Changing The Losing Mindset Of All Involved
Throughout the week, PressBox baseball writers will be sharing their thoughts on what the Orioles need to do to sustain their 2012 success for 2013 and beyond.
• Jim Henneman: Could (And Should) The Orioles Trade For James Shields?
• Matt Palmer: What Do Orioles Need To Do To Sustain 2012 Success?
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
What do the Orioles need to do to sustain the 2012 success for 2013 and beyond?
This is an especially intriguing question, which leaves many different angles to shoot an answer from.
When referencing "all involved," one is speaking not just about the players on the field. Of course, they are the most important part of the equation, but equally important to ending a losing mindset after such a long time in the basement is obtaining the requisite confidence from employees, the media and fans.
For that, Orioles manager Buck Showalter, former general manager Andy MacPhail and current general manager Dan Duquette get the lion's share of the credit. Showalter is the engine that drove the creation of a winning environment, one center fielder Adam Jones wanted to be a part of. That sent a powerful signal to the Orioles' locker room -- aided by several acquisitions MacPhail made -- which Duquette furthered along. Basically the message was, if the present pitchers don't live up to expectations, the club has to add more experienced arms that can step up. In the cases of Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Darren O'Day, there was wisdom in that philosophy.
Once the Orioles replaced the losing mindset, that speed bump was over for the time being. That does not mean more changes shouldn't happen, but it does mean a new system has been installed and the players are all in. Although a new mindset is not as easy to quantify as picking up a star free-agent arm, this was the most important accomplishment of 2012. It puts the team miles ahead of where it had been, and that is important to sustaining success.
The smart brain trust is in place and has been established. It is not something the Orioles have to search for in 2013 and beyond.
I have long thought the idea that a good manager can alter five games is nonsense. And I feel confident in saying that Showalter was the exception. He came into this particular job not only aware of some changes the team had to make, but he knew of some changes he had to make for the team to succeed.
Meanwhile, Duquette had meteoric success at an early age, which swelled his ego and allowed him to obtain his dream job: running the team he grew up with, the Boston Red Sox. But in 2002, Duquette was let go partly because the new ownership group consisting of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino had a plan that didn't gel with Duquette's reputation as an egomaniac. Unfortunately for Duquette, he didn't get a chance to change.
Humbled by his nine-year absence from the show, a new Duquette emerged in 2012, in tandem with Showalter. It is the Orioles' smartest brain trust since GM Pat Gillick and manager Davey Johnson.
This new brain trust accurately assessed the Orioles' talent and where the team needed to improve.
I'll close by saying this observer, who has witnessed the inner workings of Orioles baseball since the '70s, is confident about the approach the team is taking in making the Orioles a winner for years to come.
Posted Oct. 24, 2012