'Oriole Way' has little time for managers

The Baltimore Sun

For the past decade, the definition of the new "Oriole Way" has been up for debate. Here's a stab at it: managerial instability.

If Sam Perlozzo gets fired this season, his replacement will be the club's sixth manager since 1997. Only the Toronto Blue Jays (who have had seven, including a five-game interim stint by Mel Queen in 1997) have had more managerial flux in the past 10 years.

The Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals also have had six - including interim managers - in the past 10 years.

In comparison, the Orioles had six managers in their first 28 years, from their inception in 1954 to when Earl Weaver initially retired in 1982. Three (Paul Richards, Hank Bauer and Weaver) managed the team in parts of at least five consecutive seasons.

No Orioles manager has been with the team for five straight seasons since Weaver managed from 1968 to 1982. Mike Hargrove (2000-03) lasted the longest in the past 25 years.

How does that compare league-wide? No other club has had a longer drought. Not even close. Only one, the Cincinnati Reds, has gone more than 15 years without a manager in his fifth year of consecutive service.

Furthermore, 22 teams have had a consecutive service streak encompass at least part of this past decade. Heck, the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have had just one manager each throughout the past 10 years.

But the Orioles can take solace in this: Neither Florida team, the Marlins or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, has had the same manager for five consecutive seasons in their short histories.

Disappointed in Tejada

A scout who recently watched the Orioles said he was astonished by the uneven play of shortstop Miguel Tejada, whom he once believed was among baseball's best.

Although he is batting over .300, Tejada had just three homers and 21 RBIs heading into this weekend's three-game series against his old team, the Oakland Athletics.

"The guy I saw, I didn't know," the scout said. "He doesn't drive balls at all. He made a couple of boneheaded plays in the field. He just wasn't prepared to make plays. I was wondering if I was watching the decline of a great player or just a player who is going through a tough period."

The scout said he wasn't sure what was more disconcerting, Tejada's lack of concentration in the field or his inability to pull pitches at the plate. He ended a nearly monthlong power drought with a homer Thursday night that was vintage Tejada - a fastball pulled into the left-field seats. But that has been surprisingly few and far between.

"He hasn't turned on balls," the scout said. "You start to wonder if he's not all there anymore. If you don't see the guy a lot, you just don't know."

Hard-throwing company

Cleveland Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia notched the 1,000th strikeout of his career Monday. And he did it in impressive fashion by striking out the pesky Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.

Sabathia becomes just the fifth pitcher in the past 25 years to get 1,000 strikeouts before turning 27. The others are Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Dwight Gooden and Kerry Wood. Sabathia, who debuted at age 20 on April 8, 2001, against the Orioles and left-hander Chuck McElroy, turns 27 in July.

Another 1,000 milestone

The Washington Nationals' Jim Bowden picked up his 1,000th win as a general manager last week, joining four other active GMs in the exclusive club: Atlanta's John Schuerholz, the Philadelphia Phillies' Pat Gillick, Detroit Tigers' Dave Dombrowski and St. Louis' Walt Jocketty.

The Minnesota Twins' Terry Ryan likely will get No. 1,000 this year as well.

Bowden, once Cincinnati's boy wonder, is in his 14th season as a GM.

Quote of the week

"I'm just going to play ball, that's it. I've got to go. I've got a video game to finish." - the Devil Rays' often-troubled outfielder, Elijah Dukes, when asked to comment about his wife's allegations that Dukes threatened to kill her and their kids.

Quick hits

Only six rotations in baseball history have finished a season with an ERA higher than 6.00. The Texas Rangers did it in 2001 and 2003 and their starters are on pace again this year. ... With Carl Pavano's decision to have season-ending elbow surgery, his 2008 season also could be lost. That means the Yankees likely paid $39.95 million for 19 starts over four years, in which Pavano went 5-6 with a 4.77 ERA.

Compiled from interviews and other newspapers' reports.

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