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Orioles Truth, And It Really Is About Next Year

Whenever something doesn’t seem right, or comfortable, our lizard brain perks up. It wants answers. Sometimes it maybe even deserves them. In that zealous quest, however, much is often lost.

The usual result is oversimplification, particularly when it comes to the notion of “truth.” The idea that since we know how things “should” be we are therefore fully justified in believing that we also know how they actually are.

It’s fair enough to an extent. We do know, for example, that signing Garrett Atkins was a mistake. We know that the regression of young players is cause for deep concern. We know the team needs to fully move on to Phase Two of The Plan and abandon the stopgap signings. We know those things (and others) because the on-field results prove them.

But we will never, unfortunately, know the day-to-day reality of life in the Warehouse. We’ll never know what happens in a meeting between Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos. Or, for that matter, between MacPhail and his various lieutenants. Etc.

That frustrates the hell out of me because it makes the “why” of this whole mess impossible to truly grasp. We get glimpses now and then from the various writers in town or from something like that article on Orioles Hangout but we don’t really know what’s wrong. We can get close, and we can do so within the boundaries of reason, but that’s it. Which means that we don’t really know if it can be or will be fixed, ever.

All of which goes to this: I can’t shake the feeling lately that the long-term health of the franchise is at stake, and it all comes down to this offseason, how it sets them up for next year, and what kind of performance we see. Everything was already stretched thin and this season the tears began to show. One more like this and I just…I don’t know. It could change things forever.

There are folks out there who would argue that it’s already been changed forever. That it’s already broken. But I don’t think so. I think it’s weakened but prepared and able to rise again when things turn for the better.

But I don’t know how much longer that can last.

25 comments to Orioles Truth, And It Really Is About Next Year

  • neal s

    Also: going to start talking more football soon! Training camps are around the corner…

  • Greg

    Minor league updates
    Here are the top 10 prospect players for the month of July thus far!

    Tm Lev AB Pos BA OBP SLG OPS
    Brandon Waring BOW AA 62 3B 0.323 / 0.440 / 0.758 / 1.198
    Michael Aubrey NFK AAA 54 1B 0.241 / 0.348 / 0.722 / 1.070
    Joseph Mahoney BOW AA 41 1B 0.341 / 0.372 / 0.683 / 1.055
    Tyler Townsend DEL A 73 1B 0.329 / 0.402 / 0.562 / 0.964
    Tyler Henson BOW AA 74 OF 0.324 / 0.367 / 0.581 / 0.948
    Pedro Florimon Jr. FDK A+ 61 SS 0.279 / 0.348 / 0.590 / 0.938
    Jacob Julius FDK A+ 50 1B 0.240 / 0.350 / 0.540 / 0.890
    Ronnie Welty FDK A+ 71 OF 0.310 / 0.338 / 0.521 / 0.859
    Tyler Kelly DEL A 67 3B 0.328 / 0.423 / 0.433 / 0.856
    Robert Andino NFK AAA 74 SS 0.311 / 0.354 / 0.500 / 0.854

    The yucks:

    Nolan Reimold NFK AAA 65 0.215 / 0.329 / 0.369 / 0.698
    Jerome Hoes FDK A+ 57 0.246 / 0.343 / 0.333 / 0.676
    Carlos Rojas BOW AA 56 0.232 / 0.290 / 0.375 / 0.665
    Kyle Hudson FDK A+ 62 0.226 / 0.351 / 0.306 / 0.657
    Joel Guzman BOW AA 73 0.219 / 0.269 / 0.315 / 0.584
    Daniel Figueroa BOW AA 51 0.176 / 0.338 / 0.235 / 0.573
    Paco Figueroa NFK AAA 63 0.206 / 0.219 / 0.349 / 0.568
    Kieron Pope DEL A 63 0.159 / 0.247 / 0.270 / 0.517
    Miguel Abreu FDK A+ 57 0.228 / 0.267 / 0.246 / 0.513
    Justin Dalles DEL A 40 0.225 / 0.220 / 0.225 / 0.445
    Garabez Rosa DEL A 59 0.136 / 0.136 / 0.237 / 0.373

  • dan the man

    The whole concept of “we don’t really know” has been sort of my whole thing since I decided to start jiving about sports on the internet. The internet and media is so full of people that are so certain about truths and yet, it’s so easy to say, “Sure, but do you really know that.” And they will tell you they do until they’re blue in the face, but inside they know they don’t. Because they can’t, not fully, by the nature of their jobs.

