Where are boys of September?
Watching the Orioles fade out of the pennant race during the past several weeks doesn't take a genius to figure out what went wrong. Somebody should have reminded them that they were playing for the pennant and that the games were more than meaningless exhibitions. Their desire and intensity left a lot to be desired. That makes me wonder what type of motivator manager Johnny Oates is. It took Rick Sutcliffe to bring out in the open how the Orioles' team spirit and enthusiasm was lacking. Maybe Oates should take lessons from Earl Weaver, whose Orioles teams always took charge in September.
Parkville It is absurd to continue batting a slumping Cal Ripken fourth or fifth during the middle of a pennant race. Johnny Oates should move him farther down the lineup and let Chris Hoiles and Joe Orsulak bat ahead of him or sit Cal down a game or two (preferably the latter). Let's not continue to gamble the pennant away, hoping Cal will come out of his slump, especially when we have capable, deserving players, batting seventh and eighth in the lineup. Our chances of winning the pennant are disappearing as quickly as Cal's batting average.
Hitting is winning
I have held back my two cents for a long time, but felt that after reading some of Johnny Oates' and Greg Biagini's quotes in Jim Henneman's article on slumps in The Sun on Sept. 16, it is time to let go. Oates' quotes seem to center on aggressiveness and over-aggressiveness; very true in desperate players who flail away trying to make a hit. I see some of that on the Orioles. But that is not the basic problem.
I perceive a lack of direction in hitting.
Every hitter on the Orioles has one basic swing: Drive for the fences. That's fine for the heavy hitter on his first and second strike, but then he should swing with better bat control by choking up. The not-so-heavy hitters should practice bat control nearly all the time. How many base runners have died on third this year? That is a clear answer to what is wrong. No one sacrifices his home run swing for a situational, controlled swing to drop one over the infield. Oates admits that situational hitting is terrible; we all know that. When are the Orioles coaches going to do something about it?
Hey, critics, join the club
Every Sunday morning I make a cup of coffee, buy a Sun and pull out the sports section. After viewing the headlines I turn the pages slowly until I reach the Letters section. After stopping to get a sip of my morning brew I almost choke at the sight of yet another criticism letter. Look, people and supposedly Orioles fans, if you're not Johnny Oates or any other Orioles official, put a lid on it.
Any true Orioles fanatic sticks with the team through blood and water. Granted that some of the Orioles are not having "career years," but it's a team effort. A letter in last week's paper stated that the Orioles should get rid of several players. Included in those players were Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Sam Horn. Look at what these players have given to the Orioles in the past. How could anyone be so absurd? The Orioles have been one of the most exciting teams in baseball this year. Every game there is a different player contributing to the team's success. From now on, let's give the Orioles the respect, support and praise that a true Oriole fan contributes.
Albert Mooney Jr.
All Cal ever gives is his best
All right all you Ripken critics: Shut up! You act like Cal owes you something beyond his best effort, which he is obviously giving. Cal is slumping offensively for many over-publicized reasons. He has still been one of the steadiest shortstops in the majors. He is the top of the league in fielding percentage, put outs and assists. He only has 10 errors in more than 150 games. You can't say that about Manny Alexander. Just where were you last year while Cal was turning in the best offensive and defensive performance in the majors? Counting your blessings, if you were smart. Now you turn on him like a bunch of Bostonians. I always believed Baltimore fans had more class than that.
Sitting in the breacher seats?
I hold a 29-game ticket plan with the Orioles, and I was told, by the Oriole ticket office, that I must take my chances along with 13-game plan ticket holders and enter a lottery to get All-Star tickets for 1993. The problem that I have with the front office is that my ticket contract states that I'm guaranteed
All-Star tickets for next year. Does this qualify as a breach of contract? I think that the Orioles ticket office should reconsider this idea and keep their end of the bargain.
At Camden Yards, it's culture