Monday, April 30, 2007

Do I not post enough? Very well, then I don't post enough. I am large, I contain multitudes.

"Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us."
Jeff Weaver was spotted at Safeco yesterday thumbing through his dog eared copy of the Portable Whitman. Where, he thought to himself, was the stoicism? Instead all he felt was a massive case of dyspepsia. He popped a Tums in his mouth and chugged it down with a tall glass of Maalox, wiping the blue dregs off his lips on the sleeve of his team issue navy blue turtleneck. He was alone. The last merengue had played in the clubhouse. His mitt sat there on the ground between his sanitary socked feet. It mocked him. He wanted to spit on it, but his mouth was too gooped up with antacids to even work up a good mouthful and when he spit, a goopy foam was all that came out, clinging to his lip and then rolling down his chin before dripping onto his knee. His shoulders shook, and looking quickly around, he began to cry, quietly at first, and then louder. A torrent of grief shook through his lean frame. Snot and tears mixed and these did, somehow, make their way onto his black leather glove. Just then, the clubhouse kid walked in through the door directly across from Weaver's locker. He tried to turn around and leave, but Weaver spotted him and wiped his face with the already dirty shirtsleeve. They started at each other for a long time and then the clubhouse boy spoke up. "Mr. Weaver, they're going to lock up for the night."
"And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

R.I.P. to a great writer

We at the Rags only dream of reporting and writing like this man did. Rest in peace, Mr. Halberstam.

Rags exclusive!

Here at the Rag, we have access to things that the little people do not. We are told things that you are not. We get advanced readers proofs of things you do not. We feel we have earned this privilege. Today a source whose name shall not be uttered until our source himself* scoops us on the big reveal in Vanity Fair and ends up costing us a lot of cash leaked us this amazing video footage of what is allegedly Twinkie and Wankee great Chuck Knoblauch's son, acting out, singlehandedly, all three roles in one of the great Monty Python scenes of all time. It's impressive on a lot of levels, but particularly in opening our mind to what an open mind two buck Chuck apparently has.

*or herself

Happy Birthday, Mariner!

In what we hope will be a regular feature around here (assuming we actually are organized enough to keep up with such a thing. So, no), here's to you, former and current Mariners celebrating their birthdays today. (also, we will begin incorporating drop caps for every posting from here on out)

Omar Vizquel: 40
(Lil' O, you'll always have a place in our hearts)

Mike Blowers: 42

Bill Kreuger: 49

Monday, April 23, 2007

And in other news, pitchers warm up sometimes.

Sweet G_d, if this is what passes for journalism these days, then lord help us all.

Nothing else to say. Too awful. Get us some stimulants stat.

Poony on Jeff

Exclusive! Exclusive!

Little did we know, but our well-travelled correspondant Poony Poon apparently had done an exclusive face to face interview with none other than Jeff Weaver while he was still a Dodger (more on that later) and before his ERA hit 13.91, which of course is the year that the great anti-Jewish riots of Toledo, Barcelona took place. Much more appropriately, it's (also, according to my sources), the year that toilet paper was invented. It seems a highly appropriate symbolic/numerologic commonality for the moment, because a growing number of Mariners observers, watching Weavers 0-3 start, seem to want to Charmin him away like so many dingleberries. Clearly, Weaver is not a phantom wipe situation.

Art Thiel:
I wrote before the season that the additions of Weaver, Horacio Ramirez and Miguel Batista behind Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn made the Mariners rotation better than any time since 2003....

In the sweep by the Angels, a team that had scored the fewest runs in the American League entering the weekend, Batista gave up six runs in six innings, Ramirez six runs in four and Weaver three runs in three. They are part of a well-rested rotation that soon must start squeezing in five makeup games.

Weaver's early departure was startling. Manager Mike Hargrove flat-out admitted he couldn't take it anymore, despite the fact that the game was far from decided. "I didn't see it getting better and didn't want to put the club in a hole any more than we were," he told reporters afterward.

Hargrove was so desperate to win a game April 22 that he risked the fragile psyche of Weaver by jerking him in front of his hometown friends, family and former team, which abandoned him last year.

Think Weaver will be ready to rock against K.C. on Friday?

And here's what Geoff Baker found out:
"He'd given up seven hits and three runs in three innings and I didn't see it getting any better," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said of Weaver. "And the way we've been going and scoring runs late, I just didn't want to put the ballclub in the hole any more than we already were that early in the game."

Weaver declined to be interviewed after the game, telling a media relations representative it "wouldn't be a good idea."
But here's what Poony Poon discovered, back before Weaver made the scene in the great Northwest:

Poony: Everyone agrees you can throw the shit out of a baseball, Jeff, and when they see you in warmups, wow, the ball has pop and it has movement. Then you get in a game and you're completely embarrasing. To you. To your team. To your home town. To your family. To your entire country. Why is that?

Weaver: Poony, do you like teddy bears?

Poony: Jeff, I'm sorry, but I'm here on assignment for Jim Lefebvre and I have a job to do. He needs to know if you're a head case or not. So you tell me, what is going on upstairs? I mean, come on, Private Pyle, what is your major malfunction?

Weaver: You know what, kid? I don't have to take this shit. Let's see you throw the ball on a dime when you've got bankers all over you, you've got four mortgages, your accountant played backup point guard on your high school basketball team and suckered you into a lifetime contract, you bough a shitload of Wal-Mart stock at its 52 week high, the hotel you're living in doesn't have Poland Spring in the minibar, and on top of that your brother is but a child but already a better pitcher than you. You ever tried that shit, Poony? Have you? No, so shut up and get out.

