How NOT to Quit

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Mike Hargrove, the manager of the Seattle Mariners walked into work this morning as said “today is my last day as manager of the Seattle Mariners”. To say this was a shock would be a vast understatement.

The thing that was most curios about the announcement was his reasoning. He said: “It was just getting harder and harder for me to get up for the games each day. I still could, it just took me longer than I would like.” When asked if he had “lost the fire for baseball”, he quickly replied “no, that’s not it.” In fact, other than this curious problem of getting motivated, he said essentially nothing. He’s just leaving.

Aside from my admittedly partisan view of the team, the thing that most bothers me about this is what it says about the organization and/or Mr. Hargrove. The team insists that they didn’t push him, and in fact begged him to stay. What team wouldn’t? Finding a manager before the All-Star Break is just a nightmare. So that leaves us with Mr. Hargrove.

Lacking a family member in immediate peril of death, there’s really no excuse for this behavior.

Lacking a family member in immediate peril of death, there’s really no excuse for this behavior. Unless the working conditions had become terrible, the situation so untenable, that he simply couldn’t walk into work, there’s just no way to justify leaving a job on 24 hours notice — especially a job like this. This job has annual contracts, a defined start and end to each year. What could possibly so bad that you couldn’t just grind it out for the balance of the year?

The most curious thing is that the team is hot. They’ve won seven straight. They are 11 games over .500 baseball. They’re on track for their best record in the last 5 years. He turned the team around, he’s just starting to look like a guy who knows what he’s doing. Then he quits. Ugh.

I’m sure we’ll find out a lot more about this in detail in a few weeks.

I’m sure we’ll find out a lot more about this in detail in a few weeks. He’ll eventually tell somebody the true story. And I sure do hope that it’s because the management is totally screwed up and the organization is a mess. At least, there’d be a good reason.

Because if that’s not it, it shows an incredible lack of class, judgment, and guts. I’d like to believe he’s a better guy that that.

Update: After listening to his press conference, and post-game interview (they won, BTW), I’m convinced what happened was an ultimatum. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that Mr. Hargrove deeply objected to some move/trade (trading Ichiro? bringing back Ken Griffey Jr.?) and said, “if you do that, I’m outta here.” They did it, he’s gone.

After the trade deadline, and whatever move is announced, I’m sure we’ll hear Mr. Hargrove’s real reason for leaving. Ugh, again. I hate this kind of thing. It just ruins the entire organization’s morale…

2 Replies to “How NOT to Quit”

  1. The rookie manager, John McLaren (“a good friend of Hargrove’s” according to S.I.), who’s taken over the job was quoted as saying, “Sometimes a manager just can’t see the job through …” Now what does that mean, actually? Does the organization have some recourse when this sort of thing happens?

  2. I’m sure the organization would normally have some recourse — if this was a simple matter of what it sounds like today. He’s reneged on a contract. Simple contract law.

    But, if I’m right, and this was a “you do that and I’m outta here” kind of situation, I think the organization wouldn’t pursue it. Time will tell if I’m right there.

    As for McLaren, interestingly, he was Lou Pinella’s right-hand man here for years as well. He’s played second fiddle for decades. Let’s see how he does, he’s certainly got the experience and the pedigree to handle the job.

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