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August 3, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Wakamatsu: Fans “have every right” to question him

Don Wakamatsu was asked a lot of questions today about his job security, starting with how he feels about being questioned by fans.
“They have every right,” he said. “I came in here last year with some high expectations. We had a good year last year.(This year) we’ve had some disappointments and injuries, but everything that’s come out of my mouth is we want to put a product on the field the fans can respect. We haven’t done that.
“To point the finger or look at me, they have a right to do that. I feel it every day. I don’t sleep at night. That means a lot to me. The city of Seattle and fans mean a tremendous amount to me, to give something back. We haven’t given anything back. What I have to do and continue from this day forward is look at our club, look at each individual player, dialogue with them about mistakes and areas we can get better in.”

Asked if he feels secure, Wakamatsu said, “I think managers first and foremost are judged by wins and losses, and rightly so. I don’t really focus on those things. I focus on the 25 guys out here. My security is not as important as trying to get these guys better and that’s how I feel about it.”
Are thoses conversations falling on deaf ears?
“No. You’re talking about this club, there have been 11 non-roster players come through. We’ve had a lot of changes. It’s not the same club I was talking to in spring training in a lot of cases. That’s the challenge. That’s why I keep talking about right now can we get certain individuals playing better and investing in their future or being better players in the next two months and going into spring training. And at the same time bring new guys in together without putting a lot of pressure on themselves to stay here, in a sense. Rob Johnson, for the last month or so has probably felt the pressure of staying here. And that’s the difficult part of being in the major leagues.”
Does he wish he had gotten a public vote of confidence?
“I’ve been around the game a long time. I’m judged on wins and losses and I’ll take that. It comes with the territory. I am very, very disappointed and it bothers me tremendously that we haven’t been able to give … we felt a major connect with the fans last year and that’s what is in my heart right now. That’s what we want to get back to. That’s what we set out to do. I’m not going to sit here and dwell on the past. I have to figure out how to make this club better and that’s all I’m focused on.”
He said he hadn’t had a conversation with Jack Zduriencik on his future managerial status. Asked if he expected to have one, he said, “I don’t worry about that. Like I said, today I’m worried about Jason Vargas pitching well. I’m worried about watching Mr. Moore catch back there. That’s why you get into coaching in the first place. That’s where you find your soul is. To focus on the negativity doesn’t help anybody.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to have this job. I’ve said from Day One this is the only job I’ve ever wanted is to be a big-league manager. That comes with the territory. That’s why I want to help everybody out here get a little bit better and try to turn this thing around. We’ll do that every day I’m here.”



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