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Cal Ripken Jr. Rejected by Peter Angelos in Effort to Help Orioles

This should go well with Orioles fans — what’s left of them. Baltimore hasn’t had a winning season since 1997. They’ve lost eight in a row and they’re off to a 1-10 start. You would think a team like that would be looking for help wherever they can get it. That is unless you have an egotistical owner like Peter Angelos who has destroyed baseball in Baltimore and infuriated fans in the process. Ken Rosenthal of FOX reports that Angelos rejected Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.’s attempt to help the club:

Ripken met with Andy MacPhail, the team’s president of baseball operations, about rejoining the organization, sources said. Angelos, however, nixed the idea in a separate conversation with Ripken, telling him, according to three sources, that he did not want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence.

Ripken did not discuss a specific role with MacPhail, one source said. However, another source said that Ripken wanted to work with young players such as catcher Matt Wieters and help them “finish off” their developments at the major-league level.

I really can’t think of a better coach or tutor for young Orioles players than Ripken. The dude was a consummate pro and holds one of the most respected records in all of athletics. How could his influence not be positive for the Orioles? I’m sure there are two sides to the story but any scenario in which Angelos rejected Ripken Jr. deserves criticism. The Orioles are a much better team than their 1-10 record indicates and their rebuilding efforts seemed strong, but for Angelos to decline Ripken’s efforts because he didn’t want to share the spotlight is ridiculous. It also seems to fall within character of what we know about Angelos.

UPDATE:
Per ESPN, Angelos says he would love to talk to Ripken

Sources:
O’s turned down Ripken for job [FOXSports]

2009 MLB Attendance Numbers Are Down

It’s only been about seven weeks of the season, but the attendance figures are already down for MLB this year. The most glaring and immediate cause would be the recession that has left many people jobless and/or fearful of spending. More peripheral issues to explain the decline would be the poor weather in certain cities to begin the MLB season, not to mention the fact that many kids are still in school. According to the Baltimore Sun, more than half the teams in the league have seen a decrease in their attendance since last year. (Good news, the Marlins are drawing 300 a game, up from last year!). The subject of the story stems from interleague play that begins this weekend because the Nats and Orioles will meet for the Beltway Series.

The O’s are supposedly drawing just a shade under 22,000 fans a night, down 10.6% from last year. The Nats are huddling in just over 20,000 fans a night, down 32% from last year, their first in the new ballpark. Seems pretty obvious to me — even a fresh and new stadium can’t mask a crappy team. Simple as that. MLB still isn’t worried yet that the Nats are struggling at the gate, regardless of the lack of success D.C. has had with retaining teams in the past. The League also wants to point out that another big reason for the league-wide drop in attendance is that the Yankees and Mets — two big-ticket teams — both moved into smaller stadiums this year. I suppose that could account for something considering how much of a draw they are, but wouldn’t they still attract just many fans on the road? I think there’s no doubt this is the impact of the recession. Hopefully it will lead to declining salaries, just as it did last offseason.

Your 2008 Orioles: Where Magic Happens

You have to figure that pretty much anything is fair game when Kevin Millar’s on your team. Mr. Cowboy Up was no doubt a part of this music video the Orioles filmed to promote the team for the upcoming season. An excellent find that Jimmy at SI passes along. Check out those boys sing:

The 2008 Baltimore Orioles, featuring Kevin Millar on vocals, Adam Jones on the keyboard, George Sherrill on guitar, and Jeremy Guthrie as backup. At least they’re good at providing entertainment off the field, because they’re not too good on it (give it a few months).

Peter Angelos Wisely Holding Up Erik Bedard Trade

Jayson Stark has sources saying the reason the Erik Bedard to the Mariners deal for Adam Jones hasn’t gone down just yet is because the big boss — owner Peter Angelos — has yet to approve the deal. Now there’s a rumor floating around that Jones failed his physical with the Orioles and that’s why the trade hasn’t been completed. I’m going to pay that story no mind for the time being. Degenerative hip or not, I just can’t see how trading away Erik Bedard can fit in with the mission of the Orioles.

