With all the talk lately that the whole Oriole organization would be shaken up by Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail as a new regime is introduced, there has been talk lately about giving former Orioles, ones who are familiar with the winning ways of the team, high-ranking positions in an effort to turn things around.
One of those former Orioles is former shortstop Mike Bordick, who spent five years in an Oriole uniform split between two different stints. Known mostly for his defensive prowess, Bordick was not a slouch at the plate either, hitting .260 over his career with 1500 hits and over 600 RBIs.
Bordick was able to take a few minutes from the rebuilding process to take some questions from Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester from “The Morning Reaction” Thursday morning-all in the same matter that he fielded those grounders in Camden Yards for years.
It was his consistent play over the years that not only brought Bordick back in an Oriole uniform after he was traded to the Mets in 2000 for Melvin Mora and Mike Kinkade during his playing days, it was also why the Orioles brought him in as an offensive consultant after working as a roving scout for the Blue Jays after he retired in 2003.
Bordick now works mostly down on the Orioles’ farm teams, keeping an eye on the developing prospects and their bats that the major league club hold dear. His official title is “hitting coordinator” as listed on the team’s website, but he spends more time in the minor leagues than on the major league squad.
He has most of his time recently around the Norfolk Tides and two of the organization’s top hitting prospects in 3B Josh Bell and 1b Brandon Snyder.
‘I’ve been spending a lot more time at Triple A because I think there is a lot of turnover and giving guys more opportunities to see if they can play in the major leagues,” Bordick said.
And Bell and Snyder have both caught his eye. He has seen a lot of improvement out of these two in particular and along with a ton of other guys down on the farm, they are putting in the work necessary to be ready when the top level calls their name.
“They’re doing okay. They’re working hard. Snyder got off to a slower start, but he is swinging the bat a lot better.”
“Josh Bell is the same. Josh has a little bit more power potential there. He keeps working. Every time I’ve been down there, he’s been out for early hitting and trying to shorten up his swing a little bit, trying to be more consistent at the plate. The work ethic is there.”
Bordick also has been seen helping out and reporting on the major league level as well, and he says its unfortunate about the team’s struggles this year, given some of the circumstances.
What makes it even worse is for him is after taking almost a decade-long hiatus from an Oriole uniform, he comes back to a team that has changed a lot since his playing days.
“It’s tough. After playing for the Orioles and being part of a time that’s special, it’s unfortunate. I feel bad. I would love to see them play better. I think the talent is there for them to play better. It’s just a matter of everyone believing it and going out there and playing some good baseball.”
Bordick was also asked by Drew Forrester what kind of manager would best fit the Orioles. Bordick has played for several high profile managers in his career, including several of the Orioles’ current managerial candidates. He played for Davey Johnson when he was with the O’s for two years and Bobby Valentine, who was managing the Mets during their World Series run in 2000.
Valentine interviewed for the job earlier this week and had some interesting comments about the state of the team, which seemed negative.
Bordick responded by doing some commenting of his own.
“The team definitely needs to be jump-started somehow,” Bordick noted. “Whether it’s screaming on guys or what have you. But for a manager to come in the middle of the season and do that, I don’t know if that’s going to help them or turn them off.”
Bordick said he just hopes the manager is as patient in turning things around as it seems Andy MacPhail is.
“I would hope that if a manager decides to come to Baltimore, they might not take the job right away. I hope they go to the minor leagues and understand the organization and see how things are laid out.”
Bordick said that a guy that fits that mold perfectly would be Buck Showatler, who took the expansion Diamondbacks job two years before the team started playing and helped build the team up before hitting the schedule.
Could Bordick maybe see a bigger role with the parent club? Bordick said not at the time.
But, with Bordick living in the area and his first priority is raising his kids, he enjoys the role he has with the Orioles, where every minor league team is in driving distance, and if he is called on to report at Camden Yards, that isn’t too far away either.
I have the best job that anyone in professional baseball can have,” Bordick said. “I live in Baltimore, and the proximity of most of their team is pretty local. And if they have a problem where they need me to work with someone, I can be there in less than hour. It’s a great situation for me. I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing and still being part of the Orioles organization and helping them try to rebuild and develop some young players.”
And one of those young guys is an Oriole that the team hopes to introduce soon-one Manny Machado-Baltimore’s third overall pick in the draft, who has drawn comparisons to one of the great former shortstops out there-Alex Rodriguez.
Bordick hopes that he can drop a few pointers in there too so people start calling Machado the next Mike Bordick instead, but with a better bat of course.
“It is exciting. You’ve heard a lot of things about him. I hope they sign him quick and get him in the system, and it will be fun to work with young talent like that.”
Tune into “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark weekdays 6-10 AM on 1570 WNST