Bavasi Blissfully Unaware Of Real Analysis

Dave · May 24, 2008 at 11:46 am · Filed Under Mariners 

From Baker’s notes of a conference call Bavasi had with reporters a little while ago.

“This is not a field managerial issue,” he said. “John is doing a good job. Our performance is not related to his work. It’s purely related to player performance and underperformance and underachievement. Nobody had the nerve to pick us less than second place in our division. We were picked anything from first to second to wild-card. You name it. The expectations were a heck of a lot higher than this, based on any analysts’ evaluation of out players’ individual track records and their age. Their ages are such that they’re not all young guys that they’re inexperienced. But they’re not too old to believe that they would backslide. So, I think those expectations are realistic. They were and they are.”

My official prediction: 83-79, one game better than Texas, nowhere close to the playoffs.

PECOTA projections: 76-86, third place, nowhere close to the playoffs.

ZIPS projections: 72-90, third place, nowhere close to the playoffs

CHONE projections: 83-79, nowhere close to the playoffs

Hardball Times projections: 79-83, third place, nowhere close to the playoffs.

Lots of people had “the nerve” to tell you that you did a horrible job building this roster, Bill. Lots of people pointed out that this team wasn’t a contender. Lots of people told you that you that you had a roster setup for failure, with collapse potential everywhere. You just don’t listen to those people, because they’re nerds with computers who don’t understand baseball. Or something.

But you don’t get to rewrite history. We knew this team wasn’t good, and we spent the entire offseason trying to tell you that. You ignored us at your own peril, and you built a terrible baseball team for $117 million. That’s your fault.

And now, rather than learning from your mistakes, admitting that you have absolutely no idea how to evaluate pitching talent, you’re completely ignorant of how to value defense, you don’t know what kinds of hitters work in your own park, and realizing that there’s an entire school of analysis that could help improve the decision making of the club, you’re once again focusing on things like clubhouse leadership and character.

This is ridiculous. Build a good baseball team, and you won’t have to talk about all this psycho babble crap that you guys invent to try to justify your horrible decisions. Learn more about baseball than a blogger who lives 2,500 miles from Safeco Field and covers the team as a freaking hobby. I shouldn’t know more about how to build a baseball team than you, but I do, and that’s why you and your entire staff deserve to be fired.

Comments

149 Responses to “Bavasi Blissfully Unaware Of Real Analysis”

  1. coasty141 on May 24th, 2008 11:50 am

    Wow

  2. jlc on May 24th, 2008 11:53 am

    Word perfect, Dave.

  3. coasty141 on May 24th, 2008 11:55 am

    Dave, Do you ever think there will be a day when popular (general public) baseball opinions switch from espn to sources that actually know what they are talking about? ei THT,Baseball Prospectus etc

  4. Blastings Thrilledge on May 24th, 2008 11:56 am

    I got chills.

  5. Paul L on May 24th, 2008 12:02 pm

    One of the things I find interesting about this site is that the people who follow it and comment on it often harp on the authors for being overly negative, but when you go back and see actual predictions if anything they’re more positive than everyone else.

    I can’t believe Dave predicted an 83-win season!

  6. jzalman on May 24th, 2008 12:05 pm

    I have crossed over. I’m over the brink. A lot of people love to say “I could GM better than ____,” myself included. But I now believe it. The Sabean’s and Bavasi’s of MLB are just killing this sport. We, the fanbase, are more intelligent about baseball than they are. It’s unbelievable.

    Pay attention, because this is a great idea:
    What we all just bought and mailed the Mariners front office a copy of Baseball Prospectus? Signed up for an account at their website, emailed them the login and password, and linked the PECOTA projections? If they got hundreds of these, wouldn’t they realize “Oh crap, our fans know more about baseball than we do. Well, at least they know enough to listen to people who know more about baseball than we do.”

  7. fermorules on May 24th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Bill Bavasi shares something in common with another current national figure.

    That is, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, they never ever admit they’re wrong.

  8. IndieSnob on May 24th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Bravo Dave, bravo!

    Also, while not surprising, it’s sick to see Baker buying Bavasi’s words hook-line and sinker.

  9. jzalman on May 24th, 2008 12:07 pm

    That was “What if”

  10. donger on May 24th, 2008 12:13 pm

    What are the odds Bavasi or the M’s FO actually read this post? I wish the egghead blogospherecould get through to them somehow, this season is making me sick.

  11. NickBob on May 24th, 2008 12:18 pm

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your Seattle Mariners Managing Partner, Howard Lincoln, Feb 20:

    “Three losing seasons in a row was very difficult for people in our organization to accept. ….But I am very happy with how we’ve turned things around.”
    And he sounds a little defiant toward public pressure now that Bavasi is succeeding.
    “Any fool can fire a general manager,” Lincoln said. “It’s a very easy way out. It makes some of the fans feel good. But it’s not how I look at it.”
    There was much speculation that they might pursue a more high-profile manager, but Lincoln said McLaren was the guy all along.
    “I don’t think there was very much of a discussion,” Lincoln said of the decision. “Certainly, his performance warranted his remaining as the field manager. It’s not to say he didn’t make mistakes, but he’s a hard worker, dedicated, loyal and a good baseball man. And he has put together an incredible coaching staff to complement his skills.

    Bavasi isn’t the head of this stinking fish.

  12. tomas on May 24th, 2008 12:22 pm

    Good stuff Dave. Here’s my question: What, realistically can we as fans do to promote change? In anger, I admit it, I have on some of the blogs called for a fan strike. I don’t want to be a fairweather fan, but with the resources the team has we deserve better, doncha think? I know baseball has its traditions, and lots of people involved in it are old players etc who don’t wanna just sit around a tend a garden in Issiquah, and that sort of ‘old boys club’ thing is darn near impenetrable, but seriously, what can we do?

  13. josh_h on May 24th, 2008 12:22 pm

    I would punch myself in the face if I didn’t 100% agree…

    Nicely done Dave.

  14. jro on May 24th, 2008 12:25 pm

    Simple mathematical calculator projections: 59-103 (current winning percentage X 162 games)

    I know it’s much more complex than that simple algorithm, so it’s not a prediction. Nonetheless, they’re playing .238 baseball this month, so adjusting up to .367 for the year not only sounds like an overall good adjustment, it might be a little too liberal.

    And they’re behind again this afternoon.

  15. Benne on May 24th, 2008 12:27 pm

    “Your 2008 Seattle Mariners: Only Two More Months Until the Seahawks Start Trainig Camp.”

  16. Benne on May 24th, 2008 12:27 pm

    *training*

  17. Steve T on May 24th, 2008 12:28 pm

    Right on, Dave.

    I was saying 78-84, and getting some stick for it, and my defense was the same as always: “hey, pessimists are never disappointed”.

    How wrong I was.

    But nowhere near as wrong as Bavasi.

    I assume Bavasi still gets most of his “analysis” from Bill Mazeroski’s Annual and The Sporting News predictions?

  18. jro on May 24th, 2008 12:28 pm

    Also, I love the post Dave. If the Mariners do one of those crazy, promotional “GM-for-a-day” type of things at the ballpark, I’ll personally drive you there and run around as your lackey if only to give the appropriate people their pink slips (I assume that’s what will happen.)

    Parking: $35
    Hot dogs, beers and rally fries: $120
    Big foam (middle) finger: $15
    The look on their face when they find out their services are longer required: priceless.

  19. jzalman on May 24th, 2008 12:28 pm

    tomas:
    What realistically can we do as fans to promote change???? I said “pay attention, because this is a great idea”!!!

    Honestly, mail them a baseball prospectus, or email them login info to an online subscription you’ve purchased. Make sure you make it clear that you are not making fun of them, that you are honestly doing your best to help.

  20. josh_h on May 24th, 2008 12:33 pm

    How many of us will it take to purchase the team Green Bay Packers style? Does anyone have any really rich friends?

