Orioles finally free-agency players
Syd Thrift spoke with a Southern drawl, his voice and delivery so distinct that if Looney Tunes had ever needed a replacement for Mel Blanc and his characterization of Foghorn Leghorn, Syd would've been the perfect guy to take the role.
I wasn't in the room when Thrift uttered his immortal line about the Orioles' plight more than a decade ago, but because his voice was so memorable that I can almost hear the words as if I was there: "It's like we're offering Confederate money," Thrift said.
For more than a decade, the Orioles had been a baseball disaster, failing to contend, failing to compete. And time and again their offseasons have played out in the same way: They have been slow to make offers, and when they finally have made offers, they learned that they have been used as a stalking horse -- a means for a player and his agent to get a better deal elsewhere. Then, late in the offseasons, the Orioles have picked up some of the last remaining free agents, like the last turkey leftovers late on Thanksgiving days, the scraps. Somebody else has always gotten the market's drumsticks.
But there is a different feeling about the Orioles in these first months after they made the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons. Agents and players are waiting on them, with some players hoping to work out deals with Baltimore.
"It's winning," said a longtime agent. "Period. That's what it comes down to."
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