Tag Archives: orioles

Tha Crossroads

 

I feel like this needs to be discussed with all the Jeff Samardzija talk flying around lately, are the Orioles buyers or sellers this year and more importantly which one should they be? As you can probably tell, I think the O’s are at a crossroads as an organization and how they answer the above question (both in words and even more so in actions) will have a huge impact on the teams we see in the next 4-5 years.

Obviously the short term view depends a lot on Continue reading

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Dirty Little Secrets: The 2014 Edition

Don’t run around telling a lot of people in Baltimore this, but… The 2014 Baltimore Orioles aren’t good at some things. That’s right, they’re not the best team at anything, anything at all. Did I just hurt your feelings? Are you already preparing a response about how wrong I am? If you are, you might want to kill yourself…. or just read ahead a bit. The truth is, the Orioles have a few secrets that are being ignored by overzealous writers and TV analysts everywhere. Continue reading

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Shitty outfielders: The new market inefficiency

Yes, we didn’t give up again just yet.

As was displayed in the classic book “Moneyball”, the key to success in baseball on a limited budget is finding inefficiencies in the baseball market. I believe Dan Duquette and the Orioles are a ttempting to exploit the next great inefficiency. Many have speculated that once OBP started to make money, Billy Beane moved on to try to find undervalued players by exploiting defense and platoons. This has worked magically for the Athletics. The Orioles need to find their own brilliant GM to find skills undervalued by the majority of teams in baseball. I believe he has finally found it: Continue reading

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What To Expect When you’re Expecting, Free Agent Edition

First of all… hey, how’ve you been?  I know that you don’t really care but I feel like I owe you an explanation for my absence from this blog.

You see, I’m what you would call a “hater.”  I do my best work when I am angry or blasting someone for doing/saying something that I think is downright stupid. That was very very easy to do when the Orioles were terrible for pretty much my entire life after middle school.  Then something crazy happened; 2012.  The Orioles were far from perfect and in fact very lucky in my opinion to do as well as they did.  Anyway, I #BuckledUp and enjoyed the ride.  We were at more games down the stretch than I can remember and we were at every playoff game at OPACY.  It was terrible.  The playoff games were both the best and worst experiences of my life as a fan of anything. Continue reading

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Ahhhh, Spring

February 14th, Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to camp.  This is awesome.  I look forward to that day every year, as do a countless number of other baseball fans.  Unfortunately…bloggers, reporters and tweeters also reported that day…over, and over, and over again about nothing.

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Vlad Guerrero or bust?

Casual Orioles fans everywhere are freaking out at the speculation that we could end up signing Vlad Guerrero this week. For cereal guys, there are people hanging on every word and really letting the Orioles have it for not getting this done already. The guy is a HOF player and had a “great” year for Texas last year. What are we waiting for? I mean, shouldn’t we all be super excited to sign Vlad Guerrero’s corpse at this stage?

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The Hobgoblin

Here at Eutaw Street Hooligans we not only give you analysis on games and offseason moves but since we can’t get any media credentials of our own we also give you the breakdown on other people’s interviews.  We would all have liked to ask Joe Jordan how he feels about 2009′s fifth overall pick, Matt Hobgood but since no one in the warehouse knows who we are it is hard to get close enough to ask any questions.  Luckily for everyone Joe sat down with Steve Melewski over at masnsports.com for an interview last week.

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Strikeout King

Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Motherfuckin’ Reynolds!

Today is my happiest day ever as an O’s fan.  Mark Reynolds is my favorite player and now he plays for my favorite team.  But that is only half of why I am so happy.  The other reason is that I know I will have plenty of opportunities to call people idiots for putting WAY too much stock in useless “old guy baseball” stats.  People are all worried that Reynolds is going to strike out 500 times this season, and my response is the same as his:  “So what.”

Reynolds is a masher who strikes out a ton and walks a whole lot as well, he may be the definition of a true three outcome player.  Why is this a bad thing?  Old school baseball guys see his sub .200 batting average and 200 plus strikeout totals and immediately write him off as a bad player.  Well, old school baseball guys are stupid and I will attempt to tell you why.

The majority of the offensive game (especially on the Orioles over the last decade) is played without runners in scoring position.  And when there are no runners in scoring position, an out is an out.  Whether it is a strikeout, a flyout or a groundout.  The only time one kind of out is worse than any other kind is when you ground into a double play, which is impossible to do if you strikeout.  What is the difference in striking out 200 times and grounding out 200 times?

Next useless old guy baseball stat, batting average.  Mark Reynolds hit .198 last season and will never sniff .300 in that category.  So, what does this tell us?  I’m not really sure but I do know that he walks a ton and his career low for on base percentage is .320 which tells us that he is still on base more often than the average MLBer and all but 5 Orioles regulars (including Brian Roberts) last season.  The point of getting a hit is to get on base, so why is it more important to old guys that you get on base by getting a hit rather than taking a walk?  Does anyone have an answer for me?  If you are going to bring up that it matters when there are runners in scoring position then you should probably check some stats first.  I totally agree with you that a hit is a better outcome than a walk with RISP but even still a walk is not a negative outcome in that situation.  Oh yeah, Reynolds also hit a respectable .276 with RISP last year and also had an OPS of 1.033 in that same situation.  So that means that in the small percentage of plate appearances where a hit is clearly a better outcome than a walk he understands that and is able to raise his batting average significantly.  So now everyone wants to know why he can’t do that in all situations.  Truth is, he probably could but not without it causing a drop in his power numbers.  And despite what old guys and Ichiro lovers will have you believe, a homerun is ALWAYS better than a single.  If you ask Joe Morgan, a homerun is a rally killer.  But if you seek wisdom from Joe Morgan on anything you aren’t very smart anyway.

