Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's not JEFF Fahey...

The Orioles continued to fumble their roster management this season by sending down minor league veteran slugger Jon Knott and re-calling everyone's favorite slap-hitting, rail-thin utility man Brandon Fahey.

Last season with the O's, Fahey put together a dreadful .614 OPS in 251 AB's while minor league slugger Luis Terrero rotted in Ottawa with his .900+ OPS. This season in Norfolk, Fahey had an OPS of .606.

But hey, Fahey is a hustler! Get his ass up here!

Manager Mike Trembley finally showed a chink in the armor after about a week's worth of perfect sounbytes by dropping this gem on us...

"Everyone knows what kind of player Fahey is. He fits into our style of play."

You're right, Mike I do know what kind of player Brandon is. A sucky one.

And he does fit into our style of play... not being able to hit with any power. Not even if the he was wearing the Nintendo Power Glove to the plate.

What makes things worse is that we already have 2 players similar to Fahey on the roster in Chris Gomez and everyone's favorite late inning pinch runner, Freddie Bynum. If Trembley was worried about a logjam being created with Knott, Gibbons and Huff, what does Gomez, Bynum and Fahey look like?

A toothpick jam?

At least Knott can hit LHP (something that Gibbons and Huff can't) and hit with some power. Meanwhile, J.R. House and his .300 AVG. also continue to toil away wastefully for the AAA club. But hey, at least House is going to the AAA All-Star Game.

I hoped that once Perlozzo was shitcanned and MacPhail was made VPOBO, thus voiding out Frick and Frak's questionable roster decisions, these head-scratching roster moves would cease to continue. But by calling up Fahey (not Jeff, which would have at least been interesting) the Orioles have given us good reason to use a cliched phrase that couldn't be more true in this situation.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Joe says "No"

In a move that should surprise no one, Joe Girardi, who had met with the Orioles this week to discuss taking over the management duties, told the team "Thanks, but no thanks."

I can't blame Giardi.

Even though we may not like what Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk had to say about the Orioles job being the least desirable gig in the bigs, it doesn't mean it's not true. And when Girardi is likely to be the hottest managerial candidate this offseason, as well as his dream jobs in Chicago and New York possibly being available, you can understand why Girardi turned down the O's.

Not to mention, despite being pals with the Orioles' now official VPOBO Andy MacPhail, Girardi still had to be skeptical about Peter Angelos' involvement in the team after Girardi bumped heads with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in 2006 which ultimately ended in Girardi's exit from Miami.

The Orioles shouldn't give up yet, however. Davey Johnson's quote earlier this week sounded promising, like he wanted to bring Baltimore back to respectability and beyond because he loves the city and the fans. So hopefully, the O's have quickly shifted their attention from Girardi to Johnson, who at 64, is still a prime candidate for manager.

However, all that being said, Dave Trembley is the right man for the job right now. He may not be the permanent guy in Baltimore, but it wouldn't be a disaster if he stays on as manager for the rest of the season while MacPhail and Co. get their ducks in a row. Trembley is relatively new to the team, so he hasn't been part of the decade of losing like Perlozzo was. Plus he puts an emphasis on doing things the right way, which is something this team has lacked since the days of... Davey.

So even while the Orioles are busy looking for the right guy to manage the team in the future, and hopefully the search ends with Davey Johnson, they might end up finding out that they've already got him in Trembley.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Sam Perlozzo was fired as manager of the Baltimore Orioles today, and in my humble opinion, it was a move that could have been made 2 weeks ago, if not a month ago.

It's been crystal clear that Perlozzo was not the man for the job early on this season by assigning players to roles regardless of the outcome. Simply put, Perlozzo was costing the O's wins with his questionable moves and the players didn't like it.

And after the infamous Mother's Day Massacre in Boston, Sam Perlozzo has been a dead man walking. So in many ways, the Orioles did him a favor by letting him go.

Now don't get me wrong. Sam Perlozzo seems like a great guy. Despite the losing culture that the O's have been mired in during the last 10 years, Perlozzo remained loyal to the team and deserved a shot to manage it.

Sadly, he just wasn't cut out for the job.

Dave Trembley, the interim manager, has a reputation that makes him sound like the anti-Perlozzo. He demands that players show up on time and take practice before each game, something that Perlozzo clearly didn't emphasize.

If Perlozzo let the players run the team, Trembley will at least do his best to make sure this anomaly ends. After all, the players have done nothing to deserve special treatment.

