Buck Showalter: Wakamatsu’s Your Man

May 13, 2010, 5:43 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:55 pm

Buck Showalter, long-time MLB manager and current Baseball Tonight analyst for ESPN, joined us today to talk about the Mariners, the direction they’re heading and the recent headlines they made.

Showalter was the manager of the Texas Rangers while Don buck showalter arrhythmiaWakamatsu was the bench coach, and certainly thinks highly of his former colleague.

“Don has great principles. He understands the world that he’s managing in today compared to years past. I think he relates well to the players. He’s got a tough streak in him, and when push comes to shove he understands the dynamics of a clubhouse and the ebb and flow of a long season and how he has to keep a feel of reality while those around us are living in a day-to-day mentality.

He also thinks Wak has the longevity to ride out the tough times, some of which the Mariners are experiencing right now.

“You gotta understand where the finish line is and what the end game is. And sometimes it’s tough because you get emotional like everybody else, but I think if you had a resume of what an ideal guy is supposed to have done to get to the point that [Wakamatsu] has, Don’s it.”

I also wanted to know what he thought of the Mariners recent troubles regarding Ken Griffey Jr. sleeping in the clubhouse and Tacoma News Tribune reporter Larry LaRue writing a story about it.

Regarding the napping issue, he didn’t think too much of it, saying, “I’ve had players sleep in the clubhouse, but most of them were closers who didn’t work until the ninth inning. And I liked the finished product. It was part of their gig. I really only had one-Lee Smith-and we had to go wake him up in the seventh inning. We put an alarm clock in the clubhouse. But it worked out pretty good.”

griffeyHowever, he didn’t agree with the Mariner players’ response. “Anytime you start boycotting a writer-whether he’s right or wrong-you kind of let that negative or positive feeding frenzy take over reality. You’re not going to win that battle, Kevin. It’s not real good business. If I was giving somebody advice there, I would tell them that that’s just not a good idea because you let your emotions take over.”

When it comes to Junior’s future, one can only speculate, but Buck was willing to do that too. “If Ken Griffey’s still got the ability to perform, the bottom line is that your words don’t carry weight in the clubhouse unless you’re able to perform on the field. Sooner or later they start ringing a little hollow when you can no longer do it on the field, and that’s the real question that the Mariners have to ask themselves because offense has been an issue for them.”

Time will tell the story of the close of the Griffey era. We’re all lucky to have been a part of it, and we’ll appreciate each day we continue to enjoy it.

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