While we’re celebrating playoffs in Indy, Apologists in sync with O’s off-season failures

January 15, 2010 | Drew Forrester

The brainwashing tactics from The Warehouse are apparently working quite well.

Once the news broke on Thursday that Adam LaRoche had shunned the Orioles for the Arizona Diamondbacks, I breezed through a variety of local web-sites to see what the hometown baseball fans thought of the Birds failure to land yet another legitimate first baseman.

If you read THIS website, you, of course, know that I was a major supporter of signing Adam LaRoche.  He’s a good offensive player with a history of slow starts and fast finishes and he’s a better-than-good defensive player.  In general terms, LaRoche is a good major league baseball player.  He’s not great.  He’s not going to the Hall of Fame.  But he’s a competent, capable professional.

In short, he’s FAR better than anything the O’s currently have at first base.  FAR better.  And that’s not a low blow…that’s just a fact.

Here’s a look at the career numbers of Adam LaRoche.   You’ll need them in a minute when we review a comment made by a local die-hard fan.

So as I surfed the web yesterday, I ventured to the sites dominated by the group we affectionately refer to as “The Apologists”.  These are the folks in town who support what the O’s do no matter how silly, how unprofessional or how puzzling.

You can find these apologizing characters at O’s Hangout, The Sun site or at a small, erudite gathering of stats-lovers called The Loss Column.  There are other sites out there with an overflow of O’s apologists, but those three are at the top of the list.  If you’re not on board with losing for 12 years, you’d best not stop by to share an opinion.

And that brings us to yesterday.

As I ventured over to lurk at The Loss Column, I stumbled upon a thread that included a handful of comments about Adam LaRoche’s signing in Arizona.

Here’s a shock:  EVERYONE was OK with the O’s not getting LaRoche.

But one person in particular has completely overdosed on Orange Kool-Aid.

Here’s the response from Andrew, who supports the team’s decision (that’s a shock, eh?) to not land LaRoche:

I don’t think that LaRoche was an obvious upgrade over Snyder or Hughes.

So I’m cool with it.

If you’re consuming a hot beverage right now, I’m guessing you spit it all over your lap when you read that.  Here’s someone who considers himself a baseball fan and half-an-expert who says missing out on LaRoche is OK because the O’s have Brandon Snyder and Rhyne Hughes.

You saw LaRoche’s numbers above.

Here are Snyder’s career major league numbers:  (there aren’t any)

Here are Hughes’ career major league numbers:  (there aren’t any)

Only in Baltimore would someone actually write that and pass themselves off as both serious and well-informed.

And only in Baltimore would the baseball team be able to actually convince folks – somehow – that two guys who’ve never played in the major leagues before are a better option than a 30 year old, 6-year major league veteran.

In a small (weird) way, Andrew’s response and foolish defense of the failure to sign LaRoche (or any reputable first baseman for that matter) is part and parcel of the problem with baseball fandom in Baltimore.

Few people in town are willing to hold the team accountable for this annual off-season-rite-of-passage called “lack of progress”.

When you do hold the team accountable, you get your press credential revoked.  I know that all too well.

And when you don’t hold the team accountable, you author stuff like, “I don’t think that LaRoche was an obvious upgrade over Snyder and Hughes.”

Then again, once you’re an Orange Apologist, you’re in forever.

It’s like joining a gang, I suppose.  Once you do the handshake and get the ink, there’s no turning back.

So I shouldn’t be totally shocked that the O’s brainwashing efforts have evidently taken hold on their faithful fan base.

Even though the die-hard numbers are diminishing, there’s still a distinct group of people in town who subscribe to the theory of “whatever the team does – or doesn’t do – that’s fine by me.”

I can’t subscribe to that theory when I see the O’s miss out on Adam LaRoche.

They need a first baseman.

And by “first baseman”, I don’t mean giving Luke Scott a glove every fourth day and asking him not to make a fool of himself.  And with all due respect to Michael Aubrey and his high-socks-Jay-Gibbons-tribute, I don’t think his 135-career-at-bats resume is impressive enough to pass on LaRoche under the guise of “we have Aubrey”.

If Michael Aubrey is the first baseman of record in April, there’s only ONE reason for that:  he’s inexpensive.

The off-season mantra from Andy MacPhail was “we’re going to buy the bats this winter.”

Apologizing for their lack of effort this off-season is unacceptable.

I won’t do it.

Others, evidently, have no problem doing it.

And that’s one of the reasons why the Orioles haven’t won for 12 years.

No one seems to care.