You Spend The Money …..

February 20, 2009 |

I’ve been hanging around ‘NST for the better part of two years.  It’s not a lifetime – but it hasn’t been a few weeks, either.


In my time here, I’ve blogged about an array of topics, and the Orioles have received their fair share of attention.  I’d estimate that my blogs have primarily been critical of the club, with fewer complimentary pieces sprinkled within.


I don’t drink the orange kool-aid and I know it.  But, I’m obliged to give the Orioles a benefit of any doubt, especially when it comes to Andy MacPhail’s plan for returning the franchise to an era of contention.


Has Andy made any promises?  Did he guarantee a drunken spending spree at the recent winter meetings?  Does he have a history of reckless expenditures during previous stops, in Minnesota and Chicago?  These are fair questions …..


A groundswell of supporters seem to be hellbent on spending the MASN fortune.  Why?  Will it make you feel better if the Orioles become an “average” team by luring in free agents who have seen their better days?


It’s arguable to suggest Mark Teixeira will not replicate his numbers of a few years ago.  And, he was the most promising free agent available during the recent off-season.  Other names the Orioles bypassed were Jon Garland, Orlando Hudson, Richie Sexson, Derek Lowe, Garret Anderson, Paul Byrd, Manny Ramirez, John Schmoltz, Tom Glavine and Ivan Rodriguez.


With the exception of Manny, would any of the above listed players make a distinct difference with this club?  The answer is NO.  However, each of these players would have cost millions ….. and a few would have cost many millions.  It’s a waste of financial resources.


I wanna root for a contending Orioles team just as much as the next guy.  But, marching Jon Garland, Derek Lowe or Braden Looper to the mound for as much $200,000 per start, is ridiculous.  And, it’s INSANE if the main objective is to eat innings.


Guys who gobble up frames can come cheaper ….. and saving money is hardly ever a bad thing.  Yeah, Koji Uehara is making roughly the same amount as Garland and Looper.  But, he’ll fill that press box everyday.  And, as they’ve said for ages ….. there’s no such thing as bad publicity.


But, lets talk some money, shall we?  I think we can all agree the Birds fudge their attendance figures.  So, do you think the 8,000 people showing up on a Wednesday, in August, are paying the overhead costs for opening the gates to the joint?  Not a chance.


I’m not excusing the Orioles for being in the VERY spot they’re in.  However, nothing jades me like hearing “spend the money, you got it.”  And, my skin crawls with “you promised to spend more money.”


Yeah, maybe they did, in an indirect way.  But, haven’t things changed economically in this country, throughout the past couple years.  Nobody and I mean NOBODY is immune to the financial woes impacting all of us.


Funny, as fans and observers of the game, we expect the current economic crisis to eventually show up on the doorsteps of these multimillion dollar athletes.  And, it has ….. go ask Jon Garland or Orlando Hudson.


Yet, people don’t seem to think these hard times have seeped under the doors at 333 West Camden Street.  Yeah, I know ….. “Joe Homeowner” is allowed to have problems. Banks, auto manufacturers, airlines and utility companies can struggle, too.  But, that damned baseball team better spend their money, right?


Gimme a break …..


Regardless of whatever the Orioles insinuated a few years ago, all bets are off.  Things have changed in this country, and that’s a painful fact.  The crowds at the ballpark aren’t paying the bills, and you can bet on that one.


But, I’ll play the “pie in the sky” game.  Imagine the economy wasn’t bad and the Orioles really were averaging 25,000 fans every night.  Further imagine the Orioles MASN vault was overflowing with cash.  Heck, maybe it is …..


But, TELL ME ….. where would you spend the money?  Would you have outbid the Yankees for Teixeira?  He’s getting $22.5 million, per year, from them.  Trust me, he wouldn’t take $25 million from us.  So, would you give him $30 million, per year?


Derek Lowe got $15 million, per year, from the Braves.  Would you give him $18-$20 million to come here?  Remember the Orioles gotta overpay – just look at the new LUDICROUS Brian Roberts deal.


While we’re at it, let’s give Jon Garland his $10 million, per year, to pitch for the O’s.  He’s getting $7+ to pitch in Arizona.  It’ll take more to get him here.  Besides, there’s plenty of MASN money in the vault, right?


So, as a recap, the Orioles could’ve committed $60 million, per year, to Teixeira, Lowe and Garland.  That would have put them on the Red Sox heels, in total payroll.  Would the Orioles win with those 3 guys?  Don’t kid yourself …..


I’m a guy who knows the Orioles are cheap.  They offered me a job – that demanded my management experience and educational background.  And, they were gonna pay me 10 bucks, per hour.  Lucky me !!!!


Still, I’m not beating up on them for holding back in this economy – especially with the class of free agents they bypassed.  It was the right thing to do …..


Renovation projects take longer than 19 months.  And, recovering from this recession or whatever you wanna call it, will take longer ……