Tag Archive | "Dave Trembley"

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Buck is in the Yard

Posted on 05 August 2010 by bigbrad

I know, I know. It’s early. But hey, let’s get a little excited about this. Mr. Buck Showalter has started his Orioles managerial career off with a 2-0 record. It’s not like we are playing the Royals, but a playoff contending team in the Angels. Grant it, it is a small sample of our beloved birds that might just be playing with a little hop in their step until someone goes out and gives up seven runs in the first two innings in a few days. But still, it’s got me excited as I count down the days until my fantasy football drafts, or the Ravens first preseason game next week, or even the free practice that the Ravens are having at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. Ok, so I might be a little more excited about the football season starting. Until the Ravens kickoff, however, it is still baseball season. And there is a professional baseball team in this town that I love.

 

All I’m saying is that I have watched the last two games with Buck at the helm, and I like how he is getting the guys to play. Heads up plays all around. Matt Wieters and Ty Wigginton were actually paying enough attention in the ninth inning to throw out Torii Hunter at third base. I have no idea why Mr. Hunter was trying to steal that base, but hey, I’ll take it. It just seems like the Orioles are hustling a little harder, paying a little more attention, and caring about winning. I don’t know if it is a sort of tryout to see who will be around next season or if they are genuinely tired of being the worst team in baseball. Whatever it is, I hope it isn’t a coincidence that this is starting to happen after Buck Showalter took control of the clubhouse. I do not know Buck Showalter, nor do I know Juan Samuel or Dave Trembley for that matter, but from what I have seen and heard from the outside looking in, Mr. Showalter was the right choice at the right time for these Orioles.  

I would like to see progress in this master plan by Andy MacPhail. And I think that this is a good step forward…finally.

 

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Good Luck, Buck

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Jay Trucker

After Buck Showalter’s first night as the Orioles skipper resulted in a 6-3 win, everyone at Oriole Park smiles. Well, everyone but Rick Dempsey, who told The Sun’s Dan Connolly on the day of the Showalter-opening home stand that hiring Bucky instead of The Dipper is “the biggest mistake made here in a long time.”

Really, Dempsey? Really? Worse than Garrett Atkins? Worse than Rich Hill? Worse than Ryan Freel? Worse than…oh, you get the point. Rick, that is one helluva mistake we’re talking about.

Anyhow, the MASN curmudgeon and 1983 World Series MVP aside, Tuesday night was an encouraging one for The Birds and their new front man.

The crowd was loud. The players, spirited. The pitching, solid. Heck, even Mike Gonzalez looked good in 1.2 innings of work.
A baseball lifer like Buck Showalter won’t be carried away by a single performance, but it was nevertheless good to hear the crowd give him a long cheer when he came out of the dugout to chat with manager Jerry Lane.

I, for one, am happy to see Showalter slide Nick Markakis into the number two spot in the lineup. Markakis is an on base guy, not a power guy, and it seemed that Dave Trembley refused to move him out of sheer stubbornness. This is a small sign, to be sure, but it is a sign that Showalter is going to put the lineup out there that he thinks has the best chance to win.

And that’s good because it would be nothing short of a miracle if Showalter were able to coax a .500 finale out of a squad that has not been in the playoff hunt since the second week of the season. Traditionally, bad teams fall off the cliff as the second grinds towards its anti-climactic conclusion, and the Orioles have been no exception. Last year, the club went 6-20 in September.

Perhaps Buck’s pre-game “chat” with his new team inspired their gritty performance on Tuesday night. Maybe the guys can respect a manager who has played the game before, not to mention a guy who has won the game as a manager before. It breeds confidence.

Tuesday’s win breeds confidence, too. Omens are silly, but starting a manager’s tenure with a 6-3 victory is certainly better than starting with, say, a 30-3 loss.

It will take more than a few chats to get this team back on track. But if he can help bring this sad franchise back to respectability, Buck Showalter will be hailed as a hero in Baltimore. For Orioles fans optimism is foolish. But hope and optimism are two different things, and we’re all at least hoping that Buck Showalter’s tenure is the start of a new era for the once-proud Orioles.

Good luck, Buck.

Sincerely,

Everyone in Baltimore Except Rick Dempsey

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Showalter on board: I’ll bet against him

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Drew Forrester

Buck Showalter made one thing very clear in his 40 minute press conference on Monday at Camden Yards.

He didn’t promise wins or a title or anything of the sort.

But he did mention something time and time again throughout the question and answer period:  better players.  Those were two buzzwords Showalter went back to when talking about the methods he was going to use to help raise the Orioles from the depths of the American League East.

“Everyone wonders how you compete with the Yankees and Red Sox and now, even Tampa Bay, and a Toronto team that’s improving,” said Buck.  ”I’ll tell you.  You have to get better players in here and you have to make everyone accountable.”

“Get better players in here” — music to MY ears and, I assume, to the fans of Baltimore who have labored along through this shoestring-budget attempt over the last 3 years under Andy MacPhail.

While Showalter made it seem as if finding better players was easy, this much is true.  He’s right.  The Orioles can’t compete unless they bring in better players.

Hoodwinking a guy like Carl Crawford to play here instead of New York or Boston might be a tall task, but money talks and that other familiar thing walks.  Showalter made it clear time and time again on Monday:  get better players and you have a better chance to win.

MacPhail, for my money, looked fairly uncomfortable throughout Monday’s proceedings.  He didn’t grant anyone one-on-one interviews except – naturally – for MASN and 105.7, so no one was afforded the privilege of actually asking him a legitimate question or two like:

“You’re about to conclude year 3 of your initial 4-year deal in Baltimore.  Are you feeling any extra pressure having now produced three-plus seasons of dreadful, losing baseball?”

“Why didn’t you go out last October and lure Showalter to town?”

Those are both very fair questions, of course, and answering those might have given some more insight into not only the choices MacPhail has made during his tenure here, but also what he thinks the club’s expectations are for him heading into the 2010 off-season and the 2011 campaign.

