Fire This

I’ll admit I’ve been holding back. There are a lot of things in this world that I think are stupid. I don’t always comment on ’em. Why do that, right? We all have our pet peeves. No need to air our own dirty laundry. But now it’s time to let it all out.

Note the logo to your left. That’s the logo of an upstart group called Fire Nintendo, flipped on its ass and graffitied with a red X. It’s a beacon of hope for all of us who value creative ingenuity and intelligence. Why, you ask? Great question. Let’s roll.

A few months back, this little group called Fire Nintendo made it their mission to fire Nintendo. Makes sense, right? It’s right there in the title.

More specifically, the group wanted to fire Nintendo from owning the Mariners. Well, that doesn’t make much sense. Firing the owner of a privately held corporation is as plausible as selecting Zangief as your brawler of choice on Street Fighter II. Because every kid in America wants to kick some CPU ass with an ugly, hairy Communist.

Fire Nintendo became the rallying cry of a dozen or so people and seemed like a good idea when it was created. Problem is, the Fire Nintendo contingent a) has no plan, b) has no solution, c) isn’t very creative or, you know, interesting, and d) has targeted Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln as their ideal representation of Nintendo.

Now I think we can all agree that Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln haven’t been very good at their jobs the past few years. There’s no getting around that. But why launch a misguided smear campaign on the entire effing ownership group?! How ’bout you go after the villains, instead? Don’t beat around the bush. If you want Chuck and Howard fired, then direct your attention there and leave the paycheck-signer out of this.

Think about it. If you get bad service at the Apple store, you’re probably not gonna go on a vigilante mission for Steve Jobs’ head. You might write a letter, you might ask to speak to the manager, but trying to take down the entire company?! This probably won’t end well.

And on top of that, Nintendo has not been a terrible owner. Yeah, I get it, the main man (Hiroshi Yamauchi) isn’t very visible. But is that such a bad thing? He’s still better than the majority of sports franchise owners out there because he doesn’t meddle. He tells his minions to get the supplies, while he sits back and funds the party. Here’s my Discover card. Just get it done. I got this.

The man is a sugar daddy! Everyone loves a sugar daddy! Except Fire Nintendo. And I don’t get that. I don’t get the biting of the hand that feeds when the dude hasn’t done anything wrong. Yeah, he could probably do a better job of making sure Howard and Chuck aren’t picking up Mickey’s when he asked for Red Hook. But come on. Is that really grounds for selling the team? During the most economically critical era of our generation, no less?

Here’s the thing. Here’s why I’m sick of Fire Nintendo. They’re just not very good at what they’re doing. And if you’re going to embark on a voyage like this one, you better be good at it. Because you’re misrepresenting an entire fan base with your ignorance, and it’s no good.

Look, I’m just like you. I want Chuck and Howard out, too. But it can be done better. And by targeting Nintendo, rather than the main culprits, you’re not doing it right. You have to be appealing in some way, shape, or form. Right now, there’s very little that’s appealing about Fire Nintendo. They’re like Raccoon Mario. How disappointing is that guy? Just give me the f**kin’ fireballs already. I didn’t jump up and head-butt that box for a rodent’s tail. I want an assault weapon. I want balls of flaming heat that I can kill things with.

You want Chuck gone? You want Howard gone? Then start listing replacements for both of them. Make us see the light at the end of the tunnel. Give us a solution. You can’t just keep reiterating the problem and expect it to solve itself. That’s not the way the world works.

You want Nintendo to notice you? Start doing more than posting smiley faces and stale facts on your Twitter account. Write letters, write articles, poke fun, be humorous, be enticing. Do something that people can latch on to. Get creative. Make us want to be a part of what you’re doing. Or else don’t do it.

Don’t patronize. You guys once told me you wanted to help me get my name out there and “make it”. I’m still waiting on that. I just don’t know how I’m gonna make it without you.

