Monthly Archives: August 2009

Saunders, Guerrero lead way as Angels maul Mariners 10-0

    Joe Saunders and Vladimir Guerrero are good players.

    That’s not the question.

    The question is: Are they as good as the Mariners make them look?

    Saunders, a 17-game winner last year for the Angels, won his 11th

 game by allowing three hits and no runs in a 10-0 win Monday over the Mariners at Safeco Field. The left-hander is 3-0 against Seattle this season, having allowed one earned run in 21 innings.

    He’s 7-1 lifetime against the Mariners and 5-0 at Safeco Field.

    Guerrero, meanwhile, hit two two-run homers and scored three runs as he continues to decimate Seattle pitching. The Angel designated hitter is just that against Seattle – he has a career .358 average against the Mariners with 28 homers and 84 RBIs. And of his 13 homers this season, six have come off Seattle pitching.

     “I don’t know what it is, but I love coming up here and pitching in this park,” Saunders said. “Maybe it’s getting away from the heat down south. Maybe it’s the coffee.”

    Whatever it is, it works for Saunders.

    He loaded the bases in the first inning and was vulnerable for perhaps the first time all season against Seattle. But first baseman Jack Hannahan, batting with a 1-0 count, grounded out to second. By the time the Mariners next got a runner into scoring position, they’d be down 7-0.

     “In the first inning, getting the bases loaded and not being able to capitalize really hurt,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “With the pitch count up, offensively we were headed in the right direction, and we didn’t take the opportunity to score there. Getting on the board first is critical and getting his pitch count up.

     “Saunders won 17 games last year and even at a young age is a veteran pitcher. If you can’t capitalize at that point and let him back, he gains momentum. Then their offense took over.”

    That it did. Guerrero hit a long homer to left-center with a man on as the centerpiece of a four-run third inning against starter Luke French. After left fielder Juan Rivera hit a three-run bomb in the fifth, Guerrero added a two-run second-deck homer off reliever Chris Jakubauskas in the seventh when the Angels scored their final three runs.

     “When you take a young pitcher like Luke French and face a team like Anaheim, which has a strong resume and record, you have to attack,” Wakamatsu said. “I thought the first inning he attacked the strike zone and had more life on his fastball. But once he gave up a couple of hits, I thought he got tentative.

     “The same thing with Jakubauskas. He came in and threw great, then the next inning he walked the first guy and then telegraphed a curveball (the ball Guerrero hit into the second deck in left field). In order to beat a team like this, you have to be able to go aggressive. I didn’t think we did that tonight.”

    The Mariners have never found a way to solve Guerrero consistently, and based on Monday night, the search goes on.

     “Guerrero is an imposing hitter,” Wakamatsu said. “But that’s one hitter in the lineup. Letting guys get on base before the power is always going to kill you. With young pitchers, you see those things. Those are learning experiences that they’re going to have to make adjustments on, and they will.”

Top draft pick Ackley takes first hacks as a Mariner

     The Mariners would like to think that a special hitter put on a Seattle uniform for the first time Monday.

    It will take a couple of years to know for sure, but the Mariners are enamored with the left-handed line drives that shoot off the bat of Dustin Ackley, the club’s first-round draft pick in June.

   Ackley, the No. 2 pick in the draft overall from North Carolina, showed up at Safeco Field to meet the media and to meet some of the men he hopes will be future teammates.

    “We thought he was the best hitter in the draft,” Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. The Mariners paid accordingly, giving him the most money any position player ever received in the draft – a package that could be worth $9.5 million.

    Tom McNamara, who handles the scouting department for Seattle, said the club was “excited to get him in uniform.”

    “This guy has a major league swing right now,” McNamara said.

    Ackley’s agent, Scott Boras, said the fact that Ackley is a line-drive hitter who favors the gaps, is left-handed and is being groomed to play in Safeco Field is “a perfect storm.”

    “This is the best bat-control hitter out of college I’ve ever seen,” Boras said, “and I’ve been doing this for 31 years.”

