It is difficult to report, but it must be told how the Mariners ignore the 300 section in Safeco while they cater to the 100 level. The Mariner’s are a class conscious corporate slumlord. Yes it is true. Read on felloe baseball fan.
Here is what I have learned. I sit in the first few rows of the 300 level, have done so for years, usually right behind home plate. Great seats. During the game the Mariners, along with one of their corporate partners, have some give away or contest. On the huge scoreboard in center field you see what looks like a slot machine. The first number comes up with the section, the second with the row, and if needed the third is the seat. The Mariners will tell you it is random. It is partially true. The randomness is about which section in the 100 level wins something. Every game I go to it is always the same. The 300 level fans may as be in the deep gray sea of Elliot Bay being eaten by sharks.
But that is not all. In the 100 level you see many types of vendors, though never one selling hot dogs, which to me is a crime against baseball fans. But I digress. The only vendor I have seen in the 300 level is selling cotton candy. That would be okay if I were eight years old, but I was that age in the last century, and I mean very far back in the century. The other night I did see someone selling ice cold lemonade. Just what I want in the chill of the night. Any hot chocolate? Laughter fills the air.
The point is that the ballpark is a set up as a class structure where the rich people in the 100 level are catered to, fawned over, and loved, while the people in the 300 level are considered like people in a tenement. We are in the slum of Safeco Field. I find that odd that we sit in the Penthouse of the Park, but are considered third class steerage like passengers on the Titanic.
A revolution is needed. A protest must be organized. I want my hot dog vendor. I want the chance to win something. I want equality. I don’t want to sit in the back of the bus. There will be a class war. It is coming.
While the Mariners have been playing well of late, winning three straight series before splitting two games in Pittsburgh, there is a move Seattle must make to fill a gaping hole in the lineup, a hole so big you could sail the Titanic through it, provided that ship was still around. But the Titanic is an apt metaphor for the disaster at shortstop.
I hinted in my blog the other day about possible changes the Mariners could make with the young crop of players down on the farm in Tacoma. The move to be made is at shortstop. Neither Brendan Ryan, nor Robert Andino are getting the job done, at least offensively. While most Mariner fans would like to see Ryan walk the plank taking his .137 batting average with him, his defense is strong enough to keep him on the roster. Andino is another matter.
Andino is hitting .169 (if you call that hitting), but his defense is 20,000 leagues under the sea. Rather than Ryan taking the plank, Andino should drop into the sea and play for Davey Jones Locker. Every team needs an infield utility player, but Andino is not, was not, the answer. So who in Tacoma should replace Andino on the roster and play the bulk of time at shortstop?
Many people expect Nick Franklin to play shortstop, but I believe it should be Carlos Triunfel. Franklin is hitting better with a .344 average. Triunfel is at .311. Both have three home runs and Triunfel has two more rbis.
There are two reasons Triunfel would be better now. One is that he is on the 40 man roster and Franklin is not. If Franklin is promoted to the 40 man roster, then a player must go. It is possible, but Triunfel is the safe move for now.
The second reason is that Triunfel had a brief fling last year on the good ship Mariner, going 5 for 22. So he had his cup of coffee. Now it is time to see him percolate.
One would think the people who run the Mariners from their ivory tower would understand business. They don’t understand baseball, but surely they should know the business world. But once again they have alienated their fans base, namely season ticket holders.
What they did was raise the cost for season tickets, in some areas as high as 11%. And if you say any team has the right to raise prices, I agree. But it would be nice to tell your ticket holders first, let them know about the increase. They did not.
Because attendance has sunk like the Titanic, because the fan base is dwindling, heading across the street to watch the Sounders, because the revenues are down, the Mariners in essence, are making the few remaining season ticket holders pay more to compensate for those who have left. These guys should go into government since that is where you find decisions made where the few pay for the many. Is it not heart warming to see fans penalized for being loyal to a team that continues to lose year after year, to pay more money for a mediocre product.
If the Mariner bigwigs up in that ivory tower truly wanted to win fans and influence people, they would lower the prices, giving a thank you to the Mariner fans who support them with their dollars. Even lower prices for single games, make them affordable so that more people will go to games. If the prices were low enough that people would be enticed to go more often, then those revenues would go upward. More people spending money would compensate for the perceived loss. It is like a Blue Light special, a Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart. Give the fans deals too good to pass up, so that more fans take advantage.
Instead of being bold, instead of being creative, they just raise prices like oil companies. The difference is that I need gas, so I have no choice. But I have a choice with the Mariners. Every time you or I go to a game and buy tickets, we are voting with our money. When we buy a ticket, we are saying yes to Mariner ownership. Considering the Mariners slap in the face to loyal fans and their opposition to an arena being built in the Sodo district, I am not sure I will be voting in Seattle come 2013. Maybe I will save my money and vote for the Sonics.
