The Mariners and the Gunners
Dr. D rues his fate as a sports fan


It's Dr. D's curious fate that he is a fan of the Seattle Mariners and also a fan of the Arsenal Gunners.  These organizations are as alike in personality as are Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln.  The Mariners and Gunners apparatuses are chillingly competent and chillingly focused on year-to-year cash flow.  In the context of their budgets, they both provide the minimum on-field success required to accomplish the business goals.

Why me?  Why couldn't I have been a Manchester City fan and a Red Sox fan?  (Especially after the Carson Smith trade.)


From about 2005-2011, Cesc Fabregas was the Ken Griffey Jr. of the Gunners.  He was the best player in the league; he had a dashing, appealing look to his play; he did great things and did them with amazing flair; his personality was warm and infectious.  He was the heartbeat of the Gunners' side.

He asked to go back and play in Spain, for exactly the same reasons that Griffey wanted to play in Cincinnati before his career was over.  He'd been raised there, and he wanted the fans to behold his glory.  If you were a billionaire, you'd want to land a helicopter into the middle of your 20th high school reunion, too.  Arsenal, grudgingly, submitted to Barcelona's grab of their iconic midfielder.


Could hardly bring myself to Google a photo ...
Could hardly bring myself to Google a photo ...


From the day that Fabregas left, Arsenal fans worldwide followed rumors that Cesc would return to the Gunners.  :: redacting here :: To make a long, sad story "medium," Cesc quickly got Spain out of his system and came back to England.  He walked into the Gunners' offices, so to speak, and said "Let's do this thing!"  Millions of Gunners fans worldwide rejoiced.

The Gunners told him no.  You're a little older now, Cesc.  You were never had much pace and it's not getting better.  We have Mesut Ozil to play the 10 position.  Thanks and have a great life, Cesc.  ... Millions of Gunners fans worldwide had their sporting souls destroyed.  


The funny thing is, the Gunners' GM* was technically justified in the decision.  Cesc actually is a bit slower now, and it's possible -- maybe even a shade the probable -- that the Gunners are actually better without him.  Now that he's older.  Santi Cazorla is playing behind Mesut Ozil, and performing his function (bringing the ball across the 50-yard line without getting it nicked) better than Cesc would have.  Mesut Ozil himself is outplaying even the vintage Cesc.  It's all perfectly logical.

Technically justified, on a mathematical level.  But in terms of the soul of the game?  

Pete Carroll's soul is "Compete."  He doesn't mean compete with the .500 teams of the league.  The Mariners' and Gunners' souls are "Don't get carried away with winning.  Be responsible."  The part they overlook is, there's something very irresponsible about selling your soul.

What does this have to do with Beane and DiPoto?  Well, it is certainly not yet time to evaluate Jerry DiPoto's soul.  But we've seen this shtick before, it seems like, and let's hope that DiPoto isn't chop-blocked by the things that undercut Billy Beane.


Oh!  I forgot the whole point.  Which was, DiPoto will probably turn out to be right on Iwakuma's 3rd year.  And in the larger picture, he'll be wrong even if he's right.


The Gunners have made the final 16 of the UEFA championship an incredible 15 times in a row.  And!  Won it not one single time.  The same thing happens in the English League:  the Gunners stand there accepting the bronze medal Every. Blinkin'. Year.  Payroll-adjusted, it's the equivalent of what the Mariners do.  Put a competitive team out there, in a gorgeous stadium, and print money.

The 90-wins-and-get-smashed-in-the-postseason Gunners will never be remembered.  They make a terrific background scenery for the teams who will be remembered, though.  They're an excellent, "logically constructed" side who always gets into the photographs when the legendary teams are celebrating their championships.


Dr D




Recently my wife, she who arrives home utterly spent after a hard day's commuting and working, she who is content to watch a few of her favorite TV shows before retiring to do it again, came to me and for the first time ever asked if we should consider cutting cable. This had never happened before. I'd considered it off and on for years, but never really had to face it because I couldn't do it to her. And because, of course, the only thing keeping Comcast afloat is live sports. If I cut the cord, I would be cutting off watching the Mariners.

Over the last thirteen years They Of The Trident had sorely tempted me to abandon them for good. Now, with my wife sitting in front of me, it was a time of reckoning. It was a Sunday evening, and the Hawks had just killed me with their loss to the Cardinals. I didn't hesitate...much. I said, "Let's seriously look at it so we know what the other side looks like." We did. For a couple of weeks.

Last week I suggested we keep cable until the Hawks are out of playoffs (I know we can get them on OTA digital broadcast). We're going to do it. This next season I will be unable to watch most Mariners games. Perhaps DiPot is just making it easier on me.


You could get MLB.TV and do some computer mumbojumbo to watch the M's in-territory.

And that's only 120 dollars a year or something.

Or there's always radio...


Yeah, I know there are ways to finegle the TV broadcasts, but I feel uncomfortable doing it. Radio will be it. Of course it's not the same. I was spoiled as a kid with the magic of Vin Scully on the radio, back when there were very few TV games available.


Oh!  I forgot the whole point.  Which was, DiPoto will probably turn out to be right on Iwakuma's 3rd year.  And in the larger picture, he'll be wrong even if he's right. 

DiPoto has me too punch-drunk to remember even what an article was going to be about.  :- )

Supposing the Mariners DID win 95 games with this KC-West approach, I'd be a little bit soured on it anyway.  In the Billy Beane sense that it wasn't about the fans; it was about My General Managing.

