It’s a little premature to begin printing out T-shirts honoring and promoting Mike Elias, the Orioles executive vice president and general manager. He hasn’t made a single move. He hasn’t been introduced to the media, though the wait finally ends today at 11 a.m.
However, there are two early nominations for slogans based on what I’ve heard whenever his name comes up in conversation.
“You guys got a good one.”
“You’re going to love this guy.”
Bobbleheads and gnomes have been created from less.
The praise for Elias continued to flow at the annual Middle Atlantic Scouts Association Hall of Fame Banquet, held Saturday night at Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant at Camden Yards. I haven’t encountered anyone in the industry over the past few days who’s been overly critical of Elias or the Orioles.
Of course, there are some questions about how he’ll handle the responsibility of leading a massive rebuild while making the leap from assistant to the head of baseball operations, his 36th birthday still a month away. But Elias garners a tremendous amount of respect.
“He is very smart, with strong people skills,” said a scout who’s been employed by teams in both leagues. “He recognizes the value of analytics while strongly respecting the input of scouts. He is a genuinely kind, caring person who will attract good people to Baltimore.
“He has the temperament necessary to navigate the struggles of a rebuild. The Orioles are in good hands.”
“I’ll be fascinated to see what Mike does,” said another scout employed by an American League team. “He has people skills. I think Mike has a great example to follow in David Stearns in Milwaukee.
“I think he’s a pretty sound hire, as his foundation is in scouting in the modern, analytics-oriented way to scout. (Jeff) Luhnow’s track record is what it is, a lot of success in St. Louis and Houston, and Mike has been a part of that. If he can take the good and minimize the cold, impersonal traits that earn Houston a lot of criticism in the industry, he should be able to have success in Baltimore.”
I’ve contacted a few other scouts over the weekend who, while only having a brief encounter or two with Elias, claimed that they’ve “heard good things about him.”
I know that he’s already made a favorable impression inside the warehouse, checking on the correct pronunciation of names, asking for specifics on what people do and offering his assistance if needed. All the right moves as the new hire.
An agent who counts an Orioles player among his clients, immediately after news broke of the hire, texted that he was “a huge fan” of Elias.
“Mike is a good person,” he said yesterday. “He works hard, is always prepared and is respected by everyone he comes into contact with.
“My first interaction with Mike, he was always well-versed in every aspect of each player. He doesn’t just know about the player, he gets to know the player. There is no doubt he will succeed in his new role.”
The Orioles are referring to today’s media session as an “introduction” rather than a press conference. I’m curious how the format will differ.
You can find out by tuning into MASN or 105.7 The Fan at 11 a.m. or checking various digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
There won’t be confirmation from anyone in the organization that a particular candidate for the top executive job was runner-up to Elias. However, former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti emerged as the favorite in the early stages of the interview process and appeared to be the choice. It wasn’t until later that the odds swung in Elias’ favor.
Elias may not provide a list of managerial candidates today, but he could reveal certain traits that he finds most desirable. And the media could start eliminating certain names that have been speculated.
I’d rather hear it straight from the executive’s mouth instead of someone who’s close to him or familiar with his thinking.