baker

safe0424 036.jpg

I see some of you are already calling it a season, so I'll keep this brief. Yes, the offense did go AWOL in this 8-7 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. You can't score four runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead, then allow yourself to be outhit 12-5 through 6 1/2 innings. You've got to step on the other team's neck and crunch when you've got a foot on them. That's what winning teams do. This team isn't doing that yet. Didn't do it in the last two games against Baltimore. As a result, the M's have their first series loss at home.

Sorry, I'm not going to eat crow on the Erik Bedard trade on April 24 with the Mariners three games behind the AL West leaders. Yes, Adam Jones had a big night. His second one this year. Going into the at-bat, the Baltimore types who cover the O's felt it was a good decision to leave Mark Lowe out there to face Jones because the latter had been swinging too anxiously the first few weeks and seemed vulnerable for a strikeout.

Lowe made Jones look overmatched the first two pitches. But he couldn't finish him off. As I said, it was a good at-bat for Jones. No one says he is not going to be a good player. As of this morning, his .632 OPS wasn't going to make any hypothetical, marked difference on this team. Sure, you can argue that we can't tell how he'd have done playing here in Seattle up until now. But then, if you want to use that logic, you also can't say that he'd be demonstrably better than anyone else Seattle has offensively in his first full year. So far, in the only at-bats we've seen, he hasn't been. If you want to argue the merits of a.632 OPS versus a .546 OPS, I really can't help you. It's one more double and one home run spread over 22 games.

Yes, George Sherrill is pitching very well. The Erik Bedard trade did not look good on the M's tonight. But again, it's still only April 24. This team has cast its lot with improved pitching and we have to see how that pans out over the long haul. Those who aren't patient enough to wait around, you can always wait for college football to start, or go watch the hockey playoffs (big win by the Habs tonight). The rest of you, catch your breath, put the burning pitchforks down and try to pace yourselves.


"I'm not putting this on anybody but us,'' Mariners manager John McLaren said, when asked about the calls by plate umpire Casey Moser in that seventh inning, leading to his ejection.

"When you've got a 5-0 lead, you've got to slam the door and get it done,'' he said. "We just didn't do that.''

No they didn't. Doesn't matter if it was Sherrill closing the ninth, or someone else. When a team hands the closer a lead in the ninth, he usually finishes off the game. Yes, Sherrill is a fantastic reliever. One of the better ones in baseball. The Orioles were not going to hand the Mariners their best starting pitcher for nothing in return.

Some of you quickly forget how, even with Sherrill and J.J. Putz in this bullpen last year, the M's were an 88-win team that finished second. Many of you felt it was only a 79-win team that had fluked off the 88 victories. So, how did you expect to build on that while keeping everyone together? Waiting for the answers. I know, I know, while Adam Jones was hitting 40 homers and Jeff Clement was becoming an all-star and Wladimir Balentien as well.

And then, when No. 2 starter Jarrod Washburn or Miguel Batista got knocked from a game early -- or some Jeff Weaver type got rocked -- and Wlad, Clement and Jones had to hit their way out of a 6-2 deficit three nights out of every five, what then? What would be the plan?

This team had a plan going into the season. It built a very good pitching staff. The guy who is supposed to be the best part of that pitching staff has been hurt. Until we see what he's about, over a prolonged period, we can't make a definitive call about how the long-term is going to go.

This team has offensive woes it must figure out. This is still an ongoing trial period where players are getting a shot to prove themselves. It's not July 15. It's April 24. Jose Vidro drilled a ground ruled double tonight, good for two-runs just like the Jones double. Does this mean you now want to keep Vidro around all year as DH? Is anyone going to "eat crow'' over anything said about Vidro so far? Of course not. Let's not be ridiculous.

But yeah, this loss hurts. The A's are in town and the M's trail them by three games. Winning this series has become imperative for Seattle. Don't trust me on how bad this loss was. Hear it from Ichiro.

"Disappointing is not the word,'' he said. "Painful is the word.''

I know some of you are pained and disappointed tonight. You should be. This was not a performance to be proud of by the home side. But it's still just one game for a team now 11-12. I know this sounds like a broken record, but it's still too early to demand wholesale changes and firings. Way too early. When will it not be? Depends on the team and how the starting staff and bullpen kicks it into gear after a couple of weeks throwing together as a full unit. Could take time. Not sure some of you are up to it, but too bad. This is not a game for the faint-hearted who duck and cover at every sign of trouble. It's a long season. From what I've seen, this team has the pitching talent to make noise in the AL. It has to get the bats figured out and once it does -- supplying even average offense -- the wins should pile up for this club.

I do believe that or I would not be trying to tell you this. When I see trouble signs, like Bedard going out for the season, oir the club refusing to make changes by late-May while carrying a bunch of .600 OPS hitters, then I'll let you know as well.

The O's may well win the Bedard deal. But we're nowhere close to knowing that. Let's see how this season plays out first.

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Posted by scottM

10:24 PM, Apr 24, 2008

The Angels take two of three from the Redsox in Boston. The A's manage to keep winning. They don't know what the word "cellar" means. The M's manage to win one out of six against the O's. We're three games out. When will the wake up call happen???

Posted by calim

10:25 PM, Apr 24, 2008

why did i ever allow myself to think this team had a legitimate playoff hope? The ONLY way they get close is by making a couple of smart moves mid-season. Oh, and Bill Bavasi's the GM. So hope just left town.

Posted by bleacher bum

10:26 PM, Apr 24, 2008

i'm unemployed so i figure tomorrow i'll go on down to first and gar and see if i can talk mcclaren into letting me join the bullpen. i may be a bum, but i am better than the bums we've got right now.

Posted by ams

10:32 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Sherril is untouchable. This stupid team had a top closer on their roster last year and insisted on limiting him to a situational lefty role while they searched the dumps for a "veteran 8th inning man".

Just another silly blunder by M's management that the shows that the fans of this team really do know more then the people in charge.

Posted by Dawkins

10:33 PM, Apr 24, 2008

No offense Geoff, but you really ate a lot of crow in this game. W/o Adam Jones, the Mariners would have won.

Those 2 doubles really hurt...

