Tag Archive | "andy macphail"

Season’s been over for a week, and still not a peep from the Warehouse

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Season’s been over for a week, and still not a peep from the Warehouse

Posted on 06 October 2011 by Peter Dilutis

So here we are on October 6th.

The Diamondbacks and Brewers are battling it out in the ALDS as I type.

Teams like the Marlins and Red Sox who are not in the postseason are already making moves directed towards making their teams better in 2012.

And the Orioles? Well, their season has been finished now for over a week, and we have yet to hear a peep from anyone in the organization.

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Last Wednesday I sat at Camden Yards and wrote about how Buck Showalter as the Orioles’ new general manager would excite me. Showalter also made it very clear last week that he expected a resolution with regards to an organizational shakeup very quickly. In fact, he indicated last Thursday, September 29th, as the day that we would likely get word.

So let’s get this straight. Everyone in the state of Maryland knew that Andy MacPhail had no desire to remain in the Orioles organization. Buck Showalter indicated an announcement would come on September 29th.

Yet it’s October 6th, and where’s Andy? Where’s Buck? Where’s an official release?

The Orioles have known since their collapse began in late June that they would be sitting at home come September 29th. They’ve had all summer to decide what they were going to do when the offseason came.

Compare that to the Red Sox who were pencilled into the postseason up until the final minutes of the regular season, and it took them all of 48 hours to make a decision regarding Terry Francona.

It is little things like this that cause people to sour on the Orioles and to see them for what they are. No other team would go through a period like this, much less a team that has had the better part of three months to ponder their offseason decisions.

So what is the hold-up? What’s the explanation?

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Peter Angelos is trying to convince MacPhail to stay. If there was any realistic chance of MacPhail sticking around a week ago, Buck wouldn’t have been so frank about the changes that he saw forthcoming.

Now, a week later, and no changes. No announcements. No nothing.

Other teams are either playing in the postseason or making strides towards next season. At the same time, the Orioles do not know who their general manager or manager will be.

It feels like I’m saying the same thing over and over but it’s becoming so absurd I don’t know what else to even say about the situation.

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What’s the hold-up with Orioles front office? MacPhail? Or could it be Showalter?

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Drew Forrester

October 5 has arrived and the Orioles, not surprisingly, are still plodding along without any formal announcement on the structure of their front office heading into the 2011-2012 off-season.

I know how it goes at the Warehouse.

Turtles move faster.

But there’s something going on over there — or, perhaps NOTHING at all going on over there.

It depends on whom or what you believe.  And what your gut tells you.

Here’s what I think.

First, let me reiterate what I said all the way back in early July.  It was then that I contended that Andy MacPhail wouldn’t return in 2012.  I suspected that Buck Showalter, frustrated at a number of things within the organization that have impeded the team’s progress both at the major league and minor league levels, would move into some sort of upper management position for 2012 and beyond.  I figured Buck would either try to double-dip and manage the club while being the team’s GM or perhaps he’d hand the managerial duties over to Willie Randolph.  Either way, I figured it was a near certainty that MacPhail wouldn’t return in 2012 and that Buck would INCREASE, not decrease, his duties somehow.

I kept asking the question:  Why would MacPhail come back?  What’s in it for him?

Other than a salary, why would Andy MacPhail return to the everyday grind of working for the Orioles?

He knows now, having seen it in hi-def for 55 months or so, that the team can’t win in the American League East.  They’re not BUILT to win in the American League East.  They’re not willing to operate in a manner necessary to compete in the American League East.  Surely Andy knows that, as he’s been one of the reasons why those limitations have been so obvious over the last 4+ seasons.

So why would he come back?

My answer:  He isn’t coming back.

Two weeks ago, I went on the air and offered another possible scenario, coming from a source directly associated with Showalter and the club who assured me that it might be Buck who wasn’t so sure he wanted to return in 2012.

“Some things will have to change for Buck to come back,” the source told me.  ”He’ll need certain assurances that his voice will be more respected.  He’s been disappointed in some of the promises that were made to him and were never followed through on.”

I talked about that on the air two weeks ago…that Showalter might not be a slam-dunk to return in 2012.

Today, I’m still hearing that.

“Buck wants to see this through, but he needs 100% assurance that when he’s told something’s going to happen that it winds up happening that way.”

