Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Yankees left Baltimore a MLB-worst staggering 22 games under .500, trailing AL East leader Tampa by nearly 20 games with the 2010 season not even two months old. The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck, while arguing that skipper Dave Trembley, “did the best he could in an impossible situation”, all but pleads Orioles owner Peter Angelos, “to stop tiptoeing around and put him gently out of his misery.”
This reminds me a little bit of the execution scene from the great Australian historical drama “Breaker Morant,” when the condemned Morant shouts his final words directly at the firing squad.
“Shoot straight, you bastards,” he yells, “and don’t make a mess of it.”
It’s hard to watch Trembley suffer. He came into a difficult situation with all the right intentions, and he fulfilled his mission as the caretaker manager of the MacPhail rebuilding effort during the first 21/2 seasons of his waning tenure. His biggest mistake might have been allowing himself to think he might evolve into more than that.
In that regard, he was seduced and abandoned, because MacPhail made it sound last year as if he would upgrade the talent over the winter and give him a fighting chance in a season that was supposed to be judged on wins and losses. Instead, he got a banged-up reliever (Michael Gonzalez) and a long-shot reclamation project (Garrett Atkins) to go with a couple of decent acquisitions.
Trembley can’t be held blameless, of course. There have been times when he might have done more to keep the club from coming totally unraveled, but let’s make sure we’re all straight on one thing: Earl Weaver in his prime could not have made this team competitive under these conditions.