Poony: Can I quote you on that?
Jeff, you just got Pwned. The moral of the story is clear. Once again it just goes to show you that Bill Bavasi is incompetant and can't even get his underlings to do his homework for him. If they had looked up Poony's interview, if they had looked up his stats with the Yankees, we would never be in this mess.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rags Contributor Leo Messi Breaks it Down

Hola y hello. I am Leo Messi and I am 19 years old. I am very good, you know, at the futbol soccer. Seriously. Watch me score this gol.

Now, I'm here to talk about sports play by playing guys. A lot of people think Dave Niehaus is the best of all time. This is what you hear about all the time in my favorite bar in Barcelona, the Pata Negra. All the chicos they sit around and drink sherry and they say, that Dave Niehaus makes radio broadcasts worthwhile again and that you can really visualizar the "pop" of the bat and the homerunning. I agree, Dave is the best. But for second best, it's a tight battle. A lot of people probably think about the Bobby Thompson jonrun. This is a very popular choice. But I disagree. And I will show you why. Here is what the Russ Hodges was screaming:
Bobby Thomson up there swinging... He's had two out of three, a single and a double, and Billy Cox is playing him right on the third-base line... One out, last of the ninth... Branca pitches... Bobby Thomson takes a strike called on the inside corner... Bobby hitting at .292... He's had a single and a double and he drove in the Giants' first run with a long fly to center... Brooklyn leads it 4-2...Hartung down the line at third not taking any chances...Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one... Branca throws...
There's a long drive, it's gonna be, I believe...THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they're going crazy, they're going crazy! Ohhhhh-oh!!!''
Here's the recording. Now that's pretty nice. Emotional, from a poetic standpoint very good use of repetition and he really creates the image in my mind, yes? Four times the Giants win the Pennant.

But now let's take a look at Victor Hugo Morales, who was doing the action for the Argentina contra Inglaterra (hijas de puta) game in Mexico, DF, in 1986. Thanks to un amigo for the translation.
...Diego is going to get it, Maradona has it, two men mark him, Maradona steps on the ball, the genius of world soccer accelerates to the right and leaves behind a third man and he's going to pass it to it's still Maradona! Genius! Genius! Genius! ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta...and Goooooooal.... Gooooooooal!.....

Spectacular! Long live soccer! A super goal! Diegoal! Maradona! I'm going to cry -- I'm so excited please forgive me....Maradona, in an unforgetable run, in a play for all time...the cosmic keg...what planet did you come from? So that you could run such a clean path through so many Englishmen, so that a whole nation, with its fists clenched, is howling for Argentina....Argentina 2 - England 0....Diegoal, Dieagoal, Diego Armando Maradona...Thank you God, for soccer, for Maradona, for my falling tears, for this Argentina 2 - England 0....
Here you can hear it in Castellano. Okay, great. Now I am crying. This is embarrasing. But it's just too beautiful. This Hugo did not write Les Miserables, but he did something that is worthy of eternal literary enshrinimiento. I am also emocionado....gracias Diego.

Hodges is like an overture. Hugo is an opera.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Team Mangosteen

This is a picture of the coach of the coach of China's national baseball team, which gets an automatic bid to compete for what might be the last ever gold medal in Olympic baseball. His name is Jim Lefebvre, and he wants you to become a true beliebvre. He wants you to drink Vemma.

We at the Rag don't really know what Vemma is, except it reminds us of some kind of pyramid scheme, like OmniLife and HerbaLife and all those things. Anything that involves a sales kit, keep away.

Anyhow, Jim Lefebvre is the coach of that team (on top of being a Vemma pitchman), which apart from sucking at baseball, was subject of a Wall Street Journal story yesterday, one that would be senseless to link to, since the Journal is paid content only. The basic story was, though, that baseball, like every other Tom, Dick, Harry and Bill out there, wants a piece of the massive Chinese market. There are untold numbers of people there. The economy is growing like mad. They hold half the US debt. They make a lot of steel. A lot. Their art sets records at auction. If they don't go for baseball, pandemonium will ensue.

So who to send into the breach? Who will save us now?

How about a guy with a .485 lifetime record spread over six seasons, with no playoff appearances and a reputation for taking swings at their bosses?
"Tommy said it was a sucker punch. Well, I'll tell you what, it was the sucker who got punched all right. His lip was bleeding, and it definitely wasn't bleeding Dodger blue."
-Jim Lefebvre, after decking Tommy Lasorda in a 1980 fight at an LA TV studio.
As far as I'm concerned, we all better start learning Mandarin, because with Jimmy L blazing a trail, the next Matsuzaka is in Shanghai.

31.50 - 14.75 = Jeff Weaver's ERA

Italian old master Guido Reni was born in 1575, which is Weaver's current ERA after last night's, uh, masterful performance against the Twinkies. Interestingly, he actually painted an allegorical work that beautifully depicts Torii Hunter metaphorically smacking a "grande salami" off Weaver in the 5th. The piece, which hangs in the church of Sta. Maria della Concezione in Rome, is nominally of the Archangel Michael stomping on Satan, but that was just so Reni could get funding for his work and his terrible snuff habit (the New World was really new back then. Tobacco was more expensive than high grade smack). The real story here is Hunter putting his foot firmly on Weaver's head.

Reni, in his journals, famously wrote that Hunter "owns Weaver. He was 10-for-22 (.454) with 12 RBIs against him going into the game, and he would add two more hits and four ribeyes to that total on that fateful Tuesday night."

Geoff Baker went out and dutifully got a quote from the nearest Archbishop he could find, one Msgr. de l. Hargrove:

"There were things that Jeff did in this outing that he hadn't done in the past," said Hargrove, whose team saw its two-game winning streak ended. "Especially in that fifth inning. He got aggressive, went after hitters, struck out Cuddyer, had them on the ropes and then hung a slider."

Hargrove admitted that the seven runs allowed by Weaver in a second straight outing "is not the way you want to do it."

