BY Art Thiel 08:00PM 11/05/2013

Thiel: Mariners hire next scapegoat; so what?

The hire of Lloyd McClendon as Mariners manager is as meaningless as wings on a cinder block. No knock on him; he’s just the latest in a long line of victims in a dither festival.

Those were the days, my friend . . . / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Unqualified for the world’s worst occupation  — a single mother with three kids and no income — Lloyd McClendon had to settle for second-worst: He’s the new manager of the Seattle Mariners. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing, which puts him one-up on his new bosses, but either he didn’t have Eric Wedge’s phone number, or Wedge signed a confidentiality agreement to stay mum.

Wedge was about as good a manager as the Mariners were entitled to have — a knowledgeable, passionate, no-nonsense baseball lifer who was so committed he agreed to move his family to Seattle (something rarely done) and adopt the party line of ownership’s Politburo, on and off the record. He was even an experienced MLB manager who had success in his previous gig in Cleveland.

The man was sufficiently intense that, at 45, he took a stroke for the club. A month later, he returned to work, and five weeks later, he ran screaming, citing, bitterly, disagreement on direction.

We still don’t know his reasons for saying, “I wouldn’t take a five-year deal if they offered it,” but if given a chance to read complete depositions from both sides on the separation, I’m inclined to accept Wedge’s view sight unseen. Just wish he talked to McClendon.

With all due respect to McClendon’s baseball acumen, I don’t much care about the successor to Wedge.

I have a professional commitment to share thoughts with readers, but a coaching change in any sport offers at least some intrigue. Not happening here.

Since the same people, CEO Howard Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong, who hired McClendon also were the people who hired and (all but) fired Wedge, as well as Don Wakamatsu, John McLaren, Mike Hargrove and Bob Melvin, futility shouts from the mountaintops.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the roster for 2013-14, still subject to much change, will be hopeless, only that McClendon will be helpless to influence the seasonal outcome. If the Mariners manager was granted influence, Wedge would still be here.

McClendon joins a franchise whose ownership is in infinite and remorseless dither, one that believes the run-around-the-bases event for fans post-game is as important as the previous nine innings’ attempts by employees to run around the bases. Because baseball managers are concerned with winning sooner than later, they are in perpetual conflict with the bosses. The churn is debilitating.

USA Today ran an infographic recently, linked here, that looked at managerial longevity in MLB. It compiled the length of service of each franchise’s past five managers. The paper under-reported Wedge’s term of service (three years, not one), but adding in the correct number makes for an average managerial term of 2.04 years, second-shortest to the 1.88 of the Miami Marlins, whose owner, Jeffrey Loria,  is a Marge Schott-grade loon.

In contrast, the tenures of St. Louis managers is an MLB-longest 6.7 years. No coincidence that the Cardinals are the best-run franchise in the business.

A more subjective measure was a ranking by Sports on Earth of MLB’s most tortured fan bases by Will Leitch, who put the Mariners third behind No. 2 Indians and No. 1 Cubs. The Indians were most recently won in the Series in 1948, the Cubs in 1908, and the Mariners, of course, never.

Leitch’s conclusion: “For my money, the Mariners are the great, under-appreciated, tortured fan base in sports. And that World Series rarely has looked further away than it does now.”

That observation is a damning indictment — other than a splendid ballpark that was produced out of six weeks of good baseball at the end of 1995, the Mariners are barely ahead of where they were as an expansion team in 1977. Only the introduction of the wretched Houston Astros (season series: Mariners 10, Astros 9) kept Seattle’s 71-91 finish from being worst in the division again (for the record, the Mariners in their first season were 64-98).

Mariners managers are a symptom of the malaise, not a cause. Except for a fortunate series of circumstances, as well as persuasive powers of the club’s former CEO, John Ellis, that brought Lou Piniella here for 10 years, Mariners managers are victims of an ownership led by Lincoln and the late Hiroshi Yamauchi, which has not made successful baseball the No. 1 priority.

The baseball axiom is that all managers know they are hired to be fired. But in addition in Seattle, they are hired to be scapegoated. Every couple of years. Sorry you didn’t hear, Lloyd McClendon.

Don’t buy. Rent.


  • Kelly Pranghofer

    Good article Art…sad we are at this point again. By the way, when you say “The Indians were most recently in the Series…”, I think you actually mean last “won” the Series, no?

