Murray goes through 2 sets of questions

Off 4-hour O's interview, media Q&A, ex-star atop list of manager hopefuls

`I hope to see you again'

Hall of Famer answers every question

no other interviews before Oct. 13

October 03, 2003|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

Eddie Murray looked comfortable.

He smiled. He answered every question. He even cracked a few jokes.

After spending about four hours yesterday interviewing for the Orioles' vacant managerial post with vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, Murray went through a 25-minute question-and-answer session with the local media and never flinched.

When it was over, Murray got up from the table, rising above all the microphones and tape recorders, and said, "Thanks, folks. I hope to see you again."

If the Orioles were curious to see how Murray's media session would go - and clearly, they were, given his testy past relationship with the press - Murray passed with flying colors. He left the B&O warehouse looking like the leading candidate for the job.

"Right now," Murray said, "this could be a special situation here, with where the ballclub is and wanting to make a few changes here and there. And it's a place that I know, believe it or not, I'm comfortable. So it could be fun, and you just have to wait and see."

Because of scheduling conflicts for Beattie and Flanagan, the Orioles don't plan to interview anyone else until Oct. 13. As of last night, they still had not set up an interview with bench coach Sam Perlozzo, who is believed to be another leading candidate.

The Orioles have received permission from the Milwaukee Brewers to interview their bench coach, Rich Dauer. Other candidates include Orioles first-base coach Rick Dempsey, Triple-A Ottawa manager Gary Allenson and New York Yankees third base coach Willie Randolph.

After interviewing Murray yesterday, the Orioles crossed another superstar off their list: Cal Ripken.

"I called Cal to check on players that he felt should be deserving of interviews," Flanagan said, "and also asked if he had any interest."

Ripken said thanks, but no thanks. With a 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, he prefers to work close to home these days.

"Cal was very flattered that the Orioles thought of him and asked him," said Ripken's spokesman, John Maroon. "Right now, if there were an opportunity to shape an organization and to be home-based, it would be appealing to him, but the idea of being beholden to the same travel schedule he had for 21 years as a player is not appealing. That doesn't mean it won't be later in his life."

So the day belonged to Murray, who was planning to be in town anyway before the Orioles asked him to come interview. After meeting with Beattie and Flanagan, Murray walked into the news conference wearing slacks, an open-collared shirt and a leather jacket.

"This is part of the process for all the candidates," Orioles public relations director Bill Stetka told the assembled media. "It's not just a chance for you to talk to them, it's a chance for us to see how they react."

Murray sat down and interrupted the first question to fix a television microphone that had fallen down. Here's a sampling of the rest:

How did the interview go?

"I felt good about it; I hope they did," Murray said. "There are some things I can bring to the table, and we'll just have to wait and see until they make their decision."

Can he bring back the Oriole Way?

"Not everything, because the world has changed a little bit, especially how you handle and deal with some of the younger guys today," he said. "But I think there's some things you can outline and maybe get things headed back that way, so people can be accountable for their actions and their preparations for the game."

When did he first think about managing?

"It might have been about five years before I retired," he said. "Right now, I really think this would be a good time. I think this would just be a great time for this to happen."

How about his lack of managerial experience?

"Believe it or not, everybody has done that at one time or another, not having the experience at the big league level," Murray said. "But until you're given a chance, we'll see what happens."

What did he learn coaching Cleveland's young hitters this year?

"Patience," he said.

Was he surprised when the Orioles invited back the entire coaching staff before hiring a manager?

"That's not a problem at all," he said. "I know them all; I played with them. We've sat down at the table before and tried to get things accomplished, and I know that they're workers."

Would he scream at players the way Earl Weaver did?

"I can yell and scream, but I don't like to," he said. "I would try and talk to them. There are times you need to yell, and it may not be at an individual, but you go in and voice your displeasure about the way they performed.

"[Weaver] wasn't too bad. He got people to perform. The one thing I learned is, he really tried to go at all 25 guys differently. He had his ones he thought he had to scream at, and he knew there were the ones who could learn from their mistakes.

"In this game, you can't keep making the same mistakes, and you would like them to learn from each other's mistakes."

Finally, how will he handle the media?

"It's a little easier now because I don't have to go out there and hit," he said.

"I still think I want to be out there and dealing with the ballclub; it's just something I think a manager should do. I don't think he should spend all the time behind the desk. I think I would like walking around and feeling [the players] out and seeing where they are, and just how life is going. Because this is a game, but it's played better when guys are happy."

NOTES: The Orioles placed outfielder Pedro Swann and designated hitter Carlos Mendez on outright waivers yesterday, removing both from the 40-man roster.

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