Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hoping that the unorthadox can work

With Andy MacPhail officially no longer the Orioles GM, and Buck Showalter staying in the dugout, a new GM will need to be hired. And the sooner the better since the postseason will be complete in a little over two weeks. To say the Orioles have a lot of work to do this offseason is an understatement.

But the question of who will hire this new GM is tricky. One would hope that it is Buck Showalter who is involved in the process, and that he hires the best candidate based on their vision and determination to put a winning team on the field. Peter Angelos is proved time and time again that he cannot make the important decisions that result in the Orioles improving their record. He hires "yes men". And in Andy MacPhail, Angelos hired a GM who was not going to spend a lot of money on free agents, international signings or draft picks.

But therein lies the rub. If you look at a baseball front office as a hierarchy, and you should, since that is how they usually exist, the GM is the second most powerful person in the front office. So why would Showalter, a manager, be involved in the decision to hire his boss?

I believe that a GM and a manager should be equals in most ways, the same way an accounting manager and a sales manager would be viewed as equals in a company. They represent two different departments. But baseball is baseball and the Orioles are the Orioles, and GM's are the ones who make most of the decisions about baseball operations -- including who the manager should be.

So why would a GM want to come to Baltimore when he is hired by one of his subordinates? Why would a GM want to come to Baltimore where he's forced to keep Showalter on as manager? Why would a GM want to come to Baltimore when the word on the street is that Showalter is Angelos' favorite and have to contend with that preexisting relationship?

These are the confusing and cumbersome situations that have been created time and time against under Angelos. In the past, he's muddied the chain of command, hiring several people to do a similar job, which has only resulted in backstabbing and general chaos in the front office. At least under MacPhail, there was one person who was the lightning rod for the organization. MacPhail had his flaws, no doubt, but at least the Orioles appeared to be a little more well run while he was the GM. Especially when it came to trades. MacPhail was able to pull the trigger quickly, whereas previous GM's had to get Angelos' approval, which could take days, killing most deals.

But as the Orioles start to interview GM candidates, we're left to hope that the unorthodox process of a manager hiring a GM can work. Because from a fan's perspective, Peter Angelos is the last person who should be hiring people.

And that's what Orioles fans are left with -- hoping against hope that something positive can still come out of an Orioles organization that still has Peter Angelos as its owner.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ravens shoot down Jets, 34-17

It wasn’t pretty, but the Ravens trampled over the Jets last Sunday night to the tune of 34-17. It was a game marked by defensive touchdowns for both teams, with both QB’s turning in similar crappy performances.

Joe Flacco turned in one of the worst statistical performances of his career, going 10-32 for 168 yards and an interception. Similarly, Mark Sanchez went 11-35 with 119 yards and an interception.

Thankfully, the Ravens defense rose to the occasion, holding the Jets to 150 total yards, forcing four turnovers and scoring three defensive touchdowns.

However, it’s a win that doesn’t sit well with fans. The Ravens had 267 yards of total offense. Flacco played poorly. And the offensive play calling was suspect with the Ravens holding such a big lead.

But you know what? You have to take these kinds of wins. An offense, no matter how good it may be, is going to have off days. And the Jets have a stout defense. Granted, the Ravens need to take the bye week to figure out their offensive game plan for the rest of the season, but they found a way to win a game in which the offense wasn’t clicking, and still managed to win big.

And when the Ravens saw that the passing game just wasn’t there, they pulled a 180 and started running the ball down the throat of the Jets defense. That’s called an “adjustment”, folks. Even though it was such a drastic adjustment, how many times have we seen the Ravens stick with something even though it’s painfully obvious that it’s not working? Ravens fans need to look no further than the Lions/Cowboys game this past weekend to see why teams should commit to the run when they take a big lead. Throwing interceptions and giving a team life in a blowout is a colossal mistake.

The Ravens have an elite defense still capable of taking over games. And when that happens, the offense just needs to control the clock and protect the ball, much like what the Ravens did in the second half. If you have Ravens players on your fantasy team, too bad.

I guess that’s just the era of the NFL that we live in. Lots of scoring. And as much as we may wish the Ravens can become the next high-powered offense, they don’t necessarily need to be, especially on a night where the defense is bringing the pain. Yes, the Ravens need to get better on offense. Yes, they need to find an identity. There’s no arguing that.

The Ravens just trounced the Jets 34-17, folks. We embarrassed those loudmouth players, coaches and fans.

Enjoy it.