the owners? A key negotiator or a guy who loves players like Nolan Reimold and Chris Tillman too much and is perceived as a go-around for agents? A guy to play chess with in the clubhouse or a guy who is strategizing the entire future of the franchise?
Would Brady Anderson be running any other Major League Baseball franchise? Or employed by any other team in this capacity?
Would ANY team employ ANYONE in this kind of capacity and still claim there is a corporate structure?
But what credible and employed baseball man – front office type or manager – is going to quit a legitimate job anywhere in the industry to come and run this proven shitshow that is in major litigation with its 29 MLB partners while its owner falters and his two kids take over and have Brady Anderson as their buffer?
I guess that’s what you’re going to find out this summer as you go through the Ned Colettis of the world.
And what becomes of Buck Showalter is obviously next on the baseball totem pole.
Oh, and the guy who is in charge of getting back minor-league talent for Manny Machado and Adam Jones is so lame duck we don’t even discuss Dan Duquette anymore except as some kind of Weekend at Bernie’s punchline. Poor old ‘Duke keeps getting propped up in the boat and waving at the shoreline but everyone knows he’s not really breathing.
Look, I know in the end you have to trust someone.
And certainly – because of his lack of any baseball intellect or passion – your father made it an intrinsic part of his ownership and personality to have “informed” baseball visitors privately visiting the top floor of the law firm and spouting off God-knows-what in his ear. And whoever was there that day was always smarter than the guy he employed to actually run the place.
I’ve watched it for 25 years – the “kitchen” cabinet.
Ray Miller was the first mole. Then Syd Thrift came to snitch on Gillick and Wren to wrest control. Then Mike Flanagan was the guy who became trusted. Then Rick Dempsey had his ear during the Lee Mazzilli era and Sam Perlozzo. And, of course, Andy MacPhail was waiting in the wings and Dan Duquette was somehow resurrected from witness protection in Cape Cod.
And this is just the stuff that I know about.
But, behind every decision, action (or lack of action in many cases), lawsuit, threat, pronouncement and signing was Peter G. Angelos. There were years when there wasn’t a paperclip bought around The Warehouse without his approval or fear of reprisal.
One thing we’ve always known is that the guy “running the place” was never really running the place and that’s been at the aorta of the problem. No one in your organization even knows what a functioning organization looks like if they’ve been there long enough.
But they do know all about pitchers mysteriously failing physicals that Navy Seals would dread.
And Brady Anderson sits in the middle of it all – the straw that stirs the drink, the Swiss army knife of the Baltimore Orioles.
No one can explain exactly what he does – Jerry Crasnick of ESPN called it “unspecified” this week – but he’s apparently doing a lot of it. I’ll tell you this much: he is feared.
And the word I get is that Buck wants out of the dugout and into the front office. Or somewhere he won’t have to manage a shitty team through 100 losses and try to explain it twice a day.
Lots of cooks. One kitchen.
And it’s warm and getting hotter and there’s lots of prime fish and fresh dairy about to spoil. Not to mention Machados, Joneses and Britton that are fruits left out to rot, bruise and debate ripeness and value.
And the fish always rots from the head.
Hell, there are even two of you and a mom to fight with on every decision moving forward. And if that’s the way it’s going to go, then my breath is wasted. And for what it’s worth, no one around you really believes that this won’t be the ultimate mode of ownership.
Power without accountability has been a hallmark of your organizational credo that has led to the current malaise but if this is your “best decision” moving forward – allowing Brady Anderson and/or Buck Showalter to run the entire organization – then time will judge it accordingly.
I hope to be here to witness it all. I hope to witness a parade while I can still walk two blocks away to see it.
But this franchise and situation will only get better when you find qualified, top-of-industry leaders – on and off the field. People who live here, work here, fight here, know here and love here.
That’s been a problem for a long, long time.
Commuter management. Revolving door players who live somewhere else and make home elsewhere. And an ownership that is absentee and has completely abandoned all civic responsibility and accountability while printing money.
There’s a very fair argument that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone credible currently working in Major League Baseball to leave a decent job to come to work for the Orioles under almost any circumstance. The last time your father went looking for baseball operations folks, no one would take his job.
It was like Confederate money – only it worked in Cape Cod.
To my eyes and given the uncertainty with your family and the competition in the AL East from the Yankees and Red Sox and the grave state of your farm system and lack of developing talent, this is the worst job in Major League Baseball.
So if Brady Anderson is presiding over a World Series championship five years from now running your franchise, I’ll be happy to eat my words. Delighted! Overjoyed!
You’ve got a big month ahead and a monumental task over the hill of trying to make the Baltimore Orioles better.
Come win me back, earn my trust and make me want to support your franchise.
You can start with a legitimate press conference where I have a seat and working press credential to ask you questions about all of this. You know the part where you allow me to do my job and show some respect to someone who cares more about your ballclub than any of your radio “partners” really does. You can call into their shows today but they’re only talking about the Ravens because they don’t have anything good to say about the Orioles and they’re not allowed to say anything “negative.”
The stadium is empty. The team is in last place. The Baltimore Orioles are a laughingstock – on and off the field – as they’ve been for almost all of your family’s ownership thus far. And the franchise is the industry punchline everywhere but inside the industry, where they all know you’ve made a lot more money than any of them over the last decade.
Peter always said his “two good-looking boys” would one day take over the ballclub.
Well, fellas, it’s time to find out if you’re a Rocky – or a Bullwinkle?
Rocky Wirtz did it. You can, too.
But it ain’t easy. Your father thought it would be easy. That was his biggest mistake, steeped in the same arrogance that has brought about the completely profitable wonderfully magical mess you’ve inherited 25 years later – wealth accumulation notwithstanding.
YOU make the magic happen. The magic of Orioles baseball.
But please remember:
I am not your nuisance.
I am not your enemy.
I am your customer.
I am your fan.
Be worthy of this community.
Or be subject to more of these #DearOrioles notes until you get it right.
Or you could just sell the damned thing?