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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 23, 2008 10:52 AM

Fans keep coming

Posted by Geoff Baker

****see additional note at end of post ***

An early start time today, and I'm told there will be more than 40,000 fans at Safeco Field. So, as the losses pile up, the fans of Seattle keep coming out to watch the Mariners. Is that a good thing? I'm torn. Obviously, a successful business helps any franchise. There is a reason the M's are spending $117 million on their payroll while the Oakland A's will take years to get to that level.

Yes, Safeco Field has a lot to do with that.

But new ballparks don't last forever. The new stadium buzz usually wears off in about five years. I'd say the Mariners have done a pretty good job of getting fans to come out to their ballpark, which turns 10 next season. Safeco still has the appearance of a new park, even though it's getting up there in years. And any team averaging 29,000 fans per game while winning fewer than 40 percent of the schedule has something going for it. Anyhow, I touched on this breifly during last night's game story, printed in our morning edition.

This wasn't meant to be the ultimate attendance story. Simply something else to raise the level of discussion other than simply posting last night's game score. Sure, there were other attendance issues we could have touched on more in-depth. But not in a game story of 800 words. The limits of the newspaper world as opposed to being able to blog on endlessly.

Anyhow, I was looking for a way to show that the Mariners, for all of their losing, still do pretty good attendance-wise. So, I simply took their average game attendance and divided it by the number of wins. Got myself a nice number I could compare to the numbers of other teams. Is it very scientific? Nope. It's a quick and easy snapshot. Meant to give you an idea. Sort of like batting average. You get an idea. Sometimes, when you scratch below the surface, you get a vastly different idea. This usually involves guys like Jose Vidro in 2007, or Yuniesky Betancourt this year. But you get the picture.

Of course, much of a team's attendance is pre-ordained. It is determined before a season even begins. Those attendance counts go off of "tickets sold" and many are sold way ahead of time. Season ticketholders can't get refunds simply because a team loses. Some of the "buyers" don't even show up for games any more but still get counted in the nighly attendance figure put out.

The walk-up crowds at Mariners games -- folks who show up right before the contest to buy a ticket -- are only about 1,000 to 2,000 of those 29,000 or so at the ballpark every night.

Sure, there are folks buying single-game tickets a few days, or weeks, or sometimes months in advance. But season-ticket buyers are where it's at in the baseball business. And that's done in advance of a season. When every team has a shot at the pennant.

That said, being down nearly 4,000 "tickets sold" per game on average over last year can't be great news for the Mariners. Don't forget, the bulk of last year's tickets were sold coming off a last-place 2006 season. There wasn't all that much optimism in the air, despite the fact the team surprised folks and wound up winning 88 games. So, the nearly 33,000 per game last season was built on pretty modest hopes. If the team is now down 4,000 per contest, given all the excess hopes going into 2008, with the Erik Bedard trade and the signing of Carlos Silva generating optimism, along with the Angels losing two key starters, then how does this bode for next year?

Do you think "playing the kids" as a marketing strategy is going to send fans scurrying off to buy season tickets? So, if the M's are feeling a slight pinch now, it stands to reason they could be feeling a full-throat squeeze come next year -- the residual impact of this disastrous season.

Or not.



An optimist could look at this year and say that, at the very worst, this is how bad things get in Seattle. That the season ticket base will always be there, within a certain range, and that if everything flops on the field, you'll be down around 4,000 per game.

The M's spend a lot of energy and money trying to maintain the consistency of their in-stadium experience for fans, win or lose. They get criticized for it, on this site and others, as being more important than their investment in winning division titles. It's a tricky question, because you need to spend money to win in the major leagues. Forget Billy Beane for a second. And forget that one-year playoff run by the Indians last season. Most teams need to spend money -- spend it wisely, yes -- but spend it, to win.

For all the hoopla the Chicago White Sox basked in when they won the 2005 World Series with a moderate payroll, it has since kept shooting upwards.

So, you need the bucks, or Billy Beane as your GM, to consistently make the playoffs in the American League. Who has consistently made it this decade? The Red Sox, Yankees and Angels. Billy Beane. The Twins under Terry Ryan, who was sort of an underrated Beane. But that's about it. Please, don't talk to me about the Rays, who have yet to win anything. Not to mention the fact they've got a decade's worth of top draft picks as a foundation after finishing last every year. The ones who weren't kept were traded away for the pieces that contributed to this first winning season for them so far.

Money talks in baseball. And if you keep making it, you can keep spending it. So, the business end of things does matter.

The fact that the M's have great baseball fans who show up and support the team, win or lose, should help the franchise in the long run. It's better than being a team with fickle fans, or fans who don't show up.

