Orioles owner Peter Angelos always made sure to allow his managers to finish the season before making a decision on their status. Previous skippers Davey Johnson, Ray Miller and Mike Hargrove were removed after the regular season. Angelos took pride in never dismissing a manager during the season.So his dissatisfaction with manager Lee Mazzilli obviously overcame those sentiments. Mazzilli was removed before the Orioles' game with the Angels on Thursday, ending a tumultuous week and strange 1 1/2-year tenure in which Mazzilli was both lauded for his spurts of success and heavily criticized for his in-game managing, relationships with players and laidback style. Privately, Angelos stewed over the decision to dismiss Mazzilli in the past week and Mazzilli told close friends that he never felt like Angelos liked him. The positive steroid test of Rafael Palmeiro likely bought Mazzilli some time, but when the club dropped 10-1 and 8-4 decisions the previous two nights to extend its losing streak to eight, executive vice president Jim Beattie said it was time for a change. Bench coach Sam Perlozzo was named interim manager for the rest of the season, opening with a 4-1 win over the Angels on Thursday afternoon. "Well, it's something we thought about in the past couple of days," Beattie said. "At some point, you have to do something to try to change the mix. It's not fair to Mazz, but we have to try to do something. It's a baseball move, but we're not trying to assign blame or anything totally to Mazz. It's one of those decisions that just came up." The Orioles entered Thursday's game 9-28 since June 21 and were sinking quickly. Mazzilli, who led the Orioles to a 78-84 record last season, finished with 129-140 and some fans in Baltimore will wonder whether Mazzilli was the fall guy for a slew of injuries, poor starting pitching and the lack of any major personnel moves before the trading deadline. But it was apparent that Mazzilli had lost many players in the clubhouse, several of whom privately desired a change. When Perlozzo took over for Mazzilli after he was ejected in the first inning of Friday's game with the Chicago White Sox, one player said, "Did you see how smoothly things were when Sammy came in? It was obvious he knows what he's doing, not like [Mazzilli]." Beattie informed the team of the decision before Thursday afternoon's game in Anaheim, and he told the players they share some responsibility for the removal. "I had a very quick message to the players and part of the message was that the coaches, players and organization should bear the responsibility for what happened today," he said. "You can't change the team that dramatically, but you make a change with a coach or the manager." "We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and not point fingers at other people," second baseman Brian Roberts said. Said center fielder Luis Matos: "I know we're playing bad baseball right now, so no one can blame anybody." Perlozzo, 54, who was a candidate for the job when Hargrove was dismissed, had grown close to Mazzilli but wants to relish his 55-game audition.
Lee Mazzilli relieved of duties
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.