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June 29, 2009

Time to mellow out

It's okay to vent after a loss, and I should know because I did just that about the Orioles season-long penchant for making key baserunning mistakes, but you've got to be able to see past one game.

I've got some posters ready to pull the plug on Matt Wieters because he missed a throw from the outfield and sailed a throw over third base. He certainly did have a hand in Sunday's loss -- and he'll have a hand in many more over his career -- but he didn't prove in one afternoon that he's not ready for prime time.

There was also a poster who talked about how he was glad the Orioles "got their (butts) kicked by the Nationals" because it shows how lazy and unaccountable they are. Can't agree with that frame of mine either, since the Orioles won the series and have won five of their last nine games. That's not exactly playoff caliber baseball, but it a better percentage than most anyone expects them to play over the whole season.

Don't know about you, but I think it's possible to critique this team without losing sight of what this season is about. It is a transitional year, not a season in which these players are robbing fans of their chance to buy playoff tickets, so each loss should not be cause to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:32 AM | | Comments (92)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

There's certainly no shame in losing one-of-three to the Nats. Even the Great and Powerful Red Sox did that. (Now if you want to emulate the evil empire and lose a home series to DC, be my guest.) The Nats can hit (the warehouse), and their rotation is halfway decent. You have to get to their awful bullpen early. Lannan didn't let that happen yesterday.

As a blog-contaminating Sox fan, I must say I'm looking forward to this next series: champs vs. chumps. I will return to O's fandom during the Angels series. Thank you for your patience.

Exactly Peter... I am not sure why this is hard for people to figure out.

You came into 2009 knowing you could not contend.

When you know you can not contend, the focus has to be looking forward.

There is a lot to look forward to, and you do not have to look extremely hard to find it.

Long-term options at 2nd, RF, CF, C.. and realistic options for LF, and DH.

You have been able to get innings and experience for Bergesen, and Berken... and will now likely find regular innings for Hernandez.

More importantly; Tillman moved-up to AAA and produced... Arrieta produced at AA, and is getting it together at Norfolk... Patton overcame the labrum and missing all of 2008, to come back and be consistently excellent at Bowie, and earn a promotion to Norfolk, Snyder dominated Bowie, building off the success he had had in the HWL, Carolina, and AFL leagues... Matusz got off to a somewhat slow start at Frederick, and wound up dominating... has carried that over to Bowie.

I wish people could have some improved perspective.

hernandez pitched fairly well yesterday. hopefully we've seen the last of koji in the starting rotation. orioles are the worst base running team in baseball. whomever is the baserunnung coach needs to go. he obvioulsy isn't getting thru to the players and you can't cut the players who have screwed up on the basepaths. if you did the o's would be left with about 6 guys on the team.

Baserunning mistakes are part of the game, and I don't think you can blame coaches for the type of mistakes we've been seeing lately. These have been errors in judgment, made by aggressive baserunners, not the fault of the coaches. I was a teacher for 33 years and can tell you that just teaching your students (in this case ballplayers) doesn't mean that they are going to remember what you taught (even if you go over it again and again, which is frustrating). There is the human factor here (as humans we all make mistakes) and it is just unfortunate when these mistakes happen over a short period of time, making them more obvious to us.

Tillman should be promoted. Then you might see a few more wins from this club.

Guthrie is no better than a #4 starter at the big league level.

O's had better sign Sano. You want quality; you pay thru the nose for it.

When someone gets thrown out on the back end of a double steal that is not the coach. If someone gets thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, that is the coach. He has to be yelling as the player comes to the base and makes the turn. If he did tell the player to "turn and hold" and the player did not. Sit him for a few days, regardless of who he is.

Wieters is learning and the errors will happen. Just have a hard time dealing with all the mistakes.

The type of baserunning mistakes made yesterday are inexcusable and especially so when made by two veterans. Trembley even said in his post game comments that "it looked like Scott had his head down" when that particular play unfolded. Is it too much to ask that the players pay attention to what is going on when they are on the basepaths? And when Huff made that boneheaded dash for second when his run didn't mean anything other than to take them out of the inning if he got caught you could just see Palmer biting his tongue to keep from saying something too critical. Thats what is wrong with this team. There's no one to hold court and kick butt when players or coaches blow it. Just more excuses like "well what did you excpect it is a rebuilding year."

The Orioles have been playing good baseball again for the last couple of weeks. (Except for the Florida series) I still think this is a good enough team to finish at .500 for the season.

It seems like everyone over-reacts when this team is doing bad. They were expected to be bad, worse than they actually are so why such reactions to losing a somewhat close game on some rookie mistakes? They won the series and Matt Wieters is showing more good than bad at 23 with barely 170 professional games under his belt at the position on the field with the most responsibility. Just take it in stride.

I would love to see them take 2 of 3 from the Red Sox, and I think it's possible with the match-ups. Maybe not tonight with Lester vs. Berken.

Pete,

I would like to ask you a question despite your affinity for believing in hoaxes, jinxes, voodoo, and the like.... Care to make a preemptive prediction regarding the AL ROY this year?!?!?!?


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Pete's reply: I think Reimold has an excellent chance, because he has made such an impression that he's going to play every day and he has time to put up representative numbers. I think Bergesen will be handicapped by the team, which will cost him wins. The biggest concern for me is the two of them taking votes from each other.

