From Basketball to Baseball....
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 
Hmm...Ben Davis
I'm a realist, I like Ben Davis' ass, but his swing...not so much! And its so humbling to know everyone has picked up on this (thanks Safest Blog!)

Now if we can get Carlos Beltran like all the other blogs are salivating over...hmm...that would be worth posting for! I'm in a Mariners funk...I blame the lack of sun so I can't even begin to think of baseball. I mean I never even commented on Joel Piniero signing a contract! An I enjoy watching that guy pitch (along with Soriano my favorites on the mound). Just so ya know he always looks like he has eyeliner on, but in a sexy David Bowie way, not the scary Marilyn Manson type way. Hee! Maybe we should plan a spring training trip to see the potentials.

One thing that interested me was Caple's article on fans renaming stadiums. He's right, just because it says in big letters "Safeco" doesn't mean we need to call it that. One of my old roommates would not step inside the stadium, or even watch the Mariners on TV, she was so upset that tax dollars built it. That's a bit extreme but an understandable position. In law review I worked with a newbie on his note (think long, long, detailed thesis-type paper) on stadiums and the legality of having communities pay for the stadium and a private ownership reap the profits. Very interesting when you look at the economics and how stadiums very rarely bring any income into an area. Think about it, have any businesses sprouted up around the stadiums (other than mobile food/merchandise booths)? I'll get into this more later.

Right now I'm counting down the days till my trip to Spokane to see the Zags play Pepperdine (Rivalry Week) and LMU--one week to go! Oh, and while Ronny deserves to be on, they totally dissed Stepp and Violette leaving them off the mid-season Wooden Award candidate list. Stepp is the glue holding the team together and is still capable of taking over a game if needed (this year he is more about orchestrating the other scorers). Everyone is still eligible for the list at the end of the year, and that's the only one that counts. But still...grrr arrgh!

Oh, and so everyone can see what I'm always blathering about, ESPN2 is showcasing Gonzaga in their "The Season Weekly" at 8:30 PST and 10:00 PST on 2/3 and 2/10 and 2/17. Starting on 2/24 will be Wisconsin. I believe they also plan to follow Utah (which should be interesting with the news on Majerus). ESPN crew has apparently been following around the team for the last week, and this will show all aspects of the program from practices to games (USD and Santa Clara). Enjoy!
 
Random Musings of a Different Sort
There has been a distinct lack of Mariners talk on this page lately. This is really surprising considering the loss of Kaz to Japan and the possibility of gaining Pudge for the catchers plate. The very idea of someone pushing my sisters beloved Ben Davis, the reasons for the fixation being well known to the world, off the team should be front line news. I blame the fact that the Zags are making a solid push and look to have a solid chance to sweep the conference. I mean, look at the personal Power 16 this week, ESPN is finally waking up and realizing that we are pretty good this year. But I digress.

Eddie Guardado is now our new closer instead of possibly having to take over from Sasaki part way through the year. I am just glad Seattle has a good group of players being built up in the minors to hopefully fill this giant hole we now have in our bullpen. And with the extra money are we going to spend it now or hold on so we can pick up some much needed offense half-way through the year? As Spring Training kicks in we will have to follow the going-ons of our favorite baseball team more closely.

Side Notes:
Tampa Bay looks to improve again, a second season with Sweet Lou at the helm can only be a good thing. They are just about out of their overpriced commitments from the 99/2000 seasons and may be able to build themselves into a Minnesota Twins type team with a quality team built from minor league prospects. They should be fun to watch again and a real terror in a few years.

Congrats to Jamie Moyer for winning the Hutch Award for his time spent with charity work.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
 
Zag play heating up!
The game Saturday was pretty intense, I was expecting a close game from Portland and they didn't disapoint! A 80-65 win but Portland stayed close for most of the game until Cory, Ronny and Blake teamed up to put the game away. Cracks me up that Seattle is so desperate for a decent college team to follow that the local papers have started not only highlighting the AP reports, but having their staff reporters write up pieces on the GU games!

For the stats geeks! During the game Blake Stepp's final assist of the night gave him 554 for his career to tie John Stockton for second on the all-time Gonzaga assists list. Matt Santangelo holds the top spot with 668. Stepp moved into ninth in career scoring with 1,466 points. He is also tied for second with Santangelo on the GU all-time 3-point list at 252. Richie Frahm is the leader with 280 (side note--Richie just went on the injured list with the Sonics). Stepp is also fifth in career steals with 134, Stockton is the leader with 262 (no suprise there!). Ronny moved into third place on the all-time Gonzaga free throws made list with 393. Ronny also is in second place with career blocked shots list with 110 behind Casey Calvary who leads with 207. Cory Violette passed Calvary for fourth in career rebounds with 758.

