Sweet Lou

Jeff Sullivan · October 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

One thing we know for sure: Ken Rosenthal reported the other day that the Mariners had expressed interest in Lou Piniella as their next manager. Beyond that, Rosenthal’s source indicated that the Mariners put on a “full-court press” to try to lure Piniella out of retirement. Ultimately, Piniella said no to the potential opportunity, deciding he’s rather quite fond of his current living arrangement, which involves a lot of not being in charge of the Mariners.

One thing we probably know for sure: Rosenthal’s report wasn’t actually entirely accurate. The Mariners and Piniella have spoken, and Piniella has said no to managing again, but based on the organization’s words, it was Piniella who initially broached the subject. The Mariners simply asked if he was interested, and he indicated maybe, and then a little while later he indicated no. The Mariners say there was never any full-court press, and they didn’t seek Piniella out, and they have a very long list of managerial candidates for 2014. All in all, it wasn’t much of a story. And it’s hard to see a reason for the Mariners to outright lie about this.

So in the end, nothing has changed. We’ve gone from not considering Lou Piniella as the Mariners’ next manager to not considering Lou Piniella as the Mariners’ next manager. I guess what we know now is that he’s officially out, but no one was ever really counting him in, on account of the retirement and all. To whatever extent people are thinking about the Mariners’ manager search, they’re thinking about names like Joey Cora, Bryan Price, and, regrettably, Dusty Baker. Something’ll get done in a matter of weeks.

But out of this non-story, there’s a lesson to learn. When word initially spread, there were, I’m sure, a variety of responses, but a common one was that the Mariners were doing something embarrassing. People didn’t know very many details, but the immediate assumption was that the Mariners were being idiots again, humiliating themselves. Reconnecting with an old flame over the phone, trying to get something ignited. There’s long existed the criticism that the Mariners make too much of what happened in 1995. The more years that pass, the more years the Mariners fail, it only looks worse. To see Piniella’s name brought up again out of nowhere? That one wasn’t going to sit well.

It suggested that the Mariners aren’t interested in looking forward. At least, it suggested that the Mariners are only interested in looking forward by looking backward. It suggested the Mariners don’t want to try to find a new direction, preferring instead to get some maps out of the attic. And a “full-court press”? That smells of desperation. Desperation to bring back the glory years by literally hiring the glory years, ignoring that the characters have aged. Rosenthal’s report felt very Mariners. People responded to that.

It was immediate, it was instinct. Nevermind waiting to know more, waiting at least for confirmation. When the tweet went out, it took no time at all for fans to conclude the Mariners were making a mistake. People figured the Mariners had learned nothing at all, and there was renewed drive to burn everything to the ground and rebuild with new material. This is how people deal with Mariners news now. We’ve become conditioned to believe the Mariners are going to screw up. Worse, to believe they’re going to embarrass us and themselves. When the Zduriencik front office was still smelling new, things were the opposite. We trusted them with their decisions, because it seemed like they’d earned it. Zduriencik’s still there, but he’s not the same guy, despite being the same guy. How we feel about this team has done a 180, or, going back to the Bavasi years, a 360.

When something gets tweeted about the Mariners, people automatically get nervous. Skepticism and cynicism run rampant. This was made readily evident by Rosenthal’s Lou Piniella report. The Mariners’ online fan base is such that, if the Mariners are said to be doing something, the people believe they’d be better not doing it. The Mariners, simply, don’t have anyone’s trust.

But then we already knew that, even before Rosenthal’s article. So the actual lesson is nothing we hadn’t already learned, and where we are today is where we were earlier in the week, a few days closer to death. What we’ve gotten out of this experience is nothing. But at least people got to make fun of the Mariners for something they didn’t do. Keeps ‘em from getting rusty.

Eventually, we’ll all once again trust the Mariners. I don’t know who’s going to be in charge of the team at that point, but it’s a probabilistic certainty. Hard to imagine, that feeling. But we have felt it, not even long ago.

Comments

35 Responses to “Sweet Lou”

  1. Westside guy on October 11th, 2013 4:52 pm

    Lou: “Hey, Chuck, I wanted to wish you a happy birthday!”

    Armstrong: “Lou, you know what’d be the bestest birthday present ever? YOU as manager of the Mariners again! Please please please please please please please please please…”

    Lou: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    .
    .
    .

    Lincoln: “Lou actually contacted us first.”

