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May 19, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Mariners will try to “string” some hits together, starting with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready

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Geoff Baker Live! is coming up at 6 p.m.
The celebrities seem to be getting a little better for the Mariners these days. Tonight, they’ll have Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready strumming the national anthem. He’s doing it to raise awareness of the Chron’s & colitis Foundation of America and this evening’s performance was arranged by that group’s Northwest chapter. McCready was diagnosed with Chron’s disease roughly 20 years ago. I chatted with McCready a few moments ago and he showed off the batting stance he’d used taking some cuts in the cage.
“I hit a few of them out,” he said, pointing just beyond the infield dirt.
What, you thought he meant the ballpark?
He’s played the anthem before, but never at a ballgame.
“So yeah, I’m a little bit nervous,” he admitted. “More like, excited. We practiced it a bit just before and it sounded great, so I can’t wait to play it.”
McCready has also taken BP before with the other band members. He said bass guitarist Jeff Ament and lead vocalist Eddie Vedder were better hitters than him and that Vedder is probably the best in the group.
He was born in Pensacola, Fla. but his family moved to the Seattle area when he was still an infant. I asked him whether he was a lifelong Mariners fan.
“I wouldn’t say lifelong because I was more into football and basketball when I was younger,” he said. “But lately, yeah, as I got more into baseball, the Mariners were my team.”
Yes, he’s a left handed hitter. No, he isn’t in tonight’s lineup.
Neither is Yuniesky Betancourt, as I told you earlier. I asked manager Don Wakamatsu whether the two errors in two games had anything to do with it.
“It’s not that I’m sending a message,” he said. “It’s more the level of play and the expectation.”
So, earning playing time?
“Yeah,” he added. “It’s obviously a juggle. How much is lack of effort? How much is focus? But it is. If we’re going to go forward and do what we want to do here, the level of expectation has to go up higher and we’ve got to make adjustments on some of the mistakes we’ve made.”
Hear the full audio on the subject by clicking this link right here.

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