Pete - I totally agree. This is a transitional year. And in this transitional year, we've seen some measuarble progress from parts of this team and organization. The rest of '09 is a 5-month on-the-job-training session for Wieters. He'll be that much further along on Opening Day '10, when the expectations on him, the organization, and the players will be that much higher.

An example of our progress - I like the Bergesen / Beckett match up for game 3 of this week's series. A sign of things to come...

Pete , my suggestion is for whenever O's sweep or win the series ( in this case , Nats) we should focus on Red Sox and Red Sox ONLY . Several times O's played and won the series , then we tend to look at homestand or road trip , and say ' hey , the O's can get 5 out of 6 against these teams ! '
We need to relax and temper down our excitement unless you want full side effects of 'emotional rollercoaster ' .

I think you'll find that a lot of fans are irrational and uneducated.

2 out of 3 to the sox?? Admitting that the team is taking a year off?? LOL! Why should anybody care?

I went into this season expecting a terrible W-L record and am not going to be surprised. However the baserunning mistakes really bother me. The job of a manager and his staff is to get the best out of whatever players he has. Trembley has preached the virtues of solid fundamentals since he got the job, but the end result has been a team that plays some of the most fundamentally bad baseball I've ever seen. If the O's are to eventually become a contending team this has to be fixed. If the O's swapped the entire roster with either the Red Sox or Yankees tomorrow, yet continued to make the same idiotic mistakes we've been seeing this season, they'd be a third place team at best. They run themselves out of more innings and games then I've ever seen in 40 years as an Orioles fan. This team has the talent, right now, today, to play .500 ball at least, for the remainder of the season. I feel that if Trembley cannot manage them to that level then the O's should begin looking for a new manager in the off season.

Pete,
You are doing the same thing to the Wieters posters that you did with the posters that wanted Roberts or any player to be accountable when making a bad/lazy play. We all know Wieters came up 75 games early from the minors and people were already calling him Johnny Bench nobody can handle that pressure and we expect him to make mistakes. Now what also is expected and what it sounds like people want is for management to manage players that’s it. Calling out the 2nd worst team in baseball that has been losing for 11 years does not make you a bad fan, a jerk or uneducated.


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Pete's reply: No, it doesn't, but calling out the month-old catcher is a bit mindless. You have to admit.

Let be realistic, do you realize that the teams playing in our division are Plus 33 over 500. The next closest division in all of baseball is plus 7 games over. I don't care what kind of rebuilding program you undertake you will always be behind the 8 ball playing in the east. And that's even if you do everything right.That means next year brian is 32 years old and a little less interested then he is right now. That means you have to find replacements for huff, mora, and maybe scott if he is traded.But going into next year the organization will once again tell everybody that it's another transitional year and i will be typing the same thing over again.

Guys when you get to Fenway South tonight get there early and eat before hand because the fans are going to pack it in. When you watch the game and see the great pitching take into account the Sox have stockpiled and molded pitchers over the years and have crafted a consistent rotation from year to year with some of the best in the game. Yes it might make you mad thinking the O’s gave up this year for draft picks or that Tim Wakefield is better than any pitcher in the O’s rotation or that Wakefield is more deserving of a spot on the all-star team than any of the O’s players. Blame the salary cap, Blame Angelos but don’t defend a @hit product just because it is local.

The only reason the Nats won a game vs the sox is because it was john smoltz first game in like 2 years and if you look at his stats that game he just had a bad 1st inning after that he looked great. Prepare to get swept Baltimore but don’t sweat it Boston keeps the O’s and the city in business!!

Guys things could be worse...

http://rangerspwntbaltimore.ytmnd.com/

Wait a min wasnt the team better that season?? DOH!

This season is about development, and from that perspective it's been a resounding success. Adam Jones has begun to reach toward his sky high ceiling, Markakis just rolls along, Nolan Reimold is an AL ROY candidate, Bergesen, Hernandez, and Uehara have all been solid to outstanding. Now with Weiters, hopefully fans can look past the hype and realize you have a 23 year old starting at the toughest position on the diamond. Catcher is brutally difficult, and yet he's already an upgrade over Zaun/Moeller and he's barely started. The kid just needs to play, all the ingredients are there. So 7 exciting players, not to mention a possible ss candidate in Andino, a wizard with the glove and he can hit a little. This is a transition season from the O's yes, but it's also incredibly exciting. What's better than watching young players, grow, mature, and eventually win? Isn't that what's best about baseball and all sports. Sit back and enjoy this team for what it is, a fascinating work in progress.

THE NATION, your post on an O's blog is pathetic.

Pete, Sorry if this is over the line.

86 years without a world series and i'll start to panick but until then, i think the o's are the right track to return to the winning ways of old.

LOL!! It is very pathetic a sux fan would come on here but the sad thing is he’s probably local and in ways I don’t blame him when our team is saying that they are not interested in contending. Seriously how many people in the local area do you know that are Sox fans? People want to root for the big guy and be bullies. Its America baby greed is good! LOL JK

Your comment about this being a transitional team is absurd. They have been in transition for 10 years now and nothing to show for it. Either call out the owners and their hapless team or enjoy the fact O's are in "transition".


