The first words of Skippers past

Otto Greule Jr

Lloyd McClendon says hello to Seattle today. How have recent Mariner managers done the same?

I won't bother putting analysis of the Lloyd McClendon hire here. You and I both know whatever forecasting is done on his tenure as manager has little to do with our knowledge (or perhaps even his) and most to do with sifting through some sort of chemistry/leadership/tactical skill mish mash.  We don't really think Lloyd McClendon is going to be that good.  If he is though we might still think he's bad due to a bad roster.  He may also be bad at managing and win many games.  We don't have the Rosetta Stone necessary to correctly decipher the true measure of a managers worth.

What we will get today is an introduction.  Lloyd McClendon will speak of his experience interviewing for the position, his appraisal of the talent on hand in the organization, his relationship with Jack Zduriencik and upper management, and on his plans for turning around a failing team.  I imagine he'll smile a lot.

Lloyd McClendon has worked hard doing  whatever it is that hitting instructors do and learning from Jim Leyland, one of the few managers generally considered by all corners of the spectrum of baseball knowledge to be a pretty damn fine manager.  He may have had times where he thought he'd never get a chance and getting passed over for Brad Ausmus as Leyland's replacement probably stung. I'm happy for him because I find it hard not to be happy for people who have achieved their goals, and see the future optimistically and hopefully.

I was curious as to how McClendon's words would sound compared to previous Mariner managers. So I went back and looked at the introductory quotes from all managers hired from Mike Hargrove and beyond.  (Please note I am not counting mid-season replacements.)

Mike Hargrove - 2004:

"We know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us,"

"We want to build this the right way," Hargrove said. "We want to get back, obviously, to Seattle's tradition of winning as quickly as possible. But we want this thing to last a long time."

"He has a tremendous resume and is battle-tested in every facet of leading a major league club," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said.

"I think I'm pretty good at what I do,"

"From the ownership to the general manager all the way down are people that are dedicated to bringing a winner here," Hargrove said. "I'm not sure that's the case everywhere else."

Don Wakamatsu - 2009

"I think we can win. I'm not sitting here telling veterans that 'Hey, we're going to try to rebuild here.' And Jack's saying the same thing. We're going to try to win right away. Whether we can or not, I think it's going to take a lot of work this winter."

"Our job is to give this club the tools it takes to win," Zduriencik said Wednesday after introducing Wakamatsu, whom he envisions as a budding managerial star in the image of Joe Maddon.

"If your management style is not collaborative and inclusive and you want to fly solo and do this on your own, you are not going to be our GM," Armstrong told MLB.com in October. "That's not going to work here.

(Zduriencik) "What would I like to do? I want to win now. I'd also like to build for the future, and that is through our draft picks and through acquiring players in different ways. But if it's possible and if these guys are healthy and they are ready to play, we're going to be competitive this year."

Eric Wedge - 2011

Zduriencik was confident in the hire, saying "We got a guy that we think can lead us where we wanna go. His experiences are gonna be positive for him. The fact that he got a year to reflect is also gonna be positive for him."

"Passion and motivation are two of the strongest words to come out of my mouth." Wedge said, "I saw the same passion with Howard, Chuck and Jack."

"Bobby Knight and I grew up in Fort Wayne in Indiana. I loved his passion for the game." he said when asked about Knight, "That passion was something that was important to me."

"It’s not about me as a manager, it’s not about Jack or about Howard." Wedge said, "It’s about the players." He wants his players to respect each other and respect the game, creating a clubhouse environment he feels is conducive to winning. When asked what he wants from the Mariners, he promised "being a good teammate and respecting the game are going to happen here."

There's a wide variety in tone there.  Quotes from Wakamatsu were fairly brief and few from his introductory press conference. Whereas Wedge filled inches with his John Wayne-fueled prose.  Both lost many baseball games and met similar fates, one by choice and one not.  Mike Hargrove I've blocked largely from my memory, other than his infamous preference for Rick White as a late inning reliever and his selection of Carl Everett as his DH of choice.

The point is obvious, this press conference is the franchise's attempt to turn the page. It's a reward for McClendon, who gets to beam a face that local fans don't automatically recognize as going hand in hand with losses.  Enjoy the little bits of personality that come through, and, if you're like me, ignore the rest.

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