All things considered, it was a pretty good week if you follow the Mariners. It was a strange week if the Seahawks are your thing, and a week to forget if you answer to Brendan Ryan.
Michael Saunders became the third Mariner to hit two home runs in a game in the ninth inning or later. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest
The Mariners cobbled together a rare, four-game winning streak before returning to normal; the defensive-minded Seahawks (eight of 10 picks on that side of the ball) made the most jaw-dropping selection — “That guy isn’t the 15th-best pick, he isn’t even the 50th,” said one draft expert — in the first round of the NFL draft; Washington’s Chris Polk, who figured to go high, didn’t go at all; and Ryan Leaf, who once had an $11.5 million signing bonus in his pocket, couldn’t make bail in Montana. This was the week that was:
- GOOD WEEK — Having established the standards they have, any week in which the Mariners win more than one game qualifies as a good week. In the one just ended, the Mariners won four and lost two, sweeping a three-game series in Detroit with an outlandish 37 hits and 21 runs, then staged a huge comeback in Toronto Friday, concluding the rally with a 10th-inning grand slam. Analyze this: The Mariners went 4-2 despite hitting .197 with runners in scoring position (15×76) and leaving 47 runners marooned.
- BAD WEEK — Former University of Washington RB Chris Polk (4,049 yards, 26 TDs) passed up his final year of eligibility, convinced he would become a relatively high draft choice. Instead, the draft came and went without Polk’s name being called, forcing him to agree to a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Undrafted running backs generally don’t have success in the NFL, but there are exceptions, such as Priest Holmes (8,172 yards, 86 TDs) and Willie Parker (5,378 yards; 75-yard TD vs. Seattle in Super Bowl XL) to cite two . . . The Mariners didn’t acquire SS Brendan Ryan for his bat, but neither did they figure on an 0-for-18 week, a .143 BA and a .290 OBP.
- PLAY OF THE WEEK – Michael Saunders’ 10th-inning grand slam to beat the Toronto Blue Jays is only the half of it. Saunders also homered in the ninth inning, becoming only the third player in team history to hit a pair of home runs in the ninth inning or later. Before Saunders, Donnie Scott did it April 29, 1985 vs. Milwaukee (solo in 9th, 2-run in 10th) and Jim Presley did it April 8, 1986 (Opening Day) vs. the Angels (2-run in 9th, walk-off grand slam in 10th).
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — After the Yankees declared former Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda, sent to New York during the offseason for Jesus Montero, out for the season with a torn labrum, New York GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that the trade was “a massive decision gone wrong.” When ESPN New York wondered whether Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik knew Pineda was damaged goods when he traded him, Cashman said, “How can you not ask a question like that? It’s a fair question. But I can tell you we did everything possible to be sure Michael Pineda was healthy.”
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW? — Roger Davies, who scored 25 goals for the 1980 Seattle Sounders (North American Soccer League) and won the Most Valuable Player award that year, is employed as a “pundit” for Derby County’s (Championship League) in-house television channel and also provides commentary for BBC Radio Derby. Hard to imagine that Davies is 61 years old (or that Alan Hudson is, too).
- SUNDAY, April 29 — The Blue Jays erupt for five runs, largely off Charlie Furbush, in the eighth inning (allowed nine runs in the last two eighth innings) and hand the Mariners their second consecutive defeat, 7-2. The Mariners get homers from Chone Figgins (second leadoff of season) and Miguel Olivo, but go an amazing 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine men stranded . . . Reliever George Sherrill will soon acquaint himself with the Tommy John procedure. Only good news for Seattle is that SS Brendan Ryan gets the day off to ponder the aforementioned 0-for-18 week, to say nothing of an .053 BA w/RISP.
- SATURDAY, April 28– Fast Eddie Johnson scores his first goal as a member of the Sounders, converting a rebound in the 67th minute off a free kick from Fredy Montero, and Seattle wins at Chicago 2-1, extending its league-best road unbeaten streak to seven matches (6-0-1) . . . Former Mariner Brandon Morrow toys with his former club for six innings (no earned runs, five hits, nine K’s) and Edwin Encarnacion wallops a grand slam in the eighth off Hisashi Iwakuma as the Blue Jays snap Seattle’s season-high four-game winning streak, 7-0 . . . Ex-UW defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, a graduate of Rainier Beach High, is drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round, and tackle Senio Kelemete of Evergreen High goes to the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth.
