Monday, June 30, 2008

The O's Really Want To Win on Sundays; Melvin Mora At The ESPN Zone on Tuesday...

In a way to rally the troops, and get fans to support the team, the Orioles are taking a unique step to break the streak of the team losing on Sundays.

The Orioles announced a new promotion today in an effort to help the club reverse its Sunday struggles, which will debut this Sunday for the team's game against the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards. If the Orioles defeat the Rangers Sunday, the "We Win, You Win" promotion will reward fans with a complimentary ticket in the same seating category to any future non-prime game.

Yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park was the Orioles' 12th straight Sunday defeat. The team has a 1-12 record on Sundays this season and hasn't won on Sunday since beating the Seattle Mariners April 6 at Camden Yards.

"The circumstances surrounding the team's Sunday struggles are highly unusual and inexplicable," team director of communications Greg Bader said. "We believe the situation calls for added assistance from our loyal fans to help the team deliver another Sunday victory. And if the Birds win on Sunday, anyone who does help us break this hex will be rewarded with a complimentary ticket to a future game of his or her choice."

Fans can purchase tickets online at, by calling 1-888-848-BIRD or in person at the box office. The promotion is valid for paid tickets only. If the Orioles beat the Rangers Sunday, fans will be given their choice of a comparable seat location for any of the 33 remaining non-prime dates during the regular season, subject to availability. If the Orioles win Sunday, the box office will remain open following the game for fans wishing to redeem their tickets, though fans will also be able to redeem tickets any time prior to August 31.

An awesome deal, and kudos to the Orioles for trying to spark up the region's interest in the team. I guess you have to do what needs to be done to sell tickets.

ESPN Zone continues its season-long Orioles Q&A series Tuesday, July 1, at noon with Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora, our third baseman and two-time All-Star. The event will run from 12-1pm.

An Orioles broadcaster will host the free event, which will include an autograph signings and tons of giveaways.

Stunned; Washington Downs Baltimore, 3-2, With A 12th Inning Walk-Off Two-Run Homer

In the game of baseball, a difference between winning and losing is determined sometimes by an inch or the judgment of an umpire.

That theory could be applied to Sunday’s rubber match against the Baltimore Orioles on a hot, sunny day at Nationals Park.

With two outs in the bottom of the twelfth inning, and Baltimore ahead 2-1, thanks to a valiant comeback in the top the frame, the Washington Nationals were seemingly on their way to a second straight loss, and dropping the Battle of the Beltway series against the Orioles.

Baltimore closer George Sherrill had to only throw a strike to end the game; however, he walked Dmitri Young on a very close pitch that could have called in their favor. A pitch that might have been called a strike, if it was only a fraction of an inch closer within the zone perhaps may have set up the dramatic moment to finish off a strong weekend.

Ronnie Belliard, the next batter, had his shot against Baltimore’s unflappable closer and was behind in the count, 0-2. The third pitch in the sequence to Belliard looked to be close in the strike zone and could have ended the game; however, he would lay off the pitch and it was called for a ball by the home plate umpire.

On the next pitch, Belliard took Sherrill’s slider that missed its spot and deposited it over the field fence at Nationals Park.

When all was said and done, he rounded the bases like a little kid; thus, upon reaching to home plate, Belliard got a hero’s welcome as he was awash in a sea of red with his teammates giving him high fives and much deserved congratulations.

His two-run homer stunned not only the Orioles, but perhaps the 39,824 in attendance – the largest crowd in the stadium’s three month history.

Washington fans, who jockeyed with those that ventured down from Baltimore all weekend in the stands, got a well deserved and hard fought win as they beat the Orioles, 3-2.

Before the dramatic finale of Sunday’s game, Baltimore had gone ahead in the top of the twelfth inning to break a deadlocked 1-1 tie. Washington reliever Luis Ayala started off the inning, and then gave up two consecutive singles with two outs to Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff; thus, moments later, Ayala was replaced with Joel Hanrahan.

With men on both first and second, Adam Jones singled off Hanrahan and plated Markakis and took the lead, 2-1. Guillermo Quiroz would fly out to end the frame, but Baltimore had valiantly come back after being stymied by Washington all day.

After keeping the Orioles off the board for six frames, Luke Scott took Washington’s Jason Bergmann deep to right field and hit his 14th homer in seventh - a solo shot - to tie the game, 1-1.

Meanwhile, Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie, went seven strong innings, gave up an earned run, while striking out three and walking four. He pitched well enough to as well earn a win, but a lack of run support – finished the day with a 3.50 ERA and only a 4-7 record to show for it.

And yes, the Orioles are shockingly only 1-12 on Sundays!!!

For Pictures from this weekend: Click here and here

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Yawner in Washington; Staying the Course: Felipe Lopez?

After a huge series at Wrigley Field, where they took two of three from the Cubs -- the Baltimore Orioles returned home -- sort of, as they played a road game down in the Nation's Capital last night.

It rained and poured literally before the game, but after a brief delay, the Orioles and Nationals tangoed in the second round of the Battle of Beltway. Baltimore looked flat and very lethargic, and in the end they would lose the NL's worst team, Washington, 4-2, last night.

In a game full errors and miscues on the field, along with looking woeful at the plate; Daniel Cabrera was serviceable -- not good -- as he got charged for two runs in the both the first and seventh innings to fall to 5-4 on the year. Besides those two innings, he looked fine, but was hittable on the night.

In a lineup not featuring Aubrey Huff -- by in large, the team's hottest hitter and Luke Scott, the Orioles offense suffered. Nick Markakis and Brandon Fahley drove in runs for Baltimore, but they just could not get the engine going.


