Mariners lose 99th game 9-0 on Fan Humiliation night

I'm Tired of Losing

The Mariners lost 9-0 tonight for their 99th loss of the season on Fan Appreciation night in front of 19,656 joyless fans including myself pictured at left to ashamed to show my face.

The infield had a big “Thankyou” written in the infield when in reality it should have said “Sorry”. One bright spot for the evening was I got to meet some of the young fans from Firenintendo and we passed out leaflets and brown bags to the fans as they came in. We were well received and got the attention of the Mariners security team if nothing else!

This season is almost over and the cold reality of trying to make do next year with a bunch of AAA guys who try hard but with rare exception, just don’t have Big League stuff. Justin Smoak is a keeper, but most of the rest including Luke French who got bombed for 7 runs in the first two innings are marginal.

It was a sad night at the Safe, for the fans and I am sure the players as well. Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong were probably off in their cozy mansions sipping cognac tonight, as we the fans were given a bitter reminder of the costly errors these two have made to lead us to where we are today.

  The vast majority of the fans I talked to were supportive of the notion that something has to change either at the ownership level or the top front office jobs. But mostly they were apathetic and resigned to another long winter with only the faintest glimmer of hope for the future.

  But I will say that we do have great, loyal and friendly fans in typical Northwest style. I am glad I root for my home team year after year and that I don’t live in Oakland or Cleveland, but like all of you I just wish our team could be a reflection of the great spirit of our region instead of an embarrassment.

   It is going to take a few years to rebuild which is fine, but most of all we need leadership and vision from the top lest we continue this sort of protracted misery. The fans are the ones who have the power to send a message to the big boys, and tonight we did our part with a small contingent of hardy lads stepping-up and having their voices heard. The next move is yours…….

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.

Seattle Mariners Financial Documents

  Somewhere in the 8th inning tonight as I was watching Jamie Wright load the bases with walks, my mind began to drift into the much practiced numbness that I have developed over the recent years as a Mariners fan. I was not even particularly upset when another mediocre pitcher of ours in this case David Pauley got shelled for 3 bombs in the 6th to put this one away tonight. Perhaps I have finally begun to accept the fact that our ownership group was ok no matter what happened tonight because 20,545 people had paid to be entertained by tonight’s  Mariners mediocre effort in the 5-3 loss to the Angels.

   It used to bug me in years past when I would here Howard Lincoln or Chuck Armstrong along with whatever GM or manager was playing the role at the time, talk about being ” Competitive” rather than trying to get to the World Series and win. Now I am beginning to realize that this is the role of our team in MLB today.

  It could be worse, we could be the Pittsburgh Pirates where it was revealed recently by documents posted on that the Pirates owners actually have no intention of trying to win but rather are just happy to lose and receive enough revenue sharing money to turn a tidy profit.

    The owners of the Mariners are sort of in the middle of this racket wherein they are not really supposed to win but just compete and leave winning to clubs like the Yankees or Red Sox who then in turn generate enough money to subsidize teams like Kansas City or Pittsburgh so the whole scheme just keeps rolling.

  Of course the Pittsburgh fans have a right to be irate, but hey this is a business as they say and the Pirates owners are playing right along with their assigned role as losers so the owners can get their kick-back every year.

  It was interesting to review the financial documents posted for the Mariners:  

Seattle Mariners Financial Documents

   Though I am no accountant I did read some tidbits regarding the paying back of monies owed for back taxes to the Govt. here and the intricate method that was used to defer payments for the taxes on the stadium over a long period of time.

   But as a team destined to be mediocre and only be “Competitive” there is a fine balancing act that must keep Chuck Armstrong up late at night figuring out how to continue the charade year after year. So far it is working quite well with the Mariners actually being a team that has had to pay rather than receive revenue sharing money, and yet still turn a profit.

  Of course in order for this to continue the fans will have to continue showing up for drill and watching Hydro Races, Groundskeepers dancing, collecting bobble-heads and just generally behaving as if the Win-Loss record is secondary to the privilege of sitting in a nice stadium and clapping when prompted.

   I am not quite there yet but wonder how many more years of mediocre ball I can stomach. I have a hunch guys like Armstrong and Lincoln will try to outsmart me again next year with some big-name manager, or perhaps another not quite right trade for another in a long line of players destined to play the role of mediocre players in Seattle..

 I know some of you still have some fire in your bellies and want to win, so take a minute and review these documents and see what you can discover, I’d love to find the smoking gun but think our top brass is to clever for that…..

Summer at Safeco tradition continues

   I woke-up on this beautiful August day and decided to head down to Safeco Field to see if the Mariners could continue their little winning streak against the visiting Oakland Athletics. I usually take the bus downtown from Fremont, buy a ticket outside the game and take a taxi home. Today I broke my own tradition and drove down and parked for 20 bucks before grabbing a box seat 21 rows behind home for $30. Speaking of tradition check out the new banners plastered around Safeco that say “Celebrate the Tradition” complete with photos from the 116 win season, 1995 etc. Can’t quite fathom what goes through the minds of the marketing people for the Mariners, perhaps we are supposed to be celebrating this sort of season next year…..   

Everything was picture perfect for me and the 31,560 fans that came to root for the Mariners except the final score which ended up to be 5-1 Oakland. The Mariners sent Luke French out on this lovely day to face the scrappy A’s even though French really only has two pitches, a below average fastball and a change-up. Apparently as French attested on the post-game interview he is still working on his slider so he doesn’t throw it for now. Somehow I just can’t figure out how a guy gets to start in the majors with two pitches unless one happens to be a fastball over 95. But I guess this is not for me to ask, as my job today was to try to enjoy the sun in a family friendly environment, and spend money along with the others there. I can honestly say that though the crowd had little to cheer about today most of them seemed content to watch this sort of AAA+ team of ours complete now with a AAA manager and 3 or 4 AAA players on the field at any time.

