As one of five candidates withdrew from consideration, Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos yesterday pledged to name the club's next general manager by next weekend, following a quickly arranged second round of interviews.
"It needs to be completed," Angelos said. "Unfortunately, I have been preoccupied by other obligations recently and haven't been able to meet any of the highly qualified men under consideration. I plan on addressing that as quickly as possible."
Beginning this weekend, Angelos intends to meet for an hour or two with Cleveland Indians assistant general manager Dan O'Dowd, Florida Marlins assistant general manager Frank Wren, Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Dean Taylor and Chicago White Sox assistant general manager Dan Evans.
The 3-week-old search no longer includes Jim Bowden, who withdrew his name yesterday after agreeing to a four-year contract extension as the Cincinnati Reds' general manager.
Bowden was the only candidate with experience as a general manager and enjoyed the support of Orioles director of player development Syd Thrift.
Considered by outsiders to be the presumptive successor to Pat Gillick, Bowden had encountered opposition from some factions within the organization, including that of manager Ray Miller, an advocate of Wren.
Bowden phoned chief operating officer Joe Foss with his decision. Foss then spent the remainder of the afternoon arranging interviews with the remaining candidates; he anticipates the secondary phase will be concluded by Wednesday.
"Jim was a very viable candidate. He leaves one less to select from and in that sense simplifies the process a bit," Foss said.
Citing uncertain ownership, Bowden had been reluctant to commit to remaining in Cincinnati beyond his current contract. But yesterday he cited his ties to the city as motivation for remaining. In addition, suspended managing partner Marge Schott appears close to selling her stake in the club to minority shareholders, thereby resolving a tumultuous time for the club.
"Baltimore has a great ballpark and a situation with a lot of potential, but I'm loyal to Cincinnati. I'm a Cincinnatian," Bowden said. "What most amazed me was the support of the fans. I'd be walking down the street going to lunch and people would come up to me saying they wished I would stay. I feel appreciated here."
Initially, Angelos was expected to meet with two or three finalists; however, Foss and his committee chose not to rank those interviewed, leaving Angelos to make the determination. Foss says he has been impressed by all those interviewed. His reports to Angelos have detailed the vision of each candidate, including organizational structure and opinions on the club's pending free agents.
"I didn't think it was appropriate to make any recommendations on any of the candidates," Foss said. "If Peter asks for further information, I'll provide it."
Angelos said that if his schedule does not allow him to meet with all candidates, he will ask the screening committee headed by Foss to make a recommendation. A club source indicated such a scenario playing out is "unlikely."
"My feeling is that a person who is in charge of any kind of operation has to hear all sides and make a decision," Angelos said.
Foss met at length with Angelos on Tuesday, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
"Peter felt it important to visit with them all," said Foss, whose recommendations were overwhelmingly positive regarding all of the candidates.
"When you simplify the whole process and give everyone's credentials, the most critical relationship is the one between the general manager and the owner."
The Orioles, meanwhile, experienced another in what are expected to be a significant number of defections when scouting administrator Matt Slater announced he has accepted a job as assistant scouting director for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Former Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone was named Dodgers general manager on Sept. 11.
Gillick's last day as general manager is Oct. 25. He has yet to announce his plans.
Pub Date: 10/09/98