Thursday, October 1, 2009

Onto Thirteen Losses in a Row, Brooks Robinson & Consternation

Last night, rookie pitcher David Hernandez got shelled and the Baltimore Orioles lost their 13th game in a row, 5-3, despite a late rally. Baltimore fell behind a never rebounded as Hernandez lasted only 4 1/3 innings, and looked like well, a rookie pitcher. Willy Aybar had an RBI-single in the second inning, Ben Zobrist hit a three run homer in the third, and Carl Crawford hit a solo shot in the fifth to add to Baltimore's misery.

Hernandez's teammates could not get it started early, and suffered because of it. Ty Wigginton had a 2-run homer in the eighth inning, and Chad Moeller plated in a run with a sacrifice fly before the blast; however, it was too little, too late.

Let's forget the season and look at why the Orioles, frankly, have sucked for the better part of a decade and more.

MASN's Roch Kubatko on his blog has an excellent interview with Oriole legend and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson about various topics - his life, health, and baseball; however, I want to focus on his comments about 2009 versus the infamous 1988 season.

What he had to say was straight-forward, honest, and perhaps sobering.

"I think the big problem with the Orioles is they've never had any continuity in the last 12 or 13 years. You can't just keep hiring managers and general managers. It just doesn't work that way. And every guy who comes in has got a little bit different philosophy on how he should operate. But if I was a betting man, I'd bet that Dave comes back. I'm probably in the minority, too. He's got an impossible task right now. There's nothing he can do. They trade (George) Sherrill, they trade (Aubrey) Huff, guys getting hurt in the outfield. They've got some pretty good players. They've got about five spots out there that are going to be there for a long time.

"The pitchers are going to have a psychological problem. It's partly up here (points to head) pitching in this ballpark. You've got to make good pitches or balls fly out of this ballpark. I saw one game where (Pat) Burrell hit a line drive to right field and the runner was going to go back to third. He got about halfway there and he looked and the ball was in the stands. He just kind of shook his head.

"You've got to score some runs in this ballpark. They need a big bopper there at first base. That's common knowledge. You've got to have someone to back up (Nick) Markakis. It might be tough to get guys to come here. Why would you go to a team that's lost 100 games this year, almost? And pitchers are like, 'Well, I'm not going to pitch in that ballpark.' You almost have to overpay them to come here. They've got a reputation now. They're losers, and they've got to turn that around. Fans have been saying that for a few years. But I follow the team, I pull for them.

"I get asked all the time, wherever I go, 'What's wrong with the Orioles.' I always say they've got some good young players and I hope they materialize and get better. They have to."

There's not much more to add what Brooks had to say. Yes, rebuilding a team is hard, and you're going to have ups and down with an organization; however, after all the losing and everything, fans have really lost interest -- they may care and follow what's going on -- but overall, no one is going to support a losing product.

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