Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong aren't going anywhere folks.
As much as we would all like to think that the "braintrust" will retire or simply go away via sale of the team by the shadowy Hiroshi Yamaguchi, I just don't see it happening any time soon.
But aren't the M's making all of the moves necessary to sell?
On the surface it would sure seem so, but until that actually happens, I can't see ownership spending any real money to improve the team on the field.
Therefore, we really are left with hoping the kids will grow up, that deals for prospects or unheralded players work out, and that aging spare parts will somehow find the fountain of youth during their time in Seattle.
In other words, reinforcements aren't coming in spite of whatever anyone within the organization says.
It's far easier and cheaper to offer lip-service at this point rather than take on any long-term risks while trimming away all the excess fat in preparation for a sale when the time is right.
Meanwhile if the current batch of youngsters such as Dustin Ackley, Danny Hultzen, and Mike Zunino fail, so be it, on to the next batch of prospects.
At the same time the blame will continue to fall on Jack Zduriencik long after he's gone, just like we all still curse Bill Bavasi almost five years removed.
It's a vicious cycle that only looks to get worse and has shaken the confidence of many a Mariner fan as The Seattle Times Larry Stone explained in follow-up to the Josh Hamilton signing last week:
It's a full-blown crisis of confidence, one that informs the reaction to every move the organization makes. Whether it be moving in the fences, raising some season-ticket prices without informing customers, or the Jason Bay signing, it is viewed, overwhelming, through a prism of scorn, distrust and cynicism. At least, that's the vibe that is reaching me.
And that brings us to Thursday, when Josh Hamilton chose someone else besides the Mariners, and fans went bonkers . Most saw it coming, yet his signing with the Angels became just the latest "proof" that the Mariners are not-ready-for-prime-time players. I predict the initial reaction to virtually any subsequent acquisition this winter by GM Jack Zduriencik -- unless they trade for Mike Trout -- will be more hard-core skepticism.
That's where this organization is right now, like it or not. And the only way I see to change it, short of an ownership or upper-management change, is by winning.
It's that simple, winning and on the cheap if possible.
Yet if a rag-tag cast of kids, a few wily veterans, and perhaps one or two All-Star caliber players could string together an entertaining if not decent season things might change for the better, right?
But wait didn't the same thing happen in 2009?
Didn't the team then go out and trade for Cliff Lee along with Milton Bradley and sign Chone Figgins?
And with that we've come full circle.
Will that circle be unbroken?
We all keep hope while wishing and waiting, but right now I'm having a hard time believing it will.
Either way, the Mariners will continue to play baseball and come March our cold hearts will thaw just a bit as we start to see familiar faces show up for Spring Training eager for a shot at proving us and the world wrong.
Now we wait, while feeling frustrated and neglected by an organization that has seemingly lost its way. A big screen TV and moving in the fences may be well intended along with whatever other bells and whistles the team plans to throw at us, but it really does come down to winning.
Unfortunately with the Mariners, everyone for far too long has banked on this team finding a way of being lucky rather than good, rather than the other way around. Until that day comes we're all stuck in limbo, waiting for kids to mature and for prospects to materialize to form a nucleus of something both lucky and good that's built to last.