It doesn’t matter now.  Showalter has clearly been put in place by MacPhail as a last ditch attempt by Andy to validate all of his efforts since June, 2007.

Let’s be fair (as I always am) about the MacPhail era in Baltimore to date.  It has NOT been a failure.  The club has made some significant strides in their minor league developmen and their spring training complex…and their international scouting and signing efforts have been improved as well. MacPhail inherited a complete fuster-cluck 38 months ago.  But while it’s OK to say “it hasn’t been a failure”, it’s also accurate to say it hasn’t been a “win” for Andy either.  The team is worse now than ever before, they’re now on their 3rd manager since MacPhail took over the reins, and the blueprint in Baltimore – grow ‘em on the farm, keep ‘em around for the minimum, hope for the best – hasn’t yielded anything except major-league ass kickings at the hands of the American League East everyone in the American League.

In a strange twist of irony, MacPhail once stood at the same podium as Showalter did today and pledged to folks HE was going to fix the Orioles. 38 months later, a man HIRED by MacPhail is either going to save Andy’s job or bring it to a screeching halt.

Buck Showalter is Andy MacPhail’s new best friend.

Andy hasn’t been able to fix the franchise.  And that’s meant with no disrespect to Andy.  It’s not a job one person can do, frankly.  That’s why keeping Trembley around was perhaps MacPhail’s biggest faux pas of them all, even bigger than the likes of Garrett Atkins or Mike Gonzalez or Felix Pie or Kevin Millwood.  If MacPhail would have gone to Showalter a year ago, we might not be staring 110 losses in the face.

MacPhail needs Buck Showalter to come through for him, now, or the end might be in sight.

Showalter, starting tomorrow, will get a Hi-Def glimpse of what we’ve all been watching over the last 4 months.  Pedestrian efforts in the field, lack of discipline at the plate, boneheaded base running and lack of overall efficiency and consistency.

That’s why the team is 32-73.

And that’s why Showalter is right when he says:  ”we need better players”.

It might turn out that Showalter lights a fire under a couple of the players who are on-again, off-again types.  He’s been brought in to fix the team, not make friends.  I’d almost predict that one of the team’s current starters (if I’m betting…an outfielder…pick your name) will get the boot at season’s end as Buck sends a loud and long message:  ”It’s my way…or the highway”.

In the meantime, though, the last two months will be interesting if nothing else.  It’s been so long since we’ve had any hope during baseball season that today’s press conference was actually gratifying in that it did provide for a momentary ray of promise in an otherwise dark time for Orioles baseball.

I doubt that Buck Showalter can fix this mess, but that has nothing at ALL to do with him, personally.  I think he’s the right guy for the job and I’m glad they hired him.  I think he was the best fit for the position.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be successful.

I’m prone to the occasional wager — and I’d wager that Buck DOESN’T fix the Orioles, but I’d make that wager knowing full good and well that the team is most likely not going to spend any real money in this off-season or any other off-season with the current ownership/front office structure in place.  Saying “we’re going to spend more” and then spending more are two different things.

I don’t see the Orioles spending the money necessary to compete in the American League East.

I hope I’m wrong.

I’d love to see the baseball team get fixed and people start going to the games again.

I’ve done radio for 8 years at WNST and I’ve never, ever, ever, ever talked about an Orioles game that mattered.  Not once.

I’m rooting like hell for Buck Showalter.

But I’m not rooting for him nearly as much as Andy MacPhail is rooting for him.

My reputation isn’t on the line.

But Andy’s sure is.

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Passing to Buck: Orioles turn to Showalter in their latest miracle-worker effort

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Drew Forrester

I hope Buck Showalter knows what he’s getting into.

I’m sure he THINKS he knows what he’s getting into by taking the managerial job in Baltimore.

But, then again, Lee Mazzilli thought he knew.  And so did Sam Perlozzo.  And Dave Trembley.

Turns out, they didn’t know.

Now, it goes without saying that Buck Showalter is far more accomplished – FAR MORE – than any of those three guys…or all three put together, frankly.

But coming to Baltimore and taking the Orioles job and expecting to turn this thing around anytime soon would require the efforts of a miracle worker.

There’s a rumor floating around that Andy MacPhail offered the job to Jesus – twice – and both times the big man just laughed and said, “Are you nuts?  I can’t even pull that off.  And I’ve done some pretty impressive things in my day.”

Showalter is scheduled to start his Orioles stint on Tuesday at Camden Yards.  By Thursday, he’ll probably wonder why he took the job.  The following Friday when his first check goes into direct deposit, he’ll remember why.

The behind-the-scenes story that will eventually become the focal point of this hiring will revolve around control and who calls the shots and who sits in the background and pretends they’re OK with the other guy calling the shots.

Will Showalter run this team and mandate that his fingerprints be all over the roster, as many believe he demanded as part of the negotiation?

Or will MacPhail continue to pull the strings and keep Showalter at arm’s length?

Most people who KNOW Showalter are privately saying Buck wouldn’t have signed off on the deal had he not felt comfortable with the amount of control he would retain as the manager.

Then again, most people felt the same way about Andy MacPhail when he took the job.  MacPhail himself said, “if I can’t have complete control, I won’t be here.”  Three years later, there are rumors flaming throughout cyberspace that Showalter was the choice of Peter Angelos.  MacPhail wanted Eric Wedge.  Believe it if you wish — I, frankly, NEVER know what to believe when it comes to the Orioles, so I don’t know which side of the fence I’m on with that one.  But if it’s true and MacPhail preferred Wedge over Showalter, there goes the “it’s your team to run” theory out the window.

Showalter has no idea what he’s getting into here.

This isn’t the Yankees, where you win 65 games a year just because your road uniforms read “NEW YORK” across the front.

This is the Orioles.  And we have about 4 players who can play.  And maybe two pitchers.  And a couple of other live arms that need some tutoring. Of the 25 guys on the roster right now, I can think of six I’d take on MY team.

