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Yes, I still believe the 2018 M’s will collapse

I’ve been on TSN1040 Vancouver the last few weeks discussing baseball as an in-studio guest. Every time the Seattle Mariners were brought up as a topic, I kept saying they are going to choke. I said it on air three weeks ago, two weeks ago, and even this week (with last week not having a show).

I am no Angels fan. I am no Mariners fan. I’m no Mariners hater. I don’t like the Angels. But crazy as it sounds, I still believe the Angels, with Mike Trout, could surpass the Mariners. Yes, the deficit is huge for that second wild-card spot. But if people are saying that Trout is always an MVP candidate, well, okay, then prove it by rallying the Angels to the playoffs!

The Mariners’ biggest concerns? Look at their run differential. As of Thursday, their run differential was +1. And since they lost Friday night in extras in Anaheim by a run, that means their run differential now is zero. That’s not a playoff team. Also, the James Paxton factor – once again, he’s on the DL. It’s an annual occurence. I didn’t get a chance to say this on the air, but look at Paxton’s last two good starts – one was against Baltimore and the other was against KC – teams struggling to play .300 baseball this season. And also, the Mariners have now lost 11 of their past 17. Good for them!

The links of the radio shows will be posted later, but I still feel the Mariners will choke.

EDIT: Here are the links.

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More talking points for future shows

Mariners. Guys are saying, “If the Mariners go .500 the rest of the way, they’ll make the playoffs.” Well, has anyone considered that they might NOT go .500? Guys are assuming they would. But the M’s have 13 more games vs. Houston, seven vs. the Angels, and 10 against Oakland. A lot can happen between now and the rest of the season. As of today, July 26, the Mariners have lost 10 of their last 16…

In addition to those teams that coughed up big leads, here are a few more:

1964 Phillies – lost 10 straight down the stretch to blow a 6.5-game lead over St. Louis with 12 to play.

2007 Mets – a team with Pedro and Tom Glavine coughed up a seven-game lead on September 12 to the Phillies.

2009 Tigers – spent 164 days in first place, but allowed the Twins to steal the division crown

1969 Cubs – had a 9.5-game lead on August 14, which was cut down to two games just 13 days later. Mets won the NL East by eight full games.

1978 Red Sox – led the Yankees by 14 games in July, and 7.5 with 32 to play. We all know what happened at the end.

Possible talking points for next radio show or in the future…

Okay, so I have all kinds of ideas and opinions, but when I go on air, sometimes I forget the points or don’t have a chance to express them. Moving forward, I will try to update those thoughts right here – so that I refer back here as a reference for myself. This time, I included the 1994 Expos because they were a talking point in Vancouver as the local Single-A Canadians wore throwback jerseys featuring Montreal’s former baseball team.


Speaking Points:

Mariners. Give Shantel Chand some credit. Weeks ago we were all in this studio, and Shantel suggested that Oakland might be a dark horse. But I looked at the standings on Tuesday (July 24). And what jumped out was that Seattle was 20 games over .500 but the run differential was plus 1.

The Angels’ run differential was plus 22 and they weren’t even .500. Again, I checked the standings a couple days ago and noted this. And the thing is, the Angels had allowed fewer runs than the Mariners, and scored more runs. But the Angels had a worse record! So, I’m going to say that Seattle has been lucky.

And James Paxton. Again, I talked about this, on this show, before. He has never pitched a full season in the majors. He’s been on the DL almost every year. He’s got a history of injuries. If that’s your staff ace, you’re not making the playoffs. I mean, as Lou discussed a couple of weeks ago, this rotation is a bunch of no-names with ERAs not that impressive. They’ve been getting the job done for the most part, but not a playoff-type rotation, not one that can get you into the playoffs.

 

1994 Expos–So many people in Canada cry about how the 1994 strike screwed the Montreal Expos. First of all, there was no guarantee they were going to make the playoffs. There were almost 2 months left. In 1991, the Dodgers were 9.5 games ahead of Atlanta at the All-Star break. The Dodgers missed the playoffs. In 1993, the Giants were 10 games ahead of Atlanta in July. The Giants missed the playoffs. In 1995, the Angels would have an 11.5-game lead over Seattle. The Angels collapsed. How do we know the Expos wouldn’t have collapsed? Those teams had great players too.  

