March 28-April 3, 2011
- Good Week — Jake Locker and Ichiro. Locker completes 38 of 40 passes in his Pro Day workout at Dempsey Indoor on the UW campus, wowing scouts — for once — with his accuracy and ability to connect on a variety of throws. He probably solidifies a spot in the first round of the NFL Draft with this performance. Ichiro becomes the Mariners’ all-time hits leader by going 5-for-12 in Seattle’s season-opening series in Oakland.
- Bad Week — Anyone who recalls Lou Gorman’s stint (1977-80) with early Mariners teams had to feel sad over his passing at Massachusetts General Hospital at age 82. Ken Wilson, one of the team’s original broadcasters, said, “Lou Gorman was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met in baseball.” He served as Seattle’s Director of Operations from 1976-77 and as the General Manager in 1979-80, meaning that he just missed the George Argyros ownership era. What a break for Lou.
- Sunday, April 3 — The Mariners try to join the 1985 edition of the club as the only ones (in 35 years) to start a season 3-0, but that fails happen because Mark Ellis drives in three runs and the A’s get a splendid start from Gio Gonzalez in a 7-1 win. Still, the M’s win the series, a mild shock, given preseason naysaying. Meanwhile, two Seattle pitchers make their MLB debuts. Tom Wilhelmsen goes away happy (one inning pitched, three up and down), but Josh Lueke allows four runs in 0.2 innings and is still looking for somewhere to hide.
- Saturday, April 2 — Ichiro becomes the Mariners all-time leader in hits with a ninth-inning single that proves to be the winning run in Seattle’s 5-2 win over the Oakland A’s. Ichiro reaches 2,248 hits (one more than Edgar Martinez) in his 1,589th game and 6,788th at-bat. Martinez collected his final hit on Oct. 1, 2004, in his 2,053rd career game.
- Friday, April 1 — Felix Hernandez surrenders a home run on his second pitch of the season, but recovers with six 1-2-3 innings and beats the Oakland A’s 6-2, giving Eric Wedge his first win as Seattle’s manager. No signs that 37-year-old Ichiro is slowing down: two hits, scores a run, knocks in a run and swipes two bags.
- Thursday, March 31— Washington’s Isaiah Thomas announces that he will bypass his senior year and declare for the NBA Draft, a move not entirely unexpected. Thomas ends his Husky basketball career as one of the top five guards in UW history, and the school’s sixth-leading scorer. But can he play in the NBA? He’ll likely make a team, but won’t get many minutes.
- Wednesday, March 30 — Tom Wilhelmsen delivers the shock of spring training when the 27-year-old right hander makes the Mariners’ Opening Day roster by making an unlikely jump from Class A, following a six-year absence from baseball. “It wasn’t overwhelming, just very special. It’s been a long road,” says Wilhelmsen. Can’t think of a bigger leap in the Mariners system since Edwin Nunez went from A to the majors in 1982.
- Tuesday, March 29— The Washington State Cougars practically pull a no-show in New York as they get clobbered 75-44 by Wichita State in the semifinals of the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden. With Klay Thompson going 1-for-10, the Cougars would have been better off losing in an early round game than delivering this stinker in the Big Apple.
- Monday, March 28 — The Mariners pull a surprise in spring training by releasing veteran Josh Wilson in favor of non-roster player Luis Rodriguez. With Franklin Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list, the Mariners will open the season with five non-roster players, quite a commentary on the state of the franchise.
“That Was The Week That Was (TW3)” is published every Monday as part of Sportspress Northwests package of home-page features collectively titled, The Rotation.
The Rotations weekly schedule:
- Monday: That Was The Week That Was (TW3) A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
- Tuesday: Wayback Machine — Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
- Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us — We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
- Thursday: Water Cooler Cool — Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
- Friday: Top 5 List — The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.