In the final analysis, Orioles make Beattie odd man out


October 12, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

The Orioles announced this week that executive vice president Jim Beattie has been relieved of his duties and Mike Flanagan will henceforth be the team's one-headed director of baseball operations, which answers one question - who's the man in the B&O warehouse? - and raises another:

What exactly did Beattie do wrong that Flanagan didn't?

It certainly has me scratching my head, but I'm hoping our photo staff doesn't get any ideas. The last time I scratched my head around here, I ended up with a column picture that looks like I'm about to review a movie with subtitles.

I'm starting to think that controversial Orioles director of information systems (and former government intelligence operative) Dave Ritterpusch pulled the ultimate front office fast one and slipped Beattie's ISAM test results to owner Peter Angelos.

Lest anyone has forgotten, ISAM stands for the Institute for the Study of Athletic Motivation, which invented a 190-question psychological profile that has become a significant part of the Orioles' personnel evaluation process. The usefulness of the test had become a matter of some factionalized disagreement in the front office, but Ritterpusch was still standing after Monday's front office shuffle.

That may not be an accident. The decision may well have been influenced by Beattie's profile, which included some very damning information.

For one thing, he's tall, a fact that must have slipped by Angelos when he signed Beattie to a three-year contract in 2002. Tall people can be very irritating, especially when they lord it over you how easily they can reach for things on high shelves.

Beattie also went to Dartmouth, which makes him an Ivy Leaguer. Nobody who lives below the Mason-Dixon line likes Ivy Leaguers, unless they grew up in Arbutus and helped with the MASN deal.

And the ISAM test may have revealed something else ... something that no one would have figured out if not for the highly sophisticated retro-analysis that only the Orioles' cutting-edge front office can perform.

Beattie was making a whole bunch of money to put together complicated trades and roster proposals that were generally dismissed by ownership, making it kind of pointless to pay him a big GM salary anymore.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not a total skeptic when it comes to the value of psychological testing. I definitely think it has its place, and - right now - that place is the Ravens' organization.

Ravens coach Brian Billick gave his critics more ammunition when he said Monday that he would not punish the players most prominent in Sunday's embarrassing emotional meltdown against the Detroit Lions.

Hey, I'm as troubled by the boorish behavior of several players as anyone, but what exactly do you expect Billick to do? Make Maake Kemoeatu run laps every day for the rest of the season?

If what happened Sunday didn't deliver a serious wakeup call to this team, no amount of fines or fatherly correction is going to make much difference.

I have found that a cattle prod is occasionally effective, but the NFL Players Association frowns on Skinnerian behavioral modification.

If you're looking for something to cheer you up in the aftermath of the most discouraging Orioles season in history, here are yesterday's headlines from the two New York tabloids after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by the Angels:

The New York Post: BRONX BUM$

The New York Daily News: The Boys of Bummer!

Don't know about you, but I feel better already.

Maybe I'm spending too much time on the Internet, but I recently found an Argentinian pharmaceutical company (Burnet Laboratories) that sells a mail-order product called Tanoxol, which is a combination of two substances that have been very prominent in the news the past few months - Vitamin B12 and the performance-enhancing steroid stanozolol.


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