And last but not least, stop picking on the hydros, you jerks. What have the hydros done that was so wrong? Like bringing a healthy dose of entertainment to the fifth and/or sixth innings of ballgames for the past two decades is a crime or something. You think Chuck and Howard give a sh*t about the hydros? No. So why they gotta get lumped in together like that? Maybe back off the hydros a bit and I’ll back off your asses a little. I don’t know, we can probably work something out. Or maybe not. I’ll just have to see how I feel about it.

You wanna fire Nintendo? Fire your mom first.

Here’s to the Hire Nintendo campaign. The only campaign dedicated to shining a light on the fallacies of Fire Nintendo.

Go M’s.

41 thoughts on “Fire This”

  1. You must be pretty bored, Alex. Some good points, though. The conversation needs to be had.

  2. That Raccoon Mario reference mad me laugh out loud because that’s exactly what I felt when I played those games. Super Mario Bros 3, FTW.

  3. THANK YOU!

    I’ve been trying to leave comments on FireNintendo.com for months now, but they always sit in moderation and never, ever get posted. The comments I’ve left have boiled down to the same argument you make in this post. Alex, you’ve basically hit the nail on the head here with all the arguments I was trying to make about how stupid and misguided the FireNintendo mission is. Wonder why FireNintendo never published my comments?

    I’ll also say, and I understand a lot of people disagree with me on this, that I actually don’t think Howard and Chuck are the problem. People like conspiracy theories, sure, and the most popular one (especially with the FireNintendo crowd) is that the reason the Mariners have been terrible 5 out of the last 7 years is that the two of them somehow meddle in and screw up baseball decisions, which is something for which I see next to zero evidence.

    “The Problem” with the Mariners so far as one exists, is simple: they made a bad choice in hiring Bill Bavasi. That’s it. That’s the problem. We’re still paying that price. And how did they deal with that problem? They fired Bavasi and hired Jack. Just the fact that they hired Jack shows me Armstrong and Lincoln are cognizant of what they’re doing and what their responsibilities are. Remember, these are the same guys that hired Pat Gillick and Lou Piniella. I mean, let’s be honest, they’re both (at least) reasonably intelligent businessmen or they wouldn’t be where they are. They’ve also both shown a commitment to the team and the Northwest, which is more than you can say for many, many sports executives (think Baltimore).

    Now, if you just want them out because you don’t like how they run the business side, or you just want a culture change at the top, that’s a perfectly valid argument, and completely reasonable, but to think (and yell and scream) that two guys who’s day to day has almost NOTHING to do with roster decisions should be blamed for the production of the roster, is absolutely ridiculous.

    Anyway, point is, I love Jack’s focus on the youth, I love our farm system, and I love the direction the team is going. I also love Safeco field, am not horrendously offended by hydro races, and I don’t mind the teal. (The teal is kinda like Tanooki suit, you know, better than the raccoon feather but still kind of weird.)

    Thanks for writing this Alex; I’m sure you and I disagree on a few point regarding the front office, but we can both agree that FireNintendo is idiotic.

    Keep up the good work. Go Mariners.

  4. Comparing this to Steve Jobs and an Apple store is silly. If those of us who side with Fire Nintendo were asking for an ownership change because the ushers were rude, that would be comparable. But c’mon: We’re asking the ownership group to hold the effing CEO and president accountable for all the shitty baseball we’ve been forced to sit through for the majority of our lives. That’s hardly the same thing.

    You ask to Fire Nintendo to leave the paycheck signer out of it, but the paycheck-signer being perfectly content to reap the profits while we all suffer through year after year after year of horrible baseball is a problem.

    If the paycheck signer wants to step up and make a change, great — Hire Nintendo. But Nintendo has proven that the only thing it really cares about is the bottom line — the only logical conclusion that can be drawn when two people who are completely inept at building a winning franchise are allowed to keep their jobs for two decades — leading me to conclude that the best option is to change this organization from the top.

    Oh, and as for your “come up with a list” thing, Fire Nintendo has said in the past it would like to see Pat Gillick replace Armstrong. So there’s that.

  5. “Remember, these are the same guys that hired Pat Gillick and Lou Piniella.”

    Uh, and they’re also the same guys who ran them out of town. Nice revisionist history.

