BY Art Thiel 06:30AM 12/09/2013

Thiel: Is there a bottom to Mariners’ free-fall?

Disclosures of Mariners’ management dysfunctions are the newest, not the first. Baseball knows; Wedge probably felt emboldened to be honest.

Howard Lincoln, left, Chuck Armstrong and John Ellis, at the Aug. 10 induction of Ken Griffey Jr. into the Hall of Fame. / Wiki Commons

The final seven words at the end of Geoff Baker’s well-done exploration of the Mariners’ front office misdeeds in the Seattle Times explains why the story happened now. Said former Mariners manager Eric Wedge:

“Somebody has got to stand up to them.”

Wedge was so upset with his treatment, and the dysfunctional operations of the club, that he potentially risked much of his MLB future by doing something few ex-employees do: He went on the record with his version of the truth.

In baseball, as with most industries with few job openings and many applicants, people with knowledge of in-house controversy usually stay mum, or go off the record, for the obvious reason: Public candor can make them radioactive to future employers.

But off-the-record sources are often greeted with skepticism, and can be deflected away by the subjects of the accusations.

Wedge, along with other dismissed members of the baseball operation Tony Blengino, Carmen Fusco and Patrick Guerrero, attached their names to a flaming indictment of Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik.

The quotes and anecdotes they recounted paint the Mariners execs as fools and bullies unqualified for their positions. The easy counter-argument is that these whistle-blowers are bitter, disgruntled ex-employees filled with sour grapes. But the counter to that is what was written above: They also want to remain a part of MLB, so are taking risks with their livelihoods in order to tell their version of the truth.

Why would they be so blunt in their condemnations?

Having spoken to none of them about the story, nor Baker, I can’t say exactly. But I am going to hazard a guess:

They are not saying anything the rest of baseball doesn’t already know.

Lincoln has been in charge of the Mariners since 1999, and Armstrong’s tenure goes back to the grim days of the George Argyros ownership in the 1980s. The Mariners love to brag about how well-connected is Armstrong. But that also means baseball people know most everything about the club’s business, because frankly, Armstrong can’t keep his mouth shut, especially when he feels compelled to defend his tenure.

And defend he must, because the Mariners are one of two MLB teams never to have made the World Series in an era of institutionalized parity. Further, they have had eight losing seasons in the past 10 and have lost about 50 percent of the club’s fan base in the past decade.

The Mariners are one of the great messes in sports, for which the latest evidence is the free agent offer of $240 million for 10 years for second baseman Robinson Cano. As much as it is welcomed for its break from the Mariners’ woebegone past and is at least some kind of commitment to winning, the gesture is like giving an eight-year-old the keys to a Maserati.

Armstrong, who retires Jan. 31, perpetually assumes the “not my fault” posture when called upon over the years to explain the Mariners’ blunderings. But pointing the finger up to Lincoln isn’t exclusive to Armstrong. The gesture comes  from scouts, executives, players and others who have had long-term dealings with Lincoln.

The laments are heard regularly by many members of the media as well as longtime season-ticket holders. But anytime the disputes are not about game outcomes and involve personnel and decision-making, the pursuit of truth devolves into a did-too, did-not argument that, unless it goes to court, rarely produces heat to go with the light.

The employer-employee fight is seen poorly through keyholes.

Until someone is willing to put a name to public criticisms, the value is lessened. What Wedge, Blengino, Fusco and Guerrero did was to say the Mariners executives’ conduct can no longer go on without account. The ex-employees too, had to be accountable, and now are.

But they weren’t the first. For my 2003 book, “Out of Left Field,” Lou Piniella talked to me after he left the Mariners to manage in his hometown of Tampa. At his request, the Mariners traded Piniella, as it turned out, for an outfielder, Randy Wynn, something Piniella noted with wry irony, was a position he was trying to get the club to fill for him for a long while.

At his favorite Tampa steakhouse in the winter of 2002, Piniella talked calmly about how pleased he was to have moved on, how pleased he was to last 10 years in Seattle and how pleased he was to help bring baseball excitement to the Northwest.

But in his final season, he ended up in a shouting match with Lincoln in his office over remarks Piniella made in the media about the type of players the Mariners needed to contend. It violated a one-voice rule Lincoln implemented, seeking to have then-GM Pat Gillick speak for the club. Because he was the boss, Lincoln won the argument. But it helped lose Piniella.

