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November 2, 2011

Orioles: Left at the altar

Let's stipulate right from the start that I wasn't in any meetings involving Toronto Blue Jays executive Tony LaCava and the ownership component of the search committee trying to find a replacement for Andy MacPhail. So, I don't know if LaCava (below) was just saying nice things about the Orioles after he turned down the job because that's the classy thing to do, or if the Orioles handled his recruitment just fine and simply lost out because he really decided he was already in the best situation.

lacavaap.jpgWhat we do know is that it's November 2 and Orioles owner Peter Angelos has had a pretty good idea for the past two or three months that he was going to need a new head of baseball operations. What we also know is that the Orioles are the only team that will arrive at the opening of the free agent market tomorrow without someone in that role. Whether you believe that anything was going to happen in the first two weeks of free agency either way -- and I don't -- that still represents a lapse in corporate management that could make other good candidates shy away from the Orioles.

Somehow, the Angels -- who were in the AL West race until the last week -- were ready to announce the hiring or former Arizona Diamondbacks assistant GM Jerry Dipoto the minute the World Series ended.

Somehow, the Chicago Cubs were able to pry one of the most respected young GMs in the business away from the Red Sox earlier this month, and somehow the Red Sox already had their GM-in-waiting ready to take Theo Epstein's place.

Dipoto was the first guy to interview with the Orioles, but there was no indication he was their first choice, so this is not really about who they chose. Just how.

LaCava looked like the perfect candidate, with his solid scouting and player development credentials. He interviewed last week and came back on Monday for a sit-down with Peter Angelos. Some mixed signals came out of that meeting, but the Orioles offered him the job and LaCava said they did everything right during the interview process.

I don't doubt that LaCava is in a great situation in Toronto and it would have been hard to decide to leave, but I can't help thinking that something happened during that discussion with Angelos that left LaCava wondering just how much authority he would actually have to remake the players development department.

It's common knowledge at the Warehouse that there are people in the player development system who can step out of the chain of command and talk directly to the owner, which can only create organizational confusion. So, I believe it's fair to wonder if the future makeup of the player development executive staff became an issue during the final meeting between LaCava and Angelos.

It's also fair to wonder if LaCava might be here right now if the Orioles had been quicker on the trigger and offered him the job after the first interview. He indicated otherwise, but the O's gave the Blue Jays a lot of time to sweet talk him back to Toronto...and they did just that.

Who knows if the Orioles were outflanked or simply unable to convince LaCava to move to Baltimore, but this little episode did nothing to change the public perception that they unable to compete -- on a management and ownership level -- with the other 29 teams in the major leagues.

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 1:02 PM | | Comments (31)
Categories: Just baseball


angelos is an a-holos!

I'm moving to LA next year.

Mark Cuban may end up buying the Dodgers.

And the O's are doing everything they possibly can to lose their loyal fans.

Hopefully getting turned down by LaCava was a wake up call. But I doubt it.

DiPoto and Lacava wanted the autonomy to clean the stench out of the warehouse and start over. Sometimes the only way to cure a cancer is to cut it out and hope you got it all. Angelos has been the real GM since he fired Frank Wren and he enjoys it. The two grownups who walked away from the Orioles stopped raising their hands to go to the bathroom in grade school.

To move from Toronto to Baltimore is comparable to moving from Ruxton to Sandtown.

This is a mess! It has been that way for a long time. At this point Peter needs to dig into his deep pockets and pay compensation to the Marlins for DAN JENNINGS. Otherwise, we will get the bottom of the barrel agarin! Come on Peter, wake up!!

I'd be upset that the O's still don't have a GM if I didn't think any GM under this owner is one of the more irrelevant positions in all of the 4 major sports!

Mark my words. John Stockstill ends up as the GM by default. NO ONE wants to run the Orioles, the organization is the albatross of baseball. The only good thing that this will create is that we will have to hire a new player development person to replace Stockstill, and Showalter will probably make most of the calls. I see Stockstill and Showalter working in tandem, but Showalter will have the say, Stockstill will be a figure head, and in some bizzarr twist of fate this actually may end up being good for the Orioles. I trust Showalter with personel decisions and getting someone to replace Stockstill can only improve the organization as a whole.

peter a is the second coming of stinebrenner, until he tires or dies the franchise will flounder!! end of story!

Seriously, if someone doesn't want to come to the Orioles we don't need him.

We're definitely better off with an empty GM chair than having the wrong individual in that chair.

