Stay around baseball long enough and you'll experience some strange things. A perfect example occurred this morning when the phone rang and former Oriole Melvin Mora was at the other end.
We talked for a while and then I asked Mora, now with the Colorado Rockies, what he thought about the Orioles' horrendous start and the precarious situation of his former manager Dave Trembley.
Mora knew this part of the conversation was on the record. Mora has never been shy to voice opinions, no matter how critical. And Mora is not a fan of Trembley, saying publicly last year that he felt Trembley "disrespected" him and was not upfront about the reason Mora had lost playing time.
So I was waiting for Mora, whose family still lives in Maryland, to unload on Trembley and the team that didn't re-sign him. And this is what he said:
"In my heart, I think they should put the best team they have on the field. But in the bottom of my heart, I don't think this losing has (anything) to do with Trembley. … With this situation, it doesn't have to do much with Trembley. But somebody needs to get fired or somebody needs to start winning. And if somebody needs to go, who is going to go? You aren't going to change 25 players. But, for me, maybe I am different, but I don't like people to get fired, anyone."
Make no mistake, Mora still isn't one of Trembley's fans. But this losing stretch, he said, should be on the players and the front office, and not the field manager.
"If Nick Markakis and (Adam) Jones and those guys aren't hitting, what does the manager have to do with it? They go into the offseason and sign a closer and he has (two) blown saves before May, what does the manager have to do with it? They bring in three free agents and if they don't work, what does the manager have to do with it?
"Maybe Trembley will say tomorrow, 'What? Melvin Mora is defending me?' Yeah. I give Trembley credit. It's a tough situation and he has to battle."
Mora said he has watched a lot of the Orioles games this season in the Rockies' clubhouse, where his teammates like to keep tabs on former Rockies infielder Garrett Atkins. Mora said he doesn't feel vindicated that the organization for which he played 10 seasons has struggled so mightily.
"To say I am happy the Orioles are losing or to say I am sad the Orioles are losing or to say I am mad that the Orioles are losing, I can't say any of that," Mora said. "All I can say is Melvin Mora wanted the Orioles to win when he was a part of that. I wanted to be part of a winning team there, but now it doesn't matter."
Mora has played sparingly with the Rockies so far this year, getting just 25 at-bats in nine games while playing at second base, third base and first base. Heading into Sunday, he was hitting .280 with a double, two triples and three RBIs.
He said he's content being a utility man, that he knew that would be his role in Colorado. Although he said he'll always be an Oriole at heart, he said he has no regrets in signing with the Rockies (9-9), especially given the situation in Baltimore.
"I love the young guys there. I had a great relationship with them," Mora said. "But I am happy here. I am happy I don't have to deal with a 2-16 start because those fans are going to be yelling (at the Orioles' players) and they are right. Because they are desperate to win."