While I am on a rant about worthless baseball statistics let me tell you how I feel about some not related to Reynolds. First, RBI.  Maybe the most worthless because to be a “good” RBI guy you need to be incredibly lucky and rely on the guys ahead of you in the order to get on base.  Why do we put any stock into a statistic that is least dependent on your individual performance to measure your worth?  That makes no sense to me at all, but old guys eat that shit up.  Kind of like they do with starting pitchers and wins.  Case and point, Felix Hernandez.  By far the best pitcher in the American League  this year yet there was some doubt as to whether he would win the Cy Young because he didn’t have enough wins.  What?  All of his wins were more impressive than anyone else because he had to be nearly perfect to have a chance at winning any games this year.  Thankfully the voters got it right this and weren’t swayed by idiots like Roy Halladay saying you have to find a way to win.  Really, Roy?  You just had one of the best seasons of your career and instead of congratulating a fellow Cy winner you are going to say he didn’t deserve the award because of wins?  He needs to find a way to win?  The guy had 10 losses this season.  His COMBINED run support in those 10 games?  12.  Twelve.  1.2 runs per game.  Shut up Roy, you dick.  You had an ERA of 2.44.  You know that means?  You would have lost a lot of games with run support of 1.2.  In fact, you would have lost all but 9 starts, sooooo how about you think about things before you open your stupid mouth next time.  Also, you should have found a way win in the playoffs if you really wanted to go to the World Series, guess it wasn’t that important to you guys.

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We’re a bunch of cool guys!

In some recent, exciting news, we were (we think) anonymously complimented in our “Merch” section yesterday by someone using the name Jim Palmer.

“What a bunch of cool guys you are! Fags.”

Now, we don’t think it was Jim himself because his comment made no mention of Jim Palmer as much of his commentary does.  So, either this guy has the same name as an Oriole great, which would be awesome, or he is a coward and hiding behind a fake name. Who would do that? But, let’s take a closer look at his actual comment and break it down a bit to get into the mind of this upstanding citizen.

“What a bunch of cool guys you are!”

Guilty as charged, my man. Guilty as charged.  And, I love the excitement!  It’s not often that we get such glaring comments from anyone but our mothers, so it was refreshing and made my heart beat a little faster.  I got to the end of that exclamatory sentence and was feeling great about myself.  But, wait!  There is more to come?  I can’t wait to read what is next as the lovefest continues.

“Fags.”

Oh no!  Why did you have to go there?  It makes me think that you really didn’t mean the first part of your comment.  Please tell me that isn’t true.  My self esteem can’t take it.  I don’t know what to think anymore.  I thought you were a super-intelligent, awesome bro that loved to read our blog.  Now, I think you’re an idiot.  You must be, if you don’t like us. (Right, Mom?)  But, then you threw in the last word there, which also makes me think that you think gay people are really awesome too, or you are just an idiot again.

I don’t know who you are, but I am sure we could have been great friends.  Here is my list of suspects:

Jim Palmer. There is nothing that man can say that will make me dislike him.

Shane Falco. He truly is the wild card, like Charlie.

Roch Kubatko. His initial threat before crushing us all in his biceps.

Jealous Internet Troll. Your typical, no sense of humor, inflated sense of self-worth troll.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

As you can see, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither should you.

See you at the yard.

~Jjaks Clayton

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Game On.

Yesterday’s game was quite the disappointment.  Pitching was poor.  Bergeson gave up a handful of runs in 4 2/3 an inning (not completely his fault considering Jones should have caught that deep fly that gave up 2 in the first), however the O’s still managed to get 1 more than the Jays with the hot bat of, reigning MASN ‘Player of the Game,’ Michael Tejada.  Time to close shop.  But, on par with his first few outings…

However, ESH are not prepared to boo him…yet.  Not everyone can be dominant right off the bat (no pun intended, but count it!).  I think Gonzalez will find his groove and finish his innings like he’s been starting them.  Two K’s, then loading the bases was a bit extreme in our only win.

Anywho, a few of the Hooligans will be attending the game tonight.  We were out of our element yesterday, having to sit in our designated spots, but tonight will most likely be different.  And, by different I mean back to the usual “cheap ticket, pick your seat” deal we’re all so fond of.  Looking to be in Section 4ish on the right field line.  Come join the party.

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Prediction season is upon us…

As players are getting into mid-spring training season form it is often time that the pundits and experts make their predictions as to how the season will shape up.  These predictions are based on nothing and serve to further over hype marginal free agent signings and over achievers from the years before.  I’m convinced there is no actual thought that goes into these things so to prove it I asked the rest of the Hooligans to come up with their own predictions and submit them to me.  Now, since everyone comes to us as the utmost authority on all things baseball I have decided to post these.  We all picked our own version of the AL East standings as well as division, league and World Series winners.  Also we picked MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year winners for each league.  I put them into a sweet easy to read chart for you guys complete with a comments section at the bottom.  I suggest that you print this out and take it with you to Vegas, don’t forget to send us our share of the winnings though. (Eutaw Street Hooligans and their representatives, especially Jjaks Clayton, in every way condone gambling however disavow any type of  negative responsibility [financial, personal, or romantic] that these picks may cause you.)