Wake up Orioles and do whatever it takes and offer the job to Cal Ripken Jr.He knows baseball and still bleeds Oriole blood.This is a no brainer decision.

I'm really sad for the O's. I remember when I first became a baseball fan. My team was/is the Bue Jays. In the 80's the O's were one of the best teams, and I was happy when the Jays managed to win one game in a series. But as someone said in another blog, no one lives forever, I'm sure one day Baltimore will get the ownership and the team you guys truly deserve. Patience.

BINGO. Fine post Peter.

LaCava had to say the things he said through the media. No way he was going to tell the real reason he didn't take the job.

Shame on us for believing it was possible that we would get a top-notch candidate the way this organization does business.... Oh well, lets make it 15 years...... but who's counting?

yawn. Why would anyone want to play or coach for this owner?

If I were in Peter's shoes I would re-visit Dan Jennings with the Marlins. Money talks. Pay the compensation so we don't make things worse than they are.....

I'm gonna propose an alternative analogy to "left at the alter" - how about "LaCava narrowly escapes black widow's web". In a perverse kind of way it is impressive how many sharp baseball men Peter Angelos has managed to sell a bill of goods to. This past season I planned on attending some games like I always do but I never pulled the trigger. This upcoming season I have no plans to attend any Orioles games. So is the evolution of a disillusioned fan crossing the threshold of "still willing to pay" to "not willing to pay".

This organization is a mess. I don't blame him.

14 years of losing means that the O's will have to pay an Angelos penalty on any management prospect or free agent that considers coming to Baltimore. That penalty differential probably exceeds the excess amount that the Yankees routinely spend above value to aquire its personnel. Simple fact. Angelos is like poison. Most people in baseball just want to avoid coming here. No escaping this for O's fans.

He's a smart guy and smart guys don't take jobs at which they will have no chance to succeed. Any chance Bud Selig can find a way to force the sale of the Orioles? Until then the joke this once great franchise has become will continue

There was a poster named "Dude" who was in the running for the new GM least according to him.

He would work cheap cuz he isnt any good

end of the day, the Dopes had a chance to hire a guy who knows what he's doing, and that probably rankled old petey. at this point, it is hard to argue that he has any clue about what he is doing. sad to say, until the head Dope sells off to someone willing to hire smart baseball people and let them do what they do, the orioles are and will remain one big giant mess. if this gm search does not convince you, you have not been paying attention. kinda like the owner.

There are 50 governors in the U.S. There are 100 senators. There are only 30 MLB GMs. It's harder to get a job as a GM than be a governor or senator. The Os offered LaCava one of only 30 such jobs in the country, what should be the crowning apex of one's career in the front offices of MLB, and he turned them down. Nothing could be more condemning to the Os organization. Are we paying GMs in confederate money too? There was a time when other clubs coveted and wooed Os executives: Harry, Dalton, Frank Cashen, etc. There was a time when teams wanted ex-O players and coaches as their coaches and managers: Frank Robinson, Jim Frey, Joe Altobelli, Billy Hunter, George Bamburger, Davey Johnson, Jimmy Williams, etc., etc. Now? How this team has fallen befits a Greek tragedy!

MLB was going to take control of the Dodgers because of inept management. Is there a more incompetent management in baseball then in Baltimore. Angelos has completely destroyed a once proud franchise

Nobody worth his salt wants to work for Peter Angelos. That's it in a nutshell.

Look, I'm just happy that there's no more Joe Jordan. One step at a time for the orange and black. Sometime soon there will be a GM and eventually the team will be successful. I am a true die-hard fan and I'll support them unconditionally, but anyone who thinks this team/organization is looked at as a credible one is a joke.

From a big leaguer's perspective, the team is viewed as one where you can still squeeze out one more contract before you hang 'em up (Sosa is a prime example although not so recent) and that might not change at all.

Just like down I-95 in D.C., the O's will not and simply can not be taken seriously while the Angelos family is 'running' the show. They do a great job of not taking success seriously and doing the very least and worst job possible to demonstrate effort to their fan base which logically is dwindling down to nothing.

Maybe now the upper deck concession stands will start to pack up early in May instead of June.

Peter and John Angelos, please realize that your legacy is making a city who treated this team like royalty stop caring, hopefully not forever.

