So about Milton..

I’ll admit to mixed feelings about this whole deal.

My head says the decision made today was the right one for the team (and maybe should have been made long ago).  My heart can’t help but feel for a very troubled soul.
When the original trade of Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley went down, I was hoping (as it turns out, against hope) that the change of venue would be just the ticket for each player – that it would be a win-win situation.  It couldn’t have gone much worse for either side. While Silva started out great for the Cubs last season, by the second half, he was back to his old self and by this year’s ST he was DFA’d.  As for Milton, he didn’t ever provide the M’s much save for a distraction.  He reached out to the team for help and they obliged.  Apparently, ‘the help’ didn’t help as he was never able to contribute much on the field and his off the field issues only seemed to escalate.
Shannon gives some insight here.
So, once again I’m left hoping that things work out for both sides.
The M’s are in desperate need of offensive production and are determined to assess the readiness (or lack thereof) of some of their top prospects in order to lay out their future plans.  I actually have faith (surprise, surprise) that they will accomplish this – the M’s will return to being competitive.  Likely not this season and maybe not even next but, Mariners Baseball will be fun again someday.
Milton, however, seems to have the taller task.  He needs to work through his issues, if possible, and decide how to go forth in a life without baseball.  Good luck with being well, Milton.

ST27 | vs. Rox

Mariners 7 | Rockies 6


Offense?  Wow, M’s had some today…
Smoak hit his second spring homer (and this one from the RIGHT side), Bradely kept racking up the RBI and Figgins going 3 for 3 with an RBI and a SB, Steven Baron gets the winning hit in the NINTH And, the collective ELEVEN hits and SEVEN runs ain’t half bad either.

Unfortunately, the bad news was with the starting pitcher…
Jason’s ERA went from just over TWO to just over FOUR today – the FIFTH inning was especially rough. Here’s hoping it was just the inevitable “spring wall” and nothing to worry about.



Seemed to surprise many, including me.  Good luck, Paper Boy!

NRI’s Bard and Gimenez sent to minor league camp, French optioned to Tacoma

ST26 | vs. Rangers

Mariners 4 | Rangers 5

French gave up a lot of hits (NINE) in FIVE innings allowing THREE runs, ONE walk and ZERO K’s.  The “W’s” (Wilhelmsen and Wright) continued to cruise through spring and the “P’s” (Pauley and Patterson) each gave up ONE run (Patterson’s coming in the 10th as the winning run for the Rangers)

Figgy hit his first homer of the spring in the first inning with Ichiro on base.  Bradley singled, moved to second when Cust grounded out and scored on Langerhans single.  Then the lull began, as only TWO player reached base (and NONE scored) until Seager homered in the 8th to tie the game at four.

DEFENSE LOOKING SOLID (even the backups)
Heard most of the game on the radio today (a rarity) and the guys seemed pretty pumped about the D.  Only ONE double play, but Moore recorded a pick-off and Josh Wilson made some nifty plays at 2B.


ST16 | vs. Brew Crew

Mariners 4 | Brewers 5

Pineda got knocked around a bit (TWO earned runs on SEVEN hits and ONE walk) but did record THREE strikeouts in his FOUR innings of work.   The rest of the staff combined for TWO earned runs on FIVE hits and ZERO walks.

only SIX hits and if it weren’t for Ryan’s THREE-run home run there would have only been ONE run from Cust’s double.

with a stolen base and TWO double plays but, also TWO errors and a caught stealing and Milton suffered his first ejection of the spring for arguing balls and strikes.


ST2 | vs. Rangers

M’s 5 | Rangers 4

Including a double and THREE homers (Kennedy, Baron, Ramirez)

Beavan and Bautista each gave up two runs and allowed a walk in their combined three innings.  But the rest of the staff (including starter Nate Robertson) pitched well, allowing only FIVE, NO walks and NO runs in their combined SIX innings of work.

TWO double plays and TWO stolen bases (Ichiro and MB)

Melancholy Mariner Matters

Yes, it was indeed a backward season…

Unfortunately, being swept in the last home series was a fitting end to one of the worst seasons in Mariners history.  There was so much hope after the rather remarkable turnaround last year from the 101 loss season of 2008.  During the ‘winter of our content’ Jack Z snared Cliff Lee for a song, rid the rotation of Carlos Silva (even though acquiring Milton was a bit of a risk), signed Figgy who was sure to provide more speed on OBP at the top of the lineup.  And then there was Junior – yeah, his 2009 season wasn’t great, but his presence seemed vital to the clubhouse kumbaya.

