Being Thrift with mounting debt and wringing the Belle with an insurance policy

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

shoulders of Syd Thrift, who joined the team in November 1994 and was now “running the show” amidst an organization that managed to lose at every level from the big leagues to rookie ball.

Baseball America wrote that the Orioles had the worst farm system in Major League Baseball and it was hard to argue that point.

The lip service of the Orioles’ 2001 season being about growing the farm system and replenishing players was just that. Cal Ripken, Mike Mussina and Brady Anderson were all moving on. Now the Director of Baseball Operations – remember Angelos had deemed the term “general manager” obsolete ­­ ­­­– Thrift spent most of the season in the rare role of spokesperson for Angelos, who was overt in his attempts to avoid the media or any more pronouncements about his wants, intentions and goals for the Orioles.

Joe Gross, longtime columnist at The Annapolis Capital wrote about it in June 2001 as he season was effectively ending before the All Star break for the fourth straight year:

The retreat of the Angelos clan from the public eye was neither accidental nor coincidental. It was, in fact, the result of a carefully conceived and engineered plan designed to ease the criticism of the organization. It came as the product of a high-level corporate decision to try to improve the organization’s image within the baseball world.

Insiders know that Syd Thrift, the club’s vice president for baseball operations, is an Angelos tool. But Thrift has not talked about getting approval from the boss for his every move as he has done in past years. That too must be by design. But, instead of Angelos leaking his opinions, he has been silent and all but invisible. Few people have realized how little has been said about Angelos’ involvement in the club.

And, like every baseball executive who had been in place before him since 1994, it was very hard to delineate who made what decisions on what players with an owner who made impetuous demands after signing the likes of Albert Belle to