    I’m not saying I don’t come out and give opinions of what I strongly believe to be the case, and we can all “know” bigger picture things: “the Orioles are behind other clubs on international signings”. Sure they are, that’s true. You can prove that. But, “the Orioles’ Dominican facilities are not up to par” or some similar remark is really an unquantifiable statement by the average fan or even elite media member. Do I believe that’s true? Sure I do. But I would never say I know it to be fact.

    The Orioles have a lot of good things going for them, a lot of improving still to do, a lot of question marks still to be answered. I still believe, despite the travesty of a season that’s unfolded before us, that they are on the right track and road to recovery.

  • Greg

    @ dan the man: The “The Orioles have a lot of good things going for them” comment is a false sense of security. Sure they have good things going for them. But I could name 25 other teams with similar-to- better things going for them. Our good things are stuff that other clubs take for GRANTED.

    I’ll make an analogy off the top of my head; it may not fit exactly, but it’s what came to mind: When I hiked the Philmont trails in New Mexico, the best thing we had going was a night when we got to eat real food: a can of Spam instead of powdered rehydrated garbage. And you know what, Spam is a great thing given the conditions of hiking through the wilderness. It made everyone really happy and thankful. But you know what else is great? Not hiking through the goddamn mountains for two weeks without a shower and looking forward to SPAM.

    And I say this because yes, the Orioles have a lot of young talent to look forward to promoting and watch progress into stars… but the point is that what club DOESN’T have young talent turning into stars? We’re fixing our spring training facility? I bet there are a lot of other club facilities that don’t need fixing because their organization was on top of it years ago.

    We, as Oriole fans, have things to look forward to but there are least twenty other baseball teams enjoying a nice marbled ribeye at home while the Oriole fans are lost in the woods, clinging onto a drop of hope and happy for their Spam. I think that’s the messed up part.

  • neal s

    When did Pavano grow that righteous moustache?

  • neal s

    @ Greg: That’s a good point, Greg. At the same time, though, we can only base our expectations on what’s reasonable given the current situation. That’s unfortunate but also inevitable.

  • neal s

    Anyone watching this? I have it on the radio and it sounds insane. Three ejections and then a fan on the field. It sounds like everything is falling gloriously apart all at once.

  • Miles

    Just saw the tail-end of Wiggy freaking the eff out. Awesome. I love spunk on the field.

    Jim Hunter needs to STFU about umpires and replay… but Jimbo and I have had issues for eight years.

    Carl Pavano’s mustache reminds me of someone… Gheorge Muresan?

  • Double ejection! Double ejection all the way!

    Ohhh it’s a TRIPLE ejection!

  • neal s

    Depressing stat of the night: the Rays only lost for ten straight seasons before the turnaround took hold. I doubt they’ll be able to find sustained success given the economics but the fact that they even got there once drives me crazy.

    I love the fire from Wiggles and Samuel but I really hope that nobody — particularly MacPhail — uses it as evidence that things are getting better and we need to stay the course. I’m worried about that.

  • dan the man wrote:

    The Orioles have a lot of good things going for them.

    You must have the best drugs.

  • Andrew

    @ neal s:
    I’m glad you said that, Neal. So they finally found the end of their fuses. It means…nothing at all. I don’t want to see this painted as some kind of “they’ve got fire and life out there after all!” kind of a deal, especially given the way the team performed offensively tonight. No fire. No spunk. No game plan.

    They are losers.

