O's begin to reshape player development


Machemer, McLaughlin are dismissed

victims tribute set for tonight

September 21, 2001|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - The Orioles have begun a series of significant changes within their player development system by dismissing Bowie manager Dave Machemer and roving minor-league pitching coordinator Bo McLaughlin while also initiating a search for the long-vacant position of director of organizational instruction.

"The thought is that people now hired will fit in the direction the organization is now going - younger players with teaching and instruction recognized much more," director of player development Don Buford said.

The Orioles have offered the roving coordinator's post to Dave Schmidt, who has served as pitching coach at Single-A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie and most recently as Florida pitching coordinator.

Schmidt, the Orioles' Opening Day starter in 1989, enjoyed a 12-year major-league career before spending three years as assistant coach and pitching coach at UCLA.

"The background of pitching coordinator as instructor is very important. Dave taught at the college level and is very well-liked by pitching staffs at the major- and minor-league level," said Buford, supervising the Orioles' instructional league operation in Sarasota, Fla.

Realignment of minor-league staffs is pending, Buford said. Andy Etchebarren will return to Triple-A Rochester but the other staffs remain uncertain.

Machemer, 50, was let go earlier this month after managing his fourth different affiliate in as many seasons. In 2000 he managed Frederick to a first-half championship in the Carolina League and won the South Atlantic League second half with Delmarva in 1998.

McLaughlin, 47, joined the Orioles in 1998 as Bowie pitching coach. He was elevated to pitching coordinator the next season.

Camden Yards salute

The Orioles will honor the victims of last week's terrorist attacks before tonight's series opener against the New York Yankees.

Members of various area fire, search and rescue organizations will participate, including those that assisted after the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.

Tonight's tribute will include playing of Taps by the U.S. Naval Academy Band and the unfurling of a replica 1812 American flag. Instead of the traditional Take Me Out to the Ball Game and Thank God I'm a Country Boy, God Bless America will be sung during the seventh-inning stretch.

Goodbye Canada

Cal Ripken said goodbye to Toronto last night as he completed the 10th stop of his 12-city farewell tour around the major leagues.

The Blue Jays presented him with a $5,000 check to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation as well as tributes from manager Buck Martinez, chairman Paul Godfrey and general manager Gord Ash.

The Orioles also announced plans for Fan Appreciation Days tomorrow and Sunday instead of what were originally scheduled to be Ripken's final two games at Camden Yards.

The Orioles will repeat the "Shirt Off Our Backs" promotion from previous seasons on both days. Players also will greet fans entering Camden Yards both days.

Auction winner

A Pasadena businessman and sports memorabilia collector has bid $17,500 to secure a pair of autographed tickets to Ripken's final game, which the Orioles have rescheduled for Oct. 6.

Baltimore radio station WQSR conducted the auction, attracting bidders by saying the money would be donated to the American Red Cross for disaster relief.

Joe Memmel heard about the auction when he arrived at work Wednesday and called the radio station. He owns JJM Home Improvements of Glen Burnie.

He started with a bid of $4,000 for the two tickets, which come with a parking pass. The tickets and pass are all autographed by Ripken.

A full season-ticket holder, Memmel had given away the tickets to the rescheduled game, against Boston, thinking that Sunday's against New York would be Ripken's finale at Camden Yards. But the season was lengthened to accommodate games postponed in the wake of last week's attacks.

He was moved to buy the new tickets, $20 terrace box seats, by news that the money would go to aid victims of the terrorist attacks.

"It wasn't all about baseball," Memmel said.

Around the horn

Melvin Mora confirmed he will not play again this season in order to rest a sprained ligament in his left elbow. Mora hurt the elbow Sept. 3. ... Ripken needs to play in 16 of the Orioles' last 17 games in order to end his career with 3,000 games played. He needs eight more games to tie Willie Mays (2,992) for eighth all time.

Sun staff writer Jon Morgan contributed to this article.

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