Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Tiger Woods apology

I said that I was not going to do this, but I could not resist.

I was unable to watch the “news” conference live.  So, in my downtime, I was able to find a video online.  The words he spoke were great, the life and heart felt meaning behind them was completely vacant.  I find it funny that most “analysts” of the conference thought he did a great job.  Who are those analysts, that I speak of?  George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and a variety of golf sports writers.  George was going to say this, he is programmed to some degree as are most of corporate news talking heads.  The golf writers, what do they know?  They write about golf or how to correct that slice.  They probably want this behind Tiger more than anyone else as I am sure PGA ratings are taking a hit. 

The attempt by Tiger is a nice touch, but let’s look at A-rod.  He came forward about his HGH use and did something else…TOOK QUESTIONS!  That is what is commonly called as ripping the band-aid off.  He came forward and answered some of the public outcry.  Does that make me like A-rod any more than I did, probably.  I personally do not have any questions for Tiger, but he will be a news story until he does answer questions.  Getting up and speaking about it to friends and families does not accomplish this feat. 

The loudest non-verbal communication that I saw was from Tiger’s mother.  Arms crossed, and not once looking at Tiger.  The hug even seemed forced and uncomfortable for a mother-son relationship. 

As we all agree, this is a private matter that was made public by a few people wanting the lime light.  What Tiger does on that level moving forward is his decision and not that of “grocery store” tabloids. 

Now, I am officially done with this topic.  Here’s to a happy return to golf for Tiger. 

More ranting on the Olympics

I have done all that I can to avoid spoilers.  I ignore Facebook, do not look at (nor enjoy) Twitter and have turned off sports talk radio.  So, I still try to struggle through the 8 PM start of NBC’s lack luster coverage. 

I would like to point out, I really enjoy watching the Olympics.  What I dislike about their tapped delayed coverage is that you will see about 6 back-to-back portions of an event (ski cross as an example) and then about 30 or 40 minutes before they they “go back out” to Cypress mountain to show you the finals.  I would rather them group things together, it would make my TiVo time more efficient.  I understand why the almighty dollar dictates this type of coverage, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I do have to give them props for some of their “hype” coverage, especially around the Nordic Combined events.  This is a very boring event to most.  But, I as a sports fan would rather have watched the entire event than the first 5 minutes of the first leg and the last 2.5 Km of the last relay leg.  They skipped 2 entire legs of the relay race! 

Now, onto the criticism of the online coverage.  If you enjoy Hockey and Curling (which I do) than online is for you.  Otherwise, the online coverage has had nothing else, at least on days I have checked.  They have a disclaimer on their “live” page that states the following: “Select events are streamed live in HD on NBCOlympics.com. All Olympic events are available in HD full-event replay.”  I have my filter of sports and days set to “all” and I am only seeing these 2 sports listed.  Why would I want to watch a full replay in HD online, when your primetime summary show does that and I can enjoy that with my family!? 

One other caveat to online viewing, you must have a valid ISP.  Not that this is too much of a problem, but they make you log in to your account.  This probably only affects those that are “borrowing” Wi-Fi from their neighbors.  I guess this could also hurt those in coffee shops or other free access points, but I an uncertain of this. 

They also say they offer DVR controls.  This is only partially true as you do have to sit through the advertisements.  I have yet to find a way to fast forward through the ads for Budweiser and Liberty Mutual insurance.  However, I now have the desire to drink some beer and drive around.

So what path are you going to choose in 4 years from now?  Offer all online live?  Offer live coverage at 2 AM on your networks?  I doubt I will be setting my alarm clock for the Russian games in 2014, but it would be nice to have that option! 

For those of you that know me and my love of sending hate email to NBC…that trend continues. 

Spring training is here!

As of Tuesday, the entire gang was live in Peoria.  Here are some of the happenings that have occurred.

There appears to be a question around starters 3-4-5.  I don’t have the same question at 3-4 as I feel confident that Snell and Smith fall in as the 3 and 4 starts.  The number 5 starters does offer some question.  It will need to be someone that could move to the pen when Bedard arrives healthy later this season.  We could see Fister as the #5 guys for awhile.  I know what some of you are thinking, Smith deserves the #3 spot.  I think they will divide up the lefties until Bedard returns.  So be comfortable as fan knowing you have one of the better 4 starters in the AL.