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Pete's reply: Thanks for crystalizing the situation. I choose the latter. You can enjoy whining about the last 10 years.

I think the Orioles have some young guys at pretty much all the right places. We could have our future (for the next 8-10 years) OF together already and Markakis doesn't turn 26 until after the season. Teams will make mistakes but I think we may need some more veteran leadership on the club. Huff is good at putting up stats but doesn't seem to have that team leader quality. We need someone to come in and say "Ok look Wieters you messed up today but next time you have to do this right". They aren't used to winning so they accept the losses. I really like the team this year, and I hope they get the 16 year old SS (even if he probably is 18 coughTejadacough). The future looks bright.

Go O's.

"The only reason the Nats won a game vs the sox is because it was john smoltz first game in like 2 years and if you look at his stats that game he just had a bad 1st inning after that he looked great."

Aw, did your poor little Red Sox lose a game? Don't cry. You're Red Sox also watched Tampa Bay in the WS last year - and the Rays payroll was about 1/2 of the Sux.

Still freakin' unbelievable how many people are out for immediate gratification. Sounds like the Boston contingent has truly permeated Baltimore with their predatory desire for immediate victories. As you pointed out so eloquently Peter, and as you continue to point out day in and day out, this is a transitional year. If these people want immediate gratification from the Orioles I suggest they buy
A FREAKIN' VIDEO GAME!! My 13 year old plays MLB 2K9 all day long and his Orioles (a team that he gets to put together from all the MLB rosters) is consistently winning and he's exceedingly happy. Maybe they should try that and limit their exposure to the Orioles to their X-boxes, PS3's and Wii systems.
Whatta ya got to say about that O great one?


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Pete's reply: I agree in principle, Jeff, though part of the fun is breaking down each game. You can't look entirely past them, but when fans start begging for non-fixes like "hire anybody other than Trembley,'' then you start putting the future in danger.

I don't think it's so much that the team is making mistakes at key times during some of these games, but the fact that mistakes seem to be REPEATEDLY happening. It's OK to blow one here and there, but their penchant for continually not learning from mistakes is where fans are getting frustrated ... myself included.

And who is saying Tillman should be promoted on this board? You know he has lost 5 in a row, right? He needs more seasoning. Don't rush the young guys. The team is not going anywhere but last this year.

Immediate gratification?!?! Really? That more hilarious than the sox poster because the O’s have lost 11 years and people are sick of the BS. Immediate gratification ROFL

To all sox fans.... you can't rip Baltimore, its fans, stadium, or owner if it is easier to get tickets and they are more affordable than in the tiny, awkward stadium up north that is filled with bad seats.

Wakefield is more deserving of an all star spot than anyone on the O's? Highly doubtful. Coming from Dontrelle Willis, a guy who has an era ABOVE 7.00 right now... are we supposed to actually pay attention to your comments? Thanks for stopping by D-Train.

These posts reflect how the salary cap has made small market teams NY or Boston fans… what a scam..

What is this salary cap you speak of? To my knowledge there is none in baseball, unless I missed something overnight.

The D-Train isnt worried about ERA/ Ws and Ls this season thats something any O's fan can understand :)

oh and FYI

Wakefield
Season: GP 15 · W-L 10-3 · K 50 · ERA 4.18 · WHIP 1.36

Thats better than any O's player.

LOL! I meant lack of one my bad hahah these posts pissed me off dude

Hey Jeff even if you use the O's in 2k9 you have to rebuild the pitching for like 6 months so there isn’t anything immediate there either. Do they actually have real MLB photos of the o’s pitchers this season?

Robert,

Salary Cap?? Not in Baseball. There needs to be one, but there is not. Maybe I misunderstand your post, but it seems to make little sense.

We have not been in Transition for 11 years, just the past two. The other awful years had no plan.

We will still not be very good next year. 2011 matbe, but really 2012 we can maybe can hope to compete.

Yeah I made a mistake i meant lack of a cap sorry

I think we cannot put any years out there when the O’s will be ready to contend because there is really no idea. In the AL East it is very difficult for a small market team to compete. That’s what seems to be getting people upset but in all honestly it could be another 11… So take the O’s for what they are a fun time in Baltimore.

Ronnie-
You're right about 2K9. I guess those who really want immediate gratification can do what my 6 year old daughter does:
1.Get a pad of paper
2. Draw stick figures and write "Brian Roberts", "Nick Markakis", etc etc on top of each one with big smiling faces and a big script "O" on top of each one's head
3. Draw the "other team" with really mad looking faces
4. Write out the score "O's 347, Other guy 0

Done deal. I haven't seen her walk away frustrated by a O's game played that way yet.

SO if they weren't in transition for the past 11 years only the last 2, they were just awful the other 9, and the next 2 years they'll still be in transition...that's 13 years of being in the toilet and why would anyone root for that. No decent player will come to Baltimore and Angelos will get rid of any young talent you have so he doesn't have to pay them. I don't expect Baltimore to turn around until there is new ownership.

Jeff,

I am going to the game tonight and if it makes me crazy enough i may just do it hahahah

Obviously the largest reason Baltimore lost yesterday is because it was extremely hard for the Baltimore team to focus on Washington when they were about to play the team that crushed them earlier in a 4 game sweep and that is a possible favorite to win the World Series. What that hints at is a very real effort tonight. The real question is can they hit Lester and can Berken step up his game. Thoughts?

