Accountability. At last.

Early in the spring of 2004, one of the longtime M’s fans in section 132 was loudly explaining to the entire section why Bill Bavasi was a horrible hire as general manager. Overrated, he said, unable to make good player decisions, a disaster for both the Angels and the Dodgers. Get rid of him now.

You might want to at least give him a season or two, others suggested. Pat Gillick had mortgaged half the team’s future and was leaving just as the bill came due. Give Bavasi a chance.

Well, Bavasi has had his few seasons, and let’s look at how well he’s done:

Rich Aurelia, out before the season ended. Scott Spiezio. Jeff Weaver. Richie Sexson, the hardest working power hitter with a .212 batting average.

Bavasi had a penchant for quick-fix players, experienced guys who, in theory, could come in and perform at a peak level instantly. With a few rare exceptions, he wasn’t patient enough to let players develop into their own. His theory: ‘we’re one good bat from contending,’ or ‘we’re one good pitcher from contending.’ Well, um, no. For one thing, most of his “quick-fixes” were aging players, expensive and on the downhill slide.

So, with a $117 million payroll, the worst record in major league baseball, and a sweep from the NL-worst Washington Nationals to chew on, Bavasi is, at last, out the door. Thanks for your years of service, Bill. Better luck in your next place of employment.

Meanwhile, with Bavasi gone, are the M’s going to immediately get better? Hell, no, not this season at least. It’ll probably take a few years to rebuild. However, at least with Bavasi gone and some new blood in the front office, M’s fans can allow themselves to believe that someday, somehow, we’ll stop selling off our best players for aging has-beens.

Oh, also: for those of you clamoring for manager John McLaren’s head? Ichiro probably would have left town without him. Give the guy a break: he’s dealing with a breathtakingly bad team. Find him more than two or three competent batters and a bullpen that works, and we’ll see how well he does.

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