This was a season the Seattle Mariners believed they had the tools to win their division. They had a pitching staff any team in baseball would envy. All they thought they would need is a rebound from Richie Sexson and continue with their solid fielding and they would definately be in the hunt. Well no one in the rotation has a record above .500, three of the four have ERA's over 5.00. Richie Sexson is still tanking. The always reliable Ichiro is hitting well below his career average. Even their defense has been bad, falling among the worst in baseball. It was the making of a classic manager meltdown...but it was more than that. The last two weeks have been leading to this ultimate ground zero. GM Bill Bavasi came out publically May 24th and took the heat for the team's ineffectiveness. Bavasi all but laid it out that the players weren't take care of their business. The next day, McLaren sends Arthur Rhodes out in relief and the Yankees torch him...again! I guess he figured with an lifetime ERA over 7 against the Yankees, McLaren must have thought he was due. Wrong answer. Yesterday, the Mariners president calls the coaching staff into a meeting and rips them a new one. The players promptly go out and choke away a close game...leading to McLaren opening and closing his press conference with a explitive laced tirade that was certainly loud enough for his team to hear. Bavasi backed McLaren again. "I think people would have thought he was justified if he chain locked the doors to the clubhouse and set it on fire. It's time to be upset. It has been time to be upset for quite a while. And he has been upset, he's just been trying to protect the players and be a good leader and take the hits for them."
Apparently Bavari felt locking the doors and burning them was justified because thats exactly what he did...sort of. He ordered every player to stand by their lockers and take questions from the media. No one was allowed to leave and no one did, except Richie Sexson. Richie Sexson is the clubhouse leader of this team. Some may say Ichiro, but you can't exactly lead a team dragging a translator around with you. There is no one more synonymous with the Mariners than Sexson. I think its plain to see that the guy the ownership kept around to "lead" their team is nothing more than a spineless jellyfish. If you get paid millions of dollars, its not to much to ask that you stay and answer questions from the media. The truth is he was just being defiant. I mean really! How DARE the Mariners expect him to actually EARN all that jack! Well, he will get his money, but I think its safe to say his playing days are just about done. No one wants a cancer on their team, especially a cancer that only hits a couple of ticks above the Mendosa line. The only thing that has kept the cancer label off him so far is a manager that has done everything he can to keep the heat OFF his team. At some point, the players need to hold themselves accountable for their poor play and execution. If thats not something that the Richie can do, then its time to show him the door.