I hope Showalter comes in, stomps his feet and demands better players from Angelos and MacPhail.  I hope he’s a prick to deal with in the Warehouse and I hope he threatens to fight people if the roster isn’t improved and quality free agents aren’t pursued.

If Buck comes in and does what every other manager has done in recent times — take the shabby roster and do the best you can with it until you finish 40 games under .500 and you get the boot — then we’ll be right back on this managerial carousel sometime around June of 2013.

The Orioles need better players.  That’s not a news flash to anyone.

And even though I think Showalter can help them get better – marginally so, but still, better – in the last two months of this season, Buck’s real taste of life in Baltimore will come this winter when the club dips its toe in the free-agent market and pulls off a Garrett Atkins signing or two.  If that happens – AGAIN – and the roster isn’t improved in the off-season, Buck can bring in LeBron, D.Wade and Bosh and the O’s still aren’t winning any games.

I realize Jesus turned down the job, but Buck might want to keep him updated on what’s going on here.

I have a feeling Showalter is going to need all the help he can get over the next three-plus years.

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Two weeks ago, my executive producer, Glenn Clark, in the midst of the Orioles in discussions with Buck Showalter to become the next Orioles manager, said that the Orioles were going to wait till the start of Ravens training camp to announce the decision.

He said the Orioles have done this before. In 2006, they announced the resigning of 3B Melvin Mora, who had actually signed his deal weeks before the news broke.

Angelos wants this team as the top dog in the city even if fans aren’t going to Oriole Park at Camden Yards anymore. He knows baseball season has ended in the last week of July for at least the last ten years.

Well lightning struck twice Thursday, as Tim Kurkjian of ESPN has reported that the Orioles have hired Showalter as manger of the team.

Buck Showalter

Showalter reportedly will take over the team from interim manager Juan Samuel on August 3rd when the Orioles take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to start a six-game home stand.

The Ravens open full-team practices on Friday morning at 8:45 at McDaniel College, with all veterans reporting and suiting up for hitting, tackling, and running routes.

We’ll have to wait and see what the water-cooler talk is tomorrow, and who is the Baltimore manager we should be paying the most attention to. Showalter or John Harbaugh?

John Harbaugh

Showalter and his 882-833 career record managing in the big leagues will fit right into the driver’s seat of the Orioles, and will try and stop the bleeding when it comes to this year’s Orioles team (31-70), which is off to its worst start in franchise history and is veering itself dangerously close to the worst teams ever to suit up and hit the field.

Showalter will be the third man in the manager’s seat this year for the Orioles, as he replaces Samuel (16-31) and Dave Trembley(15-39).

Showalter had been named AL Manager of the Year twice in his managerial career, once with the Yankees in 1995 and then with the Rangers a few years ago.

He has proven to turn teams around fast, as every one of the organizations he has managed-the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers, all were terrible before Showalter took charge. He also has a hand in the front office aspect of the job, as he helped in the player personnel department with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and most recently had a small role with the Cleveland Indians before taking the broadcasting job at ESPN.

The Diamondbacks and Yankees both won World Series titles because of Showalter’s work; the only problem is that they hoisted the trophies one year after giving Showalter his walking papers.

He spent four years as Yankees manager (313-268), three seasons in Arizona (250-236), and (319-329) with Texas.

But with that, he eventually wears out his welcome. He has also had issues with the front office, as he is known as quite the control freak. That has been the main cause of his quick exits over the last dozen of years, and we’ll have to see if those problems arise again with the most meddling of owners in Peter Angelos and a attention-to-detail man like Andy MacPhail.

I would assume that Showalter would at least get three or four years on his contract to fix this team, because this team is not anywhere close to being competitive for at least two more seasons.

What Showalter does bring to the table is a man who has been around the league, and has garnered a lot of respect from players, coaches, and front office personnel.

He is the first high-profile, experienced managerial candidate the Orioles have introduced since the hiring of Mike Hargrove back in 2000.

With 13 straight losing seasons, talk around the league is that the Orioles are too deep into the cellar to attract any high profile free agents.

Having a big name like Buck Showalter in charge could put some of those doubts-not all-to rest.

It could maybe attract a player, like first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres, who played under Showalter from 2004-2005.

The players in Texas really like Showalter, and we should see soon how Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Matt Wieters all warm up to Buck.

But as said above, now we as Baltimore sports fans have a dilemma on our hands.

As the Orioles have put themselves on center stage (or at least tried to) yet again, we must ask ourselves. If we have a chance tomorrow to spend some time watching the Buck Showalter Introductory Press Conference, or the Ravens practicing, and we only have one choice…what’s it going to be?

The Orioles continue to show their selfishness by wanting you to choose baseball. Showalter could be the answer, but for now, let’s keep saying that John Harbaugh is still the top coach in town.

Tune into WNST and wnst.net as we continue to follow this new hire and hopefully a turning new page in Baltimore Orioles history!

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Orioles finally hire Buck Showalter as next manager

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Luke Jones

After weeks of speculation, the Orioles have finally hired Buck Showalter as their next manager.

Currently on pace to finish with the worst record in franchise history, the Orioles (31-70) will hedge their bets on Showalter—and his .514 career winning percentage (882-833)—to steer a sunken ship for the remainder of 2010 in hopes of making improvements in the offseason.

“My job with ESPN allowed me to follow this organization closely over the last several years, and although the current record may seem to indicate otherwise, I see enormous potential with this club,” Showalter said in a statement released by the Orioles. “I look forward to the challenge of competing in the American League East. Baltimore is a tremendous baseball town with passion and pride in its club and my family and I look forward to making it our new home.”

Showalter will reportedly take over the club next Tuesday, Aug. 3 when the Orioles begin a seven-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels. Reports indicate he has agreed to manage the club for the rest of the season and will receive a three-year contract through 2013.