I agree, though, that it can be a recipe for on-field complacency. The Mariners, as a team, in my short time here since the end of 2006, have never struck me as being hungry for the post-season. They have struck me (and I'm talking about the players, not the ownership) as sort of a comfortable group, who feel very secure about their status in the big leagues and the Seattle community.

It always struck me as a bit odd. From Day One, I've been surprised at how easily the M's could act like a first place team off the field while never actually doing anything to justify that on the field. I don't mean they went out and smashed up bars or anything like that. They're a pretty good club when it comes to that type of behavior -- a handful of incidents notwithstanding.

No, it was more just a feeling I've gotten. That maybe they were a little too cozy out here in the non-spotlight of the West Coast. Maybe it's just me and I'm totally off. But that's the impression I'd gotten long before this season began.

This season has reinforced that feeling for me. That these players might have been a little too cozy. Not hungry enough to win when it was expected of them.

Perhaps that trickles down from the top. Perhaps there was never any great urgency placed on the team to be anything but mediocre. That's the kind of stuff that can happen when fans come out every night, filling the ballpark and treating you like superstars, like kings of the city, when, in comparison with players in other towns, you really haven't done all that much to deserve it.

So, good on the Seattle fans. Now, it's time for this team, and the players receiving the nightly hero worship, to start giving some of that back. To start acting like a contending team on the field. Deserving of the crowds and the hype.

Below, I'll show you my list, that I compiled in order to write last night's game story, of how teams compare in drawing home fans, vis-a-vis their number of wins. Once again, I've taken their average per game home attednance and divided it by the number of wins a team has. The higher the number, the better. In the American League, only the Yankees and Tigers are better. The Yanks sell out just about every game, while Tigers fans -- with an AL pennant less than two years ago and high hopes this year -- have also packed the ballpark for a team not-yet-elimnated.

So, scientific or not, I'd say this list shows the M's doing quite well compared to how poorly they've done on the field. We'll see if that continues in years to come. Please note, the M's average attendance was updated as of last night's total. For the other teams, it was as of Monday night's games. Not much difference in the final results, only miniscule.

Remember, this list shows the average number of fans each team is drawing, per game, per on-field win recorded. Not attempting to show correalation between wins and attendance. Only that, in some cities, poor performance on the field still means relatively plenty of fans in the stands.

Yankees 971
Tigers 790
Mariners 761
Angels 680
Red Sox 647
Orioles 611
Blue Jays 573
Indians 573
White Sox 532
Rangers 480
Twins 468
Royals 446
Athletics 418
Rays 365

ADDITIONAL NOTE (12:18 p.m.): For ConcentrationGuy, in the comments thread, you've just named three of the Rays' starting eight position players (excluding pitchers) as coming from first or second round picks. A fourth, Jason Bartlett, was acquired, along with starting pitcher Matt Garza, in a trade for another of Tampa's top picks.

So, that's half the Rays' everyday players. If that's not a foundation, I'm not sure what you consider one to be. We can pretend the Rays didn't get into a position to acquire those guys by finishing last every year except for 2004. But why would we? Is there an agenda here I'm not aware of? If it's to promote Andrew Friedman as a smart GM, well, he appears to be just that. But most of the key remaining pieces to the Rays (the ones not gained via high draft picks, obviously) were acquired by his predecessor. You know, that Chuck LaMar dude who kept "getting it wrong" before the Rays started doing things "the right way". Including Scott Kazmir. James Shields. Andy Sonnanstine. LaMar was terrible in the long run, albeit hamstrung by a bad owner, but he did a few things right.

On to the backups, Gabe Gross. Know him well from Toronto days. He was acquired via the trading of a second-round Tampa pitching prospect. So, another high rounder.

Even catcher Dionner Navarro was acquired because the Rays had so much coming up the pipe in terms of pitching that Mark Hendrickson (ERA+ of 121 when dealt) was expendable. But we won't count him. We'll just assume that the indirect benefits of drafting high every year don't matter and focus only on direct homegrowns or acquisitions from the first or second round. In terms of that, we're looking at half the starting lineup. And a part-time outfielder in Gross who's got as many big hits as anyone on that team.

I count one homegrown first or second rounder in the M's starting lineup, Jeff Clement. A relief pitcher in Brandon Morrow who may or may not become a starting pitcher. Hardly a comparison there.

I'm not going to diss the work done by GM Friedman, who has found plenty of complimentary pieces and made some shrewd deals. Yes, the Carlos Pena acquisition was a good one. Ditto on Eric Hinske. Friedman is a good GM. But let's not pretend he didn't have a pretty good base to work off of. Or, you can keep pretending. Whatever suits you. Hope that answers your rather loaded question.

If not, tell me what you consider a foundation to be. Beyond half a team's everyday lineup, potentially its best backup player and one of its starting pitchers. Or, just keep "calling me out" and I'll keep answering after you run out of the room.

