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September 25, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Los Angeles Angels at Mariners: 09/25 game thread

ichiro0925 028.jpg
A shot of Ichiro, taking batting practice today. He waited in a back room until shortly before BP, then emerged and headed straight to the field without talking.
The Mariners have a 2-1 lead as we head to the fifth inning on a chilly night at Safeco Field, with only 16,939 as the announced crowd. Randy Messenger is now on the mound for the M’s, with Cesar Jimenez surviving a walk-filled 3 1/3 innings with just the one run allowed. Seattle is actually out-hitting the Angels 6-2, but a lack of capitalizing by the M’s has kept the Angels in the game.
Seattle had runners at the corners with none out in the second inning, but Ichiro took a called third strike and Yuniesky Betancourt grounded into a double play.
Ichiro got a two-run rally started in the first inning with his 1,800th career hit, a single. He took second on a walk, then scored on a Raul Ibanez single to center. Ibanez later scored on a two-out double down the left field line by Wladimir Balentien.
M’s manager anager Jim Riggleman, during his regular pre-game press briefing, was asked all about Ichiro and today’s quotes from a clubhouse insider who’d feared a group of players might go after the leadoff man and try to hurt him. Riggleman said he had no knowledge of any specific instance of players wanting to hurt anybody. But he also said, “We’ve had such a tough year, we’ve lost so many games, that these types of things surface. When you lose a lot of games, you’re going to have some griping, finger-pointing and stuff like that.”
“People saying those things anonymously, a lot of those people who say those things need to look in the mirror at their own performances instead of putting it on somebody else. That comes with losing a lot of games, you get a lot of negativity. The only way to fix that is not to lose a lot of games and that’s part of our plan for the future.
“I can tell you,” he added. “Everybody has got some defficiences, starting at the top. We all have some defficiencies.”
Riggleman went on to laud Ichiro’s preparation, comparing it to that of Raul Ibanez.
“If everybody worked as hard as ichiro and Ibanez,” he said. “We probably would not have lost as many games.”
Riggleman said he’d have preferred if players had brought such gripes to him.
“To just snipe at each other and stuff like that, it’s just junior high and rumoring and cliques and stuff. You just can’t have that.”
Remember, though. Riggleman was not the manager earlier on this season. He also wasn’t around at all last year, when the team had a meeting at Tropicana Field to discuss gripes, including some directed as Ichiro.
But Riggleman clearly did not appreciate having to respond to today’s story.
“Rats are the first one of the ship,” he said. “When the ship is sinking the rats are the first ones off. They’re the ones scavenging everything on the ship when it’s floating good and going good, but when it’s sinking the rats are the first ones to abandon the ship.”
And then, he threw in a shot at the team’s pitchers.
“Out of 14 teams, we’re 11th in pitching,” he said. “And I’ll guarantee some of those people pointing fingers are pitches, some of the sniping is going on it’s pitchers and then we’re 11th in pitching. I’d keep my mouth shut if I was somebody saying something and a part of that staff. Eleventh in the league in pitching, I don’t think I’d be saying too much.”
I’d love to comment further, but as I said earlier today, I’m not going to name anybody. Nor confirm whether or not what Riggleman said is accurate. But he might want to broaden his scope a little, rather than shoot for the seemingly obvious.

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