If You Voted For Obama Be Embarrassed! And Not Because of the Shutdown.

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...

So the Federal Government is shut down. Based on my previous writings and the headline to this blog I bet you think I’m going to blame President Obama. If so you really haven’t read my previous posts very closely. You don’t know me at all.

Though I don’t completely blame the President for the shutdown I am, nonetheless, enraged by his arrogance and perpetual politicking rather than leading. What’s got my ire up is the Chicago Wonderkind again doing all that he can to make Americans uncomfortable in order to gain political points. He did it when the Sequester hit last Spring too. It’s cheap and it demonstrates in BIG BOLD LETTERS that he doesn’t really care about the American people, only his ideology and at this point, I believe, his legacy.

As seen in this video barricades were erected around the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. and other open-air memorials throughout our Capital. It’s important for you to know, if you didn’t, that these barriers never previously existed. The government is shutdown because it, ostensibly, has run out of money. But it somehow finds money to erect barricades to our nations most precious monuments that at times other than the shutdown are open to the public at all hours of the day and night, 365 days-a-year?

Additionally, the Administration has ordered a stoppage of all military recreational events including the traditional match between military academies Air Force vs Navy. Again, look beyond the Obama people’s claim that this is being done to save money. But the game this Saturday at the Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland is an NCAA football game. It’s undoubtedly sold out, always is, and actually generates revenue for the military academies and the Federal Government.

Just like he did with the Sequester the President is having a temper tantrum and is making certain that we the American people suffer as much public discomfort as can be. So he is canceling as many events, or programs that reach the most people that he can. It’s his view that doing so will not reflect poorly on him or other Democrats; but rather it will reflect poorly on Republicans who he continues to blame for the government shut down. A shut down brought on because two of the three legislative branches of the Federal government led by Democrats couldn’t come to agreement with the one legislative body led by Republicans. But it’s up to you, the readers of this blog, to recognize what is really happening. Obama is hurting you in order to hurt Republicans. I so desperately want a President who works to make difficult times easier for us, rather than more uncomfortable. Isn’t that what leaders do?

The shut down is an embarrassment for our government. But it’s your fault, Republicans and Democrats, voters. Voters this is your fault. You re-elected the same leaders who have been in place for at least 6 years.

English: Nancy Pelosi photo portrait as Speake...

Nancy Pelosi controls the Democrats in the U.S. House and has since 2002.

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

John Boehner has the GOP since 2007.  Harry Reid is Senate Democratic leader going back to 2005. And Mitch McConnell has been Senate GOP leader since 2007. And then there’s the President. In office since January 2009. Nearly 5 years of the exact same leaders that have been incapable of passing a budget since 2009 (a year when Democrats controlled all three legislative bodies). How could you have expected any different? So keep your disgust to yourself on the subject of the budget wrangling.

Instead share your disgust with mine over a President going out of his way to hurt you. Has that ever happened before in American history? I think not.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The Go#$%! Clusterf*$k of a Circus That Is Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong’s Mariners | Seattle Sportsnet

The Goddamn Clusterfuck of a Circus That Is Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong’s Mariners | Seattle Sportsnet.

The Seahawks Will Win the Super Bowl IF…

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

I have been an avid sports fan, and specifically a Seattle sports fan, for over 40 years and I have never seen, heard, felt, or experienced the enthusiastic anticipation of the coming Seattle Seahawk NFL season. It’s as if the team has already won a Super Bowl Championship and we’re all just reveling in the euphoria. But let’s be perfectly clear, the Seahawks haven’t done squat yet. However, I have no desire to pop this still inflating balloon. I too think my team will make it to the ultimate sporting event in frigid, frozen New York City next February, and they will beat whoever the AFC offers up as its sacrificial lamb for slaughter to the clearly superior NFC. But first things first. The football team that calls my city its practice home must first win its own division. Should it do so an NFL Championship is something that I feel is almost a foregone conclusion. However, ending the season with a better record than San Francisco’s 49ers, St Louis’s Rams, and Arizona’s Cardinals is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, I’m not completely sure it will happen.

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

All of the Emerald City is enjoying the numerous jokes made at the expense of the Bay area team, and is clearly in full-hate-mode over the Niner’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. The non-NFL Seattle fan is oblivious to how very, very good S.F. is, and what an exceptional coach the former University of Michigan Quarterback actually is. San Fran played in last year’s Super Bowl. They didn’t blow a lead in a playoff game they took with only 30-seconds left in the game. Seattle did. Russell Wilson after brilliant performance in Atlanta The fact is the 49ers came 3-points and a late 4th quarter goal-line stand from Baltimore from the largest Super Bowl comeback win in history. They feel they should have won and they will be hungry to get back to where they came up so close, but lost.

