This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. A couple years back, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. (Today we have a Billy Ripken version) – A.S.
1. It was so silly to me to hear all of the scuttlebutt regarding the Orioles potentially moving to Las Vegas over the last week. It all stemmed from an interview given by local lawyer Benjamin Neil to 105.7 The Fan’s Bruce Cunnningham. Neil started the unfounded rumor that a mystery buyer had placed a $3-billion bid on the O’s with plans to move them to Sin City. The station later apologized for spreading the rumor, or at least allowing it to start on its airwaves.
The interview and subsequent stormclouds that followed were really the product of the ongoing feud between the Orioles and Nationals over the MASN dispute. In a decision last week that remains sealed, an MLB committee ruled that MASN must pay the Nationals almost $100-million to settle the issue.
A large part of the Vegas rumor was fueled by a claim from MASN attorneys that an earlier decision about such payment to the Nationals would leave the network with an “economically unsustainable” 5-percent profit margin. This whole dispute has boiled on for so long now, and it’s drained fans who have paid it any attention. It’s almost as if Major League Baseball made a deal with Orioles ownership because that ownership feared a franchise being moved just down the street would cut into the profitability of the team. And it happened!
I think Brian Griffiths over at Camden Chat did a nice job of summing all of that up this week. Baltimore is obviously a little skittish of a team moving away after the Colts did just that in 1984. But I wouldn’t get too bothered about the Orioles going anywhere.
There’s no motivation for it right now, and not much on the horizon either.
2. Something weird happened earlier this week when I read a tweet from Pressbox’s Matt Kremnitzer.
I'm working on an article and went to check Mike Elias's official title (I always forget)… and noticed that Brady Anderson is no longer listed as being a member of the Orioles front office. That seems… new? https://t.co/WMbIkLsQbP
— Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer) May 6, 2019
I recalled quickly that last week, I saw that same page with Brady Anderson’s name on it. And now his name wasn’t on it. So the prevailing thought was that the former O’s slugger was no longer in the front office, or even part of the organization any longer.
That’s apparently not the case, though. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says Anderson does remain in the organization, but is concentrating on strength and conditioning as well as nutrition at the major and minor league levels. He also oversaw strength and conditioning hires in the minor leagues. It’s a bit odd that the Orioles haven’t made it known exactly what Anderson’s role in the club is, but it’s also not the only employee they’ve done it with.
They aren’t always the most forthcoming with these things.
3. I’m still getting a feel for Brandon Hyde as a manager, and I have a feeling it will take more time. Seeing the first-year skipper adapt to his new role is one of the more interesting storylines of the season to me. I don’t know if he’ll be the guy in place when and if the Orioles become competitive again. It normally doesn’t go that way. Bo Porter was in charge of the Astros before they turned things around, while Rick Renteria led the Cubs ahead of their turnaround.
Neither of those guys were able to stick for World Series winners. Hyde may be the next in that line. It’s a daunting task to lead this bunch, that aren’t expected to produce many wins. But, in listening to his press conferences and reading quotes from him, he seems to be taking it all in stride while also realizing that he only gets to call so many of the shots.
Much of what is happening is with a long-term focus in mind and it’s being done above his head. He recognizes that this is a situation where they are looking to develop players and build a future, rather than win now. That has to be a tough pill to swallow, especially for your first career gig.
We’re only a few months into his tenure, and I have no idea what it will be like to look back at the Brandon Hyde era when it’s done, but so far I’m impressed with his laid back nature and ability to find positives in a bad team.