Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ultimate Explosion!!

Hope all had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching yet another OT World Cup match, and then getting lost in the cesspool of Arlington, WA in efforts to find free food and engineers with mortars.

So... are we all ready to jump off the bandwagon yet for the Mariners? The Angels are making Colin look prescient right now, with the starting pitching especially demonstrating the gap between ballclubs. Seriously, they have no weakness right now in the top five. The M's, meanwhile, continue to throw Jo-El out there to get rocked. Then Felix continues to be one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league and Gil Meche is, well, Gil Meche. I'm not brimming with confidence. Seems to me like we have to play almost perfect baseball in order to remain competitive, great run differential or not.

We still have this Mike Hargrove guy managing us, as well. I was at that USSM feed before the season started, and I was impressed with Bill Bavasi. I cannot believe that man is stupid enough to agree with the asinine decisions Hargrove makes on a daily basis. He has to see that Mikey is costing us games, like riding Julio Mateo's arm to death. Look, I'm not a huge Julio Mateo fan, but it's hard not to notice that we run him out there four days straight, one day off, four days straight. Since that includes multi-inning appearances we put ourselves in a bad position. Anytime Everday Eddie Guardado is out there with the game on the line is an awful call as well. Awful. Basically, anyone who feels like running into the dugout and kneeing Mikey in the groin has my blessing.

What are our options? Starting pitching-wise, not much, which unfortunately is probably why we're still running Jo-El out there. I'm not sure Bavasi truly believed we were going to be in the mix at this point and was hoping to be competitive enough to save his job and go sign that Japanese guy in the offseason. I know he mentioned at the feed that Rafael Soriano is a possible starter in the future as well. If that Francisco Cruceta guy learns how to throw a strike he looks like a winner, but I'm tired of the Bobby Livingston-Travis Blackley mold. Let's get some guys here who don't need to have total command to win. Brandon Morrow was a good start.

My optimism about this year and the future comes from the hitting. I'll say this right now, this season will be considered a success by me barring a mighty second-half collapse. We have arguably the best hitting catcher in the American League in Johjima. We have an All-Star second baseman in Jose Lopez who also happens to be cheap. Yuniesky Betancourt's bat isn't as bad as we saw, although it's apparent he is going to be one of those uber-streaky players, ala Randy Winn. Jeff Clement, Adam Jones, and Chris Snelling promise more offensive help from the minors. Depending on what we do with Johjima when his contract comes up, we could conceivably have a lineup that looks like this:
RF Ichiro
CF Adam Jones
LF Chris Snelling
DH Raul Ibanez
1B Jeff Clement
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Adrian Beltre
C Kenji Johjima

We may never see that happen, but it sure looks cool. That would be the best lineup we've had since Junior and A-Rod were inhabiting the Dome.

Speaking of that young talent, looks like Adam Jones is starting to figure out AAA pitching. If that's the case, we may have a decision sooner than later about bringing him up, especially with how Bavasi likes to challenge his star prospects. I like having Choo up now, it should help establish his trade value. Now of course we need to ditch Everett to make room for Snelling. That should be a couple of extra wins right there.

Look, it's fun to at least be in the game. I'm excited about that. I'm just more excited about the future than the present.

Moving on to another team I am far less excited about, the Sonics appear to be far off with Chris Wilcox in terms of signing him. Nice work, morons. If you want to be competitive at all next season, signing Wilcox is sort of important. The comparisons to Reggie Evans, Flip Murray, and Radmanovic are slightly off, though. Those players were never seen to be more than complimentary (except possibly Vlade, but that was stupid), while Wilcox is seen as vital. That means even if he does only sign the one-year tender, he's going to be given all the opportunity in the world to show that he wasn't a half-season fluke. I'm not optimistic about the chances at signing him then, but hey... if I was a Sonics GM, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Finally, the World Cup. El Jefe and I watched the quarterfinals and the first semi this past week. Here, quickly, are the scores:
Germany 1 - Argentina 1, Germany wins on PKs
Italy 3 - Ukraine 0
England 0 - Portugal 0, Portugal wins on PKs
France 1 - Brazil 0

Semi: Italy 2, Germany 0

Here's my beef with the World Cup so far... these have been incredibly dull games. That England/Portugal match? 120 scoreless minutes spent watching men kick the ball around, punctuated by bad method acting and a cruel nut cruncher. The French didn't score until the end, and Italy didn't score until the end of overtime, after 115 scoreless minutes. While there are other things to appreciate about the game, every once in a while it would be nice for someone to actually put the ball in the back of the friggin' net. Only one team has played soccer near the quality of the 2002 version... France. I hate this, but it's true. They are the only team that can keep my interest in a scoreless draw with their quality of play, superb passing and no method acting. Zidane especially has been brilliant. It's difficult to describe the different level he is playing on right now compared to the opposition. The free kick he took to feed Thierry Henry was gorgeous. Unfortunately, the other teams have decided to bore the living hell out of me. I'm already waiting for 2008 to wash the taste of this crap out of my mouth.

Anywho, let's see if the M's can get back to .500 tonight!

posted by Gavin @ 12:51 PM  0 comments

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