  21. Dave on May 24th, 2008 12:34 pm

    The Mariners aren’t ignorant of our analysis – they just reject it. They wouldn’t care about receiving new information, because they’re not open to it.

  22. daveblev on May 24th, 2008 12:36 pm

    13..I didn’t even know the game was on this afternoon, I thought it would be tonight. I suscribe to MLB.TV to watch these games but i have not been able to stomach logging on and seeing this mess, but I have noticed they have all 3 games I’ve watched so maybe I should watch more games. (I’ve been at sea most of the season.)

    I purchased tickets to a minor league game tonight and look who I found on the roster:

  23. jzalman on May 24th, 2008 12:37 pm

    Fine Dave. Break my heart again.

  24. Tom on May 24th, 2008 12:38 pm

    Well said David.

  25. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 12:38 pm

    That rant is deservant of a refreshing cool one — and something better than freaking South Pacific lager! Thanks, Dave!

  26. daveblev on May 24th, 2008 12:40 pm

    oh my bad, here it is:

    Come to think of it, I’ve seen a lot of former Mariners play for the local franchise (Orioles affiliate since 2007, Mets affiliate since the 1960′s).

  27. donger on May 24th, 2008 12:40 pm

    The Mariners aren’t ignorant of our analysis – they just reject it. They wouldn’t care about receiving new information, because they’re not open to it.

    Watching this team is like watching someone close to you in the spiral of a drug addiction. You preach to them til you’re blue in the face, but they don’t listen. You wish you could just wash your hands of them, but you can’t… and they break your heart over and over.

  28. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 12:41 pm

    Bill Bavasi shares something in common with another current national figure.

    That is, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, they never ever admit they’re wrong.

    Amen, brother, amen!

  29. tomas on May 24th, 2008 12:43 pm

    Dave, you’re right. They reject it. They’re in denial, like a junkie. Is there a 12 step program for GM’s?

  30. tomas on May 24th, 2008 12:46 pm

    God, grant me the serenity to ignore rational analysis as another season goes down in flames, the courage to keep doing things the wrong way, and the wisdom to know that I am wiser than they are

  31. cheapseats on May 24th, 2008 12:47 pm

    Dave – this is a really uncomfortable point you’re bringing up, because it really is a mystery what level Bill Bavasi is working on. It’s nearly unfathomable.

    You know, lately, cutting through all the frustration, even the most positive opinions about the M’s said they “thought maybe” or “seemed to think” the M’s could be in the running this year. While the majority (too bad you don’t have a vote-o-meter feature to get the actual numbers) felt they were probably pretty iffy, at best.

    If the majority of what I’d call the informed fan base — meaning those fans who follow the team off-season — had doubts, then on what cloud has Bavasi been floating?

    It’s looking seriously as though he’s a guy who wills himself to overlook negatives. History is full of disasters (and much more serious ones than some baseball team’s awful year) caused by people with this bent.

    Me, I can’t help but think the guy is prone to living in 24/7 denial. But what’s worse is that somehow, with his charisma, he’s got the FO there with him, as well.

    Which makes any crystal balling, at this point… a pretty murky process. Because, as you pointed out so well, real analysis doesn’t seem part of the process.

  32. Mike Honcho on May 24th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Respectfully, when did this become about USSM?

  33. Capo on May 24th, 2008 12:51 pm

    I find it ironic that Bavasi wants to throw “accountability” at the players……but wheres his accountability for putting together this god awful team?

    This team is an epic failure and the only solution is to burn it to the ground and start over from scratch.

  34. jro on May 24th, 2008 12:52 pm

    Respectfully, when did this become about USSM?

    What?

  35. Ebenezer on May 24th, 2008 12:52 pm

    It’s interesting how most mainstream sports reporters are so innovation phobic, afraid of sabermetrics. However, they’re also afraid of simple facts, such as Bavasi’s record of never making the playoffs in his ten plus years as a GM, despite having healthy player payrolls and being in the four-team AL West.

    Bavasi would rather lose his job than adapt to the present day. And after the M’s fire him, some other team will hire him because of all his experience, even though he has no experience with success.

  36. Tom on May 24th, 2008 12:52 pm

    Well I guess that clears things up a little bit and I’m glad Bavasi stepped up and was finally honest about what is happening here. But nonetheless, it’s still time for Bavasi, Armstrong, and possibly Lincoln as well to go home. Bavasi, Armstrong, and the rest of the front office assembled this mess and is their own fault that they picked a bunch of players whose abilities not only don’t match their contracts, but also their passion for wanting to be a winning team and their passion for going the extra mile to win a game is absent.

  37. donger on May 24th, 2008 12:53 pm

    31: Isn’t the original post talking about Bavasi’s willful ignorance of sources of real analysis. USSM happens to be one of those sources.

  38. AuburnM on May 24th, 2008 12:54 pm

    The great thing about sports is there is no arguing with results. You either win or you don’t. If you don’t win you get fired. Pretty simple.

    Fire them all.

  39. jro on May 24th, 2008 1:02 pm

    And after the M’s fire him, some other team will hire him because of all his experience, even though he has no experience with success.

    I’m sure he will be hired somewhere, but no way he gets a GM job at the MLB level. He knows baseball operations, so he’ll be involved at an organizational level. But all the *hot* GMs are the statheads and data nerds. The future of GMs (in my opinion) belong to the Mark Shapiros and Billy Beanes of the world.

    Bavasi, for all his charisma and bloodline connections, is going to look old and expensive (seriously, a $117 million payroll?)

  40. jlc on May 24th, 2008 1:03 pm

    Maybe the M’s should quit batting practice for a while and take field practice. There’s no way this team is ever going to score 10 runs on a regular basis, but they might be able to set a higher level of defense and shave a few runs off the other teams’ 10 runs.

  41. north on May 24th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Harsh post. But justified. This franchise is spiraling towards Pirates-15-years-of-losing territory. The Ms’ endemic flaws are not going to be fixed easily. While I agree that there are strategies for turning it around. I am pretty pessimistic on the likelihood of implementation.

    And I agree that Dave is a realistic optimist. It is what makes his posts so enjoyable to read.

  42. jlc on May 24th, 2008 1:06 pm

    Sorry, entered on the wrong page.

  43. Steve T on May 24th, 2008 1:07 pm

    What realistically can we do as fans to promote change?

    Vote with your dollars. It’s the only thing they listen to. Fans need to abandon this team in droves. I’d like to see some 5,000 gates (actual, not sales) when they come home. What I’d really like to see is something like that game in 1979? in the Oakland Coliseum where, I think, 864 fans paid to get in.

    Punish the bastards.

  44. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 1:08 pm

    possibly Lincoln as well

    Possibly? I’d say definitely!

  45. north on May 24th, 2008 1:10 pm

    The great thing about sports is there is no arguing with results. You either win or you don’t. If you don’t win you get fired. Pretty simple.

    I don’t agree. There are plenty of people unjustifiably fired (and retained) by focusing only on wins. Wins are just one stat for evaluating performance.

    I do agree that there are plenty of organizations that don’t really take their evaluation of management performance much beyond wins. They lose in the long run.

  46. Sklyansky on May 24th, 2008 1:11 pm

    If we’re the MLB version of the Knicks, it’ll get worse before it gets better. Bavasi=Layden, so whoever comes next will be Thomas. In other words, with the next GM, we’ll be talking about how good we had it under Bavasi.

    The M’s have a decent core to work with, but the next GM will take care of that by dealing anyone remotely valuable or popular. At least we still have the Seahawks I guess.

  47. sealclubber253 on May 24th, 2008 1:11 pm

    It made me sick to listen to this on the radio this morning. NO accountability. 0. Its not managment, its the players. We arn’t responsible for their actions. What a load of crap.

  48. Librocrat on May 24th, 2008 1:14 pm

    Dave, I hate when you sugercoat these things. You need to tell us how you really feel.

