The Full Montanez

As you know, outfielder Lou Montanez cleared waivers earlier this week and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Because he'll be a minor league free agent, he's free to leave the organization and basically make this transaction nothing more than a paper move.

Judging from the following e-mail that I received from Montanez, I'd say he's already gone. Take a look:

"Again I'm standing at the edge watching the drawbridge close on another chapter of my life. A range of emotions flow through me as I stomach this ship leave without me. Still the monkey without an arc :/ But no worries, been there, done that, on to the next challenge head first.

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"First and foremost I want to let the Orioles and the fans know that I'm genuinely grateful for the experiences I was allowed to have during my stay here. I got my first taste of Big League life and I judiciously squeezed every perk I could out of it ;) My first at-bat will be what I remember the most, but ironically it was my second at-bat that showed me that I can play up there. There are many reasons why in the subsequent years my successes were fleeting, but I will challenge anyone who excuses it on a lack of capacity. I've been hitting from the moment I signed into professional ball. MVP, and especially since moving to the outfield, a second MVP, and probably one or two more had my seasons been completed. Sadly my last whole season end to end was way back in Daytona in 2003! I was 21. Ever since it's been position changes, league shuffling and adjustments, "#'s game", and most recently injuries. At times I struggled mightily because of it.

"I'm a late-blooming former top prospect shortstop turned outfielder. That's a mouthful. While I don't mind delving into the past, don't confuse me for a BLiP. I'm a FLiP, a forward looking person. I'm already thinking about training, winter ball, my next team, and my next endeavor. This is not a hobby as I've seen many treat it. This is my career. I love this (stuff). Baseball is what I do, and I do it with gusto.

"(CAUTION: This is strictly for true O's fans, I'm talking people who scream O's on the road during the anthem types): Some may oppose what I'm about to say, but honestly who can better provide perspective than someone who originally comes from another organization, has seen first-hand almost every level, player, and staff within the organization, and actually balls. First off, undoubtedly the Orioles are headed in the right direction. I repeat the Orioles' ship is on course, but it's complicated. Let me explain and stay with me here.

"We must first revisit the past to better understand where we came from and where we are headed. It's like our current economy, we were in a hole as big as crab lumps in a Maryland crab cake. The good news is we are finally getting out of it, just not as fast as expected or required. Need I remind y'all that we are in the East and all these teams have phenomenal farm systems and some with absurd payrolls. Remember that great Dumb and Dumber line, 'Well, we're just gonna have to dig ourselves out of this.' That's essentially what the Orioles have been doing for years.

"My first year when I first showed up to camp in the spring of '07 I was in disbelief that a major league team in the 21st century had such facilities. Even worse was the day I experienced because an experience it is, Twin Lakes Park, the three hour separated minor league facility. Utter embarrassment and almost fear for things to come was what struck me. Picture a glorified chicken coop with no AC, moldy smell, broken tiled bathrooms, and fields that even opposing teams were unwilling to let their players play on. I'm surprised PETA or the ACLU never intervened. I remember the warning track was beach sand with actual seashells and the batting cages had ankle high grass with anthills in them. There's some type of school next to that facility, maybe a high school, that is light years better than our joint. After being demoted every spring from big camp I would simply stay in my home in Miami till it was time to start the season.

"I still get a kick at how excited we were when we moved into Ed Smith this year, yet it still ranks in the bottom of current baseball complexes. Unfortunately, most of the affiliates' baseball practice facilities don't fare much better. There's hope though. The horizon is looking brighter, things are changing for the better. Investments in scouting, players, facilities, and staff are going to show themselves in the box score. Soon, young Orioles will feel pride for the team they play for and I deeply wish I could've been part of that. I wish all the friends I've made here good health and success.

"I'll leave you with this little hunch of mine cause I must indulge. I'm envisioning in the not-too-distant future me back visiting Charm City and having Mr. Showalter say, 'This guy was in our organization? And we let him go!'

"Till then, Gone Fishing...Lou."

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