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February 12, 2011

MacPhail on MASN, international scouting, Guerrero's deal, Pujols and more

In his Q&A Thursday at the Baltimore School of Law Sports Symposium, Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail touched on a variety of subjects, including the state of the franchise, baseball's financial imbalance, whether the Orioles would hypothetically pursue a first baseman like Albert Pujols (should he become a free agent), the reasons manager Buck Showalter was able to make an immediate impact, and where the team stands with its international scouting department.

Much of it couldn't quite make it into our story Friday because of space, but MacPhail's comments are definitely a must-read for Orioles fans, especially as spring training looms.

--Kevin Van Valkenburg

On how Buck Showalter was able to lead such a dramatic turnaround in the final 57 games of the season:

"I think like anything there were probably multiple reasons for it, because it's such a dramatic change, and it happened the day he walked in the door. He would say if he was right here, 'Well, I think the team they envisioned on the field just got healthy.' That might have been part of it, but it's by no means the lion's share of it. I think it's sort of a testament to human nature. The one thing that when you make a managerial change, you're hoping you change the narrative. This is the way we're going forward. It's not a temporary guy. Those guys who might have struggled think: 'Well, I've got a clean slate. I might hit better in a different spot. Things can change.' And also you're dealing with someone who has the reputation in the sport, very well earned, that he's been there. He knows how to give players the tools to succeed. It might be something as simple as telling a hitter: 'You know, when you're 2-2, this guy is going low and away, low and away. It's all he ever does. Lay off it. It's never a strike.' Maybe now he lays off it, the next one is fat, and he gets a double. Or it might be something as simple as a story he told one of our young starters. He said: 'Hey, you're giving these guys too much credit. Throw the ball over [the plate]. You're stuff is pretty good. You don't need to nibble. You have stuff that's as good as Joe Smith, who I had back in '79.' Those are some of the reasons we had such a dramatic change. I think everybody was going, 'What the hell is going on?'

"Because I didn't bring him in with the idea that was going to happen. I brought him in, and I had to cajole him a little bit. I said: 'Buck, we need to make some changes in the offseason. Do you want to be hostage to what I think in the front office? Or do you want to participate and look people in the eye, see who is doing what, and make suggestions with us?' Ultimately, I might have hurt his feelings one time, but I told him that 'you've got to get your feet wet. You haven't done this in three years. You can't put all the pressure on yourself to come in in spring training and magically change everything. You need to get your feet wet and get back into the rhythm of managing.' "

On whether promises were made three years ago by ownership that some of the money generated by the creation of MASN would go toward increasing payroll, so that the Orioles could compete with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox:

"No, I went the other way. I told Peter [Angelos] you had to pare your payroll down, and you had to start investing in your farm system because you're never going to go toe-to-toe with the Yankees and Red Sox because MASN isn't NESN and it isn't YES. And right now, we actually do spend MASN money on our payroll. Now even more so. I think if you're going to be objective, for better or worse, when I came here there was a shift in the mentality. We're going to be a scouting- and development-oriented organization. We're going to throw our money where I think we are on an even field with our opponents. We're not going to chase every free agent and get our payroll up in the neighborhood of $140 million, because this franchise can't sustain that. ... So if you don't like the direction the team took, it's on me. It's more management than it is ownership."

On the organization's decision to raise ticket prices despite declining attendance:

"I have two answers to that. The quick and easy one is that I'm a baseball guy, thank God. So I really wasn't involved in that [decision]. But I have a couple of things on that, just based on my Chicago experience. For those people that are price sensitive, there are plenty of good options to buy Orioles tickets if you work at it. And that's what consumers do today with the Internet. They're pretty darn sophisticated. If you want a good price, you can get it. Now, it might be Wednesday night against the Royals and not Sunday night against the Yankees, but those options are still there despite the price increase. The second thing is, when we had the last two months that we had, we made the judgment that we're going to do what we can to sustain this [success], perpetuate this, and move it forward, just because this franchise has had 13 bad years in a row. We've got to move. We can't [keep losing] forever. So to fund in a small part -- and I do mean small -- of the additional $20 million that we went up in payroll, we went from $73 million to $93 million, and the ticket revenue is only going to make up a small fraction of that. But to me, it should be perceived as an indicator that we're making an investment back into the payroll. I took [the payroll] down, spent the money elsewhere, and now we're bringing it back up."