  2. scraps on October 11th, 2013 5:12 pm

    Joey Cora as manager also feels like the management are wanting to connect with the past. Maybe that’s wrong, but…

  3. scraps on October 11th, 2013 5:15 pm

    On the other hand, Dusty Baker.

    Right now, it feels like everything is going to be wrong.

  4. Shizane on October 11th, 2013 5:20 pm

    Wow, the Mariners are really grab-bagging it at this point. Hey, maybe we can lure Rich Amaral back to coach the outfielders and Bill Risley to be the bullpen coach!

  5. FelixFanChris420 on October 11th, 2013 5:46 pm

    Ozzie. Guillen.

    Whatever you think of him personally he is a great manager and players seem to like playing for him. Seeing/hearing about him telling HowChuck exactly what he thinks would be worth it by itself. Plus after the Florida fiasco I imagine he can’t be too picky when choosing which jobs to look into.

  6. scraps on October 11th, 2013 6:03 pm

    How can you say Guillen is a great manager (“Whatever you think of him personally”)? Like, that’s not even up for discussion, right? Whatever.

    And “players seem to like playing for him”?

    Well. That’s not my reality, anyway.

  7. stevemotivateir on October 11th, 2013 6:53 pm

    I still think Brown, Thompson, or Simmons are the more likely candidates. I keep hearing Cora’s name pop-up, mostly from fans, but he should be able to recognize this mess as well as anyone else.

  8. terryoftacoma on October 11th, 2013 6:53 pm

    One reason(among many) that I don’t have twitter is I’m not interested in the rumors. Most are laughable when you take time to look at them and not react to them.

  9. Flaco on October 11th, 2013 7:07 pm

    Who in their right mind would want to manage this team? Might as well hire Buhner. I’m not saying he’s a joke but really who seriously would take this job? Any manager with decent experience knows better. Every expansion team has either made it the world series or won it all, meanwhile us “mariner fans” get treated to one of the safest stadiums in the league

  10. Gritty Veteran Poster on October 11th, 2013 10:41 pm

    Screw it. Hire Guillen. M’s aren’t winning anytime soon and Guillen won’t last through the season after he goes of on Howard and Chuck sometime around mid-June. At least there’s be something interesting to talk about.

  11. G-Man on October 11th, 2013 10:58 pm

    stevem is right, it will likely be one of the three that are in the org now, as whoever it is can’t be guaranteed a job if Jack Z is canned next fall.

  12. ck on October 12th, 2013 12:13 am

    Bob Melvin would be a good manager …wait a minute.. He was a good manager! The Mariners are doomed to pitiful performance until Howard Lincoln (1) sells the team (2) / wises up (3) / resigns / (4) dies.
    I will not buy another ticket until the M’s are playing above .500 baseball. Are you listening, Howard?

  13. Flaco on October 12th, 2013 1:08 am

    I’m pretty sure most of us hated Melvin while he was here

  14. maqman on October 12th, 2013 2:27 am

    Brown and Robinson have both managed the team temporarily and didn’t particularly stand out. Dave Martinez, the Rays bench coach since 2008 has had a great mentor, aged 49. Chip Hale is the bench coach of the A’s, age 48, started coaching under Bob Melvin in 2008. Jeff Banister, age 48, is the Pirates bench coach and has been with the Pirates for his whole career as player and coach. Each of these guys is familiar with what has gone into their current team’s success. Helping create a winner is a pretty good recommendation to me.

  15. scraps on October 12th, 2013 4:44 am

    Simmons is going to be the one, I think.

    signed,
    Why Should You Believe Me Or Anyone Else I’m Just A Fan Filling Up Space Until The Mariners Pick One Then We Start In Despairing Oh God Oh God

  16. eponymous coward on October 12th, 2013 6:13 am

    I’m pretty sure most of us hated Melvin while he was here

    The official USSM nickname for Bob Melvin when he was managing here was “Box of Rocks”.

    http://www.ussmariner.com/page/807/

  17. casey on October 12th, 2013 8:41 am

    scraps – couldn’t agree more – the print media is paid to write stories – they seem to get things right less than 10% of the time. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story – managers and coaches, free agents, winter draft, winter leagues, trade rumours, front office changes, prospects. And then the posters will spin each one further with their own version of what they think, if they were GM, any idiot could see. Not much firm ground about til games are played again in March.