Disappointingly, neither the Times nor the PI (okay, not really disappointingly, since that implies you expected better and got worse. We expect exactly what we always get from these papers) managed to get any of the body language/theatrics color that the AP reporter covering the game did:

Weaver stomped his right shoe into the turf. Two pitches later, after Jason Kubel lined a double over Suzuki to the center-field wall, the crowd booed Weaver loudly. When Weaver finally ended the inning by covering first base on a groundout, he spiked the ball into the infield dirt and stomped into the dugout.
Scott Boras could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Renton Job: "A debilitating blow"

Clay Bennett is shocking the world. The Sonics are ever more likely to move to Oklahoma City. This is unexpected. Here is what he said after the state legislature sneezed at his efforts to come up with $500 million in public money to build at stadium smack in the infamous S-Curves.
"This is a staggering and quite likely a debilitating blow to our efforts to develop a world-class arena facility. Clearly at this time the Sonics and Storm have little hope of remaining in the Puget Sound region."
Yeah, that's really sad. Especially considering that Bennett says he'd gone to

"extraordinary lengths with significant time and resources to craft a proposal for a global-caliber multipurpose event facility that would be a valuable public asset for the region for years to come and have minimal impact on taxpayers."

Really, Clay? Really? Here's what the Times pointed out:

Still, some lawmakers questioned the Sonics' lobbying effort.

When Seahawks owner Paul Allen was pushing his stadium funding proposal 10 years ago, he unleashed an army of lobbyists and made a high-profile pitch in Olympia.

"The Sonics just have not done that kind of full-court press," said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chairman of the House Finance Committee, who opposed the proposal. "I don't know that they're serious."

Hunter said he got more pressure this year to support public financing for a theater-renovation project in Yakima than from the Sonics.

Wait. Bennett might actually secretly want to move the team to OK? That would be so weird. I mean, he only has a stadium already built there and he only lives there. What obvious connection could there be?

The real fun, the PI points out, will be when he does pack up the bags like some modern day Bob Irsay only to get served by the City of Seattle for breaking his lease contract with Key Arena, which runs through 2010. And never mind the few million a year he pays in rent, the city, it appears, will go after him for ticket taxes, restaurant revenue, parking, luxury box taxes, the whole nine.

Seattle's Finance Director Dwight Dively said getting out of the lease could be costly for the Sonics. "Our view is that we have an absolute guarantee that they will be here through the end of our lease and if they wanted to leave before that we would demand substantial financial damages," Dively said.

Jack Sikma could not be reached for comment.

M's to Rangers: Is that the Best You can Do, You Pansies?

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe & Everything

is 42.

Who's wearing it on Sunday: hella people. Entire teams. Arthur Rhodes Jason Ellison. White dudes.
Who's not wearing it: Ichiro Suzuki.
His quote:
"I don't have the idea of wearing 42. Maybe I might write his number behind my
cap. It's very important to feel near Jackie Robinson. It's a matter of respect.
But I will probably not put it where anybody but me can see it."
Here's another fun quote from Ichiro Suzuki:
“Not only will we win, but also we’ll make Japanese baseball fans feel that they saw a truly great game. I want to make (Korea and Taiwan) see that they will not be able to beat Japan in the next 30 years.”
Then Korea beat Japan, 3-2. And Ichiro was excorciated in the press for being a racist. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, going against decades of confirmed scholarship, refuses to acknowledge that Japanese soldiers enslaved and raped Chinese women during the Second World War. Japan also apparently loves black people. To wit:

Here's a picture of the box of a top-selling Japanese video game:

And here's a popular cell-phone keychain in Japan, which is based on a children's story that is essentially the Where the Wild Things Are of that nation:

And here's a drawing from Japanese manga:

What does all this prove? Probably nothing. Garrett Anderson, a black man, says he won't wear Jackie Robinson's number on Sunday because it wasn't his idea. And besides, this kind of ritualized observance of a semi-artificial symbol is at best Hollywood and at worst has tones of national socialism, or at least cultural jingoism. It's the kind of middle-class collective group think that leads everyone to a good night's sleep, but does it really change attitudes?

Anyhow, there are 14 Japanese players in the big leagues at the moment. Which plan to wear #42?

So Taguchi
Takashi Saito

Why? Because their teams, the Cardinals and the Dodgers, have decided everyone will wear that number on Sunday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Men We Hate

J.D. Drew has burned his smug little face indelibly into the hatred center of our brains for what he did last night, stabbing a squib single-like dagger into the hearts of Seattle and, to our mind, a nation looking for a new hero (Venezuela, of course, which has tired of Andres Galarraga). For that, Mr. oft-injured, so much talent that he never exploited, good body/bad head Drew, we nominate you as the newest entrant in an exclusive club, Men We Hate.

Your wing is the "Men who Busted-Up Mariner N0-Hitters" hall, and you'll find your plaque hanging alongside the following miserable SOBs:

1.) Jamie Quirk

On Sept. 20, 1986, he hit a meaningless single in the top of the first. Starter Mike Trujillo would not give up another hit.

2) Mike Sweeney

On June 13, 2000, he smacked a double with two outs in the bottom of the first frame. Gil Meche, pre-injuries, went the distance without yielding from there on out.

3) UL Washington

On Sept. 27, 1983, he managed a single during the top half of Jim Beattie's eventual victory. Beattie was otherwise unhittable.

4) Jeff Kunkel

Sept. 24, 1988, Kunkel weak-kneed a single off of the always handsome, always intimidating, always sort of Luke Sywalker-esque Mark Langston in the lower half of the fifth. Otherwise, Langston ran a clean bill for nine.

5) Brent "no relation" Gates

7/16/98, top 8, Randy Johnson on the mound. Bullshit single. There goes the no-no, although Randy finished it out without yielding any more.