Congratulations to the Mariners for setting a new team record in futility, having lost their 15th consecutive game. They did so in style getting bombed inBoston 12-8.
It came on the worst start in Michael Pineda’s career, giving up seven runs and not being able to get out of the 5th-I mean the inning, not the bottle.
In 1889 Louisvillelost 26 straight. Cleveland lost 24 straight in 1899 and Baltimore lost 21 straight in 1988-and those were the Orioles first 21 games of the season. So the M’s still have some goals ahead of them.
I wrote in an earlier blog prior to their embarking on this road trip they might not win until August. Now, having been swept by Toronto, and Boston, with the Yankees looming in the Bronx, that scenario is close to reality.
The Mariners have for the most part gotten hits and runs of late, scoring 29 runs in 6 games, a 4.8 average, though they still blew golden opportunities. It is the pitching that sprung a big leak, one as large as the hull of the Titanic after colliding with an ice berg on its first road trip. Starters or relievers, both are guilty, giving up 46 runs, a 7.6 average.
Brendan Ryan after his grand slam. Some thing positive
It was pitching that dominated before the all-star game for the Mariners. Perhaps the arms grew weary or the pitchers minds lost their grip, lost their concentration; but surely lost something.
There is nothing to do but continue to go on the field and play.
Eventually they will win, by accident if not by desire; by odds if nothing else. But win they will. Good teams find ways to win, bad teams find ways to lose and the Mariners are finding every way imaginable to lose.
The dog days of July
They are playing to win, but like trying to run in a swimming pool, trying is useless. There is nothing they can do; they are treading water as they sink lower into the pool.
Did anyone watching the Boston-Tampa Bay game Sunday night, that was 0-0 for fifteen innings with each side getting three hits during that span, think it was a Mariner inter-squad game?
Anyway . . .
Beginning Tuesday they play nine straight games, three each against Toronto, Boston and New York before a Thursday off day and a three game set with Tampa Bay to finish the month.
Okay, they have a chance against the Rays at home, but the road trip to the East is brutal with those lineups, even against Mariner pitching, for as we know, it only takes two or three runs to beat Seattle.
During the nine game losing streak the Mariners have 52 hits in 290 at bats, an average of .179-and 12 of those 52 hits game in one game.
Against the Rangers they were outgunned, shooting blanks, getting 20 hits in 126 shots, a .159 average.
The good ship Mariner, like the Titanic, is taking on water and sinking fast. With batting averages plummeting with no end in sight, they stand little chance against those eastern clubs.
The country may be in a recession, but Mariner bats are in a depression. Ichiro who had gotten hot has slipped back to .262. Now that is depressing.
If the Mariners were characters in a novel, they would be the Joads in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Their bats repossessed by the banks, the players itinerant; like the Joads, hopeless, forlorn, with tragedy looming on a daily basis.
The Joads trying to sort things out.
No trade can spark an infusion. Nor do they have much to trade, nothing to bring quality. They must stay the course of building from within with young players. They have given away to many young players in the past who are now stars for other teams-and the Mariners received next to nothing in return.
It will be a long summer in depression era Safeco for the Joad family.
I guess Jack had to do something, but it is hard to fathom the move. Yes the Mariner ship is taking on water like the Titanic, likely to finish the season at the bottom of the American League West ocean, but why bring back Russell Branyan.
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, San Diego, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle are the stops of Russell Branyan who will be 35 in December. He has stopped at Milwaukee, Cleveland, and now Seattle twice. He leads the majors in frequent flyer miles.
I like Russell, most Seattle fans do. He had 31 home runs in 431 at bats last season for the Mariners, both career highs. But after a fast start he tailed off dramatically, his batting average dropping to .251 and after 116 games his season was finished with back problems.
But he has always been considered a journeyman player with some power, but who strikes out a ton as his record last season indicates, whiffing 35% of the time. Peripatetic players are never the answer to a team’s struggles, not in choppy waters anyway.
Last season he had some success because players were hitting around him as the Mariners overachieved. This year Trader Jack brought in Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, and Casey Kotchman, all considered good hitters, but for some mysterious reason, the team is underachieving. Kotchman is a journeyman first baseman without power-a scary thought-but his below the Mendoza line batting average is a great surprise.
But how much success can Branyan have when the players around him are not hitting. He is most likely, as I mentioned in a previous blog, to be pitched around. So giving up two promising minor league players for a 34 year old journeyman with back problems is questionable.
The Mariners must feel that Mike Carp is not their future first baseman. But with the season sinking away, why not play him on an everyday basis to find out exactly what he can do. Or are they giving up on him as they did Adam Jones and Shin-Soo Choo? Is that another iceberg I see ahead?