Our pitch to Antonetti

DMZ · June 16, 2008 at 5:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’d like to encourage you to interview for the Mariner job, if you’re contacted. It’s a great gig, one of the best in baseball, and here’s why.

First, Seattle. It’s a great place to live. And unlike, say, New York, no one is going to throw rotten vegetables at you if they see you on the street after the team’s lost three in a row. No one even carries rotten vegetables around, that’s how nice people are. You can pick your neighborhood — and we’ll be happy to help you out with that — and you’ll be in walking distance of everything you might want. Our restaurants can go up against any other city in the country’s for quality, and the beer selection — if you haven’t been here, you’ll be shocked. We picket restaurants that don’t have at least two really good beers on tap.

I’ll let you in on a secret: the whole rain thing is something we spread to try and keep people from moving here. It’s a big conspiracy. The winters aren’t good, I’m not going to lie, but the summers are amazingly nice. Right now the sun is out, it’s seventy degrees with a little bit of a breeze, and it’s not too dry and it’s certainly not too muggy.

You get to enjoy perfect baseball days in a great baseball stadium all summer long. This is the place to be.

Second, you have a huge payroll to play with, and a lot of money coming off the books. If you want to go scrap-heap shopping next year, you can buy the scrap heap entirely. You can put out the best NRI package this off-season, pursue all your favorite minor league free agents and injury rehab picks. You can sign a new middle infield. Whatever way you want to go with the major league team, you’ve got the resources and flexibility to do it. You could to patch a winning team together next year, without having to wait out a long rebuilding cycle.

Third, the organization has a lot to support a new GM in rebuilding besides payroll: their international scouting organization is outstanding and has money to spend, the team has deep roots in Latin America and does well recruiting there, and while the amateur scouting side’s future may be uncertain right now, it’s made remarkable strides in the last few years.

Fourth, you don’t have to deal with the kind of media scrutiny you do in larger and east coast markets. We’ve got two papers in Seattle, though maybe not for long, a sports talk radio station that seems to be moving off local content, and that’s about it for media coverage of the team. National columnists pay about 10% as much attention to the Mariners compared to a comparable team on the other coast unless they’re contending.

And the print press here doesn’t include anyone who’ll be trying to sink knives into you from your first day. The beat reporters are high-quality, and the columnists include Art Thiel and Larry Stone. You’ll be able to explain what’s going on without having to worry about seeing twenty column inches misrepresenting you the next day, poisoning your relationship with the fan base.

Speaking of the fans, that’s five — look how many fans turn up now to see the worst team in baseball play another wretched team. They’re mad and disappointed, certainly, but they’re still coming out. The town wants to see the team succeed, and they’ve come out in droves when they’re competitive. The M’s have already avoided the kind of attendance drop the Indians saw, and given some realistic chance at hope — and again, next year’s a huge opportunity — they’ll be back cheering like crazy.

Moreover, there’s a huge contingent of smart fans here who know what you’re about and will be spreading the good word. The two biggest blogs, for instance (that’s us and Lookout Landing), have spent years trying to grow an educated, savvy fan base that can recognize good and bad moves, and debate moves reasonably (except Ichiro… don’t trade Ichiro, or think about trading Ichiro… trust me, all the guarantees are off in that case). You have, for want of a better analogy, a support network in place. If you want to talk about how you went after pitcher X because you thought they’d pitched better than their ERA and W-L record would indicate, people will be interested and listen. The groundwork’s been laid.

Which gets me to six — I don’t know what kind of technology the M’s have at their fingers, but they certainly don’t have the kind of stuff you’re used to in Cleveland. But you can build that, and fast. We’ve got thousands of readers who work at tech firms: when you start cranking that effort up, you will find yourself saturated in resumes from some of the best and brightest people out of an outstanding talent pool. I’ll help if you want. The only better place to try and start a project like this might be the Bay. The M’s are in a great position to be the smartest team about using technology to win in the major leagues within a few years.

Seven: we have Ichiro! You get to see Ichiro! play every day. You may have to just take our word on this: he’s unique and wonderful, and it’s a joy to get to see him at work.

Eight: the turnaround is not so hard. This team is worst in the league. You won’t have to do much in the second season to improve hugely, so you can look more than a year out. In a four-team division, even with the Angels and Athletics, getting a division title is reachable in the first few years. You’re not facing off against the Yankees and Red Sox, or even the Tigers and White Sox — though with the new A’s stadium, we’ll get there. But you only have to get past three teams to win a playoff berth. You can do that.

That’s the pitch: it’s a great city, it’s a great job, you’re set up for success, and we’d love to have you. Come on over.

