Time for Mariners to move on from Dustin Ackley
If Dustin Ackley is released today, it would seem fitting that his last at-bat with the Mariners resulted in a swinging bunt with the ball traveling 12 inches from home plate. That’s the way Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Red Sox ended, Ackley finishing off an 0-for-4 night that dropped his average to .191.
I don’t have any sources telling me that the Mariners plan to designate Ackley for assignment today, which is baseball’s fancy way of saying a team doesn’t want you anymore. But if it happened, I don’t know if there’s a single Mariners fan who would miss him. Feel bad for him? Perhaps. Miss him? No.
Since hitting three home runs and going 5 for 14 in the first five games of the year, Ackley has gone 11 for 75 since, an average of .147.
I’m not sure what happened to the guy who was drafted No. 2 overall in 2009. He was projected to be a .300 hitter with some power, maybe not a lot, but more than he’s shown.
I don’t want to join the pig-pile that’s smothering Ackley these days, fearing overkill. Good luck finding one person in town who supports him.
An exasperated friend texted me Thursday night and said: “If Ackley’s in the lineup Friday night, Lloyd McClendon should be fired.”
Jay Buhner basically referred to Ackley as a “mental midget” when he spoke to “Brock and Salk” on Thursday, suggesting a change of scenery might be good for him.
Translated: The Bone is done with Ackley, too, and doesn’t really care if the change of scenery is good for him; he just wants to see a change of scenery in Seattle without Ackley in left field or the batter’s box.
I need a translator for McClendon, too. Before Wednesday’s game against the Padres, the Mariners’ manager said he was basically forced to start Ackley in center field because he’s short on options with Austin Jackson on the disabled list with a sprained ankle. But after the game, he commended Ackley, saying “he’s trending in the right direction.”
That’s like saying I’m trending in the right direction of someday entering the Sports Talk-Show Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. It’s as crazy as the comment McClendon made in spring training when he said all the fans in white shirts somehow contributed to Brad Miller’s errors at shortstop.
If I were Ackley, I’d try anything at this point. I’d change my number. Who in his right mind wears No. 13 anyway? I’d shave my beard just for the heck of it. Change my look, change my luck.
I know he needs to be himself, but it would be nice to see him go nuts one time and get thrown out of a game or throw a bat or show any kind of expression besides the same one we see all the time, a flat-line of a face.
Then again, to be a professional athlete, I know he has passion and always remember how former Sonics forward Derrick McKey looked on the floor, like he didn’t care when he really did.
I was saddened Thursday when Danny O’Neil compared Ackley to the couch that you used to love but it got so broken down that now you want to leave it by the curb with a “FREE” sign on it, hoping someone will take it off your hands.
I say “saddened” because imagine if someone compared your usefulness to an old couch. I felt bad enough to temporarily support Ackley, arguing that he hit the ball hard with runners on first and second in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Padres, but it just happened to go right at the shortstop for a double play.
But I also know that he’s hit far too many groundouts to the second baseman in his career to think it’s ever going to change with him.
I’m like most everyone else when it comes to Dustin Ackley the baseball player, thinking that it’s time to move on without him.