May 16, 2004

O's deserve better in baseball rankings

We are now five weeks into the baseball season. The Orioles have proved they are much improved this year. Will they be playing in October? Probably not, but they sure are a lot of fun to watch.

They boast one of the best bullpens in baseball and two of the top 10 hitters in the American League. They're within striking distance in the toughest division in baseball while having less than half of the Yankees' payroll.

By this time in the past six seasons any hope of having an interesting season had pretty much been laid to waste. Yet even with all this overachieving, our hometown paper has the Orioles ranked 16th out of 30 teams ["Team rankings," May 9].

I'm not saying the Orioles should be up in the top five, but they certainly deserve better than 16th.

Can't the Orioles just get a little bit of respect?

Bob Rascovar Reisterstown

Orioles' Ponson needs to shape up or ship out

Sidney Ponson is facing the truth and the truth hurts. With his poor performances on the mound, he is hurting his teammates, manager, coaches, owner and - last but not least - Orioles fans.

Being in your 20s and having his gifts as a power pitcher and now being paid like a No. 1 or 2 starter is one thing, but not producing and how he is going about it is another.

Management needs to send him a message: lose some weight, start a workout regimen.

Maybe it's time to send Ponson to Triple-A Ottawa and ride the bus for a month or longer and manage his habits and see if the Orioles made a mistake by signing him over the offseason.

Mike Henley Glen Burnie

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