Category Archives: Major League Baseball

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My Thoughts – Catching Up!

I’ve been challenged in blogging lately, but that should end today. I apologize to all my readers for being away, but in the words of that great philosopher Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’m Back!”

  • The Seahawks still have the inside track for the NFC West. With all teams losing last week, we just simply advanced a week on the schedule. The next two weeks are critical for the Hawks. They have home games against Kansas City and Carolina. I view these as “must-wins.” If they do, that puts them at 7 wins with division games against San Francisco (road) and St. Louis (home). A win against the Rams would put them at 8 wins and essentially give them the division. The loss against New Orleans didn’t hurt. The next 2 weeks may mean the season.
  • I have a funny feeling that Jake Locker and the Huskies will make the Apple Cup meaningful by beating Cal on Saturday. A road win in the Pac-10 is always tough, but I don’t think the Bears have shown a whole lot of mental toughness under Jeff Tedford. Take last year’s game at Husky Stadium. I’m looking for a close game and a Husky win at 24-21. If they don’t make a bowl game, they can look back at the Arizona State game at home as the season killer. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
  • Felix Hernandez unquestionably was the Cy Young winner. I am so pleased that the baseball writers got past the 13 win total. Had his mates posted another 13 runs cumulatively, he may have been at 21 wins! Next year will be no different unless we can get some bats. The hot stove league should be interesting this year.

Keep watching for me on Twitter – @DailyDanSports for daily updates. I will be tweeting on the football games tomorrow!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

My Oh My…So Long Dave

The voice of two generations of Mariners fans was silenced today.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus passed away in his home in Bellevue today after suffering a heart attack. He was 75 years old.

I remember vividly being glued to my transistor radio on April 6, 1977. Diego Segui threw out the first pitch against the California Angels and the Mariners eventually lost 7-0. I was transfixed by the voice of Niehaus. For 33 years I listened to games, most o them losses, but it didn’t matter because Dave Niehaus was in a league of his own. I am stunned and sick by his loss. Prayers are with his family, friends, the whole organization, and Mariner Nation. The best way I can memorialize him in this blog is to end with his most famous (and perhaps the most famous Seattle) call of all time. Game 5 against the hated Yankees on the American League Championship Series in 1995 (courtesy of ESPN)…

“Right now, the Mariners looking for the tie. They would take a fly ball, they would love a base hit into the gap and they could win it with Junior’s speed. The stretch … and the 0-1 pitch on the way to Edgar Martinez, swung on and LINED DOWN THE LEFT-FIELD LINE FOR A BASE HIT! HERE COMES JOEY, HERE IS JUNIOR TO THIRD BASE, THEY’RE GOING TO WAVE HIM IN! THE THROW TO THE PLATE WILL BE … LATE! THE MARINERS ARE GOING TO PLAY FOR THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP! I DON’T BELIEVE IT! IT JUST CONTINUES! MY OH MY!”

Giants, Cowboys, and Rangers Oh My!

I apologize for being so long without posting. Life often gets in the way of blogging, so I hope to improve.

A belated observation…

Last spring, if you would have told me that the cities of Dallas and San Francisco would be embroiled in a sports championship series, I would have bought that. The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49’ers were both pegged to be contenders for the Super Bowl, and could likely face each other in an NFC Championship game.

As it turns out, the San Francisco Giants and the Texas (Dallas-based) Rangers  squared off in the World Series. The eventual champion Giants weren’t thought to be a playoff team, and although the Rangers were, they had never been to a World Series and their pitching was suspect. Turns out the Niners and Pokes were suspect.

The Giants won their first World Series since transplanting to the West Coast and the 49’ers are 2-6 after losing their first 5 games. The Rangers made their first World Series in franchise history and the Cowboys are in shambles with only one win and the loss of their QB.