Lopez and Figgins switched positions.  Potentially messing around with the proper placement for both.  I am sure they will play around with this swap throughout the Spring.  Figgins can play all position on the left side of the infield and has played 2B before.  I see this move as a way to help get Lopez more comfortable with the potential play at 3B. 

That is about all the major stuff for now.  Besides the typical hype surrounding the Mariners being a team that will play in October. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pitchers and catchers report today!

Woohoo!

Spring has sprung in the baseball world. This is the golden time of year. To forget last season and look forward to the production of a productive off-season.

Single game tickets on sale March 13th!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Olympics and NBC

Whenever I have an opportunity to watch the Olympic games, I do, especially the winter games.  Perhaps it comes from being raised in a wintery climate, or making childhood sled runs similar to a bobsled track that helped drive home my enthusiasm for this event.

So, living less than 200 miles from the event, I figured this year would be great as to avoid network TV delays.  I was grossly mistaken.  I think this other blog does a great job of describing my issues. 

The one thing that is always compelling about these events is the hard work and determination seen on the faces of these athletes.  Take for example the finish in the Nordic combined.  If I had only read about those results on Facebook or Twitter, I probably won’t have not have watched the race.  I was glad I did not know the results as the finish was very close and exciting to watch.  The need for our society to only be focused on results rather than the journey is disappointing to me. 

Sports is one genre where watching it live is what makes stories have meaning.  Imagine reading about Carlton Fisks’ game winning home run in 1975.  Or, only reading about “the catch” from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark.  I would have been pissed to have read some lame “tweet” or someone’s Facebook status without  seeing the action.  Realizing I did not know what baseball was in 1975, my point is not well made, but the replay to this day still sends chills down my spine.  Also, that was a lead-off hitter in the bottom of the 12th and the first night World Series game in Fenway.  Hearing the emotion and seeing the results are what make these moments memorable.  So much for ABC’s old tag line of “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  It seems that today, the most competitive race is who can spoil the results the fastest.

I understand that I could watch the games live online.  Perhaps, later in life, I will redesign my TV layout to incorporate this solution (or just buy an internet ready TV).  But the Olympics are a family event, or at least always were in my household.  With having the event 200 miles from my doorstep, you would think watching the games live would not be a problem.  NBC runs under the assumption that we want our sports on our schedule.  To that, I proudly extend my middle finger to NBC. 

How would you have liked to have seen the “Miracle on Ice” on 5 hour tape delay?  Or heard that some idiot tweeted how we upset the Soviets before anyone else was able to watch it? 

Not cool NBC.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome back Mike Sweeney, kind of

The Mariners have signed Sweeney to a minor league deal.  He will be invited to Spring Training and can compete for a roster spot. 

Sweeney falls under a similar category as Griffey with a great clubhouse presence and veteran leadership.  Mike was able to add some impact to the team last year on the field as well.  It will be interesting how he fits into the equation this year.  He does have his work cut out for him as the team re-signed Griffey and brought in switch hitting Milton Bradley. 

The total invites to Spring training total 63 players, that would include those on the 40 man roster and the 23 non-roster invites. 

6 days until pitchers and catchers report and thank you Yahoo!

We only have 6 days until my Spring officially starts.  I am more than excited for this.

On a bright note, Yahoo! started registration for fantasy baseball 3 days after the conclusion of the NFL season.  This is the earliest start since I have been participating in the Yahoo sponsored league.  I have already been spamming the crap out of my league members with excitement.  Being a Seahawk fan is rough.  Having this release and attention grabber, helps ease the sports woes from the fall. 

We are adding keepers to the mix this year.  It will be our first year with this change in place so we will see how it goes.  Yahoo! apparently has adjusted their stance on pay-for leagues as I do not need to upgrade to Plus to have this service or StatTracker.  In fact, I do not see any way to upgrade my league if I wanted to!  But with these two features being included in the free version, I have no reason to upgrade.  Good luck to all the managers of Red Meat and Potatoes!

