- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

BALTIMORE — Nobody interviewing for the job as manager of the Baltimore Orioles is more familiar with the team than Sam Perlozzo, who drew upon that experience during his interview yesterday.

Perlozzo met with club vice presidents Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie, who are in charge of filling the position vacated by the Sept.29 dismissal of Mike Hargrove.

Perlozzo has been a member of the Orioles’ coaching staff for eight years, the last four under Hargrove. His association with the former manager could be interpreted as a negative for a club looking for a change, but Perlozzo said his familiarity with the staff and players should work to his benefit.

“It’s definitely an advantage,” he said. “I have a good feel for the organization and know what the coaching staff is all about.”

He’s also well acquainted with Beattie and Flanagan.

“They knew me as a coach,” Perlozzo said after the four-hour interview. “I wanted to convey thoughts to them on how I would be as a manager.”

Perlozzo and former Orioles star Eddie Murray, the only two people interviewed thus far, are considered the front-runners.

Former Oriole Rich Dauer, now bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, will meet today with Beattie and Flanagan. Orioles first-base coach Rick Dempsey will interview tomorrow.

“I don’t feel like it’s an uphill battle at all,” Perlozzo said. “I’m really not in competition with any of the other candidates. I’m in competition with myself.”

Each person auditioning for the job is expected to speak with reporters afterward, but Beattie and Flanagan will not comment on the process until it is completed.

Perlozzo, 52, never has managed at the big league level but enjoyed success from 1982 to 1986 as a minor league manager in the New York Mets’ organization. He has been a coach in the majors for the last 17 years.

Now he’s ready to take the next step in his career, and being manager of the Orioles certainly would be the perfect promotion for the Maryland native.

“It would be a tremendous thing for me. It’s something I’ve worked very hard to do,” he said.

He’s got the backing of Hargrove, who, on the day he got fired, said, “I think Sammy would be perfect for the job.”

Perlozzo made no effort to distance himself from Hargrove during the interview. Rather, he said the lessons he received were instrumental in making him a better prospective manager.

“Grover is an outstanding man, and I learned a lot from him. I think they just needed to make a change,” Perlozzo said.

Hargrove rarely boiled over, even though the Orioles endured four consecutive losing seasons under his direction. Perlozzo doesn’t have much of a temper either but indicated that he can raise his voice when the situation calls for it.

“I have this tendency to use my Italian heritage. I can do that if it’s necessary,” he said.

Someone asked Perlozzo, a finalist for the Seattle Mariners’ managerial opening last winter, what he will do if again denied the chance to get his dream job.

“I don’t plan on having to go to Plan B,” he said.

Meanwhile, Orioles right-hander Sean Douglass was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins. Four other Orioles cleared waivers and were assigned outright to Class AAA Ottawa: right-hander Willis Roberts and Mike Paradis, third baseman Jose Leon and shortstop Felix Escalona.

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