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Markakis Introduced

the oriole birdThe Orioles introduced the new face of their franchise today at a press conference officially announcing Nick Markakis‘ new deal.

So much good news and hope came out of this thing that it’s hard to know where to start, but here’s the money quote:

“It was a fairly easy decision,” Markakis said of his extension. “Believe it or not, I read the paper. I like to keep up with the team [and] see what’s going on, and I think that had a big play into my decision. The money’s definitely good. It’s security. But you want to see the direction of where your team’s going. The way Andy’s been handling this, [and] since he’s been here, I don’t think I can complain with one move or one decision he’s made.”

Parse it out and here’s what he seems to be saying:

1. He cares about this team.
2. He believes in what Andy MacPhail has been doing.
3. He believes he’ll play for a winning team, and that team will be Baltimore.

What’s more, MacPhail made it abundantly clear that signing Markakis was his top offseason priority all along, and that “As an organization, this is an event we hope to try to duplicate and replicate many times over.”

Here’s the thing the skeptics haters have to address in order to retain any credibility: you now have a choice to either believe Markakis and MacPhail, or call them liars. You either believe they understand the game and know what it takes to win, or you think today’s event was nothing more than theatre and that Nick only did it for the money.

The latter, of course, is a virtually unsupportable position. But I have a strange feeling that there are a lot of fans and former fans out there who feel that way anyway. Their loss. I’m stoked to watch Markakis go out this year and show the rest of us why we’ve stuck around.

15 comments to Markakis Introduced

  • Brendan

    Just to hear Nick talk about the direction of the team and how he wholeheartedly trusts MacPhail. It’s the first time we’ve really heard that from a player – especially one that is planning on being a cornerstone of the team. That means alot.

    The critics can be skeptical all they want based on the past, but this guy is smart, obviously serious about his future, and believes in the Eauxs. He’s not just blowing smoke because he got his payday.

    I’m PSYCHED for ’09! Not that this necessarily translates into more wins in ’09, but this gets me pumped for the future. Ya gotta start somewhere. 4/6 cannot get here fast enough.

  • dan the man

    Yeah, that quote took me by surprise. Wasn’t expecting it at all. I sort of had Nick in my mind as a near-malcontent, but there’s so little of him in the media that it’s hard to tell. Turns out he really digs Baltimore and believes in MacPhail. Couldn’t have asked for anything more out of the guy.

  • neal s

    A shame df1570 dropped out. I’d be interested in his spin on it.

  • Brendan

    I wonder if they would still play Millar’s Orioles Magic video at the park this year. I doubt it.

  • dan the man

    @neal s – I’m sure he’ll come back eventually… he always does.

  • I bet if you checked your Google Analytics, you could tell that he’s lurking.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Okay, it was nice to see the Oriole love-in from Nick and Matt yesterday, but let’s get serious again. Not everything Andy MacPhail has touched has turned to gold. Yes, the improvements in aspects of baseball operations that we don’t get to necessarily see are there, and the farm system is improving – BUT you could argue that the farm system is more due to the work of Joe Jordan than ANdy MacPhail and if they hadn’t gotten lucky and snagged Wieters and Matusz we’d be in a very bad spot indeed.

    My point is, I guess, that there’s a ton of work to do and the Orioles won’t magically compete suddenly in 2010 or 2011 without at least another year of solid management moves and – more importantly – luck with player development (i.e. let’s not see Chris Tillman blow out his elbow in May or Jake Arrieta unable to not walk 6 guys per game at Bowie).

    Not to rain on the parade. I love the Orioles and think they’re getting back to being a good organization (baseball-wise at least) albeit slowly. I just don’t want anyone to think that we’re on the fast track to ANYTHING yet.

  • neal s

    I don’t recall anybody using the term “fast track”.

    Do we actually need to say out loud that this team probably won’t finish .500 this year? I mean, don’t we all kind of “get” that? And of course it’ll take continued solid management to, well, continue to improve. You’d have to be kind of stupid to say “Well, we’ve done all we have to do. As soon as we get 2009 out of the way it’s smooth sailing.”

  • Greg

    The Markakis conference is the most important thing to happen to this club in the past ten years. More important than signing Wieters, more important than shipping off Bedard. Markakis is the first player to speak publicly about the state of the franchise and how he feels about it. The weight of what he says compared to how someone like Millar feels about it is so much more important: he wasn’t lobbying for a job, he wasn’t throwing out canned statements, he didn’t have to say anything.

    By making Baltimore his permanent residence for the next six years, Nick has accomplished several things:
    1) Players who see Markakis as a top ten outfielder understand that at 25 he could choose to play anywhere he wanted and he chose Baltimore. Maybe not such a horseshit town after all.
    2) Free agents can look at Baltimore as place where they can play, get paid a market value contract or better, and feel appreciated for their efforts. This could undo the damage done when the club lowballed Mussina. Imagine what free agency and drafting would be like with the same attitude many players feel about the Yankees.
    3) Players can look to Baltimore as team that will one day mimic the success of the Rays and get a ring in the near future.

    This is exactly the kind of news that people like Drew don’t want to hear: Players that come forth and tout the positive qualities of playing for the Orioles. These are the things that make someone like Drew have to eat a little bit of crow for all the negativity, all the bashing that says that the Orioles will always be losers under Angelos. You can’t pretend that the front office now is the same poorly ran wasteland that we’ve associated Orioles baseball with for the past decade. It’s simply not, and it’s about time someone with perspective and some weight actually said so.

    I wonder if Nick even understands the weight of his own comments.

  • neal s

    In re-reading my original post, I think I need to clarify something.

    In the last two paragraphs where I talk about haters, what I’m referencing specifically is those folks out there who claim that the Orioles (and/or Peter Angelos) don’t “want” to win or aren’t “trying” to win or don’t “know how” to win.

    I’m not claiming that anything the O’s have done will guarantee winning, now or ever. My point is that they’re making smart moves.

    That’s really what frustrates me more than anything about so much of the discussion surrounding this team — a continued unwillingness in certain corners to acknowledge improvement and better decisions.

    So, that’s what I meant up there.

  • some facts.

    You’ve spend to long in the trenches getting dirty with the pigs Neal! No need to apologize.

    This team (and most importantly, OWNER) have completely changed course in the last 18 months. Its simply stunning to witness. Anyone following this team with open eyes can see the amazing construction site that is the O’s. Just look at the OF! Pie, Jones and Nick. And the trio of Tillman, Matusz and Arrieta on the way.

    Wasnt it just 2 years ago that we had, well… nothing really? This is going to be a fun season…. Hell, they all are, I love baseball, but espially the O’s. We arent winning a championship this season, but that isnt the point in ’09.

  • Stumbled across this:

    http://rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=1535

    I didn’t realize both Huff and Mora are in contract years. That’s a good thing.

  • sci

    In other news, I’m not sure the Terps could have played any worse than they just did against Duke. Hideous.

  • I was surprised. I didn’t believe that they could get Markakis signed and they did. It’s a step in the right direction.

  • neal s

    I was going to put up a new post today but that Terps game took it right out of me. Worst performance I’ve ever seen from them, and one of the worst I’ve ever seen from anybody in any sport.