Fan Humiliation day

Pirates showing their frustration with losing

  Still reeling from yesterdays bizarre loss, like a lot of you I was disappointed to hear that Jack Zduriencik had decided that for his own good and the future of the team, Felix Hernandez would not be given the ball this Sunday on the final game of the season. This coupled with another humiliating loss tonight by the score of 8-1 to the visiting A’s, has convinced me to change my weekend plans.

So instead of going to the game Sunday to watch Felix get a chance to improve his chances for the Cy-Young and possibly prevent the Mariners from suffering a 100-loss season, I have decided that I’m not going to get mad I’m getting even!

Yes that is right, Friday night I will be joining the other irate fans and mustering at 530 in front of the left field gate by the glove to stage a rally and protest against the front office duo of Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong and the apathetic absentee owner Hiroshi Yamauchi. I will be joining forces with the folks from FireNintendo: , and welcome all of my loyal readers to grab a brown bag or a sign and come on down to show that you care enough to stand up and be counted!

  The picture above shows a few fans in Pittsburgh using the age-old instrument of choice for disgruntled fans, the Brown Bag Demonstration. It is time for all good shipmates to hit the picket line here in the Port of Seattle! 

  Remember: “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”…..

It’s not personal Chuck and Howard, but….

  All is quiet on the Northwest front as far as actual games for our slumping Mariners and surging Rainiers. However there does seem to be a lot of activity in the blogosphere regarding the whole Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln fronts.

  As many of you know I have been writing about this issue since June, especially the problem of an aging absentee owner in Japan and how it relates to the current front office guys. I just want to say that as far as I am concerned Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong seem like decent guys with good business instincts. And yes we all know Hiroshi Yamauchi has trust in Howard Lincoln and unless he passes the reigns to someone else in Japan or sells the team we will probably still have Howard and Chuck running the show next year.

 I have read Lincoln’s explanation of the infamous leaked e-mail in an article by Art Thiel as well as Shannon Drayer’s post. I also read both the Look out Landing and USS Mariner posts on this topic and tend to side with Geoff Baker and Art Thiel who seem to be on too the real issues. I am just an expansion blogger and of course do not have all the information but I do have my experience of following this team for 25+ years.

  I usually agree with Shannon on a lot of things, but her post like the USS Mariner and Lookout Landing seem to infer that things are ok now that Jack Z. is here and the front office does not meddle anymore in baseball issues on the field. In response to that I would say that an engaged owner with good baseball savvy folks in the front office is indeed what we need. By stating that the front office does not meddle anymore, you are saying Tha a) they used to, and b) it infers that they don’t understand the game well enough to set the tone and give the organization a vision. I would say these are both bad things and we need front office guys with enough background to stay involved, not to mention an owner who cares more about his team.

  It seems that as a new blogger my views are not as important as the seasoned guys who may very well have a vested interest in not upsetting the front office so as to gain access etc. This is a  common complaint that is usually reserved for the main stream media, but in this case it seems Geoff Baker and Art Thiel are the guys willing to stick their necks out in order to deliver the uncomfortable truth, not the local bloggers or Shannon.

  So I stick to my position that I have held all year that the absentee/uninvolved ownership, combined with Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong are the reason our team is in the situation it is in now.

Lincoln and Armstrong squirming under the light of day

If you have not had a chance to read the Blog post put up by Geoff Baker at the Times here it is: Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln to employees:

Mariners Blog | Seattle Times Newspaper

  Somehow Baker got a copy of an internal memo put out by Howard Lincoln to the rest of the Mariners organization and in the spirit of investigative journalism Baker posted it last night.

  I can only imagine what sort of damage control Lincoln and Armstrong are trying to conjure up today in order to attempt to nullify the negative public relations hole they have dug for themselves. It is hard to imagine either of these two deciding to do the right thing and step down, but anything is possible I suppose.

  Of course the majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi has the final say in these sort of matters, but I have a hunch that due to his age and distance every effort is being made to shield him from the truth about this dysfunctional organization as long as the checks keep rolling in.

  It is also apparent that the top brass in the front office are hoping things will blow-over here in Seattle and the criticism will get washed away with the coming 7 months of gloom and rain so that they can proceed as normal. While we in the NW are a tolerant and forgiving group of folks, once we set our mind to something we like to go all the way.

   The question is will the media, bloggers, or grassroots groups like:

#Mariners #FireNintendo Details – – Start Something!

  be able to organize the fan base into some sort of concerted action to bring about real change for the team that represents our corner of the country? One thing is for sure it will take more than articles or tweets to send a message to the owner that we the fans have had enough of lies, deception, gimmicks and meddling by the Lincoln/Armstrong cabal.

