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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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July 1, 2008 11:29 PM

Bloomquist, Sexson play heroes for a night

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

On Tuesday night, Richie Sexson had power.

On Tuesday night, so did Willie Bloomquist.

On Tuesday night, the Mariners, even as they stretched their bullpen thin, stared at a 6-2 lead and came back.

It was a crazy night.

Let's start with Sexson. The last time he homered? May 24. That was before the NBA Finals even began, to give you an idea of the timeframe here. This one was a no-doubter, 376 feet, and could not have come at a bigger moment in the game.

I wish I could tell you what he said after the game, but I can't. He didn't come out to speak with the press. Someone saw him leave out a back door in the team dining room.

Now to Bloomquist. He put one in deep left center to win it. It could have been his first extra-base hit of the season, and he joked about it after the game.

"I wanted a double. I haven't had a double yet this year, so I was hoping to get to second" he said, laughing. "No, it was kind of instinctive running, I guess. You never know if a guy falls or trips and you get the next base. I was trying to outrun all the crew trying to tackle me."

Lastly, the comeback doesn't happen unless four relievers -- Cesar Jimenez, Arthur Rhodes, Sean Green and Brandon Morrow -- don't pitch 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Morrow was again spectacular, and his ERA is now 0.74. If he stays there by the All-Star break, it will be the best pre-break ERA in team history.

OK, you all will get Geoff Baker back tomorrow. I'll be back Saturday against Detroit.

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Posted by B_A_

11:46 PM, Jul 01, 2008

This team is starting to play like everyone expected!! I'm torn if I want the prowess to continue or blow it up before it blows up again!?!

Posted by Pete

11:54 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Ok, I have to vent on a general baseball topic.

First of all, I won't pretend that I predicted that the Tampa Bay Rays to win the AL East this year.

However, I would love for the media, both locally and nationally, to stop acting like it's some sort of miracle that the Rays are winning the division. If I hear the words "unbelievable story" or "miraculous season" one more time, I'm gonna flip.

As I said, I didn't predict that the Rays would be the best team in baseball, but I certainly thought they had a shot to push the Red Sox and Yankees -- and perhaps overtake them in the next couple of years. In fact, my dog could have seen this one coming.

Over the past decade, the Tampa Bay has accumulated the top amateur talent in the nation every single season at the June draft. These players have come through the system, or have been traded for other premium talent, and a whole ton of these guys are now on the major league roster.

Why is this so "unbelievable??"

This is one of the more believable and predictable of the season. A team loaded with talent it has developed and assembled over the years is competing for a division title on July 1st.


P.S. ...what if Josh Hamilton hadn't left baseball several years back, and was still with the team. Would that make it more or less believable?

Posted by Pete

11:55 PM, Jul 01, 2008

Also, "unthinkable."

Posted by Andrew

12:04 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Refuse to lose... 100 games?

Posted by ricofoy

1:16 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Shut the hell up. No one thought Tampa Bay would even sniff 500 this year. NO ONE!

Posted by ricofoy

1:20 AM, Jul 02, 2008

I love when these yahoos wait till TB is 20 games over 500 and then say "I saw this coming". Where the hell were you in spring training?

Posted by ricofoy

1:22 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Your dog saw this coming? LMFAO

Posted by acblue

2:06 AM, Jul 02, 2008


Lots and lots and lots of people saw this coming. Just because you didn't hear them talking about it doesn't mean it's not true.

Posted by Pete

2:07 AM, Jul 02, 2008

You're wrong. A lot of people thought they'd be better than .500.

I didn't think they'd be this good. But I thought they'd win 85 games.

All I was saying, that it certainly isn't unbelievable that they are a good team challenging for the division half-way through the season.

Posted by Pete

2:09 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Thanks acblue.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

5:22 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Pete - what else would people have to talk about otherwise?

a) Name me 3 exciting teams other than TB this year.
b) Blah blah east coast bias, blah blah Red Sox / Yankees bias, blah blah stunned blah.
c) Makes it that much more compelling when Ortiz gets back and the Red Sox have a chance to overtake TB in the last couple weeks of the season.

Posted by Ziasudra

6:59 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Tom, Larry - You two are like a breath of fresh air - just M's stuff. Non-contraversial. No anger. If Geoff was writing today, all we would hear is Blue Jays (I assume he's hanging out with them. . . .)

Posted by eastcoast

7:24 AM, Jul 02, 2008

The title of this post should have been: "Life in Bizarro world". All kidding aside, this team is playing their best baseball of the year and it just so happens to take place immediately after Mac's firing.. hmmm. Although some things never change, like Lopez's tremendous defense. Earlier in the year, that game is over the instant the ball goes through his legs. Still want to say that Lopez isn't going anywhere? What about that DP combo that will solidify the M's middle D for years.. is that still a team strength? Those two have got to be the most unathletic DP tandem in baseball. I have an ides for you statheads - lets see a weight chart on Yuni and Lopez over the past few years. Other than their number of errors, it may be the only thing that has been steadily increasing.

