The Sounders finally snapped a franchise-worst, nine-match winless streak, the Mariners staggered into the All-Star break having lost five times in seven games, former University of Washington All-America Brandon Roy, out for a year, is attempting a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the rhetoric over a proposed $490 million basketball/hockey facility in SoDo heated anew. This Was The Week That Was:
JULY 2-8, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — Mariners No. 1 draft pick (No. 3 overall) Mike Zunino not only signed his first professional contract, receiving a $4 million signing bonus, he won the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, given annually to college baseball’s best player. Zunino already had been honored with the 2012 Dick Howser Trophy and Johnny Bench Award. Baseball America, the arbiter in these matters, named the former Florida catcher the 2012 College Player of the Year.
- BAD WEEK — The Mariners finally got filled up to here with Hector Noesi’s string of awful outings and shipped the second-year starter to AAA Tacoma, where he can add to the Rainiers’ woes. Before departing the Seattle rotation, Noesi racked up 11 losses, most in the major leagues. Noesi is the first Mariner pitcher to lose that many before the All-Star break since (ugh!) Carlos Silva went 4-11 in 2008.
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — In the Sounders’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids Saturday, Alvaro Fernandez rose high to head in a corner kick from Mauro Rosales for his first goal of the season, a tally that gave Seattle a 1-0 lead. The Sounders hadn’t scored the first goal in an MLS game since May 9, and improved to 8-0-0 when scoring first.
- STAT OF THE WEEK — Ichiro went nearly a calendar week without a hit, and would have posted the worst seven days of his career if he hadn’t collected a couple of singles Saturday night and two more Sunday. Ichiro started the week with a .272 batting average and then pulled a career-worst 0-for-23. His four hits over the weekend left him at .129 for the week and .251 for the season.
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — Former UW center Spencer Hawes agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. Hawes turned down offers from the Sixers last offseason as a restricted free agent in order to become an unrestricted free agent and test the market. The 7-foot-1 Hawes has averaged 9.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, one block and 2.6 assists per game over his five-year career . . . Former Mariner farmhand David Ortiz, a 1996 giveaway to Minnesota, belted his 400th career home run Wednesday, 49th on the all-time list . . . Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, delivered a broadside at former Mariner Alex Rodriguez, claiming A-Rod’s numbers are “tainted” because of his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs. “What he admitted about his usage clouds his records,” said Jackson, who lamely apologized for his remarks a day later . . . Former Sonic Ray Allen bailed on Boston and jumped to the NBA champion Miami Heat.
- SUNDAY, July 8 — Josh Reddick gaps a walk-off double off Oliver Perez in the 13th inning, giving the Oakland A’s a 2-1 victory over the Mariners, who wind up the first half of the season with a 36-51 record and trailing the Texas Rangers by two touchdowns and a field goal in the AL West. Felix Hernandez allows just one earned run in 7.2 innings, but Mariners’ hitters offer no support, going 9-for-48 (.187 for the game) while leaving nine runners stranded. Cluster Eff: Mariners have suffered four walk-off losses in 2012, two came this week (Friday, Sunday) . . . Sue Bird celebrates her Bobblehead Night by scoring 31 points — two shy of her career high 33 set Aug. 9, 2002 — in leading the Storm to an 83-68 romp over the Phoenix Mercury at KeyArena. In a remarkable display of shooting, Bird finishes 10-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the line.
- SATURDAY, July 7 — The Mariners finally get their bats going and romp to a 7-1 victory over Jarrod Parker and the Oakland A’s. Kyle Seager rips a three-run double and Casper Wells homers in support of Jason Vargas, who throws a complete game for his first win in a month . . . Sounders finally end a nine-game winless streak by beating Colorado 2-1 at CenturyLink Field on goals by Alvaro Fernandez and Eddie Johnson. Big news is that Steve Zakuani makes his first appearance in 14 months . . . With the Storm missing Sue Bird (right hip flexor) and Ann Wauters (strained calf), Seattle is no match for the L.A. Sparks, losing 83-59, the club’s worst meltdown since a 79-55 defeat to Minnesota June 6.
- FRIDAY, July 6 — Manager Eric Wedge laments at watching a “Groundhog Day” Mariners offense after Seattle whiffs 14 times against five Oakland pitchers in a 4-1 loss. “I’m getting tired of watching this,” says Wedge, who also didn’t like watching a three-run, walk-off home run by Chris Carter off Steve Delabar . . . Kevin Penner, a UNLV senior-to-be from Sammamish, makes up a two-hole deficit on the final hole of regulation and wins the first hole of a three-man playoff to capture the Sahalee Players Championship. He defeats, among others, UW’s Chris Williams, attempting to become the first to win the tournament twice . . . Mike Zunino, the Mariners first-round draft pick out of Florida (No. 3 overall) is named the 2012 Golden Spikes winner by USA Baseball, adding to a trove that includes the Dick Hoswer Award, the Johnny Bench Award and Baseball America’s Player of the Year designation.
- THURSDAY, July 5 — Brandon Roy, former UW and Garfield High star who retired a year ago due to chronic knee issues, begins a comeback bid with the Minnesota Timberwolves by agreeing to a two-year, $10.4 million deal. Roy received a number of treatments that were successful enough that he decided to re-enter the league . . . Free agent guard Jamal Crawford, from Rainier Beach High School, agrees to a $21.7 million, four-year deal with the Clippers.
