Tag Archives: Ichiro

Jamie Moyer stars in Rookie of the Year 2

48 year old Jamie Moyer underwent Tommy John surgery Wednesday in an attempt to pitch in the majors next year.  Obviously, this is a movie:

coming soon…

Plot outline: 48 year old major league pitcher Jamie Moyer (William H. Macy) gets Tommy John surgery in an attempt to pitch another year.  The doctor (Rob Corddry) tells him that he’s never done a surgery on such an old man before, and there are risks

The surgery goes wrong.  Jamie recovers to find that the tendons in his arm are a little too tight.  The result?  He can throw a baseball 100 mph.  Perfect, right?

One problem: Jamie pitched off his change-up.  He doesn’t know how to be a pitcher who throws 100 mph.  All of his pitches are 100 mph.  He can’t pitch like this.  He walks every batter he faces in spring training, and, dejected, leaves the team.

Jamie gets a job as a traffic cop, where his ability to quickly wave cars along makes him a hero.  Meanwhile, his Seattle Mariners are struggling without him.  Then one day, he gets hit by a car while on the job.  The car is driven by martial arts actor Jet Li (Ichiro Suzuki), who tells him to believe in his dreams.  His arm is hurt, and he can’t throw 100 mph anymore.  Perfect.

Star Mariner outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (Jet Li) tells Jamie that they need him back.  Jamie joins up with the Mariners just in time to help them get to the playoffs.  His fastball tops out at 80 mph.  THE END

Griffey + Randy + A-Rod + Edgar + Ichiro + Felix = .500 Mariners baseball

Felix Hernandez’s well-deserved Cy Young Award, announced last week, places a bookend (I hope) on 20 years of maddening Seattle Mariners baseball.  Being an M’s fan over the past two decades has given me the unique and aggravating experience of watching some of the best baseball players in the world, playing on some of the most mediocre teams in the league.

The 1990s Mariners had four of the best players of the past 25 years: Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Randy Johnson.  Consider what Griffey, A-Rod and Edgar did during their time with Seattle:

This does not include two second-place finishes for the AL MVP (Griffey, 1994; A-Rod, 1996).  In 1996, the Mariners scored 993 runs.  In 1997, they set the major league record for team home runs with 264.  Oh man, were they fun to watch hit.

I'm coming for ya, Kruk

Meanwhile, Randy Johnson morphed from the stuff of John Kruk’s nightmares into one of the most dominant (and terrifying) pitchers in the game.  The tallest pitcher in the history of the game (at the time), he threw two pitches: a high-90’s fastball and a sweeping 80’s slider.  He led the American league in strikeouts from 1992-1995 (as well as hit-by-pitches 92-93) and won the 1995 AL CY Young award (he finished 2nd in the voting in 1993, 4th in 1996, and 2nd again in 1997).  He.  Was.  Awesome.

What did these Mariners teams do, with four Hall of Fame-calibur players?  From 1992 through 2000, the Mariners won 695 games and lost 694.  One game over .500.  They went to the playoffs three times (1995, 1997, 2000), advancing to the AL Championship series twice (95, ’00).  A decent showing, but nothing that could be mistaken for a perennial contender.

If the 1990s Mariners were the teams of Randy, Griffey and Edgar, the 2000’s are Ichiro’s teams.  We’ve had Ichiro all decade, and now we have Felix, and the trend continues.  Ichiro won the AL MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Batting title in 2001.  He won another batting title in 2004, and has led the league in hits in seven of the past ten years.  Felix finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting last year, and won it this year.

These teams?  With Ichiro, the Mariners are dead even over the past ten years, at 813-813.  Over Felix’s last two dominant seasons, the M’s are 146-178.  Take out the miraculous 2001 season, and the Mariners haven’t been to the playoffs since 2000.

In new-fangled stat terms

What’s the takeaway here?  Mariner fans have watched, up close, the best individual pitching and hitting in all of baseball over the past 20 years.  Those twenty years have resulted in teams cumulatively one game above .500.  I’d argue that no fanbase has a better appreciation for the ways in which baseball is a team sport masquerading as an individual sport.  Would I trade Griffey’s brilliance for a trip to the World Series?  Probably not.  But would I trade Felix’s 2012 Cy Young Award for a trip to the playoffs?  Absolutely.

Best Major League Softball Roster

When I watch some baseball players, I think “Oh boy, he’s going to be an amazing softball player when he retires.”  So with some help from my friend Matt Rosen, I put together a softball team of current major leaguers.

Role: That huge guy who is a threat to hit the ball into the parking lot and break somebody’s windshield.  The player you delay your trip to the concession stand in order to watch hit.
Filled by: Adam Dunn (first base).

The greasy guy who plays in track suit pants and a black tank top, drives a lowered Civic or a pickup truck with a spoiler, and is the player most likely to get into an argument with the other team.
Filled by: Brian Wilson (second base).

Brian Wilson, in his game-day shirt

The player who either hits it 500 feet or strikes out, swinging so hard he spins around in the dirt.
Filled by: Mark Reynolds (third base).

Mark Reynolds from his record-breaking 204th strikeout of the 2009 season

The quiet, athletic guy with tattoos and a really hot girlfriend who doesn’t talk too much, seems pretty nice, but is clearly working through some shit he doesn’t talk about.
Filled by: Josh Hamilton (left field).

the kids' favorite

Really friendly guy who chats up everybody on both teams, organizes the team barbecue, is everybody’s kids’ favorite member of the team, and could probably get you weed if you asked.
Filled by: Shane Victorino (left-center).

The jerk who dives for every ball, takes the game too seriously, runs to at least second base on every hit, and slides too hard.
Filled by: Jim Edmonds (right-center).

Guy who is on the roster but is always hurt so he never, ever plays.
Filled by: Rich Harden (hurt).

Matt Stairs.
Filled by: Matt Stairs (DH).

Matt "home run or bust" Stairs

Old guy whose body doesn’t allow him to play anything but pitcher, and who is now playing softball with the children of men he used to play with.
Filled by: Jamie Moyer (pitcher).

Filled by: a Molina.  Because one out of every three catchers is a Molina.

Filled by: David Eckstein.  Let’s see if he’s still praised as a hard-working, overachieving, does-the-little-things ‘winner’ in softball.

Filled by: Ichiro.  I bet he would make an out once every three years.  Would never, ever, ever be thrown out at first.