Many fans buy advance tickets based on Mariner promotions, most of which target kids. Little League day, run around the bases Sunday’s, and so on. Here is a list of promotions for the upcoming season. See if you can tell what is missing.
Bobbleheads are popular. My friend had his Felix bobblehead stolen from under his seat two years ago. He thought a father may have stolen it for his son. I told him it probably sold on E-bay, a notion he agreed was more probable. I often pray to Satan to take the thief’s soul to the dark world. No not Hades, but Oakland. Anyway there will be another Felix bobblehead night on April 18th. Other bobbles will be May 9th for Fernando Rodney; June 2nd for Kyle Seager; July 11th is Nelson Cruz; August 8th for Jaime Moyer who will be inducted into the Mariner Hall of Fame; and August 22nd for Robinson Cano.
Once again there will be a beard night. This year it is April 17th. I will pass on this one, thank you very much; but I want to be there for Kuma bear hat night. Hisashi Iwakuma’s nickname is ‘kuma’ which in Japanese is bear. The hat looks cool. I won’t show you one because I don’t want you to get excited and get there before me.
Nelson Cruz gets a second promotion, that being bat night for kids 14 and under May 30th. No word on whether the bats are laced with steroids, HGH, or any similar banned substance. I will pass on this one.
I do like Mariner fedora hat night May 15th. It will give me an alternative to the Kuma bear hat for when I go clubbing.
The Mariners will have their traditional family nights, senior specials, military specials, college nights, and King Court games. They will have four fireworks nights, May 29th Cleveland; June 19th Houston; July 24th Toronto; and August 21st Chicago. Those games will also have a theme. I Love the 90’s-Cleveland (I assume they mean 1990’s, not 1890’s); Star Wars-Houston; Sing Along-Toronto; and Songs of Summer-Chicago.
I noticed their are no ladies nights. Years ago teams had ladies day-or nights-when women had special discounted ticket prices, they even had doubleheaders for the ladies. But the Mariners have no special promotions directly targeting women. Big mistake. Nor do they have special days targeting seniors. Yes I know there are days discounted for seniors, but no promotions for men 60 and over. Why not a lap dance for senior men given by the Sea Gals. That would get sell-out crowds.
I guess I will settle for the fedora and Kuma hat.
The first thing Ranger hitters do when Seattle comes to town is see if Felix Hernandez is pitching and if he is, then, unlike hitters on every other team, the Rangers lick their lips like the big bad wolf chasing the three little pigs.
Felix does not pitch well in Arlington. The most losses he has in a visiting ball park is five, except Arlington, where Felix, in 18 starts, has 9 losses and only 5 wins. That explains why Felix, who was on quite a roll of late, winning 7, losing 1, in 14 starts, struggled like a man in a straight jacket. Five, hits, five walks, five runs, in-yes five innings. This is not the King, this is Aaron Harang on a good day.
Felix has not won in Arlington since September of 2010 and his ERA in the house of horrors is 4.45. Just as a pitcher can dominate one team over time, he can also be dominated by a team. Arlington is his jinx park. He probably hates taking the mound there the way some people hate going to the dentist, a dentist that has no Novocain and uses pliers to extract teeth.
Felix is not the type to shy away from trouble, he is a competitor. He probably wants to get back there and go at the Rangers again. He will get a crack at them in Seattle when they come to town the 26th through the 28th, but Arlington, thank God, will wait until 2014.
Next season Felix needs to sleep in his Arlington hotel bed with a horseshoe under his pillow; carry four leaf clover in his back pocket when pitching; rub a rabbits foot in the dugout when the M’s are batting; or maybe just get Texas flu.
In the meantime, Felix, especially with a thunderous backing from his court at the Safe, must dominate the Rangers when they come to town next week. Give the Rangers some bad karma for the offseason.
The Good Ship Mariner hit choppy waters rounding Cape Disappointment, their streak of not losing a series since the Houston fiasco April24-26, ending in Cleveland. Seattle lost two heartbreakers Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s loss with Felix on the mound.
