Remembering Greg…

Mariners statement

SEATTLE, Wash. — The Seattle Mariners Baseball Club issued the following statement today on the sudden and tragic death of outfielder Greg Halman:“The Mariners family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Greg Halman,” said Mariners Chairman Howard Lincoln, President Chuck Armstrong and General Manager Jack Zduriencikon behalf of entire Mariners organization. “Greg was a part of our organization since he was 16 and we saw him grow into a passionate young man and talented baseball player. He had an infectious smile that would greet you in the clubhouse, and he was a tremendous teammate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg’s family.”

Tweets are coming in fast and furious from those who knew Greg…

 Larry LaRue A portrait of  OF Greg Halman, who will be missed by all who knew him. 

 Matt Pitman Saddened, sickened, heart broken over death of Greg Halman. One of the happiest, jovial, contagious personalities I’ve been around.

 Seattle Mariners Eric Wedge: “I only knew Greg for a brief time, but I feel lucky that I had the chance to get to know him. HHe was a fine young man with a bright future. Greg had a tremendous energy about him, both on and off the field, that I loved. This is just tragic. That’s all I can think, that this is so tragic and sad.”

 Shannon Drayer Hard to find words. Greg was a sweet, sweet kid who had a love for life and the world around him. Prayers to his family and the Mariners.

 Larry Stone Terrible, terrible news about Greg Halman. I’m still in shock.

 Casper Wells Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names ~proverb. I won’t forget you brother. Rest in peace Greg.

 Mike Carp Hard to process such a tragedy. Thoughts and prayers are with the Halman and Mariners Family Right now. You’ll be missed Brother Love You

 Shawn Kelley Lost a great guy today! RIP Greg! I’ll miss u

 Christian Caple Oh, no. RIP Greg Halman. Damn it. Just an all around good dude. Terrible, terrible news.

 Tacoma Rainiers Sad news today about the passing of outfielder Greg Halman. Our thoughts are with Greg’s family and friends during this tragic time.

 Everett AquaSox We are so sad for the tragic loss of Greg Halman, part of the AquaSox family. Our thoughts are with his friends, family & teammates.

 Mike Curto Really tough to swallow this Greg Halman news. One of our top players & a good guy.

 Ken Rosenthal Statement from Greg Halman’s agent, Mike Nicotera: “We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the news this morning. MORE  

 Ken Rosenthal “Hopefully in time we will all be able to come to terms with the tragic loss of such a passionate, good hearted, generous…MORE 

 Ken Rosenthal and faithful young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg’s family, friends and loved ones. This hurts.”  

 Ryan Rowland-Smith Just heard the shocking news about Halman, so sad, can’t imagine what his family is feeling! RIP Greg

 Ryan Divish Greg Halman was one of the friendliest, most accommodating players I’ve been around. Just a great kid. Rest in peace.

 Larry Stone Tacoma manager Daren Brown on Greg Halman: “It’s really tough to even think about. He was a 24-year-old with everything ahead of him. I thought he was close to putting it all together. “

Tacoma Rainiers Team President Aaron Artman released the following statement:  Greg was a huge part of the Rainiers during his time here in Tacoma, and played a pivotal role — on the field — in our run to the 2010 Pacific Coast League Championship. … He had a huge smile on his face, every day, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He just had a way about him that made our front office staff and fans see a guy who clearly loved what he was doing. … We miss Greg already, and our prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and the Mariners organization.”

Halman, who played for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, had returned home this offseason to prepare for the 2012 season. He participated in several baseball camps for children two weeks ago that were organized by Orioles pitcher Rick Van den Hurk, a fellow Netherlands native. The camps were part of the European Big League Tour.

from Mike Curto | Tacoma Rainiers Broadcaster
(some great links within to various other remembrances of Greg)

Brendan Ryan remembers Greg | Shannon’s blog

Ryan may have been the biggest Mariners fan on the Mariners team. He was so enthusiastic about the younger players on the team and throughout the year spoke glowingly of Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley and Greg Halman.“I was such an advocate, that guy was a specimen,” he said of Halman’s athletic talent. “Then you see his tools and think when he figures it out he could be a special, special player.
“The finesse, the action, all good action, he looked like he was developing a real good approach at the plate going to right-center. And some easy pop. He could run like a deer. I was really pulling for him. I really believed that he could be somebody with a chance to be up to great maybe. With those tools?”
It was the person, however, that stood out even more to Ryan than the athlete.
“I don’t think people got to know him well enough,” he said. “I feel privileged to have gotten to know him. I loved his sense of humor. He was a special guy who could talk some trash, which is always welcome in the clubhouse, but he was a rare breed who could take it as well as he could dish it. That earned my respect.”

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.

A song for Hyphen and other M’s notes….

In honor of his start today, thought I’d post this fun little ditty (originally found on
Larry Stone’s blog) about our “wonder from down under”…

Number 18 – Ryan Rowland-Smith song

In other news….

Shannon reports that Cliff Lee’s simulated game went VERY well yesterday and he’ll throw another on Tuesday and likely have a minor league rehab start after that before returning to action with the big club in early May.  Suspension appeal still pending…

No definitive word, but various reports have Erik Bedard only about 2 weeks behind Cliff.  Wouldn’t THAT be cool?!?

Mariner Matters, as the season approaches…

Lots of bru-haha regarding the proposed 3-hole hitter…

Everyone knows he’s got the glove of gold but, can he be Casey with the bat?

One thing seems set… Lopey’s staying at 3B

Getting to know Figgy

RRS lookin’s SOLID



Jack Z




An ounce of prevention

Bits and pieces…

RRS still up beat, despite being beat up, “No worries, mate.”

