« Why Do We Resent Each Other? | Main | My 15-Year Award »

September 30, 2008

Howard Lincoln is a Gigantic Idiot

Today's paper had a cringe-inducing interview with Howard Lincoln, chairman and CEO of the Mariners, in which he clearly explains how he knows nothing about baseball and how the Mariners are doomed to mediocrity, at best, while he is in charge. Lincoln is not a baseball person; he's a lawyer who wound up running Nintendo, then moved over to the Mariners after Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, became majority owner of the team. Lincoln is Yamauchi's Mariners factotum, who now serves, as he puts it, "at the pleasure of the board and Nintendo". I suppose I should appreciate Lincoln's "honesty" and "transparency" but instead I feel bad for my kids, who are likely never going to experience winning baseball in Seattle. Actually, I guess he reminds me of nothing so much as the current Bush administration, in his steadfast devotion to a failed strategy and his apparent belief that changing your mind indicates weakness. "When it comes to signing 33-year-old outfielders to big free agent contracts, you can't blink!"

The Mariners woes at least generated this great headline in the paper: 100 bleepin' losses! on the occasion of, well, their hundredth loss. On September 10 the Mariners had a record of 57-87 and needed to go 6-12 in their last 18 games to avoid 100 losses. They responded to this challenge by reeling off a 12-game losing streak, eventually finishing 61-101. To put this in perspective, even in the pretty grim early 1990s when I first moved to Seattle, they never lost 100 games; they hadn't sunk so low since 1983.

Posted by AdamBa at September 30, 2008 07:13 PM


Howard sounds like a pretty confident guy, the sort of person you could imagine having plenty of relaxed cortex moments as he contemplates baseball.

Posted by: Andrew at October 1, 2008 12:15 PM

Which might be great, except that baseball is not like programming. There is lots of data you can use to evaluate baseball players.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at October 1, 2008 11:19 PM

I am not from Seattle and don't experience this firsthand, but when season started I thought the team did a great (if not one of the best jobs) to ready itself for the great season run and possibly a post season presence. The hitters were there from last year, they acquired Bedard who prior to that was one of the best in AL. And now the fans and media are blaming the management?

Seattle this year goes toe in toe with Cleveland Indians. Very high expectations before the season and just the players simply did not show up. Period. Differently from other cities and teams, coaches and managers became the scapegoats of the disaster... players stayed where they were...

If you guys play up to the expectations next year, who are you gonna blame then?

Posted by: Laimis at October 2, 2008 07:24 AM

Exactly, Howard is not a baseball player, he's a lawyer turned business manager. You, as a baseball fan, can clearly see Howard's mediocrity in the art of baseball management but it's equally clear from the interview that Howard cannot see his own shortcomings. It all seems like a great example of the fact that incompetent people are often unaware of their own incompetence and that holds regardless of whether we are talking about politicians, programmers or managers.

Posted by: Andrew at October 4, 2008 03:10 PM