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Seattle Mariners: Swinging For The Fences [OOTP21]
TheManxMissile
Ulrich Ulriksen wrote:
Arggh, Mussina on the Brewers, as an Orioles fan that hurts (although eventually he went to the Yankees which is worse). '97 Orioles should have won the World Series, Mussina was awesome in ALCS but the rest of the team wasn't. It was the last decent Orioles team for like 20 years.

Maybe that is a good omen for you Mussina being good but the other team taking the series. On the other hand there is an old baseball cliché that good pitching always beats good hitting. The M's could be a victim of that.


Went and looked up Mussina. Became a Free Agent after '96 and signed with the Brewers. 6-year deal worth about $50mil. As i've played onto '01 at this point i won't spoil what happens to him as he and the Brewers might well continue to play a role in the Mariners future.
Orioles '96 wasn't great, 63-99 to miss the playoffs by 25 games. '97 was better, 85-77 to miss playoffs by 9 games. Again won't spoil the Orioles beyond '97.

Well Pitching sunk us in '96, and the ALDS is definitely more about pitching this season. Can my power hitting Mariners build defy the conventional wisdom of a hundred years of baseball? Find out soon!
i.imgur.com/UmX5YX1.jpgi.imgur.com/iRneKpI.jpgi.imgur.com/fljmGSP.jpgi.imgur.com/qV5ItIc.jpgimgur.com/dr2BAI6.jpgimgur.com/KlJUqDx.jpg[/img[img]]https://imgur.com/yUygrQ.jpgi.imgur.com/C1rG9BW.jpgi.imgur.com/sEDS7gr.jpg
 
baseballlover312
Ulrich Ulriksen wrote:
Arggh, Mussina on the Brewers, as an Orioles fan that hurts (although eventually he went to the Yankees which is worse). '97 Orioles should have won the World Series, Mussina was awesome in ALCS but the rest of the team wasn't. It was the last decent Orioles team for like 20 years.

Maybe that is a good omen for you Mussina being good but the other team taking the series. On the other hand there is an old baseball cliché that good pitching always beats good hitting. The M's could be a victim of that.


If it makes you feel any better (it won't), Mussina was my favorite Yankee growing up. Pfft
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TheManxMissile
October 1997 - ALDS vs Brewers, Part 2


October 6th
Down 1-2 in the series, this is a must-win game for the Mariners.
Thus we open by going 3-and-out immediately. Luckily in the field Greg Jeffries is on form, pulling off a classy sliding catch to prevent a score. It doesn't improve in the 2nd Inning, as the Brewers work in a run to take a 0-1 lead.
In the 4th an error from the Brewers Catcher sets up Griffey and Arod at third and second base. But a Strikeout for Dan Wilson sees the chance go begging. Whilst both the 5th and 6th also go scoreless.
Finally in the 7th the Mariners get something working. Ortiz puts a strong shot to centre field, and an error on the throw to home lets Jeffries tie the game 1-1! Ortiz is then able to get himself home a couple of pitches later, and Seattle has a 2-1 lead going into the final two innings.
We rely on the closing arm of Hernandez, who delivers a crucial three-and-out. Doesn't matter the Brewers can do the same. The problem is we can't extend the lead in the 9th, leaving the Brewers with a chance. Dave Nilsson smashes it to right and over the wall, 2-2 all tied up! Two Griffey catches send us to Extra Innings.
The 10th goes scoreless, with some die hard fielding from both sides. Opening the 11th, Griffey gets walked. Cordero hits to right centre and Ken hussles to third, no outs. Jeffries with a fly ball to left... it hangs and Griffey goes for home... the throw is late! 3-2 Mariners lead. And the Brewers can't even record a hit. Mariners win 3-1 and tie the series 2-2!

