Is Marshawn Lynch opening up?

It looks like Marshawn Lynch might be approaching his last year as a running back. Also known as Beast Mode, Lynch continues to perform better than ever, getting his longest touchdown run of his career last season (79 yard run, known as Beast Quake 2.0), and still performing as one of the top 5 tier running backs in the NFL for total rushing yards and average carry per rush.

Apart from Beast Mode’s sheer running skills and capabilities, one of his biggest pet peeves is the infiltration of the media. We all saw last season and the previous, cameras and reporters putting up microphones and not able to get a response. However, during the 2015 Super Bowl, we saw a little change when Skittles interviewed Marshawn Lynch:

Perhaps the interviewers asked clever and funny questions they were able to get responses from Beast Mode. But more likely, Skittles fuel the running back, and without them, he might not be with us today.

However, after this commercial, Conan O’ Brian was able to get Marshawn on his show several weeks later:

Even better, Conan set up a mini-end zone full of Skittles for Marshawn Lynch to jump into:

On a side note, Lynch did make a special appearance for a Japanese TV station in 2014, trying various Japanese candies:

Whether it was the Skittles, Conan, or clever interview tactics, Marshawn Lynch has undoubtedly opened up to the media since previous seasons. He enjoys spending time with the family, kicking back, and not dealing with a large audience. Ultimately, no one will determine what Lynch will do — if it’s all about that action, that is all that matters for Seahawk fans.

What do you think about Beast Mode and his recent openness to the media? You can let us know by contacting Magnolia Insurance Agency.

Sincerely,

Magnolia Insurance

magnoliainsurance@comcast.net | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199

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Iwakuma and his No-no… Still a window of hope?

Two nights, history was witnessed in Safeco Field. Hisashi Iwakuma became the fourth pitcher in Mariner’s history to throw a no-hitter (the Mariners threw a combined no-hitter in 2012, but does not match up to the feat of a single thrower). Iwakuma stuck out seven while walking three, allowing the Mariners to beat the Orioles in a 3-0 shutout. Incredibly, Iwakuma did not feel pressured to throw a no-hitter until the ninth inning when 3B Kyle Seager made an amazing over the shoulder catch into foul territory. Mariner’s catcher Jesus Sucre felt the no-hit intensity by the seventh inning.

Not many, even Mariner’s skipper Lloyd McClendon expected Iwakuma to throw a no-hitter. Battling with constant injuries at age 34, Iwakuma did not seem healthy enough to accomplish this feat. Iwakuma also does not have a fireball fastball that stifles hitters; his off-speed, however, is just nasty.

But when we look to Iwakuma’s past, he was up in the ranks for the Cy-Young award two years ago. Iwakuma seems to have finally gotten everything together after this recovery period. Unfortunately, he is up for free agency at the end of this year.

After this spectacular performance, what does this mean for the pitching staff, the Mariners and the fans? For being almost 8 games under .500, it definitely says a lot. For true miracles to happen, events like these must occur. Iwakuma’s effort cannot go to waste; the Mariners must contribute from here on out to back his effort. Starting with an away game today at Fenway, the Mariners will have to win the series against the Red Sox, as well as most others from here on out in order to gain a spot in the Wild-Card Race. Thankfully, previous MLB Commissioner Bud Selig allowed the top two teams in each division to face-off in the playoffs. The Mariners might just have a chance moving forward.

According to The Seattle Times, 3 of the 5 key plays that turned the table was (1), with one out, Iwakuma walked the first batter in the eighth inning and fell behind on a 3-1 count to the next batter. Luckily this batter grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning.  (2) Kyle Seager racing over to the foul stands along the 3rd baseline, made a stunning over the shoulder catch, basket-style for one out in the ninth inning. (3) Oriole’s hitter Gerardo Parra hit a potential landing ball into-left-center; thankfully, Mariner’s center fielder Austin Jackson got a good read and caught the ball to seal the deal on Iwakuma’s no-hitter.

And now, for some unique fun facts about the Mariners and their no-hit history:

  • The M’s have had the last three no-hitters in the AL.
  • Accomplishing a no-hitter in the AL is commonly a tougher feat than the NL because of the designated hitters, who are very talented and skilled offensively. “There are no easy outs in the American league” quotes Lloyd McClendon.
  • Wednesday’s no-hitter was the second all-time by a Japanese-born pitcher in the MLB.
  • Safeco Field has seen four no-hitters in its history, including two perfect games. Chicago White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber was the other feat besides Felix Hernandez, who did it in the same year in 2012 at Safeco Field, against the Mariners.
  • For Hisashi Iwakuma, he is just getting started, he is just treating this majestic game as a stat– it was his first complete game, shutout, and no-hitter all in one.

Source: The Seattle Times

We would love to hear what you think about Iwakuma and the Mariners moving forward! Like always, you can call, message, or email us at Magnolia Insurance Agency.