   I do have to give credit to the A’s starter Dallas Braden who got the start today for the A’s and kept our guys off-balance at the plate with his assortment of mostly off-speed stuff. The A’s got a little help in the outfield from us today as Matt Tuiasosopo attempted to fill-in for the injured Michael Saunders and did a less than stellar job. Tuiasosopo let a couple of costly drives in the gap get by him and was slow catching-up to a Mark Ellis drive down the line in the 5th allowing an extra run to score. It should be obvious to Daren Brown that Tuiasosopo doesn’t have the ability to get the kind of read on a ball to enable him to make the kind of tough plays which are required of outfielders at Safeco. Speaking of which Franklin Gutierrez made another spectacular play against the wall in the first inning off the bat of Coco Crisp. Gutierrez really had a chance to be a hero today when he came-up with the sacks full and one out in the 7th, however Gutierrez only managed to drive-in one run on a deep fly to left-center that looked for a minute like it would get out.

   I did like the way manager Daren Brown wasn’t afraid to utilize his bullpen (as underwhelming as it is) making two changes in the 7th and more importantly having the foresight to have a couple of guys up and warm in case he needed them. Former manager Don Wakamatsu had a tendency to only warm-up one reliever at a time and if that didn’t work out we were kind of just stuck with whoever was on the mound. As it turned out it wasn’t that effective, as Chris Seddon who was brought in with one down in the 8th surrendered a walk then a double to Mark Ellis who got another RBI and had a big day going 3-4 and driving in 3 runs for his club.

   It was nice for the icon of the Oberto sausage family; Art Oberto to get acknowledged in the crowd today. Art Oberto in his 80’s looked fit and sharp with his 1950’s hat as he stood-up to take a bow in honor of the victory for the Oh Boy Oberto Hydroplane boat that just won the Seafair race a few days ago on Lake Washington. Of course Art Oberto is the kind of guy we can only wish owned the Mariners as he is local, hands-on, and cares about the product his family name goes on. Unfortunately our owner Hiroshi Yamauchi has never even been to a game at Safeco relying instead on Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to fill the stands by putting a mediocre product on the field dressed up with gimmicks. I have been pleasantly surprised to read articles both in the local as well as the national news recently acknowledging the point I have been making on my Blog all season that the root of our problems comes from the inept front office. This is encouraging and one can only hope that this city and its fans will be fed-up enough after this season to somehow get some new blood at the top of the food chain instead of just firing managers every other year.

  So now we go on the road after a decent home stand, starting with the Indians and Orioles then finishing up with the Yankees and Red Sox before coming home. There are a lot of great pennant races going on around the majors as we move towards the stretch including what could be a sneak preview of the AL playoffs tonight as Texas and the Yankees go at it with Cliff Lee on the mound.  Smooth sailing to you…..

Don Wakamatsu fired by Seattle Mariners

Don Wakamatsu fired, nice guys finish last….

 Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik announced today that manager Don Wakamatsu along with pitching coach Rick Adair and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo have all been fired. Zduriencik said: “I have concluded that these changes needed to be made now and that they are in the best interest of the Mariners as we move forward,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. “Don, Ty and Rick are all good baseball men and they have done their very best. But we are where we are. I no longer have confidence that Don, Ty and Rick are the right long-term fit for our organization. New leadership is needed and it is needed now.”

 Daren Brown manager with the Mariners AAA affiliate the Tacoma Rainiers will be brought-in as the interim manager, along with Carl Willis who will take over as the pitching coach for Rick Adair. Roger Hansen will be the new bench coach for the rest of the season.

  While this move does not come as a major shock for most of us fans, it is a bit disturbing in that the Seattle Mariners have gone through 16 managers since the team’s inception in 1977. Only Lou Piniella has survived for more than three seasons out of the whole bunch, and it is no coincidence that the Mariners only real winning era was under Piniella.

  It is no secret that Wakamatsu never really had control of the clubhouse especially after the whole Ken Griffey Jr. situation. Wakamatsu ended up being the fall-guy for upper-management to handle that tough scenario that appeared to be still lingering in the dugout when Chone Figgins exploded after being pulled from a game recently by Wakamatsu.

   I liked Wakamatsu as an individual, but after seeing how the veterans disrespected him this year down at Peoria for spring training this year, I knew trouble was brewing. Wakamatsu made a lot of questionable moves this year with his odd lineups, difficulty in handling the bullpen, and just being generally indecisive. Of course last year Wakamatsu could do no wrong, but some of that was luck, and some can be attributed to the veterans Griffey and Mike Sweeney helping Wakamatsu out.

 So now with roughly 2/3 of the season over we will trudge forward  to another off-season of uncertainty where we will continue the never-ending rebuilding project that started in 2003 and has no end in sight. One common denominator through all the years of failure and heartache that we fans have endured here is two names: Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln. These two guys manage to keep their jobs no matter who comes or goes. This franchise has some serious problems like lack of goals, unaccountable front office personnel, and an absentee owner. These problems will not go away no matter who is managing this team and it is time for the fans to demand some real change at the top or we will continue to go through managers, GM’s, and players like a sailor blowing his cash after a long voyage.

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..

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