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

September 20, 2008 at 6:11 PM

10 straight losses

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A controversial call by third base umpire Bill Miller in the ninth helps send the Mariners to an 8-7 loss at the hands of the Oakland A’s. Luis Valbuena led things off with a double, then appeared to stretch it into a triple as he beat the throw in from right field.
In fact, he appeared safe by a huge margin. Third base coach Sam Perlozzo went nuts and manager Jim Riggleman was tossed from the game. Miller seemed to rule that Valbuena’s hand came off the base. We’ll try to find out. Ichiro later walked but Yunieksy Betancourt grounded into a double play.
Miller told a pool reporter after the game: “I had the guy sliding in and the third baseman’s foot was blocking the base. The guy’s hand never reached the base and that’s why he was called out. He went in with his left hand and Barton blocked his hand from touching the base. The tag was very late, but when he was tagged, he was off the base.”
There you go. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
I liked what Valbuena did. I know the rule about not making the first out of an inning at third base. But hey, the way this team’s been hitting with RISP? I thought it was a heads-up move. And frankly, he beat the throw by a mile. This team has lost 97 games and 10 in a row. Now’s not the time to be conservative.
By the way, neither Valbuena, nor third base coach Perlozzo was buying into Miller’s explanation.
“I was very surprised because it wasn’t close,” Valbuena said.
Perlozzo was still fired up after the game.
“Obviously, I though he was safe,” Perlozzo said.
Asked if he still felt that way after seeing a replay in the clubhouse, he replied:
“Absolutely.”
So, another day, another defeat. The lefites on this team can’t get lefty hitters out. At least, from the bullpen. Riggleman admitted rather candidly that every bullpen move he made today backfired. I like his honesty. Not his team, but his honesty. This team needs major work. It’s why you see so many youngsters out there. This club might have to make some premature judgments this winter. It will want to know whether Valbuena has a shot at being a major league infielder at some point in 2009. Want to know whether Bryan LaHair can hit for the power he showed us in the second inning on that homer.
I told you earlier, Riggleman and hitting coach Jose Castro served notice to LaHair that he needs to start hitting for more power. That a singles-hitting first baseman won’t cut it. They’re right, it won’t.
And LaHair knows it.
“I’m just working real hard on my swing,” he said. “I know I have the ability to do that and I’m working real hard at doing that. Coming into the year, my goal was to hit 50 doubles. My whole concern now is getting back to being like myself and hitting a lot of doubles.”


So, that about wraps it up.
Ah, yes, RagArm, from the comments thread, I’m having a great Saturday. The Mariners can’t hold a lead, then can’t get a break on an ump’s call. They finally score, but still can’t win. The chattering classes are coming over to play from the other blogs, to start the “they were right” chant about the Bedard trade, the season-in-general, the theory of evolution, and just about anything else they can throw a tantrum about. In other words, another typical day in Seattle blogland. LOL.
But honestly, it’s all good. This is part of the fun of doing this. The hard part would be if no one was reading. But people are.
If I had a dime for every blogger who said he wasn’t going to read this space anymore, then spent hours blogging to all of his pals about how he’s never going to read here again, I’d have enough money to buy out Ninetendo Corp’s shares in the team. Chris Larson would just have to satisfy his baseball fix with some MLB2K.
So, seriously, it’s all good. If we didn’t give everyone stuff to talk about, what would they do? Watch the game? It wasn’t even on TV today, so what are they supposed to do? Anyhow, a good blogosphere — and Seattle’s is pretty good — needs information and commentary. For all the knocks I’ve seen on the newspaper industry of late, and it’s been a tough few years with plenty of deserved criticism, papers still supply the vast majority of talking points in all blogospheres across the nation. Hey, that’s what we do here. That’s our job. To give folks stuff to talk about. Trash talk and informed opinion both. We let them all have their say. Makes things interesting. It’s been a terrible season, but at least this space has been vibrant the past month. It’s all about opinions. I don’t agree with everything ScottM says, but he keeps this space fun. Writes good songs. Got a chuckle out of his last one. We play a little video baseball. And remember, the big trick is not to take yourself too seriously.
I’ve yet to meet anyone in Seattle, or Toronto for that matter, who is the be-all, end-all authority on baseball. I’ve read a lot of interesting things. Read plenty of dumb things as well. Some of it, I comment on. Other stuff, I hold my tongue and assume people will learn as they move forward, get better educated about how major league baseball works and stop trying to cram every opinion and theory into the same four-sided box.. That’s all you can hope for. Sometimes, your predictions go wrong. And sometimes, they go completely right. But you can’t run a blog — a good one, anyway — by limiting yourself to the accuracy of one or two predictions you got right in a particular year.
Covering a baseball team involves constant change. Constantly keeping yourself informed as to what is going on. And the ability to constantly adapt opinions to fluid situations. The universe is chaotic. There is no organization to it. Just when you think you have it all figured out, it slaps you upside the head. The folks who frighten me most in this world are those who never change their viewpoints. Never alter their opinions. Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
That’s why we allow readers to publish their opinions on this site with limited censorship (within reason). We welcome all views, even those that are blatantly off-base. It’s the only way to make sense of an ever-changing world. By keeping an open-mind.
It’s been a long year. A tough year for fans, bloggers, writers and the team itself. It’s almost over. And I understand, with a week to go, that folks are getting testy. That’s why we play the MLB2K season. To remind everyone that life isn’t so serious.
Have a good one RagArm, ScottM and the rest of you. You too, Katal.

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