- FRIDAY, April 27 — Michael Saunders rips a solo home run in the ninth and a grand slam in the 10th, sparking the Mariners to an improbable 9-5 win over Toronto — improbable because Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays had no-hit Seattle through five. It’s Seattle’s fourth consecutive win, a season high . . . After taking 6-0, 240-pound linebacker Bobby Wagner from Utah State with their No. 2 pick in the draft, the Seahawks go off-form again by selecting 5-11 quarterback Russell Wilson of Wisconsin with their third-round pick (75th). Draft critics pan the pick, citing the club’s signing of Matt Flynn. One TV head says, “Wilson won’t get on the field for three years, if ever” . . . Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson concedes that a proposed deal to build a new arena in the city “is dead.” Exactly what that means, if anything, for Seattle’s efforts to land an NBA team remains to be seen.
- THURSDAY, April 26– Huh? Who? What? The Seahawks flabbergast draftniks by trading down in the first round (12th to 15th) and plucking University of Sing Sing West Virginia defensive lineman Bruce Irvin, a one-time bad boy (jailed in high school, arrested in March, 2012) most had pegged for the late second or third round. “We viewed him as the best defensive lineman in the draft,” says Seahawks GM John Schneider. Says Irvin: “I love eating quarterbacks” . . . Chone Figgins drives in what turns out to be the winning run in the top of the seventh and four Seattle relievers preserve the lead as the Mariners sweep the Tigers with a 5-4 win at Comerica Park. Figgins, his leadoff job on the line, delivers three hits (now batting .236) as the Mariners earn their first road sweep in a year . . . Authorities in Texas issue two arrest warrants for ex-WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf, declaring Leaf a fugitive from justice even though he is being held in jail in Cascade County, MT., on burglary and drug possession charges. New bail: $126,000, which Leaf can’t make.
- WEDNESDAY, April 25 — The Mariners shockingly produce 15 more hits and whack Detroit 9-1 behind another Felix Hernandez gem and Alex Liddi’s second home run in two nights. This one is over by the third inning, with six Seattle runs knocking Adam Wilk out of the box. Only downside: Jesus Montero is charged with a passed ball, Seattle’s fourth in two games (Miguel Olivo three Tuesday).
- TUESDAY, April 24 – The Mariners crank out a season-high 15 hits, including three apiece by Ichiro and Alex Liddi, who also homers, and defeat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park, snapping a four-game losing skid. The 15 hits make a winner out of Jason Vargas and overshadow Miguel Olivo’s franchise-record matching three passed balls (wow!) . . . Former running backs Greg Lewis (Washington) and Clarence Williams (Washington State) are among 76 nominees up for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Fourteen players will be selected, and it will be tough for Lewis and Williams to make the HOF, given the other RB nominees, including Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Eric Dickerson (SMU) and Bobby Humphrey (Alabama).
- MONDAY, April 23 — UW athletic director Scott Woodward says the $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium, scheduled to be completed in time for the opening of the 2013 football season, is “on time and on budget, and that’s music to my ears.” UW set a goal of raising $50 million in major gifts by the end of construction and $48.5 million has been pledged . . . At a pre-NFL draft press conference, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll bubbles over quarterback Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M in much the same manner that he once bubbled over Charlie Whitehurst and only a month ago bubbled over Matt Flynn. When it comes to quarterbacks, Carroll is always on a sugar high, like he just wolfed down two dozen Twinkies.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
Miguel Olivo’s 3 passed balls Tuesday tied the club record set by Jerry Narron Oct. 4, 1980, and matched by Jeff Clement Aug. 10, 2008.
Twenty-one runs and 37 hits, Seattle’s offensive output in a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers Tuesday-Thursday. First road sweep in a year.
5: Number of passed balls the Mariners had in their three-game sweep at Detroit, including a club-tying 3 by Olivo Tuesday.
3: Number of times last week that the Mariners produced at least 15 hits in a game since they were “perfect-oed” by Philip Humber April 21.
11: Number of UW players taken in the NFL draft since 2005; 11: Number of UW players taken in the 1992 draft.
