Give Oates a breakWe learn a great...

Give Oates a break

We learn a great deal about a team's character by the way it handles itself in difficult times. You can use the same measure to judge fans.


One has to wonder about the character of those who are calling the talk shows and writing letters to The Sun to demand the firing of Johnny Oates because of the Orioles' slow start. The suggestion itself is absurd. To make it before Memorial Day is ludicrous. Perhaps these disgruntled fans, some of whom probably called for Earl Weaver's head during his teams' mediocre Aprils, should consider the following truths:

* This is the same Johnny Oates who nearly was Manager of the Year last season in his first full season at the helm. He has been praised by managers such as Tony La Russa and Sparky Anderson as one of the best young leaders in the game. If the Orioles ever were foolish enough to let Oates go, another team would snatch him up and reap the benefits.


* You often can tell the quality of a manager by the way a team handles tough times, as clubs such as the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox traditionally descend into backbiting, finger-pointing and controversy when things go bad. The Orioles continue to bring an upbeat, professional attitude to the ballpark and consistently exert maximum effort. That's to the manager's credit.

* Give Oates credit for some of the successes that have kept the team from an early burial. Right field was a potential disaster from Day 1. Plugging Mark McLemore into that spot was gutsy and imaginative. And, Gregg Olson's problems notwithstanding, Oates and Dick Bosman have handled the bullpen superbly, as evidenced by its AL-best ERA.

* Oates did not trade Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling for Glenn Davis.

* You want losing to become a habit? There's no quicker route tperennial underachievement than instability in the manager's spot. Witness the Mariners, Indians, Cubs, Padres and the post-1981 Yankees.

Orioles fans have an excellent manager and a team that is showing

character in adversity. The fans should show a little themselves.

chael Freeman

Upper Marlboro


Send Davis back

Wouldn't you love to be able, at this date, to trade Glenn Davis for anyone of the three players we surrendered for him? But, then, would it be fair to deplete the National League All-Star team in this manner?

Doesn't it add much more excitement to the season to wonder if either Luis Mercedes or Chito Martinez is going to hit over .240, instead of being forced to accept Joe Orsulak's automatic .280.

Isn't it true that most of the best "surprises" added to the Orioles' roster in recent years have come as a result of the instigations of Doug Melvin and not Roland Hemond?

Bob Hewes



Change for worse

How can anyone expect the Orioles to do as well as last year, let alone make it to the World Series? They can't and they won't, because they're not the same team!

I can't call myself a fan when they wrongly let go of great players such as Joe Orsulak, with his consistency, Sam Horn, who did not get the playing time he deserved, and, above all Bill Ripken, the nicest, friendliest guy on the team, whose salary, along with his father's, obviously went to Cal.

With all their million-dollar men, you'd think they'd be doing better. This goes to show you that money doesn't make a ballplayer.

Katie Novak



And in closing . . .

I realize that Gregg Olson gets big bucks and is the designated closer, but why is it necessary for the likes of Todd Frohwirth, Alan Mills or Mark Williamson to be relieved after going strongly for a couple of innings? If at a point they show

signs of tiring, only then should the change be made.

Secondly, has manager Johnny Oates ever figured out the words "bunt" or "squeeze play?" This year, just like last year, many games were lost because of the failure to implement these plays rather than depending on a base hit or fly ball to bring in a run.

Milton Parron



Losing interest

How do the Orioles expect to win games? They have no pitching and no hitting. They have only one reliable pitcher, Mike Mussina.

As for Glenn Davis, he should be ashamed to keep his paycheck. Throw him a curve and it's a sure strikeout. Throw him a fast ball and he'll pop up.

As for Cal Ripken, he may not be over the hill yet, but he's on the brink. When they pitch him inside he's an out. His best years are behind him.

Parker O. Bramble



Buy the Patriots

The only way Baltimore will get its own NFL team is to buy the New England Patriots, so you can stop working so hard on names such as Ravens, Blockers, Clippers and Bombers.

The NFL dictators have assured Charlotte's bid by allowing it to charge season-ticket holders money before one coin is flipped.

Sean Privette


Harbor Field?


Let's start thinking about naming our new football stadium now. My vote, considering the location, is Harbor Field.

Jim Craft



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