Silva And Riggleman
In case you missed it, there was a decent amount of off the field stuff happening this weekend.
After losing again on Friday night, Carlos Silva went off on his teammates, claiming “maybe half of the team wants to do the best they can” and threatening to “grab somebody by his neck and throw him into the wall”. There’s about a 0% chance that “somebody” in that quote isn’t Yuniesky Betancourt, who air mailed a throw into the dugout that cost Silva a couple of runs. Silva went on to talk about how the starting pitchers all care and are trying the best they can, but that the rest of the team is letting Silva down.
Now, let’s put aside the fact that Carlos Silva is the biggest sinkhole on the roster right now – a $48 million mistake that will haunt this franchise for years. Ignore the fact that the team had played well in the games leading up to Silva’s rant, taking two out of three from first place Minnesota and beating the first place Rays the night before. Put all that to the side, and let’s focus on Carlos Silva’s supposed leadership skills, since you know, he calls himself Chief and all that.
Leaders motivate men to follow their example – Silva fails miserably at his job and blames others.
Leaders protect the inexperienced from attacks – Silva takes veiled shots at others through the media.
Leaders inspire and encourage others to action – Silva threatens physical violence.
Carlos Silva’s idea of leadership is to tell others about how poorly his teammates are doing. Even if he’s correct, his way of handling the situation is anti-leadership. It isn’t keeping the team accountable – it’s making himself more likable to the press and ensuring himself better coverage from those who write about the game and eat that stuff up.
Now, you can think I’m some blowhard who doesn’t know what a baseball clubhouse is like, but don’t take my word for any of this. Here’s Jim Riggleman’s response:
“When I hear someone say something about selfish play, I always just say, You know what, I challenge anybody to go in there and look at the tape of every game from March 31 to the present time and show me an example of somebody being selfish, and I’d stand corrected if you could point it out. But if you’re saying somebody’s selfish, I’ve got to hear some specifics.
“More importantly, he shouldn’t say it to the writers. He should say it to me, he should say it to teammates he’s directing it at. The one thing he was talking about, not using ground balls to move the runner, we’ve done a great job of that. But again, anytime you’re not successful at doing that, it’s the intent that you have to question. And I know the intention has always been to do that, but sometimes you don’t get the result. I know guys have always tried to do that, and sometimes you’re not successful doing it. You don’t intend to give up base hits and walks, but you give them up.
“It’s just the wrong way to send a message. You don’t do that in the paper; you do that internally.
“I admire him more for doing it when he’s 4-13, to tell you the truth. If you’re 13-4 and you’re saying stuff, it’s kind of like, ‘I’m going good so I can say anything I want.’ At least he’s speaking his mind when he’s struggling, so I admire him for that, but again, whether it’s when you’re struggling or when you’re going good, you just don’t do it publicly.
“The stuff that was said, to me (it) was so convoluted that I don’t know who he’s directing it at, I really don’t. If he had spoke to me, I would know who he was directing it at, because I would say, What are you talking about. But until you give a specific example…
“I’m gonna talk to him and a couple other guys. And he’s used the phrase, ‘the starting pitchers,’ like ‘we as the starting pitchers, we’re focused, but some other people aren’t or something.’ That’s ridiculous.
“One of the things that happens is there’s a lot of cliches in the game, and every team that I’ve ever seen that struggled, people will say they don’t do the fundamentals, they don’t bunt runners, they’re not hitting behind the runner to move runners over, they don’t do this, they don’t do that. You hear enough of that, and you look at the numbers, and you find out you’re right there where everybody else in baseball is in sacrifice bunts, advancing runners, and the fundamentals of the game.
“It’s almost like these blanket statements are made, and the perceptions are because you’re losing, you’re doing these things wrong. What it really comes to is we, like most teams, we take care of the little things. It’s big things. We’re not hitting good enough and we’re not pitching good enough. If somebody wants to hide behind, ‘Oh, we made a baserunner mistake or we didn’t move a runner over,’ … and use the word selfish, you can try to act like, ‘That’s the problem right there. That will make up those 30 games.’ But, you know, you’ve got to hit better and you’ve got to pitch better.
“When you’ve got something to say, don’t use the newspaper to say it.”
To paraphrase – Carlos, shut up and pitch better. Kudos to Riggleman for not letting Carlos Silva pass off his lame brand of leadership as something that actually helps a club win. This team has been far too willing to throw each other under the bus this year, and it’s about time a manager stepped up and told his entitled veteran that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
None of this is to say that there aren’t players on this team with work ethic issues (we’ve noted Betancourt’s huge regression and Lopez’s defensive lapses many times here on the blog, so these issues aren’t being ignored), but regardless of what anyone in the media might think, the crap Silva pulled on Friday night doesn’t help the Mariners. There are real ways for leaders to step in and see if they can help the underperformers on the roster to work harder – if Carlos Silva wants to try any of those forms of leadership, he can feel free.
Until then, let’s just ignore the massively overpaid and out of shape #5 starter with a big mouth and hope to God this organization learns that being loud is not the same thing as being a leader.