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April 14, 2010

MacPhail not looking for scapegoats

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is not exactly pleased with the start of this season.

He is the one, remember, who said this team would be judged on wins and losses and not just development.

And nine games into the season, the Orioles are 1-8 and head toward a brutal 10-game road trip to Oakland, Seattle and Boston.

But for those of you expecting MacPhail to can manager Dave Trembley right now, forget about it.

MacPhail didn’t want to address Trembley’s job security -- which makes sense since the Orioles’ early tailspin has not been caused by anything Trembley has or hasn’t done.

“I don’t even know how to begin to answer that. We are nine games into [the season],” he said.

But he did answer it because he knows that if he didn’t, speculation would be rampant:

“That’s just not the way I operate. We are going to do everything we can to try and make personnel decisions to try and help the team, and that is what we are going to focus on, making things better and not looking for scapegoats.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:54 PM | | Comments (45)


An assessment of this team's many and deep flaws needs to begin with MacPhail, the man who put the team together, and Angelos, who sets the terms of the provess. The pitching staff, especially the bullpen, has turned out to be MacPhail's folly. The lack of a credible cleanup hitter is another obvious failure. This is a bad team that reflects its owner. Angeloser is turning yet another baseball season into the land of the living dead. What a legacy.

MacPhail not looking for scapegoats OK MCPHAIL HOW ABOUT LOOKING FOR SOME ANSWERS!


"MacPhail not looking for scapegoats"

How about when he shaves ?

Mac"phail" got bamboozled by Gonzalez in choosing him over the various closers who were available. Dude is damaged goods. Couldn't break a pane of glass from day one of Spring Training and now heads to the D.L. I'm sorry but this guy scammed Andy, can't really can't blame anyone but Gonzalez. As for not resigning Baez or Bass, 2 of the only 4 pitchers from last year that had less hits per innings ratios, well, that we can blame Macphail. Besides today, the starting pitching has been pretty solid. The lack of clutch hitting, or hitting period, is either just an untimely early season slump or a combination of above average pitching by the opponents or both. I see it as both and figure 9 games is too early to tell but then again, this is quite a snakebit team. They lack confidence and it shows. The Rays by comparison walk w a swagger and consistently deliver the dagger that deflates whatever smigden of positive air the O's collectively breath. I saw it in person in Florida, and it has traveled north, and we as fans can blame MacPhail and everyone in the organization for what is transpiring, whether they like it or not. Sooner or later, they will either dig deep, band together, and fight like angry junkyard dogs or go the way of the dinosaur. If they continue to unravel, then I say noone should be safe, move everyone that has adorned the Oriole logo for more than 2 years, except for Markakis, who may be scuttling abit now but we know can rake it.

Mr. MacPhail, you & the owner are the problem. These are the players, YOU signed. Trembley is trying to win with the AA players you gave him. SHAME ON YOU MacPhail, SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sell the O's Angelos.

O's fans despise what you've done to this once proud franchise.

Sell the team and go chase ambulances.

Sad, sad franchise. Daily excuses. The manager is horrid. Players are comatose. No leadership. If any team situation begged for a managerial change, this one does. No one is accountable. Unbelievable.

Lets go with playing the young guys & working towards the future. Lets trade BRob for prospects, start playing Pie in LF & Reimold at DH - EVERYDAY. DFA Atkins...if guys are not showing desire or a day to day energy....get rid of them. Stop signing names like Atkins, Gonzo & Uehara....

I don't know why you can't blame the situation in the manager. Obviously the second blown save was a huge letdown for the team and it has not recovered since. A good manager has ways to keep the team motavated and not have them quit.

Say what you might about how little talent there is, it is simply not true. This team has very good hitters that are not doing well. In the pros if you are not giving it your all you will fail, this team needs motavation.