Sports is strange. The Huskies and Seahawks lost by a combined score of 74-3 over the weekend, which was tough here in Seattle. It still beats being a Cowboys or 49’ers fan, though…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Pirates, Northwest, and the Coolest Bathroom Ever

I went to PNC Park last night to take in the Pirates-Cardinals game. Here are my impressions of the evening…

1 – It’s a beautiful ballpark. A couple years younger than Safeco Field, it has a spectacular view of the downtown skyline in Pittsburgh. It appears to be smaller (fences too) as there is considerably less seating in the outfield than Safeco. That being said, it has a cozier feel. I still like Safeco Field the best, but PNC Park is right there. A great place to watch a game and enjoy.

P.S. The food was also less expensive!

2 – The Pirates actually won for us with a little help from a couple NW homies. Ryan Doumit (Moses Lake) was the catcher and played well. Evan Meek (Inglemoor HS in Kenmore) picked up the save (even though he gave up a run). He got out of a bases loaded, one out, and Matt Holliday at the plate situation.

Ronnie Cedeno (the former Mariner) played flawlessly at shortstop and made the final out. He also had a double. Lots of other ex-Mariners in the stadium including Ryan Franklin and the now third-string catcher Jeff Clement.

3 – It’s amazing that a guy who has been dead for 37 years is still so idolized. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who died in an airplane crash on December 31, 1973 on a humanitarian mission, had more #21 jerseys than anyone else. The Bucs have memorialized him on the field with a 21-foot right-field wall (where he roamed for 20+ years). Clemente was a legend and continues on in Pittsburgh after nearly 4 decades.

4 – After the game, we went to the Jerome Bettis Grill for dessert. My cousin told me about the cool men’s bathroom. Yes, you read me correctly, the cool men’s bathroom. I had to check it out.

Guys, when you walk in and hang a right into the urinals, you see a huge one-way window. You ge to look out but nobody else can see in. Kind of like NCIS! As you are taking care of your business, you can casually look at all the people in the bar, the myriad of big screen TV’s, and keep tabs on your girlfriend if you need to (I didn’t even have my wife there, so I simply gazed at all the people and activity). Now THAT is a cool men’s room!

A very fun evening. That’s what going to baseball games is all about….a wonderful setting with your family, a Pittsburgh cheese steak and beer, a home team win, and a trip to the coolest bathroom ever!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Next Year’s Mariners Lineup

It’s time to call a spade a spade for the Seattle Mariners.

This year, we were filled with hope coming off an 85-win season. We added Cliff Lee, Milton Bradley, and Chone Figgins and hoped that we would get decent performances form the offense so that we could pitch and play defense into the AL West crown. Obviously, that didn’t happen…in a BIG way.

It’s time to admit we are rebuilding and get some of the kids down in the minors a chance to play, fail, and ultimately see if they are the guys who can bring us back into being a contender. We keep hearing about how great the farm system is since Jack Zduriencik came in and started doing his thing. As an old Seahawks motto from days gone by once said, “It’s NOW Time!”

Here’s how I’d like to see the starting lineup look for next year…

C – Adam Moore       He’s played pretty well of late and he was supposed to be our savior at the position. We’ve got to let him play every day.

1B – Justin Smoak    He was the prize jewel in the Cliff Lee deal. Time to deliver.

2B – Dustin Ackley   Our #2 overall pick is playing well in Tacoma. Time to see what he can do in the bigs.

SS – Josh Wilson      A better bat than Jack.

3B – Matt Tuiasosopo Has been great the last few days after being bad for a couple of years. He needs reps and consistent play to see if he can play at this level.

LF – Michael Saunders    I’ve been impressed with this guy. I think he can have a break-out year in 2011.

CF – Franklin Gutierrez   Duh!

RF – Ichiro Suzuki    I hear the rumblings about trading him. No way. This guy is a future Hall of Famer and a 200-hit a year guarantee. We need him at the top of the lineup.

DH – Russell Branyan   A veteran leader with pop in his bat. Good guy in the clubhouse.