“I like Howard personally,” said Piniella. “I enjoyed working with him. He’s a bright guy, a charming guy. But I’ll tell you this — he’s bottom-line. Howard likes total, total control.

“Pat wants to win. Howard just doesn’t know how.”

That was 11 years ago. Remarkably, nothing has changed. When you read Baker’s story, keep in mind Piniella’s words — Lincoln wants total control, and he doesn’t know how to win.

Now, with Armstrong’s departure, it falls to Zduriencik to defend Lincoln when everyone in baseball knows more of the truth. Presumably, he must also explain to applicants to succeed Armstrong these complaints are from vengeful ex-employees. Good luck with that.

Sadly, the criticisms are not new, only the latest. They are shared by numerous current and former employees. Few have the clout of former managers.

One remark in Baker’s story resonated with me.

“Howard would run things through Chuck and Jack all the time,” Wedge said, referring to orders from Lincoln, who has no baseball background, on how to stop the losing. “If I did what they wanted, it would be a joke of an organization.”

Too late, Wedge. Too late.

Despite the latest revelations of this beleaguered franchise, the joke apparently will go on. Whenever Lincoln is criticized, he digs in harder, so convinced is he of his righteousness. But just last week he threw out all of his business principles to make the Cano deal. Who knows what may come?

Lincoln could stubbornly carry on in this climate — baseball has had many misbegotten ownerships, including the Yankees and Dodgers. The minority owners, led by John Stanton, could ask for change. The three-person board of directors of Nintendo of America that owns 55 percent of the club  — Lincoln is one of the three — could vote to sell.

I have no idea. Never would I have imagined all the parties with a stake in the Mariners would allow the franchise this get this bad. Just please don’t try to convince me this is the bottom, because I thought that three bottoms ago.

 


YourThoughts

  • RadioGuy

    Boy, whatever positive buzz coming out of the Cano signing sure didn’t last long, did it? You have to wonder what Lloyd McClendon is thinking right now, beyond determining to find an apartment on a month-by-month rental basis only.
    The thing is, as Art states, Baker’s piece mainly puts specific names on something we’ve all known for years: The Mariners are one screwed-up franchise (I’ll refrain from using the words “Mariners organization”…that would be oxymoronic) and both Lincoln and Armstrong are at the heart of the problem. Add Zduriencik, who I’ve lost what faith I’d had left in. I bought into the build-from-within mantra he came to Seattle with because I strongly believe that’s the way to create sustained success at the MLB level. Blengino, who maybe should be the GM, made some of the most damning comments in Baker’s piece because he showed what a straw horse Zduriencik really is when it comes to using statistical analysis. I personally think most of sabermetrics is overblown, but you do have to go beyond looking at a guy’s triple crown stats. That Zduriencik is also little more than an owners’ tool is disappointing, if somewhat unsurprising.
    I’ll continue to follow the Mariners from afar but the ongoing drama is getting stale (sort of like the last couple seasons of “House.”) and I have no desire to make the hundred-mile journey to Dysfunction Junction so I can put money in Lincoln’s pocket by buying tickets or merchandise. I attend games to enjoy baseball, but who can enjoy this?

    • jafabian

      Was there any positive buzz about Cano to begin with? It was a blatant move to kiss up to the fans. We’ve heard for a couple seasons now what a great farm the M’s have. SI even did a story on it and raved about 2B Nick Franklin. The club forced fed him to the majors and he responded well….for a rookie called up too early. But there is promise. Acquiring Cano now is like having an affair on your wife and thinking giviing her a diamond ring will make things better. And ten years? What ten year contract has ever worked in baseball? There’s reasons why Gillick and Beane never go beyond 3 years on a contract.

      • Hammtime

        Agreed! When I heard the terms of the Cano deal I spit up my coffee. For all the years we’ve screamed for them to make a move, they finally go and make a deal but then screw it up by signing a 31-year-old player to a 10 year 240 mil deal? Ugh, 4-5 years from now when Cano is hitting .240 they will still have 5 years left on his contract.
        Howie, Chuck, when we begged you to make a big free agent splash this isn’t what we meant. Are you guys going senile?

        • art thiel

          If it’s any consolation, they can afford it. The problem is how to fill in around him to get value from the investment. The same guy who is in charge thought Figgins would work.

