- Aussie Mariner, LL: Favourite baseball pun?
John: Grant Balfour’s existence.
- JJ Keller, LL: If you were an MLB player, what would your walk out song be? Would it be different as a hitter versus a closer? (Feel free to include both a real answer and a joke answer, if you’d like).
Ethan: My closer music would be Alors On Danse by Stromae. Not even close. My walk-out music would be John Cage’s 4’33”. Once again, not even close.
Amanda: As a closer, I would walk out to the Summer Finale by Vivaldi. Classical music is underused. As a hitter, I’d go with These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra because walking is the best thing you can do in baseball.
Ben: Joke answer: I would choose Bohemian Rhapsody and take the full six minutes to walk to the plate.
Actual answer: I'm a big country music fan, so I would go with Glen Templeton’s rendition of Ball Cap. I think a lot of fans would appreciate it.
Luke: Recently I’ve been feeling “Up All Night” by John Pardi, so that’s my serious answer. My not so serious answer is “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. That would get the crowd riled up a bit I hope.
Zach M: “A Milli” by Lil Wayne. Instant hypefest. Coming out of the bullpen, though, I’d opt for some Simon & Garfunkel to lull the opposition into a false sense of security. “America” in particular strikes me as the perfect theme song for any marginal reliever with nothing to his name but a middling fastball and a pocketful of dreams.
John: For a hitter walkup, I’d go with The Emperor’s Soundtrack by Lupe Fiasco. Starts strong and builds excellently.
As for closer entrance, Vegeta’s Super Saiyan Theme from DBZ is primal and soaring, and would put the entire goddamn stadium into a frenzy. I would immediately walk the bases loaded due to the adrenaline shooting out of my ears, but I would feel like I was throwing 98 in the middle of a rave in the jungle while doing it. This is the furthest thing from a joke.
Kate: I would be the LOOGY (LOOGL?), so I don’t know if I would get a walk-out song, but if I did, it would have to pay homage to my Riot Grrrl roots. Maybe some Sleater-Kinney or Bikini Kill’s “Jet Ski”
Isabelle: This is my favorite question, and if I ever dared to dip a toe in the Tinder world this question would be the only part of my bio. My answer is the intro beat to Kendrick Lamar’s Backseat Freestyle.
Adam: Last year on my intramural softball team (we brought a boombox and a cooler to every game) I walked out to Snitch by Obie Trice. I am a skinny kid from Idaho.
SG: My audio experience is about 95% albums that come with a Parental Advisory sticker, 1% Boy Band music and 4% podcasts. So probably something from the 1%
- Chris (from Bothell), LL: Of all the players who will show up to M's camp in the Best Shape of Their Life, who will be the Best Shape of Their Life-iest?
Zach G: I’ll go with Shawn O’Malley, just so that someone has a reason to actually write a story about him.
Kate: We’ve only seen little snippets of Vogelbach, but it certainly seems like he’s trimmed up a lot since joining #TeamSalad. I think he took the team’s request that he work on his athleticism pretty seriously.
Ben: I'm gonna actually go with King Felix. To be clear, I'm not saying I think he will have his best season. I just think last year was eye opening for him that he's gonna need to put in work in the offseason as his naturally ability succumbs to age slightly.
Grant: This is the year for Jesus Montero. I can feel it.
SG: I’ll bet it’s someone that isn’t blasting a gram every other day of them at the gym over the offseason.
- Chris (from Bothell), LL: Spring Training Superlatives! Predict for us: Who will be the first cut of camp? Who will be the last cut of camp? Who will be the final starter, reliever and position player to make the 25-man roster? Which fringe player will have the best spring?
Ben: First Cut: RHP Ryan Weber. Last cut: Ben Gamel. Final starter in: Gallardo (I think this is kinda already established). Final reliever in: Shae Simmons. Final position player in: Guillermo Heredia. Best fringe player Spring: I'm gonna say Taylor Motter goes bonkers this spring and hits .385.
- Chris (from Bothell), LL: Which NRI are you rooting for the most?
