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August 21, 2011

Orioles: Let me count the ways

I'll be sitting in front of the television today when the Orioles face the Angels in the series finale from Anaheim, just to see what new form of torture awaits their fans. Last night's 12th-inning collapse wasn't anything we haven't seen before, but it was a devastating loss made even more painful (for the fans) because it was on the west coast and ended in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast.

Manager Buck Showalter tried to put the best face on it afterward, but you just can't dress up a pig like that. Frankly, I don't know why Buck isn't hitch-hiking back to Bristol to beg for his ESPN gig back.

20861240d6af56662b1bcf74d54d9c00-getty-121614952.jpgThe amazing thing about the Orioles -- from my jaundiced perspective -- is this: It seems like every year, somebody asks me if this is the worst Orioles season since I moved to Baltimore...or if I've ever seen so much bad baseball in a confined time frame. Last year, I was unequivocal when those questions were thrown at me in midseason. The first 100 games of 2010 was the worst stretch I had witnessed up close in my three decades or so of baseball coverage.

Now, I've got to rethink that. This Orioles team isn't playing as ugly as the one that Showalter took over last August, but when you factor in all the circumstances attending to this season, I think this is the most painful season yet.

Why? Let me count the ways.

1. I stubbornly refused to believe that last year's team would lose 100 games, even though it was headed hard in that direction until Buck showed up. Losing 100 is very hard to do, but I now believe this team will accomplish that dubious feat.

2. On paper, this team is better than last year's team -- by a wide margin. That makes it even more discouraging to watch this mess.

3. I now believe there is an Orioles curse. I guess the AL East has to have a curse going at all times and -- once the Red Sox ended the 86-year "Curse of the Bambino" and the Tampa Bay Rays got to the World Series -- where else were the cruel baseball gods going to turn?

4. It has reached the point where I now watch every game with the same sense of anticipation, apprehension and morbid curiosity that I feel just before I pass a particularly nasty accident on I-95.

5. This was the supposed turnaround year in the Andy MacPhail rebuilding project. Nobody expected the Orioles to go to the playoffs, but there were actually some modest expectations, which only makes it all the more painful for the fans who still believed.

6. They have taken losing to a new level. No longer content to just get their keisters kicked all over the ballparks of America, the Orioles have begun a daily dance during which they tease you with a late comeback or an exciting home run or -- in rare cases -- a good performance from the starting rotation. Then they "Godfather" you and pull you back into their swirling downspout of doom.

7. Yes, I have finally been reduced to using the phrase "swirling downspout of doom." Managed to avoid that for about 31 seasons.

8. I can no longer suspend my disbelief and come up with ludicrous year-out scenarios in which the Orioles (a) grow into contention; (b) open the vault and sign enough real free agent talent to compete; or (c) get to the All-Star break with three of their original starters still healthy.

9. Koji Uehara was not only one of the most effective pitchers on the team before he was traded to the Rangers, he was also one of the healthiest.

10. I now believe I will win the Power Ball jackpot before the Orioles reach the playoffs. I realize that the odds of picking all five regular numbers and the Power Ball correctly are 1 in 195 million, yet I still feel more optimistic when I pick up my bi-weekly Quick Pick than when I watch an O's game.

Bonus reason: Could have sworn I saw Jim Hunter in the "A" lot last week trying to scratch the "I (heart) the O's" sticker off his bumper.

Instant update: First pitch is at 3:35.

Postgame update: Though the O's could not match Saturday night's frustration, they exceeded it in futility with one of their worst defensive performances in a long time. The beat, apparently, goes on.

Getty Images

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:55 AM | | Comments (73)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Judging by the lack of comments, it shows how many people care about the Orioles. The worst thing that ever happened to the Orioles was when the team was sold to Angelos. I was always hoping the offer made by Jerry Hoffberger to re-purchase the team at the last minute would be approved. Instead, you see the result of Mr. Angelos' complete failure as a owner of a major sports franchise. Just as with Khadaffi and al-Assad, it is time for Peter Angelos to go.

Wow Pete.... I mean WOW!!!!!!!!!!

Good for you. Finally, someone hits it out of the park from your side of the fence. Will it change anything? Course not. But at least real fans finally get to see that someone in the media is watching the same gross attempt at MLB as we are.

Andy and Peter should be embarrassed and ashamed. This was suppose to be the year you mentioned. Actually, last year was suppose to be that year. Yet, we're again staring at possibly the worst team in the history of the franchise.

