The picture of Sam is from happier days, when he was announced as the new manager of the O's. His dream job.
And, like many dreams, you wake up to reality before the dream is over.
ESPN.com, The Baltimore Sun - they're all saying the O's just fired manager Sam Perlozzo. Andy MacPhail is coming in to oversee baseball operations, and will persue former Marlins' manager Joe Girardi to replace Perlozzo. The Two Headed GM of Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan of previous years, and now Flanagan and Jim Duquette, probably won't be around much longer.
On one hand, this is a very good thing. Perlozzo's almost automaton-like devotion to bullpen roles cost them nearly a dozen games, as Danys Baez and Chris Ray have proven to be unable to reliably close out games. You don't earn a nickname like Per-LOSE-o by punching all the right buttons.
And Beat-agan was far too fascinated by slow 1B/OF types (Jeff Conine, BJ Surhoff, Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons) instead of getting a true 1B with a real, working bat. So, Duquette-agan got Aubrey Huff. *sigh*
At least he has a third-baseman's glove, too.
However, I'm not sure if this is such a great move. I was in Baltimore Saturday night, hanging out in Federal Hill after the loss against the D-Backs. The town has gotten so bloody depressed over the team that they have a fatalistic sense of dread, kinda like a Cubs fan. Ravens' training camp can not start soon enough.
Personally, I think the whole team and city needs an enema.
To the average fan, there's nothing positive going on with the team, and these losses from the bullpen are just crushing the whole organizations' morale. They've had leads in 21 of the past 22 games - partly the starters give up the lead immediately but so much of it has been a crappy bullpen...and a fan base ready to commit hari kari over yet another blown save.
Perlozzo gets canned, but pitching coach Leo Mazzone has not done the job expected of him. Can anybody say "overrated?" He can't reach Cabrera, can't cure Ray, and kicked Baez' dog or something.
Terry Crowley has been awful, at best. This team seems unable to take a walk or work a pitch count. The O's seem to lead the league in first pitch outs.
And, Beat-agan counted on Corey Patterson to build on last seasons' success. Corey Patterson crushed the Cubs with his on-again, off-again talent. The guy can play...just, not reliably. Corey Patterson is this season's Gary Matthews, Jr., who's career is very up-and-down as well. Sometimes brilliant; often maddening. You guys might remember Patterson and Matthews when they played under the monikers of "Mike Devereaux," "Ken Gerhart," "Chito Martinez" and "Pete Stanicek." What must they think in the Warehouse? "Oh, they had one good season after a career of nothing spectacular? Chalk them up for a big year next season!"
Meanwhile, former O Jack Cust is tearing up the league, with 31 hits, 20 RBI, 9 home runs in 113 at bats. So...yeah. He's hitting better than any other OF the O's have. Great judge of talent there. Other than Nick Markakis, the O's outfield is yet-again a joke.
It's an organizational issue. I think Flanagan and Beattie were doing well as far as rebuilding the talent base in the minors, and the draft picks of the past couple of seasons seem solid so far. But the major league team has too many 1B/OF types and can't keep pitchers healthy. Bad, bad combo.
It's not Perlozzo's fault the O's chucked cash at Jaret Wright and his balky arm. It's not Perlozzo's fault the O's chucked cash at Danys Baez and his flaky psyche. It's not Perlozzo's fault the O's chucked cash at notoriously slow starting Aubrey Huff. It's not Perlozzo's fault that Chris Ray loves giving up game-losing grand slams.
However, Perlozzo lost Patterson. Lost Gibbons. And when you can't keep Kevin Millar happy, something's up.
Best of luck to ya, Perlozzo. Shame you had to manage Team Dysfunction.