Orioles' ups and downs

May 28, 2000|By Joe Strauss

Mike Mussina -- UP -- If he walks like a Moose but doesn't talk like a Moose, is he still a dominant pitcher? Ask the Red Sox, Rangers and Mariners.

No-trade clauses -- DOWN -- The Orioles want to restructure but they have limited or no contractual flexibility with Mussina, Scott Erickson, Brady Anderson, Albert Belle and B.J. Surhoff. Look at the bullpen deals and this is a team in a box.

Helms vs. Angelos -- UP -- Organizational policy against signing Cuban defectors has brought "plutocrat" Peter G. the wrath of Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms and perhaps the Justice Department. Hey, can't the Democratic National Committee take care of this? We thought Angelos meant he liked Juan Castro, the Dodgers' middle infielder.

"Goose" Johnson -- UP -- Tuesday's eighth inning by Jason Johnson was an eye-opener. A starter for now, Johnson may have unintentionally found a new calling.

Albert Belle -- DOWN -- A-bomb began the weekend in a home run drought with only the team's seventh-highest slugging percentage. Through 44 games, Belle, Surhoff and Will Clark generated a combined .413 slugging percentage. Mike Bordick, Delino DeShields and Cal Ripken were at a combined .503.

Buddy Groom -- UP -- He's no longer Buddy Ka-Boom. They named his high school field for him in Red Oak, Texas, last weekend. Now there's a whisper campaign for him as team MVP. Unquestionably Mike Hargrove's most trusted reliever.

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