At this point last year, Dave Trembley became manager of the Baltimore Orioles.
Needless to say at that juncture, although the Orioles had played well when he came to the helm, they were still a sub .500 team with little hope of getting better.
We still had Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada as our “stars”, but yet they could not get us out of a fourth place finish as well the butt of a national joke.
Also, one year ago, Andy MacPhail became the Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles — more or less, the man in charge.
MacPhail, highly regarded as a baseball man from a family with a rich legacy in the game, fans knew they were getting someone who knew the game — however, we were skeptical as to how things would actually come about.
As well, who knew what Dave Trembley would be like as manager of the Baltimore Orioles?
Let’s fast forward one year later.
The Orioles, much to the surprise of the nation, much less their own base, are over .500, seventy-one games into the season.
Andy MacPhail, through long hours of work with his staff has perhaps done the impossible — that is making the Baltimore Orioles into a viable franchise again.
So far, MacPhail has looked like a genius and perhaps foresaw the future by sending Bedard to Seattle (see how that worked out!) and our big ticket, Miguel Tejada to Houston where they can’t buy a win and are sinking like the Titanic. The deals he made in the off season have been proven invaluable, as we now have fan favorites in Luke, Adam Jones, & George Sherill; as well, youngsters who have made quite a contribution like Matt Albers and Dennise Sarfate.
I’m sure more guys will be on their way up to the big leagues, for example the amazing Matt Wieters, with Jake Arrieta in tow along with Billy Rowell and Nolan Reimold.
Meanwhile, in Charm City and in Oriole Nation, we have a team that doesn’t give up until the very last out, and although we don’t have any superstars — we have a team that’s likable, personable, plus one the region can identify with.
Young guys are getting their shot and making that most of it, and they are being embraced by the fans.
You can’t say enough about Adam Jones, but let’s also not forget Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz, Jeremy Guthrie, but also Brian Burres — who may be struggling, but through guts and determination is showing why he deserves a shot at this level.
But all the recent success starts at the top, and you cannot give enough credit to Dave Trembley. He’s instilled a sense of professionalism and pride within this team that seemed to be missing with Perlozzo, Mazzilli, Regan, et. al.
Yes, a big component of how I feel is that we are winning; however, it looks like the team respects Trembley and is buying into his philosophy.
We as fans can’t be more grateful, and some who have not been to Camden Yards are coming back for not only the promotions, but to see winning and inspired baseball. Instead of knowing the game is over the by third inning, fans know they will get their money’s worth and each game can provide that magical moments which makes following the Orioles worthwhile.
The Milwaukee series may have exposed some of the Orioles’ weaknesses — young pitchers who are still learning to be consistent on this level (item: Garrett Olson and Daniel Cabrera), not being able to do much with hitters in scoring position and a bullpen that has had a lot of pressure put on them.
Needless to say, the Orioles have been playing well; however, their weaknesses may undo the success they have had so far.
I realize Baltimore may not contend for the pennant (then again, I have been wrong on just about everything this season), but we have more hope than we ever had in a decade and we should be thankful.
However, the mission is far from accomplished. More deals and time will be needed to make the Orioles into a competitive franchise again. Some moves will be lauded, and there will be a few that will be scrutinized and ripped apart; alas, you have to take some risks – not only in sports, but in all facets of life – to become successful.