Some articles about the various GU players. Idaho Statesman talks about Cory Violette and his possibility of making the NBA. Cory is an amazing player who rarely gets the love in publications. Early in the season his scoring hadn't kicked in but he kept pulling down rebounds (averaging 7.7 per game). Now he looks more comfortable and the team has figured out how best to exploit the fact that teams double up on Ronny or send their best big guy to cover him, leaving Cory open at the basket. And he has started to move the ball with authority, whereas earlier in the season he seemed a bit tentative. The play of the "Big Three" (Cory, Ronny and Blake) is going to be pivotal in how far Gonzaga goes in the tourney.

Equally important is how well the supporting cast gives the big players a breather. Nice article on back-up point guard Derek Ravio. There has been noticable improvement by Ravio in recent games. He has amazing handles, and while he doesn't try for many shots he has one of the best shooting percentages on the team. Still makes some freshman mistakes, but is a viable option to either spell Blake or move to point so Blake plays shooting guard. However, with his ability to shoot off the dribble I can see him being used, much like Bankhead, to come in and shoot the dagger. Funny how small he looks on court, he is 6'1 but you would never know it by looking at him. Hee, must use that in order to lure the opponents into a false sense of security!
His recent stats? Over the last eight games he's averaged 15.5 minutes/game with 15 assists and four turnovers in that stretch. For the season he is averaging 12.1 minutes and has 20 assists and 10 turnovers.

An interesting article on ESPN regarding who will be in the Final Four. Seems to be the consensus that it will be Stanford, Duke and UConn (although this was before UConn dropped to Providence). The fourth team is up for grabs and GU is being considered! Forde looks at three teams: St. Joe's, GU and Louisville. While he doesn't think Blake is as good as St. Joe's Nelson (and if you get a chance you must see him play) but that the team has few weaknesses and lots of NCAA experience. On that he has a point, Blake is less likely than Nelson to single handedly carry the team to victory. This is a good thing. St. Joe's has had problems in the past at the tourney because even if Nelson had a phenomenal game, the rest of the team would disapeer and one player cannot advance at the higher level of play in the tourney. Nelson has more help this year with West, so I think they will advance beyond the first round, but going deep is still suspect. Meanwhile, Blake is capable of racking up points, but so is Ronny, Cory, Ammo, Skinner or even Kyle if he gets a hot hand. With so many scoring options other teams cannot focus on disrupting one player and have that change the game. Even bringing in the freshman (Mallon, Ammo and Ravio) doesn't decrease the level of play by much (although they were schooled a bit by Portland). With Skinner and Fox out the freshman have gotten much more PT and this will have them (hopefully) ready for tourney play.

Enough basketball, I promise to post more on the Mariners soon. 25 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
More Zag love
Grant Wahl at Sports Illustrated has come out with his Magic Eight (tm) of college teams of which he guarantees will come the 2004 national champion. His choices this year: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Louisville, Stanford, and Wisconsin.

Gotta agree with him on Gonzaga...as he says, "I've had the Zags in my top five since the preseason, and I'm not about to desert them now. They've beaten Maryland, Georgia and Missouri, and their only losses came in front of unfriendly crowds to undefeated teams (Saint Joseph's and Stanford). Why pick Gonzaga and not Saint Joseph's for the Magic EightTM? Believe me, it wasn't an easy choice, but the Zags have more tournament experience and better scoring options inside, and I don't think they've peaked yet." The Zags are playing much better now than the St. Joes game (injuries to key players and little time practice time playing together as a team), and our inside game has picked up considerably (especially production from Cory Violette) since the Standford game. Hopefully they will peak at the tourney. The only possible problem is not having that challenging game before the tourney that wakes up the team and shuts down any hubris. I'm guessing we will get that in the WCC tourney, most likely from St. Marys.

