It ain’t fair.

They say, life ain’t fair.
I guess baseball isn’t either.

Today, Don Wakamatsu, was fired as the manager of the Seattle Mariners …
I know how it works.  When a team loses as many games as the M’s have, you can’t fire the whole team, and the manager is the one who is ultimately responsible for the team’s performance.

Doesn’t make it right.
Doesn’t make it fair.

I mean, there are just a FEW extenuating circumstances here…

  • an aging, future HoF’er as the DH to start the season who should have retired as he was carried off the field by teammates and cheered by adoring fans after the last game of 2009 but instead decided to quit in the middle of the season and seemingly leave a rift in the clubhouse something akin to the parting of the Red Sea
  • a starting left fielder (better suited to DH) also no spring chicken, who had demons to exorcise that had nothing to do with this team, yet they took him under their wing in a commendable show of support
  • another ‘elderly’ one who was great in the clubhouse and who tore it up in spring, but suffered from a balky back … and, how many DH/1B types can one team use?
  • a FA third baseman switching to second base (because the regular 2-bagger had limited range), not to mention second in the batting order, having a career worst year and taking it out on his manager in a very public display of insubordination
  • one catcher not ready-for-prime-time and another fresh off two hip surgeries, one wrist surgery
  • the regular second baseman switching to third base and, while the transition seemed to go OK defensively, his offense dropped off the map (and, he wasn’t the only one … the entire starting line up (as of mid-July) was hitting anywhere from 7-67points below their career average.

Those are just a few of the issues that faced Wak … one or two?
Maybe “over-comeable”
Everything at once?  Not a chance.

Many say Wak wasn’t tough enough, didn’t show enough fire …
Well, there were the “tie rules” and early indications last season that “slackers” would not be tolerated.  This year he was tossed three time (after 2009 where there was only one ejection all season – Ichiro) in support of his players, but he also, again, reiterated the necessity for effort.

I guess what hurts the most is the death of hope …
From the beginning of his tenure, I was impressed with Don’s story, with his demeanor
and that famed ‘belief system’.   I really thought, “they have finally found their leader.”

Needless to say, I’m very sad to see him go …
While he doesn’t need my pity, he certainly has my heartfelt gratitude for what he attempted to accomplish with this organization.  I hope that he learned a lot and had some fun along the way despite the undesirable ending.  I’ve no doubt he will manage again someday and, when he does, I’ll be rooting for him to succeed and I will always remember his calm and sincere presence in the dugout and behind the podium and will try not to dwell on “what could have been”.

Getty Images

Thanks again and Best Wishes, Wak
~ Rosy

This Skipper ain’t from Gilligan’s Island

He just looks so….


Don’t ya think?

(as opposed to “grand-fatherly” type, such as the M’s have had in the past)
(photo courtesy: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

What do I know? I’m not in that clubhouse.  But, from what we as fans have been allowed to see so far during his short tenure in Seattle, despite his barely past rookie status, it sure seems as if Wak is the “goldilocks” of managers…just the right mix of encouragement and discipline.  He knows when to give a pat on the back and/or a kick in the butt.  He knows how to be a teacher who instills confidence and a boss who inspires full effort.  To me, it’s very comforting to have a manager with this particular balance of personality traits and skill sets at the helm of our beloved M’s. 

It’s official, the Mariners have entered…

The bad news started this afternoon with the news that Cliff Lee was headed back to Seattle for rest/diagnosis/treatment of abdominal strain. Then, as the evening progressed into the game against the Reds, things continued to go down hill … fast.

So, in a matter of hours…

  • the M’s have lost one ace and one potential starter to injury for an unknown amount of time
  • Milton is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy
  • M’s lost another ST game (6th in-a-row)

Here’s hoping this too shall pass …
it’s only spring training …. right?

UPDATE:  Wak none too happy with the recent Milty tossings

UPDATE:  Hey, Wak’s reading my blog 🙂
from Kirby’s blog…

“What do they say? This too shall pass?” Wakamatsu said. “Hopefully.”

From clubhouse kumbaya to field fiends?

