Dudes

DMZ · January 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

That was ridiculous.

Again, huge thanks to Tony Blengino, Tom McNamara, Pedro Grifol, and Carmen Fusco (in order from the podium view) for being so generous with their time today, and for their thoughtful and interesting answers to all our questions.

And the Seattle Public Library for hosting.

Comments

61 Responses to “Dudes”

  1. okdan on January 10th, 2009 6:47 pm

    Word to that. That was incredibly nice of them. I was very impressed we made it the whole four hours, ha. My faith in the Mariners organization has now been completely restored.

  2. Kunkoh on January 10th, 2009 6:49 pm

    And thank you guys for setting it all up.
    It was a lot of fun, and quite interesting.

  3. JLP on January 10th, 2009 6:55 pm

    I wish I could have made it. I expect a full rundown of the whole thing ASAP, Derek.

  4. SeasonTix on January 10th, 2009 6:55 pm

    The best thing I got out of the 4 hour meeting was that the M’s are in very good hands.

    It’s obvious that this management group has a plan and they know what they are doing.

    AWESOME event!

    Best quote of the day from Tony Blengino …

    “We’re going to get good and we are going to STAY good!”

  5. westcokeeagles on January 10th, 2009 6:59 pm

    Thanks for organizing the event. It was awsome to know that the management is combining some great scouting experience with some great statistical insights.

  6. terry on January 10th, 2009 7:00 pm

    Did they say anything about the future of the mariner moose? He really creeps out my youngest daughter.

  7. Andrew Ormberg on January 10th, 2009 7:11 pm

    I wussed out from my question I was going to ask as Carmen looks like he knows all the sites around here to dump a body.

  8. appleshampoo on January 10th, 2009 7:13 pm

    I’m curious, what was different about this event compared to previous ones with Ms staff? Did we get more/better information this time?

    Best quote:
    “That’s Zach Tracy, he works for the Mariners.” (the second time)

  9. Sports on a Schtick on January 10th, 2009 7:13 pm

    Yea, I’m guessing no chicks were there.

  10. msb on January 10th, 2009 7:14 pm

    I wish I could remember McNamara’s carefully worded non-answer about last years draft vs this upcoming one, but it was hour three and I was too busy laughing.

  11. appleshampoo on January 10th, 2009 7:15 pm

    @Sports on a Schtick

    I was actually surprised at the number of females (probably a 15-1 ratio, but still, I was expecting like 1 chick total). I think most of them were girlfriends though.

  12. CMC_Stags on January 10th, 2009 7:15 pm

    Did they say anything about the future of the mariner moose? He really creeps out my youngest daughter.

    Never came up, sorry.

    I wish I could have made it. I expect a full rundown of the whole thing ASAP, Derek.

    Derek – You and Tony asked that we not take notes or quote them. What kinds of general guidelines are there for what those of us that were there can share?

  13. mwalter on January 10th, 2009 7:16 pm

    I can’t wait to read all about it! Please pass us all the juicy details…I really wanted to come, but the price was a little steep. Not the admission price, but the ticket from LAX to SEA-TAC

  14. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 10th, 2009 7:18 pm

    Did they say anything about the future of the mariner moose?

    They’re going to replace him with the Latte. I’m psyched!

  15. Sports on a Schtick on January 10th, 2009 7:18 pm

    I was actually surprised at the number of females (probably a 15-1 ratio, but still, I was expecting like 1 chick total). I think most of them were girlfriends though.

    If that’s the case those are some hella lucky boyfriends.

  16. msb on January 10th, 2009 7:18 pm

    I’m curious, what was different about this event compared to previous ones with Ms staff? Did we get more/better information this time?

    pizza. I don’t think the information was ‘better’ (Bill was more forthcoming about specifics) but the sheer numbers of speakers and the fact they stayed for the whole three hours…

    Yea, I’m guessing no chicks were there.

    No, but there were a number of refined ladies present.