The other teams he picked I mostly agree with, a few exceptions--Cincinnati got blitzed by Louisville with a strong inside game. It is a scrappy team that could do well against a younger team that can't handle the rough, physical play, but matched up against a team with tourney experience or senior leadership and it will fold. Kentucky, well I'm a huge fan of Tubby's coaching and his ability to build up a great team that excels on defense. Unfortunately I don't think the team is deep enough to make it deep in the tourney. So who to go in their place? Tough question--I think Texas Tech has potential and has been under the radar (at least as far as possible with a coach like Bobby Knight) and could surprise some teams. I'd also have to put in St. Joes as I think that unless they run into a team with really physical inside presence and Nelson and West have an off night they should do well.

More to post later.

 
A Call for Assistance!
Hey, procrastinating at work while waiting for a conference call and saw ESPN has a poll regarding the best player in college basketball. Gonzaga point guard Blake Stepp is listed (along with Okafur, Nelson and Emmett) and is only running at 7.1%. Help a girl out and go vote for Stepp!

Thank you for your support.
Monday, January 19, 2004
 
Bracket Busters update and Kaz staying in Japan
Looks like the Gonzaga-Creighton matchup is not going to happen. Andy Katz's daily word lets us know that Tulsa turned down the change as they have already packaged and promoted the event against Gonzaga. It makes sense that Tulsa wouldn't want to turn down playing a top 20 team and while I would have enjoyed the Creighton matchup I really did not want Gonzaga to break the contract with Tulsa. Teams still refuse to play Gonzaga home-and-home so to not go and return the visit to Tulsa after they came to the Kennel would have been harsh. Should still be a good game, Tulsa just beat Rice and has some good guard play but has a tendency to defensive lapses and really doesn't have a good answer to our inside combo of Violette and Turiaf.

An exciting weekend, its amazing how much St. Marys has improved over the last few years. Gonzaga pulled out a 75-61 win, but the game played much closer than the score indicates. St. Marys kept the score close or tied and even had a lead for a brief period (than Blake answered with a sweet 3). However, the guys played smart and kept plugging inside where St. Marys gave up monster points to Cory and Ronny (20 and 19 respectively) and Few switched Stepp to shooting guard and he started taking over the game (1 point first half, 15 points second half). Some very impressive guard play by Raivio (who hit a backbreaking 3 but has the oddest low release!) who has made huge improvements since the beginning of the year. While the work of the bigs is going to be very important in the tourney, the ability of Raivio to take over the main ball handling and leave Blake open to concentrate on shooting could be what makes the difference.

Other impressive news for GU's RPI--Georgia beat Kentucky (breaking Kentucky's winning streak in the SEC) and Missouri finally won a game (beating Oklahoma in overtime). With wins against two top 5 teams (Georgia Tech and Kentucky) Georgia has now moved into the top 50 RPI listing according to CollegeRPI and Missouri is very close sitting at number 56. Hopefully these teams will continue to improve and help GU get a decent seed in the tourney (especially since I already have tickets for the first two rounds in Seattle).

Mariners news....not so much. Okay, spoke to soon as I just went to USS Mariner and Derek posted a link to Sporting News stating Kaz is not returning to the Mariners this year due to family problems. Looks like Everyday Eddie could be our closer instead of a set-up man. The article states Kaz would sacrifice his $9.5 million salary and 2005 option which opens up additional payroll for the Mariners. Hmm...should we start a betting pool on how Bavasi will manage to blow this amount? Much as I love Ben Davis, I'd think it would be great to see the M's get Pudge Rodriguez and move Wilson to back-up catcher (primarily catching just for Moyer). We haven't had a catcher with actual batting skills in, well, a long long time. Not sure who we would send Davis to (other than the Tigers who are thisclose to signing Pudge).

Mariners have issued 16 invitations to Spring Training. Looks like some positions will be a free-for-all as the M's desperately hope someone they invited will be better than what they have. Yeesh. Anyway, my hope for making the roster is Chris Snelling (hmmm....Aussie accent). If you haven't already, read Mariner Musings post on Chris and the Yoda fixation. Way amusing.

Now I'm displaying ignorance, but I'm not really sure how spring training works. Does everyone on the 40 man roster show up along with the invites and the team chooses from there (so Chris Snelling and Bobby Madritsch have a chance)? Also, are the M's required to keep anyone on the team? I understand that the 10 and 5 players (like Wilson) can't be traded without giving approval and I'm not really looking at the higher paid positions players. But can the Bench of Doom (tm USS Mariner) be summarily dismissed and how much would that cost? Are we required to keep around Willie Bloomquist or can we switch to a new (and maybe improved as can't go downhill) rookie player? Things to look into.
Friday, January 16, 2004
 
7 Foot Center...
"He has some good skills and has a great upside" Yes, great upside, like the fact that he is 7 foot tall! Come on, people think I am tall and I'm only 6'4. People think Zi is huge, he is only 6'8. 7 foot, now that is huge. Put some bulk on that guy and we have our own personal Yao Ming. Things are looking good for next year, which is pretty good concidering how excellent this year is shaping up even with the injuries. :)

Unfortunently I missed SportsCenter last night working on the trailer. Any chance you can keep it on the Tivo so I can watch it this weekend?