    • art thiel

      Yes, fixed. Thanks.

  • Choska

    What’s a Mariner?

    • hb2p

      The Mariners are kind of like the Pilots, but without the charm.

  • Tian Biao

    well, the nice thing about this article is, at least we fans are not the only folks out here who feel the pain and see the futility and recognize the situation for what it is. Art sees it too, and so to a lot of other people. My friends call me cynical, but to me cynicism is simply a sort of remorseless logic: if you see the same pattern repeat itself five times, with five previous managers, then it is only reasonable to assume that the same pattern will repeat itself once again, with poor doomed McClendon. And so it goes . . . sigh.

    • 1coolguy

      “poor” McClendon is no longer!
      Stark, raving mad? Definitely.

    • art thiel

      The observations are shared by many, and have been written here before. I do grow weary of the theme.

  • Barb D

    Brilliant…and so sad.

  • Effzee

    Any word on the tolerance level for loserdom by the folks who are now “in charge” of the M’s “product” at NOA? Do we even know who these people might be? Or did things just get more secretive than ever? :

    • Geoff

      one of those people is Howard Lincoln. Howard Lincoln’s had a stern talking to with Howard and he is determined to stay on board to get things turned around.

      • Effzee

        Yah I saw that he plans on sticking around til he croaks. I’m wondering if the folks at NOA plan on allowing this to happen, or if they instead have a shred of integrity or pride.

        • Geoff

          That’s what I was trying to say above. There are 3 people at NOA that oversee baseball. One is Howard and the other two are his buddies. He’s not going anywhere.

    • 1coolguy

      The GM is THE most important person in a baseball organization. Without a top GM, all bets are off.
      The Phillies, A’s, Yanks, Cardinals and Red Sox each have one: I say dump Jack and hire the best #2 GM from one of these clubs.
      All else is folly.

      • art thiel

        Jack I believe is about to get an extension.

        • Trygvesture

          whoo boy. I thought so– he is a Chowie… now Chowzie. Rewarded for poor but imminently sustainable work.
          Safeco is built, obviously, directly over the burial grounds of the Aliens from Invasion of the Body Snatchers– the corprorate-line trait of thoroughgoing disingenuousness has left Chowzie, Ellis, and the board all stupified in a state of subservient smarm. Too bad Z didn’t notice the pod in his office before it hatched and replaced him with a Chowie life form in his body.

    • art thiel

      A three-man board of directors governs NOA, and one of them is Lincoln. One of the other two, I’m told, is his friend. And the baseball team is doing better than NOA.

      • Effzee

        Ok. Thanks. I guess I’ll stop hoping for a reason to hope. A moribund franchise with perpetually declining attendance figures that loses around 90 games every year is doing better than NOA? Brutal. Just brutal.

  • Jamo57

    Hey Art, first an edit to recommend. The Indians got to the Series in ’95 under Hargrove. They haven won since ’48.

    And now on to my comment. Seeing Steinbruek on the stage with Mayor-elect Murray just reinforces my commitment not buy a ticket to attend a game in Safeco Field until an arena breaks ground. The Ms manager saga has been a non-story for this sports fan. Can’t muster any interest at all. And I will avoid ROOT Sports at all costs (not really hard to do in any event).

    Will just save my money to spend on a hockey weekend in VBC or to take in some Dodger games next summer in LA.

    And if Murray puts up any obstacles to an arena or backtracks on the MOU, I doubt I will spend much money at all in King County at all.

    • art thiel

      Fans have always held the ultimate option. Walk away.

      I don’t think Murray will instigate an arena abandonment. It will have to come from the city council, who really is in charge of the project now. And don’t blame King County — it’s a bit player.

  • Charles Warner

    Nailed it Art. You even inspired me a bit with your writing style. So what does the fan do? I am a die hard M’s fan, rooted my entire 38 years for the M’s..but like a man who’s wife keeps cheating, when do I say enough is enough? Lets be honest, ownership has been cheating us.

    • 1coolguy

      Give it up and root for the Hawks and Huskies!
      Otherwise you are wasting your time on the M’s.

    • art thiel

      Well put, Charles. I’d say make the drive to Cheney Stadium and save your money for a better day. It will come.

