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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

May 26, 2008 at 5:28 PM

When will it end?

Larry Stone here. Geoff gets a well-deserved mental break after covering the last road trip. I was just watching from afar, like most of you, but I’ve got to say that in 20-plus years of covering major-league baseball, I can’t ever remember seeing a more hideous stretch of baseball. They were simply blown out – – embarrassed — for the first five games, and then the capper comes in the final game when J.J. Putz and the bullpen can’t hold a three-run lead. Just brutal.
As I Iook out at Safeco Field here at about 5:30, I see a sea of red. It’s amazing — Sox Nation is out in full force. It will be interesting to see how the crowd noise goes during the game. I have a feeling that the Sox support will be very evident. Whether or not the Mariner boo-birds will be out will be something to note. I have a feeling they’ll start out supportive, but if things go poorly for the Mariners, the fans will let them have it. (One more interesting sight: Manny Ramirez is taking grounders at shortstop. Now that’s something I’d pay to see in a game).
This could be a deadly homestand, with Boston, Detroit and the Angels lined up, followed by the Red Sox in Boston. I won’t say it’s do or die, because I think we’ve thought that before, but if it turns as ugly as the road trip, I’d be absolutely shocked if there weren’t major repercussions.
To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised that John McLaren is still managing the team. As last week was unfolding. I thought (and this was no stroke of insight; most people thought the same thing) that the situation was the classic scenario for a managerial change. But even though he got the vote of confidence, along with GM Bill Bavasi, I’m sure neither of them are feeling very safe right now. As I wrote over the weekend, the upper management team (Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong) are strong proponents of continuity, but they don’t have limitless patience. And contrary to popular belief, they’re not completely tone deaf. They have to be feeling the wrath of Mariners’ fans, judging by my e-mail and the blog comments that I’m sure they’re getting multi-fold.
McLaren was asked before the game if he was happy to receive the vote of confidence from Armstrong and Bavasi.
“It’s something I appreciated, but I really didn’t need,” he said. “We talk every day about how the mood of the team is in the clubhouse, and how we’re preparing for the game, and then we play the game hard. I think at this stage, the fans could care less about any of that, about my security or anything. All they want is wins, and that’s all I want. That’s all I care about — if we win tonight.”
McLaren added that he hasn’t been reassured privately by the organization about his job security.
“No, but I don’t need it. If they pull the plug, they pull the plug. As I said, I’m a fighter. Every day I come to the ballpark with enthusiasm….We dug ourselves a hole, and we’re the only ones that can dig out of it.”
Let’s see if they brought their shovels today — and no wise cracks about grave-digging.



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