On the Ben Davis news, great news indeed. Another year hearing about the "Holy Grail".
Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
I'll remain a Mariners fan...Ben Davis is signed for next year!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh Callay! I chortle in my joy! Checked out Sports and Bremertonians and found out the news. Mariners resigned Ben Davis for next year. While only a one year $1.4 million dollar deal, you gotta think this is a good sign. Wilson is likely going to retire after next year, and leaves the spot open for Davis to be the primary catcher. While he does have a tendancy to go into funks, maybe our new hitting coach (and HOFer) can help him out! Hmm... Ben Davis :)
 
That's How Its Done!
Okay, the Zags won 92 to 50, shooting 60% (50% from the 3) and holding USF to 30%. Blake Stepp was on fire (and I'm so bitter I missed seeing him rain down 3s upon USF!) he was 9-9 at halftime and ended up with 23 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds and only one turnover (9 of 11 from the field). Sigh, sweet shooting touch AND he has the Elvis thing going on. Le sigh. Impressive how the team has been holding opposing teams to under 40% shooting. That defensive intensity is going to be very important come March. Also, the team shot 84.6% at the free throw line (one of my favorite statistics). Oddly, Turiaf didn't make it to the line once!

Poor USF, apparently the radio guy was reduced to remarking "USF has in the game...ah, it doesn't matter." Hee!

I was giddy to get to see some of the game on ESPN College Gamenight. Nice shots of Stepp making err...shots. Team got B+ in all categories (didn't see any of the teams get A's) and this is without Skinner or Foxy. Such fun to go from a time when we were lucky to be mentioned on the local news channel to being discussed on ESPN as a legitimate top 10 team! While I was at school (the last years of Coach Fitz) you could head into the Kennel for any game and find seating (and they rarely checked to see if you were a student) and now students camp out to get tickets. A group of us helped start the pep band up with car washes and now its fully funded by the athletic department. And it hasn't been that long since I left GU!

Oh, and things are only getting better. While next year Cory, Blake, Kyle, Foxy and Skinner graduate there will be a big guy coming in. A seven-foot center from New Zealand has started classes this semester and will red-shirt this year and be ready to start playing next year. He has already started practicing with the team. Even you would have to look up to him Kris! Hate to start looking ahead to next year since I'm having so much fun with the games this year, but while it will be a young team, there is a lot of talent. Ah, to see a team have a need (big guy) and go out and fill the need! Mariners, can you start taking notes? It's so simple...see big gaping hole in lineup...fill big gaping hole in lineup.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 
Something shiny and new
Yeah, Bavasi does tend to overstock certain positions (multiple shortstops, multiple catchers) but the scary thing is what positions have no backup. Think, is there ANYONE who can take Boone's place at second? How about the Edgar? Even Olerud doesn't have a decent backup this year. We have passable backups for outfield, and can bring up a minor leaguer to cover third (or use Bloomie again) but no one who can hit for enough power to take the place of either Boone or Edgar in the lineup. Scary thought and Bavasi is so concerned with getting something shiny and new right away that he neglected to go after players we actually need.

In other news, the Sonics are playing horrid tonight! I mean, the Cavaliers have LeBron James and other than that should not be leading the entire game. However the Sonics have multiple turnovers, really just throwing away the ball, and their shot selection is pathetic. Taking every opportunity to jack up threes without having anyone in place to grab a rebound. Despite all that they are within 2 in the third quarter and will probably pull out a win. Just not a pretty win. And I do want it all!

Gonzaga has a tough couple of games coming up but that is tempered as they are home in the Kennel with the students makin' noise. They survived Pepperdine and LMU on the road, now have to deal with San Fran and St. Marys (who almost beat Arizona). My guess is easy wins, and then we hit the road to play Portland. I've been worried about Portland all year, while not a great team, they always play the Zags very close and their home court is extremely tough. Really hope we get to play Creighton during Bracket Buster...Tulsa is not going to be that wakeup game that you need before the tourney.