    • RadioGuy

      The Seattle Mariners do not have exclusive rights to the game of baseball. Like Art says, you can go to Tacoma (or Everett, for that matter) and watch a minor league game.

      Next year, I plan to watch prep, NWAACC, American Legion and Babe Ruth baseball at our old-school wooden ballpark (with old Kingdome box seats, no less). There’s WCCL summer college ball half an hour away once the Legion season ends, too. I’m not saying I’ll never attend another M’s game, just that none of us NEEDS to go to Safeco Field and put money into Chuckenhowie’s pockets to enjoy baseball.

      We have choices.

  • 1coolguy

    McClendon – The bigger fool theory personified.
    Wow, what a person will do for money.
    Art, how about starting a pool on SPNW that only ends when McClendon either quits or is fired, based upon how many games McClendon lasts?
    Simple to program, attracts fans (ongoing comments will be accepted to keep things lively),
    and the grand prize can be free Hawks tickets (no one would want M’s tickets – they would have to go to the biggest loser and who wants to track that?).
    Art – the closing line “Don’t buy, rent” is now one of your M’s – related classics! Thanks for another honest (Lincoln and Armstrong can be heard gaging) and lively column!

    • Hammtime

      I give him a year and a half – two years max. I have nothing against McClendon, but he’s going to be attempting to keep the Hindenburg from crashing while Chuck and Howard are constantly setting it on fire.

    • art thiel

      Since the team hasn’t gone through its winter makeover, we don’t know what players he will or won’t have. Aaron Harang may be back, in which case McClendon may not make it past the annual spring charity game.

  • Gary S

    I used to really care about the Mariners and I would followed all things Mariners with a passion, but my passion has been replaced by apathy. Apathy bred by an ownership group that cares little about the product it puts on the field and even less about its fans. The Seattle Mariners have become irrelevant!

    • art thiel

      Your feeling is widespread, Gary, but 1.6 million people still showed up last year. It’s the mallpark. Fans can watch the other team, as well as Felix every five days, and let the kids run around harmlessly.

      • Da Kid

        Artie, we’ve been over this before. 1.6 million did NOT “show up at the ballpark,” no matter how the F.O. tries to spin it. That number includes pre-solds and no-shows who stayed home because wasting an evening at Safeco would have been like watching a cinder block try to fly.

        • dinglenuts

          Does it matter if they show up? I mean, they paid, and that’s all ownership really cares about.

          • art thiel

            Dinglenuts has you there, Kid. As much as any of us choose to believe the paid attendance figure for any MLB team, the accounting for each paid seat is supposed to be the same for each team. The fact that half a million didn’t show, while certainly not irrelevant, is secondary to the paid count. The days when teams shared publicly the turnstile count is long over.

          • dinglenuts

            Quite true. I always get a bit of a chuckle when the SF Giants announce their multi-hundredth-or-whatever straight sellout, when there are clearly seats to be had.

            (That said, AT&T Park is always pretty rockin’, even in an off year like this one.)

  • Guy K. Browne

    The biggest issue I have with your column Mr. Art Thiel is that you paint a picture that is much too rosy and optimistic. Keep it real for gawdsakes.

    • art thiel

      I’ve always been about sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

      • Woodstock

        You were warned to stay away from the sunshine 40 years ago. Now look atcha.

        • art thiel

          Hey, I was indoors all summer healing a bum ankle. Pale as David Bowie.

          • dinglenuts

            I’m guessing he’s referring to a sunshine that doesn’t result in sunburn and other, more dangerous skin conditions. Especially with a handle like Woodstock.

      • dinglenuts

        And unicorns. Don’t forget the g*d damned unicorns.

        I suppose that’s one advantage to not working for a corporate paper/website. Your editor can’t go through and redline stuff that will cause the publisher to call on the phone and then call for your head.

        • art thiel

          You’re making a fine case for the value of independent journalism. Thanks.

  • Will

    Perhaps Lloyd took the job in order to break out of the standard bench, batting or pitching coach positions. Everyone knows the futility of managing the M’s so I’m guessing he’s just padding his resume for a better gig in a few years.

    • art thiel

      There’s only 30 of the jobs, and each one beats any other lower-level gig. McClendon thinks he can figure a workaround. They all do.