Sincerely,

Magnolia Insurance

magnoliainsurance@comcast.net | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199

Seattle Seahawks: What’s the deal, literally?

After February, it has been a disheartening time for Seahawks fans. Arguably one of the worst play calls in NFL history, Seattle has never been so quiet in the late winter. Many diehard Seahawks fans planned to “hibernate” until next season. During this off-time, however, coach Pete Carroll seems unaffected, and his attitude likely transferred to the players. Coach has admitted he could not sleep ~2-3 days after the super bowl, but for such a devastating play that lasted 5 seconds, much coaches would suffer much longer.

Carroll’s attitude has not stuck with many Seahawks fans, since he is often blamed as the perpetrator of the play call. But again, his recovery period has shocked everyone. During the summer offseason, the Seahawks made a blockbuster trade with the Saints to acquire all-star tight end Jimmy Graham in exchange for Seahawk’s center Max Unger. While Graham will provide better offense, the Seahawk’s offensive line will suffer. Unger was the one of the best, most reliable center snappers in the NFC, and possibly in the NFL. Let’s be honest, the Seahawk’s offensive line is not very good, and without Unger, we are travelling in some deep waters. The Seahawk’s weak offensive line explains the reason for Marshawn Lynch’s physical running style– the offensive line is not mobile and tactful enough to block defensive targets, so Lynch’s only option is to run through them.

As a result of Lynch’s physical running style, it is harder on his body; this is why Lynch plans to end his career in Seattle after this year. Even after Lynch’s career, he seems to have an optimal lifestyle with his profitable “Beast Mode” clothing line and charitable funds for children in Oakland.

Jimmy Graham will provide excellent mid-field offense and red-zone availability, but again, without skilled linemen like Unger, the rush will be intensified and shortened for QB Russell Wilson. Speaking of Wilson, he just accepted a 4-year, $87.6 million extension with the Seahawks; this includes a $31 million signing bonus and ~$60 million of guaranteed money as of this morning.

When we ponder the phrase, “What’s the deal?” in the title, we do not question the talent and ability of the Seahawks. The Seahawks still undoubtedly remain one of the best teams in the NFL because of their speed, teamwork, size, and overall capability to win games (adapted from the common 12th man phrase: “Bigger Faster Stronger Louder”). The deal is literally translated as the money contracts, the extensions, and the requests from the Seahawks players.

Yes, we understand that most people could use extra money, but being a pro-athlete where you are already making a comfortable salary, is the money request really necessary? All this money talk puts a stamp on your talent and ability, but aren’t the Seahawks grounded on teamwork and helping another out? The contract bonuses and extensions seem to take away from the natural competitive drive of football, and it pressures other teammates to behave in a similar fashion.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have satisfied most Seahawks fans, and this is because they are establishing long-term contracts for the faces of the Seahawk’s organization: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch (and now Jimmy Graham), Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas III, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, and Michael Bennett.

Here is a comparison of the Seahawk’s recent contracts, by the numbers:

Russell Wilson: Just signed a 4-year, $87.6 million contract extension.

Earl Thomas III: Last year, signed a 4-year, $40 million contract.

Richard Sherman: Last year, signed a 4-year, $56 million contract.

Kam Chancellor: Currently requesting a new contract (boycotting Seahawk’s training camp practices), signed a 4-year, $28 million contract in 2013.

Marshawn Lynch: Just signed a 2-year, $24 million contract (contract might be altered– depends on how much longer he will stay before retirement)

Jimmy Graham: Acquired this year from the Saints, signed a 4-year, $40 million contract in 2014.

Bobby Wagner: Just signed a 4-year, $43 million contract extension.

Michael Bennett: Last year, signed a 4-year, $28.5 million contract.

Overall, the Seahawks are still one of the best teams in the NFL. However, it is important for the players to realize that a successful team does always not come from money. The 12th man is integral to the Seahawk’s success, and our fan base is unlike no other. Let’s keep it that way, and the players need to focus on the game– the 2015-16 season is almost a month away!

Have a different perspective or opinion? We would love to hear your questions, comments, and overall feedback. You can always contact us at Magnolia Insurance Agency.

Sincerely,

Magnolia Insurance

magnoliainsurance@comcast.net | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199

Seattle Mariners: Do you believe in them?

