“Hi-ho. Hi-ho. It’s off to work we go.”
Those are the immortal lyrics sung by the seven dwarfs in the classic Disney movie Snow White.
These words represent exactly what the Seattle Mariners need to focus on if they want to salvage any dignity from their season.
Every manager, supervisor, and human resource department in any industry deals with employee issues on a daily basis. All businesses have workers who are sleepy, dopey, bashful, happy, sneezy, or grumpy.
The movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has found a new setting in the Pacific Northwest and an All-Star cast of new characters.
“Snow White” is played by GM Jack Zduriencik, who is in danger of being stalked by the wicked witch of free agency and being duped by the poison apple of baseball acquisitions gone wrong. The dwarfs love him, but they can’t necessarily protect him at all times. Evil lurks around every corner, and the magic mirror sees all.
“Doc” is played by Manager Dan Wakamatsu, who is strong and steady but trying to get the most out of a rag-tag pack that needs to overachieve to be an average group of baseball major leaguers.
The rest of the cast was set at the beginning of the season:
Dopey: Eric Byrnes; obviously
Bashful: Ichiro; solid and reliable but always somewhere out of the spotlight
Grumpy: Milton Bradley; duh
Happy: Mike Sweeney; clubhouse leader with smiles and fun attitude
Sneezy: Erik Bedard; always productive when allergies (injuries) aren’t acting up
Sleepy: Ken Griffey, Jr.; Nap-Gate, hello?
The Mariners have the cast, but they're not reading the same lines. They're offensively inept. When they do manage to score runs, the pitching breaks down. The bullpen is struggling. Nobody is working together to get the job done.
The M’s need to get it together, sing a song in unison, work as a team, and protect each other from dragons, witches, poison, and any other curveballs thrown their direction.
Problem is that the Mariners are down a couple dwarfs.
Ken Griffey Jr. retired yesterday. Erik Bedard was transferred to the 60-day DL last week. Eric Byrnes was released a month ago. Chone Figgins has failed to show up on the set at all—although his bat is auditioning for the vacated role of “Sleepy." Milton Bradley may not have the ability to show up on a regular basis regardless of his mindset.
Minor league players, injured stars and possibly a free agent or two (Jermaine Dye, Pat Burrell?) are auditioning for new roles.
Avoiding new dwarfs like “Sleezy” (Ben Roethlisberger), “Crazy” (Jose Canseco), or “Liar” (Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds) will be paramount.
Whoever the Mariners are going to send to the mines, they just need to work together. Individually, they are nothing to write home about (Ichiro, Felix Hernandez, and Cliff Lee excluded), but if they work together there are loads of gold to be mined.