Chone Figgins needs to be traded to a team that will contend. We can free up that money and continue to work on the areas of weaknesses. Milton Bradley – see ya! The pitching staff is pretty deep and I like the young arms. We may need to find a closer, though.

Bottom line – It’s time to move on. This is a project to be contending in 2012. To do that, we need to find out who is good and who isn’t. The only way to do that is to let them play. We may not win a ton of games, but at least they should be fun and exciting.

P.S. We’d better hire a manager who knows how to handle young players.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Now What for Mariners?

Well, Daren Brown is 1-0 as Mariners skipper. Maybe he should quit while he’s ahead.

I’m sure Brown is an excellent choice to finish the season. He’s managed some of these guys at Tacoma and it makes sense. Unless, the M;s go 31-12 or something silly like that, I doubt he will be considered for the job long-term. So that begs the question – who?

I don’t like Bobby Valentine as an option. Yes, he’s had success but he’s 60 years old and I think this club needs someone who will be here longer than what Valentine may be able to offer. I’ve heard the name Joey Cora. He was a finalist when Wakamatsu got the gig and he would be a fan favorite. Willie Randolph is a good candidate because of his pedigree. Here are two guys I would have a lot of interest in…

1 – Ryne Sandberg is the odds-on favorite to replace Lou Piniella (ther’s some irony) in Chicago. In fact, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith said in the USA Today today that the Cubs should hire him. Hes managed at all levels of the minor leagues and is the right kind of manager for a young club because he’s played at the highest level and that will breed credibility . He’s also a Spokane native.

2 – Don Mattingly – This guy was a tremendous player for the Yankees and has since worked with Joe Torre in New York and Los Angeles. Everything I hear is that Mattingly is going to be a tremendous manager and is being groomed to replace Torre eventually with the Dodgers. How about here in Seattle?

Both these guys (and I would toss in Randolph) have credibility as a player; something Wakamatsu didn’t. If you can’t come in as a big-name manager like Piniella did, you’ve got to have some stripes as a player to make it work in this situation.

Your turn – tell me some names you’d like to see. But please, don’t say Ken Griffey Jr. (he’d be horrible); Jay Buhner (no experience); or Edgar Martinez (ditto).Tell me who would work here and why…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Wak and Figgie – Go to Your Corners, Round 2

So now it’s come to this.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Chone Figgins was benched last night in the 5th inning by Manager Don Wakamatsu for not backing up the cut off man and allowing Mike Cameron to go to 3rd base on a double. Figgins became irate in the dugout and players needed to get involved to avoid any escalation. So much for all the clubhouse harmony from last year.

I saw the play. Figgins was at fault. Had he made an effort to back up Michael Saunders overthrow, Cameron would not have mafe a bee-line to third. However, Figgins probably feels singled out. Let’s face it, there are other guys on this team who continually make huge errors. Jose Lopez has been a disaster on the basepaths and on the field. Why has he not been benched.

This team is in complete disarray. Figgins and Milton Bradley are headed the way of other big free agents signings of th past, Carlos Silva and Jeff Cirillo. They are terrible and we are stuck with them or their salary for several year. We have three first baseman who can’t play other positions. Our pitchers continue to throw great games with no run support (except for Ryan Rowland-Smith who gets lit up every time he pitches).

This latest episode is indicative of losing. The “harmony” that Wakamatsu apparently brought last year looks like an aberration. Jack Zduriencik had better make some moves to turn this around. For now, I believe Wakamatsu is safe. He won’t survive another first half like this next year, though.

Now is the time to see who can play. I’d like to see them recall Matt Tuiasososopo and play him at third every day. He was a high draft choice; let’s see what ewe’ve got. Trade Lopez for whatever you can get. Continue to play Saunders every day in left. Play Justin Smoak at first every day. When Branyan returns, he’s your DH. Release Milton Bradley….the experiment is over. Stop sending Rowland-Smith out there just to spot the other team 6 runs. See what you’ve got down in Tacoma.