  6. Uh, and they’re also the same guys who ran them out of town. Nice revisionist history.

    Um, the fact that they hired them is not revisionist. And what do you mean by “the same guys who ran them out of town.” Pat Gillick’s whole MO is going to a place for 3 – 5 years, then leaving. Piniella was here for ten seasons, then went to Tampa supposedly as his retirement gig, then retired, then came out of retirement, then retired. Is there evidence that the reason the two of them left is because of the FO or ownership?

    Oh, and as for your “come up with a list” thing, Fire Nintendo has said in the past it would like to see Pat Gillick replace Armstrong. So there’s that.

    Right, because if you don’t want the president to meddle in baseball decisions, the best solution is to hire a president whose only job has ever been making baseball decisions, to oversee the baseball decisions of a person with a completely different philosophy vis-a-vis baseball decisions. Certainly no meddling there. Perfect synergy.

  7. But Nintendo has proven that the only thing it really cares about is the bottom line

    If that were true, the Mariners would not be in the top 3rd of payroll consistently year in and year out. If all they cared about was the bottom line, they’d cut payroll by half, take money from rev sharing, and not hire a competent GM to build the team through the farm system. Think Orioles, Marlins, and Pirates.

  8. I really hope Nintendo knows that Fire Nintendo is just a few idiots that don’t represent the majority of Mariners fans. I’ve been seeing a fair number of people asking for Jack Z’s head already as well. Are those the same Fire Nintendo people?

  9. You’re thinking of the bottom line in the wrong terms, just like they want you to. A franchise’s bottom line is not the annual revenues — it’s in the value of the franchise. THAT’S where owners make their money. And under Howard and Chuck, the franchise’s value has increased from under $100 million to now at least $450 million.

    Howard and Chuck have increased the valuation of the franchise 350%. All they have to do is operate in the black along the way and everything is peachy keen. You actually hit it right on the head in your original post: “I mean, let’s be honest, they’re both (at least) reasonably intelligent businessmen or they wouldn’t be where they are.”

    Exactly. They’ve made this one of the most profitable business investments in sports by pandering to fans. Did anyone even take their eyes off the shiny ballpark, hydros, hidden baseballs and moose long enough to realize that they HAVE slashed payroll? Down to $86 million — nearly $30 million off where it was two years ago?

    I want an effing championship. And I want someone in charge who is going to make it happen. The reason I want Chuck out of player decisions is because he knows nothing about actual baseball. It was him who blocked the Wasburn deal to the Twins years ago. It was him who stuck by Bavasi as the franchise went up in flames. It was him who forced Griffey on Zdurencik. And it was him who stood idly and silently by as Wakamatsu took the fall for everything last year. He’s a chickenshit leader.

    I’m not saying Gillick is the answer. But if you’re OK with your president meddling with the baseball, at least get a baseball guy in there. Or get a guy who’s got the balls to handle the business side and leave the baseball side alone.

    Last thought: The jury is still VERY much out on Zdurencik. Right about now, his moves in 2009 are looking pretty fluky.

  10. Nuss,

    Thanks for your response, you raise some good points, I disagree with you on a few areas though:

    You’re thinking of the bottom line in the wrong terms, just like they want you to. A franchise’s bottom line is not the annual revenues — it’s in the value of the franchise. THAT’S where owners make their money. And under Howard and Chuck, the franchise’s value has increased from under $100 million to now at least $450 million.

    Howard and Chuck have increased the valuation of the franchise 350%. All they have to do is operate in the black along the way and everything is peachy keen. You actually hit it right on the head in your original post: “I mean, let’s be honest, they’re both (at least) reasonably intelligent businessmen or they wouldn’t be where they are.”

