The ‘stache wasn’t the problem

By John Owen | Jul 28, 2011

Everybody from Perrinville to Puyallup and beyond has a theory regarding  the Seattle Mariners.

They can't hit for average, they can't hit for distance and they frequently kick the ball when they should be scooping it off the grass.

Most of these critics are likewise missing the mark.  

The obvious truth is that their manager opened the season with a bush-league mustache.  Not only was it out of place it is out of time. Eric Wedge didn't look like a major league manager.  He looked like an amateur actor playing the role of Chief Inspector Missfit in an Agatha Christie mystery at the Driftwood Theater.

I grew up worshipping managers like Casey Stengel, Tommy LaSorda and Leo Durocher.  

More recently I have admired Sparky Lyle, Lou Piniella and Tony Larussa. None of them resembles an aging walrus.  

And that should be a warning to Eric Wedge.  

It was Casey Stengel who observed that he was fired from the Yankees for growing too old.  

"I'll never do that again," he vowed.

I have a young  Snohomish County relative named Connor.  It's a bit early for him to be seeking role models. But after spending a few days watching Connor I could see that  he is definitely trying to decide what path in life he should follow.

He is pretty good at kicking a ball, bare-footed, and when he follows it down the floor (or field) he waves his arms and becomes his own cheering section.  A lot of pro soccer players behave the same way.

But I'm not ready to predict Connor will find his future in sports. Because when he wasn't kicking the ball those recent summer afternoons, he looked around the room for something the size and shape of a blackboard eraser and when he found such an object he would clamp it to one ear and totter down the room chanting, "Bah, bah, bah."

I don't think Lake Stevens High School or the University of Washington give athletic letters for students who spent their early years learning (from their parents, I guess) how to "play" a cell phone, in the office or home.

No, it's a bit early to decide how Connor will evolve.  

On July 4, he celebrated his first birthday learning how to say his version of "blah, blah, blah."

It's essential knowledge for future lawyers, politicians, soccer coaches and baseball managers.

It might even have had some effect on Eric Wedge, who shaved his mustache a week ago and then proceeded to watch his team lose its 15th straight game.  

Wedge said he decided to erase the lip hair "to lighten things up around here."

It's also possible  he did it so critics in the bleachers may now have trouble recognizing  the manager.  That shouldn't be a problem.  The manager is the guy who picks up the bullpen phone in the eighth inning and announces, "Blah blah, blah."

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