Baltimore Orioles: Drama will often find you
Buck Showalter seems like the type of guy who doesn’t really like drama – and I say that because I’m the exact same way. But if that’s in fact true, it’s funny how drama seems to constantly find the Baltimore Orioles. And I don’t say that in an accusatory manner towards Showalter or anyone else in the organization. I say it in the sense that it seems to be true.
Whether it’s Brian Roberts bopping himself on the head with a bat and causing a concussion, an opposing pitcher targeting Oriole hitters, the other big league team in the neighborhood not wanting to play nice with regard to a TV
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contract, or something else…it seems that everything the Orioles do seems to be shrouded in drama or controversy. And those are just a few examples; you have teams complaining that the O’s won’t give up the likes of Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy on the trade market, and prospective free agent signings flunking physicals and publicly blaming the Orioles. Heck, earlier this week a beloved former Oriole (Nick Markakis) got into the act by saying that the team was lying about why they didn’t re-sign him.
The crassest among us would probably say that the O’s find themselves engrossed in drama because of how they operate. But do they really operate that much against-the-grain? I would submit that they don’t. Do teams routinely express frustration because other teams aren’t willing to give up their prospects? Would other teams be willing to sign a player after being advised not to do so by a doctor? I would say no. The fact is that there are plenty of teams, writers, and fans who like the idea of throwing caution to the wind – so long as it’s someone else doing so.
Bear in mind that there was a time when it might well have been acceptable to be critical of the Orioles and the way they operated. Imagine if twitter had existed and the internet had been as big as it is now when Albert Belle played for the O’s. Belle retired with a shoulder problem, but by contemporary standards twitter, facebook, and message boards would have been lambasting the team for signing a player to such a lucrative deal when there were signs of trouble on his physical. One could make the same argument with things such as Rafael Palmeiro being suspended in 2005, among other incidents.
The point here is that people have probably conditioned themselves to blame the Orioles over the years. And some of that reputation might be well deserved – years ago, that is. But you’d be hard-pressed to accept that Grant Balfour was right to drag the Orioles’ name through the mud as he did when he flunked the physical. (Heck, one of my all-time favorite comments on this site ever harkens back to that time, when someone suggested that Peter Angelos paid off the doctors to flunk Balfour so that he didn’t have to pay the contract.)
While I said last week and I still believe that Nick Markakis simply made an error of judgement in making the comments he did, his comments seem a bit far off from reality. He seemed angry that the Orioles appeared to indicate that they didn’t match Atlanta’s contract offer because of concerns about his shoulder, when in fact that’s exactly why they balked. But Dan Duquette himself indicated that at the time.
Needless to say, the Orioles seem to be easy targets. No matter what they do or where they turn, it seems that unwarranted drama finds them. You need not look further than the Duquette situation with Toronto this past off season if you want further confirmation of this. There were people actually blaming the Orioles for holding Duquette back. Nevermind the fact that there are contracts, money, etc. involved, all of which backed up the Orioles’ position. I suppose that in closing, all we can really say is that it is what it is.