By the way, does it make you angry that we’ve been watching Adrian Beltre and Bil Hall beating us with their bats over the past 2 days? These guys were both on our team last year. I’d trade Hall at 2B and Beltre at 3B for Lopez and Figgins in a heart beat.

Well, at least I will say this – Wak and Figgie gave is something to talk about other than a 2-1 loss.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

George Steinbrenner Dead at 80


It has just been reported that George Steinbrenner, “The Boss” of the New York Yankees for 30 years, has passed away this morning at the age of 80. His family confirmed the report.

Read the story

No matter what you thought of Steinbrenner, he certainly brought a lot of attention to the game and the world’s most recognizable professional sports franchise. His feuds with Billy Martin and Yogi Berra are well known. His chasing of big name superstars started back with Andy Messersmith, Reggie Jackson, and Catfish Hunter and continued through the years with Mark Teixieira, C.C. Sabbathia, and Alex Rodriguez. He turned the Bronx Bombers back into the polarizing team that makes for great rivalries and intrigue.

Ironic that his passing comes just days after the death of legendary Yankee public address announcer, Bob Sheppard at 99 years old. Sad week for Yankee Nation.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

So Long Cliff…Nice work Jack

Let’s hand it to Jack Zduriencik.

He gets close to a deal with the Yankees today for Cliff Lee, toys with them while they are visiting our fine city, and then lands them on their butt by pulling the carpet out from under them. Trader Jack’s trade of Lee to the Rangers on the surface is brilliant. Here’s why…

1 – He trades them to Texas, who we have zero chance of catching this year. Texas has zero chance of re-signing Lee because of their financial woes. Lee will not haunt our division unless he signs with Anaheim.

2 – We get two former first-round picks. Justin Smoak is regarded around the league as a “can’t miss” at 1B. Yes, I know some can’t misses turn into misses, but at this point he looks like a great fit. Blake Beaven is pitching very well on the farm for Texas and could be a decent starter for the M’s. Throw in 3 other players and if even one of them pan out, it’s a bonus.

3 – The Yankees don’t get him.

4 – He might beat the Yankees in the playoffs.

5 – Back to the M’s – we have very good pitching still left and expecting more help from Erik Bedard.

6 – It’s better than 2 draft picks had we kept him. Yes, I advocated keeping him when we were talking about a bunch of minor leaguers. Smoak can play now and Beaven next year. Our boy Dustin Ackley should be up at the end of the year and playing in 2011. I like what Saunders has done. There is hope.

I would expect Russ Branyan to be the full-time DH now and hopefully next year. The Milton Bradley and Casey Kotchman experiment is over.

I for one am anxious to see Smoak play. I hope Don Wakamatsu gives him plenty of AB’s regardless of what he does. We need Him, Saunders, Josh Wilson, and hopefully Adam Moore when he gets back to be ready for 2011. Spring training only 7 months away!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Cliff and LeBron Talk

News is swirling all over Twitter and blogs that a deal for Cliff Lee being shipped to the Yankees is imminent. It appears the Yanks would send a couple top prospects – catcher and 1B – the the M’s for the lefty. Certainly, I don’t follow the minor leagues so much that I even know who these prospects are. The catcher could end up another Jeff Clement or Adam Moore. We have to trust in Jack Zduriencik, though. This deal may end up defining his career and his time with the organization. Let’s hope he gets it right and this turns into another Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner deal for us if it indeed goes down.

I guess I swung and missed on LeBron James. Too bad. I now definitely have a team to hate and root against. Of course, athletes just like everyone else have the right to work where they want and for whom they want. I hate to see a kid who grew up near Cleveland, who single-handedly turned the franchise into an annual contender and got them to an NBA Finals, turn his back on them and probably sink them back into oblivion. I hope he never gets his trophy.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved