Saturday, August 13, 2005

Game Report: Mariners vs. Angels - Franklin, my dear, I don't give a damn

I went to the game today. It sucked so much I don't even feel like talking about it. No, seriously. The worst part is, I hadn't even originally intended to go to today's game (I mean, cmon, Colon vs. Franklin? Who are we kidding?). However, a friend of mine had his father visiting in town, and wanted to take him to a game, and asked if I'd come with them to be, for lack of a better term, a color commentator. So he bought me a ticket and I basically acted like a tour guide until we were in our seats, and then during the game I answered questions about team, the stadium, etc. Mostly I had to explain why our team sucks so much and why we had a guy DH'ing who only had a .051 batting average, and such.

There really was only one great moment of the game to speak of, and that was when Ichiro hit a home run about 6 inches above the yellow line. Vlad jumped up to get it, and the ball actually ricocheted off his glove over the wall, and he landed and punched the wall. That was pretty funny.

Aside from that? I have no idea where our three hours really went, aside from into a 9-1 loss. I got to listen to my friend's dad talking about the games he goes to at home -- in Atlanta. Grr.

I think the one cool thing about this game was that both sides pretty much entirely emptied their bench players onto the field by the end of the game. It also made me realize how envious I was of the Angels bench, compared to ours.

I mean, think about this for a second. Our current roster is 13 pitchers, 2 catchers, 7 infielders, and 3 outfielders. That's a goddamn 8-man bullpen, dude. That leaves us with 3 guys on the bench. We really need to lose someone from the bullpen, and much as I hate to suggest it, the guy who needs to go is Shiggy. I'd say he and Putz are equivalent, but Shiggy's older and throws slower. It sucks, because I adore Shiggy as a person, and I think he's one of the funniest, most likeable guys on the team, and I'm betting he's got a lot of side value as a veteran, a smart dude, a fun guy, and a Japanese translator. On the other hand, if he's done as a pitcher, we have to admit that and move on.

Look at the Angels roster. 5 starters and 6-man pen, and all of their guys are great, for the most part. 3 catchers -- the Molina brothers and usually Josh Paul (right now, Jeff Mathis), all of whom can DH as well as catch. 6 infielders, 5 outfielders, and all are fairly strong hitters and reasonable fielders as well. A lovely 5-man bench with plenty of options.

Oh, and the other thing is that three of their "backups" (Maicer Izturis, Jeff DaVanon, and Chone Figgins) are switch hitters. I know switch hitting is a little bit overrated, but we don't have any switch hitters on our roster. (I'm not counting Spiezio unless he actually hits, because you can't be a switch hitter if you aren't a hitter.)

I'm just jealous. It would be nice to have so much talent to fit into our roster spots, it really would.

Anyway, because I have nothing useful to say about the game, I'm going to post some links from elsewhere that I was meaning to save anyway.

The most awesome picture of Jason Kendall ever

Doyle Likely Done For Season. Suddenly I regret the Randy Winn trade a lot more. However, you know what we really need? You know what would solve our problems in left field, and our need for a righty bench bat, and make our games that much more fun to watch? Cmon, it's not hard to guess: we need Eric Byrnes! If we traded for him this weekend, he'd be averaging a new team every two weeks.

Coach Jeff Newman also needs leg surgery. For crying out loud... it's sad enough about Doyle, but a coach going on the DL?

When I originally looked at last Thursday's Mets game, I thought the really bizarre thing was that Tom Glavine got as many hits (3) as the rest of the lineup combined. Then I saw all the articles about Beltran and Cameron's collision and, oh man, oh man. They're not kidding about that video clip of the collision being "not for the faint of heart". I feel terrible for Cammy and for the Mets in general. I'm betting a lot of outfielders will be a lot more careful calling for the ball in the upcoming weeks, though.

Dennis Eckersley's number retired. When on earth are we going to retire Edgar's?