Quick; which of the four teams in Seattle’s NFC West Division had the best record within the division. Would it surprise you to know it wasn’t the division champion 49ers, or the Wildcard playoff entrant, second place Seahawks. Under first year Coach Jeff Fischer the St. Louis Rams finished 4-1-1 against S.F., Seattle and Arizona. Their 7-9 record was a huge leap from the 2-win (2-14) team of 2011. St Louis still has former Heisman Trophy winner (and AdvoCare endorser) Sam Bradford at QB. But for the first time in his short career he has someone to throw to. With their first round draft pick this year Fischer chose the best receiver in the draft in Tavon Austin. Austin has crazy speed (4.2 time in the 40) and electric moves. He’ll also help the Rams return game. Fischer is a very good coach, and with one year under his tutelage the Rams will be better…how much better remains to be seen.

The Arizona Cardinals are probably the 4th place team in this division, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be formidable. Many think the Cardinals new QB, Carson Palmer, is too old and past his prime when he was in Cincinnati.  I’m not so sure. He managed to throw for over 4000-yards last year for a horrible Oakland team. And now he has Larry Fitzgerald to throw the ball to. Arizona also improved its weak offensive line in the draft and added the Honey Badger to its defense.

The key to a Super Bowl trip for Seattle will be winning the division, like they did in 2005, the only other time the Northwest’s team went to the Championship spectacle. Win the division and secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the NFC and Seattle needs only win 2 playoff games to win the NFC Crown. And they would have at least 1 playoff game at CenturyLink Field where they do not lose. They didn’t all last year.

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

Fail to secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference and Seattle needs 3 playoff wins to make it to the Super Bowl, with the likelihood that all will be on the road; not an unprecedented achievement, but certainly a lot tougher. Besides, given their sky-high expectations, if Seattle doesn’t have the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference four months from now I will assume that something has gone wrong, perhaps an injury to Russell Wilson or a defensive line that can still not put enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks; making a 3 game run to the Super Bowl less likely.

Seattle has everything it needs to win now, even with one of the youngest rosters in the league. They will continue to pound the ball with Marshawn Lynch leading the way. And running the ball wins playoff games…and a lot of regular season games too. They finally have a All Pro potential quarterback in the exciting Wilson. Remember, he was in a quarterback competition all through training camp last year and was severely restricted in play calling by Pete Carroll last year. He’ll be even better this year. A defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL last year allowed the fewest points in the NFL during the just concluded preseason. And defense wins championships.

In looking at the Seahawks schedule I expect an improvement from their 11-5 record last year to either 12-4 or 13-3. Please…let go of the fantasy of an undefeated season as I’ve heard far too many people throw-about as a possibility on Seattle sports radio stations. An undefeated regular season should never be a goal. Just ask the 2007 New England Patriots how helpful it was for them. Only road games in Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, and possibly St. Louis would I predict at this early stage as losses. Though Seattle could win any or all of them. But games I now predict as wins could be losses too. Games against Carolina in Charlotte, the Colts in Indianapolis, and home games against the Vikings and Saints won’t be easy. Lose those games along with the ones I expect and this dream of a Super Bowl season will come crashing down to a non-playoff mediocre 8-8 season…just like the 1985 Seahawks who were also being talked about as Super Bowl contenders. See…it can happen. I repeat Seattle hasn’t won anything…yet. But they will. I predict. Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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Not a Fan of Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

 

The Seattle Mariners will honor their best player of all-time tonight when they induct Ken Griffey Jr. in to the Mariner’s Hall of Fame. A precursor, no doubt, of Griffey’s ultimate first-ballot election into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown when he becomes eligible in 2016. Only a fool would argue that Griffey doesn’t belong in either Hall. And I certainly won’t be doing that. But at a time when the city of Seattle will once again bathe this man in all its love, all the love its ever felt for any personality, it’s important for me to express my dissatisfaction with Griffey, the man. I am not a fan.

