Riggleman on the continuing clubhouse saga that ended last year

DMZ · February 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Stone talks to Riggleman to go get another view on last year’s clubhouse problems, and it so, so great:

“It was overblown a little bit. It wasn’t as bad as people say. I got some of the guys I felt were critical in my office. I said, ‘You know what? You’re accusing a man of being selfish. Sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. Talk to him. Don’t say it to a writer.Talk to him man-to-man, express yourself to him over a cup of coffee. It’s not about taking a swing at somebody, or griping to writers. If you think he’s selfish…he’s not in here saying to me you’re selfish, but you’re not even watching the game when you’re not pitching. He could come in here and say you’re selfish.’

Silva, I see he came in 30 pounds lighter. He must have gone home and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to stop bitching about Ichiro and get my ass in gear here.’

wait wait wait, you’re not even watching the game when you’re not pitching?

They were pitchers? What? I… I had no idea.

Wait, I did.

I’m reminded too of our love last year for Riggleman and his generally dim view of this kind of conduct.

And I appreciate that Larry is putting up a detailed and informative view from Putz’s that differs substantially.

But most of all… there’s a new front office, new manager, substantially different team, and we’re going into spring training rehashing whether or not Putz feels that Ichiro should have hit more sacrifice flies or something?

I want to know about this year’s team.

Comments

31 Responses to “Riggleman on the continuing clubhouse saga that ended last year”

  1. sass on February 16th, 2009 1:43 pm

    I want to know about this year’s team.

    Me too!

  2. Tek Jansen on February 16th, 2009 1:48 pm

    “he’s not in here saying to me you’re selfish”

    I can’t think of a single incident in which Ichiro made other teammates defend themselves or others to the media. If all teammates behaved like Ichiro, then there would be no saga, just grownups doing there jobs.

  3. Mariner Melee on February 16th, 2009 1:51 pm

    I don’t understand all this B.S about sac flies are more important than run producing hits.

    Hrm. What could make the players think this way?

  4. msb on February 16th, 2009 1:55 pm

    I … I … I think I have Rigglemania again!

  5. JI on February 16th, 2009 2:12 pm

    It’s too bad Riggleman’s baseball decisions were kinda dim because he says all the right things Re: clubhouse nonsense.

  6. terry on February 16th, 2009 2:27 pm

    One vocal pitcher is now gone and the other one came in to Arizona “30″ lbs lighter…

    I think the message in the clubhouse at the end of last season was that Ichiro isn’t the problem….

  7. hansk on February 16th, 2009 2:28 pm

    [deleted, OT, send us an email and we'll answer there]

  8. Mariner Melee on February 16th, 2009 2:28 pm

    One vocal pitcher is now gone

    Washburn is still here as well.

  9. Mere Tantalisers on February 16th, 2009 2:34 pm

    God, I hope Wakamatsu has the stones to say things like “stop bitching about Ichiro and get your ass in gear” to crappy players that complain about ‘playing the game the right way”. He seems very soft spoken, and as a first year manager it may be hard to do.

    But holy Christ, can you imagine running an office and there’s a guy who shows up late, takes a two hour lunch and makes so many mistakes other people have to pick up his slack and do his job for him, and then that’s the guy who comes in and tells you that your best employee is not ‘working the way he’s supposed to work’. WTF? What does Silva know about the way the game is supposed to be played that Ichiro doesn’t?

    I’m disappointed to hear Beltre say the things he said because of all people he should appreciate the amount of work Ichiro puts into his game.

    But whatever, let’s move on already. What started off as a couple of jealous, insecure players mouthing off a year ago has blown up into a blog-saga. I hope the massive turnover of declining veterans means we no longer have to hear players blame Ichiro for their own lack of production.

  10. CCW on February 16th, 2009 2:36 pm

    Putz is a dumb-ass. I’m sure his comments will cause Geoff Baker to write something like:

    “And I know some bloggers out there don’t want to believe team chemistry matters. But here’s a team member who says it does. Now I’m not one to say I told you so, but blah blah blah.”