Keepin’ Kanekoa – Rule 5’er at the very least making the decision difficult

Saunders sent down

Eight days until P.A.C.R.

Thankfully, it’s that time of year, where attentions turn from the grid iron (congrats to Drew and the Saints, btw) to the diamond. Listening to the Hot Stove League Show on 710 ESPN tonight, there was the tiniest of parallels between the two sports, as Eric Byrnes seems to have almost as much energy as new Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll.

I’ve got a feeling that as great as the M’s clubhouse was last season – we are in for even more of a treat in 2010. I’m anxious to see how the personalities meld and mesh. Will Ichiro find a way elude Junior’s tickle attacks? Will Eric and RRS sneek off to go surfing in every road city within 50 miles of a coast line? Who will Junior appoint as Kangaroo Court Jester? Will Chone be the shy, retiring type or the class clown? Will Cliff Lee play the straight man? And, of course, we all know Milton will be a barrel of laughs.

Oh, and I guess it will also be interesting to see how the 5-man rotation shakes out, if it will be Ichi-Chone or Chone-Ichi, which young one will surprise with a breakout Spring, which old one will have a career year and how we will all contain ourselves watching that dazzling “D”


Mariner Matters | 5.12

Russell seeing the ball betterliterally


This season, Branyan’s .289 batting average is roughly 60 points higher than his career total. He still has power; leading the Mariners with seven home runs, seven doubles and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .935.

And while he’s still prone to strikeouts, he’s now fanning once every 3.3 at-bats instead of every 2.5.

“I think it’s helped me really pinpoint and focus on the ball,” Branyan said. “I see the ball exactly where it is.”

Branyan spends 10 minutes a day, usually at home, training his eye muscles by donning special glasses and following a moving set of three-dimensional arrows on his laptop with help from a joystick. He can adjust the arrows’ speed and vary programs — dealing with depth perception, tracking, focus and other visual areas — as he becomes more adept at following the images.

“We call it weight training for the eyes,” Seiller said. “What we do is, we work on the speed and efficiency of the eye movements. And when you do that, you give the batter more time.”

There are two components to Vizual Edge: the training program and an evaluation process that identifies visual strengths and weaknesses.

Zduriencik and the Brewers used both. Zduriencik has introduced Seiller’s evaluation program into Mariners scouting, and the team has begun 15-minute eye tests on most amateur prospects being considered for the June draft.

“It helps you identify which players may have gifted vision,” Zduriencik said. “And also, if any red flags pop up, you can look into it further to make sure it’s not a serious issue that can come back to bite you later.”

Congrats on #5000 , Mr. Niehaus!

AP Photo

The man who has been the voice of the franchise since its expansion inception in 1977 called his 5,000th Mariners’ game Thursday when Seattle lost to Kansas City 3-1 in Kauffman Stadium.

The Hall of Fame announcer has missed just 90 games over those 33 seasons, not a bad attendance record.

When Niehaus called his first Mariners game in 1977, Jimmy Carter had just replaced Gerald Ford as president. Star Wars was debuting in theaters. The first Apple II computers were just hitting the market.

The Hyphe-ator tosses simulated game…

Rowland-Smith said the best part of the session was “facing hitters, seeing some swings-and-misses and getting ground balls and stuff. You feel like you are actually a baseball player again, not just a cheerleader on the top step of the dugout.”

Rowland-Smith has been recovering from triceps tendinitis for more than a month.

He broke camp as the fifth starter and pitched against the Athletics in Oakland on April 10, going 3 1/3 innings. He has been sidelined ever since.

The game plan is for the lefty to throw a bullpen session on Thursday and then begin a short rehab stint at extended spring training in Peoria, Ariz. He would then travel to Triple-A Tacoma for perhaps two starts before returning to the Mariners.

“It could change, but I have it all written down on a calendar,” he said. “I’ll probably be back [with the Mariners] at the end of the month.”

Manager Don Wakamatsu was pleased with Tuesday’s workout.

“He has made some adjustments in his mechanics, and I think he has improved,” the manager said. “What I was looking for was the reaction of the hitters and his command. I thought he stayed behind the ball well today, and his breaking ball had late break.”

Mariner Matters | 3.28


WBC leaves Kenji with a little “catching up” to do…
Changing signs and various adjustments that were made in his absence in early spring have left Joh with his work cut out for him.

No one seems to be stepping up to grab the closer’s role…
Some are returning from injury (Walker, Corcoran), some have been hit hard (Lowe, Messenger) and others have pleasantly, unexpectedly, surprised (Ardsma and Kelley). Then there’s the old vet Miggy who is trying to make his case by experience and health (that he lacked last season).

The praise just keeps on coming for Lopey….
He was named to the All Tournament Team from the WBC and gets high praise from his fellow Venezuelan Mariner teammate, Felix…

Last year with the Mariners was a banner season offensively for Lopez, even as he did it in relative anonymity. He batted .297, hit 17 homers and drove in 89 runs. He then went and played 28 games in his home country over the winter, hitting .349 and driving in 34 runs.

“He’s so mature now. He knows what he’s doing and he’s going to have a good year,” said pitcher Felix Hernandez, his teammate in Seattle and on the Venezuelan team. “He’s got more confidence and he knows what he has to do. He knows what he can do.”

RRS (aka “the Hyphenator) – rotation or relief?
One of the bright spots late last season, Ryan just working to improve.

“Every start I learned something new about myself,” Rowland-Smith said. “I’m slowly learning what kind of pitcher I am and maybe the end of this season I can come back and say this is the kind of pitcher I am.