Posted by ethan

10:34 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Tim Lincecum sure sucked tonight.

Posted by djsmev

10:34 PM, Apr 24, 2008

I hated the trade when I first heard of it and as of now I hate it more. What we need is a big time bat not a starting pitcher on the bench! Its a long season but right now this trade sucks!

Posted by NB

10:36 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Well that sucked. In a hilariously predictable and ironic sort of way.

Who was that Center Fielder that went 3-4 tonight? Man he would solve a lot of our problems.

1-2 PUNCH, 1-2 PUNCH, 1-2 PUNCH.....

I wonder if AJ will adequately explain to Mr. X why he didn't go 4-4 with 4 HR, throw a perfect game and play center. What a selfish jerk!!

Posted by i want balentien/clement

10:37 PM, Apr 24, 2008

did you guys see the lineup we had in the 8th inning last night, sexson, vidro, jojima.....all hitting under 210....i know i had hope for a rally.....where the heck is balentien and clement?????

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:38 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Geoff-seriously I have never read such nonsense in my life. You rip the offense for going AWOL?

But Sherrill wasn't doing the hitting for the M's. And he wasn't doing the pitching for them either.

So you are blaming the offense for the loss?

When the other pitchers came in, the M's -- other than Ichiro on that tying homer -- went AWOL once again

We scored 7 runs tonight. I must admit you are being creative in your defense for John McLaren. I guess it was my imagination that Arthur Rhodes was allowed to load the bases with zero outs until he was given the hook. My Oh My.

Posted by Pedro De Pacas

10:44 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Let's not forget, Washburn was handed a gift 5 run lead and then promptly choked, got soft and coughed it up. Washburn has got to be one of the softest men in baseball, he is as that one dude said "FLUFFY" Washburn is about as scary as opposing hitters as Ralph Malph was to the Fonz...but yeah we didn't hit much anyways. On the bright side....hmmmm nevermind

Posted by Spokanefan

10:45 PM, Apr 24, 2008

This team needs a spark. Wherever it may come from, it needs something. We can't sit around and wait for this current lineup to heat up. We'll be waiting quite sometime. The bottom of our order with the exception of Yuni is pathetic. Our DH spot is just being thrown away. We are only 3 games back but the schedule is just going to get tougher and if we don't do something to turn it around this season could be out of grasp very quick. C'mon Bill, step up, be a useful GM and do somethin!!

Posted by ethan

10:51 PM, Apr 24, 2008

I liked the part in the movie where the townsfolk took to the castle with their pitchforks and Enfields and tortured Bill Bavasi to death.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:52 PM, Apr 24, 2008

You could bring in Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman and the odds are runs are going to be scored with zero outs.
Lowe could probably work on his command in Tacoma, and Rhodes isn't helping the team.

Yes, trading Sherrill away was a gamble, and Soriano for Horam was stupid. They relied on Lowe who came off a major surgery, and on Rhodes' experience and veteran presence who hasn't pitched in years.

Green worked nearly 2 innings last night, not surprised he got hit in the end. Baek, who the team is in love with, isn't even helping the pen. When Baek is in there he's giving up home runs.

I blame the GM for constructing the pen, and the manager for handling it without a clue. Good night.

Posted by GeoW

10:53 PM, Apr 24, 2008

What a disaster. I felt the M's were in trouble once the pitchers started giving back runs, just one per inning. It was sad to see Mark Lowe fail so miserably. Jones was set up to strike out on a high hard one, out of the strike zone, but Lowe couldn't do it. It will take a lot of character for the team (and us fans) to shake this evening off and take on the A's.

Posted by helpFelix

11:02 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Johjima is on my fantasy league, but the guy better get his act together! This is pathetic!!!

Word in Tacoma is Clement's defense has improved drastically. I'm beginning to think Johjima trade, and I'm NOT referring to my fantasy league! And calling up Clement!

This Vidro DH thing is just outright bullshit (sorry for my lang, there's just NO better way to explain this!).

NOW the MOST pathetic thing about all of this?

1. We are down 3 games coming to the end of April, and Lackey is coming back in the 1st week of May.

2. Seattle had the cake walk of a schedule compared to the Angels and A's...and we can't beat the WORSE of the MLB teams. Just wait until May when we go up against contenders!!!

Sorry Geoff, but I'm not going to stand here listening to "it's just a week or two into the season"?! We are NOW 4 weeks in, and we have the WORSE offense in MLB!!!

Bavasi HAS to move NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We don't have another week to sit on our asses watching this kind of BS!

THEN to top it all off Bavasi let's Frank Thomas, a HUGE improvement over Vidro, go back to the A's for a mere $320k prorated 2008 salary??!! HELLO...HELLO...$320k for a guy that will give you 25-30 HRs from here on out for the rest of the year is a NO BRAINER. NOW he goes to the A's, who by the way are "suppose" to be in the cellar, for PEANUTS?!

People always wonder how the heck Beane is always in the running at the end of the year for the playoffs.

A problem I had with this game tonight, is why the HECK do you bring Rhodes in to pitch against Roberts & Mora who are BOTH RHBs??!! Rhodes should of came in after Roberts & Mora were pitched to, to face their #3 hitting stud lefty. I really think that was the game tonight!

I hate to say this but Lowe's control is a major concern with me now! I think he needs to be sent back down until he straighten out these control issues, and call Dickey back up.

AND just to correct you Geoff. Brian Roberts didn't hit his HR in the 8th off of Sean Green, it was Morrow! I was actually surprised to see Green taken out because he came in the bottom of the 7th to get the last out, and only needed 2 pitches.

HERE'S MY SOLUTIONS I WILL BE SCREAMING UNTIL IT HAPPENS:

1. Wlad to RF
2. Griffey to DH
3. Clement to Catcher

Do all three above moves and we make up the 3 game deficit very quickley, and put ourselves in the running for the AL West title.

Don't do the above, and Bavasi will be done in MLB!

Posted by tumwaterfan

11:12 PM, Apr 24, 2008

The real "gut - wrencher" was offseason trade of 270 avg AJ and 8 save Sherrill for "mommy I got a boo boo bedar (no d). Gut wrenching to hear Geoff support mgmt 100% of time - journalism at it's finest.

