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Midwest bound and down. July 10, 2009

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The grim news is so fresh that mlb.com has a typo in their subheadline:

Mariners deal Betancourt to Royals

Seattle acquires pair of prospects in excange for shortstop

I’m bummed, but right now that’s about the extent of my depression.  Sure, Yuni getting injured last month was awful.  At the time, I felt it was karma for destroying Endy Chavez’s Marinerdom, but it turns out the left side of the Mariners defensive lineup is curse.   (For the sake of drama, include catchers Kenji Johjima and Jeff Clement in the Mariners monkey paw of despair.)  Apparently this trade for unknowables Daniel Cortes and Derrick Saito, along with the recent departure of Ludacris-enthusiast Mike Morse,  is the true retribution for one bad play, and bountiful potential squandered.

As anyone who can read the dates on this blog can tell, I gave up on Yuni.  Other people so mercilessly and factfully pointed out his undeniable flaws that rooting and writing about him felt like watching the beginning of Munich–it’s kind of confusing, you know someone’s going to die, but hopefully something good will come of it in the end.  And perhaps that’s the case now: the Mariners have DD pitchers, and Yuni has the change to disappoint or surprise a new batch of fans, hang out with Willie B, Gil Meche and Jose Guillen, and maybe even take a bath in a neat fountain.

Kansas City may be a cow town, but they have a good stadium, and a lot of Hallmark-centered interesting-ness throughout town.  Boulevard is a more-than-acceptable beer.  Maybe he’ll inherit the ghost of Buck O’Neil or Frank White.  To me, this trade epitomizes the Midwest: it’s sad, but can be vastly productive.  I’m bummed that Yuniesky’s now no longer a Mariner, glad that the Mariners were able to salvage something from his corpse of a career, and strongly considering making the 5-hour drive to see Yuni in KC later this month.

Goodbye, sweet motorbike.  Let it go.


If any Royals fans would like to continue this blog in perpetuity, leave a comment.

Yuni’s nemesis? April 18, 2009

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The highlights from yesterday’s game cast a new light on the disastrous events that happen when Yuniesky Betancourt and Brandon Inge get together.  There weren’t any injuries last night, but there were a pair of misplays that decided the game.  The highlight announcer thankfully glosses over Yuni’s weak attempt to field Inge’s grounder.  That glove slap led to Detroit’s early lead.

But fate is just.  Perhaps Yuni knew karma was with him when he hit a grounder at Inge near third base, forcing the utilityman to make a dreadful throw home.  Knowingly or not, Yuni’s choice of forcing Inge’s folly over actually earning a hit payed off–Inge, once again, proved to be the foolish villain.

M’s win!

Vandalism! April 12, 2009

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This isn’t breaking any new ground, but there’s often incorrect information on Wikipedia.  Even Yuniesky Betancourt’s page is subject to vandalism.  It’s worth highlighting here because it’s second-grade-level vandalism.  Back in January, someone changed “He was considered the fastest second baseman in the Cuban league” to “He was considered the horniest second baseman in the Cuban league.”  Zing.  The author, an anonymous poster from Worcester, Mass., sadly has no sources for Yuni’s libido, and hasn’t tried vandalizing his page any other time.  The out of place adjective only lasted for one minute; a mod used a robot to correct it.

Surprisingly, the old story of Yuni arriving in Mexico on a raft is still on his biography.  It’s not what happened, though.

Side note: Backup shortstop Ronny Cedeno has a longer Wikipedia entry than Yuni.  I’ll have to fix that the next time I need to procrastinate.

Spring training March 24, 2009

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What I posted under USSMariner’s “Optimism Sunday” post: 

It dawned on me last week that I haven’t seen Yuniesky play since last August (I moved out of state, and the Mariners don’t get on Comcast Sports Midwest very often). It’ll be really fun to watch him play again. He’s not a great player, nor even an average player, but for whatever reason he’s the one Mariner right now that I key in on. Especially when going to games at Safeco, it’s fulfilling to have that purpose of hawking one player, all game. Yuni usually does something great, funny, or depressing whenever I watch. A lot of people feel this way about Ichiro or Felix (which is probably more sensible), but that’s Yuni.
On the flip side, if Yuni crashes and burns, it’ll be nice to find a new favorite player.

It was the only comment even mentioning Yuni.  People aren’t excited about him this season.  At all.  They’re barely even trying to tolerate the apparently below-average shortstop.  From Larry LaRue, TNT:

When Yuniesky Betancourt was caught trying to steal third on Monday, manager Don Wakamatu wasn’t unhappy. “Yuni was trying to do what we’ve been working on, getting the jump off second base,” he said. “Instead of taking a couple steps toward third and taking off, though, he took a couple steps toward the pitcher and then went. We’ll talk to him about that, smooth it out, but he was trying something different. I had no problem with that at all.”

I can picture that, and it makes me smile.  If anyone has video evidence of Yuni trying to steal third by walking towards the pitcher, I’d love to see it.

One of those trick plays Yuni and Adrian worked on June 19, 2008

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This is like the hidden ball trick, only with no practical application:Who caught it?

I wonder how many times Yuni and Adrian practiced that.

A waste of a homer May 22, 2008

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The goggles!  They do nothing!