What? Felix losing a game. It happens. Justin Verlander gave up eight or nine runs the other night, so Cy Young pitchers can and do have an off night. Felix struck out eight in five innings, pretty powerful, but he threw 107 pitches, gave up eight hits and six runs, five earned. That would be what he normally gives up in a few games. It was a matter of location and he was locating in the hitters zone and they were hitting.
I mentioned in a recent blog the Mariners were taking one step forward and two steps back as they would flirt getting to within two game of .500 then fall back. This time after beating New York 3-2 Thursday they were within one game of .500 at 20-21. Now they are 20-24 after running their ship aground near Lake Erie.
It is as if the Mariners might have stage fright or fear of success. Their comfort zone is playing below .500 and when they get close to achieving success, for them being .500, or, God forbid, playing above .500, they lose a few games. I think if the Mariners got on another hot streak, an extended one against the Angels Tuesday and Wednesday in Disneyland against the Angels, then against Texas at home, playing a home and home against San Diego, then on to Minnesota, the Mariners could be above .500. If that happens Mariner fans will get dizzy with the rarified height this team has gone.
That streak could start Monday in a wrap up game with Cleveland. Emperor Iwakuma takes the mound. Can Cleveland beat the King and the Emperor two days in a row? So far this year, after beating Felix, the Indians have a 7-1 record against former Cy Young winners. The Indians are playing great baseball, so anything can happen. The Emperor must stop the Indians, the Mariners must start a new streak. They must prove to themselves they have no stage fright, prove they have no fear of success, prove they belong in rarified heights.
The Mariners need to re-excite the fans, keep the energy flowing in the right direction, get the Good Ship Mariner past Cape Disappointment.
It is no surprise that the Mariners won opening night in Oakland. King Felix was pitching for Seattle, and in case it has somehow escaped you, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. The 2-0 win against Oakland gives Felix a 4-0 opening night record with an ERA below 1.50. The Mariners have won seven straight opening nights. Should they quit while they are ahead? Will this be the highlight of the season?
Their record 22 spring training wins set this year could lead one to think they are on the rise, but the two previous springs they had won 16 games each season, both .500 + seasons. Of course, they never played above .500 in either of the regular seasons. But 22 wins has a nice ring to it. Mariner fans want to believe it means something. We will know come October–or maybe, long before.
Kansas City was the only team to win more games than Seattle; having won 25. As impressive as these two teams were, it is doubtful either team will be playing for the AL championship this fall. But baseball can be a crazy game, stranger things have happened. Florida Gulf Coast going to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA basketball tourney, is one of those crazy tings that happens. Nor had anyone predicted how good the Orioles would be last season. There is always a chance, always a hope.
Seattle’s Michael Morse led the majors with 9 spring homers, Morales was tied for third with 7. The ball flies in the thin, hot air, in the desert, but in Seattle the ball dies in the thick, cold air. Until Summer, that is, when the weather gets warmer. Now that the fences have been moved in at the Safe, there should be more homeruns before the heat rolls in this summer. Everything is set up for a good year.
It is true the opening night win was only one game, but Felix won, Gutierrez drove in both runs, and the Mariners are tied for first place. All is right with the world, everything is in it’s place. Now they just have to win game two, then win game three. When your teams wins, you think they will be in contention for the playoffs. When they lose, you realize they stink. But they sure look good so far? Don’t you think?
It’s official. Felix Hernandez and his $175 million will be a Mariner for the next seven years. He has a no trade deal, not that the Mariners would want to see him go, but Felix wanted to stay in Seattle, and the no trade was just as important as the money.
He really is the King of Mariners, the face of the franchise, maybe the face of the city. As Felix signed his contract he got emotional and stayed that way throughout the press conference. He is 26, has been with the Mariner family since he was 16. He spoke with genuine feeling about how he loved the Mariner organization, the fans, the city, the people who work behind the scenes. He wants to stay, unlike every other athlete who has come through the city.
And Seattle loves Felix.
