Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Now turning to Baseball...

Recently fellow MBAers Oriole Post and Soccer Dad addressed a problem of particular concern to many of us here in Maryland: Sam Perlozzo. Nowadays, you can’t talk about Sam without discussing Sam’s job security…and whether he should have any (although a 4 game wining streak does somewhat mute the critics).

Normally, I am dismissive of mid-season firings as I don’t think they usually address the problems that lead to the perceived need for the firings but…

…Sam needs to look at the man he replaced in the midst of the 2005 season: Lee Mazzilli. Soccer Dad actually seems a bit nostalgic for Lee but I couldn’t have been happier to get rid of a manager than when the O’s dropped him. My problem with Mazzilli was that there were times when I knew – not thought I knew but actually 100%, take-it-to-the-bank KNEW!! – that a Lee Mazzilli managerial decision was absolutely wrong.

Now an intrinsic part of being fans is that we can always second guess coaching decisions. Yet, for the most part, I think we also recognize that our second guesses are just that – guesses. But Lee Mazzilli was apparently the last person in Baltimore to recognize that Mike DeJean was an absolute disaster in relief. There was one string in 2004 where he pitched in 6 out of 9 games and lost 3 of them. Listening to the games, I would go into a fetal position when Joe Angel announced the bad news of who was coming in from the bullpen.

When I see that a manager can’t discern what even a casual fan is aware of…well, that manager has lost my support.

Which brings us to Sam Perlozza and the Orioles’ 2007 version of Mike DeJean: Danys Baez. I was out of town the weekend of May 19th, arriving back on Sunday afternoon just in time to listen to the last three innings of the O’s – Nationals game on my drive back from the airport.

I am not proud of the language I used when I heard that Baez was being summoned in the 8th but that was a moment when I just KNEW Sam was making the wrong call - not kind-of-knew or think-I-knew - but KNEW!!. And when Baez justified my complete lack of faith in him and gave the Nationals the late-inning win…

Then last Friday…apparently Sam Perlozzo was the only person in that stadium who didn’t know how that was going to turn out…

Side Note: Last night while channel surfing through the O’s, Pistons-Cavs and the Nationals, I briefly settled on the Mets-Giants extra inning affair out of Shea. The Giants had just taken a 4-3 lead in the 12th and ex-Oriole and long-time head case Armando Benitez was brought in to record the save. As an admittedly somewhat bitter fan, I will always tune into to watch Armando Benitez potentially implode on someone else’s dime.

…and Armando did not disappoint:

An opening walk to Jose Reyes, a balk to get him to 2nd base followed up by a 2-out balk to get him – as the tying run – home…spectacularly followed up by a monstrous Carlos Delgado homerun to win the game for the Mets.

I know it’s wrong to take such perverse pleasure in the discomfort of another and that it’s been almost ten years but…

I'm not saying that Mazzilli was perfect. He clearly had his flaws. OTOH, I don't think that the O's had a better run for 3 months as they did two years ago since 1997. (And they had a pretty good 2 month run in 2004.) Did Mazzilli just get lucky, or did he, despite his faults, align things just right to make those limited successes happen?

I also happen to be an Armando Benitez fan. He's no Mariano Rivera, obviously, but he's a much better than average reliever whose failures have been magnified by their significance.

Finally, I think that the manager matters less than the general manager. And until the O's get a GM who has a sound strategy and follows it, the O's will not be very good whoever takes the reins on the field.
How can you even care about the Orioles when their owner made his fortune as a trial lawyer and has almost systematically destroyed the franchise, and you have an alternative in the Washington Nationals?
SD - we all have our quirks and an O's fan still calling himself a Benitez fan certainly qualifies..but I agree about the GM - which in our case still reflects the owner.

Anon- what would you suggest? I watch the Nats but it's not like you just turn off being a fan..
Though I'm a Mets fan, I agree with Anonymous. Go with the Nationals. The O's won't go anywhere until Angelos sells.

But I do agree with you about Armando. We suffered with him, too. Boy, did we suffer.

Last, DeJean stank with the Mets also.
Switch! Reagan did it, you can too. Sometimes principle trumps habit.
I like the Nationals, I watch the Nationals but...
In other words, if you were Reagan, the revolution would never have occurred.
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