6)Mike Gallego

Mid August (the 14th) of 1991, Big Unit versus the stinking A's. Single to lead off the 9th, fer crissake. (funny side note: Gallego technically means someone from the Galicia region of Spain. But in Latin America, "Gallego" is generally understood to be a slur meaning "idiot.")

7)Lance Blankenship

With only two outs left in RJ's second bid to throw a no-no for the M's, on May 16, 1993, Blankenship threw a wet blanket on all the fun by hitting a single. Whoop-de-do, Lance.

Finally, and reserved for the most horrifying, sulphurous, stinking regions of hell, is none other than:

8)the devil incarnate, Mr. Party Pooper Ken Phelps

On April 20, 1990, Brian Holman was burning through Oakland's order on the way to the first perfect game in the big leagues since -- wait, we're looking it up -- okay, not that impressive -- first perfect game since Tom Browning did it for the Reds two years earlier (but hey, six years since Mike Witt did it for the Angels). He was down to the final out, bottom of the ninth, when Mr. Phelps, the former Mariner, in his final season no less (has he no sense of history?), completely smashed an errant pitch over the fence for a tater. At the time, we were in a car with our brother and father and listening to it on the radio. Neither Niehaus nor any of us were pleased by that outcome. The fans at Oakland Coliseum booed him. The Oakland fans booed Ken Phelps for hitting a home run. That's how titanically awful it was. Phelps told reporters he did it because he didn't want to see himself on SportsCenter recording the final out. Die, you bastard.

'Meet me at the bike rack after school.'

Oh yeah?


Here's what Guillen, as stable a rock of a man as ever there was, had to say:

"If he wants to take care of his problem, the clubhouses are pretty close," Guillen said. "He can just send one of the batboys to come get me outside, and then we'll take care of this as a man"
He lost us on that last part. But here's what things looked like from the skybox:

And so it goes. Speaking of which, RIP Kurt Vonnegut.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why the Young Must be Eaten

With a baseball coverage team consisting of the never hard hitting John Hickey, Art Thiel and Moira Koskey, the "Mariner Housewife," we suppose it's not that surprising that the Seattle P.I. feels inclined to look for a little bit of utility man help.

But what is to be made of today's godawful farmed out column playing off Weaver's inauspicious debut yesterday? Perhaps our least favorite part about it was the Lee Press-On Nails dragging down the chalkboard use of the phrase "At the end of the day" in each little recap capsule.

So who is this aspiring young sports columnist? Why, it's Seth Kolloen, Freelance Writer.
His tagline: Quality Writing, Quickly.

This reminds us of our time living in Mexico City and a little copy shop we used to go to (editor's note: the photocopier is perhaps the most influential and important machine ever introduced to Mexico. Way more important than steel or the VW Bug. Life simply cannot be lived there without photo copies, in triplicate, of everything. As a result, copy shops are everywhere). This shop had a sign on the wall. It read (in translation) "We do three kinds of work here. Slow, cheap and good. Fast, cheap and bad. Fast, good and expensive. You choose."

Now we know that the PI does not pay freelancers well. And since Kolloen is all about fast, we think it's pretty clear which option sports editor Nick Rousso picked. And considering this "humorous" line he wrote elsewhere on the CyberSpace, in a piece about obesity, they can keep him:
Banning obesity in public places will be a long, arduous fight. But don’t tell me it can’t be done—for God’s sake, homosexuals can marry in this country. Anything is possible.
A little more digging reveals some kind of fat obsession on behalf of Mr. Kolloen. We're not fat, we're just big boned, but we're starting to get offended. Here's what the PI has to say about a man who brags that he "achieved client placement in The New York Times, The New York Post, and several other publications":

The Stranger identified Seth Kolloen the best sportswriter you've never heard of for his work at His columns appear occasionally in the P-I.

I'm so jealous I'm breaking with the Royal We format. Odds bodkin, is there no justice in the world?

"If you want to call it a gyro, call it a gyro"

".... but I see it as a cut fastball," (Kenji) Johjima said. "I think a lot of pitchers throw that pitch."
We'll call it a gyro. But what's more interesting to us here is this little nugget from Larry Stone's always insightful coverage of this ever-changing game:
Asked what Felix's version of the gyro was, Johjima replied in English, "I call it a slider."
Kenji Johjima has been in the big leagues for just over a year. Ichiro Suzuki has been doing that Arizona to Seattle to AL West Cellar slide for seven years now. So how in the hell is it that Ichi still hasn't gotten enough of a grip of English to speak to reporters without a translator? This is the same Ichiro who has a game show in Japan where he's supposed to be some kind of Zen godchild genius. Yet he can't master baseball-ese?


"The thing about baseball is that tomorrow is another day and today has nothing to do with tomorrow."

Thus spake Chavesthustra after yesterday's brilliant performance.

Let's find out out more about Sr. Chaves, shall we?
First off, he was born in Brazil, but lives on Canada. He loves computers and is certified in Sun. He's interested in something called MDA (not to be confused with MDMA, folks) and is "also interested in object-orientation, distributed computing, and software engineering and architecture in general."

Oh, wait, wrong Rafael Chaves.

This Rafael Chaves is from Puerto Rico. He's married. Played minor league ball. Was pitching coach for the Tacoma farm team. Looks kind of like he has an upset tummy in this picture. Uh, anything else?

2X2L calling CQ... 2X2L calling CQ... 2X2L calling CQ... New York. Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone... 2X2L...

All contributions to our Chaves Wiki Biography are more than welcome.

Separated at Girth?


Try as I might, I can't really come up with too many similarities here, other than that to my eye, these two look oddly similar, at least from the neck up. From the waist down, I'd say about 2,500 arepas filled with cheese, beans and eggs make a big difference.