I will need to write Yahoo! as I have yet to receive my 2nd place trophy from last year.  The only true need is so I can update my Facebook profile picture. 

Monday, February 08, 2010

It’s official, Bedard is back

Over the weekend, the Mariners agreed to pay Bedard $1.5 Mil with $6 million in incentives.  I sure wish I could get paid that much and not have to start my job until June. 

I am a fan of what potential he brings.  I am not a fan that he is costing us this much money for what could be about 20 starts this year.  This is very similar to what the Brewers did (Jack Z’s old employer) with CC Sabathia a couple years back.  There is an option here for 2011 if everything does go well.  But right now, I see him as a part time employee. 

Assuming that he is able to recover to 100% the 3 pitchers of Felix, Lee and now Bedard would be a very hard 1,2,3 punch to stop.  Bedard, although only pitching in 15 games last year, he only allowed 2 runs of less in 13 of those games. 

With Ryan Rowland-Smith being a lefty, we now have thee left-handed starting pitchers in the rotation and with righty’s in Felix and Snell.  That is impressive.  Of course, that is not until June and assuming that Bedard returns at 100%.  His track record is not favorable with injury and returning timetables.   

I have been a big fan of Snell for awhile now.  He is another hard throwing pitcher with high strikeout possibility.  For the Mariners last year, 5-2 in 12 games and 37 strikeouts over 64 innings.  Not the 1k+ per inning average that Bedard had, but enough for a 4th starter for sure! 

Bring on pitchers and catchers!

Friday, February 05, 2010

What about those Angels?

I have had blinders on this offseason as I watch the Mariners make every attempt to un-seed the Angels as the power of the AL West.  What I failed to see is what the Angels had done.

They lost Lackey to a lucrative deal in Boston.  But that is about for big time pitching.

They now have a starting rotation of Scott Kazmir, Joel Pineiro, Jared Weaver, Jon Saunders and Ervin Santana.  Kazmir (10-9 4.89 ERA) should be gold as usual.  Kaz went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA for the Angels in 6 starts in 2009.  Pineiro (15-12 3.49 ERA) returns to his AL West roots.  Weaver (16-8 3.75 ERA) has not returned to his rookie year form, but is a decent option.  I would place Weaver as your #2 starter.  Saunders (16-7 4.60) and Santana (8-8 5.03 ERA) have also had stellar years for the Angels.  Santana is coming off a year of injuries, so look for him to turn things around.  Saunders would be my #3 starter for the Angels, if I was the manager. 

The Angels continue to remain a contender in the West, and potentially the favorite…again.  We will see how the hitting goes, but pitching wise, they did not miss a beat in my opinion.  For as much work as the Mariners did, the Angels still appear to be the team to beat.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Powerball!

This week marked the arrival of Powerball to the state of Washington.  We have several lottery games already in play, but this one is getting some great attention on sports radio.  For example, callers have been providing their top 6 numbers for the main sporting clubs in the area.  I thought I would do the same.  The only limitation is that the numbers are 1-59 and for Powerball being 1-39.

Seahawks.  The range itself negates a lot of stars in my eyes with Largent (80) and Jacob Green (79).  Norm is on my list because he was a Pro-bowler for Seattle and owned a great card shop in Crossroads mall that I would frequent.

  • #9 Norm Johnson
  • #10 Jim Zorn
  • #22 Dave Brown
  • #28 Curt Warner
  • #45 Kenny Easley
  • #37 Shaun Alexander – Powerball

Mariners. 

  • #4 Harold Reynolds
  • #3 A-rod
  • #11 Edgar Martinez
  • #21 Alvin Davis
  • #24 Junior - PowerBall
  • #51 Ichiro and Randy Johnson

Sonics:

  • #3 Dale Ellis
  • #20 Gary Payton
  • #24 Tom Chambers
  • #34 X-man – Powerball
  • #32 Downtown Freddie Brown
  • #40 Shawn Kemp

If you choose to play these numbers and win, let me know as I feel I deserve a fair shake of the earnings. 

Welcome back…Bedard?

