Mike Hargrove went out his way.
For most folks, let alone major league managers, that is rarely the case. We tire of our jobs but keep slogging or, in managerial positions, someone higher up the food chain tires of you.
Every time the Seattle Mariners lost two games in a row this season, someone would call a radio station or email a newspaper and explain the reasons Hargrove should be fired.
On this blog, readers wanted him gone even when the team was winning.
When he pulled the pin Sunday morning, Hargrove had this team 11 games over .500 despite a patchwork starting rotation, one of the youngest bullpens in the game and a lineup in which cleanup hitter Richie Sexson has worn the Mendoza line like a belt all year.
Maybe you didn’t like Hargrove. Maybe he didn’t care whether you did or not.
He managed his way, and his way meant weeding out the roster he inherited, not losing his mind with the mistakes of young players and dealing with egos as diverse as those of Ichiro and Eddie Guardado, Sexson and Carlos Guillen.
To take him at his word, there are no family illnesses to deal with, no medical emergencies, no desire to move closer to home rather than deal with loved ones from afar.
Hargrove may have been weary of the second-guessing, of the constant high front-office angst over whether each game was the season. Surely, he was fed up with calls for his head despite a marvelous first half.
Bottom line: Hargrove had higher expectations for himself than even his sharpest critics, and when he suspected he might not be able to meet those, he stepped down.
Chalk up one for grace and integrity. That tough Texan didn’t blame a soul on his way out of town, praised the region, the organization, his coaches and players.
If only we all had such horse sense.
In going out his way, Hargrove may even have earned the respect of those who wanted him gone. If not, it says more about them than about him.