Yes, I realize that is small and hard to read but if you click it then it will zoom in.  Get off my back.

As you can see, this is groundbreaking stuff.  We all took it very seriously and it is interesting to see that many of us came up with similar picks.  Probably because we all watched the same thing on MLB network.  We will see how things shape up and probably revisit these with revised lists mid season.  Very disappointed in the picks by Kevin Lomax though.  A little douche carpet baggery there.  He actually sent along one other item of interest.  Enjoy, and as always…Let’s Go O’s!

~ Jjaks Clayton

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Fantasy Draft Recap

If you are reading this, then you probably already know that earlier this week we had our first ever Eutaw Street Hooligans Fantasy Baseball Draft. If you aren’t reading this, then you were not one of the 16 participants in the draft because we pretty much had every reader of our site participate. It was a crazy night, and there is plenty to recap like why Pedroia sucks, Kevin Lomax becoming number one on Camden Chat’s shit list and the dangers of “Autodraft.”

Let’s start with a fantasy draft warning for everyone. For obvious reasons I made it clear as the draft was about to begin that anyone who attempted to draft “Him Who We Shall Not Speak Of” (or for those who don’t know what I am talking about, the first baseman for the New York Yankees) would be officially dead to me. Well as it turns out, Johnny Eutaw himself was unable to make our little draft and was therefore subject to the whims of Yahoo’s pre-ranking system. “And with the 8th pick in this years draft It’s Business Time selects first baseman M&%# F’ing T&%$@#!*. Let this be a warning to all fantasy participants, if you must autodraft, please put this man on your “do not draft” list or it could happen to you. As they should

Speaking of enemies. Our friend, Russ Smith, tried telling us that Dustin Pedroia in 2008 had a better season than ANY Oriole in the past 10 years! Wow, that’s a bold statement, especially since it is false. Not only has an Oriole in the last 10 years had a better season, but an Oriole of the same position has had a better season. Let’s take a look at a comparison of Dustin Pedroia’s 2008 season and Brian Roberts’ 2005 season. First Dustin Pedroia, in 2008 he had a batting average of .326 but only put up 50 walks in 726 plate appearances for an on base percentage of .376 and had 54 doubles to help him slug .493 to put up a respectable .869 OPS. He also grounded into 17 double plays and stole 20 bases. Apparently an MVP season. However, let’s now look at Brian Roberts in 2005. He had a batting average of .314 but put up 67 walks in 86 less plate appearances than Pedroia’s 2008 season giving Brian an on base percentage of .387 which is higher than that of Pedroia. Brian only hit 45 doubles in his 640 plate appearances but it still helped him put up a .515 slugging percentage and a .903 OPS. Roberts also stole 27 bases and only grounded into 6 double plays. So let’s review (math isn’t my best subject so bear with me)… If Player B got on base at a higher rate than Player A while also getting further along the base paths during that time as well as stealing more bases and making less double plays then how is Player A the superior player? Nevermind, I was never any good at word problems either.

I could recap the whole draft for you, but I won’t cause that is a lot of reading. I will offer analysis of some type for you so you aren’t in the dark. So without further adieu, here is my official analysis of Round 18 out of 23: It didn’t really stand out, other than for some reason Alex Charlie Conway drafted Jim Johnson. I think he was still upset because he had a spelling test the next day and I had been telling him all night I was going to “Gordon Bombay” his mother. This is also the round where Kevin Lomax became #1 onCamden Chat‘s Shit List. It’s better said in her own words, so hopefully Stacey doesn’t mind that I lifted this from their site:

Oh, and one more thing. Do y’all know the Eutaw Street Hooligans? Nice boys (or so I thought). They invited me to take part in their bloggers fantasy baseball league and the draft was last night. I’d been telling them from the get go that I’d be drafting Felix Pie. You know, sort of as my mascot. The last pick is always a throw away. Now, I thought we had a gentleman’s agreement over the whole thing (can you have a gentleman’s agreement if one of you is a lady?) and then, in I think the 21st round, that scoundral Kevin Lomax took Felix! Can you believe it? I’m not at liberty to tell you what I said when it happened due to this being the front page, but I’m sure you can all imagine. Because of this I declare Kevin Lomax to be Camden Chat Public Enemy #1.

Stacey, we’re not all bad. Just most of us.

Well that’s it, the recap of our fantasy draft. Until we can post official analysis of everyone’s team I will just leave you knowing that my team is by far the class of the league because I stuck to my solid game plan of not drafting anyone who plays in New York or Boston.

Until next time, Go O’s!

~ Jjaks Clayton

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Exciting Times

After a long vacation and off season I, Jjaks Clayton, return to blogging. If you don’t mind it would be appreciated if you hold your applause until the end of the show.

Spring training is under way and that means a lot of exciting times around the baseball universe. Aside from all the real baseball news happening we here at ESH have some things going on as well. You already know we will have a representative in Sarasota for spring training stretching his lungs for battle, but that’s not all…

Tom Ludlow and I will be reliving the joy of the 1977 Orioles season via a Strat-O-Matic reenactment as part of a blog called Play That Funky Baseball where they replay the games of the 1977 season “managed” by various baseball writers and bloggers around the country.  Since none of us were even born back then, we were logical choices to head up the squad for the Orioles.  Anyway, Jeff Polman runs the site and he obviously gets us.  He sent this along to help motivate us, and it worked…big time.  Go check it out and make sure to visit the sites of all the other bloggers/writers and let them know why we are better.

