Dan Duquette: Between a rock and a (frustrated) fan base

There can be no doubt that many Orioles fans are frustrated and they are beaten down by 14 straight losing seasons. As someone who went to his first game at Memorial Stadium at the age of 6 and later covered many of those seasons, I can relate.

I don’t completely relate, though, to the fans who seem to be clinging to seemingly extreme long shot hope that the Orioles will sign free agent Prince Fielder. I just don’t see it happening and think the odds are not good at all.

Yet some fans are just desperate. They want something to cling to, something to get excited about and they seem to see having faint hope of Fielder being signed as a worthwhile pursuit.

I think they are just setting themselves up for a big disappointment and then the inevitable lashing out at the team for not getting that done.

As for the O’s and Fielder, I’ll take a wait-and-see approach. I’ll wait until there is some actual concrete evidence that they have real interest and have any shot at him and then I’ll look to see how serious any talks get. But I certainly don’t think it is going to happen.

New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is in a tough spot. Fans want to win now after all the losing, but he surely must know he can’t fix 14 years in a few weeks or months. I think he is taking the only approach he can right now and he is trying to put together a front office, scouting staff and player development staff to produce much more than it has.

But that certainly can’t happen in a few weeks or months. We could be talking years here and some fans just won’t even accept that talk right now. But what else can Duquette do?

Now that he is here the Orioles are suddenly going to go on some spending spree that they haven’t gone on before? Now that he is here they will suddenly offer Fielder $200 million to save the franchise?

There are plenty of fans out there that realize Duquette must be given some time and the fact that several regimes before him didn’t win doesn’t change that. These fans seem to be less vocal than most on the message boards, but they are out there.

The fans criticizing Duquette’s every action right now as not nearly enough are frustrated, for sure, but misguided, too. No one can walk in here on a white horse and change everything with a few moves.

Signing Fielder would be exciting for all, even the reporters that cover the team. In the end, it just might mean only that a pitching-poor club now has a legit slugging first baseman and it will win a few more games in 2012.

Sure, I’ll say it and await the usual critics: Signing Fielder is not the move for this team right now. I’d rather take that money and sign two quality starting pitchers and have some left over to spend on scouting, player development and international signings.

Duquette must realize the fans are sick of losing. But he can’t change that in a few short weeks and won’t even try. Players like Dana Eveland, Taylor Teagarden and Tsuyoshi Wada may turn out to be solid moves or at least moves that help the club, but they won’t get many fans excited right now.

Duquette is starting to put in place the people to try and make lasting change for the better for the team. Because others before him failed to do that with any consistency, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try.

It’s just not very exciting and won’t bring instant results.

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