Next Tuesday is O’s “defining moment” of the young season (Update: Eaton released)

May 22, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Well, that didn’t take long.  About four hours after I wrote the blog below, Adam Eaton was released.  

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Anyone with even a passing interest of Orioles baseball over the last decade is familiar with the term, “dog days of August”.

That’s the month where the team officially falls off the sports radar screen in town, as pigskins start flying in Westminster and 70% of the teams in the American League hover around playoff contention.  Baltimore’s in the “other” 30% category.

There won’t be any “dogs days of August” in 2009, you can bet on that.

They’ve been replaced — by the “dog days of May”.

It’s May 22 and the team is a season-high 9 games under .500 after getting whacked three straight nights in New York.  A possible get-well weekend looms in Washington DC and then it’s back to playing the varsity when the Blue Jays fly into town on Monday.

Here we are — not even to June yet — and the season has fizzled into a memory of early-season wins and a flash-in-the-pan start that saw the club win 6 of their first 8 games.  

I can do the math if you can’t:  In the 33 games since shooting out of the gate like Rachel Alexandra, the Birds are 10-23.  

That brings us to Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Barring anything unforseen like a rain-out (or, his departure), Adam Eaton is slated to start on Tuesday against Toronto.

That just can’t happen.

Eaton’s ERA is now 8.56 after Thursday’s shellacking in New York.  God Bless the guy…he’s certainly not TRYING to be bad, but he just doesn’t have the goods anymore.  

Why he was signed in the first place is anyone’s guess.  Andy MacPhail’s track record in Baltimore is fairly decent after nearly 24 months on the job, but Eaton is not (was not, hopefully) one of AM’s better moves.  

I’ll go ahead and be blunt and to the point, since that’s what the apologists can’t do:  Adam Eaton should be replaced, effectively immediately, by SOMEONE from the team’s stable of talented minor league pitchers.  My personal selection is David Hernandez, who has become a strikeout machine in the minor leagues.  Give him a shot to do what Eaton evidently can’t do: get through 3 innings without getting battered.

Yeah, I know, the Kool Aid drinkers will spit orange liquid all over their keyboards when they think about the notion of “giving up” on Eaton and throwing Hernandez to the wolves.  ”It might wreck his confidence” is what you’ll hear.  

That’s funny, Nolan Reimold and Brad Bergesen look like they have plenty of confidence right about now. 

If you’re good, and you’re relatively successful, you’ll be confident.  

If you stink, you might lose confidence.  

I can’t imagine Hernandez can be worse than Eaton.  And, like Bergesen has displayed, he might even be BETTER than Eaton.

The Orioles are the only organization I know who scout, draft and groom really good players and then becomes petrified to play them in the event they might actually turn out to be good.

God forbid David Hernandez turns out to be decent…they might actually have to pay him a representative salary.

Or, once he gets decent, they can just cut his salary by $120,000 like they did with their ace this year.  That move did wonders for Jeremy Guthrie, huh?

The MASN marketing motto, “what’s your defining moment?” should be applied to this Tuesday at Camden Yards.

If Adam Eaton is still on the roster and starts Tuesday night’s game, that’s ALL you need to know about 2009.  The team is absolutely NOT really trying to win if he makes the start against Toronto.

Talk about “defining moments”.

It’s time to stop trying to hoodwink the paying customers and give these kids in the minor leagues a chance to play.

They brought Reimold up – almost against their wishes – and he’s outplayed Felix Pie by about 125% since joining the team in Kansas City last Thursday.  That one stings MacPhail because Pie was another of his Windy City projects but the truth is the truth is the truth.  Nolan Reimold is a better baseball player than Felix Pie.  And guess what?  He’s OUR player…an Orioles draft pick and product of the improving farm system. 

This scam of not putting the best team on the field has to come to an end.  It’s time for the Adam Eaton era to conclude, as well.

Tuesday night at 7:05 pm, someone other than Eaton better stroll to that pitcher’s mound at Camden Yards. 

The fans deserve better.

They should, frankly, demand better. 

It’s May 22 and the season is essentially worthless unless they start promoting some of those young arms and give people a reason to want to go out to the ballpark and watch them perform.

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