Blog Entry

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

Posted on: June 5, 2008 1:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2008 2:04 pm

I can't tell you how disgusted I am by the incident in Seattle.

The two lesbians making out in the Safeco Field stands the other night who were told by an usher to knock it off, thus provoking outrage all over the city?

Heck, no.

The appalling, revolting and utterly reprehensible play of the Mariners, baseball's most underachieving team.

The Mariners are one loose bolt from the wheels completely coming off. I don't think I've ever heard of a day quite like the one they had on Wednesday:

-- Club president Chuck Armstrong aired out manager John McLaren and his coaches behind closed doors before that afternoon's game with the Angels, and media reports from Safeco were that Armstrong's displeasure could be heard by others, through the door, loud and clear.

-- McLaren delivered a brutally frank, expletive-filled tirade minutes after the Angels finished sweeping the Mariners.

-- In the immediate aftermath of the loss, general manager Bill Bavasi ordered the Mariners players to be stationed at their lockers and face up to their embarrassing play.

-- Losing pitcher Carlos Silva, who's only been a Mariner for two months, said afterward that certain players were more concerned with getting their hits than how the team fares.

I don't know what you think of public displays of affection by a couple  of women.

I do know that the way some of these Mariners are stealing money from the club -- hello, Richie Sexson -- is completely immoral.

It's evident that wholesale housecleaning is coming soon. It has to. By the time this sewage spill of a season is finished, the Mariners probably are going to have to wind up replacing Bavasi and McLaren at a minimum.

And starting with Sexson -- who is owed $16 million in this, the final season of his contract -- they're going to have to blow up this roster and start anew.

I don't particularly enjoy being subjected to any public displays of affection -- be it heterosexual or otherwise.

But I'll tell you this: If you're sitting in the Safeco Field stands, even watching two baboons grope each other would be better viewing than the Mariners.


Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2008 8:40 pm

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

Bavasi made the mistake of thinking this team could win now. Why oh why would you trade Adam Jones, a premier prospect, to improve a mediocre team once every five days. AND that's when Bedard isn't hurting.

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2008 7:01 pm

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

Two girls kissing is nothing compared to the fact that this team has been giving its fans the business end of a mop handle in the behind for two months.......cream please?!?

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2008 6:48 pm

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

The #1 problem for the Mariners is the total absentee ownership of Nintendo of America. The Mariners are, effectively, a business unit of Nintendo, and the overriding goal is profit margin... period. There hasn't been a single visit from any of the Nintendo executives to Safeco Field. They appointed one of their own (Howard Lincoln) as CEO, and he may never have stepped inside a baseball park before that day. Lincoln was told to make sure the team maintained a healthy profit margin. How does he do it? By suckering the Seattle populace into believing that he actually cares about the team's performance and by empowering his ineffective GM (Bill Bavasi) to overspend in order to create the illusion that the team cares about being competitive. Once the season and advanced tickets are sold, they're pretty much already done with their season planning.

And that, unfortunately, leads to a vicious cycle. While Seattle is a truly wonderful city, it is the most geographically isolated of any of the MLB cities. That makes travel to and from Seattle during the season a logistical nightmare, one that hasn't been made any easier by the inane scheduling decisions of MLB the last few years. So that's one strike against luring any potential impact free agents to the Mariners.

The other big problem, though, has led to a vicious cycle that doesn't show any sign of being broken any time in the near future. Most baseball players have seen that the management in Seattle is really NOT committed to winning. That means that any big-time player who wants to go to the World Series will avoid Seattle like the plague. So the team has to overspend on mediocre and third-tier free agents just to fill out the roster. Don't believe me? Let's look at the Mariners' roster: Washburn (4 years, $38 million), Batista (3 years, $26 million), Silva (4 years, $48 million, Richie Sexson (4 years, $50 million)... that's $162 million basically flushed right into Puget Sound.

Also, the management doesn't like voices of dissent from anywhere, and especially from within their own ranks. That's why both Lou Piniella and Pat Gillick couldn't wait to get out of Seattle. Heck, Lou basically begged to be TRADED from the team, and he was the manager! In Gillick's place came Bill Bavasi... and boy, what a job he's done on the Mariners. He's only made a few decent free agent signings (Ibanez, Beltre, Guardado, Sherrill and Johjima), and the rest have been total busts (see the four listed above, then add Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia, Carl Everett, Matt Lawton, and Roberto Petagine to the mix.) While the jury is out on the Erik Bedard trade, the general consensus is that Bavasi has not made a single trade that has actually worked out for the Mariners. Soriano for Ramirez is just one example; Winn for Foppert and Torrealba, Garcia for Reed, Olivo and Morse, Moyer for two low-level prospects. Not a good one in the bunch.

Let's not forget Bavasi's total inability to piece together anything that remotely resembles a complete major league roster and his lack of understanding of service time issues. Brandon Morrow shouldn't even be on the 40-man roster yet, much less have over a year of major league service time under his belt while only pitching 75 innings a year, instead of developing as a #1 or #2 starter in the minor league system, which would actually be a long-term benefit for the Mariners, something that I don't think they have even considered in the last few years.

I've heard in several places that Bavasi is good at shaping farm systems. Don't know where that came from, but I haven't seen ANY impact from Bavasi's picks, other that the #1 picks... and a trained monkey can find a good player in the first round. Today's draft, however, might be an exception. The Mariners picked a 6' 0" tall flame throwing relief pitcher in the first round, something they really don't need right now and should shy away from, given his slight frame. But he's a God-fearing young man with a great personality. Guess he's Mariners material, even if his arm will probably fall of in 3 years. Way to go Bill!

Of course, there was the whole Balentien/Clement debacle a month ago. After having added both men to the active roster (needlessly, mind you) on September 1 of last season, Bavasi called them both up to the majors on April 30. Now, if both players had stayed on the major league roster for the rest of the season, they would have each had one full year of major league service time, making them eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. Had they stayed in the minors just 2 or 3 days longer, they would have had to wait until after the 2014 season for free agency. While Clement has gone back down, Balentien is still up. So Bavasi has probably cost the Mariners millions of dollars that they wouldn't have had to spend for at least one extra year by not understanding roster management. But, of course, I don't think he'll be here by then, so what does he care?

Then there's our foul-mouthed field manager John McLaren. I'm sorry, but that looked like the most scripted "rant" I've ever heard. His face, his hands, his body... none of them moved during the tirade. In fact, it actually looked like he was reading it from a script. What really frosts me is that the players, the GM and the management are saying that his job is safe. Why? What has he done that has made him unexpendable? It's not like he's actually managed the team. "We've got a bunch of free-swinging hitters." Oh really? Then why doesn't he actually remove his thumbs from his rear end and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT??? I sit across from the M's dugout almost every night, watching John McLaren also sit... and sit... and sit. I get up out of my seat more often than he does. He certainly doesn't know how to call the bullpen... at least not until after his starting pitcher has thrown about 15 pitches more than he should have, two more runs have come in the score and at least two more runners are on base. His choice in a coaching staff certainly didn't work out... can anybody even name the coaches at this point? Has anyone seen them doing their jobs? That's on McLaren too... he picked most of them. The only one he didn't pick was the hitting coach, Jeff Pentland, since the team hit .287 last year. Now they're hitting .250 with a team OBP around .320... that's pretty bad.

The players, of course, bear the brunt of our displeasure, since they are the ones who are actually performing or, in most cases, NOT performing. None of them have received any kind of tutelage, encouargement or discipline that might help bring about an end to the moribund malaise that seems to have overtaken the clubhouse. There has been only one voice of dissent from the players, and he's only been with the team for a few months. If something is going to happen to begin to get the Mariners back on track, it must come from the players, since the management doesn't seem to have a clue as to how to handle this situation. I see a lot of "deer in the headlights" faces in McLaren, Bavasi and Armstrong. Lots of the same in the clubhouse... again, pretty bad.