  As you know I have been writing about this issue in several different posts this year dating back to this post on  June 9th : Snell finished, Mariners reverting back to 80s farmclub? So here we are 3 months later and it appears that I am no longer a voice in the wilderness. The question is what are we the fans willing to do? Should we leaflet outside the game on Fan appreciation night? Hold rallies? Wear brown bags over our heads like they do in Pittsburgh periodically? Or just do nothing and hope things get better by themselves?

   Like the rest of you I love baseball and the Mariners which is why I write this blog. The ball is squarely in our court to either watch, look away, or take a big swing and  and hit the ball, perhaps allowing Grandma to really get out the Rye Bread and clean the bases of the Lincoln/Armstrong cabal once and for all. The future depends on us…

Jeff’s continued Rehab assignment in Tacoma

    Hello my fellow baseball lovers just thought I’d check-in on this off day for the Mariners to let you know I am continuing my emotional and mental rehab assignment following the Tacoma Rainiers. My condition is not as serious as a full “Milton Bradley” type break-down, however I will be attending the Rainiers game Tuesday at 1130 as part of my rehab assignment. I am making slight progress with issues like anger, frustration, loss, and general apathy by focusing on the scrappy Rainiers.

  Of course the fate of the big club is never far from my thoughts even as I attempt to regain my footing as a fan after this tidal wave of negativity that has swept-over Mariners nation. I have given some thought to the whole question of firing Don Wakamatsu and have come to the conclusion that he is just a symptom of the over-all problem faced by this franchise and should stay put at least till the end of the 2010 season. As I have said in earlier posts I believe the main problem rests with the absentee ownership issue and the continued presence of Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong pulling the strings somewhere back in the murky shadows of Safeco Field. Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of concerns with the way Wak has run this club on the field, and I have long ago quit trusting in the great wizard Jack Zduriencik and his ability to make key decisions regarding player acquisitions. However this franchise has been operating with a “Belief System” that the Seattle fans are not that knowledgeable and they will settle for a nice stadium, hydro races and  mediocre teams that are only here to compete, not win. This mindset comes from Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong at the top and is a set-up for failure for whatever manager or GM comes rolling into town.

   I do have a gut feeling that Hiroshi Yamauchi or perhaps someone from his family may at some point get tired of the lies and half-truths fed to them by Lincoln and Armstrong and step-up and get rid of those two hustlers. If not hopefully maybe Mr. Yamauchi will just pull the plug and sell the team to someone local that actually cares about Baseball and our city of Seattle.

  Geez now I have done it, there goes my blood pressure…..need to focus on AAA and fun and winning as my Blog-Doctor has prescribed. I do want to include some information that may prove useful to you today as I don’t want you to think Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog is turning into some sort of New-Age feel good Blog. So I have some information on the whole concept of “Waivers” and what it means for the average fan that I hope you find useful as we head into the month of August:

1) Virtually every player in the major leagues will be placed on waivers this month, whether a team intends to trade that player or not. If nothing else, the sheer volume of names can at least disguise players whom clubs do want to sneak through so they can be dealt.

2) If a player isn’t claimed by any team in either league, he can be traded until the end of the month to anyone.

3) If a player is claimed, but only by one team, the player can be traded only to the team that claims him.

4)If a player is claimed by more than one team, the club with worst record in that player’s league gets priority…and the player can be traded to just that team.

5) If a player is claimed only by teams in the other league, the club with the worst record in the other league gets priority…and the player can be traded only to that team.

6) If a deal can’t be worked out or the team doesn’t want to trade that player, he can be pulled back off waivers once in August. If he is placed on waivers again before September, he can’t be recalled a second time.

7) If a team is just hoping to dump a player’s salary, it can simply allow a team which claimed that player to have him for a small waiver fee. If that happens, the team that gets the player has to pay his entire salary.

8) Also sometimes teams will claim a player just to keep them from being traded to a contender.

  So I hope that helps, though I know it is a bit complex and has a lot of possible intrigues involved in the process. I am assuming that the Mariners will use this process to attempt to unload some of the players who are not part of our future here. Ok so that’s it for now I will give you a report after I return from my Rehab assignment in Tacoma tomorrow afternoon..

Mariners 2010….Part II

The Mariners are set to resume play after the AllStar break tomorrow down in Anaheim with a three game series against the second place Angels. Rather than doing a review of the first-half of the season I am just going to talk a little bit about the rest of the year. It seems as if this team is in the midst of an odd time period where we are not quite rebuilding and yet not in the race. Players like Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson complicate matter as they are probably not part of the long-term future of this team but they are under contract through next year and probably not high on other team’s trade list. Bradley has not played up to expectations but is not really that much worse than Michael Saunders as the everyday left fielder for the rest of the year. Saunders is young, has hit for some power and is definitely fast on the bases and in the field. Most people are saying Saunders will improve with more playing time, though we have heard the same about Rob Johnson. Traditionally players came up from AAA because they were obviously better than the other minor leaguers and once they came up they either produced or were sent down. In the case of both Saunders and Johnson they seem to have been good but not great in the minors and in the majors neither is really proving to be getting better, yet they stay on with the big club.

