Is the Orioles future as bright as everyone says it is?

It seems like everyone — myself included — has come to rest in the same place with respect to the Orioles: bad team now, but a bright future, so Orioles fans should not despair.

Russ Smith of Splice Today isn’t having any of it. He has his reasons. The least significant for purposes of baseball is certainly the most interesting. I won’t reproduce it here because I want you to click through, but I’ll defend the ballplayers by noting that since they’ve all been to Fenway Park, they’ve at least heard a Neil Diamond song. If a single Baltimore Oriole owns “Rust Never Sleeps,” however, I’ll eat my hat.

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  1. Jeff V. said...

    Wow, just wow.  I guess someone had a fight with his wife the O’s fan last night.

    Tillman is 21, Matusz is 22, Wieters and Jones are 24.  Arrieta, Bell, Snyder, Britton and Erbe are still in the minors.

  2. YankeesfanLen said...

    The author, an admitted Red Sox fan, thinks Neil Diamond “unspeakable”? (Well, he is but that’s beside the point). It’s no wonder he has to watch games at Camden Yards instead of Fenway.

  3. Aarcraft said...

    I think he’s being too hard on Neil Diamond. I am, I said, Girl, You’ll Be Woman Soon, Cracklin’ Rose…. those are some good songs. Of course, Neil Young blows him out of the water in every conceivable way, but he is hardly unspeakable.

  4. Jim said...

    Ah, you guys must not know who Russ Smith is.  But everybody in Baltimore is quite exceedingly familiar with this consummate d-bag.  He used to own Baltimore’s alt-weekly “City Paper”, where he would regularly subject us to his absurd rants.  He has an enormous amount of baggage about the city and its institutions, and his comments simply cannot be taken at face value.  (The same is true about David Simon and “The Corner”/“The Wire”, by the way, but that’s a topic for another day.)

    As an Orioles fan, I’m not ready to drink the Koolaid yet.  Plenty of other franchises have burned through talented pitching prospects before, and competing in the AL East is perhaps the most daunting challenge in sports.  But the future looks better than it has in over a decade, which nobody but Russ Smith would deny.

  5. Grant said...

    As an Orioles fan who still actually follows the team, I’m obviously not a very neutral observer. But I don’t really see this guy’s point.

    He sees a handful of iffy starts from very young guys who just got called up and concludes they’ll never amount to anything. Ask Maddux and Glavine how poor first years absolutely destroy your chances at big league success (of course, of course, if Matusz and Tillman turn out to be as good as Glavine and Maddux it will be a miracle, but still). Bergesen, who I like for what he did this year, is widely thought to be the least likely to be great in the future, and was probably hit-lucky this season. The other guys were shut down because they’ve already logged more innings than in the past, which is a standard practice. If that gets in the way of Dave Trembley proving himself or whatever, too bad. The manager isn’t as important as the potential 1 and 2 starters.

    The guy doesn’t even mention Wieters, for crying out loud. Nor does he mention Reimold, Scott, or the recently-emerging Felix Pie (Scott isn’t all that young, I realize).

    The bullpen is indeed atrocious, but as many other teams have shown, a decent bullpen isn’t that difficult to build, and the quality of performance of relievers can vary wildly from year to year. I think MacPhail can probably build a bullpen once the other pieces are in place.

    And while I have bagged on Peter Angelos a great deal in the past, I don’t think he’s really as big a problem as he used to be. We haven’t heard of him meddling in personnel decisions in a while. He seems to have backed off, given MacPhail a budget and let him go to work.

    And I don’t see how firing Trembley can be seen as a negative step. He’s a bad manager who should be let go in favor of someone with more strategic acumen. Dave Trembley has been a good guy for the organization for a while. Like Sam Perlozzo, he’s no big league manager.

    Look, the Orioles may not work out. But I don’t think this analysis is particularly trenchant.

  6. Alex said...

    Neil Diamond – schlocky performer, great songwriter. The dude wrote “I’m a Believer” for god’s sake. He gets a pass from me.

  7. Bob Rittner said...

    A totally useless article if the point is about baseball and the Orioles. Nothing he says is relevant to a discussion of whether the Orioles are on the cusp of being contenders, nor does he display even an elementary understanding of Orioles current talent, prospects or opportunities to improve.

  8. Jason said...

    It’s obvious the guy doesn’t know much beyond his own bravado: in no corner of the baseball world is Brad Bergesen considered better than Tillman or Matusz.

  9. Vaux said...

    Unfortunately, there are two reasons why the Orioles won’t work out.

    1. the New York Yankees
    2. the Boston Red Sox

  10. dtro said...

    “Nine Orioles players were asked what singer they preferred, Neil Young or Neil Diamond, who are roughly the same age and were performing before the athletes were born. Six of the nine chose the unspeakable Diamond over Young, which would be the rough equivalent of six Orioles in ’69 picking Lawrence Welk over Bob Dylan.”

    It’s more like asking six Orioles in ‘69 whether they preferred Glen Miller or Count Basie.

  11. jackdunn'sbaby said...

    A serious question from a serious Orioles fan—does THT have a baseball knowledge litmus test as a standard to determine who is acceptable as a contributor?

    Mr. Smith wites in an easy-to-read style, but his content is apparently agenda-driven, rendering this piffle unsuitable for all discerning fans.

    Seriously, how does a writer qualify to peddle bilge on this otherwise wonderful site?

  12. jackdunn'sbaby said...

    P.S. If anyone cares, go to: for a profile of Russ Smith,

    Here is a sample of this endearing troll’s view of Baltimore:

    There, in the column he named “Mugger,” in the free weekly paper he started in 1988, The New York Press, he’d write things that echoed Mencken in style but perhaps not substance, things like: “Riding down on the Metroliner last Wednesday, with only about 10 other people— who knows how long Amtrak can stay in business?— after wolfing down a chilly Nathan’s hot dog with a stale bun at Penn Station [in New York], undrinkable coffee, and frigid bleu cheese on the train, we walked into the Bangkok-like humidity of Baltimore, without a question, that Mayberry-like city’s prime attribute.”

  13. Greg Simons said...

    jack – (I believe) the only reason Craig linked to Smith’s article was to highlight the weakness of Smith’s arguments in support of the Orioles’ future suckitude.  Poking fun is one of the things Craid does best.

  14. jackdunn'sbaby said...

    That was helpful; I missed Craig’s position in my haste to slap Smith. The “STYLE” article is extensive, but a must for those who would like to read about a preeminent, negative role model.

    BTW, if anyone reads this, do you know who was known as Jack Dunn’s baby? I ask only because I really love to use it; so baseball, so Baltimore.

  15. Greg Simons said...

    Okay, I cheated and looked it up, but the answer is a guy who was a pretty good player.  Sorta like an old-time Rick Ankiel. wink

  16. jackdunn'sbaby said...

    Greg, The only flaw in the analogy is that, of course, young Ankiel’s conversion was for a vastly different reason.

    I wonder how many fans, especially fans of the NYY, know the story of how George Ruth got his immortal sobriquet, Babe.

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