      • art thiel

        10 years is a profound mark of desperation. They had no choice, because anything else is same old, same old. But they had no choice because of the cumulative mistakes put them to the cliff.

        • eYeDEF

          You say they ‘had no choice’ Art. But they did go from 9/225 to 10/240 without anyone coming close. Do you think that if they hadn’t added that extra year that JayZ/Cano would have walked?

    • art thiel

      Story fatigue has helped exhaust most fans. It’s doubtful there’s enough money to buy fan confidence. Everyone knows that. The story is that Linc/strong are the bottleneck, and no amount of saying otherwise will change that narrative.

  • 1coolguy

    Interesting insight to Lincoln. At a function after ARod signed with the Rangers I asked him about Hicks’ signing ARod for 10 years, $252m and his immediate reply was “Tom Hicks is a fool”.
    So his signing of Cano is in the same foolish vein I presume? Cano is no ARod, especially at ARods’ prime.
    Apparently a case of the greater fool theory personified.

    • art thiel

      Lincoln is on the record with mockery of Hicks.

      The business of pro sports is insane, relative to most. You have to be crazy to play the business game. Howard got the memo late.

  • maoling

    Art, is Howard still on the hot seat or is more like a heated throne?

    • art thiel

      I’m thinking sedan chair, but one of the four carriers, Chuck. left.

  • jafabian

    The Times column by Geoff Baker, though well written, only confirms what many people have already suspected. Howard has never been accountable on the club’s problems, Chuck has always been a yes-man and Jack’s player acquisitions have never displayed the sabermetrics attributes like OBP or slugging percentage. I read what Wedge went thru with these three and I think “Didn’t this happen when Wak was here?” But M’s management has traditionally been impatient under Howard, resulting in the carousel of managers. After all, it’s all their fault right?

    This organization needs to rethink it’s business model becaus the current one isn’t working and let go of the 1995 and 2001 seasons. That’s the past. I find it interesting that in his offseason interviews Howard has asked for patience from fans but the team’s moves have always shown anything but that. Based on how the club depleted the farm last season I assumed the team was investing in it’s younger players. Now they’re going to bring in high priced free agents. Like that’s worked for the Blue Jays and Marlins. Long term contracts? Think Albert Pujols, Mark Texiera and Josh Hamilton. Notice Texas started winning when they got rid of ARod?

    I never wanted Jack as GM. He was touted as the architect of the Brewers playoff club but at the time they had one playoff season when he was their Director of Scouting. I didn’t see any sort of track record established. I wanted Kim Ng who was Assistant GM with the Yankees and Dodgers or Billy Beane’s former assistant Paul DePodesta. Heck, I’d take Steve Phillips at this point. Make that person President/GM and give them full autonomy. Howard has become very quietly another Jerry Jones. He doesn’t seem to fully trust the people he hires but his way ISN’T WORKING. And it’s affecting their business model in a negative way. Let the baseball people do their thing.

    • RadioGuy

      The thing is, jafabian, if you only consider profit/loss statements, the Mariners’ business model has worked pretty well…for the owners, who are in the black annually. It has to be mentioned that nobody’s paycheck has ever bounced, either, even Milton Bradley’s. Strictly from a dollars-and-cents standpoint, Nintendo has done fine owning this team.

      A Major League Baseball franchise not simply an “investment,” per se, like a McDonald’s restaurant franchise: They are an entity in which there is a great deal of emotional investment from the public involved. Fathers don’t take their sons to a fast-food joint to share a Happy Meal Experience together, but people who attend games at Safeco Field DO care whether the Mariners win or lose. Nobody here thinks back on 1977 and remembers that great Big Mac the way we remember Diego Segui’s first pitch.

      And therein lies the true disconnect between Mariners ownership and fans. Nintendo is fixated on the profit/loss statement, so seeing the numbers in black instead of red tells them everything is fine, and (in their bottom-line mindset) it is. Horiuchi-san saved Seattle baseball, but he never had a clue as to the reason people here care so much. I think Lincoln DOES want to win, but his is the corporate mindset we see far too often elsewhere that everything needs to be done via a top-down approach rather than hiring the best people to do a job, then staying out of their way to let them do their job…otherwise, why hire them in the first place? We’ve all had supervisors like that, and both Chuck and Howie fit the mold. The problem grew like a snowball rolling down a hill because Horiuchi was determinedly ignorant about the whats-and-whys of public sentiment toward his team in Seattle.

