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gtman55

I think I found Tony's old Orioles/Syd Thrift article from 2002

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1 hour ago, gtman55 said:

I've been trying to track this down for a couple days and doing my best Sherlock Holmes work I think I finally found it. It's quite a read:

https://web.archive.org/web/20021012004905/http://www.orioleshangout.com:80/tony/tt020927.htm

 

Thanks for finding that. I haven't read that in years. 

I still stand by my way forward. Unfortunately it appears Mr. Angelos didn't agree. Haha

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2 hours ago, gtman55 said:

I've been trying to track this down for a couple days and doing my best Sherlock Holmes work I think I finally found it. It's quite a read:

https://web.archive.org/web/20021012004905/http://www.orioleshangout.com:80/tony/tt020927.htm

 

Excellent!  Scary description of the Thrift, Demacio era and the bad drafting and developmental disasters that directly led to the next decade of awfulness. 

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I thought it was interesting now that the orioles have hired Mike Elias to go back to my recommendations back in 2002. 

Here a list of ten steps the Orioles need to take to become the first-class organization that they once were, and (just as important) to get back to their traditionally winning ways.

The first five items address the need to revamp the organization in ways critical to the team's performance on the field, though these changes must happen behind the scenes:

1. HIRE AN INNOVATIVE GM

First things first: Syd Thrift must be let go and he must be replaced with an energetic, creative, visionary who's not afraid to try some new concepts and not afraid to step out of the norm. This organization needs a leader, a guy who can create a one-team attitude. He must be able to have full authority to run the franchise. Angelos should give him his budget, and let him shape the club as he sees fit. He must have full authority to hire and fire anyone in the system, or at least have the authority to delegate that responsibility to the Farm Director, who should be allowed to hand-pick the staff. Although Tony DeMacio has done an outstanding job, it should be up to the new GM to decide whether or not he stays on, since he has to be sure that all of his team members are on the same page and under the same philosophy. The same goes for Mike Hargrove and his staff. Finally, Angelos will be wise not to get caught in the trap of thinking that the GM needs to be a seasoned baseball man who has held every job in a professional baseball organization. The success of the Yankees' Brian Cashman and Oakland's Billy Beane is a better example and shows what can happen by giving young, smart guys a chance.

2. SAME TEAM, SAME PHILOSOPHY THROUGHOUT ORGANIZATION

Without a doubt, the new GM must have a sound and coherent baseball philosophy and be prepared to institute that philosophy throughout the system. The major league and minor league pitching and hitting coaches should be working under the same philosophy, so that from the time a player arrives in the organization until the time he steps into Camden Yards, he's been taught the same thing year after year. This is why it's so important that the new GM be allowed to handpick his Farm Director and Scouting Director as well as hiring his assistants. Everyone must be on the same sheet of music, with no exceptions, and with no behind-the-scenes power struggles.

3. BECOME TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED

The organization must think outside the box by using new technologies like collaboration software and servers, which allow multiple users to share ideas, documents, voice, and video across the Internet in a secure environment. Imagine a meeting each day with the farm director at Camden Yards, the GM on a laptop in a hotel in New York, minor league managers and scouts with laptops in their hotel rooms discussing last night's games and action. No more calling up for voice reports for the game, but an actual interactive conversation with the professionals who saw the plays happen live.

Take that information and have it entered into an online scouting service which can be accessed by anyone in the system from scout, to manager, to coach, to front office. One such system is IBM's PROS ("Prospect Reporting and Organizational Solution"), a Web-based software application that allows scouts to quickly collect, store and access information on prospects and players. The Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets already use this system.

Also, the minor league system of analyzing players' performances could be much better if more information were charted and tracked. Instead of having minor league pitchers chart the velocity and type of pitch on a piece of paper, have each use a pocket pc with pitch/bat charting software like Chartmine/E-chart from Competitive Edge Decision systems or Pro Scout from Inside Edge, Inc. This data can be uploaded into databases which can then be viewed by people within the organization as well as being shared with the players during workout sessions and pre-game preparation.

4. MAKE EVERYONE FEEL THEY ARE PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL

Everyone wants to be part of something special. Young military men put themselves through excruciating tests of physical and mental duress to become part of the Army's Special Forces or Rangers, and Navy personnel go even further to become SEALs. Why? Because if they make it, they truly became part of a special team, a special group of individuals that have accomplished a great deal just to get where they are. That type of mentality should be instilled in every minor league player that comes into the system.