That said, Trembley will probably only be the manager for a few days or weeks at the most as the Orioles have started to negotiate with former Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi to become the next O's manager. The rumors of the O's trying to court Davey Johnson are still swirling as well.

But where there's smoke, there's fire and right now it looks like the smoke signals indicate that Girardi could be the next permanent Orioles manager, and for good reason.

Girardi, if you remember, took a Marlins team full of prospects who were expected to easily lose 100 games in 2006 and whipped them into a surprisingly competitive team before spats with the owner forced Girardi out.

Sound familiar? We all know what happened with Davey Johnson under Peter Angelos. So one wouldn't be crazy to think that the same could happen with Girardi.

But this is a good thing.

For too long, Angelos has hired "yes men" who will do whatever he says to earn a paycheck.

Girardi will not.

If Angelos does something that pisses Girardi off, Angelos will hear about it. Whether or not that will work remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the Orioles need someone like Girardi. And hopefully a line of communication will be open between Angelos and Girardi and a professional relationship can form, thus ending the decision-making monopoly that Angelos has wielded over the organization for years.

Even more promising, Girardi won't take shit from anyone, much less players who have acted like prima donnas for years with no excuse. He'll whip them into shape or get fired trying.

So hiring a new manager was a move that needed to be made. Hiring a manager from outside the organization was even better. But going after someone like Girardi speaks volumes, not only for the Orioles but for Angelos' state of mind as well. Maybe after 10 years of losing he's realized that his way isn't working.

That remains to be seen of course, because Angelos still needs to understand that this isn't all that needed to be done. Changing the manager won't change much, if anything, at all. There are still about a million steps that need to be taken to change this losing culture to a winning culture.

And wile the Oriole Way may never come back to exist the way it did in the 60's and 70's, hiring Girardi is a baby step in that direction.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Well, well, well

They say at the end of civilization, people turn on each other. You only need look at the L.A. Riots and the Hurricane Katrina aftermath to see this is true.

As the civilization of the 2007 Baltimore Orioles comes crashing down like the city of Pompeii, it only makes sense that O's fans are turning on their former brethren.

For me, it's no different.

Over at the Orioles Hangout, I've been called a fair weather fan, a doom and gloomer and a pessimist these last 4 years. So it's only natural that I want to sit back and laugh at the people who chided me for "abandoning" the Orioles when the Orioles have hit rock bottom.

Well, my friends, now the Orioles have abandoned you.

It didn't take long for the O's/Nats rivalry to become a one-sided one, but I fear that is the case. The paltry Nationals, with their 38 million dollar payroll, just swept the Orioles and their payroll that is nearly two thirds that of the Nationals. At Camden Yards, mind you.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Titanic has hit the ocean floor.

And over at the ol' OH, it's getting ugly on the lifeboats. A long-time loyal fan who even after the toughest losses could see the silver lining recently said he would no longer post about the team until they made "significant changes."

Frobby, it was nice knowing you. Happy 50th..

Other homers are finally coming around, their dagger-like posts filled with the piss and vinegar that has drenched my posts for years.

I'm usually not the kind of person to say "I told you so," but in this case I must. It almost made me furious to think that there were people out there to whom the Orioles could do no wrong. Sadly, there are people out there still like that. Results on their IQ tests will be coming back shortly. Anyway, having someone tell me to be patient after 9 years was like the feeling I get when I see people protesting the execution of a mass murderer. You almost want to fight them for their beliefs.


Who knows what's going to happen with the Orioles going forward. It's better to think of them as dead and buried. And if getting swept at home by the "hated" Nationals isn't spurring the Orioles to make some much needed changes, it's pretty safe to say that nothing will. As long as Angelos is comfortable with the people he has surrounded himself with, in his eyes, everything is perfect.

And that's fine. It is after all, Angelos' team. His decision not to put Baltimore on the away jerseys only cements this belief. And in this modern day of professional sports as a corporate business, it's sad but true. But like any product that fails to deliver, you boycott it. Choose another brand. Now I'm not saying that I will ever choose another brand of baseball team, but I'd just do without baseball for another summer just the same.

Hey, I've gotten used to it. Once my shows wrap up for the summer, that's usually when the O's wrap up their season too. See ya next spring guys. Maybe you can make it to June next time!

All I really ask of the Orioles, after all, is just make it interesting until football starts. Then you can finish the season 4-32 again for all I care.

As for my fellow Orioles fans, I do love them all, regardless of what I might say in the heat of a passionate argument. But one thing is for sure, we're all suffering right now.

It would just be nice if someone could throw us a lifeline.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Admit it

I'll make this short because the Orioles don't deserve much more than a few minutes of thought right now.

