Baseball91's Weblog

August 9, 2010

Cancer Takes Seattle Manager

It was in the first half of June, that Mariners second baseman Chone Figgins criticized manager Don Wakamatsu for removing him from the second spot in the order. The 32-year old one-time All-Star said, “I think I’ve about earned enough respect as a player. I’m still battling and I’m doing good. I should stay where I was hitting.”

The people who have seen his play this year would agree that he has “earned enough.” Figgins was brought to the Mariners to play second this season at a cost of his $9 million salary. At the time he was moved out of the second spot, he was hitting .235. Manager Don Wakamatsu informed reporters before the June game that the lineup switch wasn’t focused upon Figgins.

“Obviously, it’s me,” Figgins said at the time. “It doesn’t matter. Anybody that has ever known me or watched me play this game….no matter where you hit me, first, second or 10th…..I’m going to come to play. If I come off the bench, I’m going to play 110 percent. There’s not anybody in this game who can take that away from me.”

Well, if you watched Figgins, you knew it actually WAS him that necessitated the change in the line-up. But today, sixty days later, Don Wakamatsu lost his job because of the cancer named Figgins.

Figgins was still hitting .235 on the last Saturday in July, when he came to play at Target Field in Minnesota, back hitting second in the lineup. The lineup change had not lasted long. That night, he was involved in a play with a missed cutoff man on one play, when he clearly no longer was coming to the ballpark “to play every single day,” as Figgins had said in June. In a prior Boston weekend series, 8 days before, Figgins inexplicably let a throw from Michael Saunders, which had missed the cutoff man in the bottom of the fifth, bounce a few feet to his left without any movement from him as the ball dribbled past the second base bag. Mike Cameron leading off the fifth inning, went to third on the play, having pulled into second on the ball hit into the left-field corner.

Figgins was told he was being benched, when he returned to the dugout. He then began shouting across the length of the bench, with ensuing pushing between players and coaches who tried to intervene. One Mariner had climbed over teammates and lunged toward Figgins, with the starting pitcher reportedly in the middle. Third baseman Jose Lopez ended up with his jersey over his head, with the jersey pulled off his back. When reporters were allowed inside following the 2-1 loss to Boston, Figgins turned down requests to talk through a team spokesman.

In June, it was Figgins who claimed he wasn’t frustrated by Wakamatsu, even if his manager was frustrated by him. “I’m never frustrated,” Figgins said in June. “The fact is I come to play every single day. I never get frustrated with anybody.”

“I’m motivated every day,”Figgins said, with three-and-a-half years left of a four-year $36-million contract. “Like I’ve said before, there’s nobody who can ever doubt what I do on the field.

So what Chone Figgins, in the first year of a four-year $36-million contract, do you do now? You fire the manager. Asked if the team quit on Wakamatsu, general manager Jack Zduriencik, “I would not go there. I don’t think that’s a fair question. These guys are professional athletes.”

In this bad Rime of the Ancient Mariner, because with the albatros hung around the neck of Jack Zduriencik, the fact is, Chone Figgins will keep coming, however poorly, to play. Because “these guys are professional athletes.” As evidenced on YouTube and all over the country. In Big League parks. At Big League prices. And with $27 million real dollars left on his contract.

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1 Comment »

  1. It was reported on Thanksgiving Day 2012 that the Mariners had released Chone Figgins.

    Comment by baseball91 — November 22, 2012 @ 8:16 PM | Reply

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