Speaking of Oakland, they have plans for a new stadium. Not only does this design look super-tacky with the hotel in the outfield or whatever, but seriously. Consider this quote:

To illustrate the A's need for a new park, Wolff contrasted the A's with the Giants. "Before the Giants moved into their new park, the two franchises were relatively equal," he said. "Since they've moved in, the only area where we're equal is on the field.

This is a load of crap. The reason the Giants draw more fans is not because of the new park, it's because the NEW PARK IS IN A BETTER LOCATION. Would you believe, in all my trips to San Francisco, I'd never ever gone to Candlestick, but I've been to SBC a whole bunch of times? It's very convenient if you're in the city doing touristy stuff, or if you take Caltrain or BART or anything. But the Oakland Coliseum? The BART station is the only even remotely convenient thing about it - 880 is horrendous to drive on at rush hour to get to a game, and Oakland is sort of a scary place, really. If they want to draw more people, they need to move to a location that doesn't suck. Now, given, I don't know much about the area, and maybe this is the best location they can get, but somehow I doubt it.

The obvious parallel I always draw to the San Francisco situation, of course, is the Tokyo baseball situation. Now, there are 5 teams that play in the general Tokyo area, but for a minute let's just look at the Yomiuri Giants and the Seibu Lions. The Giants are, well, the Japan version of the Yankees, often at the top or near the top of the Central League, and have all the well-known star players and a ton of money to spend. They sell out every home game and most road games. The Seibu Lions are the Japan version of the A's, often at the top or near the top of the Central League, and have a couple well-known players, but their corporate sponsor has quite a few financial issues. They rarely come anywhere close to selling out a game.

Anyway, the Giants play at the Tokyo Dome, in Korakuen, which is... well, if you take a look at this page with directions there, there's this one subway/train line which makes a big circle around the city called the Yamanote line, and the Korakuen stop for the Tokyo Dome is pretty much near the center of that circle of the city. I know it took me about 5 minutes tops to get there from the Ikebukuro station. In comparison, the Seibu Dome is in Tokorozawa... take a look at this page, and note that the big green loop in the Tokyo Dome map is alll the way over to the right. Seriously, if you're in Tokorozawa, chances are you either live there, or have trekked out there for a Lions game. There's no real reason otherwise to be out there, for the most part.

If the Lions continue to stay in Tokorozawa, they're just never going to draw a great crowd, no matter how much they win. And the same could be said for the A's in the Oakland-Alameda-McAfee whatever. They're both going to be continually outdrawn by those cross-town Giants.

Well, anyway.

I found a cool site with a lot of data about present and past ballparks which is pretty interesting.

Someone on USSM posted a link with current operating incomes of MLB teams, which is interesting and somewhat frightening in some cases.

There was also a list of mlb attendance numbers. You'll notice that Cubs and Red Sox fans are the most rabid whether it's at home or on the road. Of course, it's not like either team has a vast expanse of stadium to fill up, either.

This was brought up due to M's tickets no longer scorching hot, But fan loyalty remains strong. The article itself is pretty foofy, but I think Nice Guys Finish Third has a great point to make there: while cultivating the casual fans may work well when the team is winning, in the long run, it won't keep butts in seats if the team truly sucks. The team needs to cultivate a fan base like the Red Sox, so we won't care how pathetic the team is, but will identify as a community of Mariners fans no matter where we are! Marinerfest Destiny, I tell you!

Well, wow, when I try not to think about how much the game sucks, I actually think about lots of other stuff. Neat. Tomorrow we'll see the matchup of John Lackey (who reminds me of a younger Dan Aykroyd for some reason), and Gil Meche (who is reverting to his late 2003 self, sadly). Will the Angels sweep us back? Will Jarrod Washburn even notice if I yell happy birthday to him during batting practice tomorrow? What exciting roster changes are in store for us in the next day or two? How many relievers will the Mariners use tomorrow? Come on down and find out on tomorrow's episode of "The (Bryan) Price is Right".

No comments: