FanDuel - WFBC

June 05, 2008

Bill Bavasi, helping:: "They may not know how to play the game well, they may not know how to hold each other accountable, they may not know how to fight hard," he said. "But they are playing hard. They are trying hard." It's June 5, y'all, and the Mariners . . . looking good!

posted by Skot to baseball at 01:37 PM - 12 comments

Usually, when I complain about how mind bogglingly (actual word?) terrible the Mariners are and how they were good for all too brief a time, I end up with a Cubs fan telling me how I shouldn't complain because their team has suffered through futility for so long. But I have been a fan of the M's for so long (since 1977) and this season is one of those straw breaking a camel's back punishers, that I have stowed away my jerseys, hats, and penants. Oh, for the days of Griffey Jr., The Unit, Buhner, Tino Martinez, Edgar, and he who shall not be named. Oh heck, A-Rod. I say fire everyone except Rick Griffen, Chuck Armstrong, Ichiro, and Dave Niehaus. I am a great Ibanez fan and rejoiced when he came back from KC, but maybe he should go, too. Just bring up the triple A team. (of course that wouldn't work--I know that) Oh, the pain.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:02 PM on June 05

Oh, the pain is right. I would STILL take Tino Martinez TODAY at first over Richie Mendoza, uh, I mean Richie Sexon. I keep telling myself that there are only 94 games of Sexon induced agony left. Granted its unfair to put it all on one player when everyone and I do mean EVERYONE on the M's roster is failing themselves, their teammates, coaches, executives, & fans. I love the Mariners and always will but I definitely see a need to completely clean house. Start from the top down. Bavasi & Mclaren have to go. If McLaren is out, so are his staff. Then I'd pursue options for Washburn & Batista. Sexon is out after this year anyways. Vidro is completely inadequate as a DH. I like Betancourt but only every other day it seems like & maybe only for another season or two then bring on Carlos Triunfel. Ibanez is a great guy & good player but it's not too long now before his production falls below his pay grade. Cairo cannot be relied on for production when a regular needs a day off so he's gone too. With all of my amature personel decisions (frustrated complaints) out of the way, the rest of the responsibility falls to us as fans to fill the seats and show our team that we support them. We need Griffey. Bottom line. Does ownership want to see some seats filled? Junior. The answer is The Kid who's no longer a kid. We will never get the production that Griffey-The-Player-Of-The-90s provided us with but it would be a great nostalgic feeling. It forces us to think of the better times as Mariners fans. (Remember Junior sliding into home ahead of the throw to beat the Yankees in 95?) Just to see that sweet swing again would be a welcome veil over this abysmal season.

posted by NW_Die_Hard at 03:47 PM on June 05

Armstrong and Bavasi have said all season that McLaren's job is not in jeopardy, and the GM reiterated that Tuesday. "This is not a field managerial issue," Bavasi said. "He's not at the plate with men on first and second and leaving them there three times. Those things have to happen. His focus, and the staff's focus, is to try to get them to do those things and to be a prepared club."
Well, yes and no. On the one hand, it's kind of refreshing that the front office isn't saying "We'll fire the manager" as a knee-jerk "Look, we're taking action!" non-action; I think he's a shit manager, but the Pythagorean projections of this team aren't off from its actual record, so he isn't turning wins into losses too much. On the other hand... McLaren sucks as a manager. He's far from the only reason for this teams abject failure, but he's one of them, and should be replaced A.S.A.P. Yesterday, I was watching the Red Sox tidily beat the Rays to take first place in the AL East on ESPN, and the announcers couldn't help but rave about Terry Francona's work on the field last night. Down one of this best hitters in Ortiz, he shuffled his lineup, and made this team work what they had. Putting runners in motion on the right counts, getting the other team to be thinking too much about the hitters, such that his worst hitter- Julio Lugo- got a more favorable 1-0 count when the threat of the runner on first caused a pitch-out. Francona wisely- as the announcers noted- has the wisdom to get out of the way when his players are healthy and playing well, but isn't incapable of doing smart, strategic thinking. Now, a Mariners fan I know complains that the worst thing about McLaren is how he appears to be one of those awful old-school "instinct" managers, with no rhyme or reason about things like when to take out a pitcher versus leaving them in. That, for example, results in pulling a good pitcher early and having the bullpen implode one night, and leaving a pitcher having a good night in past that critical 1--th pitch where the numbers say they get worse, causing a 2 run lead to evaporate in the 7th and become a 4-3 deficit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the front office and McLaren all but stated outright a week or two ago that they felt Ichiro- Ichiro!- was dogging it on the field. This team has seriously underperforming roster, but the management and front office are terrible.