One thing that has pissed me off over the last 10 years, more than the O's sucking, is fans who still act like they're better than the other perennial doormats in baseball.

Teams like the Devil Rays, the Royals, the Pirates and the Nationals.

(And that list was longer a year a few years ago, but the Tigers and Brewers can probably be safely removed from that list.)

Well, I got news for you. The Orioles are no better than those other teams.

In fact, the Orioles are probably even worse than those teams. For one, those other teams may suck year in and year out, but they don't have payroll of 95 million, which puts the O's at 10th in the league.

Here's the salaries for the other "doormats"

The Devil Rays - 24 million
The Nationals - 37 million
The Pirates - 38 million
The Royals - 67 million

So that right there tells you that those other teams have learned that you can suck for much less than 95 million. I'm willing to bet that those other teams don't lead their fans on each year by saying "things will be different next year, I promise" like Peter Angelos has done.

I'd also be willing to bet that those other teams have much better minor league systems as well. Yes, it's true that the O's do have some pitching talent at the major league level as well as down on the farm. But the offensive side of the system is still just that -- offensive.

The Orioles, from its major league roster down to its low-A ball affiliate in Delmarva, have a total of 6 players with 100 AB's and an OPS above .800 -- the barrier between above average and mediocrity.


Looking over the other teams lumped in with the O's each year and their players with 100 AB's and an OPS over .800...

Devil Rays - 12
Royals - 11
Pirates - 17
Nationals - 18

Well, it's official. I never want to hear anyone say "At least the Orioles are better than _______ " ever again.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Change not gonna come...

I guess Sam Cooke wasn't an Orioles fan.

Anyway, here it is, only June 11th, 63 games into the season, with 99 games still yet to be played and we're already into the dog days of the Orioles' season.

The offense has crawled back into their shell, the bullpen is still a leaky ship, and management is too paralyzed to make a move in order to shake things up.

If not for the starting pitching, this team would be well on its way to losing 100 games. But that wouldn't be Orioles baseball, now would it? They're not even good at sucking.

Instead, here we are on June 11th, without anything to say about this team that hasn't been said a million times before. Never did I think I'd run out of things to say about this team's ineptitude so soon, but leave it up to the Orioles to leave you at a loss for words. In a bad way.

Albert Einstein says that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So maybe that's it, maybe the Orioles are just insane. That would explain a lot about the last 10 years. And to learn that the warehouse has been turned into zombies would at least be a decent excuse for the baseball we've been force to watch over that time.

But alas, such is not the case. Unfortunately, Angelos, Flanagan, Duquette and Perlozzo are human, even though they resemble the undead more than the living. They're still reluctant to make the in-season moves that can improve a team, even if it's temporary by calling up farmhands to sure up the bullpen and offense as well as making a trade or five.

But let's not place all the blame on the front office, even though they do deserve a large share of it. The players have done their share of sucking too.

Aubrey Huff's miserable .668 OPS is .139 points below his career average of .807.

Jay Gibbons' .581 OPS could probably be matched by a handful of 18 year old American Legion ballplayers.

The broadcasters fall all over themselves whenever they talk about Jay Payton, but his deceptive .276 average is trailed by a disgraceful .676 OPS. If ever there was a player ripe for platoons, it's Payton, who has a .789 OPS against LHP. But the O's would rather a 2 year player in Payton be happy, than bettering the team.

Then there is Mevlin Mora and his numbers which are declining with age.

Even Tejada's OPS is well below .800, something that has never happened since 1999.

But then again, the front office brought these players here.

Anyway, what else can you say? We've been over the Jon Knott, JR House, Jason DuBois love triangle before. We've talked about how Corey Doyne and Radhames Liz would look good in our bullpen with John Parrish and Danys Baez struggling, while Todd Williams and Scott Williamson are constantly battling injuries.

We've been over the 10 years of losing, the bad decisions, and the general feeling of no one at the warehouse seems to care about it all. So why should we?

I don't.

And if it weren't for this blog and the occasional post at Orioles Hangout, I'd be "that guy."

You know who "that guy" is. He's the guy who comes into work and asks if the Orioles won or lost. He's the guy when told that Jon Knott should be on the team asks "Who is he?" He's the guy who looks over the roster and asks, "When did we get him?"

Problem is, we're all becoming "that guy" with each game the O's lose. We're becoming nothing more than baseball zombies.

Pardon me while I go snack on some brains.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Third time's a charm!

