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And Another Thing

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File | Associated Press

Eric Wedge is calling his own shot

No one does this, first of all. And so depending how you feel about Eric Wedge, you can use that as either an indictment or an endorsement.

I choose the latter.

I choose to acknowledge that what the Northrop grad has done -- walk away on his own hook from a major-league managing job -- is perfectly in character with who he is, how he was raised and what his principles are.

It bears repeating: No one, but no one, gives up a major-league gig voluntarily. The only way that happens, usually, is if a health issue forces it. And Wedge, despite his mini-stroke in July, insists that's not the case.

What is the case, he claims, is that the rebuilding process he was hired to oversee has become so ongoing as to be endless. Management, he says, keeps bringing in young talent and then moves it only to bring in more young talent. And that, Wedge claims, gives him zero chance to build the Mariners into a legitimate contender.

The last straw, apparently, was when the front office remained silent about a new contract, even as it now maintains it intended to strike a new deal with Wedge all along.

But Wedge wasn't waiting around to be pushed this time. That happened to him in Cleveland, and everything that happened to him in Cleveland informs what he's doing now. Who can forget the way the Indians dismantled around him the team he took to within a game of the World Series, leaving him with yet another rebuild to oversee?

It's not exactly the same situation in Seattle, but it's apparently close enough that Wedge could divine the handwriting on the wall. And if he says the stroke played no direct role in his decision, it might have indirectly; surely a man who sacrifices his health for the job would like to believe there's a reciprocal level of commitment around him.

Wedge clearly has decided there isn't. He has always been his own man; a guy who idolizes John Wayne could scarcely be anything else. And so he took the path least traveled, if not the path never traveled.

No surprise there.

Ben Smith's blog.

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