Eric Wedge loses patience, everyone wins
By Mike Salk
It took 15 days, but Eric Wedge eventually lost his patience. I’m not sure anyone could blame him. That was probably eight days longer than it took most of the fans!
â€œIt’s the same thing, different day,â€ said Wedge after watching the M’s squander opportunities and kick the ball around on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. â€œIt’s unacceptable. We are not going to keep watching this. We are going to get better. We are not going to address it obviously like we’ve been doing as a team and individually but we are going to get better. We aren’t going to keep doing what we’ve been doing.â€
Frustrated fans are going to love this. Here is the manager saying exactly what they would say if they could address the team. This is a manager who preaches accountability and is willing to back it up by giving his team a piece of his mind when the situation warrants it.
This makes us all feel better.
But does it work?
That is the real question. And I’m not sure how to answer it. I think a manager can help his players play smart. I think he can reprimand them for egregious errors in judgment and teach them how to play the game right way.
But can he make an impatient hitter more patient? Can he make a .230 hitter into a .290 hitter? Did stern words make Brendan Ryan come up with a clutch hit the following day?
I don’t think so.
â€œWe’ve had some consistent issues offensively and I don’t think we’ve made enough plays defensively,â€ Wedge told Rick Rizzs on the pregame show on Sunday. â€œWe’ve done an OK job getting runners on base but we’re leaving 8-10 runners on. You have to finish of AB’s. You have to finish off innings.â€
He said those words after watching his team go 2 for 23 with runner in scoring position in the first three games in Kansas City, leaving 25 men on base in the process. While those numbers are horrible, they seem to reflect the quality of the players more than the quality of the concentration.
We would all like to draw blood from a rock, but it helps to remember the limitations of that rock.
Though Wedge’s words may coincide with a Mariners’ turnaround, it’s not likely that one occurred because of the other. But that doesn’t mean the speech didn’t have value. I have said repeatedly that this season will be measured in three ways.
First, Justin Smoak’s development. As of today he is hitting .306 and has been the M’s best offensive player. Second, the culture of the clubhouse. A week ago, players were talking about how they had reverted back to last year’s attitude after a positive spring in Arizona. If it takes a good rip-job from Wedge to turn that back around, I’m all for it. Finally, the development of Michael Pineda (which has been fantastic) and Dustin Ackley 9which we’ll likely see in another month or so).
â€œWe didn’t play good baseball at all today and that’s what pisses me off more than anything,â€ Wedge said on Saturday.
It may not make the team hit any better, but if a ticked off manager pleases the fans and helps change the culture, then it works for me!