Now that you’ve had time to take that in, I’ll let you in on a couple other things going on.  Some of us here in the ESH house have a “Who’s Your Boy?” board.  It helps us keep track of who our boys are and also ensure no one else tries to take credit for one of your boys doing something great, like striking out 4 times in one game or hitting a game winning grand slam.  I’ll explain why this is important in a separate post but until then let your imaginations run wild.

Also, spring training means that fantasy baseball season is almost upon us.  We will help you out with all your fantasy needs, and we do mean ALL.  We’ll have our own Eutaw Street Hooligans league (maybe we let a few readers in on the fun?) and make the results public with weekly blogs.  Also we will answer any questions or problems you face in your own leagues, so send in your questions and be ready to be amazed by our baseball knowledge.

It’s good to be back.

–Jjaks Clayton

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Luuuuukkkke

Luke Scott made a potentially troubling appearance on the Home Plate station on XM radio last night. I have stated before that I believe the current roster construction is going to leave a few players quite unhappy with their role.  Luke Scott had never been shy about voicing his opinions, and he appears to be the first one speaking out. Luke first spoke about the recent restriction on firearms in the locker room. I think this picture will explain his stance:

Luke has never been shy on his thoughts on firearms, or about his faith. We don’t cover these sort of topics on here because they aren’t baseball related and they aren’t THAT funny. Luke’s comments about the Orioles were much more concerning. Luke made it known once again that he is not happy at all as a primary DH. Luke made similar comments before the start of last season, but this year he seemed much more adamant. Luke also says that last year the Orioles promised him that he would still get half of his at bats as an outfielder. That obviously did not happen and he did not seem very happy about it. Luke wants to play the outfield and doesn’t see himself as a defensive liability. Well Luke, that’s because you aren’t.

Advanced defensive metrics such as UZR will tell you that Luke is an average to slightly above average defensive corner outfielder for his career. The Orioles have a cluttered outfield situation right now and it is going to be next to impossible to get him much playing time in the outfield without injuries. He appears to be 5th on the depth chart as it currently stands with Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis slated to get the lions share of the playing time. The Orioles had a very brief experiment of playing Luke at first base last season where he did not embarrass himself in my opinion. It seemed worth a longer tryout to me as it seemed that could be the best way to solve this situation. Luke has played first base before in his college days and briefly in the minor leagues, it is not a completely foreign position to him and let’s also not pretend it is an extremely difficult position to play in general. I think with a little experience there it would have been very likely that Luke could have been a more valuable first baseman than Garrett Atkins will be, by a good margin. Atkins defensive ability there is certainly not established and while he used to be able to hit, he has real potential to be a 4.5 million dollar disaster at the plate.

For me, the ideal situation would have been to go into the season with Luke as the starting first baseman with Brandon Snyder waiting for the call if he falters. With Scott at first, that would free up left field for more playing time for Felix Pie who proved he deserved in the second half of  ’09. This would put our best defensive outfielder (Pie) on the field and relegate our worst defensive outfielder (Reimold) to the DH role. Everyone wins in this situation, our best players are on the field and Luke is happy playing defense (He did say he was open to playing first regularly). As it currently stands, Luke will probably be treated a lot like he was last year, DH vs right handers and a lot of sitting vs lefties. Luke was also our best hitter vs left handed pitching last year despite his platoon reputation and he splits aren’t as drastic as you would think for his career. Sure, he is streaky and he isn’t a superstar, but Luke is a solid corner outfielder and probably deserves a better fate than the Orioles have planned for him. At this point, it seems obvious they intend to let him try to establish some value with a good start and then move him somewhere where he has a better opportunity, and I hope for his sake that is the plan.

This is not a problem that will be uncommon for this years team with reasonable health. There doesn’t seem to be adequate playing time for Scott, Wigginton, or Pie in what appears to be the teams roster/lineup plans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more events like this occurring in the near future, stay tuned for more pissed off O’s…

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I’m so excited right now!

Guess who’s coming back!  No, not Trembley.  Well, I mean, yeah, Trembles is coming back…but that’s not who I’m talking about!

Ma-fuckin Russ Smith, that’s who!

There was Dave Trembley last Friday night at Camden Yards, looking like the Cat who ate the Oriole, and on purely good-will-towards-men grounds, it was hard not to smile.

Smiling at an O’s game is almost certainly prohibited.  You’re lucky you didn’t get caught.

Trembley, manager of Baltimore’s sloppy squad, whose continued employment was the subject of speculation around town the past several weeks—after all, what else was there to talk about regarding the team, on its way to 98 losses?—was the beneficiary of a floundering franchise’s confounding conservatism, given a vote of confidence from Andy MacPhail, the team’s president of operations. So good for Trembley, reputedly a decent fellow, dodging what seemed like an inevitable waking of the plank.

Very confusing graf, but I don’t think I disagree with anything here.

Never mind that the O’s fielded a team with a lot of talent, especially the much-touted Baby Birds, and yet finished with the American League’s worst record.

“Much-touted” doesn’t mean “will make the team win instantly upon arrival”.

If this was, as MacPhail preached time and again, another “rebuilding year,” a fan might have expected more progress.

It was a rebuilding year.  There’s no need to question it.  Again, I think we made as much progress as one can expect in a rebuilding year.  Has there been a team that was in a self-proclaimed rebuilding year that went on to win the pennant or something that I don’t know about?