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Pete's reply: Yes I do have some thoughts and no, I don't think so.

Pete,

I totally understand the risk of a move like this, but with several 'risk over reward' managerial calls on top of 'risk over reward' player decisions, is it at all a possibility at taking a second look at Trembley as our manager of the future? I understand that the state of the Orioles is a fragile one, but it looks like that there has been several 'risks' put out there that have failed. More than most managers...

I remember a time when Red Sox fans were among the classiest in the country. Unfortunately after winning 2 world series in 91 years, they have become as ugly and ignorant as Yankee fans. What a shame.

Pete, I think we all see the potential in this present lineup. That is why we need to start focusing on the attention to detail that is needed to advance through higher (playoff) competition. The Orioles are turning into a team that is reliant on the 3-run homer but cannot lay down a sacrifice bunt and does not pay attention to who is playing the outfield when we run the bases. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest fielders and Frank Robinson one of the greatest hitters of all time because they always knew who they were playing against and what they needed to do to beat that individual player/pitcher. So when a player says he assumed a double against a fielder with far better assist numbers than Nick Markakis we realize the mindset is less than it needs to be.

my prediction for tonight. berken and o's beat lester tonight 4-3.

Wieters had a bad day. Didn't the O's have a third baseman once who committed three errors in one inning? Should have sent him down to AAA.

Everyone needs to just relax. Last year we stuck Adam Jones at the bottom of the lineup, let him learn, and look at what has happened. The same thing will happen with Matt Wieters and probably Brandon Snyder in the future, it just takes patience. Instead of Trembley, why don't we get Perlozzo or Mazzilli back? Yeah... I'd take Trembley over either of those two. If you aren't satisfied with it, go root for another team, but trust me, you'll be dying to come back in a year or two... MacPhail knows what he's doing.

Lester should do great tonight maybe even a get no no. 7-0 record aganst the o's with a 2.45 ERA. Poor Berken...

Berken shouldn’t even be pitching this game tonight he should be in the minors developing instead of possibly getting his brains beat out by the Boston Red Sox. Koji, Hill, Hendrickson and Eaton…. the O’s created a bottom of the barrel FA pitching rotation that was doomed to begin with. I totally understand that the team is waving the white flag this year but I wish it wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious.. Copying Oz yesterday.. Camden Yards is nothing more than a bar.

Dontrelle...

You are awful for the Tigers. The Orioles DO care about W/L... its not like they trot out AA/AAA players. That would be the Nationals.

Wakefield has an inflated W/L record because he pitches for the Sox. A 4.13 ERA? I think someone that is hitting .300 with 46/8/48 that plays Gold Glove RF is more deserving than a pitcher with an average ERA.

Sounds like some of these posters are Phillies fans in disguise. You know the type. A guy makes one bad play and they want to ship him off to the minors.

Hey, even Brooksie missed a couple now and then!

Chill people! He's keeping us in ballgames behind the plate and at the plate. Relax, he's on his way to greatness and i, for one, want him to spent his entire career right here in Baltimore! Along with Nick and Adam and Nolan and Brad and a whole bunch of Baby Birds!

Baltimore Justin,
How dare you make fun of a man with an anxiety disorder! When the D-Train gets back his high leg kick he will be a CY Young winner. MARK IT! Oh and by the way if he does get released your GM loves cheap broken down pitchers with problems so possibly expect the D train on the move to Bmore.

The proof is in the pudding, and no matter how hard we try to believe other wise those results won't change.

I don't know if I'm a blind sheep or just see the game the same way as you but-- well said. Take it easy on these guys. Lets hope we can hold our own vs 'the nation'

Pete, I cast a dissenting vote. I believe fans do have a right to expect more from the Orioles this season, "transitional year" or not.

Understand that I'm not saying the O's should be in the playoff hunt or anything ridiculous like that, only that it is quite reasonable to expect a modest improvement over last season.
There's quite a bit of baseball left to play, so it's still quite possible that the club improve in such a way, but so far it hasn't happened.

You point out that the O's have played decently over the past nine games, but you fail to look at the bigger picture, which I submit gives your readers a clearer picture of where the team stands.

it's instructive to compare how the team stacks up to last year's squad. 2008, it must be remembered, was also a transitionaI year, indeed the intial transitional year after the two big offseason trades made to help rebuild the team. Going into tonight's game the Orioles have played 75 games. Here's a comparison with last year's team after the same number of games.

W-L AL East Rank GB

2008 39-36 4th Place 6.5

2009 34-41 Last Place 12

Now, it's still possible that the O's can improve on '08's final W-L of 68-93. I happen to think that the season could still turn around and the Orioles surpass that mark, but I also think that fans are not wrong in expecting improvement from last season, not a step back.

They have a right to expect some progress be made this year. The term "transitional year" can have different meanings, but it should never be used to justify a team playing worse than it did in the previous "transitional year"! That's when language become a cheat.

