Fear the Mustache! Is Eric Wedge Finally Our Guy?
By Scott Rinear
Happy 4th of July weekend! Hopefully most of you in the region were able to get out and enjoy a picture perfect summer day in the northwest, finally.
So in case you missed it, Seattle Mariners pitcher Doug Fister, who has developed the unfortunate and unbelievably frustrating reputation of being the tough luck kid because he pitches so well but never wins, lost another heart breaker by one run, a run that should not have scored. San Diego Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin walked in the 5th inning and scored the game’s only run. However, upon further review, it was discovered that the count was 3 balls and 2 strikes when Maybin jogged down to first base. A walk with only 3 balls. The fact that a run scored in this manner was the only run surrendered by Fister in 9 innings of work makes “tough luck” an understatement. There’s not much more to say…keep doing what you’re doing Doug! Your fortunes will improve. And for those of you wondering about protesting the game:
Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play.
Let’s take the positive out of this. Doug Fister is pitching out of his mind, and that is very promising for the future of this team.
As we pass the technical half-way point of the 2011 season and approach the All-Star Break, I wanted to weigh in and perhaps start a discussion about Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge. Sprinkled throughout the posts on this blog in 2011 have been some brief opinions, praise, and criticisms of the Mariners’ second go-around with a former Cleveland Indians manager, but I feel the man (Wedge, aka Mt. Mustache) deserves a little more attention and discussion.
The founding father of this blog, Jeff, and I, in our back and forth Mariner banter this season have long since come to the conclusion that Eric Wedge is The Man, plain and simple. “Fear the Mustache” is Jeff’s brainchild. It’s not about Wedge being a particularly scary individual. It’s about Wedge’s style as a manager and the respect he commands from his players and their opponents, and of course, very literally, his utterly fantastic mustache!
“Fear the Mustache” is also a warning. Wedge became the faltering Indians manager in 2003. The Indians moved up a spot in the final AL Central standings each of his first 3 seasons, and by 2005 they were within 2 games of the playoffs. Then, after a down year in 2006, Wedge lead the 2007 Indians to a 96 win season, a 4-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, and were one game away from reaching the World Series, losing the ALCS game 7 to the Boston Red Sox.
Wedge was awarded Manger of the Year honors for that 2007 season and I believe he’ll receive that award again, soon, as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. Think about it. The 2011 Mariners were “supposed” to be well out of the race by now. And on paper they probably should be. Through his managerial decisions Wedge has gotten the most out of a team offense ranked last in hits, runs, batting average, on-base %, slugging % and OPS. A team with numbers like that has no business anywhere but the cellar. Of course the Mariners’ brilliant pitching staff has a lot to do with their current “striking distance” position in the AL West, but I think a lot of the credit should also be given to Wedge.
I realize one half season might not be enough for some to reach this sort of conclusion, but for me it’s an intangible gut feeling that Wedge is finally our guy, and that he’s made it far enough into the building that he’ll avoid falling victim to the Mariner manager revolving door that was installed when Lou Piniella exited said building.
Eric Wedge was a catcher in his playing days, which included a College World Series title with Wichita State in 1989 and some time in the minors and a few stints in the majors. He and his wife Kate Wedge are very active in the community, both in Cleveland and in Seattle, giving a lot back and offering their help during a time when there a lot of people that need it.
So that’s my opinion and feelings about our new manager, but I want to know what other Mariner fans think of Eric Wedge at the mid-way point of his first season as our manager. Is he our guy? Go Mariners! http://jeffsmariners.com
Posted in Mariners