Since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, things have been different for Seattle sports fans. We have expectations now. We have a gold standard by which to compare other teams in Seattle. We are no longer shooting blindly at the broad side of desire, but instead, know what we want. We want to keep feeling this way. We want to feel this way as much as we possible can.
I don’t know about everyone, but for me the championship feeling has not worn off. I haven’t grown more sarcastic since the Seahawks won, but I’ve begun to consider what it would be like to see a Mariners World Series victory or a Sounders MLS Cup win. Even a Sonics championship, which for those of us born after 1979 has seemed largely out of reach – especially due to obvious present circumstances – feels more within reach now that the Seahawks have won.
So it was important for the Mariners to get off to a hot start, and a hot start they did get off to.
The Mariners went 4-2 on a six game road, which is more than could have been expected before the season started. Some of their past pariahs have been contributing, and even Robinson Cano, the team’s high-profile offseason signing, has been deceiving good. But the Mariners two losses were both marred to an extent by ugly ball-strike calls by home plate umpires.
Here is a tweet from Dan Brooks, proprietor of Brooks Baseball, the morning after the Mariners first loss of the season.
Here are the images referenced in that tweet:
That ugly strike zone doesn’t begin lay out the main narrative from this game, which was the fifth inning curveball that was clearly strike three, but that was called a ball. Nick Punto would end up scoring after getting on base, and that run was a key run in a game that ended up going to extra innings, with the Mariners losing.
Hardly as nefarious, but similarly frustrating, was the strike three call against Abraham Almonte that ended the Mariners weekend against the Oakland A’s. Jim Johnson threw a curveball that crossed the plate about six inches above the strike zone. A curveball is a pitch that is hard to call at the top of the strike zone, and umpires often overestimate pitch movement. So while this was out of the strikezone, it is likely that from the average umpire’s perspective, this pitches was actually further outside the strike zone.
The Mariners had two men on base at the time, and were losing by three runs. There is no way to ensure that the Mariners would have won the game, or even have tied, but it is frustrating.
That frustration led to Eric Byrnes going onto 710 ESPN Seattle, and expressing his (and many of our) desire for robot umps for the strike zone.
After several rough outings, and after multiple bad seasons, Hector Noesi has been designated for assignment. Another team will have to want to put him on their 40 man roster for the Mariners to lose him outright, but a good chance exists that Noesi has pitched his last pitch for the Seattle Mariners.
The biggest news for the Seahawks was the extension that Head Coach Pete Carroll signed. Carroll’s extension wasn’t a huge surprise, and was somehow anticlimactic after rumors began to swirl about an Earl Thomas extension the night before.
I used to be a guy that said soccer was boring. I grew up playing and refereeing soccer, but grew bored with the sport as my interest in baseball grew, and as I was introduced to the virtues of beer and women.
The Sounders played the most exciting soccer game I’ve seen on Saturday, and I watched the second half of their amazing comeback against Tigres last year during the CONCACAF tournament. After going down 2-1 in the first half, then 4-2 in the second half, the Sounders came back in amazing fashion, as Clint Dempsey’s 87th minute penalty kick goal tied the match, and completed his hat trick. Playing against Portland, any tie probably feels like a loss, but on the road, one point is nearly as good as three.