... and the Stupid



SPORTS > The Mariners Are Truly Sorry
Even in a baseball season that saw its pitchers throw two no-hitters, one of them a spectacularly perfect game by Felix Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners organization still manages to come across as the live-theater version of Dumb & Dumber. While the team on the field inched closer to respectability by notching eight more victories in 2012 than in 2011, it finished last in its division and watched wistfully as its fellow bottom feeder, the Oakland A’s, suddenly became a playoff team (with Bob Melvin, cashiered as Mariners manger in 2004, at the helm). Off the field, the Mariners’ opposition to Chris Hansen’s proposed basketball/hockey arena (see page 38) a block away from Safeco Field has painted management as the cranky “get off my lawn” type who won’t embrace change. The blowback from sports fans prompted team CEO Howard Lincoln to apologize in early October for inadequately explaining the team’s position. The apology tour continued later in the month after the Mariners raised prices on most of its season-ticket packages without giving fans a heads-up. The Mariners apologized to affected fans by email, saying, “We are sorry for the miscommunication. And we pledge to do better.” —J.L.

MEDIA > Fisco Responsibility?
Sometimes, these things just write themselves, as when The Seattle Times Company paid for full-page political ads in its own newspaper, ostensibly to show the power of print advertising. Seriously, Seattle Times? You run ads backing gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and the gay marriage initiative and expect your readers to believe the newspaper remains independent from the stories it covers? It would seem that Alan Fisco, the Times’ executive vice president for revenue and new products (and the genius who reportedly came up with the idea), needs a reminder that good journalism requires unimpeachable credibility across the corporate spectrum. Perhaps the weirdest fallout in this story may be that the Times newsroom’s “Truth Needle” squad fact-checked two ads the Times paid for on McKenna’s behalf and found them to be only half-true. File under WTF? — J.L.

MEDIA > Something Fishy
Somewhere, Ivar Haglund was smiling when his namesake restaurant chain, Ivar’s, managed to reel in a big one with an April Fool’s Day news release announcing that the company was unveiling a line of chowder vending machines that offered instant customization. Despite the April 1 dateline, the reference to a spokesperson named Abril Pheules and Ivar’s reputation for goofy promotions, the Puget Sound Business Journal bought the tale about the Piscine Technology Enterprises kiosks and dutifully posted a report that the machines would offer flavorings like blue cheese, wasabi and coconut, as well as add-ons such as a shot of espresso. The Business Journal pulled the story off its site 25 minutes later. —D.V.

LABOR > Ready, Fire, Aim
The Fry’s store in Renton went from trying to avoid the heat in a sexual harassment case to finding its fat in the fire when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discovered the store destroyed computer hard drives to hide evidence. The $100,000 fine the EEOC slapped on the consumer electronics retailer barely scratched the surface in a case that began when a supervisor blew the whistle on an assistant store manager who was sexually harassing a female employee via text message. The store responded by firing the supervisor who reported the incident. Fry’s agreed to settle the case for $2.3 million, one of the EEOC’s biggest per-victim settlements. You have to wonder what a company that sells spy gadgets, among other things, was thinking when it tried to destroy evidence. —D.V.

RETAIL > Blame Canada
Costco shoppers in Bellingham were so upset by the influx of Canadians in search of cheaper prices on milk and gasoline that some latched on to an effort to demand “American only hours.” Costco demurred, but did bring in local police for crowd control. It’s hard to keep hungry hordes at bay when a gallon of milk in Canada costs what two gallons are going for at Costco. —D.V.


More information: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly