Dalton's Dan Duquette hopes Baltimore Orioles can take another step forward in 2013


BOSTON -- The ultimate goal for Dan Duquette and the Baltimore Orioles is to win a World Series championship. For the Dalton native and the Orioles, the first step taken last year was just as important.

Duquette, now in his second year as Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations, said reconnecting with Orioles fans was the first step.

"The offseason was good because the fans were engaged with the team," Duquette said while sitting in the visiting dugout at Fenway Park on Monday. "They really connected with the working-class ethic of the club last year and really supported us in August and September.

"Everywhere we went a year ago, the fans wanted some hope. We gave them a good team and they really responded."

The Orioles of Duquette and manager Buck Showalter were 93-69 and ended a 14-year postseason drought. Baltimore beat Texas in a one-game playoff but lost to the Yankees in the American League Division Series.

Getting to the playoffs was a good first step for the Orioles. Duquette is looking to see if the team can take the next step and get farther in the postseason.

"We'd like to improve on our team and have another good year," he said. "Our core players are back and hopefully we can get the pitching we need."

The success of the Orioles got the turnstiles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards spinning to the tune of 2,102,240. It was the first time since 2007 that the Orioles had gone over 2 million fans.

Duquette, whose original contract was set to expire after the 2014 season, signed an extension in January that will run through the 2018 season. He said that he and Showalter will look to build on the nucleus that got the Orioles back to the playoffs.

"We have a really good core group of players, good young players that want to do well," said Duquette. "Matt Wieters, Jonesy [Adam Jones], Nick Markakis. Chris Davis developed into a good, everyday ballplayer. All that was good. We need to continue to build on that."

Duquette was out of the big leagues for a decade after being let go by the Boston Red Sox after the 2001 season. He spent that time developing the Duquette Sports Academy in Hinsdale and running the Pittsfield Dukes of the NECBL.

The Orioles executive said that a lot remains the same from when he was last in a MLB front office. Scouting and player development isn't dramatically different. What is dramatically different is the media.

"The biggest change I saw was the speed of the media and how quickly communication gets around now," Duquette said.

One thing Duquette and the Orioles can see is that Baltimore isn't just about the baseball team, with the Ravens winning the Super Bowl.

"It was a good year for sports in Baltimore. The Ravens did well and the Orioles did well," he said. "The Ravens went to the mountaintop. Fans think its cool to be around the Orioles again, too."

To reach Howard Herman:
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On Twitter: @howardherman


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