Just as Harry is Dumbledore‘s man through and through, I’m a Seattle girl, through and through. I proudly don my University of Washington sweatshirt as I venture out into the rain–sans umbrella–with my Starbucks cup in my hand (which I would later recycle, if I ever find a recycling bin here).
UW, rain and Starbucks.
Those, in my opinion are probably some of the most iconic “Seattle things” you can name (except maybe the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and grunge music, but that’s not my kind of music and I don’t know how I’d work the other two into my life here in Idaho…I start throwing fish at people off the top of a tall building?). There’s more obviously, but those are the more prominent ones.
Seattle sports teams are also pretty prominent–at least they used to be, I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve never followed them very closely. The Seahawks made it to the Superbowl one year but I never really cared for football. And basketball? Well, that was never my thing either and besides, the Sonics left the Emerald City anyway (apparently they’re called the Oklahoma City Thunder, now). As I’ve said before, there’s only one Seattle team that I’m a fan of: the Mariners.
I bring all of this up because I’ve been working on becoming a better-informed and better-educated baseball fan. I’m actually becoming a better-informed Seattlelite (transplanted), but that’s a different story. As part of my efforts, I’ve been reading up on what’s been going on with the M’s on a not-so-regular basis. My main source has been the Seattle Times’ Mariner Blog by Geoff Baker but I want to see what else is out there, so if anybody knows of anything, let me know!
So, on Wednesday, I read that the team has named a new manager. Don Wakamatsu will be the M’s new manager as well as the first Asian American manager in the league. I thought this was pretty exciting news and pretty cool following the first African American president to be elected. This is another thing that I’ve noticed about baseball. There’s actually more than one Asian or Asian American athlete in the league! When was the last time you saw an Asian football player? Have you ever seen one? And besides Yao Ming, are there any Asian basketball players? As I said, I don’t follow either sport so there could well be some. I don’t know. It’s just to my knowledge that there aren’t.
At a press conference, Wakamatsu said, “If I can set a future stepping stone for Japanese Americans and just the equality in baseball, I’m glad to bear that torch.”
I’m sure that there is the equality issue that he mentions, but I also think genetics plays a role–just as Christopher “C-Dub” Wang from Ping Pong Playa says. We Asians are a small people. It reminds me of when the Big Friendly Giant tells Sophie, about the not-so-friendly giants who eat children. They go all around the world, stealing children from their beds while they sleep. Well, when they go to Japan they have to steal about six little Japanese children (I think it’s Japan, could be China…I don’t remember exactly) in order to be full, as opposed to two or three not-as-little European kids. It’s a bit weird to bring up since the BFG’s talking about eating children, but it’s a good point. Asians are small. Normally, we just aren’t built big enough to have the physicality to play football or basketball. Baseball is just about the only mainstream professional sport where Asian athletes don’t stick out as much. There still aren’t too many but we’re more of a minority rather than a rarity.
So, getting back to the Mariners. Wakamatsu doesn’t have any experience managing at a major league level. When I read that, it made me a little nervous. But then I found out that the six other candidates–including former Mariner, Joey Cora–didn’t have any either. All minority talk aside, I think that this decision to hire somebody who has experience as a coach, but not as a manager on the major league level will be an interesting one. Who knows how this decision will play out and how Wakamatsu will do but like he said,
“Just with osmosis, we [the Mariners] ought to be better than we were last year.”
That should give us some new hope for the next season, right? I’d like to think so.
Good luck, Mr. Wakamatsu. You’ve got a lot of pressure on you to turn this team around, but they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you could do the job.