According to Mariners' beat writer Kirby Arnold, today's matchup between the Angels and Mariners is no ordinary spring training game:
"After what (the Angels) did to the Mariners last year -- dominating the season series 13-6 and finishing six games ahead in the American League West standings -- it's no surprise the M's want to send an early message. (Mariners manager John) McLaren's lineup today will be filled with regulars -- only third baseman Adrian Beltre (death in the family) and designated hitter Jose Vidro (sore elbow) -- won't play. Among the Mariners' pitchers will be opening-day starter Erik Bedard, Brandon Morrow and closer J.J. Putz.
We'll be getting underway any minute now as soon as XM 176 stops playing commercials. Check it out after this irritatingly placed jump:
3:05 PM - Erik Bedard starts off the game by giving up a triple to speedy Chone Figgins
3:07 PM - Gary Matthews Jr.gets an RBI with a sacrifice fly. I don't know who the announcers are but I will figure out a way to insult them anyway.
3:10 PM - The Angels' staring lineup today is: Figgins 3B, Matthews RF, Guerrero DH, Hunter CF, Anderson LF, Kendrick 2B, Quinlan 1B, Mathis C, Izturis SS and some gentleman named Adenhart is their pitcher. I recognize everyone else.
3:11 PM - Guerrero lines out and Torii Hunter strikes out. I don't believe that Torii Hunter will have a Very Good Year but at least he's not the most overpaid guy in his outfield.
3:14 PM - Ichiro grounds out. He is hitless so far this spring. I don't get it...my calendar says it's still winter. And what's up with airline food?
3:16 PM - Your Mariners lineup today is: Suzuki CF, Betancourt SS, Ibanez LF, Sexson 1B, Wilkerson RF, Johjima C, Norton DH, Lopez 2B, Bloomquist 3B and Erik Bedard is the pitching gentleman. I know all these players.
3:18 PM - Yuniesky Betancourt got a single off Nick Adenhart. Rich Lederer interviewed him so he must be important.
3:19 PM - Raul Ibanez triples in Betancourt but this may be just a double and an error because Torii Hunter had an oopsie-doodle in right-center....no, nevermind. Two triples so far in this contest.
3:20 PM - Richie Sexson hits a long double off the centerfield wall and it's 2-1 Mariners. This must be the Mariners radio guys doing the call because they just got as giddy as a schoolgirl.
3:23 PM - Brad Wilkerson draws a walk. He used watercolors.
3:24 PM - Johjima GIDPs to end the inning and Dave Niehaus (the announcer) says something about going to Japan.
3:26 PM - If this isn't Dave Niehaus doing the play-by-play, someone tell me.
3:28 PM - I love local radio announcers (read: I hate local radio announcers). Every two minutes, they read live ads about local auto dealerships or dry cleaners. They spend so much time calling the same team, they run out of things to say. Speaking of which, there are two outs so far and I forgot what happened.
3:30 PM - "It won't be long and it'll be daylight savings time but that won't mean anything here in Arizona" Oh really? Thanks, Dave! WHO IS AT BAT?
3:31 PM - Dave is informed that there is no 's'...it is Daylight Saving Time. I don't know about this. But hey, the top of the 2nd is over and I don't recall hearing a single player's name being broadcast.
3:35 PM - Maybe I'd be better off liveglogging the box score on MLB.com but that's an inning behind. But at least they tell me the names of the players.
3:36 PM -
Jim Greg Norton gets a hit and now Jose Lopez is at bat. Good I got me some names! Dave is informed that it is indeed Daylight Saving Time.
3:38 PM - Norton steals second; Kendrick makes an over-the-shoulder catch on a Lopez pop-up to make the first out. Willie Bloomquist is up and I can distinctly hear a fan catcalling him. WILLLLLLLLLLLLIEEEEEEEEEEE BLOOOOOOOOOOOMQUISSSSSSST. Fantastic!
3:40 PM - Dave ponders last night's primaries. He is giggling because 'the landscape has changed'. He hopes youngsters are watching our electoral system and learning some things about politics. I merely hope he can learn me something about the baseball game I am trying to liveglog.
3:42 PM - Willie gets a hit...runners on the corners. Ichiro is up and I am waiting for another comment about Japan.
3:44 PM - Sacrifice fly for Ichiro...Garret Anderson flubbed the throw home so Norton scores and it's 3-1 Mariners. Betancourt gets a ground ball hit so we've got runners on 1st and 2nd...pitching coach Mike the Butcher visits the mound.
3:46 PM - I've been informed that his name is Mike Butcher, and he is not, in fact, a butcher. Hm. Go figure. Raul Ibanez grounds out to first basegentleman Quinlan. Inning over.
3:48 PM - Wait a minute...there are TWO Daves in the announcing booth? My world is collapsing on itself.
3:50 PM - They're talking about Bobby Murcer beating that brain cancer again. Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers. Chone Figgins grounds out off Bedard. The younger Dave does a better play-by-play than the older Dave. (read: he actually calls the game.)
3:53 PM - Yuniesky Betancourt makes a dazzling play to get Matthews out. I wouldn't really know but I believe Young Dave's description. As for Old Dave...it's one thing to be casual and folksy when you're broadcasting a game on TV. People can still put the TV on mute and know what's going on. But when you're doing a game on the radio, can you PLEASE just tell us who is at bat? Inning's over. Bedard has calmed himself after that leadoff triple.