Ben: I'm not necessarily rooting for him to make the 25-man, but I just want to see Povse prove that he's something to be excited about. A guy I would love to see crack the roster is Peter Tago. That K% man….whew! Especially with Zych and Cishek likely missing time to start the year, you can always use another strikeout pitcher out of the pen. He's also only 24, and has got the ability to give you multiple innings (averages 1.58 IP/Appearance last 2 seasons). I'll be following him closely.
John: Because I have such positive feelings towards most of the position players and would see them being usurped as more of a failure on their part than excellence from others, I think relievers the most sense. In this regard, Micah Owings has my heart. The chances are slim that he will have any role on the MLB club. Whatever. The guy has seen his body betray him and has taken as long a road as possible back, overcoming Endy Chavez and Bryan LaHair to earn one more chance at his dream. Let him make Tacoma and get to hang out with Tuffy and Tyler.
- Chris (from Bothell), LL: How many more trades will Jerry make before Opening Day?
Grant: I just want to note that this question was asked BEFORE the Jesus Sucre trade. I think he’s still got one move left in him.
Amanda: I think the real question is, how many trades won’t Jerry make?
Isabelle: He’s going to continue fussing with the pile of arms/minor leaguers (remember when he essentially kidnapped Nick Vincent from the Padres side of the complex?), so my guess is 3.
- Chris (from Bothell), LL: What will be the first significant injury of spring training?
Isabelle: Cameron Maybin, because 2017 already feels entirely surreal, so why not also have Dustin Ackley as the starting left fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?
John: Luke Maile and Curt Casali crack heads in a dirtball blocking drill, and open up the path for one Jesús Sucre to start until Wilson Ramos’ return in Tampa.
- bennett.dammeier, LL: How do you project our starting pitchers will rank at the end of the season in terms of FIP?
Adam: Paxton, Felix, Smyly, Kuma, Gallardo
Ben: I second Adam’s order. Wouldn't be totally shocked if Kuma if Felix/Smyly/Kuma end up in a different order though.
- aussie_chop, LL: Favourite type of marine mammal?
Isabelle: NARWHALS. They’re so cool. I have so many facts about them that I’d love to share with you all.
John: Belugas. I respect their determination to prove they’re not just dolphins with a paint job.
Ethan: Sea otters!
- btownfritz, LL: How active do you think the Mariners will be at the trade deadline?
Ben: I expect them to be active, but not going crazy. I think we’ll be in a Wild Card spot and still within spitting distance of the Division, so I could see Jerry dealing for a bullpen ace or something like that. I just don't think we have the prospects to deal for a solid #2 SP to anchor the rotation in the playoffs, which may be okay if the defense is able to lift up the rotation as expected.
John: I can’t see the team finding much wiggle room in their budget at this point, but if they’re doing well they might look to deal from their outfield and pitching depth for a strong reliever, as Ben recommended, or perhaps to fill a hole that has cropped up in the lineup. In a less optimistic sense, Jarrod Dyson, Danny Valencia, and Steve Cishek are all expiring contracts who could deliver some return if they are performing well, despite the team struggling as a whole. If the team is realllllly in the tank, but he is still on the top of his game, Nelson Cruz could also be flipped.
- FlannelBacon, LL: What's your favorite baseball anime/anime episode featuring baseball?
John: It’s unfortunately been a while since I watched either, but Major and Ace of Diamond were both solid. Since you are asking this question I would assume you’ve seen Major, but if you (or anyone else hasn’t) think Boyhood except a kid wants to play professional baseball and you see his whole life over several seasons and wow I am gonna rewatch it now thank you.
- ZZHop, LL: What was the most peculiar/unexpected item loaded into the truck for Truck Day?
Amanda: Unfortunately, the Mariners didn’t release much in the way of specifics, but in a video on their website there was a picture of a forklift full of Gatorade. I have to question the efficiency of driving Gatorade to Arizona.
- ZZHop, LL: How many of you have read Bret Boone’s book "Home Game"? I read it yesterday, not bad, but not great either. In the Cleveland game 2001, Lou had promised that he wasn’t gonna play that day, no matter what. So, when Lou told him to pinch hit late, he was already 3 beers deep. Struck out on 3 pitches.
