The first baseball game I ever attended was a Double-A Charlotte O’s game when I was five. I actually threw out the first pitch at Crockett Park and Cal Ripken, Jr. was on the team. When the Orioles hired Mazzone, I thought it would be fun to follow the Orioles again.
Today the Orioles fired Mazzone as their scapegoat. What an awful, AWFUL, organization. The firing of Sam Perlozzo, then courting of the flavor-of-the-month Joe Girardi, only to lose out and hire Dave Trembley. Now, the O’s are blaming their woes on Mazzone? Give me a break!
How quickly people forget that Orioles pitching was good for most of the season…that is until Mazzone’s good friend Perlozzo was fired. On June 17, the last game Perlozzo managed, the O’s pitching staff had an ERA of 4.27–that would have put them second in the American League at the end of the season. Erik Bedard and Jeremy Guthrie were having fantastic seasons. After Dave Trembley took over on an interim basis–you know, he didn’t know if he was going to be the long-term boss—the O’s continued on with an ERA of 4.61. Once Trembley got the permanent job, things went south fast. After giving up 39 runs in a double-header on August 18, the Orioles produced an ERA of 7.61 for the remainder of the season.
Now, I’m not saying Mazzone is blameless in all of this, but it is pretty clear that pitching wasn’t the real problem with the O’s until the guys up top decided the guy calling games on Fox was really smart. Instead they ended up with their bullpen coach. I don’t see how firing Mazzone is going to fix anything with this club. This team clearly fell apart when the brass up top gave up on the team. Guys got traded, and some shut it down. Yeah, the pitching was pretty bad by the end of the year. One thing is very clear from his time with the Braves, even if you don’t believe he was responsible for any of pitching success in Atlanta: Mazzone was not the problem.
I really don’t understand the impatience of people who run sports teams. How can you expect any rebuilding when you demand immediate results? Talk about bad incentives.
It’s been a rough ride for Mazzone in Baltimore, but I have no doubt that he will bounce back. It’s good to hear that he’s not intimidated.
Mazzone has no intention of being idle during the 2008 season.
“He’s not going to sit out a year. He has no desire to do that,” said Brad Steele, Mazzone’s business manager. “He will have plenty of time to do that after he retires.”
The Braves were a fixture in the playoffs when Mazzone was there. In contrast, the Orioles lost more than 90 games in each of his two seasons with the club.
“I think Leo still has a lot of fire in his belly. He wants to be part of a winning organization,” Steele said. “But he’s not opposed to doing what he did in Atlanta, taking a team from last to first. Either way, we suspect there will be a lot of interest in him.”