So I woke up this morning and went about my daily routine before work: Howard Stern, breakfast, and then ironing my clothes.

It wasn't until I was about to walk out the door that I realized that I hadn't yet checked to see what the Orioles had done the night before.

It's gotten to the point where the Orioles quite simply aren't a part of my life. Well, that's not true. The games are no longer part of my life, because they are a pointless waste of time and energy. I do, however, still care about what the Orioles stand for, and what they represent, which is my hometown of Baltimore.

So as long as the O's play in Baltimore, I will always be a card-carrying fan of the team. However, this will keep me from rooting for another team more than it will keep me rooting for the O's in the middle of another disastrous year.

So, as I sat down at the computer to check out the boxscore of last night's game, which is after all, the only thing I do in regards to the actual games, I expected another disaster. And why shouldn't I?

But even then, a shred of me also thought that I still might get a small surprise to see that the O's won, that they pulled one out last night to end the 4 game skid they were currently mired in. Not that a meaningless win matters after 10 years of pointless losing, but the O's are still my team, and I would rather they win any game than lose it, meaningless or not.

So when I first saw the boxscore, I wasn't shocked. Not a bit.

Nope, I wasn't shocked to see the O's had blown their third consecutive game after having a lead in the 7th inning. It's become a common occurrence.

And Sam Perlozzo's bad moves are becoming a common occurrence as well.

For some reason, Perlozzo is still turning to Danys Baez (6.84 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) at crucial points in games. And for some reason, Perlozzo allows Baez to stay in games even after he walks consecutive batters with 8 consecutive balls.

It's true, Perlozzo isn't a bullpen pitcher who is blowing games himself, or hitter who is not getting clutch hits either. But he is loyal to players for no reason. Loyal to players who's time has come and gone.

Yes, the players are largely to blame. But Perlozzo is only enhancing the lack of performance with poor decisions. His time, has come and gone too.

As for Baez, the O's are stuck with him for another 2.5 years at a hefty price. He's too expensive to be relegated to mop-up duty, but that is something that the O's front office is going to have to deal with and accept. Baez no longer deserves to be in close games, winning or losing. He was a risky signing when he was signed, and now those risks are coming home to roost.

As for bullpens, the O's should reboot the old Oriole Way of bringing along stud SP prospects to anchor the bullpen until they are ready for the starting rotation. Regular work is important for young pitchers, but so is learning to major league batters out.

Afterall, how long will it take for Garrett Olson to adjust to the major leagues when and if he ever gets called up? Judging by how long it took Hayden Penn (58 IP and he's still trying to figure that out), it could be a while.

As we all know, the bullpen isn't the only part of the organization that needs to undergo a plethora of sea changes. And if the organization is still failing to address the problems in the bullpen and on the team in general, how long do you think it will take for the problems throughout the organization to be addressed, top to bottom?

People can always point to the minor leagues getting better as a sign of overall improvement, but I say look again. Outside of a small handful of prospects (mostly pitchers), the minor leagues are as bad as they've always been. And most of the talent is in the lower levels. Who knows what will happen to those prospects after a few years.

The bottom line is this. We all need wake up calls from time to time.

The O's have needed one for the last 10 years, every hour on the hour.

And we as fans need a wake-up call too.

It's going to be a long time before this team is a winner.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Another day, another... well you know

For the second straight day, the bullpen melted down, allowing 4 runs to score in the bottom of the 8th inning to give the Seattle Mariners the comeback win.

The only difference is, the cast had changed. This time the culprits are Chad Bradford and John Parrish. Bradford, so I'm told, had some bad luck as the hits he allowed were seeing eye singles.


But Parrish is a train-wreck. It's time to cut bait with him. He basically embodies the Orioles. Inconsistent, flashes of promise, and then a tear-it-all-down streak of ineffectiveness.

The Orioles have had enough players of this ilk over their decade of losing and they've wasted too much time with them too. So do something with Parrish, please.

So after last night's loss the losing streak, like the terror alert, has been raised to orange. It now stands at 4 games.

Remember that recent 6 game winning streak?

Well in typical Orioles fashion, the O's crumpled it up like yesterday's newspaper and threw it into the fireplace where it instantly ignited in flames.

It's like it never even happened.

The Orioles are back to their normal light hitting, poor relief pitching selves.

And to think they "revamped" their bullpen.

27-31. 11 games out of first. Business as usual in Baltimore.

You knew that the 6 game winning streak was going to extend the life of Sam Perlozzo and Terry Crowley. But at this point, I even wonder if there is a point to making any coaching changes.