Neither does a Yuniesky Betancourt home run.  Yuni broke up the Detroit Tigers’ demolition of Jarrod Washburn’s fastballs with a line drive homer off Kenny Rogers (video here).  That halved the M’s deficit at 2-1, but the Tigers scored a bunch more runs the next inning, and that was that.  Isn’t baseball fun?

Actually… I think it is.  Yes, the Mariners season is lost, but there are still fun things to watch.  R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball will be replacing Cha Seung Baek’s grimace.  The weather’s getting better.  The team will be giving away cool hats in JulyAugust 8th will be a Yuniesky-opalyse.  And, though the team is consistently spanked (right now they’re losing 9-2), there are still moments to revel.   Like that five-hour loss against Texas.  Or their four-run ninth inning rally on Tuesday that halved their margin of defeat from 8 to 4.  There was a small chance that the game was going to be awesome.

Mariners fans live in potentially great, but greatly squandered times.

Pictures from when the Mariners were a winning team May 11, 2008

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Here are some pictures from the Mariners’ second game of the season 4/1/08, which was the first Felix Day of this already-finished season.


Step 1: Felix pitches…


Step 2: Kenji catches…


Step 3: Cotton candy for everyone!

it was cold.
The Safeco Field roof closed at about the same speed as the Mariners’ hopes of making the playoffs.


All these photos were taken by my girlfriend/personal photographer. She’s not the hugest baseball fan, so she often turned away from the game and got great pictures of stuff like the Safeco Field sign.

I think this sign is among the most photogenic stadium signs in baseball. The outside of Wrigley Field is probably the most photographed, but a lot of big stadiums don’t have great signage like Safeco.


It’s not the most creative pizza combination, but “The Yuniesky” sure is delicious. I really like that Yuni felt that he had to add “and cheese” to his pizza order.

Yuni singled in this at bat, driving in Vidro from third. Once upon a time Yuni was a clutch hitter, and Vidro got on base.

Strangely, there’s no photographic evidence of Josh Hamilton’s two-run homer off of J.J. Putz. Did that bomb doom the Mariners’ chances for the game, despite a late-game double by Yuni?


Yu Betcha.

Yuni still plays good defense May 7, 2008

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I made up a lame statistic to highlight Yuniesky Betancourt’s inconsistent effort at shortstop, but the guy can play. Evidence from Monday night’s game:

That 6-4-3 must’ve been Yuni’s way of celebrating Cinco De Mayo. Wait… he’s Cuban? But I thought he had a Mexican passport

Yuni can be heckled (though I don’t endorse it) April 8, 2008

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I think no one should ever boo Yuniesky Betancourt or some of his teammates on the Mariners. For instance, how could anyone muster the energy to boo Cha Seung Baek? That said, it is physically possible for you (but not me) to boo Yuni.
Heckler’s Prospectus (a great guide for booing baseball teams, including the Angels and the A’s) offers one way to boo Yuni (alongside booing recipes for all his teammates) (NOTE: this is all sorts of PG-13):

Betancourt, Yuniesky – Another Cuban defector, he was illegally smuggled into the U.S. way back in 2003. Spend much of the game contemplating how large his smuggler’s asshole must have been to fit Betancourt inside of it. Close by asking him if he’s been able to get the stench off yet.

Communist regimes (that are less lucrative to ballplayers) are hilarious, maybe. Of course, you could also heckle Betancourt with Adrian Beltre’s prescribed heckle. Not that you should heckle either of them. (I sure won’t.) (NOTE: More Red Dawn-grade language):

Beltré, Adrián – In order to help his defensive range, Beltré (me: and Yuni) has decided to forgo wearing a protective cup because he finds them uncomfortable and they affect his running. Luckily, and this is something you should point out, he doesn’t need one. Because he doesn’t have a penis.

That barb goes right for the junk.
And, while it doesn’t apply at all to Yuniesky, I think the entry for Brad Wilkerson, who… yeah, I could see why you’d heckle) is the best of the bunch:

Wilkerson, Brad – While he has never been married, Wilkerson has two daughters. Inquire throughout the entire game about how this can be because, for the life of you, you can’t figure out how two children can come into existence except through the love and devotion of a happily married couple. Unless it’s one of those strange Biblical miracles. And, if that’s the case, are one of his two girls the Second Coming? Is the other one jealous?

Children out of wedlock? Zing.
Again, don’t ever use any of these in a game situation (except that Wilkerson one), if only because they might get you kicked out of Safeco Field.

Wearing Yuniesky’s clothes January 11, 2008

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In major league baseball, merchandising is everything profitable.

At the Mariners’ website there’s plenty of stuff you can buy with Yuniesky’s last name on it. Here are two examples, one cheap, one that’d also get you most of a Nintendo Wii.

shirt jersey jersey jersey

Can you tell which costs $200?

But anyone can get an officially-licensed jersey. That’s boring. A true Yuniesky fan (who has a spare $250 not going toward a Wii) can show their support with an officially-licensed robe.

Robe

One word: class.

Now for the imaginary uniforms: If Yuniesky was on the Brazilian national soccer team, this might be his jersey.

Yunialdo

Gooooal Yunialdo!

And, if Rikimbili played basketball, this probably wouldn’t be his jersey.
Customized Basketball Jersey - ImageChef.com

Swish!

(Hat tip to Deadspin for the SportsRobe and BrazilName links. My Brazilian soccer name? Brio Santos.)