Brady Anderson hasn’t played in a big league game since 2002, but he has a locker in the Orioles clubhouse and dresses with the team.
Which would be fine if he were on the coaching staff and reported to Buck Showalter. But he isn’t — not exactly, anyway — and doesn’t. He’s actually the Vice President of Baseball Operations which, theoretically, makes him the second-in-command of the Orioles front office. And he’s a close confidant of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, seemingly answerable only to him.
Today Ken Rosenthal looks into Anderson’s curious role on the Orioles, and reports that it has created some friction in Baltimore. In-house everyone sings Anderson’s praises as a key member of the club, particularly with respect to strength, conditioning and nutrition, areas in which he was always ahead of the curve during his playing career and remains so. Coaches and players who have left Baltimore, however, take issue with Anderson’s alleged interference with the coaching staff and the perception that he is something of a clubhouse spy, reporting to Angelos and inserting himself into contract matters, which is not the sort of thing that people in uniform, in the clubhouse on a day-to-day basis do. Anderson denies that he plays a big role in this regard.
Where the truth lies here is likely contingent upon who is telling the story. The front office/clubhouse divide is a notoriously complicated one, with loyalties and traditions that don’t lend themselves to easy parsing. Given how much more of a role the front office has in on-the-field decisions today than it did even a decade ago, that relationship becomes even more complicated. How much of this is about that traditional divide breaking down and players reacting negatively to it? How much is it about front office overreach? It’s hard for us on the outside to know.
Either way, it’s an interesting read. And not just for what it means for Anderson and the Orioles. It tells us a lot about how clubhouses and front offices operate. Sometimes dysfunctionally.