The Mariners just announced the hiring of Don Wakamatsu as their new manager. Wakamatsu had previously been the bench coach of the Oakland A’s.
Like the majority of the candidates interviewed, Wakamatsu is a virtual no-name and will have a tough time convincing Seattle fans that he’s the right guy for the job (that is, until he starts winning).
An interesting side issue to this story is Wakamatsu’s heritage, Japanese. It’s no secret that the Mariners Japan-based ownership group has an affinity for players of Japanese descent, and fans will undoubtedly wonder if this has now carried over to the coaching staff. While I highly doubt that Wakamatsu was hired in simply because of his ethnicity, the M’s owners have been known to meddle in personnel decisions before (Kenji Johjima can thank them for this). Therefore, it’s worth asking if race played into the decision at all.
Personally, it didn’t really matter which of the seven interviewees the team hired (except for maybe Joey Cora) because no one knows who they are anyways. Any of the seven would have had to go out and win games in order to get the respect of the fan base. Like I alluded to earlier, Wakamatsu has a huge task at hand in turning this club into a winner and gaining the respect of the fan base.