When the choir boys start calling out the minister for a month’s worth of less-than-inspiring Sunday sermons, it’s evident the Church has a major problem.
Once again last night, after another “embarrassing” loss, Brian Roberts let it be known that the stuff the O’s are preaching isn’t worth listening to anymore.
And when the face of your franchise starts publicly wondering when it all might get fixed, there’s trouble in Orange-land.
Roberts said after last night’s 15-8 whacking — “it’s embarrassing” and “I’m tired of it”. Not a lot of “reading between the lines” is necessary there, huh? BRob is frustrated — and with good reason — not only because it’s happening … but because it’s happening AGAIN.
Certain things have transpired in the last month or so that have O’s followers wondering … “Is Brian going to ask for an off-season trade?” In early August when the Red Sox faithful rudely stuffed their way into OPACY, Roberts was the most outspoken of all the O’s saying, “it’s getting old” and “it’s embarrassing to see THEIR players get a standing ovation in OUR stadium.” Losing has been getting old for Roberts as well, but those Yankees and Red Sox series in Baltimore have to take their toll on a guy who has been promised by team execs that it’s going to get better. It’s not only NOT getting better … there’s an argument that it’s actually getting WORSE.
Speaking out publicly against his employer isn’t something Roberts is built to do. He’s a worker bee. He’s a team player. He’s a model citizen. He’s the All-American boy, playing the American game and he’s living the dream we all had when we were 12. But he’s tired of losing. And despite the $14.5 million he’s due to make in ’08 and ’09, he probably trade in half of that money just for the chance to play in the playoffs in one of these next two seasons.
Media members have seen Roberts exit the clubhouse in hasty fashion over the last month or two. It could be mere coincidence, of course. Perhaps his girl wants him home in time to watch the 11 o’clock news with her. Maybe they like to get to Ruth’s Chris before they seat their last table at 11:15. Or maybe, just maybe, BRob merely wants to jet out of there and not have to re-hash another 9-5 loss with the boys on the black couch. In the past, Roberts would routinely leave around the same time the midnight cleaning crew finished up in the locker room. It’s been different this summer — his hair is still wet when he bolts out of the stadium now. Coincidence? Sure … it could be. Frustration? Odds are that’s it.
There’s another thing that could be irking Roberts. He and Chris Gomez were tight. They ARE tight, I should say. And you can’t help but imagine that Roberts got a little bit of the jealousy-flu when Gomez told him he was being shipped off to Cleveland for two months of playoff-caliber baseball in Northern Ohio. BRob has been with the O’s organization since 1999. He’s NEVER, EVER played a baseball game that’s had playoff implications at the major league level. Sad, but true. So how do you think BRob feels when he’s having an espresso with his girl after that 15-8 loss last night and Gomez texts him and says, “Dude, we just won 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th — the place was sold out and every fan in the place was cheering for the INDIANS. This is GREAT STUFF!!” Hint: Roberts loves Gomez. But he probably doesn’t love that kind of message on his cell phone when the O’s are en route to another 90 loss season.
Make no mistake about it, Brian Roberts is the Orioles BEST employee. Period. If they could clone ANY player on their roster, they’d clone BRob and have 25 of him running around with his moppy hair and infectious smile. He’s every team’s dream. He “gets it”. He’s a high quality player, a high-quality human being and our community is better because Brian Roberts is in it.
But, he doesn’t deserve what he’s getting now.
He deserves to win. Or, at the very least, he deserves to have the CHANCE to win.
The O’s have promised him that for a long time. But they’ve failed to deliver on that pledge.
And the more he speaks out, the more you have to think Brian Roberts has said to himself, “enough is enough.”
Wait, he already said that earlier this month when the Boston fans invaded Camden Yards.
Enough IS enough.
If Roberts wants out at season’s end, the Orioles have no one to blame but themselves.
It’s his call, basically.
I have a feeling I know what’s coming.
And really, who can blame him?