Fine-Tuned but Annotated
Dr. D's shtick is getting on Tuner's nerves

(Yes, Tuner uses Ed Asner as his avatar, which keeps the image just inside the foul pole.)


Tuner did the prose.  Dr. D's archived "ghost" AI sim does the shtick.  As with Rolling Stone's music critics: those who can't do, teach.

Corrected annotation by the artist is, of course, out of the question.  But anyone else is welcome to kick the poem around with me.


Listen my children and hear the call
Of the M’s last unexplainable tragedic fall. (1) 
On the 2nd of May in two-thousand-one-five  (2) 
When every M’s fan had to witness the dive (3) 
and remember that infamous game of baseball.

Someone said to the ump, "If the Astros do strike
By glove or by bat in the game played tonight, (4)
quickly so quickly send someone to march
And hang a lantern aloft in the topmost roof arch (5) 
Of the Safeco skyline as a signal light,

One if by glove, and two if by bat;
The fans on the side of the sound they had sat,
Prepared to respond and to spread the alarm
Through every Northwestern village and farm,
For the true rounders fans to rise up and to arm."  (6)

By the side of the sound seated faithful M’s fans.
Transfixed to the roofline awaiting a glance
The look that would tell them the ending, the score (7)
Re-fearful that their team would lose one game more
Impending destruction was felt in advance

Inning one and now two had just passed into past
As the M’s hitters swung both bewildered and gassed (8)
Our vaunted young pitcher threw poorly and bland
Houstonian batters were soon in command
Crooked numbers on scoreboard were sure to be vast

Gazing up at the rooftop one torch soon would fly
As exhausted M’s fandom were swift to decry (9)
But alongside the first there were shone soon two more
Both in batting and gloving the Texans were more
Our hopes for the season were starting to die.

The Astros are coming! (10)
We take up the call
The Astros are coming!
Proclaiming our fall
The Astros are coming
O where did we go?
The Astros are coming
I’m tired of this show! (11)


1) There was an ancient Michael Caine movie, ca. 1977 A.D.  In it, he taught the audiences of that day that "The critical element of tragedy is inevitability."  The audience (in Anaheim) must have seen the deaths coming, while the actors (Tuner and Dr. D) were completely oblivious.

Dustin Ackley was the last man standing from the Mariners' high 1st-round talent, dating back to ... oh ... 1977.  Ackley did, of course, hit .512 in spring training that season.  He had a WPA (win probability added) of -0.50 games at the time of writing.  

It would be unspeakably naive to refer to "Batting Average" so we won't underline the .190 here.  But at least he was a left fielder.

Regarding the "inevitability" of the 2015 tragicomedy, hyperlink "Lincoln Era 1995-2041."


2) Alternate translation, "two one thousand five."  Historians are unclear as to whether the reference was to 2015 or 2105.


3) Dive - Or, "fall."  "Dive" in that era had the sense of a pre-arranged loss, as in 1919, or in the 2005, or of a comically frightened opponent, as in the 2013 Super Bowl.  But the baseball game(s) referenced did feature the losing team playing well only in non-critical situations, as Shoeless Joe Jackson had done.

The 2015 Mariners had an OPS+ of 101 with the bases empty, but 74 with even a single runner on base.  The threat of deliberate losing by the team seemed perfectly serious.


4) Most often in that era, a team had to strike by glove and by bat.  But the 2015 Mariners went down with the lightest of shoves to the shoulder.  The transmission of Tuner's conjunction "or" is verified.


5) As the reader is aware, this is one of the finest specimens of prose extant.  The entire quintrain could scarcely be improved by CHOWARD-90000 sims.


6) In that generation, physical violence was still a present threat, and was a special topic of discussion among that region's NFL audiences.  

In other regions, the writer would seem to be referring to a local public social pressure upon the baseball team to perform at higher standards.  However, in Seattle this was an unknown phenomenon.  The application of the verse has remained a mystery for 1200 years.


