Mariners Insider Blog

Rats fleeing a sinking ship? Riggleman responds to anonymous comments about Ichiro

Ok, well, our competitor had a story in today's paper about some of the Mariners not being too fond of Ichiro Suzuki. In the story, an anonymous clubhouse source had a few quotes that were pretty eye-opening.

"I just can't believe the number of guys who really dislike him," said one clubhouse insider. "It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him."

The coaching staff and then-manager John McLaren intervened when one player was overheard talking — in reference to Ichiro — about wanting to "knock him out." A team meeting was called to clear the air.

Ok, so obviously that was the topic that manager Jim Riggleman addressed in his pregame meeting with the media. Riggleman was quite candid and at time quite irritated about having to discuss such a topic. I'll add my own thoughts on this later.

Here's some of the highlights.

When you aren't winning many games these type of games surface when a ball club loses a lot of games, you're going to have some griping and fingerpointing and stuff like that.

But I can honestly tell you I don't ever remember any time when I was coaching or managing here that anybody was at the point where somebody was going to go after somebody. I don't think it got to that point.

A lot of those people who say those things need to look in the mirror about their own performances rather than putting it on somebody else but that comes with a losing a lot of games. You get a lot of negativity. The only way to fix that is not lose a lot of games.

When asked if some of the animosity was because Ichiro was the team's perceived superstar, Riggleman said this:

"It probably is. But you know everybody has some deficiencies starting at the top. We all have some deficiencies. I feel like I prepare myself as much as you can prepare for a ball game, but my preparation probably pales in comparison to Ichiro's preparation.

I think you'll find that if everybody prepared as hard and worked as hard as Ichiro and Ibanez we probably wouldn't have lost so many games."

Why would someone say stuff like this?

Pettiness, seventh-grade mentality, just pettiness of whatever jealousy, pointing fingers, deflecting responsibility, lack of accountability, just a lack of a character.

These things happen when you're losing; you're not seeing that happen with winning teams now. But those winning teams go out and lose a couple games and you'll see it.

And as the questions continued about leadership and other things, never really deviating from the overall subject, Riggleman grew more and more agitated about being stuck in this situation.

Your character is tested in the bad times, not good times. I feel like for the most our guys have held up very well, but there are examples of a lack of character when people take shots at each in the paper.

You get a feeling for who those people are and you try to eliminate those people

Here's my favorite ...

Rats are the first one of the ship. When the ship is sinking the rats are the first ones off. They're the ones scavenging everything on the ship when it's floating good and going good, but when it's sinking the rats are the first ones to abandon the ship.

Talk is cheap. We can talk all about. We can talk and talk and talk about stuff like that. You can go on and on about somebody pointing fingers or whether somebody dind't lead, all those things, but bottom line is we didn't pitch good enough and we didn't hit good enough. Those things supercede everything."

Finally, Riggleman, who knows that some of the pitchers have done some of the petty sniping in the press and behind closed doors, had something for them as well.

Out of 14 teams, we're 11th in pitching. And I'll guarantee some of those people pointing fingers are pitches, some of the sniping is going on it's pitchers and then we're 11th in pitching. I'd keep my mouth shut if I was somebody saying something and part of that staff. 11th in the league in pitching, I don't think I'd be saying too much.