M's shrink their game on big Seattle sports day

Walter Jones retired, the Huskies basketball team landed two big recruits, the football team saw a good QB performance. The M's? Well, the fans went home with bobbleheads.
Walter Jones retired, the Huskies basketball team landed two big recruits, the football team saw a good QB performance. The M's? Well, the fans went home with bobbleheads.

There was plenty of local sports news Friday (April 30), none of it emanating from Safeco Field. Yes, Cliff Lee pitched: brilliantly. What's new about that? Yes, the M's didn't score enough, which is to say, at all. It's scarcely revelatory for a club built for "small ball" — really, really small: minuscule, microscopic, invisible when you lose 2-0 in 12 innings.

Fortunately, those of us in the announced crowd of 34-K had plenty of other stuff to keep us buzzing. First item for my group: Was this 34 thousand or 34 hundred? It kind of looked like the latter, possibly because many of the bobbleheadcases, as is typical, seemed to have claimed their Felix Hernandez door-prize effigies then gone home to do whatever one does with an inanimate object that wouldn't amuse a 2-year-old.

Oh, and Walter Jones retired. The greatest offensive lineman in Seahawks history

yielded to the stresses of what seemed like 20 seasons.

But in with the new, right? Some of us had actually streamed an online feed from The Oregonian that afternoon. The featured video showed a press conference staged in a Portland high-school gym, whence a pair of the nation's top basketball prospects committed to the Husky men's program. At its busiest, the stream-viewing count grew to about 25,000, which is to say, a size about the equal of the actual crowd at Safeco later.

And there was golf news of interest to fans in the Northwest. Not only did Washington state's top-three pros beat Tiger Woods during the first two rounds of the week's P.G.A. event. Ryan Moore, Alex Prugh, and Fred Couples had combined two-day scores of eight over par: a stroke better than Woods' plus-nine. None of the four made the cut.

M's fans may have wanted to get back to jabbering about basketball. How 'bout those SuperSonics or whatever they're called now? Well, Friday they finally lost their playoff series with the Lakers so it's over until the next season starts in Arkansas or Nebraska or wherever the Soops now play their home games.

Husky football? Those at Safeco by necessity were missing a pretty interesting scrimmage in Montlake, with freshman quarterback Nick Montana (we'll resist the otherwise obligatory mention of his father's name) actually showing more star power during the annual spring-workout finale than first-stringer and early Heisman Trophy hopeful Jake Locker. Sources reported that about 15,000 showed up at Husky Stadium. No word as to whether any of them had bobbleheads with them.

Otherwise the night belonged to Cliff Lee. The left-hander was the M'ꀙs key acquisition during the off-season and, if only for this performance, he seems to have exceeded fan expectations. He plowed through the first 10 Texas batters before anybody reached base. But the M's, ahem, offense blew a pair of late-game, bases-loaded opportunities and Lee's impressive seven-inning stint went for naught. After Seattle and Texas cluttered the scoreboard with goose eggs galore, the Rangers cracked out a couple of runs in the 12th.

All right, so there actually was a little news made at Safeco. Manager Don Wakamatsu after the game uttered one word indicating even he of limitless optimism may be losing patience with his players' plate appearances.

Asked to describe the offense, Wak reportedly called it "anemic."

Don't fans wish. Anemia can be treated, unlike, apparently, Seattle's .240 team batting average or the fact that, after 23 games the M's were dead last in home runs with nine. The .240 average is merely third worst in the American League but, on the plus side, the club continues to excel at bobblehead promotions.


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