Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and
son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix
in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my
dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.
But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and
sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts,
I think, with playing catch. No words are necessary. There’s
just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping
in the leather glove.
My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch
today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much
batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.
Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:
You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way
Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going
to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.
It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making
all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye
for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center
fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when
he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect
that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I
think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma
— Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t
hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders,
Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.
I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That
was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back
some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I
think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit
to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key
element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as
Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is
Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.
Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on
Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in
an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my
son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A
couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run
moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead
center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about
thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at
$6 million plus incentives.
One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB
players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new
Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is
practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?
South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his
second win and
had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the
North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec
is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic
Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the
Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split
with Western Oregon.
North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the
Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week.
The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two
doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks
(14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.
Drew Vettleson’s still looking
for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder
is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star was
traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays
organization prior to the start of spring training.
Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I
wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will
contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the
leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the
year he hangs tough?
Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be
July 20 at Safeco Field.
More information here.
Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port
Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap
Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard
and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome.
Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey
and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks
and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…