What did Angelos threaten to sue or are the bosses of the SUN scare of him?
Why the back pedaling from the blog you posted a day or two ago calling the Oriole ownership to task? Do you really believe than LaCava made a second trip to Baltimore just to tell the Angelos how much he loved the Blue Jays? That could have been done with a nicely written letter or "Thank You, but NO Thanks" note. Of course LaCava said nice things, Major league baseball is a close knit industry and he wouldn't want to say "un-nice" things that might be held against him when other GM positions open up.
Roch, who writes for a site owned by PA has done a better job of pointing out the facts than the SUN writers have.

Can't anyone in this town recognize that the Orioles GM is a puppet job with no real authority. I hope MacPhail is hired by another organization soon so he can tell it like it really was; every major decision requires the approval of Angelos. As Angelos is too busy micromanaging his law firm, he sits on baseball decisions until it's too late. That is why this team has been in the crapper for 14 years. Yes, ever since Angelos showed up Gillick in the press on how he was right in '96 by not allowing Gillick to trade veterans, we fans have been paying for it.

Sorry, but I found my remedy. It's called being a Nats fan. Come join me folks, as this ship has sunk.

Pete - Good write up. I'm surprised there are zero comments for this blog post. I guess it is the bad news about the Orioles in early November so with everything else that is going on these days I can see why people have invested much time into these developments. Which is to say that it is a shame. I think this meltdown of complacency by Peter Angelos means that I think he needs to turn daily operations over to someone else (younger) or sell the team. I am not bad mouthing Angelos, even though Lord knows he has his faults. No, I just see this as a man who is tired. Tired of the MLB carousel and dolling out money to over paid under-professional players. Things were good for him in the 90's what with the new ballpark and Davey Johnson but sinceY2K it's been a nightmare he has not been able to wake from. Sure he's made money but he had (has) money and continue to make more of it easier. I just think he is emotionally drained and hasn't made a serious attempt to look for a GM that plus the fact that Andy was handling the business for the past four years and now he's gone and ain't coming back. Angelos is definitely tough. His track record as a lawyer is proof of that. But this is one "case" that has gone on too long with no "happy" verdict. Even after every year of appeal after appeal after appeal. And '12 at this point looks not too much different. I hope that he recognizes this as a failure due to fatigue and he will resign himself. But like I said he is tough and stubborn. So yeah it is a sign. A sign hanging above Angelos head that says:"Please put me out of my misery."

Pete's reply: Thanks for the comment. The reason very few have gone up recently is because I'm on vacation and out town. I'll try to pop back in soon.

You and Cowherd...... and naturally every other cynical Oriole fan who seems to find their way to this blog..........

Why is it always so automatic first of all, to find something wrong with everything the Oriole ownership does..... and then to place the blame on them as well ?

The Orioles apparently had decided upon Dipoto, but the Angels made the first offer...... bird in the hand ? Perhaps.

Then LaCava comes to town for the SECOND TIME, gets an offer he apparently COULD refuse, and declines.

Why aren't real Oriole advocates rallying behind their team and recognizing LaCava as the wishy-washy son-of-a-bitch he is and chastising him for wasting the Orioles' time ?
Does anyone really believe that any fundamental truths about the job were withheld from him until his second visit ?

I didn't ever see anything so special about him OR Dipoto, OR De Jon Mustard from L.A. (or whatever the hell his name is).

I like Levine from Texas and ex-Oriole exec Pruefrock from Philly much better.

Stop trying to drag the Orioles down as journalists. Too many people hang on your every word. They don't realize that you're simply weighing what you know to be true and trying to extract conclusions from it.

Please don't get so heavy with your speculations that you leave little room for our own.

You hit the nail on the head. PA takes too much time to make a decision. You would think that he's one of the supreme court judges making a decision on Roe V. Wade. After being told how things would be run, can you expect anyone to really come in and make a difference? PA just won't take his hand completely out of where it shouldn't be. Owning a professional baseball team is an honor. However, just because you own one doesn't mean you know how to run a baseball team. Unfortunately, he will never learn. Unless and until he sells the team our O's are doomed for second best. We will sign leftovers or players who are beyond their years and then wonder why they don't perform how they used to.

From The Sun reports, I understand that Louis and John Angelos were part of the interview committee. What arfe their titles and areas of responsibility within the organization?

I don't know much about them other than they were major players in the Albert Belle debacle.

I also understand that one or both were involved in the dissing of Brooks, and have also been disrespectful to some low ranking Orioles' employees.

Are these guys the two scaring off the GM candidates?

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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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