Comments

47 Responses to “Our pitch to Antonetti”

  1. DMZ on June 16th, 2008 5:25 pm

    In commenting, I’d like to just remind everyone that this is a post pitching the job to Chris, and not, say, a good spot to discuss his chances of getting the job. Or other GM candidates. And so on. Pretty much anything that doesn’t add to this pitch.

    I’ll be moderating without the usual []s in this comment thread.

  2. OppositeField on June 16th, 2008 5:28 pm

    Great pitch. I’m going to treat this like a petition, and sign it.

    Wholeheartedly endorsing Antonetti for new Mariners GM,

    Jack
    Seattle native and resident for 23 years.

  3. jlc on June 16th, 2008 5:32 pm

    I endorse everything said, and add that the Mariners have an enthusiastic regional fan base, and there are lots of us in Oregon, Canada, Alaska, and Idaho (not to mention Japan) that are equally as polite, but just as enthusiastic, as the Seattle folk.

  4. Spanky on June 16th, 2008 5:35 pm

    Derek…I think you need to add to the Ownership point that this ownership group is not a meddlesome group. They allow you to do your job and for the most part, stay out of your way.

  5. BillH on June 16th, 2008 5:36 pm

    I’ll just add the fact that we have Felix Hernandez, one of the most talented young pitchers to come around in a long time. His numbers to this point in his career are astounding and with the right leadership at the top of the organization, he’ll want to be a Mariner long term.

  6. smb on June 16th, 2008 5:39 pm

    Not to mention it is virtually impossible to get fired for performance (see exhibit: BB). You would have to basically do worse than terrible to get canned. Job security!

  7. SequimRealEstate on June 16th, 2008 5:42 pm

    Welcome to Seattle. You will love it here. I use to fly from Anchorage, AK for a week end just to watch the Mariners. Their 95 team got me back into baseball. I know you will be able to create a competitive team and eventually get us to the WS.

    Greg Bentz

  8. Christian on June 16th, 2008 5:44 pm

    I’ll sign this petition as well. Come join us Antonetti!

  9. Jeff Nye on June 16th, 2008 5:46 pm

    I’ll shine your shoes on a daily basis if you come here, Mr. Antonetti.

  10. BringUpBalentien on June 16th, 2008 5:50 pm

    ESPN radio did a father’s day sports wish thing on sunday. I know what my wish would be how about it Antonetti?

  11. jro on June 16th, 2008 6:00 pm

    Chris – you really can have a blank slate and an impressive checkbook here. And the technology guys will bust their humps to put you in position to win. I’ll start coding tonight if it will help.

  12. Bender on June 16th, 2008 6:09 pm

    Dear Mr. Antonetti,
    Most of the salient points have been covered above, but I would just like to add that if you do come here, and you put together any semblance of a winning team you will earn the eternal gratitude of the entire region.

    We want so badly to have a team we can love that even getting us back in to contention will make you our savior and will practically guarantee you a godlike status in Seattle indefinitely.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this,
    Bender.

  13. Jeff Nye on June 16th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Aside from the shoe-shining comment, though:

    This seriously is going to be probably the best opportunity available to you in the near future, and it will give you a lot more opportunity to excel than anything Cleveland could offer you, for the reasons Derek so aptly mentions.

    You’re a smart enough guy to not be fooled by the superficial things like the team’s recent record and current levels of fan apathy; all of the necessary pieces are in place for you to succeed. We just need the right man to helm the ship.

    Antonetti in ’09 (or in ’08!).

  14. MattThompson on June 16th, 2008 6:26 pm

    A hearty ‘Amen!’ to all of Derek’s excellent points. Chris, you have every opportunity to win the undying affection of the entire Pacific Northwest. This is a great franchise whose problems you can fix, with the support of a loyal fanbase.

  15. Mere Tantalisers on June 16th, 2008 6:27 pm

    This has been mentioned, and relates to the payroll point, but the principal owner seems to be pretty hands off, aside from an occasional (allegedly) mandated catcher contract. Which is so, so much better than so many other teams’ owners.

  16. NBarnes on June 16th, 2008 6:28 pm

    Also, with the way Safeco Field plays, you can sign mediocre right-handers with flyball tendencies to cheap, one-year contracts, let them have a career year as home runs die unloved in Safeco’s left field, and then let them walk and collect your draft picks. What could be more fun than that?

  17. julian on June 16th, 2008 6:28 pm

    I will be graduating with a PhD in statistics around this time next year. I thought I was pretty set on academia, but the prospect of a Mariners front office hiring people to do serious quantitative analysis got me really excited (and thinking about alternate career trajectories…).

    Mr. Antonetti, make it happen!