There has been talk of bringing back Davey Johnson, but that is just hopeful heresy. But if there is any truth to it, I don't know what has taken so long.

So unless Angelos is willing to go back on his past actions and bring the 1997 AL Manager of the Year back to Baltimore, might as well stick with Perlozzo, so you can get the guaranteed benefit of having Leo Mazzone around to work with the pitchers some more.

After all, improvement has been made. The starting pitching has been the most solid unit on the team. Firing Perlozzo now would mean we'd likely lose Mazzone, which would be as huge a momentum killer as a 4 game losing streak is to a 6 game winning streak.

So don't let Mazzone leave. And if Perlozzo is jettisoned for some reason, extend Mazzone. Make it impossible for him to leave. Put simply, the O's should do what they should have done with everyone else they let get away over the years.

Don't just accept the outcome like it can't be changed. Don't play the stubborn brat who sits with his arms crossed, certain that he is right and everyone else on the schoolyard is wrong.

So the mission for the rest of the 2007 season is this: Build for the future. Use this time to get your ducks in a row. Keep grooming the starting rotation. See if there are some arms on the farm that can improve the struggling bullpen. See if any of Knott, House, DuBois or Sing are for real.

Basically, do what you've never done in the past: the right things during another losing season.

This shit has to end sometime. Make it happen.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I remember why I stopped watching

I decided to take some time off from the Orioles and took a trip to New Orleans. I ate, I drank, I saw the sights.

I didn't read one boxscore to see if the O's won or lost.

And as an O's fan, it was probably the most relaxing time of my life these last 9 years. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer cared what they did.

And ironically, the O's went on a 6 game winning streak to get back to .500 during that time.

So like any fan would, I started to watch the team a little more once I got back, but still didn't commit the full 3 hours it usually takes to watch a whole game.

After all, it's only .500. And we as Baltimore fans treat that as something greater than it is after getting so little out of this team. We're like the homeless guy who is grateful for a hot dog in the trash can when others are enjoying prime rib. We've forgotten what prime rib tastes like so we treat the half-eaten hot dog like it's the prime rib.

And, as usual, after getting back to .500, the Orioles lost their next 3 games, including 2 that they should have won if the offense could could get just one clutch hit and Chris Ray could get a save against a decent team.

To be honest, I expected the Orioles to do this. They had won 6 games in a row and were at .500 again. You only need to look back to 2002 when the Orioles got back to .500 in August and then finished the season with a 4-32 record.

Each time in the years since that awful finish, the O's have fallen apart once they got back to .500 as well. It's like they're so exhausted from getting back to mediocrity that they take a week off to celebrate their "accomplishment."

But what still hurts, even though you knew this was going to happen, was that the O's are still losing games like they were earlier in the season -- late in the game.

And as usual, the main culprit in these tragic Sunday afternoon losses is Chris Ray.

Sam Perlozzo is intent on using Ray in every game where he can get a save, no matter what the situation. Jeremy Guthrie pitched an excellent game today, allowing only 1 ER over 8 IP. He only threw 88 pitches. Why Guthrie wasn't allowed to finish the game is beyond me.

And just like he did on the Mother's Day Massacre, Perlozzo couldn't allow Guthrie to finish the game and brought Ray into a another tight situation that he couldn't get himself out of. After today, I wonder if Guthrie is going to beg Perlozzo not to bring Chris Ray into a game in which Guthrie has given them a lead. Especially on Sundays.

People usually balk at the "closer by committee" method because it takes away from the baseball card statistics we love and it hurts a player's fantasy value. But if ever there was a time for the "closer by committee" to be used, it's on the Orioles.

Ray doesn't need to get every save. Walker, Bradford, Williamson, Parrish... any of these guys could close out a game now and then to relieve Ray of the stress that comes with being a closer. But Perlozzo is not that kind of manager. He lives and dies by assigning players to roles and he does more dying than living by doing it.

Just another reason to fire Perlozzo, regardless of the recent 6 game winning streak the O's had despite the manager.

If anything, the 2007 Orioles are as predictable as they are unpredictable. You know they are going to fall apart once they get to .500. But just when you think that the season is over, they rattle off a few wins, even beating a few decent teams here and there, to make things interesting.

But by the time you start to care again, they just remind you why you stopped watching in the first place.

If anything, I'm getting used to it, and the shock of these kinds of losses is wearing off. Just like a lot of things wear off when you've been following a losing team for 9 years. Like caring one way or another.

Let's just hope they have a few more winning streaks in them to at least make the summer interesting until football season starts.