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Orioles de facto PR director Jeff Lantz leaving for job with Minor League Baseball

The Orioles are losing a key contributor to their 2014 division-winning campaign, just not someone who was recognizable by most fans.

Jeff Lantz submitted his resignation last week to become the director of communications for Minor League Baseball in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Lantz's official title with the Orioles was manager of media relations, but after the death of Monica Barlow in February, he became the de facto public relations director. The Orioles never replaced Barlow and so Lantz, along with Jay Moskowitz, Amanda Sarver and Chris Martrich, had to take on extra responsibilities.

And then they had to deal with the Orioles' playoff run, which is what sports public relations people dream of, but the workload increased exponentially. Already beleaguered, the PR staff did a tremendous job this October making things run as smoothly as possible. Lantz was a big part of that.

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Full disclosure: I consider Lantz a friend. We've worked together since April 2008, when he joined the Orioles from the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. I'll also say we didn't always see eye-to-eye. Such is the nature of the relationship between reporters that cover a team and public relations professionals who work for that team. We had our share of snark-offs.

That said, I never walked away from Lantz thinking he didn't listen to my point of view. And most times I walked away thinking he was pretty darn good at his job, even if he occasionally ticked me off. In fact, when it came to understanding what reporters need to do their jobs fairly, Lantz may be the best I've dealt with in my career.

But my level of respect for him and his staff increased dramatically in 2014. Imagine losing your boss to cancer right as your busiest time begins. Imagine not having that person replaced and then having your daily workload expand even more because of the success of your organization. It was a Herculean effort by Lantz and his staff. It's supposed to be a dream job, but I can't tell you the amount of hours those guys worked behind the scenes. I don't even think I truly know.

I'm not sure what the Orioles are going to do to replace Lantz -- I doubt the Orioles know considering they still haven't replaced Barlow -- but I do know they've lost someone who, like many of their employees on the field, stepped up and really did his job in 2014.

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