Posted by NB

11:18 PM, Apr 24, 2008

1. Goeff's no shill for Mariner management. He's proven that in his time here. He just agreed with the Bedard trade and thinks Jose Vidro has a shot at 40 2B. I don't agree. But he's no shill.

2. Does it make me a "bad fan" if I want AJ and Sherrill back? Or am I still a stat geek who needs to get away from his computer in his mom's basement?

Posted by idahojohn

11:22 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Please fire mClaren now ... what an idiot: 1) Corcoran pitching well and not used much lately pulled for Rhodes to pitch to righties = knucklehead 2) Lopez on 1st in 9th with no outs, best bunter in league up, so McLaren hits away into double play = idiot. Manager does not know his team and does not put players in position to succeed.

Posted by idahojohn

11:31 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Just listened to post game interview of McLaren ... all please pay atention McLaren does NOT have the pulse on his team and his players and his tactical management of the game.... He is lost, needs SOS quick

Posted by macdoubter

11:38 PM, Apr 24, 2008

That's it. I'm going to start rooting for the Yankees. They may not be that great, but unlike this pitiful organization in Seattle, New York will make changes when they need to be made. And I like how even their owner chimes in voicing frustration. Would the Yankees have been as stupid as the M's were this offseason and subtracked from the offense AND given away a quality bullpen pitcher who proceeds to notch 5 saves against against them in 3 weeks? I can't take this anymore. And another thing, I'm going to puke if I listen anymore to the spin coming out of these stepford wife mariner broadcasters. After the putrid and embarassing performance tonight their response was "it was a wild one at Safeco" and "this team is going to be A-OK"! Sickening. Sickening!

Posted by Full Count

11:40 PM, Apr 24, 2008

Oriole pitching wasn't great and they didn't need to be against the Mariner bats and they hit the cover of the ball. TV jerks blame Mariner bad hitting on the weather, hmmm, didn't seem to bother the alleged bad Oriole hitters, idiots.
Mariners need to mix it up sit the gang of .200 hitters and lets see what the youngster have in the tank, why not couldn't be worse at this point.

Posted by EricD

11:44 PM, Apr 24, 2008

The M's need a right fielder that at least matches up to the league standard. Wilkerson was not the answer. Maybe time to get Balantien (sp) incorporated more fully to raise the production from that position.

Sexson so reminds me of Dave Kingman, but better. Imagine if he could ever learn to hit for average.

And they wait for Clement, too.

Just watched the news and saw Lincecum highlights. Maybe Bavasi's biggest mistake, especially since he was local. Then again, if Morrow is going to be the closer, it may take awhile to really judge. Morrow has better overall stuff, but Lincecum delivery makes his stuff much more effective.

I would also send down Roland-Smith and make him a starter. Just imagine a lefty starter better than Washburn pitching at Safeco.

Anyways, that is some of what I see that needs some fixin for anyone interested.

Posted by macdoubter

11:53 PM, Apr 24, 2008

I liked the part in the movie where the townsfolk took to the castle with their pitchforks and Enfields and tortured Bill Bavasi to death.

LOL. Thanks Ethan, that was a good one.
But what to do with the seemingly newly employed castle press secretary-Geoff Baker?

Posted by EricD

12:00 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Having now read the comment, I agree in substance that it is far too soon to come to any judgment about anything, even whether or not to dump Sexson, let Vidro take 1st, and bring up Clement.

The offense needs help. Left handed power to complement Ibanez. A dead pull hitter. If the M's ever got a right fielder like that, they would be using the natural advantage of Safeco to reward such a hitter, and they would be an improved team. Look how the Yankees did it.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

So, late May then.

Yeah.

Free Clement. Free Wlad.

Posted by NB

12:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"I know, I know, while Adam Jones was hitting 40 homers and Jeff Clement was becoming an all-star and Wladimir Balentien as well."

Goeff Goeff Goeff,

Honest to God that is one of your worst sentences working for the Times. You know damn well that wasn't the argument for keeping Jones and Sherrill (and Tillman, and Kam, etc). You've read the arguments, carefully and thoughtfully articulated by many anti-trade types (myself excluded from that thoughtfully articulated group) for why this team's best chance for winning this year and the next five meant NOT making this trade. It had nothing to do with AJ hitting 40 bombs and Clement and Wlad making all star teams. That is just such a blatantly dishonest way of presenting the argument I'm really, REALLY taken aback. You're a smart guy too and a damn fine journalist. That is really disappointing.

Face it, through 23 games this team is failing EXACTLY how a lot of people thought it would: Poor offense, poor defense and a bullpen stretched thin by trades.

Our main concern regarding Bedard (durability) has thus far been a legitimate one. No one is saying the season is over. But this is unfortunately playing out the way many feared.

Yes it's early but guess what? It was early in April of '04, '05, '06 and '07. People are tired of being patient and feeling like the front offices trades are the laughing stock of baseball.

Our stocks are down, our property taxes are up and our basketball team is being ripped out of town. I don't think you're going to find a climate of patience in Seattle right now.

Posted by Adam

12:11 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Funny how very few posters said boo when Geoff referenced Adam Jones' .632 OPS earlier today, but once Jones had a great night, they come out of the woodwork to mock Geoff.

Buncha armchair GMs...

It's waaaaay to early to judge the Bedard trade, but so far the Orioles are winning hands down. Sherril has been terrific, Tillman is doing very well, and Jones is showing flashes. Good for the Birds.

What is so scary is that the success of this trade, and quite possibly the near future of this franchise, might just rest on the tender hip of Erik Bedard. Let's face it, the Bedard trade was a "win-now" deal.

We can look at the starts of Sexson, Johjima, Vidro, Wilkerson, Washburn, Ichiro, and others, and write them off to it being early. That's pretty fair. But I don't think you can ignore the fact that this is a roster hanging on the edge. We are praying Raul still can get it done at his age, that Vidro and Sexson aren't done, that Wilkerson's recent health issues aren't chronic, and that Johjima won't decline. We are praying that Silva, who doesn't miss many bats, can continue to throw strikes. We are hoping that Washburn and Batista can shore up the back of the pen.