 

Being a big-time sports fan I am certainly a fan of all that Griffey did on the field. His array of acrobatic outfield dives, slides, fence climbing catches could get him a Hall nomination alone. He was the best defensive outfielder in baseball through the 90s. His glorious swing made for 630 home runs, sixth on the Major League Baseball all-time list. Fourth All-time if you eliminate the cheaters…which we should. To me even more impressive is the fact that only 5 players (clean players) have hit as many as 600 career home runs and absolutely nobody is on the horizon to do it again. Sadly Griffey’s career included only three playoff appearances for his teams. And he never played in the World Series, surpassing Ernie Banks of Chicago Cub fame as the best player to never make it to the baseball players ultimate competition.

 

Yes, Griffey was an incredible talent. And he was also an incredible jerk. I’ve always been amazed how lovingly Seattle continues to embrace a man who twice gave the city his backside and his middle finger as he headed out of town. By contrast Alex Rodriguez was vilified the moment he signed the richest contract in baseball history to go to a team that had been to the playoffs two of the previous three years. A-Rod was booed lustily when he returned to Safeco Field as a Texas Ranger in 2001 (All this long preceding the revelation or even suspicion that A-Rod was a multiple time cheat and liar). But Griffey was practically given the keys to the city when he returned as a Cincinnati Red player for the first time in 2007. How quickly we forget that he forced his way out of Seattle demanding to be traded prior to the 2000 season; and then hamstringing the Mariner’s ability to trade for value by limiting what team he would accept being traded to only his hometown Cincinnati Reds.

 

Ken Griffey ---- This image was moved from Fil...

 

Griffey’s narcissism and ingratitude was demonstrated one final time with perhaps the most classless retirement of any Superstar athlete ever. Disgusted at having been benched in 2010 because of his pathetic .184 batting average with zero home runs and only 7 RBI, Griffey left town without a word. Not a goodbye to his teammates, a fair well to fans, a closing interview, nothing but his proverbial “bird”, and a curt statement sent to his longtime friend and boss Mariner President Chuck Armstrong.

 

Griffey’s narcissism was evident early on. As a lonely 19-year-old playing for the Bellingham Mariners he attempted suicide; a gesture mostly, but one in which the individual is demanding attention. As if the number one draft pick in the entire MLB Draft the previous June wasn’t getting enough attention. I am genuinely sorry he was sad and suicidal; knowing him as I do I never took it seriously.

 

Know him? Why yes, I do. As much as a local small-time reporter from over 20-years ago can know him. Which isn’t much. He wouldn’t allow it. In the 3 years I covered Griffey and the Mariners as a reporter for a radio station and for my own syndicated daily radio interview show he never once made himself available to my microphone. But that wasn’t unusual. Griffey almost never made himself available to any local reporter, only national reporters. I’m sympathetic to those who would claim support of Griffey’s stance of not talking to reporters and remaining “private” if it were true. But it’s not. He would talk to reporters. Just not local reporters. We were too little for him in his eyes. For the record I found his father to be a prick too. But that’s another story.

 

Griffey has friends who will tell you he was kind to children, and teammates and that he was fun-loving and a practical joker. I’m sure he was all of those things. But a Hall of Fame Person is someone kind to most-everyone not just the chosen few who adore you. Junior will go into the team Hall of Fame tonight and the bigger Hall in 3 years and he earned it. He just doesn’t get into my Hall.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

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Can the Mariners Become Relevant?

The Mariner Moose, mascot of the Seattle Mariners.

The Seattle Mariner‘s 2nd half to the 2013 Major League Baseball season commences this evening and the hope of the team becoming relevant still exists. And since my hope and prayer at the start of the season was that this long time cellar dweller would remain relevant until the time that the Seahawk season got underway, I remain hopeful.

Prior to this week’s MLB All-Star break the Mariner’s had their first 3-game series sweep of the season against the Los Angeles Angels, and had gone 8-5 over the previous 13 games against some tough competition including Boston, Texas, and Cincinnati; all playoff contending teams. What makes this short stretch of winning noteworthy is that it coincides directly with the recent call-ups of promising rookies, and improved performance from other young players. With the expected return of some valuable veteran pieces of the team in the next 1-3 weeks, and a much more favorable schedule than was the start of the season, Seattle has realistic hopes of a .500 season or as mentioned earlier…staying relevant before the NFL season completely wipes them from the consciousness of every Puget Sound sports fan.

Seattle Mariners

Seattle currently starts 3 pure rookies in the regular every-day lineup; all of whom have joined the team in the past 6 weeks. Nick Franklin first, followed by Mike Zunino, and finally Brad Miller have all made the team better in spite of their inexperience. It matters not if these three are or become All-Stars or perform up to the high expectations each one possesses. At least not at this point. What matter’s is they perform better than who preceded them in their positions and they make the team better. That they are doing…not that it was a high bar to leap.

