If you know anything at all about baseball, you have to know the play Jamie Burke pulled off Sunday was harder than hitting a home run, making a diving catch or stealing a base. You also have to know it isn’t appreciated all that much.
Burke’s squeeze bunt in the sixth inning (the focus of this Times’ notebook) not only was almost impossible to pull off – next time you are at a batting cage, just try bunting a 95-mph fastball, then think about doing that with the ball coming at your chest – but it also was part of a four-run rally that put the Rangers away in the 11-6 win.
It was also something I’m sure we would have never witnessed if Mike Hargrove had been managing instead of Lou Piniella-mentored John McLaren. The play brought back memories of when the M’s manufactured runs with the bottom of the order, instead of sitting back and waiting for a three-run home run.
Hargrove is back today (7:05; FSN; 920-AM) for a pitchers’ duel, with Felix Hernandez (3-3, 4.10 ERA) facing Baltimore’s best, Erik Bedard (4-3, 3.67).
Today’s hot list …
• It’s kind of a cliché now. Whenever a pitcher earns his first major league win – as Ryan Feierabend did Sunday – someone, in the Mariners’ case usually J.J. Putz, hits him in the face with a shaving cream pie. No one ever said major leaguers were as funny as Carlos Mencia. But they do appreciate a good performance, which is what Feierabend gave the M’s. That’s reflected in the game stories in the Times, the News Tribune, the P-I and the Herald. Here are the stories out of Dallas from the Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.
• There was a report in the Boston Globe on Sunday the M’s might be sold. Well CEO Howard Lincoln is having none of it. Either is Pat Gillick, mentioned as one of the major players behind the “purchasing” group.
• Jeff Weaver had his best outing of the season Sunday. Too bad it was a simulated game. Actually, if it had been a true simulation, Weaver would have walked six and given up seven earned runs.
• General manager Bill Bavasi gets hit pretty hard in this Baseball Digest piece.
• And our question of the day …
• Do you miss the brand of baseball the M’s used to play under Piniella?
I have meetings this morning and a column to write, but there are a bunch of other links (non-Mariners) I want to share. We’ll be back later with them.