Bruce Irvin celebrated after West Virginia clobbered Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl. / Ben Green photo
READS OF THE WEEK
- Thiel: Success Next Chore For Seahawks Draftee: To get an idea of the previously haphazard life of the Seahawks top draftee, Bruce Irvin, he was not recruited by any college because he dropped out of high school. So he recruited colleges by Googling them . . . MORE
- Thiel: One-On-One with Arena Mogul Chris Hansen: Chris Hansen describes himself as a patient guy who takes a long term view of everything in his charge. Which is good, because hes beginning to feel just a bit annoyed at the process of getting his proposed arena project off the ground . . . MORE
- Hansen: Putting Traffic Fix All On Arena ‘Unfair’: Transcript of a conversation with Chris Hansen, Seattle native and hedge fund manager from San Francisco who wants to build a $490 million arena in Seattles SoDo district that would house relocated NBA and NHL teams. First of two parts . . . MORE
- Thiel: Get A Load Of Seahawks’ No. 1 Draftee: In the weird world of pro sports, there are any number of explanations and excuses for misdeed and misbehavior almost as many as are found in politics. Never before heard the one offered Thursday evening by Bruce Irvin, the newest Seahawk . . . MORE
- Thiel: Seahawks, Tannehill — Oh, Please, No: When he was asked about quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Pete Carroll lit up like Bobby Petrino at volleyball practice. He had a really good workout, Carroll said Monday, and Im putting spaces between words for comprehension, not because he had pauses between them . . . MORE
- Now Playing: Your 2012 Seattle ‘Mendoza’s': In 2008, Art Thiel and Steve Rudman of Sportspress Northwest, in collaboration with KJRs Mike Gastineau, published the Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists. The entries included The Dirtiest Dozen: Seattles Worst Teams, and three editions of the Mariners found their way on it, the 1983 club at No. 8, the 1978 team at No. 7, and the 2008 ragtags at the dubious No. 1 . . .MORE
- That Was The Week That Was (April 16-22): With the Seattle Sounders on hiatus and the Mariners at home for a full week for the first time in 2012, all eyes (well, maybe not all eyes, since Safeco Field was more than half empty most games) focused on the local nine. Conclusion: If the weeks to come turn out anything like the week that was, the Mariners summer will be a brutal experience . . . MORE
- “It’s on time and on budget and that’s music to my ears” — Scott Woodward, UW athletic director, delivering an update on the $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium.
- “Every year we’re after quarterbacks. They’re such a rare commodity that we have to do everything we can to entertain the thought that if any one of these guys comes to us, what would we do?” — Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach, responding to queries Monday about whether the Seahawks would select a quarterback in the draft
- “I don’t play every day. So every game I play, I just go out there and try to have good at-bats” — Alex Liddi, Mariners first baseman, after collecting a career-high three hits, including a home run, in Seattle’s 7-4 win over Detroit Tuesday
- “I’ve known this guy for a long time. I know what he brings to a football team, the excitement that he generates. The speed that he brings is so unique and so rare. We did a good thing today” – Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach, after the club made Bruce Irvin of West Virginia the team’s No. 1 draft pick
- “People tell me that Im too short theyve been telling me that my whole life. From my perspective, I think the main thing is I have all the other tools. I have big hands, long arms and I think the main thing is I have a big heart” — Russell Wilson, Wisconsin quarterback, after the Seahawks selected him in the third round of the NFL
- “It just goes to show the character of the team in this locker room right now. It wasn’t just a couple of hits. It was a full team game” — Michael Saunders, Mariners center fielder, after hitting a game-winning grand slam against Toronto Friday
- “He’s not the 15th best pick in the draft. He’s not the 50th best pick. You can’t take that guy at No. 15″ — Hub Arkush, Pro Football Weekly, after the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round.
- “I will just have to go out there (Philadelphia Eagles) and show them I have a lot of great football left in me. I know teams are concerned about my shoulder, but I also heard somebody say something about a degenerative hip and there is just no truth to that. I had labrum surgery on the shoulder a year ago and it didn’t slow me down last season. Of course I would have preferred to be drafted and drafted high. But the main thing now is that I am with a great offensive team and I will get my opportunity to show what I can do in the NFL.” — Chris Polk, former University of Washington running back, to NFLDraftScout.com after failing to get drafted when he had been projected as high as a second-round pick