  17. msb on January 10th, 2009 7:22 pm

    the larger group and the auditorium setting did mean there were fewer snappy remarks made … or at least, made so that all of us could hear them

  18. diderot on January 10th, 2009 7:24 pm

    You and Tony asked that we not take notes or quote them. What kinds of general guidelines are there for what those of us that were there can share?

    Really? Those guys were there in a public forum and asked that what they said not be repeated? You’ve got to be kidding.
    You mean if Baker had been in the audience (maybe he was), he couldn’t have reported?
    Did someone actually name George W. Bush baseball commissioner when I wasn’t looking?

  19. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 7:33 pm

    Yes. Yes they did.

  20. msb on January 10th, 2009 7:33 pm

    but it wasn’t a public forum; it was a privately held function whose guests agreed to come if there was no further discussion of what was talked about at the gathering.

  21. OppositeField on January 10th, 2009 7:35 pm

    Spare us the phony outrage, man. There are a million good reasons why they wouldn’t want a get-together like this to be “on the record”.

  22. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 7:36 pm

    Really? Those guys were there in a public forum and asked that what they said not be repeated? You’ve got to be kidding.
    You mean if Baker had been in the audience (maybe he was), he couldn’t have reported?
    Did someone actually name George W. Bush baseball commissioner when I wasn’t looking?

    I’m not going to edit your post, but we’re not going down this road. We got four hours of really candid information from some of the top guys in the organization, and asking that it be off the record is entirely fair, and got us a lot better answers than we would’ve gotten otherwise.

  23. supersam on January 10th, 2009 7:39 pm

    Could you please tell us what the guests said about replacing Betancourt and his atrocious defense?

  24. Mabry4Life on January 10th, 2009 7:39 pm

    Jeff,

    Fair enough, but does that mean that those of us who weren’t able to attend the event are completely out of luck as far as a recap goes? If so, that’s a drag…

  25. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 7:41 pm

    Jeff,

    Fair enough, but does that mean that those of us who weren’t able to attend the event are completely out of luck as far as a recap goes? If so, that’s a drag…

    I imagine that Derek will give some sort of recap, but don’t expect much detail.

    It’s just more incentive to come to the next one!

    Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the folks who couldn’t make it, but we have to be respectful of the team’s wishes if we want to be able to do more of these events in the future.

  26. Mabry4Life on January 10th, 2009 7:43 pm

    Tell you what, I’ll book the meeting room at the Spokane City Library, send you some Greyhound tickets for the Mariner’s brass, and we’ll make it happen.

  27. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 7:44 pm

    w/r/t Betancourt: they didn’t really comment about current players, ours or otherwise, in that sense. They did say Yuni’s working out and is apparently in terrific shape.

  28. ThundaPC on January 10th, 2009 7:44 pm

    Sounded like fun.

    I’m not expecting any kind of summary of what was gone over (much like these things with Bavasi) but for those that went do you feel more confident, less confident, or pretty much equal about the new organization after it was all said and done?

  29. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 10th, 2009 7:47 pm

    More confident.

  30. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 7:48 pm

    I’m not expecting any kind of summary of what was gone over (much like these things with Bavasi) but for those that went do you feel more confident, less confident, or pretty much equal about the new organization after it was all said and done?

    I came away thinking that the level of intelligence in the organization has gone up by a gigantic amount. Blengino, in particular, really impressed me. Sharp as a tack.

    Pedro Grifol had some really awesome things to say about how they’ll do player development going forward, as well; I’m much more confident about this team from a talent development standpoint than I was.

  31. Kunkoh on January 10th, 2009 7:48 pm

    I felt very good about the direction before, and this was affirmation of that belief. There was one thing that was said I found a little worrying at first, but as they explained it and discussed it more – I felt much better about it.

    It reminded me of reading Ben Graham or Buffett. Like others, the intelligence and wit they had really impressed me.

