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SEATTLE MARINERS MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 15, 2002
HOWARD LINCOLN: Good morning, everyone. I'm very pleased and delighted to officially announce that Bob Melvin will be the new field manager of the Seattle Mariners.
Bob's selection follows an exhaustive and thorough search for a field manager under the leadership of Pat Gillick, our general manager. I would like to thank Pat and his staff and all of their hard work this past month. I am absolutely convinced that Bob Melvin is the right man for this job. He brings to this position not only baseball expertise, but high energy, good judgment, intelligence, and excellent leadership and communication skills.
And on behalf of everyone in our organization, I want to welcome Bob, his wife, Kelley, their daughter Alexi,
to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest and to the Seattle Mariners family.
Chuck Armstrong now has some questions.
CHUCK ARMSTRONG: Thanks very much, Howard. First of all, I'd like to thank and compliment all of you folks in the media for giving us the space and the time to conduct a thorough search and arrive at the conclusion that we did.
Pat and his henchmen, Lee and Roger and Benny, the thoroughness and the depth of the research and the investigation that they did, and even coming up with the 12 folks that they interviewed and then the four finalists, I think any of the four will make an outstanding Major League manager.
But for the Seattle Mariners for 2003, and hopefully many years beyond, Pat and his guys have given Howard and me and the ownership a great recommendation, and we are convinced that Bob Melvin is the absolute perfect person to lead us at this time, and as I said, and hopefully will remain for years to come. Pat just did a super job. And also thanks to Benny and Roger and Lee and everybody else for the depth of information.
PAT GILLICK: Thanks, Chuck.
I do want to thank my henchmen, also, (Laughter), I didn't know we were referred to.
Again I want to thank the press for their patience, because it did take a while. We had a long list and we narrowed it down to 12 candidates, and went through the process and got down to four the early part of the week, and went back and re-interviewed.
Yesterday, we as an organization, the Mariners, decided to make Bob Melvin our manager. As Howard said, we are very, very excited about this hire. I mean, Bob is a smart guy, he works smart, and I think he's someone that you're going to learn to like and respect. We're really looking forward to him leading the Mariners towards something that he's already got. He's got that ring on his finger from 2001 from the Arizona Diamondbacks. That's what we want, except we don't want a rattlesnake logo. We want a Mariner logo on there.
Again, it's great to have Kelley and Alexi here with him, and again, this is the Mariners family and I want to welcome them. We are a family organization.
And without any further adieu, I'd like to introduce Bob Melvin, the Mariners 11th manager.
BOB MELVIN: Thank you, Pat. This is obviously a huge day for me. It's a unique situation in that being a first-year manager, coming into my first job, for the most part when you take over a new team, you get your first job as a manager, it's usually when the team is not doing very well, obviously, and they make a change. This is a very unique situation here in that Lou left on his own merit and they had to fill the position; and coming into a team and an organization like this, that is one of the top organizations in all of baseball, has a championship team already in place.
So I'm not coming into a situation where I'm asked to turn things around. I'm just here to facilitate this team into doing what it's done the last three years: Gradually improving, and obviously, after what everybody wants here, which is a World Series. With a club like this and an organization like, this is one of the few places that has a real, real chance to do it. For me to come in as a first-year manager to a situation like, this IS too good to be true.
So I thank the Mariners, and Pat and Chuck and Howard for having me here, and I'm looking forward to getting started and do some work.
Q. How tough will it be to fill the shoes of Lou Piniella?
BOB MELVIN: No doubt. Lou is legendary. He's almost like a fictional character. He's almost like a Sparky Anderson or Whitey Hertzog. He's one of the great, great managers of the game and personalities. To fill his shoes, I'm not even going to try to do that. I have to be my own person here and just try to move along in a process here that's been a winning process for three years, and just try to continue to do that and get to the next level. Everybody here wants to win a World Series, and that was our goal in Arizona. When I got there, we had a bunch of veteran players who had not won a World Series, and same situation -- similar situation here.
So I perceive this club to be all about winning, and that's going to be basically all we talk about. It's not about personal agendas anymore. It's not about personal numbers. It's about winning a World Series. I think we have a nucleus of guys who are going to be all about that.
Q. What do you know about this Mariners team ; it's loaded with talent. Do you know anything? I know you're coming in fresh.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, anybody with any salt in the baseball business knows the other organizations, and especially the top ones; and this is an organization that is a model organization that everybody emulates.
I'm just trying to come in here and take over an already great situation, and, like I said, to win. That's what it's going to be all about here.
