Mariners Insider

For These Mariners, McLaren Seems To Be the Right Man

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Aug. 23, 2007 at 9:35 pm with No Comments »
August 23, 2007 9:35 pm

Not everyone agrees with any one major league manager, and certainly not all Seattle fans – especially the ones who visit here – are in the court of John Lowell McLaren.

He has steadfastly stuck with veterans when others clamored for change.

In July, fans and much of the media wanted Adam Jones in left field every day for Raul Ibanez – and they wanted anyone at first base except Richie Sexson. Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez have stretched everyone’s patience.

McLaren stood with each, and if the fans and media didn’t appreciate it, his team did. They’re 14-6 this month.

"John is always positive, he’s always got your back," Jose Vidro said. "He’s told us all from the start, ‘Don’t try to be The Guy. Trust yourself, but trust your teammates. We all have to do the job.’

"Has he been an influence in here? Yes, sir, he has. He knows veterans have been through this before, and he’s stayed with us."

Ichiro Suzuki, as always, had a unique perspective on the man who has been manager since July 2.

"John is honest and says what he feels," Ichiro said. "That surprises some people. As adults, it’s harder to be honest, harder to express yourself honestly. He can see through an act someone puts up.

"The person who isn’t always honest cannot see that. The honest person can. John sees through dishonesty."

For his part, McLaren has followed his mind and heart.

"I believe in people, and I’ve seen these guys go through the pain of struggling," McLaren said. "I’ve seen how hard they work behind the scenes. You give me players who play with passion, with heart and intensity – and you put them in an environment where they can relax – and you have the best chance to see them reach their full potential.

"Yeah, I’m honest with guys. And sometimes that’s not always positive, but I try to keep it positive. The team comes first, always."

Since taking the job upon Mike Hargrove’s departure, McLaren has survived a seven-game losing streak and the team is 27-20.

"During that streak, he got a taste of what it’s like to have to be the guy answering all the questions," George Sherrill said. "He had our backs. He didn’t change. He stayed positive and showed he believed in us. That meant a lot."

McLaren hasn’t yet won the favor of all Mariners fans, and may never. That’s the nature of the job.

More important, he has his team believing that, against all prognostications in spring, it can get to and win a World Series.

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