Major League baseball is well into its "second season" and the playoffs are under way and, if bad weather doesn't cause some cancellations, the World Series will wind up before November gets here.
Once again, the Seattle Mariners are not in the playoffs and all of the so-called "experts" are trying to figure out what went wrong and how the big slide is going to be stopped.
Slide? Seattle had 78 wins in 2006 and improved that to 88-74 in 2007 and they finished second in the American League West.
Going into the season, the team had high hopes of making the playoffs with a big payroll, a lineup laced with veterans and a pitching staff that was going to be five-men strong.
This season, the team struggled to win 61 games and got to the 60 mark by sweeping the Oakland A's in the last series of the year. The losses piled up to 101.
The final stats, and baseball is statistics driven, tell the story.
The M's were 35-46 at home, 26-55 on the road. They were 22-35 against the AL West, 15-29 vs. the East, 15-28 vs. the Central.
Seattle was 9-9 against the National League. They were 21-30 against lefties, 40-71 against right-handed hurlers. Seattle won 20, lost 34 day games, was 41-67 at night. Seattle won 18 games and lost 30 decided by one run and was 5-7 in the 12 extra inning games.
Still, the Mariners drew fans. Seattle rushed 2,329,787 through the Safeco Field turnstiles, an average of 32,617. Largest crowd was 46,334 on March 31, smallest 15,818 on May 6 and 27,110 showed up for the last game of the season.
So what's ahead this fall and winter? The team has to find a general manager or else take the interim tag off the one they have.
Will a new manager make a difference? Not with the same personnel. Jim Riggleman did a good job with what he had.
The youngsters were given a chance to play regularly. Bryan LaHair was given a chance at first base. Good field, did not hit for power or average. Mike Morse will be back in the infield or outfield, but what about Raul Ibanez? How about Jeremy Reed and will the new head personnel guy keep Ichiro or try to trade him?
Are there two too many catchers? Kenji Johjima is signed to a big contract, but what to do with Jeff Clement, Rob Johnson and Jamie Burke?
Pitching is in a mess. Erik Bedard was a bust. Carlos Silva wasn't the answer, but both are signed. Miguel Batista was terrible and even Felix Hernandez struggled a bit.
New guys Ryan Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow went to Tacoma and came back as good starters. Jerod Washburn is another pitcher who is on the bubble.
It's going to be interesting.
Rising lift tickets
Holy lift ticket, Batman. We learn that Crystal Mountain will be charging $60 to ski prime time this winter and Stevens Pass will be a crisp $61 due to the high cost of energy. It's $80 at Sun Valley, folks.
Hurricane Ridge is going to look like a real bargain.
The Port Angeles Salmon Club is going ahead with the 2009 Halibut Derby over Memorial Day even though the Hood Canal bridge will be out of service from the first of May on into June.
Cost of the derby will be $40 next year, but fishing hours will be extended, going from daylight until 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The $40 fee also will enable anglers to fish the salmon and halibut ladders from February through September as well as during the derby itself.
Brian Bukovnik is the new Salmon Club president and vice presidents are Bob Beausoleil and Bill Early. New secretary is Heather Eims and John Raske remains as treasurer.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.