Reflecting on the past

I watched about 12 seconds of the Home Run Derby before realizing that I no longer care about the Home Run Derby.

David Ortiz won? Fabulous.

Does the winner get a free spot in the slam dunk contest?

Did Dwyane Wade really claim that he’s now part of the greatest trio in NBA history?

Bird, McHale and Parish would like a minute for rebuttal.

They’ll have to beat Magic, Kareem and Worthy to the door. And we’ll wait for Wilt, West and Baylor to park their cars. Just leave enough room for Jordan, Pippen and anyone (Grant, Rodman, take your pick).

Here’s a quote from president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail regarding the managerial search, and speculation that he’s on the verge of naming a full-time replacement for Dave Trembley:


“We’re not losing anything with Juan (Samuel) managing. Players are responding, playing hard, coming back from deficits. I don’t really feel any great need.”

He means a great need to name a replacement as quickly as anticipated among the local and national media.

Tonight’s All-Star Game includes two closers - Matt Capps and Jose Valverde - who were on the market over the winter when the Orioles shopped for a ninth-inning specialist. That doesn’t include Billy Wagner, who declined an offer from NL manager Charlie Manuel to serve as an injury replacement.

MacPhail says he routinely looks back on his choices, reviews where the organization ranked the free agents and determines the hits and misses.

“I always do that. I always go back and evaluate where we had guys, the pecking order, and where we were right and where we were wrong,” he said.

“There were some places where we did about as good as we were going to do. There were some places where if we could go back and do it again, you’d do it differently.”

The Orioles would have passed on first baseman Garrett Atkins, who hit .214 with one homer in 44 games before the Orioles designated him for assignment on June 27. They’re waiting for reliever Michael Gonzalez, with an 18.00 ERA and two blown saves in three appearances, to get healthy and justify his two-year, $12 million deal.

“Our thinking at the time was our record against left-handers wasn’t good and we were looking to get some right-handed help on the corners,” MacPhail said. “There was nothing wrong with the whole strategy, but in the end, knowing what you know now, you’d change the pecking order, the rankings. But every club goes through that.

“At best, it was a mixed bag for us up to this point. Some guys did pretty much what we were hoping they would do, and some guys we didn’t get anything out of. In that regard, it was pretty much a mixed bag.

“As far as closers, I’ve personally gone through that 100 times because some of them are doing OK and some of them are not doing that good. It hurt us at the beginning of the year, but we’ve been able to right the ship with Alfredo Simon and (David) Hernandez. Really, since those two guys came on the scene, you’ve got other issues, but those aren’t them for the time being.”

As I wrote yesterday, Gonzalez will return to short-season Single-A Aberdeen tonight and could be extended to two innings if his pitch count allows it. He might report to Triple-A Norfolk before the Orioles finally activate him. That decision is pending.

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