Sunday, June 04, 2006

Game Report: Mariners vs. Royals - Kansasmari Damacity! Royals Rainbow!

The first rule of book club is: when book club sucks, you don't talk about book club. Only Josh and Gomez showed up, and Josh was 45 minutes late, so there wasn't much to it. We didn't pick a book for August, either... it might either end up being Fantasyland, or I might try to make everyone read something by Mike Sowell. If there's anyone out there actually planning to show up for book club in August who has a suggestion for a book, feel free to speak up. Oh, and July's book club meeting will be on July 8th. We're still covering Paths of Glory by Mark Armour et al.

Anyway, Josh and I went over to the Royals game afterwards. For whatever reason, Josh is still a Royals fan, and I feel really bad for him, because, my god, the Royals really suck. I mean, they let us score twelve runs. In one game! Sometimes we don't even score twelve runs in a week!

Short version: Uhhh... the Royals suck. Sexson hit two home runs. Beltre hit one. The Mariners scored TWELVE FREAKING RUNS to win the game 12-1. Seth Etherton and Andy Sisco suck so much that at one point the Mariners had seriously scored 9 runs on 4 hits. I'm not kidding. The Royals really should have scored more than one run, but Paul Bako got called out at the plate in one of the most ridiculous calls I've ever seen, since he was safe by a mile. Oh well.

Tonight was "Cloverdale Meats Trading Card Night", which means that every fan (well, the first 20,000, at least, which for most intents and purposes is every fan) got an envelope with 27 trading cards in it. Everyone's set, though, would have five missing cards, and five extra of one player, the idea being that you're supposed to go to their "trading posts" and get a complete set by trading with people. Last year, we showed up too late to really do anything much with the trading cards. This year, we had plenty of time, but I just didn't feel like dealing with it. My set has five extra Roberto Petagine cards, one of which I traded to a guy down the row from me for an extra George Sherrill. I suppose I should pawn the extras off on Paul at some point. Josh gave me a Mateo, and I'm still missing Meche, Moyer, Lawton, and Livingston, and I'm sure you can guess exactly how much I care.

Josh went up to our seats, and I said "I'm gonna go try to trade some cards," but once I saw the ridiculous crowds around the trading posts blocking the walkways, what I actually did was go down to the field as the Royals were coming in from batting practice and see if I could get any of them to sign my ticket. What an apathetic bunch of losers -- seriously, they didn't even look out at the stands as they came in, probably figuring they couldn't possibly have any fans as far away as Seattle. Jeremy Affeldt was out by section 148 signing stuff though, and when I got there, he was saying to a little girl, "But you don't have a pen!" So I offered up my sharpie to the girl like "Here, would you like to use mine?" Affeldt signed her arm, said to her, "I bet you have no idea what I just wrote!" and started to hand me back my pen, so I said, "Wait, can you sign my ticket too, Jeremy?" Of course, little did he know that he was probably one of maybe five guys on the Royals roster that I might actually recognize. Heh.

Jeremy Affeldt
This is about the only way Jeremy Affeldt will get to leave his mark on baseball.

The first inning yielded three runs for the Mariners as Ichiro doubled, Lopez walked and ended up on second on a passed ball by Paul Bako, and Sexson hit his first home run of the night, a nice 420-foot shot into the bullpen.

The third inning yielded four more runs for the Mariners, as Josh was saying "blah blah everyone thinks they predicted Beltre would suck blah blah" and Beltre hit a 402-foot solo home run into the potted plants out behind the centerfield wall. A guy actually jumped down to get the ball, jumped back up, and then got chased down by ushers. It was pretty funny. Lopez walked again and ended up on third as Paul Bako threw a pickoff that went way over Mientkiewicz into right field, Ibanez walked, Sexson hit a sac fly to score Lopez (as Ibanez ran to second, and almost got himself tagged out to negate the run and end the inning), Everett walked, and Johjima hit a double to score everyone else. Seth Etherton came out of the game, and Andy Sisco came in, Josh telling me that Sisco was one of the few decent pitchers on the Royals staff.