Peter A however, does ot care what u or anyone else says Pete.we are all irrelevant to him. No...... I mean that literally... We are all meaningless to him.

How do you think Trembley feels about all this Pete. Wow is that guy off the hook. Only problem is, the orioles probably ruined that mans career forever. I mean how do shake being involved, in any way, with the laughing stock that are the Baltimore Orioles?

Pete - well said & I agree 100%. We have become the loveable, laugh at 'em, feel pity for 'em old entry METS teams...except we are not in any way...lovable! SO SAD...SO
P A T H E T I C ! ! ! ! As Dr. Smith would say..."OH THE PAIN"!! I also TeVoe every pitch of every game and watch it. That way I can fast forward thru all the dead spots and the I CAN'T BEAR to see the replays as they flail away at worm burners while at bat when all they need is a sacrifice fly or GOD FORBID a Sac bunt or while the closer KICKS the door wide open and waves come on thru. - like a windmilling cop at an intersection with the red light out!....SO SAD and SO predictable and each game is just like the movie Ground Hog day..you know what's coming. And..year to year, tho the cast may change - the final results never do. Sooner or later they will take whomever is the current manager out back and shoot him between the eyes....put him down so to speak, like you would an old wounded dog or horse that you don't want to see suffer anymore. Or like the old Inca Rulers..a human sacrifice to appease the masses and maybe MAKE IT RAIN!..And to be honest it is a MERCY killing! Buck feels it, knows it, inside and late at night as he tunes in his old show and longs for his old chair there on the set, happy with his buddies as they shake their heads at the Orioles and pity the current manager and the teams fans. (or during the last inning of the game) - oh he puts his best OBAMA "spin" on it for the cameras etc..but you now see that same 20 mile death stare behind his lying eyes..same one Trembley had just before they took him out back and shot him between the eyes...ala Perlazzo, Mazzelli, Samuel, etc. As Mr. T used to say but for a different reason.."I PITY THE FOOLS"!! SIGGGHHH!

I stopped watching games sometime in early May, but I thought I'd comment.

I'm a 39-year-old lifelong fan of the Orioles. My earliest baseball memories were the '79 World Series. Grew up with Cal. Went to games at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. Loved the early 90s. Sat through the lights-out postponement till they told us we had to leave because I wanted to see the Os spank Randy Johnson. Skipped work the next day to go back, and watched them do it.

I've followed every year for the past 14 years, without much hope, but never giving up my fandom. Last year, I took my daughter to her first game, and we sat on the front row in the left field and heckled Josh Hamilton. I thought this year was the light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously I was wrong. Given the state of this business, it will continue to lose for at least 5 years. Most likely 10. Probably longer. It is MUCH more than the players they field. The whole organization is dysfunctional from the owner down. It is an absolute disgrace, and not worthy of one single fan.

I'm done. No longer a fan. Never will be.

Mr. Angelos, please sell the team.

To another city.

This team does whatever it takes to lose each game, be it bad pitching, poor defense, weak or clutchless offense, poor managerial decisions, or some combination of the four. As you said, watching them is like rubbernecking at an accident, except in this case, you're waiting for the accident to happen instead of passing one that already did.

Andy MacPhail, who I believe was hired solely because of his name and not because he built winners, has done a terrible job in his tenure. The team, and minor league system, are worse than when he got here. For whatever reason, talented pitchers come up from AAA, and flop. He pays big dollars for "closers," while looking for has beens on offense. The Orioles ranked in the bottom third of the league in runs and OBP when he got here, and they still do (and I don't see too many disciplined hitters being developed in the minors - he could have changed that.)

The Orioles are still playing games?

Gee Pete after worshipping McFail all these years do you finally admit what an epic failure he has been? Nice plan lets lose more every year while making sure our farm system is still one of the worst in baseball. What a fraud. He should be on the next bus out with a restraining oder in place not allowing him within 100 miles of the city of Baltimore.

Peter- welcome to reality

Pete-

A few years ago I offered to the now-defunct Baltimore Examiner that the "Curse of the Bambino" had been transferred after the Red Sox had won their second World Series in 2007. Keep in mind it has been noted that Ruth's father ran a saloon in what I believe is now right field.

At this point it helps to be not only cynical, bit superstitious as well. In its own weird way, it helps deflect the pain of losing. It's become so bad, achieving mediocrity (.500 baseball) seems to be fodder for dreamers...