And the worst-case scenario? That all of those things don't happen; that Bedard continues to have injury problems, and that the help on the farm doesn't do the job. And all of those things are very possible. Clement should be a good one, but Wlad is still a work in progress. And beyond that, there is no immediate help on the farm.

And I don't want to speculate, but a collapse like that would mean no AL West title in 2008. And then what? Bedard will be in a walk year, coming off a disappointing season. Bavasi or whoever will be trying to replace Sexson, Johjima (if he isn't re-signed), Vidro, Wilkerson, and perhaps Raul. He'll be stuck with Washburn and Batista with little ML-ready pitching in the system.


This isn't a doomsday post, but rather it's meant to show how precarious the M's position is now, even this early in the season. Sure, everything could go right, and the M's win the division, and we all sing praises to Bavasi. But if it doesn't, the Bedard trade will have really set back this team for a few years.


So let's hope Erik is good to go starting this Saturday, because we are already behind the 8-ball.

Posted by Gordie

12:26 AM, Apr 25, 2008

So Bavasi trades Soriano away last year and Sherrill this year. Does that mean Putz is going to get traded for, say, Kris Benson or Eric Gagne or Jason Giambi next year?

Posted by Corey Miller

12:30 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I gotta say Geoff...it has gotten to the point that I dont even read the articles you and Larry write now. I just go straight to your blog comments after the game. Definately a more personal touch to the blog entries. I am not sure how you guys continue to put out quality work with the range of emotional roller coaster riders on this little blog here but thanks and keep doing it.

Posted by scottM

12:31 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"Goeff Goeff Goeff,

Honest to God that is one of your worst sentences working for the Times."

NB, spell GEOFF's name properly if you're going to diss his writing.

GEOFF, you seem to be letting the bloggers get to you tonight. Chalk this up fan venting. This was a pathetic pitching display. The M's seven runs was, objectively, an adequate offensive performance. It was the bullpen that stunk when it couldn't rescue Washburn who teetered on disaster most every inning.

The M's fans will be ok. When the team sweeps the A's, everything will be looking up again. We'll be tied with Oakland then, and only three games back of the Angels.

But why wait for another month, GEOFF? Why shouldn't we bring Clement and Balentien up NOW? Why no platoon at catcher? Why wait for WIlkerson to show a pulse? Those are serious questions and getting more serious every lackluster day.

Posted by Brad

12:39 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"Yes it's early but guess what? It was early in April of '04, '05, '06 and '07. People are tired of being patient and feeling like the front offices trades are the laughing stock of baseball."

Amen

Posted by macdoubter

12:39 AM, Apr 25, 2008

You've got to step on the other team's neck and crunch when you've got a foot on them. That's what winning teams do. This team isn't doing that yet. Didn't do it in the last two games against Baltimore.. Uhhh, whenwas the last time the M's had a lineup that could actually do such a thing? Please.


This team has cast its lot with improved pitching and we have to see how that pans out over the long haul.. No, you're only telling half the story. This team also cast it's lot with a diminished offense.

Those who aren't patient enough to wait around, you can always wait for college football to start, or go watch the hockey playoffs (big win by the Habs tonight.. Oh, great answer. Any of us could have supplied that useless piece of advice.


Doesn't matter if it was Sherrill closing the ninth, or someone else.. Yes and no. You're right, with this "offense" Shawn Green, EOF or RRS could have even breezed through a save against us. But No, you're wrong it does matter that it was GS because we made that awful trade thatnkes the team worse.


when... Wlad, Clement and Jones had to hit their way out of a 6-2 deficit three nights out of every five, what then?. Well, at least we would have had three better hitters in the lineup tonight to give us a chance to win.


This team has offensive woes it must figure out. This is still an ongoing trial period where players are getting a shot to prove themselves. It's not July 15. It's April 24. . Getting a shot to prove themselves? Who??? Clement? Wlad? AJ? Who??? Do you mean Suckson? Wilkerson? Please Geoff, now who's sounding ridiculous. It's way past just April 24 for a the hitters in our lineup. Are you really saying that Suckson is still in the "give him a shot and be patient" period? Are you kidding?


Could take time. Not sure some of you are up to it, but too bad. This is not a game for the faint-hearted who duck and cover at every sign of trouble.. Why don't you try actually reading the blog entries. Most of us are not ducking for cover--we're advocating for action, for change. You sound more like the one who's ducking with you're "let's see hiw this season plays out first" do-nothing approach while you advocate giving Suckson a shot to prove himself.

You sure have changed from last year Geoff. Sad.

Posted by andrewgolfsalot

12:42 AM, Apr 25, 2008

NB, an absolutely great post above me.

The Mariners management believes it is good for the team to do the following:

1) Platoon Willie Bloomquist against LHP, when Brad Wilkerson, the everyday right fielder has a REVERSE platoon split.

2) Allow the designated hitter spot to be absolutely wasted on a guy who'll put up an OPS in the low .700s.

3) Allow Raul Ibanez to continually butcher playing the field.

4) Misuse the bullpen terribly. In seemingly every way possible.

If the Mariners intend to contend this year, they could do a few things.

1) Sign Bonds. Yes, I know, not likely, and not popular among the casual "fans." But, anyone who denies that he'd be a tremendous improvement over Vidro is kidding themselves.

2) Sign Lofton to play LF and move Ibanez to DH. You can keep Vidro around to pinch hit, and keep his option from vesting for 2009. -- Heck, if you don't like the Lofton idea, call up Reed from Tacoma and put him in left. His defense will be far and away better, and he'll surely give you at least what Vidro gives you from the plate, offensively, and you'll save 8M for next season.

3) Wait for WLAD to get healthy and call him up the second he does so that we can have an actual right fielder.

4) Light a fire under Richie Sexson and tell him to figure it out. If he doesn't, you can cut him like the O's did Jay Gibbons and like the Blue Jays did Frank Thomas.