      Sorry I’m going so long here, but this is something I’ve thought about a LOT (many of us have) and the solution is so simple: Replace upper-level micromanagers like Howard Lincoln with a Pat Gillick or John Schuerholz who understands the game and is smart enough to hire the right people to put together a winning product. Nothing wrong with turning a profit on the Seattle Mariners but customers want to see more than hydro races on the scoreboard or little kids running in from center field to “steal” second base…we want to WIN, dammit!

      • jafabian

        If you look at just the profit and loss margin at some point it catches up with you. Already attendance is shringing rapidly. With that comse advertising and marketing. Then radio and TV ratings. Eventually the costs of operating the team will outweigh that and Mariner ownership is at least smart enough to realize that. At some point the poor management of their baseball business can reflect on how they do business for themselves.

        I am not denying that Howard, Chuck and Jack want to win. Junior publicly supported them and if they didn’t want to win he’d have never said that. It’s the way they’re going about it. See how Jerry Jones is running the Cowboys into the ground? He has no football background and before he had Jimmy Johnson advising him. This is why Howard needs to trust the baseball people that have been hired but like many sports owners he doesn’t seem to. I imagine being CEO of your own company makes that difficult but you can see how Paul Allen let’s John Schneider and Pete Caroll run the show and it works for them.

        It’s the saying of “If you build it they will come.” If the Mariners build a franchise like what the Ragners and Rays are right now then everything they want for the club will happen. Everything.

        • art thiel

          Many CEOs/politicians/bankers live in bubbles, and the best of them hire key people to pop the bubble. Not happening with Lincoln and the Mariners.

          • SUDS

            Lincoln is simply a devotee of the scorched earth management policy of Jack Welch and his #1 acolyte, Jim McNerney of Boeing. You can closely parallell his moves with those of his management “heros”. Too bad this approach has been completely discredited in the world of running businesses successfully for the long term.
            Boeing has $27+ billion in unbooked expenses against “future airplane orders”. The Mariners have continued dwindling fan attendance, yet still end the year in the black. Neither of these can continue over the long course of a business cycle. Eventually the fan apathy will bite them where they most care — the bottom line.

      • art thiel

        You’re right, Radio. Obviously, MLB is giant corporate business, but it’s hard-core street retail in a way like no other business outside of sports. Lincoln has no feel for that, valuing nice emails from nice fans who had a nice time more than he values the standings. That’s always been the bottom line in sports.

        But believes people will show up anyway, and you said it yourself — they’re in the black every year. From that standard, he’s right.

    • art thiel

      Wedge could have consulted with Wak, McLaren, Hargrove, Melvin and Piniella. He would have heard a similar story. Maybe he did, and said, Not happening to me. Then he made a mistake. But now, how can the new guy trust anything?

  • giannisee

    The M’s respond to Baker’s article: pic.twitter.com/nyv99GJcn1

    • just passing thru

      what a bunch of tripe (“Jack’s” response)

      • giannisee

        That’s what I thought after reading it.

    • zigzags

      The grammatical errors in his letter only reinforce the image of Jack Z as an incompetent corporate bully.

    • Effzee

      That can’t be real, can it? If so…. *long, slow, disturbed whistle*

      • giannisee

        It came by way of a tweet from Seattle-based AP sportswriter Tim Booth.

      • art thiel

        We ran the text on our site under its own headlline. The response made a bad situation worse.

    • Matt712

      TRANSLATION: “I don’t think our meddling was ‘meddling’.”

  • Leon Russell

    Nice to see that Art apparently has come around to the view that the Cano signing was a really stupid mistake. Or, did I misread that, Art? (“like giving an eight-year-old the keys to a Maserati.”)

    There is one interesting possibility about the Cano signing that I have not heard anyone mention. The deal has not been finalized yet, as far as I know. If this is the case, I wonder if the M’s are doing what I think they have done in the past: let some big deal be announced by the media, see how the public reacts, then make their decision on whether or not to finalize the deal, based on fan reaction. What I have read is that the deal is awaiting a physical on Cano. It is almost certain that Cano has some physical imperfection(s) that would give the M’s a plausible excuse for backing out of this deal, if they decide the public doesn’t like it. I would say that most fan reaction has been pretty positive, but a lot of media have panned the contract the M’s supposedly offered Cano as the boondoggle that it certainly is.

