The 2008 Fan Fest opened up with the 'State of the Orioles' conference/pseudo town-hall meeting held near the Orioles dugout in the crazy cold of Saturday.
They talked about various topics, and they are highlighted below.
MASN's Jim Hunter emceed the event.
- MacPhail said point blank that the Orioles had to rebuild and start by rebuilding the farm system, develop their own players, and start building up their international scouting.
- The Orioles need to start exploring all corners of the globe for talent, much like the Yankees and Red Sox are doing.
- MacPhail's focus in the off-season was spent rebuilding the farm system.
- Said the same 25 guys who start off on the Orioles during the season, may not necessarily be the same 25 who end the season with the team.
- Dave Trembley wants fans to "stay the course"; and said that Spring Training was a time to set a new direction as well as set and identity -- wants players to play hard from game one to game one-hundred and sixty-two.
- Dave put a lot of focus on the pitching staff; and for a team to be competitive, they have to get the fundamentals down.
- Both men stressed the importance of getting the major and minor league teams together, and it's a organizational weakness at the moment.
- Someone asked if Andy MacPhail had full reign over the Orioles -- i.e., the meddling of Angelos -- and he more or less said he's charge by mentioning the change of baseball philosophy, the moves made and accomplishments done.
- Someone asked if Luis Hernandez will be the starting shortstop -- Trembley says. "nothing etched in stone"...
- Trembley noted that he hopes a lot of the veterans stay -- "they help us win, and help in the clubhouse"...
- Andy MacPhail believes that the team should be built via development, trades and "from the ground up" --- he wants to work on rebuilding the infrastructure and wants to steer away from free agency.
- A fan asked about minor league players, specifically Matt Wieters, and MacPhail said "players will determine where they play..."
- For the record, Andy MacPhail has no objection to having 'Baltimore' on the road jersey.
- Someone asks about the weakness in the middle infield and MacPhail says that he'll try to rebuild via the draft & trades.
- A fan asks if the Orioles tried to unload veterans by acquiring others (ala Beckett/Lowell in the Ramirez trade) -- MacPhail said no.
- A fan asks in Roberts will be traded -- MacPhail said, "highly unlikely."
- Finally someone asks about Gibbons status (this was on Saturday, and we know he was released), but Trembley said, "we have to make a decision -- we need guys who play more than one position and are versatile". That was the nail in the coffin...