The O’s need stand-up guys…besides the Manager

May 15, 2007 | Drew Forrester

So in this blog, Sam Perlozzo gets a break.  Not because he doesn’t deserve criticism.  He’s received plenty of that over the last two days.  It’s time to move on and criticize a few others.

At least Perlozzo has formally addressed his managerial decisions of Sunday.  Agree with him or not (and I don’t), you have to give the man credit for talking to the media and providing an explanation for his reasoning behind removing Jeremy Guthrie in the 9th inning of Sunday’s defeat.

But the rest of these cast of characters who have contributed to 9 straight losing seasons need to look at their “skipper” and take a page out of his book.

Yep, it’s time for a few dudes to start being accountable.

Let’s start off with the two most obvious guys, if you read this morning’s edition of The Sun.  When questioned yesterday about Sunday’s debacle and the whispers that Sam Perlozzo’s job might be on the line, Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada both offered the informative and creative “no comment”.  That, as anyone knows, is an indictment of sorts against whomever or whatever you’re actually NOT willing to comment on…it’s gutless, as I said on the air today and it’s also an indication of something else going on these days in the O’s clubhouse.  Too much “Charles St.”…meaning things seem to only go ONE WAY with the ballplayers.

Tejada is a guy who is the highest paid player on the team and should, almost by default, be the guy who rallies the team in times of trouble.  When the press gathered around his locker yesterday and said, “A lot of people back in Baltimore are calling for Sam’s head today, what do you think about that?” here’s what “the team leader” should have said:

“Well, first off, I need to evaluate my own performance this year and despite the fact that my average is good, I certainly haven’t done my part.  I have 50 hits but only 8 of them are for extra-bases and I haven’t been very productive with runners in scoring position.  I had a chance to win a game at home against the A’s a few weeks ago and I swung at the first pitch with the bases loaded and bounced out to end the game.  My defense hasn’t been the best this year either and if not for the fact that the official scorer has a man-crush on me, I’d probably have more like 8 errors instead of the 5 I’ve been charged with.  So before I go talking about the manager’s livelihood, I think I’d rather just focus on what I can do better and if I can lift my game a little bit and some of the other guys can do the same, Sam will be just fine.”

Instead, here’s what Miggy muttered:  “I’d rather not comment on that.”  Thanks a bunch, pal.

And to my surprise, Brian Roberts has swallowed a “no comment pill” as well.  Brian could have easily deflected some of the Perlozzo criticism by reminding the press corps assembled around HIS locker that B-Rob was hitting Nestor’s weight (.145) for the first three weeks of the season and his power numbers are also down, as his overall effectiveness at the plate.  He’s also been involved in one or two costly plays in the field through the first 6 weeks of the season.  In short, Roberts could have simply taken some of the blame by saying, “I haven’t been that good this season, so I’d better worry about improving my play and maybe then when the team starts winning again all of this talk about the Manager being to blame can go away.”

Instead:  “No comment.”

This kind of lack of accountability runs rampant in the entire organization, both on and off the field.

Try asking an O’s official why the word “Baltimore” isn’t on the road jerseys.  You get no answer.  Try asking them why Elrod’s number wasn’t retired in 2006.  Again, no reply.

No one is expecting the players to JUSTIFY what Perlozzo did on Sunday.  After all, that’s not their job.

But their job is to get people out when they’re pitching.  And drive runners in when they’re on base.  And field grounders and pop flys when they’re catchable.  And win games when they’re winnable.

All this “no comment” stuff is, no pun intended, “FOR THE BIRDS”.

It’s time for Tejada, particularly, to “man-up” a little bit and take some of the heat for the four years of losing HE’S been involved in here in Baltimore.

Is Miguel Tejada a leader of men?  Or is he just a very good baseball player who doesn’t understand how to bring people together to fight for the common goal?

I think we’re all starting to find out the answer to that question.