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Good headline, TNT April 15, 2009

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Possible police-blotter headline if things go south: Killer bat-work from Betancourt.

He does make good contact.  Selected highlights:

Yuniesky Betancourt knew what he needed to do… Kill the ball.

Yeah, Betancourt killed the ball. He killed it to perfection.

Kill the ball?… Kill it.

“That was a fantastic bunt.”

Yep, it was pretty great.  Also in the article: apparently Endy Chavez is taking the place of Miguel Cairo and Carlos Garcia as the Yuni-whisperer, which translates into ball-killing.

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July’s been good for the Betancourts July 3, 2008

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Two games is too small to draw a conclusion, but Yuniesky Betancourt is starting July off right.  Here are his lines:

7/1: 2-4, 2 RBI
7/2: 1-2, 1 R, 1 BB

You read that correct: Yuni got a 4-pitch walk last night.  Astounding.  That’s as unlikely as Miguel Cairo getting two doubles in a game or Willie Bloomquist getting an extra base hit.  Yuni’s last walk was on May 30, against the Tigers’ Nate Roberton (who faces the M’s on Sunday).  So Yuni’s already bested his walk total from June (0), and has one third his RBI count (6).  I’ll take it.

One Betancourt’s having a better July than Yuniesky, though.  Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was freed yesterday after being held hostage in the Colombian jungle for six years by the FARC revoluntionary militant group.  She promptly embraced her children:

“Nirvana, paradise — that must be very similar to what I feel at this moment,” Betancourt said, fighting back tears as her son reached over to kiss her. “It was because of them that I kept up my will to get out of that jungle.”

Ingrid’s June was probably a bit rougher than Yuni’s, and her July’s already a bit better.

Yuni’s in The Onion, McLaren’s out of work June 19, 2008

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Just go read it: Cuban Refugee Yuniesky Betancourt Prefers Castro To M’s Manager John McLaren.

Anytime someone tells me it’s silly or creepy or a sign of mental illness to write a blog devoted to an average-to-below average shortstop, I’m a little bit hurt.  Mostly by the insult, but also because my assailant doesn’t quite get the innate joy of Yuniesky Betancourt.  He can change your life.  The Onion gets it.

That said, this article gets a couple things wrong:

#1: They picked the day of John McLaren’s firing to run this article.  Bad timing.

#2: Yuni never EVER says this much in post-game interviews.  I wish he would actually talk about Castro or McLaren or anything.  (I’d especially like to know what he and Adrian Beltre talk about.)

#3: Yuni doesn’t hate Miguel Cairo.  (His critique of Cairo is apt, though.)

#4: Yuni flees countries in speedboats, not makeshift rafts.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty great story.

Bring me the hands of Mike Napoli! June 4, 2008

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Take two aspirin, and stop taking extra bases

That crumpled corpse in white is Yuniesky Betancourt. Here’s a close-up:

ouch, again

Ouch.  I hope Yuni’s discarded batting helmet took the brunt of that blow.

I could go off on Mike Napoli like I did Brandon Inge (Napoli’s got awesome power, yet he’s not strong enough to wrest the full-time catching job away from Jeff Mathis!) but there’s no point.  Yuni shouldn’t have gone home on this play.  He took off on a pitch Ichiro singled to center, and kept running even though the ball was fielded cleanly and nowhere near the gap.  The M’s were only down by one run, and the next batter was Jose Lopez, who has torched the Angels this week.  If Miguel Cairo was hitting second, it’d make a bit more sense.  In this situation, it’s inexcusable.  I hope after John McLaren finished his press conference today (link contained bleeped f words) he chewed out third base coach Sam Perlozzo.

Who watched Yuni hit that home run? May 28, 2008

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None other than this lady:

That’s Juliette from Lost.

Insta-reactions:

  • She must be taking a red eye to Hawai’i to film tomorrow’s season finale.  Isn’t all TV still filmed in front of a live studio audience?
  • Juliette is clearly Jack’s soulmate; they both like the Red Sox.
  • Which Lost character would Yuni be?  Probably Boone or Frogurt.  Maybe Michael, because they’ve both been on speedboats.  Ichiro would be Sayid.  Miguel Cairo would probably be Bernard.
  • She really came with a dude sporting a Sideshow Bob haircut?

