All posts by Alex

Hisashi Iwakuma’s Happy Day

Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma throws a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field, Wednesday August 12, 2015. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma throws a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field, Wednesday August 12, 2015. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

No one was as big a fan of Hisashi Iwakuma as my grandmother. Every week when we got together for lunch, she would rave about the Mariners’ Japanese pitcher. Being Japanese herself, my grandma couldn’t have been more enthralled by a successful baseball player of our ethnic heritage plying his trade in Seattle.

“Why don’t they let Iwakuma play more?” she’d ask.

“Well,” I’d explain, “they only let starting pitchers play every five days. It’s just kind of how they do things in baseball. They don’t want him getting hurt. He plays as much as he’s allowed.”

“Hmm. I wish they’d let him play more.” My grandmother was not going to be appeased by the silliness of a five-man rotation.

When she passed away in September, I was upset with her favorite baseball team. She had wanted for years to see this ballclub succeed, watching every game along the way, win or lose. But following the Mariners seemed to be an exercise in futility. They hadn’t made the postseason in over a decade. They typically battled for last place. And who knows how long it would be before the thought of a championship so much as crossed anyone’s mind.

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The PTBNL Podcast – Episode 9: The Return of Karate Emergency

Ashley Ryan joins the show as this summer’s most compelling miniseries comes to its dramatic conclusion.

Rex is heading back to Pullman for the fall and, sadly, The PTBNL Podcast must end its nine-week run.

Along with Ashley’s arrival in-studio, however, an exciting announcement about the return of one of Seattle’s favorite sports podcasts is made. The band is getting back together for the reboot of Karate Emergency.

This and more in the final episode of The PTBNL Podcast.

The Hisashi Iwakuma Trade Chart

Under what conditions should one consider trading pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma?

This question arose recently, as rumors circulated that Mariners ownership planned to retain Iwakuma despite interested parties around Major League Baseball inquiring about the right-hander’s services.

Baffled as many fans were that the team would choose to hold onto the veteran starter when a) he will be a free agent at year’s end (meaning the team could sign him in the offseason regardless of where he plays the next two months) and b) he’s been kind of sucky lately, we still find ourselves asking whether dealing Kuma makes sense or not.

Below is a hand-crafted flow chart that should help sort this mess out. (Please click on the image for full resolution.)

iwakumatradechart

The Dustin Ackley Trade Chart

Under what conditions should one consider trading outfielder Dustin Ackley?

This question arose recently, as rumors circulated that Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik turned down a seemingly reasonable offer to send Ackley to the New York Yankees in exchange for a pair of prospects.

Baffled as many fans were that anyone would refuse an offer to jettison the failed former No. 2 overall draft pick, we still find ourselves asking whether dealing Ackley makes sense or not.

Below is a hand-crafted flow chart that should help sort this mess out. (Please click on the image for full resolution.)

Ackley Trade Chart

THE PTBNL Podcast – Episode 8: ESPY Controversy, Road Rage Fights, Husky Football, and More

Christian Caple, intrepid Husky football reporter for the Tacoma News-Tribune, joins the podcast as we go unedited for the first time in PTBNL history.

Executive producer Kevin Shockey kicks off the show by recounting a harrowing road rage incident on the mean streets of Seattle. Later on, we discuss UW’s quarterback controversy, followed by a much bigger controversy at the ESPY Awards.

Check it out in this week’s episode of The Podcast To Be Named Later!

The Z Files: Leaked Recordings of Jack Zduriencik’s Trade Talks

jackzzzOver the course of every baseball season, general managers across the major leagues engage in confidential, one-on-one conversations with their constituents. Many of these exchanges take place by phone. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on leaked recordings of trade negotiations between Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and a number of his fellow peers in the industry. The following is a transcript of those recordings.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Dave Stewart, Senior Vice President & General Manager

JACK: “Dave, it’s Jack Zduriencik.”

DAVE: “Oh hey, Jack. What’s going on?”

JACK: “Well, Dave, I’ll be honest with you: I’m calling about a do-over.”

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The PTBNL Podcast – Episode 7: Russell Wilson’s Abstinence, Fireworks-Related Injuries, and the Future of the Mariners’ Broadcast Team

If you’ve found yourself wondering what the Seattle Mariners broadcast team will look like in 2016 — Is Dave Sims getting canned? Will Aaron Goldsmith be back? How long can Jay Buhner stay squishy? — we’ve got the inside analysis in this week’s podcast.

In addition, the inimitable Matt Holt joins the show to talk about the hilarity (I mean, tragedy) of fireworks-related injuries among pro athletes, the craziness of the DeAndre Jordan free agency saga, Robinson Cano’s stomach issues, Russell Wilson’s abstinence, and much more!