    The Cano deal may have already been finalized even as I write this. But, if it has not been, don’t be too surprised if you read that the M’s have backed out.

    • art thiel

      The M’s wouldn’t be the first to the ploy, but this time it would be so blatant that even Bud Selig would be alert to the stink.

      And as I wrote earlier, this was the baseball equivalent of Otter’s “stupid and futile gesture.” And it was about the only option available, given the litany of error that left them inert. And its success depended on building around Cano. The chance to do that lessened after every player agent read Baker’s story.

  • Gary

    I cannot believe Jack Z even responded to a newspaper article even if it did involve former employees! To late to cover up the evidence everyone has seen for the last 13-14 years.
    Now they have another albatross contract hanging around their neck, sheesh! Dysfunction Junction or what!!!

    • Mike

      If you consider what Art wrote above… Howard Lincoln almost certainly demanded a response and then approved it over the weekend. I think it says volumes that the statement was put out under JackZ’s name, and not Howard Lincoln or Chuck Armstrong, considering that they’re the ones in charge. There is zero chance that JackZ did this on his own.

      • Gary

        That much is obvious, still a bungling move by the organization!

      • art thiel

        On the other hand, Jack is the one in Orlando, seeing the darting eyes of colleagues who now seek to avoid him. What do you say to Jack? What’s new? How’s it going? You coulda had Cano at $180M?

        • Mike

          I think peers in other clubs are going to come over, offer a pat on the back, commiserate a little about the indignities of working for so many rich, mercurial, & demanding Type-A personalities in baseball while an impatient fanbase & uncaring media look on… and then try to pull a fast one on a desperate Jack. And then after he moves on to work with another team on a trade, poach any good scouts left with the M’s.

    • Trygvesture

      “Dysfunction Junction”–perfect!
      Z might have spontaneously penned it and gone to Howie for approval (even if he can’t pen a basic statement without gramatical and spelling errors)– he’s become so exactly ‘one of them’: an Invasion of the Body Snatchers type thing. To have responded is to have panicked. To respond by dissing the courage and viewpoint of just one of the interviewees is to be one who– exactly as accused–prefers to create a scapegoat, and to scapegoat just one in order to make it sound like there weren’t more than 2 dozen who corroborated the story!
      Z is pathetic– a mealy-mouthed, unflinchingly disingenuous man without scruples by all accounts. One cannot believe a word he says.
      Watch: He and Howie will hit the bunker, except when Z is forced to face reporters at the winter GM fest: oh how Beane must be laughing hysterically now!

      • art thiel

        Jack Z willingly walked into this airplane propeller. Had he defended Wedge, he’d be out of a job, but sleeping a lot better. He’s now the front man until he walks over the trap door.

        • just passing thru

          and how many more steps to go before he’s there? 12?

    • art thiel

      Unless Jack went point by point, generalities won’t work. Another bit of evidence that there is no effective management going on.

  • just passing thru

    Lincoln may be charming in public, but if half the innuendo and statements about him are true, he’s an autocrat who has just one negotiating and managing style: my way or the highway. As all good negotiators and poker players know, if you only have one option in your pocket, it’s best not to play your hand too quickly.

    If he did storm out of the negotiating session with Cano & Jay-Z, his crawl back in the room must have looked sort of like our rescue dog does when he gets in trouble and flops on his back and gives you his best, “ooh, rub my belly” look. I imagine there was a lot of laughter in the limo back to the airport after that.

    Z shows to be a sock puppet, saying whatever the hand tells him too. Unless you’re his subordinate, then he’s a little Napoleon.

    Sad stories all around, but now the donkey’s behind is fully out of the barn. Somebody please close the door behind them.

    Sell and move on, Nintendo. It’s the best and biggest favor you can now do for Seattle baseball.

    • art thiel

      Sad is a good word. Aside from the fans’ passion, many club employees are watching the organization battered. They have no control over outcomes, and don’t quite know how to act.

      • just passing thru

        It is very sad. The company I work for could be sold soon – if so, it’ll be the fifth time in the last 12 years I’ve been with a company that bought or was sold to another. To be inside the Mariners organization right now must be heartbreaking to those folks who cannot change the FO. Hanging on and riding out the storm sometimes is all you can do.