Props to the BP last night. With better defense, they would have held the Jays to 3-4 runs. Jimenez looked pretty solid. Not sure what to make about RRS - the Jays looked pretty locked in the second time around the order. Oh well, plenty of time this season to give him another chance.

Posted by isaac_spaceman

7:36 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Wyrich -- are you making fun of Bill Plashke with those first four paragraphs?

Posted by wag the dog

8:47 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Granted he's been mostly a set-up man, but I think Morrow should be the Mariner rep to the All-Star game. I know, I know, not nearly the marketing power and world appeal of the Jordan-esque Ichiro, but I'd love the All-Star game to be about merit, not popularity. Or at least a better balance between the two.

Posted by Adam

8:56 AM, Jul 02, 2008

One fascinating rumor making the industry rounds has an investment group led by Microsoft executive and current Mariners minority owner Chris Larson and former Seattle GM Pat Gillick taking control of the Mariners sometime in the near future, with Gillick running the baseball operation and naming the new GM.

As the story goes, Hiroshi Yamauchi, retired head of the game company Nintendo, is looking to get out of the baseball business and is intent on selling his controlling share of the Mariners. Larson, it is said, wants to become the controlling owner.

This is the best rumor I've heard in a long while. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have Larson running this team.

As for Gillick, I'm not sure I want him picking our GM - I can see him going with someone from the 'good ol' boys' network rather than a LaCava, Hoyer, Logan White-type.

But here's hoping this rumor becomes reality.

Posted by Mike

9:08 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Adam---That would be great. I share your apprehension about Gillick but Larson ownership would be great.

ricofoy---Most of the stats-projection systems had the Rays doing well. Baseball Prospectus said they'd win 88 games.

Posted by wag the dog

9:12 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Anything that gets Yamauchi, Lincoln and Armstrong out of the picture sounds great to me. I agree, I'd rather see a younger, more creative GM, but Gillick seems like a forward-thinker. I don't believe he'd hire an old school GM just out of habit/familiarity.

Regarding the Devil Rays, I wasn't really paying attention this spring so I didn't have any thoughts on the matter. Is it surprising the Rays have the talent to where they're at? Probably not given all the high level picks they've had over the years. Is it surprising they have the mentality to be where they're at? I think so. Losing tends to beget losing. The Rays have been losers from the get-go. They don't have much veteran leadership with experience winning.

So, maybe the need for outspoken veteran leadership is overrated. If that's the case, then a lot of the young guys on the Mariner club have some 'slainin to do. because

Posted by Mike

9:25 AM, Jul 02, 2008

wag---Yes, I think outspoken veteran leadership is overrated but the Ms have preferred that to actual current ability.

The Rays I think really changed when Andrew Friedman took over. Another one of those teams willing to incorporate sabermetrics into their decision-making.

Posted by M Dogg

9:46 AM, Jul 02, 2008

" I think Morrow should be the Mariner rep to the All-Star game" If Francona agrees with you, he will be. The pitching staff is chosen by the manager. BTW- last years All Star Game MVP has 1,397,460 votes and looks to be starting next to Ramirez and Hamilton. You can still vote for him up until 8:59 PDT ; )

Posted by Adam

10:21 AM, Jul 02, 2008

The thing that's helped the Rays more than anything else is their defensive improvements.

Iwamura to 2B
Bartlett at SS
Longoria to 3B
Upton to CF full-time, rather than 2B.

The pitching has improved some, but you simply cannot overlook the importance of their defensive upgrades.

I'm rooting for the Rays.

Posted by scottM

10:36 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Regarding last night's game: I predicted the M's to win by one run. (It bears repeating, don't you think, and a diploma from the LARRY-STONE-School-of-Sports-Betting)

Regarding the Tampa Bay Rays: when I bought my six game flex pack before the season, I chose opening day with the Rangers (to enjoy the snow). Angels games twice (you know, the team we were going to be in a pennant race with); the Botox first appearance in town (where the Gonzo Blogger ditched me to hang with GEOFF and the boys); the Tigers (tomorrow night––I'm so excited I could pee); and the Tampa Bay Rays ('cuz I KNEW they'd be good, and I definitely want to see them go all the way over the BoTox and Skankees).

I also want to predict that ADAM will be right about the M's ownership change, because, I hate to say it, ADAM was a whole lot closer to being right about the '08 season than I was (or GEOFF, or most of us pro-Bedard trade folks).

Posted by Faceplant

12:30 PM, Jul 02, 2008

"I love when these yahoos wait till TB is 20 games over 500 and then say "I saw this coming". Where the hell were you in spring training?"

Spare me. Lot's of people saw this coming. I was telling people before the season started that this team was going to be good. I didn't think they would be THIS good, but I knew they were going to be good.

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