Did you catch the St. Joe's score? Damn those guys are playing so well now. Ran over Fordham 79 to 35. Started with a 31-8 run, and Fordham had only 12 points at the half. Also an interesting end to the Kentucky-Mississippi State game. Only a couple seconds left, Mississippi State makes a brilliant defensive stop but the ball gets loose, a Mississippi State player grabs it, but its called a jump ball. With alternate possession, Kentucky gets the ball. So basically, Mississippi State is penalized for making the defensive stop! Kentucky scores on the play and gets a win. Sometimes a win is a matter of skill, sometimes its a matter of luck in how the ball bounces.

Gotta go, time to watch 24 and we get the "graphic violence" warning...wonder whose head Jack is going to chop off this time?!
 
Wow, we now have 3 shortstops...
Cirillo is officially gone. As in forever, that happened this last friday. Mariners are now in possesion of 3 short stops, two MLB caliber and one for the farm. This new guy certainly likes stacking up replacement players doesn't he.
Monday, January 12, 2004
 
Wow.... just wow...
A guy doesn't check on the web over the weekend and misses one of the coolest things he has heard all year. It would still be pretty sweet if the year wasn't only 12 days old at this point, which tends to take the grandiose qualities out of that statement.

On a side note, I am eating some serious crow in reguards to the Colts in the NFL PLayoffs. I thought they would fold like always when they hit the playoffs.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
 
How cool will this be?! If this happens next year we should see the new arena showcased. From the Journal Inquirer (bottom of the page).

"Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson, whose sixth-ranked Sooners are 10-0 heading into Sunday's game against UConn, says that the ESPN cameras that have followed his team for "The Season" have not been too much of a distraction. "The Season" is a behind-the-scenes look at the team practices, meetings, pregame and postgame locker room activities, as well as interviews - all access granted by Sampson. The ESPN cameras will stay with the Sooners through Sunday's game at Gampel Pavilion. The first segment on Oklahoma aired last Saturday and the second was broadcast last Tuesday. The third and final segment will be aired on Jan. 13. Similar shows are planned which will follow Memphis, Gonzaga, and Utah."
Friday, January 09, 2004
 
Interesting...very interesting!
A Gonzaga-Creighton matchup would be great and a real warm-up for the Dance. That's a happy thought to keep me going. And those are mad artistic skillz you are showing. I think you even got our seats for the Seattle rounds right! Remember, you have to buy the drinks....do they have garlic fries in Key Arena?

Yeah, about wishing Gillick was back, I cracked. One should never take to much cold medicine and spend an evening reading all the Mariners blogs which point out the lack of thought Bavasi puts into these off-season moves. I was filled with despair and went a little nuts. Won't happen again (at least until the season starts)!
 
Maybe they want the Mariners to be bad...
You never know, it could explain a lot. After all, you remember how excited everyone got when Seattle went from a lousy team to a quality one. Maybe they just want to recapture that magic. On a related note, I never though I would hear someone asking for Gillick back. Personally I am hoping against hope that we end up being a better team then it looks like on paper. But I'll still go to games with my dear and wonderful sister who is quite possibly the greatest sister in the entire world. Especially if she gets those really good seats right off the foul pole again.

It was nice to see the Zags come out strong against Pepperdine, they really need to step up during the WCC season and prove we deserve a high ranking. That way they will come to Seattle for a Neutral Court setting again. Click on the link to see my interpretation of the neutral court setting with my amazing artistic skills.

L33t 4rT Sk1llz

Additional: A Gonzaga-Creighton matchup is trying to be planned for the Bracket Buster games in February. The problem is Gonzaga would need to get out of it's contract with Tulsa for a Home and Home game planed before the Bracket Buster was put in place. It's a long shot, but it is interesting that they are trying. It could really add to our RPI at the end of the year when all eyes are warming up for the big dance.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
 
Oh happy day!
While the Mariner Nation deals with yet another trade (goodbye Guillen, hello more-expensive-marginally-better Aurilia and flotsam and jetsam from the Tigers) I can be happy as the Zags cruise to another victory! What makes this so special is the win comes against Pepperdine on the road. I was a little worried about this one, Pepperdine always saves their best for the games against the Zags. Nice win, Cory had another monster game, Blake showed off his ability to hit the three from WAY back, Kyle almost had a double double (10 pts, 8 rebounds!) and all three freshman (Mallon, Ravio and Ammo) got some major minutes and played older than their years. Only downside was the momentary panic as Ronny had to leave the floor after getting a jab in the chest. He came back in but looked like he was hurtin. Next up is LMU....should be an interesting game as LMU beat GU last year (one of our two "bad" losses). My guess is the Zags want some payback and won't be looking past LMU again this year.

