Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do The Baltimore Orioles Know How To Win?

Well, by now you know the story. This was supposed to be the year that the Orioles actually set “winning” as their goal of the season. Unfortunately for fans in Baltimore, setting something as a goal doesn’t mean that it will happen.

Since Andy MacPhail has taken over, the Orioles have stockpiled talent in the minor leagues through the draft and various trades. Slowly, that young talent has arrived in the big leagues. This was the reason every Orioles fan was starting to be optimistic.

However, at 2-15, there is no doubt that this talent hasn’t translated into victories. This begs the question, “Why?”

Now, over the past few weeks, we have heard every possible explanation; ranging from them having no heart, to Dave Trembley being the worst manager in the history of baseball.

While there is merit to all of these (some obviously having more than others), I suggest something else. I don’t think the players on the Orioles know HOW to win.

As strange as it sounds to say that professional baseball players don’t know how to win, it is the issue the Orioles have found.

Think about the areas Baltimore is struggling. Finishing off games and hitting with runners in scoring position have been by far the two reasons the O’s can’t crack the win column these days.

Call it being clutch, or what ever you want, but it comes from knowing how to execute and having the ability to do it at that moment. Those are characteristics of a winner.

Look at a guy like Derek Jeter. He isn’t the most talented player, but when things matter, he delivers. The ability to do this on a consistent basis doesn’t come from just skill, but a quality in ones psychological being.

The Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 1997. Their AAA affiliate, whether it be Norfolk or Ottawa, has had just one winning season since 2004, and the O’s manager hasn’t ever coached a successful MLB club. Where do they learn how to win in professional baseball?

You can say that winning in the minors doesn’t matter for the development of players, but you are wrong. That winning attitude in the minors builds the mind set of a winner that I’m talking about.

Yea, that mind set can be taught in the pro’s in some cases, but the Orioles don’t have a manager or player that has had the success to teach it.

I look at this team and see one with as much talent as any in baseball. There is absolutely no excuse for this bad of a start, and if you watched the first couple of games, you wouldn’t believe that they would start 2-15.

Saying that “they should have won this game or that game” doesn’t mean anything because that ability to close out teams or come through in critical moments is more important that any statistic you can find.

My suggestion is not only to replace Trembley, but add someone who won at this level before. Most importantly, do it soon.

The idea that losing is ok seems to be one that has crept into the Orioles organization and now that a new generation of players is taking over, it is the utmost importance that management makes sure that this idea doesn’t infect them.

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