Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Hello again baseball fans! We have just completed day two of our Seattle Mariner Spring Training odyssey and it is time to update you on the latest baseball news from the desert. It was another beautiful day in Peoria with a slight morning haze burning off by 10:30 AM to reveal a beautiful blue sky that stayed that way the rest of the day. The morning temperature was in the ‘70s but as the sun made its full appearance it started to climb fast. To us Seattleites this is summer weather. I heard it was raining and 50 in Seattle. I feel for you guys up north.
We made it to the Mariners morning practice in time to get some good autographs we thought, but for some reason not many of the big leaguers showed. I got the chance to get to know some of the other fans visiting, a guy named Ray from San Diego and a guy named Bill from Kirkland, Washington. Ray is an avid autograph collector and Bill just seemed to be hanging out taking in anything that might be happening. They both were older gentleman, older than me even, and we had a great time talking baseball and sharing our observations about things. Finally some of the Mariners regulars made it to the batting cages to take some swings. The cages are shut off from the public so players can get their work in but there are some holes through which you can peer. By sticking my camera lens through these holes I got some good shots of Jesus Montero, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez at batting practice. Alas…despite our arriving early enough there was no chance for autographs.
While I was talking to Ray and Bill, Chris and Tim wandered off somewhere and I finally found them sitting in an area that had a sign guarding it that said “Authorized Personnel Only”. Knowing these two were definitely not “authorized”, I took the opportunity to take a picture for evidence but could find no one to report them to. We got a laugh out of that.
With not much happening out at practice, we took off and caught some lunch and then headed out to Scottsdale and “SaltRiver Fields”, the spring training home of the Colorado Rockies. “Salt River Fields” is a baseball complex that the Rockies share with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The main stadium is absolutely gorgeous with the greenest grass contrasting with the classic brown infield dirt and all set against a bright blue sky. Beyond the outfield fence in all directions is a bright green, grassy rise that people can sit on and picnic while watching the game. If you like baseball and the ambience of it you would be in hog heaven at this place. Our seats for the game made things even more perfect. We were, as Bob Uecker says, in the “front row”, down the right field line just past first base. We were right on the field and, but for the rolled up tarp in front of us, could have easily leaned over the short wall and touched the playing field. Before the game started the Rockies players were passing right in front of us as they walked to the team dugout and often stopped to give autographs to the fans, one of whom was Chris, who got three player signatures on his game ticket.
At 1:15 PM the game got under way and once again the Mariners looked like a vastly improved team against last year’s edition. Our starting pitcher was Erasmo Ramirez and he showed that he is a strong contender for a spot on the regular season rotation. He pitched six strong innings, scattering eight hits while giving up two runs. Though he gave up several well hit balls that went for extra bases, he was extremely effective at limiting the damage and stranding the runners. Meanwhile the Mariners mounted a ten hit attack while winning the game by a 5-2 score. Continuing their newfound power this spring they got two more long balls, one from Kendrys Morales and the other from new comer Mike Jacobs. The Mariners have now hit 41 home runs this spring; a figure that I believe leads the Cactus League. Jesus Montero also had a double and a single as did Kyle Seager and Mike Morse got on base 3 times.
Despite the Mariners offensive prowess, the highlight of the game had to be when Chris, with Tim’s help, got a foul ball. In the eighth inning Mariner center fielder Michael Saunders was hitting and scorched a ground ball just foul down the first base line. Chris had the glove on that I brought to the game for just such an eventuality. He was sitting on my right and Tim was sitting on my left. Chris had talked to me about getting a foul ball and now here was his chance. As the ball approached he dove forward from his seat, extended out and over the tarp and reached down with the glove blocking the ball’s progress. As Chris was doing this Tim leaped from where he was sitting on my left and also dove over the tarp. I stayed in my seat and was treated to the incredible view of Chris and Tim’s backsides while their heads and arms had disappeared, obscured by the tarp. Somehow between the two of them they corralled the ball and when Chris pulled himself back up from the tarp it was with ball in hand and a satisfied grin on his face. There is nothing like getting a foul ball at a baseball game!
There you go fans…you now have your Day Two report. The Mariners are 2-1 in the games we have seen and they definitely look to this long time observer to be a much improved team. Tomorrow is our last day in the desert; our time here has passed all too quickly. In the morning we hope to get some autographs at long last and then will catch one more game before heading for the airport and back to rainy Seattle. Rest assured that Chris, Tim and I will make the most of the short time we have left in the desert.
Signing off for now…your Spring Training reporter…Mark Arnold!