Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto apologizes, clarifies comments – read what he said
Oct 5, 2023, 9:45 AM | Updated: 12:55 pm
The Seattle Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk for his weekly show on Thursday, and the team’s president of baseball operations immediately addressed comments that he made during an end-of-season press conference Tuesday that did not land well with the Mariners’ fan base after missing the playoffs in 2023.
More from Jerry Dipoto Show: Mariners ‘are going to add from the outside’
Two quotes in particular from Tuesday have been the center of the controversy.
Here is exactly what Dipoto said on Thursday in response to questions from hosts Mike Salk and Brock Huard about those two quotes.
• Tuesday’s quote: “I can’t tell you what year we’re going to win the World Series. I can tell you that if we win 54% of our games over the course of a decade, you’re going to play in the World Series.”
• Dipoto on Thursday:
First, I’d like to say I’m generally embarrassed by by the way at least that comment and especially one other was received. You know, I’ve been doing this job or roles like this for a long time now, and I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made my fair share like most do, and this was kind of one of those times. I just did a poor job of illustrating the points that I was trying to make, and in one case, I chose to try humor to lighten a grave question and obviously that wasn’t what the moment called for.
With this one, the 54%, you know, I just completely whiffed in my attempt to paint a big picture baseline of what obviously makes more sense to me than our fans and media. Our goal isn’t to be mediocre, our goal is to win championships and to play a high level for a long time, and that’s what I was trying to convey. Obviously, it didn’t help. I wish I could hit reset and try it again, but that moment’s gone. The best I can do is continue to try to be candid and accessible, and I feel like over my time here, we’ve done that – players, staff, all of our personnel.
We want our fans to feel like they’re part of the team, and at minimum have a front row seat to what’s happening. We tell them what we’re doing and then we do that thing. They may not always agree with it or like it, but we’re very candid in that way. I can assure everyone that we want to win. And the 54%, if you look back over the history of baseball – and I actually said this in the press conference, unfortunately it didn’t make it to the cuts – but if you look back over the history of baseball since the divisional format came to be in 1969, in decade-long segments, teams that averaged or achieve 54% win percentage over a 10-year period or greater, they tend to wind up in the World Series and consistent members of the postseason.
You know, we’re not trying to win 54% of our games, we’re trying to win 100% of our games. The 54% is, if you reach that bar and you’re able to stay at or above that bar for a 10-year period, you’re going to play in a World Series. And I say that confidently because it’s true – 19 teams have been able to do that in decade-long increments, 19 different teams, and 16 of them have played in the World Series, and most, many, have won championships. That’s what I was trying to say, and it probably makes more sense to me, and for that I apologize.
We’re not trying to string you out, we’re not trying to ask people to wait another decade. The significance of that is, in this decade, that’s what we’re doing. From the start of the COVID summer in 2020, we have played at that level. We’ve reached one postseason, we hope to reach many more, but we do it in a process-oriented way, and obviously I did a poor job of trying to convey that thought – and I feel badly about it.
• Tuesday’s quote: “We’re actually doing the fan base a favor in asking for their patience to win the World Series while we continue to build a sustainably good roster.”
• Dipoto on Thursday:
I was trying to use a little bit of humor. The question that I was asked was regarding the addition of big stars, and what do you tell your fan base if you don’t deliver the big star, and when does the World Series come? And the simple answer to that is adding a big star is much easier when you develop the big star, and we’ll look at our center fielder (Julio Rodríguez) as an example, or the longtime great center fielder for the Mariners in Ken Griffey Jr.
Acquiring a big star from outside is also contingent on the big star, so I can’t guarantee you when that will happen. And I also have been involved in professional baseball all my life, and to think that you’re going to predict (when) we will win the World Series is silly. You’re not gonna be able to do that. All we can do is continue to execute sound process and build a roster that is good enough to go compete with the best teams in the league.
While none of us is happy that we’re sitting here at home (during the playoffs), and that’s how I opened up the comments on Tuesday, we feel proud of what we’ve built over time. We do feel like this roster is built to be a championship roster moving forward, and now we need to go out and we need to add more pieces and find the extra offense. Find a way to solve some of our needs, but recognize that we continue to get better in a lot of ways.
You know, I tried to use humor to defuse the situation, and I whiffed. Clearly I’m not a very funny person and I shouldn’t have gone there, but that’s what I did and I can only apologize and again tell you that I’m embarrassed by it.
You can hear the full Jerry Dipoto Show from Thursday in the podcast at this link or in either of the video and audio players near the top of this post.
More on the Seattle Mariners
• Drayer: What’s Mariners plan to step forward after early end to ’23?
• Salk on comments by Seattle Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto: Fans want a banner, not a favor
• Drayer’s Notebook: Reaction to what Cal said, injury updates
• Remembering sportswriting great Jim Caple – By Christian Caple
• Four Takes: Reaction to Seattle Mariners player comments after missing playoffs