Okay, that’s a bit extreme I suppose but…

I imagine Wak is not real happy with TWO ejections in as many SPRING TRAINING games, when there was only ONE in the entirety of last season (Ichiro, of all people).

Anyhoo ~
Today we found out that ejection was not the only price Cliff would pay – it was announced that he will be suspended for five games of the regular season and fined an undisclosed amount.  He will appeal but, in the meantime, Wak has got to try to set up his rotation and, at a minimum, this is really going to screw up the ONE, TWO punch.

Then, in the first televised game of the spring (vs. the Rangers) Milton is ejected.  I didn’t see it but, from most accounts, including this one from Wak via Shannon, the reason was rather a mystery.  Will Milton’s reputation precede him?

The simultaneous encore and finale begin…

Larry LaRue’s blog

So last October, we thought this was it. But, ‘t wasn’t long into the off-season before we found out that there would be an encore to the finale.

Junior is back and he arrived in Peoria today.
Apparently, his presence in the clubhouse stirred quite the ruckus

To new third baseman Chone Figgins: “You looked a lot bigger in red.” To center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who signed a four-year, $20.25 million contract over the winter: “I’ll be getting some of your money now that you got that big contract.” Griffey is the judge of the team’s kangaroo court. Pointing to new pitcher Cliff Lee: “I’m going to throw bunting practice to pitchers this year. That guy might get one behind his back.” Six years ago, Lee was suspended for six games after throwing a pitch behind Griffey during an interleague game between the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.

“It got a lot louder in there,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “It’s amazing how one guy can change the karma of a room.”

And maybe, just maybe, the karma of a season.

They have reported…

Seems all pitchers and catchers were present and accounted for in Peoria yesterday, where lockers were assigned/selected and physicals were taken. As Shannon blogs about

here, some gear is even preceding its owners and everyone is revved up and ready to go. The first official Spring Training workout will happen today (still mostly pitchers and catchers – all others will report by Monday, if not before).

Health is always a major concern and this season is no different, with several M’s still recovering/rehabbing from surgery – everything from Erik Bedard’s labrum surgery last season, to Rob Johnson’s THREE surgeries (both hips and a wrist) to Cliff Lee’s minor foot surgery. Here’s to full and speedy recoveries for all.

Wak is anxious to see what Jack Z has assembled for him…

“I visited with the staff yesterday and I told them there’s so many things we have to find out,” Wakamatsu said Wednesday. “Do we go with an 11-man pitching staff? If we’re going to go with an 11-man staff, who are the long-man candidates? With the lack of roster spots, are we going to be able to see everybody and give everybody a legitimate shot? There’s all kinds of stuff we have to find out in the spring.”

And, Jack Z is confident in his staff as well as the players…

“I have expectations. I have optimism. I trust our players. I trust the staff,” Zduriencik said. “And I know from my experiences from watching them last year that I know the kind of effort that they’re going to give. It is about a four-letter word called TEAM. It’s that simple. From that standpoint, they experienced what that means and what can be accomplished. Knowing that you do the things you have to do on a day-to-day basis, and when you left Seattle a year ago you were a part of that parade that went around the field. Many of these guys want to experience that again, and beyond.

“It’s going to be fun to watch them compete. Where it takes us, it’s going to depend on the outcomes, but the journey is fun.”

Yes indeed, baseball is in the air. And, if you’re like me, you don’t even have to be in Arizona to smell it (although I certainly wish I were!)

Random quote that gave me a chuckle (Greg Halman on his 14th tattoo) …
“People say that when I get older it’ll look bad,” he said. “But when I’m 60, women won’t be interested in me anyway.”
Gotta think a bit more positively than that, Greg 😉

09 reflections

What a day…
Ever seen a team so happy to finish third?
I haven’t, but boy, am I sure glad I was there to witness the joy in person as no player went “un-hugged” 🙂

What a series…
A series win to end the season and two more one-run victories

What a season…
Obviously, successful teams must have talent and depth to produce the numbers that make a difference. But, when a team has had 5 managers in 6 years, loses WAY more than they win in that stretch (including 101 games in the previous year) and has a seriously fractured clubhouse – the road to recovery is neither quick nor easy. The intangibles of cultivating confidence, adjusting attitudes and, as Wak would say, establishing a “belief system” are all “vital signs” along the way.

