Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mental Mora

Remember when calling someone “mental” meant that you were saying they’re retarded? Well, the O’s are mental. At least they have been during the last 2 games.

Monday night, The Orioles were able to chip their way back into a game in which they trailed the A’s 5-0. With 2 runners on base in the bottom of the 9th, Corey Patterson failed to run on a weak single up the middle that would have scored the tying run. Then, later in that same inning, Melvin Mora got cute and tried to bunt Corey Patterson in from 3rd base, only to bunt the ball directly to Huston Street, ending the game.

The next day, Mora made 2 errors in a row even though only one of them will show up in the boxscore. Mora failed to cover 3rd base after a ground ball had gone between his legs allowing the runners to advance uncontested. The Orioles went on to lose 4-2.

One would think that Sam Perlozzo would use these errors and a mini-slump to justify benching Mora against Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox. But, as sure as Amber Theoharis hot, Mora will no doubt be in the starting line-up tonight.

And that’s the problem with the O’s right now. There is little to no accountability, and there hasn’t been for years. Do you think Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken, Sr. or Davey Johnson would have put up with these mental blunders? Hell, even mild-mannered Johnny Oates probably would have pulled Mora aside and given him the hard truth.

But not Perlozzo. Not these Orioles.

Peter Angelos once said he cared more about making a night at the Yard affordable for families than fielding a competitive team. And the little things add up to support that statement.

These Orioles wouldn’t bench one of their “star players” even if they brought a pillow out to their position and took a nap during an inning or two. No way! There are kids in Laurel who have lived all 7 years of their lives to see Melvin Mora play baseball, and Peter G. Angelos would be damned if he was going to deprive an innocent child of his dream.

After all, it’s why Brian Roberts was not traded during the offseason. It’s why Jay Gibbons was signed to an extension. It’s why Melvin Mora was given a no-trade clause. And it’s why Miguel Tejada will probably play out the remainder of his contract in an Orioles uniform, no matter how good or bad the Orioles are over that stretch.

But I digress. Spend too much time talking about the Orioles off the field and you are bound to get depressed quickly. But the Orioles could come back tonight and tomorrow, take 2 from the Red Sox and make us all forget about this disastrous Oakland series. But that A’s series planted some seeds of doubt into the heads of the fans. The O’s were finding new ways to lose again.

Will it do the same to the players? It’ll be interesting to see how the O’s respond against the powerful Red Sox, whom they beat only 3 times in 18 games last season. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team end up at 11-11 by Friday.

But one would just think that a team heading into a decade of losing would care more about playing hard than upsetting the egos of its players or catering to what they think fans want.

And for the record, the Orioles are 18-46 against the A’s since 2000.

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