Category: Coaches

Selfish Seahawks

Selfish Seahawks

The 2016 Seattle Seahawks are proving me does exist in team.

Here we sit with the final week of the National Football League’s regular season upon us. The Seattle Seahawks are the NFC West Champions. The Seattle Seahawks have clinched a spot in the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks have a chance to be the number two seed in the NFC. But that isn’t what people are talking about.

The past month has been littered with individuals creating divide. In week 13, the Hawks waylaid  the Panthers 40-7. The win came at a price, as safety Earl Thomas broke his leg when he collided with teammate Kam Chancellor. While the game was going on, Thomas was moved to tweet during the game.

“This game has been so good to me no regrets,” Thomas wrote. “A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”

In what should have been a boring week, Thomas turned the attention to himself. There is no reason the 27-year-old should retire. No surgery was needed to repair his leg. He’s made five pro bowls in seven years. Thomas has a couple good, productive years left in his body. All the tweet did was take attention away from the team and transfer it to Earl Thomas.

After a disappointing loss in Green Bay, the Seahawks returned home to face the Rams. The Rams headed to Seattle with an interim head coach on a short week. The Hawks were expected to roll and they did. Seattle beat Los Angeles 24-3 on Thursday Night Football. It should have been another boring week for northwest football fans.

Richard Sherman served as the pot-stirrer on this occasion. With 4:03 left in the third quarter, the Seahawks attempted a pass from the one yard line. Russell Wilson targeted Jimmy Graham, but the play nearly resulted in a interception. Richard Sherman exploded on the sideline, becoming visibly upset head coach Pete Carroll.

“I’m upset about us throwing from the 1,” Sherman said.”I was letting [Carroll] know. We’ve already seen how that goes.”

Sherman pathetically poked at old wounds. The cornerback was referring to the interception thrown by Wilson at the one yard line in Super Bowl 48. Sherman chose to disregard the play made by Malcolm Butler, and shift it towards his own teammates and coaches.

The play call made total sense. Sherman shifted the attention on himself with unnecessary and unprofessional behavior during and after a blowout win.

Last weekend, the Seahawks hosted the Arizona Cardinals. The two teams tied in Arizona in October. The Cardinals came into Seattle and beat the home team 34-31. The loss moved the Seahawks from the number two seed and a first round bye in the NFC playoffs, to the four seed. It was a terrible loss at this point in the season. On top of all that, wide receiver Tyler Lockett broke his leg catching a touchdown pass.

In steps Earl Thomas to make the save tweeting this after the game.

“I’ll def be back next year..”

Oh. Suddenly, nobody was talking about the loss the Hawks had suffered earlier in the day.   It’s tiresome to watch athletes put themselves over the team. Pete Carroll allows his players to be themselves, and this is the backlash from it.

It could be a masterfully crafted attempt to build personal brands. It could be a pair of aging players trying to stay relevant. Regardless both players are taking attention away from on-field activity and placing it on themselves. There is no I in team, but the Seattle Seahawks are proving there is a me.

 

 

 

 

Football is Here, but Don’t Forget About Baseball

Football is Here, but Don’t Forget About Baseball

Football is back. The Seattle Seahawks play their first preseason game of the year this afternoon. So many questions surround the team. How will the Seahawks perform without Marshawn Lynch? Is Jimmy Graham healthy? Will they remain a run-first offense, or will Russell Wilson be allowed to throw the ball often?  In a month from now, the games in the Seattle will count for real. But games in Seattle already count, and haven’t been more important than right now. Football is exciting, but please don’t forget about baseball.

On July 31, the M’s were 52-51, good enough for third in the American League West, eight and a half games away from first place in the division and five games out of a wild card spot. Momentum swung as the team had one of the best home stands all season. The Mariners went 8-2, while sweeping both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers. Manager Scott Servais credited Ken Griffey Jr. weekend, and the message he sent to the 2016 team.

“Keep fighting,” Junior said. “because we’re all rooting for you.”

Fight is what they did. On August second, the M’s trailed the Red Sox 4-0 with their Win Expectancy at a mere 3.2 percent in the eighth. Robinson Cano capped a five-run bottom of the eighth with a three-run home run, proving to be the game winner. The team won 5-4, and a tone was set from the Mariners superstar.

On August fifth, Felix Hernandez gave up a three run homer to Mike Trout in the top of the first inning (W.E. 21.6%). The M’s answered with six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. With the game tied at three, Mike Zunino smashed a three-run dinger over the left field wall to give his team the lead. A couple days later, Seattle saw another comeback win, as the M’s won 6-4.

August sixth was Ken Griffey Jr. night, as the number 24 was officially retired in the Mariners organization. That game saw the exact same start as the previous night. Trout hit another three-run home run, putting the Mariners in an early 3-0 hole. Win Expectancy sat at 8.7 percent after four innings. The Mariners chipped away at the lead until the bottom of the seventh. Shawn O’Malley smacked a go-ahead three-run home run to put the team up 8-6. Another gritty, come from behind win.

August ninth was the middle game of the three-game series with the Tigers. The M’s trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the eighth (W.E. 4.7%). Kyle Seager hit a clutch, three-run home run to the tie game. The two teams put up zero’s until the 15th inning, when Victor Martinez hit a home run putting the tigers up 5-4 (W.E. 10%). Seager answered with an RBI single. Runners took advantage of a fielding error, moving to second and third with one out. Zunino supplied a sacrifice fly to win the marathon of a game. The M’s won again.

August 10 saw a classic pitchers duel between Justin Verlander and King Felix. The aces kept their opponents to just one run as the score was knotted at one entering the bottom of the eighth. Nelson Cruz hit a solo blast over the center field wall, giving his team the lead. Six straight for the M’s.

The Mariners lost the first game of a three game set with the Athletics. As of today, the team has moved into second place in the AL west. As the Mariners were streaking, the Rangers were too, winning five straight games. The M’s are seven and a half games out of the division lead. The Wild Card race is where Seattle should be focused. Five games out at the beginning of August, now the M’s are two games out of the second wild card spot.

The team took Juniors words to heart. A majority of the wins that came on this remarkable home stand were made in come from behind fashion. Junior also had words for the city of Seattle.

“To the fans, keep supporting these guys,” Griffey said. “They’re trying to support this city. When you have a friendly face in the stands, that means everything. When you’re going through a bad spell and some guy says, ‘Hey, keep your head up,’ that goes a long way. We’re out here playing, but we’re playing for this city.”

Football is exciting. The Seahawks have recently won a Super Bowl, and have been a good team since Pete Carroll’s arrival. Baseball has been here for a while in 2016, but it has never been more intense, or exciting as it is right now. One of the greatest athletes that has ever worn a uniform that belongs to Seattle, is asking fans not to forget about baseball. The M’s have a great shot at making the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.  Seattle, please don’t forget about the Mariners.

W.E. – Win Expectancy

Struggling Storen Gets New Home

Struggling Storen Gets New Home

The Mariners had a reliever get ten years younger Tuesday night. Not really, but theoretically they did. Jerry DiPoto was at it again with his favorite transaction, the trade. The M’s found the fountain of youth by trading Joaquin Benoit  for Drew Storen. Both relievers have pitched poorly in 2016. If Storen can return to his old form on his new team, the back-end of the Mariner bullpen has been improved.

The Mariners are getting the 10th overall pick from the 2009 draft. In seven big league seasons, Storen has a career 3.31 earned run average, accumulating 353 strike outs to 106 walks. Storen has had three seasons with a sub 2.75 ERA, all coming as a member of the Washington Nationals. 2016 has been Storen’s worst year by far. In 38 games, the right hander has given up 43 hits, including six home runs and has allowed 23 earned runs.

“Obviously, this has not been Drew’s best season, but he is closely linked to a run of great success pitching in the back-end of very good bullpens,” Dipoto said. “Hopefully this serves as a change of scenery and over the next two months we can get him back on track.”

Benoit was also having one of the worst seasons of his 15 year MLB career. Benoit had posted a 5.18 ERA, giving up 20 hits and 14 earned runs in 24.1 innings pitched. If Storen continues to put up lousy numbers, not much was lost in this trade.