  18. shemberry on October 12th, 2013 11:19 am

    I was hoping for Lou Brown

  19. Westside guy on October 12th, 2013 1:50 pm

    I wasn’t on USS Mariner back then, but I recall liking Melvin. However when I try to remember why, it seems to be mostly about pitching – which probably means Bryan Price was the reason I liked Melvin.

  20. PackBob on October 12th, 2013 2:07 pm

    Some storylines float around like a piece of Velcro waiting for anything to stick to.

  21. mrakbaseball on October 12th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Who’s “Robinson”, did he mean Robby Thompson?

  22. kennyb on October 13th, 2013 10:08 am

    Jeff,
    First you state that the Mariners have no reason to lie about the full court press, then you lay out the exact reason they would – embarrassment.
    If it happened the way Rosenthal says then of course the team would lie, they would see how bad it would look.
    At this point I think the team would be more likely to lie than Rosenthal.

  23. Jeff Sullivan on October 13th, 2013 3:13 pm

    The actual team explanation makes perfect sense to me.

  24. Mariner.lovechild on October 14th, 2013 1:12 am

    Hey, honest question:

    What makes Dusty Baker such a bad candidate, in your opinion? He’s definitely had a part in competitive clubs. I wished we’d signed him the last time he was a free agent….

  25. kinickers77 on October 14th, 2013 7:50 am

    Well written Jeff!

  26. casey on October 14th, 2013 7:52 am

    Dusty Baker – 64 year old – 1671 wins as manager – .526 win %
    Lou Pinella – 70 years old – 1835 wins as manager – .517 win %
    Jim Leyland – 68 years old – 2468 wins as manager – .511 win %
    Eric Wedge – 45 years old – 774 wins as manager – .478 win %

  27. LongDistance on October 14th, 2013 9:51 am

    Lou’s Nightmare: top of the ninth, a one run lead, the bullpen gate opens, and in walks Bobby Ayala.

    Or, alternatively: July 30th, his office door opens, and in walks Howard Lincoln.

    Bobby’s gone. But Howard isn’t.

    As for those of you bandying about the name of Dusty Baker. I spam you.

  28. patl on October 14th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Why all the hate for Dusty Baker? It’s not like he has a well-earned reputation for blowing out young pitchers, and that’s pretty much the only glimmer of hope for this organization, right?

    Right?

  29. stevemotivateir on October 14th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Why would anyone think Baker would be interested in Seattle anyway?

  30. LongDistance on October 15th, 2013 11:34 am

    steve,

    That’s just the point, he’s so old school — he wouldn’t recognize an OBP if it kicked him in the nuts — he’d effing fit right in around here. And in so doing, not only would the M’s entrench themselves in Dinger Dung, but they’ll be up to their ears in SacBunts.

    Worse, he tends to see tactics, as what he imagines the last inning is going to look like. Which means floundering around in the middle innings. And this, he did with a great team.

    Just imagine what wonderful things he could do with the Mariners…

  31. stevemotivateir on October 15th, 2013 3:08 pm

    There are far more attractive gigs for Baker to land than what’s available here. And he’ll likely get one of them.

  32. stevemotivateir on October 15th, 2013 3:09 pm

    So, who’s going to suggest Buhner?

  33. dantheman on October 15th, 2013 8:12 pm

    “but based on the organization’s words, it was Piniella who initially broached the subject. ”

    “Lincoln: “Lou actually contacted us first.””

    Based on the organization’s words?? Please tell me there’s no one here actually gullible enough to believe anything Howard Lincoln or Chuck Armstrong says. Please.

  34. casey on October 15th, 2013 8:47 pm

    I will bite – I don’t have a problem with Howard or Chuck being honest. Can’t think of situations where they have told me as a fan one thing and the opposite was actually true – but I haven’t had many direct dealings with either of them. My issue is competence but that is not the same thing as honesty.

    We can only trust the people who had the conversation – that is Lou and Chuck who had the conversation. So I would sooner believe either one of those two than a reporter who is stirring the muck for stories who talked to someone who had direct knowledge from Lou (or maybe Lou’s caddy).

    Guess opportunities to make the team’s owners look foolish or bad or stupid or dishonest are fun or clever although doesn’t seem like it to gullible me.

  35. Flaco on October 15th, 2013 11:43 pm

    @Stevemotivateir…check a few days ago, I actually suggested hiring Buhner…in a way

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