Franklin took the place of Dustin Ackley at 2nd base. His solid defense has been comparable to Ackley, which surprises some. Not surprising is how Franklin’s bat has become a tremendous boost compared to the increasingly ineffective Ackley. Franklin, currently hitting .268, with 6 HRs and a .788 OPS (On base-plus-Slugging percentage), is a huge leap from where Ackley sat (.205, 1, .522 currently)  when he was sent to Triple A Tacoma to learn how to hit again in late May. Whether Franklin can continue is unknown. But he can almost assuredly do better than what his predecessor performed over the past 1 1/2 years.

Zunino is much the same. His numbers of .230 Avg., 1 HRs, and .575 OPS are not lighting the world on fire, but, again, they represent a significant improvement over what was being posted by the team of catchers who preceded him Jesus Montero, Kelley Shoppach, and Jesus Sucre. And the is no contest when assessing last year’s top draft pick versus Montero, Shoppach, and Sucre’s defense. He is a pleasure to watch behind the plate. He blocks balls in the dirt, moves to stop wild pitches, and is such a threat to throw out base stealers Seattle is already seeing a measurable decline in stolen bases and attempted steals.

Brad Miller has been with the team the least amount of time. But we’ve been calling for him or Carlos Truinfel or Franklin to replace the no-stick Brendan Ryan since this time last year. Ryan’s defense is outstanding. But his complete and utter lack of any kind of offensive is not a liability this team can stand when so many others in their line-up have proven nearly as inept. Miller has done well in the 16 games he has played and over the next year is expected to improve, as are Franklin and Zunino.

Franklin like Zunino is a former first round draft choice. Miller is a 2nd round pick. Second year player Kyle Seager is the teams most dependable offensive force and was a 3rd round pick. Ackley, who now mans Center Field and is displaying modest improvement at the plate is also a former 1st round draft pick, as is 1st baseman Justin Smoak; though Smoak was a Texas Ranger’s draft choice. All of these guys are young. All were high draft picks. And at least for a short period recently are performing up to or close to their expectations.

Right Fielder Michael Saunders is another young guy who has raised his batting average 15-points over the past 10 games and seems to have finally found the stroke that made last year so successful for him. While still only averaging .225, his on-base-percentage of .303, base-stealing capabilities and above-average defense make him at-least serviceable. And like we wrote, he’s on an upswing. We’ll see.

I’ve not even mentioned the solid performances of Kendry Morales and Raul Ibanez all season, or of Smoak in the past 2 months. All three, along with Seager, have OPS of .800 or higher. The team can also count on the return to productivity of OF Michael Morse soon. When healthy he is a stud. Franklin Gutierrez is still expected to contribute. He could return by August.

The team’s bullpen could get a needed boost from the return to health of Steven Pryor, who just began a rehab assignment. Felix Hernandez and Isashi Iwakuma were All Stars. Joe Saunders has been mostly solid as the third starter; though he has had a couple of big blooper blowouts. But what team’s #3 pitcher hasn’t. And after a horrible start to the season Aaron Harang is proving to be a pretty good #4 starter. Again, a blooper here and there isn’t welcome but is also not uncommon for a team’s 4th starter. It’s the #5 starting position that remains a concern. Jeremy Bonderman was let go and rookie Erasimo Ramirez was shelled his first time out. I am not confident in Ramirez. Though the Mariners are. So we’ll see.

We’ll see? That sums up the rest of the Mariner’s season. I’m not a complete dreamer. I don’t expect them to be playoff contenders. But I do think they can get back to a .500 season and wet our appetite for the 2014 season. And at bare minimum, they should have relevancy in the minds of diehards like me until the presumed Super Bowl season of the Seattle Seahawks gets under-way. I like being optimistic. It beats the alternative.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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Proper Weight for Height and Age

About 10 months ago I got on a weight loss program that actually worked. But a strange thing happened on my weight-loss and fitness journey. My end-results goal kept changing. And, it still does today.

I’ve lost 40 pounds in the past 10 months and am now at a weight I’ve not been since I was 21-22 years old. It never occurred to me that I would ever approach what actuaries call the “ideal weight” for a 6′ 1″ 49 year old man with a medium build. Interesting to note that prior to this weight loss I would have said I have a large build. Shortly I’ll share ONE suggested way of determining whether YOU have a small, medium or large build.

The link below takes you to  a site that helps you calculate the “ideal weight” for you.

