Should Kranitz return?

My thermostat says it's 63 degrees. I don't want to turn on my heat yet...but my thermostat says it's 63 degrees. Should we hold a moment of silence for the Yankees? I didn't think so. Alex Rodriguez taking a called third strike to end the ALCS brought a smile to my face. I won't lie. Is there any doubt that the Yankees will throw about $400 million at Cliff Lee this winter? The Rangers are actually in the World Series. Somewhere, Oddibe McDowell is smiling. So is Buck Showalter, who holds no grudges after being fired as Texas manager. He told us late in the season that he was pulling for the Rangers to win it all. Does anyone remember when Eddie Stanky managed one game in 1977? If you think the Orioles went through a lot of managers this season, check out the Rangers' roll call that year. We'll assume that the Orioles employ only one manager next season. I think Showalter has a pretty long leash. So what about his pitching coach? You've seen the pitching numbers since Showalter took over on Aug. 3. They present a pretty good argument for keeping Rick Kranitz. Here's something else to consider: The young starters want him to return. They like working with him, and he's familiar with them. Two other possibilities are Mark Conner, who has worked with Showalter in the past, and Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin, who also knows a thing or two about this staff. Ray Miller isn't coming back, so we won't go there. I'd probably rank Miller as my favorite Orioles pitching coach, though I have such fond memories of George Bamberger and all of those 20-game winners. And how he used to sit on the exact same side of manager Earl Weaver so he could use his "bad ear" to tune him out. I believe it was Bamberger who once said: "A guy who cheats in a friendly game of cards is a cheater. A pro who throws a spitball to support his family is a competitor." I interviewed Bamberger shortly before his death in 2004 for a Baltimore Sun story that was supposed to pay tribute to his place in Orioles history. It turned into a different sort of appreciation piece, which you can read right here if you're interested. Here's one excerpt that relates to Bamberger's preferred seat in the dugout. It was no coincidence that he always sat to Weaver's left in the dugout, in close range of all the screaming and profanity. Once asked how he could endure such noise after all those years together - they joined the Orioles during the same season - Bamberger inadvertently provided the answer when he replied, "Huh?" "He couldn't hear out of the ear that faced Earl," Palmer said. "It was like the perfect marriage." Bamberger purchased a hearing aid one year and bragged to former pitcher Mike Flanagan about its clarity. He could understand everything Weaver said, for better or worse. "He told me, `It's really working great,'" said Flanagan, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations. "I asked him, `What kind is it?' He glanced at his watch and said, `2:30.'" AFL update: Caleb Joseph played first base last night and went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in Scottsdale's 12-4 win over the Peoria Javelinas. Joseph is batting .417 for the Scorpions, who will rock you like a hurricane if you're not careful. Shortstop Greg Miclat went 1-for-3 with two walks and is batting .318. Center fielder Xavier Avery, dropped to ninth in the order, went 1-for-4 with a run and is batting .259.

Checking in with some AFL stats & notes
Texas takes down the AL East on its way to the Ser...

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