Lack of learning, looming losses lead to Lincoln layoff?

DMZ · December 11, 2006 at 3:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Superreader msb emailed us this morning and I’ve been pondering this all day:

If we go back to Thiel’s offseason piece, and pretend Lincoln is also on the hot seat (“”The entire organization, and especially me, is on the hot seat,” he said in an interview at his stadium office. “I thought long and hard about continuing with Bill and Mike. I’m putting my neck out on the line because I believe in them. I’ve made it clear to the ownership group that, having made the decision, I’m fully responsible for it.”) who do we want to come in as CEO so that they can hire Chris Antonetti for us?

I don’t know. I’ve felt for a long time that Bavasi was the best GM Lincoln might hire (and I mean that in the nicest way to Bavasi possible), and that in a lot of ways, we’ve been lucky to get him, because the organization as a whole is a lot better off today than it was a couple years ago. But what about that question?

I’ll start with some overly broad generalizations. There are members of the M’s ownership group that are smart, tech-industry people we’d like to think would be more saavy ownership stewards, more open to a pitch for Antonetti, or Ng, or any of the half-dozen interesting GM candidates who aren’t retreads and might bring something really interesting to the team and help it build sustainable, competitive teams that are both profitable and win pennants.

There are also members of the M’s ownership group who are more retail-oriented, and we might think they’d look at the team on the field as product (we want to sell a high-quality product, so we need to have a high-quality team). Buuuut they might also do exactly what drives us, as the hardest of hard-core fans, insane: marketing over substance, a constant drive to identify, brand, and sell players to us, and the same kind of brand-over-results thinking that gets Bloomquist pointless extensions.

What about Nintendo, though? They’re the majority owners, and we can reasonably assume they’ll control any replacement for Lincoln if they finally sack him. Superreader Aditya Sood (two superreaders in one article) sent us this:

This James Surowiecki article from the New Yorker is an interesting analysis of Nintendo’s current mindset in the gaming world–and actually also speaks volumes about their philosophy to the baseball world as well.

The bottom line is what is good for the one (the Wii) is dreadful for the other (your 2004-2006 Seattle Mariners!)

What is interesting though, is that the Wii’s development and execution indicates a willingness to embrace out of the box thinking and a refreshing strategy for success which seems like it supports the Billy Beane/Moneyball model. So basically the Mariners are the GameCube in the Wii world. Or maybe it’s more like the Virtual Boy.

(Another, possibly unrelated side note. Nintendo didn’t embrace the Wii mindset until AFTER Howard Lincoln stepped down from the day to day oversight of the company–to focus on the Mariners.)

It’s a particularly interesting point. Nintendo’s Wii, at least this holiday season, beaten up on the higher-powered Xbox 360 and PS3 in both raw sales and to an even greater extent, media love, despite having far inferior technical specs. In the past, each generation of consoles has been a huge step forward in raw power, and here we see the Wii essentially opt out of it in favor of a cheaper, wackier system that attempts to appeal to an underserved demographic.

(Blantant suck-up: We would love to evaluate the relative merits of these systems here at USSM Labs. Please contact us.)

Would they, as Sood suggests, put that to work in choosing a Lincoln replacement? Someone willing to spend in strange directions that might help the team escape ever-escalating free agent competition? Or does being owned by a company whose fortunes are not directly tied to the team mean that they’re likely to act conservatively to protect the team’s profitability and value? That suggests that Lincoln would, if replaced at all, be succeeded by a different face of the same philosophy.


56 Responses to “Lack of learning, looming losses lead to Lincoln layoff?”

  1. DMZ on December 12th, 2006 9:50 am

    was this thread intended to discuss the virtues and vices of the Wii?

    Oh, no — but that it’s gone in that direction into irrelevancy in no way makes it as bad as some of the other ones we’ve had to endure/shut down/delete entirely.

  2. msb on December 12th, 2006 9:56 am

    #48– Putting some local talent on the field? Where’s that Sizemore kid from again?

    ah, wouldn’t it have been nice to have been position to take Sizemore.

  3. TheEmrys on December 12th, 2006 10:01 am

    I gotta tell you, baseball on the Wii is pretty fun.

    And in all honesty, Nintendo got it right with the Wii. Rather than the Sony/MS path of making a console a good attempt at reproducing computer games, they made it unique and geared towards more true arcade action.

    Personally, I’ll never do Sony/MS consoles: I have a computer. Rather than $600 for a new console, I can spend $400 on a new video card and blow the consoles away. With prices the way they are, people just may migrate back to PC’s.

  4. dw on December 12th, 2006 10:01 am

    Oh, and I have played baseball with the Wii. Next day I had elbow and shoulder pain from the pitching. Should have warmed up first.

    I think it’s pretty clear what Nintendo is out to do — build a device that encourages people to interact. It’s not the graphics dynamo the Comic Book Buy type frag-geeks want. It’s not going to make you go, “Man, I played Grand Theft Auto 16: U District last night, and you should have seen how LIFELIKE it was when I drove an Abrams tank through the U Bookstore!”

    The guy I know who has a Wii has a four year old daughter who plays Zelda, and she loves it. And as said upthread, this is the first time my wife has ever shown a lick of interest in a controller-console video game (vs. Civ or SimCity on the PC). They know who they’re after. If the brain games on the DS didn’t make that apparent, hearing the stories of whole families destroying living rooms playing tennis should.

  5. AQ on December 12th, 2006 10:20 am

    Here’s my two cents worth on the Wii vs 360/PS3 vs PC debate. I have a Wii, an Xbox 360, and a decent PC (2.8 gHz Dual Core Intel, 1.5 GB RAM (DDR 2 PC 4200), ATI Radeon X800XT graphics card).

    The Wii is a system that I typically play when I want to play a “lighter” game (like Wii Sports, for instance). The Xbox 360 is a system that I use to play sports games primarily (like NBA 2K7) because I personally prefer the console control scheme for sports games as opposed to a PC. I’ll also play third person shooter games (Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto, that sort) on a console simply because that’s what I am used to. I typically only use the PC to play first person shooters because I think that a keyboard and mouse configuration for those games kicks ass over any equivalent setup on a console controller (not to mention the difference in responsiveness).

    So, while some might use a PC for all of their higher end gaming, I tend to do most of mine on a console. The deciding factor (for me) is more about which control scheme I am most comfortable and familiar with, rather than which one has the better graphics.

  6. terrybenish on December 12th, 2006 12:45 pm

    Probably one of the most thought provoking posts and it has descended into a gaming discussion.

    Perhaps we see why the Mariner management thinks that they can do virtually anything and not have it roast them. Most of the people that are fans here think of the Mariners as a theme park, so lets not get too overwrought about the baseball thing…

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