    That said, for an individual that attended the USSM/LL event last year, you think he’d at least consider these new ideas since he clearly acknowledges their existence.

  49. Steve T on May 24th, 2008 1:14 pm

    The Pirates and the Royals, though, have an excuse: they’re poor. It’s possible to be good if you’re poor, if you’re very smart and very lucky; but it’s easier if you have money. We have money. We’re getting the Pirates for the price of the Red Sox (almost).

  50. Phightin Phils on May 24th, 2008 1:17 pm

    Imagine a front office where you’re surprised and delighted by a move. They had looked at the data and saw something no one else had seen.

    And the players “feel good about themselves”, and string several “clean games” together, because they work for a great organization. And the manager controls team strategy on the field, and shuts up about everything else.

  51. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 24th, 2008 1:21 pm

    Is there anyone left who thinks Bavasi is smart?

    If so, please speak up and defend your opinion.

  52. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 24th, 2008 1:28 pm

    Krueger is attacking Ichiro’s defense, apparently because it let Silva have another chance to give up a home run.

  53. dlb on May 24th, 2008 1:31 pm

    What is sad is watching Bavasi be unwilling to admit he made mistakes with certain players. I could understand saying that the players are under performing, but he should have the guts to say that he believes certain players would do better and he’ll take responsibility for fixing the problem. But no. Classic ego issue prevents a poor leader from making the right decisions.

  54. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Of course, Bill Krueger knows everything there is to know about the game (eyes rolling).

  55. pgreyy on May 24th, 2008 1:35 pm

    Well, what is Bavasi GOING to say?

    “Hey, I fooled myself into thinking that we were one pitcher away from being a contender…and as a result, I boxed this entire team into a corner…and while we’ve tried rearranging the deck chairs as often as we can, this ship is sinking and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Sorry, M’s fans.”

    The hope, if there can be any, is that things are so frustrating that “well, we’ve got to DO SOMETHING…” will mean that “real analysis” gets tested.

    But, simply agreeing to put Raul at DH and play Reed in LF for one game (to see if THAT works) isn’t going to turn things around–it’s understanding WHY you should make those decisions…

    And that’s what we’re not likely to see. And, certainly, we’re not going to hear that from anyone we’ve got right now.

  56. edgar for mayor on May 24th, 2008 1:36 pm

    Anyway we can get this to Bavasi. Boy, that would be good lol.

  57. G-Man on May 24th, 2008 1:42 pm

    Don’t forget the situation that Bavasi is in, a pickle that many of us have acknowledged – win this year or get fired. That means gambling, and in this case, it means going broke.

    I’m also in the Fire Howard Lincoln Fan Club.

  58. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 24th, 2008 1:46 pm

    56 – that is exactly why Bavasi has traded away the future of this franchase (Jones and Sherrill, for instance.) He needs to win NOW to keep his job, and could care less what happens next year.

  59. edgar for mayor on May 24th, 2008 1:46 pm

    56 – Lincoln (the worst of them all) is the hardest to fire. Bavasi and armstrong are gone. But its Lincoln who is the problem. Because even if Bavasi had seen that we weren’t a 88 win team last year, Lincoln would have and forced Bavasi to do what he did.

  60. Tom on May 24th, 2008 1:59 pm

    #58: Which is why I said that “possibly” it’s time for Lincoln to go as well, because his job as CEO is to strictly make sure the Mariners make money and he pours money back into his product, which is what he has done, especially the last couple years. Personally, I’d rather have someone more charismatic at CEO than Howard Lincoln like a Steve Balmer but right now Lincoln is doing his job okay believe it or not.

    But Armstrong, Bavasi, and the rest of the BASEBALL front office are not. And I hope most of the fans realize this before Chuckie and BB get the right kind of approval ratings from the fans (because after all, sometimes preception means everything, that’s what sped up Bob Melvin’s departure for instance in all likelyhood) because they much more than Howard Lincoln are the ones destroying this franchise at this point.

    Although if Howard Lincoln doesn’t have the courage to remove Chuck Armstrong and Bill Bavasi from their positions soon and give the keys to the baseball side of things to someone like a Terry Ryan or a Larry Beinfest type, then put me on the boat that says we need to fire Lincoln’s ass right away.

  61. Tom on May 24th, 2008 2:06 pm

    Continuation of 59:

    And let’s understand too, that it was completely understandable for Lincoln to ask his front office for a winning season after 6 years of not making the playoffs and 4 years of Bavasi. That’s why he was willing to pour money back into the product.

    The problem is the baseball people are just dumbasses when it comes to signing contracts and players, that’s all.

    I’ll criticize Lincoln for not pouring enough money into his product and thusly pissing off Lou Piniella in ’02, and I’ll gladly agree with Jeff Nelson and his comments he made about the organization in ’03, but not this time. Lincoln did everything a businessman was supposed to, the problem was he just trusted the wrong people to help him get this club to be a winner and it’s time for him to realize that.

  62. Tom on May 24th, 2008 2:06 pm

    Continuation of 60*

    My bad.

  63. SexsonMendoza on May 24th, 2008 2:24 pm

    I was an optimist to start the season. I predicted them to go 78-84. I figured they lose 85-90 at most. Right now I don’t see how this team loses less than 100.

  64. hawgdriver on May 24th, 2008 2:26 pm

    Bavasi seems intelligent yet overly stubborn. My old man is the same way, it’s frustrating to deal with. It’s like these guys get battle scars from a few jarring experiences and the scar tissue leaves them deeply incapable of discovering their own biases, unable to notice the blinders that are the first thing others see.

    Just as in politics, this boils down to pure power. Until we strip the regime of their power through massive action, the inertia of the status quo and ‘unexpected disappointment’ mindset will reign. Their power resides solely in their ability to generate cash flows. If we are going to take action to remove their power, we need an understanding of how they generate those cash flows (e.g. media deals, merchandise, tickets, licensing, etc.)

    Rank them by dollar amount and vulnerability, and attack the most vulnerable high-volume source of cash flows. When those dry up, we turn to the next most attractive chink in the armor. A display of power might be all they respect at this point. Bavasi, Lincoln, et. al. only see the pigeon turds as they walk along these streets, and cannot lift their heads to see the gleaming spires of pure logic stretching toward the sky. It is time to park a tank in their path.

  65. SexsonMendoza on May 24th, 2008 2:27 pm

    Seattle Mariners Baseball: Last Place. Get Used To It.

  66. shortbus on May 24th, 2008 2:33 pm

    Assuming Bavasi believes that field Managers do anything at all for the team…how is team-wide underperformance NOT the Manager’s fault? If one or two guys were not getting it done you could point at those players. But in this case it seems each night it’s a new goat (or small herd of goats) that’s to blame.

    NOBODY IS GETTING IT DONE OUT THERE!! This HAS to be attributed, at least in part, to the manager and coaching staff, or you must simply believe that monkeys could occupy those positions and it wouldn’t make a difference to the team’s performance.

  67. edgar for mayor on May 24th, 2008 2:36 pm

    I’ll criticize Lincoln for not pouring enough money into his product and thusly pissing off Lou Piniella in ‘02, and I’ll gladly agree with Jeff Nelson and his comments he made about the organization in ‘03, but not this time. Lincoln did everything a businessman was supposed to, the problem was he just trusted the wrong people to help him get this club to be a winner and it’s time for him to realize that.

    Wrong. While your right that Lincoln does put tons of money back into his team, but the problem is, thats not all he does. If he just gave the GM money and said “Spend it where you Like” things might be slighty better. But Lincoln is a micromanager, and thus the problems begin. Lincoln is a lawyer and not a “baseball man” by ANY stretch of the means. And since Lincoln doesn’t know anything about baseball or baseball people the cirlce of loosing is going to continue. He is going to continue to hire idiots to be GM and he is going to contiunue to micromanage them. We are going to conintue to lose and people are going to continue to get fired. Lincoln needs to go or needs to get removed from a possition of power. Dont’ fool yourself. The only thing Lincoln knows how to do is make money.

