Geoff simply paints a picture with an ugly stick. I'm expecting him to fester this a few more times for personal satisfaction. Henious crimes carry more than 40 days in jail. Girl was drunk and said she didn't remember anything. How does she remember giving consent or not? My guess is that he had a strong case in his favor, but he wanted the whole ordeal to end. Again speculation. Case closed.
Spec follows up strongly:
So I think there is definite fault to be placed on Z. Obviously, they agreed it would not cost him his job, but it would cost him Fusco. Armstrong could have let it drop more gracefully, and could have given Z and Fusco more "cover" instead of letting the media run with the "Fusco fired due to Lueke mess" storyline. That shows a lack of class on Armstrong's side, but we knew that already.
Another interesting point -- let me ask you a sincere question, Spec.
Why is Fusco the guy to bite it? As Adair said, Josh Lueke's situation was "common knowledge" in baseball. Fusco wa presiding over a whale of a minor-league renaissance, right?
If you had to set up an innocent fall guy -- a tactic I have nothing but contempt for -- why somebody so important?
We ask the question sincerely. Why Fusco?
But having the incident cost Z is not unfair. I think he muffed it. And it is not Armstrong horning in on Z's bailiwick (putting together the roster). It was Z horning in on Armstrong's bailiwick (worrying about the club's standing the community) by making the call on Lueke without giving Armstrong any notice, and either not knowing the facts or not anticipating the fallout. And I don't fault Baker, at all, for reporting the facts. He operates in the real world, and the makeup of the Mariners roster is what he is assigned to report on.
Although, based on my own experience in consulting with senior management, I tend to disagree ...
Let me make totally clear, that Spec's interpretation is 100% reasonable.
The fairness of Armstrong's anger hinges on previous conversations between him and Zduriencik, and who knows what those were?
I maintain that the serious talent-gouging GM's are going to take on some bad actors, in order to win a few games now and then. I'll bet you that 25 to 30 of them would have taken on Josh Lueke, pre-scandal. And I'll bet very few heavyweight GM's would have found their CEO's in shock.
But the Mariners have a long history of avoiding bad actors, one that is only recently loosened up to some extent.
Perhaps Armstrong made it very clear to Zduriencik, "Anything to do with women's issues, you run by me first." But my experience in big companies? Would be that Zduriencik would absolutely have then gotten Armstrong's O.K. on Lueke.
No 4th-level manager wants to go behind his 5th-level's back. That's why I presume that Zduriencik was genuinely surprised to find that Armstrong objected so strenuously to Lueke.
But! Spec's read -- that Armstrong had clearly communicated his priorities to Z, and that Z pushed the envelope -- it's possible. You'd have to have been in the hallways to know for sure.
My own strong sense is that Z has decided to take his lumps with Josh Lueke, and everyone is going to try to make the best of it going forward (including Armstrong). It cost Fusco but now, assuming Lueke toes the line, it is over. I could be wrong, of course, but that's my sense.
A best-case scenario. I looov eet :- )
And if the Times comes to March next spring with the attitude, "Lueke will never throw a pitch in Seattle if we can help it," then what? Armstrong will take the lumps along with Zduriencik?
Good stuff as always. Trying to decipher the goings-on at Royal Brougham is always an adventure.
Doesn't mean that it would have been okay for Lueke to have proceeded without consent, provided she was incoherent. Again, per my worldview, that's life in prison or the death penalty.
What it does mean, is that the woman might very well have given consent -- before and during -- and simply not remembered the next day.
Agree, let's start winding this thing down ...
I'm not defending anyone who says Lueke shouldn't play baseball or shouldn't play in Seattle. I am defending Geoff Baker, who has reported fairly, I think, and I am defending the notion that Z gets low marks for the initial acquisition.
If the point is that Institutional Seattle says Josh Lueke shall never play for the Mariners, I can't speak to that. I'm not from there, and I just follow the baseball team. But I am well aware of how that dynamic works in other places. In this case, if Institutional Seattle is saying that, then it seems they've lost, or at least lost Round 1, becuase Z says in Geoff's very article: "We're moving forward and he's pitching for us."