Anyhow, these two are battling tonight at Fenway. Ichiro, meanwhile, remains appropriately Zen about the whole thing,

He was alleged to take one look at Dice-K's massive thighs, make some crack about Yeats, and then go for a second coming, er, helping of those funny BoSox hot dogs.

Enough telling stories that make no sense with pictures. Soon...something at least halfway intelligent.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oliver is a Lousy Pitch Picker

He said Weaver would last 3.2 innings. He was wrong. He lasted 2 and gave up 7. Oliver was just being greedy with the Bonz.

It's Weaver Time

We here at the Rag are really excited about Jeff Weaver finally getting a chance to show his stuff.

We are hopeless at graphic design, otherwise we'd put a big fat "S" over that horrid NY symbol. In anticpation of the game and the huge bets we'll be placing on the game, we had our upstairs neighbor's pet long haired Chihuahua, Oliver (photo TK), predict the outcome. He did this by selecting between dog biscuits arranged into pitch and hit options on a masking tape grid on the floor (strike, ball, foul, ground out, fly out, single, double, triple, HR, wild pitch, passed ball, temper tantrum, blowing into hand, grasping at Guido chain). Oliver is a little guy, so he was stuffed after 3.2 innings, which is about how long we expect Weaver to last tonight. Let's just say he was having a hard time of it -- Oliver suggests he'll give up 42 hits, leading to 24 runs and also have multiple temper tantrums.

Meanwhile, Oliver's constant companion, Moby the Pug, sneered. "All this is prelude," he seemed to say, "to tomorrow's Japanese juggernaut."
Original Movie Idea of the Day(TM)*:

Tim Montgomery just pleaded (pled?) guilty to bank fraud. Here's the former world record 100 meter sprinter, later shamed and stripped of titles for juicing, reduced to trying to cash funny checks on the Eastern seaboard. Okay, we are talking about $1.6 million in bad checks, but still, it's got all the markings of a heartwarming little tale of a once great man turned into the pawn of evil men. Kind of like Memento, but instead of amnesia, this guy has 'Roid Rage.

Script writes itself. Start with winning the world record. Then go to arrest and handcuffing. Then back to the beginning, bringing us quickly to his rise to stardom and rapid fall. And there he is, desperate, jonesing, and a bunch of crooks bring him in. Who would ever suspect Tim Montgomery of passing bad checks? Nobody. Imagine scenes with guns waving around, screaming. "But I'm the World Champ!" "No. You used to be the world champ. Now you are my bitch." Etc.

All offers sent to our attention.

(*You heard it here first. If you attempt to make a movie out of this, or any other Seatown Rags Original Movie Idea of the Day (TM) -- including "King Lincoln: That Way Madness Lies" --without consulting and/or paying Seatown Rags, we will sue your pants off.)

In other news:

  • We know nothing about hockey, except that Petr Nedved played for the Thunderbirds. But we do know that Montreal music -- a.ka. "Separatist Rock" in Canadianese -- is an unrecognized lode of fun. And they like hockey. And this video is great.

  • Jay Buhner, as pointed out on Deadspin last week, likes sticking his finger into things he shouldn't. This week, apparently, it's management.

  • We're thinking of bidding on this. Great gift for all our friends and we love that the seller identified the M's as part of the NBA. Or maybe this.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Felix and Washburn and Three Days of Snow

Make that four days of snow

Early in the morning, in the middle of the night
John Hickey and Geoff Baker had a snowball fight.
The latter pondered whether we should demand
The end of April games in the city of Cleveland.
Hickey, meanwhile, focused his keen attention
On getting coach Chaves a long-awaited mention.
Chaves, having seen more snow than he'd ever seen in his life, got just about everybody with a snowball, and he received as good as he got.
And while Hickey filled us in on Chaves and his "snow weapons," we were also privy to a bucolic scene of millionaires enjoying the simple things in life:
Raul Ibanez....was posing for a photographer between relievers J.J. Putz and Arthur Rhodes, just three big kids kicking it in the deep powder.
Of course this immediately makes us here at the Rag rethink our team slogan depth chart. This is poetry and Mr. Hickey deserves a raise. So, as it stands, our top slogan remains, but a new number two has emerged:

  1. Mariners Baseball: a Churning Nightmare of Death Full of Questions without Answers
  2. The M's: Just Some Big Kids Kicking it in the Deep Powder
  3. The Mariners: how Bill Bavasi took a Great Team and Made it into Cholera-laced Dukey
  4. It's Big League Stuff
  5. "Makyuu no Shoutai" (Secrets of the Demon Miracle Pitch)

In other news, the Rags staff is now accepting nominations for actors to represent Mariners players, coaches and execs in a high-eight figure Hollywood pic currently in pre-production telling the tale of Howard Lincoln's rise and fall, a story based heavily on King Lear. (Sweet Lou takes the role of Cordelia, although early treatments had Bryan Price in that part. The pieces all fit together from there on out).

All suggestions will be warmly received for the following roles. We have oral committments from Manson and Leguizamo, but nothing is set in stone.

  • Howard Lincoln (Lear) =
  • Lou Piniella (Cordelia) =
  • Bob Melvin (Regan) =
  • Mike Hargrove (Goneril) =
  • Randy Johnson (Duke of Albany) = Marilyn Manson
  • Alex Rodriguez (Duke of Cornwall) = John Leguizamo
  • Jim Lefebvre (Earl of Gloucester) =
  • Pat Gillick (Earl of Kent) =
  • Dan Wilson (Oswald) = Kevin Costner (of course)
and, in a rare double role:
  • Bill Bavasi as treacherous Edmund =
  • Bill Bavasi as the Fool =

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Gyro isn't just a Greek Sandwich

So Dice-K looked positively King Felix-like in his debut against the Royals, except a lot skinnier. Naysayers will point out that he has yet to do that against a major league team, but then again, they could probably say that again about his next opponent, your Seattle Mariners. The highlight of that game, in Boston, will doubtless be the bum rush of 10,000 Japanese reporters trying to get a pre-game, in-game and post-game take on the first matchup of Itchy-Itchy and the master of the Demon Miracle Pitch since they met up in 1999 and Ich Bin ein Japaner struck out thrice.

