I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a head-scratching 20-minutes as I just witnessed at OPACY. It’s sort of appropriate that Camden Yards serves as a train station for the MARC and Light Rail – because this is a full-fledged derailment at the Warehouse.
So many questions, where to start…
I saw Nestor’s blog questioning why Peter Angelos wasn’t on hand. That’s a VERY fair question, of course. Can anyone think for one second that Steve Bisciotti wouldn’t be available if the day ever comes that he has to relieve Brian Billick of his head coaching duties? Of course not. I’m sure, if pressed for an answer – one they’d probably ONLY provide to either CBS Radio or MASN – the O’s would give us some vague explanation about Peter being involved with his law business today…you know the drill…money talks and the rest of it walks, right?
But on to other pressing issues.
The most obvious question – Where on earth was Dave Trembley during this press conference? How could Greg Bader (O’s Director of Communications) orchestrate this – I’m assuming it was his “baby” since he stood right up front alongside Flanagan and Duquette – and NOT have the new interim manager on hand to speak and answer questions? I’m sure they’d say something about the team’s 3pm charter flight to California…well, you tell the players this (and it’s the truth) — “Guys, we’ve just had to fire the manager today in an attempt to get you all to start earning your paychecks, so you might get to San Diego 30 minutes later than planned so that we can introduce the new manager at a 1:00 pm press conference.”
And then, you get Trembley to the press conference. How can they explain NOT having their new manager on hand to talk with the media (and in turn, with the fans) about his new role with the team? Absolutely laughable…
When asked about today’s hiring of Andy MacPhail as the club’s new COO, Flanagan stammered through a not-so-well-rehearsed reply about this being “about Sam and the decision we’ve made” and something else about “not commenting on that at the moment.” All the while, while Mike wasn’t commenting, a flashing news crawl rolled across the bottom of the MASN screen – “The Orioles have hired Andy MacPhail as the team’s new Chief Operating Officer.” Personal edit: Actually, Mike, I don’t blame you on this one. I’d find it a tad embarrassing to be forced to offer a public comment about a guy who clearly will be coming in to help you and your co-GM Jim Duquette run the baseball operations. How many GM types do they need there? As much criticism as people want to levy on Flanagan and Duquette, I have to say it’s extremely tough for two people to do the job of one. The trend-setting “Dual GM” thing that Angelos created a few years back is an invention that didn’t get patented. It’s of no value at this point.
Might it also have been a reasonable idea to have at least ONE player on hand to comment about the change? Even if you don’t want to open a player up to questions-and-answers from the media (fair enough), it might have been good to have – say – Jay Gibbons on hand as one of the team’s longest-standing members to at least make a statement about how disappointed the players are about Sam’s dismissal and how they hope to turn things around out west. It’s not about style, it’s about substance. Since the players are the main reason why the manager got canned, having one on hand to at least appear like he’s willing to take the heat would have been a decent, symbolic gesture.
Speaking of the players, it’s time to play “Catch the Imposters”. I had to play this game back in 1996 when half of my players on the Baltimore Spirit decided they would quit on my coach (Dave MacWilliams) at the midway point of the season. Struggling along at 13-11 and with a mini-mutiny on my hands, I fired Davey Mac after a tough loss in Wichita on a snowy Saturday night. Two weeks later, I watched in amazement as players that previously had no energy, no enthusiasm and no production in the first half of the season suddenly caught fire. Those imposters were easy to pick out. And I suspect the O’s imposters will be easy to spot as well. If you’re wondering which players in the clubhouse had stopped playing for Sam, just check out the next week or two worth of games and see who mysteriously looks transformed…like a new player. “Catch the Imposters” will be more interesting than the games, most likely.
And how exactly should Dave Trembley feel today? He’s the team’s interim manager. Flanagan dodged any and all questions about Trembley’s status saying only…”Dave is going to manage the ballclub.” But shouldn’t Trembley be given some measure of time to see if he’s the tonic for the O’s woes? What if – I know, you’re going to laugh out loud, but bear with me – the O’s go 5-1 on this west coast swing and come home and take 4 of 6 from the Yanks and Angels? What if Trembley’s Birds go 9-3 in his first 12 games?
While Flanagan is telling us that Trembley is the manager, Andy MacPhail is telling someone – who then told ESPN’s Buster Olney – that he wants to bring in Joe Girardi as the O’s new skipper. Gee, just who is doing the hiring down there now? Flanny-Duquette? Or Andy MacPhail?
I ask you again…how is Dave Trembley supposed to handle this? In a weird kind of way, I almost hope the O’s go 6-0 out west and come home to win three straight over the Yankees. Wouldn’t that be typical of the new Orioles way? “We appreciate the job Dave did getting the team back on track with a nine game winning streak, but here’s Andy MacPhail to introduce our new manager, Joe Girardi.”
Can’t you see that happening? I can. It’s the Orioles way. Weird stuff happens to them because they seem to manufacture it out of thin air.
How else can you explain what transpired today?