Losing streak now at 8, Orioles in need of wins and a leader

April 18, 2011 | Drew Forrester

the Birds lose tonight and tomorrow? Who shuts the door on Wednesday and reads his teammates the riot act and demands more from them?

Who?

The two guys who have been here the longest and suffered through all of this – Roberts and Markakis – aren’t equipped to be the rah-rah guy. If Markakis found out he won the mega-million lottery drawing, he’d barely crack a smile. Roberts is a good man, but I don’t see him commanding a lot of attention if he suddenly decides to take over the locker room.

So who’s the leader of this bunch?

We know it’s not Vlad Guerrero. These days, he’s a good-to-very-good-player in the December of a Hall-of-Fame career, but a leader he’s not. I’m quite certain there are still several players on the team that he’s never officially introduced himself to since the team convened for spring training two months ago.

Is it Derrek Lee? I’m not sure, I’m still waiting to hear him say something. One thing we know…his bat sure isn’t going to be accused of being a motor-mouth anytime soon.

Mark Reynolds? He’s been decent enough thus far, but I doubt seriously he holds a team meeting with his new friends this week.

Adam Jones? In between blowing bubbles, he might speak, but I’m not sure many guys would be paying much attention.

Who’s the leader of this team? The easy answer might be Buck Showalter, but he’s the manager. Every team needs a player – or two, or three – that guides them through the toughest of times. A few years back, Kevin Millar would be the guy shouting people down in the locker room, but he’d be doing that about 45 minutes after lighting someone’s shoe on fire in the dugout. In other words, he was a leader the way Ronald McDonald is the leader for the golden arches company. He’s funny. But he’s not going to run the restaurant anytime soon.

The leader of this 2011 Orioles team is…?

If the Yankees lost 7 in a row, we know who would be standing on their chair having “the talk” with the players.

During Boston’s slow start, it was widely noted that Kevin Youkilis served as the clubhouse voice of reason.

I’m not sure the Orioles have a leader in their locker room.

And therein lies the team’s biggest issue as I see it.

Losing 7 in a row is one thing. It’s not that big of a deal, honestly, because the season is 162 games long and winning streaks and losing streaks happen along the way.

But it can’t become 8, 9, 10 or more.

It has to end now.

It needs to end Monday night.

And with the lowly Twins in town, the Birds need to change their fortunes and get back on the winning track before the bad boys come to Charm City this weekend.

I don’t think this year’s team is anywhere close to being as bad as the 2010 club.

But I also didn’t think last year’s team would stumble out of the gate to the tune of 3-16.

And I’m wondering, having watched the Birds sleepwalk through 3 games in Cleveland, if anyone gets mad enough to send the message through the locker room on Monday when the Birds gather at the ballpark.

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