There have been some reports this week from several local journalists who cover the team — and to be fair, they aren’t really REPORTS per-se, it’s more like “simple speculation” – that perhaps Andy MacPhail might actually return for the 2012 season.

I’d be surprised if Andy returned.  I ask again:  Why on earth WOULD he?

I’ve heard the Orioles would be interested in talking with former team exec Scott Proefrock (currently with the Phillies) about assuming MacPhail’s position and that Andy would serve as a consultant until the season started next April and he was able to turn Proefrock loose on his own.  Proefrock worked briefly under MacPhail in Baltimore and the two have respect for one another that could make that sort of transition-process go smoothly.

All of this, though, needs Buck’s approval.

I don’t know what to make of it all, because in typical Orioles fashion, the season has been over for one week now and not a word has been uttered by the club about the future of the organization.

The Red Sox were eliminated last Wednesday night and by Friday they were looking for a new manager.

But we’re used to it here in Baltimore…the feet dragging, the pedestrian pace, the maddening, methodical decision making process that always takes much longer than it should.

The key player in this remains Showalter.

MacPhail, naturally, could create quite an interesting scenario if he simply decided to return for at least one more year and Buck would continue in his role as the field manager and nothing more.

I don’t think that’s what Buck wants.

In fact, I’m quite certain it’s not what he wants.

And I don’t REALLY think it’s what MacPhail wants.

He knows the truth.

He tried to change the culture in Baltimore since June of 2007 and it didn’t work.

Why press on now, knowing what he knows?

Buck, meanwhile, wants the opportunity to fix the club.

As usual, though, confusion reigns supreme.

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Just when I was completely down on the O’s, thoughts of Buck as GM are bringing me back

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Just when I was completely down on the O’s, thoughts of Buck as GM are bringing me back

Posted on 27 September 2011 by Peter Dilutis

So we’ve all heard the rumors swirling around about Buck Showalter possibly becoming the new general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, perhaps by the end of the week.

Andy MacPhail is clearly not coming back to Birdland, and it has become increasingly obvious that the relationship between Showalter and Peter Angelos has developed in recent months. The consensus is that Buck has Peter’s ear, even if Big Pete is a little hard of hearing these days.

Most of the reaction that I’ve read and heard over the past few weeks regarding Buck as general manager (not that there has been much talk with the Ravens’ season underway) has been lukewarm at best.

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Browsing Orioles Hangout tonight, many prominent posters think Buck as GM would be a disaster. After all, he has no experience as the head man in the front office, even if he did play an instrumental part in building the Diamondbacks from expansion team to World Series champions in just four years.

But as an Orioles fan, I’d be excited about Buck Showalter hobbling on his injured ankle up the Camden Yards staircase into the front office. Here’s why…

I’ve had the chance to be around Buck Showalter for over a year now. While I do not cover the team on a regular basis as I did upon his arrival, I have certainly attended my fair share of pre and post game Showalter press conferences. And in addition, I’ve been around Buck in relaxed environments; off the record when he’s just shooting the breeze with the media, not worried about cameras or recorders picking up on his…well, honesty.

And if I’ve learned nothing else about Buck Showalter (and I’ve learned a lot about him and from him), I am sure of one thing.

Buck is a VERY smart and realistic man, and he desperately wants to win and compete for championships.

And here’s something that I didn’t have to learn about Buck Showalter: Buck doesn’t need the Orioles. His reputation is intact as a very good baseball man who has had success everywhere he’s gone. If he ends up not turning the Orioles around, the intelligent baseball people will point to the Orioles, not Buck.

So why would a man that desperately wants to win and who has made plenty of money in his career as a manager stick around a laughing stock of an organization if he felt things were going to remain status quo?

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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 14 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Power Rankings…

32. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 25)

They lost to the Jags. They can’t be any good.

31. Cleveland Browns (LW: 26)

Just having a respected GM doesn’t make you a team “moving in the right direction.” See Orioles & Andy MacPhail.

30. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 23)

They lost to the Niners. They have no quarterback. Why did Sidney Rice and Zach Miller go here?

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 30)

I know they won. I just don’t really buy into the idea that they can keep winning with Luke McCown.

28. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 22)

It MIGHT just be over for Donovan McNabb. If so, the Vikes are done.

27. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 31)

The Niners DID win, but they beat the Seahawks-who I don’t think much of. Brian Billick thinks the NFC West is a “sh*tty” division. I agree with him.

