“Wait until 2010!” appears to be the rallying cry for both the Ravens and Orioles. But which team is really closer to being a playoff contender?
For years, the Ravens have been the dominant team in this city while the O’s have been viewed as a bad joke by most fans.
Things have changed folks.
I’m going to go point by point and show why it’s the Orioles that offer the best chance for post season glory in 2010.
ORIOLES- Dave Trembley has already shown he knows how to manage ballplayers. With career years coming from Mora and Huff plus major contributions from newcomers Adam Jones and Luke Scott, Trembley has helped turn around a clubhouse that’s been viewed as ”troubled” by a heck of a lot of baseball insiders.
The Orioles still have difficulty with the fundamentals sometimes but, clearly, they play spirited ball and put together late inning rallies in a way not seen in sometime.
RAVENS- John Harbaugh begins his first year as a head coach in the NFL with a team on the decline and SERIOUS locker room issues. The mere fact that the defense “prefers Troy Smith” shows a lack of respect for coaches and upper management. Sure, changes have been made but will it be enough? As for on the field decisions, there’s no way to know. Personally, I feel better about Trembley in the dugout than I do Harbaugh on the sideline.
OWNERSHIP and UPPER MANAGEMENT-
One of these two teams has an owner who keeps showing up in the newspapers or on the radio talking about personnel decisions. He’s “hands on” with a penchant for choosing favorites among the players. And guess what folks? It ain’t Peter Angelos. Haven’t really heard a peep from him while Bisciotti slowly becomes the face of the Ravens.
And what about GMs? Andy MacPhail hasn’t made a bad move yet and has a proven track record with the Twins and Cubs. The Orioles signed Matt Wieters. They pulled off what many would call the steal of the year in shipping off Erik Bedard for Adam Jones and Co. Tejada was sent packing to Houston for quality pitching and a pretty decent power hitter in Luke Scott.
On the other hand, Willis McGahee is damaged, Steve McNair is out of football and several early and mid round Ravens draft picks over the last few years haven’t worked out. Blame whomever you choose but, ultimately, the buck stops with Bisciotti’s pet “Ozzie”. One Winning Drive maybe the nicest facility in all of football, but so what? It’s not what the locker room looks like that matters. It’s who’s sitting on the leather cushioned benches. Which brings us to…
Adam Jones, Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and some talented young pitchers in the minor leagues give the Orioles a youth movement from which to build a winning team. Keep Brian Roberts or trade him for even more talent. It’s a win/win either way. Sign Mark Teixera. Add a shortstop. The Orioles are close.
Now what about the Ravens? Look, I love Ray Rice and Marcus Smith was impressive in training camp. Guys like Haloti Ngata, Antoine Barnes, Nakamura- all will be contributors over the next few years. Joe Flacco might prove to be deserving of the 18 mil he was given. But are we sure? Do you need me to go through the list of 1st round QB busts? Personally, I would’ve liked to see the Ravens grab a stud cornerback, another pass rusher or deep threat wideout in the first round and found a way to grab Chad Henne in the 2nd. They know more than me though, right? This is a team still stuck in 2000. Ray Lewis may be one of the better linebackers in the AFC but could be gone after this year and may not even be worth the effort to keep him. Suggs? Good. Even great at times. Chris McAlister may be entering that period in his career where nagging injuries keep him from being the shut down corner he once was. Oh, and where is Ed Reed? Not on the football field. I’m pretty sure about that.
The Ravens will open the season with, arguably, the worst starting quarterback in the NFL- either Boller or Smith. They have no proven wide receiver, ZERO depth in the secondary and an offensive line that, while promising some hope in the middle, is about two tackles short of being average. I think they’ll do a decent job in run blocking but pass blocking may often times resemble something out of “The Longest Yard”.
So what do you think? In 2010 which Baltimore team becomes the toast of the town? I’m betting on the Birds.