Ben: I have not read it, but I love stories like that. More so when my team isn't suffering from it though.
- Corco, LL: In the event of a nuclear war that takes down the internet, what is LL's contingency plan to continue operations?
Amanda: I don’t know if this has been discussed, but my take is that we’ll have to spread the news town crier style.
Isabelle: I guess that means we’d have to literally start mashing people’s faces together?
John: Nuclear explosions are just upside down volcanic eruptions, I see this as an excellent growth opportunity for the site.
Ethan: We will pivot to a survival blog. I will establish a radio station in an abandoned warehouse for eager protagonists to seek.
- GrizBronc, LL: Which Mariners player will make the biggest ass of himself during the 2017 World Series victory parade?
Ethan: It’s going to be really weird when Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen show up just for funsies and we all go along with it.
John: I mean Danny Valencia but we will absolutely love him by then.
SG: It’ll be interesting to see if a Mariner can cause that much trouble at another team’s World Series parade.
- bp42810, LL: You have just become a casting director for a current sitcom on TV (which one?). Three of the current actors all are suddenly ill and need to be replaced (Who and what roles?). You decide to replace them with members of your beloved Mariners because why not? Which players would you choose and why?
Zach M: Modern Family – Seth Smith as Phil (we will have to invite him back for this one because he will always be #1 Dad in our hearts), Shawn O’Malley as Luke (because for some reason I could totally see him drinking Dr. Pepper out of a cookie sheet), and Nelson Cruz as Gloria (I think the mental image is all that’s really needed).
- Thehooplehead, LL: If you could make any non-baseball athlete a Mariner, who would it be and at what position?
Ethan: Just imagine having Usain Bolt as a pinch runner.
Andrew: Marshawn Lynch. And the position doesn’t matter; I just want him in my life more often.
Grant: Giannis Antetekounmpo would be an absolute monster of a pitcher, if you could train him properly. But give me prime Arnold Schwarzenegger - I’d love to see if his strength could translate to the diamond, and he’d also be a fan favorite from Day One.
Amanda: Brandon Roy because he is my favorite of all time. He’d have to play DH due to his knees.
John: GRANT HAS STOLEN MY FAVORITE DREAM FOR GIANNIS. KATE, ARREST HIM.
- Corco, LL: What is your favorite non-freeway state highway?
Kate: Definitely Chuckanut Drive. It’s beautiful AND fun to say, and there’s a good pilsner named after it. A trifecta of perfection.
Ben: Highway-195 from Spokane to Pullman baby. That drive is boring, but I love each end of it, and have some good memories along that route.
John: Highway-20/The North Cascades Highway. I spent half my life growing up in Winthrop and the Methow Valley, and there is no winding road more picturesque I’ve seen than when you finally crest the North Cascades and roll all the way down the eastern side.
SG: Catch me on 99. How about that?
- Corco, LL: Besides the obvious Gate B11, what is your favorite gate at Seatac?
Zach G: I think Gate C4 has a Beecher’s cheese stand near it. I could see myself building a home and raising a family there someday.
SG: I’m a fan at any gate where I don’t have to take that shitty little train to get to.
- Corco, LL: Any thoughts on McCall, Idaho?
Adam: McCall is probably one of my favorite places in the world. My Grandma lives there over the summer, so I’ve been many over the course of my life. We also use the house in the winter for ski trips. Unfortunately, McCall has gotten a lot more crowded over the last few years due to tourism, but in the off months it’s still quaint and charming. Don’t plan on making any left turns in town if you’re there over the Fourth of July.
- Distant Echos, LL: Warners: Yakko, Wakko, or Dot?
- lawrence.wolffis, LL: What is your favorite non-Mariner sports memory? One for non-Mariner baseball and one for non-Mariner any other sport.
