Wedge: “If they don’t get it done we will find somebody else who will”

Jun 30, 2012, 8:01 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2012, 7:02 pm

By Shannon Drayer

Eric Wedge held a closed-door team meeting 25 minutes before stretch Saturday and by all accounts words about the team’s performance were not minced. He met with the media after and had some strong words regarding the play of his team. Before the team meeting, however, he sat down with Rick Rizzs for the pregame show on 710 ESPN Seattle, and his comments were even more pointed.

Listen to Wedge before Saturday’s game.

Before he started he stated something that perhaps at this point should have become obvious to most. When it comes to baseball he is very patient. That patience has come to an end. For just about everyone – the hitters, the pitchers, the veterans the youngsters – the leash has been shortened to nothing, the rope has run out. Friday night, according to Wedge, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“We were just stupid with our hitting approach last night,” Wedge told Rizzs. “After awhile when the same thing keeps happening to you you need to make an adjustment. You just can’t keep going up there and doing the same thing. Pull side ground ball. Taking pitches we should be swinging at or swinging at pitches you should be taking at. It’s either stupidity or level of concentration or focus.”

We have heard strong criticism before but now Wedge is talking about consequences.

“I’m not going to put up with that type of performance and effort,” he said. “I am not going to put up with that type of mindset and approach. It’s the end of June now.

“These guys know exactly what the hell they are supposed to do when they step into the box, when they step out on the field. They know exactly what I expect from them, they know what they should be doing and what they should be out there accomplishing and if they don’t get it done then we will find somebody else who will.”

It would appear that no one is exempt. When asked if he is prepared to make changes, something just days ago he said he would prefer not to do, he answered, “Most definitely. We are approaching that rapidly. We’re stuck with some people. Other people we have got options with, other people we might just get rid of. Whatever. I don’t care. The bottom line is we are going to win a championship here. I didn’t bring my butt out here not to do anything other than that. We are going to do it either with some of the people in this clubhouse or without.”

Wedge has been patient, the calm in the storm of trying to survive with a unique mix of players. Veterans, youngsters, some who have options and some he is stuck with, as he said. He has thrown his support behind his players at every turn. Perhaps they earned that with the work they put in or their situation. His expectations have been realistic from the start. He has not put undue pressure on the young players. If the swings are there, the approach is correct, then that is a step in the right direction. He is not seeing that right now.

He doesn’t call many team meetings. He doesn’t use the “crazy eyes” with his players often. This is not a guy who flies off the handle or shows knee-jerk reaction to his team or the media. He didn’t like what he saw Friday night. He hasn’t liked what he has seen at home in particular. That meeting was a warning. Last chance to get it figured out here or you could be figuring it out elsewhere.

How the message was received will be revealed on the field, he said.

“I want them to play with a level of professionalism, focus and edge to them,” he said before moving on to other topics. “Like they are playing like their jobs are on the line because pressure comes with this and that’s where we are. If they can’t handle it I would rather find out sooner than later and we can move on and find someone else.”

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Wedge: “If they don’t get it done we will find somebody else who will”