With all due respect to my colleague Drew Forrester, I have a different “conspiracy” theory on the Mark Teixeira chronicles that unfolded in Las Vegas last week and look like they’ll drag on for a few more days. Here’s the most simple, unasked question of the day: “If you were Mark Teixeira, would you sign up to be a Baltimore Oriole circa 2009?”
I mean, honestly, what’s the upside for him? He’s going to get plenty of money wherever he signs and the No. 1 & No. 2 issues for him – besides the money – are “Can I win there?” and most importantly, “What are the odds I’ll be happy there?”
With everyone and their mother now working for Peter G. Angelos Enterprises or sucking milk from the nipple of the baseball franchise, you aren’t going to EVER hear any REAL analysis in the “old media” about what’s happening in the Warehouse on this one. All you’ll hear from everyone from Steve Melewski to Mark Viviano to Bruce Cunningham to Scott Garceau to Roch Kubatko (and I apologize to the other dozen on the payroll who I’ve left off the list) is this: “The Orioles offered him a LOT of money. He just took the most money and signed with (Bostom Anaheim, Washington, etc.)!”
And Drew – or any of the others — can paint him as a “phony” or a “bad guy” if he wants to and so can you. (For the record I’ve never met or spoken with Teixeira and I’ve honestly never heard anything particularly glowing about his personality or local charm. I don’t think his personality will be selling them tickets. Let’s not expect him to be Cal Ripken is all I’m saying…)
But if Mark Teixeira were my son, I don’t know what I could possibly say positively as a parent (or even an agent) about why he should take a “hometown discount” to come play for the lowly Orioles who have wrecked the franchise over the past dozen years and would fully expect him to be the savior to fix it.
Yeah, maybe Teixeira USED to dream about playing in Camden Yards. Didn’t we all? But that was when it was full and fun and the team woke up on Opening Day with a legitimate chance to win. If you were Mark Teixeira, you’d probably be much more intrigued by an opportunity to spend the next decade in Boston where the stadium is full, the energy is like “real” Major League Baseball and where everyday you’d perform with something on the line. Why does Teixeria want to be standing at first base with an orange cap next spring when he’ll be getting jeered at his own hometown stadium by Red Sox and Yankees fans 20 times?
All of the stuff that made the Orioles enviable 15 years ago when Texeira was a kid no longer exist because of the reign of terror of this ownership group.
That’s why Mike Mussina left. And that’s why no top-tier free agent outside of Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez has even thought about coming here to play. And honestly, what besides Andy McPhail being charming and convincing to all of his co-workers in the media has changed here since 1999?
The team still sucks. The team has plenty of money that it’s refusing to truly spend to bring a winner here. The team still must compete with New York and Boston (and Tampa Bay now) annually. The stadium here is more empty than it’s ever been. And if you think the team’s human resources department has championed “togetherness” and fairness amongst its employees/players, just go ask Brian Roberts or Nick Markakis how it’s been to be an Oriole lately in negotiations. Angelos fights with his best players. It’s not a pattern, it’s a way of life.
So – in your wildest orange fantasyland — if Teixeira DID turn down the extra $30 or $40 million Boston is offering and come “home” to Birdland, what expectations would be placed on him to make this moribund franchise a contender again? He’d instantly become the face of a franchise known for perennial losing. He’d be dubbed “the savior” by the Orioles’ own employees in the media. For $150 million, he’d BETTER be, right?
Sure, as an Oriole he’d be a hometown hero to all of the Baltimore types like you and me for a little while, but then the season would start and as far as I can tell Teixeira is only going to bat four or five times a night and I’m assuming he’d be a lousy pitcher. This franchise isn’t close to being an annual contender for Tampa Bay at this point, let alone Boston and New York.
Really…think about it…what’s the upside for Teixeira to come back and be a part of this mess when he can go win in Boston or Anaheim and make MORE money?
If he were YOUR son, what would you tell him to do? (And Dave Johnson, who also works for Mr. Angelos, is off the hook to answer this one! Maybe one day he’ll have to make that decision himself.)
If you want a “Nestor conspiracy,” try this one:
My bet is that the Orioles are NOT serious – as usual – and just threw a number big enough number out to the media and the “sources” to look like they did their best so they can come back to what’s left of the fan base here in Baltimore and say “we gave it the college effort…we offered him $140 million!” It smells like their twisted attempt to win some “credibility” PR by “bidding” on Teixeira. (Two weeks ago, McPhail was telling everyone they really weren’t all that interested in Teixeira. They went from uninterested to “let’s give him $150 million”? I’m just saying…)
The late, great Syd Thrift has long left the Orioles and has left our planet. His words were still the most prophetic in all of the “new era” of Baltimore baseball history: “Confederate money.”
Do you think there’s any way Scott Boras is going to direct Teixeira to Baltimore for a discount?
<a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/hkzu9t4ae9″ rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>