I've never been a big Dempsey fan but perhaps his time has come for a shot at big league manager. With Weiters and a plethora of young talented arms on the horizon his knowledge as a 4 decade catcher would seem invaluable. In game managerial decisions can be debated ad nauseam, but i believe the most difficult aspect of big league manager is consistency in treatment of his players. Trembley vacillates between inane positive reinforcement and the Pie meltdown. Whereas i agree with poster above that he's a better choice than Mazzilli or Perlozzo, (or Miller or Regan) , i hope for a change

Get rid of Trembley and then you will
see a better Orioles teams. The guy
is a joke as a manager.

Ken,

Good post! Also look at the Run Diff

2008: -2

2009: -49

That is one of the clearest indicators that there is a problem here

Dontrelle,

The leg kick never disappeared, just the actual production that has gone missing. He won't win a CY Young anytime soon either.

I didn't notice Andy loading up on broken down pitchers. I thought he made his dough trading broken pitchers for all-star prospects. If he just wants to comman top dollar, he could always sign with the Yanks or Mets.

Dontrelle --

Who's a bigger tool? You, or Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch?

Dontrelle, we all know that your "Anxiety Disorder" is just an excuse for your sucky pitching

Don't know about you, but I think it's possible to critique this team without losing sight of what this season is about. It is a transitional year, not a season in which these players are robbing fans of their chance to buy playoff tickets, so each loss should not be cause to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

AMEN Peter. I, for one, am encouraged by what I have seen this season. Is there still work to do? Of course! But Jones, Weiters, Reimold, Markakis and Bergeson are all contributing (and will be for years to come) and with guys like Matuz, Tillman and Aireta tearing it up in the minors, the future looks bright. Bottom line though is this is still a team that has not won in over 10 years and is still learning how to be a consistent winning ball club. Growing pains people. Growing pains.

These "mistakes" baserunning throwing etc are by players who obviously dont care. and why should they. as the front office has told us since the start of the season, we are not gonna win this year. or probably next year. how can you expect the players to come out focused and caring with an attitude like that from the office. the bottom line is we do actually have some talent here, but bad coaching and worse front office decisions = piss poor performance

Pete,

As an everyday reader and a semi-frequent poster on this blog, I'm starting to get pretty annoyed at some of my fellow posters. No sense of perspective, zero understanding of the game, and, in all likelihood, no desire to actually see the O's do well (god forbid they should lose the ability to complain about the team).

Lately we see some people breaking out statistics. Because as we all know, numbers can never lie and can never be manipulated to show only one side of the story.

Well, let's look at some numbers, shall we?

Somebody complained about you saying the o's had won 5 of 9. It's too short of a time period. Maybe they're right. You want a statistically meaningful time period? How about 50 games? About one third of a season. Is that good?

Well in the last 50 games the O's are 25-25. That's right, people complain about the club not playing .500 ball. Well, they are. And that includes the ugly sweep in the Bronx and the disastrous west coast road trip. The team started out 9-16 in their first 25 games. They sucked then. No question. Their rotation included Simon, Eaton, and Hendrickson (excuse me while i throw up in my mouth). But since then, some good moves have been made. And the numbers show: the team has gotten BETTER!

I know the team isn't playing great ball all the time. I get frustrated too when I watch these guys. But the doom and gloom contingent on this blog is so far off it's base. It pisses me off.

Then there's the guy trying to show that last year's team is better than this year's team because at the 75 game mark into the season last year's club was 5 games up on this year's. Well that's the same club that went on to win 29 of it's last 87 games.

The O's would have to nearly repeat that performance to justify these claims that this team is worse than last year's club. Even among the most pessimistic posters (and we certainly have a ripe group to choose from) I don't think you'll find too many who would agree that that finish is likely to be repeated. Not by an up and coming (and constantly improving) young ball club that has posted a .500 mark against a pretty tough schedule of late.

But seriously though, Pete, all i'm asking for here is a little perspective. Is that too much to ask for????

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Pete's reply: Thanks for reminding some people that reality doesn't actually bite.

Mike-
Your record is your record. 34-41. The rest is all subjective.

Baltimore Justin,
I didn't notice Andy loading up on broken down pitchers. I thought he made his dough trading broken pitchers for all-star prospects. If he just wants to comman top dollar, he could always sign with the Yanks or Mets.
ROFL!!!
Justin where on earth have you been this season?

Look at the record and stats on espn and you will find that the Orioles are in a heated battle for the worst team in baseball aka the battle of the beltway. The reason that I am disappointed is that the team is already doing this bad even before their traditional 2nd half Meltdowns… I really hope that they can pull it together for a change the rest of the season to at least give fans a glimmer of good baseball and things to come.

Hey Andrew neer seen fever pitch. Is it as bad as his late night show?

The theme of this Orioles season is the illusion of fielding a good team.

We need more players like The Human Vacuum Cleaner. The Orioles would definitely go to the playoffs with Brooks on the team. He is a legend, and you'll find a hard time finding anyone who disagrees with that statement. I guess that's why he was chosen to participate in that legends challenge in the Bahamas. Man I would love to hang out with Brooksie for a few days.

We need more players like The Human Vacuum Cleaner. The Orioles would definitely go to the playoffs with Brooks on the team. He is a legend, and you'll find a hard time finding anyone who disagrees with that statement. I guess that's why he was chosen to participate in that legends challenge in the Bahamas. Man I would love to hang out with Brooksie for a few days.

