Postgame Spread
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Suck it, Caple    

Maybe Ichiro should have volunteered to play center earlier. Maybe he should steal in dicier situations (though I'm not sure; we all know you have to be successful a lot in order for stealing to be worth it). And maybe he should try to hit for more power a little more often.

But this article is still stupid:

"You need to swing for the fences when the situation calls for it, the way you show you can in batting practice."

Batting practice? That's your evidence he can hit for more power and that he just chooses not to? Are you kidding? I think it's time we move past this idea that Ichiro could hit tons more home runs if only he wanted to. Game situations are a little different.

"You need to crash into those fences a little more often, too, and dive for some balls."

Ugh. Ichiro led the ML in plate appearance in 2004, was second behind Jeter in 2005, and second behind Rollins in 2006, because he doesn't run into fences. What little evidence we have suggests he's among the best center fielders in baseball defensively. We have seen him run down balls we're not sure anyone else would have gotten to. What is the point of complaining he doesn't get his uniform dirty enough? He doesn't have to.

If Ichiro was the best player Ichiro could be, with a little extra power and every single extra inch of defensive range he could get by diving for every play potentially catchable ball, the Mariners would not be significantly better. And does anyone consider how poorly Latino and American players might take being yelled at by a Japanese player? I think it could be a little awkward. More importantly, does anyone really think that there are Mariners who would be better players if they just tried harder? If they were more inspired?

No, they're just bad. Beltre is clearly at his worst when he feels under pressure, so no additional fieriness in the clubhouse is going to improve his at-bats, and most of the rest of the underperformers actually suck. Jose Lopez is the one guy I think you could really make a case for needing to work harder on certain things, and that would be telling him to ignore the coaching staff and stop trying to hit singles the other way.

I'm not saying Ichiro is perfect, but when he saw that Hargrove wasn't willing to give the job to Jones, he did step into center field. Then they traded away the guy he stepped into center field to create opportunities for...for Jose fucking Vidro. This is a badly managed team with a severe talent shortage. That is why they are bad. Better leadership might make the Mariners more fun to play for, but it will not get them to the playoffs. What we need are some more talented hitters and some more talented pitchers--both of which we had more of last year than this year.

If the story of Ichiro's walk year is his lack of leadership, I'm going to be sick. How about surrounding him with some players who are worth leading? I guess it's easier to pick on the Japanese player who has the gall to actually expect leadership out of his manager.



  • Here's what I say:

    If you work for the Mariners, and someone else works for you, you're fired.

    Problem solved.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 6:20 PM  

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