26. Denver Broncos (LW: 20)

Fans in Miami were clamoring for Kyle Orton. My question…”why?”

25. Miami Dolphins (LW: 21)

Things are so bad at running back for the Fins they brought in Brian Westbrook for a tryout. Not good.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 27)

They can’t be the worst team in the NFL. They have a decent (to solid) defense. The Andy Dalton/Bruce Gradkowski train at QB will make sure they don’t win many games though.

23. Carolina Panthers (LW: 29)

Yes, the Panthers lost and I moved them up six spots. QB was their biggest issue. Cam Newton appears to have addressed that. They’ll win a few games this season, but the NFC South is still too much.

22. St. Louis Rams (LW: 17)

The injuries are going to hurt them, but probably won’t kill them in that division.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 16)

I’ve tried telling you this team is fraudulent. My gut tells me they’re more of a lower third level team in the NFL.

20. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 11)

Rumor has it the governor of Indiana is trying to figure out how to declare a state of emergency related to the quarterback position.

19. Washington Redskins (LW: 28)

I’m not buying into Rex Grossman AT ALL, but it was a good win for the Skins. We’ll see if they get many more.

18. New York Giants (LW: 13)

I didn’t like the Giants a whole lot before Sunday. Sunday didn’t help.

17. Oakland Raiders (LW: 32)

I’m going to regret moving them this far up, I just know it.

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Now it’s time to say good bye..

Posted on 07 September 2011 by Keith Melchior

to one of the Orioles fam il eee…. B R I A N M….A T U S Zeeeeee.  (Sung to the tune of the Mickey Mouse club closing song)

Sad but true…

Brian Matusz, one of those fabled young arms that was going to lead the Orioles to the promised land in the 2010-2020 era, needs to be sent packing. Plain and simple. Thanks, but no thanks, clean out your locker, pack your bags,  and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.  Your time here is done, kid. We can’t afford to throw you out there every 5th day and watch you get lit up like a roman candle on the 4th of July.  Go fix yourself and if you can hook up with another team, best of luck to you.

The numbers speak for themselves. The pitcher, who led the charge of Buck Showalter’s 34-23 finish to 2010 and gave the team and fans so much promise to finally get over the top in 2011,  got himself hurt in spring training and lost it, all of it. He had 1 decent outing when he returned against a weak hitting Oakland A’s team. If you can call 5 1/3 innings, with 95 pitches decent. It seems like none of the Oriole starters can get into the 7th inning on a consistent basis, so 5 1/3 on this team is a quality start. Since then, Matusz has gone something like 0-8 with an ERA close to the cost of a beer at M&T Bank Stadium.

But he’s not the only one who needs a change of scenery….

Vladimir Guerrero -  Had the Orioles gotten him 8 years ago, they may have been able to make a few playoff runs. But that was when Vlad was a feared hitter and RBI machine. Now, he’s at the very end of his career and just hanging on for a paycheck. His lack of production proves it.

Jeremy Guthrie  – Yeah, the guy pitches his ass off. Yeah, he’s been on bad teams. Yeah, he’s not a true #1 starter.  BUT he  cannot win baseball games in Baltimore.  Jim Palmer was saying last night Guthrie will probably get to the 200 inning plateau within 4 more starts. That’s great Jim, but he is not even going to win 10 games this season.  So, he eats up innings, so did Russ Ortiz      (Ortiz probably ate BETWEEN innings)  but Guthrie’s not a winner. Don’t pass around that BS about lack of run support. He’s hurt this team early and often on numerous occasions and has given up an average of 29 HR per season. In 2011 he’s won 1 game a month. For the 2nd time in 3 years, he leads the league is losses (17 in 2009, 17 thus far in 2011)  He’s 32 years old has a career record of 44-65.  He has averaged barely 9 wins per season over his 5 years in Baltimore. He’s NOT going to get better.   Thanks, but no thanks.  Time to go.  Catch on to another team and win 20 games and a Cy Young award.  Best wishes.

Mark Reynolds -   This guy is the classic Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde type player.  Reynolds as a 3rd baseman STINKS.  He has an .897 fielding % to go along with his 26 errors and is the worst for 3rd basemen in team history. He is so bad at 3rd base he makes Craig Worthington, Rick Schu,  and Wayne Gross look like they were reincarnations of Brooks Robinson.  Now, Reynolds the 1st baseman is totally refreshing with no errors in 26 games and has made quite a few spectacular plays. The team really needs to make a decision on whether Reynolds is going to be their future 1st baseman. He is a major liability at 3rd. His HR production doesn’t offset the multi-strikeout games and the cast iron in his glove. First base or bust.

