O's get no recognition for signing big name

The Orioles' ownership should have learned the disastrous lesson of signing an aging and disgruntled name-brand player. From the Era of Albert Belle to the acquisition of Sammy "Corky" Sosa, it seems to illustrate that Peter Angelos believes Orioles fans are clueless cheerleaders for celebrity baseball.


Do Orioles fans really want change strictly for player name recognition, regardless of its lack of priority need and in addition to its likely contribution to team dysfunction? Where is the strategic planning of this team? It seems there is none, and that fact will now prove most crucial in the failure to compete with the new team down the parkway in Washington.

William C. Piccirilli Lutherville


Days of F. Robinson, Singleton are long gone

Uncork the champagne, folks. Our problems are solved. The headlines will surely inspire a flood of travelers to Camden Yards, confident the latest acquisition of Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie will lead us to - dare we dream - a second consecutive third-place finish in the American League East.

Get your season tickets while they last. Fear not, Orioles fans. Scammin' Sammy Sosa, having alienated Cubs fans, teammates and management, is now an Oriole. Four months after walking out on his Cubs teammates during their final regular-season game and incurring the wrath of good-guy "players" manager Dusty Baker, Sosa has been afforded a new opportunity in a city craving a contender.

Sosa joins a team with a rich history of slugging right fielders. Memories of great Orioles trades of the past give hope to eternal optimists. In December 1965, the Orioles acquired Frank Robinson; in December 1974, they traded for Ken Singleton.

The Oriole Way during those two great eras had tangible meaning. Players came to work each day with a collective purpose: to win with honor. Play the game the right way. Fundamentally sound play was more than a philosophy. Strong pitching and excellent defense were yearly realities.

Let's fast-forward to the winter of 2005. More than 20 years have passed since the Orioles' last World Series appearance. Pressure to win in a city where attendance has been on a steady decline is enormous. Co-GMs Flanagan and Beattie face a troubling reality. Having failed to acquire either a front-line starting pitcher or a premier hitter via free agency, what options were left to pursue?

The answer came in the form of a slugging right fielder from the National League. Unfortunately, the parallels between Sosa and Robinson and Singleton are few. The latter were in the prime of their careers and still relatively young. Sosa is old by baseball standards at 36 and coming off a disappointing 2004. Will he return to form in 2005 or slowly become a mediocre hitter while butchering balls in right field? Will he be Baltimore's savior or the new Albert Belle?

Or is this simply a transparent attempt by a desperate front office to improve attendance and give fans a false sense of hope?


Regardless of the outcome in the win-loss column, one thing is certain. The Oriole Way, long on life support, was laid to rest with this trade.

Vince Yannuzzi Pasadena

O's acted irresponsibly, maybe caved to pressure

Has management of the Orioles taken leave of its senses? I hope they didn't react to "fan" pressure and trade for Sosa just because earlier attempts to sign free agents were thwarted by outrageous offers from other teams. Up until now, the Orioles' offseason pursuit of free agents had been responsible. They have spoiled it by trading a young, proven major leaguer and prospects for an aging, over-the-hill veteran of questionable character. We don't need him.

Bill Landymore Bowie

Hairston was better option than 'has-been'


So here we are facing a new season with the likely big addition of Sammy Sosa. That is like being "hometowned in North Carolina" (basketball). And we are getting hometowned by our own general managers (and owner Peter Angelos).

Didn't we get Albert Belle, who was supposed to solve our big hitter problems? Also, it seems that we got David Segui and paid him big money to be on the disabled list. They were has-beens, and so is Sammy Sosa. Maybe he can plug his bat for a couple of games and not get caught.

Come on! Jerry Hairston is young, enthusiastic and, yes, sometimes on the injured list, but to me he is a better bet than Sammy Sosa.

Phyllis Douglas Fayetteville, Pa.