Monday, April 30, 2007

Changes need to be made.

OK, something needs to be done about this team.

I know it's still only April, as the O's Kool-Aid drinkers on Orioles Hangout would say, but the offense has been dreadful for a majority of the season so far. They're still impatient. They still struggle against LHP. They still shut down late in games. They still leave too many players on base. And it's 2007. We knew all this stuff back in 2002.

No one thought that the Orioles offense would lead the league in slugging or on base percentage. But no on expected them to be this bad, either. They currently have a .713 team OPS.


I know that the Orioles have always had a streaky offense because they don't draw a lot of walks, so 6 out of the 9 guys in the line-up need to be hot for this offense to score runs on any given night. This team definitely isn't the Red Sox, who could score 3 runs just by drawing walks alone. But that is no excuse. This team has had problems with patience for years. And the only guy who has been here over that time span is hitting coach Terry Crowley.

To Crowley's credit, it's been said that he's helped players like Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis. But let's be real. Patterson is still a free swinging strikeout machine and Markakis would be a solid hitter even if I was his hitting coach. But if anything, working with Crowley has made Markakis a less patient hitter, something he definitely was not in the minor leagues.

If Kevin Youkilis was the "Greek God of walks", then Nick Markakis was his younger brother.

Not anymore.

It goes much deeper than just Terry Crowley too. It's Perlozzo, Trebblehorn, and Dempsey, or as I like to call it, the Good Old Boy Network. They are like the bulletproof lackeys at million-dollar corporations. No matter how shitty a job they do, the boss pats them on their head and gives them a promotion when they should be fired. But all this Good Old Boy Network has done consistently, is lose. And other than Angelos, who let's face it, isn't going anywhere, the GOBN is the one constant that has been here since the O's took their 9 year long nosedive in 1998.

Players, managers, and GM's may have come and gone since then, but the GOBN has remained. It's not all their fault, but I do believe they are a big part of the problem. After all, how are a bunch of coaches who have never won squat supposed to teach a team that has never won squat, how to win?

If Angelos really wanted to try and win without spending a lot of money, he wouldn't keep the GOBN around. He would fire them all, hire a manager outside of the organization, and allow that manager to hire his own staff, which hasn't been allowed since Davey Johnson was made manager in 1996.

But, Angelos feels comfortable around these guys, feels they will do what he tells them to do and won't ask many questions. After all, Angelos doesn't care about winning, he just wants to give families an affordable good time out on the town. Little does he know, that if the Orioles were winning, and still playing in Memorial Stadium, the place would be close to full every night and fans would be having the time of their lives.

Angelos doesn't need to spend a lot to win like the Yankees or Red Sox. But he does need to spend in the right places. And hiring the right people is the first step to doing it. But the people Angelos currently have in place deserve to be fired.

Hell, they all deserved to be fired 5 years ago.

So it's no wonder this team is following the same pattern they've held for the last few years. Jump out to a good start in April, then go on an extended losing streak, and then struggle to get back to .500 for the rest of the season, ultimately finishing 20 games out of first place.

The same people are running it.

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