An In-Your-Face Guy For The Mariners
After watching the first inning of the Mets-Mariners game in which one of the outs recorded by Johan Santana was Mariners second baseman Jose Lopez coming up short trying for a double after a hit to left field, it occurred to me that the last place Mariners, playing like they’d rather be anywhere other than at the ballpark need a guy who’s going to get into their faces and let them know their dysfunctional, disinterested behavior is not going to be tolerated. New manager Jim Riggleman ain’t it. The first name that came to mind was Larry Bowa, but two teams have tried that and it hasn’t worked; then another name came to mind; one that is from the Pacific Northwest and has had massive success as a minor league manager and needs some enterprising and open-minded owner to give him a chance to refresh his image. That someone is Wally Backman.
If ever there was a roster of players that needed some raving lunatic who couldn’t care less about their resumes or sizes of their contracts, it’s the Mariners. At this point, why should they let the laid back Riggleman replace the laid back John McLaren with the team completely out of any kind of contention? At this point, what’s the difference? The team’s going nowhere fast and the young players like Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt could use a guy like Backman to make sure their heads are in the game rather than on whatever else they’re thinking about; Ichiro Suzuki could use someone with nothing to lose like Backman letting him know that he’s not running the team and isn’t going to decide what position he’s going to play; and Les Miserables, Erik Bedard could use someone to drag him across the post-game food spread face first by way of his hair. They don’t have to make a long-term commitment to him; just give him the rest of the season and see what happens; if nothing else, it would draw some interest to a decimated and disheartened team and wake up their fans. What do they have to lose?