Proper Weight for Height and Age.

At 20 yrs old I weighed maybe 195 lbs.

At 20 yrs old I weighed maybe 195 lbs.

In High School I was my full height and at graduation weighed 185-190. I played football and basketball, and was generally very active. I absolutely possessed a healthy, if not ideal weight at that time of my life. In the thirty years since that time I’ve worked-out with weights regularly, including religiously over the past ten years. So its fair to say I’ve added muscle and so I’ve added muscle weight. Subsequently I would expect my “ideal weight” to be somewhere at or near 200 lbs.  But as of this morning I hit a new low of 203 lbs. and am quite certain I could easily lose another 10-20 lbs. and maintain a healthy body. Now we’re talking about a better more solid, healthy, muscular body than when I was a high school athlete, or in college.

When I started on THIS weight loss program I honestly had a goal of losing 10-15 lbs. and getting under 230. I honestly thought that would be great for me since I was unwilling to give up the food and drink I liked, and I was unwilling to expand my workout routine beyond the 1 hour-5 day per week schedule I’d long-ago established. But I got that weight ten days into my Challenge. So, then after realizing how easy it was for me to lose weight I set my sites on what at the time I thought would be an “ideal weight”. I was 210 pounds when I married my bride at age 23 in 1987. My program got me to 211 only 3 months later, and there I sat for 3 more months (The holiday season), never reaching 210 on my scale. Still, at 211-213 lbs. I could look at myself and know that getting below 200 pounds for the first time since I was a teenager was not only possible but necessary. I wasn’t going to come this far and stop. Why would I? I thought, I have in my possession a vehicle that can give me what anyone and everyone would constitute an ideal weight and ideal body for a man my age. It’s not vanity. It’s practicality. I can be the best I can be.  Not someone else. Me. And I’m going to do it.

And here’s a big, big, big surprise for me and I’m betting for you too. I haven’t given up anything that I enjoy eating and drinking. Pizza is still my favorite and I usually have it once per week. I still eat my wife’s delicious spaghetti and pasta meals. A piled-high cheeseburger with bacon, ketchup, mustard, and mayo is still part of my life. And I still ONLY work-out for 1 hour every morning Monday-Friday. My point is…anyone can do this if they decide to do so.

When I was 245 pounds I thought, I’m not THAT bad. I’m just a big guy. I have a large physique. And something the actuarial tables never factor into weight is hat-size. I’m serious. The head is the heaviest portion of the human body. I got a 7 5/8 hat size. So I got a real big melon. I was fooling myself.

Now that I’m within 14 lbs. of what the Center for Disease Control considers the ideal weight for a 6′ 1″ man I wanted to know how to determine whether I was of small, medium, or large build. I know I am not “small”. I thought I was large. But now I’m not so sure. Ehow.com has this article that says to determine your build measure your wrists. The smaller the diameter, the smaller your bones are. Smaller bones are usually less dense and therefore lighter. Consider your frame size because it can affect your measurements; a person with a large frame might mistakenly think she’s overweight. For an approximate idea, if you wrap your thumb and index finger around your opposite wrist, you can estimate your frame size. If your fingers overlap, you have a small frame; if they barely touch, you have a medium frame; if they don’t touch, you have a large frame.

Me at 203 lbs. the day of this blog's writing.

Me at 203 lbs. the day of this blog’s writing.

Based on this means of measurement I have a medium build. I’ve always known I had small arms. HA!

Cynics will read this blog and call it a vanity exercise. So be it. My sincere hope is that people can be inspired by a former fat guy who is now not only much much healthier but well on his way to what might be near perfect health for my age, height and size. Wish me luck….and join me.

Thanks for visting. Comments are welcome.

Read more: How to Figure My Ideal Weight for My Age | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_7514339_figure-ideal-weight-age.html#ixzz2R8xMvCZW

Go to our website, read our story and try some AdvoCare. You won't regret it.

Go to our website, read our story and try some AdvoCare. You won’t regret it.

As Season Beckons We Have Optimism for Our Mariners

Looking toward Qwest (football) Field and Down...

Baseball season starts Monday for my Seattle Mariners and after years of low or no expectations we enter 2013 with just a we-tad bit of optimism. It seems possible, even likely, the Ms will have their first winning record since 2009. And while unlikely, I think we can have a prayer that our Northwest Nine can challenge for a playoff spot. Even if they don’t make it, how exciting would it be to have our baseball team hold our interests before falling out of contention at least until our beloved Seahawks get their Super Bowl season underway in early September.