Ethan: For non-Mariner baseball memory, I’d say it was Cal State Fullerton beating Louisville in the Super Regionals of the 2015 College World Series. Most of the key players on the team were guys I’d watched a ton during my last couple years at CSUF, so seeing them beat a heavily-favored Louisville team to move on to the College World Series in Omaha was a major moment for me. I will never forget how excited I got when Thomas Eshelman started warming up in the bullpen. I’ll never forget Chris Hudgins gunning down the tying run at second to end the game. I’ll never forget any of it. Also, I’m a Mariners fan, so major success in baseball tends to be a fairly unknown field for me. For just general sports moment, it has to be LSU beating Ohio State in the 2008 BCS National Championship.
Amanda: My favorite non-Mariner baseball memory is my first game at Fenway Park in August of 1996. It one of Roger Clemens’ last starts as a Red Sock. A couple months prior I had seen Arquimedez Pozo play in Tacoma (I loved his name) and he played in that August game for the Red Sox after coming over in a trade. That’s Mariner related, but it’s always a thrill to see a player you remember from the minors. Favorite non-baseball sports memory is definitely being at the USMNT World Cup Qualifier in Seattle. Best sports atmosphere I’ve been in.
Ben: Non-baseball would be WSU football beating UW in the Apple Cup in...2013? In pullman. We sucked and UW was ranked but we won and rushed the field. It was magical. I felt like Lucas in One Tree Hill when *SPOILER ALERT* the Ravens won state. Non-Mariner would be...perhaps winning the first game I ever coached. We were a drafted team made up of kids who just randomly signed up and beat one of the league’s select teams. Although my team was the Mariners so I guess broke the rules with this question.
Grant: Non-baseball: Being at the UW football game when Mason Foster did this.
I’m pretty sure I alone was responsible for the camera shaking, because I was running up and down the aisles just going nuts. As far as favorite baseball moment, it was pretty awesome watching MiMo (sorry, Kate) record the last out of the World Series this year, given the curse and all. There’s definitely some recency bias involved but still, that entire game was something special.
- JJ Keller, LL: Would it make any sense to start Vogelbach in AAA?
Andrew: Danny Valencia’s 118 wRC+ vs RHP over the past two seasons (in 602 PA) combined with the fact that Vogelbach has just 13 MLB plate appearances suggest that it could make a lot of sense for Voggie to start the year in Tacoma. Vogelbach’s performance in ST seems like it could be one of the most important things to keep an eye on.
Ben: I think a showing of subpar defense at first from Vogie would punch his ticket for Tacoma. Jerry knows this team is going to need top notch defense to support our rotation of dependable #2 and #4 pitchers.
- the old wisdom, LL: Which current Mariner would you most like to have a beer with? More generally, what Drug + Mariner combination would be most entertaining? Finally, if no drugs were involved, which M would be the best conversationalist?
Isabelle: Not current, but Adam Lind and Benadryl. I’d kill to have a beer with Leonys Martin, and then I’d probably have to lie down for a while. I refuse to further fluff the love affair with Mitch Haniger, so I’ll go out on a limb and say James Paxton for best conversationalist. Divish once mentioned he was the funniest guy in the clubhouse, and he’s got a goofy, doesn’t-take-himself-too-seriously vibe that I adore.
John: Hello I am here to fluff and talk hitting mechanics. If we provide him with a good, safe, comfortable locale, and then James Paxton on Molly will be the most emotive, entertaining experience imaginable.
Ethan: Beer is bad, but I’ll share a root beer with Kyle Seager any day of the week.
Cool website we have here.
- Max_MacGregor, LL: Who will be the biggest let down for us this season?
Grant: Sorry, John, but I feel like the answer to this might be Mitch Haniger. There are sky-high expectations about him around here, and it all seems like a lot for a guy with all of 123 plate appearances in the majors. I could certainly see him falling short of the 2-3 wins that many are projecting him to be worth. Otherwise, pick one from Felix/Kuma/Paxton, as I’m guessing injuries may catch up to any of them.
Zach G: I have a bad feeling about Leonys Martin. His burst of power last season looks like something of an anomaly, and his sky-high K% (25.9% last year) could haunt him even more as a result. His defensive contribution will hopefully continue to outweigh his questionable offense.
Isabelle: Ah yes, glad to see Zach continuing in his campaign to be my least favorite new hire. My answer is Mike Zunino.