“Buck Showalter’s proven track record makes him the right choice for manager of the Orioles and we are thrilled to add a two-time Manager of the Year to our organization,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said in a press release. “We believe Buck’s extensive experience and expertise will be a major benefit to us as we look towards a more successful future.”

The current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst takes control from interim manager Juan Samuel, who has managed the Orioles since Dave Trembley was fired on June 4 after an abysmal 15-39 start. Samuel has guided the Orioles to a 16-31 record since taking over on a temporary basis.

Samuel will resume his original duties as third base coach when Showalter takes the reins next week. Current third base coach Gary Allenson will return to manage Triple-A Norfolk. All other coaches will remain on the staff through the end of the season.

The 54-year-old Showalter brings 11 years of prior managerial experience, guiding the Yankees (1992-1995), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000), and most recently, the Texas Rangers (2002-2006). He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1994 and 2004.

Showalter managed the Yankees through the 1995 season, paving the way for their first World Series victory in 18 years in 1996. He also led the Diamondbacks in the infancy of the franchise before being dismissed in 2000, a year before Arizona won its first World Series under new manager Bob Brenly.

“[Showalter] is probably one of the best managers I played for,” former Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Greg Colbrunn recently told WNST.net. “What he did with the organization and all of them, he built it from scratch. I still don’t think he gets enough credit for being there and building the franchise up for the 2001 World Series that we won. He did an excellent job.”

In addition to his reputation for leaving franchises in better shape than they were when arriving, Showalter is a respected in-game strategist with high expectations of his players.

“As far as game managing, he was probably the best game manager I’ve been around, building an organization from ground up,” said Colbrunn, who also played for Bobby Cox in Atlanta and Tom Kelly in Minnesota during his 13-year career. “I think his track record probably is as good as anyone’s out there.”

Showalter becomes the 10th manager of the Baltimore Orioles since Peter Angelos became majority owner in 1993. Despite his reputation for turning around struggling franchises, transforming the major league-worst Orioles into a winner easily becomes the biggest challenge of his managerial career.

He will be introduced as Orioles manager on Monday afternoon, an off day for the club.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 28 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because my roommate’s girlfriend (“The Luckiest Dang Roommate’s Girlfriend on the Face of the Planet”?) dropped off a gift at our apartment (“Summer Camp”) last night. Let’s just say it was thoughtful…

berger

And while I’m at it, my roommate and I are currently searching for a new home base-looking for a bit more space than our current 2 bedroom apartment. I asked this on Facebook yesterday, but I might as well ask again here. Does anyone rent townhouses in Baltimore County?

I’m looking for something with a little space and fairly priced. There’s only two of us, so I can’t pay $1600. I’ll take a nice place in a solid neighborhood, or I’ll take a dump with THIS in the basement…

microbrewery

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens DT Terrence Cody failed conditioning test, missed practice Tuesday

Argh.

Look, this ISN’T the earth-shattering news some folks in town wanted to think it was. Players fail the conditioning test in Westminster every year. Is it a BIT more concerning because the biggest issue Terrence Cody has faced in his life IS conditioning? Sure. But this isn’t a “stop the presses” type of issue.

My guess is that Terrence Cody will take the test again in the next day or two and will pass. After that, he’ll hit the practice field at McDaniel College after that.

My other guess? This won’t be the last time Terrence Cody’s conditioning is questioned while he’s in Charm City.

Just guesses.

(Edit from GMC: UPDATE-I was right. Cody passed his test and returned to the practice field Tuesday morning. Our long civic nightmare is over. And the news was first reported…by Fabian Washington on Twitter. Of course it was. They call Fabian “the most trusted name in news”, don’t they?)

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Cody, Ed Reed, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb amongst 10 Ravens on Training Camp PUP list

No one on this list is particularly surprising-I don’t think we knew much about Oniel Cousins’ throat surgery; and I’m not really sure what’s going on with Prince Miller or Rodelin Anthony (and both are likely longshots to make the roster anyway).

And as our own Luke Jones wrote later last night, it is IMPORTANT to remember that this ISN’T the “miss 6 weeks of the season” PUP list-just the active list to start Camp. As these guys are ready-they’ll practice.

(Edit from GMC: UPDATE-Prince Miller returned to practice today as well. Thank God!)

I’m just grateful the team didn’t end up putting Asimina Koutsounouri on PUP. That would have been devastating (Thanks Don Chavez/Totally Crap!)…

Asimina

3. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Steve Bisciotti should be considering contract extension for John Harbaugh

And I’ll go ahead on the other side and say…and the end of the season.

There’s no question that the organization CANNOT allow Coach Harbs to go into next season with it being the final year of his contract (see: Trembley, Dave). That being said, there’s no reason to necessarily do this right now, as the focus should be on the team and trying to reach the Super Bowl.

Of course, the opposing argument would be “but then what do you do if everything goes wrong this season and the team somehow ends up 5-11? You either reward him for a bad season or you allow him to enter the final year of his contract.”

That would be the issue, yes. Let’s worry about that when it happens.

4. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Cam Cameron thinks Troy Smith-John Beck decision will be ‘pretty obvious’

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-Two more practices for the Ravens today, with this afternoon’s session scheduled for 3:30pm. After the morning session; John Harbaugh, Terrence Cody and Ed Dickson are scheduled to meet with the media. Sergio Kindle was originally scheduled as well-but it’s safe to say that won’t happen. Luke Jones is on the scene, he’ll be checking in with reports throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Nestor Aparicio on AM1570 WNST.

-Brian Baldinger (NFL Network) said Haloti Ngata was the 5th best player in the entire NFL. Sorta makes me look silly for saying he’s the #3 guy on the Ravens’ roster… (Joe Flacco, Michael Oher).

5. The AP says Jose Bautista homered twice as Blue Jays crushed Orioles in Toronto

Thank God Jose Bautista only plays the Birds 18 times a year, or the Hall of Fame folks would already be working on his plaque in Cooperstown.