Five things of undeniable significance allow me to hold this sense of optimism.

1. The young players have all got to get better, because they couldn’t do much worse.

2. The fences are coming in at Safeco Field.

3. The Houston Astros factor.

4. Oakland and Texas aren’t as good as last year.

5. Michael Morse and Kendry Morales are the real deal and great and necessary acquisitions.

First off, Seattle fans have had to endure some of the historically worst offenses in the history of Major League Baseball each of the past three seasons. The moribund offense was made so by being turned over to a bunch of diaper wearing toddlers who

English: Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik a...

Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik at Mariners FanFest

General Manager Jack Zduriencik placed high expectations on. Some of them didn’t live up to those lofty expectations and are gone (See Mike Carp, Trayvon Robinson). And only one came in and seemed to exceed expectations. That would be 3rd baseman Kyle Seager who took over the position by default  as a rookie last year and proceeded to lead the team in home runs (20) and RBI (86). Outfielder Michael Saunders last year was where 1st baseman Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak - Seattle - 2010 Home

is this year. It was his last chance to prove he can be a solid major league slugger. Saunders came through last year after four years of riding the Tacoma Express. Like he’s done before Smoak closed 2012 with a very impressive set of numbers in September, and like he’s done before he has carried it into a very impressive Spring Training. But in his three years since being acquired from Texas in the Cliff Lee trade he hasn’t hit except sporadically during the rest of the regular season. Manager Eric Wedge and

Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak

Zduriencik believe Smoak is going to do this year what Saunders did last. There is reason to believe them…this time.

The other former babies who must learn to walk this year are Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero. The 2nd baseman and the catcher both under achieved with their bats last year and since they were both labelled “can’t miss” prospects just two years ago Seattle can calculate an improvement in 2013.

Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners

Second, the fences are coming in at Safeco. Changing the field’s configurations will undoubtedly allow the team to hit more home runs. Besides adding confidence to players like Smoak who will benefit by the 17 foot difference in home-plate to outfield fence in left field, you can subtract the emotionally crushing, motivationally discouraging effects on players the cavernous feeling of the previous Safeco dimensions provided. More than a few times in recent years we’ve seen players sulk over a ball they CRUSHED getting caught on the warning track. And bringing in the fences will make it easier for outfielders to play defense at Safeco. This undoubtedly gave Zduriencik freedom to go after less-than-stellar defensive outfielders like Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, and Michael Morse; all of whom broke Spring Training in Cheney with the team and are expected to see a lot of action in the field this year since Morales is expected to hold down the designated hitter position regularly.

Seattle gets to play the

Gulf Coast League Astros

Houston Astros 19 times this year, and gets to play the Angels, Rangers, and A’s 19 fewer times. Houston had the worst record in baseball last year in the National League Central and many believe they’ll actually be worse this year. And while it’s true the other American League West teams get to play the Astros 19 times too, it’s much more significant for Seattle because Seattle will play a worse team rather than better teams each of those 19 times. The Angels, Ranger, and A’s will be substituting many of their games with Astros from a schedule that had them playing Seattle more where the results would be about the same.

Absolutely nobody expected Oakland to win the division last year. Few expect them to repeat, and most expect that last year was an aberration. The Rangers just lost Josh Hamilton, their best player. And they didn’t replace him with anybody. Nuff said.

Michael Morse

Michael Morse

Morse hit his 9th home run of the Spring yesterday, setting a new Mariner Cactus League record. I liked him tremendously when he played as a rookie shortstop and part-time outfielder with the Mariners in 2008. Hitting either #3 or clean up will be such a tremendous improvement for Seattle’s offense.

Kendry Morales

Kendry Morales

And Morales is also a huge improvement, whether he hits #3 or 4. Both players have hit 30 home runs in a season and unlike past veteran acquisitions by this franchise these guys are not so deep into their careers to be nearing their inevitable age-required decline or have it well underway. Morse is 31. Morales is only 29.

Seattle can win between 83-85 games this year. That 8-10 win improvement over last season’s 75-87 team can be mathematically expected just based on the 19 games against the Astros, all other things staying equal. But things are not equal. The Mariner pitching on paper (at least) is equal to last year, with hopeful expectations that some of their minor leagues can make late season appearances and improve the starting rotation. The offense is considerably better. Call me crazy but I’m predicting 88-89 wins and a pennant race at least into the start of September. God I hope I’m right. It would be so much fun.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.