I have been a fan of the O's since the 1970s. Other than at the beginning of this tenure, I never thought the words above would describe this franchise. However, now, I wouldn't trade what we currently have for any other team's situation, including the Braves and Dodgers. This team is SPECIAL!
Hiring Mike Elias, the architect of this transformation, was the best move the Angelos's have ever made and there isn't a close second. As a long time baseball fan that has witnessed the demise of this once great game in the US, due to competitive imbalance, steroids, greed and stupidity, this year ahs been nothing short of a Pure Joy. The MLB made rule changes that actually have made the game shorter and more exciting. Imagine that, given its mismanagement for decades. The cherry on top is the O's performance in 2023.
I have never liked the quick fix approach that we used in Buck Showalter's tenure and it is hard to get juiced about the prospects of having a team with a 3-5 year window every 10-15 years of competition. What we did to tear this thing down and build it back up to be better than ever, was a work of art. I could go on and on, but Elias, then Brandon Hyde, then a commitment to building something sustainable and opening up things internationally based on a solid approach and foundation is very satisfying for this fan.
I never expected Brandon Hyde to be here at this point, I thought he was simply going to be a caretaker that would turn the reins over once we started making the turn. Little did we know that he is actually a fantastic field manager. It is great to see that the 2023 AL Manager of the year is still around to see the fruits of his labors.
We have had some high draft picks, but a lot of folks bypassed on players like Gunnar Henderson before we drafted a future MVP. Our drafting and player development, especially on the position player side of the equation has also been exceptional. Keeping this up is the key to sustained success.
Player development: In addition to developing our draft picks and international players, we continue to pick players off the scrap heap and turn them into major contributors. Ryan O'Hearn, Cionel Perez, Danny Coulombe, Adam Frazier. Its a long list. This organization gets the most out of the talent it has.
Last year's trade deadline was also masterful. I know a lot of folks took issue with trading an All Star Closer and organizational icon while we were technically in the playoff hunt at last years trade deadline. However, look at what we got for those trades in terms of boosting our pitching talent. In Elias I trust. He took some major steps in improving the pitching in the organization for little cost.
Lastly, the one thing that the richer organizations seem to miss by a mile is the importance of chemistry in baseball. These guys clearly gel and fight for each other as much as they do for themselves. The sacrifice of doing what is best for the team, instead of focusing on padding your stats for the next contract, is alive and well in Baltimore. It is a definite throwback to the times when players were on the same team for the long term and operated much like a family.
A note to John Angelos; Take a bow for what you have built. You deserve credit. That said, THIS IS NOT TIME TO GO CHEAP! Get your stadium deal done and commit yourself to the long term dynasty that potentially stands right in front of you. We know we can't keep them all, but make sure the core stays here (Rutschman, Henderson, Rodriguez) and continue the commitment to good drafting and player development. If you have to lose a buck here or there, don't forget how profitable it has been getting here. The satisfaction and memories of a long run of a superior product should more than make up for a break even year here and there. Plus, the value you build will translate to a higher selling price when you choose to leave.