Seattle idols at Safeco Field

When Blake Lewis loses on American Idol next week, we'll still have Willie Bloomquist and the Seattle Mariners. Really.
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Willie Bloomquist of Kitsap County, Wash., and Blake Lewis of Bothell, Wash. (Seattle Mariners,

When Blake Lewis loses on American Idol next week, we'll still have Willie Bloomquist and the Seattle Mariners. Really.

At about 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, we switched from the Seattle Mariners game on Fox Sports Northwest to the regular Fox network. We did this to see if Blake (Blake Lewis of Bothell, Wash., is his better-known identity) had, say, washed his hair and/or pressed his shirt as preparation for getting voted on/off the world-size island that is the musically foundering American Idol phenomenon. By then the M's were losing at home to the California, er, Anaheim, er, Los Angeles, er, what-the-hell, the Angels, 2-0. The locals eventually would lose 5-0 to stay a coupla games back, just shy of a quarter of the way through the 2007 campaign. There are signs the team might actually have enough competent bodies to stay competitive for the season's long slog. Blake, meanwhile, speaking of long slogs, didn't lose to the Angels so much as beat the anonymous voting devils. He survives for the final week of the televised competition, long enough to prove that the only thing worse than losing late on American Idol is winning the competition and thus being consigned like other "idols" to a stillborn career in show biz. If he loses next week (I'd give you, oh, a million-to-one that he will), the possibility exists that Blake could become a productive member of the Mariners. Put it this way: He doesn't really hit or sing that much worse than Kitsap County native Willie Bloomquist, who seems to have become a Mariner for life despite having little to recommend him for a major-league roster, other than being able to run 90 feet between bases faster than, say, Raul Ibanez. (My hamster-legged dachshund could do that.) Anyway, Blake already proved last weekend that he can warble the pre-game national anthem at Safeco Field no worse than any other act summoned for the 82 home games. Meanwhile, the M's headlines this week involve some of the team's main names. Ichiro Suzuki, for example, working on the best May batting average among active players, was 8 for 9 across three games to raise his season average to .319. He also stole his 45th consecutive base Wednesday, leaving him just five behind the major-league record. Ich also has been covering ground in center field better than any Mariner since Mike Cameron, though the team misses his range in right field, where Jose Guillen has been chasing extra-base hits into the gap. Less predictable was the performance of Felix Hernandez. The staff ace, finally reaching legal drinking age in April, returned to the mound Tuesday, May 15, after mending his throwing arm for 27 days. He ate up a few innings, throwing an uncharacteristic 35 balls among his 78 pitches. Most on and off the team concluded that he's probably ready to resume establishing himself as one of the dominant starters in baseball. The rest of the starting pitching remains the worry, though the M's steady bullpen is becoming the envy of the league. A few of the position-player regulars are still hitting less frequently than their contracts might have indicated, but the Yes-Way Joses (Vidro and Guillen) are batting .299 and .283, respectively. Credit for their success no doubt will be claimed by inexplicable G.M. Bill Bavasi while little will be said by managers about the convenience of the M's brass discovering "tendonitis" in the throwing arm of the worst starter in baseball, Jeff Weaver. It all has made for an entertaining season, then, if you stretch the definition the way they do on American Idol. Maybe the M's will hold it together in a weak division and still be playing in mid-October, when the announcement comes concerning that new Christmas-tunes CD duet with Blake Lewis and Clay Aiken.


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