5) Realize that there are legitimate arms in our bullpen. Rowland-Smith, when used effectively is devastating. Morrow, albeit in a small sample size has looked nothing short of brilliant thus far. Putz, is a God and that's pretty well known. Green is useless against lefties, but pretty solid against righties. Lowe, when he has command of his fastball can be a force.

Knowing this, how do you allow Green to face Brian Roberts? How do you allow Rhodes to walk the bases loaded before pulling him? Why is Rhodes even in the game to face righties when Corcoran was doing such a bang-up job against them in the 6th? How is Morrow not pitching in the 8th inning when you can go get the bridge at least to the 10th or 11th with Morrow and Putz alone, if need be? Allowing Green to pitch to Roberts was inexcusable. Whether it was Riggleman that made that decision or Stottlemeyer, it was a bad one.

6) To John McLaren,

You sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I implore you to pull a Grover and peacefully resign and march off into the sunset. I'm sure you can squint as the sun falls below the horizon, as you gaze off in a daydream as your bullpen squanders another lead.

What was the point of getting ejected tonight? Were you going to twist the umpire into calling strikes? Rhodes wasn't close to the zone. He was whining because he wasn't throwing the ball well. He had little to no command, and he wasn't happy about it.

The ump was spot on. What purpose did your getting ejected serve?

Why do you continue to give Willie Bloomquist at bats? The man cannot hit. He can pinch run, and he can be a late-inning defensive replacement. He is NOT a major league hitter. He never will be.

--

The saddest part about all of this, is that we all, as fans, know that nothing will change. The team will stand pat. It took them ~90 games to replace a dying Carl Everett, who in addition to hitting like a high school girl, was a clubhouse cancer. Knowing this, do you have any hope that we'll rid ourselves of Vidro, of Bloomquist, of Sexson, of Wilkerson, of anyone?

We're so incredibly hard headed as an organization.

I leave you with one final thought.

When the Mariners signed Carlos Silva, they basically signaled that they were attempting to put together a pitching staff, that as a whole, wouldn't strike many people out, wouldn't walk anyone, would pitch to contact, and rely on a "good" defense to get people out.

Now, for a second think about the Mariners offense. It's an offense that has historically not drawn walks. It's an offense that rarely strikes out (except for you, big Richie). We're a team filled with contact driven, singles-based hitters. And yet, the front office thinks that formula will work for us and not for the opponents.

I don't care what anyone thinks about the Bedard trade. That's in the past and moaning about it won't get you anywhere. I just wish that this team had a plan for how to win in the future, because we sure as heck aren't doing it in the past or present.

Good night, and let's hope Batista puts together a solid outing tomorrow.

Posted by aaron

12:49 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Griffey is the answer...period!....anybody ever notice that they really started winning last year after Griffey came back to a sold out safeco....don't know why, but bring him back for results!!

Posted by macdoubter

1:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Well put, andrew.

Posted by JJ

1:43 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Yet again, the most pathetic pitcher in the league gets overlooked. Washburn is the softest pitcher I've ever seen. Alll you crying about him getting no run support??? Well what happened tonight??? The offense gives him a 5 run lead, and what does he do???? Goes soft, and lets the O's get back in it. It doesn't matter how many runs Washburn gets...he'll choke it all away with his casual/soft attitude on the mound. Just pathetic. I don't know who I hate more.....Washburn or Dave Sims...but don't worry everyone, Geoff assures us it's still early.

Posted by Dr D

2:32 AM, Apr 25, 2008

++ I see some of you are already calling it a season, so I'll keep this brief. ...

Sorry, I'm not going to eat crow on the Erik Bedard trade on April 24 with the Mariners three games behind the AL West leaders.

Not sure some of you are up to it, but too bad. This is not a game for the faint-hearted who duck and cover at every sign of trouble. It's a long season.

The rest of you, catch your breath, put the burning pitchforks down and try to pace yourselves.++

Try to pace yourselves, LOL :- )

The voice of reason as usual boss ... and cool-breeze all the way...

You have far greater patience than I with the flak you take, my friend ... but as you know, your OPS+ is 1100 with the D-O-V and MC bleacher sections... as you also know, six or eight pitchfork-wielders aren't many compared to the couple of thousand who dig your rap and how...

If this were the KC Royals or Florida Marlins or something, that would be one thing... but you know and I know that this ballclub is loaded ... whether it reels in a playoff spot will be fun to see, but whether the '08 M's season is worthwhile? That one is already resolved...

Enjoyin' the ride both at Safeco and at the Times online baseball site :- )

Keep it comin',
Jeff C

Posted by Jeff

4:19 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Just admit it. You were wrong about giving away nearly every asset we had hoping 5 good players could take us places.

Posted by Fett42

4:20 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds.

Posted by Frosty Raptor

4:52 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Two games under.

The rotation could be Scmidt/Ztio, Hernandez, Batista, Pavano, and some other dude if a couple signings break the other way.

Glass 1/4th full people.

Chuck Norris up!

Posted by Bethesda_Jack

5:58 AM, Apr 25, 2008

As an Orioles fan from Maryland, I'm as surprised as anyone by the O's dominance of the M's so far. I don't agree with the negative talk about Bedard; he was really Cy Young quality last season until he got hurt near the end of the year. I thought the trade made sense for a team such as the M's, who hope to go somewhere in the post-season. Undoubtedly, you gave up a lot for him.

Give the O's some credit along the way. They're playing good ball right now, and it 's not just against the M's. It is a rebuilding year for us, however, and the odds still suggest that our lads will have a downturn later on. In the interim, it's been a great ride for the O's, and don't forget that slightly less than 90 percent of the season remains for the M's to get right.

Posted by Mr. X

5:59 AM, Apr 25, 2008

It'll take more than one good game against Washburn to convince me that Jones will be anything but a decent player. One of hundreds.

Just about every one on both sides of the ball took turns going "flat in the front" last night. There is plenty of blame to go around. But 7 runs should be enough any night. The only reason why Sherrill "5.40" has any effect on the game at all is because our pitchers couldn't get mediocre batters out. Plain and simple. The Arthur Rhodes experiment was cute, and I"m sure it brought back lots of good memories for the "2001 wasn't a total failed season" crowd, but it's time to move on.