- WEDNESDAY, July 4 — Former Mariner farmhand Chris Tillman (traded to Baltimore with Adam Jones in 2008 in the Erik Bedard trade) takes a one-hitter into the ninth inning en route to dousing the Mariners 4-2. The Mariners conclude a 10-game home stand, during which they batted .175, lowering their season home mark to .195, 27 points below the the club’s all-time, single-season worst (.222) at Safeco Field . . . Sounders extend their winless streak to a staggering nine games (0-4-5) and two months with a 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake.
- TUESDAY, July 3 — Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen takes a perfect game into the seventh (shades of Philip Humber), loses it, and Baltimore withstands a late, three-run Mariner rally and beats Seattle 5-4 with a ninth-inning home run by Robert Andino. The homer, off Charlie Furbush, snaps Furbush’s streak of 22.2 consecutive scoreless innings . . . Setter Courtney Thompson and libero Tamari Miyashiro, two former Washington Huskies, land spots on the U.S. Olympic volleyball team, both for the first time. The U.S. team is ranked No. 1 in the world heading into the London Olympics . . . Andrew Kirkland, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound guard from Jesuit High in Portland, says he has committed to play football at Washington. Rivals.com and Scout.com awarded Kirkland three stars.
- MONDAY, July 2 — Casper Wells comes through with a two-out, bases-clearing double in the seventh inning that lifts the Mariners to a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field. Most notable, though, is that Seattle’s pitching staff holds Baltimore to just three hits . . . The Mariners lavish a $4 million signing bonus on catcher Mike Zunino, the club’s first pick in the June amateur draft. He will start his pro career at Class A Everett.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
When the Mariners scored six runs vs. Baltimore Monday, it marked their biggest offensive output at home since June 18 against San Francisco.
When Ichiro, Munenori Kawasaki and Hisashi Iwakuma played Monday, it marked the first time 3 Japanese played in the same MLB game.
With their 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake, Sounders became first team in MLS history to go three games in a row without a loss at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Before being demoted Thursday, Hector Noesi had 11 losses, most by a Seattle pitcher before the All-Star break since Carlos Silva lost 11 in ’08.
2: Number of state-based athletes who qualified for the Olympics during the past week. Washington’s Olympic “roster” now tops 20.
READS OF THE WEEK
Thiel: Van Dyk, I-91 Flare Anew In Arena Debate: Six years after the Initiative 91 vote was looked upon by the NBA as a reflection of Seattles lack of desire to keep the Sonics, the law is at the heart of a fresh, direct conflict between Chris Hansen and those who want him and his partners to pay more of the $490 million tab for his basketball/hockey arena . . . MORE
Cougars’ Football-Stadium Remodel Nears Debut: PULLMAN Time for Washington State Universitys economically obsolete Martin Stadium to catch up with the rest of the football yards of the suddenly wealthy Pac-12 Conference . . . MORE
Thiel: Mariners Eager For Happy Ending With Zunino: Gather round, kiddies, and let us go back to the year two-ought-ought-five for a tale of the Mariners and catching. They had seven of em: Dan Wilson, Pat Borders, Miguel Olivo, Yorvit Torrealba, Rene Rivera, Wiki Gonzalez and Miguel Ojeda. All fizzled, more or less . . . MORE
Wayback Machine: Dick (The Needle) Gyselman: In mid-July 2003, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the Pacific Coast League selected not one, but two All-Century teams. The first included elite players who tramped the circuit between 1903-57, the second the best who performed after the Brooklyn Dodgers (Los Angeles) and New York Giants (San Francisco) relocated to the West Coast in 1958 . . . MORE
That Was The Week That Was (June 25-July 1): As the Mariners sank ever further into the AL West abyss, Olympic Games qualifying in track and field and swimming provided several remarkable stories, none better than 37-year-old middle-distance runner Bernard Lagats attempt to defy time and reach the Olympics for an astounding fourth time. This Was The Week That Was . . . MORE
“What we’d like to see in the second half is for that gap to close. For these guys to become more consistent. To understand, ‘I’m a professional big leaguer, this is my job day in and day out’ and approach it that way. And I think they are starting to understand that” — Jack Zduriencik, Mariners GM, on his expectations — and hopes — for the second half of the season
“We’ve got to get back playing a little bit like we were at the beginning of the year, but I’ve been pleased with our mentality and the way we’ve approached the last two games” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, as his club prepared to meet Real Salt Lake, which became a 1-1 draw
“It’s a great, great day. I’m just fired up.” — Jim McLaughlin, UW volleyball coach, after learning that two of his former players, Courtney Thompson and Tamari Miyashiro, had made the U.S. Olympic volleyball team
“I would rather stay here (Safeco Field) and grind through this and figure it out. That’s my attitude, too. You can’t run from it. You have to look it right in the eye. This is where we play. It’s a great place to play. These guys have to figure out how to be at their very best here. That’s what we’re going to keep pushing them to do” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, after the club batted .175 during a 10-game home stand that ended Wednesday
“It’s just been ‘Groundhog Day’ too many times for me. We’re in the process of evaluating everybody and everything. We’re a couple days away from the All-Star break. We’re not just going to keep watching what we’re watching. We’re not going to watch people keep doing the same thing over and over again and live with it. We’ve been patient, we’ve addressed things in different ways, but ultimately they’re grown men out there and they’re either going to get it done or they won’t be here” — Wedge, after the Mariners struck out 14 times in a 4-1 loss to Oakland Friday
“I tried to visualize what that moment would be like for over a year. It’s something I can’t describe. Those fans are something else. I think they outdid themselves again tonight it was so loud. It’s a final check-mark in my mind, and I’m also happy the team won, obviously, so it’s a perfect night all-around for everyone involved in the Sounders” — Steve Zakuani, Sounders, after returning to the club Saturday after missing 14 months while healing a broken leg