…or who knows how many horses will be fucked and and/or fitness buffs will be leered at?  The Herald’s John Sleeper, choosing to ignore both of important stories in his local papers, wonders which Seattle team is going to show up in the second half, the underachievers of April/May, or the club that feasted during June’s interleague play?

The Mariners won’t have the National League to beat up on in the second half of the season. They are 10-17 against the rest of the AL West (including 1-9 against the Oakland A’s) and 28-39 against the American League.

How will the team fare without Jeremy Reed (fractured thumb) in center field for four to six weeks? Although he hit just .217, Reed has been solid on defense. General manager Bill Bavasi said this week that the plan is to platoon utility player Willie Bloomquist and Shin-Soo Choo (just up from Tacoma). Can they rob the opposition of runs on a par with Reed?

If not, can the M’s nab a replacement by the trading deadline, at the end of the month?

Can catcher Kenji Johjima continue his sizable contributions, especially with the bat? At this pace, the first-year major-leaguer will finish the season approaching .300, with 20 homers and 80 RBI.

Considering the competition within the division, nobody’s asking the Mariners to suddenly become the 1927 Yankees. It doesn’t appear that the A’s, Rangers or Angels have the consistency to put together a devastating run in the remaining months of the season. Simply staying close when the real stretch runs starts in September means playing .500 ball.

Mindful of Bobby Abreu’s 2nd half slump in 2005, the Delaware County Times’ Terry Toohey declares “here’s hoping Ryan Howard does not win the Home Run Derby Monday night.” Within the same column, Toohey opines that soccer’s failure to capture the imagination of this country’s sports fans is largely due to “the whole concept of ties, which are common in soccer, is un-American. Heck, even the NHL went to shootouts to rid its sport of ties. We don™t play for ties in this country; we play to win.”

Indeed, NCAA football and the NFL were only followed by a tiny cult before steps were taken to reduce or eliminate ties.