  18. justinh on June 16th, 2008 6:31 pm

    Chris,

    Perfect timing for you here. You will have the resources at your disposal to right the ship. We have a great fan base who are learning the game. Interest is still high. We have some good young talent locked in and some bad, washed-up talent coming off the books. This is a dream job. Seattle will embrace you and welcome you with open arms. Take the leap and move west young man!

    Mariner Season Ticket Holder,

    JH

  19. scraps on June 16th, 2008 6:35 pm

    Mr. Antonetti, the people of Seattle have been starving for a championship — in any sport — since 1979. I doubt there is any market this large that has been dry this long. The resources are certainly here, and the gratitude could not be matched anywhere else.

    Also: it really is gorgeous. Real mountains on both horizons, and the ocean, and so much beautiful plant life that you never forget that the city is built on the earth and exists at the sufferance of Nature.

    Please: consider it.

  20. beckya57 on June 16th, 2008 6:37 pm

    Please come, Mr. Antonetti. I love baseball as a game even more than I love any particular team, and I desperately want to be able to watch good baseball again. Please come and give that back to us. We miss it.

  21. Tom in Edmonds on June 16th, 2008 6:42 pm

    “I’ll let you in on a secret: the whole rain thing is something we spread to try and keep people from moving here. It’s a big conspiracy. The winters aren’t good, I’m not going to lie, but the summers are amazingly nice. Right now the sun is out, it’s seventy degrees with a little bit of a breeze, and it’s not too dry and it’s certainly not too muggy.”

    Now you’ve done it… It will snow on July 5th!

    However we do love baseball and need all the quality help we can get!!!

  22. NickBob on June 16th, 2008 6:55 pm

    Chris, the Northwest is a great place for those that approach old problems in new ways, and someone with your background would be warmly welcomed by the fans and the greater commmunity. That community includes one of the highest concentrations of million and billionaires in the country, with the investment opportunities that implies. And they play golf on some very lovely courses. Your family would have a wealth of choices for neighborhoods and education. Really, you’re going to have to look hard for downsides to coming here. Get yourself a big hat and toss it into the ring!

  23. mark s on June 16th, 2008 6:57 pm

    Mr. Antonetti, I will help you move in.
    Seriously.

    Mark Sobba

  24. tgf on June 16th, 2008 7:25 pm

    Also, w/r/t Derek’s comment about the two biggest blogs, as a reader it’s safe to say that you would have huge support among the more rabid portion of the fan base. I’m thinking mostly of personnel moves you might need to make to revamp the roster, (purging some of the highly paid the vets with name recognition) which are sometimes not well received when a new GM does what needs to be done.

  25. M for Life on June 16th, 2008 7:41 pm

    First time on this blog. Came over just to sign this petition. You will not regret your decision to come to Seattle, Mr. Antonetti.

    From SE Washington

  26. HerseyChris on June 16th, 2008 7:50 pm

    Great writeup Zumsteg. One tiny complaint. I love the winters here. They’re rainy sure, but there’s no snow, and it’s not freezing. I’ve been through winters in Boston, St. Louis, and Chicago, and I think the winters here are the best. Too much snow means you get slushy pants and mud and stuff gets tracked inside. In Seattle, I can run outside with shorts on during the winter, I can go outside without gloves! And if I did want snow, there are TONS of great ski mountains nearby. It’s the most fantastic place in the world to live, hands down.
    Also, Antonetti ’08, things will get better! There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

  27. RoscoJW on June 16th, 2008 7:56 pm

    I’m a new member to this site, but I’ve been reading USS Mariner for at least a year. I couldn’t stand by silently anymore. I’d just like to second all that’s been said and sign the dotted line in support for Mr. Antonetti as our beloved GM.

  28. terry on June 16th, 2008 7:56 pm

    My contribution:

    Fresh salmon on the grill…..better than chocolate and healthier too….

  29. Omerta on June 16th, 2008 8:03 pm

    Mr. Antonetti, after all of the wonderful things I’ve heard about you from this very blog, I’d be honored to have you as the new general manager of the Seattle Mariners. Please help us to achieve sports greatness in the Pacific Northwest. You will be forever loved if you do.

    Great write-up Derek, one of my favorites you’ve done here.

  30. dcg on June 16th, 2008 8:07 pm

    Long time fan of this site. First time posting for Mr. Antonetti. I fully support your coming to Seattle and would continue my season tickets in 2009 if you are on board.

  31. NBarnes on June 16th, 2008 8:10 pm

    Seattle has killer seafood. Absolutely one of the reasons to live here.

  32. Wolfman on June 16th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Mr. Antonetti, we’d obviously be thrilled to have you here. Think what you could do with a $120 million budget!

    I ditto all the comments on how fantastic a city Seattle is. It’s absolutely awesome! You’d love it here and we’d love having you!