7) If the reference is to May 2, 2015, the score was 11-4 against the Mariners.  Nelson Cruz hit a "home run" over the Space Needle (though the game was in Houston) but since the Mariners scored several points that day, their "starting pitcher" had a baseball hit through his chest by Evan Gattis.

If the reference is to May 2, 2105, the Mariners lost 28-24.  "Crooked numbers" in the 2010-30 era referred to numbers that were not straight, like the numeral 1, which was normally the number posted in a mechanical scoreboard during a baseball game.

In the May 3rd game, the Mariners out-hit the Astros 10 to 8, yet were behind 3-0 in the first inning and were never a threat to win at any time.  At least 12 of the team's first 15 losses smacked of this timing.


8) The sense is:  Seattle batters were confused by twisting pitches, yet unable to respond quickly enough to the "hot gas" of the Astros' 91 MPH "fast balls."  But see the Nelson Cruz comment earlier.


9) Although the Astros were defeating every team in early 2015, and were the cause of the early Mariner troubles, fans deserted the team within the first 25 games.  This was due to the tendencies of the ballclub in the previous forty years.


10) Tuner now finishes with the stanza that brings the house down.   

The Astros, who had lost 203 games in the two previous years, at the beginning of the 2015 season posted a team OPS+ of 113 and a team ERA+ of 135 to start the season 17-7.  

They had five batters with OPS+ from 151 to 208, including Jake Marisnick, Hank Conger and Jed Lowrie.  The Mariners didn't.


11) For further discussion of this classic verse, see the archives.   /terminating







Well Houston has a problem....but a very nice one to have.
They can't even come close to sustaining this rate.
Marisnick hit .249 last year.  I'm betting his .382 is unsustainable.  Ya' think?  ONly two guys in the history of MLB have had last names begin with the letters M-A-R-I-S and he isn't the other.
Rasmus (who I suggested we get to play in CF) is good.  He's not quite this good.  He'll cool off too.  Valbuena won't hit 40+ homers.  Altuve (likely) won't hit get the idea.  (However both Gattis and Springer could be better).
All that however begs the question......Can the M's ever play well enough to win 10 of 12...or something like that.  They have to be able to do that...if they want to catch up.  "If" Morrison Ackley Jackson Zunino etc all hit like they have in their best months ever....well certainly we can.  But say that for any 4 starters on any team and it remains just as true.  But Seager and Cano will hit better probably soon.  We've got that going for us.  Taylor will get on base at a .360 clip that will help.  Things can happen in our favor.  Maybe Cruz does hit 80 homers.
But there is a sense of inevitablility of our continuing desmise isn't there.  Z and The Skip are now a bit under the hammer; They have to make a couple of good roster/lineup decisions pronto.  I applaud the Taylor callup...but that one was braindead simple.  Now there needs to be another lineup a bit audacious enough so that it lights a spark.
Let's fish or cut bait.


Seems to me that around Memorial Day last year we were a little under .500...the Angels were a few games over...and the Orcs had been awarded a first round bye and sent directly to the ALCS.
Things happen.
Or they don't.
But simply shuffling deck chairs doesn't generally generate a better view.
You either trust in your talent...or you don't. I think Z and Lloyd are quite a ways away from hysteria.

GLS's picture

It doesn't have to be a panic move but an adjustment makes sense. My personal take is that a trade for a reliever that can be the eighth inning right handed setup man is what needs to happen. That would allow Lloyd to use Carson Smith in those sixth and seventh inning situations with runners on and to use Beimel situationally against lefties. But maybe Mark Lowe can be that guy and you don't need to make a trade. We'll find out soon enough. I would also release Bloomquist and call up Montero.


If that is true diderot it is almost an unfathomable/historic run of bad luck.  I think (IMHO) what it really points out is the unreliability of such metrics.  


Nice exegesis -- I had no idea there was so much depth to my poetry! You made my day.

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