Really?!? I can think of a few instances, already, this year that DT has cost us the game, with his managing, or lack there of. Wiggy playing second? Really? Come the hell on...just b/c you SAY he can play a position, doesn't make it so. Don't even get me started on how DT "manages" the pitching staff, and pen.....Scribbling out "new" lineup cards, which make less and less sense with each game....asking Adam Jones to play deeper? really, you "asked" Adam Jones to do something? Why don't you grow a pair DT, and TELL these fools what to do, until then they will run all over you....

on the other hand, I guess you really can't blame him, b/c he was not fit to EVER manage a MLB team in the first place, which has been painfully evident since he started the gig....We need to hire a hard-nosed manager to get things together, but that will never happen as long as that land shark, PA, owns the team

The problem with this team, for the first time in years, is primarily batting. You can't fire a manager for that, and it's been at least a decade since Angelos has had an MLB plate appearance. Aside from Bergenson today, there haven't been any huge pitching meltdowns (even 2 blown saves by a closer isn't *horrible* right out of a spring training). What this team has are players who, for one reason or another, did not get their timing back in Spring Training. We know that Jones, Tejada, and Markakis are not going to be batting around .220 for long. Nor is Reimold (still recovering), Adkins...who seems to be rebounding some from last year (he did make the switch from the NL, so expect some adjustment time). I do not consider myself a blind, naive fan. I consider myself very pragmatic, and when I look at this team, I see a lot of players who, just over a week into the season, are still working out things they should have worked out in Spring. It will get better. Not world series better, but better.

I disagree with most of these comments. Tremblay is a disgrace as manager and always micromanages and pushes the wrong buttons. He removes pitchers at whim when they are pitching well and leaves others in when they are not. Everyone with a lick of baseball sense knows that everyone does not have their best stuff every time out so changing them all the time makes no sense. He also pulls hitters who are going well at whim just to get a bench player playing time. That, to me makes no sense. They are bench players because they are not as good as regulars and should play in the late innings of lopsided games or when someone is tired or injured. He needs to be replaced and will never be a winning manager. We need a smart baseball manager and a taskmaster like Weaver or Davey Johnson were. I think our team is vastly improved over last year and that we should have won half the games played to date if not for Tremblay's blunders.

Let Dave Trembley go 0-10 on this road trip and he'll be canned before he gets to Baltimore to play the Yanks at Camden Yards.

Andy---you'll have no other choice!

Watching the O's play is painful because we are seeing a team that is overmatched when playing against average professionals. Not hitting, not running the bases well, thin pitching and making errors are usual for players still developing as major leaguers or playing a new position. No one has even mentioned, for example. that in the 8th inning of Tuesday's game Adkins made a horrible attempt at catching the throw from second that could have helped end the inning. There are no in-their-prime veterans who can carry the team. Yeah, the O's will win more games because occassionally things will go right, but the weak links will continue to surface at key times because other better coached and equipped teams will exploit them. Atleast start preparing the players we have by bringing in an accomplished manager as well as hitting and bench coaches.

Well said Bishop Knight. Well said. Everyone needs to relax. We're not a WS, or playoff team for that matter, but we will get better. Other than what happened today we've been in every game. Played well. We just didn't finish. I'm not making excuses for the L's but I still think 80 wins is well within sight.

As for the McPhail bashers he's done more for this franchise than anyone since Pat Gillick. He's got great young arms and young talent in Baltimore and all throughout the farm system. He's improved our scouting, our minor league programs and everything that was neglected for the past 13 years. People just need to chill.

Its really very simple. You just have to be honest.

Its unlikely the team will win again while Angelos is the owner. Anyone who really knows this guy and isn't tainted by financial incentives, understands why. History is pretty clear on this one.

The team has talent. MacPhail has done a reasonably good job under less then optimal circumstances. Not like good players are rushing to play here. Would you?

As for Trembley, I think his decisions and preparation technique are clearly open to question. Trembly is simply too programatic, probably because he doesn't trust his instincts (meaning they're not good). So, he follows the book - safe rout. He is making the wrong choice too many times for it to be shuffled off as just bad luck, or a player not performing. Sorry, when you're the manager, its YOUR responsibility.

What the team needs more then anything is a very good manager. We haven't had a good leader here since Dave Johnson. Good managers/coaches find a way to win with less then optimal talent. There's a long, long list of guys who have done it.

...too bad, there are lots to chose from. He should start w/the manager.