   I have a whole separate post entitled “Who’s on first” that I wrote a few days ago so I won’t go into that debacle again except to say that the Mariners would love to trade Casey Kotchman but probably won’t get to many offers. Jose Lopez could go in a trade as well though I think his bat will improve in the second half. Gutierrez who started off hot has been fading for the last six weeks or so at the plate but he is definitely a part of the Mariners future plans. Ichiro is a fixture in right and is untouchable unless he and the mystery owner Hiroshi Yamauchi decide it is time to go. Actually if the Mariners were really rebuilding for the future rather than this in between phase, trading Ichiro and using his huge salary for younger players would be a smart move, but I just don’t see it happening.

  The catcher position is goofy as well with Rob Johnson having another bad year at the plate and defensively but still seems to be another of these gray area type of guys on this club. Of course then there is Mike Sweeney due to come back from his latest DL to a team that sorely lacks veteran leadership yet has no real room for him. It is funny to read about Mike Sweeney in the media or in the blogosphere to see how even his biggest detractors have come to admit he indeed can still hit after realizing that all the youngsters that supposedly he and Griffey were blocking didn’t quite measure-up. Speaking of Ken Griffey Jr. it has occurred to me that he really has been quiet since retiring as I expected to either here him blast the Mariners and the local press on some TV show or we would have heard by now of his grand farewell day at Safeco.

    The starting rotation is a bit vague as well besides Hernandez, Vargas and Fister. After that you have the ongoing Ryan Rowland-Smith saga and the ever popular guessing game over the return of Eric Bedard. And the bullpen will probably continue being shaky no matter how you juggle it. There has been rumors that some teams were interested in David Aardsma but I doubt any team in contention would be willing to part with much for him in light of his performance thus far. I will predict that another young gun will be brought into the mix soon possibly Danny Cortez who we picked-up in the Betancourt trade. Other than that I hope Brian Sweeney is given some sort of role and is not forced to languish in uncertainty like so many players on this club who seem to be moved around daily on a whim by manager Don Wakamatsu. While I understand Wak has been forced to be creative in the first half of the season, having 7 or 8 players on a team not knowing where they stand at any given time is a sure recipe for unrest on any team and is a reflection on the managers ability to be decisive.

   Lots of little things tend to get swept under the carpet here in Seattle as the top management knows by now that the local media and most of the fans will forget about things with time and a few good days of NW summer weather. I have been trying to block-out most of the first half of this season myself over the break as it was all just a little overwhelming on the negative side. I look for the second half of the season to be slightly better, and am hoping to get a glimpse of Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda both at AAA now, before it’s all said and done. Other than that my expectations are not too high, though I would love to see Justin Smoak produce at the plate and watch Felix kick some butt every 5 days……

National League wins, Steinbrenner lost…

George Steinbrenner aka "The Boss"

    The National League beat the American League in the 2010 AllStar game tonight 3-1 snapping a losing streak dating back to 1996 for the NL. Today was also the day that the Baseball Gods chose to take one of the most iconic and controversial figures the game has ever known. George Steinbrenner passed away today at the age of 80 years old with his reigning World Series champs the New York Yankees in first place in the AL East with the best record in baseball. The loss of Steinbrenner cast a pale over the sunny California setting as this game got underway. 

  The story of the early innings tonight was all about pitching for both sides with neither team able to break-through till the fifth inning when Robinson Cano drove in the first run of the game for the AL with a sacrifice-fly. It looked as if the American League would continue its dominance of the mid-summer classic until the NL loaded the bases in the seventh inning bringing up catcher Brian McCann from the Atlanta Braves. McCann is not only a good defensive catcher but also that most precious of all commodities i.e. a catcher than can hit. McCann lashed a double down the right field line with two outs, to clear the bases and put the NL up for good. McCann was named the MVP of the game, and the win could very well give his team who currently sit in first place of the NL East home field advantage in the World Series. 

   Ichiro the lone representative of the Mariners did make a nice running catch in the first inning, but went hitless tonight. Former Mariner pitcher Cliff Lee pitched a 1, 2, 3 fourth inning for the AL but was only one of a number of great pitchers who got a chance to shine tonight. This game was a low scoring affair as anticipated, but seeing all of the best players in the game on one field was a treat for fans everywhere and a needed break for Mariners fans who have suffered through a tough first half. 