The moment is giddy, but now they have to win, or the giddiness will ebb and the tide will roll out. And I am not talking Crimson Tide. The King will be great for the franchise if other players see that Seattle is improving, that Seattle is willing to pay those who want to play for the Mariners. Michael Morse, acquired from the Nationals, said he is glad to be back as a Mariner. He wants to change the culture, to show that Seattle is a place to come to. Seattle has two who love the idea of playing here, of wanting to change perception.
So Mariner fans, enjoy the giddiness. If the Mariners can play above .500-and I believe they can-then the good ship Mariner will have been righted.
Felix is the King of spring and summer. Another young man, Russell Wilson, has captured the fancy of Seattleites. He is loved for leadership, his charisma, and his performance this past season. He is not the king, but he is the Prince of fall and winter.
How great it is for sports fans to have two star athletes who are community oriented, team oriented, fan oriented.
Go Hawks! Go Mariners!
It was reported that Felix was getting a $175 million contract for the next seven years; a mere $25 per season. It would make him the highest paid pitcher in baseball. But when no official announcement was made, nothing heard from the Mariner black tower about a press conference, people worried.
Then a story broke that there was something on his elbow. Was it a bump? A lump? Calcium deposit? Was it a walking dead elbow? Zombieitis? The someone said an MRI showed that he would have the problem down the road, as in seven years. Really? You can see the future in an MRI?
He withdrew from the World Baseball Classic where he was going to pitch for his native Venezuela. There must be something wrong, it is all true. He would not withdraw if he was healthy. But if the Mariners want to protect their investment, then they will not allow him to pitch and chance an injury to that $25 million elbow.
If you believe the rumors, the contract was not signed because the Mariners were worried about the elbow, wanted protection in the contract if he had zombie elbow, or whatever the problem was. But Trader Jack, Mariners beloved and bedeviled GM, said nonsense. Jack said there is nothing wrong with Felix, or his elbow. In fact, Felix has not had his physical. When he reports for training camp, which is today, February 12th, Felix will get the physical, and not doubt sign his contract once he clears medical doubts.
The truth of the matter is that we shall soon find out. I tend to think his arm and elbow are fine. Felix had been pitching at the Safe, throwing like Felix always throws, according to Jack.
This is Seattle, where there are Sasquatch sightings, where the term UFO was coined, and people drink too much coffee. It is the type of city where rumors are going to arise, probably because of the price tag. If Felix or any Mariner player is getting Yankee type money, then something must be wrong. Thus arises the mythic, urban legend, of zombie elbow.
Unless of course, it is true.
The Mariners can beat the Angels in 2013 if they bypass King Felix when they face the Disneyland Wonders. He may be the King, but against the Angels Felix is a lowly servant, the Angels personal whipping boy, beating him like he was a timid demon, and he has the scars to show it. In five starts in 2012 against Mickey Mouse and his goofy gang, Felix was 0-3 with a 6.25 ERA. Mike Trout scorched Felix with 8 rbis and was 9 for 17.
This is not an aberration. Felix has only beaten the Angels six times. Fake an injury, alter the rotation, do anything to lessen Felix’s starts against the evil Angels.
Instead resign Hisashi Iwakuma. The Angels could not touch him. To say he has their number is an understatement. Versus the Angels Iwakuma was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Versus the rest of the league he was 5-5 3.75. To the Angels he is a demon they can not tame, can not subdue, have no answer for. Mike Trout has no answer either. The young wonder boy was only 2 for 12 against Iwakuma, both hits singles and had no rbi’s.
Iwakuma will be a free agent and the Mariners need, no must, sign him. He had a bad spring training, they lost faith in him. He was expected to start, but was relegated to the bullpen for long man duty. Even then he was ignored. In the first 64 Mariner games, Iwakuma pitched in only nine. He was the 25th man on the roster, the kind of guy who in little league gets in once the game is out of hand and his parents are in the crowd.
But as the season went on, he became more confident. Iwakuma finished strong and he dazzled the Angels. The Mariners need to beat division rivals, needing all the help they can get. True there is no way to insure he will do that in 2013. They can turn around and beat him like they beat Felix, but he still performed well enough to show he was the type of pitcher they thought he was. Bring him back. Let him at those pesky Angels. Let him take revenge against them for Felix.