    It’s also patently ridiculous that in 2010 this kind of an easy call gets blown and the Orioles lose three on-field personnel an extra baserunner/out. Would it really have been slower to have another ump in the booth check the video and page the crew chief to reverse that call than to have two separate long tirades against the umpires?

  • Tomás

    @ dan the man:
    *gasp* …what does it mean?

  • Mike R

    I don’t want to hear about replay and baseball. It’s no good, it wouldn’t work. Since when are 4 sets of eyes on a play not enough to get it right. Players can appeal to another ump on check swings. Wiggy should have just been able to appeal to the home plate ump. He could say “I didn’t see it clear enough to overturn the call.” Or he can go to the 1st base ump and say “look, from here I saw he was out. Did you miss it?” In the privacy of those ears he may say “yeah, I missed it.” Call overturned, no public scrutiny.

    Look, don’t give me the whole modern technology bit. If there were the advances in modern technology, feasable ones, don’t you think they would be using them? In hockey there is still an 85 year old dude who sits on a barstool behind the goal and when the puck crosses the line he pushes a little button to signal the red siren to go off. No micro chips in the pucks, no chips in footballs, no chips in bases.

    Christ, football used to have strict rules on what was reviewable by replay. Every year they add more and things which can be overturned. Even plays after the whistle. The god damn whistle is sometimes meaningless in football. If a play was blown dead, that was it. Now a guy can fumble, it can be blown dead, the players stop cause they hear the whistle, don’t wanna get flagged. But if a defensive guy gets that ball, un-contested, 10 seconds after the fact, they can review it and give the ball to the defense. Even though everyone else on the field halted at the sound of a whistle.

    Imagine if they had it in the world cup. Sure add replay to goal or no goal calls. Then it would get expanded to offsides calls. Then they would like to analyze every slide tackle. Was it a foul or a dive? Then your adding 28 minutes of injury/replay time, further adding to the stupidity of the game.

    It’s already in play for home run calls. You expand it to bang bang plays on the bases, and soon it’ll be used for balls and strikes. Don’t tell me it wouldn’t. On close plays if the umps want to take 10 seconds and talk about it, fine. But to give the ability for a manger to challege a replay to stall for his guys warming in the bullpen, or to get the oppsing pitcher out of a groove, give me a break.

    It happens in football all the time. Guy dives for the goal line. One line judges rules TD, the other says down at the 1. They chat for no more than 10 seconds. “I clearly saw the ball break the plane of the goal line. What did you see? I didn’t see the ball at all on this side, I didn’t see it cross, but I didn’t not see it croos the line either. If you saw it call it.” the right guy makes the right call, and they move on.

    Teach the umps to get together for 10 seconds to get it right. 4 sets of eyes on it, 6 in the playoffs, someone saw something the other guys didn’t.

    I’m drunk.

  • Miles

    Mike R wrote:

    I’m drunk.

    God bless you, Mike R, and God bless TLC.

  • Andrew

    man, you technophobes make me sick. how the fuck is the home plate ump gonna overrule the first base ump on that play? what the fuck is the guy standing at third with his dick in his hand gonna add to that conversation? And I just love the “we can’t use it for this, it’s a slippery slope!!!!” argument. So, you don’t want it for balls and strikes and I’m inclined to agree. So what does that have to do with what happened last night?

    Why are so many people afraid to just. get. the. calls. correct? I don’t understand it at all.

    Who says we don’t have the technology? I watched that play and knew in about 5 goddamn seconds that Hardy was out. I texted a friend of mine and he wasn’t watching the game but he knew Hardy was out seven seconds after it happened. A minute after it happened the umps still didn’t know, and Wigginton was still on the field going crazy. And you say the technology isn’t good enough?

    Who said anything about a challenge system? Luckily, in baseball whistles ALREADY don’t mean anything. Seriously – someone just answer this question: in what way is baseball better for allowing calls to be made wrong, tirades to go on on the field, personnel to get ejected when they are in the right, games to be won and lost on blown calls? Convince me that what we do now is better than what we could do.