  • jafabian

    Just not excited about this. Not McClendon’t fault, or Wedge’s, or Wakamatsu’s or even Jack Z’s. So you can tell where I’m going with this. Despite Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong’s assurance’s that building a baseball dynasty is their goal their actions speak louder than their words. There were times when some of Wedge’s managerial moves were debatable but at least he had a proven track record. If the club is investing in the young players for the forseeable future doesn’t it stand to reason that the same should be said about the manager and coaches? It’s a step backwards as we’ve gone from year 2 back to year 1 of the continuous five year rebuilding plan the organization always recycles.

    Having not made the playoffs since 2001 and not had a winning record since 2009 getting a quality free agent is not realistic. More like getting veterans looking to extend their careers. Maybe they’ll hit gold with someone, but probably not. For someone touted as a sabermetrics disciple I haven’t seen Jack Z. bring in players who exemplify those traits. Pat Gillick used them and look how he assembled players. He used to say that you have to use every tool at your disposal or you aren’t doing your job and I’m not sure if that’s happening here. Instead Jack has fallen back on his old director of scouting methods, with mixed results.

    McClendon’s hire tells me they want to heavily invest in the current roster. They’re probably thinking his background as a hitting instructor will work magic with Ackley, Smoak, Saunders et al. (of course, this was the train of thought when Wedge and Wakmatsu were hired) I say trade them. They’ve had opportunities to succeed. But I don’t see that happening. What do the M’s brass think when the stadium across the street sells out at every match for the Sounders?

    • art thiel

      They just don’t have to care. They still make money because many fans still care, no matter what.

  • Hammtime

    That poor man. In a couple years he’ll be kicked to the curb along with Jack Z while the Chuck & Howie show rolls on.

    • Trygvesture

      Z seems to have drunk so many, many pitchers of the Kool Aide that he’s no longer distiguishable from the Chowie, Poor decisions, takes no blame, has smarm and obfuscation down pat, Generally a dead-ender believing in his own stellarness, it seems. A Chowie, probably here to stay.

  • Jeff Shope

    lol Dam Art say how you really feel :) Unfortunately you hit the nail on the head

    • art thiel

      Honestly, the story is relentlessly dreary. It’s wearing out us media types as well as the community.

      • Trygvesture

        Makes ya wonder, this incessant charade: has there been a precedent that we could look to — a place where another ChowieZ finally ran so far from public approval that things changed? Where the public outcry about public stadium misuse got the local politicos working the problem?

        • art thiel

          Not a chance. Any politico who wastes a minute on the topic should be recalled. This is between a business and its consumers.

          • Trygvesture

            Slade would have disagreed, although the specifics were different, Not that I cared for old Fish Sticks, but he did butt in and orchestrate a biz move on behalf of the fans.

          • art thiel

            The politicos have learned from the bruisings of the mid-90s that there is little to gain and much to lose from wading in. The Mariners are no threat to leave, and no threat to lose money. The rest is wins and losses, and that is no territory for the pols.

          • Trygvesture

            Ah. Right.

            I found this and it makes me wonder even more about The Lease. What happened? What’s the final version? This from ( I think.. the site isn’t much for mastheads) the March ’97 UW Alumni newsletter:

            “in another stadium issue, Regent Shelly Yapp resigned from the Public Facilities District, which oversees the construction and leasing of the new baseball stadium for the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners’ owners threatened to sell the team unless changes were made in the lease.

            In her resignation letter to then-King County Executive Gary Locke, Yapp wrote, ‘The balance of public and private interest has shifted radically and wrongly, in my view, to the welfare of the Mariners’ ownership over that of the public.'”

            Despite Yapp’s protests, the district board voted 4-3 in favor of the baseball team’s conditions for a new lease. The Mariners were granted additional concessions worth at least $50 million over the life of the contract.

      • Da Kid

        Which is why most us fans us no longer care, either. I mean, just look at the timing of the announcement….on election day, when everybody’s distracted with texting and how bad McGinn’s gonna get beat. Reminds me of politicos who time stuff for a day when nobody reads the newspaper (remember them?) … Xmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, et al.
        Mariners Hire New Manager. And in other news, a chicken crossed the road.

        • art thiel

          The timing was not lost on me, either. But you should have noticed the bright side: The Mariners didn’t hire McClendon’s evil twin, Aubrey.