Q. Coming to a team that has made it to the playoffs and lost in recent years, does that put any more pressure on you?
BOB MELVIN: I don't think it puts any more pressure on me. I was in Arizona on a team that was just like that. It's a situation that I want to be in. I would much rather be in a situation like that than with a team that lost 105 games and that you have to turn around. You talk about no pressure, but that's no fun. It's all about winning in this game. Therefore, I don't see any pressure that way, at all.
Q. Do you know what style of baseball fits this club, what style you want to play?
BOB MELVIN: This is a team, it's a National League type team, really. You can hit-and-run with this team. There's several guys that steal bases. You don't have your 50-home run guys in there, but I think that works well in this ballpark. You have a lot of gap hitters, a lot of doubles-type of guys and a lot of guys that put the ball in play. You have a lot of hit-and-run combinations on this team. You can play aggressive with this team all the way up and down through the lineup. 1 through 9, this is a very good lineup here.
Q. A lot of the fans are asking the same question today: Who is this guy? You have not been a major blip on the radar screen. What without them? Who is Bob Melvin?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I don't blame you. I wasn't the greatest player in the world by any stretch. Somehow I got ten years in. But I think a lot of managers that I played for that were not the real, real good players understand what it's like to fail and understand what guys are going through in their struggles. I definitely know that one. I've struggled some.
Having said that, I've also dealt with a lot of veteran players and a lot of high-profile and great players in Arizona. I think that I have a mix to -- and the type of personality, to get these guys shortly on my side and everybody going in the right direction. Hopefully, in a month or so, a month or two, I won't much as much of a non-entity name.
Q. The last two World Champions were managed by first-time managers who were former catchers; you're in that class. Talk about that. What makes ex-catchers so good?
BOB MELVIN: Works for me. Three in a row would be great.
I think the reason that you see so many catchers as managers is because they have to watch the game the way the manager does. Nowadays with the manager giving signs to the catcher for throw-overs and pitch-outs, and every now and then pitches and so forth, you have to go down the same checklist that the manager does: Who is at the plate; you have to know how to pitch to the guy; you have to know where the defense is; you have to know your pitcher on the mound. You have to know all of the variables to get this guy out; is he hot at the time or is he not.
Basically, being a catcher is going through the same checklist that managers do, and I think that's why you see that.
Q. This is the first of probably what will be a million questions before the season ends at the end of October next year. You interviewed very, very well, got through the process. What kind of questions did these guys ask you during the two or three interviews that you had with them, and how did they differ from the questions that other clubs asked you?
BOB MELVIN: Well, by the time I got an interview here, I was the 11th guy, so they had it down pretty good. (Laughter.) Believe me, they grilled me pretty good, twice, and it was very professional, and you could tell they were very well prepared for it.
As far as the interview process went, this was by far the best interview. They did their due diligence. They looked at a bunch of different candidates. They asked some very pointed questions. The first-time around, it was more my philosophy, baseball stuff, knowing the organization. And the second time around, where we got to the business aspects and how they do things here, which this organization is run as well as any organization in baseball.
So the interview process was thorough and they asked some very pointed questions. I guess I answered a couple of them right so, here I am. (Laughter.)
Q. Pat, what was it that stood out about Bob Melvin?
PAT GILLICK: The Berkeley Pac-10 thing. (Laughter) .
Well, in our estimation, Bob comes from a winning situation with the Diamondbacks. And the investigation that we've done is that he was very, very heavily involved as the bench coach in the actual running of the Diamondbacks, on the field, working hand-in-hand with Bob Brenly.
The thing I think about Bob that came through is he's so smart. He's a very perceptive guy. He's a guy that has a lot of ideas. He's someone that picks up on things, I think, very quickly. We talked about our organization and he became very familiar with it, almost in a snap.
And the recommendations that we gotten throughout baseball, and thankfully some of the other clubs that have interviews Bob, the Cubs, Milwaukee, have shared information with us. So with our background check and our interviews -- you know, I'll tell you, it was a very difficult situation to arrive at. But we think we got a real gem in Bob here, and I think you'll all learn when you get to know him, to respect him, and hopefully I think he's going to bring us a winning team and a championship.
Q. When you were first contacted by the Mariners, you knew there were maybe 12 other guys, what kind of chance did you think you had, and are you surprised to be the guy sitting up there today?
BOB MELVIN: Well, when the Mariners situation became available, obviously, it was one that anybody would jump at, for everything that I went over earlier. I was honored just to be thought about here, and I knew watching and seeing all of the people they were interviewing that they were definitely doing some due diligence, and at the time, I was just honored to get an interview here. As I say, I must have said a couple of things right in the first interview to get to the second one.
Just looking at all of the teams out there, this was by far the best situation out there. And to land it, I'm very lucky to have done that.