October 7th
Game 5, back at the Kingdome. Deja vu. Especially as it's Johnson vs Mussina on the mound.
As expected the pitchers do the business, with the 1st and 2nd Innings going scoreless. An ARod double in the 3rd allows Brian Giles to score and give us a needed 1-0 lead. This is followed by the 4th and 5th going scoreless, with two of the leagues very best putting on a great display.
However in the 6th the Brewers are eventually able to work a run for Fullmer and tie the game 1-1. For the 7th we bring on Omar Daal to pitch. He throws solidly but allows Nilsson on base.
Then disaster, an error from King at third base allows Nilsson to score. 1-2 to the Brewers. With the 8th going without incident. Onto the 9th we hold the Brewers, setting us up needing one run!
Griffey draws a walk, good start. Cordero flies out to deep right, very close to a walk off hit. Jeffries then draws a walk, we have the Series winning run on base with just one out! Dan Wilson strikesout swinging at a loose pitch. All eyes on Derek Bell to pinch hit the Mariners to the ALCS... He connects... but not well enough, and the return throw to first beats him there.
Brewers win 2-1, and win the ALDS 2-3. Mariners heartbreak for a second straight year!

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/af/1997_American_League_Division_Series_logo.png/220px-1997_American_League_Division_Series_logo.png

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Ulrich Ulriksen
Ouch. 4 runs in the last two games total, like 14 for the series, the high powered Mariners offense goes silent in the playoffs.
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TheManxMissile
@UU - Turns out i'm not better than a hundred years of experience Pfft

@All - I'm keeping the first posts update as an overview. And this is a quick speed through to get to the meat of a fun 1998 season Wink

October 1997 to February 1998 - Off-Season


October 8th
Jeff King is mauled by the Seattle Media following his series losing error. Morale in the clubhouse overall is at two-year low. This off-season will require some work to turn this team into World Series winners.

October 27th
Moreal is lifted slightly. The Brewers win the World Series. At least we lost to the Champs.

October 28th
Mariners trade with the Expos
Israel Moreno (32, RP), Wil Cordero (26, 2B), Brett Mayne (29, C) <-> Ivan Rodriguez (25, C)
A big trade! Cordero had a good first year, but since signing his new contract has been off the boil. Losing him and some rotation pieces is a solid deal to bring in one of the leagues most well regarded Catchers!

Mariners trade with the Yankees
Jeff King (33, 3B) <-> Eric Karros (29, 1B)
There was no future left here for King. The fans won't forgive his error, hopefully New York can get behind him. Eric is primarily a First baseman but can go to Third. Alongside Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz we have some power on the corners!

October 29th
Mariners trade with the Braves
Dan Wilson (28, C) <-> Andruw Jones (20, RF), Xavier Rand (21, RF)
Wilson is now surplus, so swapping him out for two young but impressive outfielders suits us nicely.

With the flurry of early trades the mood around Seattle has lifted. Whilst not yet tackling the pitching question, it's clear this team is still feeling a Win-Now mentality.

November 1st
Tim Davis (27, RP) signs a 3-year contract extension worth 470k per year.

November 9th
Ken Griffey Jr. wins a Great Glove.
Roberto Hernandez wins Reliever of the Year!
Edgar Martinez, ARod and Griffey win Platinum Sticks
Lou Piniella wins Manager of the Year, for a third straight season.

December 10th
The Brewers make a trade offer for Ken Griffey Jr! It does include Mussina alongside some other talents. Honestly, we take a day to weigh up the options... But there's no way we could justify losing Griffey to the fan base, or ourselves.

December 15th
Draft Day passes without much fanfare. We stack up on pitching prospects.

December 17th
Expansion Draft Day! The Tampa Bay Rays & Arizona Diamondbacks join in the MLB fun times!
Tom Goodwin (29, LF), Bob Wolcott (24, SP), Bobby Ayala (28, RP), Rafael Carmona (25, SP) all go to the Diamondbacks.
Alex Diaz (29, RF), Andy Sheets (26, 2B), Lee Tinsley (28, CF), Manny Martinez (27, LF) all go to the Rays.

December 20th
Mariners trade with the Astros
Raul Ibanez (25, LF) <-> David Richter (25, CF), Julio Santana (24, RP)

January 3rd
Mariners sign Delino Deshields (28, 2B) and Chris Gomes (26, 2B) from Free Agency. One will shift to 3B/SS as we add infield depth.