I will be forced to admit that I turned the game off after Bautista’s 1st inning homer. Why the Orioles let Kevin Millwood even pitch in the first inning is beyond me. It just isn’t going to go well.

Remember when we thought Kevin Millwood was going to have trade value? I still think he does, I just think they need to lower their expectations for what they can get for him. In fact, their best bets may be Isuro Tanaka and/or Rube Baker from the Cleveland Indians.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXjmoEhO0VI[/youtube]

6. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

Nick Markakis went 2-4 with a double and RBI…BUT…Felix Pie, Jake Fox and Cesar Izturis combined for an 0-fer with 2K’s each.

You know you don’t want to look at this.

My recommendation would be to look at Nikoletta Ralli instead. (Thanks Busted Coverage/Brosome!)

ralli

7. MLB.com’s James Hall says Zach Britton rumored for Saturday start vs. Royals, Juan Samuel doesn’t want to send Bergesen back to Norfolk

I’m going to try my hardest to say something here besides “I don’t really care”, but it’s hard for me to think of much of anything else.

If Bergesen stays in the rotation, he’ll probably get hit around. Kansas City stinks, but they can still hit. There’s nothing about his performance recently that suggests he’ll suddenly come alive. I don’t know that he REALLY gains anything from going back to Norfolk, but maybe he does.

Zach Britton probably ISN’T ready to reach the big league level yet-but it would be a pressure-less situation on the road against a terrible KC team at a time when no one in either town is particularly concerned about what’s going on baseball-wise.

My gut says Bergesen makes the start-and my gut says that’s probably for the best right now.

My gut ALSO says that the 3rd Berger Cookie was a bad choice last night. I rarely listen to my gut.

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Britton solid in Tides’ loss, Billy Rowell solid in Frederick Keys’ loss on farm

Before we move on from the on-field O’s, a couple of things…

-The Orioles are back in action tonight, wrapping up their 3 game set in Canada. Jeremy Guthrie (who MIGHT have some trade value) goes against the Jays’ Brad Mills (who will be making his first start). First pitch at Rogers Centre is at 7:07pm, and the game can be seen on MASN2.

-If you missed Bowie Baysox 1B Joe Mahoney today on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester on AM1570 WNST; make sure you check out the chat with the Eastern League Player of the Week in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. Other guests this morning were:

  • Clark Judge (CBSSports.com), who went around the NFL with Drew-discussing Terrell Owens, the Ravens and who he liked in the AFC.
  • Ovie Mughelli (Atlanta Falcons FB, former Raven), who discussed his recent trip to the Gulf Coast and football in general with Drew.
  • Luke Jones, who checked in live from the practice field at McDaniel College with news about Terrence Cody, Matt Birk, etc.

They’re all in the Audio Vault as well if you want to check them out!

9. ESPN.com’s Matt Lindner says Birds should consider racing Muppets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Why did I include this in Crabs and Beer? Honestly, I have no idea. Probably because it’s a funny read (and we can use something like that when we talk about the Orioles); and it gives me an excuse to include this classic version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JruqUIjl5Sw[/youtube]

10. FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman says Gary Williams got ‘new lease on life’ when Debbie Yow left for NC State

Which would surprise…like…no one.

Jeff will be on with Thyrl at 10:40am today to talk about this story and other college basketball-related items. Check it out live or later today in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

Also make sure you check out this week’s edition of the “D1scast”, as myself and Patrick Stevens (D1scourse) discuss everything going on in the world of college sports-including a wrap of this weekend’s ACC Kickoff event in Greensboro. You can listen to the D1scast in the Audio Vault as well.

I got a new “lease on life” myself when I saw pictures of Carolina Baldini over at Guyism this morning…

baldini

And finally, I leave you with this.

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I was reminded that the Harford County Farm Fair gets underway tomorrow. Which reminds me-I need to run out and pick up some chewing tobacco today. Not for me to actually use, just to help me feel more comfortable.

Much like the Maryland State Fair in Timonium, there’s one simple thing that I enjoy most about the Hazzard County Fair. Plain and simple…PIG RACES…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQaxImm9zoY[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 12 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because I’m still recovering from a trip to HersheyPark Friday. Dave Matthews Band was great (of course), but I’m gonna spend a few minutes first gushing over Zac Brown Band-who opened for DMB. If you missed Zac Brown at Preakness (and if you did, shame on you), you may think they’re little more than another forgettable country act you’d be unlikely to listen to on WPOC.

Not exactly.

Their song “Free” might come off a bit too much “CMT”…but when they cut to “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison during the bridge; it’s an absolute SMASH. They did it Friday night, but no one got the video. Here’s an older performance of it…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xwq3X0CTjc[/youtube]

As I also pointed out on Facebook (add me as a friend-just search “Glenn Clark” and look for a goofy pic of a clown in a seersucker suit at the Kentucky Derby), that wasn’t the only impressive thing they did Friday night. Channeling Rage Against the Machine was also pretty impressive…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ChmnEFUGoA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Stephen Hawkins says Arrieta impressive as Orioles finished off four game sweep of Texas Rangers in Arlington

This is equally as puzzling (if not much MORE puzzling) than when the Birds swept the Boston Red Sox earlier in the season. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?!?!?

Since when are the Orioles a team that can pitch comfortably past high powered offenses like the one found at the Ballpark in Arlington? Since when are the Orioles a team that can save face with a game-tying grand slam from Corey Patterson in the 9th?

Maybe it was just the heat in the Lone Star State, but it was an awfully goofy weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely. But given what we know about the team otherwise, there’s no reason to really think things like “maybe the team has finally turned the corner” or “the All-Star break is coming at the wrong time.”

Remember, this is the same team that was swept by the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week. They’re a TERRIBLE team. The worst team in all of baseball.

It just so happens that the worst team in all of baseball pulled off a miraculous weekend sweep of a good team that we thought would get better with the addition of Cliff Lee.