But taking your point seriously: It may well be true that the Mariners have a higher level of sensitivity to the "community leaders" and that such an attitude may get in the way of what would otherwise be the best baseball judgments of the experts. I just don't think that's the case here.
There are three stories here that need to be teased out:
Josh Lueke: There are lots of grey areas, obviously, in all these stories. Your take is that Lueke's story has the same grey areas, but is being treated differently because it is Seattle. My take is that Lueke's story has fewer grey areas than the standard "he said-she said," and might well be treated differently anywhere. It's just impossible to know, especially since the story is so closely linked to the Zdurincik acquisition story -- and the internal Mariner story depends, to no small amount, on how you view the Lueke story.
So, the Z story makes the Lueke story that much more relevant -- and, in fact, requires Geoff Baker to delve into it more than, perhaps, he otherwise would.
So we don't know how Lueke would have been greeted if not for the "Armstrong didn't know and Z apparently didn't do his homework" story, and we can't know. You think Seattle, and pretty much only Seattle, would have made a big stink anyway. I think the rest of the country would have had concerns, too -- even Texas.
Jack Z: Here is where you can't really separate the two stories. If you view Lueke as just having bad judgment, then you can view Z as generally being within his scope of discretion, and Armstrong is out of line to have expected notice and more "due diligence." But, here again, my reading of the facts is that there is less grey area in Lueke's case. I think Z wanted him, knew he was undervalued, and didn't really want to drill down into the details in his short time frame. So he fudged and hoped for the best, and it turned out to be worse than he had hoped it would be. So it was poorly handled, precisely because the facts were there to be found, he just blew past them.
Again, I think that all 30 CEOs would view it as a negative mark, but not firable, which is pretty much what happened. I'm just arguing against your notion that Z doesn't deserve any negative marks.
Carmen Fusco: I think, therefore, that it was legit for Z's boss to extract a cost for the errors. But ... Was Fusco too big a pound of flesh? Probably. Did Armstrong handle it poorly? Yes. I think we agree there. Is that a unique Seattle thing? Or just an Armstong ego thing? Or maybe Fusco did make some kind of major fatal error that isn't being talked about? I don't know. But I don't think that it couldn't have happened in the other major league cities.
Lot of middle ground here.
Jack Z: Here is where you can't really separate the two stories. If you view Lueke as just having bad judgment, then you can view Z as generally being within his scope of discretion, and Armstrong is out of line to have expected notice and more "due diligence."
But, here again, my reading of the facts is that there is less grey area in Lueke's case. I think Z wanted him, knew he was undervalued, and didn't really want to drill down into the details in his short time frame. So he fudged and hoped for the best, and it turned out to be worse than he had hoped it would be. So it was poorly handled, precisely because the facts were there to be found, he just blew past them.
Agree that this is the crux of the matter.
If the facts of the matter were that (1) Lueke did something really sinister, and that (2) Zduriencik pretty much knew that, and (3) tried to throw a low-away slider past Armstrong, then yes. All of the other logic follows.
I think what people keep missing:
It appears she doesn't know if she consented to "thing A" but she is certain she did not consent to "thing B" and "thing C."
"Thing B" and "thing C" are not usual consequences of barhopping with ballplayers you barely know, even if "thing A" could be considered to be so by a typical young athlete (rightly or wrongly).
Lueke's DNA shows that "thing B" and "thing C" took place.
I think he is very fortunate to have gotten the outcome that he did.
My initial thought is that Fusco was let go for more than this one incident. Isn't he more responsible for pro scouting, with McNamara more responsible for amateur scouting? Pro scouting has had several major hits this year (many free agents/trades not working out as well as expecrted. Jason Churchill (I don't know how to link) recently alluded to alll the Mariners Scouts being upset about something, maybe related?