  32. supersam on January 10th, 2009 8:01 pm

    So, what can you guys say about the event and the conversations that took place there?

  33. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 8:06 pm

    And yes, if you were at the event and we see you post something too specific about what was said at the event, we’ll mod your comment; we’re not trying to be jerks, but we want to be able to have many, many more of these, and it’s important to set a good precedent that we can be trusted.

  34. msb on January 10th, 2009 8:12 pm

    it’s important to set a good precedent that we can be trusted.

    yup. think of how it worked out with Bavasi.

    and dang, Jeff, I meant to come up and say hey.

  35. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 8:21 pm

    I’m trying to write a recap. Someone (this is not a joke) walked off with the notes I had on the podium, which is making this difficult.

  36. beef on January 10th, 2009 8:44 pm

    i appreciate the time and effort put into this. Good job, LL & USSMariner. I’m torn about the Q&A. This is the first one I’ve made. I think I’m leaning towards more Dave & Jeff questions or at least more audience questions submitted ahead of time.

    A followup – What did the four men from the Mariners organization think about this whole setup and deal? Had they done things like this before?

  37. aws on January 10th, 2009 8:51 pm

    A big thank you to Derek for all the work he put into the event.

    I still cannot believe four high ranking Mariner employees just sat down and spoke candidly with a small group of fans for four hours.

    Tony Blengino was especially impressive. It was pretty much impossible to walk away without feeling encouraged by the new direction of the franchise.

  38. diderot on January 10th, 2009 8:56 pm

    I don’t want my previous post to be misinterpreted. So first, let me say how cool it was that a) you guys did all the work to put this together, and b) that the new Mariners team was willing to show up in such force.
    But my point is that this seems incredibly naive all the way around. How in the world do you organizers assure the confidentiality of so many people? Not only do you have no power of enforcement, but in some cases, I’m guessing you really don’t know who they are. (Hence, can it really be a ‘private’ event?)
    But of more relevance, the M’s management can’t possibly believe that everything they said would assuredly remain confidential. I’m guessing that goes with the territory (i.e., there really is no ‘off the record’ in the world anymore). Consequently, I’m assuming they were for the most part guarded in many of the opinions/assessments they made.
    And if that’s the case, why would they bother even asking to enforce any kind of confidentiality clause? What exactly was it that they felt was ‘safe’ to say to that group that Baker couldn’t put in the paper? I think they understood the answer was nothing.
    So, great event…glad it happened…wish I had been there…but the stated parameters don’t make sense in this day and age.

  39. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 8:59 pm

    If they’d said “yeah, we’ll come, but that Jeff Nye guy has to show up in a tutu”, I would’ve done it.

    Even if the conditions seem silly to you, if it makes them feel better and makes the event possible, I’m not going to debate whether they’re being realistic or not.

  40. The Ancient Mariner on January 10th, 2009 9:04 pm

    I’m particularly glad to hear how impressed everyone was with Blengino; I’m not surprised, it confirms the sense I’ve gotten about him from the stories folks have written, but I’m very glad.

    And diderot, I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to make clear to people that having these events depends on them keeping appropriate levels of confidentiality; and I think “in this day and age” as much as any other, it’s both reasonable and appropriate to ask people to do what they say they’re going to do.

  41. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 9:09 pm

    Sure, they were guarded. And there was — and I’ll talk about this more maybe later — another M’s guy there taking notes.

    But there’s a vast difference between meeting with a bunch of fans and talking about baseball, the team, and where things are going, and having that same discussion knowing that it’s going to be potentially quoted verbatim the next day on ESPN.com to generate controversy (or whatever). I see the point, but I see the other side of this, too, and there’s a huge amount of value in bringing people together for these.

    And w/r/t enforcement… whatever, right? I just said “hey, look, please don’t broadcast this or otherwise burn the participants, please, and you know what I mean by that” or something like that and let it go.