Luke Scott – a selfish baseball player if I ever saw one. Scott is nothing but a streaky hitter which means he is inconsistent at best. He felt the curse of being the Oriole MVP in 2010 by having issues with the  labrum in his right arm/shoulder area. He stupidly tried to play through the pain and shame on the organization for even allowing it.  His lack of production hurt a team fighting for mediocrity. It came at a time where they really needed to win baseball games to help build the confidence of their young pitching staff. Losing became  contagious and  Scott ends up on the DL.  Luke Scott is a liability in left field anyway, and was taking at-bats away from guys like Felix Pie (who never got it going, then was sent packing)  and Nolan Reimold (who has produced more with less chances) Scott should have been traded after last year’s success when he had value. Now they are stuck with him. Unless he is going to be the full time DH, there isn’t a spot for him on the team.

Kevin Gregg – Closers are a dime a dozen. Just ask Mike Gonzalez and Koji Uehara. They both did it and look what happened to them. If you pitch well and are any good , you might get traded to a team that can use your talents for a playoff run. If you aren’t any good, you become the Orioles’ closer.

Brian Roberts – The Orioles dumped Jerry Hairston Jr because he was “injury prone”  Brian Roberts happened to be the guy who replaced Hairston. Look what has happened to Roberts over the last 2 seasons… You’d like to see him return next season and repeat his 2008/2009 seasons. But wasn’t that about the time he admitted taking a PHD? Hmmmm…I think it’s time to start grooming a new 2nd baseman and quickly.

Andy MacPhail -  It was reported that MacPhail wouldn’t be returning as the Orioles GM or whatever lame title they gave him. I was not a MacPhail fan before and he surely hasn’t done anything with this club to make me a fan now.  Why people gave him a pass is beyond me. He was the GM in Minnesota from 1985-1994 and the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and again 1991 under his watch. He joined the Cubs as CEO/President in 1995 and was with them until 2006. He also served as the GM from 2000-2002.  The Cubs did nothing under MacPhail the  GM, but they did win the division in 2003 after he returned to his full time duties as President and CEO.   With MacPhail in control, his teams went to the playoffs a total of 4 times in 21 years with 2 World Series titles.  So, please  help me understand why this guy is supposed to walk on water?  He came to Baltimore with his BS rebuilding plan in 2007 and here it is 4 1/2 seasons later and the organization has gotten progressively worse averaging about 94 losses the last 5 seasons.   Whether his hands have been tied by the owner or not,  I say good riddance.

Last but not least…..

Two other guys who need to be sent packing as well;

Joe Angel and Fred Manfra – These two have to be the worst team of announcers in any sport, period.  Angel constantly using his phony accent trying to pronounce a Latin player’s name as well as his ending statement “the Orioles are in the ____ column” and Manfra saying a player’s name over and over and over and over and over again during a single at-bat makes for a pretty BAD radio broadcast. Angel has always been a Jon Miller wannabe. Manfra is a “I wish I was.”  These two have had to endure the stretch of losing seasons and it shows in their play by play. Their shtick is as old and crusty as they are and it’s time for them to retire. As much as I love the Orioles, I really hate listening to them on the radio while in the car.  It’s just plain bad.

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So an Oriole walks into a bar…yes the Orioles have become a joke

Posted on 21 August 2011 by Tom Clayton

 Well the Orioles are finally on track…..on track to lose 100 games.  They have reached this once impossible feat after a terrible loss last night in which the Orioles “closer” blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the 12th; granted he wasn’t helped by the terrible defense behind him.  After the loss I jumped on to Facebook to see the outrage of Oriole fans after what can only be described as an appalling  loss and low and behold…not one post.  None, I mean a few months ago fans were ranting and raving that the team was awful, and Kevin Gregg was the antichrist but now the critics are silent and the fans have given up.  I have always found it fun to follow the reactions of Oriole fans on social media because I see such varied and passionate opinions but this “team” has sucked all of the fight and passion from everyone.