And, as it happened, the O’s set a new low for attendance at Camden Yards, drawing 1,907,163 spectators, about 40,000 less than ’08, which was then the bottom number.

That’s a bummer.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians canned manager Eric Wedge—and in a cruel way, just days before the season ended

If MacPhail was going to fire Trembley, he said straight up, it might be before the season ended.  Would you have thought it cruel to Trembley?

—who, it may be remembered, led his team to within one game of going to the World Series in ’07. It’s said that Trembley was hamstrung by injuries (which happens to every team) and MacPhail’s midseason trades of closer George Sherrill and Aubrey Huff,

Trembley was hamstrung by injuries:  Pie, Jones, Bergessen, Reimold, Albers, Sarfate, etc.  Sherrill and Huff getting dealt, was not a huge deal.  It didn’t help us though.  Well Huff leaving helped us…he was really draggin ass out there.

but Wedge, in the last two years, lost CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, among others, and star center fielder Grady Sizemore was hurt most of the year. The Indians are now rebuilding and Wedge is out; is it unreasonable to think that Trembley, too, ought to be sacrificed in the interest of shaking the team up?

I think it’s unreasonable, yes.

History lesson in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Wedge took over the team in 2003 and the Indians finished 4th.  From 2003 to 2007 they finished 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, and 1st.  Over 5 years he made considerable strides forward.  The two years following that 1st place finished saw them land 3rd and 4th…a considerable step back.

Wedge was given 7 years as manager.  He helped lead the team to winning seasons but couldn’t sustain that winning.  By halfway through the 08 season, it was clear the team wasn’t going to contend that year, so they started making moves.  Cliff Lee didn’t resign with them because he saw no future there, at least in the short term.

That’s what rebuilding is for mid-market teams.  You gear up, as best you can, and shoot to make a run at the title.  If you aren’t going for the title, you are shedding payroll, trading veterns for younger players, and biding your time.

I personally don’t see another O’s dynasty in the foreseeable future as long as the current payroll and schedule structure are in place for the AL East.

Now, Trembley has only two full seasons under his belt.  He took over the team when they were shitty.  Really, really shitty.  Anyone who thinks he was going to pull the team out of the basement in two years has really unrealistic expectations.  Besides, why should he be the one to take the full force of the blow-back?

The decision to keep Trembley was such a shock that The Baltimore Sun‘s print edition last Saturday featured a banner headline on its front page, “O’s keeping Trembley,” (never mind the previous day’s disappointing unemployment numbers or President Obama’s failure to secure the 2016 Olympics for his many political friends in Chicago), a decision at the daily that left me wondering what was more depressing: MacPhail’s puzzling strategy or The Sun‘s ongoing disintegration. Sure, the sports news was a big local story, but there was a time not so long ago that the paper’s editors (who were at onetime familiar with the city) would’ve run a snipe on the front page rather than make it the lead article. The good news for the Orioles and its fans, I suppose, is that the club has a longer life expectancy than The Sun, but I digress.

Moving on.

A few days later, after the unexpected retention of Trembley, a manager who plays the stoic Marine at press conferences but is often accused of being soft in the clubhouse,

Agreed.  We’ve actually written about it before.  Also, you can see by Trembley’s own comments that he is aware of this, may have done it for a reason(i.e. teaching instead of beating up), and is certainly going to change next season.

And I know what my shortcomings have been. I know what I have to do better. I’ve got to drop the hammer more. I’ve got to drop it, because losing does not sit very well with the people around here anymore.

even supporters of the decision, such as The Sun‘s columnist/blogger Peter Schmuck, could offer few encouraging words to the fan base for next season and beyond. On the morning of MLB’s last day of the regular season, Schmuck wrote: “The road back to respectability never figured to be a short one, but the trip has been so difficult that the thought of another hopeless season in 2010 might be too much to bear for the club’s beleaguered fans.”

Why?  What’s the difference?  12 losing seasons.  13 losing seasons.  14 losing seasons.  What’s the difference?  Here’s how the same situation would look in an office setting:

Ok gang.  We have this damn problem with the copier…it just won’t make copies.  We’ve tried to fix it 5 times by just hitting it with a hammer.  We tried another 5 times by hitting it with a bigger hammer.  We tried once by begging it to just start working.  We tried another few times by taping other smaller copiers to it.  None of those things worked.  Now we can either 1) be patient and wait for the parts to get here, or 2) cancel the replacement parts, fire a few employees (probably those in accounts payable, because fuck them), and we can try the hammer thing again.  Let’s vote.

Things are finally starting to look brighter, and now, people are more impatient than they’ve ever been.  I don’t get it.

There’s a chance, I guess, that MacPhail will take advantage of shedding $40 million off its ’09 payroll to actively seek a slugger for the lineup, a reliable veteran starting pitcher and quality players for first and third bases. Still, given the dearth of marquee free agents in the off-season it’s unlikely the O’s will make the splash that the dwindling attendees at Camden Yards so desperately desire. Think about it: if you’re John Lackey (the most prized pitcher on the market), Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, all of whom will play in the postseason starting this week, would you sign with a team that barely escaped 100 losses and hasn’t been in the playoffs since 1997? A ton of money can lure pure mercenaries, but with so few players available it’s almost out of the question that any big name will be suiting up for Trembley next year.

Agreed.  It’s hard to convince any pitcher to come to the AL East.  Every starter for the Yankees has 20 home runs this year.  That’s fucking insane.

