Get Down With Your Bad Self!

“For it’s root, root, root for the Mariners.  If they win it’s a shame.” – What they should be singing at Safeco Field during the 7th Inning Stretch.

When you are having the sort of season that makes the Mendoza Line look like hitting .400, it is time to face reality and get down with your bad self.

In the spirit of embracing the disaster that is the 2008 season, it is time to start cheering for losses.  Bring on the baserunning miscues and slow pitch fastballs.  Stop groaning at wild swings and defensive plays straight out of the over 40 beer leagues.  The final week and a half of the season will be a race for infamy and one valuable prize.

With their victory last night, the Mariners failed to lose their 100th game of the season.  With 5 games remaining they will most likely reach that mark for the first time since 1983 when they dropped 102.  If they manage to pull off losses in each of the remaining games they will tie the franchise record for most losses in a season at 104, courtesy of the sophomore M’s of 1978.  Furthermore, they could also become the first club with a payroll of $100 million to lose 100 games.

Records of infamy are all fine and good, but the tangible benefit of horrendous play is the #1 pick in the 2009 Amateur Baseball Draft.  For that honor, the Mariners are enjoying a slim 1 game lead over the Washington Nationals.  The San Diego Padres looked to factor in, but effectively knocked themselves out of contention with a weekend sweep of the Nats.  If the M’s and the Nats end the season tied, the Nats will win due to finishing with a worst record last year.  The last time the Mariners had the first pick they selected Alex Rodriguez following the 98 loss ’92 season.

Without a doubt the first pick next June will be Stephen Strasburg out of San Diego State.  Coach Tony Gwynn describes the right hander as “John Smoltz without the slider.”  College pitchers being a far better bet than high school pitchers (cough, Ryan Anderson), the only obstacles standing between the Mariners and another home grown ace joining Felix in the rotation are compiling enough losses and Scott Boras.

In other M’s news:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via espn.com, the Mariner’s 13 game road losing streak is the longest to end a season in AL history and the longest by any team since the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers lost their last 14 away games.  Wait ’til next year.

Erik Bedard’s season ending shoulder surgery may close the book on his tenure in a Mariner uniform as the Mariners have the option to non tender his contract next year.  Manager Jim Riggleman recently mentioned that Bedard believes he first injured the shoulder in his second start of the season, but did not mention it until July 4th.  Not only does this make me feel better about my assessment of his Opening Day start, but I do feel (a little bit) bad about labeling him a wuss.

It seems his competitive streak was alive and kicking; it just wasn’t shining through.  But competitive nature aside, an injury is an injury and no amount of teeth gritting and press shunning will make it go away.  Furthermore, he owed more to a team that gave up 5 players to get him than what looked like half-assed performances.

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