Seattle Mariners

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A lot of people are wondering what's next for the Mariners, now that the face of the franchise - Ichiro Suzuki - has been traded to the Yankees.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel shares his thoughts on why it wasn't too difficult to say goodbye to Ichiro, and why next week might bring even more heartbreak for fans.

That's tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 FM KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images

Baseball fans love perfect moments.

-- Babe Ruth hitting his "called shot."

-- Ted Williams homering in his last at-bat (and not tipping his cap).

-- Willie Mays and "the catch."

Elaine Thompson / AP

Ichiro Suzuki is going to the Yankees, confirms KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. 

“The Mariners have been spared huge ugliness,” Thiel said. "He wanted out of Seattle and Seattle fans wanted him gone, I think, largely because he was not productive for the salary he was making and was in the way of younger players."

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Mariners are heading into next week's All-Star break as the worst team in the American League. And they're farther behind first place than any other team in baseball.

One bright spot: Mariners star pitcher Felix Hernandez is pitching in the All-Star game on July 10 in Kansas City. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there's not much else for fans to look forward to this season.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Heading into next week's All-Star break, the Mariners have the worst record in the American League and are farther behind first place than any other team.

Will the July 31 trade deadline offer any relief? Can the younger players on the team deliver in the second half of the season?

Find out what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel thinks tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Seattle Mariners reach the halfway point of their season this weekend, and find themselves in last place. As KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains, the Mariners had low expectations at the beginning of the season, and have yet to live up to them.

The 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year player draft got underway today, and the Seattle Mariners were afforded the luxury of the 3rd overall pick as a result of their poor finish last season.

With that pick, the Mariners chose catcher Mike Zunino, a junior from the University of Florida. The 21 year old was ranked as the top catcher in the draft, and has been touted as a strong, athletic catcher with excellent power as a hitter. In 62 games with Florida this season, Zunino had a batting average of .312, hitting 18 home runs and 60 runs batted in.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

The Mariners 21-8 victory over the Rangers this week is something to be celebrated. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it's also an example of the extremes the team has experienced this season.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

The Mariners routed the Texas Rangers last night 21-8. Justin Smoak hit two three-run homers against his former team and the Mariners had two eight-run innings. Jesus Montero homered among his three hits and drove in four runs. And Kyle Seager had four hits and two RBIs.

It was their second win in a row against the AL West-leading Rangers. And you can certainly say the Mariners have been "streaky" lately.

The Associated Press

TOKYO — Now he shows us.

In a game postponed from nine years ago, played 4,800 miles from where he’s hit leadoff for the last 11 years, following up an idea started eight years ago, Ichiro revealed himself to be baseball’s greatest No. 3 hitter.

Ben VanHouten / Mariners

ISHINOMAKI, Japan – Busing swiftly through the detritus of devastation is hardly a good way to get a feeling for the loss, in the space of a few hours, of about 20,000 people from a town of 160,000.

But then, what is a good way to comprehend  the unimaginable?

Matt Ludtke / AP

Seahawks fans like what they're hearing about new quarterback Matt Flynn. Team leaders touted his skills and leadership ability this week.

While the Seahawks welcome an important new player, a veteran player for the Mariners is preparing for a huge homecoming in Japan. 

Matt Ludtke / AP

Fan excitement is building for the Seahawks new quarterback Matt Flynn. Will he really have to compete for the job of starter?

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

"A strange episode of normalcy."

That's how KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel describes what caused the injury to Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. It happened during a routine throw at spring training.

Gutierrez is out for at least a month - maybe longer - with a partially torn pectoral muscle. Art says it's just the latest piece of negative news for the Mariners, as the team begins its 2012 exhibition season Friday.

Ben Margot / AP Photo

The Mariners start exhibition play Friday. But they'll do it without starting center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. He's out for at least a month with a partial tear of his pectoral muscle.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel talks about what this means for the start of the Mariners season, coming up tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

We get a bat, but not much else. That's what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel has to say about the Mariners trading starting pitcher Michael Pineda to the Yankees in exchange for hot young hitter Jesus Montero.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

He was a fan favorite last year. Now he's a Yankee. The Mariners have traded starting pitcher Michael Pineda for Yankees catcher Jesus Montero.

The reason appears to be Montero's bat. He impressed a lot of people at the plate last season.

Find out if KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is impressed with the trade, tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

There were some bright spots in the local sports scene in 2011. But not many. Find out what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel named as the high points and low points of the year.

The Mariners' division rivals, the Angels, made a big move this week. They signed free agent slugger Albert Pujols from the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-year contract worth more than $250 million.

There's another big-hitting free agent who's still available: Prince Fielder. The Mariners are among the teams interested in him. But can they pull it off?

"It makes it that much more difficult for everybody in our division."

The words of Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, reacting to news today that the division-rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have signed star free agent Albert Pujols. The Seattle Times reports the Angels signed Pujols to a 10-year contract worth a reported $250 million.

Kevin P. Casey / AP Photo

The Mariners had a dismal 2011 season. They lost more than 90 games for the third time in four years. Attendance hit a new low at Safeco Field.

Now that the season is over, fans are looking ahead to 2012 with a little more optimism. The team has made a lot of young acquisitions who look promising. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says some old problems remain.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Now that the dismal 2011 season has come to a close, we're looking ahead to what 2012 might hold for the Mariners.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It's about time. That's what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says about all the young players the Mariners have acquired recently.

Art has said for years that the Mariners need to grow their own talent, rather than waste millions of dollars on veteran free agents who are often on the decline. And he says the fresh young faces are giving fans some excitement in an otherwise dismal season.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Mariners locker room is full of young faces these days. And KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that's a good thing.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

You have to give up a lot to get a lot. That's what sports analysts are saying about the choices the Mariners made at the trade deadline last weekend. They gave up four pitchers for six players. Starting pitcher Erik Bedard is now with the Boston Red Sox and starter Doug Fister is a Detroit Tiger.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the players the Mariners got in return look good on paper. But how will they look in the field and at the plate?

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Just who are these guys? Mariners fans might be asking that question about the players the team acquired in trades with Boston and Detroit. Those trades this weekend sent pitchers Erik Bedard, Doug Fister, David Pauley and Josh Fields packing. 

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel shares his insights on the new players, and when we might see them having an impact. That's coming up tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here tomorrow to find a blog of our conversation.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

They Mariners have now lost 12 straight games, plummeting out of playoff contention for another season.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says desperate times call for desperate measures. That includes thinking seriously about trading Ichiro Suzuki or Felix Hernandez.

AP Photo

With Major League Baseball's trade deadline looming at the end of the month, and given the Mariners recent plummet from contention, KPLU sports commentator says the M's need to make some big moves.

That means getting rid of some veterans like Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez ... and their big salaries.

Adding urgency to this move, the Mariners got swept today by the Blue Jays in Toronto, losing 7-to-5. They're losing streak now stands at 12.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Two Mariner pitchers have been elected to the American League All-Star team. However, KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says, neither is expected to play in the game on Tuesday in Phoenix.

Adding insult to injury: One Mariner who's an All-Star veteran was left off the roster this year Ichiro Suzuki.

AP photo

For the first time in 10 years, the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki has not been selected for Major League Baseball's All-Star game, which takes place Tuesday, July 12, in Phoenix.

Mariner pitchers Felix Hernandez and Brandon League will represent the team (and rookie pitcher Michael Pineda may be a late add). But what does it mean that Ichiro won't be there? KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel will talk about that Friday morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here tomorrow for the story of our conversation. 

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