Slow Down Edgar

The Mariners need a healthy Edgar Martinez to have any shot in 2004, and InsidethePark.com columnist offers his advice to the long-time M's DH...SLOW DOWN. Take a few minutes and check out this tongue-in-cheek commentary on Seattle's favorite athlete.

Could Dave Niehaus beat Edgar Martinez in a race? What about one of those five-year-old kids who races around the bases before M's games with the size 17 cleats on? The Mariner Moose? One of the elderly ushers? Ichiro with his shoelaces tied together? These are a few of the things that I often ponder during lackluster Mariners games.

Some of those match-ups would surely come down to a photo finish and any of them would be much more enjoyable than watching the annoying grounds crew "dance" to the Village People at 120 decibels.

The Mariners have solid pitching, but continue to struggle because of their inability to put runs on the board. Edgar Martinez came back for one more season and having him in the lineup for the entire year is essential if this team has any chance of playing in mid-October. Like my blood pressure, the Mariners can't handle Dave Hansen, Willie Bloomquist or Jolbert Cabrera in the starting lineup for a month straight; it just won't work.

Luckily for the Mariners, I have a solution:

Edgar may not be the slowest guy in baseball, but not too many guys are far behind him. Watching ‘Gar run to first reminds me of watching James Baldwin walk from the mound to the dugout, but I'm not here to criticize Edgar's speed (or lack thereof). Nope, I'm here to do exactly the opposite and propose that Edgar slow down.

That's right, I actually want Papi to take it down a notch. When he draws a walk, I want him to do exactly that – walk to first base. There's no point in risking injury when the base is free for the taking. He should also walk off the field when he is lifted for a pinch runner. If the Mariners wanted him to run, they would have left him in there! When he hits a home run, Edgar should take a few minutes leisurely strolling around the bases and shouldn't even bother running out groundballs if nobody's on base or there are two outs in the inning.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for good sportsmanship and I'm not suggesting that Edgar should show-up the opposing pitcher or team. It's just that if Edgar runs any faster, he could drop like a fly ball hit to Randy Winn.

You might think that having Edgar run slower would reduce his insane accumulation of doubles. However, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between how fast a player is and the percentage of playable balls he puts in play that result in hits.

Last season, 29.8 percent of Edgar's playable balls resulted in hits. Of the 132 ballplayers with at least 300 plate appearances, Edgar ranked 41st in this category, surrounded by guys like Rafael Furcal, Mike Cameron and Orlando Cabrera. He's not called "Mr. Double" for nothing. If Edgar rounds first, it's almost always a sure thing, stand-up double.

Edgar is one of the best hitters in the game. If you think the past two weeks have been hard to watch, imagine what an entire month would be like without Edgar's sweet swing, plate discipline and power. It's not pretty.

So, while Edgar continues using his wood to knock around opposing pitchers and tear the cover off the ball, you should be knocking on some wood of your own - hoping that baseballs are the only thing Edgar tears at the ballpark.

To help ‘Gar remember not to overdo it, I think "Slow Down" by Ozzy Osbourne should be blasted before every at-bat as Papi is carried to the plate in a sedan chair. As fans, you too can help remind Edgar to move more slowly by yelling his name even slower and longer than you have in the past.

"EDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRR!!!!"

Slow down you're moving way too fast
(Your feet don't ever touch the ground)
Slow down you know you'll never last
(You're seeking that which can't be found)
Slow down your haste is making waste
(Your feet don't ever touch the ground)
Slow down and join the human race
(You're seeking that which can't be found)


"EDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRR!!!!"

I tried to tell you time and time again
You know you'll have to pay the consequence
Now you're obsessed with such a pace
Now slow and steady wins the race


Hey…I wonder if Ozzy could beat Edgar in a race?

Conor also writes for The Grand Salami and would appreciate your feedback at ConorG@aol.com.

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