I'll throw in my own homespun description - they are "wallowing in their own quagmire". Never thought in my 57 years it could get this catastrophic.

we need to wake up to the facts,that until the scouting and player development is significantly upgraded with money and personnel,this team will never compete. Yes,I am saying ownership must change.We can only hope.

Mr. Schmuck,
Please shed any light on how I can hekp get the Orioles respectable again. Peter Angelos' argument of not being able to compete in the AL East doesn't hold water. I gave him a regional sports network, guaranteed revenue and a everything else he wanted. In spite of that, he has turned into Vince Naimoli.

I get complaints for othetr GMs, the media that has to deal with the Orioles and Nationals, who would love to get out of the MASN deal.

Any help woould be apprciated.
Thank you,

"Orioles tragic"

There is nothing tragic about a stupid baseball game or team. Get your priorities straight.

Refreshing to hear a columnist rip things for what they are here. This team has been so disappointing, mostly because of the implosion of the young, unproven pitching staff. Finally, let Hunter know that you can buy "screw" icon stickers that go over top of the hearts on bumperstickers, good for all sorts of mischievous fun.

Peter. Somehow this team is fast becoming unlikeable as well. Gregg throws his teammate Bell under the bus, neglecting to mention that he had a big part in the loss also by putting the first 2 guys on. Anyone know when the last time Gregg had a 3 up/3 down inninng? He's been a bust from day one, yet Buck continues to use him as a closer???
Gregg's attitude was questionable right from the day in spring training when he expected to be handed the closer jjob. Buck has complied with this 'demand' and we all see the results.
Bell is clearly showing that he doesn't belong as he can't field or hit. If the O's move Reynolds to 1st and stick this guy as 3rd, we could see over 400 K's!!
Bell had to audacity to say he needs to play everyday and the reason/excuse for mediocre AAA numbers was that he wasn't focused because he was only facing minor leaguers!
As bad as he is though, he didn't deserve Gregg's pot shots. I would have loved to see him say those things about guys like Murray or Powell; he'd be picking his front teeth off the clubhouse floor.
This team looks worse than the ones managed by Trembley.Regan etc so it begs the question-why is Buck exempt from at least some blame? Sure, this is a bad team but he looks to have lost all interest months ago and this post-game comments are basically-we tried hard but ..insert excuses...
I expected him to show some fire and shake things up but he continues to stand pat with the tepid lineup.
Bottom line is that the O's have now become a joke and in a sick way, I hope that they lose 110 games as maybe this will send the wakeup call that a major shakeup-starting with MacPhail's firing-will occur.
I never, ever thought that I would be so fed-up with my beloved O's but I'm sure most here feel the same way.

Peter - I wonder if any of those folks who didn't think you were hard enough on the Orioles are still reading....

This is the first time I've just been so down on the team i'm not even paying attention to the box scores any more. Well, I did get to that point in 1988, during the 21 games losing streak, but not since.

After 13 losing seasons one thing is still the same, THE OWNER!
Thank the Lord we have a great football franchise!

I was actually hoping that they would lose a hundred or more last year. I even thought they could challenge the Mets. I mean, after all, if you're going to be bad, you might as well be historically bad, right? They still talk about the Mets, don't they? Who wouldn't be proud to have the '10 Orioles mentioned, forever more, in the same breath with Casey' gang?

But then, Buck Showalter arrives to ruin the Orioles destiny. Shame on Buck.
They couldn't even lose a hundred.

So, the powers that be tease us by actually going out getting what seemed to be, on the the surface at least, real players. It looked like maybe, just maybe, this thing could start on the road to redemption, if not the Road to Perdition.

And what happens? More of the same, same bleep, different year, all the cliches. If ever there was a year to just walk away, this was it. Whatever small advances were made of the last two months of last year are distant memories. At times, this team is so predictable. You just know that Reynolds is going to strike out, you can even say it out load before the pitch. You just know that that hard one hopper to Bell's left will get through, as he makes a vain and fruitless attempt to stop the ball, trying to do so without moving his feet. Quite a feat!

You just know, as Jaku, or Berken, or Bergy, or Tillman, or Guthrie, or whomever toes the rubber before making a pitch, that that pitch is going to result in chaos and carnage for the Orioles. You just know.

As many of you know, I'm as big an optimist as there is. I've sparred with many of you over the relative merits or demerits of this club. wayne's wrong when he says Andy MacPhail is the losingest exec of the past 20 years, the real numbers don't support his statement.