The Orioles have essentially struck gold by developing a lefty with dominant stuff who’s a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Rather than try and market the entire appeal of the team around this guy, they’re acting like they’re stuck in an inverse universe, eagerly and capriciously trying to get rid of the guy. What the heck for? Do they know something we don’t know? Are they trying to sell high? This is a team that’s flushed money on free agents like Albert Belle and David Segui recently. How can you tell me that signing Bedard to a long-term deal would not be within their best interest?

I’ve heard Arte Moreno mention on the radio in the past when defending Bill Stoneman that the Angels had a deal in place to acquire Miguel Tejada for Ervin Santana (and maybe someone else). When that deal got to Angelos’ desk for approval, it got the veto. (the fact that you’ve never seen Tejada where an Angels jersey probably tipped you off to that tidbit). Now I don’t know what’s going on here, but something tells me that Angelos is probably applying a little bit of common sense and wondering why his people are so eager to get rid of the best thing they have going for them — Erik Bedard. Trading him makes no sense; what they receive in return won’t be as good or valuable as what they have now.

Miguel Tejada Is Not Cal Ripken Jr.

It got overlooked on Thursday what extreme measures Miguel Tejada took to keep his consecutive games streak going. He bunted in one at-bat and then left the game. Completely bush league if you ask me. Check out my post at FanHouse to read about it.

While you’re over there, check out this story on a Padre fan making it rain. And here’s some other reading material to keep you busy:

Loser With Socks did a follow-up piece to my rankings of the Bengals arrests. Now, they have ranked the Florida Gators arrests, and my, is it a fantastic list!

I told you Wednesday about Johan Santana making Bert Blyleven go bald, now SPORTSbyBROOKS has the video of it.

Yesterday I told you about the bear that Lions coach Rod Marinelli wrestled. Today, 100% Injury Rate has done some research and come to find out that the bear is actually pretty famous.

Wasting Company Time has lots of pics of Posh to keep you occupied.

(photo courtesy AP/Lenny Ignelzi)

Sam Perlozzo, Undeserving Scapegoat

Just got done posting that at FanHouse. Who the heck do the Orioles think they are? Seriously. Firing Sam Perlozzo, blaming him for their failures. That’s a joke. Anywhoo, here’s a link to my story for you to peruse, along with some of my other recent work at FanHouse:

Baseball Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Last year’s record and finish are in parenthesis with projected improvement/decline indicated by plus or minus.

Baltimore Orioles (70-92, 4th in AL East)Â +Â 3 games

Get Crunked: Miguel Tejada still sets the offensive standards amongst all shortstops in the league – adding average to his repertoire with three straight +.300 seasons. Lefty Erik Bedard was one of the top pitchers in the league last year, winning 15 games on a bad team. Chris Ray has emerged as a top closer in the American League and at only 25, he has a bright future. The front-office also brought in a bunch of experienced arms to hold leads in the bullpen.Â

Party Foul: Overall the offense isn’t powerful enough to keep up with the American League bashers, let alone the bombers in the AL East. The rotation has some potential, but it too is too weak towards the bottom, and Kris Benson getting hurt certainly doesn’t help things.

Miguel Tejada, a model of consistency at shortstop

What’d my GM do: The front office took one of the more unique approaches in the off-season; they bulked up the bullpen – and spent a lot of money doing so. Danys Baez was signed to a 3 year $19 mil deal, Chad Bradford was brought in for 3 years at $10.5 mil, and Jamie Walker was signed to a 3 year $12 million dollar deal. These three should take care of the 7th and 8th innings for the majority of the year, taking some of the pressure off the starters. They also brought in Jaret Wright in a low-risk trade, and veteran Steve Trachsel for a cheap price tag.

Lay it on me Straight: The Orioles just aren’t a very good club, nor have they been since ’97. It’s hard enough as is to compete with the Yanks and Red Sox, but when the Blue Jays become big spenders, you’re toast. The only hope for Baltimore is to get lucky with prospects developing, and pair that with wise free-agent acquisitions, and that would just make you competitive.Â

So where my boys gonna finish right now: Same place as 8 of the past 9 years, which is to say 4th place

Can we be better than that: You’re proably locked into that spot for the next millenium, unless TB gets better, in which case you drop to 5th.Â