  68. Joe on May 24th, 2008 2:41 pm

    Simple mathematical calculator projections: 59-103 (current winning percentage X 162 games)

    Years in which the M’s won 60 or fewer games:
    1994 49-63 (.438)
    1983 60-102 (.370)
    1981 44-65 (.404)
    1980 59-103 (.364)
    1978 56-104 (.350)

    Remarkably, not only are the M’s on track to win fewer games than they did in their 1977 inaugural season (64), this year’s team could end up with the 2nd or 3rd worst record in the history of the franchise (ignoring the strike-shortened 1981).

  69. pygmalion on May 24th, 2008 2:43 pm

    how is team-wide underperformance NOT the Manager’s fault?

    But it ISN’T the manager’s fault. It is mostly Bavasi’s own fault for constructing the team so poorly. Even bad luck is more responsible for our losses than our manager is. He only puts out insane lineups. At least he doesn’t ask Julio Mateo for a ground ball.

    McLaren should not take the fall for this team.

  70. hawgdriver on May 24th, 2008 2:45 pm

    Please, somebody start a revolution. We need to organize. Others will quickly join. This is our team.

  71. scott19 on May 24th, 2008 2:50 pm

    Please, somebody start a revolution. We need to organize. Others will quickly join. This is our team.

    How ’bout we borrow that chant from the Ron Paul brigade:

    “Antonetti revolution…give us back our institution!” :)

  72. JJD on May 24th, 2008 2:57 pm

    Simple mathematical calculator projections: 59-103 (current winning percentage X 162 games)
    Years in which the M’s won 60 or fewer games:
    1994 49-63 (.438)
    1983 60-102 (.370)
    1981 44-65 (.404)
    1980 59-103 (.364)
    1978 56-104 (.350)
    Remarkably, not only are the M’s on track to win fewer games than they did in their 1977 inaugural season (64), this year’s team could end up with the 2nd or 3rd worst record in the history of the franchise (ignoring the strike-shortened 1981).

    Pessimists! The M’s need only go 98-14 the rest of the way to win 116 games again! It could happen…

    Seriously speaking, how much dead money are the M’s looking at if they jettison Washburn, Batista, and the like going into 2009? Even though there isn’t a salary cap, do MLB teams count that as payroll like NFL teams do? If it’s like $25 mil for Batista and Washburn, does that come off the budget for actual players next year?

  73. scraps on May 24th, 2008 3:03 pm

    Please, somebody start a revolution. We need to organize. Others will quickly join. This is our team.

    Being a Sonics fan has disabused me of that fantasy.

  74. NickBob on May 24th, 2008 3:08 pm

    Lincoln did everything a businessman was supposed to, the problem was he just trusted the wrong people to help him get this club to be a winner and it’s time for him to realize that.

    He hired Bavasi, who had a record with the Angels that was remarkably like the one he has here. The head of the organization is responsible for finding the people to fit the jobs. Lincoln called Pinella a “prima donna” who “lives and dies the game” and found him difficult to get along with. That’s fine if you value organizational harmony, but find yourself someone genial with a winning background.

    Lou’s take on Gilleck and Lincoln? “”Pat wants to win. Howard just doesn’t know how.”"

  75. CCW on May 24th, 2008 3:09 pm

    Geoff Baker is an Idiot. Bavasi is an idiot. McLaren has no business managing a major league baseball team. Fire them all.

  76. pgreyy on May 24th, 2008 3:12 pm

    Question to consider:

    Can anyone in this organization properly determine which players are underperforming and which players simply can’t contribute?

    If EVERYONE is capable but is simply underperforming, then the fault would seem to be that of the management.

    If there are those who are incapable on the roster, then that would seem be the fault of those who put the team together…but also of the management for continuing to run them out there.

    It is being said that the problem is that no one on the roster is stepping up and being a leader. Well, is just sitting back and hoping that the underperforming and the incapable will someday put it together a good example of leadership to be followed?

  77. rsrobinson on May 24th, 2008 3:16 pm

    I was somewhat critical of Dave last year, but no longer. He’s right on the money. This is a very bad team and heads need to roll, sooner rather than later. My biggest fear now is that the team will turn it around enough to get near .500 by the end of the year. And that “turnaround” will be enough to keep Bavasi and McLaren in their jobs for another year.

  78. lewis458 on May 24th, 2008 3:20 pm

    Bavasi wasn’t wrong about how “experts” picked the Ms to play this year. I knew popular sentiment had them as a “real contender,” but this is shocking:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/news/story?page=mikeandmike2008mlbexperts

    4/5 picked the Ms to win the west!

  79. sidroo on May 24th, 2008 3:26 pm

    No one predicted this collapse. It’s as far from what Dave predicted as a 100-win season. I-told-you-so’s aren’t really fair or honest. It’s frustrating to watch for any of us.

    I didn’t have illusions about this club, but did figure it’d be at .500 for most of the season, enough to make watching the games fun, with the hope, until the last month or so, of a miracle run to put them in the playoffs.

    Lots of the players are seriously underperforming. Team play affects team morale more than the other way around, but I doubt anyone here is arguing that team morale — and the preparation & alertness that go with it — doesn’t matter at all.

  80. hate the bugle on May 24th, 2008 3:26 pm

    Chone Figgins makes predictions?

  81. Tom on May 24th, 2008 3:30 pm

    #67:

    Fair enough, but this is exactly why I suggest all Howard Lincoln be allowed to focus on is making money and leave the baseball operations to BASEBALL PEOPLE. And if Lincoln can’t understand after all these years, then he really needs to leave and let someone of a Steve Balmer DNA type take over.

    But believe me, I could see a situation where if Lincoln was hands off in terms of the baseball situation and just focused on making money and left the baseball decisions to a baseball person (i.e. Terry Ryan), Lincoln could still be useful to us in a way. But again, Howard’s going to have to realize this before we welcome him back with open arms for ’09.

    I mean, do you think Paul Allen or Todd Leiweke of the Seahawks know everything about football for instance? Probably not. But at least they leave smart football people to make smart football decisions now that Bob Whitsitt is out of that organization.

  82. gwangung on May 24th, 2008 3:30 pm

    Lou’s take on Gilleck and Lincoln? “”Pat wants to win. Howard just doesn’t know how.””

    QFT.

    All the will to win in the world…no clue on how to do it.

    Chuck and Howie need some Green Lantern rings…

  83. BigJared on May 24th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Bavasi is just a symptom. His masters are the disease. Lincoln and Armstrong are corporate lawyers for god sake! They’re not baseball guys. The M’s have had teams constructed for the ‘women and children’ as much as for winning under their rule. No matter what the quality of the team on the field, they’ve had the best damn commercials in baseball!

    I’m not defending Destro, he’s not a very savvy GM and he’s kind of a douche. I just don’t think even the best GM would be able to his best work for this organization because he must operate with many restrictions/guidelines/requirements which have nothing to do with fielding a contender.

  84. CC03 on May 24th, 2008 3:49 pm

    [long link]

  85. Ebenezer on May 24th, 2008 3:52 pm

    #78:

    What Dave is saying is that this was not a playoff team, and showing that Bavasi’s comments were way off the mark.

    In fact, I think this team still could get to .500 – it has the talent. However, the fact that Bavasi, McLaren and most of the mainstream Seattle media were talking playoffs means that the team’s demise is that much worse. And giving up the future for Bedard was a gamble to make the playoffs this year, a gamble that’s failed in a huge way.

    The team is demoralized. Bavasi has seriously damaged to this franchise, and he and McLaren are going to lose their jobs. From Bavasi’s comments, it’s apparent that he’ll go down swinging, demoralizing the team and fans further. With the lack of morale, I think it’ll be unlikely that this team “rebounds” to .500.

  86. NickBob on May 24th, 2008 3:58 pm

    #83

    The Dreaded VOTE OF CONFIDENCE. The end is near. Not near enough, though.

