Orioles players feel for Trembley
Many had personal relationships with former manager
BALTIMORE -- There was a gloomy atmosphere in the Orioles' clubhouse after manager Dave Trembley's dismissal on Friday, but it wasn't the same melancholy aura that is typical after a tough loss.
It was the players' pervasive sense of responsibility for their subpar performance this season, and feelings of regret that they caused Trembley to lose his job.
"The responsibility lies on us," designated hitter Luke Scott said. "It's a difficult situation, it's a tough aspect of the game, but it happens."
"In these circumstances, the record is terrible, we've played poorly, one person takes the fall for that," pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said. "Unfortunately, it's the guy that's never been out there for one of those games, hasn't thrown a single pitch or taken a single swing or made a bad throw all year, but he's the guy."
"[It's unfortunate] that we as a team didn't play well and he takes the fall for it. In some ways, we've got to feel somewhat responsible," pitcher Kevin Millwood said. "He just tried to put guys in situations where they'd succeed, and we just didn't get the job done. Him getting fired is a product of us not getting the job done."
"I think ultimately what that means is that there's 25 guys who need to look at themselves and say, 'What can I do better?' so that someone else doesn't have to suffer for our shortcomings," Guthrie said.
There was no blame being tossed around and no discussion of Trembley's shortcomings. Many of the players had developed close personal relationships with Trembley. Guthrie reflected on the former skipper's role in bringing him to the Orioles.
"He gave me an opportunity to pitch," Guthrie said. "I can speak on an individual level for what he meant to me."
Reliever Jason Berken echoed similar sentiments.
"Dave gave me my first opportunity," Berken said. "I really appreciate that he stuck with me all last year. I had some tough times last year when at times he could have sent me down. He stuck with me. From my first opportunity to my opportunity last year and this year, I appreciate all he's done for me."
"I think that's why everybody feels sorry about what just happened to him," third baseman Miguel Tejada said, "because he's a great man. He's very respectable."
With third-base coach Juan Samuel promoted to interim manager, the players faced several questions about their expectations for the new skipper. Among the topics addressed was Samuel's playing experience -- 16 years in the Majors, including three All-Star campaigns -- compared to Trembley, who never played in the big leagues.
Most players have a sense of respect for Samuel stemming from his past, but don't consider playing experience to be a prerequisite for a successful manager.
"There's certainly a measure of respect that you have for someone who's played the game," reliever Will Ohman said, "but I don't think that there's any disrespect if you haven't. ... So I don't think that's necessarily the most important thing, but Juan obviously does have a great reputation."
The players are in the dark about what adjustments Samuel might make to try to spark the club, but most assume some changes will be made.
"As far as what we need to do, I think we understand it," Guthrie said. "Will Juan bring a different approach on how to improve on that? I would assume that he would."
"I'm sure Juan has some things that he likes to do, ways that he played the game, maybe he wants to plug that in to what we do," Millwood said. "Hopefully it'll get us jump-started."
Noah Rosenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.