Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Teams That Might Be Worse Off Than the Rockies #1
2007-05-18 00:50
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Baltimore. The Orioles have lost five in a row, are alone in last place in the AL East, and the guy who ought to be their clubhouse leader, Melvin Mora, had to be restrained from going after teammate Jay Payton on Monday. It's not too hard to figure out the source of Baltimore's present frustration. They have almost an entire major league rotation, and a pretty good one at that, on the disabled list. Kris Benson, Adam Loewen, Jaret Wright, and Hayden Penn are all out with injuries. Even if all of those guys were healthy, Baltimore has been counting on their young pitching to suddenly emerge for like four or five years now. Maybe it's time for a different strategy. And while it can be crippling to lose so many starting pitchers, the O's don't have a very good offense (11th in the AL in OPS and 12th in slugging) or a very good bullpen (11th in ERA).

It's funny, ask anybody in the organization, and they'll tell you all the pieces are in place. Virtually any impartial baseball insider, however, will tell you it's a hopeless cause until Peter Angelos does us all a favor and dies. Baltimore is spending more than twice as much as the Rockies to be just as bad, if that serves as any consolation. As much trouble as the Yankees have had early on this year, they have to be feeling pretty good about all the series they have left against Baltimore, the similarly injury-riddled Blue Jays, and the yet still pitching-deficient D-Rays.

2007-05-18 01:23:57
1.   trainwreck
Virtually any impartial baseball insider, however, will tell you it's a hopeless cause until Peter Angelos does us all a favor and dies.

That may be the greatest line in Toaster history.

2007-05-18 02:04:52
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I should have added the bit about wishing in vain for the instrument of Angelos's death to be mesothelioma. O, delicious irony!
2007-05-18 09:46:38
3.   scareduck
The Orioles are so bad that the league kicked them into the AL Central?
2007-05-18 15:01:40
4.   JL25and3
As a Yankee fan, I've seen the Orioles hundreds of times over the last 40 years or so. It's really a shame, because this used to be a brilliant organization - they might not have won every year, but they were always in it, and they never sucked. Having Earl Weaver helped a lot.

Now they're just a terrible, terrible organization. For some reason, they've had this obsession with a particular type of player: a slow white guy with some power who can give you bad defense at several corner positions. The O's prefer them old, but they'll compromise on that a bit.

B. J. Surhoff and Jeff Conine are the exemplars, but there's also Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons, Marty Cordova, Jack Cust, and - if you expand the parameters a little - Rafael Palmeiro, Javy Lopez and David Segui. Nick Markakis looks like he'll be better than that, but he's the same idea. And, of course, Aubrey Huff was the quintessential O's signing.

2007-05-19 00:26:01
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I have a soft spot for organizations in any sport that have ingrained strategies. The Bears always try to win by running the ball and having a surface-to-air missile for a middle linebacker, the Dodgers favor pitching and speed, the Jazz pick-and-roll you to death, and so on for twenty years or more. So it's too bad the hallmarks of the 70's and 80's Orioles -- extraordinary infield defense, deep starting pitching, and three-run homers -- have been forgotten.

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