  87. JerBear on May 24th, 2008 4:02 pm

    83 – I was just reading that.

    Armstrong on Bavasi & McLaren:

    “Their positions are secure,” Armstrong told MLB.com from his Bellevue, Wash., home. “They are not to be blamed for what’s going on.”

    And on the team:

    “We saw it the other way in 2001. I mean, you have to ask yourself, ‘How did the Mariners win 116 games that season with that roster, compared to this roster?’ This is just as inexplicable the other way.”

    Really? Inexplicable, Chuck? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.

    And then more quotes from the Bavasi interview:

    “The best teams take care of the stuff in the clubhouse…. We’re looking for the players to step up and play like they can, not like they want to… It’s time for somebody to step up and for us to get us back in striking distance by the All-Star break… Unfortunately, we don’t have on this club, or so far haven’t had, that player or players who has it in his guts to take care of himself and have enough left over to help somebody else do the job, or demand it.

    WTF does that even mean? I’m sick of this ignorant baseball voodoo sh*t. It has got to stop before we all drink ourselves to death. Our alcohol infused blood will be on your hands, Lincoln!

  88. rocinante on May 24th, 2008 4:04 pm

    I’ve been a long time lurker to this site and absolutely love it. I enjoy following the M’s but by no means am I a rabid fan.

    I represent the worst case situation for the Mariners: two months into the season and I have completely lost interest. I typically take the family to a dozen or so games a year but am so disgusted by the product that I don’t see myself spending any more money or time on them. I doubt that I’m alone and hopefully the financial pain of this season will make them re-evaluate the entire organization. Last year appears to be a fluke and changes need to be made.

    Pre-season football sounds more appealing than this crap.

  89. Ebenezer on May 24th, 2008 4:07 pm

    #83:

    I thought Armstrong’s comments were depressing, However, it could be that he lives in the parallel universe in which Spock has a beard. If there is a rip in the space-time continuum, then different physical laws would apply, and that would account for Armstrong and Bavasi’s seemingly bizarre statements.

  90. SABRcat on May 24th, 2008 4:12 pm

    Dave,

    I’d propose giving you a shot at GM, just like people are calling for that ESPN sportswriter as GM of the Milwaukee Bucks. It’d be interesting to see how it turns out. Couldn’t be worse, could be exceptional.

  91. jguier on May 24th, 2008 4:15 pm

    “Mariners president backs his staff
    Armstrong says McLaren, Bavasi not in danger of losing jobs”

    Really….how incompetent are you–and how can you compare this team to the 2001 team and expect anybody with half a brain to take you seriously.

    You are at the root of the problem. M’s owners–please…pull the weed up by the roots. Fire Lincoln and Armstrong and rebuild the organization from the top down. Bring winning baseball back to Seattle.

  92. smb on May 24th, 2008 4:22 pm

    Thank you for this, Dave.

  93. Jeff Nye on May 24th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Dave hits perfectly on what makes me so angry about this team.

    “Nobody thought we’d be this bad, and we don’t know what’s going on! Everyone is surprised that we’re not better.”

    Bill, you seem like a nice guy, but that is just verifiably and patently not true. LOTS of people knew that this team was likely to be a 70-80 win team as it was constructed.

    If YOU didn’t think that was likely, that’s another (and also depressing) story, but don’t pretend that the 2008 Mariners are a surprise to everyone.

    They’re not.

  94. jro on May 24th, 2008 4:34 pm

    84 –

    (see link @ 84)

    Holy f%$&ing stack of insanity.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have on this club, or so far haven’t had, that player or players who has it in his guts to take care of himself and have enough left over to help somebody else do the job, or demand it.”

    Hey Bill – unfortunately, we don’t have in this FO, or so far haven’t had, that individual who has the guts to take the FO to task for putting together the team members who lack the foresaid guts to correct our mistakes. Jeez, take some of your own medicine you jackass.

    Armstrong said management has done what it can to give Bavasi and McLaren all the support they need.

    Translation: sure, we’re all in this together — unless we need to fire these guys.

    “This interview is not an attack on the players. You can’t send out a memo asking them to play better, but they need to put their effort in a little different, more intelligent way and play the game right.”

    Sure it’s not, Bill. And all those calls for you to be fired because you’re an incompetent reject aren’t an attack on you, either.

    “The buck stops here. We all had a lot of high expectations for this team. The key is that the year is not over. It’s time for somebody to step up and for us to get us back in striking distance by the All-Star break.”

    “I feel responsible for this.”

    The buck obviously doesn’t stop anywhere in this organization, so please stop lying and talking to us like we’re children. If you feel responsible, fix the damn thing. At present, you’re only embarassing yourself, the Mariners and this city.

  95. msb on May 24th, 2008 4:46 pm

    Lots of people had “the nerve” to tell you that you did a horrible job building this roster, Bill.

    wonder if Mat was one of them

    Unfortunately, we don’t have on this club, or so far haven’t had, that player or players who has it in his guts to take care of himself and have enough left over to help somebody else do the job, or demand it.

    WTF does that even mean?

    my fear is that it means they plan to go out and get ‘a charachter guy’ to kick ass. Because we all remember how well that worked before.

  96. Jeff Sullivan on May 24th, 2008 4:47 pm

    Mat doesn’t work for the Mariners anymore.

  97. msb on May 24th, 2008 4:50 pm

    FWIW, Bavasi isn’t the only one who insists that ‘everyone said we’d be good’ — because the talking heads and big media columnists said it back before the season, it must be true — so it gets repeated on the radio all the time, and I’m sure it’s the general feeling in most front offices …

  98. msb on May 24th, 2008 4:50 pm

    Mat doesn’t work for the Mariners anymore.

    couldn’t take it anymore, huh?

  99. globalhawk on May 24th, 2008 4:52 pm

    Dave — great post. You nailed it.

    I come at this from two directions. First, as a season ticker holder, I’m sick of seeing the team put out a defective product every day.

    Second, as a journalist whose specialty is not sports, I am not happy with the mainstream coverage of the team. Baker is improving, but I was particularly incensed at the radio reporter today asking questions of Bavasi. She did not hold him accountable.

    Bavasi kept saying the team’s failure this year was a “roster” issue, meaning it was the players’ and not management’s fault, and then essentially called them all “gutless.”

    At that point the reporter has to say, “But who hired those guys? Who put them on the field? Bill, that was you and only you. Why won’t you take responsibility for hiring this leaderless, gutless bunch? Why won’t you take responsibility for failing to rehire Jose Guillen, who had 99 RBIs last year and played a fine right field, and putting Wilkerson his place? Why won’t you take responsibility for having two pinch runners on a 25-man roster? Why won’t you take responsiblity for using a guy w/ just 6 HRs and 59 RBIs last year as your starting DH?”

    Bavasi and the rest of the FO are getting a free ride from the mainstream media. Someone has to stand up to him. C’mon Mainers reporters: Do your job and hold Bavasi’s, Armstrong’s and Lincoln’s feet to the fire when you are interviewing them on camera or on the radio, not just when you are back at your desk.

  100. JMHawkins on May 24th, 2008 4:53 pm

    “We saw it the other way in 2001. I mean, you have to ask yourself, ‘How did the Mariners win 116 games that season with that roster, compared to this roster?’

    Hmmm, let’s see. A 2B who set a record for HRs at his position, a 1B and DH who each delivered both good OBP and good OPS numbers (instead of only one or the other), a defense that had three of the best defenders in the league at their positions and was generally at least close to league average everwhere else, with two of those elite defenders outfielders backing up a pitching staff of flyball pitchers in one of the larger parks in the league, said pitching staff walking the third fewest batters per game in the league instead of the third most, none of the starters on said staff being signed for more than 2 years.

    Inexplicable indeed. Obviously these are similiar teams, it’s just the alchemy that’s off.