February 1st
Our Owner is getting onboard with the all-in mentality. He ups out budget to $70mil. This will allow us to dive back into the market and snag some late day improvements.

February 18th
Mariners sign Steve Avery (27, SP) from Free Agency. A 4-year, $4.5mil a year deal. Steve is an immediate boost to our chances as a quality pitcher.
Royce Clayton (28, SS) also signs from Free Agency as another infield depth option.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/24/1997_MLB_expansion_draft_logo.png

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TheManxMissile
@All - I've been in the best mood today, as the Mariners finally reach the playoffs after 21 yeras. They are no-longer the owners of the longest post season drought in the big 4 US leagues! Perfectly timed to coincide with this story Wink

March 1998 - Season Preview


Key Personnel
No major changes to our staffing.
Lou Piniella, Manager - 3x Manager of the Year 1995-97. The best in the business.
Bill Trizcinski, Bench Coach - Third year on the team, continuing to work well with Lou.
Jonathan Rodgers, Pitching Coach - Arguably one of the best in the league, tasked with taking us up that final level on the mound.
Ronen Lizotte, Batting Coach - Our #1 Offence speaks to his work
Jim Wilson, Trainer - Our lack of injuries speaks to his work.


Pitchers:-

Randy Johnson, Starting Pitcher (Left Handed)
34, from Walnut Creek, CA. He was an All-Star yet again in 1997, and again led the league in Strikeouts. Still the centre-piece of our bullpen.

Steve Avery, Starting Pitcher (Left Handed)
27, from Trenton, NJ. Our major Free Agency signing. Steve went 10-4 for the Blue Jays in the first half of '97 before being traded to the Expos who made it to the World Series. He could be the key to breaking our post-season problems.

Bill Pulsipher, Starting Pitcher (left Handed)
24, from USA. Led the league in Wins in 1997, and at this rate of development he could be a Cy Young contender very soon.

Roberto Hernandez, Closer (Right Handed)
33, from PR. Reigning Reliever of the Year he's still delivering quality saves and age shows no sign of catching him yet.

Scott Elarton, Relief Pitcher (Right Handed)
22, from Lamar, CO. Our 1st Round draft pick, Scott has stunned during training. He looks the real deal immediately, capable of throwing any type of ball. We're trying not to get too excited but this could be an all-time draft choice.

Omar Daal, Relief Pitcher (Left Handed)
25, from Maracibo, VEN. Quietly had a solid 1997 and even better off-season. He can throw any type of pitch and could be about to shock the MLB as a breakout star reliever.


Batters:-

Ivan Rodriguez, Catcher (Right Handed)
26, from PR. A big trade pick-up from the Expos. 4x All-Star, 5x Great Glove, 2x Platinum Stick. He is one of, if not the, best Catcher in the League. Does mean he's being paid like it, but he is primed to help us push deep into the playoffs.

David Ortiz, 1st Base/Designated Hitter (Left Handed)
22, from Santo Domingo, DIS. Made 57 starts in '97 and looked very good. He's all set to come in and breakout this season, fanning balls from his howitzer like arm.

Eric Karros, 1st Base (Right Handed)
30, from Hackensack, NJ. Brought in from the Yankees to do one thing, hit homers. Former Rookie of the Year, and previous Platinum Stick winner. One-year on his contract, if he can drive us deep there might be a lucrative deal coming.

Alex Rodriguez, Shortstop (Right Handed)
22, from New York, NY. Added a Platinum Stick and All-Star to his '96 MVP. He is simply put one of the best players in baseball.

Ken Griffey Jr, Centre Field (Left Handed)
28, from Donora, PA. The King of Seattle. Without him we are lost, we are not a team. A surefire first ballot hall-of-famer, in his prime.

Brian Giles, Right Field (Left Handed)
27, from El Cajon, CA. Now firmly established as a top-tier player in the MLB, he's a key part of our line-up. And on a relatively budget contract as well!


Prospects:-

Chad Bradford, Relief Pitcher (Right Handed)
23, from Jackson, MS. Our 2nd Round draft pick. Got some work to do to round out his skillset and reach an MLB level of consistency. But boy can the kid throw a wicker mover!