Let’s be honest the Orioles are a joke, and I mean that literally.  I remember watching SportsCenter and hearing the anchor say, “And we go to the highlights of the Blue Jays and Orioles….the Orioles are still in the majors?”  And then no less than twenty minutes later on ESPN News as they showed Mark Reynolds crush a homer into a completely empty second deck the anchor proclaimed, “plenty of good seats remain in Baltimore” and after a little girl came running into frame to grab the ball he continued, “Oh the Orioles still have a fan left”.  This is how the national media views the Orioles, we are a joke that doesn’t receive nor deserves any respect.

As I sit here and watch the Orioles boot the ball all around Anaheim and see Felix Pie rolling around in the outfield like one of the Keystone Cops I wonder, why do I put myself through this anymore?  Why would someone allow themselves to be punched in the stomach on a daily basis for a team that couldn’t give a damn about them?  And the sad answer is I don’t know anymore.

I look at Andy McPhail’s philosophy of “grow the arms and buy the bats” and I think, at least sticking to his flawed plan.  Maybe the plan would work in a functional organization but when you have a HORRIBLE scouting department that routinely misses on top draft picks and never finds a diamond in the rough in later rounds how can you possible grow the arms?  The arms that Andy and company have grown are quite simply not working out….take a look at the young cavalry of arms and their statistics heading into today’s game.

Brian Matusz – 1-5 8.63 ERA with a WHIP of 1.92 and an opponent batting average of .350.  Matusz’ WHIP of 1.92 means that ON AVERAGE he is allowing nearly two base runners per inning.

Jake Arrieta – 10-8 with a 5.22 ERA; sadly Arrieta is the only Orioles starter with a winning record even with and ERA well over 5.

Chris Tillman – 3-5 with a 5.52 ERA; Tillman was considered one of the top prospects in baseball two years ago now after working with Orioles instructors he is considered another in a long line of busts.

Zach Britton – 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA; honestly Zach pitched really well in the opening month of the season and looked like a potential Rookie of the Year candidate then the league caught up with him and he did nothing to make adjustments.

The Orioles pitchers seem to not only continue to fail they are shipped back and forth to the minors on a daily basis; in fact every one of these young arms has been sent back down to the minors except for Arrieta who is out for the season.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I turned on the Orioles pregame show and didn’t hear about a pending move or a player being sent back down to the minors.  The Orioles need to be honest with themselves and understand this team is going nowhere and nobody cares about anything they do anymore so why not let these pitchers stay in the rotation and let them try and make the adjustments needed heading into next season?

The Orioles are a team that is in a major need of a complete overhaul starting from the top on down; this rebuilding process didn’t work as the foundation has crumbled around it.  I think the organization needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and at the 40,000 empty seats in the stadium and make a tough decision.  Either blow this thing up COMPLETELY or continue to be a joke among major league baseball. 

 

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The Sum Of All Fears

Posted on 17 August 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

I had a terrible thought the other day. After reading all about Carlos Zambrano’s latest meltdown and the talk of the Cubs looking for a way to unload him without paying him the rest of his ridiculous contract, it hit me. Could we see Zambrano in an Orioles uniform in the near future? It was one of those random epiphanies that just jumps into your head and takes you by surprise. But the more I think about it, the more afraid I get that it might actually happen.

During the tenure of Andy MacPhail and a little before that, the Orioles have had a peculiar habit of snapping up the Cubs’ rejects; Sammy Sosa, Rich Hill, Felix Pie, Derrek Lee. All of them were guys that MacPhail handled while he was running the Cubs, and all (except Sosa, who came here before Andy did) were supposedly proven major league material he brought here to make the Orioles better. NONE OF THEM even came close to meeting that expectation. Granted, the ex-Cubs wing is only a part of the Orioles Rest & Retirement Home For Aged Transient Big-Name Free Agents, but I digress. MacPhail’s track record when bringing in players from teams he worked with previously has been nothing short of disasterous. And having observed Zambrano firsthand while running the Cubs, would he be more likely to take a chance on him if the oppurtunity presented itself?  

Carlos Zambrano is the Terrell Owens of baseball; there’s no question that he has a lot of talent, but it is eclipsed by his inability to control his temper and get along with his teammates. But if the Cubs do indeed cut him loose, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll never pitch in the majors again at just 30 years of age. Could he be the next household name that the front office signs in their continuing attempt to convince us fans that they’re trying to win? Make no mistake, Zambrano is a bull in a china shop much like Albert Belle was. And for some reason, I have a very clear picture in my head of Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey sitting behind the desk and explaining why this is a tremendous pickup for the Orioles and just what they need to start turning things around. King Peter’s propaganda machine rivals that of Fidel Castro.

