Sunday, May 25, 2008
The Worst Franchise in Sports
The Seattle Mariners are now the worst-run organization in sports. Congratulations to Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong, Bill Bavasi and John McLaren.
The New York Knicks, the reigning champions, have relinquished the crown. After years of mediocrity on the court it appears James Dolan has finally come to his sense. Isiah Thomas is no longer running the team or sexually harassing colleagues. Instead the recent hirings of former longtime Pacers GM Donnie Walsh and former Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni indicate a positive sign for Gotham basketball. The Knicks will probably still be bad but at least they're improving. The same cannot be said for the Mariners.
Bill Bavasi and John McLaren. I say this in all seriousness when I accuse this duo of being the most incompetent one-two GM-manager punch in all of sports. Bavasi has been in charge of both the Angels and Mariners. Despite running two high-revenue franchises that compete in a four-team division Bill has never had a team of his reach the playoffs. Zero postseason games in a decade. Hell, even Isiah led the Knicks to the playoffs during his heinous reign. As for McLaren, I've discussed his in-game incompetence multiple times here. While John has not been blessed with the greatest roster (thanks Bill!), McLaren has failed on so many levels to put his team in a position to win. Batting Jose Vidro third, starting Miguel Cairo, putting Raul Ibanez in left field, giving Richie Sexson ample opportunities at the plate... all of these moves chip away at the notion that McLaren is a smart manager. Soon the evidence comes crashing down and the M's are left to pick up the pieces.
Just how bad has Seattle been in recent years? The numbers speak for themselves.
(year, payroll, record, division standing)
2008 , $117,666,482 , 18-33 , 4th place
2007 , $106,460,833 , 88-74 , 2nd place
2006 , $87,959,833 , 78-84 , 4th place
2005 , $87,754,334 , 69-93 , 4th place
2004 , $81,515,834 , 63-99 , 4th place
2007-08 , $88,877,161 , 23-59 , 5th place
2006-07 , $81,672,615 , 33-49 , 4th place
2005-06 , $92,904,104 , 23-59 , 5th place
2004-05 , $94,067,539 , 33-49 , 4th place
2003-04 , $84,523,891 , 39-43 , 3rd place (1st round)
Assuming Seattle finishes last in the AL West again this season that'll make it the fourth time in five years the Mariners have been cellar dwellers in their division. Even the lowly Knicks couldn't replicate that dismal milestone. One wonders the amount of national scorn the M's would receive if they played in Los Angeles or New York.
There's no reason Seattle should not be successful and competitive. It's a big market team that owns a monopoly on professional baseball. The closest MLB franchise is 800 miles away. The M's have every resource to acquire good players and quality personnel. But until Lincoln and Armstrong step down or let smart baseball people be in charge of baseball decisions the Seattle Mariners will continue to be two steps behind the curve.
Get a clue guys. Or keep hemorrhaging money and losing games.