Target-rich environment

DMZ · October 9, 2008 at 12:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

There are so many quotes in this interview with Chuck Armstrong that made me wince that I don’t know where to start pulling them.
– trusts his own instincts and decision-making
– believes best person to hire new GM is himself
– wants to return to collaborative management, like they had in the good old days (presumably, this means collaborating with Lincoln/Armstrong)
– says he invites dissent and apparantly feels the M’s have done this in the past

I’ve really been trying not to get too depressed or whatever when I read stuff like this, but the temptation to read every quote in the most negative way possible is almost irresistable.


29 Responses to “Target-rich environment”

  1. wabbles on October 9th, 2008 12:39 am

    The team invites dissent? Um, tell that to Jeff Nelson who got traded for speaking the truth. Yes, it doesn’t look as though they have learned ANYTHING. This does not bode well for the GM search. It could be a long winter after all.

  2. Bender on October 9th, 2008 3:20 am

    In times like these we just have to close our eyes, hold our breath and hope for the best. Nothing we can do can help the team we love.

  3. mark s on October 9th, 2008 5:01 am

    I think the article shows Armstrong is embarrassed by last year’s performance and almost certainly feels a little guilty for it. Obviously, Armstrong doesn’t want to repeat the disappointing free agent contracts and the franchise worst trade.

    So Armstrong is harking back to old times when things were better. Trying to figure out what was the key difference. From this short article, it seems Armstrong believes communication with the GM and the rest of the front office is that key. So he will demand that of the new GM until they can prove otherwise.

    Yes, you can read it as Armstrong is looking for a puppet GM. I would say you are reading too much into it. I honestly, believe Armstrong hated watching the on field product he signed off on, as much as we hating watching it.

    It is one thing to watch a train wreck; it is another thing all together to realize you could have stopped it.

    Anyways, here is hoping we get someone smart enough to build a great franchise and smart enough to work well with their boss.

  4. terry on October 9th, 2008 5:42 am

    The Mariners are on the titanic and we all know who is steering the ship. They don’t have to hit the iceberg and there is no reason why they couldn’t be a premier luxury liner for decades but, it’s even money that they screw the pooch on this one.

  5. Steve Nelson on October 9th, 2008 7:11 am

    Target-rich, indeed!!!

    The two big items that struck me from the article are the notions that the new GM will have less power than Bavasi (who reputedly had among the least authority of any GM in baseball) and that Bavasi did not operate collaboratively.

    Really?????? Bavasi not collaborative? Armstrong and Lincoln ceded more power to Bavasi than they did to Gillick?

    Those are the scary notions. Those elements are direct and clear in Armstrong’s comments. You don’t need to parse the quotes looking for hidden insights to get those messages.

  6. Eleven11 on October 9th, 2008 7:58 am

    I do agree with him when he says that Bavasi had too much authority and the next won’t. No organization should allow one person with out checks and balances to write contracts of the size and length that Bill Bavasi did. In fact because they (Lincoln and Armstrong) did is a powerful argument for their removal. I will not, however, agree that those two are the ones to supervise.

  7. DMZ on October 9th, 2008 8:11 am

    No, that’s not the issue. A good GM should be able to make those kinds of decisions, and of course with that kind of commitment of resources it’s reasonable that they’d talk to the people signing the checks.

    The issue here is whether Armstrong sees the failures of Bavasi not as failures of Bavasi-philosophy but as failures of Armstrong/Lincoln to be adquately involved in decisions and further, the implicit assumption that their contributions are positive and increased involvement by those two would be good for the franchise.

    That’s what should worry us.

  8. Mike Snow on October 9th, 2008 8:26 am

    It’s not possible Bavasi had too much authority, else we wouldn’t have the Johjima extension.

  9. DoesntCompute on October 9th, 2008 8:33 am

    “the Mariners’ next GM will have less power than Bavasi did”


  10. BaltimoreDave on October 9th, 2008 8:35 am

    Thanks to Chuck, every candidate now recognizes these possible conditions of employment – and restraints on their ability to do their job – before the interviews even begin. Hopefully they’ll be bold enough to call out Lincoln and Armstrong on this point and demand the level of control necessary to do their jobs properly. Since most are gunning for their first GM job I’m not optimistic, unfortunately.

  11. msb on October 9th, 2008 8:50 am

    The team invites dissent? Um, tell that to Jeff Nelson who got traded for speaking the truth.

    look, I am not a fan of HowChuck, but could be we allow that Nelson’s mouthing off just accelerated a process already in motion? it was a trade under discussion a week before he said anything.

  12. Mike Snow on October 9th, 2008 8:54 am

    I thought the Nelson trade had been called off, and was only resurrected precisely because he spoke up in the press. Not that I think that incident is especially important as a symptom of the dysfunction here.

  13. TomTuttle on October 9th, 2008 9:17 am

    Everbody get ready for the Lee Pelekoudas era!!!


  14. Sports on a Schtick on October 9th, 2008 9:37 am

    The easiest thing would be to declare victory and walk away from what we have accomplished here — building a beautiful ballpark, having the best record in baseball from 2000-03, winning a record 116 games and going to the playoffs in 1995, ’97, 2000 and 2001.

    You mother fucking piece of shit Chuck.