But that doesn't mean that I think Mac should stay. His four or five years here have been the utmost in disillusionment and disappointment. Even when he does things that look right, they blow up in his face.

I'm sorry, Andy, but it's time to go.

For whatever reason, this team does appear to be snakebit. Nothing goes right, so much so, it defies logic. It ain't normal.

Well, there is at least one cloud with a silver lining. With the kind of schedule facing the Orioles the next month and a half, with a heavy dose of those behemoths up north, there might be time yet to rival those Mets. If the '10 Orioles couldn't make history, maybe the '11 Orioles can!

Keep the faith, my brothers and sisters!

Suckiness didn't know this level of suckiness til this edition of the Os

Pete,

On point #5, You said that this was supposed to be the turnaround year on Andy's rebuilding project. Where did that come from? I don't think Andy ever said it, nor did anyone else with the organization. Was that your expectation? Now, as you know I am not 100% perfect, only 99% and I could have missed Andy saying it. Not that I don't think that 5 years is enough for any "new" GM to improve enough not to lose 100 games. The closest I think Andy ever came to a commitment, and it was vague, was last year when Andy said it would be about wins and losses. He was right about that in 98 ways.

While I was typing this I just watched Blake Davis boot a routine ground ball at third to start the bottom of the first. Reminds me of Casey Stengel's comment while managing the 1961 Mets: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

By the way can I use your "swirling downspout of doom" comment? It fits one of my wife's brothers perfectly.

coach,
perhaps the o's scouting dept. is attending the little league series with an eye to drafting them. en mass they play better bal l
than the current cast of big league pretenders.

The Orioles cannot properly develop minor league talent. That should be obvious to everyone after 14 years. And Bucks motivation techniques were the only reason last years team avoided 100 losses. But the Orioles wont escape that fate this season. They need to go 6-33 to avoid 110 losses. Sounds hard to do, but with this team you never know.

just a thought.... at the beginning of the year, if I had said "I'll bet you $1,000 that the Nats will flirt with .500 all season despite the bizarre midseason resignation of their old school manager, while the O's will end up reverting to 2010 form despite keeping their old school manager", you would have taken that bet, with the added taunt that "you have that exactly backwards"....

I'm watching Sunday's game...about 5 innings in. Can anyone tell me why Felix Pie is still on this team?

Pete, you and the beat writers see the players and coaches up close. Are they embarrassed to be this horrible?

I'd expect you can't answer that truthfully, but I just can't understand how a professional couldn't be ashamed.

The only thing worse than watching the Orioles play is passing a kidney stone. On second thought, I'd rather pass the kidney stone.

Thanks for the honesty. Thanks for not trying to find something to be hopeful about.

Why on earth is Pie still on this team? It's not like he's paid a ton of money. He can't hit for average or with men on base. He doesn't know how to use his speed, can't steal, doesn't bunt, makes base-running errors and looks like an amateur floundering in left field.

We have some keepers: Hardy, Markakis, Adams. Andino has improved some this year at the plate, but is weak in the field. Weiters is what he is: a good battery mate, but not a hitter. Reynolds is a puzzle. The entire rest of the roster, the entire pitching staff could all quit tomorrow and the Os would be no worse off.

I keep hoping the Os will suddenly "get it together" and pull off a winning streak, but I don't think so anymore. This team seems to be gradually "unimproving" as the season goes on. My heart goes out to Showalter.

I will concede this year has been a heartbreaker. I take a one-game at a time approach and even though I was optimistic Opening Day it's a long season and a lot happens. Unfortunately this year a lot didn't happen. I still watch the games. The scenes of Baltimore shown at the beginning of the games are great. Maybe right now we need more of those scenes and less of the game....

peter could we have the orioles and the astros finish out the season plying each other to see who gets the dubios record of worst team in baseball. just start right now let these two teams face each other to finish out the season. when two teams are as bad as the astros and orioles why can't mlb just let them forfeit and put us our of the misory of haveing to reas and see how bad they are playing. i thought buck was the type of manager that wouldn't tolorate the way the orioles have been play8ng this season or is it that the players are of the mind set why do we have to pay any attenion to the manager. i think i read somewhere that they all suppoert buck,if this is so why aren't they playing a better brand of baseball.that is a 64 thousand dollar question. i do not look for andy macphail to be back as gm next season. what is the brain tust going to do to try and get people to come to ball park next season. look what the cubs did recently in firing their gm. he at least signed players to big money and unfortunetly the big money player underachieved. the orioles didn't even try that. they spent big bucks on over the hill washed up players instead of really making an extensive strong effort to lure them to baltimore. i see no real positive improvements as long as peter g angelos is holding the purse strings.