According to Jim Street’s blog, he has heard rumblings to this.  With his surgery last August, it is unlikely he would pitch in a game before June.  So, what does this mean?

I tried to warn Bavasi about this move two years ago, but he still went ahead and handed the O’s half of our farm system for 30 starts in two years.  As always, when healthy, he can be lights out.  So, would a lefty with high strikeout potential be an awesome addition as we make a playoff run?  I would have to say yes, but not sure if Bedard is the guy. 

He is also coming to the Mariners dirt cheap, kind of.  With all this injuries, it would be a $1.5 Mil base with a ton of playing incentives.  Is it worth the risk? Probably not.  He is truly only good for 5-6 innings and 100 pitchers.  The only two other pitchers that successfully returned from torn labrum surgery both “admitted” to using HGH.  (Clemens and Schilling for those of you keeping score at home).  With that 5-6 inning max, he is not doing anything to give your pen a rest.  That is usually the part of a team that could use the most when September rolls around.  High strikeout and low ERA could be a decent counter.

We will see, I am sure a few other teams are also considering him as a nice “down the stretch” hard throwing lefty.  Look this his placement to occur sometime between now and mid-spring training.  I would guess any team would actually want to see him throw before placing any money on his arm.

What a world of difference cleaning makes

Lately, the conditions of my home office space were starting to get to me.  So, yesterday I finally decided to do something about it.  I moved my desk from a wall view, to a window view.  Along with cleaning up a bunch of crap on the floor, I feel alive again in my office.  The clutter was so bad, I had a path carved out from the door to my desk chair.  There was barely any room for the dog to join me. 

Here’s to a new day with a great view!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What would define disappointment? failure?

There was some talk on sports talk today with regards to the Mariners upcoming season.  The question was posed as if the Mariners do NOT make the post season, is that a failure? 

I was thinking about this as I was sitting in traffic today.  I would say no, and here’s why.  Would I be disappointed if the Mariners did not make the playoffs?  Oh ya’betcha!  With the amount of energy and money spent this past offseason to make this team competitive, you would be hard pressed to not feel this way.  Especially since some of the key signings could only be good for one season, for example Cliff Lee.  It is my hope and understanding that Jack Z did go after instant improvement, he was not trying to “buy” a title.  I full expect his mind to be working throughout the year and signing those that can contribute to longer term deals.  With only one semi-large signing in Figgins, we made a lot of moves and still have a few dollars left in the budget at the time of this post.  We did not go after a break-the-bank deal for a huge bat.  We went after parts, that when put together, could make a great whole.  One thing that sports radio, and fans in general, like to do is speculate.  Talking about October before a season has started falls into this category. 

Disappointment, yes.  Failure, no.  I plan on sitting back and enjoying the ride for as long as it lasts. 

Monday, February 01, 2010

Yet another “bat” and FanFest recap

Last weekend we saw a different FanFest than in 2009.  The line to get into Safeco stretched from past the ticket booths at home plate, down the third base side, bordered left field, then returned all the way back to the home plate entry.  We waited in line for an excess of 45 minutes before we cut in with some friends. 

As in 2009, it was fun. My son was able to actually run the bases this year, instead of being carried.  He had a blast!  I did not realize how sponge-like the infield felt.  Must have a nice rubber foundation.  During the locker room tour, we entered as Wak, Mark Lowe and Rick Rizz were leaving, pretty cool.  No autographs this year, the lines were too long and we wanted to do other things.  The event will only become better for us as my son grows.

Our weekly signing this time is Ryan Garko, yet another ex-Indian.  When you have someone like Jack Z running the show and acquiring these players, it speaks volumes to how well Cleveland is doing with harvesting talent.  Keeping it, well, that is another story.  With all the offense we have acquired this year, we will exist Spring training with 11 pitchers on the 25 man roster.  I think we have 3 or 4 DH/1B/OF to fill any void against any starting pitcher. 

Garko’s stats are not eye popping but decent.  Career .279 hitter with something around 15 HR’s and 50-60 RBIs a year.  Not bad and will come in useful.

With how busy we have been this year, I think half of the starters are going to be new faces to the fans of Seattle!  Less than 2 weeks for pitchers and catchers to report.