Maybe I’m completely off my rocker on this one, and maybe I’m not. What do you think? Comments and discussion are much appreciated.

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Our Orioles aren’t very good, but let’s not take Baltimore baseball for granted

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Our Orioles aren’t very good, but let’s not take Baltimore baseball for granted

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

Sometimes I feel like a seesaw when I discuss the Orioles on the air at WNST 1570 or write about them right here on WNST.net.

I say that because I don’t think everything about the Orioles is screwed up. I liked the offseason acquisitions of J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds. I feel that Andy MacPhail’s general strategy of not going after free agent pitchers is a good one. Not committing long-term deals to mediocre aging players has been a welcome change under the Andy MacPhail reign.

In one breath (or a few), I can point out those positives; at least they are positives in MY opinion. But in the next breath, I have witnessed firsthand what a losing Orioles organization does to the city of Baltimore. Restaurant and bar owners who make their livings and feed their families based off people caring about the Orioles legitimately struggle throughout the summer months in Charm City.

There isn’t any interest downtown. Gosh, half of the restaurants and bars don’t even put the Orioles game on the biggest television or as the featured game. It’s gotten that bad.

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So no, I don’t think that every single move the Orioles make is wrong. Yes, I think Andy MacPhail has done some very good things in Baltimore.

But I do believe in and agree with the notion that right now, and for the past several years, the Orioles have been a complete embarrassment and disservice to the city of Baltimore.

That’s why I feel like I’m riding a seesaw at times. Sometimes I’m up on a move or game or player, but I’m always down on the entire organization and concept that is the Baltimore Orioles.

However, as bad as the Orioles are, and as much as we all like to get on them and poke fun at the fact that no one cares or watches the games come August and September, we as Baltimore sports fans need to watch ourselves. We cannot get carried away to the point where we start to question whether we want baseball in Baltimore. Simply put, we cannot take Orioles baseball for granted.

Thyrl and Glenn raised an interesting question this afternoon. I’ll let you read it for yourself.

: Would you send the  away for 13 seasons if you were promised they’d return and be as competitive/classy as the ?

Now, I understand that posing this question in no way implies that Thyrl and/or Glenn would send the O’s away for 13 seasons if they could. In fact, they both pretty much agreed that they could never do such a thing.

But just the fact that the question was brought up, aside from it being good radio and a good way to engage WNST listeners and followers, is alarming to me.

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

Posted on 09 August 2011 by Rex Snider

When I reflect back on the final days of March and all the optimism that surrounded this 2011 edition of the Orioles, I come to one distinct conclusion:

ALL OF US WERE SNOOKERED ….

And, this includes every single soul who follows, loves and ultimately believes the beleaguered franchise will eventually improve.  On such a list, fans, media members and anyone with a related interest in the ballclub are all heaped together.

Not a single one of my brethren thought this team would be WORSE than last year’s product ….

Not a single listener called me and voiced a pessimistic view of the season, especially with Buck Showalter at the helm for a full 162 games ….

Indeed, we consumed and digested the potion pitched by Buck’s birds over the final couple months of 2010.  We chose to rally behind the Showalter energy, especially with the visual reminders on billboards around town and the corny commercials courtesy of MASN.

All of us were fooled, because we chose to believe our hearts.  And, to be quite honest, we chose to ignore the very basics of baseball; pitching is the root of winning at this very highest level of the game.

A year ago, today …. on August 9th, 2010, the Orioles rattled off their sixth victory in seven attempts under the guidance of a newly appointed Showalter.  Under his tutelage, they displayed a renewed vigor and devotion to the basics of winning baseball.

Today, the team is reeling.  They’ve lost eight of the last ten contests and it seems as if they invent ways of squandering leads and outcomes, just as they did last night.  Of course, this dilemma is compounded by a current starting corps of pitching that might be the most dismal witnessed in years.

And, this is exactly where ALL OF US took the bait and fooled ourselves in the context of conventional wisdom and history’s teachings, if nothing else …..