WOW!! Pete you have joined us. Just follow the lady in the white coat she'll find a room with nice pads on the wall just like ours.
What is really sad is that this team is going to be worse next year. Is that even possible? No Derek Lee, no Guerrero, no Gonzalez, no Roberts (retire), no Koji, and I'm certain there will be no Guthrie. Leaving us with ZERO qualified starters.

Hope today's game lived up to your expectations, Pete. After today, the "swirling downspout of doom" has sent even more vile, foul-smelling water gushing down into the endless sewer that this team has become.

Wonder if Jim Hunter has Roto Rooter on speed dial? Somebody needs to clean up the crap.

Why do they keep putting Kevin Gregg in as closer? Why didn't they get rid of him and Michael Gonzalez when they had the chance? Koji was more dependable than both of them. The trade doesn't look that good. Davis is on the disabled list and Hunter is having a hard time getting outs. Where is Hendrickson? I watched last night's game until Gregg loaded the bases with 0 outs. I then left to go feed the deer.
When I returned, the Angels won 9-8. The Orioles played their hearts out and came ahead in the 12th by 2 runs Gregg gave them back. He is NOT a closer. PLEASE DO NOT put him in that role. Try Eyre, or Johnson, send Gregg back to AA. Get rid of him!!!

All good questions but no one is asking the big one! What did Connelly and Adair do to the pitching staff this spring? I believe we are not hearing the real story of the pitching staff demise. Can we forfeit the rest of the games so we can concentrate on a real major league franchise-The Ravens!!


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Pete's reply: I think you're referring to Mark Connor, not Dan Connolly, whose impact on the pitching staff was minimal.

Have you ever seen a bunch of so called major league players who don't know how to play the game correctly? And one has to blame Buck for not disciplining the mistakes made by guys getting paid to play who make the dumbest mistakes that I never see in the amateur semi-pro league. And aren't you tired of Palmer etal using the tired line about them being young and learning in the majors as they go along? That's what the minors are for and these guys have played baseball their whole life and still don't know the game. I love to watch if they play the game right even if they lose but to watch them lose because they don't know how to play the game .........

2 words:
Bingo Bango

At least there's still Bowie and Frederick...

Showalter is Trembley dressed in wolves clothing.

I know what has happened to the Orioles: They have gone full circle and returned to their roots -- the St. Louis Browns.

Bill James, the baseball stats guru, once said that the Browns were so bad for so long that their decision to leave St Louis after so many years of utter futility was considered "an act of civic responsibilty".

Sounds eerily familiar.

There is nothing tragic about this. I believe the real definition of a tragedy is when the great have fallen -- nothing great happening with the O's for more than a decade.

Peter,

Somewhat fitting that the Orioles hit rock bottom and I also come across this gem from the new york times. http://nyti.ms/oC8UTh

Peter Angelos stands to net $158,000,000 from his ownership of MASN this season.

Where can I find information on the deal MLB made with Angelos and the financials around MASN? No one is calling me back from the Orioles front office or from the law offices of Peter A. Angelos...if you can believe that.


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Pete's reply: The story said the MASN network would "gross" $158 million, which is still pretty sweet. Of that, MASN has to pay both teams $26 million in rights fees, pay for the other 20 hours or programming a day and pay a big building full of employees. Doesn't change the fact that it's a great deal, but I just thought we should be accurate. Thanks for the note. On the financials, I've been trying to get a look at the books for 10 years without success, so I would be the wrong guy to ask, but the particulars of the deal were spelled out pretty well in the NYT article.

It's amazing that it's taken you this long to come to these conclusions. Perhaps the buzz from Andy McFail (I can recall being derided for using this term, but now it's apropo) has evaporated.

Good thing you weren't working for MASN, because you'd have been fired for making these comments ;)

Another question: Does ANYONE with any sanity watch Orioles games anymore without being paid?

I would beg to differ with the idea that there is a curse on this team or organization. If you look at the moves this organization has made in the last 10 years, it's no small wonder this team rots.

The lackluster performance on the field is all due to cause and effect. There are no baseball gods we need to appease or assuage.

