LOMBARDI’S WAY: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Lombardi's Way LOMBARDI’S WAY: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

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Whenever a cellular connection is unstable the natural question to ask the person on the other end of the line is, “Can you hear me now?”  And every time I do, as those words part my lips, it sounds a little corny and it bugs me. 
 
Can you hear me now?
 
You have to give Verizon and their ad agency props for that ad campaign.  Although it is annoying and repeating those words sends my body into a semi-cringe, that ad is highly effective and certainly memorable.
 
When Sam Perlozzo makes the call to the bullpen I pray for one of those “Can you hear me nows?”  When bullpen manager Dave Trembley picks up on his end, wouldn’t it be nice if he heard static?  Even if he doesn’t given the tired and highly overrated and overpaid status of his bullpen, shouldn’t he at least fake it?  Maybe he should crumble of piece of paper on his end to simulate static.
 
Perlozzo certainly got his fair share of static for his bumbling decision to remove starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie 8 1/3 innings into his masterpiece in Boston on Sunday.  Instead of leaving Guthrie in, Perlozzo opted for a worn out bullpen that really isn’t noticeably better than the bullpen from last season despite the heavy investment.  Sam Perlozzo isn’t noticeably better than last season either.
 
But something tells me that for all of you who desire a pink slip for Sam, you will be waiting for quite awhile.
 
You see it all boils down to the Peter Principle and Pete put Sam in that position.  Sam was Mr. A’s man and Mr. A. admitting a mistake is akin to Superman ordering a Kryptonite Cocktail from Lager’s Pub.
 
It ain’t happenin’!
 
Besides, Mr. A. doesn’t want a manager with a stout resume.  He wants someone to push around – someone relatively green that he can muscle while he’s being a very available man.  Perlozzo fits that profile.
 
What manager with a decent resume would even want to manage the Orioles?  The Baltimore Orioles was once a proud baseball franchise.  Now it is a cesspool for losers. Former winners come to Baltimore hoping to provide a winning breath of fresh air for the club.  It isn’t long before they begin breathing the fumes of a cancerous clubhouse which has learned to accept defeat in much the same way that Wile E. Coyote accepts that he’ll never catch the roadrunner. 
 
Annually the Orioles always seem to discover a fresh new approach that carries a short term of optimism until reality sets in and then exasperation knocks on the door and rears its ugly head again – this time for the tenth season in a row. It isn’t long before their only solace comes on payday as they morph from winners to whiners.
 
It’s sad really.  We all deserve better.  My steering wheel that I beat senselessly on Sunday while listening to the game deserves better.
 
Yet nothing will ever change as long as Mr. A. is at the helm.  When a fan base holds up a .500 record as the bar – as that brass ring to reach for, you then are wallowing in the mire of a losing attitude.  To hope for a break even season is a hopeless and losing mentality.  Winners could never settle for such mediocrity.  And the Orioles will never be winners unless there’s a change in ownership.  Just ask WNST.
 
Thankfully there is the Baltimore Ravens run by the polar opposite of Mr. A.  Mr. B. encourages open and effective communication.  When he took over as the full time owner of the club, he was told that the communication at Ravens headquarters was among the very best in the league.  Mr. B’s response after studying his staff’s communication skills: “Then the league has a problem!”
 
Bisciotti fixed what he believed to be a big organizational problem by encouraging open and effective communication throughout his organization.  Prior to his arrival, the coaches and scouts didn’t communicate efficiently enough in the eyes of Mr. B.  He challenged the coaches and scouts to improve in that area and work as a team while abandoning the adversarial positions that the two sides previously occupied when evaluating talent.
 
The results have been outstanding.  Today the coaches and scouts enjoy a working relationship that other clubs in the NFL could only dream of.  The results are evident in the college and pro personnel brought in over the last two years.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Once those players arrive in Baltimore they seem to improve and take their game to a new level.
 
“Ozzie says, and I believe it, ‘players get better.’  They get to our level.  They learn, they get faster and smarter”, says Eric DeCosta. 
 
And clearly that is at least in part a byproduct of the communication between scouts and coaches – communication founded in trust.
 
DeCosta continues, “I think if you have people you can trust.  If you have scouts who you have trained at a young age and taught them what you are looking for and what your organization covets, it works.  We speak the same language.  We’re on page with the coaches and that’s critical.  Our coaches and scouts speak the same language.  When Rex Ryan is talking about a rush linebacker or a jack linebacker, our scouts know exactly what that means.  Or if we are talking about a guy that can be the dime linebacker or the nickel corner, we know exactly what they want at the position and likewise, when we decide to draft a player like Barnes, Rex is on board. 
 
“There’s a great synergy here in this organization.”
 
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Orioles could say the same?
 
Could these two organizations be any more different?
 
One practices effective dialogue while the other delivers blah, blah, blah monologues; one owner enables while the other disables; one clubs strives for .500 and views that as a success while the other views it as a failure; one club is viewed around their league as destination employment while the other is seen as destination nowhere unless of course the money is insanely exaggerated.
 
Clearly these local teams couldn’t B’more different and clearly there’s no communication between point Mr. A and point Mr. B. 
 
Maybe they’ve tried.
 
But I’m sure that call ended with Mr. B. asking, “Can you hear me now?”

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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