Tony Randazzo stares at the sports section of the Detroit News, calmly sipping a cup of coffee. All the talk is about David Price and Felix Hernandez, a pitching matchup to drool over. Tony Randazzo doesn't drool over matchups. Tony Randazzo only drools over himself. Luckily, as the umpire behind home plate, he can do something about it. No one appreciates me, Tony Randazzo thinks to himself. I'll give them a reason to remember. I'll make an entire city shudder at my name, he says under his breath as casually tosses the newspaper on the ground. He gets up to leave the coffee shop without having the decency of bussing his own table.
Less than 24 hours later, Tony Randazzo is stuck in the hot sun, hanging out at third base. This isn't why he chose to be an umpire for 15 years. He signed up to make a difference. It is only about 78 degrees outside, but with all the gear on it feels like 79. Too hot. One of the Detroit players fires a line drive at him. Apparently they didn't appreciate the help they got the day before. No matter. No one has ever appreciated Tony Randazzo, he reminds himself. It isn't any consolation. It now feels like its 80 outside.
Tony Randazzo looks across the field at Lloyd McClendon. There he is, sitting in the shade of the dugout, calmly chewing on gum without even having to manage this game. The Detroit Tigers are busy mailing it in and the Seattle Mariners are taking advantage without even trying. It wasn't until he was face to face with McClendon the evening before that he remembered him from a game many years past. In a way, Tony Randazzo realizes that he has been waiting for this moment his entire life. If a man can't hold his own grudges, no one will hold them for him. At third base, it is a lot harder to find your chance, especially in a game like this. All it will take is just one look. Just try me McClendon, Tony Randazzo mutters, focusing his eyes on the Mariners' bench. Just say the word and we will tango. McClendon - I am your living nightmare.
Of course, there was much more to the game than third-base umpire Tony Randazzo doubling down on McClendon ejections for the series. The beauty of nationally televised games is that your actions do get noticed, and Randazzo got noticed for ejecting McClendon because apparently he didn't like the way he raised his hand (GIF courtesy of Deadspin). Also, despite the fact that I have now focused four paragraphs on Randazzo, I should also point out that we won't let him completely overshadow a nice game from the Mariners.
The game yesterday was unfortunate, because for all of its hype it just made it hard to get super excited about Chris Young and Robbie Rays. The Tigers didn't do too much to help the cause today, as it would appear that they also forgot how to play baseball. They finished with three errors, helping the Mariners along as they just piled on hit after hit, scoring run after run. Still, lack of excitement aside, this was a great end to an important series. The Mariners went 5-1 this past week against two teams it was necessary to beat.
For the box score portion of the game, the Mariners' offense came from all over the place. Every starter except for Jesus Sucre reached base at least once, and Chris Denorfia snagged his first triple and RBI as a Seattle Mariners. Young continued to put forth a solid season, limiting the Tigers to five base runners over six innings. He avoided a couple of potentially messy spots, stranding runners on third base in two different innings. The Mariners jumped on the Tigers early and continued to slowly, yet methodically, jump on the Tigers for the entire game.
This was a fantastic week of baseball. As long as the Mariners remain competitive, every week should be a fantastic week of baseball. But, honestly, it was hard to ask for much better than a series against the Toronto Blue Jays followed by a series against the Tigers. The Mariners continue their road trip now, heading to Philadelphia and then to Boston. Those games don't feel as "must-win", but in reality all games have a must-win feeling right now. That is the best feeling to have right now.
Real quick back to Tony Randazzo. Here is his reasoning for the ejection.
Randazzo on why he ejected McClendon: "Took his hand and shooed off my call."— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 17, 2014
Crew chief Brian Gorman: "Gestures are just as powerful as words sometimes."— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 17, 2014
Good life advice for McClendon to take note of, or something.