Pedro Martinez. As a rookie in 1993, Pedro threw 107 innings for the Dodgers. 1994 was his first full season. He wasn’t going to pitch effectively for the entire season. He was 11-5, 3.42 at the time of the strike. People forget this, so I’ll tell you guys here. In the month of July in 1994, Pedro’s ERA was 6.89 in six starts. So, there were signs that he was showing fatigue. Half of those starts were mediocre or horrendous. There was no guarantee that he was going to pitch effectively down the stretch. And I mean, Randy Johnson once lost 7 consecutive starts in the playoffs. So, anything can happen.

John Wetteland. He was the 1996 World Series MVP with the Yankees. But people forget in 1995, in Wettleland’s first taste of postseason baseball, he was so bad that Buck Showalter refused to put him into the game against Seattle in Game Five, and David Cone gave up the lead and the Mariners won it in extra innings against Jack McDowell. Wetteland gave up the go-ahead grand slam to Edgar Martinez the night before and had looked bad earlier in the series. So, Wetteland was the closer for Montreal in 1994. Had the Expos made the playoffs in 1994, Wetteland was no sure thing for Montreal.

Felipe Alou. He took the 2003 Giants to the playoffs. They had the best record in the National League. Lost in the first round to the Marlins. Their RF Jose Cruz was a gold glove player in the regular season. Dropped a flyball in extra innings in game 3. THings like that happen. It cost the Giants the series. Felipe Alou was the manager. There’s no guarantee in any playoff series who’s going to come out on top.

Trades. There were a lack of trades. I remember because it was on the sports news at the time. The Dodgers had a horrendous bullpen. They wanted to trade for Randy Myers from the Cubs. But that didn’t happen because teams knew there was a strike coming so nobody made any significant deals. Atlanta could have bolstered its lineup the way it did with McGriff in 1993. I mean, Randy Milligan was the Expos’ first baseman. So.

The twisted-ness in people…

Earlier, I shared a Tweet response by someone who refers to himself as “Beep Beep Ribby Ribby” in regards to his response to the death of former NHL goalie Ray Emery.

How do I know it’s a “he”? Well, his other Tweets gave him away:

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So, it is a grown man with a teenage son.

This reminds me of a conversation that I overheard in the patio area of a local Starbucks not too long ago. I could hear the conversation because the one guy who was talking was LOUD.

He was saying – loudly – to his group how the government in Canada is screwed up, and he then said the following several times, in his loud voice. He talked about how he has taught his son, “If I die or drop dead at home, do not call 9-1-1. Instead, carry my body out onto the street and leave it there. I’m not paying for any funeral or any [blah blah blah]…”

That’s twisted, just like how B.B.R.R. is twisted. The Starbucks dude was talking about how he wasn’t paying for anything that would benefit the government. And he would “have the last laugh” when he dies, because the government or the city would “be paying for it.”

And he kept repeating the same thing over and over. No, he wasn’t unemployed or anything. From the context – again, he was speaking rather loudly – he had a decent-paying job.

But there you go. Grown men who are twisted with these, well, let’s just say unconventional, views….

Life: Yes, people DO want you to fail… Part 2

Back in June, I had mentioned some interactions with people in the past – people who, essentially, wanted me to fail. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just how some people are. You just have to accept that fact and deal with it.

Today, here’s a sequel. This can also be titled “Reason No. 3,252 Why I Don’t Like Teachers” – but the title above is fitting.

Anyway, here’s some background. This was some time ago. Knowing how passionate and dedicated I was in my classes, the director at the private college called me in for a meeting one afternoon.

She told me something along these lines: “Look, you’re amazing and you really care for our students – it’s obvious… I would like you to continue doing what you’re doing – but at the same time, I would like you to learn how to teach other courses so that you can be No. 2 behind [the principal, who’s also the No. 1 instructor in the school].”

The director mentioned that principal/No. 1 instructor – essentially the head teacher – by name, but for the purposes of this post I will not name any names, so that’s why I put that part in brackets.

Okay, I took her words to heart, and several days later I approached the principal/No. 1 instructor to inquire about one of the courses he was teaching. I explained the conversation I had with the director, and I expressed interest in knowing more about one particular course he was teaching.

His response? “Well, this reminds me of the time a former student thought that by watching eight hours of tennis, he was going to become a Wimbledon pro.”

All right – obviously, there was some lack of communication on the part of the director and the principal/No. 1 instructor. There was no professional development available at this college, but since the director told me, face to face, to learn how to teach additional courses – to be No. 2 behind the principal… who better to consult than the principal himself?