    Unfortunately, none of this, in absentia of other grievances, constitues valid criticism, insofar as baseball is a business. In fact, this reads as a pretty strong argument in favor of Howard and Chuck’s competence as businessmen. I also don’t appreciate your “just like they want you to think” comment, as though I’m some naive child. I understand how business operates, my prior point was that there are plenty of ways (and plenty of real world examples currently in MLB) for owners to have a profitable business WITHOUT spending the money necessary to field a winner. As long as Nintendo has owned the team, the Mariners HAVE spent the money. Regardless of how you improve your bottom line, you don’t wind up in the top third in payroll every single year if you don’t, in fact, care about winning baseball games. If our single criterion for judging whether a given ownership group wants to win games was their willingness to spend money on payroll, Nintendo has unquestionably met that criteria as long as they’ve owned the team.

    Did anyone even take their eyes off the shiny ballpark, hydros, hidden baseballs and moose long enough to realize that they HAVE slashed payroll? Down to $86 million — nearly $30 million off where it was two years ago?

    Again, your pandering language is pretty rude here. As you may recall, the 2008 payroll came about because Bavasi put his own neck on the line to “really go for it”. The fact that the ownership group was willing to give him that money, again, is a testament to the fact that they actually want to win ball games. Since coming on board, Jack has focused very specifically on youth. With a focus on young, internal development, spending an extra $20 million would get you nowhere right now. Where would you have spent $20 million? Once the team gets back to respectability and has a shot at the playoffs, and we actually know where free agent signings will make a big impact, I’d give you 2:1 that Nintendo starts raising payroll.

    The reason I want Chuck out of player decisions is because he knows nothing about actual baseball. It was him who blocked the Wasburn deal to the Twins years ago.

    Washburn to the Twins, you’re right, Armstrong came out and said he blocked that trade, when we didn’t have a GM (or rather, had an interim GM). However, I would make the argument, that insofar as the Twins were only offering to pickup Washburn’s contract, and (once we had a proper GM) Jack was able to get French and Robles for him from the Tigers, blocking the Twins deal was a GOOD thing, even if it was a bad decision at the time. Again, listen, I agree with you on one thing, I DON’T want Chuck making baseball decisions, the fact of the matter is that I don’t think he does.

    It was him who stuck by Bavasi as the franchise went up in flames.

    Could you qualify this? Insofar as he fired Bavasi in the middle of 2008, it would seem that your statement is inaccurate. Am I misunderstanding?

    It was him who forced Griffey on Zdurencik.

    “We believe that Ken’s presence with the Seattle Mariners organization was such a positive asset last season with his leadership on and off the field… He went beyond anything that I would have expected”. -Jack Z, on why the Mariners re-signed Griffey 11/11/2009

    And it was him who stood idly and silently by as Wakamatsu took the fall for everything last year.

    Do you work in the front office that you have this information? Jack was the one who hired Wak, and Jack was the one who fired Wak. I don’t see what Armstrong or Lincoln has to do with that at ALL.

    He’s a chickenshit leader.

    Excellent argument, you’re truly a master orator. Still, other than the Washburn block, I do not see ANY evidence that Chuck or Howard meddle with baseball decisions. If you really want to press it, sure, I’ll say they probably wanted Griffey on the team, I don’t know to what extent Jack’s hand was forced, but even assuming it was some major mandate from on high, that brings your grand meddling total to 2. Also, I should point out that the picture you’ve painted here is incongruous with your criticism. You essentially say: “Armstrong is a guy who stands by bad executives who’s hiring he was responsible for and whom fans dislike (Bavasi), but leaves out to dry executives who’s hiring he was responsible for but fans like (Wakamatsu)”. Seem relatively convenient that he only supports other villains, doesn’t it?

    I’m not saying Gillick is the answer. But if you’re OK with your president meddling with the baseball, at least get a baseball guy in there. Or get a guy who’s got the balls to handle the business side and leave the baseball side alone.

    I am NOT okay with the president meddling with the baseball. That is the LAST thing I want. That is not his job. The president’s job is business, which is why I don’t think firing Armstrong or Lincoln will change anything, largely because I don’t think they meddle in baseball decisions.

    Look, as I said before, wanting a change at the top because you want a change in corporate culture, that’s fine, that’s totally fine, but BLAMING ownership, Lincoln, and Armstrong for losing baseball makes no sense. If you blame them for 2003 – 2010, do you also give them credit for 1995 – 2003?