Q. Some people would look at this hiring and say this guy has just about zero experience managing a baseball team. Are you concerned about that?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I did the Fall League, which is a little different. It's more like an instructional league thing.
But I was lucky enough to work with an aspiring manager like Phil Garner, who got suspended from time to time and I did -- we had one situation in Detroit where he got suspended, I think it was for ten consecutive games. I was like, "Hey, this is great." (Laughter.)
I do have some experience managing Big League games, not that many, but enough to where I feel like I'm the man for this job and looking forward to starting work.
And also, my contention is everybody has to get a start. Dusty Baker, I'm not comparing myself to Dusty, Dusty is a real good friend of mine and a great manager, but he had his first day, as well. I might not be as big of a name as Dusty, but there are some other names out there in baseball who ended up being great managers would were not great players, and at some point in time, they had to get a start. So this is as good a spot as any for me.
BOB MELVIN: Well, you try and take a little bit from everybody. I think Roger Craig had a big influence on a lot of us over in San Francisco, including Bob Brenly, and that's why Bob brought him to spring training, as his mentor for spring training.
Frank Robinson, who sometimes gets a bad rap for being a tough guy, was probably as big of an influence on me as anybody. He really made me become a man in Baltimore when I came there. I came from San Francisco where Roger Craig gave throw-overs, and Frank told me, he said: Hey, listen don't be looking in the dugout for any help from me. I'm not going to be giving those throw-overs. If I see something, I'll whistle at you. But you take charge back there. You run the show. You're the catcher and I expect to you take charge back there.
So I try to take a little bit from all of them. Phil Garner and Bob Brenly, as far as the current guys go. I worked for Phil in Milwaukee and Detroit. I don't know there's too many other baseball men out there than him.
And Bob Brenly, what he brought to Arizona the last couple of years, I take a lot from him as well.
Q. With regard to the coaching staff, have you thought about that?
BOB MELVIN: We're just in the preliminary stages with that right now, and Pat and I will discuss that here in the coming days and weeks.
So that's something that I don't think we can really comment on right now because there's nothing really concrete.
Q. You're a relatively young guy for a manager. Edgar and Jamie are about as old as you are. What challenges does that present as a communicator?
BOB MELVIN: I actually think it's easier to communicate because they are not too far away from playing against me. Not that I'm a huge challenge for them, but there is some closeness there because I did play against them, and so I do know these guys and they know me on a personal level and a player level. I think it makes it actually an easier transition playing against guys and knowing them than it would be in a situation where I was quite a bit older and they were not as familiar with me.
I don't see any problem having a veteran club here. I consider that to be a plus for me.
Q. Would you describe yourself as a players' manager then?
BOB MELVIN: Well, players' manager, really what does that mean? You want your players to like and you play hard for you, obviously. There are going to be some times where people are not happy with some of the decisions I make, some of the players and no one is going to be happy at all times.
But if you can really lead them, let everybody get involved -- I'm a firm believer in using the bench and letting guys know when they are going to play, who they are going to play against and get them in there where they can be successful. A lot of times in the past, bench players, they get their bench players in there against the Roger Clemens' and so forth, you take your three strikeouts you don't feel good about yourself. You try to get everybody involved in a situation where they can succeed, and that's what we are going to try to do here.
Q. You have a lot of time before spring training. How do you plan on getting better acquainted with the players you are not familiar with?
BOB MELVIN: I am going to obviously get a long phone list here and acquaint myself with a lot of guys.
I imagine being here some and seeing the guys that workout here and live here, there are guys in Phoenix, too, that live in the Phoenix area and so forth.
I'm going to try to make myself as available as I can here on the phone, and then in the coming days when guys usually come to spring training a little bit ahead of time to start working out more.
BOB MELVIN: Well, I wasn't allowed to call anybody after that, actually. (Laughter.)
It was a difficult situation yesterday in that it did come late. Therefore, it was difficult to comment earlier in the day because I really didn't know. So I can't really remember who I did call second -- I don't know that I called anybody yet to tell you the truth.
Actually, I called Bob Brenly later in the night to let him know, and my mom and so forth, close family, but that's been about it.
Q. Arizona is obviously a great place to live this time of year. Have you and your family given any consideration to making Seattle a year-round home?
BOB MELVIN: Well, this is a place that I've always loved to come to. I actually played my first Big League game here in the Kingdome. There are very few cities that are better places to live than here.
We have not really thought about it yet. We have been in Phoenix for ten years, and with the spring training complex being there, too, that's a fit. But, hey, I'm open for anything. If you want to renegotiate right now, I would definitely think about this being a place where I would love to live.
End of FastScripts