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This guy [Dave Trembley] is such a renegade that the Orioles actually were seen taking infield after batting practice Friday in Anaheim. Infield! Some 60 minutes or so before first pitch, just like in the old days! The Orioles take it on the first day of every road trip and before the first game of every home stand. Earl Weaver and Cal Ripken Sr. would be proud.
ESPN.com's Jonah Keri takes a look at the failure dynasties, including the Orioles. He lists five bad moves that have contributed to their lack of success, including the firing of manager Davey Johnson:
Yes, he has an ego, and there's a long list of owners and front-office people who've struggled to get along with him. But all he's ever done is win, in New York, in Cincinnati and, yes, in Baltimore. The year before Davey Johnson took over, the Orioles finished two games under .500. The next season, they won 88 games and the wild card, followed by a 98-win season and a division title. The O's cut him loose, and they haven't sniffed .500 since. But sure, Peter Angelos, you go right on losing games and watching your attendance dwindle. At least you showed everyone who's boss.
Other moves listed by Keri: Signing Albert Belle to a five-year, $65 million contract; hiring Syd Thrift, Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan as GMs; trading for Sammy Sosa; nearly everything else they did in 2005. Keri estimates that the Orioles' next winning season will be in 2012.
SI.com's John Donovan has the Orioles 12th in his power rankings:
I am a member of The Unconvinced when it comes to the O's. And skipper Dave Trembley has no use for us. "I don't like to keep hearing, 'You guys are a piece of crap. How come you're playing so well?'" Trembley told Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. I don't blame you, Dave. Still, would you mind answering the question?
FoxSports.com has the Orioles 20th in its power rankings:
The O's had built a nice record against the AL West before being swept by the Angels. Things could get worse with a visit to Oakland on tap early this week. This looks like a team feeling the pain from being in the midst of a 16-game streak without a day off.
ESPN.com has the Orioles 17th in its power rankings:
Daniel Cabrera walked more batters in his last start (seven) than he did in his previous three starts combined (five).
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News has the Orioles 20th in his power rankings:
Who'd have thought that, here in early April, Adam Jones would have more strikeouts (25) than Erik Bedard (20)?
Updated May 1
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark names the Orioles his surprising team of April:
As the Orioles departed spring training, people were using words like "disaster" to describe them. Now, said one AL executive, "I've changed my mind about them. ...I don't think they're going to be historically bad anymore." But if you got the impression that means he doesn't think they're going to stay this good, either, you're catching on. When you break down what this team is and what it isn't, "I don't think they have the talent level to sustain a .500 season," said the same executive. And it's tough to disagree. The Orioles are only 11th in the league in runs scored. They have no players in the top 10 in homers, RBIs, average, runs scored, slugging or OPS. They rank in the middle of the pack in ERA. And their record is largely a reflection of a 7-2 record in one-run games -- a category that isn't usually a reliable predictor of future success. "But I'll tell you," said one scout, "there's a little something to that team. I like Dave Trembley. I like the way they're going about their business. They're playing with a little spark I haven't seen."
SI.com had hometown fans rank their team's ballpark. Oriole Park at Camden Yards came in 14th, based on a variety of categories. O's fans were most critical of the quality of the team and promotions. They were most complimentary of the neighborhood and traffic.
In his ESPN.com blog, Buster Olney says Dave Trembley has been asking other managers for advice:
Dave Trembley managed 20 years in the minor leagues before taking over as the Orioles' skipper last summer, and he has taken the opportunity to ask questions of his brethren, to seek their counsel. During an Orioles trip into Yankee Stadium late last year, Joe Torre told Trembley, "Dave, you have to hold them accountable. Put it on them. Make sure there is peer pressure." Trembley bumped into Tony La Russa in spring training, and the Cardinals' manager quoted John Wooden. "The key is preparation," La Russa told Trembley. "If you do everything you can to prepare, you can never consider yourself a failure. Your responsibility is to prepare the team."
CBSSports.com's Eric Mack has the Orioles 18th in his power rankings:
Another first-place team with bad starting pitching that will eventually be exposed. Plus they don't have the kind of offensive thump the Marlins and White Sox have.
ESPN.com's Page 2 takes a mocking look at the next great rivalry -- Orioles-Rays:
Just off Interstate 95, not all too far from Florence, S.C., is a little place called Manning. In the giant battle zone that is the Orioles-Rays rivalry, this unassuming way station on the great coastal corridor just happens to be the very front line. Sitting equidistant to Baltimore and St. Petersburg, Fla., it represents the physical demarcation line of loyalties in this epic encounter of enmity. All those to the south of Manning are in the Rays' camp. All those to the north side with the Orioles. Any deviance from this geo-fandom would be a betrayal of the natural order of things.
Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com advises Orioles fans to enjoy the moment, but don't get used to the O's competing for the top spot in the AL East:
Of any early-season success story, none is more enjoyable than the Orioles. From the rags-to-riches story of manager Dave Trembley -- whose desire to be in pro ball was so intense he once lived in his car at the ballpark to make ends meet -- to the possibility that owner Peter Angelos might finally butt out and let the latest Orioles exec, Andy MacPhail, actually put a plan in place and let it run its course to rebuild the once successful franchise. But be serious. This is baseball. April flowers get wilt in a hurry in the summer heat. Yes, the Orioles and Marlins lead the AL East and NL East, respectively. No, it's not realistic to think that either one will be even close to the top come October. It just doesn't happen that way.
Aram Tolegian of FoxSports.com has the Orioles ranked 22nd in his power rankings:
After taking a series against Seattle, the O's were a run away from taking another against the White Sox. There are reasons to think they won't stay viable in the AL East for much longer, one of which is the fact they rank in the bottom of the majors in runs scored. If they're not scoring, they'd better have a Padres-like pitching staff. They don't.
The Orioles rank 15th in USA Today's power rankings.
[Compiled by Sheil Kapadia]
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