Thursday: Sometimes you can see a storm brewing from miles away. Other times it hits you before you have time to run for cover. The latest brouhaha in Seattle? It was visible from here.
When the Mariners decided to send Dustin Ackley to Tacoma a couple days ago, it seemed to be just another glitch in their rebuilding program. And it should have stayed that way. But nothing ever seems that simple with our regional major league team.
As I was reading the news Tuesday afternoon, I came upon a couple of comments from manager Eric Wedge and immediately knew we had elevated from glitch to full-blown crash. Wedge was trying to explain Ackley’s fall from grace and mentioned sabermetrics, calling those who crunch numbers and statistics to pontificate on the right way to run a baseball team ”people who haven’t played since they were 9 years old and think they’ve got it figured out.”
We talked about it quite a bit Tuesday on the radio show and I made it clear I felt Wedge was going to hear about this. The folks he was criticizing are pretty entrenched in the baseball media and they wouldn’t be happy. They would want his head. I was right. They weren’t.
Wedge heard about it, with one ESPN columnist saying it was time for him to go. Not for the comments, though David Schoenfield brought those up, but for the Mariners inability to develop talent.
That’s an illogical argument based on a flawed premise (players are listed as top prospects so they are destined to be great major league players) that doesn’t deserve discussion (even if the premise was accurate, the blame isn’t all Wedge’s; the front office has to shoulder most of it). But the tempest that occurred in baseball’s teapot is worth discussing.
Wedge was person-non-grata throughout the sabermetrics world yesterday, Public Enemy No. 1 and No. 2. But the anger may have been misplaced. At least to the guys who cover the team regularly.
One thing’s for certain. If the M’s make a change over this, then they are destined for eternal mediocrity. And aren’t worth following.
There may be good reasons to make a managerial change, but this isn’t it.
Monday: Of all the holidays we celebrate each year, this is the one where the words “happy” or “merry” just don’t fit as an adjective. Memorial Day is just that, a day for memories. Memories of those who gave their last full measure, to quote Abraham Lincoln once again, for our freedom. It’s a day to reflect, a day to remember, a day to be thankful.
It seems entirely appropriate our two most reflective national holidays – Memorial Day and Thanksgiving – have their roots in the Civil War (as does the Lincoln quote I like to cite on this day). That bloody conflict that split this country apart and cost more Americans their lives than any war should never be forgotten.
Neither should the reasons we celebrate days like today.
My father had his reasons, having lost too many friends and colleagues during World War II. The effect such things had on his life didn’t really hit me until he was in his 70s and, after years of lying to me (and to everyone else) about the death of his captain, a man he greatly admired, during the war, he sat down and told me the truth.
It’s not a story I want to share at this time but I can say this, the death ate at him his entire life. It happened on his birthday on Guam, an island in the South Pacific, and when he finally shared the truth with me, his only son, he cried like a baby. It was one of only two times in my life I saw my father cry.
Just thinking of that day makes me tear up even now.
So on this Memorial Day I am going to remember my dad, who gave up some of the best years of his life – and many of his dreams – for you, me and this country. His naval service in World War II affected him deeply, more than I’m sure I know even today.
I’m going to take some time to think of my dad, who died a couple years ago, and Captain Cunningham, who died on my dad’s birthday so long ago, and give thanks.
It’s what this day is all about.
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