What a career…
Whether he’s going to call it a career or come back for more, Griffey’s contribution to this team this season goes WAY beyond what he did (or didn’t do) on the field and won’t soon be forgottten. Above all, Junior reminded everyone, to a man, in that clubhouse, how to have fun again. This was VERY evident in their post-game celebration on that last day of 2009.

Mariner Matters | 9.7

Brandon to take Luke’s spot in the rotation and Sean appears down for the count…

Morrow, who started Sunday for Tacoma, will join the Mariners in Anaheim this week and slide into the rotation in French’s spot.

French, acquired in the deal that sent Jarrod Washburn to Detroit, has gone 3-3 with a 6.38 earned run average since joining Seattle. Opposing hitters are batting .331 against him.
In 22 games with Seattle this year, six of them starts, Morrow has an 0-4 record with six saves and a 5.28 ERA. In 10 starts for Tacoma, he went 5-3 with a 3.60 ERA. He pitched 55 innings, including a four-inning start Sunday, and struck out 40 with 23 walks. His one complete game was a four-hit shutout of Iowa on Aug. 14.
If he pitches every fifth game the rest of the way, Morrow would get four starts and the Mariners would get the chance to evaluate the right-hander.
White, who went from non-roster invitee to spring training to one of the team’s most reliable setup men, took his ailing right shoulder back to Seattle on Sunday and will see team doctors today. He is almost certainly done for the season, and if he needs surgery, he may be unavailable for the start of next season.


White, 28, made spring adjustments to his delivery at the suggestion of pitching coach Rick Adair, and enjoyed the best season of his professional career.
“If you could promise me the same season next year he’s given us this year, I’d take it in a heartbeat,” Wakamatsu said. “That’s how special his year has been.”

Wak on Ichiro’s milestone…

“It’s such a feat,” Wakamatsu said of the 2,000-hit milestone and others within sight. “And just his ability to play every day over the years and make the adjustment from Japanese baseball to here as well as anybody is maybe going to. He’s just a special player and I know many guys in that dugout feel the same way.”

For Wakamatsu, what stands out is Ichiro’s ability to keep collecting hits even without drawing walks. Back in 2001, a big concern mentioned often by present and former players, managers and, yes, the media, was that Ichiro would never maintain the hits needed to keep his on-base percentage where a good leadoff hitter should.
And yet, nine seasons later, his lifetime OBP of .378 would put him near the upper echelon of this year’s best AL leadoff men — where five players, Ichiro included, are positioned between .380 and .401 (Ichiro is at .392).
Maintaining numbers like those over a prolonged period is something few hitters, power or otherwise, have done. And while the debate rages about Hall of Fame guideposts like 500 career home runs, in light of steroids revelations, the sanctity of a 3,000-hit career remains intact.
Ichiro will reach his 3,000th hit by the 2014 season at age 40 if he continues on this current pace.
“It’s just his versatility,” Wakamatsu said. “Like I said, he can hit home runs now and then, he can go to all fields and he can get a lot of infield hits. He puts a lot of pressure on an opposing team.”
And that pressure has continued this year, with his 54 infield singles being Ichiro’s second-highest total since 63 in 2001. And that’s come at a time when his slugging percentage of .463 is the highest he has ever posted.

Wak’s big catch



Wak landed a a 17.2 lb king salmon in Puget Sound last Monday…

“I caught a flounder and a bullhead,” said Wakamatsu, who was using a light six weight rod. “A half an hour later, I was casting, and ended up catching that king on a red-and-white clouser fly.

“It pulled a lot harder than that bullhead. To hook that thing and watch it come out of the water. This [fish] was taking my line out, and it took me almost to the end of the backing. One more run and it would have taken my fly line with him.

“I have been fishing a lot in the Sound, and didn’t know that [catching a king this summer] was such a rarity at the time.”

It took him 15 minutes to land the hatchery king that weighed 17.2 pounds.

“That was the biggest king I’ve heard of caught off the beach in Puget Sound on a fly,” Robbins said. “It was just unbelievable to catch a king that big. He [Wakamatsu] was totally stoked.