Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Things that suck

This article from the PI would like to put everything into perspective for you. Our outfield (Winn, Reed, Ichiro) has a collective 13 home runs, meaning that there are 55 major leaguers who have more home runs than our collective outfield. Hmmmm.

I was at the gym last night watching part of the game. Someone walks by like "What's the score?" and I said "10-9," and they were like "Uh, is that the Mariners or the Seahawks?"

Lookout Landing has summed up the game better than I ever could, but I'll give it a whirl.

Things that suck:

Sele. I'm sorry, but it's true. Whatever magic dust gave you that excellent pitching run in late May and early June, you gotta get some more of it, man, or you'll be Sele'ing your own doom. (Ha ha.)

Thornton. I stuck up for you, man, and where has it gotten me? No love. No love at all. You know, Hinske sucks too, and he OWNED you.

Spiezio. Why are you still here? You make me so sad. I hated you so much when you were with Anaheim, and then you were supposed to come here and continue kicking butt, and what happens? You suck! You're supposed to be kicking *their* butts, not ours. Grr.

Things that don't suck:

Snelling! He hit a nice double to right field. Of course, it was too little too late, but still.

Villone. I don't know if you've noticed, but the guy hasn't given up an earned run in a month. Infact, if you look at his outer stats, it's really pretty damn good. In the last month (from June 20 - July 20) he's running the following:

12.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7 BB, 14 K

Heck, if you just combine his June and July numbers, it's still damn impressive:

20.2 IP, 14 H, 3 ER, 10 BB, 21 K, 1.30 ERA

Now, I'd really been trying to pinpoint what the heck was different about him lately, but Jeff of LL hit it on the head: Ronnie the Bear is throwing sidearm to lefties. Holy crap. It's not a huge sidearm, but it's enough of an angle to really mess with someone. I guess this is why I stopped hating Ron Villone (enough so to even write him into the last song I wrote -- oh, I should post those here) -- I mean, you know me and sidearm pitchers, but let me get to that in a second.

Anyway. Villone, I'm glad you don't suck. Unfortunately, things that don't suck are generally huge trade bait, so I guess we'll be saying goodbye to you and hoping Matt Thornton becomes our lefty bullpen ace...


Oh, wait, I should point out one last thing about Villone, lest I sound like I've entirely forgiven him for some of his atrocious outings. Despite posting those numbers, I forgot to include a slightly more telling stat, his percentage of strikes thrown. In the last month he threw 228 pitches, and 131 of them for strikes, for a rather low 57%. In those last two months, he threw 374 pitches, 220 for strikes, for 58%.

The Mariners pitching staff in general tends to throw about 64-65% strikes. Randy Johnson, last season, threw 72% strikes. In other words, Ronnie still sometimes has trouble finding the strike zone with both his hands, a flashlight, and a can of pine tar, but that's okay. All is forgiven when one joins the cult of the sidearm.

Things that suck, but fortunately suck somewhere else:

Bret Boone! Holy shit, I'm so glad you're sucking in Minnesota. I mean, I know Jose Lopez is only .250/.238/.350 in July (gotta love anyone who manages to have a lower OBP than BA), but you're only .129/.206/.129, so, yeah.

Things that don't suck, and unfortunately don't suck somewhere else:

My Phillies! My cutie pie Chase Utley and my high-school-crush Mike Lieberthal, in the last week hitting .500/.542/.818 and .500/.563/1.286 respectively.

Chad Bradford! So he's recovered from his back surgery, and is back up, and pitching for the Red Sox. I saw him pitching on the big screen at Safeco the other night, and I was all like, squealing, "OMG! Chad Bradford! Look at him throw! Isn't that so COOL???"

And of course, the guys are just like "Uh, who the heck cares? Sure, he's a submariner, so what?"

A rant about uniqueness

The thing is, think of it this way. I go to like... what, I'm on course right now to attend around 40 baseball games this year. And when it really comes down to it, a lot of games are the same. Some dude throws a ball, some dude hits the ball, some fielders get the ball and throw it to first. A lot of baseball looks exactly the same, which is why some people get bored by it. It's the little things that are different about some players that make it more exciting to watch -- the way guys like Eric Byrnes look like they're on ten cups of espresso, or the way David Eckstein bounces around like a munchkin, or the way Jamie Moyer strikes people out by throwing the ball like a girl, or the way the Japanese players like Ichiro and Taguchi and all run so quickly, or the grace of Mike Cameron as a ballhawk in the expanse of center field, or whatnot. Heck, I think it's just cool to see old guys like Pat Borders, or Julio Franco, or whoever, defy time and age and still hustle out in the field. Then there's pitchers. So many of them look so alike, that the differences are what make it so fun to watch some of them. Arroyo with his Rockettes kick, or Mike Myers as his sidearming, or Nomo with his crazy windup, and so on. And then there are people like Chad Bradford, who are utterly unique. There just isn't anyone else in the game who throws like him anymore. It's just *neat* to see.

If you asked me who the top five pitchers I wish I could have seen are, I'm pretty sure my top five list would be

1) Mark "The Bird" Fidrych -- he just sounds like he was SO WEIRD, talking to the ball and being so hyper and wide-eyed. That's just awesome.
2) Walter Johnson -- the greatest of all. I just want to know for real how fast he was.
3) Rip Sewell -- inventor of the "eephus pitch". Oh man! I just would give anything to see the moment when he pitched that to Ted Williams in the all-star game.
4) Warren Spahn -- the greatest lefty of all, and the craziest angle. I mean, I've seen the pictures, and I just can't imagine him throwing!
5) Satchel Paige -- because I still can't imagine a guy pitching for so long and for so well! I mean, I read his autobiography and it just boggles the mind how someone could pitch consistently for over four decades, you know?

So yeah. I mean, you can be a decent ballplayer, but the truly great will also be truly unique. I mean, when you watch a movie like 61*, you go, "Holy crap, that's actually Mickey Mantle's swing." Which is sort of the thing about Rafael Palmeiro. He's just this big ol' slugger who's been around forever and racked up a ton of hits and homeruns. I don't mean to say this isn't a great accomplishment -- it's amazing and a testament to his sustained ability as a ballplayer -- but even when he ends up in the Hall, I don't know what his "unique" thing will be? I mean, nobody's going to remember the Viagra thing in a few years, right?

Oh well, I should go get some sleep. I'd pretend to be optimistic about tomorrow's game, but after Franklin dropped tonight's, and the way Pineiro's been looking lately, I'm just not sure what I can say.

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