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SteveA

Brit on 2013 Orioles

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Yes, sorry, it's a paywall (Athletic).   But Brit Ghiroli continues her excellent series recounting each of her years as a beat writer, and the 2013 article is especially interesting.   Especially when she talks about Adair and the pitching staff.   I've included a few excerpts, which I think is allowable, as I have included less than 10% of the article.

https://theathletic.com/1860588/2020/06/09/no-one-needs-to-know-about-this-inside-the-beat-2013-orioles/

What if I told you I covered a team with five American League All-Stars, the best fielding percentage in baseball, a closer who turned in his second consecutive 50-save season and a guy who led baseball in home runs and runs batted in? What if I told you that same team not only didn’t win the World Series, they didn’t even make the playoffs?

...

You started to see it in 2011, the big, lost eyes of one of their young starters, every time they got their teeth kicked in. Arrieta, Zack Britton, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, all the so-called “cavalry” that were supposed to come in and lead Baltimore back to baseball prominence. Two years later, none of them had figured out a way to be consistent. (By then, Bergesen was out of pro baseball entirely.)

Battles with pitching coach Rick Adair were a normal thing.  So were Adair’s alcohol-laced rants when one of them struggled and inevitably got sent down to Triple-A. When it came to pitching and mechanics, it was Adair’s way or nothing and it weighed on guys. Arrieta, after one particularly brutal start in Tampa Bay in 2012, turned to the Baltimore Sun’s Ed Encina and me in the visiting clubhouse and seriously asked, “What do you guys think?” We came up to the press box shell-shocked. Here was a guy with all the stuff and bravado in the world — the team’s Opening Day starter the previous year — so lost that he asked two lowly beat reporters their opinion. And he meant it! It was one of the most bizarre, and sad, interactions I’ve ever had.

...

I had heard whispers of guys complaining about the way Adair treated them for years. The winter heading into 2013, I saw it firsthand. Adair texted me late one offseason night furious about something I’d written. Someone being mad at you comes with the territory of being a beat writer, but the vitriol made it noteworthy. It was the middle of the night and I woke up to a slew of cuss-filled and intimidating messages. I didn’t respond. Adair apologized later with a mailed handwritten note and sent me a VISA gift card. “No one needs to know about this,” he said in closing the letter on Orioles stationary. I was young, female and very aware of how every interaction looked. So, I complied. But after that, I never thought the young pitchers were exaggerating. Guys would whip out their cell phones to show me some of their own Adair conversations. Whatever you wanted to call his style, it clearly wasn’t working.

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Have to wonder whether Adair's vitriol, at least in part, shattered the confidence of Arrieta and others (Strop?) to the point they were unable to perform.  If so, that certainly cost the team dearly in the long run, to lose such capable talent.

Adair left the team for "personal reasons" around August 27 2013. 

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We'd heard a lot of different stories about Adair and read the tea leaves about what guys thought about him and how he negatively impacted player development, but that's beyond damning.  People are allowed to have their own problems and demons, but how Buck could find that acceptable and keep the guy around as long as he did if there's any truth at all is astounding.

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3 minutes ago, beantownrefugee said:

Have to wonder whether Adair's vitriol, at least in part, shattered the confidence of Arrieta and others (Strop?) to the point they were unable to perform.  If so, that certainly cost the team dearly in the long run, to lose such capable talent.

Adair left the team for "personal reasons" around August 27 2013. 

Well, he certainly didn't help Arrieta.  I mean, if it was "his way or the highway" for mechanics, that wasn't going to work for Arrieta.  Arrieta threw across his body a little bit, IIRC, and that was the issue.  It had worked for him in college, the Orioles wanted to change it and the results were disastrous.  Pretty sure when he got to the Cubs they let him do what came naturally to him and allowed him to flourish.

If this organization hadn't been so stupid or so hardheaded, he might have done wonders for us and we might have had a ALCS title somewhere in that run.

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lol - I don't have to think too hard at all of those folks here who assured us that "Jake was never going to be successful in Bmore" and some here complained that he was successful IMMEDIATELY, and I mean immediately, after leaving here.

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I was going to post something a couple of years ago but never did. I just never felt comfortable publicly talking about someone on a personal level with demons. I was in the right place at the right time when I heard the story.

What Britt says confirms what I heard about Adair 100%. I heard about his drinking. Was told he would send late night text messages to Arrieta saying you’re a blanking p word.  

It goes without saying it’s hard to justify Buck keeping him around. I mean there is no way he didn’t know about stuff like this. Who knows how things would have changed.  

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I enjoyed the 2013 season. It certainly lacked the magic of the previous year but it also confirmed 2012 wasn’t a fluke. We were in the playoff race deep into September. 

A bunch of tough one run losses which of course was the opposite of 2012 which Britt alluded to in her article. Certainly more good than bad that year. 

I have thought for awhile that Britt isn’t a big fan of Chris Davis. I don’t know, just my perception. The article has a story in there about him. In the story she says she always thought he would be an excellent politician one day. 

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3 minutes ago, SteveA said:

Nope,   I'm guessing you didn't scroll to the author biography at the bottom?

I did, but didn’t read carefully.  Lol. I see that he was born in ‘58.  His 2011-2013 pictures make him look older, so I didn’t the Vietnam reference was all that off. He looked about mid 60s when he was with the O’s.  But, yeah, not him.

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Just now, backwardsk said:

I did, but didn’t read carefully.  Lol. I see that he was born in ‘58.  His 2011-2013 pictures make him look older, so I didn’t the Vietnam reference was all that off. He looked about mid 60s when he was with the O’s.  But, yeah, not him.

And the author has been sober 13 years.   

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