    Last thought: The jury is still VERY much out on Zdurencik. Right about now, his moves in 2009 are looking pretty fluky.

    What do you mean by fluky? In two years under Z we’ve traded very well and drafted very well, and we stand to draft very well again this year.

  11. Hi Alex,

    This is Peter, I’m on twitter at @realpetermag. I thought I would chime in with my thoughts. Sorry this is so long winded, but I feel it necessary to make sure I do my best to clear up any confusion as well as make sure Fire Nintendo is not being put at blame for conversations that you and I had online. I apologize in advance for not being a very good writer!

    You mention that Fire Nintendo isn’t very good at what we’re doing and we have no plan, no solution, and are not very creative. On this account, I’ll go ahead and say guilty…for the most part. We’re terrible at most of this. We aren’t creative. We really don’t have a plan but some of us do have some solutions. The reason for this is that I have found that Fire Nintendo has attracted mostly husbands, mothers, parents, and businessman to our crowd. We don’t have much time to be doing all of that stuff. It kind of sucks, because I agree with you that things are stale. We’ve tried to be organized but it’s tough when we are working and being moms and dads. It’s just draining. And after we’re done doing the important things we’re too tired to actually sit down and develop a strategy.

    My suspicion for this is the fact that Twitter allows all of us people a chance to engage in the conversation in bits and pieces throughout the day and the message of Fire Nintendo resonates with fellow businessman and parents who know that something is fundamentally wrong with how dysfunctional this organization is run but simply don’t have the time to do proper messaging and be very “creative” like you are in your messaging.

    We have plenty of people who want to help with blogging, facebook, and tshirts etc. but quite frankly they’re all waiting for me and the other core people to get back to them and actually organize this thing that has obviously resonated with some people. I once thought I could organize it, but I gave up on that and just started telling people to do whatever they think is best and stick “Fire Nintendo” on it in an “open-source” sort of way. Because of my family and my career I just don’t have the time to give to it what you believe it properly needs. So instead I just keep trucking along on twitter and facebook and the occasional youtube video.

    You stated that you are frustrated with a lack of solution for the problem. It sounds to me that you don’t really understand what Fire Nintendo is all about. We are frustrated because Chuck Armstrong continues to have his checks signed by Nintendo. I’m sure that you’re aware that Chuck Armstrong has been employed for 28 years by the Mariners. Nintendo has supported his employment for 18 years. I happened to notice in an earlier post that you were frustrated with the CF play area and the carnival atmosphere. I think it’s important that we understand that Chuck Armstrong is the primary person responsible for this. I don’t know about the others that identify with Fire Nintendo, but I know that I have done my homework regarding the organizational structure and the way Nintendo and Chuck Armstrong operate their business. If you are interested in what these resources are, I can get you a list of stuff. It is pretty exhaustive, but that’s simply because I want to know what I’m talking about when I’m calling for the restructuring of a publicly supported business that I don’t run. I’m sure they don’t like me telling them how to run things since I am not a fan of when people tell me how to run my small business and my employees. However, due to the fact that public taxes built their stadium and it is supposed to be a public trust, I feel that it’s okay for me to weigh in as long as I know what I’m talking about and have a track record of business success.

    The Angels were in a similar situation a couple years ago with their team president Dennis Kuhl. Kuhl, like Armstrong was a nice guy, who was bad at his job. Instead of leaving him in a job he wasn’t good at, the Angels gave him a different title and responsibilities. This is something that I would advocate with Chuck Armstrong. Personally, I would prefer he remains with the organization but I just do not want him involved in the baseball decision making process as he has been over the past 3 decades. But again, I’m not speaking for all the other Fire Nintendo peeps. As far as Howard Lincoln goes, I’m actually a fan of what he did to build the Nintendo corporation, but that’s probably another conversation and something that a lot of others disagree with.

    Regarding, the fact that “You guys once told me you wanted to help me.” I want to make sure everyone understands that Fire Nintendo had nothing to do with this. This was a conversation that you and I had via Direct Message on Twitter. I thought I would provide the context so that everyone understands the nature of what happened.