Posted by Seattle Sports Blog

6:16 AM, Apr 25, 2008

The M's just look like a bunch of losers, flat out. I was in Boston on business and watching the Angels play this weekend...Vlad, Figgins, etc....these guys just exude confidence. Tools like Richie Sexson should be on a 6'8 and over reality show. Finally, for the LOVE OF GOD, can we no longer wear those depressing grey road uniforms? The Angels looked rather intimidating in those dark red uniforms....the Mariners uniforms look like the Seattle Skyline.....depressing.

Posted by Seattle Sports Blog

6:28 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Please, oh please, someone kidnap Richie Sexson from this team. I have been calling for this guys dismisal for a long time on my blog (since 2004 when we aquired him). He is a joke, a waste of space, and this team will never be good until we get rid of him. 0-4 again last night, hitting .195? And paid $15M a year. This whole organization needs a face lift. Basavi? How's Morrow looking over your idiot move to take him over Tim Lincecome? Brilliant. Or how about not going agressive enough after Vlad Guererro? Instead settling for Richie Rich. Brilliant. Chuckie Armstrong and Howard Lincoln should be sent to Syberia for all I care.

Posted by greyguy3

6:37 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I was against the Bedard deal, but not because I thought he'd be injured and not especially effective, but because I didn't think we'd be contenders this year and thus it wasn't worth mortgaging our future for a couple years of an ace. So to me, the way to evaluate this trade is not by comparing the contributions of Jones and Sherril to Bedard, but by examining whether or not the M's are actually contenders.

It doesn't look like they are to me. Yes, we're only 3 games out, but we've only played 23 games, and we've had an easy schedule.

Posted by Scott

6:45 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff,
I didn't expect them to get to the playoffs this year. I hoped they would realize they weren't a player or two away and that they would look to the future. No one with a clue expected Clement to hit 40 bombs or Wlad to be an All Star, but now they are both pushed back even more from being successful big leaguers. If those two, along with Jones were playing in the bigs, they would be preparing to be a force in 09 and beyond. You can't continue to tell me that you believe this team has been well constructed. Vidro, Sexson, Wilkerson? When Willie Bloomquist is getting this many at bats, you aren't one pitcher away from being a contender. Just let us know when you will be willing to admit you were wrong and that the trade was a mistake and we can all move on.

Posted by Chuck

6:50 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Yeah guys, and Geoff, I get it we have a lousy offense. But when talking about this game, the offense cannot be blamed. Any team that scores 7 runs and loses--no way it can be the offenses fault. On Wednesday, yeah the offense was rightly blamed. But why the hell din't McClean bring in Baek right after Weaver was taken out? He's supposed to be a long reliever. So either use him or bring up a reliever that you're going to use. We're treating him like a useless rule V guy. Afraid to use someone, but afraid to lose him. I'm not very bright but come on!

Posted by ajdaddy

6:53 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Whoo. Everyone chill out! If you want to root for the Yanks, root for them. I feel like we're getting a board full of Hank Steinbrenners! :-) Ask the Rockies fans how they felt last year.
As regards the shots at Geoff, grow up people! Remember how fortunate you are to have such a forum or a blog like this to go more in depth and follow the team. The thing in life is, it's always easy to complain, to be negative. And people feed on that. I'd prefer to read some educated discussion re: the M's. Geoff, I feel, by writing this blog post, was trying to head off the inevitable storm of negativity that comes after a tough loss. Kind of like spitting into the wind, but admirable.
Appreciate what you have, people! And treat it with care. Try living in another city, with a different press, and then come back and see what you think then.
I will complain about one thing...make sure you copy what you type before you submit, the submission system appears to be a bit quirky!
Lastly, if you think the M's announcers are saccharine, try listening to a Yankee game sometime. Talk about insufferable.
Going to my first M's game of the year tonight, probably more because of the bobbleheads (a bribe for the kids) and the fact that I finally have a free Friday without meeting with business associates, or suppliers, or having T-ball practice! I'm going to enjoy the game, in a beautiful ballpark 40 minutes from my house, and yes, I might freak out a bit if they punt one like last night, but once it's done, it's done. And life goes on. Go M's, Go Rangers! (hockey, not being a sports polygamist)

Posted by Katal

7:16 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Wow, Geoff. How many strawman arguments can you toss together in one post? It's getting harder and harder to take you seriously.

Posted by Yvonne

7:19 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"The Angels take two of three from the Redsox in Boston"

Just for the record, the Angels took two out of 3 from Boston here in Boston yes. BUT you need to realize the entire Red Sox team is slammed with the flu. Beckett AND Dice-K were pulled from their starts against the Angels. The Angels got to pitch against two minor leaguers called up the same day of their start, one of whom is currently in AA so lets not give the Angels all the praise yet. If the Red Sox were even remotely healthy they would have taken at least 2 of 3.

Posted by Yvonne

7:22 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"The Angels looked rather intimidating in those dark red uniforms...."

Seriously...yes they looked SO intimidating against a Red Sox team who can probably hardley move, never mind play baseball. YAY for the Angels for beating triple and double a pitching and a bunch of guys seruiously ill with the flu.

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:30 AM, Apr 25, 2008

4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .195

Richie's line last night. I might be able to stand it if the FO or Mac or someone IN CHARGE would set some goals for Mr Sucks. At what date will they pull the plug on this guy?

I know there are several other problems. Just start with this one and procede from there. This one should have been resolved about June of 2007.

byebye...

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:32 AM, Apr 25, 2008

4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .195

Richie's line last night. I might be able to stand it if the FO or Mac or someone IN CHARGE would set some goals for Mr Sucks. At what date will they pull the plug on this guy?

I know there are several other problems. Just start with this one and procede from there. This one should have been resolved about June of 2007.

byebye...

Posted by M'sFanInNewYork

7:42 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff,
I just wanted to say thanks for the stream of reasonable analysis. I don't understand why the fans need to be talked off the ledge after each close loss. Any reasonable fan has to know that we were looking at a 80-90 win team this year, inevitably there are going to be parts of the season around .500, that is the simple math of it. If these people don't have the stomach for it, why do they insist on flogging themselves on your blog day in, day out? And one more thing, if there is so much passion brewing in town, why don't more people ATTEND the games? Let's enjoy the baseball people, go to the park and cheer (I wish I could, I will be clad in my M's gear yelling loud at Yankee stadium for both series in May), its about having fun, go M's!