For Nick in pdx, yes they are playing the Red Sox and crowds go up. And they go up for the Yankees. But they also apparently go up for the Indians, so how do we explain that? And for other teams because of who knows what? Every team gets a Bosox-Yanks attendance boost. But the M's are doing relatively well regardless.

1:46 p.m.: For ConcentrationGuy, the DH is not a position, last I checked. And I suppose you're going to discount Bartlett's defense? Last I heard, proponents of Tampa's defense were crediting it with vastly improving the results of pitchers. As a shortstop, he'd be right in the thick of that improved D, wouldn't he? But maybe you're right and it doesn't matter. Maybe Crawford's defense also doesn't matter. Even though he's rated one of the top fielding left fielders in baseball. Maybe it is all stick? If so, you're right, both guys have underperformed offensively. Though Crawford does have the second-most hits on the team. Counts for something, but I'd agree, his power is lacking this year.

So, what is it? Does defense matter or it doesn't? I keep hearing about how underrated it is. About how it's the hidden secret behind Tampa's success. Either it is, or it isn't. If you say it is, then Bartlett becomes a key piece of the Rays and your argument kind of goes limp, doesn't it?

Pretty much has already. I'll stick to my claim: that half the guys on the field each and every game constitutes a foundation for a team. Even before you throw Garza and Gross into that mix.

But keep on trying.


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Posted by Mitch

11:11 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Lame.

Posted by ConcentrationGuy

11:18 AM, Jul 23, 2008

The Rays are built on a foundation of high draft picks?

Of their current roster, I count Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton as first round picks that they earned by losing a lot. Carl Crawford was a second round pick, so you could count him too. After that, it's Kazmir (trade), Shields (16th round), Sonnanstine (13th round), Jackson (trade), Garza (trade), Pena (free agent), and Navarro (trade). The role players are guys like Floyd (free agent), Hinske (free agent), Bartlett (trade), Iwamura (free agent), Gross (trade), Wheeler (trade), Balfour (free agent), and Percival (free agent).

That's a roster built on draft picks from a decade of losing?

The Mariners have as many homegrown first round picks on their roster as Tampa does.

As always, way to not let facts get in the way of what you already believe.

Posted by Greggy

11:25 AM, Jul 23, 2008

WE WANT CONWAY, WE WANT CONWAY, WE WANT CONWAY...

Posted by kaseyswagger

11:25 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Ooh ConcentrationGuy just told you Geoff ouch

Posted by chris

11:25 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Until Seattle fans STOP going to the games because of the Mariners moose, or they love garlic fries, or Dan Wilson used to drive a mini van, or we get rid of guys like jose guillen cause they actually have edge and a winning attitude, the team will never reach a world series.

What motivation is there from ownership, they have duped all of Seattle! "hey, we put a AAA quality product on the field and still draw 35K a night and make millions of dollars a year in profit. how stupid are these people?"

When 12,000 people show up every night for 3-4 months of a season, then some heads might really start to roll and we might have a chance at seeing a real team put out there, with guys that actually care about winning instead of the safeco experience, bobbleheads, and the moose.

Posted by fred

11:28 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Geoff: The Mariners are a consumer product like any other. Attendance has fallen off this year.
If on-the-field performance continues in 2009 as in 2008, we can expect a further falloff next year.
Their new radio contract is for half the money they received in the previous one. Fans going to Safeco for "the experience" will keep coming but knowledgeable baseball fans will continue to stay away in increasing numbers.

The good side of present support-without-reason is that the team should be able to make decisive trades and player movements now, to serve the future, without any significant further falloff in 2008 attendance. We soon will see whether they are competent to do that.

Posted by Ben

11:30 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Well those three guys that are high draft picks are a pretty good foundation of home grown talent.

Beyond that - they traded their other high draft picks for good players like Kazmir, Garza, Etc.

If the mariners had 3 guys like Longoria, Upton and Crawford coming out of their own system, that would be awesome. Right now Clement, Balentin, LaHair or any other home grown draft picks aren't doing so grand.

Why haven't we been able to draft a power hitting, 5-tool player that comes up and actually plays for us? I knwo we had Adam Jones and traded him, but still... other teams seem to have many more players that work out well than we do.

Posted by Utis

11:31 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Safeco is a jewel. There is no better place to watch a game than Safeco on a great Seattle summer evening. Hopefully Safeco will have as long a life as Yankee stadium or Fenway or Wrigley. Come to think of it, I can see the Mariner experience becoming similar to that of the Cubs (except I hope we won't have to wait as long until we win it all). Sure a winning team would be great but it is the game itself that draws us.

Posted by NB

11:33 AM, Jul 23, 2008

ConcentrationGuy,

We would appreciate it if you would stop so clearly refuting myths. After all, pitching wins championships and you need reliable veterans and.....