A new home jersey may be what Storen needs to get back on track. Tom Wilhelmsen was another reliever who struggled early. Since rejoining the Mariners, the Bartender has posted a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched. A 180 degree turn around from the 10.55 ERA Whilhelmsen had in Texas.

At face value, the trade looks as though the Mariners and Blue Jays have swapped a pair of struggling relievers. The Mariners had a reliever get ten years younger. The M’s also got a former top ten draft pick. Storen’s best years came as a member of the Washington Nationals. Hopefully, Storen can find his old self, in a new Washington.

Winning is a Privilege

Winning is a Privilege

It’s tough to lose privileges. Having something taken away from you isn’t a good feeling. On Saturday, Chris Sale lost several privileges. Sale lost the privilege to pick what uniform his team wore. Sale lost the privilege to start in a Major League Baseball game. Sale lost the privilege of trying to help his team win. In the process, Sale became a hypocrite.

Sale was scratched from his start Saturday Night. The ace was removed from the lineup for a “clubhouse incident… which was non-physical in nature.” Not only was Sale scratched, he was also sent home from the ballpark. How the White Sox ace earned expulsion for the night was still in question.

“Really Silly”

That’s how a source described what had took place. Throughout the season, White Sox starters are allowed to pick the uniform that the team wears on the games they pitch. Saturday was not one of those nights, as the team was set to wear a throwback uniform. Sale insisted that the team not wear the uniforms the night of his start, saying the uniforms were not comfortable. The White Sox were having none of it.

During batting practice, Sale went inside the clubhouse and cut the throwback uni’s. He really did that. Sale’s frustration was because he felt the organization was more concerned with public relations and jersey sales being more important than winning.

This is where the all-star game starter becomes hypocritical. Rather than competing though the discomfort of the uniform to help his team win, he threw a fit. Power and privilege were taken away from Sale. The lefty reacted in one of the strangest ways I’ve ever heard of.

The White Sox are 1-7 since the all-star break. The Sox sit 46-50, and are 10 games out of first place in the American League Central. Sale is 14-3 with a 3.18 earned run average in 19 starts. A solid outing from Sale could have been what the team needed to get off the snide. We’ll never know.

Losing privileges is never a good feeling. Sale lost privilege, and reacted in a bizarre way. With motives rooted in winning, Sale’s actions lessened his team’s chance to win. All Chris Sale wants to do is win… as long as he does in the clothes he wants to wear.

 

Buy or Sell… Try Now or Later

Buy or Sell… Try Now or Later

With a couple weeks left in July, the sports world is focused on the Major League Baseball trade deadline. At this point in the 162 game season, teams determine whether they are in a playoff race, or if they are completely out of it. The labels teams are given are buyers, or sellers. Buyers are acquiring valuable assets from losing teams. Sellers are trading assets for prospects. Personally, I can’t buy into the terms buy or sell.

There are returns on both sides of any trade. Throughout history, we have seen trades where the seller gets a better return than the team that bought. In 2008, the Mariners bought Erik Bedard for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and three other minor league players. Bedard had an earned run average that was just over three in 2007 and finished in the top five in cy young voting. In Seattle, Bedard never piched more than 83 innings in two short seasons. Adam Jones has blossomed into an all-star outfielder, batting .277 on his career while hitting double-digit home runs in all but one of his nine years of Baltimore. Chris Tillman was the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year in 07, before turning into an all-star with the Orioles.

In this example, the Mariner’s bought, but lost everything. The Orioles sold, and it could be one of the greatest trades in their franchises history with what they got in return. Connotatively, buy and sell promotes the idea that the team that is buying will always win the trade.

Teams are facing the decision to play for right now, or for the future. Similar to a draft, you can’t truly tell how a trade will affect a franchise until two or three years after the fact. The only way of knowing is if the instant gratification of a championship is won by the team playing for now.

If your team is selling this trade deadline, it isn’t a reason to be down on the franchise. Those getting rid of valuable assets, may be doing what is best long term. The MLB trade deadline is usually the most exciting of the four major sports in the United States. I’m not buying into buyers and sellers. I am excited to see who will be wearing a different uniform in August.

