The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Orioles have fired manager Lee Mazzilli this afternoon.
The Orioles have lost eight in a row and 16 of 18 to fall 10.5 behind Boston and all the way to fourth in the American League East after leading for much of the first half of the season.
The Sun said that this is the first time owner Peter Angelos has ever fired a manager, but that's ignoring that he ran Davey Johnson out of town after the 1997 season (coincidentally the last time the Orioles made the playoffs).
The Orioles will use bench coach Sam Perlozzo as interim manager. Perlozzo was a highly-regarded candidate when the O's were looking for a manager before the 2004 season, but the job went to then-Yankees coach Mazzilli. Perlozzo said he was disappointed at that time, but he stuck with the team.
Perlozzo has never managed in the majors.
Mazzilli's record as a major league manager stands at 129-139 over two seasons.
I was never really on the Fire Mazzilli Bandwagon until a few weeks ago, when the team started doing REALLY bad. I always cut him some slack for being a rookie manager, which we knew when we hired him.
Recently, though, this move became a necessity. Everyone knew it was coming at the end of the season, and the only thing stopping it from happening was that Angelos doesn't like to fire people ... he just runs them out of town.
The thing that turned me was the losing. It sounds obvious, and it is. All year, we were winning despite some truly awful decisions. Maz never stuck with a lineup, he made horrible pitching changes/non-changes all the time, and he didn't seem to realize when it was time to light a fire under his team by flipping out at an ump.
This morning I was thinking to myself: This has gotten real bad. Everyone knows Mazzilli's going to be fired; just do it now. Besides, last year the Astros fired their manager mid-season and they turned it around and made the playoffs.
I'm not saying the O's are destined for that type of run, but this move CAN'T hurt. Hopefully we'll see some positives from Perlozzo as the manager.
Another thing I like about the move is that Maz was never a "Baltimore guy." When I found out late in 2003 that the O's were hiring a Yankees coach, who was born in New York City no less, my heart sank a little. It was a "If you can't beat them, become them" move. Despite that, I gave Maz a shot, and I never thought he should have been fired, like I said, until a few weeks ago. Perlozzo's a Maryland guy. He was born in Maryland. He went to college at George Washington in D.C. Plus, he's been with the O's for 10 seasons as a third base coach and bench coach.
I agree with the decision. I think it was a good move. But I hope Maz lands somewhere. He seems like a real good guy -- just not as our manager.