Well the Mariners just lost to the Athletics this afternoon, and they did it while suiting up with--and against--noted exasperated Jeopardy host and hairy-prevert-in-the-motel-hot-tub John William Ferrell. Yes, as you may have heard, Will Ferrell suited up with a series of clubs this afternoon on an attempt to play all nine positions for an upcoming HBO special to raise money for cancer research. It was dumb, and silly, and you probably saw a lot of tired Anchorman jokes on the internet this afternoon, which is assuredly kind of annoying considering it's, oh, I don't know, 2015.
I hear your complaints. But you know what? However many seconds you wasted upset that Will Ferrell put on an Athletics uniform and then a Mariners uniform and then stood in the field during a real spring training game today are seconds of your life that you will never get back, ever.
It doesn't matter. And sure it's jumped the shark by now, but Anchorman was bizarre and fresh back when it came out, and I don't care how /pushes glasses up nose above such pedestrian, popular humor you are now, because it's easy to shit on what's made it to the furthest reaches of the cultural zeitgeist once it's there.
Besides, it's spring training. You not only didn't have to watch, you actually had to go out of your way to watch. One time, in a real Major League baseball game, during a playoff hunt, the St. Louis Browns pinch-hit a man with dwarfism who had been previously popular for doing inhumanizing shit like jumping out of cakes and pretending he was the embodiment of the cartoon logo for Mercury Recordings. His at-bat counted. In August. Against the Detroit Tigers. Not only did it actually impact a real baseball game, but they used a human being as an object of ridicule to drum up publicity, and then years later, gave him a crummy job as a vendor because he wouldn't block the views of fans, and also because yeah, the same joke that got him there in the first place. Boy, it's dumb that they let Will Ferrell play baseball today.
Alright, rant over. Today Ferrell took the field at short for the A's, and then stood there while A's starter Scott Kazmir gave up a couple of walks and outs without touching the ball. M's minor league starter Jordan Pries (Iwakuma pitched a sim game back in Peoria, as Lloyd is afraid of giving the A's any in-season advantage) had a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first, giving up a leadoff triple and a sac fly. Ferrell was one spot away from actually getting an at-bat, but then Billy Beane came up from the tunnel to let him know he had been traded to the Mariners.
It was about the same for the Mariners, as he simply stood at second base in place of Willie Bloomquist, sparring strangely with Jesus Montero in what will surely be some overblown character that isn't quite as funny as the fact that the Mariners just played an inning with the slowest right side of the infield in major league history.
Pries had a clean inning with Ferrell taking the field, and he promptly got in a helicopter and then flew far, far away, which is exactly what I wish would have happened when Robert Andino was starting at shortstop against Houston two years ago, but we can't always get what we want, now, can we? If you missed any of the goofy fun today, you can catch a quick video here.
But then there was more baseball to be played, and hey, there was some exciting events down in Arizona this afternoon. For one, Austin Jackson went 2-2 with a walk and an encouraging triple you can see here:
For Jackson, who has already won the Mariners' starting centerfield gig by default, it was an encouraging day that suggested last season's calamitous summer doesn't need to be some sort of benchmark to which he was held. Joining him in efficacy was surprisingly Stefen Romero, who ended the day 2-4. Justin Ruggiano and Mike Zunino each had hits on the day as well, and word is that Jesus Montero, who also racked up a hit, made an athletic play in the bottom of the second after a throw from Marte pulled him off the bag.
Pries was allowed three innings this afternoon, and had himself a successful afternoon with four strikeouts, one run, and only a single hit on the day. But of course, the story we really need to mention is the impending lefty battle in the bullpen, which is shaping up to be quite a bit more than what we had expected come February.
On one hand, we had another great outing from M's Rule 5 pick David Rollins, who pitched an inning with two strikeouts and a fly out against a righty. It was Rollins' fourth game of the spring, and in as many innings, he's only given up two hits, touched 95 from the left side, and appeared under control and reasonably competent for a player the supposedly analytically-minded Astros were willing to dump out the car window like a cup of cold coffee.
But then, there's this Tyler Olson character. Rollins is probably the frontrunner for the job, simply because the M's will lose him if he doesn't appear on the 25-man all season. But Olson has pitched in four innings this spring without giving up a single hit, and has racked up seven strikeouts in the process. Olson doesn't quite have the velocity of Rollins, and has spent most of his time in the lower level of the minors, including AA Jackson, but he's extremely intriguing and will certainly be a story to keep an eye on as the rest of the spring progresses. For now, you should read Bob Dutton's writeup over at the Tacoma News Tribune, and keep in mind that Lloyd has already addressed the situation with a usual coded and confusing Lloydism:
"I would like to have a guy who is complete, who is able to throw multiple innings," McClendon said. "Get both left-handers and right-handers out.
"Listen, I’m not anointing this guy on our team," McClendon said. "He’s got to compete and there’s a lot of baseball left. But … I’m not trying to eliminate talent. I’m trying to find talent. I like surprises. We’ll see."
Wait...Lloyd anoints people to the team? Is that really how this works?
Not as good however, was Mark Lowe, who landed in the ninth to a 3-1 lead, and then promptly gave up back-to-back-to-back doubles, and then a walk. He tied the game up before getting pulled for Paul Fry, who gave up a walk-off to Kent Matthes on his first pitch. The Athletics stormed the field with bravado, dousing Matthes with Gatorade and doing that weird synchronized jump thing together to celebrate moving one step closer to the postseason.
Actually, no none of that happened. The Mariners did lose, though, and if you're still upset about any of these things I encourage you to remember that you're going to die someday, and everyone you know will die, and that the sun is going to explode and that if you're still upset, then know that simple probability says that the Mariners are going to eventually win the World Series. And tomorrow you get a normal baseball game again. Take a deep breath, because it only gets better.