    Ackley was the only one at the head table not given to hyperbole, although he did profess to be smitten by Seattle during his short acquaintance with the city and the area.

    “This is definitely an exciting time for me to be on a big stage like this with professional players,” Ackley said. “I’m glad the (negotiating) process is over. There was a lot of sweat and nerves.”

    Ackley will hang around Seattle for a couple of days, then head to Arizona, where he will work out at the Mariners’ spring-training facility until the start of the Instructional League later in September. And he will be one of the handful of Mariners to take part in the Arizona Fall League after that.

     The slender 6-foot-1 Ackley put on his No. 13 jersey after meeting with the media and took some batting-practice swings, hitting one ball out to right-center.

    “That first swing, I didn’t know where the ball was going to go or if I was even going to hit it,” he said. “It was a relief. I was glad to see the ball was hit hard.”

R-71 qualifying for November statewide vote

Looks like the R-71 inititiative — which would undo the state’s new domestic partnership law — is apparently heading to the state’s November ballot.

Here’s the latest from the Secretary of State’s blog:

(Courtesy Washington Secretary of State)


With the Referendum 71 signature-check now nearly complete, state election officials say they’ve now confirmed that sponsors turned in more than the bare minimum needed for a spot on the November statewide ballot.   Signature-checkers passed the 121,000 mark on Monday,  the 23rd day of an exhaustive hand check of all 137,000-plus signatures submitted on July 25 by foes of a new “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law passed by the Legislature in April.

It takes 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures to qualify a referendum to the state ballot. That is equal to 4 percent of the total vote for governor last fall.   Voters will have a choice of accepting the new law or rejecting it.

New ImageThe numbers still are unofficial and not final, as checkers do one final check of hundreds of previously rejected signatures of people who weren’t initially found in the voter registration records. That should extend the margin a bit, but the final margin could be in the range of 1,000.

The final margin is the closest in recent history and undoubtedly one of the closest in state history, said state Elections Director Nick Handy.  Typically, initiative and referendum sponsors turn in plenty of extra signatures so that a random sampling can be done, rather than a full every-signature check such as the one required for R-71.  The R-71 had very little margin for error, such as duplicates or unregistered voters, and they managed to keep their error rate below their maximum allowable rate of 12.4 percent. This was only the fourth out of 57 I&R signature checks that required a full check. The other three 100 percent checked failed to make the ballot.

The day’s recap will be posted late this afternoon.  Final certification is scheduled for Wednesday morning by Secretary of State Sam Reed.   Reed praised the Elections Division, including “30 hard-working signature-checkers who put in long hours with painstaking review of each and every  signature, amid some of the most intensive scrutiny we have ever seen in this state.  We have welcomed the scrutiny of citizens and provided unprecedented access to daily reports.  We appreciated the role of the official observers.  I think the citizens of Washington can be confident that great care was taken to get the process right.  I know there has been litigation from both sides, but we can be sure that the process worked just as well as we could make it, without bias for or against either side.”


Gene Stout:!3{2}Diana Krall at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Former P-I pop music critic Gene Stout is continuing to write, but now on his own blog. Today he reviews Sunday’s Diana Krall concert.

The title of Diana’s Krall’s current album is “Quiet Nights,” a phrase that also describes her two-night stand at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The second show Sunday night was a low-key but very classy affair featuring the jazz singer and pianist and her talented band — drummer Jeff Hamilton, bassist Robert Hurst and guitarist Anthony Wilson — […]


Continue reading CONCERT REVIEW: Diana Krall at Chateau

Cascade (that area that got swallowed by South Lake Union) gets its signs back

One of the old Cascade neighborhood signs (Courtesy Jerry Johnson and Don Clifton)


Don Clifton and Jerry Johnson were already dismayed to see their working class, industrial neighborhood of Cascade be Vulcanized by Paul Allen’s development.