What the girl knows...is that when she is in control of herself, she doesn't want sex with strange new athletes she just met and that she feels violated that sex did indeed occur and that she can't remember allowing it. She THINKS that she became unconscious and that Lueke THEN took advantage of her. I don't doubt that's what she thinks occurred. But when you have no memory of anything after 10 PM because you're drunk out of mind and Lueke - less drunk than you - claims you gave him the green light and passed out afterward...how can you claim you know for a FACT that he's wrong?
And if accurate, might account for Lueke's, shall we say, sheepishness about the incident.
As to how fortunate Lueke was, we both know that a jury trial can swing back-and-forth several different times during the course of a trial. We didn't even get to the jury selection box on this one :- ) so would advise caution about assessing the fairness of the punishment from across the street...
Still, I understand what you're saying, and it does carry a lot of force IMHO. It might well be the reason that Lueke was sentenced to jail time.
The story is not as simple as Matt and Frog want to make it. It's not just "he said, she said" "drunk out of their minds" etc.
Oh, G_Money is weighing in on prospects ...
But on the other hand, much of Geoff's logic was quite simple also.
Either Zdurencik was incompetently ignorant, or fire-ably deceptive ...
Lueke's No Contest plea, in and of itself, proves that he did something heinous ...
Tim Johnson lost his job, so it's perfectly okay to ban Lueke from baseball if we choose to.
Those were the themes underpinning the Times' approach.
IMHO, the interesting part of the discussion -- and the truth -- was found in the complexities and in the shades of gray. Few judges, including Lueke's, have the luxury of simple logic. :- )
If that was the underlying tone, then I missed it, but I am not attuned to Seattle nuances. I think:
1. Either Z was negligent or tried to pull a fast one -- neither firable, but legitimately newsworthy for Geoff's beat
2. Lueke's DNA proves that he did something extremely unsavory and very unlikely to have been consented to, and the woman, in fact, says it was not consented to, and her story has held up better than his
3. I did not read Baker to advocate banning Lueke, but, if he did, I was not defending that.
Lueke did lie to police (and was caught with DNA evidence)...that could be taken as a sign of his guilt. So I'll go that far and suggest that as your possible carrot for how you can claim her story holds up better than his. Other than that, the girl can't remember anything about the encounter with reliable certainty...and the eye-witnesses at the bar say she was acting like a floozy. Tell me how that doesn't add up to reasonable doubt regarding consent?
Yeah, I'm thinking there's more going on too.
If Fusco was 100% competent and doing a great job, it would be crazy to fire him just to send a message to another empolyee. That would be some serious organizational incompetence. Maybe the Mariners are really that disfunctionial, but I would sure hope not.
There's got to me more going on. Most likely scenario, there were some serious warts on Fusco's record and some serious questions coming his way from within the ogranization. But being under Jack's wing afforded him with the protection. Then when this whole mess blew up, Jack's favor was no longer strong enough to protect him and the anti-Fusco forces were able to break free and storm the beaches.
Or perhaps Fusco was destined to be let go at the end of the season regardless, and this just sped up the proccess. As Churchill may have alluded to.
And maybe we're focusing on the wrong player. Maybe Lueke wasn't the big problem, perhaps it was Smoak. Smoak may turn out to be a very useful player, but he certainly does not seem to be the player that he was advertiesed to be. It would have been Fusco's job to know this. Maybe recommending Smoak over Montero (which also had the side effect of creating the Lueke situation) is what finally pulled the trigger on his firing.
"And maybe we're focusing on the wrong player. Maybe Lueke wasn't the big problem, perhaps it was Smoak. Smoak may turn out to be a very useful player, but he certainly does not seem to be the player that he was advertiesed to be. It would have been Fusco's job to know this. Maybe recommending Smoak over Montero (which also had the side effect of creating the Lueke situation) is what finally pulled the trigger on his firing."
Interesting. That's indeed my same opinion - by the way, Smoak has been overrated IMO