August 01, 2004

Mazzilli could serve his young staff better

Lee Mazzilli does not deserve the blame for the Orioles' disappointing first half. That being said, on several occasions he has not set his inexperienced pitching staff up to achieve maximum success.

For example, when Dave Borkowski made a spot start against Tampa Bay, he pitched so well that he was slated to be part of the starting rotation coming out of the All-Star break.

Then, Mazzilli left Sidney Ponson out of the Tampa Bay series, partially to give him extra time to get over a nagging injury, but also in an apparent attempt to send a message to the struggling "ace." He trotted out Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard, Rodrigo Lopez and Borkowski, with Ponson starting the first game in Kansas City on Monday.

Then, Cabrera and Bedard made their regular starts Tuesday and Wednesday in Kansas City and Boston, respectively, and Mazzilli was faced with a doubleheader in Boston on Thursday. Mazzilli wisely decided Fenway Park wasn't the place for John Maine to debut and instead sent out Lopez on regular rest and Borkowski on three days' rest, saving Maine for Friday vs. Minnesota.

I believe a more effective rotation would have been Cabrera, Bedard, Lopez, Ponson in Tampa Bay; Borkowski and Cabrera in Kansas City; and Bedard, Lopez and Ponson in Boston. Then Maine on Friday and Borkowski on regular rest on Saturday.

Rather than send Borkowski out against the same Tampa Bay team less than two weeks later, it would have been easier to build his confidence against offensively challenged Kansas City.

Also, there's no arguing that Ponson has struggled, but he is still the most experienced pitcher on the staff and he's starting to throw more curveballs and changeups and showing signs of coming out of his slump.

I hope Mazzilli's lack of foresight is simply inexperience.

Mike Sandler Columbia

Will history repeat itself with local owner?

An article praising the new owner of the Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, by Jamison Hensley in The Sun ["Simply Steve," July 25] should have the following disclaimer: Raven fans and sportswriters, be wary.

It wasn't that long ago when Peter Angelos was being praised by every Baltimore sports fan and sportswriter for his purchase of the Orioles. Remember his spiel about reestablishing a winning team in Baltimore. Oh, were the fans and writers wrong, myself included! Attila the Hun couldn't have done a better job of single-handedly destroying what was once a paradigm for a successful baseball franchise.

I am not saying Mr. Bisciotti will be another Angelos - all talk, no accomplishments and milking the franchise dry. What I am saying is let's wait at least five years before praising him to the sky. In Mr. Bisciotti's favor is that he is a bona fide Baltimore person, born and raised in the area, unlike Angelos, who was born in Pittsburgh - a little-known fact never mentioned by the Orioles or the Baltimore sportswriters.

Joseph (Joe) Michael Cierniak Glen Burnie

Memo to McAlister: Stop whining and play

I have no sympathy for the poor "franchised" player!

Chris McAlister should be glad he's so fortunate to have the opportunity to make the money that he makes playing a kid's game. He ought to quit his whining, take his one-year, $7.1 million tender and show up to work (camp) ... on time like the rest of us. It's a business, but he's hurting the team and making his colleagues look more selfish than they already are.

His "franchised" salary would more than pay the salaries of all of the teachers at any Baltimore County high school for an entire year. His attitude still stinks, and I don't blame the Ravens for not investing a big signing bonus on him. Just shut up and play!

Brett Baier New Freedom, Pa.

Angelos should focus on revival of winning

A letter to Mr. Angelos:

"G" stands for "get," as in "get over it." D.C. is getting a team despite your feeble objections.

"R" stands for "relax." It will only affect your fan base in a very minimal way.

"E" stands for "everyone," as is everyone in D.C. knows you are being churlish about the whole situation.

"E" stands for "even, " as in even the other owners know it's a good idea to reinstitute baseball in our nation's capital.

"D" stands for "do," as in do whatever you want, Mr. Angelos, this deal is signed, sealed and delivered!

Now that it's behind us, let's focus on more important things, such as bringing a winning attitude back to Baltimore.

Patrick R. Lynch Parkville

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