Mike Elias is Coming to Town

As someone looking in from the outside, the Orioles rebuild is going to be fascinating to watch. As a fan of both the Cubs and the Braves, I have long term, intimate knowledge of how painful and uncomfortable full team transformations can be, so I will be watching with keen interest to see how this organization fares.

The first order of business was to clean house, and with the parting of ways between the Orioles, Dan Duquette, and Buck Showalter, I think they were on the right track. While the search for executive vice president of baseball operations took forever, I like the fact that the Angelos family actually took their time to get the right person and didn’t just plug into some old established dude like, say, Ned Colletti. To really turn the corner – to go from last century to something more cutting edge – they needed someone young, fresh, and eager to do something new. Mike Elias was, in my opinion, a nearly perfect choice. Knowing that he will also lead as general manager and will bring in some of the brightest minds in New Baseball should help transform the Baltimore Orioles from one of the jokes of the league to a team that Birdland can be proud of.

But… who is Mike Elias?

Mike Elias attended Yale University and played collegiate baseball there before transitioning to working behind the scenes after injuries curtailed his career. Elias began with the St. Louis Cardinals, working closely with Jeff Luhnow.  When Luhnow moved to Houston in 2011, Elias followed, and has made his name as one of the architects of their rebuild, starting with a key role in scouting. He was one of the people who brought in such franchise changing players as Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. In 2016, Elias was promoted to assistant general manager, and along with Luhnow, was a guiding force in maintaining the path of excellent that Houston was on that culminated in the first ever World Championship for the Astros.

His focus while with Houston was on player development – something that Baltimore needs desperately during this transitional period.

With so many rumors of the quality people Elias is thinking of bringing into The Warehouse, the looming rebuild will still be painful, but it is a heck of a lot better than it could have been. Elias brings a fresh approach to scouting, development, and analytics that Baltimore has fallen back on, as the rest of the AL East (and, indeed, most of baseball) has moved into those aspects of the game and improved their franchises because of it.

On a personal level – I can’t find where Mike Elias is married. He’s Yale educated, obviously loves baseball, and is really cute. Sir, I am currently in Annapolis. Just saying.

16 thoughts on “Mike Elias is Coming to Town

  1. What happened, Prof – your alarm clock came unstuck allasudden?

    I dare say the Birds’ rebuild will be less painful to watch than the Feesh’s. The latter were arguably within a couple of players of solidly contending before Beep Beep embarked on his teardown of the fan base. The Birds, on the other hand, were still cratering away.

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      • Sorry to hear you were unwell (from Peter O’Toole in My Favorite Year: “Ladies are unwell, Stone. Gentlemen vomit”). Now go git your flu shot.
        Personally, being high has always helped me focus. I once sat through a near no-hitter by Jerry Koosman on acid.

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        • I’m fairly straight edge to be honest. I don’t like being under the influence of anything, although I drink an awful lot of caffeine. Otherwise, I try to live fairly clean. The worst experience of my life was when I had basically filleted my finger several years ago and they gave me oxycodeine to help with the pain. I hated it. What a terrible feeling. If that is what drugs feel like, no thank you.

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    • I don’t blame you for the bitterness you display about the Feesh. And agree also that Jeter has gone all in on the rebuild, as reported by you and other sources.

      The only thing I wish to remind anyone of is that previous ownership left that back-loaded mega-contract in place for the Iron Giant. That set up the follow ownership; there was no way to make any long term commitments with that gorilla in the way. And relieving the fans of the most skilled and popular player would really break hearts in the stands. So, knowing they would make the most avid fan angry they opted not to keep anything related to the old regime.

      I don’t support the act – I’m somewhat indifferent to the antics in Florida – but it is the current strategy. Born in the NBA where the entire team can be reconfigured in one trade, the destruction of the old team to gather draft spots has become an accepted strategy.

      I personally think so many bad teams, and the boredom bred of the “three true outcomes” is at the root of the attendance drop. It also brings to question things like the Red Sox high win total – are they historically good, or just lucky enough to play many, Many, MANY games against the historically bad, which is a product of the rebuild philosophy. The rebuild philosophy reminds me of the Vietnam era quote about destroying the village to save the village. I think it’s rubbish – fans need not endure YEARS of horrible teams for that brief chance at success – but I recognize that I am not being consulted.

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      • Of course not. You live too close to Disneyland.

        The iron Giant’s contract would have been preeminently livable if the Scrooge McLoria regime hadn’t treated the fan base like excrement, lied to us, flat out mocked us (David Samson never tired of ridiculing the community and its leadership, however much our elected reps deserved his contempt), and then busted down the team multiple times itself. No one player really ever hung around long enough to become an identity figure except maybe Jeff Conine, and of course Beep Beep insulted him, Preston Wilson and Andre Dawson into exile. Great move, Beeps. Sure, if you drive the fans away, if you don’t give a tradition or fan affection an opportunity to evolve, a contract like that would be an albatross. Fill the stadium and it’s not an issue as long as the player is producing, and of course all the Iron Giant did in response to that contract was win the MVP and dent the fences all season long.

        Don’t forget a few other contributory factors down here you can heap on top of the list of poor plans you enumerated: Wayne Huizinga also blew the team up in the 2007 orfseason following its first world championship. Talk about a slap in the face. John Henry dumped the team when he couldn’t get immediate cooperation from the county or our neighbors to build the stadium he promised. Scrooge McLoria came down, won a championship in his first year with the team Henry and Dave Dombrowski built, promised “No dismantling!” (I was there at the WS celebration to hear him lie with my own ears) and then dismantled the team after the following season, citing “market corrections.”

        So, no one trusts Jeter, nor should they. I’ve enumerated the other vile and inhumane stuff he pulled already so I won’t go over it again. However, I will repeat one prediction: it won’t matter if the Feesh win 110 games next season. People haven’t merely lost interest in this franchise. They flat out don’t like it. I don’t know what could save it here but, frankly, even winning won’t do it anymore.

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        • So…where does it go? Move it to Montreal where they are desperate for baseball again? Or, to Oklahoma City? Possibly Portland, OR?

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        • I wish it were that simple. There’s the small matter of what do we do with Macondo Banana Massacre Field. I’d be happy to send Jeter and his ego to Oklahoma City (why inflict them on a great city like Portland?) and bring in new owners who would be willing to roll up their sleeves and rebuild the fan base.

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        • Do y’all have a professional soccer franchise? Might be able to foist it on them.

          I don’t know! I’m throwing spitballs here, sir!

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        • Again, I’m not trying to defend current management. But a statement like yours of filling the seats makes money available is a circular logic that simply doesn’t hold up. From the day that contract was announced every fan knew he’d end up in another uniform. And your statement that multiple years of “screw you” from several owners to the fans makes climbing that attendance hill that much harder. I often agree with your statements. But the exit was inevitable from the day that contract was signed.

          The shame is he could have been THE GUY in Florida. The face of the franchise, never to be matched. The Koufax or Ernie Banks of the Feesh, the man all the kids get tired of hearing the old guys talk about, but always sure to draw a crowd. Now we can only wait for the HoF vote to come in, maybe he’ll wear a Feesh hat. It’s sad.

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        • Except by the time that contract was signed the damage had already been done. My premise about filling the seats, which one would expect would accompany much greater TV/Cable viewership and a bigger radio audience, which in turn would encourage much more advertising revenue, was predicated on the previous regimes not having destroyed most of the fan base and the current one finishing the job.
          I seriously doubt if anyone who had worn pinstripes were to be elected to the hall of fame, they’d want to wear a Feesh hat – though Buddha knows which logo they would get to wear even given the infinitesimally tiny chance they did.

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