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Today had so much potential.

Like many other people, I woke up excited about the imminent Seahawks/Mariners doubleheader. A little Hasselbexcellence at 1 (EDT) and another dominant effort from Felix at 4 would make me quite the happy guy, giving me a healthy boost to get through the week. I was all set to go get dinner knowing that Shaun Alexander had scored twice and Felix struck out ten in eight shutout innings. My daydreaming, however, temporarily blinded me from the horrible truth:

God hates Seattle.

A few years ago, I was taking a European history class, and we got into a discussion about the role of God's will in pre-Enlightenment Western culture. They were simpler times, equipped with simpler explanations. If you dropped a rock onto your foot, it was because God wanted it to happen. Village ransacked by Germanic tribes? God was all over that one, too. There was no arguing with such a universal truth - things happened because God wanted them to happen, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. I have to imagine that this made for a pretty calm, stable society, because when you relieve humans of all responsibility, they no longer have any reason to feel stress or anxiety.

So it is today. Lots of people have volunteered lots of theories as to why Seattle sports teams are stricken with such consitently shoddy luck, but until now, I don't think anyone's mentioned the one that, to me, seems the most likely. Why does Chris Snelling keep getting hurt? Why did the 2001 team collapse in the ALCS? Where's all that Matt Hasselbeck potential we keep hearing about? Wide receivers dropping passes? The Sonics failing to accomplish much of anything during what was otherwise an impressive franchise peak? The Huskies playing like San Jose State's practice squad? Why, God, of course. It's out of our hands. Might as well accept and embrace our new role as Fans of the Damned, because God doesn't change His mind very often.

Biggest Contribution: Richie Sexson, +9.0%
Biggest Suckfest: Felix Hernandez, -33.6%
Most Important "Hit": Reed walk, +11.6%
Most Important Pitch: Mora single, -19.4%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -31.6%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -39.6%

(What is this?)

It was bound to happen at some point, so better that Felix get his forgettable starts out of the way now, before people set their expectations too high. We don't know anything more about him now than we did yesterday, except, perhaps, that - like a lot of other people - he is fallible, and can't be expected to post a 0.00 ERA in 2006. As a guy who succeeds by missing bats and keeping the ball on the ground, you know that Felix isn't on top of his game when opposing batters are lifting fly balls. My early impression is that, as his GB/FB goes, so goes Felix, and at 1.00 on the day, he was due to run into a rough patch here and there. Whether or not this has anything to do with his having racked up 107+ pitches in each of his prior four starts, I can't say, but it's obviously way too early to panic. But I don't need to tell you guys that.

Jeff's Sunday Timeline:

11:30, gets out of bed. "Ahhh, it's going to be a good day."
1:00, Seahawks win coin toss. "Hot damn, here we go!!"
1:01, Seahawks fumble away opening kickoff. "Er..."
2:45, Seahawks fall behind 20-14. "This could be going better..."
3:45, Hasselbeck intercepted to ice the game. "Football is retarded. Thank God for Felix."
4:25, Mariners take 3-0 lead. "Much better."
4:40, Baltimore takes 5-3 lead. "I think I'm going to end my life."
4:45, TV shows promo for Stephen A. Smith's 'Quite Frankly'. "Abort! Abort!!"

The Orioles may be running a slew of guys I've never heard of out onto the field - Aaron Rakers, Bernie Castro, Walter Young, Alejandro Freire, etc. - but the unit is held together by a central glue, an island, in the person of the ageless Sal Fasano, who looks about as excited to be playing baseball as your grandfather:

Rumor has it that you can estimate Fasano's age by counting the rings under his eyes. Whenever I see him without his catcher's mask on, I'm instantly reminded of the scene in Slap Shot where Paul Newman's character is talking to a player on the other team:

I'm a fucking drunk and my wife left me and that asshole over there keeps putting me out here when he knows I'm shitfaced. If anyone checks me into the boards I'm gonna piss myself.

Speaking of Fasano, a little bit of trivia: which one of the following is not like the others?

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Nomar Garciaparra
  4. Miguel Tejada
  5. Ed Rogers
#5 pinch-ran for Fasano in the seventh inning, his first appearance in a Major League game since 2002, when he made five (and collected all of three at bats). Why is this guy so significant? Because for the longest time, back when Baltimore was one of the worst franchises in all of professional sports, with an expensive yet worthless big league roster and an empty minor league cupboard, we kept hearing from Peter Angelos and Syd Thrift about how Rogers was going to be the next big thing, the next otherworldly AL East shortstop. And, at the time, they might have actually believed they were right. Rogers was young and had all the tools you look for in a kid infielder - strong arm, good speed, developing bat. The problem? He never hit, topping out at a .732 OPS over half a season in high-A Frederick, and he lost three years in Agegate, removing his prospect sheen almost entirely. Knowledgeable fans were always skeptical of Rogers' future, but whenever a guy gets hyped that much, it's always in the back of your head that he might actually pan out. After seven minor league seasons, Rogers has put together a .259/.302/.373 career batting line. At this point, it's safe to say that he hasn't.

Players given a chance to establish themselves on Major League level over past two years:

Justin Leone: Broken hand
Bucky Jacobsen: Busted knee
Travis Blackley: Torn labrum
Clint Nageotte: Trick elbow
Scott Atchison: Trick elbow
Jorge Campillo: Trick elbow
Chris Snelling: Busted knee
Jamal Strong: Broken hand
Greg Dobbs: Model of perfect health

That's all I feel like writing tonight. Ervin Santana against Joel Pineiro tomorrow at 7:05pm PDT.