On top of the fact that the Sonics may be leaving Seattle, Mariners are now getting the axe left and right to the point where even the players must be questioning what uniform they’ll be wearing next week. What’s next? Matt Hasselbeck gets traded? Good lord, let’s hope not. Who knows how that will affect the Twelfth Man?
It appears that journalism isn’t the only field in the Emerald City where job security has become questionable. This morning, over my two bowls of Honeycombs with frozen blueberries, I did something that was, if not a first, then at least a rarity for me: I read the Sports section of a newspaper–The Seattle Times to be exact. Now I know that this doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but it kind of is. Those who know me know what a break from the norm this is for me. I’m more prone to open up to the Arts and Entertainment section of a paper and read up on book reviews rather than Sports to read up on the latest stats since I’m more bookworm than sports fan (I’ve actually got a book review in mind that I want to write…look for it in the next few days). Today however, I couldn’t help being a bit curious about the fate of Seattle’s sports since it was all over the front page of the Times and once I located it, all over Section D.
Last night, Mariners manager John McLaren was fired after a dismal performance this season that has brought the franchise the title of being the Worst in the League. Now, isn’t that something that will have Seattlelites all over just beaming with pride? Now I have to say that for somebody with as limited sports knowledge as myself, even I know that firing three employees in a 10-day span–no matter what type of business you’re running–is not a good sign (hitting coach Jeff Pentland and general manager Bill Bavasi being the first two). Especially since at a $117 million payroll, the Mariners have the sixth highest payroll in the league. I learned this from my friend Mark at Tuesday’s game against the Marlins. For being that high on the payroll ranking, shouldn’t we be just as high up in ranking when it comes to wins? It seems to me that we’re not getting enough bang for our buck–excuse the cliche.
Now, I’ve never been big on what I like to call the Ball Sports (football, baseball, basketball or sports that involve a ball). I was a gymnast for seven years and a dancer for three years that. However, I do have to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for America’s favorite pastime. My dad used to get Mariners tickets from work and we used to go to games all the time. This of course, was back in the days of the Kingdome when the Mojo was flowing freely for all. Of course there’s the post-Dome SoDo Mojo, but the reserves have appeared to be a bit dry lately.
In the wake of all this firing, the question now is, who are they considering as replacements? There have been discussions and while most of the names mentioned, I have no clue who these guys are, one name does ring a bell: Joey Cora. Oddly enough, he’d be hired to help the franchise on the other side of the dugout as part of the managerial and or coaching team. That’s all well and good but replacing and rearranging the managerial and coaching staff can only take us so far. In the end, it really comes down to the players because they’re the ones who are out there on the field. And according to McLaren via Larry Stone on the Mariners Blog at the Times, the players have some things to work out:
“Let me say this, and I want to make this crystal clear: The only reason I mentioned that is not to deter any criticism for myself, but to make this team better. If they can get in that room and work some issues out, I think they’ll be better off. I care about those guys. I think they’re good people. This is a team sport. They play as a team extremely well, they pull for each other, but I think there are some issues in there, if they take care of them, will get them a lot closer to where they need to go than they are now.”
He’s got a point. Players need to get their acts together just as much as the managerial and coaching staff, if not more since they’re the ones we see the most of. There have been rumors that Ken Griffey Jr. may be returning to Seattle once his contract with the Cincinnati Reds runs out in 2009. These arose during his return in 2007 when the Reds faced the M’s and Griffey was quoted saying, “I think I owe it to the people of Seattle, and myself, to retire as a Mariner…As an athlete, you always like to be able to retire with the team (you) started with.”
Wouldn’t that be sweet? I know I’m not the only one reminiscing the days of Mariners baseball back in the ’90s where names such as Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson, Edgar and Tino Martinez join Griffey and Cora’s. It would give me more of a reason to go to the games than just the hot dogs sold on Occidental.