On whether the Orioles would ever go beyond their budget to sign a special player in free agency if they thought it would allow them to contend:

"Well, let's look at the history. We did offer Mark Teixeira $140 million with the idea that we could move up. Now, in my view, that was like the perfect storm. You had a local kid, a switch-hitter, a first baseman, above-average defense, you could [sign him] for seven years and still think you were going to get production at the position [at the end of the contract]. He's one of those rare players who is going to go 0-4 and still help you win a game with his defense. He was a local kid. Everything was there. But if we're wrong about a thing like that, and we're devoting $20 million a year, if you're devoting 20 percent of your payroll to one player, you cannot be wrong. That's a torpedo below the water line. So that was the one guy. But they don't come along that often. It has to be like that perfect storm of things where I would recommend to ownership that you make that kind of investment.

"And you know what? He got a better deal. He went to a team that won a championship. You wouldn't have done the same thing?"

On whether Albert Pujols would represent a similar perfect storm:

"I'll give you a different take on that as I try to evade that question the best I can. There is this assumption that because this guy got [a huge number] and this guy got [an even bigger number], Albert Pujols has to get [a salary bigger than both]. Well, what if there are no bidders? What if the music stops and there are no chairs? Let's say Pujols signs with St. Louis. Where does Prince Fielder go? Do you want to make that bet on Prince Fielder at $20 million per as opposed to Teixeira? I'll be honest with you, the likelihood of us stepping out to the degree that [Pujols] is looking at, for any one player, is remote at best. I read that he's looking for $30 million a year, and I just can't see how that's going to happen. Now, I'm management. I'm not ownership. I make recommendations. I don't own the team. But I just think with what you have to do, I can't see it."

On a real-life example of baseball's financial imbalance between the Orioles and the Yankees, and why it differs so greatly from the way the NFL is run:

"I went on our website to see what you can find for two full-season tickets. I found you could purchase two seasons in Section 14, Row 6, over the course of the entire Orioles offseason, for $5,184. So I went back on the Internet and I thought, alright, what can I get for a comparable seat with the New York Yankees. Well, in just about the same location, Section 13, Row 5, which is maybe just a little further out of first base than the ones I looked at in Camden Yards, you can have those two tickets for $57,500. We're not talking about sponsorships, we're not talking about suites, we're not talking about restaurants they have in ballparks now. That's just the ticket price. The disparity in the local revenue in MLB is so much greater than it is in the NFL. There is no local TV in the NFL. To me, that explains why in the year [2011], you can still have a team in Green Bay in the NFL, and not only can you have a team in the NFL in Green Bay, but they can be the world champions.

On the Orioles' decision to sign Vladimir Guerrero, and how the team made the decision to increase its offer to $8 million:

"I don't know how much of this I can really talk about because he hasn't passed a physical. But I'll kind of go hypothetical. It's not something we were really anticipating. We tried to take advantage of the situation. They were rather dogmatic on what they wanted. We ended up finding a creative way of doing what we needed to do, and yet satisfying what they needed. And one of the motivations was I kept reading this Michael Young stuff. Michael Young was with the Rangers, but what if he does get traded? The [Rangers] had an interest in Vlad earlier in the offseason, and they had him last season, so maybe they jump back in the bidding. So finding a creative solution was [important]. While I didn't discern another active bidder at the time, my experience has taught me that that doesn't mean there is not going to be a bidder down the line. So if you can make the right deal, just go ahead and make the right deal."

On the relationship between owner Peter Angelos and Cal Ripken Jr., and why Ripken isn't working in the Orioles front office in some capacity:

"Cal and Peter will have lunch together -- I don't know when the last time was -- but usually on a monthly basis. I've gotten to know Cal a little since I've been here, and Cal will be the first to tell you he doesn't have the Aberdeen franchise unless Peter gave it up, because that was the Orioles' territorial right. They work together. Peter was the one owner who would not go for the replacement players, partly because of his union background, but because it was going to disrupt Cal's streak, which he held in high esteem. They have a good relationship. Cal has been clear to me that as long as his son Ryan is at Gilman, and he can make up some of the time that he wasn't able to spend with him as a player, that's what he's going to do. And then once Ryan goes to college, all bets are off. Cal is a great baseball mind. You can't achieve what Cal achieved on talent alone. There's got to be a lot more there. And he will make a good asset to what I hope will be the Oriole organization, or any organization that he goes into, once he determines that's what he wants to do."

