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Mariners Add Gerut and Robertson, Break Club Record For Spring Training Invites Friday, January 21, 2011

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With the Thursday addition of outfielder Jody Gerut and southpaw starter Nate Robertson, the Mariners now total 347 non-roster invitees, all vying for five or six open positions on the club.  Most of the minor league contracts signed have been described as “major upside” deals by GM Jack Zduriencik, and without the liability of a major league contract, the Mariners are certain to find a player or two who might shine in Peoria without any financial loss.

“With a few hundred players, our odds will be pretty good that we can stumble across some talent this spring,” Zduriencik said last week after breaking the 300 mark.  “Money’s tight, so this seemed the best course of action to shore up any weaknesses in the club.

A separate clubhouse had to be built to house the additional locker space required for the so-called “lottery players” to report in a couple weeks.  Construction should be completed next week.

Photo courtesy Peoria Sports Complex

M’s Management Out of Cash: Can’t Convince Fans That Winter’s Over Monday, January 10, 2011

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GM Jack Zduriencik has made some incredible moves the past two seasons, with the acquisition and unloading of All-Star Cliff Lee easily topping that list.  Fans all over the Northwest sport t-shirts with the phrase “In Jack We Trust.”  And despite the abysmal performance of the Mariners in 2010, there’s still a lot of reasons to look for success in the future of this franchise.  The only problem as far as M’s management sees it, is a lack of funding.

“We’re strapped,” said club President Chuck Armstrong on Sunday night.  “I can’t really say where it all went, but we’re down and out financially.  We’ll be lucky if we don’t have to raise season ticket prices again.”

But despite these assertions from various team sources, the average fan just can’t seem to see past that.

“Things are looking up,” said local fan John Bremston from Bellevue.  “We just need to add a big bat, some pitching, and trade for a few prospects this winter, and we’ll be all set to win this year.  I know Jack won’t let us down.”

Other fans are less positive, but still expecting more from this offseason.

“We’re still building for the future, obviously,” said Spokane native Ryan Seeger.  “But there are a number of decent free agents out there that will let us compete this season.  A little more pop and this team’s gold.”

Armstrong can’t seem to get his point across.

“What do they want us to do?  [Milton] Bradley’s eating up 12 million and he’ll be riding pine all season.  We can’t trade Aardsma like we thought.  We already signed Olivo and Ryan to new deals.  Without a sudden influx of cash, we’re done,” Armstrong complained while snacking on a half eaten sandwich he found just outside Safeco’s left field entrance.

Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln had even bleaker view of the situation.

“Not only are we short, but we owe money.  Lots of it.  And Ichiro doesn’t take kindly to a late paycheck” Lincoln shuddered.  “He already took away my Wii.  I can’t live like this.”

(from left to right) Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik and Chuck Armstrong hanging out on Edgar Martinez Drive Monday morning.

HOF President Says Latest Results Show Commitment To Integrity – Ghost of Ty Cobb Laughs His Ass Off Thursday, January 6, 2011

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Photo courtesy of San Diego HOC

The votes are in: Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are in and Mark McGuire and Raphael Palmeiro, among others, are not.

More interesting than the steroid debate instilled in this controversy is the reaction of Cooperstown President Jeff Idelson in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski.

“There’s a certain integrity required when it comes to baseball’s highest honor…,” he said.  “The character clause exists as it relates to the game on the field. The character clause isn’t there to evaluate and judge players socially. It’s there to relate to the game on the field.”

The character clause to which he’s referring is part of the directive to the voters instructing them to base their vote “upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.”

And as for evaluating players as they played the game “on the field,” no one knows the high the standards of the Hall of Fame better than Ty Cobb.

One of the most notorious players in the history of the game, Cobb was elected almost unanimously in the very first Hall of Fame election in 1936.

“I was a son of a bitch,” the ghost of Ty Cobb said in an interview this afternoon.  “Anybody who says different wasn’t paying attention.”

In truth, Cobb’s list of criminal acts is long, and many do involve how he played the game on the field.