Posted by Thomas

7:49 AM, Apr 25, 2008

As far as Johjima, let's give him time to heat up. He's doing a good job calling games so far.

I have no issues with Vidro. I don't want to see him off the team, but I think having Clement at DH improves the lineup and deepens the bench with Vidro.

My main issue is RF. Bloomquist and Wilkerson? Are you serious? I know Balentien is hurt, but I'd rather give Reed another shoot. If he does well, you can use him as trade bait and bring up Balentien when he's healthy.


Posted by eastcoast

7:57 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Last yr, it was the SP that wouldn't allow the M's to put together a win streak. This yr, it is the offense. Yes, the BP sucked last night but the M's O just doesn't have the ability to kick teams when they are down.

Let's face the facts, 5-8 +/- 4 is just one giant hole in our lineup. FYI - the O's had one of the worst BP's in the league last yr. Besides Sherrill, they've added a few young arms but Walker and Bradford still remain. During their dominance of the M's, the O's BP was 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 20 2/3 IP. Truly sad.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

8:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

The M's would have never come back from an 0-5 deficit like the O's did last night.

Jones clobbers us and Sherrill gets his fifth save - against us! The O's own us. 1-6. Wow!

*Send Lowe down. His stuff and command isn't good enough.

*Keep Corcoran up.

*DFA or Trade Baek. The Rangers can have him in their starting rotation.

*Bring up Dickey

*Now that our great GM sat on his hands and didn't sign the Big Hurt, go ahead and get Clement up here and Wlad when he's healthy. If they don't do something about Wilkerson by mid-May if he doesn't get it turned around, it further proves that they just aren't very serious about winning. Good teams make adjustments and already have this season. They don't wait for two or three months.

*Please get rid of Cairo.

*When guys can't even hit their weight in MLB (Suckson, Joh, Wilky), they shouldn't be playing.

*I know it's early Geoff. The starting staff is great (expcept for Wash - he's washed), the bullpen will iron things out, but we will go NOWHERE with this offense as it is currently constructed. Good teams seem to constantly apply pressure. We're lucky to have one inning like that per night.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

8:09 AM, Apr 25, 2008

To one of the posters above, Rhodes did get squeezed. One pitch to the last batter was definitely a strike and one other one could have been. That doesn't excuse his overall performance though. He's not ready to pitch in those situations yet. I can't believe they inserted the guy into those tight situations that fast when he's coming off Tommy John surgery. His velocity is okay, but his command is still not quite there. Get him in a few non-pressure type spots first.

Posted by sjazzdude

8:19 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Our bullpen needs serious help, the fielders need to improve their defense and the bottom (half) of our lineup can't seem to get on base or move runners over. All of these deficiencies become more apparent from game to game and I don't see Mac addressing them. What is he doing? Is he playing the wait and see, or the wait and hope game??

Even though this season is less than a month old, we keep seeing the same thing: the Ms have the lead, Mac give the ball to the pen, the pen can't hold the lead. On top of that, Beltre, Betancourt and Lopez seem to lose the handle on the those tappers, resulting in extra outs for the opposing team. Something has got to be done. I'm sure by now the Ms lead the AL in fielding errors.

Maybe we should platoon Beltre, Betancourt and Lopez for what have in Tacoma. I'm sure it would be an improvement from a defense perspective.

Because our bullpen is in such dissarray, Batista should in there. We have too many setup pitchers, we don't have anyone to help out in long relief. Baek is not a viable relief man. He's a control pitcher who relies on hitting the corners of the strike zone. Baek and Dickey need to be in the rotation. They would more effective if they were to pitch every 5th day.

Why can't we just get rid of Wlkerson. He's shown he has absolutely no range in RF and his hitting is for the birds. Bloomquist has done a pretty good job in RF, but he's struggling at the plate. Our 5-6-7-8 hitters are hardly doing anything. They can't seem to get on base or move runners over.

Collectively, the Ms are half a team. If they remain this way personnel wise, they will continue their freefall. Changes will have to be made if they sincerely want to make a run for the AL West. Mac can't play his "stay with the veteran" hand and succeed. It's obviously not working.

Bavasi started this mess by trading our best player and prospect for a temperamental starter. Signing veteran players that are way past their prime. And overpaying free agents that haven't even come close to proving that they are worth every penny. He sure has the acumen to evaluate talent, doesn't he??

Posted by Mint Husky

8:31 AM, Apr 25, 2008

September 15th 2008
Posted by Geoff Baker

You guys are a bunch of whiners. I'm going to keep this short because none of you want to listen to rational discourse anyway.

So what if we're 6 games back? We still have 14 games to play and we can make this up if we can just get our offense to hit more consistently. No, for the guy in the comments threat, I am not ready to admit the Bedard trade was a bad deal. I know he hasn't pitched since May 27th, but we got a couple of great starts out of him. What has Adam Jones done for Baltimore? We don't need another mediocre outfielder who's only putting up .840 OPS.

Don't throw in the towel yet, there's still plenty of time. It's early. Calm down. Breathe. Breathe.

Posted by NB

8:44 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Sorry about misspelling the name last night Geoff. I am indeed an ignorant Yank.

Posted by Mike

8:56 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Well NB was right about Geoff's sentence but Geoff is right about it being early. If Bedard is healthy and no one falls off the cliff offensively, or if we replace any cliff-fallers quickly we are still the same 83-85 win team I thought we were.

Hey, I didn't see much of the game and I only saw Vidro's double on replay but was Jones playing really shallow there? If I wasn't just imagining that were the Orioles playing Vidro that way the whole series? Are other teams doing that as well? Or did I just not get a good look?

Posted by MJ

9:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"when... Wlad, Clement and Jones had to hit their way out of a 6-2 deficit three nights out of every five, what then?."

Well at this point we have Wilkerson, Joh, and Vidro trying to hit their way of 6-2 deficits three out of every five. So...

