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Seattle Mariners lose to Joe Blanton and his wine-stained hands

"There is always something left to love."

"And if its a ball we...we don't swing?"
"And if its a ball we...we don't swing?"
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I've been in enough up-and-down relationships that end in heartbreak (foreshadowing?) to know that the last thing you want to do is go through the gory details of the Seattle Mariners losing 4-1 on a night they faced Joe Blanton with Felix Hernandez on the mound.  Personally, when in the midst of the roller coaster of emotion that a tough relationship can bring, I go through a few steps to try to avoid or just forget about the bad times.  This is my attempt to take you through my reconciliation and ultimately, my distraction from reality.

The Skinny:

I brutally and honestly assess the scenario for some gathered, close friends.  Addressing the issues with facts, but succinctly.  Here we need no bed of roses.

Tonight the Mariners lost 4-1 while being two-hit by Joe Blanton and the rest of the Kansas City Royal's pitching staff.  There was a hit in the first inning, and then nothing for a while, and another hit by Austin Jackson after sixteen M's were retired in a row and then no other hits.  Joe Blanton worked in a winery last year.  Joe Blanton did not work as a professional baseball player last year.  The Royals amassed ten hits, nine off of Felix who was leaving his stuff up, over the plate early on.  The Royals were aggressive early in counts and it paid off as they scored three relatively early runs.  The Seattle Mariners struck out thirteen times.  Three by Mike Zunino, two for Brad Miller, Mark Trumbo, and Austin Jackson.  Austin Jackson was still the M's second-most valuable player tonight by WPA.

Distraction from the pain:

This is the part where we simply don't bring up the affairs at hand.  Sure, we maybe fringe-discuss what's gone on and how things have gotten to the point they are at now, but mostly, we focus on the good.  We maybe have a round of drinks or just throw something on the barbecue.  I'm a simple person and thus easily distracted by yard games.

Robinson Cano hit a DINGER in the bottom of the first.  It was cool and most likely Edgar Martinez's doing.

That's now just $8 million per home run for the season which, let me get my calculator out here, is the going rate for:

  1. Having P Diddy show up for something, 8 times.  Harder now that he's behind bars for being a helicopter parent.
  2. Purchasing roughly 37% of the original Magna Carta document.
  3. Almost two blimps.
  4. Thirty two LLers to space on the Virgin Galactic.
  5. 8,000 kilos of Kopi Luwak coffee beans.
  6. My happiness.
Wasn't enough?  Some other good things needed?
Don't worry, buddy, we got you.  That is an image of our King dispatching not only a former Mariner who shit the bed last season and may be the SOLE reason we missed the playoffs by three innings, but also the current AL DH in the All Star game.  Striking out an All Star, a true monarch.
So many good things.  That's a clean DP started by a man who is essentially an action-movie star.
See, our catcher is good!

The harsh reality:
At a certain point, something is said during the distraction segment which puts me right back in to the "sad-zone" and things get momentarily very dark.

Holy shit.  The M's got two hit by Joe Blanton.  Nelson Cruz left the game with a tight hammy and Dustin Ackley hit in his stead.  Dustin Ackley was a 2nd-overall draft pick.  Dustin Ackley is more well-known for having a beard than playing baseball, by a long ways.
I will be forever alone.

Someone hands me another drink:
Now I forget the sad feelings because someone has cheered me up with a beverage.  Things don't seem quite as bad but really they might be and potentially all my friends are just giving each other sideways looks like, "Wow, this is bad."  I don't notice.

Joe Blanton worked "in a winery" last year and while that could mean a number of different things, it still means he worked in a winery.  You may have noticed that Joe Blanton sat down sixteen Mariners batters in a row this evening.  You may have also noticed, through ramblings here and there, that my occupation is that of a winemaker.  Here are sixteen facts/tidbits about wine, some questions the LL staff has asked me, some just things I think are cool to know:

  1. Why does white wine "go bad" so much quicker than red wine?- While "go bad" can mean many things, I'm assuming this question relates to aging.  White wine noticeably browns in color over time, and this is undesirable to the consumer.  This, however, also occurs in red wine but is mostly disguised by co-pigmentation of anthocyanin (mostly malvidin-3-glucoside) and quercetin which produces the red color even after aging.  This being said, some whites (I'm thinking of a few Rieslings and Chardonnays I've had) are quite able to age for even ten years.
  2. Why is some wine not vegan?-While I don't fully know the vegan "laws", I believe this is mostly due to the animal products used to fine wine.  Gelatin is a common substance used to reduced high-tannin wines, as well, isinglass-typically the swim bladders of sturgeon-is also used.
  3. What is the best way to get good wine for cheap?-I recommend regions that produce "uncommon" varieties very well.  High-acid white wines can be found for cheap, are amazing for summer, and are typically of varieties not many consumers typically reach for.  Piquepoul from France, Gewurztraminer from Austria, Vinho Verde from Portugal, and Riesling from Germany (not always cheap) are great places to start.  Of course, South America is producing some extremely affordable reds, as well.
  4. Is screw-cap wine lesser quality?- NOOOO.  Screw cap wine is awesome.  Why screw cap?  Well, have you ever been told a wine is "corked"?  This is due to a fungal growth within the natural cork that produces TCA as a means of making its environment less-toxic.  TCA gives a sort of band-aid, cleaner, moldy flavor to wines in the extreme, but less-often noticed is that, in small amounts, TCA simply blanks out the aroma of a wine.  Screw caps essentially erase this issue entirely and have more predictable aging curves.
  5. The compounds that give red wine grapes their color are actually functioning as a UV screen for the fruit to avoid sun damage.
  6. Most wine grapes of the world are grown grafted on to rootstocks that were bred from the Southwestern United States.  For instance, a Cabernet Sauvignon plant in Bordeaux does not grow on Cabernet Sauvignon roots, it may grow on 101-14, a rootstock bred from native Texas grapes.
  7. All wine you would get your hands on in a store right now is grown from the same species of plant: Vitis vinifera.
  8. What's the difference between the color of red wine and white wine?-It isn't berry color, necessarily.  While most white wines are made from "white" grapes, what determines color in wine is actual grape skin-contact during fermentation.  The colored compounds in grapes are in the skins, and allowing grape juice to ferment while contacting these skins imparts color to the juice and thus the wine.  White Zinfandel is a white wine made from red grapes.  Don't drink White Zinfandel.  Please.
  9. Why is Pinot Noir wine more light in color?- Wine color is derived from anthocyanins, a class of compounds that produce essentially all of the colors we find in flowers.  These compounds can be turned "on or off" by various chemical pathways, but essentially, Pinot lacks acylated anthocyanins.  Acylation is key to anthocyanins providing color.
  10. Astringency is a taste sensation where your mouth feels chalky, like the moisture has been sucked out of your palate. High-tannin wines are associated with this sensation.
  11. The buds of a given season are set the season prior.  This means that the crop yield for the 2016 harvest set on the plant while the 2015 shoots and fruit began to push.
  12. One of the most infamous and dangerous pests of the vine is phylloxera.  Essentially, imagine orange aphids that feed on grape roots.
  13. One ton of grapes produces generally 150 gallons of juice.
  14. A source of high cost for a winery is the barrels.  These can cost, on average, $1000 per barrel, brand new from France.  American oak is cheaper, but not much.
  15. "Buttery" Chardonnay is not a phenomenon attributed to oak contact.  These wines have gone through a process called "malolactic fermentation" which is typical of red wine production.  This secondary fermentation takes the harder acid-malic, and converts it to lactic acid, one providing softer mouth feel.
  16. Finally, there is a stigma in this country that if you are poured a beer with a large head on it, you are being ripped off.  Do not be stupid.  The proteins in the head of a beer trap flavor and provide the "true" aroma of the liquid you are about to consume.  Next time you pour yourself a beer, in a mug because you are civilized and don't drink from cans, POUR WITH VIGOR.
The feelings end:
My friends have done me well.  They let me vent, quickly.  They distract me when needed with anecdotes and funny tales.  When I sink back down again they distract me with another drink.  The sadness goes away for now.

You will love again.  There's always something left to love.

(Hey Robbie, get hot, please)