  • RobbSaul

    The Cubs were in the WS in 1945.

    • art thiel

      Fixed. Thanks.

  • RadioGuy

    I kind of like McClendon and wouldn’t write him off as a prefab failure just yet, but he’s definitely jumping into a bad situation with both feet. Choosing to manage the Seattle Mariners is like choosing to head HHS and run the Obamacare website rollout.

    • art thiel

      Everything I’ve read about McClendon says he’s a good baseball man. But so were the other guys. It’s never the point.

  • giorgio547

    Wow, what a shot! Hey, baseball is about consistency and the Mariners are consistent!

  • Serial Duck

    Baseball is about neighborhood — city — the human drama places in which a pro club thrives. I am so sick of pseudo-science, para-science, meta-science, bla bla. This is how idiot enrollees in so-called Biz Schools and their lawyer enablers operate. So… we now have our modern baseball. Where is the g**dmn sport??? Where is the quirkiness of big personalities who are in it for the Ringling Bros. big top, and for the emotions of men who can cry in their beers and simultaneously be poetically sardonic? In the first century of baseball, sometimes skanky, sometimes loony, sometimes a bit outre businessmen formed pro teams. They were guys who liked SPORT!!! They liked being in the spotlight with PLAYERS!! There was drinking, man-stuff, and so forth. The owner did keep it clean so that the SPORT!!! could operate in a NEIGHBORHOOD//// a TOWN//// a PLACE!! with homes, shops, streetcars, with a BUZZZZZZ to it. Now it’s all Biz School… “Oh… what are the numbers for us, if we “do” this thing?” “Oh… I see! It’s an entertainment industry, like the symph. orchestra, or tractor pulls.” “Oh … I see, we should b**f** some elected officials (who enjoy that method of persuasion) and we get taxpayers help to build us a palace and then our little biz venture can thrive. And me and my elderly lawyer buddies can have a place for the minions to do things like orch. concert, Death Cab for Cutie concert, tractor pull, … … … except since people now stare at little electronic devices and talk into them, it’ll have to be a place that allows toy-phone chatting and is self-protecting, safe, self-guided, as if we are all in this guided by Siri and her talking GPS.”
    Barf. I’m sick of all of it. Herodotus and Aristotle both understood that places, actual human-governed and husbanded places, were sustained by the “airs”, the environment, the waters, the dirt, the ethno-type of the embedded society. It was a place that had rituals every day, perceived itself, and could be caricatured, BECAUSE IT IS FUNNY THAT A REAL “PLACE” SEEMS TO BE FATED TO REMAIN TRAGICALLY THE WAY IT WAS WHEN IT WAS SO-CALLED “FOUNDED”.
    And Voiz-la!! I give you Seattle. The drippy, cloudy shy, hidden harbor, surrounded by non-combative indigenous tribes, too many 100-ft evergreens, and happy to be ensconced in its own parlors, bedrooms, and not at all like the urban, tweet-tweet whistling bustle of downtown Pittsb, or NY, or St. L, or Chi, or (hack hack, gag) S.F. and LA. Seattle baseball is a JOKE OF THE para-scientific Biz-School crap that our SPORT!!! has become, and our country as well. Seattle is fated to remain the dark, quiet, neurotic, wobbly-lefty, me-oriented, nicey-nicey little retirement villa it was when it was founded. No room for baseball, me thinks. How about game-pods, board games, chat rooms??? Dumping off ground for hobos, thugs, disaffected lefties. That’s about right.

    • art thiel

      Feel better, Serial Duck? Quite a burden you unloaded. Not sure how you went from Aristotle to Death Cab for Cutie, but I’m glad I wore a seat belt.

      • serial duck

        Art, baby. Yes, I feel better for having unburdened. I am glad that you and Radio Guy simply read it. It’s so damn … … uh … poetic. Can’t help m’self.

    • RadioGuy

      Geez, after reading that one I think I’ll go on eBay and see if someone is selling a bottle of Xanax. One of us needs it.

  • Breadbaker

    I only disagree with the last sentence. McClendon is coming from Detroit and he should buy because real estate here tends to appreciate, something he’ll appreciate after seven years in real estate hell.

