Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick Hits: O's Sweep Rays, Ripken and the Hall of Fame Weekend...

It’s needless to say that this weekend will be huge in the pantheon of sports, especially for those who root ardently for the Baltimore Orioles.

In light of an ugly sports week full of scandals and controversy, it’s a breath of fresh air to see Maryland’s own Cal Ripken enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

I will admit right now, Cal was never my favorite Oriole --- Frank Robinson was, followed by Brooks (ironically, I was not even born when both men played their last game), but I liked Frank as a competitor, and Brooks because he was amazing in the fiels and he is such a good guy.

Ripken may not have the lofty numbers (only a .275 career batting average), but he changed the position of shortstop forever, and more importantly, he went out and did his job day after day.

More importantly, with the outrageous salaries of athletes these days and the tendencies for a lot of them to be anti-social and limit their interaction with fans, Cal Ripken was a great exception.

Perhaps this is why I respect and honor him now more than I ever did.

When I see guys like Michael Vick, Adam “Pacman” Jones in the situations they are in now, sometimes we need to be reminded being a professional athlete is a privilege, not a right; therefore, although they may not think of themselves as role models – they are.

Millions of kids (some of whom do not have parental figures in their life) look up to athletes.

Some do not want to carry that mantle; however, guys like Ripken and Gwynn (cannot forget him) take it and run.

For that, I salute them.

These days, it’s hard to find people who do things the right way.

I will not be going to Cooperstown, because I went out to San Francisco and logistically, it would not work; however, for those of you who are going, have a blast and enjoy a special time. I’m sure there will be enough media, fans, and everything else to make the trip a memorable one.

If anyone has stories, etc, let me know and perhaps you can share them on the blog.

The Baltimore Orioles swept the Devil Rays this week, and it was a team they should have and did take advantage of. The O’s beat the Devil Rays 10-7 yesterday, and it was supplanted by Brian Roberts’ big-three run homer.

Steve Trachsel had a lackluster start as he could not get out of the fifth inning.

I think Tampa Bay has an awesome offense, but the team overall is still very raw and the pitching situation (outside of Kazmir and Shields is horrendous). If the Rays ever got pitching, or could spend more in the free agent market, they could very well me be an emerging team, much like the Indians during the past several years.

Next we, have the Evil Empire (I should say the suddenly resurgent Yankees) back in the fold. I thought the team might be done; however, they have a lineup built to win at stretches at time, and considering the makeup for their team, I did not think they would down for long.

The Yankees still have a good deficit to make up, but you have to give them respect for climbing out the gutter.

Tonight should be interesting, as the Orioles and Yankees will pick up where they left off from the game on June 28th which was suspended due to rain.

The Baltimore Examiner, Baltimore Sun, Oriole Magic, Orioles Hangout & Washington Post have a recap of the game.

Chris Ray has been put on the disabled list, and Cory Doyne is back up with the big club.

Matt Palmer thinks the Orioles have a chance to finish at .500 – I think Matt may be a little optimistic, and Baltimore has a tough schedule ahead of them, but the way the pitching has gone, they have a shot if the cards are played right.

There have been talks about Daniel Cabrera being traded (especially after his last start); however, I say do not do it unless the offer is so overwhelming that you cannot refuse it. Pitching is at a premium and I do not know many 6’9” guys pitching and that can top out in the mid-90s. Yes, Cabrera is in his 4th year, but right now he’s still young enough if he can reach his potential, the pay-off may be huge.

Also, could Bradford be dealt?

Miguel Tejada is set to return from the disabled list tonight, and he homered last night in a rehab start in the minors...

Former Oriole manager and legend Earl Weaver and Don Zimmer both reflect on Cal Ripken.

Columnist Peter Schmuck of the Sun opines that Cal’s induction this weekend is a welcome change from the scandal and ugliness going on in sports today…

Longtime Oriole employee and umpire attendant Ernie Tyler will not be at the Yard this season, thus ending his consecutive games worked at 3,769; however, he will be the quest of Cal Ripken at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend. The Baltimore Sun has more on Mr. Tyler.

According to the Baltimore Sun, some Comcast viewers may be out luck if they want to watch Cal’s induction speech due to a channel change.

Meanwhile, there was a Cal Ripken look-alike contest in Catonsville, Md – at a retirement home…

Outfielder Joe Nowicki who is in Aberdeen is making a dramatic turnaround.

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