I am finally on the other side of the fence now. The grass doesn’t look any greener, but now that I am here, I have to make the best of it.
If Dave Trembley is still the manager of the Baltimore Orioles when the Oakland A’s come to town, I am going to be surprised. If he is still the manager on June 1st (the next day off for the team after tomorrow is the following Monday the 31st. Letting him go then would be like getting a happy Memorial [Stadium] Day), I will be shocked. If June 7th, 17th, 21st and 28th go by and Trembley is skippering this team, I will be shocked AND dismayed. If he survives the July 12-15th All Star break (the Orioles get an extra day apparently), I might just swear off the team altogether and only cover minor league happenings until he is gone.
Why am I now on the “Dave Trembley must go” bandwagon?
I have been saying for months (since last season to be exact) that I am not holding Dave Trembley as the sole culprit for the poor play of this team. I still don’t Fact of the matter is that he has not been given the tools he needs to succeed as a manager. Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver, and the Ghost of Connie Mack couldn’t win with this lineup. And every time someone has said “Trembley needs to go”, my response has always been “who do you replace him with?”, a question that could not be answered. So my rationale was “he stays because there is nothing better to replace him with”.
Not any more. Now I think we have to look at this as a business, and in business, if you have an employee who is consistently underperforming, you fire them and then you find someone else. Even if the other employees have to pick up the slack for a few weeks until the replacement is found, you do what you have to do. It is time to do that with Dave Trembley.
The thing that has finally pushed me over the edge is watching this weekend series with the Washington Nationals. I watched him get thoroughly outcoached by Jim Riggleman, I saw him move Luke Scott to 1st base because Garrett Atkins is struggling. Two problems there. One, he just said last week that Atkins is his 1st baseman, and to backtrack on that so quickly is going to anger an already disgusted clubhouse even further. Two, he moved Luke Scott there. Scott was finally showing signs of going on one his patented white hot streaks, but he has not been taking a whole lot of ground balls at 1st lately. Now he has to play an unfamiliar position as well as try to keep hitting. Big surprise, he didn’t keep hitting. He finally dropped Adam Jones in the lineup, but it took about 3 weeks too long to do it. And his mismanagement of the bullpen has reached legendary status. I don’t think (like some of my friends) that he has lost the clubhouse. I don’t think he ever had it.
And so, the question I always asked everyone else comes back to me: Who do you bring in to replace him?
I think the best answer is one that my friend Brian posed this weekend while venting about the team. Rick Dempsey. He has manged in the minors and he was a finalist for the Orioles manager position that went to Lee Mazzilli back in 2004. He has the experience as a player to command respect, and the baseball intelligence to do the job right (if his pre and post game analysis is any indication). And maybe, just maybe, he can help Matt Wieters with his mental approach to hitting (much more difficult for a catcher than for any other position player). Wieters’ defense is coming along nicely, but he needs to learn how to pull himself out from behind the plate while he is AT the plate.
Now as far as hitting coach goes (since I am already convinced that Terry Crowley needs to go bye bye), I think we should look at B.J. Surhoff. If memory serves he still lives in the area, and no matter what position he was playing on the field, the man could hit. He was never a great home run hitter, but you don’t coach home runs, you coach contact and using the entire field and a consistent approach to hitting, and that is what Surhoff did in spades.
Tuesday at 7:05 pm will hopefully be the dawn of the next age of Orioles baseball. I don’t know how new it will be, but it will be next. If not Tuesday, then soon. And the sooner the better.
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!