It’s easy to sit back and blame Vlad Guerrero for not living up to expectations.  Say what you will, he’s not the primary problem.  Vlad is hitting a disappointing .274, with 9 homers and 15 doubles, but the problems run much deeper than a lackluster effort from the designated hitter.

Yes, you can defer any blame headed Mark Reynolds’ way, as well.  He’s hitting .219, with 26 homers and a peutrid 26 errors.  But, he too, is not part of the root problem with this Orioles team.

The blunt truth is Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter gambled the entire house on a young, inexperienced pitching staff ….

.

.

Prior to the start of this 2011 season, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman owned a combined 41 big league starts.  And, Britton claimed none of those numbers.  Yet, each of these young pitchers had a spot in the rotation to start the season.

Of course, Britton’s inclusion was necessitated by an injury to Brian Matusz – which surfaced just hours before the season opener. 

Yes, this is the same Brian Matusz who has not returned to his 2010 form.  Heck, he probably hasn’t found a repertoire consistent to 2008, when he starred in the rotation at the University of San Diego.

As for the others, we know where they’re hanging their hats these days …..

Jake Arrieta is done for the season, due to injury.

Zach Britton also finds himself on the disabled list.

And, Chris Tillman is in the current rotation, because there isn’t a body to challenge for the spot.

In vivid honesty, MacPhail obviously overestimated the durability and overall readiness of the organization’s young pitching prospects – and we bought in !!!!

Call it blind faith or a belief in what Buck Showlater produced in last season’s abbreviated window …. or a hope that things couldn’t get much worse.  But, just like the Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations, we too, overrated the inexperienced and largely untested pitching prospects.

Following last night’s loss, the Orioles find themselves at 44-68, which is just 6.5 games ahead of last year’s team.  And, remember that’s a team that mounted a 28-22 record over its fnal 50 games.

This current edition of the Orioles also has 50 games remaining.  They’re a team that has lost 9 out of 12, as well as 27 of its last 36 contests.  The starting pitching staff bears one name that would merit a spot in most rotations around the game.

They need to win 20 of the final 50 games to avoid suffering the worst organizational record since the trainwrecked 1988 season.

I’m betting they won’t do it.  I’m just being honest – I don’t see how this team wins 2 of 5 games throughout the remainder of the schedule. 

Is this team worse than 2010?  Heck yeah …. it’s going to be the worst Orioles team in the last 23 years. 

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Don’t worry, Friday Mud isn’t going anywhere at the trade deadline

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Drew Forrester

Yes, it’s really happening.  Football is back.

This time last week, a deal between the players and owners looked all but done.  It took through the weekend to get it hammered out, but here we are on Friday now and real live football is taking place in Owings Mills today.

I have no idea what the Ravens are going to do in 2011.  My guess is that they’ll be pretty good, but I’ll stop right there as far as predictions go.

So, while I don’t know what the Ravens record will be this season, I do know that virtually everyone in town is thrilled to have something to follow in the upcoming months that smells of legitimacy.  Once September 11 rolls around and the games start counting – and mattering – the weeks are filled with reflection, happiness, disgust, promise, hope and community spirit.

These are fun times.

And Friday Mud promises to be fun today, too.  I can’t guarantee you a winner as far as the Ravens go, but I can certainly promise you – and deliver – a winning edition of Friday Mud.

Go ahead and read it.  And please put a “w” next to Friday Mud’s name in the standings.

It’s a win.

Have a great weekend.

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>  So, by now you’ve seen the highlights of Wednesday’s game in Toronto where Felix Pie threw the ball backwards, basically, while trying to get someone out at the plate. Later on in the game, he forgot that a passed ball on strike 3 was a “live ball” and simply stood at home plate and started to take off his batting gear. No one knows who the culprit was, but evidently some wise ass in the Orioles locker room left THIS CARD for Pie after the game.  Harsh, I’d say.  But good advice, for sure.

>  We’ve made fun of Steelers fans around here and with good reason.  This time, though, the joke is on us.  Remember a few months back when I quipped that you’d never see two decent looking female Steelers fans in the same photo?  I was wrong. You want proof?  Check out THESE TWO STEELERS FANS.

>  If you’re a fan of the local sports media scene, you’re well aware that Fox 45 TV anchor Bruce Cunningham abruptly “departed” from his afternoon radio gig at 105.7 The Fan back in the spring.  Lots of people wondered what exactly Bruce would do with all of his free time.  Turns out our WNST private investigator uncovered the REAL story behind Cunningham’s sudden exit.  He recently started a movie production company.  Don’t believe me?  Well, RIGHT HERE is the proof.

