While the Seattle Mariners haven’t been much to look at on the field in recent years, they still continue to put out some of the most amusing commercials in all of baseball.
That might be kind of like building the best car in Tibet, but hey, throw the Mariners a bone, people. At least they’re No. 1 at something.
The two best commercials of the bunch (embeded below, though you might have to click through), involve Felix Hernandez unveiling his ventriloquist act, and Ichiro dropping a Sean Connery imitation.
Felix isn’t much of an actor, but as he showed last year, he does possess a certain magnetism that makes you want to laugh. And while Ichiro draws the punchline of his commercial, the real eye-opener from the bit is that shortstop Brendan Ryan actually makes a very good Robert DeNiro.
You can view all the spots here, including a video of outtakes.
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When the Rockies re-signed Jason Giambi in January they talked about wanting to work him into the lineup by giving 36-year-old Todd Helton more frequent days off and sure enough he’s already getting a rest in Game 3 this afternoon.
It seems kind of silly that someone would need a day off less than a week into the season, but my guess is that manager Jim Tracy decided to sit Helton so in early in large part because he wants to get Giambi and everyone else involved in at least one game right away.
In other words, while Helton will no doubt be on the bench more often this season don’t expect Giambi to replace him every few games. Particularly once the Rockies get a lengthy look at his defense at first base after using him almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter last season. Another issue that is Helton and Giambi are both left-handed hitters, so they don’t form a natural platoon.
This afternoon Giambi is batting cleanup against left-hander Doug Davis.
Chone Figgins, Ichiro look to improve communication
“The Gnats” made their debut for the Mariners on Monday night, and Chone Figgins and Ichiro were as pesky as expected in Seattle’s 5-3 victory over Oakland.
Figgins stole second base twice, each time advancing to third on throwing errors by A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki. Ichiro stole second once, but was then thrown out at third on another attempted steal with Figgins at the plate. As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes, the M’s want the pair to communicate better.
There was one occasion last night when Ichiro was thrown out at third trying to steal on a 3-1 pitch. Had Figgins known he was going, he could have bluffed a bunt and drawn third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff towards the plate. But Figgins had no idea, took ball four, and Kouzmanoff held his ground and was at the bag to apply the tag.
Ichiro appeared to beat it by a hair, but was called out anyway.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said today that the pair have been working to improve communication with each other. That’s now going to be stepped up somewhat, likely through visual signals they can give each other.
The Mariners stole three bases on Monday, but were also caught twice (Milton Bradley was nabbed trying to swipe second), so their success rate is going to have to improve. With a batting order this weak, the team just can’t afford to give up base runners.
In other Mariner news, Baker also writes that Cliff Lee played catch without pain for a third straight day, and Erik Bedard is set to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. So pitching help might be on the way, but will there be enough offense?
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