On Tuesday, the Baltimore Orioles announced former pitchers Roger McDowell and Alan Mills will be joining the team for the upcoming season. McDowell will be the Orioles new pitching coach and Mills will coach the bullpen.
Replacing Dave Wallace, who retired from major league coaching at the end of the season, McDowell spent the past 11 years as the Atlanta Braves pitching coach. While in Atlanta he oversaw the development of All-Stars Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran.
Before his coaching days, he played in the league for 11 seasons as a reliever with a 3.30 ERA and 129 career saves. His last career stop was in Baltimore.
Mills has been a member of the Orioles organization for five seasons, his most recent assignment being in Bowie. There, he served as the pitching coach for the past two seasons.
Both players are former Orioles even played with each other in 1996. A majority of Mills 12 year career was with Baltimore, in the team's bullpen.
Last season, Baltimore's pitching staff averaged a 4.22 ERA (19th in MLB).
Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.
"We're in a period of change right now with the industry and we're in a period of change right now with the Orioles," Elias said. "Sometimes to make changes you've got to make changes."
Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter.
Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it's just a part of the job
"We're going to be very busy bringing people into this organization," he said. "This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today."
Just one day removed from a judge confirming that the Orioles owe the Nationals nearly $300 million, Elias insisted this move isn't to save money.
"There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data," Elias said. "There are instances where we will replace people's roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there's other instances where we're reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business."
The O's will look completely different from this point out and players won't be the only changes.
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One of the most awesome things about sports is that some aspects are universally great. Getting a ball at a baseball game is one of them.
Whether you catch it on the fly, off a ricochet or just pick it up off the ground, finding that baseball in your hand is one of the best feelings for any fan. Seeing another fan experience that joy is heart-warming.
Enter this young fan at the Orioles game Wednesday night who scooped up a DJ Stewart foul ball.
This is the type of candid, wholesome, unfiltered reaction that only kids can provide. Every kid at every game dreams about getting a ball. Seeing this particular kid snag a ball at Camden Yards just brings all the feelings.
Oh, and the Orioles have won two games in a row. Not that that's a big deal or anything.
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