FanVoice: Red Light on the Bases?

In the first edition of FanVoice, Derek VanWeerthuizen is our winner and gets his very own biline (see above) - and wins a free month's premium subscription at To submit your opinion on anything Mariner, send to All entries are subject to editing for content and length at the discretion of the staff.

This needs to stop.

I actually mean that they need to stop.

I'm talking, of course, about the 2005 Seattle Mariners and their sloppy base running habits. Through eight games it had become apparent that the Mariners needed to revisit their base running. Perhaps they should start with lead off techniques. Then they could follow that with proper hit and run techniques. And lastly, they should forcefully install a Red Light on the base paths.

Now, we know that Ichiro is exempt from almost any rule. He has shown his ability early in the season to get on base, move from base to base, and score. This is a great sign. The problem lies with our other runners. It is great when you get a hit or two out of your number seven, eight and nine guys. It is not so great when they get picked off of first base or, heaven forbid, second base.

I have enough faith in Ichiro, Beltre and Sexson that they can and will drive in plenty of run this season. However, if Wilson Valdez, Miguel Olivo and Randy Winn keep running the Mariners out of innings, those hits are completely worthless.

So, I believe that it is time to give the, Green Light to Ichiro and the, Red Light to everyone else. I'm not saying they should never hit and run or steal, but they should be given the sign when they have the best opportunity to succeed.

The Mariners are on their way to a productive season. It might not include the play-offs, but it should be fun to watch and have us hoping for bigger things in 2006.

Now, if they could only keep innings alive…

Derek VanWeerthuizen
Tukwila, WA.

Ever since Opening Day, the Mariners seem to be doing a good job, compared to last year, but if they start making the right moves, they could do even better.

One issue is who should be the real starter at shortstop, especially after Jose Lopez and Pokey Reese are healthy.

Pokey shouldn't start because he has been a backup since 2003 and probably won't do so well as a starter, especially if you consider his .215 and .221 batting averages of 2003 and 2004. He is more of someone who would do better as a backup.

Jose Lopez is a little more deserving of the starting spot. Considering he has had a better batting average than Pokey (.232) and has more home runs (5) in 2004 than Pokey did in 2003 and 2004 (4) and Jose had been in just a little more than half as many AB as Pokey in those timeframes.

Defense is a big priority and is probably the reason Hargrove chose Pokey over Jose. Pokey does prove better than Jose at defense, considering Pokey's six errors in '04 and Jose's 10. This is still no reason to say that Pokey Reese can do better than Jose at defense, especially if Jose is given more defensive practice, then he could be just as good as Pokey and take the position as a better starter.

Sam Kinn
Seattle, Wa.

I'm not so sure that the Mariners understand how much their fans love this team. They probably only judge by season ticket sales and attendance at single games. But If I could tell Howard Lincoln two things, I would tell him this:

Here is a big fat thank you for finally seeing the light. All the fans in this town want is a real committment to winning and you went out and showed that this winter. Adding Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson sent a message to the fans that spin the turnstiles at Safeco Field. So, thanks from a fan who believes this is the start of something positive.

But... here is a big gigantic "don't rest on your laurels, Mr. Lincoln." You can't expect fans to be happy with mediocrity, even after spending all that money. The key isn't to spend money and walk around town boasting of the checks you wrote last December. The idea is to continue to make moves as if you are truly attemtping to become a contender.

Stefan Bandiane
Carnation, Wa.

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