There was a USS Mariner/Lookout Landing nerdfest at Safeco Field on Saturday. Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish pitched. I was in attendance with my wife and this seems like a pretty easy blog post topic so what follows are some selected thoughts and observations on the whole thing.
- All the event-goers assembled in some 300-level section around three in the afternoon and listened to some Mariners bloggers and Front Office people talk for about an hour. It started with Dave Cameron, Jeff Sullivan, and Mathew (not Matt) Carruth speaking candidly about the state of the team. In short: things aren’t looking good. It was both depressing and not surprising to hear from Dave and Jeff that this is about as low on the team as they’ve been in about three years. Guhhhh.
- There was a lot of talk about Safeco, and Seattle weather, and park factors, and moving in the fences. I suppose I am of the opinion that they should bring the left-center area in some amount of feet and be done with it. More than once it was mentioned that left-center is death to fly balls and then later in the game American Hero John Jaso absolutely murdered a ball over the fence in that exact area and everyone was all like LOL.
- Scouting Guy Tom McNamara and assistant GM Jeff Kingston came ’round and talked with the group for a while. I don’t know, they said some things. They’re hopeful about the team. They mentioned that for many of the struggling young players this is the first time in their entire baseball career that they’re experiencing anything like real failure. That seems to me like something that’s been slightly overlooked and also something that’s very true. What it means, I’m nowhere near smart enough to know, but I will keep it in mind and use it as reason for irrational hope. I remember when I used to snowboard, that snowboarding came rather easy to me. I learned quickly and got better each week and every new challenge I gave myself wasn’t all that difficult. Then one day I started trying harder stuff and I fell a lot and hurt myself and I was like fuck this. I stopped getting better and eventually got old and quit the sport. I suppose that’s maybe what this season has been like for these young players this season, except with professional baseball instead of amateur snowboarding and a whole ocean of natural talent instead of a thimble full of moderate skill. What a piece of shit analogy.
- A better summary of that point: These players have always been awesome at baseball and now they’re being bad at it for the first time in their lives and Mike Trout is a fucking freak and there is a process to this whole thing. That, and they might need Jeff Francoeur or some other old asshole in the clubhouse to teach them about life and love and God and baseball.
- Ichiro was straight dropping bombs into the right field seats during batting practice. Like 75% of the contact me made during BP cleared the fence. A steady stream of lasers 10-20 rows back. It was kind of amazing and Ichiro will outlive us all.
- During the aforementioned BP, Munenori Kawasaki ran down fly balls for like thirty straight minutes at 100% effort and then sprinted around the bases a few ties and aggressively slid into second base all by himself. He’s a lot of fun, that guy.
- The Mariners were cool and made these special King’s Court K cards for the group. They’re different from the normal ones and say “Happy Felix Day!” on the back of them with Felix’s head as the point on the exclamation. We now have two of these rare and special artifacts and so be jealous if you do not and you’re into that sort of thing.
- There was also an actual baseball game in which the Mariners scored seven whole runs and Felix Hernandez absolutely dominated. That was a good game to watch live!
- Ha ha Yu Darvish. He hasn’t been a terrible pitcher this season but oh my god the walks.
- Regarding Felix: I feel like I could just copy and paste the bulk of this post and call it good. Felix is very good at pitching baseballs and I love him. A better writer would break down why and how he was so completely on fire but I’ll take the easy way out and just let this video speak for itself and say that it was amazing and an honor to watch. I’ll look back on this season some day and feel very happy about being in attendance live for two of Felix’s most ascendant career starts. I’ll probably forget about the other 160 games but these two will always stick with me and that’s what makes Felix Hernandez special and invaluable. Don’t ever leave us, King.
- Oh, look who has 3.7 fWAR and is firmly entrenched in the race for American League Cy Young. It’s funny how these things happen.
- In closing, it was a great event and a great game and the weather was perfect and it would have been hard to ask for anything more. Asking for more would also make you an asshole, so don’t be an asshole. I got to shake a few hands and express a small fraction of my appreciation to a couple of writers who are very talented and who have taught me a lot about baseball and contributed a great deal to my enjoyment of the sport. And it wasn’t nearly as awkward as it could have or should have been! A rousing success all around.