Larry Stone Goes Yard
Larry Stone pulled off the writer’s version of a longball with today’s piece, “Bavasi trudges on in search of a win”. It’s articles like this that illuminate why he’s on an entirely different level than the rest of the sports writers in this city. Some of the interesting blurbs:
Bavasi won’t get into a conversation about Hargrove’s status or job performance, except to say that he has “shown great patience in a bad situation, which is not an easy thing to do. We’re dealing with a lot of young kids that are overmatched, I guess, and some veterans that apparently are not performing up to their abilities.”
“It’s difficult to swallow,” Bavasi said. “I’ve seen teams do this, but they usually have less ability, in my opinion. There’s some serious underachieving going on.”
Bill Bavasi doesn’t like talking to reporters, and he’s one of the best in the game at saying nothing of interest when a microphone is in front of him. Stone’s ability to get a quote like this that is legitimately intriguing is just good reporting.
That was evidenced by Saturday’s trade of Jamie Moyer, which was an emotional punch to the gut for fans already steaming over the mounting losses â€” but also the right thing to do for the organization…
It was also the right thing â€” and highly overdue â€” for Ichiro to move to center field, giving the club the perfect opportunity to give the ever-enticing Chris Snelling a long look in right.
More proof that Larry Stone understands the dynamics of how to build a baseball team. He avoids the easy article that everyone else is writing about how the team sold off a local legend for two no-name prospects and calls the trade what it was – the right thing to do. He also manages to get Bavasi to mention that the Ichiro-as-CF move is going to stick for a while, which is just fantastic news.
This might not seem the right time to put forward this thought, but I truly believe the Mariners are closer to contention right now than they were last August. All it will take this winter is daring, vision, a prudent game plan, and a little bit of providence (such as winning the bidding for Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka).
Coming off an 0-11 road trip against the division, Stone avoids the sky-is-falling column that would have been so easy to write, and instead finishes the article with a reminder of the reality that this team is actually headed in the right direction. Stone’s exactly right – this team is closer to contention now than they were a year ago, and there’s no reason to be writing off 2007 right now.
We’ve said a lot of good things about Larry Stone on the blog the past few years. It’s columns like today’s that explain why. He’s very, very good at what he does, and we’re lucky to have him covering the Mariners.