Lowlights adding up for Beattie, Flanagan

I was amazed by a recent Laura Vecsey column that suggested now is the time to give the Orioles' co-general managers - Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan - contract extensions as a reward for their good job ["Now, spotlight turns to O's, who look ready to enjoy it," May 22.]

I'd like to know what criteria Vecsey is using to grade Flanagan and Beattie. The lowlights of their tenure:

In July 2003, they traded Sidney Ponson (who was 14-6 at the time) to the Giants and in return got three injured players who never contributed.

Before the 2004 season, they acquired Mike DeJean. He was the worst pitcher I have ever seen in a major league uniform.

They persuaded Peter Angelos to give Adam Loewen a huge signing bonus. Loewen has proved incapable of getting out hitters at any level. He will never pitch in the majors.

This past offseason the Orioles' stated priorities were: a legitimate starting pitcher, a legitimate backup catcher and a right-handed, power-hitting first baseman or outfielder. They did not meet any of these priorities.

The Orioles have performed admirably this year but will, however, fade into third or fourth place, and it will be a result once again of the incompetence of Flanagan and Beattie, with a heavy dose of Angelos.

Richard W. Webbert Laurel

Why doesn't Mazzilli stand up for players?

Laura Vecsey's column on Friday ["Mazzilli's inaction raises arguable point about him"] is the second shot fired at Mazzilli's lack of supporting his players, the first shot being fired by Peter Schmuck. Ms. Vecsey's column, however, was the much stronger of the two columns and she has my compliments. Although neither writer stated it directly, Mazzilli is now on a downward spiral of becoming infamous for not supporting his players.

It's one thing for the sports writers to notice Mazzilli's lack of "supporting his players." But the most disturbing news for Mazzilli is that even the fans are noticing it. And if the fans notice it, rest assured that his players are unhappy with his inaction under fire, and sooner or later this passiveness will impact the team. Unless Mazzilli changes his passive managing style, he's not long for the Orioles.

Joseph Cierniak Glen Burnie

Nationals TV situation brings only frustration

It has been frustrating for baseball fans this summer: The Washington Nationals finally got assigned a local TV outlet (Channel 20 in Washington), but it's an outlet that, at least in Howard County, Comcast doesn't offer.

So imagine my excitement Monday, when I noticed that the Nats were playing Atlanta, and the game would be shown on TBS as well as the local channel. I tuned to TBS that afternoon, and guess what? "Due to Major League Baseball requirements, today's game Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals has been blacked out in the local area. Scheduled programming will resume at the conclusion of the game."

Now, whose interests are served by this blackout requirement? Not the Orioles - they were playing out of town. Not Channel 20 - it's not available in this area, anyway. Not Major League Baseball - it still owns the team and surely would benefit from having more viewers in Howard County.

This appears to be a case of someone cutting off his nose to spite his face. Why do I keep thinking I'm seeing the ham hands of Peter Angelos again?

Michael Berla Columbia

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