John: Drew Smyly worries me, like most of the rotation, less so from a performance standpoint, but more from a health one.
- shanghaimariner, LL: Which former Mariner will burn us the most this season? and Beltre doesn’t count…
Zach M: I could see human casserole Mark Trumbo barely mustering a 1 WAR season, yet somehow still managing to go yard like 7 times in a single weekend against the Mariners (scoring Adam Jones every time, because why not). He will do this for no other reason than to spite us, because the ghosts of GMs past will simply refuse to go gently into that good night. Also Nori Aoki’s lone home run of 2017 goes against the M’s. You heard it here first.
John: Kendrys Morales is not worth 3 years and $33 million but you can be damn sure he’ll look like it when Toronto comes to town this year.
SG: The minute that I saw Aoki went to Houston I was filled with annoyed rage knowing that we’ll face Altuve-Aoki at the top of a line up at least once.
- Broberg, LL: For those on the staff that enjoy a good family/friendly game night, what are some of your favorites?
Adam: Settlers of Catan is a favorite among my house of college roommates. However, the games don’t always end up being too friendly.
Isabelle: Scrabble is always my favorite and I also love its vaguely anarchical counterpart, Bananagrams. A fun new one I recently discovered is called BezzerWhizzer, which is like a more aggressive version of Trivial Pursuit.
Kate: All I ever want to do in my life is play board games and I can never get anyone to play with me. I have a collection of fun, portable, easy-to-learn games that I carry with me often, hoping to trick people into playing with me: Guillotine, Timeline, and Love Letter all fit this category.
John: SushiGo is absurd and fun. Having recently watched several friends not so much enjoy a game of Risk as they did survive it, I will instead opt for my family’s default go-to: Pictionary. It’s a classic and also works best when you get large rolls of paper and make folks stand up and draw for the entire crowd.
Ben: I second the vote for Catan. Love it.
- Broberg, LL: What type of screen (outside of a work computer) do you look at most?
John: I write 60-70% of my articles on my phone, which is terrible and also perhaps reveals some hard truths.
Ethan: It has to be a 50-50 split between my Macbook and my TV screen, which usually has Overwatch on it.
Ben: Definitely my phone. I'm writing this on my phone right now!
- Steven_D, LL: If you could choose your weather, would you rather live somewhere which has whatever you consider terrible weather in each season but does not have any natural disasters at all. Or live somewhere with whatever your ideal weather is in any season but is guaranteed to have one natural disaster every decade.
Amanda: I have strong weather preferences, so I’ll have to take my chances with a natural disaster.
Ben: define “disaster”. I consider the weather up here in Spokane a natural disaster nearly every day of Winter. Give me that sunshine baby!
- kennerdoloman, LL: Which member of the 40-man can outdrink the rest?
Kate: I’ve heard they call Altavilla “Danimal,” which makes me suspect it’s him. Plus he’s like one giant muscle so I feel like it would take him way longer to feel the ill effects of demon rum than say, Ariel Miranda or Shawn O’Malley.
Ben: Is there any way the answer to this is not Dan Vogelbach?
This week, we brought on three MORE new faces to join the team and assist us as we’re gearing up towards the season.
Three things about Zach G:
- My all-time favorite Mariner is JJ Putz.
- Aside from a Mariners World Series win, the sports accomplishment I most want to see is Andy Murray getting a career grand slam.
- My favorite TV show of all time is Neil Tyson’s version of Cosmos.
*Are we allowed to add things? Because I think it’s pretty important to also note that Zach G could very well be the first LLer in space*
Three things about Zach M:
- I attended the 2001 All-Star Game at Safeco – the day before I turned 9. Best birthday present ever.
- In college, my intramural softball team was back to back school-wide runner up… which sounds a lot less impressive now that I’ve typed it here.
- I have a knack for choosing the perfect sized container for storing leftovers. I’m not sure if that’s relevant, but you never know.
Three things about Mandy:
- Roberto Clemente is my favorite baseball player of all time.
- The truth about Zachary Taylor’s death is out there, and I want to know what it is.
- My greatest athletic achievement was making Districts on beam my junior year of high school.