April 13, 2003

Hargrove's handling of pitching is problem

For the first time in five years, the Orioles have a decent front office and the makings of a respectable team, notably a group of quality starters and a deep and reliable bullpen. But as the talent on the field improves, and more and more games are closely contested, the ineptitude of the coaching staff and particularly of the game management of Mike Hargrove only becomes more apparent.

Hargrove's handling of the pitching staff was his downfall in Cleveland - even after winning five straight division titles he was run out of town because of his questionable handling of the bullpen in the playoffs - and if he does not change his ways, the same should be true in Birdland.

He seems to have no sense for the flow of the game, routinely sticking with guys who are clearly done until just after they have given up the decisive hit, and, less often but equally problematically, pulling pitchers who are throwing well merely to create a "favorable" left-right matchup.

Jal Mehta Baltimore

New Orioles leaders as clueless as old ones

Once again, the brain trust that runs baseball in Baltimore doesn't have a clue. First, a couple of years ago, they sold us on purging the Orioles of older players for younger, faster players and even the use of Rule 5-type players, in the hope of turning things around.

Now, this past winter, they teased Orioles fans by tempting stars to accept lower pay and come to play in Baltimore and accept losing. Then, winter was over and nobody came - no stars, no big names - only the older players they sent out a couple of years ago came back.

Everybody loves B.J. Surhoff, but he is not the answer to the future of the Orioles. So what did the big brains do? They got us another Rule 5 guy, Jose Morban, to sit on the bench and handcuff manager Hargrove with a short bench!

The best player I saw this spring was the only guy who looked like he hit the weight room all winter, and he got rewarded by being sent to Triple-A! Larry Bigbie should be in the outfield, and most people saw that, except the Orioles' twin GMs.

Michael W. Henley Glen Burnie

Women not deprived of places to play golf

It seems to me that Laura Vecsey should grab a sign and head down to Georgia to protest Augusta National's membership policies rather than waste any more of Baltimore's time with her babbling.

Laura, let's not kid ourselves - we're not talking about the right to vote here. If a bunch of rich women want to play golf, there are plenty of places to play. Instead, you and Martha Burk want to play at Augusta just because you can't, much the same way my 1-year-old son wants to play with the neighbor's toy while she has it even though there are a dozen other toys right in front of him.

So, take a busload of small children to Augusta with Martha and set up shop a half mile from the front gates where no one will see you.

Like another writer said, I'll close with a thank you - for allowing me to watch the Masters commercial-free this year.

John McKay Perry Hall

Blast win merited front-page treatment

The Baltimore Blast is in the championship Series for the first time in 11 years in the new MISL. Is it too much to ask The Sun to run some stories on the team?

It is disgraceful that our own local newspaper doesn't cover the home team. The argument that this team is not major league is silly. It doesn't matter. It's our team and it deserves to be covered by the local paper.

The day after clinching the Eastern Conference title, the Blast should have been on the sports section's front page. Instead, we got an article on Texas basketball player T.J. Ford - who cares!

I'm sure if the Blast fails to draw fans and leaves town, that would be on Page 1. Maybe a little support from the local paper might help attendance.

Barry Grzechowiak Rosedale

Blast is local team, but coverage is weak

As someone who grew up in Baltimore watching the Baltimore Blast in the 1980s, I believe over the years that they have become a part of our proud local sports heritage, much like the Orioles and now the Ravens.

It is a disappointment that The Sun does not agree enough to cover the Blast beyond a short sports brief now and again. The Sun should give this truly local team and its many longtime and new fans more attention.

Charles Kress Baltimore

Monday night games are all about ratings

In response to the gentleman with the letter last week regarding Monday night football snubbing the Ravens: The reason is basically due to ratings.

The Ravens have virtually no national following and 80 percent of the public couldn't name another Raven other than Ray Lewis. The Redskins, Cowboys and Bears do. Is it fair? Of course not, but that's what sports in general has become. It's all about ratings.

The Yankees could be the worst team in baseball and still would be on TV every week. Tiger Woods could be 15 shots out of the lead and we'd still be watching his every move.

So please don't blame this one on Baltimore paranoia for the NFL.

Patrick J. Yocum Hanover, Pa.

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