On how the Orioles are doing in international scouting, specifically the Dominican Republic and Venezuela:

"It's a good question. We're still not head over heels in international scouting. We get criticized occasionally for not spending enough there. But you've got to understand, in the Dominican Republic, the whole game has changed. It used to be you'd go there and see a lot of kids playing baseball. Now there is something called a buscón. They're agents, and what they'll do is they'll take a kid who is 12 or 13 and has some promise. They'll feed them, clothe them, and put them in a workout regimen. They're not playing baseball anymore. What these guys prepare them to do is to come in all these complexes -- and now we have one of them -- and they'll do workouts. They're not playing the game anymore. They're guys who have been developed over three or four years to look good in a three- or four-day tryout. And there are those old-fashioned amongst us who are concerned that's not really the look we need to make a good read on a 17-year-old kid out of the Dominican. We would much rather see them play games. Just think about a lot of U.S. players who wouldn't do that well in a workout, but they are good baseball players because they can play the game. We've lost an element of that in the Dominican, and where we apply our resources is somewhat of a reflection of that.

"We are not in Venezuela nearly to the degree that we need to be in. We have our approach in the Dominican. It might not be the best, but Venezuela is definitely something we need to look into in a more studious fashion because the last time I checked, you've got 6 percent of players in the major leagues are coming out of Venezuela, and we need to be more active there."

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Posted by Kevin Van Valkenburg at 12:30 PM | | Comments (31)


Keith, glad to see your reporting show up here. I really enjoyed your "5 Things We Learned" column about the Ravens and I'm hoping you'll be a (semi-?) regular contributor to Orioles coverage. Thanks for the work.

What a good read - the print article and this... Thanks Kevin!

I love Andy MacPhail. Almost every time he makes public statements I feel more and more at ease. Sure, there are many ways to skin a cat, but with Andy's way the future is never sacrificed but built upon.

But seriously, Venezuela has been an elusive goal. I get what he's saying about the Dominican, and thus all the more reason to double down on Venezuela since other clubs aren't AS invested in Venezuela as they are the Dominican or PR. And whats up with the Pacific Rim? Again, showing up late to the race in one area, means they ought to be trying to lead it in another area. There is simply too much talent out there internationally that the O's rarely take advantage of. An organization built on (or trying to be) talent-development/ scouting should be much more focused on these things.

I agree completely with the Tex free agency, perfect storm, and rare commodity. I'd also put Chapman in that mold too, but the O's seemed to be out of that quickly. (yes, 30 million the Reds offered was a real "out-of-left-field"). The international development angle it's time to see some money where the mouth is.

MASN money question:

A lot of people have given MacPhail a lot of grief over some of the decisions he has made. But they need to remember that the organization consisted of a lot of damaged goods when he took over. Things were bound to get worse before they got better. It is clear that in a city like Baltimore, throwing money at a problem is not only impossible, it won't solve the problem. I believe the combination of Andy, Buck, and someday Cal, will have Baltimore on the track to success. And we will never have the same ticket prices as the Yankees, but as the team gets better, revenue will increase, and the possibilities of larger payroll capabilities and superstar free agents will become real.

Very good read - thank you for putting this together!!

Such well thought out and precise answers to every question. I hope some of these "fans" can appreciate the intelligence and savvy required to be a general manager of a baseball team. Mr. Macphail has showed without a doubt that he is very qualified for this position.

It would be very smart for the O's and Peter Angelos to extend the contract of AM and give him the time and recourses needed to build the Orioles as a hole.

The most important thing is not trying to stick a round peg in a square hole. You cannot and will not outspend the Yankees so you have to find other ways to beat them.

Go O's!

Thank you for providing these excepts from MacPhail lecture . it is rare and interesting insight on our GM . Of course , MacPhail has to tread carefully on Vlad and Pujol subjects . Nonetheless , I am looking forward to Spring Training !

