*Editor’s note: Welcome to our first installment of Writer X, a column written by anonymous contributors for your reading pleasure. Periodically, we will be presenting you work from accomplished scribes behind the guise of the mysterious Writer X. The idea here is that we give our talented journalists the freedom to say what they want about who they want without fear of retribution. Were they to pen these thoughts under their own names, they could face serious repercussions. Writer X, however, is perfectly immune to it all. Enjoy the candor.
Obviously, the Mariners blow homeless guys again this year.
Yeah, sure, they made the first half interesting. But they did it with ungodly pitching that was wholly unsustainable. This has been a familiar refrain over the last few seasons.
So there’s this dude, Phil Rogers, and he happens to be a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. A few days ago, he penned this article declaring Mariners’ right fielder Ichiro Suzuki to be the most overrated hitter in baseball. Why he cares so much about a player and a team situated 2,000 miles away from his coverage area is beyond me, but obviously this is Phil Rogers’ world and the rest of us are just living in it.
Let me start by saying that Ichiro is overrated to a degree. He is. A lot of that has to do with the advent of fantasy baseball (where a player in real life is only as good as his fantasy value), as well as Ichiro’s rock-star stigma. His international following helps, as do his nine All-Star appearances, nine Gold Gloves, and an MVP award. While he possesses numerous accolades, he is, for all accounts and purposes, a great player with a larger-than-life aura. He’s good, he’s just not as good as perception would indicate.
Step One: Put Ryan Rowland-Smith on a raft and send him out to sea.
Rowland-Smith originally hails from Australia. If Mother Nature is just, the Mariners’ 27-year-old lefthander will at some point arrive back in his homeland. But if not, who cares.
RRS is an absolute abomination right now. His initials stand for “Really, Really Sucky.” He can’t pitch to save his life.
Monday night Rowland-Smith got shelled by the Oakland A’s (2.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 H), which is akin to having one’s butt kicked by a fourth grade cub scout. The Aussie had been teetering on the edge of crappiness all year long, however, and his latest implosion was probably enough to force the organization’s hand.
Rowland-Smith certainly doesn’t deserve to start games any longer. Were he left with any minor league options, he’d almost certainly be on his way to Tacoma this morning. But because he can’t simply be optioned down to the farm, the Mariners would have to designate the southpaw for assignment if they wanted him off the 25-man roster. In designating Rowland-Smith, the M’s would risk losing him to another ballclub. Which honestly doesn’t scare me at all right now (but understandably scares an organization who has invested two commercials in the guy in the past two years).
In all likelihood, Rowland-Smith will be sent to the bullpen to work through his struggles while attempting to help the big club. That probably means a guy like Ian Snell finds his way to the rotation, or a middle reliever gets sent down while a guy like Luke French or Steven Shell gets called up.
There’s really no nice way to put this, so I’ll just summarize.
Yankee DH Hideki Matsui is up to bat in the top of the eighth inning. He connects on a pitch from Garrett Olson and hits a long fly ball to the right-center field gap.
Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki sprints to the warning track, does a Jackie Chan leap onto the top of the fence, poises himself, and prepares to make one of the greatest catches in the history of the universe.
Simultaneously, a fat guy sitting in the front row of outfield seats gets up and decides to exercise for what appears to be the first time in months. Noticing that a wayward baseball happens to be headed his way, he decides that he’ll attempt to put his glove to good use and catch it.
Yuniesky Betancourt drew his first walk of the season with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night. Betancourt represented the winning run in a one-run ballgame, Texas leading 6-5, with the tying run in Franklin Gutierrez standing on second base.
That brought the Mariners leading man, Ichiro Suzuki, to home plate. No other person we’d rather have at the dish, right? Wrong.
After Texas Rangers’ closer Frank Francisco issued a five-pitch base on balls to the Mariners shortstop, struggling mightily to locate the strike zone, Ichiro should have taken a pitch, maybe two. It’s common knowledge in the baseball world that in that situation, a hitter, no matter how great, gives himself the red light.
Maybe this is where our cultures clash, but what Ichiro did was selfish and flat wrong. The best thing for the team at that point would have been for Ichiro to at least let the first pitch go by, and force Francisco to regain composure in a shaky situation.
What started out as a rumor that Seattle Mariners’ right fielder Ichiro Suzuki might miss the rest of Spring Training, took a wrong turn Thursday. As it turns out, Ichiro will be making a full-blown trip to the DL with Opening Day just a weekend away.
The M’s leadoff man extraordinaire, Ichiro will be sidelined with a bleeding ulcer until further notice. His trip to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 31, means he cannot be activated until April 15, the team’s second home game of the year.