UPDATE: Wednesday, 9:47 a.m.: The Mariners just inked reliever Jesus Colome to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Remember watching him in some rough spots with the Washington Nationals a few years back and I’d go “Jesus, Colome!” But some of you probably won’t find that funny, so I’ll leave the anecdotes alone for now.
Glad to be back after two-plus fantastic weeks in Ecuador. Seeing the Amazon River basin and the Galapagos Islands in one trip was a dream come true. The Mariners report to Peoria a week from tomorrow, so it’s time to slowly get this blog back up and running. Want to see what two giant tortoises battling it out looks like? Sure you do, so I’ve supplied a video I shot last week in the Galapagos. Enjoy.
Colleague Steve Kelley penned an apology to Erik Bedard the other day and good on him. I mean it. It takes guts to say you’re wrong in print. Got me thinking there might be some Mariners that I could apologize to for things said and done over the years.
This is America, right? Land of forgiveness? Well, let’s find out.
In the spirit of baring our souls and setting the record straight, I’ve got a few Mariners out there to whom my own mea culpa is long overdue.
First, I’d like to apologize to Miguel Batista.
You see, there’s this thing he has for Kenny G. OK, I’ll give you all a minute to calm down and stop laughing. Yes, that means you. I’ll take a moment myself.
You see, anytime I’d hear mention of the G-Man, I had to throw this photo up on the blog:
Like clockwork, the folks at Deadspin, or Walkoff Walk would be all over it. I didn’t even snap the darned photo, but kept getting all the credit (and blog hits) for it. It was guaranteed comedic fodder. And I knew it, believe you me. In fact, when I heard the G-Man was going to be playing in Anaheim last September, up went the photo once again, nearly 18 months after it was first taken.
I couldn’t help myself. When the G-Man himself appeared at Angel Stadium the next day, to play the National Anthem, I went into overdrive. A full text and audio interview and more video of him and Batista together. This time shot by me.
Did I do it because I knew that folks across the country would be interested in seeing a master craftsman of the mound together with a master of the flute/sax/whatever Kenny G. plays? Uh, no. Not exactly.
So, for that, I apologize Miguel. Truly. I done wrong. In fact, I’ve been so guilt-ridden by this in 2008 and 2009 that I keep penning novels on the blog everytime you go on a South American charity mission. The fact that I mocked one of your mound implosions in Kansas City last summer by scribing some made-up verses to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire” barely registers on my conscience. But this Kenny G. thing? I plead guilty to the charge of trying to summon cheap laughs at both of your expense. My penalty is to suffer in shame for all eternity. Speaking of which, good luck in Washington.
Next on the list is Jose Lopez. Yeah, this guy is actually still here. Even though I wrote earlier this off-season that he appeared to be on his way out. So, am I apologizing for that? Heck no. I’m still not convinced this team sees him as a long-term fit. If he’s still here in 2011, we’ll talk. But that’s not what’s on my mind.
No, it’s a lot more serious than that.
Last spring, I did one of those videos down in spring training that many of you seem to like. One of the most popular was a video of Lopez getting smoked by Carlos Silva in the annual shuttle run.
Now, Lopez getting beat by Endy Chavez would register barely a ripple on the laugh-o-meter. But Silva? Come on. The only thing better for comedic fodder would have been one of those tortoises on the previous page beating Lopez to the tape.
I dressed the video up as a “look at the shape Silva is in!” kind of deal, but who are we kidding? All anyone could talk about afterwards was Lopez. I guess running isn’t his thing. It’s not really Jack Cust’s deal either, but nobody seems to complain when he’s going yard. Still, I know how to sell a video. Even a sly, subtle sell. And I knew that Lopez gasping for breath like a trout pulled out of a river would generate all types of comments, hits and sharing.
Sure, Lopez could have avoided it by not allowing Silva to make him his French poodle, but hey, it’s not his fault the camera was rolling. And for that I feel bad. Real bad. I’m sorry, Lopey, if I cost you your automatic entry into the Caracas Half-Marathon with my footage. Sometimes my sense of humor gets the best of me. Ask Miguel.
Wait, what’s that? It wasn’t Lopez who got smoked by Silva? It was Felix Hernandez? Lopez merely got waxed by Adrian Beltre, Mike Morse and company? Well, that changes everything. Wrong Venezuelan. Forget what I said, Lopey. I’m not sorry. Man, that’s funny. Silva thumping Hernandez like that. Well, at least Felix finally passed Silva in annual salary. He doesn’t need any apologies from me to feel good.
Moving on, I’m sorry to Bill Bavasi. Yes, Bill, I actually did see you walking towards my general direction down a small corridor at the baseball winter meetings in Indianapolis a couple of months ago. And yes, I did the old head duck thing and pretended to be engrossed in a conversation with Mike Salk of ESPN 710 as he sat at his makeshift radio booth (like, who was I kidding, right?). And yes, the minute I spotted your rather tall frame with the rather bald dome pass me out of the corner of my eye, I immediately blew off Salk and continued on my merry way.
Really, Bill, I don’t do this type of thing very often. In fact, I never do. Got to hand it to you, Bill, you’ve always been there with a smile and a handshake and no hard feelings even as you were getting ripped to shreds locally. I was actually trying to do you a favor. The coronation of Jack Zduriencik locally had reached such epic proportions by December that any mention of you or comparison was only making your legacy here grow worse by the millisecond.
I’ve tried very hard not to hit you while you’re down the past year and a half and just didn’t feel right making you stop to shake my hand again and engage in chit-chat with a guy who really can’t do anything to make your time here be seen in a light that’s anything but bad. So, what I’m trying to say is that, by acting like a weasel, I was actually trying to help you. But sorry, anyway.
Let’s see, who else?
Oh yeah, Richie Sexson.
I’m sorry I wrote that you left the dugout during your final Mariners game in 2008. I actually should have written about how you left the dugout and wandered all the way into the bullpen while the game was still being played. I mean, wow, that’s something as far as acts of truancy in baseball go. I know you weren’t playing or anything, but last I checked, you also weren’t a relief pitcher. And the game was in Oakland, where the bullpens are like 500 feet from the dugout, so that took some ingenuity on your part. Alas, all the fans know, because of me, is that you left the dugout. They probably figure you were acting like some wuss sulking in the trainer’s room. But that wasn’t the case, as we now know. And that’s my fault. So, I’m sorry if what I wrote led others to think that you’re a wuss. That’s probably the worst thing a writer can do to an athlete and I’m very sorry about that.
Whew, now that that’s out of the way, my soul feels purged of any bad spirits. I can get on with my life and live in relative peace with a clean conscience.
Oops, gotta run. Jose Vidro is on the other line…