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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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June 9, 2008 2:00 PM

Elia, Bavasi speak

Posted by Geoff Baker

bluejays0609 016.jpg

Lee Elia doesn't mince words about the approach he'll be taking with Seattle's hitters now that he's replaced Jeff Pentland as hitting coach. Sort of the "new sherriff in town" approach. That's a given. Elia has dropped more "F bombs" over the years than the M's fielders have dropped balls.

"I'm probably more spontaneous,'' said Elia, known for his combustion. "If we're talking about beating a (pitching) guy in a certain way and we don't accomplish it, then maybe for that moment I might say something.

"There's two scenarios,'' he added. "If you love your children, there's going to be times you're going to say things to your kids that might be a little aggressive, but it's only because you love them.

"And the other one is, there's nobody in the world that I love more than my wife, and probabaly four or five days out of every month I really can't stand her. So, I mean, those are the kinds of things they might have to understand at times about me.''

Elia had talked before the season about not wanting to be in baseball full-time anymore. He says the M's approached him last night about replacing Pentland and that he didn't say yes right away.

"I discussed it with my wife and daughters,'' he said. "It's not like I'm going away for 100 years. I'll be up here for a little while.''

So, as I told you earlier, this is not a permanent fix by any means.

"In everything in life, sometimes change is better,'' he said. "Sometimes you make an omelette in a baggie and put it in boiling water and it comes out just as juicy and even better than if you fry it.''

OK, then. Remind me to cancel tomorrow's breakfast date with Elia.

Just got done talking with GM Bill Bavasi as wellHe said today's firing was done to give the players "a different voice" to hear in the batting cages. Bavasi added that Elia will bring his own nuances to the hitting approach taken by the players. But make no mistake, it's all about the voice.

"It's all about results,'' Bavasi said. "And that's probably the biggest thing. We felt that this crew had underperformed for a long period of time. So, this is nothing new.''

Bavasi went on to add:

"We hope to hit is the bottom line. And beyond the bottom line, specifically, we're hoping that a lot of the work that Jeff did can be done by Lee, but just by using a different vpoice, a different approach. I think that a lot of their swing theories, and angle theories and plane theories are similar and the same. But Lee might have more emphasis on some different things that might have different keys for this group of hitters.''


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Posted by scrapiron

2:12 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Anyone remember the old Mariners commercial with Lee Elia as the hitting coach?

(Edgar Martinez in the batting cage, ripping line drives)
"How am I doing coach?
(Lee Elia sitting down playing cards, never looks up)
"Looking good, Edgar. Keep it up."

Posted by firemacnow

2:14 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Does Bavasi honestly think this token firing is going to call of the dogs, the FANS are demanding changes and throwing Jeff Pentland under the bus is not going to help...If Bavasi re-signs/gets fired or Chuck Armstrong does the same, who cares.

I just hope we can get a competent GM in here to evaluate the Bedard situation, and the number one priority of getting Felix locked up long term.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

2:16 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Good move for the M's to bring in a different voice and hopefully preach a more patient approach at the plate by our freeswinging hitters. SI.com reports the M's are close to putting Bedard on the market - a scarey thought that Bonehead Bill will have a chance to play with our biggest trade chip. BagHead Day on 7/19 (a daygame vs. Cleve) can't come soon enough to force ownership to dump this fool before he wrecks more havoc on the organization. With KC winning today on a Guillen homer, we may be a full three games ahead after tonight in the Strasburg sweepstakes - lock #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Posted by Bring Up Clement Now

2:17 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"Its all about results."

"We felt that this crew had underperformed for a long period of time."

The above quotes are from GM Bill Bavasi. If he really believes his own words then he should resign his job immediately.

Enough said.

Posted by Samurai I Am Awry

2:22 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"we're hoping that a lot of the work that Jeff did can be done by Lee, but just by using a different voice"

What the Eff does that even mean? Are the players actually retarded? What's next Billy? Pretending the spoon is an airplane to try and get them to eat their veggies? Utter nonsense - and actually very insulting to the people of Seattle and all the fans. Get out of town you bic-headed-bald assclown.

