The Sun asked readers for their opinions on the Orioles' dramatic roster changes, and they responded in a big way. Here are some of the best responses:
O's hit an all-time low
The Orioles' organization has hit an all-time low with the signing of Albert Belle. While Belle is a very talented and gifted player, he does not deserve the right to play major-league baseball, let alone wear the Orioles uniform.
The desire to win has clouded owner Peter Angelos' eyes and he is willing to sign a player who is the exact opposite of what the Orioles stand for. While everyone is human and capable of making mistakes, Belle has been a repeat offender and has a pretty extensive list of offenses.
I will always be an Orioles fan, but I will not attend another Orioles game as long as Belle is here.
In this case, winning is not everything.
Nice guys finish last
Suppose Ty Cobb were alive today and a free agent. Would he be rejected by the club owners because he was a mean guy?
The Orioles need more guys like Albert Belle. OK, he's overpaid like the rest of the sports world, but at least he comes to the ballpark each game to give it all he's got, and if he fails that day, he gets mad and breaks a few light bulbs and scowls at the media in the process.
Those nice guys on the Orioles always finish last.
Take a walk -- literally
Somebody had better tell Albert Belle to be patient. All he can look forward to this season is an automatic trot to first base. I wouldn't be surprised if he leads the league in walks. A manager wouldn't be out of line by ordering Belle walked with the bases loaded to prevent a big inning.
The Orioles' milquetoast, nonsupporting lineup wouldn't scare a mouse. Help is on the way -- but not until the following year, when fledgling performers in the minors start paying dividends.
Addition by subtraction
I applaud the signing of Albert Belle. Getting rid of Roberto Alomar, Armando Benitez and Rafael Palmeiro is addition by subtraction. All three were more interested in "me" rather than "we."
Granted, Palmeiro's bat will be missed, but I'd rather see a team on the field that overachieves rather than what we had in 1998.
Angel Mata Jr.
Lineup 'absolutely stupid'
I was appalled at the acquisition of Albert Belle and the loss of Rafael Palmeiro. Nothing positive has been accomplished. As a matter of fact, this team as presently constituted is absolutely stupid.
We now have a third base legend who is over the hill, a journeyman shortstop and no one at first base. True, defensive catching has been greatly improved, but the pitching is atrocious.
The addition of a troublemaker whose numbers are only slightly higher than a real class act, Palmeiro, could really be a disaster on the field and in the stands.
Orioles are selling out
The Orioles have gone down the path that most of America has during the last six years, selling one's soul to the devil for momentary gain. We know President Clinton is bad, but he's been good for our pocketbooks, so we overlook his transgressions. We sign Albert Belle and forget about the baggage he carries with him.
Oh, for the good old days!
My overall assessment of the roster changes is a big F for failure. The addition of Charles Johnson at catcher is a plus, and perhaps the new closer, Mike Timlin, could be considered a move in the right direction, but every other change is a negative.
Peter Angelos is a smart guy and has been good for Baltimore, but his decision to retain pending free agents last season in an unsuccessful try for a playoff spot has really cost the Orioles.
Home run chase here?
It's time for a new Oriole Way: score runs, play hard and play mean. The old way hasn't been working. With Albert Belle, Charles Johnson and Mike Timlin, the Orioles probably have added a three-run differential per game compared to last season.
There's an added dimension to Belle's signing. Imagine a home run chase like the one in St. Louis and Chicago last year right here at Oriole Park. That would invigorate everyone on the team and raise everyone's performance.
Craig Alan Leigh
Front office has no plan
The inability of Peter Angelos and Co. to run a professional organization has again resulted in a chaotic winter that will again result in a disappointing summer.
Just as with Brady Anderson last year, by not negotiating earlier with Rafael Palmeiro, B. J. Surhoff and Alan Mills, they are lost or will get more than they're worth.
To keep the core of your team intact, you have to have a plan and a sense of baseball economics. The Orioles' front office has neither.
The pitching situation has three core starters with less offensive support than last year and a bullpen that will be less effective. Mike Timlin will fall far short in his role as closer. Defensively, catching will be better, but Charles Johnson will not help an already weak offense.