    A few of us have access to the Fire Nintendo twitter page. Lately, I have mostly run it. When we were getting ready for our Safeco Field protest, I and others were contacting people that we thought would be sympathetic to our cause. In the course of doing this, I DM’d as many Seattle sports blogs as google could find that were on Twitter. This is how I found you and you said you might be interested in helping. It never panned out and that’s cool, cuz it sounds like you don’t have a big problem with Chuck Armstrong and that’s just fine.

    A few months later, we found each other via Facebook and Twitter. One day, on my Facebook page I posted a prized find of an old Mariners Commercial from when I was searching through youtube videos. I was proud of it and shared with my Mariners friends, including yourself on Facebook. A couple of hours later, you had posted this video on your blog and done an entire writeup regarding the video. I was a little taken aback and so I jokingly tweeted you and said that apparently we were only friends so that you can get content ideas from me. Shortly after me tweeting you, you tweeted publicly that people were angry at you and wanted “shoutouts”. At that point I sent a Direct Message to you and told you that I wasn’t mad at all and wasn’t looking for a shoutout. It simply felt like you were taking advantage of our “virtual” relationship and I equated it to telling a funny joke to your buddy in a car on the way to a party and then when you get to the party, he’s telling the joke to everyone. At that point, you said that you believed you were wrong and everything was fine.

    During the course of that day, I started reading through your old blogs and looking through all of your old content. Up until that point, I hadn’t realized that you wanted to make money off of your blog and were networking with mainstream media types to further your career. I made the mistake of thinking that you were just another one of the local bloggers that wanted to get their thoughts out there. It was during all of this that I said that you were talented, would love to help you get your name out there in any way I could. At the time, my thinking was that you may be interested in hearing what I had learned about social media over the last couple of years and how you could get a greater distribution of your content to your target audience. It’s apparent from your public comments here that is not the way that you took it and you’re not really interested, which is totally fine.

    Finally, sounds like we have differing beliefs about the Mariners and differing theories on business management and corporate organizational theory. I think it’s great that you’re a Mariners fan and you have fun at the ballpark and like the hydro races. Different strokes for different folks. I remember the old days when the hydros weren’t hydros, but they were sailboats floating around on a seemingly dot matrix screen on the Kingdome screen. You have an opinion and I have mine and I’m cool with that. The only thing that I ask is that we deal in facts and be truthful.

    If you feel that I have misrepresented you in any way, please feel free to correct my story. If you feel that I am taking up too much space on your board, please feel free to delete as I totally understand how annoying it is when people hijack boards. Thanks.

    -Peter
    @realpetermag

  12. “What do you mean by fluky? In two years under Z we’ve traded very well and drafted very well, and we stand to draft very well again this year.”

    The results are not in his favor yet. They may yet be.

    And we can disagree about Armstrong. I’m really sorry that I don’t have time to find links to everything, but there have been multiple reports in all of these instances I’ve cited of Chuck meddling. Zdurencik is doing what any good employee would do, and I hope you can see that. The facts are that under three decades of Armstrong’s leadership, this team has had about three good seasons. That’s unacceptable.

    I simply would like ownership to do something about it, or get out of the ownership business.

    By the way, given your faith in Zdurencik: You really think he couldn’t have made this team a lot better with another $30 million? Or even $15 million?

  13. Alex and others:

    I also hold some of the keys that unlock the Fire Nintendo doors (Twitter, Facebook, Web site, etc). I would also like to apologize for not paying much attention to it all. Real life got in the way. Too many 16-hour days on the news desk, wife and kid drama, etc. Also, I backed away from the cause after getting death threats from a season ticket holder that ultimately involved police intervention. I love that the conversation is being had. And I appreciate that there are some breakthroughs being made in how folks are communicating with each other. Sean and Nuss (above) are almost to the point where they can speak civilly. This is pretty encouraging. It’s (so far) a far cry from somebody going on a 9-hour rampage looking to have somebody killed. Nobody needs to live through that day again.