Well I for one am having the most fun I've had in years watching the O's. The team is moving forward and getting better every day. The new kids are fun to watch, and more are on the way. Chill out people, and just enjoy the ride, there is actually light at the end of this tunnel.

I have a problem with the term Transition year. What will the team's batting order transition to next year that will amke it so remarkably better
than now?


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Pete's reply: Depends on whether they buy a big hitter, but the pitching should continue to improve.

I feel like I'm in bizarro world. Only the Sun would have 1 columnist constantly defending the O's ineptitude while another columnist makes a career out of trying to run a Super Bowl winning coach out of town.

Walter, Thanks. Goods heads-up on the run differential, which is very telling.

Mike, I'm the "somebody" who brought up the 75 game comparison. Maybe you should have read my post more carefully before jumping on me with both feet.

Actually, I find it amazing for you to call yourself an everyday reader of this blog and yet lump me in with "doom and gloom contingent," of which I'm certainly not a part. I like the future of the Orioles and even the immediate future, but my comments were simply to emphasize that a team improved over last year isn't too much to ask.

You make excuses for the O's awful start, especially finding fault with a "rotation (that) included Simon, Eaton, and Hendrickson (excuse me while i throw up in my mouth)." But Mike, we can't separate those games from the rest of the season as though they were Spring Training games or something.

Blame for the bad rotation can sent to the Warehouse, specifically to the inboxes of Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail, who refused to bring in enough quality arms to give stability to the staff until the youngsters could be brought up.

I, for one, was pushing for Brad Bergesen making the team on Opening Day and I was right. Yeah, I know the O's front office tried to argue that he needed more seasoning, but that was just a justification for seeing if they could luck out with Eaton.

I also questioned from the reasoning behind putting Hendickson in the starting rotation when his career record clearly proved that he was much better out of the bullpen. Again, I was right.

As for Simon, while I agree he was a gamble, he did pitch well enough in the pre-season to warrant a place on the team; whether he should have been a starter is open to debate. I think you're unfair to put him in your "barf" category though, because he was injured way too soon to get any solid idea of how he was going to fare in the rotation. He still may have a future with the team.

But these were all cheap alternatives to the Orioles simply going out and getting a veteran major league pitcher. Apparently, MacPhail made no effort at all to get a quality igning the mediocre at best Eaton and Hendrickson; another with definite stuff, but control issues in Hill; and two others with primarily international success, Simon and Koji, who were therefore question marks as far as being able to make the leap to big league competition.

And understand, I am in no way a MacPhail-basher. I'm in agreement with 90+% of what he's done as CEO and I commend Angelos for getting him--it's a great move for the team. But I'm not going to pretend Andy's infallible with his decisions, and in this case his refusal to get the quality arm needed to give the team stability cast the Orioles into a early season hole from which they're still trying to dig out.

In closing, I agree about the need for perspective, Mike, but on your part, too. Oriole fans could (and should) right now be enjoying a team with a record at or near .500, had the front office made more prudent moves before the season.

That's pretty evident and it's something you must admit. No one put a gun to MacPhail's head and demanded, "Sign Eaton and Hendrickson for your starting rotation and send Bergesen to the minors." Again, it's about the whole season (at this point 75 games), not the 50 games you choose to bolster your argument.

sure there are a lot of things to be encouraged about this year. especially as one of the earlier posters pointed out about the progress of our top minor leaguers. I echo the Ken Francis viewpoint though. a rebuilding process would require some form of improvement big or small from year to year in order to be considered thus. the problem with peter's "mellow out approach" and why it's hard to do so (without some serious prescription narcotics anyway) is that if you see improvement of talent on the field (which I think we all do) than why doesn't the record reflect that? There is some hypocrosy in saying that we are rebuilding or in transition and that wins and losses don't matter at all. Because you're in "transition" does that mean that you lose all accountability when you're underperforming. Again, I worry about the culture and attitude surrounding the team that the promising young players will be joining shortly.

Ken F,

I have to take issue with one of your key points (although I respect the way you articulate them).

Won-loss and run differential are not necessarily the best indicators for improvement (maybe with established ML players, but not with a team that is rebuilding with youth).

For arguments sake, let's say we took every top prospect in the organization and threw them onto the ML roster. It would be reasonable to expect that team to lose alot of games and the run differential would be potentially frightening. However, the experience gained and the fact that these players (theoretically) have higher ceilings, in my mind, make up for the decrease in wins.

Just FYI-- I did try to calculate the change in average age, but I'm finding it hard to identify just who should be included (25 man, 40 man, starting 9 + pitchers, etc.)

I don't know the answer but I think it should be part of the equation.

Paul in Chicago

Well, the Orioles better overcome there mistakes pretty soon because in July they play 9 home games and 16 road games. And we all know how good they are on the road this season. July could be the make ( - it to .500) or break ( kill their season) month. Maybe a good trade(s) will inspire them.

Anybody know what Huff is asking for in contract talks such as years and money or is he waiting until the end of the season to apply for free agency?

Time to mellow out? Time to chill? Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? I'll chill when they put a decent team on the field and not make excuses for everything. And by decent I don't just mean talent. The first thing they should be taught is that the thing between their ears is just not used for a hat rack.

Wow, Red Sox fans coming onto an Orioles board to gloat. That's like Mookie Wilson making fun of Bill Buckner.

