Seattle Mariners postsTuesday December 03, 2013
Chuck Armstrong Retires, Lauded for Never Winning Pennant
Here's AP's story on the retirement of Mariners president Chuck Armstrong. Annotations are mine.
SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners president Chuck Armstrong announced Monday he will retire at the end of January after spending 28 of the past 30 seasons in that position with the ballclub, helping stabilize the team in the Pacific Northwest. 30 seasons, zero penannts. Can't get much more stable.
Armstrong built the Mariners into a contender then faced criticism for the past dozen seasons without a playoff appearance. Oh c'mon. He received criticism way before then. He will retire effective Jan. 31 and the club said it is beginning the process of finding a successor and starting that transition. Ten years late, but what the hell.
“Since day one, he has given his heart and soul to Mariners baseball. And yet ... He sincerely cares about the game of baseball, this organization, this city and this region,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said. And yet ... “On behalf of ownership and everyone who has worked here for the past 30 years, I thank Chuck for his tremendous contributions.” Which were ... ?
The 71-year-old Armstrong joined the franchise as team president in 1983 and, outside of a two-year stint in the early 1990s, has been with the club in that role since. Yes, he has. Boy, has he ever.
“This was a very difficult, very personal decision, but I know in my heart that it's time to turn the page and move to the next chapter of my life,” he said. You're a slow reader, Chuck.
Armstrong first joined the club following the 1983 season under then-owner George Argyros. Homonym: arduous. His most famous move during his first stint was making the decision to draft Ken Griffey Jr. with the first pick of the 1987 amateur draft. Well, thanks to Roger Jongewaard and Dick Balderson, but sure. Armstrong left the club in 1990-91 when Jeff Smulyan owned the team and its future in Seattle was tenuous, but he returned to the job in 1992 after he helped in the Baseball Club of Seattle purchasing the franchise, the first step in keeping the club in Seattle. Or in threatening to take the club out of Seattle.
Armstrong was instrumental in getting Safeco Field built (see: threat, above), a move that solidified the franchise and came during the best run of success in franchise history. Nice coincidence, that. Starting with Seattle's stirring comeback to win the AL West in 1995 and run to the AL championship series, the Mariners went to the playoffs in four of seven seasons and three times reached the ALCS. And yet ... Seattle won a record-tying 116 games in 2001, but fell to the New York Yankees in the postseason. In five games ...
“Through all the good times and the not-so-good times on the field since 1984, the goal always has been to win the World Series,” Armstrong said. And yet ... “My only regret is that the entire region wasn't able to enjoy a parade through the city to celebrate a world championship together.” The entire region's regret, too.
The 2001 season was the last time the Mariners reached the postseason and the 12-year drought has brought criticism to Seattle's front office. Again, we were critical much earlier. Fans have soured on a product that has eight losing seasons in the past 12 years. And the worst offense since the advent of the DH: Don't forget that. A club that once sold-out Safeco Field with regularity last year had just one in 81 home games. That lone sellout came on the night the club honored Griffey. Our glory is in the past, and it's not that glorious.
“Thanks to our outstanding ownership, the franchise is stable and will remain the Northwest's team, playing in Safeco Field, a great ballpark and great example of a successful public-private partnership,” Armstrong said. Until they threaten to move again. See: Turner Field, Cobb County. “The team is in good hands and positioned for future success. I am thankful for this important part in my life.” And we are thankful for this speech. Now where's Howard Lincoln's?
Why Jack Zduriencek is Not Billy Beane
From David Schoenfield's ESPN.com blog, in the post “The Mariners' historically awful defense”:
At this point, it's pretty obvious: Jack Zduriencek is not Billy Beane. Maybe that's unfair to say; maybe no general manager is Billy Beane. As Dave Cameron pointed out on FanGraphs, even the Rays have spent more on big league payroll than the A's the past two seasons and yet the A's have won 10 more games.
You can argue the A's have been lucky — nobody expected Josh Donaldson or Brandon Moss to be this good, or Bartolo Colon to resurface as an elite pitcher. But the A's also have a plan; as Joe Sheehan pointed out this week on his podcast, the A's target a certain type of player (Colon being the big — literally — exception): Players 25 to 29 years old, the age at which they should either break out or have a career year. Look at the current ages of the players they've added in the past two years: Moss (29), Jed Lowrie (29), Yoenis Cespedes (27), Josh Reddick (26), Chris Young (29), John Jaso (29). OK, Seth Smith is now 30 and closer Grant Balfour is 35. Other than Cespedes, those were all players considered disposable by their former teams. Individually, they don't look that impressive; collectively, they're a team.
Now look at who the Mariners added this offseason: Raul Ibanez (41), Aaron Harang (35), Jason Bay (34), Kelly Shoppach (33), Joe Saunders (32), Mike Morse (31), Kendrys Morales (30). That's not a plan. That's a tragedy.
Photo of the Day
I should've written something about Ken Griffey being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame, but I've written a lot about Junior over the years and didn't really have much to add. I'll wait three years for the biggee.
Even so, this was a big day for Mariners fan, including Jon Wells, publisher, editor, etc., of The Grand Salami, the official alternative program for The Seattle Mariners since 1996, who dug deep in his pockets and came up with the dough for this flyover message:
(Click on the image for a better read.)
Longtime readers know how much I agree.
Seattle Mariners: 30th No More
Going to the M's game today with Tim, and it's not just the sunny weather that's got me in a good mood.
Here are the M's OBP/SLG/OPS splits, along with their OPS MLB rank (1-30), since 2010:
- 2010: .298/ .339/ .637 (30th)
- 2011: .292/ .348/ .640 (30th)
- 2012: .296/ .369/ .665 (30th)
- 2013: .310/ .401/ .711 (18th)
That sound you hear in Seattle isn't just Macklemore recording on top of Dick's; it's runs being scored. It's an exhale. It's climbing out of a deep, deep hole.
UPDATE: Oops. The M's scattered six hits over nine innings and lost 4-0. When the opposition went ahead 2-0, the game seemed lost forever. Two runs? How could anyone ever manage that? Kendrys Morales hit a rocket double to the right-field corner with nobody out in the bottom of the 2nd but only managed to get to third because of a wild pitch. After that, five singles: one in the 3rd, one in the 7th, two in the eighth and one in the ninth. Just like old times.
Kyle Seager leads the M's with a .292 average and .356 OBP; Raul Ibanez leads with 24 homeruns.
Stat of the Day
“How bad has Seattle's offense been in recent seasons? The Mariners scored 106 more runs in 2012 than they did in 2010 ... and still finished last in the AL in runs scored.”
-- David Schoenfield, in his post, “Offseason report card: Mariners” on the Sweet Spot blog on ESPN.com. I've written about the Mariners' dismal offense a lot—it's what we have—but eventually we have to break free from this, right? At least Schoenfield thinks so. He predicts the M's break .500 in 2013.
Fences in, Dustin and Justin a year older, the addition of Kendrys and Raul and the subtraction of Chone: so maybe the M's won't finish last in runs in 2013?
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