    Thanks again for sparking the conversation,
    — Mark (one of the idiots, for better or worse)

  14. Just to follow up on Mark’s sentiment. Sean, I appreciate your reasoned dialogue. I hope I’m not coming off as too much of a dick. I’ll be honest — I got about three hours of sleep last night while staying up to grade papers, so I might come off a little more edgy than I intend.

  15. And we can disagree about Armstrong. I’m really sorry that I don’t have time to find links to everything, but there have been multiple reports in all of these instances I’ve cited of Chuck meddling. Zdurencik is doing what any good employee would do, and I hope you can see that.

    Listen, I understand the basis of your argument, and if I was shown substantive proof that Armstrong or Lincoln had seriously meddled, then yes, I would say they’ve overstepped their bounds, but I just don’t see it. The way the teams have been built under the four GMs we’ve had since Nintendo took ownership look dramatically different. If Armstrong and Lincoln were really to blame for the team’s failures, if they were really interfering in how the teams were built, wouldn’t the rosters look more similar? Sort of like how Texas’ roster ALWAYS was focused on offensive power until the new ownership took control and let Daniels build the team his way. I mean, if there was that much meddling, the Woodward, Gillick, Bavasi, and Z teams would look way more similar than they do. And further, as I’ve said before, if they’re such heavy handed meddlers, does that mean Seattle should collectively THANK them for the late ’90’s teams? Still, if you have those reports that they really were interfering in baseball decisions, beyond the 2 we’ve already discussed, by all means post the links.

    The facts are that under three decades of Armstrong’s leadership, this team has had about three good seasons. That’s unacceptable.

    I don’t know how old you are, and if you were alive and/or remember then (I honestly don’t mean to offend you when I say that, I just don’t know) but I am inclined to discount the Argyros years entirely, mainly because Argyros was unwilling to spend any money whatsoever, obviously did not care about winning, and was just looking to flip the team for a buck (which he did, to a man who tried to move the M’s to Tampa). So in my mind I start the FO’s career with the current ownership, and saying that since Nintendo has taken ownership we’ve had “three good seasons” is a gross understatement. The Mariners were a very good team with a legit shot at the playoffs almost every season from 1994 to 2003. We narrowly missed the playoffs in 2007, and had a pretty good 2009. Yes, since Bavasi took over we’ve had five years of torture, but I believe strongly that the ship is being righted by Z and co.

    Also, the M’s made the playoffs four times from 1995 to 2001, if you’re only saying we had three good seasons, which of those four was not good?

    By the way, given your faith in Zdurencik: You really think he couldn’t have made this team a lot better with another $30 million? Or even $15 million?

    No, I think he probably could have found excellent solutions to making the team better by spending that money, but I don’t think it would have been productive as part of his long-term plan to get the franchise rebuilt, that is, if we’d made a big splash this offseason, I think that would have been money wasted. If he’s focusing on youth,, there’s no sense in spending money on free agents or long-term contracts until you know how the team pans out and where your needs are. For example, if he’d traded for Montero instead of Smoak, Z would probably be hunting for a first baseman. If Saunders or Franklin or Ackley or Fields end up not panning out, THEN we spend the money to fix that missing piece. In my mind, this is a healthier way to build a team, and it’s one that makes sense.

    Now sure, I’ll concede that if ownership makes a HABIT of cutting payroll every year, and does not give Z the resources he needs, then yes, I will be as furious as you guys, but I just don’t see that happening, especially with all the money coming off the books this year.

    This is the main the reason I think FireNintendo is so fundamentally flawed: it’s looking for a scapegoat when the person to blame (Bavasi) has already been removed.

  16. Nuss,

    No worries, I understand it’s the Internet; thanks for the apology, and I’ll offer the same if I come across similarly dickish.

    We’re both pretty passionate fans, it seems, which I think is the most important point. Passionate fans are inclined to disagree passionately. Nothing wrong with that, even if we end up getting each other’s ire up.

  17. Wow this is the worst post Seattlesportsnet has ever had. So what if the Fire Nintendo guys are disorganized and struggling to get things started with the movement. At least their fucking trying.

