The news that Tony LaCava had turned down the Orioles couldn’t possibly have surprised you, right?
I know, it was all but a done deal when LaCava arrived back in Baltimore on Monday to meet Peter Angelos and have Buck Showalter’s personal choice gift-wrapped to the owner for a quick sandwich and a handshake.
But *something happened* once LaCava settled in and realized he was about to make a life-changing decision and join the Orioles after a successful run as the #2 man in Toronto.
In fact, that was the question gobs of people asked me last night via email, text message and Twitter. “Drew, what happened with LaCava?”
I know the answer.
Forget all these crazy conspiracies about Angelos meeting with him and giving LaCava a bird’s eye view of how meddlesome he can be. It wasn’t about Showalter having too much control. It wasn’t about any of that stuff.
I know what happened.
The Orioles happened.
The Orioles happened.
LaCava arrived in town ready to cement the deal. Ten hours later, he got on a plane, went home to Toronto, and realized it’s just not worth leaving a solid-foundation-of-a-franchise in Toronto to join a cellar-dweller in Baltimore that has little chance of moving up the ladder anytime soon.
And please, save your “he met Peter Angelos and that was the end of the deal” comments. Tony LaCava isn’t dumb or naive. He knows the history of the Orioles and the ownership of Angelos. He’s sat in league meetings with Angelos. He knew full good and well he would be coming into a hornet’s nest in Baltimore.
LaCava did what we all would do if, in fact, we were actually interested in the job. He came down to Baltimore, got the offer, sniffed out the landscape and took 12 hours to think about it. He processed all of that information – like we all would if we received a new job offer – and when it all shook down, he decided it wasn’t the right move for him.
In the end, LaCava settled the whole thing with this self-examination: “Why leave Toronto, where you have a secure job, a nice salary and a team that’s on the rise?”
Just to make more money?
Look, if you’re making $75,000 in Baltimore and someone offers you $150,000 to work for them in Washington DC, you’d probably figure out a way to tolerate that hellhole-of-a-traffic-calamity and battle 495 for 3 hours a day while driving the 12 miles from the 95/495 split into DC proper.
But if you’re making $250,000 in Baltimore and someone offers you $400,000 to go to DC, my guess is you make that drive once in rush hour and say, “Uh, no-freakin’-thanks.”
At one point in 1998, I had the chance to go to Buffalo and make a six-figure salary (guaranteed for 3-years) to run their indoor soccer team. I flew up there, had a great steak, spent a day-and-a-half with their people and took the offer back home to Baltimore. They thought I was taking the job. Once I got home, I made a call or two to folks