This is a couple of steps farther down the grapevine than even I’m used to relaying, but my friend Rex Snider at WNST in Baltimore passes along some interesting gossip:
According to celeb-O’s fan, Roy Firestone, he received some possible inside information that indicated Peter Angelos might be readying the Orioles for a sale to local investors. Better yet, the group is supposedly headed by Cal Ripken.
On Saturday night, Firestone attended an event with Orioles greats, such as Brooks and Frank Robinson. The event provided Firestone with his information on the possible upcoming sale of the ballclub.
Firestone has been quick to point out his “source” is confidential. However, he has also identified this same source as one of credibility in past dealings – and, one who has the connections to know such information.
It’s still gossip, and Rex is quick to note that this is (a) just stuff he’s hearing; and (b) isn’t about anything imminent.
But even if it doesn’t happen I find it interesting, if for no other reason than it makes me wonder more about faces of the franchise buying their old teams. We have Nolan Ryan in Texas already and as time goes on — and as richer and richer former players decide to get active in the business word — we’ll probably see more of it.
I get it as a marketing idea — Rangers fans are understandably more excited about Nolan Ryan calling the shots than some leveraged buyout artist — but it runs counter to another couple of notions with which we’ve become acquainted in recent years.
One of which is ex-jocks not faring very well in the front office. Matt Millen and Isiah Thomas, anyone? Another is of how upset we tend to get when ownership meddles with baseball operations. We get chafed when the Yankees are allegedly telling Brian Cashman what to do. Why are we going to be any happier about this when Cal Ripken or Nolan Ryan does it? Just because they played the game doesn’t mean they’re better at second guessing the people actually hired to make such calls. They’re just a bigger name doing the second-guessing.
Writing about Cal Ripken owning the Orioles makes for great copy and it may even sell some tickets if it ever comes to pass. But I think, as a matter of substance, it’s overblown and possibly even counterproductive for the former hero to come back and “save” the team.
Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.
Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”
May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.
When Mike Hazen left the Red Sox to go run the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox set out to look for a new general manager to replace him. Now, according to Pete Abraham, they may not replace him after all. Instead, president Dave Dombrowski may just leave the seat vacant and run the Sox all by himself.
Which, to be clear, is something Dombrowski is more than capable of doing, as he has been a general manager for decades now. A lot of this stuff is a function of job title-inflation, with guys in Dombrowski’s position being given elevated titles despite the fact that they are, more or less, still running the baseball operations department like they did when they were merely general managers. GM, meanwhile, has become a less authoritative position in many organizations, making it a somewhat less visible and perhaps less desirable job than it used to be.
Not that it’s totally about optics. The job of running a ball club is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and having one guy who can run big picture stuff and close deals like Dombrowski with another one being in charge of the more day-to-day tasks of the top baseball executive may be ideal. It also may help reign in some of the excesses of the top guy. Dombrowski, after all, may have been a master of a the big deal while running the Tigers, but in a lot of ways the win-now philosophy cost the club a lot of money and a lot of lower level talent. Another voice with a decent degree of power may be useful in that mix. As may a clear line of succession should Dombrowski decide to move on in a year or two.