  101. msb on May 24th, 2008 4:59 pm

    I’d also say listen to Drayer’s interview with him this morning; it has some other nuggets, including the vague and mysterious comment that as a team they are not giving in, but “doing it with this nucleus is another question” …

  102. lewis458 on May 24th, 2008 5:08 pm

    #85:

    I understand the content of the post, and completely agree with it. I didn’t think the Ms would be much better than they’ve turned out to be. I thought Bedard was on track to being Zito 2.0…

    I was just pointing out that so-called baseball experts nearly unanimously agreed that the Ms would be awesome this year, and these are the most heralded experts in the land! Its just another example of how irrational analysis is still du rigeur when it comes to baseball, and how even simple statistical models are still treated as bogeymen by the media. Gut feelings go hand in hand with clutch and grit.

  103. dlb on May 24th, 2008 5:11 pm

    I wish Bavasi would’ve pulled a Mugatu and just started ranting and raving and then finish with, “I feel like I am taking crazy pills!”

  104. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 24th, 2008 5:18 pm

    Oh, this is rich:

    Carlos Silva sucks up to Bavasi

    Carlos Silva agrees with what Bill Bavasi had to say today. The veteran starter, in his first year with the Mariners, feels that some players have to be spoken to and he’s on the verge of doing it.

    Silva talked of how he felt embarrassed after his four-inning start in Detroit the other night. Talked of being embarrassed when he came to the clubhouse the next day. Thing is, he’s not sure he sees that same embarrassment in all the faces of players he sees after games and in the days after.

    Hey Silva, you are one of the players that sucks. STFU.

  105. dlb on May 24th, 2008 5:23 pm

    “…he’s on the verge of doing it.”

    Uhhh that pretty much sums up leadership right there. You wait until things get this bad and then you may or may not talk to some of your teammmates. Gritty veteran leadership. LOVE IT.

  106. jlc on May 24th, 2008 5:23 pm

    Well, clearly Washburn is what the Mariners are looking for. He knew that Kenji was ruining his games and did something about it.

    Yeah, great process to build on.

  107. Joe on May 24th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Bavasi isn’t the only one who insists that ‘everyone said we’d be good’ — because the talking heads and big media columnists said it back before the season, it must be true — so it gets repeated on the radio all the time

    Right, it’s the echo chamber effect. The extent of the analysis is — hey, they won 88 last year, they added Bedard and only gave up prospects and a guy I never heard of, plus Guillen… put them down for 93 and the Division, or second if the Angels do really well. And somebody else does the same thing, or thinks the first guy sounds reasonable, and he happens to be on the radio or have a national column, and pretty soon everybody else thinks that sounds reasonable too. All on 30 seconds of “analysis” and zero critical thinking. Meanwhile, all the people who actually sit down and add up the numbers — and get derided for doing exactly that sort of thing — come up with a much lower win total. And it was indeed all the people — not just a couple of guys in their parents’ basements with a blog; oh no, as Dave notes this was everybody who actually looks at the stats and thinks about comparables and age-related declines and old player skills and quantifiable defense and pitching tendencies — “esoteric” things that turn out to matter, and happen to get used by smart front offices in cities like Oakland and Cleveland and Tampa and Boston — all the “quant” types looked at Seattle and independently crunched the numbers and estimates and said “You know what? This isn’t a very good team. They played over their head last year, and they’re not likely to do that again, and even if they do it’s still not a very good team.” It certainly wasn’t “one big trade” away from contending.

    But hey, sure they were right, but so what? Just this week a national columnist gave Bavasi a “B” grade for the Bedard trade (the Orioles, with their new closer who, with 17 saves in 19 chances, already has saved more games in half as many chances as their closer last year, gets a B+).

  108. scraps on May 24th, 2008 5:30 pm

    Guillen did not play a “fine right field,” and letting him go was not one of Bavasi’s mistakes.

  109. Ollie in Raleigh on May 24th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Great post. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  110. Gomez on May 24th, 2008 5:41 pm

    So… I’m guessing Bavasi will not be making an appearance at this year’s LL/USSM event.

  111. JMHawkins on May 24th, 2008 5:54 pm

    Well, clearly Washburn is what the Mariners are looking for. He knew that Kenji was ruining his games and did something about it.

    Of all the guys struggling on the team, there are really only four who’s struggles are easier to explain by “chemistry” than by talent: Felix, Lopez, Betancourt, and Johjmia.

    Felix should be better than he is, but it seems like his pitch selection remains awful with an over-reliance on the FB. I doubt that’s Johjima’s fault – I think it’s the organizational philosophy about “establishing the fastball” and an inability of the club to teach him how to mix his pitches. You can’t teach stuff like Felix has, but you can sure as hell teach how to use pitch selection to get the most out of your stuff, and the M’s don’t seem to be doing that.

    Lopez and Betancourt, I don’t know. Their defense has gone to hell with lots of mental mistakes. They really don’t seem to be playing up to their potential. If there’s a place for a “clubhouse leader” to make an impact, it’s by getting these guys to focus. But what kind of message does it send when the club brings in Cairo to push you for your job? What kind of message does it send guys in their early 20′s when veterans are allowed to struggle for multiple seasons while “kids” like Clement and Baek are shipped out if they don’t produce immediately.

    Johjima: his offense has gone to hell, and he’s too young (even for a catcher) to fall off a cliff this badly. D’ya suppose all the carping he’s getting from the pitching staff is distracting him? The carping that the teams’ management seems happy to indulge? If I was looking for ugga-boooga hurting Johjima, I’d start there. The team just signed him to a long contract – tell the pitchers to put a cork in it.

    Lack of talent explains most of the struggles this team is having, but to the extent bad chemistry is making it worse, I can’t blame the players. Management praises Ibanez for hiding an injury. Management allows a replacement level pitcher to badmouth the catcher they just signed to a long-term deal. Management sets the veteran-entitlement tone and wonders why young players struggle to improve, looking over their shoulder for some greybeard waiting to take their jobs.

  112. terry on May 24th, 2008 6:21 pm

    Dave,
    I’d propose giving you a shot at GM, just like people are calling for that ESPN sportswriter as GM of the Milwaukee Bucks. It’d be interesting to see how it turns out. Couldn’t be worse, could be exceptional.

    I don’t think that Dave has any illusions that he could successfully run the Ms. To me his point in this thread is that it’s sad that Bavasi has planted his head in the sand so far regarding the mountains of research piling up that there are passionate members of the blogoshpere who understand how to value players better than Bavasi-which is not an insignificant part of Bavasi’s job description.

    It’s not about Dave or USSM being brilliant (though I’ve learned a ton through the authors’ efforts). It’s that there is absolutely no reason Bavasi can’t understand these principles if passionate hobbyists outside of the industry can grasp them. In other words, Bavasi’s refusal to consider saber principles is reckless to such a degree that he should be considered incompetent.

    Or perhaps another way to rephrase the point-Bavasi is soooooo bad at this portion of his job in many cases through willful ignorance that it doesn’t matter how golden he is at performing the other functions associated with GMing the Ms…

    It’s not that USSM is the ultimate truth. It’s that USSM’s existance is an indictment of Bavasi’s job performance.

  113. terry on May 24th, 2008 6:29 pm

    It’s Bavasi’s inability to learn from his own mistakes that underlies his incompetence.

    It’s his apparent unwillingness to consider new ideas (i.e. sabermetric-derived ones in particular) that largely underlies his inability to learn from his own mistakes.

    Incompetent people should be fired.

  114. skipj on May 24th, 2008 6:35 pm

    Speaking of greybeards… as one on this site, may I quote Les Dudek (Great guitar player and singer from the late seventies), from the fade out on his hit, ( Old Judge Jones), which perfectly captures my feelings at this point:

    ‘GODDAMN
    GODDAMN
    GODDAMN
    GODDAMN
    GODDAMN!’

  115. TheEmrys on May 24th, 2008 7:05 pm

    Learn more about baseball than a blogger who lives 2,500 miles from Safeco Field and covers the team as a freaking hobby. I shouldn’t know more about how to build a baseball team than you, but I do, and that’s why you and your entire staff deserve to be fired.