I’ve described the season via Twitter (follow us @WNST) before as a “season long kick in the nuts.” This was like sitting down and getting an icepack between kicks.

It was a great feeling.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of sweep

Wait a second…you mean…you might actually MIGHT want to look at the numbers this time???

Maybe Arrieta wasn’t “brilliant” the way Chris Tillman was Saturday night, but he was damn impressive. 6.1IP, ER, 6H, 3K, 2BB looks like a line I’d take 10 times out of 10 from a starting pitcher.

Julio Lugo continued his recent hot streak-giving the team a better chance every day of maybe being able to steal SOMETHING for him by July 31. It’s still not particularly likely-but it does look better every day as Lugo collects extra base hits (he was 2-4 with a double, RBI and run yesterday).

Even Craig Tatum got another hit and scored another run, despite having to play during a day game following a night game due to the injury to Matt Wieters.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD?!?!? This is supposed to be the part of the blog where I say something like “You don’t really want to look at this. Instead, look at this picture of Kelly Brook dressed up as Princess Leia as posted by Guyism…”

You know, you should still go look at that anyway…

kellybrook

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says timing ‘fishy’ as Fox Sports reporting Buck Showalter nearing deal, Sun reporting Juan Samuel to manage after All-Star Game

So how long until the “Not Buck Showalter” or the “UnBuckShowalter” page pops up on Twitter?

By the way, to whoever was running the Dave Trembley page-it sucks now. There could still be plenty of great shtick there if you really tried. Also, whoever is doing the “Nestor Aparicio” page has never been funny. The guy is the easiest target on the face of the planet….how can you possibly do a page without it being funny?

Back to the point-I don’t think that Dan Connolly and Ken Rosenthal necessarily offered OPPOSING reports, as Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail could very well be nearing a deal with Buck Showalter but believe Juan Samuel will be the manager when the team plays the Toronto Blue Jays Friday.

I just hope it isn’t because Showalter is hired but is serving in some sort of “advisory” role until he takes over as manager. That’s so unbelievably dumb I just can’t possibly imagine the team would consider it.

Of course, I should REALLY think that it is so unbelievably dumb that I know the team WILL be doing it.

I just really don’t want to believe that.

4. MLB.com’s Todd Wills says Mike Gonzalez could return to Baltimore after ASG, Luke Scott won’t

So….HOORAY! Or something…

I have to assume that Mike Gonzalez won’t be returning to the closer role when he gets back to Charm City, so that gives me hope that maybe Rick Kranitz can find a role that he can be effective in. I’m absolutely not convinced that Alfredo Simon should be the team’s closer of the future, but I think it’s safe to say they’ve already learned their lesson when it comes to Gonzalez.

Right?

Right?

5. Fanhouse’s Frankie Piliere says O’s prospect Zach Britton had ‘standout’ arm at Futures Game in Anaheim

Which is ABSOLUTELY the most excited I’ll be about anything that happens at Angels Stadium this week.

With no offense to tonight’s Home Run Derby (I’m sure the Nick Swisher-Vernon Wells showdown will be really compelling to….someone?) or tomorrow night’s Mid-Summer Classic (My prediction? Ty Wigginton strikes out), I’ve lost all juice surrounding this event. It used to be exciting to me, and after that it was still at least the “only thing on.”

Tonight WWE Raw is on and the Counting Crows are at Pier Six. I doubt I’ll pass up on either to watch guys hit home runs.

Tomorrow night? Maybe I’ll go see “Despicable Me.” I stayed home to watch last year’s event in St. Louis and the highlight was an Adam Jones sac fly. Never again will I plan around it.

Hell, if I REALLY need something to do I could always just look at pictures of Doutzen Kroes from Russia’s version of Vogue (Thanks Uproxx/NextRound.net!)…

doutzen

6. NorfolkTides.com says Armando Gabino impressive as Tides finished first half on farm with win over Durham Bulls

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-The Birds are clearly off the next four nights as baseball celebrates the All-Star Game in Southern California. They are going to hold a closed workout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday night, which I’m sure is exactly what players wanted to hear instead of getting a 4 day break. Of course, when you’re the worst team in baseball DESPITE a 4 game winning streak-it’s hard to make too many demands.

-When the Birds get back, the rotation will line up Brad Bergesen-Jeremy Guthrie-Brian Matusz-Chris Tillman-Jake Arrieta. Obviously the team will have to make a tough decision when Kevin Millwood is ready to return from the DL.

-Congratulations to our buddy Chris Stoner-who will again take home “Apologist of the Morning” honors-although this time the honor is web only, as we were caught up in discussion about Buck Showalter, LeBron James and the red hot Birds on this morning’s show. Chris was back to beating the drum of Nolan Reimold playing 1B in Baltimore; despite the fact that Nolan Reimold has done nothing to show that he’s ready to return to the major league level-and has played only a handful of games at first base at the AAA level. The drum beats on…

7. Pro Football Weekly’s Mike Wilkening says Ravens LB Terrell Suggs believes despite not being in Owings Mills for offseason, own workouts will have him ready for Training Camp

Well, when it comes to someone like T-Sizzle, his track record says we should just take him at his word, right?

Suggs can say whatever he wants; but everyone will be looking to see what type of shape he’s in when the team reports to Westminster at the end of the month. There is a LOT of pressure on him to live up to the contract he DIDN’T live up to a season ago-and saying “I was working hard in Arizona this offseason” won’t be enough if he’s not ready mentally or physically to get after the likes of Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Dennis Dixon and Ben Roethlisberger this season.

The bigger issue is that the Ravens don’t really HAVE any other natural pass rushers on the roster-with MAYBE the exception of Sergio Kindle, whose body probably isn’t ready to make him a dedicated rusher at the NFL level just yet. There’s pressure on Kelly Gregg this season, but that’s because there’s another guy (Terrence Cody) ready to take his spot.

