Tag Archives: Texas Rangers

History, Home Runs, and the Unexpected Arrival of Fun

628x471They were down to their last at-bats, the Mariners, and a game they desperately needed to win was quickly slipping from their grasp. Their divisional foes, the hated Texas Rangers, had built a lead in the top half of the seventh inning and managed to protect it through two frames since.

Now, the Rangers turned to their closer, a lanky right-hander by the name of Jeff Russell. The 34-year-old Russell had enjoyed his best years with Texas, even leading the American League in saves in 1989, his fifth year with the club. He had bounced around over the past three seasons, however, embarking on an odyssey that had taken him from Oakland, to Boston, to Cleveland, and finally back to Arlington. All the while he continued racking up saves, and it was this very situation, pitching in defense of a two-run Rangers lead, that Russell had grown accustomed to enjoying.

His first assignment would be to retire a pinch hitter, the speedy, switch-hitting Alex Diaz.

Diaz was in the midst of what would ultimately become his finest big league season. He would finish the year with career highs in a number of categories, including games played. And his 18 stolen bases would triple his next-best seasonal output hereafter. For now, though, Diaz was merely focused on reaching base by any means necessary.

***

The Mariners had squandered eight innings worth of opportunities, as well as a quality start by Felix Hernandez, and now scuffled into the ninth deadlocked in a 0-0 tie against the rival Los Angeles Angels.

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What The Hell Was That? Dissecting a Mariners Meltdown

Dumpster-FireLloyd McClendon emerged from the depths of Globe Life Park’s third base dugout and strode purposefully across the playing field. As they so often do when McClendon visits his pitcher, the entire Seattle infield converged upon the mound and their suddenly-embattled closer, Fernando Rodney.

Having recorded a pair of quick outs to the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, Rodney appeared on the verge of his fourth save of the season. But then the 37-year-old right-hander relinquished a single up the middle to Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. Minutes later, Rodney issued a walk to designated hitter Mitch Moreland. The tying run moved into scoring position. The winning run stood perched on first base. McClendon got up.

In all likelihood, the team’s first-year manager probably reminded his players that they needed just one more out to secure a victory, that they had a force available at any base, and that this was their game to win. But based on the events that immediately followed the brief get-together, McClendon may very well have said something along the lines of, “Guys, let’s do everything we can to fuck this up as spectacularly as possible.”

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The 2014 Seattle Mariners Experience: Week 2

eliasFor last week’s recap, click here.

Week 2

Week’s Win-Loss Record: 3-3

Overall Win-Loss Record: 7-5

Winning Percentage: .583

Division Standing: Second place

Week’s Opponents: Los Angeles Angels (2 games) – Home; Oakland Athletics (3 games) – Home; Texas Rangers (1 game of a 3-game series) – Road

Playoff Status: Not mathematically eliminated

Team Morale: Alright, alright, alright

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Hector Noesi’s Eulogy

HectorNoesiHector Noesi is only 27 years of age, so in fairness his career might not be dead yet. But as a right-handed pitcher who reluctantly boasts a 5.64 career ERA, a trade to Texas and the Rangers’ hitter-friendly ballpark seems as close to capital punishment as Major League Baseball will allow. So in anticipation of Noesi’s impending demise, I offer up this preemptive eulogy to mark the brief life and times of Hector Noesi, professional baseball player.

Oh, Hector. Sweet, incompetent Hector. Your time with us was short, yet the impact will last a lifetime. You may be gone now, but you will never be forgotten. As a member of Seattle’s unofficial Ayala-Figgins Hall of Infamy, your legacy will live on for eternity. But before we bid adieu, let’s remember those special moments we shared together.

Acquired from the Yankees following the 2011 season, you came to Seattle touting a 95-mile-per-hour heater that convinced so many of us that you might just be something special. You were only 25 years old at the time, young and virile, with enough promise and potential to titillate more than a few onlookers who wanted so badly to believe in you.

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And Then There Were Two…

You probably didn’t see the Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees tonight and clinch the first World Series berth in their franchise’s history. I understand. It’s a Friday evening. It’s football season. Basketball season is nearly upon us. The Mariners have been dead for five months. I get it.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t say I physically witnessed this momentous occasion, either. I was at the mall, tooling around. Frankly, I still enjoy the vibe at the mall on a Friday night. I worked at the mall for eight frickin years. There are 52 Fridays in a year. Multiply that by eight years. You get 416 Fridays. I wager I spent at least 250 of those Fridays working at the mall between 2001 and 2009. Think about that. 250 Fridays. My God. I can’t even believe it myself. If I wasn’t half-Asian and therefore half-good at math I’d go back and recalculate my work.

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Where have you gone, John Mayberry, Jr.?

Phillies Yankees BaseballMajor League Baseball’s annual first-year player draft hasn’t always been kind to your Seattle Mariners (Point of Evidence #1, Point of Evidence #2).

Back in 2002, the M’s spent the 28th overall pick on a high school first baseman named John Mayberry, Jr. A lanky 6’6″, Mayberry resembled a bigger version of his father, John Mayberry, Sr., a two-time All-Star who himself had a been a first-round pick in 1967.

Based on his pedigree, his size, and his limitless potential, the Mariners’ selection of Mayberry was by no means a bad one.

What the Mariners didn’t realize (or, perhaps did realize, but were too stubborn to care) was that Mayberry had no intention of signing with a professional baseball team. No, Mayberry had every intention of attending Stanford University, and not even first-round money could sway him on that.

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