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Just in the Nick of Time

Posted By Ron Burr On Jun 17 2010 @ 7:12 pm In Baltimore Orioles | 2 Comments

All of us are frustrated.  Fans are sick of the losing.  Reporters (and bloggers) are tired of trying to find things to talk about in regards to the team.  It becomes a cacophony of apathy (which would be an EXCELLENT band name if anyone is looking for such a thing) all around.

And then someone speaks up and everyone takes notice.

Nick Markakis is not known as verbose.  In fact, he is as much Calvin Coolidge as he is Calvin Ripken.  But that didn’t stop him from ripping the team a new one [1], albeit in the classiest way I have ever heard a star rip his own team.

The gist of the story is that Markakis understands that the team has dealt with a number of injuries and that the Orioles are in without a doubt the toughest division in baseball, but that it doesn’t excuse the approach that some of the players are taking towards their job…

“Sometimes, guys are going up there and it looks like they have no idea what they’re doing,” said Markakis who has drawn 39 of the Orioles’ 185 walks, a testament to not only his batter’s eye and his patience, but also of teams frequently pitching around him.

“I’m not saying that to bash guys. I want guys to be successful. I want this team to be successful, and I have to produce as well. I’m part of this. But it takes a lot more than one big bat. We definitely need that one guy who could hit you 40 home runs, but from top to bottom, you need guys getting on base. You need guys in there who have a plan, who have a clue and who know how to execute that plan and get on base. We don’t need every guy in this lineup trying to hit home runs. We’re paid to get on base and figure out how to score and drive in runs. You look at the Yankees. They have guys who can hit home runs but everybody in that lineup can get on base.”

He took the time to excuse Terry Crowley for the team’s total ineptitude at the plate, saying that Crowley

Has 110 percent nothing to do with the way we are going about our business at the plate or on the field right now.  You can have anybody come here and you still are going to have a couple of guys who are not going to change their approach and fix it. It’s worthless. You can point your fingers here and there, but it is what it is. You’re in the big leagues. You have to change your approach on your own. This is the best of the best and if you go up there clueless, you’re going to come back [to the dugout] clueless. It’s that simple.

I completely agree with the first quote, but not so much with the second one.  I think that coaches have a shelf life for a reason, and that after so long the lessons begin to turn into white noise.  I still hold it true that Crowley is more directly responsible for the team’s current offensive funk then Dave Trembley ever was.  And if the players are going up there and not even attempting to use a game plan or change an obviously failed approach, then why isn’t Crowley tearing them a new [donkey]hole?  And more to the point, why isn’t Juan Samuel and his “I’m going to manage the way I played, with fire and compassion” attitude not ripping them apart before they even get back to the dugout?

According to the article, this blast came before the Orioles won on Tuesday night in San Francisco (and before the loss on Wednesday afternoon, too).  I am curious to see what if anything the words getting out into the public will do for the team.  But I do know that when the team’s all around best player calls the other 24 (and the front office) on to the carpet, it can either be a really good for the team, or really REALLY bad.

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[1] But that didn’t stop him from ripping the team a new one: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-markakis-0618-20100617,0,1530282.story

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