Monday, December 21, 2009

The Orioles' Decade '00-'09 (2 and 1)

Here we are readers. The two most important events of the last ten years of Oriole baseball. We can argue all we want about the position of the last 8 things, and you can argue that Wieters should be on this list, but I don't think that anyone can argue about these next two events.

2) Andy MacPhail Hired

The Orioles have a General Manager, ONE GM. Gone are the two-headed monsters of Duquette and Beattie and Flanagan. Andrew MacPhail grandson of glory-days Oriole GM Lee MacPhail, Andy MacPahil was brought into the troubled Orioles inner-circle during the tumultuous 2007 season.

Manager Sam Perlozzo was fired on June 18 and, then bullpen coach, Dave Trembley was installed as interim manager. Two days later, Andy MacPhail was installed as “President of Baseball Operations” Jim Duquette was let go and Mike Flanagan has been lost in the either of the Warehouse ever since.

The question that dogged Andy MacPhail from day one was about his level of autonomy in hos job; would he have any? Orioles owner Peter Angelos has been a notorious meddler since he took over the team in 1993; he had famously killed major trades of the Jim Duquette era (most notably the deal that would have sent Brian Roberts to the Braves for Andy LaRoche) would Andy be any different?

When asked that question MacPhail came right out and blatantly said: “If that were the case I would not have taken the job.” And you know what, I truly believe that. Andy MacPhail did not need this job, he did not need this headache. MacPhail is a guy on the short-list to be Commissioner of Major League Baseball when Selig finally retires, and he was on that list prior to taking the Baltimore job, why would he go anywhere where he did not have all the autonomy he wanted?

Still, the proof is in the pudding – so why is the hiring of MacPhail number 2 on this list? Because it signaled a change. It has signaled a change in direction of the Baltimore Orioles franchise. Finally we have a GM allowed to do his job, moreover a smart GM with ties to the glory days of the organization as well as the community (there is a reason why there is a MacPhail road in Harford County, Maryland). MacPhail is a proven commodity and a respected name in baseball. He understands the fanbase and he understands the situation the Orioles are in as a mid-market team playing in the same division as the behemoth AL East. He simply gets it. He knows that the way to contention for a team like the Orioles is not by playing Yankee-ball, they needed to rebuild the farm system, long-neglected, and focus on young pitching.

Which brings us to number 1

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