There is some talent on the team. However, the talent never gets developed.

Angelos is the Qaddafi that needs to be taken down by revolution, because he's never going to abdicate the throne.

The City claims the Grand Prix will generate $200 per spectator in tax revenue. If we apply that formula to the Orioles fans, having a losing team costs the City about $40 million per season. That is tax revenue only. Think of the jobs lost because the attendance is down some 2 million fans per season. The City and State should send Angelos a bill for the lost money. Peter should also compensate the downtown businesses and cover the unemployment for workers who 15 years ago were employed serving fans both at the stadium and the bars and restaurants.

Sports should never be used with the word tragedy or tragic unless there is death or "real life" serious...games are never tragic


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Pete's reply: It was a play on words with "Orioles Magic." Lighten up a little bit. This is a blog.

Have you ever seen a bunch of so called major league players who don't know how to play the game correctly? And one has to blame Buck for not disciplining the mistakes made by guys getting paid to play who make the dumbest mistakes that I never see in the amateur semi-pro league. And aren't you tired of Palmer etal using the tired line about them being young and learning in the majors as they go along? That's what the minors are for and these guys have played baseball their whole life and still don't know the game. I love to watch if they play the game right even if they lose but to watch them lose because they don't know how to play the game .........

This team on paper was the beat team in many years.
The problem with this team is actually quite simple. This team needed the starters to pick up where they left off last year. The last 60-70 games we had an era of under 4.00 I believe.
Everything that could have gone wrong with the starting pitching did go wrong starting with Matusz on opening day.
It's starting pitching and that's pretty much it and Roberts again. Other than that the team has scored enough runs in spite of their pathetic situational hitting.
Baseballs really a simple game that seems really complicated when the starters stink up the joint....

As I read these reports and read the comments from afar I will say that this is probably the worse coached team in the recent history of the club. It may have begun with Connors making "adjustments to a group of young yet reasonably successful group of pitchers. Poor base running, fielding and mental errors seem to plague the team and results from poor coaching. The front office has proven that it does not know how to build a winning team or establish a top flight minor league development team to teach and show the advantage of good baseball.

Curse??? There is no curse, except having to pay minor league pitchers major league salaries. Like they used to say when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, "Wait until next year". Yeah, right!!!

This season I started thinking about the "black cat" comment Peter Angelos made about the team a few years ago. It was laughed at then, but I've decided he was on to something. No matter who wears the Orioles uniform, be it player or manager, when they get to the Orioles, they're no good. It doesn't matter what they did before; they will stink up the joint when they put on the Orioles uniform. A black cat crossing the Orioles' path is the only reasonable explanation left for the utter futility, year after year, of this moribund franchise.

Peter, I'm hoping you can answer this: how many games does Peter Angelos attend each year? I attend a lot of games and what appears to be the owner's box always looks empty. I can't imagine he goes to that many, and, at this point, I don't understand what pleasure he is getting out of owning this franchise.

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Pete's reply: He still goes occasionally, but not like he used to. There was a time when he seemed to be at every game.

Pete,

Thanks for the response. I am ready to storm the gate of the house of Angelos. It may not happen at once, but Baltimore is a small town.

Having grown up here, I know that all politics is/are local. Having shopped at Target, I can tell you that Baltimoreans are soft, (hard to believe given Irsay) but soft nonetheless.

How far are we from an Orioles Uprising?

And if we rise....can we count you among us??

How many times have we heard "if the starting rotation had just stayed healthy...."?

Has anyone considered firing the trainers?

