I saw a Facebook post from a guy who said the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game in Texas was the best inning of Mariners baseball he’s seen in 10 years.
I’m sure there are other innings that are equally memorable – and many more that are forgettable – but I know where Facebook guy is coming from.
For once, it was nice to see the Mariners show some fire. They were spur-of-the-moment feisty; it wasn’t some manufactured, planned-out tirade like the one John McClaren had when he was the Mariners’ manager. It was a full-on, get-in-your-face, we’re-not-going-to-take-it-anymore display of anger. And Scott Servais was almost Lou Piniella-like, telling Rangers manager Jeff Banister to “go (bleep) yourself.”
What a beautiful minute in time for lip-readers everywhere, F-bombs dropping at a rapid pace for all of us to see on the ROOT Sports broadcast.
The Rangers had it coming. Former Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a home run to Robinson Cano, doubles to Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager and a homer to Seth Smith. Then he intentionally hit Chris Iannetta in the leg in a bush-league move. Iannetta let him have it with his mouth as he walked to first base; I wish he’d let him have it with his fists.
Even though a fight never broke out, what followed was fun to watch. Banister was mad that Wilhelmsen was ejected from the game. Think about that for a second. The Bartender clearly wanted to hit Iannetta. If he wanted to brush him back from the plate, he could’ve thrown a different pitch.
And if I’m Banister, I would have been thanking the home-plate umpire for tossing my reliever after he gave up four consecutive extra-base hits, blowing any chance for my team to come back and win the game.
Instead, Banister comes out and acts like an idiot, swearing at Servais for some reason, and good for the Mariners’ new skipper for firing back. I also liked seeing Felix Hernandez out of the dugout. I’ve never seen the Mariners’ ace throw a punch, but I was ringside Tuesday night privately hoping that would happen.
For the longest time, and I’m not sure why, I’ve wanted to see the Mariners get into a benches-clearing brawl. I guess it’s just because I want to see some fight from the home team.
I couldn’t believe it last year when Kyle Seager did not charge the mound after he was hit by Jered Weaver. The Angels’ former ace deserved an overhand right from Seager, or heck, an uppercut with his left hand would have worked for me, too. A left-right-left-right combination would have been even better.
Seager had a few words for Weaver as he went to first base, but it didn’t escalate as far as it did in Texas Tuesday night. Iannetta was more demonstrative with Wilhelmsen. The Mariners’ new catcher could quickly become a fan favorite if he keeps up his hot hitting and hot temper.
I do wish he’d made a left turn on his way to first base to see what would have happened. I’ll bet Iannetta might have gotten a good shot or two in, but there’s a chance that Wilhelmsen might have a few moves of his own after dealing with drunks in his bartender days in Tucson.
And who knows what Servais would have done. It would have been fun to find out. Most managers are peace-makers in those situations, but he looked more ready to throw punches than calm things down.
All in all it was a terrific night. The Mariners exploded with their bats and won 10-2. The bullpen looked good again with Nick Vincent, Joel Peralta and Tony Zych closing it out with scoreless innings in relief of Hisashi Iwakuma.
And the Mariners have a new manager who gained further respect from his players, a great sign for the season ahead.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com, KitsapSun.com and jimmooregocougs.com. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.