Posted by RogerC

2:27 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bavasiís teamsí on-base percentage stats:
Year Team OBP AL rank
1994 Angels 332 12
1995 Angels 350 5
1996 Angels 338 11
1997 Angels 344 5
1998 Angels 332 10
1999 Angels 319 13
2004 Mariners 331 10
2005 Mariners 314 14
2006 Mariners 325 13
2007 Mariners 337 7
2008 Mariners 305 14

This is a pattern of mediocrity that Bavasi adheres to. A new hitting coach will not change this.

As a benchmark, the 2001 Mariners who won 116 games under GM Pat Gillick had an OBP of 360, #1 in the AL. Note that Gillick's Phillies won the East Division in 2007 are in presently in first place.

Posted by cesame

2:29 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bill Bavasi absolutely makes me hate Mariners baseball. How I've managed to stay a fan all this time, I don't know. This guy is completely full of crap, and he keeps on blaming everyone else.

"The Buck stops here"

Sure Bavasi, sure. Get lost already. We don't want you here. GO AWAY.

Posted by The Anti Conehead

2:30 PM, Jun 09, 2008

If it is "all about the voice" for the change in batting coaches then why settle on Lee Elia.

Why not get some tape on Mickey Mantle, Edgar, or any other successful hitting icon and just hit the play button every time Sexton or whomever is in the batting cage? Then you can save the batting coach salary to help offset releasing Sexton or Vidro.

Bavasi has the most ridiculous lame ass excuses for doing the things he does.

Posted by Capo

2:32 PM, Jun 09, 2008

At what point does ownership look at the Mariner record (and payroll) in the Bill Bavidiot era and decide that winning is the bottom line......this FO and team have been underperforming since he took over!!!!

Posted by Capo

2:35 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Before you go heaping praise on Gillick.....remember that almost that entire team was in place before he took over.

thats akin to giving credit to Bavidiot for the Angels winning the WS two years after he was fired there.

Posted by tommy boy

2:36 PM, Jun 09, 2008

What if, instead of having a hitting coach, we just kept playing the in-between round pep talks of the trainer in Mike Tyson's punch-out?

Posted by Sexson is Mendoza

2:36 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Blah, Blah, barf

Until Armstrong is shown the door the Mariners will continue to hire yes men to run the baseball side of the business.

Either lock Armstrong in the basement and let him count the money or fire his sorry butt.

Any other change is not going to do any good.

Has it in the past?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:38 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"Sometimes you make an omelette in a baggie and put it in boiling water and it comes out just as juicy and even better than if you fry it."

That's awesome. We now have the makings of a quote-off between him and Ichiro. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for a session between those two.

Posted by macdoubter

2:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bavasi makes no sense. Remember, he's the one that said "declining the option on Jose Guillen gives us more flexibility as we plan our 2008 roster."

Posted by Jeff in Kirkland

2:52 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Same old story different day. Wish we could fire the players and actually sign coaches to guaranteed contracts. I think you would see alot more emphasis on playing the game, for that is what they are doing, living a dream of 98% of all American Males, playing a game for a living.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:53 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Oh, and of course, for reference's sake (warning: much foul language):

http://www.speakeasy.org/~bucky/elia_tirade.html

The bit at the very end, of all of it, was most interesting to me:

"But don't rip them f******* guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give. And right now they're tryin' to do more than God gave 'em, and that's why we make the simple mistakes."

Can we say that about this year's M's?

Posted by DugoutNut

2:54 PM, Jun 09, 2008

For what it is worth.....

MSNBC, in the rumors section of Sports is suggesting that Eric Bedard could be on the block for some young talent. A move is considered a long shot though.

Any substance, Geoff?

Posted by RogerC

2:55 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Capo, I have to disagree with you on Gillick. Here are three key players Gillick has added since taking over:

SP Jamie Moyer (6-3, 4.56; better than Washburn, Batista, etc)
RP Brad Lidge (17 saves, 0.96 ERA; Gillick traded for Lidge; Bavasi traded away Soriano)
IF Greg Dobbs (.910 OPS coming off the bench; better than any bench player Bavasi has brought in).

