There was a point during the annual Some-Star, ahem, All-Star Game Tuesday (July 12) when the Seattle Mariners could have claimed the game’s winning and losing pitchers and maybe even the most-valuable player. Unfortunately the claim would’ve meant counting several guys who once toiled in Seattle but since have left for better (or at least different) conditions.
During the third inning, M’s rookie Michael Pineda had just shut down the National League on two strikeouts and a routine fly ball to center. During the top of the fourth, Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez sent a solo blow over the right-field wall to give
the American League stalwarts a 1-0 advantage.
Later that inning ex-M Adrian Beltre came up with two on and two out. If circumstances had been slightly altered, a big RBI hit by Beltre (he singled but a base-runner ahead of him was thrown out at the plate) might have delivered to him the MVP trophy while hanging the loss on ex-M Cliff Lee. Pineda would have been the A.L. pitcher of record and possibly the game winner.
But, of course, it didn’t happen that way and the National League won 5-1, with no M’s past or present sharing the limelight. It means that the Nats have home-field advantage in the World Series this season so, if Seattle makes it to the fall classic, the most games local fans will be able to see at Safeco Field will be three. Just now I understand that bookies worldwide are making it about 200,000-1 that the M’s win the American League pennant but dreamers still dream.
OK, so no past or present Seattle player figured in all-star plaudits. Maybe a future Mariner did ...?
The game’s marquee moment came when Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder popped a three-run dinger over the center-field wall at Chase Field in Greater Phoenix. Fielder aptly was given the MVP designation. Would he also someday soon get the designated-hitter designation for, say, the Seattle Mariners?
Fielder, the Santa-shaped first baseman, has let it be known that he’s open to being a designated hitter somewhere (obviously in the American League) after what has been widely characterized as his inevitable departure from Milwaukee. What would the Brewers want for him? Why would the M’s even be interested if Fielder were simply a summer-replacement player and not a long-term asset? How long-term are expectations for a guy who carries 275 pounds on a frame that doesn’t quite stretch to six feet?
Obviously, these are the concerns for M’s General Manager Jack Zduriencik as he and others appraise whether the team has any realistic chance of competing in the division this season. Even a weekend sweep of Texas coming up at Safeco would leave the club a few games behind the Ranger and Angels.
On the other hand, fans no doubt find it tantalizing that first baseman Fielder has broached the prospect of going full-time D.H. Beyond that, the M’s would seem to have ample trade bait amid their suddenly productive farm system and big-league roster members.
If nothing else, a Fielder arrival might be something to rival the spectacle posed by the tour being conducted by Britain’s young royal couple. Prince Fielder joining King Felix? Where could this possibly be more appropriate than in the Queen City?