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Losing Their Way
Tom Verducci
April 26, 1999
Once famous for a philosophy and a farm system that produced winners, the Orioles now feature quick fixes, bad chemistry and the American League's worst record
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April 26, 1999

Losing Their Way

Once famous for a philosophy and a farm system that produced winners, the Orioles now feature quick fixes, bad chemistry and the American League's worst record

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The Orioles have spent all those millions on an inferior team—one with poor range defensively; one so short on starting pitching that Miller is desperate for the return of injured 35-year-old righthander Scott Kamieniecki, who has a lifetime record of 48-51. In losses in Toronto last Friday and Saturday, the Orioles pitched Ponson, Orosco and four journeymen—Ricky Bones, Mike Fetters, Doug Linton and Heathcliff Slocumb—who have worked for a total of 17 organizations since 1996. "I just don't think it's a very good team," one rival general manager says.

Says Angelos, whom the Baltimore press regularly skewers, "I don't think you can make a judgment on the first 10 games. Some people do. They think they need to write controversial items to keep the fans interested."

Nonetheless, speculation about the firing of Miller, Angelos's handpicked manager, has intensified. In Born to Play, his autobiography published last week, former Orioles outfielder Eric Davis blames an overwhelmed Miller for many of the team's troubles last year. Another former Oriole, second baseman Robbie Alomar, nearly fought with Miller last August during a clubhouse meeting about players' skirting team rules. "I'm not the problem," Alomar told the manager. "You're the problem." Since then the Orioles have gone 13-30, including the weekend sweep by youthful Toronto.

"They have some good young players and just enough veteran guys to help them," Mussina says. "It's a good blend." His scouting report on the Blue Jays dripped with unintended irony. That most certainly is not the book on the Baltimore Orioles.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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