    At least they’re not some little Japanese blogger, sitting at Safeco, cheering on the hydros, and dreaming about going home and playing with his little Nintendo DS. If the M’s were owned by IBM or Coca-Cola or some other huge corporation, and had the same shitty commitment to putting a winning product on the field, I bet you would have a different opinion.

    Do you know you now get thrown out of your seats (Section 120) for heckling opposing players? This shit starts from the top and it starts with Nintendo.

  18. Just know that love it or hate it, this post got you talking about something that the upstart group could not get you talking about it.

  19. I talk about it ALL THE TIME with my friends who are dumb Mariners fans just like yourself. To them, Safeco is a place to go get drunk, watch the hydros, eat garlic fries, get a bobblehead, get on the jumbotron and watch the dancing groundskeepers.

  20. Long-time reader, second-time commenter. I took the time to read Peter Mag’s post. Even if long-winded, it was polite, and obviously sincere in its effort to address something that mattered to the author.

    Alex could have chosen to ignore PeterMag, or responded civilly. Instead, he used his response to diminish Peter Mag and take away his dignity, without addressing anything Peter Mag actually said. Others followed suit.

    On the one hand, we have a visitor trying to initiate dialog about something that was clearly bothering him. On the other hand, we have the author of the website essentially telling the visitor to piss off because his concerns were worthless. All I can say is, if this is part of an attempt to start professional writing of some kind, that it was pretty unprofessional behavior, through and through.

  21. In my own defense, the two sentences that were typed – “You’re trying too hard.” and “Just enjoy life.” – aren’t what I consider to be disrespectful. What I consider disrespectful is the one-on-one exchange that I previously had with Peter via Twitter, in which he put himself above me with patronizing comments. No one else was part of that exchange, and so you can formulate your own opinions on the matter. Regardless, I’ll never walk away from this thinking I’m wrong, and I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  22. Fire Nintendo may seem disorganized, but the message is far from misguided. It’s not about hydros, bobbleheads, dancing groundcrews, or hat tricks. This discussion is about winning, and that has not happened here in quite awhile.

    Since Armstrong was reinserted as team president in 1993, the Mariners are 1438-1310 with only 3 division titles. Some may consider being 128 games over .500 over an 18 years stretch successful or even acceptable, but correct me if I’m wrong, the last time I checked a team president is measured by how many championships he guides his respected farnchise to. Just like like GM’s are held accountable for wins and losses, in almost all cases, so are the team presidents. That buck seems to circumnavigate the offices of Armstrong and Lincoln at Safeco Field, and squarely lands on the shoulders of the GM’s and managers. When fingers start to point in the direction of the accused those same fingers start pointing in the direction of the bosses, and when that happens you’re either shipped out or asked kindly to resign.

    I do not believe Fire nintendo’s message is flawed or misguided. If I felt that way I never would’ve agreed to get involved. The baseline should always be about winning, and The fact remains is that Chuck Armstrong is not a winner.

  23. Hey Alex. Sorry if you felt that I was patronizing you. That certainly wasn’t my intent in my DM’s to you and that sucks if you felt that way.

  24. No worries. I read our DM conversation and I see how you could have taken it that way.

    It sucks cuz I actually think you jive with a lot, but not all of what us Fire Nintendo guys are saying.

  25. Alex,

    Read “Out of Left Field” by Art Thiel. After reading it, I’m not sure you’d think Yamauchi doesn’t meddle with the Mariners. He’s in everyone’s business more than you think.

  26. I want to respond to this article here too because I have followed this group since last September when they were on “Q-It-Up Sports” with Aaron Levine in where I first heard of it and I want to say it right now about this group and that is be careful on what you wish for because number one who would you want to run at the helm at the Mariners? And two chances are that owner can be another Clay Bennett and move to the team to another city just like what happened to the Sonics. I agree with Alex that this group is misguiding people like them are one of the factors on why the Sonics left not just Howard Schultz, Clay Bennett, David Stern, and our politicians but “so called” fans like this as well! The Mariners are starting to play well now and at least showing some hope!

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