Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Game Report: Mariners vs. Angels - Short and Sweet

Mariners 2, Angels 0

I've been saying all week that the Mariners didn't need mojo or any of that crap, they needed ME. And I've been at four Mariners games in the last week, and they won them all. Coincidence? I think not!

Tonight, I traded in a bunch of season tickets that I won't be able to use while I'm in Japan, and got eight of the cheap Monday $10 view reserved seats, and basically sort of had a mini-party at the stadium to celebrate various things in a particular circle of friends; out-of-town guests, new jobs, early birthdays, etc. So we sat way up and out in the stands, near Lookout Landing, but that was okay because then we could switch seats and people could drink beer and not worry about disturbing anyone.

The downside was that I didn't do any of my typical pre-game stuff like watching BP or taking pictures of pitchers warming up or whatnot; the upside was that I got to hang out with a whole bunch of people who I probably won't see for at least a month, and I got to share a game of baseball with them, and even better, I got to share a great game that involved Felix pitching a gem and the Mariners breaking their goddamn divisional losing streak.

Every now and then it's nice to see how new people react to the Safeco environment, which reminds me that it really does cater well to a general audience, even if I personally may be bored and jaded by it all. I'm so sick of the hat trick and the various music clips and the hydro races and whatnot. But when Raul Ibanez came up to the plate and Werewolves of London started playing, and about half our group cracked up and the other half started howling "RAUUUUUUUL", I couldn't help but laugh as well. I hate the hydros, but my friends were all really into it, especially when two of them banged into each other and the third one won. Half of them actually followed the stupid Hat Trick, and one of them inadvertantly took himself on a three-inning tour of Safeco Field while hunting for vegetarian food, but had a great time doing so. In some ways I suppose I was remiss in my duty as a host by not giving a tour of the stadium, but again, showing off Safeco at this point is sort of like showing off my house -- it's hard to remember what parts would be interesting to people who aren't there all the time.

There's really not a lot that I have to say about the game, honestly. I mean, it started at 7:05pm and it was over at 8:59pm. There were no pitching changes; Felix pitched the complete game on 95 pitches and Escobar pitched a complete game on 106 pitches. Five out of the eight innings for the Mariners were 1-2-3, and six out of the nine innings for the Angels were 1-2-3. There were no walks. There were no home runs. There was, basically, no bullshit, and it really was a nice change.

There was only one big inning, and that was the fourth for the Mariners. After Doyle flew out, Beltre bounced a ball pretty deep in the hole and ran it out, beating the throw to first by a bit. Ibanez then hit a single to right, and Beltre got to third; Richie Sexson hit the ball to left field, which looked really funky from where we were -- we could tell from the arc that it wasn't a homer, and we could watch Juan Rivera tracking it, and then we could see it bounce off the wall over his head and see him take a weird angle to send it back in, and it was really kind of cool. Broussard struck out -- I'm liking Jeff's theory on why Broussard strikes out a lot -- and then Johjima should have grounded out, but instead ended up safe on first after Orlando Cabrera booted it, and Ibanez scored on that, and then Jose Lopez struck out, and that was about it for exciting offense for either side.

There were a few nonstandard plays I got to write down, though -- the 6-3-2 in the first inning when Vlad Guerrero grounded to Willie Bloomquist, whose throw drew Richie off the bag, but Richie fired the ball home in time to catch Maicer Izturis. And later on Ichiro ended up getting caught out on a close 7-4 play stretching a single to a double.

You know, I'm one of the people who isn't a flat-out Willie-hater, but I was really disappointed to see him at shortstop today with Felix on the mound; it just didn't make sense to me, and he booted several plays that could have been double plays instead of fielder's choices, or outs instead of singles, and at one point one of those plays was called an error on Jose Lopez when it really did look like a throwing error on Bloomquist to me. I know Betancourt's not infallible, but he's the closest thing to a superhuman shortstop I've ever seen, and I'd just rather see him out there behind a groundballer like Felix.

Besides, I wanted my friends to get to see Yuniesky Betancourt, since I'd been talking up how they'd get to see our promising young guys in Lopez, Betancourt, Snelling, and Felix, and only three out of the four were there for most of the game.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that in the Beyond the Baselines thingy, Chris Snelling's trivia was "Favorite movie: Star Wars".

Anyway, I'm glad the damn losing streak is over. I won't be able to make it to another game at Safeco until the series against the A's in late September, so this was a nice note to go out on. It's sort of a shame, since I'd love to see JW #56 take on JW #56 tomorrow night in the Epic Jered-Jarrod Battle, but I've just got too much stuff to take care of.

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