The Seattle Mariners have wriggled their way into the national spotlight again with the long overdue firing of GM Bill Bavasi. After parusing various blogs and baseball sights, it has become abundantly clear that the prevailing line of thought echoes my own sentiment.
Bavasi’s tenure of ineptitude leaves a black mark on a Mariners franchise that has worked desperately to erase a stained legacy of losing over the last 25 years. While Bavasi’s work, like a tangled mess of fishing line, will take years to undo, I find myself feeling oddly sympathetic and proud of the man that I once tabbed as “the bald Geico caveman”.
The tumult for the 2008 season extended beyond the field for Bavasi as his father, and mentor Buzzie Bavasi, died on May 1st. Bavasi, never used his father’s death as an excuse to duck questions from inquiring reporters as to the cataclismic collapse of the team that he put together. As the M’s struggles continued, he further took it upon himself to remove the post game spread and towels from the locker room until each player made themselves available to answer questions fired at them by local media members.
Ultimately, the accumulation of poor free agent signings, terrible managerial hires, dubious draft history, inefficient and poorly planned player development, and the lack of attention to team chemistry have sunk the Mariner ship and they had no choice but to toss their helmsman overboard. To his credit, Bavasi candidly fielded questions from the media for about 45 minutes. How many people, on the heels of being fired and ridiculed by strangers across the country would have the desire to stand up and answer for their failure to perform their duties? I would venture to say that many of us would opt to go home and wait for the severance check.
This stands out to me as being a huge indicator of the person that Bavasi is beyond his failures as a General Manager. Bavasi, by all accounts, is a man of solid integrity, dedication to his family and to his work. I wish him the best of luck in all of his life ventures and forgive him for the damage he has done to my beloved Mariners!