First of all, I thank everyone for posting so many comments yesterday. Many were well thought out and I think you all proved that the baseball IQ of the readership here is high.
I think my computer is still smoking. Some of the comments were coming in faster than I could get to them. I remember telling someone that called, “Can’t talk now, got to get to more comments. Maybe later.”
I remember thinking I needed to check my e-mail and finally got to it about an hour later. Hey, that was fun.
I want to mention that I first called ESPN’s Keith Law to get his take on his ranking of the Orioles’ farm system as 24th in baseball. We did discuss that and I will post those comments next week.
But he was clearly outspoken about the O’s offseason moves in some of his first comments to me and I followed up with other questions. I was neither looking to write a positive or negative post, rather just his opinion.
I saw that Law told someone during an online chat that he wished some of his positive comments were posted. He did have some and I certainly will be happy to post them. But what you read reflected the tone of the majority of a 17-minute interview.
I did speak with Law last night and the quotes reported were accurate and he stands by them. He also pointed out that what was published was not the totality of the interview and did not reflect his entire opinion of the Orioles. That is very fair from his standpoint.
What I would like to do is run a transcript of our entire interview next week and let everyone read the questions and answers. By the way, Law told me that is not necessary, but I respect him and our readers and will do it anyway.
One last point about the interview: You can’t make me believe that Law is anti-Oriole. He has made a name for himself by never being afraid to express an opinion and having a take, as they say. He has said positive things about the club, I don’t need to link stories here and go back and try to keep score on his O’s comments to know that.
Here is one excerpt from Law from early in the interview: “The last couple of years, I’ve been talking up the job I think they’ve done in bringing some respect back to the organization. I think Andy MacPhail has done a good job. There is some promise and some premium talent there.”
Before anyone flies a theory that someone encouraged me to write this today and will make me run the whole interview next week, that is completely not true. No one has ever told me what to write or say here and that is one of the best things about my job. My words and thoughts are always my own. In all my years covering the O’s, this has always been 100 percent true.
Where a blog like this can differ from say a newspaper or magazine interview is that the interview and story would have ended with yesterday’s posting. But here in the blog-o-sphere, we are more of an open book and I felt the need to say more about that interview.
I appreciate Law taking his time to do the interview and giving me so much time. If he had said, “Let’s make this quick,” I would have accommodated that, but he didn’t.
I think I have long since shown a willingness to solicit outside opinions on the Orioles from national sources and post them, no matter their take or views.
You all made most of the points I would make in reacting to his comments, but here are some points I will throw out today anyway.
* The day that Buck Showalter was hired, any chance of 2011 being a total or mostly rebuilding year with youth went down the drain. Showalter is here to get this going, win some games and turn around a 13-year losing run.
* The O’s offseason moves for the most part neither handcuff them with future payrolls nor block any up-and-coming prospects. The core of this club - players like Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Jake Arrieta and more - are and will continue to be young players. No one is abandoning any plan here. If this club ever gets to winning now or two or three years down the road, it will likely be because of its current crop of young players, especially its young pitching.
* We also need to remember, the O’s never set out to add Vladimir Guerrero. He fell to them when others passed on his price. He is a big part of their present, but likely no part of their future. He may eventually be dealt, adding a player that could help their future.
* When Showalter’s O’s finished the way they did last year, the club was right to try to build on that momentum and add some key pieces for 2011, even if some will be gone by 2012’s opener. The Orioles need to walk before they run. They need to show they can win 80 games before they think about 90. If Derrek Lee and Guerrero help them win 80, getting to 90 becomes more possible and maybe even less difficult.
If the O’s threw their fans a bone, is that a bad thing? When has there been this much excitement for a season? When, for a club that hasn’t had a winning season in 13 years?
This club, at this time, needs to win some fans back and show fans they will do what they can to get back to winning. If the 2011 season turns into a dud, so be it, but at least the front office is taking a shot, even if it could be one that misses the mark.