Kranny came to the O's with a reputation of really being able to communicate with young pitchers, and I truly believe that he is the best pitching coach that we've had here in a long time. His work with George, Albers, Baez and all the young starters, as well as the enigma know as Rich Hill, makes me feel that the young starters of the future are in good hands. The young arms are the biggest part of Andy's plan to turn things around so regardless of who manages, I hope Kranny will be here for the long haul.

Curious if anyone knows if what Albers is doing is rare? The guy is pitching with a hole in his arm and succeeding. I truly thought he would've been under the knife by the end of the 1st month of the season. Pretty amazing! He seems to be one of those players that if you didn't see on a regular basis, you wouldn't think much of him, but like last year, he seems to be a key component of the BP.

Pete, a few weeks ago, I asked if you would consider doing a blog with ratings of everyone on the O's roster including the coaches so now that we are almost at the midway point, any chance? I think it would be fun to get your take, as well as all the posters on here. There certainly have been some good surprises like Bergy and Nolan, as well as the emergence of Adam Jones, plus some bad ones like the season Jeremy Guthire is having.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'll consider it, but I really am in a time crunch, so sizing up 50 people one by one is problematic right now.

Like there's never been a sports reporter at the Sun who has never done the same. It was the MEDIA who proclaimed Wieters a can't miss prospect, and all but wrote about his "greatness" with daily minor league reports and "when will Wieters be brought up to the majors?" comments. The guy was made to be a Hall of Famer NOT by the fans but by the MEDIA reports. The MEDIA raved about his arm and catching ability, not to mention his bat. The fans didn't make this crap up. So now the same media is chastizing fans who comment about his bad throws and catching ability? Spare me the holier than thou attitude.


...........................................................................................
Pete's reply: Not a chance. The media did have a hand in building the kid up, and he's still up there. I'm calling you on tearing him down.

Ken,

I know you're not a doom and gloomer. I've read a lot of what you've had to say this year. I liked when you took on "Burt from Essex" in a no-holds-barred-blog-match last week. (at least I think that was you).

Anyway, I guess my point (which I never got around to making in that terribly long rant i posted before) is that i'm not really a fan of numbers, any numbers, when it comes to the O's this year.

They are better than they were last year. Regardless of any numbers, they just are. Everyone can see it and everyone can see what's still coming up through the minors. In previous years when they would win games (even if they would win more games than today) there was a sense of" where is this all going?" with all of us knowing full well that it wasn't going anywhere good.

Now, when we see Reimold belt a 3run homer to retake a lead, not only are we happy for the moment, but we can dream about that happening for the next ten years.

so, even if the numbers are great, i don't care. there's more to it this year than the numbers. the stats i brought in were done just to prove that i can throw in some numbers that look good too. but i don't necessarily believe that they show the whole picture either. no numbers do this year.

the bigger picture is that it really does not matter how many games this team wins. if they fail to break the .500 mark again, i don't care. i want to see them get better and i want to know that tomorrow's horizon is brighter than today's. i feel that way, and that's all i care about. this year, to me, there are no numbers.

I realize a lot of people will have a problem with that kind of thinking following more than a decade of futility. And I know that people don't like the idea of a transition or rebuilding year. But what if this actually was a rebuilding year? As opposed to bad years that were called rebuilding years by a dishonest front office. I think that difference is important, i think it's the case. Rebuilding years aren't so terrible when they lead to something good.

From the Washington Post:

M. Wieters: O's ballyhooed rookie makes two costly misplays Sunday, is batting .234/.289/.390. Wanna get away, kid? Southwest flies daily from BWI to Norfolk.

Hey Orebaugh-
Nobody wants you back cheering for the O's when they play the Angels. Stick with the Red Sox. You are either a front runner, or very confused- but anyone who comes here and posts a diss about the home team (champs vs chumps)- needs to go elsewhere.
No Papelbon lovers wanted here.

People, take a Valium and lay down! Geez, we aren't the team with a $175 or $200M payroll with great expectations. No in fact our salary is in the $35M range with absolutely NO expectation. We have a lot of young works in process or prospects who are learning on the job. Some are further along than others but this is the hand we've been dealt, but for a less than .500 team right now, I wouldn't want to be anyone else in about 2 years! We have an outstanding rookie LF and C and have our RF and 2B signed for several years. We have one of the best young CF under control for about 5 more years, this team is moving in the right direction. You've seen just a small piece of our young pitching, Bergy has been great but in the big picture many project Berken and Hernandez to be a part of our pen, and the calvary of Tillman, Patton, Matusz and Arieta and charging the hill and about to land. And this Brandon Snyder looks like a keeper as well! So quit whining, sit back and enjoy the good, watch them learn through their mistakes and grow and develope as a team.

Now if you really want to help the team, encourage our management to sign a premiere 3b, front of the rotation SP and resign Huff and/or Scott! That will put us in the hunt for 2010! But were coming and every team in MLB knows it!

Pete,

I hope you laugh like I do at a lot of these posts. Some classics.

I'm at a loss for how it's the MEDIA's fault Weiters is hitting .234 and has had a couple throwing errors. Like the MEDIA just made up all of his stats in college, AA and AAA and made up all the reviews of his talents by professional scouts and other players.

