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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

July 13, 2007 at 9:39 AM

Ichiro presser at 1:30 p.m.

*****Just been told, at 12:05 p.m., that there will be a 1:30 p.m. press conference in which the M’s will announce what you’ve known for three days. Ichiro is extended for five years. Team is staying secretive about the money, will probably say dollar amount has been exaggerated without producing exact numbers. When that show is done, we’ll go to the same folks who told us the length of the deal, total value, and date of the news conference back on Tuesday and get you the full story********
On to this morning’s post…
I’ve just been informed that our site is going to be mentioned on something called “The Blog Show” in Washington, D.C. today between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. No idea why or in what context, but if you want to watch, it’s streamlined live on the internet. I’m hoping one of you can watch and fill me in on what was said. Again, I have no idea if it’s a five-second mention, or five minutes, so if you waste 90 minutes of your day, you’ll be on your own — but have my gratitude.
Still no word yet on whether the Mariners are planning an Ichiro press conference for today. Maybe they thought about David Samson’s comments over some cold ones last night and decided to scuttle the whole thing? Nah. As we’ve mentioned a few times this season, the M’s may not be great at taking walks (though it’s gotten better of late), attracting free agent pitchers, or generating power out of the DH spot. But they absolutely pride themselves on keeping things a secret. Even things of little consequence. It’s why no one trusts them when Mike Hargrove resigns and offers up a plausible explanation.
Now, the Ichiro contract? Sure, that’s of some consequence. And it’s probably just not officially completed as I write this. Maybe it will be in a few hours? A few days? Who knows? Who cares, as long as he’s staying, which was confirmed days ago. I just want to know if I can get to the gym today.
Speaking of the Ichiro saga, as one of you pointed out today, the M’s don’t exactly have a spotless track record as an organization when it comes to ripping the front offices of other teams.
Calling an owner “a fool”? Yeah, that rates as criticism.
Anyhow, when we start taking David Samson too seriously, we’re all in trouble. This guy burned so many bridges in just a few weeks in Montreal (where his father-in-law gave him his front office start with the Expos) the city had to open a whole new public works department. Samson and said daddy-in-law, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, spend more time complaining about the location of their teams than they do actually spending money on those teams. Hard to get the fans to buy into your product when you give them the feeling you’ve always got one foot out the door.
I’ll give the M’s credit on that front. They do spend money. They do it very secretively, but, for fans, it’s the results that count. Right now, those results are coming. I can’t stress how important it was to win a game like the one the team took from the Detroit Tigers last night. Here’s how one of the Detroit papers saw it. The Tigers could be headed back to the World Series and the Mariners played with them, toe-to-toe. Seattle did not bring its best stuff to the park, much like Felix Hernandez. But they hung in there and found a way to win.
The pretending teams find ways to lose games like that. They make excuses about injuries, etc. That Toronto team I covered for nine seasons tanked it in Boston last night with Roy Halladay on the mound. They do the same thing around this time every season under the regime of GM J.P. Ricciardi, about to be forced into Year No. 7 of his “five year plan”. Then, once Toronto realistically falls out of contention before August, the Blue Jays start to mount meaningless late-season drives to pad their win totals up into the 80s. Gets the Ricciardi boosters in Boston and at ESPN in a lather every winter about Toronto’s chances, but ultimately, it’s a meaningless exercise of smoke and mirrors.
The difference with the Mariners? So far, it’s been night and day. There is nothing phony or smokey about how Seattle has moved to 14 games over .500. The M’s have beaten the good teams in blowouts, beaten them in close games, and just flat-out beaten them any way they could. When it matters, which is when your team is close enough in the standings to have an impact.
Speaking of winning when it matters, it’s about time to put a fork in these guys, don’t you think? Yeah, the A’s have launched some stirring second half comebacks — in the past. The Blue Jays won a pair of World Series in the early 1990s. Anyone want to bank on them doing it this year? In Oakland, the second-guessing and de facto post mortem has already begun now that Rich Harden is back on the DL for at least another month.
Gary Matthews Jr. of the Angels also doesn’t care about the A’s and their historic second-half surges. Nor does he care about the Mariners much, as he says in this Orange County Register story.
“I know Oakland makes a push every year, and everyone talks about, ‘Oh, Oakland always makes a run in the second half,’ ” Matthews said. “You know what? I don’t care. We’re going to have to beat Oakland. We’re going to have to beat Seattle. We’re going to have to beat Texas, too.
“I don’t care about the ‘Oakland push.’ I don’t care who ESPN says is the hot team. If we can get healthy and stay healthy, I anticipate we’re going to be where we belong at the end.”
True contenders don’t come up with injury excuses. They find ways to win, as the Angels have done despite a boatload of first-half hurts.
At least one of you has already mentioned this Los Angeles Times preview by beat writer Mike DiGiovanna, which features this nugget at the very end:
“See you in September: The Mariners, with the better lineup, comparable bullpen and improving rotation, edge out the Angels on the final weekend to win the division title; the Angels settle for the wild-card spot.”
Whoo-boy. Won’t I have some splainin’ to do, a la Bruce Froemming, if the Mariners manage to whittle away even more at a once eight-game gap and actually pass the Angels? They’ve knocked six of those games off already. But they haven’t passed them yet. If they do, what should my punishment be? No nakedness in the street or anything. Let’s come up with something interesting and far more appealing.



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