What will happen this time? Who knows? The Seattle papers sure don't, since their only coverage of Daisuke's first start was an AP story they picked up off the wire, with no mention of Ichi. Had to turn to the NYT to discover that
Matsuzaka said that he was “very much looking forward” to pitching to Suzuki, but he is unlikely to be unnerved by the attention.
Here at the Rag, we think that nobody knows the ins and outs of the old ballgame better than one of our closest companions of all time. This little guy has been crawling all over us for millions of years, can jump 80 times his height, pull 160,000 times his weight and he did it without the Clear or the Cream. If anybody has a sense of the game, its him: Johnny Siphonaptera, aka the Flea. So, with less than a week to go before this historic matchup, we've assembled a committee of expert Fleas to discuss the upcoming matchup.

Our panelists:

In order from top left, proceding to the right, then down a line and etc: Flea, Jimmy "the Flying Flea" Johnstone, Freddie "Flea" Patek, Lionel "Pulga" Messi (Pulga means Flea), Jesper "Flea" Olsen, Flea Clifton

(Note: we invited Flea. He declined the invitation.)
(Note also: we are not graphic designers. This frickin frackin thing won't put the fonts in the size we need. Sorry.)
(Note: F = Flea; FJ = Flea Johnstone; FP= Flea Patek; PM = Pulga Messi; JO = Flea Olsen; FC = Flea Clifton)

With no further ado, let's get this conversation going. Poony Poon (PP) will moderate:

PP: Ichiro is just 1,642 hits away from 3,000. Matsuzaka is just 2,990 Ks away from 3,000. Both speak Japanese. Flea Olsen, any thoughts?

FO: I like Ichiro's Zen-like calm at the plate. He hit a pitch the other day off Rich Harden, a sinker in the dirt, almost a spitter, really, for a single. Harden later said that nobody had ever made contact with that pitch. You just can't put that in a can and sell it at Wal-Mart.

FJ: Begorah and sure, but ye can't underestimate Daisuke's trrrruly incredible varriety of pitches. I mean, the man is a walking munitions dump, isn't he? So many looks. So many arm angles. Just nasty, nasty stooff. PS: I'm deed.

FP: Well, my best year was 158 hits, and let me tell you, that day in and day out consistency ain't easy. Ichiro has, what, like at least 150 hits, and so, you know, he can really zing 'em like Hostess.

PP: I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Pulga?

PM: Pues, la verdad, no tengo ni puta idea de lo que dicen. Aca en Barcelona, se come bastante bien el sushi. Bueno, asi me dijo Eto'o. Yo no como sushi, viste, no me gusta el marisco y todo esto. Un sabalo, un poco de mero, bien, pero sushi suhi, no. Que se yo....yo diria que Ichiro meta un cabesazo en la segunda y que Daisuke da la remate cuanto antes. 1-1. Asi va a terminar.

FC: I am also no longer living. However, I'd have to build off of what Lionel here is saying and add that you can't overestimate the role of the press here. I mean, those Japanese cameramen are nasty. When I made my debut with the Tigers in 1934, there must have been 100 NKK cameramen all over the place. Big ole Hank Greenberg had to swat a few away with his lumber. Now I reckon that for this Fenway matchup, at least 10 to 15 camera types will show up. And if that's the case, I gotta give the upper hand to the more experienced ballplayer, Ichiro. Plus, he speaks Japanese, which I think will be a huge advantage.

PP: Thought provoking. Like the interplay of tonal harmonics and dissonance in later Stravinsky...So, guys, let's get down to nuts and bolts. Dice-K is going to bean Ichiro right on the noggin, right?

F: Frankly, I think that's an insulting postulation. Daisuke is a student of the game and knows all too well the Jackie Robinson-esque struggle his predecessor went through. His agent, Scott Boras, plays bridge with Ichiro's agent, Tony Attanasio. Both have season subscriptions to the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Matsuzaka recently scored tickets for the pair to see Michael Schumaker's last race. Also, Ichiro's blood is type B and Matsuzaka's is O. That's warrior versus hunter. Matsuzaka might be a fierce fighter, but Ichiro's Mizuno bat is a like a 34 ounce spear, carefully balanced and ready to cleave Daisuke's chest plate and leave him to die, suffocated by the weight of his own blood. There is no possibility but Wa.

FO: I read the biography of Sadaharu Oh and there's a really cool flip book thingy in it where you flip through the pages and you get like a little movie about Sadaharu swinging. I think he hit a homerun or something. Samurai! Chop! My point is this: neither of 'em could cut it back with the A's were in Kansas City. Roger Maris would have had none of it, the racist bastard.

FP: I think what's getting lost in this otherwise riveting conversation is the fact that you shouldn't underestimate the power of Coco Crisp. Not only is he a switch hitter, but he tastes great with Nestle Quik. I like to use the powdered kind and then put in the Coco Crisp and then the milk and then just take a few heaping teaspoonfuls of the Quik powder, right? and I just dust them all over the place. What's neat about that is that as you eat, the milk gets gradually more chocolaty. It starts out just plain old milk, but that dust keeps working its magic and pretty soon, you've got yourself a sweet treat. Turns breakfast into a two course meal. I sometimes put an egg on top and then you've got yourself breakfast, lunch and dinner all rolled up in one.