3:56 PM - Adenhart is still in the game. Sexson is up followed by Wilkerson and Johjima. Richie lines out to Figgins. One out.
3:59 PM - I am informed that Adenhart had Tommy John surgery in high school. When Tommy John had it, did they just call it 'surgery'? And what's up with airline food? Wilkerson grounds out...two outs. Johjima gets a base hit which prompts my dago friend Mike Scoscia to make a trip to the mound. Pitching change!
4:02 PM - Jason Bulger of Valdosta State (GA) is your new pitcher. He's not related to Marc. In fact, I have no idea how to spell his name. Greg Norton is up. Hey, he used to be a Devil Ray! Norton gets hisself another hit for the day...two on, two out.
4:05 PM - 'Young' Dave references The Honeymooners. I presume he is not referring to the Black Honeymooners with Cedric the Entertainer. I will now refer to him as 'Less Old' Dave.
4:06 PM - Lopez grounds into the ol' fielder's choice and the inning is over. We're headed to the fourth! I don't plan on blogging past the sixth! I'm halfway there!
4:09 PM - Bedard is out of the game. Torii Hunter leads off the inning against new Mariners' pitcher Cha Seung Baek with a double. Baek is Korean, for those of you who prefer to make racist jokes. Shame!
4:12 PM - Native Californian Garret Anderson, who somehow won the Home Run Derby once, fouls one into the press box and a writer with a glove drops the ball.
4:15 PM - Anderson lines out to Sexson which bring up Howie Kendrick, who will never ever win the Home Run Derby, but once collided with Ben Affleck at Fenway Park. Good show, Howie! Kendrick drives in Hunter with a single. Good show, Howie!
4:18 PM - The local station interrupts to tell us there's traffic in Tacoma! There are also two outs now after Quinlan grounds out. And three outs now after Mathis did something I missed because I was making a comment at Deadspin.
4:21 PM - Dave Sims is doing a good job but it was easier to make fun of Dave Niehaus. Bulger is still pitching for the Angels...Willie Bloomquist leads off the bottom of the fourth.
4:24 PM - Bloomquist flies out. Ichiro is up, still looking for that elusive first base hit of the spring, but he's had only six official at-b...uhhh make that seven. Two outs. Betancourt is up now. I have no idea if I've been spelling his first name right but you catch my drift anyway. You-knee-ess-key. Yuniesky. Or, Yuni for short. And he strikes out.
4:27 PM - WE'VE GOT NIEHAUS BACK! And the Daves have brought in the assistant GM to the booth to further prevent me from understanding what's happening in the game.
4:30 PM - Cesar Izturis gets a base hit, after which Dave Niehaus announces that there is one ball and one strike. Um, Dave, I think the umpire clears that count after each at-bat is 'over'. Figgins sac-bunts Izturis to second. This Baek feller is still pitching allegedly.
4:33 PM - My colleague informs me that the Asst GM is named Lee Pelekoudas. What is that, Greek? Either way...they're talking about speed skating now. And now Trevor Hoffman. Something about strong legs.
4:36 PM - Ooh! Station identification! Gary Matthews struck out on a check swing. Vlad is up, and he's fouling a ton of balls back to the booth. Stay on your toes, Niehaus! Vlad lines out to Sexson...it must have been quite a play because Niehaus just squealed into the microphone. It sounded like an old man sending back soup at a deli.
4:39 PM - "Why aren't there any Haitians in baseball? There are so many Dominicans but Haiti is right there." Oh, Dave Niehaus. You are quite the interviewer.
4:40 PM - Hey, the Whispers are playing the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on March 15th! You know, "Rock Steady". The Whispers!
4:42 PM - They are debating the merits of Brad Wilkerson as the starting right fielder for the M's. This is why I call them "the Giants of the AL". Also, I have no idea what's going on in the game, but it's 3-2 Seattle, 1 out, bottom 5th.
4:45 PM - Wilkerson is on 2nd base, Johjima is on 1st, there are two outs, hot hitter Greg Norton is up, Niehaus is popping liver pills, Lopez is on deck, and Miguel Cairo is a Mariner this spring.
4:46 PM - Norton draws a walk and Lopez grounds a base hit into center. Two more runs make it 5-2 Mariners. Seven more outs OR thirteen more minutes and this liveglog is over.
4:49 PM - Henry Bonilla has been pitching this inning, by the by. No relation to Bobby, unless there is a relation that I am not aware of. In that case...STAY AWAY FROM BOBBY!
4:50 PM - No, not this Henry Bonilla.
4:53 PM - A fifteen pitch at-bat for WILLLLLLIIIIIE BLOOOOMQUISSSSST ends with a hit and an RBI. Gary Matthews' dive was poorly timed (but his free agent year was well-timed). 6-2 Mariners.
4:56 PM - 0-for-8 for Ichiro. Inning over...we're headed to the sixth. Hey, the Mariners have Lee Elia showing them how to hit. I wonder if he's teaching Ichiro how to curse in English.
4:59 PM - It's nigh 5PM so we're done here. Dave Sims just said that Torii Hunter just led off the sixth inning with an RBI triple. Something is wrong with that statement. Thanks to the three of you for reading this! See you next week! Really!