Russ, let me say, we see eye to eye on a lot of things, it’s just this slight little perspective thing that keeps us from being the same person…oh yeah, and you like the Red Sox, but still.  So close.

Those three players, or any other free agent for that matter, are not going to look at the Orioles and say, “Trembley’s the coach of that team?  Fuck them.”  They’re going to say, “They really suck.  Unless they pay me a shit load or I get the convenient yet oddly timed desire to be a part of something cool like the 08-09 Rays, fuck them.”

Perhaps MacPhail believes he can pull off a blockbuster trade, but then again, whom would the O’s exchange for, say the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay? Luke Scott or Jeremy Guthrie? No, I don’t think so either. (By the way, I’m betting the Yanks wind up with Halladay, exiling Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera and a few prospects to Toronto.) MacPhail’s not a dumb guy, and so he knows a bunch of new faces that MASN can feature on its “Birdland” commercials come next March is a necessity, but it’d take an MVP soothsayer to tell us just who they’ll be.

Nope…we’re not going to get any big names in trades.  We might get a prospect or two, but we are not going to deal away the core of our talent, especially the pitching.

Last month, in a critical piece about the Orioles I was slagged by Kevin Lomax, one of the guys who blogs at Eutaw Street Hooligans, and though he was confused about my own favorite team (the Red Sox, not the Yankees),

Seriously though, I wasn’t the only one who thought that of your writing.  I was however the only one who had the time (sadly) and the balls to show it to you or say it to you straight up.

Also, re-read that article and tell me it doesn’t sound like Yankee propaganda.

Finally, I love that you said slagged.  You’re totally from England aren’t you?

the implication was that a non-O’s fanatic wasn’t welcome to offer commentary about the team. That’s fine by me, since I appreciate passionate fans.

That wasn’t my implication.  My implication was, before you write such a critical article about a team (that you don’t root for) at least do your home work.  I can take well-reasoned criticism.  Shit, I can take unreasonable criticism as long as it’s funny.  But poorly researched and unsubstantiated arguments; I just can’t stand idly by and let that happen.

I’ll point out, however, that my family and I attended more than 20 O’s games at Camden Yards this year (including all but one Sunday afternoon contest),

I’m glad you are out supporting our rebuilding effort.  This will only help us in our future conquest of the AL East.

and as someone who remembers when the Orioles were a perennial contender, as well as feeling bad for my kids’ friends who grew up in Baltimore and have never experienced the thrill of a winning team, I don’t feel guilty for advocating wholesale changes in the current Orioles’ culture.

I will admit, I wasn’t alive during a time of Oriole contention, so I can’t share your feelings here.

After all, as a resident of Baltimore, I’d welcome a packed stadium every home game, not only for the energy at the park, but the resulting economic benefits for the retailers downtown whose business spikes considerably when attendance is high.

Agreed.

And Lomax, on Oct. 1, prior to the Trembley announcement and the O’s snapping a 13-game losing streak, was less jolly, writing: “I plead with you fellow O’s fans: Stop bitching so much about a team that had no business playing in the majors this year. It’s not one person’s fault. It’s not the players, it’s not Trembley, it’s not Angelos and it’s not MacPhail. The reason we have a shitty team is simple: The 2009 Orioles are the collective (shitty) sum of 15 to 20 years of bad decisions by hundreds of people. I’ll concede that one person has had the most influence over that time, but still…he’s not making all of the decisions.”

I wasn’t jolly when I gave your article the written bitch-slap it deserved.  I’m also not less jolly here.  I’m realistically optimistic ©.  Simply put:  My glass is half full…of shit.  Realistically, we were (and still are) a really bad ball club.  Optimistically, we have seen a lot of signs that point to a brighter future.  I won’t name them all because I did that last time.

Finally, I’ll defer to my friend Tom Scocca, who grew up near Memorial Stadium and does remember, as a tot, winning Oriole baseball. Tom’s a dedicated and stubborn O’s fan (and a multi-talented writer whose book Beijing Welcomes You is set for release next fall by Riverhead)

As any fan of a losing team must be.

but is extraordinarily clear-headed when discussing the team.

Meaning he makes logical, substantiated claims?  If only we all did that.

In an email last weekend, after the Trembley news, Tom told me, “I just don’t see what the positive case is for keeping him. Sure, you don’t want to fire the manager for firing’s sake, and you don’t want to blame a guy for losing when he was given such a thin team to work with, but what has he done right?… [The Orioles] are terrible at making productive out. They lead the league in blown-save percentage. They don’t take extra bases. The defensive efficiency is awful.”

I have one.  A rotating door of managers has not done anything to help our team.  A team needs a little consistency.  Besides, Trembley, admittadly, has not been able to be a manager.  He’s had to be a teacher.  Firing a guy, who’s not been given a fair shake, tells something to other people in your organization:  We are not logical.  We will bend over to what the “uneducated” fan wants.  We will bend over to what the reactionary media wants.

Take your beloved Yankees for instance.  That’s your team right, the Yankees?  Had they followed what their fans and media wanted after the first 3 weeks of the season, when the O’s were beating up on their billion dollar pay roll, Girardi would be a goner.  But instead, they saw themselves through the storm, and have the best record in baseball.  Understand, a storm for a billion dollar team, is pretty short.