The fourth inning was where I had to wonder what Josh was talking about, as Andy Sisco's command problems led to a point where his balls-strikes ratio was about the same as the Mariners runs-hits ratio, something like 18 balls and 10 strikes and the M's had scored 9 runs on 4 hits. Betancourt walked, Ichiro walked, they both executed a double steal, but then Beltre walked too. Lopez hit a sac fly and Ichiro and Betancourt advanced again. Ibanez hit into a double play, except Beltre knocked down Grudzielanek at second base and so it was just a forceout. Big Richie came up and hit his second home run of the evening, 392 feet into the right-field stands. Singles by Everett and Johjima followed, but Reed popped out to end the inning, as four runs were added to the Mariners tally for a score of 11-1 at this point.

As I said, the Royals should have scored a run in the third inning as Pineiro was letting singles up all over the place. Ibanez just looked terrible on a single by DeJesus, where the ball bounced into his stomach and he still couldn't hold on to it. So when Grudzilla hit a single out to left, Ibanez got it and threw the ball in. Bako was running home, and he was seriously safe by about a second as Johjima was about three feet to the right of the plate when the throw came in, but he got called out to end the inning. The Mariners ran off the field, the Royals ran ON the field to argue with the umpire, and the Mariners fans all cheered.

Pineiro gave up a bunch more singles in the fourth inning, starting off with a double to Doug Mientkiewicz, who was driven in by Matt Stairs. Stairs probably had the best night offensively of any Royals player, going 2-for-3, walking, and driving in a run. After the Royals scored a run in the fourth inning, Joel Pineiro really bore down on them in the fifth and struck out Bako, DeJesus, and Esteban German, who had come in to play when Grudzilla said, "I'm a real major leaguer. I refuse to participate in this debacle any longer."

The first four innings of the game took about two hours, and the last four innings of the game took about one hour, anyway, as the Royals bullpen actually isn't so bad, bringing out Elmer Dessens, Joel Peralta, Ambiorix Burgos (!) and Jimmy Gobble. The Mariners tacked on a run off Burgos in the 7th inning when Jeremy Reed singled and Ichiro drove him in a little bit later, making it 12-1.

At this point, I remember the family behind us having a conversation that went something like this:

Mom: "Now see, the guys in white are the Mariners. They're the home team. The guys in the blue uniforms are..." (pauses, either forgetting the team name or wanting her kid to speak up)

Little kid: "Evil."

Josh, cracking up: "I don't think the Royals are competent enough to be evil."

Then again, this is the same family that a few innings ago, the little kid asked "How come the Mariners players all start off with a ball and a strike on them and the other guys don't?"

The spelling bee thingy was a new clip, for Johjima. And of course, the guy who actually got it right was Japanese. I expected it to be the Pineiro one since he was pitching and all.

The "Ask the Mariners" was "What TV show would you want to be a guest star on?" I didn't get all the responses, but it was something like:

Hargrove: "Baywatch."
Sexson: "Survivorman." (What the hell is that?)
Bloomquist: "Grey's Anatomy." (The crowd cheered.)
Sherrill: "24."
Moyer: "CSI."
Beltre: "Friends." A pause. He looks at some guys off camera. "Why you laughing?"

Also, I don't think Carl Everett got the memo that said you're supposed to hit a home run on your birthday. So no cakewalk for him.

Ichiro was actually a home run short of the cycle. Josh and I sort of wondered if he'd get another plate appearance, but then they put in Bloomquist to play right field in the 8th. That was sort of lame. Nothing against Willie in this case, but it's not often you get a shot at something like that.

I really feel sort of bad for the Royals. I mean, they're just TERRIBLE, and aside from centerfielders, they don't seem to be capable of drafting and developing any real talent. The thing is, at some point, don't you have to wonder whether there's any point in continuing to put such a team out on the field? Josh pointed me at the amusing blog Royals Review, where they periodically contrast the 2006 Royals to the 2003 Tigers, the 1962 Mets, and the 1941 Phillies, all well-known for their complete inability to play baseball. The sad part is, the 2006 Royals are actually in last place compared to those others. This is not only a bad team, this has the potential to be a historically bad team.

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