Ichiro is not happy
Morosi, in the PI, provides a long article on the star’s discontent:
He was upset to see his teammates playing cards so frequently, and was dismayed that no coach or veteran scolded them for doing so.
Ummmm… as much as I don’t want to fuel the fire, isn’t Eddie the huge keep-the-club loose card-player?
Midway through the season, he felt as though his teammates had given up on the rest of the year.
Ichiro was watching the same games! Wooooo!
Then there’s a lot of clubhouse chemistry speculation, with many quotes from Madritsch, recently tossed overboard by the team. But discard that for a minute.
I would love to have a manager who plays every advantage, knows his stats, does tons of preparation, keeps his players happy and motivated, and works the press well.
But if I had to pick only one of those, it would be this: keeps his players happy and motivated. It doesn’t matter if you’re a genius if the players don’t listen. If they give up, it doesn’t matter if you can tell them that pitcher X likes to go to a fat, hittable change on 3-1 counts, because they’re not listening. It is the part of the job that all other jobs depend on.
Managers, by and large, are tools: some do well with veteran teams, some with young teams. Some are hard-asses, and produce quick results when taking over for a looser manager. Some are much more laid-back, and do well with teams after the hard-ass manager is fired when that act wears thin. Some managers are good with pitchers, and can juggle a bullpen of chainsaws, while others figure out how to shove all the best hitters into a lineup and not sacrifice too much defense.
Maybe this isn’t Hargrove’s ideal gig. I’m not sure what is, but maybe this isn’t the right fit.
And while I may quibble with some of the article’s statements, the simplest question here is: “Did the Mariners look like a motivated, well-prepared team last year?”
They didn’t look horrible, but they certainly were not a well-coached machine. Now yes — that’s a total subjective and unreasonable judgement, and I will be the first to admit that I have zippo backing for that. But there it is. Given time, maybe I’ll come up with some standards and look at some data, but for now, that’ s my opinion, worth what an opinion’s worth.
Plus…. if Ichiro’s unhappy with Hargrove, I’m unhappy with Hargrove.
Before I go, I also want to point out that this article is largely an example of restraint: rather than take what Ichiro said in criticism of the team and blow that up into a huge story, it’s pretty careful to say he hasn’t asked for a trade, his frustrations are rooted in x, and y, and z, and this is what we know, here’s what asking around turned up, and that’s it. That he even took the time to get more than one person to look at the article says something.
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