Put Cal at thirdI suggest to Johnny Oates when 1994 spring...


September 26, 1993

Put Cal at third

I suggest to Johnny Oates when 1994 spring training starts he should move Cal Ripken to third base and put Manny Alexander at shortstop. There have been many games this year where Cal has not gotten to the ground balls to either side of him. This is a sign of slowing up. I know Cal's wishes are to stay at shortstop until he breaks Ernie Banks' home-run record and Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games record. Why should Cal's goals be given precedence over the team's goals?

James McAdams

Glen Burnie

Oates costing victories

I can't help but wonder how many games the Orioles have lost because of Johnny Oates.

How many games were lost early in the season when Gregg Olson was struggling and Oates insisted on replacing effective pitchers in the ninth inning just to get him an opportunity for a save?

In Olson's absence, the Orioles lost a crucial game in Boston when the lead was lost in the sixth inning. Oates used a struggling Brad Pennington because he was saving his two "closers," [Alan] Mills and [Jim] Poole, in the event that a save could he had in the ninth. Unfortunately, by that time, the lead had been lost. Since when were save statistics more important than winning games?

How many games did the team lose in the first half when Oates insisted that Cal Ripken bat third despite having several good hitters mired low in the order for Ripken enduring a slump that had been going on for a year and a half. When Ripken was finally moved down in the order, he responded and had a fine second half. Unfortunately, by that time, the lack of timely hitting at the top of the order had resulted in a poor first half for the team.

The veteran players like Oates. No wonder. His priority seems to be to please them rather than to win games. Younger players like [Jack] Voigt, [Paul] Carey and [Sherman] Obando were benched immediately after having outstanding games so as not to hurt veterans' feelings by sitting them down temporarily.

Oates' friendly nature made friends of the Yankees by not asking the umpires to confer on a late inning, fan-assisted home run. A little intensity might have made winners of the Orioles that day.

And until he puts winning above statistics, friendship and ego, the team will always be disadvantaged by his presence.

Bob Marchinetti


Decision time

Why is Orioles manager Johnny Oates allowing Mark Williamson to pitch after he has been ineffective in so many outings? Williamson has entered games two or three runs ahead and lost them.

Then there's the case of Mike Devereaux, who has been hot and cold all year, mostly cold. What galls me is the fact he continues to bat in the No. 3 slot with very little result. Doesn't the manager realize he has other outfielders who could be more profitable?

I hope Manager Oates realizes now is the time to make the right decision.

Milton Parran


Think positive

In the wake of the Orioles' spectacular difficulties, we should examine all avenues of helping to turn the trend around. For example, we all need an encouraging word now and then, especially when times are tough.

For the most part, writers and radio and TV personalities are supportive to a fault. John Eisenberg, Rex Barney, Jon Miller, Brooks Robinson and Chuck Thompson don't hesitate to call attention to obvious failings but are always supportive. There can be no doubt that such support translates into better team morale and performance.

But the support of five or 10 sports luminaries can be short-circuited by negativism and doom-saying of one or two well-placed self-appointed critics. It is natural for fans to want to second guess and to be off-the-field managers -- we all need to blow off steam and the sports call-in shows provide a real service. But the host should tactfully soften criticism of irate callers, rather than fan the flames, particularly when a good player is singled out for one mistake or when a player of proven ability (such as Cal Ripken) is ridiculed for a slow start. Jeff Rimer is frequently negative.

William H. Waters


Demand a recount

There are times when one and one do not necessarily make two. Writer Larry Magner in his letter of Sept. 16 shows excellent mathematical logic as to how each baseball team's last 19 games won/lost totals should come out even. However, he shows little knowledge of the real baseball world.

Suppose Team A played Team B on Day One and won the game. In the subsequent 10 days, because of a day off, Team A played nine more games and lost them all. Team B, however, did not have a day off and played 10 more games against opponents other than Team A in those same 10 days and won them all. The win from Day One would show up in the listing of Team A's last 10 games, and its record would be 1-9, but the loss on Day One would not be counted in Team B's last 10 games, and its record would be 10-0.

Jerry Dean


Longtime fan rebuffed

I have read that all season tickets for our future NFL team will be assigned by raffle. This is hardly fair to those of us who supported the NFL bid by putting our name on the season-ticket waiting list over the past few years. The first season tickets should go to those on the waiting list, and the rest should be assigned by raffle.

Allan C. Stover

Ellicott City

Where's the game?

Between [Mel] Proctor and his self-promotions and [Jim] Palmer and his name droppings, I don't know whether I am watching a talk show or a ballgame.

Why don't they both shut up and let [John] Lowenstein announce the game?

James T. McKenna


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