  33. jbarr08 on June 16th, 2008 8:47 pm

    Mr. Antonetti,

    I can’t bring anything else to the table, other than what has been brought prior to my post. I just wanted to add my (digital) signature to the many piling up here in support of you coming and righting the ship. Please, give us a shot.

    Jason Barr

  34. Sentinel on June 16th, 2008 8:51 pm

    In keeping with the petition idea, I add my signature. When I came home from a four-day trip to Nevada (I live in Tonasket, Washington and spent the last four days completely detached from any form of news), I saw everything that just happened. After spending hours on the phone and internet getting as much information as I could, I am ready to say…

    Chris Antonetti for Seattle GM in ’09!

    Sincerely,

    Jeff P.
    M’s fan since 1988

  35. SCL on June 16th, 2008 9:06 pm

    In addition, I have lived in New York City for 14 years and I dread their frigid sloppy winters and hot/humid summers. You will like it here in the Northwest.

  36. drjeff on June 16th, 2008 9:33 pm

    I’ll bring a carload of Portlanders up for games!

    And, the winters aren’t THAT bad. The winters are why we have all these great coffee shops, bookstores, and theaters.

    And, uh, beer!

    C’mon up. You’ll love the northwest!

  37. metz123 on June 16th, 2008 9:35 pm

    And Chris, you’ll only have to compete with the Seahawks for the sporting dollar very soon. The Seahawks draw from a very different fan base than the Mariners so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    You also have the best gateway to the far eastern market and the outright #1 baseball franchise for a 4 state region (Wa, Or, Id, AK). You’ll have all the resources you need to build a winning franchise.

  38. metz123 on June 16th, 2008 9:37 pm

    Oh yeah…the winters here are great. It’s the Spring that stinks. However, Mr Antonetti will be very busy in Arizona at that time.

  39. RaoulDuke37 on June 16th, 2008 9:46 pm

    Chris,

    There are a lot of enlightened, amazing, devoted fans that follow this team. We look forward to seeing you mold this franchise into a perennial contender.

    - RaoulDuke37

  40. killer_ewok18 on June 16th, 2008 9:50 pm

    Mr. Antonetti,

    Right now, the only problem with Seattle is the baseball team. And that’s why we need you.

    -Alex Ferri

  41. JerBear on June 16th, 2008 10:00 pm

    Mr. Antonetti,

    I’m a NW native (not Seattle, but Coeur d’Alene) and I currently live in San Diego – land of eternal summer and beautiful everything. That said, given the choice, I would still choose to live in Seattle. That’s how great it is. They, the team, really need you. And we, the fans, will really love you. Come on in, Mr. Antonetti, the water is fine.

    Jerry Allen

  42. Carson on June 16th, 2008 10:10 pm

    I really don’t think there is a better candidate out there than Chris Antonetti. He has helped build probably the best top to bottom organization in baseball.

    It might not be easy. In fact, you may have to really convince these old school thinkers that a fresh outlook is was Seattle needs. But, just like I am convinced you are the man for the job, I am convinced you can show them the light, Mr. Antonetti.

    Please. Join us!

  43. bergamot on June 16th, 2008 10:14 pm

    Dear Mr. Antonetti,

    I attended Joe Namath’s final game. I attended Nolan Ryan’s final game. I attended Don Mattingly’s final game. Yesterday, I attended Bill Bavasi’s final game. If you take the GM job in Seattle, I promise never to attend another game, and you’ll have the job for life.

    Your pal, Eric.

    PS. Ask Ichiro why you don’t want to live in Cleveland.

  44. Hernandez on June 16th, 2008 10:53 pm

    Dear Mr. Antonetti,

    All of this hooplah about the bad weather is just a trick we use to keep the undesirables away. You will be welcomed with open arms and a pleasant temperate climate. If you come to Seattle I will personally purchase you a Dick’s Deluxe for every home win.

    Sincerely,
    Hernandez

  45. Benne on June 16th, 2008 11:04 pm

    Mr. Antonetti,

    I can only echo the sentiments shared by Derek and his commenters here. You will have every chance to succeed here, and it’s a decision you will not regret.

    Take the leap, Chris. Put Seattle back on the baseball map. Make us proud of our team again.

    Sincerely,
    Jon Benne

  46. ConorGlassey on June 16th, 2008 11:23 pm

    Reason 9: Stephen Strasburg

  47. Colm on June 16th, 2008 11:33 pm

    Dear Mr. Antonetti

    I’m not from the US – being Irish – but I’ve travelled fairly extensively in America, and Seattle is the only place in American where I want to live.

    It would be a pleasure to be able to watch you construct, in this fair city, a consistently competitive baseball team such as it deserves.

    Thank you

    Colm