I look forward to watching the next decade of baseball rewarding the smartest teams instead of simply the richest ones. The revolution has already happened people. It was silent but nonetheless deadly to teams caught in its wake. See example A: Seattle Mariners.

Posted by KennewickMan

11:33 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Geoff: 'the M's could act like a first place team off the field while never actually doing anything to justify that on the field." - what does that mean??
- How does a first place team 'act' off the field?

I think the attendance is a 'halo effect' of the success of 2001... It was great to tune in to each game expecting to win (like mid-90's Sonics) instead of checking in to the Tivo 3 hours in to do the autopsy like this season!

Posted by Harold

11:34 AM, Jul 23, 2008

What about bag head night being revivied. This is disturbing.

Posted by Mike

11:35 AM, Jul 23, 2008

I understand the sentiment that the Ms FO is not interested in winning. And perhaps there is a speck of truth in that since the one fiery, win-at-all-costs manager we've had became increasingly frustrated with the front office.

But I think it is more a matter of not knowing how to put a roster together more than anything else. Remember, this team has signed guys to pretty big contracts and spends a lot on payroll. They've also gone hard after guys like Zito. Again, this tells me they want to win but just go about trying to do that badly.

Posted by daddydriz

11:36 AM, Jul 23, 2008

CG, your Rays roster list is superficial. Here is what Geoff wrote:

"Not to mention the fact they've got a decade's worth of top draft picks as a foundation after finishing last every year. The ones who weren't kept were traded away for the pieces that contributed to this first winning season for them so far."

Who did the Rays trade to get folks like Kazmir, Jackson, Garza, Pena and Navarro? Low or high draft pick guys?

Posted by ayala_terrace

11:37 AM, Jul 23, 2008

A serious request for more indicator ratios, Geoff.

for the same teams as the post:

fans per game / projected wins
payroll / proj. wins
payroll / fans per game

A cool 3-D chart would be awesome, but a simple table would do.

Posted by Tek Jansen

11:38 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Geoff, how can you say that Mariner players don't seem "hungry engough" to you. From my perspective, the problem lies with players like Silva and Vidro being too hungry. In fact, I can see their hunger rubbing off on younger players like Lopez and Betancourt.

Posted by bd

11:41 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Nice, Tek. That was the highlight for the day - Lord knows we won't get any after 3:00...

Posted by daddydriz

11:42 AM, Jul 23, 2008

The M's brass had best not forget the lessons of Jacobs Field and Camden Yards (or whatever they are called these days): The novelty of a new park will only last so long, and eventually needs to be complemented by a good on-field product.

Attendance next year will take a huge hit. The non-renewals by season ticket holders will be huge because of the combination of the economy and the product.

Posted by NB

11:42 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Daddydriz,

Kazmir was traded for Victor Zambrano. You may not have heard of him because he's injured and awful and it was a bad trade of Steve Phillips-esque proportions for the Mets.

Pena was a scrap heap pick up that cost nary a player for the Rays.

I'm stuck at work and can't remember how they got Jackson and Navarro but you get the idea.

Rays=Smart=Good.

Mariners=Dumb=Bad.

It's fairly simple.

Posted by alfrulz

11:44 AM, Jul 23, 2008

ConcentrationGuy-
Seems you need more concentration.

The M's should simply not increase prices next year on anything in the stadium, and announce it now.
I bet they would not see a major decline in attendance or revenue. They could then play the kids and go cheap/prospects for a couple years without disrupting the revenue stream. One year of non-increased profits should do it.


Posted by Village Idiot

11:47 AM, Jul 23, 2008

The Stupid Ichidrones strike again. The Franchise is not interested in winning based on 3 actions:

1. Signing Johjima to a 3-year extension
2. Signing Ichiro to a 19 million dollar a year deal
3. After the Dismissal of Mac and Bill not signing Barry Bonds

Those three actions all put Seattle in a lose lose situation. Ok now call me a racist and tell me I am an idiot or stupid. I'm not wrong but you people are too brainwashed by bad play to realize that seattle hasn't seen a great player since Edgar retired.

Posted by sfmsfan

11:49 AM, Jul 23, 2008

ConcentrationGuy, I noticed a lot of the players coming via trade, since I can't think off hand of a lot of players that have gotten to star status and then been traded by the Rays; can you enlighten me on what types of players they traded? If they got Kazmir, Jackson, Garza etc. from trading those high draft picks/prospects then wouldn't it essentially be the same benefit? I'll leave it to you to prove or disprove my hypothesis.

Posted by Mike

11:49 AM, Jul 23, 2008

"Pena was a scrap heap pick up that cost nary a player for the Rays"

That was the same offseason we decided to trade two prospects for Jose Vidro so we could pay him millions to DH badly.