  As big as today’s game was, the big story in Baseball was the passing of George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner and his Yankees represent everything that the Seattle Mariners are not and his passing will probably not be mourned to deeply in this part of the country. Yet Steinbrenner was a larger than life type of guy who had a huge impact on baseball since purchasing the Yankees in 1973. Steinbrenner from Cleveland originally wanted to purchase the Indians with the family money amassed in the shipyard business. Spurned in Cleveland, Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees for less than 8 million dollars and built them into a franchise worth over 1 billion dollars today. Steinbrenner was never the richest owner but unlike many owners including our much wealthier owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, he was never afraid to spend whatever it took to win. 

  And win he did, The Yankees won 7 World Series Championships under the watchful eye of “The Boss”. Steinbrenner was an incredible character who once said that in life “Breathing is first, winning is second”. He was perhaps best known and hated in some circles for his pursuit of free-agents including Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Dave Winfield and Randy Johnson which had the effect of driving wages up beyond the means of most teams. Many people including some of his players and managers did not care for his style and he actually hired and fired manager Billy Martin five times! Former Mariners manager Lou Piniella both played and managed for Steinbrenner and said today that The Boss was “Like a father figure to him”. The stories about this man could fill my next week’s worth of posts, but my favorite goes back to the thrilling 1995 Mariners season against the Yankees where I was lucky enough to attend all three home games. My memories of that series are fading but I clearly recall looking up at the screen at the Kingdome after Griffey had just scored the winning run to see George Steinbrenner going crazy in his booth. Then as I wandered outside with the rest of the crazed mob I happened to be 20 feet away from a black limo that King George jumped into right in front of my eyes storming off in a visible rage. 

   George Steinbrenner always had a flair for the dramatic much like his hero General George Patton, and that night in 95 was no different. But now love him or hate him, he is gone… making his final exit on the day of the All-Star game. George Steinbrenner has impacted the game of baseball and all those involved in it in ways we may not fully ever comprehend. As much as he represents many of the traits such as arrogance, impatience, controlling and vengeful that represent the worst aspects of the human condition, he also wanted to win at all costs… and he did. Personally I  wonder what the state of the current Mariners franchise would be like if we had an owner with one half the amount of passion, daring and desire to win as George Steinbrenner gave to his team and fans….Sadly I doubt we will ever know. Goodbye George you were one of a kind….

Absentee Mariners ownership is sinking our ship!

Mariners fans abandoned by Team Owner

  I was all set to deliver another game-day analysis tonight after spending the evening watching the game and taking notes, but after the latest melt-down by the bullpen I decided to go off script. Partially I am prompted by suffering another humiliating sweep, and partially after reading the articles written by Geoff Baker, Art Thiel and Steve Kelley. All three made some valid points in their own ways, but I have to agree the most with Steve Kelley in his article:

   Steve Kelley Pin this Mariners shipwreck on upper management

 Geoff Baker makes a few good points but seems to be somehow trying to affix some of the blame on the Mariners fans for allowing this seemingly endless debacle to continue when he wrote: So, who are thesefans” who go to Mariners games?

And thenArt Thiel countered with a sort of rebuttal to Baker bringing up some good points of his own in: Are ‘soft’ fans part of Mariners‘ mediocre image?

  So now it is our turn, the fans, you included to say our piece. I am going to assume that if you’re reading Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog at this point in the season you are as much of a hardcore fan as me. You got to games, read the sports page, watch FSN or listen to the radio night after night, year after year and you are Mad as Hell and can’t take it anymore!

  More of what? Well we can’t take the way this franchise that represents our city and region has been run for the past 9 years at least.

  Were tired of losing! Do you hear that Hiroshi Yamauchi wherever you are!

  Mr. Yamaguchi it is not working for you or us to allow HOWARD LINCOLN and CHUCK ARMSTRONG to have a free rein to run this baseball team!

  If you are not going to take control of your team Mr. Yamaguchi then please sell it to someone who will. Or at a minimum fire Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong, they have ruined this team with their meddling, incompetence and lack of baseball knowledge.

We are the fans who year after year spend the money to support this team and we will gladly continue to spend money, But WE WANT TO WIN!

We are not interested in simply watching hydro races, hat tricks and collecting boblehead dolls anymore. We Love Baseball and Deserve a decent team,Hiroshi Yamauchi.

 Actually even Ichiro is nearing the end of his productive years Mr. Yamauchi and since you have chosen to entrust Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong with the affairs of your team, Ichiro will be forced to play on losing teams. It is not the players, managers or GM’s that have been creating this mess it is the top management, and if you fail to act Mr. Yamauchi it will be your fault!

 So this is it Hiroshi either start getting involved or sell the team to someone who cares about the Mariners, Baseball and Seattle as it appears you don’t care and we the fans do!

Note: Hiroshi Yamauchi is the majority owner of the Mariners, his interests were transferred over to Nintendo America in a murky situation leaving the elusive Howard Lincoln in charge by default as he has his fingers in both pies.

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