Suggs doesn’t necessarily have that pressure-yet the team is REALLY counting on him. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

8. NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi says Ravens still facing ‘cover corner’ issues

This is an interesting subject. We all know that the team LACKS a true “cover corner”, but we also know the roster features a number of potentially CAPABLE corners. Domonique Foxworth really played well during the 2nd half of the season last year, and if it weren’t for his contract; we probably wouldn’t really consider him a disappointment at all.

Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington each played well at times, but are both coming off of injuries. Chris Carr was steady if not spectacular. The team doesn’t really know what they’re getting from veterans Cary Williams, Travis Fisher or Walt Harris.

The reality is that the effectiveness of this group will be directly impacted by the team’s ability to rush the passer. If the team can rush the passer, this group will look MUCH better. If they can’t, this group will look awfully similar to the group that struggled to start last season.

They just won’t have Frank Walker anymore for fans to blame for the struggles. Not that he wasn’t deserving at times…

9. South Bend Tribune’s Curt Rallo says former Maryland Terrapins star Vicky Bullett headed to Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Vicky, who was an exceptional player under fellow Hall of Famer Chris Weller in College Park.

As you know, the Terps are still looking for an Athletic Director to replace Debbie Yow, and Len Elmore is part of the Search Committe (along with Gary Williams, Kevin Plank, Brenda Frese, Sasho Cirovski, etc.) to find the next “Top Terp.” Len joined Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to discuss the search, if you missed it-make sure you check it out today in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

Also joining us this morning were Loyola soccer coach Mark Mettrick (who wrapped up Spain’s win over the Netherlands to capture the World Cup) and Baseball Prospectus’ Jay Jaffe-who went around MLB. Both are available in the Audio Vault as well.

10. Swimming World Magazine says Michael Phelps posted solid time at NBAC event

You know what I would do if I posted an impressive time at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club? I’d immediately turn to the first person I saw and ask “Do you think Anissa Holmes is impressed?” (Thanks Busted Coverage/NextRound.net!)

anissa

And finally, I leave you with this.

On Saturday night at a private residence (Thank you Liz Kort) in Owings Mills, I discovered something that has forever changed my life…

sac

This is a Love Sac. My birthday is September 6. I’m just saying…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles: If Showalter rumors are true, MacPhail finally spends some “real” money

Posted on 11 July 2010 by Drew Forrester

It took Andy MacPhail 37 months, but he (apparently) has finally caved in and gone first-cabin with one of his hires.

I don’t think he’ll do any videos on it or anything, but those of us who have been begging the Orioles head honcho to spend some money on quality personnel can take quiet relief tonight if the rumors are true and the Birds are on the verge of hiring Buck Showalter as their new manager.

Make no mistake about it, if Showalter does make the move here, he comes to Baltimore a winner…and he hasn’t even stepped into the dugout.

Showalter wins because he made Andy blink.

You know MacPhail’s M.O. by now.  He’s the guy who goes to a store advertising a “Buy One, Get One Free” sale and tries to negotiate on the free item by asking the store to pay HIM $1.00 for taking it off their hands.  Cheap calls Andy looking for spending advice.  Get the picture?

The good news, though, is this:  By hiring Showalter, the Orioles are just about on the verge of being all-in, and that’s music to our ears – as Orioles fans – since it’s been a half-hearted spending effort for the better part of Andy’s three-year tenure.

Showalter won’t come cheap.  And he also won’t come without owning some sort of autonomy when it comes to on-field matters and, we assume, player personnel issues.  It’s the first time in MacPhail’s Baltimore era that he’s actually forked over money.  REAL money.  And it’s also the first time Andy’s gone outside of his apparent comfort zone, passing (if the rumors about Showalter are true) on the stoic, quiet, reserved, MacPhail-clone in Eric Wedge and opting instead – maybe because the owner demanded it? – for the control-hungry, micro-manager in Showalter.

I’m not sure what bothers MacPhail more.  Being forced to spend more on the manager than he would like or having to spend more on a manager because he was forced to fire the one he hired.

He tried to get by on the cheap three years ago by keeping Dave Trembley around.  Free agents left and right have been ignored and in almost every single case, it was all over money.  Last Fall, with Trembley’s contract up, MacPhail produced his biggest blunder of all, retaining the skipper on a lame-duck contract that he regretted in early June when the O’s woeful start forced him to can Trembley.

And now, as he scrambles to try and save HIS job, MacPhail has finally done what we’ve all (or most of  us) been begging him to do for three years.  He’s spending real money on someone that matters.

After feigning interest in Mark Teixeira…and ignoring the wishes of A.J. Burnett…and passing on Adam Dunn…and not returning Vlad Guerrero’s phone call…and signing Garrett Atkins ($4 million) instead of Adam LaRoche ($17 million/2 years)…MacPhail can no longer play the role of the miser.

He’s been forced to spend money – and give up some power, we assume – on Buck Showalter.

As a ticket buyer this year (34 total, plus a Junior Dugout Club membership – $17.00 – for my son), I’m a mini-stockholder in the club and I’m thrilled to see MY money being spent in a manner I approve.

Like a lot of stockholders, I’m growing tired of the losses and the last place finishes and the dreadful summers with nothing to watch.  So I’m pleased as punch with the Showalter hiring, because it shows me that MacPhail might finally be grasping the concept.  You can’t win by NOT spending money.  You just can’t.  Not when the team stinks in the first place.  And that’s what MacPhail’s been trying to do over the last three years.  He’s been trying to impress the girl with a bottle of Sutter Home instead of just asking for the Captain’s List and investing in a bottle of Silver Oak.

Who knows if Showalter will actually MANAGE the team this season if, in fact, he actually gets hired as the reports are indicating.  There’s this completely asinine theory floating around that the Orioles might sign Showalter and then let him watch the last half of the season from the press box.  We’ll hammer away at that issue if it actually turns out to be the case.  Honestly, it would be very Orioles’ish to do something like that, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Showalter has to get hired first.

