Photo credit: Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times
The Mariners front office for the better part of two decades has been mediocre at maximum and a full-blown laughing stock at minimum. This is not a secret in baseball.
The one thing the Mariners, as a front office, are good at lately is spouting gallons upon gallons of utter bullshit, and despite little to zero success, somehow getting the fans to lap it up as if they are some sort of authority on “good baseball.”
Let’s be clear here: The Mariners have done absolutely nothing to earn this good will.
This is, after all, the team that figured out how to cope with allegations of sexual harassment by elevating President Kevin Mather to his current position.
This is, after all, a team that weathered the storm of Dr. Lorena Martin’s lobs of discrimination by labelling her as a disgruntled ex-employee and a complete liar.
And now, we have the newest member of that full-fledged galaxy brain of fucking idiots: Director of Player Development Andy McKay.
McKay is a master of motivation, as seen by his insightful tweet before, and before one iota of the season had transpired, new wave analytics guy Jerry Dipoto was seen as a genius.
Now, to Dipoto’s credit, at the time of McKay’s hiring, the burning trash can fire that is the front office hadn’t quite reared its ugly ass head. The future, in 2015, was looking as bright and sharp as that brand new black hole we discovered (which, unfortunately, is located too far away to suck up all of humanity and end this whole story earlier).
So color me surprised when Mr. Andy McKay, the leader of all good things smart in the brain development of our players, ends up looking like a complete and utter asshole in this column about Rob Whalen’s mental health.
Mariners mental skills coach Derin McMains recommended Whalen seek professional treatment beyond what the team was providing. He started seeing a psychologist in Tacoma, Washington, but by June the situation felt untenable. He reached out to McKay, who Dipoto once called “one of the more well-respected sports psychologists in the country” and whose hiring as head of player development had earned the Mariners plaudits for “creating a better culture for players to flourish.”
According to Whalen, McKay offered him a week off to deal with his anxiety, but after just a few days, Whalen received a text message from McKay explaining that he would be replaced on the roster if he didn’t return to the team immediately.
The Mariners had a player in clear duress, a player that had reached out for assistance for said duress, and the Mariners Director of Player Development rescinded an offer for time off by literally dangling his job over his head.
Now, categorically, of course, the Mariners issued a few statements in the article that are well at odds with Whalen’s version of accounts. It is a fitting pattern now for this squad.
Here is my rub: the Seattle Mariners front office, which despite their repeated best intentions, are continually fucking up all of these lauded improvements, over and over and over again.
Whalen walked away from baseball because of the lack of assistance the Mariners provided, and the one thing this fucking franchise was supposed to be good at was all of that “new agey” shit, like mental health.
Now, obviously, Whalen’s story can easily be applied to the entirety of Major League Baseball. The one difference is that most coaches and general managers across the league, unlike Mr. Gerard Peter Dipoto, don’t talk in interviews like they returned from Burning Man for the for the first time in their life.
Mental health is the most important health possible. I know. I spent years in therapy after my father passed away trying to make sense of a world that I no longer wanted to make any sense–because that feeling was easier. It was hard work, but at least I had support. I was able to rediscover the passions in life and get back on-track.
Rob Whalen did not have any support. The Mariners completely failed him. Now, Rob Whalen is no longer playing baseball. Instead, in fitting 2019 fashion, we are stuck with Director of Player Development Andy McKay, a snake oil salesman, just like the man who hired him.