These are pieces that has helped the Phillies attain and maintain winning the past two seasons. My point is that over time managers have patterns that tend to continue. Buzzie Jr has been a GM for 11 years and has not yet taken a team to the playoffs. Gillick, in 17 years with Toronto, took the Jays to the playoffs six times. In three years with the Orioles they went to the playoffs two times, with the Mariners four years they went to the playoffs two times. I see a pattern of excellence in Gillick, which the Phillies recognized. In Bavasi I see a pattern of mediocrity. In my mind he is not qualified to be a GM anymore. Maybe a Scouting Director, at most.

Posted by M's Suck

2:59 PM, Jun 09, 2008

So this is the big shake up to improve this team? Don't make me laugh. How about they cut, fire, and dismiss about 75% of the organization and now we're getting somewhere. The whole M's organization is a complete joke and firing the hitting coach looks like a pathetic attempt to say,"Look, we're doing something." Woopie. Are you friggin' kidding me?

Posted by ajdaddy

3:00 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Let's see how some other players are doing... from ESPN:

It was Guillen's 11th homer of the season and fourth in the past three games. He went 9-for-16 in the four-game series with four homers and 10 RBIs, and also scored six runs to help the Royals gain a split. The mercurial outfielder even threw out two runners in Saturday's 12-11 loss to New York.
"That's as good a series as I've seen a player have, especially in the setting that it happened,"

Geez, a player showing up to play his best against a good team? No wonder they didn't want Guillen here. He didn't fit in.

Posted by macdoubter

3:03 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Chris, thanks for the Elia link. You left out for me the best part when he says: " Rip me. If you wanna rip somebody, rip my f***in' ass."

If McLaren ever said something like that I think he'd earn a little more respect.

Posted by junebug

3:15 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bring back Bucky Jacobsen and stick him at first base. Why not? Mariners might be able to sell some more tickets. Saw him in the stands last week at Safeco.

Fire Bavasi now.

Trade Sexton for a bag of balls.

Lower the price of beer sold at Safeco.

Thats it.....I'd be a happy camper.

Posted by Bums

3:18 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Hmmm...a different voice. I like it. Tells me this organization finally realizes this team needs a huge kick in the a--. I hope his voice resonances throughout the clubhouse and the pitchers get their share. McLaren is just too soft for these guys, they need someone that will jump down their throat and call them out. Elia should be able to do that, but this is too little, way too late.

Oh, and Bavasi needs to shut up, hole himself away, and figure out how to get this club out of the hole he helped put it in, or resign. He seems to be too involved.

Posted by nat

3:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Someone already mentioned this TNT article about moving Bedard in a previous thread today but will leave it for anybody who's interested-

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mariners/story/384295.html

Chris, thanks for posting the link to Elia's Chicago speech- it's hilarious. The present state of the Mariners is all so, so, so laughable. *sigh*

Posted by MJ

3:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

The M's are shopping Bedard now?

Maybe they can get some top young arms, a dynamic OF on offense and defense and a veteran pitcher to shore up the bullpen so we can send Morrow to the rotation...

Wait. Shoot. I'm so angry right now.

I THOUGHT WE WERE ONE PIECE AWAY FROM WINNING IT ALL GEOFF!!!!!!!!!

Posted by voice of the fans

3:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Since this ownership group shows no signs of firing Bavasi before the season ends, he will have every opportunity to setback the team recovery/rebuilding process by at least two years over the next 4 months through bad trades & lack of playing the young players. BagHead Day onJuly 19th is critical that fans come prepared to show their displeasure as the game will be on national tv (a 1p Sat. game). Knick fans were successful through their well-organized demonstrations in getting Isaiah Thomas finally fired this past season.

Posted by Sounders

3:36 PM, Jun 09, 2008

@RogerC,

Good stuff. Bavasi is mediocre at best. Hell,maybe that's what Chuckie wanted, just to not have any major dips like this year and just keep people in the seats..This is why, reluctantly, I hope they keep losing so we can drive out all those pigs in the FO,

Posted by rcwill

3:39 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"We hope to hit is the bottom line. And beyond the bottom line, specifically, we're hoping that a lot of the work that Jeff did can be done by Lee, but just by using a different vpoice, a different approach. I think that a lot of their swing theories, and angle theories and plane theories are similar and the same. But Lee might have more emphasis on some different things that might have different keys for this group of hitters.''

Jeezus Geoff...How many times did you have to rewind your tape recorder to jot down that incoherent load of crap? What a tool Bavasi is.

