Archive for 2010

The Next Skipper

Fair or not, Dave Trembley was held responsible for the woeful performance of the O’s this year and let go just a few short weeks ago. Only to be replaced by Juan ‘The Windmill’ Samuel. Luckily for O’s fans, the Samuel era is likely to be short-lived, as it appears Andy MacPhail is not going to repeat the mistakes of the Perlozzo/Trembley eras and let another first-time big league manager try to sort out this mess. MacPhail has recognized that it’s going to take an experienced, strong leader to turn the fortunes of this team around. Thus, this time around, it seems he plans to take his time to find such a leader, in hopes that the next manager will be the one who will finally get all the raw, young talent to coalesce together into something that resembles a baseball team, instead of just being the next one. To that end, the short list of candidates MacPhail appears to have compiled are all former big league managers with at least some degree of prior success. Let’s take a second to learn a bit more about them and I’ll offer my take on each.

Eric Wedge
Manager: Cleveland Indians from 2003-2009
Lifetime Winning Pct: .495

Rundown: Despite a fairly uninspiring lifetime winning percentage as a manager, Wedge did fairly well in his time with the Indians, taking a club that was fourth in its division in 2003 to first in the division in 2007, including a trip to the ALCS where they ultimately lost to Boston in 7 games after leading the series 3-1. Ultimately he was let go after the 2009 season when the Indians went 65-97.

Verdict: Wedge is a decent, if unspectacular choice. If this were the prom, you wouldn’t be falling all over yourself to ask him out, but he’d be there in case anything goes wrong.

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Glimmers of Hope

So much has happened in the past couple of week, it’s been hard to keep up. The O’s lost what was their 10th straight, polishing that worst record in baseball, Manager Dave Trembley was fired, third base coach Juan Samuel assumed the interim manager position, Brian Roberts had more setbacks (no pun intended). In effect, not a lot of positives.

But the O’s optimist in me recognized a few things this past week which offer small glimmers of hope. Let’s look at a couple of performances that caught my eye, starting with the audition of Jake Arrieta–one of the touted arms of the Orioles farm system.

Interestingly, Arrieta arrived with meager anticipation when compared to the auditions of Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman last year. Perhaps it was a lack of expectation knowing he was facing the Yankees. Or maybe it was the burden of a lost season (in May!) taking it’s toll on any positive thinking. But by the end of the night, it was one of the most encouraging signs in a long time.

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When I think of Nick Markakis, I get sad

It’s not what you think.  Nick Markakis himself, the person, the baseball player, never makes me sad.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I remember following his every spring training at bat in 2006. After hearing about Nick reaching base in 9 of his first 10 plate appearances and hitting the cover off the ball in then Ft. Lauderdale, I knew he was going to be my favorite player.  Despite some early struggles in his first year in the big leagues, my appreciation for Nick has never waned.  Whether he’s gunning down runners at home plate, working the count for a walk, breaking up a double play with a hard slide, or mashing line drives into the gap, there seems to be almost nothing Nick can’t do.

But when I think of Nick Markakis lately, I’m sad.  I’m sad because as good as he is and as much as I love watching him play, he’s never had the chance to be on a winning team.  If there is a “culture” of losing, you would have to think Nick could defend a dissertation on the topic at this point. But, whatever your misgivings about the future hope of the Baltimore Orioles, you would be hard pressed to argue that he is responsible for their demise.

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Orioles season goes on DL

In a surprising turn of events, the Baltimore Orioles season today announced that it was going on the disabled list effective immediately.

While details on the length of its expected stay are scant, sources close to the club confirm that team officials fear the season may be away for a very long time.

The beleaguered Orioles season, which currently sits at 16-41, and seems poised to threaten the fandom of even its most avid supporters, announced the surprising move just before the Orioles were set to begin a three game home stand with the New York Yankees.

When asked about the decision, the season responded that it was “getting kind of lonely” and was “looking forward to hanging out with Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson, Mike Gonzalez, Alfredo Simon, and potentially Corey Patterson”.  “I’ll probably see Adam Jones at some point,” the noticeably exhausted season added.

When asked if there was any chance it would return at some point this year, the season responded, “I don’t think so.  I feel pretty beat up. People think it’s such a glamorous life that I have.  It’s really not an easy thing to be this disappointing on a daily basis.”

During its absence, the season shared that it was looking forward to following Ravens mini-camps and playing Snood.

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