It wasn't until 2010 that statistics from the charity game officially counted towards the Cactus League. It's a mystery as to why this game was treated as even more of a meaningless exhibition than all the others for so long, given the increased stakes. See, the annual charity game is actually more competitive than most, because in the annual charity game, theand the are playing for something. How much money goes to charity doesn't in any way depend on the outcome. It's just proceeds. But the winning team gets to prepare and hand over the comically oversized check, while the losing team has to sit and watch and look like they don't give a hoot about charity at all. It's pretty big for the marketing departments.
Today, the Mariners got to look good and the Padres got to look bad, as the Mariners walked off 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth. The Padres made a valiant comeback effort in the top, but minutes later they just couldn't complete the impossible task of getting around Mike Wilson and Johermyn Chavez. Chavez drove Wilson home with a no-out RBI double off someone named Brad Brach, whose family is responsible for terrible candy. I don't know anything about Brad Brach but since he's a Padres reliever he's probably good for a sub-2 ERA and five strikeouts a walk.
The Mariners' all-time charity game record thus improves to 9-7-1. That "1" stands out like Jeff Karstens' face in a room full of humans and I don't know how they handled the big checks in that instance. If I had to guess, the Mariners prepared a big check and tore it in half, and the Padres prepared a big check and tore it in half, and then they both presented half-checks, but the half-checks were useless because they were half-checks and they couldn't be combined since they were different checks. The charities therefore got nothing and both the Mariners and Padres came away looking like complete assholes. Nobody wins when two teams tie. Nobody.
The Mariners were actually leading the Padres 4-0 going into the top of the ninth, but then the Mariners called on Jarrett Grube, and if you don't know who Jarrett Grube is, it's because he's never worn a Mariners uniform during the year, and there's a reason he's never worn a Mariners uniform during the year. That isn't fair because Grube was actually all right last season, but when Grube came in it was 4-0, and when Grube left it was 4-4. In fairness, the fourth run scored when Nick Franklin lost a two-out pop-up in the sun. Had the Mariners gone on to lose, we would've had our very own Bill Buckner moment. But the Mariners won, and because the Mariners won in the ninth, Jarrett Grube won! Way to go Jarrett Grube!
The Mariners' offensive force was Kyle Seager, who finished 3-for-3 with a home run to center. You don't think of Kyle Seager as the sort to show straightaway power so that's somewhat encouraging, even if he did hit his dinger in Arizona. What Seager has to be wary of as he fights for a roster spot is setting expectations too high too soon. It's only the fourth day of March Kyle, slow down. Build up. You know what Chone Figgins is batting? .000. He's got the right idea. But you know, he's a veteran.
Jesus Montero also doubled. Forrest Snow threw a good inning of relief. Pretty much everybody but Grube was fine since Grube was the only Mariner pitcher to allow runs. Jason Vargas went an unexpected four innings in his start, and he went four innings because he was more effective and efficient than I think the team thought he would be. He faced 12 batters and he retired 12 batters, on 50 pitches. I can't believe Eric Wedge spoiled his bid for a perfect game but I guess Wedge is all about the team over the individual. Vargas is probably fuming, and a mad Jason Vargas probably runs his hands through his hair and then tries to touch everything. "Why is the office doorknob so sticky?" "What is this disgusting...resin...all over the stack of lineup cards?" Don't piss that guy off, is what I'm saying.
Listed attendance was 10,490, which, I mean, Cactus League charity game. People really fuckin love sunshine.
Back to work tomorrow. Against the Padres! In Peoria! But with the Mariners as the visitors this time. Expect a hostile crowd. It'll be Hisashi Iwakuma and Dustin Moseley, with George Sherrill also making his incredibly highly-anticipated Cactus League debut.