    In all fairness Dave, I think that are only five people out there that know how to build a baseball team better than you.

  116. Joe on May 24th, 2008 7:08 pm

    So… I’m guessing Bavasi will not be making an appearance at this year’s LL/USSM event.

    No, because hopefully the M’s GM will be attending instead.

  117. Gomez on May 24th, 2008 7:16 pm

    The Mariners do not fire GMs in mid-season.

  118. joser on May 24th, 2008 7:22 pm

    Dave has always been very honest about this: a GM’s job requires a lot of different characteristics, and the proper evaluation of talent — while necessary, even crucial, and certainly the most publicly obvious — is just one of them. By itself it’s not sufficient. Bavasi in fact excels in some of those other areas (and arguably that’s the only reason he still has his job). DePodesta’s short time with the Dodgers illustrates this (to some extent). Dave would make an awesome assistant GM, or assistant to the GM… assuming the GM actually paid attention to him. In fact, Bavasi has such a person on staff — Mat Olkin — and, well, I think you can judge for yourself how much use Bavasi makes of him.

  119. thefin190 on May 24th, 2008 7:23 pm

    118 – Dave Cameron: Assistant to the General Manager

  120. Joe on May 24th, 2008 7:23 pm

    The Mariners do not fire GMs in mid-season.

    I don’t see how that should stop me from making a joke. Or a wish.

  121. John in L.A. on May 24th, 2008 7:33 pm

    sidroo Says:

    No one predicted this collapse. It’s as far from what Dave predicted as a 100-win season. I-told-you-so’s aren’t really fair or honest. It’s frustrating to watch for any of us.

    That’s a bunch of nonsense.

    For one, no one is saying “I told you so.” That is a ridiculous characterization of this post.

    Second, Who cares how far from a hundred wins it is? Bavasi said everyone thought we would be good… which is a lie.

    And whatever you think of the internet in general and this site in particular it has to be counted among “everyone,” when talking about this team.

    “Not fair or honest…” – what a bunch of crap.

  122. John in L.A. on May 24th, 2008 7:42 pm

    Dave is being too modest. He could do the job if it was given to him. He would simply need to surround himself with the right advisors.

    What Bavasi (or Mac) does, doesn’t require inherent athletic ability or inborn talent… it’s not the same thing as thinking someone could be a prizefighter or a second baseman.

    Bavasi has a job that a smart, reasonably personable person could do, provided they spent enough energy preparing for it.

    Same is true for any number of other jobs. If Dave wanted to be a movie director or a wedding director , he could do that, too.

  123. DMZ on May 24th, 2008 7:43 pm

    In fact, Bavasi has such a person on staff — Mat Olkin — and, well, I think you can judge for yourself how much use Bavasi makes of him.

    Olkin wasn’t on staff, he was a consultant: the M’s would go to him with questions, like “here’s a list of prospects we’re looking at for no good reason, what do you think?”

    He didn’t participate in larger discussions.

    Moreover, I don’t believe he’s still consulting for the team.

  124. John in L.A. on May 24th, 2008 7:57 pm

    Also, Bavasi used the word nerve in that quote and guts in the other article – both intentionally insulting words. He is lashing out. Dave has every right to be pissed, I am.

    I use this as an example, not as a political point, because the views themselves are irrelevant… but a while back, the current president’s administration had a talking point that was basically: “Hey, who could possibly have known that Iraq would turn out to be the mess that it has become… all this criticism is just monday morning quarterbacking.”

    They KNOW, as does Bavasi, that other people DID know better… but pretending no one did, they can try to deflect blame away from where it belongs… and that is infuriating. Both because it impedes accountability and because it dismisses everyone who tried to stop the disaster before it started.

    Screw all of them.

  125. BillyJive on May 24th, 2008 8:02 pm

    What worries me the most is that I think the whole organization thinks like Bavasi
    This a quote from Raul Ibanez about the team’s struggles…

    Left fielder Raul Ibanez had a slightly different take, saying there are veteran players speaking out.

    “I know there are guys that get pulled aside in here when one of the veteran guys sees it necessary,” Ibanez said. “I can tell you from first-hand experience that it does happen. I think everybody is doing the best they can, there’s no question about that. It’s not a lack of effort. Everyone in here is busting their tails, doing everything in their power to get this turned around.

    “Nobody’s suffering more than the guys in this room and the guys out on that field. I believe we’re the ones suffering the most.”

    Hmmm….ya sure..and it shows by how team is responding on the field…
    No one is suffering more than these poor millionaires…Certainly not us, the fans….

    *cringe*

  126. Tom on May 24th, 2008 8:13 pm

    #91:

    Well, if the Mariners ownership doesn’t want to fire anybody after this season, then they can expect people to stop watching and buying tickets. That solves that problem.

    If the Mariners want to run the team like a corporation, fine. I may just root for another baseball team because I root for baseball teams, not corporations.

  127. Tom on May 24th, 2008 8:17 pm

    C’mon, everybody sing!

    “Always look on the bright side of the life. . .”

  128. scraps on May 24th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Jeez, the “millionaires” dismissal again: the word people pull out when they want to disregard anything an athlete says. I think you’re showing a real lack of perspective, BillyJive, if you don’t think most (at least) of the players are suffering more than the fans. For us, it’s a passion, a supplement to our lives. For them, it is their lives. They’re living with losing, every day. I’m not saying you should feel sorry for them — before you throw that one out there, too — just don’t fool yourself that you feel worse than they do. For us, it’s frustration. For them, what they are right now is failures. Yeah, yeah, they have the money, I’m sure that takes the edge off the suffering. But if you’re going to demand that kind of honest perspective from them, turn it around on yourself: how much are you really suffering? How much is this actually making your life worse?

    I have problems with Ibanez, but that quote looks heartfelt to me — and a lot more honest than Bavasi’s quote — and I don’t have a problem with it.

  129. Tom on May 24th, 2008 8:20 pm

    Mariners Baseball:

    “The Mojo’s Sinkin’” or “We Have Hit The Iceberg, Women and Children First!”

  130. BillyJive on May 24th, 2008 8:25 pm

    Well I think there are some long-time (since 1977) die-hard fans here that would argue those points with you. These Mariners are currently suffering through a losing season. Some of us have suffered through way too many!

    I just hate hearing someone who is being paid millions of dollars and not doing their job very well to tell us how much they are ‘suffering’…but that’s just me…

    and for the record I respect Raul as a hitter…maybe not so much as our full-time LF…

  131. scraps on May 24th, 2008 8:32 pm

    He’s defending himself and the team from Bavasi’s crap — and no doubt he knows what a lot of fans think, too. He’s saying they’re trying. I believe that. But then I believed they weren’t good going in to the season.

    I’ve been a fan since 1977. I hate the losing seasons. I’m sure the players hate it more than I do. If I thought for a minute that I cared as much as most players do, I would think I was in way too deep. Cheering for my team, sure; being happy and sad and angry at their fortunes, yes; but suffering, suffering like someone for whom it’s the center of his life? Shouldn’t I have my own life center, things that I do, things that I suffer for if I fail? The players are not supposed to be surrogates for my own self-worth.

    And if you really resent the millions of sollars they make, and think it no longer entitles them to suffer when they fail at what they do, you’re free to stop contributing your share. I sincerely don’t understand people the issue with the players making that money. We all pay it; where should the money go? I never thought I was buying their humanity, personally.

  132. BillyJive on May 24th, 2008 8:57 pm

    I don’t have a problem with the players making the kind of money that they do…as long as they earn it…
    And, believe me, this season I’m not contributing a cent to this team unless I see some improvement..and fast

    And while Ibanez may be trying to defend himself from Bavasi’s crap not all the players are..and I quote…

    “I think [Bavasi's] right,” Carlos Silva said after Saturday’s start against the Yankees. “I don’t want to say anything negative. … I’m not going to point fingers at anybody. If people played hard no matter what, you’re going to see a different game. If you strike out or miss a play and you keep playing the game, you’re going to see a different game.