    By taking care of his body, showing up every day, and not doing stupid shxt to hurt himself on the field, Ichiro managed to be one of the 3 most valuable players on the team last year. I’m glad JJ’s gone. And to suggest the M’s can’t win with Ichiro and his selfish attitude… where was Putz in 2001? There are different ways to be a leader.

  11. Go Felix on February 16th, 2009 3:15 pm

    I’m sick and tired of this story popping up everyday now. It’s almost like the writers who have access to the players right now want this up and coming season to fail before it starts. Guess what, I don’t care about last season. It was an embarrassment to this organization as a whole and to top it off with this day by day breakdown of it accomplishes nothing. If the M’s won 90 games last year and still had the same players nobody would ask why Miguel Batista moved Ibanez from his Top Friends list on Myspace or Beltre and Ichiro haven’t played ping pong together in over 3 months. WHO GIVES A SHIT!

    I understand sports writers need to ask “the tough questions”, these aren’t the tough questions I want answered. I want to know what the rotation is going to be, what our lineup is going to look like, are there other players out there that we can pick up on the cheap, and other questions pertaining to the future of this team.

    Ichiro isn’t a team player? F**K that, he’s one of the only players on the team that shows up to play everyday ever since he signed with the team. His performance has been steady and he has played up to every dollar of his contract. There aren’t many players since 2001 that can say the same thing. Those players who are even commenting about this issue should look at themselves in the mirror, punch themselves in the nuts to show they’re not a pussy, and get ready for a 2009 baseball season that was better than 2008 because they owe it to their true fans.

  12. vj on February 16th, 2009 3:27 pm

    I’m disappointed to hear Beltre say the things he said because of all people he should appreciate the amount of work Ichiro puts into his game.

    Did Beltre say anything?

  13. jguier on February 16th, 2009 3:31 pm

    “Those players who are even commenting about this issue should look at themselves in the mirror, punch themselves in the nuts to show they’re not a pussy, and get ready for a 2009 baseball season that was better than 2008 because they owe it to their true fans.” (Go Felix)

    Here Here!!Shut up and play

  14. mironos on February 16th, 2009 3:45 pm

    So what do the USSM authors think about Beltre’s thoughts on the subject? A player they respect perhaps thinking none-too-highly about another they respect.

    It easier to dismiss some of the earlier criticisms (Silva, Putz, Baker’s “mystery player”), but it seems to me at least Beltre is referring to (perhaps among others) Ichiro in his quote. Beltre an acknowledged clubhouse leader.

    I have no particular side to this, but I will say, for me, the “Ichiro is a problem” perspective just gained some credibility.

  15. GLS on February 16th, 2009 3:58 pm

    I don’t think Ichiro is a problem, but I suspect racism might be.

  16. Evan on February 16th, 2009 4:04 pm

    It might be more xenophobia than racism.

    From the point of view of most other players, Ichiro is a weird dude. Many people won’t like that, because there’s been this culture beat into people for nearly 30 years now that we should “go along to get along”.

    Ichiro doesn’t do that – all he does is excel. Apparently that’s not enough for some people.

  17. section331 on February 16th, 2009 4:15 pm

    It appears that the media is going stir-crazy with this BS. I can’t believe that with all the work that was done in the off-season, someone would even ask any of the players about that. It’s not like 2008 was embarrassing enough, do we really need to revisit it, when we have so much to look forward to? Why take so many steps back? It just seems really petty to me, to even deal with it at this point. Using “clubhouse tension” might have been relevant last year, when a scapegoat was needed to explain poor performance. But today, at the beginning of the new season, it’s just lame to even bring it up. Sleeping dogs and whatnot…

  18. msb on February 16th, 2009 4:24 pm

    interestingly, both Gastineau and McGrath opined (separately) that what Ichiro is missing in the clubhouse is someone to give him goodnatured shit; the back and forth he got from Buhner when he first arrived, and that continued on through Boone & Cameron. That he doesn’t have anyone who pulls him into the clubhouse mix these days …

  19. Breadbaker on February 16th, 2009 4:36 pm

    I said this about Riggs at the time: he is a gentleman and a baseball man of the old school who is nonetheless open to new ideas. He wasn’t the right manager for the 2009 Mariners, but I really wonder whether he might have gotten the 2008 Mariners closer to their projected wins than McLaren if he’d had them from the beginning.

