For awhile now, all I've asked is that the Orioles not embarrass me. Since every year it seems inevitable from May on that they'll lose 90 games, I've come to terms with the fact that they aren't going to win a lot of games. But please, Orioles, all I ask is that you don't be the biggest embarrassment in the history of baseball.
Remember Rafael Palmeiro's shenanigans? Or that time they just couldn't find Sammy Sosa? Or 30-3? Or 2-16? Or all of the things I've blocked out or don't care to mention?
But what's shaping up right now feels like an all-time low. First the Orioles tried to keep Andy MacPhail on board. He said no. Then they interviewed Jerry DiPoto, who took the job with the Angels instead. At first it just seemed like the Orioles didn't move as fast as the Angels, but the rumor now is that DiPoto also turned them down. Then Tony LaCava had one interview that left him ready to accept the job, but a meeting with Peter Angelos in which LaCava discovered he wouldn't be able to make all of his own personnel decisions soured him. Now the Orioles are just a running joke across baseball.
Rob Neyer asks, "Will anyone work for the Baltimore Orioles?" Buster Olney puts out there: "There are other highly regarded assistant GMs telling friends they would not consider O's job if called. O's have major perception problem." After calling the situation a complete disaster caused by Angelos, Keith Law jokingly (maybe?) suggests that Orioles fans who don't know what to do now should consider becoming Nationals fans.
The Orioles have been a joke for awhile now, but has it been worse than this? I don't generally care what the national media says, but in this case what else should they say? Not to mention the local media (a number of whom work for MASN and are paid by the Orioles) isn't doing much investigating to get to the bottom of what's really happening with the Orioles. Ken Rosenthal got where he is by being a good reporter, but getting regularly scooped by him should be an embarrassment to the local sports writers.
The off season is a time for hope, a time when we can imagine that our beloved team might do the right thing for once and get this team back on the right track. Instead the Orioles, led by Peter Angelos, are cementing their role of laughingstock. This is as discouraged as I've ever been this early in the off season, as terrible of a start to the hot stove season that I can imagine. Not that the Orioles could or should sign any big free agents this year, but with free agency starting tomorrow they couldn't even if they wanted to.
Roch Kubatko, Brittany Ghiroli, and Dan Connolly are dutifully reporting that the Orioles are now interested in interviewing Scott Proefrock, Andrew Friedman (heh, ok), Mike Radcliff, and Rick Hahn. But the problem isn't in who they end up hiring, the problem is what's going on with the Orioles that drove MacPhail away and caused Tony LaCava to choose to stay in an assistant position in Toronto. If Peter Angelos has really made the working conditions so terrible, then it doesn't matter what happens. No matter what the talents of the next GM, he'll be operating with his hands tied and won't have any more success than his predecessors. And we, as fans, will continue to suffer.