Former Mariner Mike Cameron (2000-03) trots to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Friday night's 2012 home opener at Safeco Field. Cameron signed a one-day contract to retire as a Mariner. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest
After playing eight road games in Tokyo, Oakland and Texas, the Mariners returned to Seattle to commence the home portion of their 162-game struggle with the Athletics for third place in the AL West (so far, so good); the Sounders snapped a 305-minute MLS scoreless streak (the exact running time of “Les Miserables”), and Shawn Kelley of the Rainiers drew seat 13A on Friday the 13th for a flight from Sea-Tac to Fresno. That Was The Week That Was:
APRIL 9-15, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — An apparent deal to build a new NBA arena for the Sacramento Kings, struck in February between the city of Sacramento and the club’s owners, the Maloof brothers, went kablooey, raising San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen’s hopes of acquiring the team and moving it to his hometown of Seattle. “These developments are a reminder that franchise opportunities may arise quickly and in an unpredictable fashion,” said Hansen, who desires to build, to the great dismay of the Mariners, a $490 million basketball/hockey facility in Seattle’s SoDo district. More good tidings for Hansen: The Lakers and Clippers would likely oppose a move of the Kings to Anaheim because that would give the L.A. area three NBA teams.
- BAD WEEK — Prosecutors in Great Falls, MT., charged Former Washington State and NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf with four felonies in connection with allegations that he broke into homes to swipe prescription painkillers. Prosecutor John Parker, the Cascade County attorney who charged Leaf with two counts of burglary and two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, said the crimes could land Leaf in prison for up to 50 years, begging the question: Even if Leaf only serves half that time, will the Cougars have made a Rose Bowl appearance by the time of his release?
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — Zach Scott had never scored a goal — not in 2,048 MLS minutes — until the 63rd minute Saturday when, with an assist from Alex Caskey, he headed in a corner kick from the near post, giving Sounders FC a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. “My wife and mom have been on my case lately about putting one of those away,” aid Scott. “Hopefully, I made them proud.”
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — With Ozzie Guillen washing his mouth out with soap for five games, the Florida Marlins elevated little Joey Cora, Guillen’s bench coach, to interim manager. Cora played for the Mariners from 1995-98, becoming famous locally for crying in the dugout after the 1995 Mariners were eliminated in the ALCS by Cleveland. This is not the first time Cora has served as interim manager while Guillen sat out a suspension. When they were with the White Sox, Cora replaced Guillen while Guillen idled after sending a Twitter message during a game . . . Alex Rodriguez, a Mariner from 1994-00, smacked the 630th home run of his major league career, tying former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth place all-time, in a game against the Angels Friday. After his swat, A-Rod acknowledges Griffey, calling him “my mentor, my friend.” My eye.
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Jeff Clement, the Mariners’ No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft who was going to be the next Johnny Bench and instead became the next Joe Pignatano, not only missed with Seattle, but with Pittsburgh, which acquired him in 2009. At age 28, and without an MLB at-bat in two years, Clement is playing for Pittsburgh’s AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians.
- SUNDAY, April 15 — Justin Smoak busts out of an 0-for-11 slide with a home run, Ichiro produces another multi-hit game, and Blake Beavan delivers a quality start (three earned runs, seven IP) as the Mariners take their second series of the year from the Oakland A’s with a 5-3 victory. Mariners are 6-5 after 11 games vs. 4-7 after 11 in 2011, but five of the six wins have come against the bottom-feeding A’s, so the improvement is not as good as it looks.
- SATURDAY, April 14 — Sounders FC breaks a scoring drought when Zach Scott, with an assist from Alex Caskey, making his first MLS start, heads in a corner kick, giving Seattle a 1-0 win over Colorado and Rave Green supporters ample justification to pack Pioneer Square pubs following the match . . . GM Jack Zduriencik (for one day, anyway) looks like a genius when two of his major off-season acquisitions, Hector Noesi and Jesus Montero, collaborate to blank the Oakland A’s 4-0. Noesi pitches a gem — eight shutout innings — and Montero rips a 415-foot home run, offsetting an anemic effort by the rest of Seattle’s offense.
- FRIDAY, April 13 — The Mariners disgust an opening-night throng of 46,046 by scratching out a weak three hits in a 4-0 supplication to 39-year-old Bartolo Colon and the Oakland Athletics. It’s the third consecutive defeat for the Mariners in a home opener, the three coming by a combined score of 20-3. Colon runs his Safeco Field record to an astonishing 10-1, 1.91, while outdueling Felix Hernandez, helpless with such an abysmal offense behind him . . . Emerald Downs 17th racing season launches at 6:13 p.m., Allison Ridge, a 4-year-old filly, wiring and winning by 3 1/2 lengths . . . Tweet Of The Week: From Tacoma Rainiers’ pitcher Shawn Kelley, about to board a plane to Fresno, CA.: “Friday the 13th, my seat on the plane!! 13 A, Oh No!”
- THURSDAY, April 12— The Texas Rangers prove as good as touted, defeating the Mariners 5-3 for their third win in their four-game series with the Mariners, who make it interesting when Kyle Seager deposits a home run 438 feet into the right-field upper deck . . . Seahawks re-sign multiple arrestee Leroy Hill to a one-year contract and also bring back Matt McCoy to bolster a linebacking corps still not right after David Hawthorne’s bolt to New Orleans . . . And speaking of New Orleans, former Seahawks assistant Joe Vitt is named interim coach of the Saints, despite his six-game suspension for the role he played in the team’s delicious bounty scandal . . . Obit: Two-time Summer Olympian Amy Tryon of Redmond, an equestrian bronze medalist in 2004 in Athens and a gold medalist in the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, dies in her sleep (cause unknown) at the age of 42.
- WEDNESDAY, April 11 — Down 3-0 and seemingly dead, the Mariners rally for three runs in the ninth and knock off the Texas Rangers 4-3, snapping a two-game losing streak. John Jaso, making his Seattle debut, collects two hits and delivers the game-winning RBI as the Mariners beat the Rangers for the first time in eight tries . . . Obit: Former University of Washington basketball coach Tippy Dye (1951-59), who led the Huskies to the 1953 Final Four, dies in Camptonville, CA., at 97. Dye’s 1953 Huskies, led by NCAA Player of the Year Bob Houbregs, lost to Kansas and defeated Louisiana State in the 1953 Final Four. Dye won 156 games at UW and produced three 20-win teams . . Mark McLaughlin, a 6-5 guard from Tacoma CC via Inglemoor High and several other stops, commits to Lorenzo Romar’s UW basketball team, saying, “This team (UW) could use some scoring.” . . . Former Seahawk offensive lineman Sean Locklear signs with the New York Giants, virtually assuring that the Giants injured list will have at least one player on it all season.
- TUESDAY, April 10 — Blake Beavan and Neftali Feliz engage in a rare, Rangers Ballpark pitching duel, Feliz prevailing 1-0 after running his streak of retiring Mariners’ batters to 0-for-39 (career). The Mariners finally scratch out four hits off Feliz, a converted closer, but can’t cross the plate and losing on an RBI infield single, of all things, falling to 3-3. DH Jesus Montero returns to the Seattle lineup after missing a game with a stomach disorder. Apparently he ate bad seafood, begging the question, What the hell is Montero doing eating seafood in Texas?. . . . . . Former Mariner killer Vladimir Guerrero surrenders to police in the Dominican Republic after allegations that he attacked a cop in a disco.
- MONDAY, April 9 — The Mariners (3-2) rough up Yu Darvish for five runs in two innings, but then wilt under a barrage (4) of Texas home runs and fall to the Rangers 11-5 in Arlington. Hector Noesi, in his first start as a Mariner, coughs up two of the bombs, can’t get past four innings and looks nothing like a No. 3 starter should (21.00 ERA) . . . Thinking the better of it, the Seahawks, the world leader in player transactions (more than 400 in the past two years), re-sign CB Marcus Trufant, whom they had tossed out with the trash March 7, GM John Schneider saying then, “because of the changing landscape of the NFL, tough decisions have to be made and this is the correct thing to do at this time.” It’s apparently correct to bring Trufant back now because he comes at a far cheaper price, and because CB Walter Thurmond had a setback in his return from injury . . . Football career of UW RG Colin Porter comes to an end due to degenerative arthritis in both shoulders.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
4,000: Estimated attendance for a soccer match between the Sounders women — led by goalie Hope Solo — and SPU at Starfire Stadium Monday.