On day one the new recruits should be shown a film of Brooks Robinson throwing out Lee May in the 1970s World Series or Cal Ripken catching the last out of the 1983 Series in Philadelphia. They should be shown Jim Palmer on the mound and Frank Robinson at the plate. These future Orioles should hear past and present Orioles talk about the things Cal Ripken Sr. stood for, about what a special honor it is to put on the uniform of the Baltimore Orioles. 

Class, hard work, hustle and dedication should be expected from each player in the system. The consequences of breaking a spelled-out code of conduct should include being benched, demoted or released, depending on the offense. In return, the coaching staff will be dedicated, hard-working men who believe in the philosophy of the organization and who want to work with the young men they are given.

5. TREAT PLAYERS AS INDIVIDUALS

Each player that comes into the organization is different. They come from diverse backgrounds and education levels, with unique characteristics that differentiate each one from another regardless of skill level. When a player is signed, the minor league staff and scouts should assess him and an individual developmental plan (IDP) should be outlined to show a player his strengths and weaknesses.  This IDP should follow the player from each level so that when the player is promoted, the new coaching staff knows what the player is working on and what he does well, along with other notes from the previous coaching staff and organizational scouts who have seen him.

Just as importantly, at the end of the year, the player should be counseled on his season and his IDP should be discussed. The organization should develop an offseason program tailored to the player with such things as drills, fitness, and weight training included.

Besides the quality of the baseball organization, the packaging of the baseball product to its fans is also important.  The next five items address shortcomings in this area:

6. OFFER $5 FAMILY SECTIONS

Offer one section in the stadium where seats are five bucks if they are bought with a child's ticket. Limit adult seating to two adults per child's ticket, and allow an unlimited number of children's tickets per adult. A child would be anyone under the age of 18 accompanying an adult. This arrangement will encourage families to come to the park. A family of four paying $20 to see a game is much more inclined to buy food and souvenirs then if they have already plunked down $80.

7. FANFEST CHANGES

Drop the price of the annual FAN FEST to $5 and make it bigger. Bring back more ex-Orioles and offer up more fan forums, in more intimate settings like smaller conference rooms. Fans love the ability to interact with ex-players, even the Mark Williamsons of the world. Encourage more major and minor league players to attend and allow them to mingle with the crowd. At last year’s FAN FEST, players like John Parrish, Josh Towers and Matt Riley could be seen enjoying their time interacting with the fans with Parrish and Riley spending lots of time just standing in the crowd talking with whoever had something to say. The autograph sessions are fine for the people who like that kind of thing, but they allow little time for chit-chat. Also, add in more Orioles trivia with prizes, maybe even an Orioles jeopardy show with contestants picked at random. These changes will allow for the players and the fans to feel more like a community, and just might bring some of that old Orioles magic back.

8. TURN DOWN THE NOISE

For God's sake, turn down the volume of the music between innings. Why in the world a fan should have to scream to the person next to them in order to have a conversation is beyond me. A lot of people have complained about this, but apparently it has gone on deaf ears. Perhaps the person in charge of music was sitting in the upper deck near one of the speakers?

9. MORE AUTOGRAPHS AFTER GAMES

With Cal Ripken gone, it seems as though the players nowadays can't get into the dugouts fast enough after games. What's so wrong with hanging out a little while after games to sign some autographs for the fans?

10. SOMEHOW, HIRE JON MILLER BACK

With all due respect to Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra, the firing of Jon Miller may have been the worst decision Peter Angelos ever made. Miller is the best in the business because he was still worth listening to in 10-1 routs (which would have come in handy the last few seasons). I'm sure Miller is happy in San Francisco, but maybe the lure of a big payday and a lifetime supply of Maryland Blue Crabs could bring him back.

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The very first line...

Quote

With the Orioles completing their fifth consecutive losing season and with a farm system in disarray, it's doesn't take a rocket scientist to know there is a problem.

How naive we all were then! 😛

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

Tony, your “way forward” was incredibly prescient.    

Not too bad for 18 years ago. :D That article reminds me how much time I spent back then knowing personnel in the scouting and development areas and players. 

I wish they had done some of these things a little sooner! 

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