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September 8, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln to employees: “We’re doing everything we can to win on the field”

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Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln rarely speaks outside of press conferences and when he does, people tend to pay close attention since he is the top-ranking team official outside of Japan-based owner Hiroshi Yamauchi. Nearly two weeks ago, on Aug. 27, Lincoln sent out an e-mail to team employees.
Some context: the e-mail was sent out four days after I interviewed Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik about their handling of the Josh Lueke trade. At the time, both were made aware we were planning on running a story about Lueke’s court case and their actions before and since the deal. That story did appear last Thursday, six days after Lincoln’s e-mail went out to team employees.
Top team officials, including Armstrong and Zduriencik, have not spoken in public to reporters since our story came out last week. Many of you have asked me what Lincoln thinks about how things have gone this season, and I can honestly tell you that I do not know for certain.
But this e-mail, obtained by us this week, does offer a glimpse at what he’s telling his own employees about his feelings. It was written, let’s remember, less than three weeks after manager Don Wakamatsu and three coaches were fired. The title of the e-mail is “Media Attacks” but the content of it goes deeper than complaining about the media and offers, I think, insight into how he views the team and where it’s at.
Here is the e-mail in full:
“If it seems to you like the local media is going out of its way to trash the Mariners, well, you’re right, they are! And you can expect this to continue as the season winds down. We’re getting hit like never before–or at least never before in recent memory! Indeed, if you read between the lines, you get the clear impression that at least one beat reporter would love nothing better than to step right in and run the Mariners. (Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen!)
None of us likes to read about our organization being “dysfunctional” or in “panic” or that we fire employees without good cause or that we’d be much better off if a few heads at the top were lopped off. All of us know that this is a fine organization with dedicated and hard working employees and that we’re doing everything we can to win on the field and to provide our fans with a first class entertainment experience at Safeco Field.
I want you to know that Chuck, Jack and I have very thick skins and that nothing said by the folks in the media or, for that matter, the bloggers, is going to distract us from continuing to do our jobs to the best of our ability, with the goal of giving our fans a championship team. In due course, we will let our fans know of our plans for the future and of our commitment to them. And we look forward to working with you as we put these plans together.


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“I recently read a blog from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in which he explained his reasons for attempting to acquire the Texas Rangers. He had something to say about the media that for me, really rang true. Here is what he said:
“What I have learned in 11 years in the sports business is that the dumbest guys in the room are always the media guys. Some do a decent job of reporting, most just spew opinions. And those opinions change more often than they brush their teeth. So what the media was saying (about his effort to acquire the Rangers) was of zero impact or influence on what I was doing. Listening to the media only increases your odds of failing at whatever you are doing. So I ignore them.”
I hope each of you take Mark Cuban’s remarks to heart. Don’t pay attention to what the local media is saying. Keep doing your job. And keep your heads up. You have every right to be very proud of this organization and for what it stands for.”

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