I mean, perhaps the two of them did not talk this over – but I wasn’t privy to the communications they had. That really was none of my business. I merely was trying to follow up because of what the director told me. I waited several days before approaching the principal. And hey, since his title was “principal,” you would think he would perform the responsibilities that came with that title?

Getting back to that conversation, I laughed it off and responded that he wasn’t really comparing me to a student he didn’t like, was he? I didn’t feel the analogy fit in that situation. I even offered to sit in and observe some of his classes if that might be better.

All he did was scoff and continue to be rude, refusing to take back his comment about the tennis-watching student. I mean, just another example of a fellow instructor not wanting to help out to make the college be more efficient.

…and an example of how people simply would rather you fail.

Unfortunately, too many people in our society think like THIS guy….

Last Sunday, news broke about the death of former NHL goaltender Ray Emery. Here’s what one person – who refers to himself as “Beep Beep Ribby Ribby” – decided to write on Twitter:

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That’s disgusting – but, you know, there are lots of people out there who think like that. It just goes to show that some of us don’t treat others like actual human beings. There are those who, unfortunately, look at other human beings as inferior or unworthy.

There are also those who view celebrities – whether they’re athletes or politicians or entertainers – as people to attack and lash out at, particularly on social media. There have been attacks on Twitter and other social media on musicians because of their unwillingness to criticize politicians. There have been attacks on athletes for not making the clutch plays – and even for deciding to go to a new team.

A lot of people out there do not have compassion for other human beings. That’s just plain wrong.

Views from the Press Box at the Nat – Part 1

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The view from outside the press box as the sun was setting

Friday night, June 29th. The Single-A Vancouver Canadians, after winning their last series against Tri-City, spanked the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 11-1, in the opener of a five-game set.

THE GAME: Yes, it was a rout, but the chatter in the press box early on was about LF Brandon Polizzi, the No. 9 hitter in the Vancouver lineup. A few of us were impressed with Polizzi, who started the game in left field before moving over to second base after two innings. Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 35th round in 2017, Polizzi has good speed – and is arguably the best base runner on the Canadians this season. If he’s not hitting .148 (coming into tonight’s action), he’s probably the leadoff hitter on the club.

Anyway, the exciting Polizzi thrilled the crowd on this night by smacking a run-scoring triple to right field to cap a three-run second inning, as the Canadians took the lead early and never looked back.

3B Bryan Lizardo, the regular third baseman playing first base on this night, was 4-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, and three RBI. Five games into the season, when the Canadians had their home opener at Nat Bailey, Lizardo was hitting just .071. Tonight’s four-hit game raised his average to .325.

RF Griffin Conine continues to impress. One of the highlights of the C’s offensively – there were plenty on a night the team scored 11 runs – was Conine’s two-run triple to right during a five-run sixth-inning outburst that put the game out of reach. The son of former major-leaguer Jeff Conine, Griffin had homered the day before in the 3-2 victory over Tri-City.

North Vancouver’s Will McAffer, meanwhile, has become this team’s “vulture.” Entering the game with two outs in the fifth in relief of starter Jordan Barrett, McAffer got out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve a 5-1 lead and then proceeded to work the next three innings to earn his third win of the season.

Barrett, the starter, didn’t throw harder than 90 mph, according to the radar gun. He did, however, have good location in the first four innings before seemingly tiring in the fifth and came one out short of a victory. Some in the press box were crowning Barrett “Cy Young” – until he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, that is. Still, it was a good night for the left-hander drafted by the Blue Jays in the 18th round in 2017. He gave up just one hit with eight strikeouts – walking five.

The only player who struggled offensively was CF Hunter Steinmetz, who was making his Canadians debut. Called up from Bluefield (rookie ball) the day before, Steinmetz went 0-for-5 hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup. The native of Jefferson City, MO, was selected by the Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Missouri State.

Overall, a great night for the home team, as the C’s banged out 16 hits – they outhit the Volcanoes 16-2 on the evening – to send Salem-Keizer, the league’s top team at 10-4 entering play, to the lopsided loss.

THE ANECDOTES: And oh, by the seventh inning, the game had dragged on so much that I desperately needed a Coke. I walked over to the fridge to grab a bottle – before Jordy, one of the media relations assistants, persuaded me to put it back. I needed that. It’s easy to give in to temptation – on a long night, sometimes I just have a craving for a pop. But I definitely needed the awesome Jordy to keep me in check. Yes, I placed the Coke bottle back into the fridge and stuck to water.

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OTHER SIGHTS: What can I say about the sunset? Well, a picture is worth a million words, so I’ll let the follow image do the talking…

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