“I stabbed and choked [African Americans], spiked people every chance I got, cursed, drank… Heck, I even bet on baseball.  Never got caught though,” Cobb’s ghost said.

Ty Cobb’s ghost, who says he was present in the room when Idelson gave the interview, believes integrity doesn’t mean anything when you’re a great baseball player.

“You don’t think Bonds will get in?” he asked.  “You’re all idiots.  I was one of the biggest bastards to ever play the game, and I beat out even the ‘Great Bambino’ in that first election.  Vitamins [steroids] ain’t immoral.  If he’s smart, he’ll pay off the press.”

Rarely interviewed, the ghost of Ty Cobb said he plans on attending the Hall of Fame ceremony this summer if he can get time off from the pits of hell in which he plans to burn for all eternity.

Geoff Baker Admits Real Reason For Anti-Edgar Campaign Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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Photo courtesy of Seattle Times

In a surprising move in the local sports blogosphere, Geoff Baker finally came clean about the real reason for his now annual campaign against the Hall of Fame election of Edgar Martinez.

In more than twenty thousand emotional words accidentally posted and then removed from his blog this morning, Baker relayed his intense love for the Seattle designated hitter, and his regret that he cannot support him publicly.

“It pains me to omit him from my ballot yet again, but the reaction it provokes in the Seattle sports community is something that sustains me.  I just can’t live without it,” Baker wrote.

He went on to use most of the post to describe the almost physical gratification he receives from the onslaught of negative comments on his blog.  “It’s the reason I went into sports journalism in the first place,” Baker continued.  “Without it, I’d be just another Canadian pretending to love baseball.  Nobody wants to read what I have to say otherwise.”

Baker also confessed that he was on the verge of being let go by his editor when he noticed the sudden popularity of blogs a few years ago.  Convincing the Times that he could generate a large number of hits to their site, he followed in the footsteps of many popular bloggers, hoping to “infuriate the masses and therefore gain their affection.”

He’s been a popular mainstay in the sports section of the Seattle Times ever since.

Also covering the Mariners beat for the Times is Larry Stone, an award-winning journalist who has been working across the hall from Baker for a few years now.  He wasn’t at all surprised by Baker’s sudden onslaught of emotion this morning.

“He’s a headcase, that’s for sure.  He’s always begging me to show him how to ‘navigate the webs’ as he puts it, to find the latest scoop.  I feel bad for ever writing down the link to [ussmariner.com], as most of his posts these days are just gut reactions against whatever [Dave] Cameron writes,” Stone told us this morning.  “And to top it all off, he doesn’t even really understand baseball.  You should see his cube, all decked out with NHL memorabilia.  It’s sickening, really.”

When called later to get a response to Stone’s comments, Baker was surprised, but kept his usual calm demeanor.

“Larry wouldn’t say that,” Baker screamed.  “He’s my friend.  I mean – no comment!”

The biggest surprise, of course, was that Baker’s comments this morning were in direct contrast to his supposed “case” against Edgar Martinez that he’s maintained all this time, although there were clues in his post on Monday.

“There is a fine line between promoting your own Hall of Fame argument and trying to bully others by calling them names or suggesting ulterior motives behind why they voted the way they did,” Baker wrote in the post immediately before his annual “Anti-Edgar” rant.  “And the absolutists, the group-thinkers and the new Puritans who would tell us all how we should think and act will simply have to get used to [‘us’ not voting for a particular player].  Because, it would appear, no matter how forceful they try to be, folks simply aren’t listening to them.”

Baker’s comments were clearly written to make him feel less guilty about not voting in the way Seattle fans wished him to, and most saw his next post coming.

And for those Geoff Baker fans out there, there’s no reason to worry.  His annual post garnered him more than 300 negative comments.  His pleasure was made clear in his comments this morning.

“It was absolutely delicious,” he wrote at one point in his meandering prose this morning.  “The hatred cast at me yesterday will feed me until March.  Every year it gets more delicious.  Geoff Baker like.”