  15. Steve T on October 9th, 2008 10:30 am

    Beat me to it, SoaS.

  16. Steve T on October 9th, 2008 10:33 am

    “Armstrong added that he still has not made up his mind whether to vote for Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter in the upcoming election”.

  17. revbill on October 9th, 2008 10:50 am

    The issue here is whether Armstrong sees the failures of Bavasi not as failures of Bavasi-philosophy but as failures of Armstrong/Lincoln to be adequately involved in decisions…

    Right, because that would be admitting that they made a mistake in hiring him, which doesn’t fit into the Armstrong/Lincoln worldview. Every mistake is either someone else’s fault (Bavasi was mad with power!) or completely random bad luck (everyone thought we would be in the playoffs this year!)

    I don’t get the sense from reading this that they have learned from their mistakes at all. I’m still holding out hope that one of the GM candidates will fit into this system and work effectively, but it seems like they are making it unnecessarily complicated.

  18. Chris_From_Bothell on October 9th, 2008 11:36 am

    In late 2000, both Gillick and manager Lou Piniella thought it was a bad idea for the Mariners to pursue a singles-hitting outfielder from Japan named Ichiro Suzuki. If they had not been overruled by their bosses, Ichiro probably would have spent the past eight years breaking 100-year-old MLB records, and getting one foot in the Hall of Fame door, while playing for the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Tigers or Twins — five other organizations known to have submitted posting bids for Ichiro’s services.

    Sweet fancy moses, we almost missed on on Ichiro because of him (well, ok, and Lou).

    This team is really, really going to suck.

    Or even worse, we’ll get more of 07 – just enough luck and upside that they mistake career years and lucky breaks as great planning, leading to a pattern of close-tank-close-tank-close-tank, in little 2-year cycles.

  19. philosofool on October 9th, 2008 11:49 am

    Academic studies from social psychology, economics and business management show pretty unequivocally that organizations that invite dissent are much better at making decisions that organizations that invite agreement.

  20. tomas on October 9th, 2008 11:50 am

    I just read the article, and sure,there are things that made me wince, but nothing that I think could stop Ng from building a winner. She even more than the others will know how to negotiate that ‘collaborative and inclusive’ quagmire.

  21. msb on October 9th, 2008 11:55 am

    ever since I read this I’ve had the old Larry Hart lyric running through my head

    “the self-deception that believes the lie…”

  22. Steve Nelson on October 9th, 2008 12:24 pm

    Academic studies from social psychology, economics and business management show pretty unequivocally that organizations that invite dissent are much better at making decisions that organizations that invite agreement.

    Academic studies from social psychology, economics and business management show pretty unequivocally that organizations that are managed by stubborn individuals who cannot recognize their limitations are much worse at making decisions than organizations in which the managers are more adept and aware.

  23. SonOfZavaras on October 9th, 2008 12:43 pm

    RE: Armstrong’s latest MLB interview


    (The Passion Of Chuck Armstrong. Coming soon to a theatre near you. Gah.)

    From virtually everything I read in that interview, I am thinking several things. Number one on that list of thoughts is that this stands a very, very real chance of sucking exponentially.

    As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t trust Armstrong with tying my shoes correctly, let alone selecting a GM with something on the ball. That he trusts his instincts? His decisions??

    Note to Chuck: you have the baseball acumen of a fiddler crab, your job hangs on one thing and one thing only: that ownership doesn’t involve itself in baseball operations, otherwise you’d’ve been shitcanned long ago.

    What glory days this organization has had (and they get more distant all the time) were NOT the results of your own doing, Chuckie.

    And I can’t help but think that all the young bright boys and girls you plan on interviewing are gonna look at THIS mess, and say to themselves “you know, I really WANT you guys helping me every step of the way”…

    The Mariners tolerate dissent. That was good for another belly-laugh. This is the most G-rated organization in pro sports. The broadcasters get a reprimand if they so much as utter “gosh darn it all to heck”. The Mariners no more invite dissent than what Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis invites less than omnipotent-worship of himself.

    The sad thing is, the Raiders might JUST be run a little better than what the M’s have been lately.

    Fingers crossed, trying to think good thoughts. LaCava…LaCava…LaCava….

  24. smb on October 9th, 2008 12:45 pm

    Just once, I want an interviewer to say to him, “Dude, you are one naked emperor.”

  25. msb on October 9th, 2008 12:51 pm

    wonder how many baseball front offices do ‘invite dissent’…

  26. stevie_j13 on October 9th, 2008 1:38 pm

    So, wait… two positive moves over 20 years provides precedent for a more integrative approach? This level of self-delusion is Cheney-esque.

  27. Xteve X on October 9th, 2008 2:58 pm

    What do you expect from an idiot who think Gillick is the ne plus ultra of baseball management.

    If Chuck tried any harder to pat himself on the back for his team’s past successes (and 2001 is getting pretty far in the rearview mirror at this point …) he’d break his arm.

    This team’s in trouble.

  28. killer_ewok18 on October 9th, 2008 3:54 pm

    $117 mil, 100 losses– Where’s our bailout plan?

  29. TomTuttle on October 10th, 2008 3:28 pm

    $117 mil, 100 losses– Where’s our bailout plan?

    It comes when Chuck and Howard are voted off the island.

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