Tampa=smart. Seattle=dumb. But as with ANY single deal there are a lot of factors that could make a smart deal go bad or a dumb deal turn out good. But Tampa's philosophy and processes are way better, so overall they will make better decisions.

Posted by drake

11:53 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Both Navarro and Jackson came from the Dodgers in 2006 for veterans Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson (for Navarro) and Danys Baez and Lance Carter (for Jackson).

The only pick that came from losing that I've seen them use as a trade chip is the Delmon Young for Matt Garza trade this past offseason.

Posted by ConcentrationGuy

11:53 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Rays 1st round pick by year, 1999 to 2007.

Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli, Dewon Brazelton, B.J. Upton, Delmon Young, Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsand, Evan Longoria, David Price

Hamilton was lost in the Rule 5 draft. Baldelli is still in the organization and injured. Brazelton was trade for Sean Burroughs, who is out of baseball. Young was traded for Garza and Bartlett. Niemann is in the minors. Townsand is in the minors. Price is in the minors.

The first round draft pick boon for the Rays equates to Upton, Longoria, Garza, and Bartlett.

Geoff's wrong as usual.

Posted by BAGHEAD DAY AUG 2ND

11:54 AM, Jul 23, 2008

BAGHEAD DAY: AUGUST 2ND

Against Baltimore, where this all this started.

BUY TICKETS IN THE LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS. Take pictures and send them to SI.COM, FOXSPORTS,COM, ESPN.COM..

We have only one more Nationally broadcasted game and its an away game. so itll be tough to get on tv with our FSN broadcasting. but hey... lets do something. so...


BAGHEAD DAY !!

AUG 2ND!!!

AGAINST BALTIMORE!!!

SIT IN LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS!!

BRING CAMERAS!! AND SEND PICS TO NEWSPAPERS!!!

BAGHEADS UNITE!!

Posted by Lopez' Hunger Pains

11:58 AM, Jul 23, 2008

Tek, you are spot on. Maybe its time to strip this team of their post game buffett. Word around the campfire is that Lopez has put on 15lbs since the start of the season, no wonder he has no range.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:00 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Minor nitpick: the team does not have a contingent of fans who support the team win or lose. Mariners are not getting treated like "kings of the city". The team has steady attendance bolstered by 2 main things:

1. The # of fans of non-Mariner teams coming to games, because this is the only place in several hundred miles in every direction to watch major league baseball. Witnessing SafeCo turn into Fenway Park West these past couple days should've reminded you of that. :) Washington state has a LOT of residents who aren't from here, thanks the tech industry importing people from all around the country.

2. The # of people who go to the ballpark as an event, to see or be seen, to take in a game rather than support a team. Yuppies and scenesters and out-of-town visitors who couldn't name the starting lineup or say what position Ichiro plays.

So the attendance is steady, and revenue stream is steady, regardless of the performance of the team, not because of loyal diehard fans but because of a minimum # of warm bodies there every night.

If contraction ever happened and by some weird set of circumstances a decent National League team plunked itself down in Portland, you'd see attendance drop at SafeCo like a bowl of rally fries from the 300 level.

(That's just an expression, by the way. No way I'd ever have first-hand knowledge of how fast rally fries drop. Really.)

Posted by Miles

12:07 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Some interesting comments on KJR just now. Buster Olney from ESPN basically thinks that the M's won't do much at the trade deadline because the word is that they are too conflicted internally to have a plan as far as whether to dump a lot of people.

That said, he pointed out that even the more interesting potential trades aren't going to be netting much more than saving money. The idea that Washburn, Ibanez, or even Putz will bring back a top prospect that's near major league ready is a pipe-dream.

Posted by gohuskies898

12:07 PM, Jul 23, 2008

I think the Mariners will continue to draw well. When Summer comes and you have a chance to sit outside and watch Baseball, there isn't much better. I mean, 75 degrees and sunny is just about perfect. Can't say that for Cleveland or Baltimore where the heat and humidity kills you.

You are right, if the team continues to be very bad, there will be a dropoff but I think that is a floor here as well of about 25K or so.

Also remember that they were expected to contend for the division championship this year too. Obviously it's gone downhill fast but the expectation did exist.

It isn't doom and gloom for this team. There are players in the minors and there is a ton of payroll to spend on good players. We just need to FO to step up and get it done.


And for all the talk about them not wanting to win, I think that is rubbish. You can't tell me that a successful businessman like Howard doesn't want to win. You don't get to that level without the competitive attitude. Sure we can talk about the FO and that's good discussion but I do think they want to win.

Posted by Mick

12:13 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Please stop calling the Rays smart. This is their first good season ever. Rays = Smarter than the Mariners. That I can handle.