The Mariner offseason is getting pretty depressing, and dealing with the cold, wet, overcast lack of sunshine in Seattle is depressing enough. Thank god the Zags provide some spark of decent sports news to brighten up the dreary days. Usually I can console myself as the basketball season ends in March by switching to the Cactus League spring training games but unless things pick up I may need to avoid that. Any suggestions on what bad habit to pick up instead?

I'm going with friends to a Seattle Thunderbirds game Saturday. I had to quickly google to find out what the Seattle hockey team was named. The last hockey game I went to was the VLS game, where all the rugby people sat together drinking "coffee" out of travel mugs and chanting for blood. Yeah, this should be different. Let ya know about the fun!
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
 
Mariners running on empty
Yup Kris, Bavasi is intent on filling up the roster with redundancy and mediocrity. Cause a major league team needs four catchers (although I don't think Borders is on the 40 man roster). The saddest part is, as pointed out at Dave's Mariners and More, "the Mariners have a full roster with three catchers, one awful pitcher, and a utility man who can't hit. The active roster is full and it's not even spring training. We might as well not issue any invites, unless we plan on releasing these losers." And that's not the worst of it as there aren't alot of position players waiting to come up to the majors in the Mariners farm system.

However, there are any number of potentially great pitchers wasting away in Tacoma. Clint Nageotte, Rett Johnson, Jose Antonio Nunez, Bobby Madritsch (a lefty!), George Sherrill, Travis Blackley, Aaron Looper, Aaron Taylor, J.J. Putz, and I'm sure more that I don't know about unable to get a roster spot because Bavasi decided to waste a spot on Jarvis. And it doesn't look like Soriano will get a chance to shine as a starter yet. Sigh.

Okay, must not be squashed flat by disappointment...must retain tiny bit o' hope in my heart that this is all dream and I'll wake up and Gillick will be GM and I promise to never never never complain about his lack of movement at the trade deadline ever again. Now can I wake up from this nightmare?!
 
Oh Boy, Another Catcher!
We now have another catcher? Wow, that brings us up to four. It's nice to know we can have three guys knocked out of a game and still have a quality backup...

Pepperdine apparently shut down the inside game for Utah in their 76-69 point loss. Utah didn't have thier starting center, but it is still quite a job to shut down the starting forward and giving him a 0-0 night. On the other hand, they were pounded on the outside from 3 point land. So even if they do collapse in and stop our inside game for a while, the Zags should be able to make up the deficit from outside the paint.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
 
Hee....Kris knows me way way to well! Hmmm....pretty shiny...

Anyway, I need to focus on something nice about next season as the Cirillo trade went down and the repercussions are not nice. David at USS Mariner aptly describes the Bench of Doom resulting from the trade. If he is right that this is our bench on opening day, I just might cry.
 
The real reason Ivy wants to keep Ben Davis around...
She likes his ass. That's it.
 
Dealing with the white shit
Yeah, the Zags are doing well and now have to wait for the Pepperdine game down in Maui. Should be an exciting game, Pepperdine hung around with Utah last night for most of the game. One thing I noticed, Pepperdine mostly shot threes--no attempt to go inside. If they try that against the Zags it could be a replay of the UW game as our bigs really bang it inside. Of course, if Pepperdine gets really hot at the three then that will make a different style of game. Important to note that the game is at 5:30, not 7:00 as previously mentioned. Kris, I enjoy the linky goodness!

I'm not even sure what I can say about the Mariners plans for the future. Ugh, these are such bad moves! The problem being that the moves are not bad enough to completely tank the team, merely to render it milquetoast. I feel a distinct case of ennui for the coming season. I predict a decent season, winning around 90 games and missing the post-season by a couple games. Enough to keep the tourists coming and keep the polite fans of Seattle from booing the team. But really why is it so hard to come up with a decent bench? Bavasi really is working hard to be so incompetent. At this point I'd rather bring in prospects (who you may be surprised by) than go with the older, declining, should-have-retired-long-ago players. Following on the armchair fan pysche of Kris, from a purely aesthetic reasoning, I'm issuing a warning to Bavasi...if you dare trade away Ben Davis I'll have the villagers ready with torches and pitchforks.