News Flash: Everyone knows he was brought up too soon. This is AAAA time for Weiters this year. He's still learning, no one said he would be perfect this year. It's just a better experience for him than more AAA. So lay off the kid. Heaven forbid you go to a game and cheer him on rather than sit on your couch and rant on how he's overhyped and the O's are still doomed.

You're all expecting these players to play like it's a penenant chase, but you're not going to games because they "have to earn it." Are you freaking kidding me??

You then sit and complain they're playing lazy? Why should they even care? No one in the City cares enough to go to the games. How are they supposed to get pumped in front of 10,130 fans in May? Imagine playing Little League and your parents saying they weren't going to show up until next year cause your team sucks. Wouldn't that make it tough for you to stay motivated and sharp?

As for Ken, I won't lump you in with the "doom and gloomers," but rather the "I told you so" crowd that says they're right because something eventually worked out. You're argument about Bergeson being ready opening day is as flawed as you tell Mike his theory on 50 games vs 75 games is flawed. Bergeson did get the extra seasoning you say he didn't need. It is impossible to say with such certainty that you were right since your scenario never happened. For all you know he tears a rotator cuff in his first start because he was trying to throw his first game of the season against the Yankees and not some AAA team. Then how right are you about him being a success this year?

I was going to reference Back to the Future since we're referencing movies, but one of the first Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors is kind of the point I'm making. Homer went back in time, squished a bug and came back to find everyone had lizard tongues. There was also no such thing as donuts so he went back again to fix it (not realizing it rains donuts). Anyway, point being changing the past affets everything after it. Nothing stays the same once an event is changed.

As for the dregs they brought in to start the season it was either them or you toast your farm system for nothing. You throw guys like Olson or Liz out there because you needed arms arms last year, not because they're ready and how'd that work out for them? How'd that work out for the team? If you're just exploiting guys for innings wouldn't you rather it be someone you haven't invested year's of training on and just use some guy on a low guarantee contract?

Anyway, I'm an O's fan because it's what I grew up on and because I enjoy watching them play. Stats are nice, but not what I base being an O's fan on.

Just seconding James C on your post KenF. We KNOW that keeping Bergy down worked. We know NOTHING about what would have happened if he had come up in the glare of opening day.We KNOW holding Reinhold back worked. and on and on. When dealing with kids, caution and patience is always warranted, if not always rewarded.

Second point is that we do not know whether Andy tried to sign other pitchers before Eaton and Hendrickson. We do know that a couple of names fans wanted refused to come here or even talk to us. With the kids in the minors, I would not have signed any pitcher available last offseason to more than a one year contract for the inflated market price of merely decent pitching today. I think that non move was eminently defensible. If one of the big three still on their way is an ace, we are in pretty good shape with Bergy as a number two, Guts as a number three, HIll number four and Hernandez as a number four or something like that. Not a match for the O's four twenty game winners but based on early returns, solid. If we get a number one AND a number two out of the big three, it starts to look special. With Tillman possible in Sept, why sign a 35 year old Derek Lowe or his type for 4/60 and a 7-6 record, 4.53 ERA and less than 6 innings per start. Now I know you didnt specify Lowe, but I threw him out there for example's sake as he was one of a dozen names thrown out by posters here. CC was the only sure things and he wasnt coming here and we werent going to pay him more than the Yanks anyway.

Last, do you really not get the idea that bringing kids up doesnt mean an improvement in record immediately? We have rookies starting at catcher and LF, Andino is new to the AL and young, Jones is still young enough to have some pitchers to learn. Our rotation is three rookies, Hill learning the AL, Koji learning english, the AL AND American baseball, the city and pretty much everything else he encounters daily. I just disagree with your appraisal that rebuilding yields improvement in record or standings at any set interval. The Rays of the last few years are the perfect example. They were known to be an improving team for several years but still drafted at the top right up until last year when they popped right to the top of the league. The improvement did not show in their record/standings gradually leading up to last year. Similarly the O's improvement this year cannot be judged by comparing the team's record to last year. That thinking is what let us lose for a decade without committing to a real rebuilding at all until MacPhail got here. Rebuilding implies a tearing down and the upswing doesnt come on a predictible schedule. If you try to hold the rebuilding to a schedule for "competing" you will screw it up. If you try and win through the rebuilding, you dont cut out all the rotten foundation and it will undermine the rebuilt part. This team tried to improve on the fly too long as it is.

Dontrelle,

Rich Hill looks good. Koji sucks and the rest of the guys we signed were fill ins. And yes, Andy trades players like Tejadada (who got 2 years older in a week) and Bedard (who missed almost all of last season and is a FA at the end of this one, to get key prospects and future all-stars. I don't know what YOU are paying attention to.

At the risk of being labeled a contrarian who does not swallow the orange kool-aid, I am not convinced that this is a transitional year. Or, if it is a transitional year, they are transitioning from being rancid to simply mediocre. While a few of the current players are adequate -- several of them could have played in 1979 or 1983 --I believe that this team lacks the critical mass to win, not only now, but for the forseeable future. It would be like expecting the teams of the past to go to the World Series on the backs of Rich Dauer and Gary Roenicke. The Orioles need BATS and they need them soon.

I agree Brooks even missed a few now and then, but they would definitely benefit to have him back! I can't wait to see how he does at the legends sports challenge!

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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