PM: Que decis? Quien invito al loco esto? Cuando se acaba la entrevista, porque Ronaldinho me espera afuera.

There you have it, ladies and gents. Mariners verus BoSox. Next Wednesday.

"Makyuu no Shoutai"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

In Fifteen Hundred and Forty-Three

In 1543, Henry VIII married Catherine, his sixth wife. Martin Luther published On Jews and their Lies, a charming title from a small publisher about how the houses and books and schools and synagogues of the Jews should be disposed with post haste. Huge sleeper potential on this one, with a grass roots push, it could hit the Powell's list fast. Meanwhile, Copernicus published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, a coffee table book about how the sun, rather than the earth, is the center of the universe. Ptolemy rolled over in his grave and great controversy ensued, but man, Costco couldn't keep that book on the discount table!

But for me, I'd have to say the best best thing about 1543 is that it totally matches Miguel Batista's ERA as of his first outing! Man that guy can pitch! Balk, too!

Here's his line:

15.43 A.D.

Said Geoff Baker of the Blethen Times of his outing:
Batista's pitches looked like dogs -- very fast dogs -- that had just broken free of their leashes.
The P.I.'s Greg Johns put it another way:
So flummoxed was the Dominican native that he said he had no idea why he was called twice for balks, one of which forced in a run, after stepping back off the rubber.
And then went on to point out that Batista is a liar. Batista tells him that "I haven't made a balk in 19 years." Baker does due diligence and discovers that "the balks were actually the fourth and fifth of his big league career."

Cap on you, Miguel.

For those of you who need a clearer picture of the Waste Land that swept across Safeco last night, we turn to the Associated Press's Gregg Bell:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Conversely, how miserable was Miguel Batista's 4 2-3-inning Mariners debut? Eight runs allowed. Ten hits. Two balks. Dodging of line drives hit right at him -- plus one he didn't dodge that stung his left foot. He continually turned to watch drives bang off outfield walls. And he backed up home plate seven times as runners scored.

The one time he didn't backup home, Mike Piazza scored on Batista's first balk. The 36-year-old former Diamondback started and then stopped his throwing motion during Oakland's five-run second inning.

Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Miguel, when cornered by on the spot Rags correspondant Poony Poon in the locker room, turned to the good book -- his -- for an appropriate quotable:
"My, that was rather a churning nightmare of death full of questions without answers wasn't it?"
The good news here of course is that a local boy got playing time. Sean White, of Mercer Island (he loves Quin Snyder and his singing voice), did some fine mop up work. And I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it's far more important to have people from Washington state on this team than to win an excessive, even unseemly, number of ballgames. It just wouldn't be Windermere, now would it?

(eds: actually a photo of Madison Park. Jews and their Lies again.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Guest Columnist: Poony Poon

Today, my dear reader, we have a special contributor, Ms. Poony Poon, child prodigy pianist and New York Times biz section covergirl. Poony?

Thanks, Schmutz. I'm here to talk about piano playing and about baseball. First off, Richie Sexson may hit have hit a homerun in both the first and the second games of the season, but I'm deeply suspicious of what that projects to. (First off, how do you say home run in Chinese?) I mean, the guy gets $15.5 million, 12th in the bigs to swing the bat at a .269 clip. I mean, Maurizo Pollini has far superior stats, including a Grammy. He opens major cultural institutions. He has soul. Sexson likes Kevin Costner, Sushi and the X-Files. (Okay, he probably likes 24 at this point.)

Yet here's Larry Stone, giving him a fluff job once again. Larry Stone is and always has been the bane of my 10 year old existence. This guy thinks he writes well. Think again. This guy is a hackneyed fool and even Schubert could tell you that. Look at this crap:
Of all the necessities for the Mariners in this season where the worst-case scenario would be disastrous, a consistently crushing Sexson ranks near the top.
I'm sorry, is that even English? I'm from China and I know that doesn't cut the mustard and the rye bread. I know I know, it's a long season and you gotta make something out of every game. So hard to be a columnist, boo hoo. Only guys who make any money at local papers are columnists, and to add insult to injury, Larry, you write like Rick Wakeman plays the keyboards. And that's not a good thing.

Larry Stone, I know Franz Liszt, and you're no Franz Liszt.

PS: the last time the Mariners won their first two games, I couldn't even play Heart and Soul. (embarrasing but true!)

Okay, back to MySpace's classical room!

PPS: Fuck you Tower records. Who will buy my music now?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I know what he's talking about

Bloomie Calls Dell

Just unearthed today, authentic, verified audio recording of Willie Bloomquist's post season opener victory phone call to Dell tech support for help with his mom's laptop. Pretty amazing stuff.

Okay, okay, it's not really Willie. It's Jeff Cirillo. Or is it Dave Valle?

Crown His Rather Ample Ass

Apparently King Felix had a big day yesterday. Eight innings pitched, three hits, no runs, 12 K, pretty rosy all around.

Hargrove was excited, mouthing off about the porcine pitcher being extremely mature, "a rare breed who has grasped the concept." He also had an unusually, how to say this, homoerotic line of praise in his postgamers yesterday, speaking of how the team "busted their humps" doing "everything we asked them to do and then some," leading to seeing "the fruits of that work today," topped with whipped cream, a maraschino cherry and a dose of "we rode Felix for this win."

Okay, I'm stretching it. Art Thiel and Steve Kelley went so bonkers, however, so over the top with excitement (about baseball and something else, respectively). To wit:
Hernandez pitched as well as any pitcher in the big leagues, any pitcher on the planet -- Kelley

Hernandez is young, healthy, cheap and dominant. -- Thiel

We're also young, cheap and, if you wish, dominant.

