Baltimore Orioles: A Dan Duquette Parable About Frugality


Dan Duquette – Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Many years ago, a very famous person often taught about confusing ideas by relating to his hearers through the telling of a parable. So, here is a parable that seeks to maybe explain why the Baltimore Orioles’ annual offseasons seem so … so … insufficient?

There once was a man named Duke who had a wife and a young and growing family of four children. The oldest son, Christopher, was age eight; and the next two boys were ages four and two, while their baby sister was but three months.

Duke and his family were a lower-middle-income household that lived in a modest home in the country, though not far from the suburbs of a large east-coast city.

Duke was always very frugal with his resources. Though his boss spoke of pending generous raises, the reality always seemed that his salary struggled to be at a commensurate level with others in his same field of employment.

Duke was especially cautious in the area of expenditures for transportation. He had become famous (or many would say “infamous”) for buying autos from corner used-car lots – always looking for a deal in some vehicle cast off before its useable lifespan was past. Many proved to be clunkers, but occasionally he found a rare deal.

Duke was scorned often for this propensity to never buy a showroom vehicle from a national dealership, and even his wife mocked him for his caution. But he was completely creeped-out by the aggressive little sales dude who always seemed to be named “Boris” … and it gave him flashback nightmares about a bad Rocky the Squirrel cartoon.

Neighbors viewed Duke as a total tightwad – and other fathers laughed at his tiny economy cars that could not even hold all the infant seats for his growing family. Wherever the family went  together, it was necessary to take two vehicles!

Adding to Duke’s frugal disposition was an occasion where he invested in an unusual two-year loan on an expensive late-model Japanese car that had the transmission break even before he got it home! Wada bad deal that turned out to be!

His son Christopher was proving, even at age 8, to be an accomplished football player. In two years, the boy would be moving to a higher league requiring more equipment and all that went with being a top-level athlete. Chris had a number of teammate friends who lived nearby and who were also critical to the boy’s next-level success.

Duke knew he would have to be the person to provide transportation for this whole group, let alone also meeting the needs for his growing family. Clearly, the time was approaching when it was going to be necessary for him to purchase a large SUV.

But he could make it for a couple more years – if only he could swing a deal on an older, low-mileage family sedan … something like a Chevy Burnett or a Ford Arroyo.

These life choices were certainly difficult for Duke in the face of the constant criticisms around him … if only some angels would drop a pile of money in his lap, it sure would be easier! But what were the chances of that ever happening? He would probably just have to once again stretch the bang for his BUCK with what he could comfortably afford.