But then it all went horribly wrong…   
~ Cliff was out with an injury for the first month of the season and while they were able to tread water at 11-11 during his absence and fans and players alike were dazzled by his outings in his short but sweet stint with the M’s, run support wasn’t only hard to come by, it was nearly impossible – for Cliff and every other M’s hurler.
~ Milton’s emotional problems weren’t hidden for long and soon he was on ‘restricted status’ (a status few even knew existed) while undergoing therapy (meanwhile, Silva was tearing it up for the Cubbies) and even when MB returned, he was unable to contribute and was eventually placed on the ‘normal’ DL
~ Figgy’s bat dropped off the planet as it never had before and the dream of two lead-off hitters became a nightmare – especially after his blowup in the dugout when he was benched during a game vs. the Red Sox in which Wak didn’t appreciate the perceived lack of effort on a ground ball.
~ And, then there was the Junior situation.  It started with nap-gate and ended in a way no one could have imagined at the start of the season – with a call to Chuck from Montana on his way home to Florida – for good.
~ Then there were the many players who were playing so far below their career norms, it was unbelievable that the team collapse could be so … complete.
~ The bullpen dominos began to fall beginning with Mark Lowe (injury and subsequent surgery, then traded with Cliff Lee to the Rangers).
~ Fundamentals seemed to be a thing of the past – defensive miscues and base running blunders were almost the norm instead of the exception.
~ All this and then, firing of the manager.  The one who a year before was heralded for his calm, direct leadership and praised for his handling of superstars and rookies alike.

What a difference a year makes.

But, I wouldn’t be Compass Rosy if I didn’t point out that amid the horror that was 2010, there were actually some bright lights.

Our “King” is contending for the Cy Young award despite the abysmal performance of his team.  It IS an individual award, after all.  And, even some of the old school national guys are coming ’round to the the reality that “pitcher wins” are NOT the end all be all.  In fact, wins are something out of their control – particularly Felix’s – as he had the LOWEST run support in the MAJOR leagues (93rd of pitchers with at least 160IP)

Another 200-hit season.
The first player in major league history to record at least 200 hits in TEN straight seasons.

While his bat wasn’t up to par, his defense shown more than ever.
He became the major league record holder for an outfielder with the most total chances (415) without an error.  Death to Flying Things, indeed.

Like Felix, Jason was not blessed with run support (he is 88th on that same list).
But, this was really his first full, healthy season in the bigs and seemingly he made great strides.  He pitched more than double the innings than ever before and gave a lot of credit to Cliff Lee whom he learned a lot from in the short time they were teammates.

Some parting photos of my last day at The Safe….

Goodbye Section 331, Row 8, Seat 15 – see you next year!
Filing out of Safeco Field for the last time in 2010
Our fair city from the upper concourse
please, Please, PLEASE, Jack …. get a supporting cast for these characters!

Milton asks for, and gets, help…


After an “incident” during Tuesday’s game (supposedly he dressed and left the field before the game was over) that no one is willing to confirm, Milton Bradley returned to the field the next day and asked to speak with Don and Jack.  He asked for help with some personal and emotional issues.  And the team is obliging.  Yesterday, after the press conference, no one was really sure of the ramifications … except for the fact that they were only carrying 24 players.  Today, we heard that Milton has been placed on the “restricted list”.  He can’t be with the team for a minimum of 5 days (not workouts, no batting practice, not team meetings, no traveling with the team).  He also started his counseling today.  Michael Saunders has been called up to take his place on the roster … timeline indefinite.

While we don’t know the specifics (and maybe never will) of Milton’s problems, I appreciate the team’s willingness to help and support him. I hope that their compassion as people and their resources as an organization are able to make a difference in Milton’s life. Of course the best outcome is for Milton to get better “for his own self” which, in turn, will help the team.

But, even as rosy as I am, in the back of my mind and bottom of my heart, I realize that there may come a time where the team has given all they have to give and it isn’t enough. IF that happens, I hope MB will understand and continue to seek the help he needs and, that the organization will be better for having tried and the team will move forward – focusing on improving every aspect of their game, focusing on fun, focusing on winning.

Some other thoughts and reports…

Shannon’s blog

He will have the help of his organization from Jack Z on down. Mike Sweeney who was with Bradley when he addressed the students at Lakeridge Elementary School earlier today as the Mariners conducted their annual Dream Team Assemblies expressed concern for Bradley after batting practice.

“The highlight was to hear Milton’s heart. He opened up and showed all of the pain he has been going through. If you don’t have compassion and love for Milton Bradley when you see who he truly is I don’t think you have a heart.”

I have been a little concerned that I have not seen the same togetherness in the clubhouse that I saw last year. Perhaps dealing with Milton’s situation will help bring this clubhouse closer together.