On another note, it is still snowing in Seattle. That is a sentence that should not ever be written! I'm working from home today as the buses refuse to try and navigate the hills by my house and I'm sick enough that I'm not trying to walk eight or so blocks down hills to get to work. No snow plows so we have inches of snow and ice on the road. I miss Vermont, at least when it snowed there the plows were out, the roads were cleared and you could safely drive around without an idiot in an SUV almost sliding into you. Sigh, hopefully the white shit will be gone soon and life will return to normal.
Monday, January 05, 2004
 
Zags RPI=10th, SOS=33
Not a bad start. They are mentioned as having the 10 RPI, with number one belonging to St. Joe. The strength of schedule is 33, no idea how that works though. Ivy will be able to add in more details later. All if this is happily pointed out, yet they still only give us a ranking of 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. What a bunch of freaks. At least in the Mid Major rankings they mention that it would be fun if Gonzaga played in the Pac-10.

Article Linking Goodness
Mid Major Top 10
USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll of absurdity

On the ladies side of the court, the Bulldogs took down a strong Montana team to put themselves in good shape for the coming WCC half of the season after a tough start. Hopefully the rest of the season will be in winning form.

Additional Additional:

Fun article that points out that being a lower tier team in a "power" conference is a really bad place to be as you are being beat up by the big boys and the fact that there are a lot of really good teams that can kick ass at any level outside your conference ready to kill you. Uses Washington and Gonzaga as an example. "You had to feel a little sympathy for first-year Washington State head coach Dick Bennett last week when the Zags put a 40-point pasting on their neighbors from the Pac-10. " heh

More Article Linking Goodness
 
So Long Guillen, You Should Have Been at Third...
Lets get one thing straight, I kind of like Guillen. He did a decent job but we need to face facts. He wasn't that good of a short stop whenever I was watching him play and that is what really counts. Don't give me any garbage about stats or over all fielding percentages, I am the very definition of the armchair sports fan. Everything I decide is right, and my decisions are based on what I see. Whenever I see Guillen play short stop, he screws up.

You think I'm kidding don't you, but it's true. The guy cannot help but throw the ball away or miss-handle a grounder whenever I am watching him in that critical position. Sure he may be better then some other players out there, but I still don't want him on short stop for the Mariners. However, he was nothing but gold when at third base. I don't know how or why, but when he was playing third and I watched, he did great. Not quite up to the defensive level of He Who Cannot Bat, but then again very few people are. We need to send Cirillo back to Colorado in exchange for them picking up half his paycheck. To bad people can't just be fired like in the NFL...

In other news, it was nice to see the Zags not collapse with the injuries. And with the GT vs Georgia double overtime game our RPI should be up as well. Good times all around for College Basketball, at least as far as I'm concerned.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
 
Gonzaga Pounds Montana 88-67
Sounds like it was a good game (once again no showing in Seattle but RealPass worked for radio coverage!). Gonzaga wins 88-67 over Montana to take the unofficial Inland PNW title (wins over Eastern, WSU, Idaho and Montana). While this is the first game playing without Skinner or Fox, the guys did well, outrebounding Montana 40 to 19! Also the free throw percentage was at 76.7% which makes me happy. Mallon and Ravio did well with increased playing time, and Knight showed a real defensive presence starting for (I believe) the first time this season. The last 4-5 minutes it was time for the bench (Floyd and Michaelson) to play which is always fun, hope to see them get more playing time during conference games. It seemed like Few was playing Ravio at point and Blake at shooting guard for part of the time. This should be interesting and I'm sure we will see more of this in the conference play. I'd love to see a game where Blake is in at the 2-spot and told to just go out and shoot. While this year he has become much more of a play-maker than a scorer, I'm sure that he is just as deadly accurate as ever and could light up the court if there was a need.

Latest report is that Skinner has his non-shooting hand in a splint to be re-evaluated in three weeks and Fox had surgery on his knee, expected to be out 4-6 weeks. This should leave both with enough time to rehab and get in playing mode at least in time for the WCC tourney and the Dance.