I can't help remembering how everyone was on Terry Crowley a couple years ago and now, looking back, he was a god compared to Jim Presley. As for Adair and his predecesser, they are JOKES. If the result of my coaching produced the staff of losers we have, I would leave the stadium with a group of armed guards to protect my life. I said last year when the Orioles finished strong that I didn't equate the positive play with anything Buck had done. The performance of this year's team confirms my feeling. All he has done is bring in all new coaches who obviously don't understand the meaning of the word. Yesterday, Palmer talked about the positioning of the Oriole outfielders. Why are they hardly ever where they are supposed to be? What the heck are the coaches doing on the bench - taking a NAP? Pie had several balls go over his head! Palmer said the ball carries more in the daytime in Anaheim, so why did no COACH tell Pie to back up a few steps? Okay, granted that may not help because Pie is the worst outfielder ever!! At least Luke Scott had the excuse of not being very speedy getting to balls, but Pie gets there and then turns his head to let the ball drop UNTOUCHED in the grass. Obviously, even Adam Jones knew Pie wasn't going to make the play because he was right there. Really bad when your teammates know you SUCK. Buck has sent Matusz, Tillman and Britton back to the minors, why hasn't he sent Kevin Gregg? Saturday night wasn't an isolated case. He tried to blow the game when we were way ahead last week and Jim Johnson had to come in to get us out of it. So why did Buck bring him in with only a 2-run lead? I'm not impressed with Buck's leadership or vapid excuses. I don't feel sorry for him. He was supposed to be tough and require FUNDAMENTALLY good baseball, well he hasn't! His insistence on playing Vlad and "relying" on Kevin Gregg show that he isn't dealing well with reality. Maybe it was wrong for Kevin Gregg to throw Josh Bell under the bus, but somebody should have! I'm to the point where I'd like to throw the bus with the Orioles under a train!!!!! It used to be that coming to the Orioles made marginal players, good solid players and now it is just the opposite. I DREAD the upcoming series against the Skankees because I know the Orioles will humiliate themselves -- and me. With the Phillies less than 100 miles away, I'm rooting for them. They have quality pitching that reminds me of the O's in the early 70s. Go Phils!

BURN IT DOWN !

I could of swore I saw the ghost of Babe Ruth standing out in left field a few nights ago!

Pete-

I believe I made a comment on your blog a few years ago, witnessing what I saw at Memorial Stadium in the '70s.
Seated in the upper deck a few rows ahead of me was the owner of the Birds at the time, Gerold Hoffberger. I was obviously very impressed that the wealthy owner of the ball club would sit with the "common man".

If Angelos were to attend a game now, he would be subjected to taunts and ridicule. I sincerely believe, however, that the real reason he seldom attends games any more is because he too is embarrassed as well by their inability to play the game the way it should be played. Mr Angelos has pompuosly placed himself above the common Baltimore fan; now, he has to live with the consequences of that action.

to say this team is as bad as a little league team would be an insult.............to the little league team.

Peter Angelos is a greedy bastard and I couldn't hate him any more even if he moved the team to Indianapolis. I'm too depressed to comment otherwise.

The Orioles new theme song.....Take off on a old one !

Something Tragic happens, every time you go...Feel the tragic Happen, the tragic of Orioles Base baseball...
O-R-I-O-L-E-S

Tragic, tragic tragic tragic tragic

Something Tragic happens every time you go !

Nice day to go to the park and watch the birds.

The Orioles...Doomed by the curse of the Litigious Greek.

Kudos on this post, Pete. All too often when something like this is raised, it's written off as a bad team making excuses.

No question the O's scouting and F.O. leave much to be desired, but they seem to be "snakebit" far more than any other team. Teams like the Pirates, Padres and even the Braves this year have their young starters pitching phenomenally. Even our young guys, like Arrieta, Britton and Matusz, who scouts and experts outside the team predicted great things from, have come apart at the seams again. It's ridiculous.

Even FA signings...the O's totally flame out with the likes of Atkins, Gonzalez, Guerrero and Lee. Yet the Jays, Cardinals and Giants take flyers on the likes of Bautista, Berkman and Vogelsong, and they strike serious lightning. If the O's had signed either of those guys prior to this season (or two seasons ago for Bautista), fans would have ripped them a new one just like they did with Guerrero pre-season.

It seems even when things go right for the O's, they go wrong. Perhaps their organizational woes somehow set them up for more bad luck, but there's no reason the on-field product and prospects the O's have (or the veteran risks they take) should flame out year after year after year. It's mind-boggling.

Pete-

One or two of your readers have mentioned the name Kevin Gregg. He personifies all that is wrong with the franchise. As physically imposing as he seems, why can't he just get on the mound and blow people away? The way he picks at the corners of the plate are laughable. Doesn't he see that his "plan" is not working?
What is not laughable, however, is that Showalter has allowed him to continue with the same warped mind-set about getting hitters out all season long.

Grow a spine, Mr. Showalter.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it? Does Peter Angelos really relish being the most hated man in his native city? Is he so complete an egomaniac that he's actually indifferent to or unaware of the contempt in which he's held? There's definitely some sort of bizarre personality disorder at work there.

Well, he's ruined what was once the best organization in the game. He didn't start the decline, but he accelerated it a millionfold, with his capriciousness and stinginess and stupidity. Yes, the Orioles are indeed cursed. The curse is their owner.