Well, the Seattle Mariners have been a mystery so far this year. At times, they go on winning streaks, and other times, they tend to lose games, resulting in their current 36-42 record. Their recent home stand was quite embarrassing, losing all of their series against opponents. During this time, the Mariners acquired Mark Trumbo, acclaimed for his power, and seemed like an urgent need for the Mariner’s struggling bats. However, by looking at their past several games in San Diego and Los Angeles, the Mariners are finally revealing their potential, and might live up to their perceived 1st place ranking in the AL West (in the next several weeks) predicted by baseball analysts for the 2015 season. Nelson Cruz, who has carried the team on his back in the beginning of the season, has reached 20 homers. Robinson Cano is finally starting to find his swing, as he is hitting balls with hard contact, going the other way on outside pitches. Even better, Cano has been hitting with power, homering yesterday and going 4 for 5 against the Padres’ ace James Shields. Kyle Seager has remained relatively consistent throughout the season, and continues to grow as a player every day. The Mariner’s acquisition of Trumbo seemed like a desperate move to increase the Mariner’s power, and he will need to hit more home runs and RBIs to be worth the trade. Ackley, who lived up to his standards his first couple years as a Mariner, will need to improve his bats, as well as Zunino– new hitting coach and former Mariner Edgar Martinez is definitely helping Zunino’s swing, and Ackley should be his next target. Brad Miller, who was hot at the plate a month ago, remains a key defensive player, but needs to start hitting again. Logan Morrison, or LoMo, was a clutch hitter for the Mariners several weeks ago, but he has not been performing offensively recently. Trumbo has not proven he is a good investment for the Mariners, hitting with a sub .250 average, and not providing much spark or power. Speedy Austin Jackson has been alright for the Mariners– he is getting runs and stealing bases, but he should be getting more runs and steals than his current status. McClendon should place Jackson consistently in the lead-off hole and signal more steals to increase Jackson’s numbers. More importantly, these changes (although more risky) will help the Mariner’s win more games — high risk, high reward, right? Similar to Jackson, Guitierrez should be stealing more as well. Since been called up several days ago, Gutierrez needs to utilize his speed and be placed earlier in the lineup. The problem, however, is that he does not get on base much. Despite all of the Mariner’s offensive struggles, do you still support your home team? Maybe it’s the location of the ballpark, maybe it’s the atmosphere, or maybe it’s the fans. Yet with this sub-par hitting team, there is one essential ingredient for the Mariner’s success: pitching. Three names have capitalized the Mariner’s successful starting rotation: Felix Hernandez, Mike Montgomery, and Tijuan Walker. Hernandez continues to remain one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, posing one of the best MLB records at 10-4. No one can complain about Montgomery, pitching two consecutive shutouts– with his performance, the idea of denouncing him to Triple AAA is very unlikely (with Hisashi Iwakuma coming back from the DL). Lastly, Tijuan Walker has won 6 out of his 7 last starts, and outdueled Padres’ ace James Shields. Let me repeat that again, Tijuan Walker, a 22 year old, third year rookie, out-pitched Padres’ ace James Shields. These outings will significantly boost Walker’s confidence and success as the Mariners approach the All-Star Break. Walker is only 22, and continues to improve every day as a Seattle Mariner. Another underlying aspect for the Mariner’s pitching success has been its bullpen. After taking a rest from the closer role, Fernando Rodney is finding the strike zone and is improving his numbers. Rodney’s substitute, Carson Smith, has been absolutely phenomenal. In Smith’s second year as a Mariner, he has sustained a steady 1.45 ERA along with a 0.74 WHIP and 37 strikeouts. As strange as Smith’s delivery appears, his sidearm baffles hitters at the plate, and results in a many ground balls for easy outs, especially in crucial ninth inning save opportunities. His tall 6’6″ build might be another factor of intimidation for hitters. In addition to the closers, relievers Mark Lowe and previous closer Tom Wilhelmson support the pitching staff with high heat, putting hitters off balance and leaving them unprepared. With Iwakuma and two year rookie James Paxton healing from their DL stints, Lloyd McClendon or Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik need to decide who to denounce from the Mariners five-man rotation. With Montgomery and Walker’s continued success, pitchers Roenis Elians and J.A. Happ should be sent down. Or, there is the option to have a six-man rotation, which would give starting pitchers more rest time, but would also lessen the amount of starts from pitchers we love to see, like Felix Hernandez. If we ignore the hitting frustrations and trade failures that the Mariners dealt with, pitching is the new window of opportunity and success for the Seattle Mariners. Especially in the long run– if the Mariners hold on to Walker, Paxton, Iwakuma, and (no doubt) Hernandez, the rotation will have time to grow, develop, and learn in the Major Leagues. Hernandez could be a great mentor for young pitchers like Walker and Paxton; ultimately, this rotation could formulate into one of the best in baseball. For short-term success, believe in the pitching (hopefully we might get a post-season bid for the first time since 2001)! For long-term success, it is ultimately Zduriencik’s decision to keep Mariner players. But my one offer of advice is to hold on to the pitching staff. The Mariners need to grow as a team and develop; in order for this to happen, they should not constantly be introduced to new faces. Root root for the home team! If you have any questions or comments regarding the Mariners, or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact us at Magnolia Insurance Agency. Sincerely, Magnolia Insurance magnoliainsurance@comcast.net | (206) 284-4886 3424 W McGraw St Seattle, WA 98199