  42. MrMalibog on January 10th, 2009 9:12 pm

    I had to work so sadly I was unable to attend but I am happy people seem confident. I always tried to stay positive with Bavasi but ugh…. I wonder if they said anything about J Fields…… I at least feel good we will not have anymore odd signings like Washburn, Silva, Sexson, etc. However, I do think with the good defense that will make Wash & Silva look much more appealing come June/July to dump them. I am still so baffled they did nto dump Wash when they had the chance. Bedard I would love to re-sign him to a modest contract to give us a wealth of good young SPs as that can always he useful. I am a believer in The Z-Man!

  43. msb on January 10th, 2009 9:15 pm

    Sure, they were guarded. And there was — and I’ll talk about this more maybe later — another M’s guy there taking notes.

    I was trying to peer over his shoulder to see if he was making notes about the answers or about the questions … Paul C? could you see?

  44. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 9:15 pm

    I’m particularly glad to hear how impressed everyone was with Blengino; I’m not surprised, it confirms the sense I’ve gotten about him from the stories folks have written, but I’m very glad.

    They all impressed me, really; I was particularly surprised by Grifol. I had heard lots of good things about Blengino, but didn’t know much about Grifol; but he really had a lot of awesome and insightful things to say.

    I’m going to pick one thing that Blengino said as my own personal summation of the evening:

    “When we get good, we’re going to stay good.”

    That seems to be the core mission statement for them, and they seem to have a plan on how to get there.

  45. PatrickR on January 10th, 2009 9:16 pm

    Awesome event – it’s the first one I’ve made it out for and I’ll definetely come back for more.

    The management team we met today really reminded me of the successful management teams I’ve worked with professionally. Everyone is bright, everyone has an opinion, they don’t always agree but there’s plenty of respect for each other there and they listen. Everyone clearly had different talents they brought to the overall discussion.

    I haven’t been this hopeful about the future of the franchise since the early 90′s.

  46. perwilly on January 10th, 2009 9:17 pm

    I want to chip in with a huge thanks to Derek (and any others) for organizing this. It was my first USSM event and while I’m not a stat-head like many of you, it was fun and hugely informative to me. I was impressed at how the 4 M’s guys seem to live/breath/eat baseball – sharing their philosophy on everything from 1st pitch fastballs to nutrition to scouting. all very cool. Can’t wait for the season to start! Derek, my one suggestion would be to introduce the rest of the USSM crowd and any other notable personalities in the crowd. I figured you out from your nametag but everyone else was a mystery. Many thanks again.

  47. Kunkoh on January 10th, 2009 9:18 pm

    Enforcement? You were about to hurdle that podium and take out the guy with the computer till they said, “That’s Zach Tracy, he works for the Mariners.”

    I saw that look in your eye!

  48. Jeff Nye on January 10th, 2009 9:19 pm

    Enforcement? You were about to hurdle that podium and take out the guy with the computer till they said, “That’s Zach Tracy, he works for the Mariners.”

    I saw that look in your eye!

    That was my favorite moment of the evening, personally.

    Followed closely by all the Carmen Fusco age jokes, including the ones he made about himself.

  49. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 9:21 pm

    Hee hee hee. Really?

  50. PatrickR on January 10th, 2009 9:26 pm

    The look and the change in body language indicated danger. I actually flinched a little personally. That was pretty funny…

  51. Joshua Buergel on January 10th, 2009 9:30 pm

    As always, the event was a lot of fun. I paid very little attention to baseball last year. It was a combination of apathy, concern that giving money to the Mariners was like giving money to a particularly decrepit bum (Carlos Silva and Olde English malt liquor being equally bad for you) and having a one year old in the house. The new management has revived my interest, though, and I’m getting really excited about the new season.

    Overall, I’d echo PatrickR’s comments above, which is that all four gentlemen came across as intelligent, knowledgeable people who seem to have a plan. They really do seem like a team, and a very competent one to boot. Pedro Grifol came across particularly well, he seems like a really sharp person. When combined with the savvy initial moves, it’s looking pretty sunny for the Mariners right now.