He doesn’t go easy on MacPhail either: “He can’t repeat that stunt he pulled this year of just not bothering to stock up with 162 games’ worth of players… Even if [Adam] Jones and [Matt] Wieters are All-Stars and two of the young pitchers turn into front-line starters, that won’t mean anything if they don’t fill in the hollow spaces on the rest of the roster.”

Everyone knows we need more players.  But what kind of stunt is this guy talking about?  Did the Orioles really just send a bunch of players home for the year.  Was MacPhail like, “You know how we can really fuck with the fans?  We can play with 6 players a game.  I figure that’s the quickest way to get rid of Bill Shatner anyway.”

My wife, younger son and I were at Camden Yards on Sunday for the final game of the season, one in which the Birds won 5-4 in 11 innings against the Blue Jays (that team, in total disarray, slept-walk through the afternoon, and when reliever Brandon League muffed two consecutive throws to first, allowing the winning run to score, I thought immediately of the great film Eight Men Out) and it was an eerie day at the park. The awful music that plays between innings was that much louder since the crowd was thin, less than 18,000, and the assembled seemed restless, walking around more than usual, oblivious to the whipping wind and action on the field. It’s my hope, for the team and Baltimore alike, that this weird scene was a harbinger of the Orioles’ future.

Let me finish with two things.

1)  In my heart of hearts, I know Trembley isn’t a sure-shot to lead us to a championship.  He hasn’t shown the ability to properly manage a game.  But we also haven’t had a large enough sample size for a big league manager.  So although my response to your article looks really pro-Trembley, I’m not really in either corner.  I just couldn’t pass up an oppportunity to have another good back and forth with Russ.

2)  I encourage all of you O’s fans, again, have some patience.  No one said doing it right would be easy.  It’s been a rough year.  It hasn’t been awesome to watch, but things will get better.  Shit, they might not, but let’s not abandon the plan before it’s been given a chance to work.

~Kevin Lomax

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Freel Fails Again

A while ago we were discussing Ryan Freel in the comments section of one of our posts.  Here’s the excerpt:

Johnny Mnemonic (note: not affiliated with ESH)

keep the manager. fire the players – guthrie, hill, mora, wiggy, even huff.  Bring back freel!…

Tom Ludlow

Ryan Freel is terrible, plus we would be stopping him from his possible record of playing for the most teams in a single season ever

biffaliff
Correction:

“We would be stopping [Ryan Freel] from his possible record of failing with the most teams in a single season ever.”

So Ryan failed again.  If he latches on with one more franchise he has a shot at the title but I doubt that will happen today.  He really looks like a dick now so I hate to rub it in…nah, that’s not true, that’s what we’re here for.  To kick him while he’s down.

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May 10th, 2009

A decade or so of losing teams.  Man am I glad to be off the O’s and headed to the Cubs.  I’m overwhelmed with joy.

Also, Farney keeps farting in my cereal bowl and he needs to cut it out.

Get ready for the grittiest damn ball player you’ve ever seen Chicago!  Eckstien didn’t play in Chicago did he?

I hear Chicago has a better craigslist anyway.

~Freel Like Makin Love

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July 2nd, 2009

The Cubs haven’t won a world series since 1908!  Man, they have no idea how to run a club there.  I’m lucky I got out.  Kansas City here I come!

Get ready for the grittiest damn ball player you’ve ever seen Kansas City!

Also, Farney has moved from farting in my cereal to drawing on my face at night with a permanent marker.  And people wonder why I drink so much!

~More than a Freeling

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August 28th, 2009

George Brett is a psycho.  Farney and him couldn’t get along so I’m out.  They’re saying they DFA’d me but I tell you what…I walked out.  I was legitimately concerned for my life there. 

You can only get threatened by George so many times before you just have to make a change.

I hear Texas is nice though so I’m glad I got picked up by a legitimate contender.

Texas get ready for the grittiest damn ball player you’ve ever seen.  Playoffs here we come!

~You Don’t Know How It Freels

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August 31st, 2009

What the hell!  Two fucking days!  I didn’t even make it to Texas?  Oklahoma was just supposed to be a rest stop and I already got released.

Farney is not making it any easier by calling me a loser every five seconds or so.

All this moving would sure be a lot easier if I hadn’t had the Orioles equipment bag burned.

~You Make Me Freel Like a Whore

Come out and join us against the dreaded MFY.

~Kevin Lomax

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Schmucking Ridiculous

It seems fitting that yesterday I was reading through the archives of FJM and then Peter Schmuck writes something that would have Ken Tremendous and Dak losing their minds.

Painful collapses have become a habit for the Orioles, and this one was another illustration of something that’s been obvious for months. These guys just don’t know how to win, because none of them ever have.

Are you are saying that the players on the current roster, have never been a part of a winning team in all of their years in baseball?  Not even little league, high school, college, or minor league teams?

Or did you mean that after recording two outs in the ninth, Jim Johnson said to himself, “Shit, what do I do now?  Groove a pitch to let the other team take the lead?  That sounds right.”  Yet, prior to tonight, he was 4-4 in save opportunities since taking over the job from Sherrill.  I know, small sample size, but still.

They do know how to win.  There’s not a secret to it.  You score more runs than the other team.  They’re just not as good as the teams they’re playing.  That makes it hard to win.

Did the Rays have a bunch of “winners” on their team when they made it to the World Series last year?  Nope…they had good pitching, good defense, and good hitting.

They also didn’t run themselves out of a lot of innings…while I’m thinking about it, the argument raging about firing Juan Samuel over at OH is ludicrous too.

