This Sunday morning my wife Tammy and I were sitting around enjoying our coffee and the conversation turned to the Mariners. I should tell you that Tammy, after being married to me for so many years, has become quite knowledgeable about baseball and a fan in her own right. I used to go to games with her from time to time back in the early ‘90s and she developed as a fan along with that team that had Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez. It was a great time to get introduced to baseball. I knew she had arrived as a fan when I came home from work one Friday night and Randy Johnson was scheduled to pitch at the old Kingdome. She’d left a note on the kitchen counter:

Tammy

“Gone to the game…make your own dinner.” it said.

I had to laugh.

Well, that old Mariners team has come and gone and here we are now with this new edition that has been building for the last several years. I had missed the last two games of this Texas series they are playing this weekend and so was catching up on the scores on my computer. The Mariners, I discovered, had been shut out in the game Friday and also in the game on Saturday. That meant that, including the last two games of the recently concluded home stand, they had scored a grand total of 3 runs in 36 innings. I looked at Tammy…

“God this team is frustrating” I said, my angst clearly showing. “I can’t believe it! Do you realize they have just been shut out twice in a row and that in the last four games they have scored 3 runs?! Geeez!”

Tammy looked back at me sympathetically.

“I won’t watch the Mariners!” she said. “It’s too difficult. Why should I waste my time when I can spend it on more productive things?”

No sane person could argue that point. Judging from the attendance at Safeco Field during the last home stand most people in Seattle agree with Tammy. For the next few minutes she continued to expound on all the better ways she could spend her time than watching the Mariners. Since I was already on my computer, as she talked I took the opportunity to look up how the Tacoma Rainiers were doing. The Rainiers are the Mariners AAA affiliate and the place where most of the players we should eventually see in the Big Leagues hone their chops to get ready. When the Mariners are really sucking I tend to spend more time looking at the players we have on the horizon who could potentially help. It raises my spirits. Lately, therefore, I had been spending a lot of time on the Rainiers website studying stats. Tammy had stopped talking for the moment and I decided to inject a hopeful comment into the conversation…

“You know, Tammy,” I said, “down in Tacoma we have a second baseman named Nick Franklin. He is currently hitting .333 with an on base percentage of .450…we also have shortstop named Carlos Triunfel hitting .314 with an OBP of .347!

Nick Franklin

“And your point is…?” Tammy inquired.

“Well,” I said, “our current second baseman Dustin Ackley is hitting .150. Ditto our shortstop Brendan Ryan. I realize it’s still early, but I’m thinking maybe we should bring these Tacoma guys up for a look see. What’ve we got to lose?”
Tammy thought about it for a second.

“Yeah…” she said, “but there is a big difference between minor league pitching and Big League pitching. You know that.”

“True”, said I, “But sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle…we’re due for that. Youremember Alvin Davis don’t you?”

Oh yeah!” Tammy said, smiling. “Mr. Mariner! Who can forget him?!”

I laughed at how far Tammy had come as a fan. There are current Mariner fans who don’t know who “Mr. Mariner” is. I switched websites on my computer so I could check out Alvin’s stats.

Alvin Davis

“You may not remember this”, I said, “but when Alvin first came up in ’84 he lit it up from the start. He hit over .280 with 27 home runs and was Rookie of the Year that season. He drove in 116 runs for God sakes! I’d take some of that about now.”

“Wow!” Tammy said, obviously impressed.

She came over to look at my computer screen and check out the stats for herself. While she was doing that I wandered over to the TV to see how the Mariners were doing in their game against Texas. It was the top of the second and Seattle had a 1-0 lead. Maybe they could start turning things around now. Kelly Shopach led off the inning with a ringing double past the Texas left fielder. With a man on second and no outs, my hopes for a big inning were definitely surging. Up steps the next Mariner hitter, he of the .150 batting average, Dustin Ackley. What does Ackley do? Unbelievably, he lays down a sacrifice bunt. Doesn’t he know that Shopach is already in scoring position on second? If it was the eighth inning of a tight game that would be one thing, but this is the second inning; we need a hit in this situation, not a bunt! We want a big inning and here is Ackley giving up an out. Long time Mariners announcer Mike Blowers is speculating that Ackley decided to bunt on his own and talked about the advantage of advancing the runner to third and what a great bunt it was.

Dustin Ackley

“What a bunch of bullshit!” I said, muttering to myself. “Blowers has to say that…he works for the Mariners!”

With my hopes now fleeing our next .150 hitter Brendan Ryan steps to the plate and strikes out. I don’t even remember how the following hitter got himself out; just that he did, leaving me sitting in my chair fuming. Once again the Mariners don’t score.

“Geeeeez, Tammy!” I said, turning my head to look towards where I had last seen her at my computer. I intended to pour my frustration out to her, but she wasn’t there. She had gone off to do one of those “more productive things” she had been talking about.

I flicked off the Mariners and went back to studying Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel stats on my computer. Considering the circumstances I thought it the most productive thing I could do.

I have a feeling we may be seeing both players soon and I want to be ready.

 

Copyright©2013 by Mark Arnold

All Rights Reserved

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