Scott McGregor knows how to pitch. That is one of the reasons why he is sharing his expertise with the young Oriole arms down on the farm with the Single A Aberdeen Ironbirds.
McGregor, who spent 12 years in an Oriole uniform and won the deciding Game 5 of the 1983 World Series, is ready to start his second straight year as pitching coach for the Aberdeen Ironbirds, but before he starts the season on Friday against the Hudson Valley Renegades, he spent a few minutes talking with “The Morning Reaction” regarding the state of the big league club he used to pitch for and a little about the arms that he has on his Ironbirds squad.
McGregor says it’s been hard this year to watch the big league club given their struggles, and it seems like things just started off slow and it went on from there.
“Going into spring training, I thought the team was going to be pretty good,” McGregor said. “I thought this was our chance to turn things around. Things just started off wrong, and it just started to snowball.”
He was able to diagnose some of the problems with the team, and he thinks that with a young team like the Orioles having a majority of young talent taking a little longer to progress, patience is going to have to play in yet again. But all around the league, the rookies and younger players aren’t adapting as quickly either to the major leagues.
“It’s all around baseball. I don’t know what it is. They just lost their momentum and their way, and they have to get it back.”
Drew asked McGregor, a southpaw in his pitching days, about one of those young left handers on this current Oriole squad, second year pitcher Brian Matusz.
“I love Brian,” McGregor noted. “He’s got four quality pitches. He’s competitive on the mound.”
Matusz has had only two or three bat outings this year that have ruined his ERA and his chances of winning games, and McGregor said that it’s just other teams seeing his talent and adapting to him. He just has to do the same thing to the batters-adjusting to their changes.
“He’s just going through a slump right now, but here’s a kid whose probably never had a slump in his life…I have no problems with Brian. I think he’ll be fine.”
McGregor said he had some up-and-down, back-and-forth battles with former high school teammate and Royals star George Brett during his career with the Orioles.
McGregor also had some things to say regarding the manager’s position with the Orioles, and he thinks that while their next choice is important, it’s all about the dedication of the players and their desire to win.
“If the players don’t want to play, you can Earl Weaver yelling at them all you want and they’re not going to play.”
He said that when Earl Weaver was his manager, it was a combination of Weaver and the players on the team all having a combination of not wanting to lose.
“We had Earl who hated to lose. We had Jim Palmer who hated to lose. We had Ken Singleton who hated to lose. We were fortunate back then to have a combination of the team, the playes and the manager, not wanting to lose. We had that in us.”
McGregor said that a manager should be a guy like Jim Leyland out in Detroit or Bobby Cox down in Atlanta, who McGregor pitched for at the Triple A level,-guys who one minute can be calm and resolved, but can light a fire under a player when they need to.
“Jimmy can be as rough as can be, but he can be gentle at the same time. He’s an unbelieveable guy and he doesn’t mess around.”
Bobby Cox is that way. He just demands things, but then he earns it at the same time.”
For now, McGregor will be doing the same kind of guiding and teaching with the Ironbirds. It is his second straight season he is with the team, but he also started his coaching career with the team in 2002 before becoming the pitching coach for other levels of the organization, including the Bowie Baysox and the Frederick Keys.
They are in a similar situation as the big league Orioles, as they are in one of the tougher leagues in the minor leagues.
But he feels like he is blessed due to Andy MacPhail’s philosophy of loading the organization with young arms.
“I’m excited to see it. It’s always fun to get a new bunch of kids and to put your hand on them and sculpt them for a few months till they’re ready to go on to the next level.”
Tune into “The Morning Reaction” with Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester weekdays 6-10 AM on 1570 WNST!