  20. joser on February 16th, 2009 4:57 pm

    t appears that the media is going stir-crazy with this BS. I can’t believe that with all the work that was done in the off-season, someone would even ask any of the players about that.

    It’s because they’re all down in Arizona, geared up and ready to go — the media and the players — and there’s nothing yet to write about. It’s like when you have a bunch of soldiers amped up, waiting for the battle to begin — they’re locked and loaded, safeties off and fingers on triggers, and anything that moves gets shot at.

    It might be more xenophobia than racism.
    From the point of view of most other players, Ichiro is a weird dude.

    You know, while I sort of agree, let’s not take this too far into speculating about motives because we just don’t know, and it never ends well when you go there. Even Japanese folks think Ichiro is a bit, uh, singular. Being unique — and consciously so — may not be quite as peculiar in Japan today as it used to be, but it’s still a much bigger deal than it is here, which makes it all th more remarkable. He’s just a really unusual dude by any standards, and I think that would be true regardless of his origins (though obviously you can’t separate out his Japaneseness). Baseball gets these characters from time to time, and they always have a few teammates who have trouble relating to them.

    One thing that worries me a little, in light of all of this, is the large Venezuelan contingent on the team now. It could be great, if it keeps them all happy and working hard, or it could be a clique. Which would be a problem because Felix would be in it.

  21. Evan on February 16th, 2009 5:34 pm

    You know what this team needs?

    Spaceman Bill Lee.

  22. section331 on February 16th, 2009 6:32 pm

    they’re locked and loaded, safeties off and fingers on triggers, and anything that moves gets shot at.

    Like a bunch of 6-year-olds on Pixie Sticks!

  23. The Ancient Mariner on February 16th, 2009 7:07 pm
  24. section331 on February 16th, 2009 8:38 pm

    haha! Sure, why not? And it is Pixy, not Pixie, isn’t it? Oops…
    Anyway, it’s sad that we have so much other stuff to talk about, but the media wants to rehash. Good Lord…

  25. Benne on February 16th, 2009 10:47 pm

    Like a bunch of 6-year-olds on Pixie Sticks!

    Or, to nerd up this thread even more….

    Like a group of D&D gamers amped up on Mountain Dew, ready to roll their dice!…..but, they have to listen to the DM’s meandering plot exposition first.

  26. section331 on February 16th, 2009 10:49 pm

    We have a winner!

  27. Michael_Jackson on February 17th, 2009 12:51 am

    I don’t think Ichiro is a problem, but I suspect racism might be.

    I wouldn’t rule that out. If I recall, the two “clubhouse tension” stories that were leaked from the locker room last year were both centered around Japanese players. First, it was Washburn/Bedard? complaining about Johjima. Then the whole Ichiro thing. Is this just a coincidence or is it more than that?

  28. Michael_Jackson on February 17th, 2009 1:07 am

    One thing that worries me a little, in light of all of this, is the large Venezuelan contingent on the team now. It could be great, if it keeps them all happy and working hard, or it could be a clique.

    This worries me too because these supposed leaders like Beltre could poison the minds of the young kids who don’t know any better.

    In Beltre’s interview, he said the non-team players do the little things so “the team can see that you’re playing to help a team win. Not just numbers or your stats and stuff.” Yeah, right. I can imagine this now. Beltre with his clique buddies Lopez and Yuni sitting there watching Ichiro at 1st base. If Ichiro steals and make it, Beltre says “Look guys, there he goes again, padding his stats”. If he gets caught stealing, Beltre says “Look guys, he’s trying to pad his stats again, he’s stupid for trying to run on this guy.” If Ichiro doesn’t steal, Beltre goes “He should’ve ran. Why didn’t he go? He is not doing enough to help this team win.”

