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Seattle Times columnist says Miguel Olivo “might be the Mariners’ most indispensable player”

May 30, 2011, 3:35 PM EDT

say what

In one of the oddest columns I’ve read in a while, Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times writes that Ichiro Suzuki needs to hustle more and supports his argument by a) acting as if Miguel Olivo sliding head-first into first base is the greatest thing he’s ever seen, and b) saying that Olivo “might be the team’s most indispensable player.”


Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the column:

Olivo threw himself at first base, diving hard like a fullback at the goal line, beating the throw. As Olivo slid across the bag, his head snapped forward and he violently face-planted into the dirt. It was the kind of a play a leader makes; a gamer’s play.

Even though he had started 25 of the last 29 Mariners games, even though he might be the team’s most indispensable player, Olivo, 32, hurled himself toward first, looking for a spark that would ignite a rally. It was a Gashouse Gang-kind of play, all dirt and blood and sacrifice.

To recap: Increasing his chances of getting injured by “violently” doing something that didn’t actually make him any more likely to be safe at first base is “the kind of a play a leader makes” and “a gamer’s play” and “a Gashouse Gang-kind of play, all dirt and blood and sacrifice.”

Also, just so we’re clear, Kelley is talking about the same Miguel Olivo who’s hitting .243 with a .659 OPS that ranks 25th among the 32 catchers with at least 100 plate appearances this season. He’s also thrown out just 19 percent of stolen base attempts while being charged with the second-most passed balls in the league.

I suppose in some odd way the entire column makes sense in that if you’re someone who thinks sliding head-first into first base is some spectacular act of bravery and leadership you also probably think a catcher with a .659 OPS who hasn’t thrown anyone out “might be the most indispensable player” on a team that has Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, Justin Smoak, and Suzuki.

But can you imagine what Kelley would write if Olivo was actually, you know, good?

  1. elmaquino - May 30, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    This is the bizarre fantasyland that is created when Ichiro is hitting .272

    • Michael - May 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

      No, this is the bizarre fantasyland that is created when Steve Kelley writes about baseball, a sport he has never known that much about.

      Olivo should be fined twice for that slide: once by his manager for something unprofessional that hurt the team’s chances of winning, and once by kangaroo court for hurting himself doing something stupid.

  2. Rick Chandler - May 30, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Kelley once told me that Ringo was the most indispensable Beatle.

    • Old Gator - May 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      I think he meant Pete Best.

  3. Brian Murphy - May 30, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    The day before Memorial Day, this guy has the gall to say diving into first base takes “sacrifice.”

    I’m going to humbly disagree.

    • royalsfaninfargo - May 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      I couldnt agree more with you. Sometimes i believe perspective is a wonderful tonic.

  4. Kevin S. - May 30, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Not gonna lie, I love that logo.

  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 30, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    This is also a day after we got this gem:

    “In that situation Adam is such a good hitter and with Mariano out there you know what is coming,” Seattle designated hitter Jack Cust said. “So when he bears down I’ll take (Kennedy) with the game on the line anytime.”

    WTF is going on up there in Seattle? Are they all taking crazy pills?

    • Old Gator - May 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      Crazy pills have been a staple on the Seattle menu for as long as the place has existed. Read up on Seattle history, being sure to zero in on items like sewing machines, the origin of Skid Row, what’s in the basement at Doc Maynard’s, the cookie company that uses shit in its logo, Gary Larson, and the statue of Lenin that presided over a yuppie real estate boom. The general manager of a baseball team who philosophized that you could build a winner without scoring runs is the least of it.

      • seattletony - May 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        Don’t forget about the tourists riding Ducks, sidewalk skylights, the troll under the bridge, SLUT riding, and Mighty-O Donuts.

      • seattletony - May 30, 2011 at 9:11 PM

        …and I forgot to mention Chone Figgins.

      • Old Gator - May 30, 2011 at 10:24 PM

        I thought Chone Figgins was the troll under the bridge.

        Ivar’s Chowder (or their smoked salmon pasta alfredo) doesn’t quite fit into this list, of course, but I thought I’d mention them just for the hell of it.

  6. thomas2727 - May 31, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Funny I read where Olivio would have like a 6 year streak of leading MLB in past balls had he not missed most of the 2008 season.

  7. cur68 - May 31, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Well. Imagine that. Steve Kelley, a writer for a major metropolitan paper, can’t spell “undistinguished”. Who’d a thunk it?

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