As the Ravens wrap up what is widely considered another successful draft we hear the familiar terminology filling the airwaves and Internet; “best player available”, “tremendous value pick”, “plays like a Raven”, etc. The Ravens do things the right way. They place a premium on scouting and player development, they typically shy away from big name free agent splashes preferring to rely on in house options, and they pride themselves on front office stability. In essence, the Baltimore Ravens are everything the Orioles used to be, and everything we desperately want them to be again.
When the story about Peter Angelos shunning Cal Ripken’s desire to join the O’s front office broke last week there was an outcry around Baltimore. Much of the discontent centered on Angelos’ continued arrogance and apparent refusal to make the right decisions, even when they’re teed up for him. Cal is symbolic of “The Oriole Way”, an organizational philosophy based on fundamentally sound play, scouting and player development, and the belief that teams are developed not bought.
The Orioles abandoned “The Oriole Way” long before their 13 straight losing seasons, but this year’s team is a special kind of terrible with no apparent concept of baseball’s most basic fundamentals. What comes to mind if I say someone “plays like an Oriole”? Dropped popups, poor plate discipline, atrocious base-running, all of the above? As the Ravens have built a consistent contender preaching the gospel of what we once knew as “The Oriole Way”, the 2010 Orioles bear no resemblance to the once proud organization that first put the philosophy into practice. The present day Oriole Way seems to put a premium on maximizing profits at the expense of on field success, relying on mid-level free agents rather than developing talent or attracting premium talent, and changing front office and managerial personnel at a dizzying pace. It’s time the Orioles take a hard look across the parking lot and begin adopting “The Raven Way”.