This team lost it's motivation with 2 heart-wrenching defeats courtesy of Gonzalez.When that happens,and it is pretty obvious,changes NEED to be made.Trembley is a good talker,would love to have a beer with him someday.BUT,he is not the man to lead this squad.Who cares if they've played only 9 games?THE FANS AND PLAYERS need a spark.Joe Madden outmanaged him all week,with pitching decisions,strategy,you name it.PAINFULLY OBVIOUS.Team has talent,just not used properly.NEEDS TO BE CANNED NOW!!!!!

Three seasons at the "helm" of the Baltimore Orioles. MacFailure still has not "bought bats," like he promised. More lies from the Angelos Regime?

Your clock is ticking, MacPhailure! Fix this mess. Twelve years of ineptitude is enough.

I agree that the beginning of the season has been brutal, and I don't really want to watch or listen to the games right now, but it's only been nine games. The hitters will hit better, we will start winning some one-run games. Most of you have given up already; it's like you've never seen a baseball season before. There's a lot of ups and downs; it's a long season; give it some time. This is only equivalent to the Ravens losing one game.

DT is also just not a very bright man. If you ever have watched a post game press conference, its like he has to think about every word he says just to get them out of his mouth, and even then half the time they either don't make sense, or are the most cliched remarks I have ever heard.

His biggest interest in spring training from what I read was Kam Mickolio, who is not even with the team. This was supposed to be his year right?

The guys on our team are smart. From watching interviews you can tell that jones, markakis, brob, and pretty much the whole team are pretty bright guys. And I'm sure it bugs them to have someone in charge, who clearly isn't on their level of just raw intelligence. We need someone who is going to be a step ahead of our team, someone who will know what is going on in our players minds and put them in positions to win.
I also wholeheartedly agree about the substitutions. As a manager you are not there to baby players, you are there to win games.

Hopefully we can find someone once the inevitable firing of DT happens. And for me it can't come soon enough.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Can they at least wait until September to fall apart?

bring back the tomato plants, and earl

McPhail not looking for scapegoat because he are one!

I totally agree Bishop Knight.....I am tired of so-called fans....there are so many fair weathered fans out ther these days for our team. You are with them when they are up but not when they are down....granted it has been a long down, but look at the Cubs for example....they have not won the WS since 1908 and their fans are RABID....we couldn't even get 10k in the seats the other day.....pathetic! has been frustrating, but look at the positives.....Did you see how Matusz pitched the other day (except when he was probably left in a little long for this early in the season).....that was super exciting to watch.

WE ARE NOT WS CONTENDERS RIGHT NOW....we are a few years off from that....but the majority of our future is here (or in AA/AAA) and they need development can't expect a player to super star caliber from the start....that doesn't happen that often....patience is a virtue!

I'm a true fan through and through and will stick with my team through good and bad....the team needs our support and if we send negative vibes to them that's probably what we will get back...

Let's Go O's!

80 wins, Don??? You're kidding, right? This team is leaderless. A ship without a rudder. That's as obvious as ever this year so far. Trembley's simply not a good manager. I wouldn't hire him to manage a Little League team much less a major league one. And the owner doesn't care. That's the one that dooms this team more than anything else.

WHY should the pitching coach keep his job???????????????

Can anyone tell me where I put my reset button?

I disagree profoundly with many of these comments.

This team has all the ingredients of a solid competitive team. It is playing poor fundamentals and without competitive passion. Which is to say that this team is not playing for this manager.

Which is to say this manager needs to go IMMEDIATELY.

Bring on a manager with some fire who won't take "losses" as if they are acts of God.

Rick Dempsey needs to take the helm ASAP.

I would like to remind everyone that while I am not drinking any kool-ade, when the O's started '88 0-21, '89 was our Why Not season.

Is it August already?

Andy , you put together a minor league team with a minor league mgr.,,,,,,,,,what do you expect when they go against major league teams?

You and the great one are jokes , just like this team.....................

Get Bobby Valentine in here ASAP... you will see the difference a manager makes! Ask last year's Rockies if changing managers makes a difference... This team needs a new voice and an attitude adjustment. How can Trembley teach these guys to be major leaguers when he really has no clue how to be a major league manager himself? Get a proven manager in here and save this season!!!


It seems that the team is close, but they do not know how to win. Do you think the Orioles can acquire a veteran fielder who has had success to help the team learn to win like a Kevin Millwood (It appears that he is helping the starting rotation)? Or is it too late to make an addition like that since the seasons has started.

