Shameless Jeff-Promotion: New article out on the cover of the Bellingham Herald's weekly Take Five entertainment insert. It's about disc golf. Most of the most interesting stuff (to me) was removed during the editing process, including a quote from a player who told me: "This is my drug rehab. If it weren't for this sport, I'd be doing crank right now."
Olerud: A quick take on the Olerud DFA, while trying not to repeat other blogosphere opinions. This seems to me to be a very low-impact move: while Olerud's got name value, he's also a free agent at the end of the year that likely wouldn't return anyway. Essentially, this moves gives the Mariners half a season to look at some younger players.
What really strikes me, though, is how quickly this team is becoming bereft of valuable commodities -- or at least commodities perceived as valuable. Looking up and down the roster, only Bret Boone seems likely to bring anything in a trade. If Bavasi is able to do more than simply dump the contracts of other potential ship-outs (Winn, Spiezio) then I'll be very impressed.
posted by Jefflink 7:55 AM 
This Does for Baseball Commentary What the Noriega Barricade Did for Pop Songs: I'm glad to know I'm not the onlyone who thinks having Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson in the same booth is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
With all the publicity over the Lynndie England photos, we haven't heard as much about the stunning allegations of Iraqis being forced to listen to White Sox broadcasts at Abu Ghraib. A far worse affront, I fear. And you can put that on the board.
Many Hands Make the Weighty Work of Optimism Light: We're all trying to pitch in for positivity in Corey's self-imposed exile. I've done it. After the Garcia trade, lots of us did it. Now, David Cameron adds some champagne and roses, noting that David Andriesen's piece today contains choice, incisive morsels.
The building of [Anaheim's] roster, and the management of a pitching-rich farm system similar to Seattle's in Los Angeles, have him prepared to guide Seattle baseball into its rapidly approaching next era.
Insert your own joke about the "next era" here.
Initially, this was supposed to be a counterpoint to D. Cameron's sunny-side-of-the-street take. I figured I'd go over the guy's coverage, extract some doofusness from the stories, slap together some pseudo-witticisms, and play Mariner Pessimist for a day.
But you know what? Looking over Andriesen's record for the past several months, he's a damn good reporter.
One of the reasons I keep up this blog is that I really dig accountability. We all make mistakes -- undoubtedly, I have, and will in the future. (Did I really write that the Mariners would win 86 games?) Having a record of your opinions and reasoning, like our print brethren do, forces you to take responsibility for those thoughts, and hopefully to evaluate faulty reasoning so you can improve it in the future.
Sure, Andriesen's coverage has had flaws -- even today's column demonstrates an unhealthy allegiance to batting average, for example. Most of these are motes, though, that all under the heading of "understandable" or "necessary," and hardly compare to the beams in the eyes of other baseball writers. While you can hardly get away from writing tired "welcome to town, [new player]" stories, Andriesen has included relevant info in those stories -- like the fact that Ron Villone doesn't get lefties out.
Indeed, almost all of the issues you could take (and I have taken) with his stories are mere trifles in the grand scheme. Sure, he's paid homage to logically-challenged chestnuts like "the manager needs to get ejected from time to time" or "Bavasi's family is a baseball family, so he must be qualified," but over the course of a long season, you've got to feed the copy beast, and those type of stories are old, reliable ones. Plus, good stories incorporate multiple perspectives. Just because some old-school baseball "truisms" are misguided doesn't mean they aren't worth listening to; simiIarly, I don't mind him taking shots at blogs as long as he's reading them. Fair's fair.
In short, David Andriesen is one of the reasons the P-I's sports coverage regularly treats the Times' like Mike Tyson treats everything except pigeons. In the dark backward of baseball journalism, he's got a pretty good headlamp. Keep up the good work.
Speaking of Mariner Pessimist: Since Corey set up this "five straight wins and the Optimist is back!" standard, I think he should take the current losing streak as impetus to do what is referred to in professional wrestling as a "heel turn." That is:
* Register "marinerpessimist.blogspot.com";
* Publish a virulent screed of a first post about how all he wanted was five wins ... and they gave him nine losses. In a row. Which hasn't happened since I graduated from high school. But I digress;
* Announce that this abysmal record of perfidy has forced Dr. Jekkyl into the Mr. Hyde role, and from now on, the front office will be torched by the fiery rhetoric of the Mariner Pessimist. Look on his blog, ye mighty, and despair!
Or, you know, not. Whichever.
Because you care, a fantasy sports update: If Jeremy of Sports and Bremertonians thinks he's bitter about Miguel Tejada, he ought to ask me how I feel after watching the Birds' shortstop hit more home runs in one round of home run derby than he did for my fantasy team the entire first half of this year.
Sidenote: I'm one of these low-risk guys who will happily bid higher for a low-risk player. Hence, I go after guys that are slightly less awesome than Vlad Guerrero, but have sterling track records of playing full seasons. Like, for example, Tejada -- and Magglio Ordonez and Vernon Wells.
'Nuff said about how my teams are doing this year.
Actually, what's really strange is that I'm doing awful -- fifth or worse out of ten -- in my two AL-only leagues, and I know significantly more about the American League. I'm second out of 18 teams in a major-league competition that I only joined because it was free and people asked. Taking advice from me about the National League is about as reliable as taking advice from Bill Clinton on abstinence, and just as likely to provoke a smirk from my friends.
Personally, I'd keep Boone. He remains an excellent defensive second baseman and is too good a hitter to be done at 35. But the Mariners need to flush out their lineup around him to relieve some of the pressure. [Emphasis added]
At first, I thought Greg meant "flesh out their lineup." But the more I think about it, "flush" seems appropriate.
* Larry Stone's column today is about Felix Hernandez. It's a gush-fest, which is appropriate in an otherwise dismal and lost season.
Among the folks doing the gushing, as quoted by Stone, is fellow Futures Game participant Conor Jackson. Wait, who is Conor Jackson? Let's ask Steve.
* Don't be disappointed that the Mariners don't have anyone receiving a midseason award from Jayson Stark. Be grateful for the Bad Old Juan Gonzalez (not to be confused with Bad Young Juan Gonzalez, who we acquired for Carlos Guillen. Here's why:
AL Least Valuable Player (LVP) of the Half-Year
JUAN GONZALEZ, ROYALS -- ... You'd like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, since he is a two-time MVP. But after 11 trips to the disabled list and countless episodes just like this one, even his own teammates have been grumbling to friends about him.
SIGHS OF RELIEF FOR: Pick a Mariner. Any Mariner.
So true it hurts.
* There's speculation in the blogosphere that Gil Meche has been traded for Michael Cuddyer, based mostly on the fact that Meche shook hands with his manager in the middle of a game and left. I just want to say that I wholeheartedly endorse this trade: we're a lot better fixed for young pitching than we are young hitting, even if Meche's arm miraculously continues to function. Plus, I've always liked Cuddyer.
Lending some additional credence to this rumor: remember, Bill Bavasi loves Jolbert Cabrera, in part because he can play so many different positions. The Twins' use of Cuddyer as a super-utility player is something that, in my view, Bavasi would value in an acquisition. We'll see.
posted by Jefflink 9:02 AM