Matt Anderson, Relief Pitcher (Right Handed)
21, from Louisville, KY. Another of this years draft class. Got to develop his control, but his range is impressive. A few years off the main roster, but all the skills to make it.

Andruw Jones, Right Field (Right Handed)
20, from USA. Traded in from the Braves. Andruw already looks like he might force his way into the main roster! He's deadly quick, capable of covering the outfield and stealing. If we can coax a bit more from his bat then Andruw will be a real MLB Star.

Xavier Rand, Right Field (Right Handed)
22, from North Ogden, UT. Xavier has fielding nailed, but his offensive game needs development. Unlikely to be a star, but on track to be a very useful depth/coverage option if he works hard this year.

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baseballlover312
How the hell did you manage to bring in Pudge and Andruw Jones without giving up stars going the other way? Wow. Should be a really great season. But it always comes down to executing in the postseason.
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TheManxMissile
baseballlover312 wrote:
How the hell did you manage to bring in Pudge and Andruw Jones without giving up stars going the other way? Wow. Should be a really great season. But it always comes down to executing in the postseason.


Pudge - Contract and finances put him on the trade block. Still cost us Cordero who's a good 2B on a reasonable contract.

Jones - Did cost us Dan Wilson, who after two strong seasons is a top-tier catch. The Braves also in a win-now mind-set with more established outfielders.

But for a team already dominating our division, these trades should worry the rest of the league as we desparately chase a World Series. We might only have one more chance before some of these stars get restless and want to move on...
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TheManxMissile
March 1998 - Swinging For The Fences


Following two heartbreaking ALDS losses, this season the Seattle Mariners have doubled down on their push for a World Series appearance. Fan expectation is at one level only, and this is surely setting up as a do or die year for GM TheManxMissile and Manager Lou Piniella.

First first deal was to bring in Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez from Montreal. There's an argument Pudge is the best Catcher in the league, and it has cost Seattle to secure him. Three usable players and taking on a sizable contract, all for a position where Dan Wilson was himself playing pretty well.

Speaking of Wilson, they shipped him to the Braves. The pay off here is in Andruw Jones and Xavier Rand. There's a buzz around the two outfielders, with the theory being the Mariners might even be working the market and could trade either or both talents in June to cement their playoff push.

Adding Eric Karros for Jeff King added yet more power to the roster. King's time was done after his ALDS costing error, so turning that into an establish Yankees infielder is impressive.

Topping all that off with Steve Avery from Free Agency, the Mariners have gone big this off-season. To emphasise the point they finish Spring Training with the almost unbelievable record of 26-4! This team has a mix of youth and experience, has power and now an upgraded bullpen. Surely the pieces are in place for go all the way?

Or so we thought! On March 30th, the eve of the season opener, the Mariners made the headlines once again. A big trade with the Florida Marlins was confirmed.
Matt Wagner (25, SP), Matt Mantei (24, RP), Gregg Jeffries (30, LF), Brett Boone (28, 2B) and Kevin Brown (24, C) all head down south.
Luis Castillo (22, 2B) and Ben Munger (25, SP) work their way north.

Castillo is one of the most exciting young infielders, and for the Mariners to partner him alongside Alex Rodriguez is, frankly, scary! The cost is sizable. Wagner and Mantei were both regulars in Spring Training, Jeffries and Boone were nailed on starting rotation players.
But if the young Castillo can bring a spark, if Andruw Jones shows he's ready to start the big games, added to new pitching power and a rock solid catcher... Double down for the Emerald City, it really is Champions or bust in 1998!

March 31st, Opening day at the Kingdome against the Cleveland Indians. Somehow there is now even more buzz for this match-up.

c8.alamy.com/zooms/9/a7ce78d117e3407dbef88313b2ddf4fa/2d4ajcw.jpg

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Ulrich Ulriksen
I am a little worried by the trade of two pretty young pitchers, not sure how important they were to the staff but pitchers get injured and you can never have too much depth.
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