posted by hincandenza at 03:56 PM on June 05

Also, something Bavasi said in that article was embarassing for a GM:

Bavasi would likely drop Sexson tomorrow, despite the financial sacrifice, if he felt he had an upgrade available. "Right now if I were to say, you know what, (Triple-A first baseman Bryan) LaHair's a better solution here, or (Jeff) Clement's a better solution ... yeah, it's a minimum salary," Bavasi said. "It's got nothing to do with money. Those changes, yeah, you can do that. It's not that tough. But the trade market is where you can have greater impact, I would think."
He's basically stating he won't do anything until near the trade deadline. What?! Why not at least take some of those busts and send them to the minors- are there player's association reasons Sexson shouldn't be regaining his form down in the minors? You're getting nothing for him on the trade market, when he's not even good enough to be an every day player for you. He wasn't even put in as a pinch hitter in a 7-5 loss a few days ago when one swing of the bat with a runner on and a man on first could have continued the 9th inning comeback. He's dog food at this point, so why have him on the roster at all? Right now, this team's DH- their DESIGNATED HITTER- has an on-base percentage of .273. As someone at the inestimable USS Mariner noted last week, "When your designated hitter has an on-base percentage of .273, it's time to burn the team down for the insurance money". That site is keeping a half-joking count of whether Vidro will get the necessary plate appearances to trigger his option for next year. Why on earth is this guy in uniform?! He is literally a "replacement level" player now, where your best AAA hitter could be at least matching his performance and getting some valuable experience for when they make the majors as a regular player.
Jose Vidro: G___AB___R___H___2B__3B__HR__RBI__BB__SO__SB__CS__AVG___OBP__SLG__OPS 47__169__17__38__8___0___3___28___12__24__1___0__.225__.273_.325_.599
The USS Mariner had a comment that even Rob Neyer had to pick up on, though:
Im sure glad Barry Bonds isnt around, poisoning the atmosphere in the clubhouse. Steve Nelson

posted by hincandenza at 04:15 PM on June 05

Purty good assessment, Hal. I was one of the few that didn't hate Grover, until he bailed on a team that was just starting to come together. After that, the M's record has been in freefall. I may have seen different info before the season than you did, but most projections I saw had the M's finishing second to the Angels and maybe even pulling off a wild-card spot. Which looks like sheer lunacy now. Maybe getting Bonds wouldn't be such a bad idea. The team could all wear crazy wigs and floppy shoes and join the circus. At least it would be entertaining. And I didn't see anything in the news about the front office and McLaren saying that Ichiro was dogging it, but if they did.................... FIRE THE LOT OF THEM!!! SACRILEGE!!!

posted by THX-1138 at 04:21 PM on June 05

Remember Junior sliding into home ahead of the throw to beat the Yankees in 95? Almost every day now.

posted by Skot at 04:26 PM on June 05

THX-1138- See what you mean. Don't give up on your team. Look at Boston just a few short years ago, and Tampa Bay making a nice run in the East. My Cardinals are playing way better than expected. You'll see the difference if you look at things half full instead of half empty. So get your hats and pennant out of the closet, go to see a couple of games, show Seattle what a true fan is all about and enjoy the game for the love of the sport-win or lose.

