It's been an eventful news day in the world of Seattle sports and the biggest bomb drops at the end, as news come down that Chuck Armstrong's time as President and Chief Operating Officer is coming to an end, effective January 31, 2014.
I wish Armstrong well in his retirement, like I would anyone—you start going to school when you're five, and for the next five, six or seven decades, you're always working on or towards something. Armstrong, now 71, graduated from law school in 1967, joined the Navy for a few years and then started a at law firm in 1970—he's been at this a long time. So, congratulations on many, many years spent in the workforce.
"Thirty years ago my family and I were given a wonderful opportunity to move to the Seattle area and become associated with the Seattle Mariners," Armstrong said. "We quickly grew to love this community and this team. Through all the good times and the not-so-good times on the field since 1984, the goal always has been to win the World Series. My only regret is that the entire region wasn't able to enjoy a parade through the City to celebrate a World Championship together.
"After much thought and reflection, it is now time for me to retire and enjoy as much time as possible with my wife Susan and our family. The recent deaths of several good friends have really had an impact on me and helped crystallize my decision. This was a very difficult, very personal decision, but I know in my heart that it's time to turn the page and move to the next chapter of my life.
"Thanks to our outstanding ownership, the franchise is stable and will remain the Northwest's team, playing in Safeco Field, a great ballpark and great example of a successful public-private partnership. The team is in good hands and positioned for future success. I am thankful for this important part in my life and I will always bleed Mariners Blue. Susan and I plan to continue to live here and remain involved in many community events and causes."
Again, good for Armstrong that he now gets to spend time with his family. Also, we can't forget that he played a key role in keeping the Mariners in Seattle. I can't imagine loving this city half as much as I do without the M's.
But, as others on the web have put it more bluntly, it will be very interesting to see how his successor's tenure compares to the many years under Armstrong. He served as president of the team for 28 of the past 30 years, in a franchise that is going into just its 38th season. He's had as great an extended influence over this organization as anyone and, as we're all plainly aware, this franchise hasn't seen much success—just four playoff appearances.
As everyone is quick to remind the "Fire Chuck and Howard!" crowd, these guys don't play the games. But while Lincoln does still remain, it's important to note that, by title and given role, Armstrong had significantly more day-to-day influence than Lincoln. As President and Chief Operating Officer, it was his job to set the day-to-day tone for the organization and make calls on personnel, objectives and more. A President or COO is traditionally an individual who'd be in the office and always around, while the CEO focuses on more big-picture items.
But, an interesting note from Jason Churchill:
I'd been hearing a lot of talk over the past year or so that Armstrong wasn't as involved in decisions as much as before. So, there's that.— Jason A. Churchill (@ProspectInsider) November 26, 2013
This could just be on player personnel, which is a good thing, or it could be more broad—it's hard to say. But if Armstrong's role had dwindled as of late, it makes sense to get someone else in there, someone who can be proactive without stepping on others' toes.
But the big point? Though Lincoln remains, Armstrong was seen as a scapegoat by much of the fan base, and now he's gone. I'm optimistic that whoever steps into his role will come with a deep background in the game of baseball and set a successful course for this organization, but we don't know.
All we know is this: for all those wishing Armstrong would step down—you got your wish. Now let's see if it makes a difference.
More from Lookout Landing:
- Monday afternoon news roundup
- Mariners announce brand new staff
- Lookout Landing Top-10 Seattle Mariners' prospects
- With the Mariners' offseason, it's hard not to worry—is it getting late early?
- Mariners Memories: 1996-2000