Good Swag
Kyle knows what's up

Hey all! Sorry I went back to lurking and hoarding my potatoes for a bit. I just walked with my bachelor's this weekend, and the leadup was a little hectic. I'm back now, I think, just in time for the stars to align and the team to hit its stride! Here's my first guest post, to make up for my prolonged absence. 

So Doc, that note about Zunino staring down CB "The Balk Affair" Bucknor (seriously, does anyone remember that extra-innings balk he called on Furbush a few years back? The one where Furbush literally didn't move an inch? He inspires the same visceral hatred in me that some feel for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I might literally spit on that man if I ever see him in an airport). It reminded me of something that struck me recently. I remember that back when Nick Franklin was trying to beat out Brad Miller and Chris ".514 SLG" Taylor, I made Nick a personal Best Bet based mostly on the way he carried himself. He had an aura that said, "Yeah I'm a rookie. What of it? I already know I'm good, and it really doesn't matter to me when you come around and agree with me." It was swagger, but not put-on for anyone else's sake. Just the kind of swagger that comes from supreme self-confidence, combined with a chip on your shoulder because you know no one else believes in you like you do. Y'know, the way 75% of the Seattle Seahawks carry themselves.

What first made me think of good ol' Nick (who was clearly the wrong horse to back in that race, in retrospect), was a J-Rod AB last night. Dyson, who is batting .339 this month, lofted a high-away heater into left field for a lazy flyout. He threw his bat and jerked his head in disgust. Not in a Michael Saunders, yelling "****" so loud you can hear him on the broadcast show of emotional pyrotechnics. He just knew he was better than that, and wasn't going to give himself a pass. He was showing himself up as punishment. I blinking loved it.

That swagger reminded me of Nick. I commented to a friend that we hadn't really had that kind of position player swagger since him. Cano, Cruz and Kyle have swag, but the conventional blue-collar baseball kind. The understated calm, "I'm just having fun at the park because I'm so good that I can enjoy myself a little" kind. Which is fun to watch in its own right, and lends itself well to established stars. No matter how much I love my namesake #24, it's odd to see a star with a chip still on his shoulder. That's a young man's game. We just haven't had many young men who fit the bill for a long, long time.

Then it struck me, Zunino is like this too right now. Gamel has been from day one. As has Mitch. Ditto Heredia. Literally our entire outfield has the bearing of a young Dougie Fresh, proving a point with each catch and daring people to call them pedestrian. Most importantly, they're like that because they all believe they're already good, and they feel no obligation to carry themselves like scared rookies. This is the corollary to the move that sent away Ketel "Deer in Headlights" Marte: you want mentally strong players, not weak ones. You want guys who get around Edgar, and the Big Three MOTO, and Felix, and feed off it. Guys who feel like they belong. That's a lot of how you get UP seasons, right? Talented players and positive thinking. We've had overperformance from so many hitters this year, we've gotta consider that it's somewhat intentional.

Give Jerry his due. Maybe swagger is the new market inefficiency.


tjm's picture

Sherm, this idea is completely brilliant. I personally don't think that the tradeoff of you getting a degree and us being denied this kinda insight is worth it. Think Jeremy Betham's felicific calculus - for the greater good, man! Get with the program.


I'm glad you like it! I'm hoping the mix of veteran calm and young swagger will hold us in good stead come the wild card chase.

You make an excellent point. It was strictly selfish of me to put my personal endeavors ahead of the community here, and I humbly repent. If it makes you feel any better, I can promise that I'll never go back for undergraduate education again.


Wouldn't bother me if Haniger swaggers into the 5 spot.  Then Seager-Valencia-Zunino.  I get left-right-left-right.  But it isn't like Cruz and Haniger don't hit RHP pretty well.

Cruz is .825 for his career.  Haniger .868.  Seager .815.

That's all.


Because, no matter what, we only have 3.5 good lefty bats. Gamel, Dyson, Seager, Cano. (Dyson is the 0.5 because he has a huge platoon split and isn't "scary" to face enough to form pitcher match-ups off of). So either you're packing righties after Seager or you're splitting them up a little more evenly with Seager.

I agree, though...Haniger should hit 5th, not Seager (and not 7th...wasting his on-base skills).

Segura (R)
Gamel (L)
Cano (L)
Cruz (R)
Haniger (R)
Seager (L)
Valencia (R)
Dyson (L)
Zunino (R)

Mabalasek's picture

politically, servais might have a hard time to execute this. It is not like kyle is hitting like a chump these days. He is performing as he have performed before. Better way is to get haniger 2nd and gamel 7th, which was what they used to do. 


...that right now Gamel is hitting exactly like Ichiro.

He's on base all the time.  He has bat at the top of the order.

Politically?  Seager's a professional.  He can figure out that a drop from 5th to 6th maximizes the lineup.


And the "Long Lineup" resulted in a late game-tying home run from the stealth #7 hitter ... cheer up, mates, the upside is that Haniger gets some battle-weary pitches for a few weeks ... :- )


And thanks for the pleasant surprise on the post.  Will comment tomorrow when am not scrambling to get the postgame up before bed :- )


Thanks man! I figured I owed you a post or 3, to make up for the absence. I was surprised when it went live after the first click. Did Klat get their system fixed so that people don't need your permission to post, or did you confer that power on me at some point? In the case of the latter... *watches as his blogging fingers crackle with newfound power*... I am humbled by the opportunity to be a part of this community.

friedgreensooner's picture

This site is a veritable literary feast. I am convinced it is the best on the web, not just sports-related, but any topic, and I have been following SSI for at least a decade. I rarely post, but I was so overcome today by Sherminator's contribution to add to the rest of you guys' body of work I could keep silent no longer. I am an avid reader of  anything about the Mariners and my beloved Oklahoma Sooners, but the maturity, insight and depth of the posts by all of you here is the very best. A hearty "Amen" to you all and particularly to Dr. D who leads by the highest of examples.


Glad (on all our behalfs) to offer the buffet, amigo!  Very kind words.  I think some of the flattery may even be true when it comes to an internet site at which politics may be *discussed* ... I've got a few centrist-type articles linked on my Twitter feed, for those who are interested.

You're right:  the more the Denizens throw in their own front-page shtick, the more awe SSI inspires .. ;- )


Bat571 brought this up a few days ago.  Many has been the Mariner team in which rookies are psycho-bullied into tails between their legs.  This has applied also to Japanese players such as Johjima.

The M's now have a global-type inclusiveness led by their 3 and 4 hitters.  Not every Mariner rookie has been welcome to flip his blond hair on the top step of the dugout.

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