All-star Importance, Lack-Luster Presentation

All-star Importance, Lack-Luster Presentation

The Minnesota Twins secured home field advantage in the World Series last night. A pair of Kansas City Royals each drove in two runs, giving the American League the win in the Major League Baseball All-star game. The problem with the all-star game is not that the winning league receives home field advantage in the World Series, it’s the presentation.

The MLB All-star game has consequences even though it is an exhibition. The National Football League and National Basketball Association all-star games are hardly worth watching. No part of the game resembles and actual contest between the best players from each league. Robinson Cano got one at bat in last nights all-star game. Cano worked a full count, eventually drawing a walk. That approach and effort was no different from any regular season game.

The image of the all-star game has yet to evolve with the significance of the game. During the regular season, players talk to each other while they are on  the field. However players may cover their mouth with their glove, or cameras cut away from the conversation. During an all-star game broadcast, the on field banter between players is glorified, making it feel less intense than a regular season game. If players weren’t mic’d up, or the playful nature wasn’t glorified, this game would feel like any other.

The pageantry that comes with an all-star game is to be expected. The players in the game are the best in the world at what they do. Events such as fan fest, as well as the red carpet do not take away from the game being played. Moving forward, the hoopla should take place the night before during the home run derby.

The Twins are 32-56, 20 games back in their division, and 17.5 games back of the second wild card spot. If the Twins can turn their season around, game one of the World Series will be in Minnesota. Opposed to popular opinion, I have no problem with the all-star game deciding where game one of the World Series takes place. However, the presentation of the event should match the magnitude of the outcome.

Opportunities Provided by Youth Baseball

Opportunities Provided by Youth Baseball

Youth baseball has played a major role in my life. From the time I was able to walk, I wanted to be playing baseball. With age, my roles in youth baseball have changed. I have gone from player, to umpire. Being the regulator of little league drama has been difficult at times, yet rewarding all the while. Through umpiring, I have been presented an opportunity that I would be an absolute fool to turn down.

I have been an umpire for Federal Way National Little League for a little more than four years. Through the little league, I was able to work a couple select ball tournaments. The Federal Way Knights hold a pair of tournaments, that I have worked for the past few years. During the tournaments, I have learned more about the game than I could have imagined. Those kids play spectacular baseball that is incredibly fun to watch.

In January, I received a call from one of the higher ups in the Federal Way Knights organization. Every couple of years, the Knights participate in a tournament in Cooperstown New York. About a thousand teams participate in this tournament each year. Each team is required to bring an umpire, and the Knights chose me.

The organization will take care of my travel, room and board, as well as my food for the week. Every umpire who works the tournament will be inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. By September, I will be in a baseball Hall of Fame. You better believe I will wear that out.

As part of the trip, I will get a pass into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I will take a walk through Cooperstown, just months after Ken Griffey Jr. will be inducted. The Hall of Fame is something I figured I would get to when I was 60 or 70 years old. Just a few days after my 21st birthday, I will be in New York, seeing baseball’s greatest museum.

Baseball is providing me with incredible opportunities. Being willing to work any game for Federal Way National has payed off. Taking what I do seriously during the Federal Way Knight tournaments has lead to great things. For the rest of my life, I will be grateful for what youth baseball has given me.

Trader Jerry

The Seattle Mariners may have the same uniforms when they take the field in 2016, however the players wearing them, will not be the same. New General Manager Jerry DiPoto has a vision of what he wants his team to look like. We are witnesses to his plan unfolding before our eyes. In the end, we may like what we see.

The baseball offseason in the Northwest has been an extremely active one. New General Manager Jerry DiPoto has wasted no time in reconstructing the roster. DiPoto has made his moves by way of trade, guaranteeing some new faces on the opening day roster.

A criticism of former General Manager of Jack Zduriencik is that he had no identity throughout his time in Seattle. In his early years, he tried to find players who played with speed and athleticism. After a couple of losing seasons, he change his philosophy. Zdurencik added power bats to the lineup. The change was a quick fix, but inconsistent.

Dipoto has had an idea of what he wanted the ball club to look like from the moment he was introduced as General Manager. If the player’s buy into his philosophies, Mariner fans could see a very different product, both on the field and in the standings.