I know some of you want the blow-by-blow of this afternoon’s ultra-meaningless game in Peoria. Most of the Mariners side consists of guys who won’t be in Seattle when the season begins. I’ve got tons of work to do today, finishing up our weekend package of baseball treats for all of you. Then, I’m packing up shop here and heading on back to Seattle. No trip to San Francisco for me. I’ll get my fix of that city in a couple of weeks when the Mariners visit the Oakland A’s. Larry Stone will be with the team in Las Vegas. I’ll be at the Sunday afternoon workout at Safeco. We call it teamwork.
3:34 p.m.: And Kevin Witt bounces out to second with runners at second and third, ending this one in a 10-10 tie. The three ties this spring equals a Mariners franchise record. Fun way to end things in Arizona. It all starts for real in a few days. To pborgs in the comments thread, the Yankees-D-Rays are division rivals who’ve had regular-season brawls and real bad blood the past few years. They weren’t going at it because some ticket vendor got miffed at the quality of the other team’s guys in a spring training game.
3:24 p.m.: The “Mariners” fell behind 10-9 in the top of the ninth, but Greg Halman, pride and joy of Harlem (the Netherlands version, not New York’s) opened the bottom of the frame with a solo homer to left. Halman hit 16 home runs in short-season Class A ball in Everett last season. Big-time prospect. So, it’s now 10-10. Six errors in the game, four by San Diego. The field goal kicker is warming up, I’m told.
3:07 p.m.: Hey, the “Mariners” just tied the game, 9-9 in the eighth. I can hear the sounds of Seattle beckoning. Mariners PR staffer Jeff Evans just gave us the best news we’ve heard all day. No extra innings today. One of these teams scores this next inning (a good bet, considering the score) or we all kiss our sister and go on home.
2:54 p.m.: Still a 9-7 game, heading to the bottom of the eighth (Mariners batting). Scrapiron asked about “bad blood” on the field? Over spring training? Never heard that one until now. Perhaps there’s some irritation between the two front offices. They did sell over 8,000 tickets to today’s game. Then again, the M’s left Felix Hernandez, Jose Vidro and Kenji Johjima behind. Oh yeah, and Willie Bloomquist? What could they possibly be complaining about? Um, oh yeah. Probably that.
Technically, the rules say you have to supply four major leaguers. There you go. Is that good sharing? In my book, good sharing is going beyond the mere minimum, so probably not. But I seriously doubt you’ll see a brushback pitch from a Padres pitcher because the Mariners didn’t send over enough marquee names to justify the ticket sales. I doubt players think that broadly. Padres broadcasters do. But like most in-house talking heads, they take their cues from the team. Which is why you read us instead.
2:23 p.m: The “Mariners” just put up four runs in the bottom of the sixth — a 10-run inning, in a game between scrubs, who would have guessed? — to narrow the gap to 9-7. I’d tell you who produced the runs, but I’ve been too busy trying to find usable quotes for our Monday profile on Erik Bedard on that audio clip I played for you yesterday. Anyone want to help? (I’m kidding).
1:55 p.m.: The M’s now trail 9-3 after giving up a six-spot in the sixth inning. Felix Hernandez was already done before Travis Chick and the scoreboard were lit up by the Padres. Remember Chick? The Texas native who got called up out of Class AA two Septembers ago. Had a rough go of it up in the majors, not helped by an arm problem he later had surgery on. Will be in Class AAA Tacoma this year. Hernandez yielded a home run on his second pitch of the game, another home run in the third inning and one more run in the fifth. Seattle was leading 3-2 at the time of the last run, so Hernandez wound up leaving with the score tied.
He faced 24 batters over five innings, which is too much. Gave up nine hits, but also didn’t walk anybody while averaging a strikeout per inning. All in all, couldn’t get much off Hernandez’s final spring performance. Doesn’t matter anyway. The team is done in Peoria. This weekend’s games will be more a PR show than anything else. Time for the real games to begin.