For those of us who write about the Orioles but don’t have the luxury of actually being close to them on a daily basis, it is difficult to know what really goes on behind the scenes. We end up speculating based upon the reports of frontline beat writers, along with reading between the lines of media interviews.
From all reports, it would appear that this has been a very happy clubhouse. And yes, having a 21-12 record to start the year has something to do with that, for sure! But this “band of brothers” thing began long before the season – it was an obvious feature at FanFest that these guys enjoy each other. Certainly Buck’s leadership style has something to do with it – a lot to do with it! (For the polar opposite – see “Boston Red Sox.”)
Before I ponder some concerns about a possible change, here is some evidentiary material to support the premise of fraternal happiness:
- Ayala – “We have great unity. The great teams have unity, and they start to do something great … We have one of the greatest bullpens. Every guy in the ‘pen can do his job in every situation. We have that great union and everybody’s happy.”
- Patton – “It’s been a whole lot of fun … We were just talking about that. We’ve got a lot of good guys, a lot of battlers, guys who are having good at-bats or throwing strikes. It’s been a whole lot of fun.”
- Showalter – “I’ll take some pleasure in seeing them feel good about themselves, but they’re mature enough to understand the challenge ahead of us and how long the season is. But I’ve been real proud of them. Since the first day we got to camp, there’s been a good karma ‘bout them.”
- Hammel – “We know what we can do and we’re having fun. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We’ve done it in spring training. I don’t know, maybe it’s just great timing for everybody – kind of doing it all together at the same time. But there isn’t anything that we’ve changed. We’re still a baseball club and we’re just having fun. It’s a good group of guys in there and we’re pushing for each other.”
- Davis – (Before the final Boston game) – “We just feel like we have a good group of guys here … We like being around each other. We like going out there and playing every day, and we have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things and can give us the opportunity to win every day. And we’ve shown that lately.”
As a fan, you’ve gotta like that stuff!
But there have been some changes. The Orioles have made a total of 15 roster changes in a week. There have been a variety of injuries and circumstances that have forced the hand of the team to make these adjustments. Assessing it is difficult. It is certainly not a disaster. But losing Lindstrom is huge, in my view … and this finger thing does not sound good at all.
The most recent move just being announced here Saturday morning is the addition of Bill Hall. The first new of this arrived by Hall’s tweets, long before the Oriole organization could state it. One has to wonder if this might not engender an internal policy to clamp down upon this sort of action.
So, Bill Hall – who would’ve predicted this name with the Orioles? The guy had a poor season last year, but is only two years away from a mediocre stint with Boston in 2010. In 2006, he hit 35 homers for the Brewers. But apparently he has had 4 errors at 3B in his brief time at AAA Norfolk. Along with that, however, are comments online about the dude having a bit of attitude about him – running through coach’s signs and otherwise acting in ways that he was, in his mind, a cut above the rest of the struggling folks there.
As I began this piece above, I have no firm idea what it is like behind the scenes. My guess is that this remains a good clubhouse, but it has to be a bit more challenged by the varied changes – many of them affecting friends.
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