A four-game winning streak in Texas, coupled with the news that the Orioles are on the verge of hiring Buck Showalter.  Who cares how either of those happened — they’re both good pieces of welcomed news.

Three years later, MacPhail finally shows the fans he knows how to spend money.

Thanks, Buck.

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Interesting times, indeed, for Peter, Andy and Cal

Posted on 29 June 2010 by Drew Forrester

There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes like this:  ”May you live in interesting times.”

Some believe its origin was actually intended to be a curse, translating to something like:  ”May the roads you travel be bumpy and dangerous”.

May you live in interesting times.

Interesting…indeed.

These are interesting times for Peter Angelos and the Orioles.

His hand-picked head honcho, Andy MacPhail, has just parted company with a $4.5 million mistake.  And no matter what Andy said in the aftermath of the Garrett Atkins departure, I’m sure Peter Angelos doesn’t look down his nose at the $4.5 million the way Andy obviously does — after all, as MacPhail noted, “in today’s economic structure in baseball, $4.5 million isn’t really much to lose”.  Well, not when you compare it to the $23 million that Teixeira gets…but what if MacPhail would have used that $4.5 million to sweeten the pie for Adam LaRoche or Adam Dunn or Vlad Guerrero?  Suddenly, $4.5 million does matter.

But that’s neither here nor there, now, because Atkins is gone.

How much longer, though, is MacPhail going to hang around?

With Tuesday’s story that Cal Ripken Jr. is still meeting with and talking to both Angelos and MacPhail about a front office position with the club, how much more of this stuff will MacPhail sit through before he packs it in?

He’s already being force-fed a managerial courtesy-interview with Rick Dempsey – by Angelos – and the premise that Andy is in sole control of the organization is starting to look quite wobbly.

And now Ripken is back, sniffing around again about some kind of advisory position that apparently must fit his busy, hectic schedule.

I guess Cal thinks being involved in the front office is like playing tennis on a Wednesday afternoon.  It eats up four hours of your day, if you count driving to and from the court, playing for 90 minutes, and then showering afterwards and eating a salad before heading back to the office.

As someone associated with the team said to me about two months ago when the first “Ripken wants to work in the front office” story broke:  ”The real problem here…is that Cal doesn’t know what he wants to do with the club.”

He doesn’t want to manage.  That takes up too much time.

He doesn’t want to run the club:  That takes up too much time.

He can’t do anything until his son goes away to college, which is still two years away.

Well, he can do *something*, but it can’t take up much time.

And then you have MacPhail, plugging away at a snail’s pace, trying to rebuild the organization and still make Peter Angelos feel like he’s playing a role in the turn-around.

Say what you will about MacPhail — and there’s an argument whose winter was worse in 2009, his or the St. Louis Rams – but he’s the guy who put “the plan” together and he should be allowed to proceed and inact that plan until it completely succeeds or fails.  And even though the team is 23-54 and all they’ve done under MacPhail is lose for three years now, it’s not fair to say “the plan has failed”.

But the plan might fail if Andy’s not allowed to hire HIS manager.

And the plan might fail if Cal Ripken Jr. is given some kind of authoritative role with the club against Andy’s wishes.

Then again, MacPhail retained, re-hired and fired Dave Trembley.  That’s a hat trick that Andy surely isn’t proud of, right?

Maybe Peter’s right when he says, “You know Andy, it might be a good idea for me to have the final say on this manager thing…you haven’t exactly knocked the 8-ball in the corner pocket with your previous decisons, you know.”  And maybe Angelos looks at Ripken the way he always looked at him before.  a pseudo cash-cow, who can help bring people to the ballpark, even if Junior is wearing a collar and tie and doing the meet and greet before the game down by the dugout.

The next three months will tell us a lot about Peter Angelos and his thoughts on the organization.

Is he souring on MacPhail and the plan?  He can’t possibly be thrilled about writing Garrett Atkins a free check for the next 14 weeks.  Rumors persist – and no one has denied them – that MacPhail wanted Brad Komminsk as the interim manager back on June 10 when he canned Trembley and Angelos wanted to give Rick Dempsey his shot at glory as the temporary guy in the dugout.  So they settled – a favorite task in the law industry – on Juan Samuel.  Sadly, that wipes away any legitimate chance Samuel might have had to interview for the REAL job after Trembley got the boot. And while the team isn’t any better, really, under Samuel, there have been some signs over the last three weeks that Samuel might actually be competent in the dugout.  I know this much, just based on the small sample size.  I’ll take Samuel over Trembley.

But running around interviewing managers in mid-June while your team is getting shelled 65% of the time isn’t good.  These are the days where MacPhail should be burning up the phone lines trying to unload some expendable pieces like Millwood, Guthrie, Wigginton and, even, perhaps Tejada and Luke Scott.  When you’re busy interviewing managerial candidates and such, it’s hard to devote the necessary time to making the roster better.  Then again, we have Felix Pie, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez coming back and available for the rest of the season.  Let the good times roll, I supppse.

This is what you get when you fire the manager in mid-season.

This is what you get when you spend a grand total of $22 million on baseball players in an off-season that probably mandated you spend five times that amount on three quality players.

And this is what you get when the greatest hometown player in Baltimore baseball history wakes up one morning and says “Hey, I think I might want to work for the Orioles now.”

And, of course, this is what you get when you’ve lost for 13 years straight.

You get ALL of this.  You get:  a mess.

Oddly, these ARE interesting times, despite all the losing and all the friction and all the question marks.

The next three months won’t lack for storylines, that’s for sure.  And the biggest issue of all is this:  Is Andy MacPhail going to see this endeavor to its end?  Or will the owner lose his patience and scrap the three years of sweat equity for another crack at a quick fix, with a Hall of Fame player in tow who can possibly help both on the field and at the gate.

May they all live in interesting times…Angelos, MacPhail, Ripken, Dempsey…each and every one of them.

After all, they signed up for all of this.

They know what they’re up against.

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