Hey @eli and @steve, you both need to lighten up. Even if it weren't a play on words as Pete said, I would never think that he was commenting on the world in general with his use of the word 'tragic'. It was obvious to me at least that he was speaking in terms of a tragedy in baseball.

The way this franchise had been run in PA's tenure certainly qualifies it as that.

I recall something reported in the Sunpaper a few years ago. When Andy McPhail was hired in 2007, he gathered the front office together and wrote "2011" on the blackboard. In a separate report, he told Peter Angelos that he (McPhail) wanted to push the team either up or down - that staying the same was not an option. McPhail implemented his plan. He tried to push the team down by trading away the team's cleanup hitter (Tejada) and ace pither (Bedard) to get a bunch of young players. The intent was to sacrifice in the standings for a year or two so that the Orioles would be competitive when the young players matured. But a funny thing happened: no matter what personnel moves they made, they always ended each season with about the same record. McPhail executed his plan, but got the result he specifically didn't want. I think the problems with this team run deeper than the General Manager.

Pete,

Thanks for the humor. That's the only way to stomach the pile of manure Angelos is feeding to Baltimore fans.

Smitty,

I know things are pretty bad, when you've lost your inexplicable optimism. Get it off your chest man. Your boy Andy Mac let you down. You were prepared to defend him 'til death. Do you feel that way right about now? Tell us how you feel. We're here for you.

Hello, I'm Meso, a hopeless O's fan. How about you?

#8 just nails it for so many fans. That is certainly the way I feel. I am 41 and grew-up watching some great, competitive teams. I told my father over the weekend that I am finally at the point where not only can I not watch the Orioles, but the Orioles situation has just sucked my joy out of watching baseball. I might not even watch the playoffs or World Series this year.

I've also seen comments start to pop-up here and elsewhere, where fans are mentioning that they wouldn't care if the team moved. I am also at that point. The Colts leaving was horrible, but if this franchise moved to a different city, I would welcome it. Ideally, if the name, colors and records were left that would be preferable, but honestly, if they went too...so be it. What this man has done or not done to this franchise/organization under his ownership/stewardship is sickening.

Pete,

Thanks for the humor. That's the only way to stomach the pile of manure Angelos is feeding to Baltimore fans.

Smitty,

I know things are pretty bad, when you've lost your inexplicable optimism. Get it off your chest man. Your boy Andy Mac let you down. You were prepared to defend him 'til death. Do you feel that way right about now? Tell us how you feel. We're here for you.

Hello, I'm Meso, a hopeless O's fan. How about you?

I HATE THAT THE NATS ARE BETTER THEN THE Os.

Hey @eli and @steve, you both need to lighten up. Even if it weren't a play on words as Pete said, I would never think that he was commenting on the world in general with his use of the word 'tragic'. It was obvious to me at least that he was speaking in terms of a tragedy in baseball.

The way this franchise had been run in PA's tenure certainly qualifies it as that.

Enough already with the "curse." This is no "curse," it's simple a deadly combination of incompetence and indifference.

The people who could actually make a difference don't care, and the people who (I believe) care are simply ... overmatched.

After an enjoyable and memorable 35-year reprieve, it's fairly obvious that the O's are once more the St. Louis Browns and will be for the foreseeable future. I'm not a pessimist by nature ... this is the first time I've ever given up on this team, and I'm one who drove two hours (each way) three times to see them during the first three weeks of 1988.

I asked you a few years back if you were gonna hack being in Baltimore with this team that has surpassed the most miserable expectations. You were very optimistic then. In hindsight, wouldn't you have preferred a career in another town? Say DC? Good things are happening there. What a turnaround from the Oriole glory days. Ironic, no? Well, good on ya for staying the course, Pete.

sadly a few days early with the title of this one. i think we finally hit tragic head on.

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Had to change the title. In light of yesterday's real tragedy, it wasn't appropriate.

Pete,although we've had some disagreements from time to time,I just wanted to thank you for not just your professionalism in the light of yesterday's tragic events,but your sympathy,something a lot of people lack.No,we don't have to know all the details and reasons to know that a good man is gone.Mike truly lived and breathed Orioles baseball.I didn't attend my first baseball game until I was 18,even though I had been a fan all my life.Mike Flanagan pitched that day,and it was my first of many,many games.My condolences to the Flanagan family,RIP,Mike Flanagan,you will be sorely missed.

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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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