Steve Davis, the sports guy from WBAL radio 1190AM, the O's flagship, was in spring training all week last week, doing live interviews with everyone from Flanagan to Chris Ray. I was on the road a lot last week, and had the chance to hear about 50% of the interviews, so I'll try and recapture some of the themes from the sessions.
Flanagan - He basically admitted what we all know, that the Mazzone hire was maybe the most important thing that happened last winter, and the team's focus is developing the arms that we have and not to trade for established veterans. He seems to think that both Majewski and Markakis have a good chance of coming north with the club after Florida is over. He also stated that the pick ups of both Conine and Millar were more for clubhouse and attitude leadership, which says to me that they weren't pleased with the way that Tejada attempted to "lead" the team off the field last year, especially in the clubhouse. Flanagan admitted that he wants Miggy to concentrate on the game, and not to try and carry the burden of clubhouse leader and field leader at the same time.
Mazzone- The Grade A pitching coach with the sparkling resume' likes what he sees in the O's young arms, and thinks that Danny C will be a great pitcher, and sooner rather than later. He is also coaching the minor league managers, pitching coordinators, and scouts about his objectives and methods, so that the Oriole way of instructing, coaching, and pitching is done at all levels of the organization and not just at the big league level.
Perlozzo - Likes what he sees with the guys attitude, and is enjoying the chemistry that he sees developing. He is also worried that the WBC will hurt the development of the team as a whole, but still sounds upbeat about their chances to win more than they lose!
Stockstill- He is impressed with Real, Markakis, and Val more than anyone. He thinks Ray has the ability to be an effective closer for many years, and likes the kid's toughness. He also talked about our new CC poster boy, Brandon Snyder, quite a bit. They are pushing him to learn first base and catch this year at Delmarva, and he firmly believes that by the time Hernandez's 4 yr deal is done, Brandon will be the O's permanent catcher for the next decade!
One more- my favorite- Conine-
Niner has a great attitude. He is tickled to be back in Baltimore, and glad as hell to get out of Marlinville. He hated the park having 75% empty seats every night, and is looking forward, with Millar, to leading this young team. He likes what he sees from the top down, and truly believes that they will compete for a playoff spot thius year.