BY Seth Kolloen 07:20AM 04/01/2011

Exit 164: Isaiah, Like Jake, Makes Right Choice for Him

There’s a substantial difference in the situations of Jake Locker and Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas’ smart move: There’s a difference between Jake Locker and Isaiah Thomas. For Locker, you felt that playing at Washington was important to him, maybe as important as having a career in the NFL. For Thomas, making the NBA is his primary goal. Thomas said it himself yesterday: “I came to the University of Washington … to have coach Romar and my teammates help fulfill my dream of getting to the NBA.” Another season playing shooting guard at UW — a position that at his height he could never play at the next level, not even in Europe — doesn’t help him. If he wants to be in the league, he’s better off starting the process now. For more on Thomas’ decision to leave UW, read Todd’s piece.

Montero may miss San Jose game: The Sounders may have to replace their most irreplaceable player, at least for one game, as Fredy Montero had surgery to repair a slight wrist fracture and may miss Saturday’s game at San Jose. The Sounders will need someone with skill on the front line, so who moves up? Friberg? Rosales? Stanley has a great preview of the match.

Wedge names today’s season opening lineup: Ready? It’s Ichiro, Figgins, Bradley, Cust, Smoak, Olivo, Langerhans, Ryan, Wilson. Brandon League is your likely closer. Season opener and King Felix Day. Hoorah! John talked to Eric Wedge about the Aardsma-less bullpen and why Langerhans got the nod.

Top five 2011 Mariner slogans if they were being honest…

1) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: The Stars of Never, Today!
2) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: Keeping Milton Bradley off the Streets
3) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: All the Scoring of Soccer, Stretched Out Over Three Hours
4) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: Sodo No-Gos
5) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: We’ll Draft Isaiah Thomas if No One Else Does

What they’re saying…

“Thanks #HuskyNation I Love you guys!!! I will forever BLEED PURPLE #GoDawgs” — Isaiah Thomas, via Twitter

“He could come back and do some great things individually and he could help us win a lot of games. But in terms of (the NBA’s) perception of him, I think they got a pretty good look this year.” — Lorenzo Romar

“Many GMs torn about Isaiah Thomas’ NBA potential. It has been hot topic of discussion the past few years. He has not been under the radar.” — NBA writer Gary Washburn

“You get very emotional thinking about this team. There is love at times, that’s why going to the playoffs with the Mariners would be totally different from just going to playoffs (with any other team). For me, it’s about going to the playoffs with the Mariners. It’s all the time you’ve spent getting there.” — Ichiro

Meet an M’s pitcher: Felix Hernandez

King Felix will defend his Cy Young title with a 96-98 mph straight (a.k.a. four-seam) fastball, a 90-92 mph moving (a.k.a. two-seam) fastball and that knee-buckling curve. He’s mixing in a “power changeup” more, so-called because even a Felix Hernandez change-up travels faster than any object you or I will ever throw in our lives.

Tonight’s target: Oakland’s Trevor Cahill…

The 23-year-old Cahill was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 2010, just his second in the bigs. The somewhat unexpected success came from Cahill’s mastery of a sinking fastball, which he’ll spot to either side of the plate. Cahill had a scholarship to Dartmouth lined up before deciding to sign with the A’s out of high school. A TRAITOR TO THE BIG GREEN IS NO FRIEND OF OURS! DESTROY HIM, MARINERS!

In other news…

M’s star Ichiro spoke at length yesterday about aging, about Eric Wedge, and about his love for the Mariners.

Here’s Jake Locker’s team workout schedule, via SI’s Jim Trotter: Titans yesterday, Broncos today, Seahawks next week. The Broncos? With Tim Tebow and Jake Locker, they could leadership and work ethic their way to the Super Bowl!

M’s injured closer David Aardsma threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and felt fine. Still no schedule for his return, though.

Former Mariner Josh Wilson signed with the Diamondbacks.

The Seattle city attorney’s office will drop the misdemeanor furnished alcohol to a minor charge against Venoy Overton provided Overton performs 24 hours of community service and stays out of trouble for a year.

Current Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves won’t take the women’s hoops job at UW.

Seven days closer to a championship…

Today, April 1
Baseball (for real!): Mariners @ Oakland, 7:07 p.m. (MLB Network, FSN now ROOT)

Saturday, April 2
Mariners @ Oakland, 6:07 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)
Sounders @ San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (KONG)

Sunday, April 3
Mariners @ Oakland, 1:07 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)

Monday, April 4
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)

Tuesday, April 5
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)Note: this is Pineda’s first start

Wednesday, April 6
Mariners @ Texas, 11:05 a.m. (FSN now ROOT)

Thursday, April 7

Check out my Seattle sports calendar, currently listing all M’s, Sounders, and Husky football and now Storm games. I use it in conjuction with my Google calendar to make sure I don’t schedule oral surgery during a big game.


  • David Swidler

    The 2011 Mariners: The Big Dead Machine
    The 2011 Mariners: Let’s Play None
    The 2011 Mariners: Say Hey, We Stink
    The 2011 Mariners: You Fools, It Was Earth

  • RadioGuy

    Glad to see Seager doing well, although I’m not surprised.  The guy just LOOKS like a ballplayer out there.  I remember KC playing the M’s right after they’d brought up Bo Jackson and, of course, Jackson was getting all the hype.  But there was another newbie on the Royals in that series who had that “look” of being a natural ballplayer: Kevin Seitzer.  Same thing with Seager.

    If nothing else, installing Seager at 3B should hopefully fill a hole that’s been there since Beltre left.  Beltre was my favorite Mariner while he was here, mostly for one instance late in his first year in Seattle.  The M’s were playing a nothing game (with the Chisox, I think) in September, the season already down the drain, and the game went into extra innings and there was a need for an emergency catcher.  Beltre, who was sitting the game out to that point, VOLUNTEERED to take over as catcher even though he hadn’t played it since Little League.  This was a guy earning eight figures in a lost season offering to play the toughest defensive position in baseball because he wanted to help his team (even though a win wouldn’t have mattered in the standings by that point). 

    Loved the guy ever since and, even though he apparently didn’t like hitting at Safeco (who does?), we never should have let him walk away.  Losing a team-first guy like Beltre was bad enough…replacing him with a me-first guy like Figgins only compounded the mistake.

    • jafabian

      Edgar Martinez liked hitting at Safeco.  Pretty sure Ichiro does.  John Olerud, Bret Boone.  There’s players who knew how to use the field there.

      • Artthiel

         Actually, Edfgar wasn’t a fan of Safeco. But he wasn’t a complainer. Boone found alternative power, and Olerud was less of a complainer than Edgar.

    • Artthiel

       Well said, Radio. Beltre was definitely underappreciated. I remember I was at his last safeco game and as he walked back to the dugout. A smattering of applause. Amazing how few cared.

  • jafabian

    If Figgins embraces his new role, he could be a real spark plug for the team a la Willie Bloomquist though they really needed him to perform as the every day leadoff man.  Hopefully Seager will continue at the pace that he’s set.  I find it interesting the M’s don’t have anyone close to being called up with any leadoff skills even though Jack Z.’s been acquiring players right and left to stock the farm system.

  • Artthiel

     Good catch, Jamo. Thanks.