  • Trygvesture

    Beside the glaring and telling fact the this sports news was reported first in the Biz Journal, one has to be appalled by the smarm-speak of the Z, the sell-out for money corporate schill.he didn’t say anything about getting a great baseball man with a great track reord. he said ( translations follow):

    “Lloyd is a bright and articulate guy,” Zduriencik said.
    (Translation: Lloyd agreed to say only what the corporate vetting allows– no opinions)

    “He has major league managerial experience
    (Translation: he has no solid credentials as a manager, only has time-spent. No mention of his success or his record, or that fact the Pittsburgh imporved dramatically with no significant budget improvements after they got a forward-thing GM-manger alliance.)

    and has served in a vital capacity in Detroit
    (Translation: he was a hitting coach on a team of hitters for whom he can claim no credit whatsoever. Batting coaches are the most expendable, scapegoated and inconsequential staffers in realm of team success. He wasn’t a bench coach, or pitching coach or anything else that would prove his competence, but Z can’t say that…)

    under one of the game’s best managers.
    (Translation: he worked for Leyland, but it yielded no consideration to replace Leyland– a Detroit manager-candidate reject)

    He is a tireless worker
    (Translation: he’ll be an implementer of the Chowie-Z agenda without any comments that stray from the corporate line of obeisance to the triumverate)

    and is very respected by the players with whom he has worked.
    (Translation: He didn’t make clubhouse waves)

    We look forward to Lloyd embracing our players as we move the Mariners forward.”

    (Translation: He cannot and will not question personnel decisions as the ChowieZ incompetent agenda plays out in the foreseeablle and unforseeable future).

    Nothing about his dynamic baseball credentials, his creative input to make this better, his managing approach combining sabermetrics and clubhouse motivation to win– none of that. But hey, he threw a base, so the fans will like him as much as Lou– base throwing is what made Lou a good manager, right?

    Good luck Lloyd– but this has always been a train to absolutely nowhere. You probably deserve better.

    • art thiel

      Well done, Tryg. Your years as as a Mariners watcher have vested you with intuitive language skills. Change your handle to Mariners Whisperer.

  • Pickle

    Art, your first sentence literally made me LOL.

    This line is pretty awesome too: “McClendon joins a franchise whose ownership is in infinite and remorseless dither, one that believes the run-around-the-bases event for
    fans post-game is as important as the previous nine innings’ attempts
    by employees to run around the bases.” Bravo!

    Most thinking fans have come to the realization that the M’s are simply interested in making a profit and sitting on their huge asset until someone blows them away with enough money they can swim through it Scrooge McDuck style. Until then, that organization will not get a dime of my money, not that it really matters.

    The people I feel truly sorry for? The dad’s with kids 4-15. I remember going to M’s games as a kid with my glove. Nothing was better and I would want my kid to have the same excitement of seeing the pros, smelling the grass, and hoping to catch a foul ball. If I had a child of that age that wanted to go to an M’s game it would be very, very hard to say no. So, I would end up giving those idiots my money, and then sitting there torn between the joy of my child and the horrific realization that I was supporting Chuckenhowie.

    • Da Kid

      You could take your kid to Tacoma or Everett for a fraction of the price, where the players care and are still accessible. Or you could take them to a college game for free. Four-year-olds don’t much care.

      • art thiel

        Kid has a point, Pickle. When the kids get older, splurge on a Mariners game for a birthday or a graduation. The young ones mostly want to be with dad at a fun place. They don’t care about Chone Figgins’s WAR.

  • Abe Froman

    Summary: (please let me know if I missed anything)
    – Howie and Chuckles manage a mallpark (love that term) and are managing a financial statement rather than trying to win baseball games
    – As long as enough schlubs attend every year and a profit is posted, they get a bonus (and perhaps a nice plaque on the wall to celebrate their achievement)
    – This would explain why they chose to fight a privately funded basketball / hockey arena in the same neighborhood as their publicly funded mallpark – even though the basketball and baseball seasons do not overlap
    – By this logic, it seems that Chuckles and Howie are actually threatened by “Muppets on Ice” or any event that threatens to draw spectators away from the mallpark

    So the only solution is: Stop going to the mallpark! Boycott the Chuckles and Howie show until they start focusing on winning games vs. running around the bases.

