Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White
But if you really want to chase a pitcher out of the game, don't make outs. That sounds stupid, but I'm entirely serious...
If a team's intent is to seize on the minor advantage of facing middle relief, it's important to realize that getting more pitches is never more important than hitting those pitches. And that's what good hitters do: work the count in their favor, so they can reach a favorable hitter's count and whack the ensuing fat pitch. The best-hitting teams are the ones that pile patience together with batting ability. Sounds simple, yet too many teams still struggle with the concept.
If he sticks to his desire to play shortstop, the Mariners are a front-runner and talk about moving oft-injured Carlos Guillen to third base where he played the final month of the 2003 season.
When alerted to the availability of the Mariners shortstop position during the Japan-U.S. All-Star game, Matsui replied without a moment's hesitation: ''How about Guillen?''
That's a strong indication he knows and cares about the Mariners.
Without a doubt, the Mariners want to have Kazuo too. I met a Nintendo executive in August and while he had no power for scouting and recruiting, we discussed Matsui. He worried about having four Japanese players on the same team (Ichiro, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Shigetoshi Hasegawa also play for the Mariners), but that probably won't be an issue as long as the team wins. It seemed that they were ready to consider it.
"If he wants to, he can hit home runs, and if he wants average, he can hit around .350."
As for his fielding, Whiting says, ''He reminds us of Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez. They are all powerful and speedy.''