>  To avoid having to talk about the baseball team’s woeful summer of baseball for four hours every Friday, I’ve taken to playing my top 10 favorite albums of all time to mark the end of the work week.  This week, I’m down to my #4 all-time favorite and it comes from THIS MAN.  It’s certainly hard to pick one of his great albums as my favorite, but I went ahead and chose Darkness on The Edge of Town.

>  Let’s face it, the Orioles pitching staff needs a new look.  They have some young arms down on the farm, but I don’t see any of them coming up and being better than what we already have in Baltimore.  I took it upon myself to find someone who is probably just a tad better than the likes of Simon, Bergesen, Gregg and Hendrickson.  And I think I did.  I’m fairly certain THIS GUY could get more hitters out than some of the dudes we’re trotting out there these days.

>  Evidently I’m no longer allowed to be critical, post criticisms or offer a negative opinion of anything Boston-related, so I’ve recently taken the high road and resorted to posting positive things about Beantown.  With that, I found a great photo of a spirited, intense, enthusiastic young Red Sox fan.  As you can see, the young man is clearly growing up to be a “natural” supporter of the “Sawx”, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots.  In fact, as you SEE HERE, he has quickly picked up on some of the true nuances of rooting for the various teams in Boston.

>  I never knew athletes kept photos in their uniforms for special moments, but evidently a lot of them do.  The urban legend is that they keep pictures on their person to reply to hecklers.  Like, for instance, the moment a few weeks ago when the Yankees were in Tampa Bay and some college guys started berating Derek Jeter about his batting average.  Jeter paused in the on-deck circle, reached into his back pocket, said, “Any of you clowns ever have this happen you?” and then displayed THIS PHOTO.  It got awfully quiet after that.

>  I thought the Three Stooges were all dead.  As you can see RIGHT HERE, they’re very much alive.

>  Tiger Woods announced on Thursday that he will return to action at next week’s event at Firestone CC in Akron, OH. Woods took to Twitter to announce his return to the TOUR.  He also unveiled a message for his critics, deciding to use THIS OLD PHOTO to inform everyone of some additional new plans in his life.

>  At the annual Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club convention last month in Florida, the itinerary included a number of recreational activities including softball, cornhole and darts.  They also had a special Friday night “Hotties in the Hot Tub” happy hour where all attractive female Flyers fans were advised to put on their hottest swim wear and convene at the hotel hot tub for some reckless behavior.  HERE is what the hot tub happy hour looked like.

>  I’ve tried to give Glenn Clark some personal advice and urged him to broaden his horizons and try to learn more about our government and the political nature of our great nation.  Last week, I stressed to him that he should read up on our country’s national security…in fact, great minds continue to author extraordinary books on the subject of defense.  I picked THIS ONE up for Glenn last week.  A great read…

>  As the Toronto Blue Jays worked feverishly on a trade this past Wednesday, their GM and his support staff got so fed up with interruptions in their office they put a sign up on the door that read “TRADE IN PROGRESS, PLEASE STAY AWAY UNTIL DEAL IS DONE”.  The Orioles front office put up a sign on their front door at roughly the same time the Blue Jays were working on that deal to acquire Colby Rasmus from the Cardinals.  In Baltimore, the sign on the door of Andy MacPhail’s office LOOKED LIKE THIS.

The Shoot Section (where I tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth)

Back in April, after a couple of years of being bothered with various bothersome ailments and injuries, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and began treatment with antibiotics. Depending on which medical expert you believe, those antibiotics can either be of great help or great harm.  Personally, they helped me greatly, if that counts for anything.  What I’m really here to do today is to remind you that you must not only check yourself for ticks every single time you’ve been outdoors, but you must remain cognizant of the Lyme Disease symptoms and visit your doctor if you find yourself coming down with any of them. RIGHT HERE is a simple but extremely informative web page about Lyme Disease.  If caught early, you’re much more likely to not have the disease wreck you like it did to me for the better part of three years.  Be vigilant, check yourself for ticks regularly, know how to remove them from your body if, in fact, you find one on you, and be completely aware of the symptoms — many of which might disguise themselves as everyday bothers like joint pain, heart palpitations and the like.

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