Greetings from 35,000 feet en route to Houston. I didn't get a chance to do this yesterday, but a big thank you to Todd Dybas, Don Ruiz and Meg Wochnik for handling the Mariners beat while took a little break for my high school class reunion and a little time with my family and my dog.
I'm back for the road trip the weekend and back on normal schedule.
Let's get to a few links for you to peruse while at work.
Here's my story in today's TNT on all that went wrong on in the first half of the season.
[caption id="attachment_26553" align="aligncenter" width="512"] The oft-injured Frankin Gutierrez and his inability to stay on the field was just one of the reasons that went wrong for the Mariners in the first half of the season (AP photo)[/caption]
Injuries, overall talent and the struggles of players expected to contribute combined for a very uneven first half of the 2013 season.
So here the Mariners sit, waiting to return to action Friday in Houston with 67 games remaining to salvage a season. In the first 95 games, they went 43-52 (.453) to sit in fourth place in the American League West, 13 games behind first-place Oakland.
Spring training left people feeling optimistic about the season. This was a team that Zduriencik expected to be better. This was a team that manager Eric Wedge thought could — and should — have a winning record. Instead, the Mariners are nine games under .500. For that to happen, more things had to go wrong than right.
Probably the biggest issue was the injuries. Nobody feels sorry for the Mariners. Every team deals with injuries. There probably were teams with more players making DL stints than Seattle but the Mariners didn’t have the experienced talent to withstand the production that was taken away.
“It would have been nice to have the club we broke spring training with healthy,” Zduriencik said. “It would have been fun to watch and see where it took us.”Mr. Dybas had a nice story on Raul Ibanez's unbelievable first half of the season and anyone who questions the way he achieved those numbers. From his story ...
The understanding from those lessons is what Ibañez is trying to instill in younger players when he laughs with Kyle Seager by the underground batting cage or stops to chat with rookies Nick Franklin and Brad Miller at their lockers.
He’s also experienced enough to know that raised home run totals at a raised age bring raised eyebrows.
As Major League Baseball works to move past the full-fledged Steroid Era, the doubt it provided lingers. Its stench even clasps to the performance of a man respected for who he is more than his baseball success.
When the topic of doubt is broached, Ibañez logically explains his stance. He knows any answer he gives leaves him in a no-win situation. He’s disappointed the discussion is still part of baseball.
He also makes a promise if he ever fails a test.
“I’ll give every penny I ever made back,” Ibañez said.
His disdain for hypocrisy makes him wonder how he could tell his oldest son, Raul Jr., to not do drugs if he was. He goes on to explain that outside perception to him isn’t important. God, his family and his teammates know him. That’s what matters, he says.Elsewhere ...
Here's a TV hit I did with a Spokane TV station about the Mariners.
Here's Tim Booth's story for the AP looking at the second half of the Mariners season.
Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner writes about what he's seen lately from the Mariners
Rick Randall wrote this piece for Lookout Landing, examining Brad Miller.
Nathan Bishop also of Lookout Landing writes about the Mariners possibly turning the tide
Tim Brown of Yahoo has his latest power rankings. He has the Mariners at No. 22
Jim Caple has his second half predictions for his off-base column .