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O's manager spreading the blame for slow start

April 29, 1999

It was courteous of the Orioles to knock themselves out of pennant contention before the end of April so we don't have to spend valuable time and assets keeping track of their progress over a long summer.

So all of a sudden the ole Cuban National team doesn't seem so hot after all. Hanging tough with the Orioles for 10 innings is apparently no big accomplishment.

I saw Manager Ray "This Is Nothing That A Little 20-Game Win Streak Wouldn't Cure" Miller on ESPN Sunday after an 11-10 loss to Oakland, sounding like the Road Runner, there were so many beeps in his soliloquy.

Like any good boss, he laid the blame squarely where it was deserved: With his employees. They make all the beeping money, he said, gesturing toward the clubhouse. Ask them the beep why they beeping performed like beeping 12-year-olds in front of 47,000 beeping fans. Beep 'em.

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Well, that sure is refreshing, especially when you're used to all the "spin" and "glossing over" that managers normally use to protect their teams.

(Speaking of glossing over, no one tops school administrators nationwide following the Littleton shootings and reports of potential copycats:

Q. Did anything unusual happen at your school today?

A. Nope, everything's perfectly normal, nothing out of the ordinary at all.

Q. What about those posted threats on the Internet?

A. It didn't happen. And even if it did happen it still didn't happen.

Q. So why were some parents pulling their children out of classes?

A. Dental appointments. This was a really big day for dental appointments.

Q. There were police cars outside the school.

A. Well of course there were police cars, we were having an assembly on neighborhood watch programs.

Q. But there were 28 of them.

A. It was a big assembly.

Q. And the bomb squad?

A. Just a precaution for our science fair.

Q. So why did people tell us they saw children on the roof?

A. A fire drill. We were showing children where not to go in case there's a fire. All part of a normal, routine day in this fine, decent normal school of ours...)

Incidentally, "fine" and "decent" are two things you never want to be called when you manage or coach a professional sporting team, because it means you are on the way out the door.

When sportscasters begin sentences with "Ray Miller, one of the truly good people in baseball..." the jig is about up. Because if they start saying nice things about you as a person, it means they probably can't think of anything nice to say about you as a manager.

Conversely, if you are a good manager you probably are going to make no one's short list of good, kind, decent, fine people.

No one ever said of Vince Lombardi "He is one of football's true friends of the no-kill animal shelter." No one ever said of John Madden "Yes, he's won his share of Super Bowls, but what you really have to admire is his ability to make the less than talented individuals feel good about themselves."

Whoops, I'm nearing the end of this maleocentric, sports-related column and I have been negligent of my pledge to put something for the ladies into print, so they won't feel as if they are being left out. This week's tip is to get the pan good and hot before putting oil into it. That way, food won't stick.

You're welcome. And to those of you who say that interspacing sports columns with cooking tips is somehow "sexist," well, let's just say that I wouldn't take offense if Heloise threw in a few box scores every now and again.

Or offer a tip on how vinegar and cornstarch could be used to help fix the Orioles' losing ways.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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