O's embrace one of their own Hurt by Johnson exit, players applaud vote for continuity, Miller

New boss has their respect

'Laid-back, easygoing. Davey was like that'

November 12, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Davey Johnson's resignation as Orioles manager last week still doesn't sit well with many of his former players, but the hiring of pitching coach Ray Miller as his replacement yesterday has smoothed some ruffled feathers.

"I think everybody's still kind of wondering what happened with the Davey situation, but it's over and we were all anticipating who was going to be the next manager," said reliever Jesse Orosco. "I think everybody's going to be able to adjust to it well now. I'm pleased with the decision, but I'm sorry to see Davey go."

Familiarity, in this instance, breeds contentment.

"It's definitely nice to see somebody that's been around there," catcher Chris Hoiles said from his Ohio home, "especially this past year. We had a great year, and Ray knows the guys who have been there. To me, it's a championship club, and I'm glad to see they kept it with somebody who's been around us and knows what we have and what we need, instead of bringing somebody else in with their views and ideas."

Hoiles, like so many Orioles, had no idea that Johnson would leave, "but now that he has, I respect Ray and have a lot of good feelings toward him from what he brought to us last year. I think he's very qualified to do the job."

"I'm happy for him," said pitcher Scott Kamieniecki. "I think he's going to be good for the job. He's laid-back, easygoing. Davey was like that, too. The thing about Ray, too, is he's always positive, never down on anybody. I think that helps through the long haul.

"With Davey, it speaks for itself how successful he was, and I think Ray will have a good shot at it."

Shortstop Mike Bordick said he didn't know what to expect from a managerial search that didn't stray far from Miller, but was glad the position went to someone within the organization. Continuity scored big with these guys.

"I think it's good not to mix things up too much," Bordick said. "I know losing Davey was huge, but at least keep some of the coaching staff intact. Ray obviously knows our pitchers so well and the other players, so I think it'll be a pretty smooth transition for him.

"Ray's been in that position before as a manager and he's very familiar and has a great knowledge of the game. I don't think it should be that much of a transition for him or our team."

Part of the rap against Miller when he managed in Minnesota for parts of two seasons, beginning in 1985, was that he still acted like a pitching coach, spending more time with his staff than his position players. But the Orioles who were contacted yesterday said Miller had a good relationship with everyone in their clubhouse.

"A lot of guys respect him," Kamieniecki said. "He's easy to talk to and communicate with."

"He's got a great personality," Bordick said. "He's upfront. He didn't shy away at all from communicating with the infielders. Obviously, he enjoys being involved with everybody."

"I had a very good rapport with him," Hoiles said. "It seemed like he got along with everybody and respected everybody and the job that they had to do."

Said Orosco: "I noticed Ray just had great communication with everybody, not just the pitchers. Ray tried to put the whole game in perspective. He tried to bring in pitchers to talk to the hitters and hitters to talk to the pitchers, so you could get both sides of the game. I think he'll emphasize that even more. That'll come automatically in play for him now."

Reliever Terry Mathews said the most important task of a manager is working the pitching staff, a clear advantage for Miller.

"I don't see why he wouldn't be able to step in and do a good job," Mathews said. "I don't think Ray and Davey are much different at all. Ray seemed to have a laid-back attitude. He confronted and took on the problems and didn't blow up and get furious when things didn't go our way. He didn't overreact, and I don't think Davey did that either."

Said Hoiles: "Ray definitely loved his job and went about it the right way, like a true professional. I thought Davey did the same with the job he had. He expected a lot from us, and I think we gave it to him the two years he was here. I'm sorry to see him go, but Ray has very good enthusiasm."

And a familiar face, an important trait for a group of players who have seen enough change since the season again ended one step short of the World Series.

"It seems like we're so close and our team is really solid," Bordick said. "I know you have the whole length of spring training to get comfortable with the manager, but it's going to be easier with somebody who's been around the team."

Pub Date: 11/12/97

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