The Orioles went into the heart of Red Sox Nation last night, and after a torrid week where they were swept by the Jays and mired in a five losing streak – finally, a win. Now, we have once again moved within a game of .500, with our record at 46-47.
Baltimore beat Boston, 7-3 and they roughed up Clay Buchholz, who we all know no-hit the Orioles last season. This time, he looked nothing better than average as the Orioles took advantage of his shaky performance after being called up from the minors. Brian Roberts had three hits to lead the charge — almost missing the cycle (he needed a home run) and lithe Brandon Fahey had two hits along with two RBIs, along with Melvin Mora.
Oriole starter, Brian Burres — who seems to be great with five days or plus rest — stymied Boston for a little more than six innings as he three runs on six hits for his team-leading seventh win. As it has been this week, the ‘pen made things interesting as Jim Johnson was once gain thrust in a clutch situation and got himself into some trouble; alas, George Sherrill came into the game to strike out Kevin Youkilis to end the game for his 28th save.
Ah, potential disaster averted.
The last two days have not been good in the off-field news for Major League Baseball in the Mid-Atlantic region. Well, first off,the Orioles fired a high-ranking scout after Major League Baseball's newly formed investigative unit linked him to a gambling probe which was reported by the Baltimore Sun.
The fired scout, Alan Marr, was national cross-checker for the Orioles and the top person listed in the team's scouting directory. The gambling investigation that led to his firing first was reported Friday by SI.com.I'm not surprised any of this happened, and considering the large amount of money that sports provides for those with the opportunity, it was just a matter of time before something like this was uncovered.
MLB's investigative unit is still actively investigating scouts as part of the gambling probe. There has been no indication games were fixed, the person with knowledge of the probe said.
The gambling investigation involved bets primarily on football, a second person familiar with the probe said, also on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly.
"I am confident that both the authorities and our investigative team working together have determined the scope of it, and it will not be any broader than already has been reported," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
Andy MacPhail, the Orioles president for baseball operations, declined to go into the reasons for Marr's firing.
"He's no longer our employee. That's all I can say," MacPhail said.
However, this case also shows that the majority of those in baseball do maintain some integrity and decorum with their job, and hopefully this investigation will not uncover anyone else involved with the Orioles or baseball.
Second, down the road in Washington, there are quite a few sordid tales perhaps being brought to the surface -- this time with the Nationals.
The organization has taken a beating in the Washington Post the past few days concerning the viewership on MASN and also the Lerner Family (which owns the organization) withholding rent payments because they contend the city didn't finish their new stadium on time, and ESPN uncovered yesterday that team Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden and consultant Jose Rijo recently were interviewed by the FBI and Major League Baseball concerning the signings of players in the Dominican Republic.
Right now, Washington baseball is going through some growing pains as the team is trying to develop a core for the future and the product on the field is rather poor, but this team has had some awful publicity this week.
Now it looks like Bowden and Rijo were just questioned, not implicated with anything and perhaps the investigation may spread to all 29 other teams, but right now down in the Nation's Capital - when it rains, it pours. Hopefully, everyone will cooperate, nothing is found and things were done in an ethical fashion and everyone can move on and conduct business as usual.
Let's hope that they don't get a permanent PR beating for these issues, aside from the product on the field.
Again, there's so much money in sports now that I am not surprised by any of this.
The last thing anyone needs is baseball to be even more soiled by tales that seem to be more in line with what happens in the NBA, mob stories, or big-time college sports.