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

3:40 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Adam,

I invite you to become a Rays fan - the best thing going on in baseball! I've converted, but its easy when you live 5 minutes from Tropicana field.

I found myself rooting for the M's this weekend, not because I want to see them succeed (i don't- they need to hit bottom), bu in order to hurt Boston.

I cannot think of any reason to support the M's until Bavasi is fired, but I will still come back to this Blog because there's nothing quite this good for the Rays.

GO RAYS!!! (M's lose bad, rebuild, then in 2-3 years GO M'S TOO!)

Posted by Fg

3:42 PM, Jun 09, 2008

what do you think the over under should be for the total runs the mariners score this series? I think I've got to peg it at 7. Maybe we can have Lee Elia pinch hit for someone. His 'voice' may be able to muscle out a double.

fg

Posted by 3rd inning chant

3:44 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I've had enough. As a lifelong M's fan and season ticket holder I've given players and managment alot of slack over the years. These limp moves and pathetic quotes are unbelieveable.

It's time that that fans get in on the notice. I'm thinking mid-3rd inning at every home game a little FIRE BILL chant. Maybe, just maybe we can chant loud enought to get heard across the Pacific?

FI-ER Bill, FI-ER Bill, FI-ER Bill


Posted by Drinking Beer and Booing

3:44 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Maybe this will help. Years ago when Chuck Cottier was manager the Ms were leading MLB in strike- outs. That was the year Clemens set the MLB record in a game against Seattle.

After they fired Cottier he was replaced by Dick Williams. After a month or so they had cut their strike outs in half. When asked how he performed this miracle Williams responded:

"I told everybody to choke-up when they got two strikes."

Duh.

Posted by Sounders

3:45 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Best Case Scenario: The entire FO gets canned and someone new takes over.

Worst Case Scenario: Billy B is allowed to try to save this year. That guy can't be allowed to 'fix' anything. The numbers RogerC posted are staggering really, even I didn't realize the level of Bavasi's incompetence.

I hope whoever is on that 'board' of Microsoft/Nintendo wack jobs has at least the sense to NOT let him screw things up more than he has.

Posted by Pee Wee Briley

3:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

They used to have a Dave Valle drink that was pegged to his batting average. They should use the team batting average to peg to the price of beers. That would bring in truck loads of people.

Just a business idea for the front office, also, maybe reduce ticket prices by how the percentage we are out of first place. I bet that would get the team playing, or the CEOing better, if, indeed they are only in it for the money.

Posted by Aaron

3:50 PM, Jun 09, 2008

WOW I like him already...

Posted by lorlor

4:01 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Awesome, lets trade Bedard to Toronto where he really wants to play and get Brad Wilkerson back!!

I say blow the team up except for Ichiro, Felix, Lopez, Marrow, Rowland-Smith, Dickey, and Green.

The rest of the team you can go now, that includes all management, ALL of the Mangagement!!!

Do you think Nintendo would continue to sell the WII if it was a complete flop? NO I don't think so, they would refine it until people love the hell out of it.

Likens the Mariners, have no love and will not get any until its been refined! One bad CPU "ala Bavasi" can completely screw up your machine.

Asta la vista Baby!

Posted by firemacnow

4:08 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I heard jason stark on kjr this morning and he told Mitch Levy that the prospects Mcgrath mentioned in his article aren't even that good!!! Theres NO reason to trade Bedard at the deadline unless a contender is willing to give up the farm, and do a BAVASI, we might as well wait till he(BAVASI) gets canned then let the new GM evaluate the situation..

Can you imagine the uproar if somehow Bavasi keeps his job?

Posted by 11Records

4:11 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Props to Chris...

Seriously - did he say all those things in English, or are those translations from Ichiro's translator?

This should, at the least, keep things mildly interesting from a bizarro quote perspective.

Also - what's the over/under on how long it takes him to make Yuni cry? I give it 3 games.

Posted by Bork

4:14 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I like the idea that they're actively doing something. I think that it shows that the higher-ups in the organization aren't ok with the fact that the Mariners probably couldn't a ball off a tee right now, and are actively trying to change it. However, I don't think that I agree with who they fired. Getting a new hitting coach should have been done a month ago. In addition, it doesn't show the players anything. They aren't being affected by this much. If the Mariners want to do something to change stuff up, start letting players go or sending them down to the minors. The players are the ones not performing. Coaches can only do so much.

Posted by Mike

4:14 PM, Jun 09, 2008

ESPN's Rob Neyer weighs in on the Pentland firing.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3434071&name=Neyer_Rob

Money quote--"What we're seeing is what happens when you combine a dysfunctional front office with a few extra dollops of bad luck. And maybe, just maybe, a few players who already have given up on the season."

The problems start at the top.

Posted by scottM

4:17 PM, Jun 09, 2008

First two M's batters and two hits. This Elias is a miracle worker!!!!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:18 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Also - what's the over/under on how long it takes him to make Yuni cry? I give it 3 games.

11records: LOL!!! That's awesome. And probably right.

Posted by fish93

4:21 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Junior just got #600

Posted by Mike

4:36 PM, Jun 09, 2008

That means the Griffey trade talk will begin in earnest.

Posted by DistantFan

4:39 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Any change is good, at this point.

Posted by Capo

4:43 PM, Jun 09, 2008

RogerC, pretty funny....two of the 3 listed were mariners under Gillick.......just means that even Giilick can ass rape Bavidiot.....that should make everyone feel better.

You mention toronto....fair enough, but I notice you left all his time in Seattle and Baltimore completely out of the argument........and I don't think we need to remind anyone of "Stand Pat" circa 2001-2003.

Posted by E. Lois

4:45 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"We hope to hit is the bottom line ..."

Bavasi's quote should have read:

"We hope to hit the bottom..."

Posted by The Bagheaded One

4:49 PM, Jun 09, 2008

July 19th will be the day where all the people who frequent the blogs can finally make a stand with their team. There's hundreds of people who post here, USSM, Lookout Landing, DetectoVision, etc. and that means that there are literally thousands of visitors to these blogs who have had enough and know that the front office is the heartbeat of the problem.

Baghead Day, July 19th. If you buy tickets, merchandise, anything Mariner-affiliated you need to be there to make a stand.

Posted by bam slams

5:03 PM, Jun 09, 2008

The things Bill Bavasi does to this team remind me more and more of Buzz Bavasi when he appeared on the Beverly Hillbillies and tried to sign Jethro to pitch for the Dodgers. Only that was supposed to be comical.

sigh.
go m's.

Posted by AZ Nick

5:06 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Firing Pentland...big deal...Bavasi should fire himself...the M's lineup has all the Little League pitchers in Humptulips shaking in their boots.

AZ Nick

Posted by 70 year old grandma

6:01 PM, Jun 09, 2008

dumb, dumb, dumb move

Posted by The Troll

7:13 PM, Jun 09, 2008

mac manufactured a run - astonishing!

Posted by paulinbc

8:17 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Hey Geoff: don't knock Lee's eggs in a baggie trick until you try it. I've eaten them that way and they're great- it's just another way to make an omelete.

Posted by pnwfilmgeek

Posted by cvsgrv

3:24 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Once again, Bavasi proves he has no clue.

The problem with Mariners' hitters isn't only their technique (i.e. "angles" and "planes").

It goes way beyond that, and the fact that it's 2008 and Bavasi and the Mariners still haven't figured it out is pitiful.

If you watch the Mariners play regularly, their whole approach to hitting is seriously flawed.

First of all, hitting isn't just the way you swing a bat.

Hitting is getting ahead of pitchers on counts.

Hitting is making pitchers work hard.

Hitting is getting pitches that you can hit.

Hitting is making each and every at-bat count.

Hitting is learning how and when to be aggressive in the batter's box.

Hitting is learning your own strenths and weaknesses in the batter's box.

The Mariners do none of these things well. And it's precisely the reason why you see so many mediocre pitchers have career days against the Mariners.

It's why you see so many 4 and 5 pitch innigs tossed against the M's.

It's why you see Mariner hitters hit so many lazy cans of corn and routine ground-outs.

Why in the heck is all of this so hard for Bavasi to comprehend?

He can talk hitting techniques until he's blue in the face. But until there is an entire overhaul of the organizational strategy on the psycholgy of hitting, nothing will change.

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