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January 1, 2009

        2008 is history and 2009 is here. This area has just had an unusual amount of snow and, two weeks later, it's still around. It's hard to believe that spring is still three months away at this point. One of my New Year's resolutions is to get a lot more done on the baseball side of this site -- and add updates more often. I still have 15-20 more stadiums to write about and -- with the opening of new ballparks in New York -- I'm going to have five new fields to see someday. Hopefully, before 2009 is over, I will have at least one of those taken care of.
        In the meantime, it's time for the roll call of those folks I consider to be celebrities that passed away during 2008. Big thanks to a big group of people.
        Vampira, Sir Edmund Hillary, Allan Melvin ("Sam the Butcher" on "The Brady Bunch" TV series), Suzanne Pleshette, Heath Ledger (his performance in The Dark Knight was absolutely amazing), Barry Morse, Roy Scheider, David Groh, Gary Gygax, Ivan Dixon, Ollie Johnston, Anthony Minghella, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Scofield, Richard Widmark, Charlton Heston, Stanley Kamel, Al Wilson (soul singer), Paul Davis (pop singer), Eddy Arnold (country singer), Alexander Courage, Dick Martin ("Laugh-In"), Sydney Pollack, Bob Justman ("Star Trek"), Harvey Korman, Bo Diddley, Stan Winston, Cyd Charisse, George Carlin, Dody Goodman, Don S. Davis, Estelle Getty, Skip Caray, Bernie Brillstein, Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, Don LaFontaine, Jerry Reed, Bill Melendez, Paul Newman, Levi Stubbs (soul singer), Michael Crichton, Herb Score, Paul Benedict, Robert Prosky, Van Johnson, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and Eartha Kitt.


December 12, 2008

        Free-agent LF Raul Ibanez has signed with the world-champion Phillies and J.J. Putz was one of several Mariners involved in a three-team deal with the Mets and Indians. I hope Brandon Morrow gets to stay in the rotation, but now the M's need a left-fielder, a rubber arm in the bullpen (that used to be Sean Green) and a closer. I think Mark Lowe could be the closer, but beyond that, I don't know who Seattle will end up with.
        There's been a lot of discussion recently about the possibility of Ken Griffey Jr. returning to Seattle. Part of me would really like to see him in a Seattle uniform again, but a smaller part of me doesn't want him to ever get booed by the local fans ever again. Plus, if his major goal is to get a World Series ring, I hope he still wants to play three or four more years if he comes back here. And there's still the matter of the travel and his family still living in Orlando. I'm fairly sure he sold his house up here when he left nine years ago.

November 19, 2008

        Don Wakamatsu was hired today as the new Mariners manager. While the ownership left a lot of experience on the table, bringing on a new guy is consistent with the first-time GM hire of last month. I've read/heard a lot of good things about him, as well. An upbeat, high-energy guy with a lot of intelligence. Gee, a new GM. A new manager. If I didn't like the M's uniforms so much, I'd almost suggest topping off these changes with new uniforms.

October 23, 2008

        The Mariners have a new GM and his name is Jack Zduriencik. He's coming here from the Milwaukee Brewers' organization and I've heard/read nothing but good things about him. He's into sabermetrics. He's into hunches. He has a lot of scouting experience. The M's could use help everywhere, but it sounds like Jack has experience in those areas.

October 1, 2008

        The 2008 season came to a merciful end for the Mariners. 40 games under .500. Last place since Memorial Day (or so it seemed). It's been seven years since they last made the playoffs and the way the Angels are going, it may be a while longer unless the Yankees or Red Sox decide to bow out and give us another shot. On paper, when the season started, this team looked like a contender, but once J.J. Putz got hurt (which shifted everyone else in the rotation around) and then Bedard got hurt and then almost everyone else got hurt, it was obvious that a local playoff race just wasn't going to happen. Well, at least the Yankees missed the playoffs, too -- and that almost never happens anymore.

August 2, 2008

      Carl Siddons passed away today. He was one of the nicest people I'd ever met. He was at the University Bookstore when I got there in the late 1980s and stayed there until he died. He was a huge Mariners fan and, despite the team's recent on-the-field performance, he never stopped going to the games or rooting for the team. After I left the bookstore, I only saw at friends' houses, occasional trivia appearances and Mariners games when I worked there. I was aware that he'd had chronic health issues only during the last couple of years, but apparently, he'd had trouble since he was a teenager. Hearing the stories told at his service, I'm glad he didn't let those health issues keep him from going where he wanted to go and doing what he wanted to do.

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