  52. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 10th, 2009 9:35 pm

    Enforcement? You were about to hurdle that podium and take out the guy with the computer till they said, “That’s Zach Tracy, he works for the Mariners.”

    The second Google hit for “Zach Tracy Mariners” is this thread. Already.

  53. DMZ on January 10th, 2009 9:46 pm

    The recap is up.

  54. mark s on January 10th, 2009 11:49 pm

    DMZ,

    It was awesome. Thank you for putting this on and every person involved. I feel like I learned a ton of stuff. I would love to stop everything I am doing and just spend a week with each of those guys and learn from them.

    My mom even had a great time!

    One suggestion: Next time can we please get a bathroom break.
    No one ever wants to stop the party but it was really needed. The brain can only take in new information for so long without a break.

    Anyways, looking forward to the next event and the coming season!

    Thank you again!

  55. moz57 on January 11th, 2009 9:31 am

    One thing to note in the future is that it might be wise to restrict notepads going in and out. I know that you’d think that people wouldn’t be taking a HUGE amount of notes but a lady not too far from where I was sitting probably took a good ten pages or so. She was literally writing everything down. I mean, I want to remember this experience but based on that whole “keeping it in the room” expectation, I’m a bit apprehensive of what somebody plans on doing with that amount of notes.

  56. Jeff Nye on January 11th, 2009 9:48 am

    I’m disappointed to hear that, but all that’s expected of us (I think) is a good faith effort to not have stuff get printed or posted in great detail somewhere.

    I don’t foresee us frisking people for notepads at future events, or anything like that.

  57. moz57 on January 11th, 2009 10:37 am

    I guess you’re right about that, Jeff. Frisking people for notepads seems a bit Orwellian. At the same time, the hardcore note-taking definitely piqued my curiosity as to its intent.

    And since I didn’t mention it before, this event was freakin’ amazing. Thanks!

  58. joser on January 11th, 2009 11:35 am

    It wouldn’t just be notepads. There was a guy in front of me who was browsing USSM on his iPhone while this was going on. He didn’t post anything, but he obviously could have. Worse than any of that would be recording devices — deniability is easy until somebody can play back the words in your own voice — and short of frisking people there’s no way to eliminate that either.

    I think the folks involved understand that a certain amount of leakage is going to occur, and they’ve been around long enough to keep from saying anything damaging or controversial. Which is unfortunate for us, because I’m sure behind closed doors you’d hear all sorts of fantastic stuff, but that’s just the nature of the beast. As it is, even within the boundaries of what they can safely talk about, the result is fascinating and well worth doing (and I hope worth their time, too).

  59. showmethepennant on January 11th, 2009 11:40 am

    Long time reader. First time post.

    I was amazed at the time invested by the Mariner staff. All four hung around after the event to talk one on one. I walked away feeling these were “baseball people” who had a long enough leash to “do the right thing”.

    I was also suprised at how lighthearted the affair was in the face of some serious discussion. Carmon Fusco took ribing particularly well. Derek and Jeff’s reiterating of audience questions was particularly humorous. At one point Derek let out an incredulous “Huh” in response to a comment from Tony Blengino. I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

    The specific philosophies and process of the new management will become a matter of some discussion here and on Lookout Landing. But it will not recapture how truly enjoyable the event was.

    - A Heartfelt Thanks!

    Todd

  60. wabbles on January 11th, 2009 12:17 pm

    It was amazing that four M’s front office people spent four hours talking baseball with a bunch of fanatics IN JANUARY. But you know, it was apparent from their comments that they are fanatics too. I’m sure they just really enjoyed talking about their passion with people who care as much as they do. Did they say/indicate/comment how they liked us? Just curious.

  61. Graham on January 11th, 2009 1:15 pm

    They enjoyed it

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