Saturday, December 23, 2006

Damn the Mariners. Damn, Damn, Damn the Mariners!

Jason A. Churchill of Prospect Insider writes the quintessential Seattle-Mariners-fan-angst-piece (and also manages to take a dig at his local power company). There's simply so much here to absorb here, but I'll try to hit the key points:
They aren’t even good at maximizing their financial position, even though we all know that the cash is what’s most important to the ownership group as a whole. The Mariners had it all, lost it all, and have no idea how to repeat their glorious run to riches, wins and the proverbial cash-cow status that was Safeco Field.
The main reason for baseball fans in the Northwest to bemoan is the fact the folks running the Mariners have two concerns: 1) making money and 2) making as much of it as quickly as possible. When ownership is more concerned about raking in dollars than assembling a quality team, there tends to be dire consequences in the standings and on the pocketbook. Conversely, owners who make coming to the ballpark an enjoyable (winning) experience often enjoy success on and off the field (see Moreno, Arturo and the LA Angels). The sad truth is that the Seattle Mariners are not committed to winning. Victories just coincide with profits.
In Seattle, it’s not about baseball. It’s about Lincoln proving to his bosses that he can make them money. It’s about the owners making sure they don’t take any hits to their profits.
Once it got a whiff of fiscal success in the early 2000's (due to a combination of Ichiro, a new stadium and winning) ownership was determined to milk the cash cow as long as possible. Thus began the systematic process of overspending on not-good-but-good-enough squads season in and season out.
Instead of thinking like a baseball team, the suits chose to do whatever it took to keep 3 million asses glued to the seats at the Safe. When they should have been starting to retool (not rebuild), they went in the other direction, hanging on to veterans for longer than they were capable of producing and handing out contracts to aging talents that were clearly past their primes.
Scott Spiezio, Jeff Cirillo, Rich Aurilia, Fernando Vina and Carl Everett were some of the more memorable "contributors."
There was no eye toward 2006 or 2007. None at all. It was about how much money they could make right this freakin’ second. Today. Tomorrow. THIS homestand, THIS month, THIS season.
And the deluge is already well underway:

Year Record Attendance
116-46 3,512,326
2002 93-69 3,540,482
2003 93-69 3,268,509
2004 63-99 2,940,731
2005 69-93 2,689,529
78-84 2,480,717

Sadly the future doesn't look much better:
The M’s needed to come out of this calendar year with their balls dangling proudly and a payroll full of flexibility and bursting with room to add valuable talent.

Instead, they head toward a very critical future with their nuts in a sling, attendance dropping like a Matt Hasselbeck pass to Jeramy Stevens, and not an end to the foolishness in sight.

The Seattle Mariners are a colossal mess.

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