Yuni was the lone bright spot on Saturday May 5, 2008

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Here it is in game log form:

Yuniesky Betancourt singled to right (Fliner (Fly)).
Yuniesky Betancourt advanced on a stolen base to 2B.
Ichiro Suzuki singled to center (Grounder). Yuniesky Betancourt scored. (Mariners 1 – Yankees 1)

And, here it is in video form:

Sadly, this was the only offensive bright spot for the Mariners on Saturday, unless you get stoked when Kenji Johjima hits two singles. The Mariners are now 0-2 when Miguel Cairo starts.

Yuni has some new teammates April 30, 2008

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As everyone’ll tell you (USSMariner, Mariners Insider, Enjoy The Enjoyment, plus the mainstream media), the Mariners have brought up Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement, the prides of Curacao (except for the architecture and Andruw Jones) and Marshalltown, Iowa (except for the nice 9-screen movie theatre and Cap Anson) respectively. The M’s DFA’d Brad Wilkerson and Miguel Cairo Greg Norton? Norton? Really? The guy who’s second on the team in WPA?
In his last game with the M’s yesterday, Wilkerson was 3 for 3. Too little, too late, I guess. In the same game, Cairo had a stolen base. John McLaren loves aggressive base runners.

Here’s the video of Yuniesky Betancourt’s home run during Sunday’s loss to the A’s. It barely cleared the left field fence. Perhaps Yuni wanted to make sure the A’s relievers had enough balls in the bullpen.

And, as long as I’m not really posting about Yuni, you should go read Luke Burbank’s story on surviving the M’s locker room in 1996, while trying to file a story about Alex Rodriguez. Also, listen to his radio show on KIRO, Too Beautiful to Live.

Yuni got benched April 10, 2008

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Today’s Mariners game was terrible in a lot of ways.  They got destroyed by the Devil Rays, 7-0.  They had to play it indoors on what was clearly a sunny day in Tampa.  The game started at 9:30 in the morning.  Miguel Batista pitched–if you wonder why that’s terrible, you haven’t seen Batista pitch with runners on base that often.  There were cowbells in the crowd.

This picture sums it up pretty well:

That’s Miguel Cairo, batting in Yuniesky Betancourt’s place in the top of the 8th inning.  (You can tell it’s Miguel because of his huge right ear.)  He made his season debut after more than 700 other players this year.  The game was done.  It was so done that Dave Sims invited Dick Vitale into the broadcast booth.  Of course, Vitale said “Cairo should be a good utility player for you,” right after Vitale said his easy pop fly was a base hit.  I was disappointed that Vitale didn’t call Cairo a diaper dandy because he’s so old and immobile/incontinent.  Vitale’s best moment was when he turned a Mike Blowers comment about Vitale’s family into talking about getting inducted into the basketball hall of fame.

Anyway, any day Miguel Cairo plays instead of Yuni is a bad day.

Yuni made the roster! March 30, 2008

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Lost in all the hubbub over Cha Seung Baek making the Mariners roster is that, as everyone expected, Yuniesky Betancourt will be the Mariners’ starting shortstop tonight. Ryan Divish of the News-Tribune has a good breakdown of the final roster moves. Somehow, Yuni’s future sidekick R.A. Dickey didn’t make the team. Somehow the Twins didn’t want him back via Rule 5, and somehow he made it through waivers.  He’ll start the season in Tacoma, along with Jeremy Reed, Greg Norton, Jeff Clement, Wladimir Balentien, Yung Chi Chen, and plenty of other 20-somethings you may not have actually seen play, yet are convinced are talented.

Here’s Yuni’s final stats for spring training, along with other middle infielders:
Yuni: .294/.333/.456 (that’s Batting average/On-base percentage/Slugging Percentage). He stole one base, and was caught twice.
Jose Lopez: .278/.307/.361. Jose seems to have locked up the 2nd spot in the lineup, until he stops hitting in a few weeks.
Jose Vidro: .206/.243/.254. He’s the team’s starting DH, and he gets to head ahead of Yuni.
Miguel Cairo: .255/.255/.400. Yep, no walks.
Little Bill Blloomquist: .242/.350/.242. Yep, no extra base hits.
I should remind you (as Lookout Landing did) that these stats don’t mean anything. Although Bloomquist still can’t hit for any sort of power.