posted by giveuptheghost at 04:30 PM on June 05

THX-1138: And I didn't see anything in the news about the front office and McLaren saying that Ichiro was dogging it, but if they did.................... FIRE THE LOT OF THEM!!! SACRILEGE!!!
After the first game of the Sox series at SafeCo when they lost 5-3 on Monday, May 26th, Ichiro made an amazing but dangerous jump/crash into the centerfield wall over the shoulder catch. Definite webgem, shades of Griffey's wrist-breaking "Spiderman" catch when he was still with Seattle, and apparently inspired by the previous day's loss when Ichiro apparently didn't show enough effort in making the catch:
"[Sunday], for some reason, some people thought I should have caught a ball [hit by the Yankees' Jose Molina in the eighth inning]," Ichiro said. "That really ticked me off. I said to myself I was going for the ball no matter what, even if I'm injured on the play. "I had a lot of stress piled up from yesterday. Because of that, I don't remember much about what happened. I just thought to let my body go." Asked who the criticism came from, Ichiro said, "I don't think it's necessary to answer."
Okay, so he doesn't explicitly say it's the front office, but on other cases it seems the front office has suggested he's not showing enough 'clubhouse leadership', etc. I suspect a detailed trawling of the USS Mariner site would turn up more specific quotes.
giveuptheghost: You'll see the difference if you look at things half full instead of half empty.
See, I agree with this- although part of the frustration is that only a crazy person would think this season is still salvageable. As a Red Sox fan living in Seattle, this is brutal to watch the local die-hards see a team that's given up on the fans as much as anything. The right approach the front office and managerial staff should be taking is "Well, this season is a bust. But what a wonderful opportunity to get a head start on building next year's team and the farm system." Get the most promising AAA players up for some experience, try new combinations of batting orders, trade some mediocre major league talent for young talent in the minors that will serve you well in 2-4 years, etc. Most of all, simply stop playing players like Cairo or Vidro; get your best minor-league players up and if they can at least equal the effort of Cairo or Vidro, that is no loss to you in the present and a great win in the future when those players get some seasoning to be better players in seasons where it counts- it's free, on-the-job training. Instead, the front office seem to be sitting around saying "Well, we're fucked. Let's yell at each other pointlessly in the media. See you tomorrow!". There is no shake-up on the field, nor a sense of showing the fans a glimpse of the future since the present sucks so bad. Chuck Armstrong does need to fire most of the front office, and hire someone like Derek Zumsteg as his corollary to the Bill James and sabermetrics crew that the Red Sox have...

posted by hincandenza at 05:14 PM on June 05

See, I agree with this- although part of the frustration is that only a crazy person would think this season is still salvageable. Who said anything about season being salvageable for the Mariners. Did your team lose alot of games when playing as a kid? Did that sour you on the game itself? Of course not. Boy, the joy of taking my boys to the game when they were young was the most enjoyable times in my life. They didn't concern themselves with winning or losing, but going with their old man. Love the sport and don't fret over situations you have no control over. Enjoy the atmosphere-take yourself back to the first time you entered a major league ballpark and the feeling of awe at the mere size of the stadium. Keep your childhood perspective of the game and you'll be a much happier fan.

posted by giveuptheghost at 05:42 PM on June 05

My kids' sense of awe at the size of a major league stadium will be enhanced by the fact that it's empty. Make no mistake, after 31 years, I still root for my team. I still watch the games (well, til about the sixth or seventh inning). I just won't be driving across the state and putting down my hard earned this year. Eight hours round trip, $45 per seat, and countless more $$$ for lodging and food is a bit much to watch a team stink on ice. I've got minor league ball here in town at $9-$25 a ticket or an undefeated af2 team to watch in a state of the art arena. We will have a sporting experience, it just won't be major league this year. But we could go to an M's game and STILL not get a major league experience. Asked who the criticism came from, Ichiro said, "I don't think it's necessary to answer." Get a rope.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:57 AM on June 06

Click here.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:41 AM on June 06

My kids' sense of awe at the size of a major league stadium will be enhanced by the fact that it's empty. Make no mistake, after 31 years, I still root for my team. I still watch the games (well, til about the sixth or seventh inning). I just won't be driving across the state and putting down my hard earned this year. Eight hours round trip, $45 per seat, and countless more $$$ for lodging and food is a bit much to watch a team stink on ice. I've got minor league ball here in town at $9-$25 a ticket or an undefeated af2 team to watch in a state of the art arena. We will have a sporting experience, it just won't be major league this year. But we could go to an M's game and STILL not get a major league experience. So sad but true. My Pirates have done the same thing to us since the early '90's. I feel your pain!

posted by adammcd at 10:37 AM on June 06

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