Anyhow, we got curious about Mariners opening day starters, because when it comes to Kelley and Thiel, the only safe bet is don't believe the hype. Thiel talked about something called "Weapons-grade giddiness," presumably from the nitrates in all the Mariner Dogs he sucks down. So, we decided to look back, because those who refuse to use the Internet to shortcut their way to understanding history are doomed to read Art Thiel in hell.

Here's what we found out, thanks to the enormously helpful Baseball Almanac site:

Pitcher Date IP H R ER BB K (Final Record, ERA)
Floyd Bannister* 4/16/82 9.0 7 0 0 4 8 (12-13, 3.43)

Randy Johnson 4/6/93 8.0 7 1 1 2 14 (19-8, 3.24)

Big Unit* 4/27/95 6.0 3 0 0 2 8 (18-2, 2.48)

Jamie Moyer 4/8/03 7.0 4 0 0 1 7 (21-7, 3.27)

Jamie Moyer 4/4/05 5.2 5 1 0 0 4 (13-7, 4.28)

(* = home opener)

So, what does this mean? I think it means that maybe the Flabby Fireballer will either have an awesome season, or an okay season. But not a bad one. Gil Meche at worst. It also means that Art Thiel is a pretty creepy guy. More later.

Monday, April 02, 2007

All Your Slogan Are Belong to Us

In honor of Opening Day (TM, all rights reserved, lsmft), and the fact that the Yankees are, as per norm, playing the weak cheese Devil Rays, it's time for our first annual roundup of official team slogans (in point of fact, this is something we've been doing for awhile, just not publicly). These are all plucked from home pages. Submissions for further slogans not so obviously made known are more than welcome.

Here they are, along with snarky comments when they occur to us:

Astros: Return of the good guys
(Inference: last year's team sucked. Now it's 2005 time -- time to get crushed in the WS)
Blue Jays: It's always game time
(I don't understand what that means. Most of the time it's not.)
Braves: Welcome to the bigs.
(Friendly message to rooks. They don't seem to be starting any, but obvs. have high hopes for Sept.)
D-Rays: More than just a game.
(Clearly. The game has little to do with this ongoing trainwreck.)
Dodgers: Think Blue. or It's Time for Dodger Baseball
Giants: Your Giants
(In case you were wondering.)
Marlins: You gotta be here!
(Because nobody else is. Marlins 2006 average attendance rank: 30 out of 30. The Yankees outdrew them 3 to 1.)
Mets: Your season has come.
(David Wright plucks his eyebrows!)
Nats: Pledge your allegiance.
(I kind of like this one)
Rangers: You could use some baseball.
(Are you looking to get made fun of? This is too easy.)
Reds: C you there.
(Fucking lame. Who the hell are the marketing people there? Did Griff get Kid Sensation a job in the PR department? )
Rockies: GenRation.
(? elucidate, please)
Royals: True. Blue. Tradition.
(Some tradition...$11 million a year for a career 4.45 ERA pitcher?)
Tigers: Who's your Tiger?
(Neifi Perez)
White Sox: Back to the grind.
(Is this some kind of pun on coffee? Does Howard Schultz own this team now? Cf: Cincinnati Reds)
Seattle Mariners: A churning nightmare of death full of questions without answers!
(First pitch three and a half hours away!)

The Avenger of Blood

It's opening day. Mariners v. Athletics. Can you contain the excitement?

It's Dan Haren squaring off against fatass Felix Hernandez, who had to rely on cutting "a pound or two" of his own hair to make weight this spring. I sit here and I think about all this season might be, about how Adrian Beltre is the baseball equivalent of a used car with a mighty fine paint job and a shit motor, about how two starting fielders speak English, about how what we could really use is Walter Matthau and a case of pull-tab Budweisers, and somehow I dredge up a mole or two of hope. But then I take a look at this mug, and I think that perhaps I'm confusing the Marineros with my other beloved nine, the Diablos Rojos of Mexico City. They at least have suited up Julio Franco, a real baseball player and not Porky the Pig (yes, I know, but it solidifies the Jabba Hutt connection).

But my real belly fire is coming from news, taken from the New York Times but, upon further review, more deeply investigated in the Seattle BlethenTimes. We have a published author on board, skipper, and he's our number four starter (soon to be promoted to number one once Chancho Hernandez slips a gallbladder):

Not sure if you can make out the full title on this one, so I'll give an assist:

The Avenger of Blood: A Plot Where Real Facts and Evidences Face Faith
What does that mean? I think it means that Miguelito is a hell of a writer. Here's an excerpt:

There are many things that cannot be proven through the eyes of the law, but through the eyes of humanity, they are the law.

Thomas Santiago, a fourteen-year-old boy with the carefree existence typical of most boys his age, is accused of committing a series of shocking murders. From that moment on, his life becomes a churning nightmare of death full of questions without answers.
I have not read this book. I should read this book. Those of you breathlessly awaiting a posthumous wrapup on Bowie Kuhn should definitely read this book as you await. This is like Ball Four, but in semi-intelligible babble. And also about murder. And if you're a truly diehard Batista-phile (and who isn't, with a lifetime ERA of 4.46, a man who has won 11 games in one season on two occassions), you might want to consider snatching up this collectors item, then rush to the Dome, er the Safe, and get his Juan Hancock on the inside front cover of his earlier, Spanish language, book of poems. He'll probably be so shocked and awed he'll give you free tickets to the next homegame. Or at least a galley of his next book, which he expects to print in "a few years."

Rereading the small introductory excerpt given us by Amazon, I think we've identified a new team slogan for 2007. Forget "Anything Can Happen." Ditto for "Hit it Again and Again and Again." Dump "It's a Whole New Ballgame." The Seattle Mariners open the season today and Dave Niehaus should be shouting out loud:

Mariners Baseball: A churning nightmare of death full of questions without answers!