Good for the Orioles.
They have a plan, and they're sticking with it. Even in the face of a horrendous finish to the season, punctuated by the 13-game losing streak and the fact that, on Sunday, they will finish with the worst record in the American League.
They could have taken the easy way out and tossed manager Dave Trembley to the sharks. Instead, they announced Friday that they will bring him back for 2010.
Trembley essentially was handed a thankless job this summer, which everyone knew was going to be a year of transition for the Orioles. Young players like catcher Matt Wieters and a flock of young pitchers were on the way. Veterans such as Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff were on the way out.
President Andy MacPhail asked Trembley and his staff to be patient. Change doesn't happen easily, or overnight. It's a bumpy ride when veterans become short-timers. And so it was in Baltimore.
Huff didn't run out ground balls no matter how many times the coaches spoke with him about it. A horrible example for the next generation of O's.
Mora hit the roof and blasted Trembley late in the season when he learned his name was not in the lineup one day -- and would be missing periodically after that. An unwinnable situation for any manager, especially one that does not have the collateral of winning seasons to draw from.
The Orioles traded Huff to Detroit. Mora turned out to be unmovable.
Meantime, MacPhail shipped closer George Sherrill to the Dodgers. Adam Eaton was released because, well, he pitched like Adam Eaton. There were many other moves and changes, but those aren't important.
What is important is this: The Orioles knew they were not going to win in 2009. They knew it would be a season of transition.
What they need more than anything is to not keep changing directions every other year.
Under MacPhail, a clear path is in place. And despite the ugly second half, that plan appears to be progressing more quickly than expected.
And now, Tillman, Matusz, Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Daniel Hernandez, Adam Jones ... the Orioles' commitment to youth, re-commitment to the draft and sharpening of their focus in Latin America is beginning to pay dividends.
Nobody was going to win with the O's this year -- not Trembley, not Earl Weaver, not Connie Mack.
But Trembley has gained the respect of his young players -- forget the Moras -- and managed through tremendous upheaval in a war between cultures inside the Orioles clubhouse.
That he was able to do that with grace and class says a lot about him.
That the Orioles are standing by him, after he stood by them, speaks volumes about their direction for the future.
Likes: Last three games of indoor baseball in Minnesota this weekend. ... The playoffs next week. ... Angels vs. Boston is turning into quite an October tradition, isn't it? Don't know if it's Notre Dame vs. USC yet, but it's getting there. ... My cable company adding the Big Ten Network as a high-definition channel. Ah, just in time for Michigan-Michigan State.
Dislikes: Lots of chatter about Padres general manager Kevin Towers' status in San Diego, and not all good. He's signed through 2010, though new chief operating officer Jeff Moorad is leaving open questions as to whether Towers will be back. Given the magic Towers has worked in turning what was going to be the majors' worst team this year into a club that's surpassed respectable over these last two months, Moorad not only should bring him back, but extend his contract. ... Anything to do with stories about Ted Williams' frozen head. ... Tried another new television show the past two weeks, and thumbs down to Community. Disappointing, too, given that a couple of critics I read liked it.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"You don't need a penny just to hang around
"But if you've got a nickel, won't you lay your money down?
"Over on the corner, there's a happy noise
"People come from all around to watch the magic boy"
-- Creedence Clearwater Revival, Down on the Corner