  133. JMHawkins on May 24th, 2008 9:18 pm

    Well, if the Mariners ownership doesn’t want to fire anybody after this season, then they can expect people to stop watching and buying tickets. That solves that problem.

    Customers. If we ignore them long enough, maybe they’ll stop bothering us…

  134. BillyJive on May 24th, 2008 9:20 pm

    Well at least they can’t threaten to move the team to Tampa Bay to get us to go to the games…

  135. Tom on May 24th, 2008 10:20 pm

    #134: And thank god for that.

  136. msb on May 24th, 2008 10:53 pm

    Guillen did not play a “fine right field,” and letting him go was not one of Bavasi’s mistakes.

    and it’s amazing how many guys on the radio, or calling in, are sure that if Guillen were still on the team the losing streaks would stop.

    Olkin wasn’t on staff, he was a consultant … Moreover, I don’t believe he’s still consulting for the team.

    yup, Churchill said earlier in the thread that he wasn’t

    I have problems with Ibanez, but that quote looks heartfelt to me — and a lot more honest than Bavasi’s quote

    well, FWIW, Bavasi said to Drayer this morning:

    “When asked about consequences he replied, “Our failure right now is painful enough. I’m not sure what consequence is worse than having to go through what we are going through right now. If this doesn’t kill you, nothing will. If this isn’t enough pain I’m not sure what is.””

  137. bavasihaspictures on May 24th, 2008 10:54 pm

    “Our performance is not related to his work.”- Oh-Mah-Gawd. Drowing…in….irony. What’s really funny about that statement is that it could apply to a helluva-lot of people in this organization.

  138. PADJ on May 24th, 2008 11:01 pm

    It’s difficult to describe what’s going on with the M’s without using the word “cluster.” We have Silva who is “on the verge” of speaking up and we have Ibanez who claims it’s already happening, all at the same time as Bavasi says no one on the team is capable of doing so.

    When asked in an interview about his team’s performance, Bavasi goes into “he started it” mode by bringing up that “no one” picked them to be less than second in their division (translated: I’m not stupid…see?…they though we’d be good too.”) The problem with that logic, of course, is that Bavasi is supposed to KNOW what’s good and what isn’t, whereas all the “experts” are paid to give opinions.

    I found the Mariners frustrating last year. I got tired of that “WTF?” look on McLaren’s face during in game shots. Then the off season where we got “our guy” in Bedard. And I know that we could end up somewhere around the .500 mark plus or minus by year end. But the past week or so of just being flat out embarassed game after game has brought it all to a new level.

    Ummm…note to Bavasi…when a player has a performance problem it’s pretty simple to figure out who it is and point him out. When no one has a clue what the problem is and how to fix it, it’s probably because the problem extends beyond the field and into the FO and management/ownership. Quit pointing elsewhere and look in the mirror.

  139. jephdood on May 24th, 2008 11:07 pm

    Man, if I had the money, I would take out a FULL PAGE ad in The Times/P.I. and run Dave’s post (with permission, of course). Seriously, can we maybe get some donations together? I want to do SOMETHING.

  140. PADJ on May 24th, 2008 11:31 pm

    I mean really Bill…

    “This is…purely related to player performance and underperformance and underachievement.”

    Really? A collapse of pitching and hitting at the same time is because of player problems? Who decided to bring these “slackers” onto the team anyway Bill?

    “Nobody had the nerve to pick us less than second place in our division. We were picked anything from first to second to wild-card. You name it.”

    Who cares? It doesn’t matter what you were picked to do. It matters what you actually accomplish. Quit confusing the issue by trying to spread the blame.

    “The expectations were a heck of a lot higher than this, based on any analysts’ evaluation of out players’ individual track records and their age. Their ages are such that they’re not all young guys that they’re inexperienced. But they’re not too old to believe that they would backslide. So, I think those expectations are realistic. They were and they are.”

    It’s comforting to hear that the expectations were higher than this. One could argue that the expectations aren’t high enough anyway. But, again, quit confusing the issue. “Any” analyst should be looking at the overall sum total of the team and not basing things on their individual past history and age.

    This is sad.

  141. tomas on May 25th, 2008 12:08 am

    The only reason that everyone at the top is backing each other right now (I don’t think it’s the dreaded vote of confidence) is that the core of the rotten apple is being exposed. They know that if one of them goes, it’ll have to be all of them, and what are the odds of that? Not good. Even a Bavasi firing isn’t going to be enough. Mac is probably the least culpable of the lot.

    Bavasi needs to go, and Howie and Chuckie need to go, or if they don’t, at least get the hell outta the way. Admit that you should be in a courtroom legally ripping off people and not ruining a baseball team.

  142. tomas on May 25th, 2008 12:24 am

    At some point, I have a feeling the M’s FO board meeting was like that Directv commercial parody of a Comcast board meeting:

    “We need new customers! The ones we have are all calling in and complaining!”

    “I know! We’ll make funny commercials and bobbleheads! Install a swingset! Screw those baseball fans, we’ll get women and children. They won’t complain.”

  143. SABRcat on May 25th, 2008 1:12 am

    Well, as others have stated, being a GM means a lot of advisers and delegation. It is just like any other head of an organization, makes decisions, but does not do all the research and stuff by themselves. I think Dave has a pretty good grasp on not only evaluation, but contract worth, fan relations, the media, and more. And as long as he can find people to surround himself with, he’d do spectacular. As a comparison, I would vote for a mentally retarded person for president, provided their cabinet and advisers were the BEST ever. For heads of organizations, the ability to create the organizations’ structure is more important than individual ability. There is always someone more expert at stuff.

    Besides, the argument of his not having done it before so he couldn’t be good is ridiculous. Just because it hasn’t been done means nothing. I’ve never raced a car on a track, but I’m pretty sure I’d do fairly well with it, I know my talents with cars. Dave knows his talents and limitations in baseball. As does many others I’m sure. But the fact that he found a group of friends to make this blog, them being accurate in many respects, and getting a large fan base (including partnerships of sorts with other blogs), speaks volumes about his skill, and others. DMZ is the same to me. While they write differently and have differing viewpoints at times, they both know their ish.

  144. scraps on May 25th, 2008 5:29 am

    BillyJive, I’m not impressed with Silva taking Bavasi’s party line. Here’s the difference to me between what Ibanez said and what Silva said: Ibanez is playing well — or at least hitting well — and he’s not looking for anyone to blame. Silva’s stinking up the joint, and he’s read to point the finger at other people (just like Bavasi).

  145. scraps on May 25th, 2008 5:30 am

    BillyJive, I’m not impressed with Silva taking Bavasi’s party line. Here’s the difference to me between what Ibanez said and what Silva said: Ibanez is playing well — or at least hitting well — and he’s not looking for anyone to blame. Silva’s stinking up the joint, and he’s ready to point the finger at other people (just like Bavasi).

  146. scraps on May 25th, 2008 5:32 am

    (Augh, sorry about the duplication. First one had a typo, and I thought I’d stopped it in time.)

  147. edgar for mayor on May 25th, 2008 8:29 am

    We’re looking for the players to step up and play like they can, not like they want to…

    My favorite line.
    That one really just pisses me off. The Players want to win even more than you do Bill. Don’t sit here and tell us the the players are actually not trying to play their best…ugh MORON!

  148. badtad on May 26th, 2008 11:51 am

    thank you for being “blissfully real” we have been screaming at bavasi and his piss poor evaluation of talent and what the team really needs…..For the last 4 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BAVASI HAS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  149. badtad on May 26th, 2008 11:56 am

    And while were at it get rid of the way over the hill and dreadfully wrong 90% of the time…..NEEHOUSE…he is as bad or worse than the team and Bill…..

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