“We’re a family.”, Sweeney said. “He’s no different. He’s probably had more emotional ups and downs than anyone else in the clubhouse but our job as a unit is to wrap our arms around him and support him and hope and pray this is going to be a turning point for his career. I’ve seen a similar circumstance with Zack Greinke in KC and hopefully Milton can get the same kind of help Zack has received in the past and similar results first and foremost as a man would be great. If it works out on the field even better.”

Sweeney says that Don Wakamatsu is up for the task.

“He’s taken on a brotherly role, a fatherly role. Counselor, sports psychologist, hitting coach, he does it all. Milton said to me I have never had a manager like Don. To hear the pain he is going though yet in the same breath to hear him praise his manager for the compassion and love he has shown is a neat thing.”

Jerry Brewer | Seattle Times

It appears he’s willing, finally. With Bradley, you never know. But let’s go back to his speech to the kids because it revealed so much.

“I’ve played for eight teams, but this is finally the best stop I’ve had,” he said of Seattle.

A few minutes later, he stopped himself from crying and said, “I kind of get a little emotional right now.” It wasn’t a ploy. This was genuine — and poignant. Every adult in the attendance — teachers, school administrators, media, Ichiro, Wakamatsu, Mike Sweeney, Ken Griffey Jr. and other Mariners employees — knew Bradley was lost in the moment.

“You’ve got the whole world waiting for you,” he told the kids. “I see so much potential in all of you. Someone in here might change the world.

“Motivation, that’s what it’s all about. Find something internally or externally to keep yourself going.”

Bradley should take his own advice.

He sounded like a man who wanted the kids to be better than him. They can be, but his life is far from over. He can set a higher bar.

Get help, Milton.

Real help.

Road Reflections | CHI, KC

Chicago was about as bad as it gets…
Three games, three heart-breaking losses, all by one-run (in fact, all but one of the games on this road trip were decided by one run, and that one by two).  To twist the knife a bit more, two were walk-offs and one was in the 8th.  RRS continued to struggle, Doug and Jason continued to shine.  While the bullpen’s lapse was a bit concerning, the late surge by the offense in two of the three games was encouraging.  As for the “D”, despite a couple of errors, there were five DP’s turned.

Back on track in KC…
Felix took his first loss, but still put up a quality start (maybe not to “Felix quality”, but quality nonetheless).  Ian’s line wasn’t great, but the way in which he was able to escape self-induced trouble was pretty impressive.  RRS was on his way to a solid start, looking good for five innings, but couldn’t finish things in the 6th – apparently, April is not his month.  As for the rest of the pitching staff, right back up on that horse, er,  mound they got.  The pen as a whole pen recovered pretty darn well from their debacle on the South Side – pitching 8 scoreless innings in KC and the DA notched two more saves (of the one-run variety).  The offense, while certainly far from potent, showed a little spunk, especially in the last game, bunching some runs to go ahead early, losing the lead and then scratching out a run late to win.

Regarding Jose…
Something occurred to me the other day.  Many are concerned, understandably so, about the offense and there’s already be quite a lot of mention about Jose … his lack of patience, etc. This is nothing new and he’s typically a slow starter.  The thing that struck me was the lack of concern about something that many had a fair amount of trepidation about going into the season… how would he perform at his new position?  Well, so far, question answered – in spades!  He has not only performed adequately, he has embraced the change and seems very comfortable in his new home at the hot corner.  Considering the shoes he had to fill, this is excellent, if seldom mentioned, news.

Milty = Mr Happy…
Some good signs from MB … he was out of commission in Chicago, but back in action in KC and contributing.  Some nice gestures with the fans as well – like when he tried to toss a ball to a Mariner fan above the M’s dugout in KC, but a Royals fan interviened and caught the ball – he went into the dugout, got another ball and personally handed it to the fan.  Love it.

It’s official, the Mariners have entered…

The bad news started this afternoon with the news that Cliff Lee was headed back to Seattle for rest/diagnosis/treatment of abdominal strain. Then, as the evening progressed into the game against the Reds, things continued to go down hill … fast.

So, in a matter of hours…

  • the M’s have lost one ace and one potential starter to injury for an unknown amount of time
  • Milton is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy
  • M’s lost another ST game (6th in-a-row)

Here’s hoping this too shall pass …
it’s only spring training …. right?

UPDATE:  Wak none too happy with the recent Milty tossings

UPDATE:  Hey, Wak’s reading my blog 🙂
from Kirby’s blog…

“What do they say? This too shall pass?” Wakamatsu said. “Hopefully.”