Mariners Players Take Blame for Firing, Welcome Another New Manager
The Mariners were firing Don Wakamatsu. Seattle would like to promote him from manager at Triple-A Tacoma to the big leagues.
"I have a lot of respect for Don and Ty Van Burkleo and Rick Adair (two coaches who were sacked along with Wakamatsu)," Brown, pictured at right with Russell Branyan, said Monday afternoon. "But I know this is part of the business we are in.
"For me it's been a quick turnaround. I haven't had a lot of sleep. But I'm preparing to put together a nice 49 games."
That's how many games are left in the season for the Mariners, for whom 2010 has been an unmitigated disaster. Picked by some to win the division, they instead are in the running to win the first pick in the 2011 draft by virtue of having the worst record in baseball.
The players Brown will have at his command by and large liked Wakamatsu and respected the job he did. When closer David Aardsma was asked about suggestions that Wakamatsu had lost control of the team, he got an incredulous look on his face.
"I wonder where that comes from," Aardsma said. "What did he lose? That really surprises me. I sit here trying to figure out what he did wrong. We are the ones not doing our jobs. And he's the one who pays the price.
"We wanted him to stay. But we would have had to play better for that to happen. Honestly we have not played well, because if we had, he'd still be our manager."
Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, a 10-time All-Star, has now played under seven managers in 10 years – Lou Piniella, Bob Melvin, Mike Hargrove, John McLaren, Jim Riggleman, Wakamatsu and now Brown. The final five have been just since 2007, a little over three years.
Is Ichiro, who last went to the postseason in 2001 under Piniella, ready to start over again?
"It's not just me, but it's our challenge as a team to perform well enough to win," he said, waving off the original premise of the question.
Is the club back at square one?
"That's the only way we can look at it," he said. "I am surprised (that this happened). We all have that feeling. It's frustrating, because when he came as manager last year, everything worked so well. We haven't been able to do that this year. It's the whole club that's responsible.
"It's not fair to say the manager has to take the blame. I'm just saying as a group we are all to blame."
Brown inherits a club that is 42-70 and that over the weekend won its first series at home since the first week of June. The offense is a triple-crown loser -- last in batting average, last in runs scored and last in home runs.
He does have the advantage of having worked with most of the players because the Seattle roster is stuffed to the rafters with players who have spent time in Tacoma, many of them in the not-distant past.
"This is my 10th year in the organization, and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity," Brown said. "The biggest challenge? Knowing that I can't just come in and flip a switch and say that we've got it all figured out. I want to spend a couple of days with the club and assess it.
"It's not only easier for me but it's easier for them. I know that the same guy who won 85 games last year (is gone). It's part of this business."
And if Brown wants to take the interim tag off his title, he's going to have to do what Wakamatsu didn't -- win.