Manager Don Wakamatsu closed the clubhouse today for another team meeting.
What's the old saying, "Good teams win games, bad teams have meeting."
I don't know if the Mariners are a bad team, yet. But right now they aren't a good team.
“What I told them today was this isn’t a meeting where we have to turn things around and win 50 in a row, but let’s look what is going on," Wakamatsu said. "More importantly there is accountability to the fans and yourself to play better baseball. We went through a stretch early where we lost a lot of one-run ball games. We used that as a crutch and I know we lost a lot of confidence. Since that time, I think we have played sloppy baseball and that’s in control not to do. You start to see heads lower a little bit and intensity wanes a little bit and it’s about going out and taking it to the opponent and playing with a lot more pride, a lot more respect in themselves and something the fans can be proud of. Players tend to get into a cocoon and manager has to get them out of it.”
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When asked about the tone of the meeting, Wakamatsu said:
“What I told them is we are 28 games into the season and for me to jump and panic is one thing, but playing fundamental baseball is another thing. We are playing with too much emotion in the wrong way right now. To me, this team has to come together. Talk about tam last year and you heard it all the time. ‘We are playing as a team and guys care about one another’. I think right now there are a lot of individuals trying to turn this around. We are going to work on coming together. The question is how do you get these guys to play a brand of baseball that fans can respect. No one cares more than these guys when they get booed when you play sloppy baseball. That is what we are accountable for is to come out and play hard. If we do that, to turn this around win 50 straight, asking them to go out and give everything they’ve got on a daily basis and I think we will take our chances with that.”
Wakamatsu was asked about what he thought of the catching lately, his response?
"Young," he said.
I think that’s the best description I can give right now. We’re working daily. We had a nice session today with Rob Johnson and will have one with Adam Moore. There is a lot of pressure. You talk about being young in a lineup that should be producing and you’re asking those guys to add something offensively and they’re not. Which I think young players will take that behind the plate. I know both of them can play much better than they have and they are working to get better at it.”
Still, eight passed balls is a bit much, considering the next most for a team is two. Wakamatsu asked if there was any specific reason for them.
“For me, the hardest thing for a young player is getting comfortable up here. Again, you go through losing streaks and it magnifies on young players. Both of them in spring training caught with less anxiety, more confidence. I think that will continue as they play more and more. Some of it’s technical, but a lot of it is stress trying to do more than they can and those are things we are trying to address.”
A few links ...
Columnist John McGrath offers his thoughts on the Milton Bradley situation, which includes a trip to Tacoma.
A few audio links ...
Cliff Lee did an in-studio interview with Brock and Salk on 710 ESPn.
- Erick Aybar SS
- Bobby Abreu RF
- Torii Hunter CF
- Kendry Morales 1B
- Hideki Matsui DH
- Juan Rivera LF
- Howie Kendrick 2B
- Brandon Wood 3B
- Ryan Budde C
RHP Jered Weaver (3-1, 3.19 ERA)
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Casey Kotchman 1B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Ken Griffey Jr. DH
- Jose Lopez 2B
- Josh Wilson SS
- Rob Johnson C
- Michael Saunders LF
RHP Felix Hernandez (2-2, 3.10 ERA)