Posted by karno11

12:13 PM, Jul 23, 2008

I will stand by what I said a month ago...This season was ruined by idiot Bavasi...He let Guillen go, and thats all it took...He brought production to a weak lineup, and had the mental edge to keep pushing his teammates. He might rub people the wrong way, but the guy can play baseball.

Reminds me alot of Paul O'neill of the Yankees in the 90's. A guy that just knew how to play the game the right way, and took winning and losing very serious.

Posted by dw

12:14 PM, Jul 23, 2008

of course it's a huge crowd - mid afternoon summer game vs. the red sox.

you shold actually look at the size of parks when doing the win/attendance comparison. The sox have sold out like 350+ home games (and many games on the road as well)

Posted by scottM

12:14 PM, Jul 23, 2008

"That these players might have been a little too cozy. Not hungry enough to win when it was expected of them."


GEOFF, once again, you make the case for why Jose Guillen's presence on this team is so sorely missed.

On behalf of the Jose Guillen Society:
Frankie
Walla Walla Girl
ScottM

Posted by Ben

12:20 PM, Jul 23, 2008

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/371817_mfarm23.html

Our farm system does not seem to have many players in it that are league ready. I guess Balentin is (as the NL scout says in that article), but really how does he get the chance to hit every day? Reed earned his spot. Ibanez is in left and ichiro is in right. Unless someone gets traded or hurt, there isn't much room and Balentin isn't dominating enough to bench any of those players.

Posted by aug 2nd

12:23 PM, Jul 23, 2008

BAGHEAD DAY: AUGUST 2ND

Against Baltimore, where this all this started.

BUY TICKETS IN THE LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS. Take pictures and send them to SI.COM, FOXSPORTS,COM, ESPN.COM..

We have only one more Nationally broadcasted game and its an away game. so itll be tough to get on tv with our FSN broadcasting. but hey... lets do something. so...


BAGHEAD DAY !!

AUG 2ND!!!

AGAINST BALTIMORE!!!

SIT IN LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS!!

BRING CAMERAS!! AND SEND PICS TO NEWSPAPERS!!!

BAGHEADS UNITE!!

Posted by karno11

12:24 PM, Jul 23, 2008

As for the fans that keep threatening that they wont watch the M's anymore...Good, because we don't need fair weather fans anyways...Seattle will get this thing turned around.

Note: Before 07 season we were looking at 3-4 years of rebuilding. Then they won 88 games last year(overachieved maybe) but in reality the M's were still 2 years away from their plan of putting a winner on the field.

Posted by Ben

12:27 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Except that winner probably involved Adam Jones playing in the outfield and Brandon Morrow starting for us.

Posted by Ben

12:35 PM, Jul 23, 2008

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/07/yankees-looking.html

Kei Igawa... not so sure about that one.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

12:35 PM, Jul 23, 2008

The comments posted by Miles re. Buster Olney's take on the M's FO pretty much sums up the situation with an interim inexperienced GM and an incompetent club "president" who's in charge of baseball operations. If reports of trading Wash for Igawa are true, I would rather see them stand pat rather than make another Bonehead Bill type of trade that would add another bad long-term contract to the mix. Only way I would trade Washburn to NYY is if they also have to take on either Joh, Silva, or Batista - I would be glad to see any of those three traded for a bag of used baseballs.

Posted by NB

12:37 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Hey Geoff,

I'll stop pretending if you'll stop pretending that you don't have an agenda against Bedard. Fair's fair right?

We all have bias. Mine's for winning. What's yours?

Posted by ConcentrationGuy

12:46 PM, Jul 23, 2008

I didn't ask a question, much less a loaded question. You made another factually incorrect statement to support your factually incorrect belief, and I called you on it. Since you're such a big fan of accountability, I'm just helping you be accountable to reality.

I would keep going, but statements like "so much coming up in the pipeline that Mark Hendrickson was available" expose themselves. Mark Hendrickson was expendable because he's terrible.

Posted by Greggy

1:01 PM, Jul 23, 2008

WE WANT CONWAY, WE WANT CONWAY, WE WANT CONWAY...

Posted by Nick in pdx

1:09 PM, Jul 23, 2008

40,000 for a midweek day game? Your conjecture is "fans still attending even though team sucks." But you don't think this might be just because they're playing one of the Red Sox or Yankees?

Posted by Teach

1:15 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Of course fans are still coming, especially those who know the game. I think most Seattle sportswriters have forgotten that MLB is fun to watch even if the home team is having a bad year. Every duel between pitcher and batter has drama, the intersection between players' personalities and the game is interesting, and something amazing happens at every game. Even the worst teams win one of three, which means that on any given night the underdogs might well stick it to the World Champs. Think about this fact: until the advent of the playoff system, most teams were out of contention long before September. Why do you suppose people kept coming to the games? Because there's so much more to baseball than the standings.