Life is about communication......communication with your loved ones, communication with the people you work with and communication with your clients.
An article like this is a great way to gain insight about Andy McPhail and the organization.
The guy is not perfect, but he is an analytical thinker that knows the game and not afraid to roll the dice every now and then.....sometimes he is wrong (Garret Atkins) and sometimes he is right ( the young pitching staff).
With effective communication he allows us into the mindspace of the guys who is calling the shots for our beloved, long suffering team.
Hey...spring training is about to begin....everybody is optimistic, we believe in our hearts that things will be better this year. It is a beautiful time of year and it gives us all hope for an exciting summer.
Kevin....I really enjoyed your article. Terrific repartee between you and McPhail.
Keep up the good work.

I've always said that injuries played a major factor in the early downfall of the '10 season. Both AM and Showalter has acknowledged that as well. The Atkins signing was a dumb move, and I wasn't excited about Gonzalez as a closer.

Last year also demonstrated the alarming lack of depth this franchise has in its position players. Hopefully this offseason provided a remedy for that problem on the short term. For a managment that is putting its main focus on developing pitching, I hope that next year it commits to signing position players longer contracts than 1 year, especially since there aren't many players in the minors to get excited about.

There is no need to outspend the Yanks and Sox but MASN does bring in a ton of cash and it hasn't been utilized. Not as big as YES or NESN but enough to sustain a $100MM plus payroll

I wish Mr. Angelos would take a page from Mr. Bisciotti and put every dollar that comes into the franchise BACK INTO THE FRANCHISE. Mr. Angelos is a billionaire, his legacy will be repaired if he doesn't continue to pocket the profits he doesn't need.

Like Andy, I have a hard time believing that any team will offer Pujols $30MM per.

Sure, A-Rod got $25MM per over 10 years however many years ago, but there are two massive differences here:

1. A-Rod was heading into his 25-year-old season when he signed with the Rangers. Pujols will be heading into his 32-year-old season next winter.

2. The economic climate of baseball was vastly different in 2001 than it is now.

Considering Albert's age and the way that baseball has transformed into a younger man's game, with more money going into scouting and extensions for 20-somethings, I honestly can't see the guy getting more than seven or eight years on the open market.

Think about it: If Albert and the Cards can't work something out, who are the big suitors going to be?

Anaheim's got a $75MM+ payroll already, and they'll probably still be looking to fill holes at third and catcher. And they've got Kendry Morales at first base already for a fraction of what Pujols would cost.

The Dodger's could be in, since James Loney is never going to be a prototypical first baseman, but can they really make it happen with their ownership issues?

Past those two teams, you've got maybe the Jays, Mariners, Cubs, Nats, Mets and O's. Every other team either doesn't have the money or already has a long-term solution at first base.

The Jays appear to be in saving mode. They've got just ~$20MM devoted to 2012 contracts. Will they open the wallet and put 60% of their payroll into one player?

Can the Mariners fit another $20MM+ per contract in there with almost $40MM per devoted to Ichiro and King Felix?

Can the Cubs fit a massive Pujols contract into their budget with big, ugly deals already out to Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano?

Can the Nats afford to devote more than half of their payroll to Pujols and Jayson Werth?

Will the Mets be willing to spend big when they already have Ike Davis at first?

Will the O's even consider taking a $200MM risk on a 32-year-old? Even if it is a 32-year-old Albert Pujols?

Once the Red Sox lock up Adrian Gonzalez, the big-spending franchises won't be there for Pujols. And even if one of the previously mentioned teams offers up a better deal than the Cards, would he really want to play for any of those teams after contending every single year in St. Louis?

The unasked question that I'd have liked to have seen asked is, what is being done to improve drafting and development? Picking consistently at 4 & 5, we haven't done all that well. And we get almost nothing from later picks or international signings?

We all know MacPhail's mantra of grow the arms and buy the bats; however, the question that has not been asked is what will the Orioles do when the home grown arms reach free agency? Will they pony up the money to keep them Orioles, trade them one or two years before free agency or just let me walk and wish them well?