Before the Mariners got their first hit off Neftali Perez Tuesday (fourth-inning single), current players on Seattle’s roster had gone 0-for-39 against him.
441: Number of home runs Alex Rodriguez has hit (for Texas, New York) since he departed Seattle for a $252 million payday with the Rangers.
In Seattle’s 4-0 loss to Oakland Friday, OF Michael Saunders struck out looking his first three times up (at least swing the damn bat!).
Thought to be an MVP candidate at the start of the season, Fredy Montero played his fifth game of the season Saturday. Totals: No goals, no assists.
David Eskenazi's Wayback Machine profiled Bob Fesler, who had a remarkable -- but short -- stint with the Seattle Rainiers in 1955. / David Eskenazi Collection
READS OFTHE WEEK
Thiel: Shocked By Being Home, Mariners Revert: With Felix Hernandez on the mound, a clear night, the most people Safeco Field will see in quite some time, as well as a moribund opponent, Friday night was a chance for Mariners fans to get jacked for the future. Instead, they were hijacked to the past . . . MORE
Thiel: Mariners Lose; Wedge Has Himself A Load: The eight-game, 15,000 mile road trip ended at 4-4, but thats the only thing that has reached a conclusion regarding the 2012 Mariners. Well, theres one more thing: Over the next sixth months, besides Bobby Petrinos agent, Mariners manager Eric Wedge will have the hardest job in sports . . . MORE
Obituary: Former UW Basketball Coach Tippy Dye: William Henry Harrison Tippy Dye, who directed the University of Washington basketball team from 1951 through 1959 and is the only coach in school history to take the Huskies to the Final Four (1953), died Wednesday at his home in Camptonville, CA. A member of the Husky Hall of Fame, Dye turned 97 April 1 . . . MORE
Wayback Machine: The Bob Fesler Experiment: Not much excites a baseball fan more than the debut of a cant-miss prospect, especially when the prospect is a young flamethrower on the order of the one the Seattle Rainiers touted excitedly in a news release Aug. 9, 1955 . . . MORE
Thiel: Saints’ Price Only Start Of What NFL Will Pay: Lost in the news of the Final Four, the start of baseball season, the Ryan Leaf wretchedness and, in Seattle, the hubbub around a proposed arena, was word that former Washington State quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien is losing a bit of his mind . . . MORE
That Was The Week That Was (April 2-8): The week started badly for Husky b-ball nuts, Tony Wroten bolting for the NBA draft two days after teammate Terrence Ross did the same. The Mariners would have had a great week if management had just shut up about Chris Hansens proposed SoDo arena. But the team on the field still had a pretty good one after Chone Figgins strung together his first consecutive multi-hit games since just before Seal Team Six took out Bid Laden . . .MORE
- “It’s unfortunate for him, obviously, because he had a bright future in the sport, and it’s unfortunate for us because he was a bright young player” — Steve Sarkisian, UW football coach, after the school’s announcement that OG Colin Porter’s career had ended due to degenerative arthritis in both shoulders
- “Games like that are fun. Because you know that one pitch can make a difference” — Blake Beavan, Mariners starter, after losing a 1-0 decision to Neftali Feliz and the Texas Rangers Tuesday in Arlington, TX.
- “You’d be lying if you said it wasn’t wearing on you a little bit. It’ll be nice to unpack” — Brendan Ryan, Mariners shortstop, after the Mariners completed a 15,0000-mile road trip through Arizona, Japan, Oakland and Texas
- “I was excited to be invited to throw out the first pitch by the Mariners. On my way here on Wednesday, I decided that I wanted to retire as a Mariner. My memories and my time here were a joy both on the field and with my family. I am pleased that I was able to work with the Mariners organization to make this happen — Mike Cameron, former Mariners center fielder, after announcing that he wanted to retire from baseball as a Mariner.
- “We battled better this time against (Bartolo) Colon than in Japan, with nothing to show for it. These are the types of games when you push forward, some of the at-bats we battled through now will show results later on” — Erik Wedge, Mariners manager, after his club scratched out three hits against Colon in a 4-0 loss Friday at Safeco Field
- “His energy level is great. He competes for everything and he makes the guys around him compete” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, on Zach Scott, after Scott headed in the winning goal in1 1-0 victory over Colorado Saturday