  • df1570

    Neal, this was one of your better efforts.

    They say a great writer is someone you can read and HEAR the emotion in his or her voice. I can HEAR how sad you are in your writings.

    Applause for that.

    The bad news — and you hopefully hear the resignation and sadness in my voice — is this:

    The team is going to stink for a long time here in Baltimore.

    A long time.

    There’s NOTHING at all that tells us it’s going to get better anytime in the near future. There’s HOPE, of course, that tells us it might get better, but hope is like the wind. It’s there, somewhere, but you can’t really see it and it sometimes goes away as quickly as it showed up.

    We aren’t getting better.

    We’re going to lose again next year. And the year after that. And the year after that one, too.

    We just are.

    There’s no need to go into all the details about why or what’s happened or what we can do about it, because we all know the answers.

    And the result of those answers is…we’re going to lose.

    It is what it is.

    Losing.

  • Dan H

    @everybody: I’m thinking we all should be medicated and monitored for baseball-related suicidal tendencies.

  • Dan H

    Omg, front page of Yahoo 30 seconds ago. Even security is lackluster these days. This is video of the kid who ran around the field in last nights game.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Security-shrugs-as-O-s-mope-runs-laps-around-Cam?urn=mlb-257721

  • Greg

    @ Dan H: You’re.. not medicated? How have you made it this far into the season?

  • sci

    @ Dan H:
    That video is amazing. The abject laziness of the chase tells me that no one really wanted the game to get started again. That’s sad on a variety of levels.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    Neal, as a long suffering O’s fan I will believe this club really wants to compete when and only when they start to spend some serious money on young high ceiling free agents from Latin America. Anything else is pure propoganda from this team which has had no credibility for a long time.

  • neal s

    @ df1570: I’m sad about the state of the team, sure. I don’t, however, agree that three more years of losing are inevitable.

    @ Andrew: I think the problem is differing ideas of what “better” means.

    @ Dan H: I saw that earlier today – so good. The best part is that in the end the umpire’s like “come on, man” and the kid just says “yeah, OK, I’m done.”

    @ Ballmer Bruce: We all have different criteria and that’s certainly not a bad one. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s wrong to confuse failure and/or incompetence with a lack of desire.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    following the orioles at this point reminds me of watching charlie brown line up for that kickoff with lucy holding the ball.

    except lucy also shoves an m80 up your ass as you sail through the air towards the ground.

  • Mike R

    Andrew wrote:

    someone just answer this question: in what way is baseball better for allowing calls to be made wrong, tirades to go on on the field, personnel to get ejected when they are in the right, games to be won and lost on blown calls? Convince me that what we do now is better than what we could do.

    It’s human, there are going to be mistakes.

    “Tirades on the field.” It’s freedom. It’s one of the things that makes baseabll what it is. In football if a coach or player downgrades an offical he gets slapped with a 25,000 dollar fine. Whats wrong with being able to voice your displeasure over a call? In hockey two guys can beat the shit out of each other. Literally punch for punch til someone hits the ice. Thats just hockey, tirades is just baseball, and theres a reason why NFL stands for No Fun League.

    “Ejected for being in the right.” Plenty of times a manager will come out and argue a call without geting tossed. Theres a right and wrong way to do it. Don’t make contact, don’t say the magic words, don’t show him up, and usually he’ll let you have your peace. Unless Joe West is the ump.

    “What we do now is better than what we could do.” So whats the criteria going to be for instant replay then? Who’s it up to to double check the plays in question? If a manger thinks a call was wrong he gets to ask the crew chief if they can take another look at that to make sure we got it right? So practically every bang bang play. Every “neighborhood” unwritten rule play at 2nd. Every sac fly to make sure the runner didnt leave early? Heres what i’ll do. The next game I watch from first pitch to last out, no interuptions, I’ll count how many bang bang plays happen that could prompt instant replay to double check the decision of the umpires. We’ll see how many stoppages in play would occur.

    I still don’t know how you get around teams using it to stall for guys warming in the pen later in games.