My last feeble attempts to cling to the life preserver, is the hope that some how some way, James Paxton will avoid getting the cleaver buried in the back of his Mariners' skull.


But yeah.  DiPoto's probably right about Iwakuma.  Does that make it better?


Experience teaches me that if you settle for less than you want simply to save a relatively minor amount of money, you end up squandering even more money than you saved, and you're never satisfied. If you truly can't afford something, that's another thing. But if you can but you just can't bring yourself to pay the full asking price 'cause you have to feel like you got a deal, you will live to regret it.

Of course, in JePot's estimation, he got what he wanted, I guess.


What is weird about the Iwakuma signing, is that I read that Iwakuma was going to be a Dodger three years ago.  At SSI of course.  Doc put it in one of his posts.  It was during one of those Kuma is better than Felix debates and Doc wrote: "Felix is the future and the face of the franchise, and in three years, Kuma is going to be a Dodger" or words to that effect.  The post is so old I couldn't pull it.  This may be the longest correctly called shot in SSI history. 


1. Doc, do you remember this?

2. What made you have such a vision? 

3. Are you happy now? 

Its cool if you just saw the inevitable future, but if you had something to do with this, you could be docked spoints. 


Sorry Counselor - I have a hard time remembering the name of the site, much less something like that.  But reconstructing my logic in retrospect?  Do you let your witnesses do this?  Certainly THIS offseason I always considered the Dodgers the far-and-away #2 favorite to land Iwakuma.

Iwakuma is a 'warm' Japanese professional, like Johjima, who is strongly attracted to the West Coast and Japan-friendly environments.  The Dodgers are a moneyed franchise *that is not afraid to pay $1.10 on the dollar.*  Any uncertainty about Iwakuma's health or NPB-MLB translation is going to be swallowed up in that $1.10-per-$1.00 syndrome.  (The Mariners, historically, have been that way about Japanese players.)

Don't know if it's merely a residual impression of Nomo in Dodger Blue, or the Cuban isolated-island players, or what, but it always seemed that LAD and SEA were the teams least afraid of the uncertainty factor.  And NPB players are definitely going to put thumbs on the scale in favor of them.

Thanks for the kudo my friend :- )


If anybody was wondering about whether the Think Tank is being 'homeristic' on Iwakuma's value ... it's not a lot of comfort that the Dodgers (able to afford ANYone) grabbed Iwakuma.  And as their replacement for Zack Greinke.


A much more recent called shot:  last month's SSI article that the M's would reel in Iwakuma for 3/$45-50M.  It turns out they could indeed have easily wrapped that up a month ago; it was available to them.  Jerry DiPoto simply chose not to include Iwakuma on the 2016 Mariner roster, despite Iwakuma being the personification of his K/BB theme.

This one goes down as a Mariner decision that will sting fo-evah. 


he could be "right " is if Kuma is hurt most of / half or so of each of the next three seasons. Or maybe two of three. Personally, I think it'\s the injury thing, not the third year thing, that had him holding the line.

Doesn't mean I think it's a good move ...


And I hope you'll continue watching the M's just so you can comment on Seattle Sports Insider :- )


It's not my nature, but.  Am wondering whether it would be a good idea to turn SSI into an Impeach DiPoto website.  The site would be fun that way; not sure about the ethic of it.

Hard to even catch your breath here.  A club-controls Carson Smith and $7.5M a year to "arm" a Miley-Elias swap?!


"turn SSI into an Impeach DiPoto website"

Naw. Sorry, Doc, but it's just your fate to do otherwise. We need YOU to hold down the fort against my Chicken Little act. You've been pretty good at it over the years, though I must admit today's news gives you slim pickings to construct the Posit-Tronic POV.


But am definitely in a mood to hand that job over to The Counselor.  He's got more heart for it right now...

Ya.  After we go get Adam Lind and a reliever, we'll straighten up our shirts like Spock at the end of Khan, bump blindly into the glass, and figure out what's info-taining about all this shtick.


why is there no possibility that Kuma wanted to go somewhere else. Wanted to go to the Dodgers specifically? Didn't like the weather, the travel or any number of things? Seems to me a fair too many conclusions have been made on things we can only speculate on. 

I'm not feeling bitter, happy to let this play out, the Z years were painful and this new regime isn't going to cause that specific heartache at least. 


There are DiPoto quotes, there are figures passed along through org contacts, there are Iwakuma quotes.  We're not basing conjecture on zero information; we're taking the small amount of information that we have and are drawing inferences.  Many times my own inferences turn out to be wrong.

There IS a possibility (not 'no' possibility) that Iwakuma preferred the Dodgers from the start.  A lot of what we do here is Mariner-watching based on limited info.


Your broader point amigo is that --- > you don't feel bad over the Iwakuma situation.  I think that's perfectly reasonable.  Probably the typical GM in the National League would agree with you - (even if) DiPoto preferred to go in a different direction, that's a natural part of being a new incoming GM.  It's what makes a ballgame.


DiPoto's M.O. is definitely hitting me wrong, but that's just me, to some extent.

Also cannot imagine that DiPoto - one of the sabermetricians' Favorite Sons - is coming off very well from their viewpoint.  The Wade Miley move is far more anti-sabermetric than a Jack Zduriencik would have dared make.  But that's pop sabermetrics for ya :- )

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