Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Uniforms Hopefully Not the Only Change Before Next Season

Today the Orioles unveiled their new uniforms. While I'm happy to report they have not only put Baltimore back on the away uniforms, they have also added a Baltimore sleeve patch to their home and alternate uniforms. I'm glad to see this change. When you have 11 losing seasons, you should try to placate your fans in whatever way you can. But hopefully, these new uniforms will just be one of many changes as we head into the new seasons.

The change the Orioles need most is a new shortstop. Baltimore went through one lousy shortstop after another last year. I'm pretty sure one game, one shortstop had 3 errors, including a ball go through his legs. I can't even remember which one, a testament to how bad they all were. For a team that has had historically good players in the shortstop position, it's hard to fathom how we have went from All Star to Single A players.

The uniform changes are a good analogy for Baltimore management. They waited too long to address the fans desires, and then made just enough changes to show that there has been some change. While they addressed the need to put Baltimore back on the away jerseys, they altered the oriole bird, but kept it as an ornithological correct depiction. I love the old cartoon bird and wished they would have gone back to that. Maybe it's about small steps. The bird was changed slightly so maybe, next year they'll make big changes.

I'm hoping the biggest changes are on the field and on the mound. In addition to a new shortstop, the O's should also be looking for a new first baseman. They have good catcher coming up in the farm system, so really shouldn't worry about that right now. And hopefully some of the pitching prospects will work out. But the Orioles shouldn't be tempted by some of the big names on the hot stove. Yes, it would be nice to think about Manny or Teixiera, but that big money could be better spent on some lesser known young players that will stay in the system a long time. And money definitely needs to be spent on some pitching before a first baseman or outfielder. While they are talented players and big bats, right now solid fielding and pitching will do more good for this team than big names.

I personally would love to see Teixiera return to the Baltimore area and play for the team he grew up cheering for. But, unless Baltimore is one piece away from contention, it doesn't make sense to splurge on him. And it would take a big splurge, because he's not going to come to a losing team willingly, when he can make good money with a contender. I'm just trying to be realistic. Also, anyone who watched this team at the end of the season last year knows they are way more than one piece away from a contender, though they seem to be trying to give up their losing ways.

I'm excited to see what other changes are in store for O's faithful over the off season. And hope that Andy McPhail continues to make smart moves and address the changes that need to be made as well as changes the fans want to be made.