  • Bruce

    Art, I am almost as ancient as you, an actual born in Seattle native, and I used to spend a lot of money on the Mariners each year. Some years a season ticket holder, or a partial plan, or at least 8-10 single games a year. Peoria was circled on my calendar. I often gave M’s gear to my son, nephews, etc for birthday and Christmas gifts. But in 2012 I only attended 3 games, and 2013 was the first time in 21 years I never attended a single game.

    I’m done. Believe it or not, I still have respect for JZ, he can at least draft some young talent. No free agents come to Seattle anyway, so I give him a pass on that, and his trades have been mixed at best. I will still use my bigscreen at home and drink 6 microbrews in frozen glasses for less than it costs a single microbrew at Safeco. Want $10 from me for a beer? Give me a reason to come to the park.

    But the real problem is at the top. Until Chuck and Howie go, I’m not wasting my money any more. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me for over a decade, give me a brick to pound my head until it bleeds and I quit being a sucker.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    Mariners fans, for the most part are just a bunch of whiners who look to see the worst of everything. I imagine that extends to the prism in which they view their lives as well. Blame Chuck & Howard all you want, they DO share in the blame and there is no denying that. But also blame yourselves…when you expect 1st year players to come up from the minor leagues and immediately perform like Hall Of Famers you are setting an unrealistic expectation and enabling your own disappointment. I hear people saying how our young players like Miller & Franklin are not going to make it and should be moved. Astute M’s fans make this evaluation after what, not even a full season? These same fans call for Ackleys head as well. Sure, he has had more time in the big leagues but fans forget the fact that he has been jerked around by GMZ since the day he signed. A 1B/OF in college, with skills that made him the #2 pick in the draft, he was forced to learn a new position and taken out of that comfort zone. Do the M’s fans understand that acclimation process or that it might have weighed on his confidence? No….”he’s a bust” is as deep as their intellect goes. These same fans will be the first ones crying if these players become all-stars for another team once they find their groove. Now, players like Guti needed to go, great guy but if they can’t get it done it’s time to cut the cord. Saunders should be out the door too. Smoak, in my opinion has this one last year to show he can play good ball for an entire season and not just September. If not, get him out of here.
    There is another train of thought for M’s fans, and it is the road less traveled by them. The ownership is not afraid to spend. They did try to land Hamilton and Fielder, and their prudence at not throwing the whole budget at Hamilton proved to be a great move. This same ownership also was responsible for hiring the leaders who made this team one of the most exciting in baseball for a number of years. GMZ might be a bigger problem than Chuck & Howard, his attemted trade for Upton would have been a huge mistake and his handling of managers is simply terrible. I am afraid that he will sell out the youth of this team to save his job. In that respect he is a very dangerous man.
    If M’s fans were realistic and sought to see a positive potential for the Mariners they might see that there are a number of young players on this team who have gotten their feet wet in the big leagues, have possibly acclimated to where we will see their potential realized and not just projected and have average or above years in 2014. If Ackley, Miller, Franklin and Smoak can pull it together, paired with a couple shrewd acquisitions by GMZ this team can surprise the baseball world.

    It’s all a matter of perception. That most M’s fans seek to see the worst is all on them and they deserve their misery. Frankly, I am sick of the boo-hoo-hoo mentality and dislike that more than what I see on the field.

    • Guest

      Ted you’re exactly what this ownership craves. Blind faith sheep who is totally clueless. Hey maybe this team has an openingfor you in the front office. You’re exactly what this ownership needs. More sheep!

      • tedsfrozenhead

        Would you care to discuss this with respect and intellect, or are insults all you have.

        • Effzee

          There was a time for such discussions, a time that I call 2002. You have clearly been holed-up in some remote village in Mongolia or something for the past decade. The boo-hoo mentality comes with the territory when your team has made the playoffs 4 times in 30+ years. Anyone who knows what they are talking about knows the problems pre-date GMZ, and will be around as long as Chuckenhowie are. Their track record speaks for itself, and is inarguable. As soon as the franchise shows even the most remote interest in improving the product on the field, we can begin to discuss potential in a positive light. I am all for that, in fact. I began going to M’s games in the 1970’s, and I would love nothing more than to root for relevant baseball. You just enjoy your dancing grounds crew, virtual hydro races, and garlic fries. I’ll be not wasting my time, and waiting not-so-patiently for the post-Chuckenhowie era.