Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley finds himself to be one of Charm City’s most talked about fellas, and not because he’s often mistaken for the Priceline Negotiator (he was referred to as the Strikezone Negotiator the other day, but that was shot down once we were reminded you are not permitted to argue balls and strikes).

No, Trembley is the baseball topic of choice in Bawlmer, hon, because the Orioles entered Thursday riding the third-longest losing streak in franchise history into their final four games of the season, and because the beleaguered manager is in the final year of his contract with the club, which has the option to bring him back next season.

When you’re a fan of a bad baseball team — and they’ve had plenty of practice at it in Baltimore — the knee-jerk reaction is to fire the manager. Sadly, we saw that up close and (too) personal when Sam Perlozzo went through it in 2007. And to be truthful, Trembley doesn’t deserve to be blamed for this mess any more than Sam did for that one, but for very different reasons.

When Sam was hung out to dry by the Orioles he was the designated whipping boy of a very bad organization that had tricked itself into believing it could be a contender. Hey, that’s what 12 years of loyal service to the organization will get you.

The Orioles of just two years ago were so similar to the Washington Redskins of the last 10 years that it’s downright eerie — vertically-challenged owners who live by the motto, “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as it’s me,” hiring figureheads and yes-men to produce the charade of being the teams’ general managers.

Memo to Daniel Snyder: Take a cue from Peter Angelos. Dump your boy Vinny the way Mr. A did his boy Flanny, hire an Andy MacPhail football type to run your organization and stay the hell out of the way. You know why it’s been such a long time since the name Irsay has been associated with poor sports ownership? Because in 1997, Jimmy Irsay hired Bill Polian as president of the Indianapolis Colts, and kept his own nose out of football doings. Polian’s first move, of course, was to draft Peyton Manning instead of Ryan Leaf, and since then the Colts have won a Super Bowl and are annual contenders in the NFL. Meanwhile, Jim Irsay (unlike his late father Bob) is known to be one of the best and most well-liked owners in the NFL.

Don’t you want anybody other than Tom Cruise to like you Mr. Potter, er, I mean Mr. Snyder? Well, you’re succeeding.

As for Trembley, look, the pitching staff he was given to start the season with alone was a pretty good indicator the 12th losing season in a row was about to take place in Baltimore, but it was also understood this was to be a transitional season, with the manager’s fate being determined by the team’s progress. But then the Orioles traded closer George Sherrill and cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff, followed by costly injuries, and what had become a season of genuine curiosity quickly transformed into the same old Orioles second-half nosedive.

Was this Trembley’s fault? Not completely, but he did have his hand in some gruesome-looking losses early in the season when the team wasn’t playing bad baseball at all. I mean, have you ever seen a big-league team run the bases as poorly as the Orioles have the past two seasons? Sorry, but a consistency such as this falls on the shoulders of the manager.

Oddly enough, fan opinion has been fairly inconsistent in Baltimore. Two weeks ago, posses were being formed to run that varmint Trembley out of town. Just this past Wednesday, though, 55 percent of voters in a Baltimore Sun poll said the Orioles should exercise Trembley’s option and bring him back. On Thursday, when posed with the same question, 55 percent of voters said the Orioles should cut ties with Trembley.

Me? I’d cut him loose, and that has nothing to do with my personal feelings for the man, who could deliver Easter baskets to orphanages for all I know. I just don’t believe at this stage of the Orioles’ transformation under MacPhail that you bring a guy back who presided over the type of finish the Orioles are again producing. I don’t care if you’re giving the manager too much credit or not by doing so, but you bring in a guy you believe will teach a young team to develop winning habits — not just good fundamentals, winning baseball. I just don’t believe Dave Trembley is that man.

Trembley’s strength is said to be working with and developing young players, although I couldn’t name you one player who credits his big-league success to Trembley. Regardless, if that is the case, and you’re that attached to him and feel he can help your organization be better, take him out of the dugout and put him in the front office. Create a position for him in which he can be hands-on with every level of the Orioles’ player development. Don’t make it a display-window position like the one the Orioles gave Frank Robinson in 1991; make it a real hands-on position to assist player development, and put Dave Trembley back to work.

Just don’t bring him back to manage the big league team.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Contact Mike Burke at mburke@times-news.com.



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