Everyone’s worried about their credit rating…

June 20, 2008 | Drew Forrester

One year ago today, Andy MacPhail took over as the Orioles Chief Operating Officer.

Since he arrived, the club has experienced a rebirth on literally just about every front.  The team is much better on the field, the attendance is improving and the franchise is experiencing a new level of satisfaction from fans and consumers.

Prior to MacPhail’s arrival, the Orioles were a wreck.  Make that a WRECK…in all caps.

The team couldn’t win on the field, fans had stopped coming and, at just about every turn, things were getting worse, not better.

Enter Andy MacPhail.

Call it coincidence or a mixture of experience and hard work, but whatever the case, the franchise is back on four wheels and the ride isn’t anywhere near as bumpy now as it was last year.

Everyone’s happy, right?

Not quite.

My feathered friends who work at The Warehouse tell me there’s tension in the air at OPACY because some veteran front office members feel MacPhail is getting too much of the credit. According to some, MacPhail’s only charge has been to fix the on-field product.  The off-field improvements – and there have been many – are not connected to MacPhail, the disgruntled are whispering.  Inviting the Ravens to be part of pre-game first pitch ceremonies…better promotional nights…t-shirt and bobble-head giveaways…and putting BALTIMORE back on the road jerseys…all of those things are being thrown under the Andy MacPhail umbrella and they shouldn’t be.  That’s where the friction comes in.  People want credit now that things are turning around.  Oddly, they didn’t want the blame when things were going haywire — but now that good things are happening, suddenly there’s a line forming in the “Credit Department”.

I don’t really know who is responsible for all of the positive turnarounds, but I know this:  Before Andy MacPhail got here, the Orioles treated the Ravens like they had purple poison-ivy.  Before Andy MacPhail arrived, crowds were suffering and stories about mean-spirited ushers and less than satisfactory nights at the ballpark were legendary.  Putting BALTIMORE back on the road jerseys was an undiscussable subject at OPACY - in fact, it was this time last year when an O’s staffer was quoted as saying, “we’re not going to allow a vocal minority to dictate club policies…” MacPhail arrived and within a year, BALTIMORE goes back on the road jerseys.  I don’t remember Orioles players appearing at local malls on the day of a home game to sign autographs and meet the fans.  Since Andy MacPhail arrived, they’ve been out in droves on Saturday mornings saying hi to the “great unwashed”.

I don’t know how much involvement MacPhail had in any of that stuff, but I can add one and one — it’s two.

So, as MacPhail’s one-year anniversary comes around, media members and fans (via blogs/message boards, etc.) are giving MacPhail his fair due.  And why shouldn’t they, right? Wrong. 

Well, it’s wrong to certain members of the O’s front office who are evidently bristling at all the accolades MacPhail is receiving.  Amazing, huh?  After a decade of downright despair, someone comes along and improves the team ON the field and OFF the field and suddenly everyone is worried about how much credit Andy MacPhail is receiving.

Happy Anniversary, Andy.  I hope you enjoy your gift.  Open it up…

It’s a box of jealousy.  In the offices at OPACY, it’s the gift that never stops giving.

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