I never understand when reporters start asking GMs about the manager's job security what they expect to hear. "Yeah, we plan to fire Dave next week, off the record." C'mon. They always answer the same thing. Either a no comment that draws tremendous speculation, or a "that's ridiculous" which draws tremendous speculation. Bottom line is this: If MacPhail is going to stick to his "this year is about wins and losses" and the manager is consistently losing, then he's gonna get axed. Might not be till mid-season, but it'll happen.

Kenny from Pikesville

Jeff Z's reply: I hate to speak for Dan, who is the guy who interviewed Andy on this topic, but I do want to point something out. Every blog post or story or even discussion about anything Orioles these days is hijacked by fans calling for Dave Trembley to be fired and blaming the team's 1-8 start on him. I even got a Trembley response to the item about the upcoming draft. And you're suggesting not to ask the GM, who is mostly responsible for determining Dave's fate, about it? If MacPhail didn't say anything about it, it would look even worse. No reporter enjoys asking about this type of stuff, but when the manager is on a one-year deal and the GM says he'll be judged by wins and losses, you have to ask the question.

Who is the world could they hire who is clearly a better manager for this team than Dave Trembley? This teams problems are bigger than the manager, don't you think?

Everything rises and falls on leadership. This fiasco was expected based on the talent. It's not Angelos and it's not a baseball manager. Unless these posters think that Angelos said, "I want under 2 million in attendance so I can find parking" there is no reason to think that this product is anything the stain of McFail.
Is it possible to make the verification longer than War and Peace. 8 letters seems so trite

What about Cal Ripken Jr.? Will everything bigger different than Peter Angelos? I always believe in Cal Ripken because he has abilities to encourage and teaching them how to be big WINS.

The GM's speaks in cliches which sound appropriate but lack pith. If you look over the years the player changes ,in many respects are for the worse not better.Is The current first baseman, Adkins, an improvement over Huff. Is the current closer an improvement over Sgerrill?

the organization has deep problems...
in that the so called talent we have
arrived on the scene of the season
with problems. why did not the coaches and manager know that gonzales had mechanical problems and
get them corrected in spring training.
why would an organization pay 10 million for a closer who had a
10saves and 7non saves in the last
year. why would the organization get
a closer from the national league
when the american league owns the
national league pitching? why don"t
the organization recognize that
guthrie is not a #2 pitcher and
use him as a #5 starter or bullpen.
why was roberts not treated in the
spring rather than wait till the
season started. why do the o's have
continuing medical problems with their players more so than most other teams. i guess this is the
mark of a disfuncional organization
starting with the owner. you can't make chicken salad out of chicken

Once/if Angelos sells the team to someone that has intensions of winning, not simply turning a profit, we'll start turning things around...until then, we only slip deeper into the abyss,:(

1. McPhail should look in the mirror
2. He's been around to be scammed
3. As Tom Hanks' character said in a league of their own" - This is a very simple game, you throw the ball, hit the ball and catch the ball. You also have to run right. O's aren't doing any of these. Trembly is NOT problem.
4. Gonzalez is lucky he only has a strained shoulder. With his mechanics he's lucky his entire body isn't out of line. Oh, and check his eyes as he can't seem to find the strike zone

Things aren't that least not as bad as it was back in 1988 when they went 0-21.

A little bad luck, plus Gonzalez and Roberts are hurt, and no hitting in the clutch--that's the whole story.

C'mon---you can't blame Angelos any more. And McPail has great bona fides. It happens. It's baseball.

Go to the games. Wear paper bags and boo if it makes you feel better. But have some fun. It's a game.

I agree with woodieman. Trembley has cost the O's several games with his in-game mismanagement of the relief staff. He just does not exercise the proper discretion in knowing when to pull a pitcher and when to not do so. He manages by pitcher specialization regardless of game circumstances. He rarely lets late inning relievers go more than one inning no matter how well they have just pitched, and thinks he must always have a "closer" for the 9th. Let the guy who is doing well stay in the game and finish it. Managers are just that - they manage in-game circumstances with flexibility - they should not have a set programmed script of when to make a pitching change. The dynamics of the game at hand determine that. Game management is not scripted.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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