Scott Servais looks to bring winning culture to Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) New Mariners manager Scott Servais has seen how winning teams operate and he believes their culture of success can be replicated in Seattle.
Within days of getting the job with the Mariners, he’d already made phone calls to the Seattle Seahawks to learn how they operate. It may seem an unorthodox connection, but Servais believes that mimicking that culture will be a significant part of finding success in Seattle and helping the Mariners end the longest playoff drought in baseball.
”Right or wrong, they have a culture. Pete Carroll has done a fantastic job here building it. That’s why they’re going to sustain success. It’s going to happen over and over and over. There is a certain way they do it. That’s what happens in New England. It’s what happens with the St. Louis Cardinals,” Servais said at his introductory news conference Monday. ”Players come, they know what the expectations are and they perform right away. It’s what’s expected, it’s what they do and other teams and organizations don’t quite have that. Getting that in place takes some time no doubt, but it really comes down to trust in people. It’s definitely something we can do.”
The comparisons to football are just another unique view Servais brings to the job. Servais has never been a full-time manager or coach with a team at any level of baseball. The closest he’s come has been running a Triple-A or Double-A club in the minors for a handful of games while working as an assistant general manager in the Angels organization and giving those managers a few days off.
But becoming a manager was something Servais always wanted to do in his post-playing career.
Servais didn’t want to jump immediately into coaching after completing his playing career in 2001 – he wanted more time with his family first. So he took various jobs with a number of organizations: scouting, working as a roving instructor, overseeing various parts of a front-office and eventually spending the past four seasons as an assistant GM with the Angels.
”I’ve certainly taken a different path to get here,” Servais said. ”But every step of the way it’s been a goal of mine to manage and lead a big league club.”
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto refuted the idea that not having experience on a major league coaching staff would be a hindrance to Servais, pointing to a number of managers in recent years that followed the same route.
Dipoto and Servais have a lengthy history, dating back to their playing days when they spent one season together in Colorado. Servais also worked under Dipoto during his time with the Angels prior to Dipoto’s resignation on July 1.
Just to make sure his opinion wasn’t clouded by their common background, Dipoto took a step back in the interview process and let his front-office assistants in Seattle – Jeff Kingston and Tom Allison – run most of the interview.
”I just stood down and like I said up here, Scott did an unbelievable job in the room of taking the conversation and running with it and he showed me a presence that I knew existed because I had seen it scouting and player development but it was good to see it in this regard,” Dipoto said.
Dipoto selected Servais from an original group of six that included Phil Nevin, Dave Roberts, Charlie Montoyo, Jason Varitek and Tim Bogar, who will be on Servais’ staff as Seattle’s bench coach.
Along with Bogar’s addition, Servais announced other members of his coaching staff. Mel Stottlemyer Jr., a Northwest native, will be Seattle’s pitching coach and Edgar Martinez and Chris Woodward will be retained from the previous staff. Martinez will remain hitting coach after taking over that position midway through last season and Woodward will be Seattle’s first base coach.
”Being a manager is about leading people, about creating a collective consciousness within a group, it’s about connecting with those individuals and managing them day-to-day.” Dipoto said. ”He has managed people. He has managed players. He has managed situations.”