Lincoln and Armstrong
Highighting a paragraph from Drayer’s latest:
We are going to have wheels up in a minute, but before I head off to Cleveland, one quick mention has to go out. Been listening to all sorts of analysis of the first half, first half mvps, awards etc. A big dose of credit should also go to Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong for making the choice of Jack Z, who made the choice of Wak. Howard and Chuck did not know Jack personally, and Jack did not know Wak. They all took risks after doing their homework, and without those works, we would not be where we were right now, which I daresay, is in much better position than this team has been in years.
Over the last five years, Howard Lincoln and Churck Armstrong have taken a massive beating from Mariner fans. There was a sizable part of the fanbase that held all the failures of the organization against them personally, and even during the GM search last winter, it was common to hear people make comments like “it doesn’t matter – this franchise can never win with those two in charge.” They were the least popular guys in the city, and they had to know it.
For instance, here’s one comment from our thread announcing Zduriencik’s hire:
I want to like this hiring but color me extremely skeptical. This was more or less the hiring I expected out of Stincoln and Armstrong.
Those two couldnâ€™t think out of the box with a boxcar load of extra â€œTHIS END UPâ€ arrows. I think they picked a candidate that most reflected themselves and their perspective as franchise managers.
I agree with Dave that a great next step would be to hire a stat department to supplement their scouting perspective, but Iâ€™m not holding my breath that Stinkchuck will ever allow it.
That was how a lot of people reacted to the news, and it was a fairly predictable reaction. Lincoln and Armstrong had to know that the reaction was going to be something like that.
But Shannon is entirely right. Despite some fairly significant momentum for the M’s to hire a different kind of GM than the last few, Lincoln and Armstrong tabbed the candidate who most resembled Bill Bavasi – older, white (and bald – sorry Jack, but it’s true), from the scouting side of baseball, and a guy who came from an organization that wasn’t generally considered one of the “new school” type of teams. But he was the right guy to hire.
Since then, I think absolutely everyone following this team has realized just how great of a hire it was. Zduriencik has proven to not just be open about the new ways of evaluating talent, but excited about using all the information he can get his hands on. Literally, we couldn’t have dreamed of the M’s changing course in the way they have in the last 8 months. They’ve gone from laughingstock to well oiled machine, and they’ve done it because Howard and Chuck hired the right guy.
You might not like the two executives in charge of the team, but you have to admit that they made a great decision, and one that could easily turn out to be the most important in the history of the franchise. They literally changed the entire focus of the organization by hiring Zduriencik and allowing him to build a first class organization in Seattle.
So, congratualations, Messers Lincoln and Armstrong. You made the right choice, and we’ve all got years of great baseball to look forward to because of it.