Here's my proposal: every sportswriter should be limited to 4 stories per year on the topic of "Here's-what-I-would-do-if-I-were-manager/GM/owner-of-the-Mariners." It's kind of a lazy way to do sports journalism anyway, don't you think? And it misses most of the point of what makes baseball a great sport for players and spectators.

See you at the Safe . . .

Posted by Teach

1:16 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Of course fans are still coming, especially those who know the game. I think most Seattle sportswriters have forgotten that MLB is fun to watch even if the home team is having a bad year. Every duel between pitcher and batter has drama, the intersection between players' personalities and the game is interesting, and something amazing happens at every game. Even the worst teams win one of three, which means that on any given night the underdogs might well stick it to the World Champs. Think about this fact: until the advent of the playoff system, most teams were out of contention long before September. Why do you suppose people kept coming to the games? Because there's so much more to baseball than the standings.

Here's my proposal: every sportswriter should be limited to 4 stories per year on the topic of "Here's-what-I-would-do-if-I-were-manager/GM/owner-of-the-Mariners." It's kind of a lazy way to do sports journalism anyway, don't you think? And it misses most of the point of what makes baseball a great sport for players and spectators.

See you at the Safe . . .

Posted by blog watcher 33

1:26 PM, Jul 23, 2008

For Concentration Guy: How many players constitute a foundation? Five? Ten? Twenty? Half of Tampa's eight position players came from the first two rounds (or in the Young trade) and two of their five starting pitchers. How many more guys are needed to make a foundation. Just curious.

Posted by MelloDawg

1:31 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Wow Geoff....you can't put two and two together and realize that it's the Red Sox which are the draw and not the M's?

Posted by jj

1:33 PM, Jul 23, 2008

This whole attendance talk is ridiculous. Either people say we don't support our teams and bitch. Or...they say we support our teams in good times and bad and then bitch about that. I would rather be in the latter category with us supporting the team and putting pressure on the ownership to get a better team vociferously!

Posted by ConcentrationGuy

1:37 PM, Jul 23, 2008

8 position players? Do they not use the DH in Tampa?

Upton, Longoria, and Garza do not a foundation make. Barlett has been horrible this year. Crawford too. Geoff's entire argument was that Tampa is winning because of how well their high draft picks are playing.

It's not true. Longoria and Upton are good. Garza's okay. Crawford was good up until this year, but he's obviously not the reason Tampa's winning, since he's having the worst year of his career. And Bartlett is a black hole.

So no, that's not a foundation. The Rays are winning because of the combined efforts of Kazmir, Shields, Sonnanstine, Jackson, Pena, Navarro, Iwamura, Percival, Wheeler, Howell, Hinske, Floyd, and yes, Upton and Longoria. Stating that the Rays built this team on their high draft picks is just wrong.

Posted by JP

2:07 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Karno 11 "fair weather fans are all that show up to the games now" Literally, take a look at attendance during spring and compare to start of summer. How can your attendance go UP as your wins keep going down. Simple "fair weather" fans. Fans that like to watch another team visit our stadium during 70 to 80 degree weather. These fans could care less about the M's its more about the SAFECO Experience. As evidence of the quote from the mom of an 8 year old. "we come for garlic fries and the moose"

Seriously i am all about "family day" but couldn't the parents at least tell the kids that we are going to the game to watch baseball and the garlic fries and the moose just "add" to the experience. The people that go to the games spend more time talking to each other than watching the game. If we had the die hard fan base of say i don't know the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubbies, do you think that management might work harder at trying to improve the team quicker. I think they would.

Posted by blog watcher 33

2:24 PM, Jul 23, 2008

CG: Obviously the DH has no defensive position, so he is not a position player. He's just a guy in the batting order.

I agree that Tampa's FO has done a nice job in acquiring players to fill out their club. But I also think Crawford, Upton, etc. have made a nice foundation for them to build on. Soon, Niemann and Price will join the rotation (2009?) and add to that foundation.

It's too bad the M's are a rudderless ship right now and incapable of making some of the deals Tampa made to get them to their contending position this year (like the Kazmir trade). There is such a lack of prospects in the higher levels of the minors, it will take some miracle work by the new GM just to get this franchise back to a contending position by 2012.

Posted by KarnoRules

2:42 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Hey JP, the reason fans keep showing up is because they purchased the tickets thinking the M"s would contend this year..My dad and I went half on the 16 game plan or something..But I still show up to the games, because I am a M's fan. It could be snowing and I would show up to watch them play!!

Your the guy sitting in the front row wearing a Red Sox cap and then a Yankee cap when they come to town!!

Posted by deepthroat

2:46 PM, Jul 23, 2008

The DH is not a position player, hahahahaha! he got you ConcentrationDude.

Now concentrate!

It's pretty lame to say that a team which has drafted at the top for the last decade has been built on anything other than those draft picks.