As a protest, the two began selling those Ride the S.LU.T t-shirts — for the city’s new South Lake Union Trolley (though officially the line is called the South Lake Union Streetcar). Here’s the story I wrote about them when I worked for the P-I.

Development, though, could be mocked but not stopped.

Gradually the historic old neighborhood began losing its name as the neighborhood more and more began being called South Lake Union.

Then as an added insult, signs that proudly proclaimed the neighborhood “Cascade. Heart of Seattle” disappeared.

“These signs had stood proudly in their selective locations for many years until they mysteriously went missing from the Cascade a few years ago, amidst a flurry of construction and the promoting of South Lake Union,” Johnson said. 

“Cascade is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city as well as the geographical center of Seattle. We are proud of our neighborhood’s long and vibrant history,” he said.

“Continuing to recognize the neighborhood as the Cascade has been an important issue for long time residents like Don and I and many others in the neighborhood.”

Now — as a result of a chance meeting between Clifton and Mayor Greg Nickels in the neighborhood — the city is putting the signs back.

The City of Seattle and Department of Transportation will be holding an unveiling ceremony Wednesday at 5 pm at Denny and Fairview.

“We’re really excited that the City has agreed to return them. Hope to see you for the unveiling on Wednesday. It is in many ways “Redemption in the Old Cascade,” Johnson said.


Northwest Hub: Kirkland and Redmond pilot pavement markings for bikers

Here is a story about what is being done to help bicycling in the Eastside from our partner, Northwest Hub, a land use and transportation site.

By Laura Kaliebe

Northwest Hub

Kirkland and Redmond recently installed new pavement markings that include both bicycle loop detector markings – which indicate where cyclists should stop to trigger a traffic signal – and “sharrows” – which indicate an area of the roadway is shared by motorists and cyclists. Both cities are piloting the markings, and may add more.

Photo by CarFreeDays, Flickr cc


“Both the shared lane markings (sharrows) and the bicycle loop detector pavement markings are relatively new and included in draft federal standards,” Joel Pfundt, a city of Redmond planner and a member of the Kirkland Transportation Commission, wrote in an e-mail. “It seemed like a good time for the cities to give them a try.”

Pfundt said one of the “key reasons” Kirkland is adding the markings is to implement the city’s active transportation plan called “More People, More Places, More Often.”

Keep reading.


Commentary: Visits to The Seattle Public Library have increased dramatically

Seattle’s downtown library (Photo:Grant Haller)

The Seattle Public Library system begins its furlough Monday — through next Monday, Sept. 7.

Sarel Rowe, advocacy chair of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library, a non-profit, grassroots organization, said the organization “understands that furloughs give the City of Seattle a way to save dollars in the current economy.

“However,” Rowe says, “The Friends of The Seattle Public Library believes furloughs are not a sustainable solution for the operations of The Seattle Public Library and that furloughs eliminate the critical services provided daily by The Seattle Public Library staff and collections.”

Members of Friends of The Seattle Public Library will be in front of Central library during the day on Monday with petitions.

The organization notes in a statement:

Visits to Seattle’s libraries have nearly doubled in the past five years according to figures collected by the Seattle Public Library. Visits have jumped from under 7 million annually in 2004 to over 12 million in 2008.

The amount of material being checked out has also increased at a dramatic rate – up 20% between 2007 and 2008 – the largest jump in materials requests in five years.

The experience of this Ballard single mother is typical of many Seattle citizens: “I got laid off July 2007.  I come to the library 4 or 5 times a week to check my email for communications from potential employers, check , and research potential employers.”

The increase is continuing in 2009, with visits in May up 7% and circulation up 11% over the same month in 2008.  The depressed economy has increased the number of people dependent on libraries for free access to computers, job resources, classes, books and materials, and other programs and services.

Visits to Seattle’s libraries have nearly doubled in the past five years according to figures collected by the Seattle Public Library. Visits have jumped from under 7 million annually in 2004 to over 12 million in 2008.