The part I liked was AM saying to Buck, "Do you want to be hostage to what I think in the front office? Or do you want to participate and look people in the eye, see who is doing what, and make suggestions with us?"

That shows to me an acknowledgement by AM that Buck has a lot to offer and is mature enough not to be threatened by it. That's a very good thing. Buck has to live with it, he should have a say and apparently does.

Pujols will not leave St. Louis unless he's an idiot.

He is basically a god there right now...he will not get that same level of love and respect elsewhere. Plus, if he turns down a substantial offer (say, 8 years, $225mil) from the Cards, no one is going to feel sorry for him. Fans will turn on him (with the exception of the fans of the team he ends up with).

He will take it down to the wire to suck out as much as he can, then he will sign on the dotted line. If he doesn't, he's an idiot and will destroy his legacy. And for what? An extra $20-30 million he may not even get?

Really enjoyed reading this article - Thanks for the insight into MacPhail's thought process.

This is pretty good stuff. I liked the read. It makes things perfectly clear that this team really doesn't have any interest in spending with the big boys. Right from the horses mouth. Even though they're loaded with dough, they have no interest whatsoever in competing financially with the likes of the Yanks or Red Sox. So much for that. This team will never win another AL east title under Mc"Fail" and Ange"lose" unless some kind of miracle happens.

I'm currently a law student and I had the chance to go to UB. This kinda makes me wish I had done that. I would have been there for this. That's for sure!

What an interview...


Are you really so stunned that you think the O's can compete with the money NY has or was english comp never a strong suit for you in school? What part do you not get about a pair of season ticket at Camden costing 5 K a year versus 57 K for comparable seats at Yankee stadium? Or is it math that you have a hard time with?

Excellent read!

I've always found Andy to be very truthful with his answers and he takes the time to explain his decisions. The one thing that I don't think Andy gets enough credit for it is his urging with PA to get a ST home done. It seems like they will have a fantastic ST facility when it's done plus the evaluation of the rookies is going to be huge in knowing who the keepers are and who needs more polishing.

Like Andy and NB, I can't see Albert getting a 10 year 300 mil deal. I really believe if Albert walks away from the Cards, he wont get anything close to what they would offer him. 300 mil for a guy who will be 42 or 43 when his deal expires is beyond nuts! Look at how the Mets are handcuffed by the contracts they gave out and not one was 300 mil for one guy even if that one guy is Albert. When Junior signed with the Reds, everyone thought he would do what he did for the M's, but injuries happened and Griffey was the best player in the game at the time so it's buyer beware!

I must compliment you and Mr. Macphail on a great story and a fine insight into the man and executive he is. I believe he is just about what I thought but it was great to get some insight into his ideas and his realisation there are still areas to address such as venezuela and international. Also his explanation of the D.R. situation helps to explain some things I questioned here in the past.. I truly believe he has a pretty good plan and peter is working with him to do things when he thinks they can help the team most. I still think there will be a perfect storm player out there sooner or later that will take the orioles money to take them to the next level or we may already have some we haven't seen the best of yet.. I am really looking forward to see who blooms this season. With so many talented young players one or two should blossom and preform above whatis normally expected and I believe this could be the year for a couple..

GREAT INSIGHT TO ANDY MACPHAIL, it makes it much easier to see where he is coming from at times.. This type of franchise will be able to handle one or two premium contracts when the time and player are right ( perfect storm scenerio) I believe he will get the go ahead if he really thinks the time is right.Fielder might be the better fit at 27 than albert at 32. I expect fielder will get a werth type contract we will see.. And we may want another lefty bat next spring.. The orioles A and AA will be interesting to watch this year since developement is so important to us and not too many obvious players jump out at those levels at this time. I really look forward to see if Tillman or Britton is listed as the top prospect for callup when the time comes.

I like the idea that the O's have signed Lee and Vlad for 1 year.Hopefully next year some of that money can go to a player like Prince fielder. I also think that our younger pitchers can stay healthy and continue to progress we can make a run in 2012. Not that I am giving up on this year. Recently we have had Detroit and Tampa bay come out of nowhere to the World Series so anything can happen Go O's

thank God for Andy MacPhail. we were absolutely at the bottom. a disgrace and an embarassment. Peter Angelos might be full of himself but he didn't make all that money being stupid. he gave the reigns to a great baseball mind and stayed out of the way. it's such a joy to be looking forward - finally - ti the baseball season. especially after finishing the football season short of the goal. God Bless Andy Macphail and God bless the O's. Here come the Baby Birds!!!