Keep trying to defend this deal. Then defend it after next year when Bedard bolts for Toronto.

If you want to preach patience then you should've preached it to the FO before they made this deal. They should have kept Morrow in AAA as a starter last year and called him up for the second half. They should have held on to Jones and watched him develop into an offensive force (not to mention all the young pitchers we gave up in the deal). They should have held on to a proven bullpen guy in Sherrill.

But yeah, only preach patience to M's fans when veterans are playing like garbage at the end of April and the guy that you claimed would help carry the M's to the playoffs has been on the shelf most of the year. We're not losing to the Boston's or NY's or Clevelands. We are losing to Baltimore's and Texas', while a depleted Angels team is winning against good teams and furthering their lead.

Posted by statboysdad

9:12 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Morrow to Washburns place, same for Wash to bpen. Bye bye Wilkerson, Vidro. Bring up Vlad (rf) and Clement (DH, Catch and 1st) Sexson (DH,1st) Last chance. Burke is a good pinch hitter and give him 1-2 days at catcher until things get solved.

We have 3 weeks or so before you have to pull the trigger and make a trade if needed.

Bavasi please, please it is time cut our losses, this is about winning! Vidro, Wlikerson need to go..

Posted by macdoubter

9:34 AM, Apr 25, 2008

[The Team] has to get the bats figured out and once it does -- supplying even average offense -- the wins should pile up for this club.

Whose bats do they need to "figure out," Geoff? We've "figured out" Suckson's bat a long time ago--he's gonna hit for low average and strike out A LOT, especially when the game is on the line. How 'bout Wilkerson's bat? How 'bout Willie's bat? Or Vidro's bat? What kind of nonsense crap are you talking about? Sounds like you've been drinking too much of the Dave Simms, Mike Blowers koolaid. Look, I can get by with writing down a bunch of meaningless crap-and I do-but I'm just a nobody blogger. But you're supposed to be smarter and provide more tangible depth to your statements. Figure the bats out? Ughhhh, what the heck happened to you this season!!!

Posted by tugboatcritc

9:38 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Strawman- ...generally accepted definition: "..to create a caricature of an opposing argument, usually over-simplified, then knocking it down. "

Strawman- .... as defined in Seattle Blogosphere.."term used as an indentifier by those who want the world to know where and how they come by their (obviously second-hand) analysis. This ID badge has the added benefit of allowing the user to surround every argument with traps such that they can never be proven to have had a bad call on a projection. A perfect example may end up being the Bedard trade. If he fails, they win, if he succeeds, the M's are lucky. The fortunate apprentice who helps beat this term into submission is also allowed mystical powers where bone-headed FA suggestions are instantly forgotten never to be spoken of again."

Posted by sjazzdude

9:38 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Why isn't Mac playing Burke?? Johjima's been playing everyday and his hitting average is around .200. Give Johjima a couple of days off to help him regroup. It's obvious that he needs a break. I've also noticed that Burke calls a better game when Felix pitches. If indeed Mac is out of of the Piniella school of thought, then he will coddle his pitchers and let them lean toward whom they feel calls a better game.

Posted by Dick

9:39 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I must admit I am frustrated at looking at a team that is as inconsistent offensively as the Mariners. I am not ready to give up on Bedard but am ready to make a few moves designed to improve us over the long haul and take advantage of the fact that our pitching will keep us in games. The offense needs to be more exciting. Has anyone noticed the attendance figures for the year. Bring up Clement and Balentine. Cut Wilkerson. Trade Johjima. Get Griffey. The Reds are terrible and have a new GM.
They will want to off-load payroll and get younger.

Posted by Mike

9:46 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"Some of you quickly forget how, even with Sherrill and J.J. Putz in this bullpen last year, the M's were an 88-win team that finished second. Many of you felt it was only a 79-win team that had fluked off the 88 victories. So, how did you expect to build on that while keeping everyone together? Waiting for the answers. I know, I know, while Adam Jones was hitting 40 homers and Jeff Clement was becoming an all-star and Wladimir Balentien as well. "

Actually Geoff I think many of us who pointed out the run differential didn't believe we were as bad as a 79 win team. We also thought that getting to 88 involved some luck. We didn't think Jones would hit 40 dingers but thought he would cover a lot of ground and maybe hit for an OPS of .750 to .780 and might really pop as he gained experience. We thought we needed to add a pitcher or two. I made the argument that improved outfield D and trading for a decent mid-rotation starter in addition to Silva would be nearly the equivalent of adding Bedard without the great cost. We could have made other offensive moves as well, both before and after aqcuiring Bedard.

You are right that it is early and the jury is still out on the trade. But you don't need to mischaracetrize the arguments that run counter to yours.

Posted by MJ

10:01 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I by no means want the Bedard deal to fail. I would never root for my team to lose so that I am right about anything.

My argument from the beginning has been that the M's were more than an ace away from contending this year, so why not use what you have to develop some guys that show good promise? Take a season of losing to get a stud like Morrow into the rotation and some young guys a good chunk of AB's.

Just don't sit on the fence trying to stop the bleeding with band aids. This just leads to years and years of mediocrity. Adding a guy like Bedard five years ago by dealing prospects is exactly what the M's should have done. Those teams were an ace away from competing for a title. This team needed a lot more than just that and to sacrifice your assets for a pitcher who had one brilliant season that was ended by yet another injury, in the hopes of making the playoffs, just didn't make sense to me.

Posted by What?

11:52 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Aren't you forgetting that whole "also got phenom Chris Tillman, #3 starter Tony Butler, and possible amazing set up man Kam Mickolio" part of the trade?

Posted by Bums

1:52 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Gotta love it! Sherrill saves it again while the Mariners have a bunch fire starters. It is also looking like the guy we got in that trade will not make consecutive starts this season.

The Mariners just made a terrible team look great. I don't think McLaren has what it takes to get these guys motivated because many of them have their inflated contracts and that seems to be all they care about.

Posted by Bethesda_Jack

5:06 PM, Apr 25, 2008

So tell me, Mr. Burns, what makes the O's a "terrible team"? Go Orioles, and thanks for the players, M's.

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