    Bottom line is, if you got a personal agenda or prejudice against the guy for whatever reason, nothing he does will ever be right. I don’t claim to be a clubhouse insider or know any of these players personally. For all I know, Ichiro might be the biggest jerk in all of baseball, but what I know is with the contributions he makes on the field, he should be the least of the M’s problems and he’s being targeted very unfairly right now.

  29. mironos on February 17th, 2009 12:20 pm

    I think it’s probably not a good idea to assume or imply racism unless there’s some evidence for it. COULD it be racism…sure, it COULD be. But until there’s some report or knowledge of that, I think implying it is a bit irresponsible.

    Similarly, implying Ichiro is a “problem” would be irresponsible if there weren’t multiple reports of it from multiple sources. Obviously, it doesn’t “prove” it to be true, but at least there’s some justification for reporting it.

    Ultimately, I think it’s all overblown, and like so many have already said, if the M’s were winning, I doubt anyone would care.

  30. MKT on February 17th, 2009 12:34 pm

    It’s not like 2008 was embarrassing enough, do we really need to revisit it, when we have so much to look forward to? Why take so many steps back? It just seems really petty to me, to even deal with it at this point.

    It is relevant, and possibly important, to this season. If Ichiro was an issue to teammates in 2008, he can be an issue in 2009. Which is not to say that it’s Ichiro’s fault — I agree with others here who say that if there were tensions (and it now seems clear that there were, both Riggelman and Wakamatsu have said so), then the fault probably lies with the other players (Putz, Silva, whoever), and not with Ichiro.

    But it’s something to watch out for in 2009, just as watching out for Yuni’s defense, Johjima’s hitting, etc. are things to watch out for.

    Now how important it is, I don’t know. I place more importance on clubhouse chemistry than most people at this blog do, but even I would say that the impact in terms of wins and losses this season will be minimal, close to zero. Riggelman and I think Wakamatsu both termed the issue “overblown”. Probably they’re right. OTOH, and this is why I think chemistry can be important: how would you all feel if this clubhouse tension and backstabbing from so-called teammates caused Ichiro to decide he doesn’t want to play with the Mariners anymore? We need to hope that this stuff is indeed overblown.

  31. fermorules on February 17th, 2009 5:13 pm

    Get a load of J.J. Putz talking about the “winning atmosphere” that is so evident in the Mets’ clubhouse.

    Wouldn’t those be the same Mets who carry the label as some of the biggest chokers of all time?

    As for Griffey, I would like to speculate that Z didn’t want the guy, and that it was mostly Chuckie and Howie calling for Griffey and daydreaming about the seats he would fill during these tough economic times.

    Boy oh boy, what a mess these Mariners were (I’m writing in the past tense because I would like to think that some of these whining non-producers are about to shut up and just play baseball in 2009).

    The irony is so great….the one player on the team who produces magnificent results and also happens to be by far the most entertaining player on the club, is singled out as the problem!

    Wak and Z have their hands full with these guys, and thanks to Bavasi and his albatross contracts, it isn’t simply a matter of casting adrift the malcontents.

    By the logic of Putz and Silva, Cairo was a valuable teammate because he “acted like a big-leaguer.” Just think, Cairo actually batted near the top of the lineup and played first base for the Mariners in 2008. And yet Iciro was the problem!

    Vidro batted cleanup most of the season….and yet Ichiro was the problem.

    Putz was either on the DL or getting his large arse torched on the mound….and Ichiro was the problem.

    The Mariners actually dared to write Silva’s name on a lineup card every fifth day….and yet Ichiro was the problem.

    Betancourt mailed it in day after day….and yet Ichiro was the problem.

    McLaren couldn’t have managed a meat market let alone a big league club….and yet Ichiro was the problem.

    Many of you are so right – let’s stop revisiting 2008. It was a terrible bunch of players – on and off the field.

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