When Pie tagged and tried to make it to third…it was retarded.

When Brian forgot how many outs there were and ran home…it was retarded.

When Huff got picked off by the “fake to third-throw to first move”…it was FUCKING retarded!  I’ve never, ever, seen that work.

So, Juan Samuel called all the players on the team retarded in the newspaper.   I for one am for it.

People are calling him an awful coach.  I personally don’t think the third or first base coach has a significant impact on the game.  Unless your Tom “Windmill” Trebelhorn.

People are claiming that the team doesn’t respect Trembley because he never played the game.  Well Juan Samuel did play the game.  And he was a beast on the basepaths, so there is credibility there.  Say what you will about his coaching/teaching abilities, there is no denying that Juan could tear it up, running the bases.

People are saying that he shouldn’t have done it in the papers.  Our base running has been a joke all year.  Even Rolling Stone ragged on us.  Do you think that Juan hasn’t been trying to hammer it into these idiots?  I’m ready for some of these players to get publicly embarrassed.

A) They’re grown-ass men and they don’t need to be coddled like 5 year olds.

B)  They are professionals who aren’t performing their job to the highest level.

We could use a little accountability in the clubhouse.

Finally, I think a few of us are headed to the game tonight.  Keep an eye out in the right field bleachers for some fans with their heads in their hands…that’ll be us.  It’s getting hard to watch.

~Kevin Lomax

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The Magilahuff is Dead!

As some of our readers may know, there is a creature in Orioles lore known as the Magilahuff. It was a three-headed monster that played first base for the Orioles early this decade.

The first head, Gibbons, was defeated when he was ostracized from the team for his utter lack of production after quitting steroids.

The second head, Millar, felt he could help the Blue Jays increase their pop-out number.

We learned today that the final head of that beast was shipped out to Detroit.

huff-pumps1

I’m probably as excited about this trade as Huff was to get that home run off Joba.

As Tom Ludlow put it earlier, “We traded the corpse of Huff for a living person, so it was a good trade.”

He’s probably as excited to be going to Detroit as he was to come to Baltimore. After all, I hear Detroit is beautiful these days.

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AATY: It’s always darkest before the dawn…

…Or some stupid crap like that.Adventures at the Yard

If you remember a few days ago I posted the picture I saw in Rolling Stone about how terrible our base running is.   For those who haven’t, and that’s most of you judging by our site traffic numbers lately, here you go.

Well last night Brian Roberts did exactly what Ashanti did on the base path.  With 1 out he sprinted to home on a lazy fly ball and was doubled up at second, effectively running us out of the inning.  We won though, so it didn’t end up mattering too much but holy shit that’s ridiculous.

There was one difference between Ashanti’s base running mistake and Brian’s.

She’s a singer and he’s A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER!

Last night, I was embarrassed.  It’s a good damn thing no one really watches the O’s anymore.

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Adventures Away from the Yard: Fenway Park

Adventures Away from the YardIt’s been over 2 weeks now and I’m just now getting to the update about my trip to Fenway Park.

Suffice it to say that the trip could have been better.

We hopped on the train from somewhere in Boston to get to Fenway.  We arrived and they have a sort of Pickles-esque set up with a few bars around the place where people can meet up and tell stories about how they became Red Sox fans.  I’m going to withhold further comment because unlike a Red Sox game in any other stadium but Boston or NY, I am confident that most of them are actual fans.

We met some other O’s fans and they came to dinner with us.  I told them I’d post a picture so here it is:

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They were nice and they were O’s fans so that was cool too.

The place we went had amazing food.  But I did find out that most Bostonians are sissies and I judge this based on the beer they drank.

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Blueberry and Watermelon beer?  Nancies.  There wasn’t a Natty Boh to be seen for miles.

Anyway we made our way over to the stadium and it was packed.  The seats were super close together and a lot of them were obstructed view seats because of the damn pillars.

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I only had one run-in with fan.  He happened to be a Napoleonic fellow wearing a Pedroia t-shirt.  I don’t think he smiled during the game and I’m pretty sure he was about 5 seconds from an aneurysm for most of it too.  The vein on his forehead was really pulsating.  The fans there went ape-shit for every routine play, it was kind of pathetic.  When I would clap modestly for the Orioles, the following play (when predictably that play was rendered moot), the guy would stand up, turn around and clap in my face.

First off, if you are 5’5” and 12olbs, don’t think that you are going to intimidate me.  I subsequently laughed hysterically until the guy turned around.  Second, you’re supposed to win.

Let me re-iterate that:  You’re supposed to win.  Why are you taking it so serious?  Why do you clap at a routine catch by Jacoby in center?  You’re supposed to beat the snot out of us.  You spend more than Scrooge McDuck and we’ve not had a winning season is 10 11 seasons.

Anyway, after the game we went down to the grounds keepers dressing room (the guy we were with was a grounds keeper there for a bunch of years so he still had some friends there).  Turns out their dressing room was right next to the visitors clubhouse.  I saw Rich Hill talking with his family (probably about not pitching anymore).  I saw Ty Wigginton walking towards the bus hotdog stand.  I saw Zaun walk out and forget where he was (Alzheimer’s).  And, I saw Trembley giving the Crow travel advice.

It was worth the trip to say I’d been there but I’d rather watch a game at good old OPACY any day of the week.

I imagine we will be at a few games this home stand, especially Bergy T-shirt night so we hope to see you at the yard.

~Kevin Lomax

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