WCC play picks up against Pepperdine (televised on FoxSports on 1/08) Playing the first game on the road and against rivals should be an exciting way to start things out and give a good indication of how the rest of the season will go. Things are looking good with the way GU has been finishing games this year. The biggest worry last year was that even against less talented teams they seemed to lack the killer instinct. Teams were allowed to battle back into the game (see the narrow wins over WSU, UW, etc). This year the team kept pushing and battling and the results have been impressive.
Friday, January 02, 2004
 
Mariners Rants
Okay, back from the holiday and ready to get some discussion going regarding the hellacious job Bavasi has done so far this offseason. I was reviewing the official Mariners Year in Preview for 2004 and my head just about imploded from this statement about why it was a good thing we didn't get Tejada. "While putting Tejada in the middle of the lineup would have gone a long way in solving the team's power deprivation, it probably would have limited Bavasi's ability to build a strong bench or upgrade third base." Okay, now they have a point....an actual "that makes sense" point. However this reasoning only plays out if Bavasi actually builds a strong bench or upgrades third base. So far he has not done that (in fact he has sent the bench back to the stone ages by exchanging Colburn for McCracken). This is so frustrating! Management keeps trying to placate the fans by stating that they wouldn't want to pay for a big name star because then they couldn't get anyone else to fill in the holes. But then they keep on neglecting to fill those holes with anyone decent (if we are lucky we get league average, if not...McCracken). So we head into the new season with, once again, the only power in the line-up being Boonie and the Edgar. And a bench which could probably be beaten by a local Little League. Sigh. Oh, and ticket prices are going up (but not to pay for any big star, no we are paying for the joy of seeing those ace bench players McCracken and Willie Bloomquist play! Cause ya gotta spread the money around).

To distract myself from the bitter rants I need to keep muttering what will undoubtedly become my mantra next year "this is your last year to see Edgar...enjoy the moment....this is your last year to see Edgar...enjoy the moment." And I am intrigued by LHP Eddie Guardardo, who may slide into the closer role if Kaz is unable to come back.

I have to admit, while looking at the potential lineup for next year gives me chills the potential pitching is looking just fine. Can't complain about anyone (except potentially Kaz closing but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt). This team has so many arms just waiting for a chance (please get Soriano in as a starter!) I really feel we should trade a couple potentials for a big(ger) bat. You cannot win on good pitching alone. How many times did we lose a game last year because we were unable to generate any offensive threat?! Loss by one-run games (especially late in the season) seemed to be the norm. Well pitched games, but without any offensive support. And I believe that the added stress is the reason why some of the younger pitchers (Pinero and Meche especially) would have problems. They knew that the team was unable to give them run support and they had to pitch a perfect game to win. They did not have the luxury of giving up even one run, and knowing that you could pitch, give up one run and still lose had to be grinding on them. So at times they overcompensated and got nailed for it. So in summary--support your local pitcher and get some actual offense for the Mariners!

The two other interesting items are the move to trade Guillen and send him to Siberia...err...the Detroit Tigers and the move to trade Cirillo. Poor Guillen, I don't know whose puppy he kicked but Bavasi sure is working hard to get rid of him. Despite his fragile body, Guillen is a decent shortstop who can fill in at third when needed. Not a huge gaping hole (see the entire bench which resembles a black hole and will swallow our playoff chances with no hope of escape). While I'd love to see Cirillo leave Seattle, why would we want a catcher and (by all accounts) a horrible pitcher? Hmm...let's see, with Pat Borders in for arbitration we have THREE catchers (and having seen me rant earlier, the Mariners had better not trade my boy Ben!!) and a plethora of decent/great pitchers plus a handful of ready-for-the-majors pitchers-in-waiting at Tacoma. Idiotic move being made just so Bavasi can prove he did something this off season ("no I didn't get Tejada, or Vlad, or a big bat, or improve the bench...but look, I got rid of Cirillo!"). Newsflash--no one cares if you move Cirillo out the door, most casual fans hardly even realize he is still on the roster. The secret to having a good team is the players on the field. Don't trade Cirillo for crap, let him go or if that stings to much he is a great defensive player who can come in just for that purpose of the bench.

I realize that I have (and will in the future) post mean things about players and Bavasi. I'm sure everyone involved is a very nice person however I'm talking about job performance not your worth as a human being. You can be a horrible ballplayer and/or manager and still love puppies and sunshine and balloons. So keep in mind this is not personal, but professional and if you have a job in the public eye you need to get be able to separate what people say about your job performance from your self-worth.

Okay, enough ranting for now, more to post later cause I want to hear some thoughts from Kris and Carie.

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