If trading those picks or trading the excess those picks create,get you players you would not otherwise have been able to get, then indirectly, those picks have also contributed to your foundation.

Not sure what the hell your problem is other than you like to argue.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

3:02 PM, Jul 23, 2008

For Nick in pdx, yes they are playing the Red Sox and crowds go up. And they go up for the Yankees. But they also apparently go up for the Indians, so how do we explain that? And for other teams because of who knows what?

As I already said, Geoff: the pacific northwest has a lot of transplants from other cities, thanks to the tech industry importing people. And SafeCo is the only place to see major league baseball, for several hundred miles in every direction.

Posted by bagless in Seattle

3:53 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Uh, what's Baghead Day??? Sounds like fun! I wanna get in on that..............

Posted by JP

5:01 PM, Jul 23, 2008

Karno no one is suggesting that you are not a die hard M's fan. You split a 16 game pack with pops? That's fantastic MY OH MY! That means you will attend 8 games that is out of a possible 81. A show up percentage of 9.87% That's if you don't sell them before the game and stay at the brewery instead of entering the stadium.

Listen just because you go to a couple games doesn't mean that you are the only legitimate M's fan. How many people buy season tickets every year but then end up selling the majority online? Are they also not considered a true fan? Now since those fans can't control who buys the tickets what are the odds that Sox and Yankee fans buy those seats? As evidence by the loud cheering in the stands at the end of last nights game i would say the majority of fans were there to see the Sox.

The point is the majority of people that go to the M's games are either indifferent to the home team, there to witness the opposing team, or were forced to pick games before the season started from the dreaded company ticket availabilty list.

My definition of a fareweather M's fan is just that. No matter what the team is doing they will go to the stadium because it is a nice day out. Not because the team is winning and they want to witness greatness! Those fans are called bandwagon fans. And as evidence of your ticket purchasing prowess i would say you fall somewhere in the middle of those two spectrums.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

6:12 PM, Jul 23, 2008

scottM (12:14 PM): Thank you for your post on behalf of the Jose Guillen Society. We miss Jose.

Go Bagheads on August 2!

Posted by jeff928

6:14 AM, Jul 24, 2008

It was not that many years ago that a summer weekend game would be an automatic sellout. Now you can get same-day tickets to any game, including the Red Sox.

Posted by JP G

10:26 AM, Jul 24, 2008

Geoff, Nice try trying find the silver lining in the storm cloud. Your (Avg# of fans per game/win) index is not the relevant stat here. I've modified your formula to determine the (Avg# of fans NOT PRESENT per game/win). (Home field capacity - avg. home attendance)/ # of wins. The lower the number the better. Using Safeco's capacity of 47,116, the M's score around 467 which is brutal and a waste fo such a fine facility in Safeco field. The Redsox score a zero since they always sellout and I bet even leak into the negative digits due to stretching Standing Room Only rules in certain situations...ie Yankee games.

Posted by JP G

10:28 AM, Jul 24, 2008

A continuation of my last post...

That not withstanding, I love going to Safeco! I'm from Boston so being able to go to any game you want (having flexibility to decide right up till game time) for an inexpensive ticket (I like the 1st base side 300 level myself) is a real treat. Safeco is a Cathedral of a baseball stadium and Seattle is lucky ot have it esp. right downtown.

Yep - It would be better if the team was winning but there is still some twisted enjoyment sticking with a team that is a disaster right now. It's like being hooked on a really depressing soap opera thats on it's 6th season! :-) It does make you more of a real fan and will savor the success when/if it finally gets here.

Posted by The Centerfield Bum

11:59 AM, Jul 24, 2008

My reply to this post is rather untimely because I was at the game on Wednesday afternoon.

Here's my opinion as to why people keep showing up to games even though the M's are doing poorly.

Baseball more than any other sport is a social event, and that's true whether or not the team is winning or losing. Sure, it's more fun when the home team wins, but the social aspect of the game goes on even when the team doesn't win. This is essentially why the Cubs have always packed Wrigley Field even when the team wasn't doing well.

Personally, there's almost nothing more enjoyable than skipping out of work early on a weekday, meeting up with friends at the ballgame and enjoying a few cold ones in the summer sun. I'd do this no matter what the team's record was.

Plus, unlike attending other sports, a baseball game really does not have to be watched in its entirety. It's just not a big deal if you miss an inning or two to go stroll around the park, or because you're distracted by a good conversation you're having with a friend or someone you just met.

Hey, I can hardly wait until the next homestand, and plan to be at every game.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I do care about winning, but I really only consider attending a ballgame a bad event if I leave without having met someone new that I didn't know before showing up at the game that day.

Geoff, you just need to get down out of the press box every once in awhile and enjoy a game with the real baseball fans.

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