I would like to address the following paragraph to Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former chairman of the Mariners. He owned 36% of the Mariners until a couple of years ago, when he sold his share of the team to Nintendo of America, giving them 52% of the team and officially making them the majority owners. Mr. Yamauchi still carries the honorary title of chairman, and was very influential in the re-signing of Ichiro last season (and probably the ill-advised re-signing of Kenji Johjima a few weeks ago.) Sir, while the population of Seattle is very grateful for your group's acquisition of the team and for keeping the team here, we cannot help but wonder if you and the rest of the ownership group has actually watched a single game the team has played until the current front office's administration. If you have, and you wish to be true to your word that the Mariners will field a competitive team, then you must certainly be dissatisfied with what has been occurring here. If not, though, then it will give credence to the strongly-held opinion here (if it is not an outright fact) that Nintendo cares solely about making money with the Mariners, and that winning a world championship is of secondary, if not lesser, importance. As such, sir, you and the ownership group have LOST FACE here in Seattle... that is a term that I do not use lightly, for I know of its importance and meaning in the Japanese culture. It is a term meant to convey our disbelief, contempt and outrage in the betrayal of our trust in you.

If you have no intention of taking action to confront this, then please consider selling the team to a group or entity that actually understands that sometimes a sports franchise needs to lose money for a little while in order to reap larger profits later on. That's called INVESTMENT... like in player payroll, which you seem to regard as merely an expenditure. It's an investment not only in the on-field product, but also in the goodwill of the fan base... goodwill that you have almost completely frittered away, if the lackluster attendance during the Red Sox series here this past week is any indication. That, sir, would help you regain your respect in our eyes.

Since: Apr 3, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2008 6:43 pm

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

Scott, I couldn't agree with you more. I bought the extra innings package last year and ended up watching many a Mariners game late at night partially because Ichiro is my favorite player. They were such a good team in all facets of the game especially when Putz came in with any lead in the 9th (or 8th if necessary). This year they are nothing like that team and they do need to blow it up. When is Beltre's contract up? Though he has performed better than Sexson of late. They are the biggest disappointment this year for me. You rock, Scott!

Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2008 6:03 pm

Good ship Mariner sinking quickly

The problem starts with top leadership, Lincoln and others, who place a premium on "nice, loyal" players.  That message works to keep folks with a little fire and brimestone from hanging around very long, unless, like Jay Buhner, they grew up with the team and took on the role in an evolutionary way.  So while the team may have some "leaders by quiet example," they typically lack fire.

Bavasi is also a problem.  He rarely gets full value in ANY trade deal (all-star shortstop Guillen to Detroit for nothing; RP Soriano to Atlanta for a #7 starter about to be released; Greg Dobbs released; Jamie Moyer to Philidelphia for nothing, and so on), and he's let some guys go for nothing and you just shake your head and wonder what he must have been thinking!  But more than that, he has an old-school view that says "get aggressive free-swingers in your line-up."  Unfortunately, with pitching being the weak link on almost every team (nobody throws consistent strikes around the league), the Mariners have a bunch of .320 on-base-percentage guys who give away lots of outs, swing at every first or second pitch, can't move guys over, don't get guys in, have no plate discipline or patience, can't hit behind runners, and don't bunt.  No rally is sustainable under those conditions, and many, many, many folks in Seattle were screaming about this glaring flaw in the offense all winter as the M's suggested they were "ready to compete."

McLaren, the manager, is a nice guy who's asked the M's to look in the mirror.  On the other hand, he keeps running Sexson out there day after day (for the second year), while Sexson kills rally after rally and hits below the Mendoza line.  He hasn't gone to small-ball, has not been innovative, doesn't demand extra work from his players (bunting drills, defensive drils, baserunning drills, hit-behind-the-runner drills, etc.), and simply tries to talk his players into better performance with no change in his own managerial behavior.  "To be demanding" doesn't mean to verbally ask players for more, but to demand extra work and attention to detail until improvement is shown.  McLaren hasn't done that.

As for the players, lots should go at the trade deadline (Beltre, Vidro, Washburn, Batista, maybe Ibanez), but there's nobody to replace them and if history is a teacher, Bavasi won't get anything of value back anyway.

DISASTER!  Maybe for years to come. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or