Mariners’ Dipoto weighs in on if Servais’ role requires more emotion
Jun 30, 2023, 9:46 AM
(Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Things have not been going well for the Seattle Mariners, to put it simply.
The M’s have continued to hover right around .500, and they suffered an ugly series loss early this week, dropping two games to the Washington Nationals, who are in last place in the National League East.
“It’s another Thursday, another general morning of frustration. I don’t know a better way to put it,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said during his weekly Seattle Sports interview on Thursday. “And that goes for our entire organization. It starts with me and it runs through every player on the field. They’re feeling it. We all are. And we’d like to get out from underneath it.”
With the Mariners continuing to scuffle, fans have said they want “action,” meaning coaches or management getting fired or players getting demoted or designated for assignment.
Dipoto said nothing like that would happen on the Thursday off day, and it didn’t.
So if the Mariners are going to stay largely the same going forward, what does that mean for manager Scott Servais? What is his role as his team is failing to gain positive traction roughly three months into the season?
“I think it’s keeping morale at a level that’s manageable,” Dipoto said. “It’s such a roller coaster season. We have, in years past in good seasons and in bad, we’ve been on our roller coaster. And the manager’s job is to try to keep the roller coaster avoiding the peaks and valleys as much as you can. And right now, there’s no question we’re in a valley. And that puts a lot of pressure on Scott and on our staff to try to keep morale a little bit higher and to keep focus where it needs to be.”
Dipoto said the main thing to stress is playing “fundamentally-sound baseball,” which hasn’t really been the case for the Mariners so far this year.
“That’s where we’re falling short. And I don’t think you can magically coach it. There is no secret play,” Dipoto said. “Scott referenced it (Wednesday), there is no offensive timeout to huddle the group and say ‘here’s what we need to do.’ It’s such a unique game and it’s about 26 players executing individually for a team outcome or result. I don’t know that a manager in baseball has the same ability to impact the outcome as does really in any of the other major sports because there is no secret play. It’s just about putting a bat on a ball.”
Servais has shown he can get fiery many times in his Mariners tenure, but for the most part he’s pretty calm in the dugout.
“We get people who call in or email, text or whatever the (preferred) way of getting in touch is and say they want to see more fire, they want to see more anger, they want to see more of that from the leaders on down,” Mike Salk said. “Is that still a way to exist in modern baseball? Is that something you are looking for?”
Replied Dipoto, “I don’t really know what that does.”
Dipoto, who played eight years in MLB, said he’s been on teams where managers “come in the room and yell frequently.” He doesn’t think that works in today’s game.
“We’re in a generation of player – at least through our experiences – in baseball, we’re in a generation of player who just tunes you out. You have a couple of cracks at something like lighting up the clubhouse and you have to choose your spots,” Dipoto said. “You can’t manage like that every day over a 162-game baseball season. You can’t react that emotionally. The best players you’ve ever seen, they manage it calmly. We’ve preached calm. We preach calm in the way we try to execute an at-bat, we preach focus and hard work. And you have to model that behavior even when it’s going bad. And right now it’s going bad. You can’t flip your script and turn into someone you’re not.”
Listen to the full Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the podcast near the top of this post.