Keith: Thank you so much for this, it is invaluable.

I like MacPhail's candor, and his Vlad explanation frankly dovetails with what I was thinking: he's only worth $4 million (or less), and he's waiting for somebody else to give it to him.

But his last answer bothers me a lot, and could use a followup story by The Sun. If the O's are supposedly investing in player development, where are they spending it? They're not spending it in the Dominican and Venezuela, the two best countries for finding players. So where's the money going?

They'll say it is being spent on the amateur draft. And who is Keith?

Questions for MacPhail:

1) Why is it that you view baseball as unique in the world of business in that customers should have to pay more BEFORE being shown a quality product? In every other business in the world, a quality product/service comes before an expectation that customers pay more for it, yet why do the Orioles think fans should pay more while the team continues to operate on the cheap and not deliver a quality product? The Yankees charge what they do because they win, year in and year out, and that creates the demand that allows them to sell suites and seats at the prices they do.

2) Since you admit that Showalter's success last year was not a) a statistical anomaly or b) simply due to players becoming healthy, can you also admit that you erred in not bringing him in earlier? Having Showalter in seat at the beginning of 2010 (or 09!) would have paid handsome dividends in addition to any incremental increase in wins- it would have accelerated our prized young players' development (which stalled under Trembley), it would have instilled a winning and professional culture across the team, and it would have yielded an experienced and authoritative voice contributing to personnel moves over the past several offseasons. MacPhail himself notes that Showalter was available the last three seasons- why didn't we pick him up earlier again? MacPhail's stubbornness on this has stunted this team's growth for three years, and is simply unforgivable.

3) Let's say the Yankees spend 2x what the Orioles are spending on player payroll. Shouldn't this in theory mean that the Yankees should have a 2x advantage in the number of top free agents they are able to land, not 100x or 1000x? Why should the Yankees be conceded the top 3-4 free agents virtually every year, with no competition whatsoever, while the Orioles make do with scrap heap acquisitions like Atkins? At least competing for top free agents would have numerous benefits for the Orioles- from showing players and fans the team is serious about building a winner, to occasionally landing an impact player, to driving up the price for the Yankees even when they do beat us out (theoretically reducing their ability to compete for the next guy). For the record, despite the unparalleled era of nonstop awfulness fans have undergone since 1997, according to Forbes the Orioles are still worth 217% what Angelos paid for them in 1993, and generate a very healthy profit every year (estimated at roughly $20M of fans money straight into Angelos' pockets last year alone- only a couple million less in profit than the Yankees earned!). So let's not plead poverty, Mr. MacPhail. The fans deserve more than that, and it is incredibly disrespectful to not only push a loser on fans year after year, but to lie to our faces about why you are doing it. (as just one example, the Orioles could extend a long-term $20M a year deal RIGHT NOW and still be turning a nice profit every year).

If the Sun would be so kind as to grant me a guest press credential for just one MacPhail press conference, I would be pleased to ask these questions and others on behalf of a long-suffering fan base that has learned not to take this team at their word.


Go away.

The Vast Majority Of Us

Hey Mark,

You don't speak for "the vast majority". The "vast majority" have tuned out the orioles and don't care about them anymore. See the tv commercials that aired on MASN last year if you don't believe me.

His first and third points are right on.


MacPhail did not say that Buck was available for the last 3 years. What he said was, "You haven't done this in three years. You can't put all the pressure on yourself to come in in spring training and magically change everything. You need to get your feet wet and get back into the rhythm of managing."

You have absolutely no way of knowing whether Buck wanted to get back to managing a couple of years ago or whether he was happy doing the TV gig he was already involved in.

Did you ever stop to think (a doubtful proposition) that it was the base of young talent that AM was putting together that ultimately made Buck think the O's were becoming an intriguing prospect.

Andrew and Mike in columbia. that's fine and you have valid points.
bottom line, if you're not interested anymore: Don't jump on the bandwagon when they finally turn it around.

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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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