The writing was on the wall for a while in terms of Leo; however, I think after the All-Star break when the Orioles went from mediocre to even worse. The bullpen and rotation became a mess, and I think his firing was more trying to get rid of the old guard moreso than his skills, but the numbers don’t lie — Leo could not work the so-called magic he had in Atlanta.
MacPhail wanted change; Trembley wanted a staff of his choosing – it’s business as usual; however, very few of us perhaps knew what happened behind the scenes.
Furthermore, without Perlozzo in charge, he was twisting in the wind. If Mazzone had a team ERA of less than four runs a game, no matter if anyone hated him or not, he’s still be employed with Baltimore. In the end, after everything in 2007 (personally, the 30-3 game was end of things as we knew it), I think Trembley wanted a change and to erase all the events from his mind after he was hired.
I remember when Mazzone was signed that everyone talked about him being a savior to the Orioles and a mentor to the youngsters; however, it was anything but (with the exception of Guthrie, Loewen and Bedard).
Big-money sports is a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” business, and the numbers don’t lie, Leo was not effective for one reason or another with the staff.
Well, it is obviously reflected by the team ERA and the overall record – it’s not good.
His gruff demeanor, his relationship with some players, and his perception among the brass in the organization is not of high esteem according to some people I have talked to, and what has been leaked said on the various radio shows in the past few hours.
Like I said before, it looked like Leo was released because of being part of the old regime and his presumed relationship with the team.
In the end, the pitchers failed him, and he could not improve them; thus, he is done as pitching coach of the Orioles.
Mazzone should see this as a blessing in disguise, though it is probably a blow to his ego for now. He’ll be in the long of former Oriole employees who find greener pastures somewhere else.
Things may get worse in Baltimore before they get better.
I only chatted with him a few teams, and found him very standoffish; until my bud Bill took a photo I had of him and Cabrera and had him autograph it. He like the photo, so he wanted me to print a copy for him and also Daniel Cabrera.
Well, I ended up giving him a couple of photos and we wound up talking in the players’ lot for 15-20 minutes about Baltimore, baseball, Atlanta and the firing of Perlozzo (a few days after the event). At the time, he looked torn up and was struggling; however, he did want to stay in Baltimore and he felt that the team was on its way to bigger and better days.
I have friends and readers from other teams who have IM’ed me and wrote emails about Mazzone, as well as were shocked by the news, but most hardcore fans on the forums (check out Orioles Hangout & the Sun forums for the blunt truth) and attend games in the area knew that he was a goner whether he was fired or left on his own.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are looking at hiring former Florida pitching coach, Rick Kranitz according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Well, it is obvious -- the Orioles have been looking at replacing Mazzone for a while, and I guarantee that this is the guy whom Trembley wanted all along. Roch Kutbako also has his list of potential replacements in his blog, Roch Around the Clock.
The erstwhile columnist Peter Schmuck of the Sun wonders why Leo was disposed of, and it might have been more to do with the front office and Angelos than his skills as coach -- it's an interesting piece to read.
Well, former GM Frank Wren is now the GM of the Braves, while John Scherholz has moved to the position of team president. Funny, it seems that all the ex-Orioles seem to be thriving in other places.