    • Rick Gregory

      But do we have a motivated local owner who will commit to a) keeping the Ms here and b) cleaning house and managing the business to win vs hit profit targets? I still remember the last time a pro sports team was sold…

      • Trygvesture

        yes– it’s reported that Stanton would lead a minority group to acquire controlling interest.
        Fingers crossed.

  • Hammtime

    Rumor has it the M’s are talking with the Yankees for a straight up swap of Felix for ARod……ok just kidding………..Or am I????

    • art thiel

      I think A-Rod might fit in well.

      • just passing thru

        now I just tossed my cookies

  • Ryan Parrish

    Bottom line is that if the Mariners are to truly succeed they need new ownership. Ownership that gives a crap about baseball success and not just financial success. Nintendo has kept the team here, but what good is it to keep a perpetually in shambles baseball team?

    • art thiel

      You’re right, Ryan, but the shambles still makes money and still increases in equity value. That’s the virtue of monopoly. The outcome of the Mariners is why we have laws against unregulated monopolies.

  • Jeff

    You could have added that the Mariners sad franchise record is 399 games below .500, an astounding feat to accomplish in 37 years. The M’s would have to finish 20 games above .500 for 20 consecutive years, a generation, in order to get back to .500, staggering given they have the AL record for most wins in a season during their miserable run. Most of those 37 years, Chuck was in the front office.

    • art thiel

      My pal Steve Rudman researched for the book that the Mariners were slowest to .500 of any team in any sport since expansion began. And now they are decaying on the backside of 1993-2003 at rate nearly as fast.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    Lincoln wants to save face by keeping Curly but Bakers story, it true and I think it is, is a slap to every Mariners fan. Falsifying a resume is a perfectly fine reason to fire GMZ,

    That is one real clown show they got going on over there….

    • art thiel

      It may be a reason, but after five years, a firing will make them look even more foolish if they didn’t know what Jack didn’t know.

  • bomberboy

    late in his article Thiel writes….”I have no idea,,,” an are he shares with Baker. To see all thse people line up like this behind Wedge, who wanted an extesnsion, then was mad he ws left dangling, then quit, then stated he wouldnt have stayed for a 5 year extension.
    And Art and Baker et all clain Armstrong didnt take responsibility….OK, no innocent parties here but when did WEdge become the super hero. And what career did he risk. Reading Pinellas state all Lincoln cared about was the bottom line is as hilarious as Jeff Cirrilo saying all Lou cared about was winning.

    anyway, Divish has already provided more real baseball coverage than baker di in a year. Really looking forward to the sports guys having a dinner and giggling and giving each other awards for this! I defend nobody but this is pathetic!!! And why are newspapers going broke? Could be a quality problem….nah, Probably more of Jack’s doings

    • Trygvesture

      Another Mariner’s apologist refusing to be confused by the facts of ineptitude at the top. Would anybody not on the payroll be likely to offer rant and ramble just to shoot the messenger ? Sounds like, “See Mr. Lincoln, I’m with you!”
      An effective apologist would bring some substance to the discussion. Haven’t seen a bit of that as of yet.

  • Rick Gregory

    Art – has anyone ever managed or even tried to talk to ownership? I know the Nintendo founder recently died so there is likely some upheaval, but in all of this I’ve never seen any comment from ownership nor even a “we tried to talk to Nintendo but they declined to be interviewed.”

  • bomberboy

    amazing that some amny clubs have been coming after Seattle pitching for the last three years.Apparently complete idiocy dysfunction produces high quality young pitching.

    I am no apologist at all. Just remember, in the next few months or year, Jack and others will all be gone. These “reporters” we have been stuck with will still be here, year after year after year. Lots of companies struggle, some even fail and go under (lieek WAMU, Seattle PI). Ms are thonly only one I know that gets ripped for NOT going broke and being financially stable. THnak GOD we have management analysts like Baker so show us the way

    • Trygvesture

      a·pol·o·gist
      əˈpäləjist/
      noun
      1.
      a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.

  • bomberboy

    Help me out here….why do media, “fans” et al claim Lincold is NOT accountable for performance of the Mariners. The way I see it he and the owners are the only ones who ARE accountable. Players and poor, victim Eric Wedge get paid regardless of their performanc, attendance, wins and losses. Lincoln and the owners are held accountable everytime revenue goes down. Seriously, besides being tired of losing and deciding not to buy tickets and having lousy sports pages and media how are fans “hed accountable”?

    I am here to learn