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Well, I promised another podcast to answer some of your Twitter questions and here it is as the Mariners get set to play in cool and windy Chicago, where the scoreboard thermometer says it’s 37 degrees while the wind chill supposedly has it feeling like 29.
No, that’s not good baseball weather.
Players donned wool caps and gloves as they began their pregame warmups. Even Canadian-born Michael Saunders was complaining about the temperature.
“I’m a soft Canadian,” Saunders joked. “I’m a West Coaster.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the team will have heaters in the dugout and he’ll make sure the players “layer up” and stay loose, but that they have to get accustomed to this type of weather early in any season.
“It’s quite the drastic change from where we just came from,” Wedge said.
Wedge was asked by a Chicago writer whether he thought he had a good “cold hitting” team.
“Well, we’ll find out,” Wedge said. “It’s part of it early in the season. You know, I lived in it a lot of years, obviously, managing in Cleveland, so, this time of the year, this part of the country, you’re going to have days like this.”
Wedge has Franklin Gutierrez in the lineup tonight. With all the leg stiffness he had in spring training, you’d think the cold weather might require some extra monitoring of him.
“He’s grown to be quite the study of his own body because he has had so many issues,” Wedge said. “I do trust him to take care of himself but we’ll do a fly-by with some of these guys and just remind them what we need to do and pay attention.”
We’ll see whether the cool air has an impact on Michael Morse and his red-hot home run bat. Morse has hit four home runs the last three games, becoming the first Seattle player since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997 to manage four homers the first four games of a season.
Morse and Raul Ibanez are good friends because they both used to live and train together in Miami during the off-seasons back when Ibanez still lived there full-time. Ibanez knows what a home run tear feels like, since he went on quite a roll back in 2009 with the Phillies when he homered in four straight games in mid-May to bring his season total at that point to an astonishing 17.
“When you’re doing it, you don’t realize what’s happening,’’ Ibanez said. “You’re just hitting and just kind of focused. It’s only after it’s over where you just kind of step back and see what everybody else has been seeing and saying.
“It’s one of those things where you don’t want to think about it and you don’t want to talk about it,’’ he added. “I know that I won’t be talking about it with him.’’
Ibanez said Morse always believed he could be this type of player, even back when he was mainly a Mariners farmhand trying to crack the major league squad but getting few chances to do so.
“The difference now is his confidence,’’ Ibanez said. “He’s so confident. And that’s because he got an opportunity to play. He always knew what he was capable of, but once you do it, you absolutely, wholeheartedly know.
“Now, he knows in his head that he has what it takes to do these types of things out there.’’