#1 even faster from a leadership perspective, which may be an von dasg234 20.05.2019 01:30

SEATTLE -- Two years ago, the Seattle Mariners went into the final weekend of the regular season with a chance at the playoffs.They missed the postseason but winning 87 games under a first-year manager provided optimism and the expectation that the Mariners were a club on the rise. They tanked the following year, losing 86 games and forcing an overhaul of the entire front office, coaching staff and a majority of the roster.This brings the Mariners to the end of the 2016 season. Once again, Seattle was in contention for the playoffs heading into the final weekend, only to fall short. Once again, there is a buzz and optimism that Seattle could be on the cusp of being a breakout team next season.Why would this be any different than the last time Seattle was in this place two years ago?Were not the same old Mariners. Were not, Seattle manager Scott Servais said. I think if people watched us closely this year, and the personalities of the team, got to see the team, theyd realize that this is a different group. ... We laid a foundation and well build upon that, but it is not the same old Mariners.Seattle heads into the offseason still with the longest playoff drought in baseball -- now at 15 years -- but the belief it will be ending soon. Seattle was equal parts entertaining and infuriating in posting an 86-76 record that put them on the outside of the AL playoff picture.It was a roller coaster of a season. Consider that between April 24 and the end of the season, Seattle spent only one day under .500. But it took until game No. 160 for Seattle to get any better than 10 games over .500.The Mariners lived in the space between contender and average. But the late surge that put Seattle into contention validated for Servais the processes he put in place and the changes that were made from the previous regime.I wish it was easy as just putting it all on paper, Servais said. Its not. Players change, seasons change, and you just have to wait and see, but I feel great about our team, I really do.Other things to know as the team looks toward 2017:MEN IN THE MIDDLE: Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager combined to post three of the better seasons for any position players in the American League. Cano showed the injuries he played through last year truly were impacting his performance at the plate, rebounding to hit .298 with a career-high 39 home runs and 103 RBI. Cruz posted his third straight 40-homer season with 43 homers and 105 RBI. And Seager reached 30 homers for the first time in his career and finished with 99 RBI.RECLAIM THE THRONE: Felix Hernandez was far from kingly in 2016. Hernandezs most inconsistent season ended at 11-9 with a 3.82 ERA, his highest since 2007. He was slowed by a calf injury that cost him two months and Seattles rotation never fully recovered. Servais was blunt on the final day that Hernandez needs to be in better shape for 2017 and continue his evolution as pitcher. Hes not a high-90s strikeout machine anymore but Seattle needs him to return to being the ace of its staff.YOUNG STARS: Young closer Edwin Diaz emerged this season as a minor-league call-up who ended up becoming crucial to Seattles run. Who will it be next year? Maybe outfielders Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia, who give Seattle the athleticism it wants defensively in the outfield but need to be better at the plate to become regulars in the lineup. Perhaps its time for minor-league slugger Tyler ONeill to finally get his chance in the majors.One name to watch: first baseman Daniel Vogelbach. Acquired from the Cubs, Vogelbach could be primed for a major role in Seattles lineup going into next season.WIN THE WEST: Servais was thrilled to be in the race in his first season. He was bothered it was for the wild card and not the AL West. The Mariners led the division into late May and by the end of June, the wild card was the only option left. With the talent that Texas and Houston have, the Mariners have quite the task if theyre going to reach the top.Everyone has the feeling that we can make it, Cano said. I hope everyone goes and prepares themselves not to play just 162 games.Stan Smith Outlet Free Shipping . From filmmaker Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes), The Price of Gold revisits the saga that rocked the figure skating world ahead of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games: the assault on Nancy Kerrigan, and the plot that led its way back to her rival Tonya Harding. Stan Smith China . Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots on Saturday in the Oklahoma City Barons 4-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat. The Oilers signed Bryzgalov to a one-year $2 million contract last Friday after shedding payroll by dealing defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Flames. http://www.discountstansmith.com/ .5 seconds to play in the game, Kevin Love never stopped believing that they would come out of there with a win. Wholesale Stan Smith Online . Detroit and Boston are deadlocked, 1-1, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland could be forgiven if he was caught rationalizing instead of dissecting how his club could blow a 5-1 lead late in Game 2. Wholesale Adidas Shoes . In what the team had called a retirement, Ryan said Thursday that he is resigning as chief executive of the Rangers in a move effective at the end of this month.MINNEAPOLIS -- After the latest loss in a season that has been full of them for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns sat at his locker with his face buried in his hands.For at least the third time this season, the 21-year-old NBA sophomore put the entire blame on himself and his perceived inability to lead a young and promising roster out of the abyss.The more losses we keep accumulating, the more it feels like its my fault, Towns said after the massively disappointing Wolves fell to 5-12 with a 112-103 home loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Ive got to look myself in the mirror and Ive got to play better. Ive got to play a level where we cant lose and help my teammates out the best I can. I didnt do that tonight. I havent done it recently.That kind of accountability can be admirable on its face. It shows that Towns is invested in turning one of the leagues perennial losers into a playoff team for the first time in 13 years. But that pressure can also be crushing, and the team that many observers pegged for a breakout season after adding coach Tom Thibodeau last summer appears to be playing with a weight on its shoulders that has been too heavy to carry as the season nears the quarter pole.With Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn, the Timberwolves have one of the most athletic and exciting young rosters in the league. But the enthusiasm and ebullience that so often comes with youth is nowhere to be found on the faces of these Wolves during games. They play with a joylessness that belies their billing as the leagues Next Big Thing, as if 12 years of failure that this core has had little to do with is serving as cement around their shoes.They went into the locker room at halftime on Monday night down just five points. By the looks on their faces and the slumps in their shoulders, one would have thought the deficit was 20.Towns -- the reigning rookie of the year -- is right in one respect. He has struggled mightily on the defensive end after showing so much potential there as a rookie. He must play better and give more consistent effort in that area if the Wolves are going to pull themselves out of the doldrums they reside in at the moment.All these losses fall on my shoulders, Towns saiid.dddddddddddd None of the coaching staff. None of my teammates. This is my fault. I dont think its anyones fault but myself. Its something Ive got to fix. Ive got to change for the better for us. I guess its back to the drawing board tomorrow.Clearly, the responsibility lies more than just with Towns. Their point guard play has been subpar, their bench almost nonexistent and Thibodeau has not yet parlayed his mastery of strategy and Xs and Os into a workable formula for this particular group.He seethed in his postgame remarks after the Jazz loss, calling the second and fourth quarters a disaster and vowing to get to the bottom of the issues that plague them.Its very concerning from the standpoint of you want to be making progress, Thibodeau said. Thats the important thing. Every day make progress, make progress. We didnt make progress today. Thats something that has to be corrected.Players collectively appear to be at a loss.The messages are getting through, but theres a difference between saying something and actually doing it, Wiggins said.Three starters are 21 and the only true veteran playing significant minutes is Rubio, who missed time earlier in the season with a sprained elbow and has not played in three straight fourth quarters. Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich, the two veterans the Wolves signed in the summer to buttress the young core, are playing scant minutes. That has forced the youngsters to have to grow up even faster from a leadership perspective, which may be an even bigger challenge than rising up against Rudy Gobert at the rim.Its something I know I can carry, Towns said. I never said it was going to be easy. But its something I know I can deal with.It all adds up to a player, and a team, that is too tight. The competitive fire that drives so many of them right now threatens to burn down their own house and has led, Towns said, to many a sleepless night as they search for answers.Its been long, long nights, Towns said. Again, its going to be one of those nights, I guess. Youre just trying to find ways to win.---Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski ' ' '

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