Despite the Orioles taking the Cubs series at Wrigley Field, where they caused the Cubs to lose their first series at home for the year, Baltimore to repeat again and again has been a pleasant surprise.

With the loss yesterday in Washington, they are currently 40-38, two games over .500 and 8 are games out, but most fans would be fooling themselves if they thought Baltimore was a contending team. I don't want to sound crass, rude or raining on the parade -- but the reality is that the Orioles are playing way above their heads.

Despite Huff, Roberts, and Markakis' numbers, the fact remains this team has a lot of holes -- (i.e., shortstop -- Brandon Fahey starting??), an inconsistent starting staff staffed by mostly youngsters, and a lineup stuff devoid of power.

If the Orioles are still contention by the All-Star break, Andy MacPhail should wheel and deal -- for the future -- not to contend for a pennant. As much I would love to see the team in the playoffs, the fact of the matter is, this still is probably not even halfway through their rebuilding job.

This notion might be unpopular, but if we have to deal one of our key guys (outside of Markakis and Roberts), it should be done if we can get quality in return. We need a shortstop, more pitching, a power bat, an offensive first baseman and more for the future.

Don't be swayed by the record right now, Andy MacPhail must stay the course.

The winning is nice, but we have to be realistic.

The other big news to come out in the past few days are the rumors of Felipe Lopez coming to Washington.

You don't want to know what I though when heard the news.
From Fox Sports: The Orioles, desperately seeking a shortstop, have engaged in substantive conversations with the Nationals about a trade for infielder Felipe Lopez, according to major league sources.

The Nationals reportedly are close to signing shortstop Cristian Guzman to a two-year contract extension for an unknown dollar amount and are unlikely to retain Lopez as a free agent after this season.

In return for Lopez, the Nationals likely would receive a marginal minor-league prospect.

The Orioles have been looking for help at shortstop ever since trading Miguel Tejada to the Astros last off-season.

Lopez is hitting .247 with 25 runs and 20 RBI.

If a deal is completed, it likely would not be announced until after the completion of the Orioles-Nationals series this weekend in Washington, sources say.
Lopez had some good numbers in Cincinnati -- perhaps because of the bandbox there -- but he's been nothing short of a bust in Washington. Besides his numbers at the plate, the infielder has been seen as nothing but a grouse by the media, and his play on the field has left nothing to be desired.

I thought he might have made a good candidate to be traded to Baltimore when the season began; however, he could be a bad seed on a Baltimore team that fosters hard play, respect, following the rules, and playing 100%.

He's not done that with the Nationals.

Simply put, he definitely needs a change of scenery and he might be re-energized in Baltimore, but in this case -- if the Orioles do trade for him (IMO, they should not) -- buyer beware!

Before I go, I'll have more on the awesome time I had at Wrigley Field perhaps starting on Monday. I'll say, I have nothing but respect for the Cubs fans and how the majority of them treated us from Birdland. They did a great job in making us welcome, by chatting with us, and conversing in baseball; however, they showed incredible passion for their team, and their ballpark -- just beautiful, pristine, and full of life.

In a day where ballparks have emulated rock concerts or stuff you'd see in the NBA, it was nice to see a park use minimalist bells and whistles to get the crowd going. Wrigley is simple -- you focus on eyes on the game, the crowd, and not the exploding fireworks, large LCD screen, places to go galore. I appreciated that at Wrigley, and that's why I put it in the upper echelon of ballparks I have ever visited.

I have a lot to do this weekend, and I'm doing the series in D.C. against Baltimore.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Weekend That Was; Our Shortstop Problem...

After a successful home stand where they won an incredible six out of seven, the Orioles are now on the road on a nine-game interleague swing.

Well, the Birds’ first stop had them in part of America’s heartland – Wisconsin – where they kicked off a three game set against the Milwaukee Brewers. Baltimore won on Friday night; however, they got kicked around in the final two games of the series and are now in a two-game skid as they have go into Chicago to face the Cubs.

Lest we forget, the Cubs swept the AL Central leading White Sox over the weekend in the inter-city rivalry.

The Milwaukee series may have exposed some of the Orioles' weaknesses -- young pitchers who are still learning to be consistent on this level (item: Garrett Olson and Daniel Cabrera), not being able to do much with hitters in scoring position and a bullpen that has had a lot of pressure put on them.

Needless to say, the Orioles have been playing well; however, their weaknesses may undo the success they have had so far.

One of the glaring problems in their lineup has been shortshop, and this weekend the team released Freddie Bynum. Obviously, he was not doing the job (he was batting under .200), and was versatile, but being unable to hit at the major level cost him his job.

Alex Cintron will be the shortstop, as he's better at the plate than Bynum or Hernandez ever was; however, his glove is suspect along with his range. In addition, will his throwing arm, which has been a problem, hold up?

I expect MacPhail to make a move for a better, everyday shortstop in the weeks ahead. The shortstop position has been a problem offensively all season, and something needs to be done.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photo Gallery: Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 19th, 2008

Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 19th, Balto. Md

John Gibbons Out As Manager of the Jays

After trying in vain to keep an underachieving Toronto roster out of last place this season, John Gibbons has been relieved of his duties as of this morning.

And his replacement, Cito Gaston???

Good luck, Mr. Gibbons; however, I can never respect you for going into Smackdown mode with Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand.

Is Fox Sports' Dayn Perry Just Incompetent & Misinformed?

Sometimes, I wonder how sportswriters come up with their material, and most of the time, I find them to be uber-fans like us, just that are blessed with a paid writing job and have the access the average fan doesn't.

Read this little piece by Fox Sports' Dayn Perry titled "Who's The Manager Is Next To Get The Axe", and wonder if he even bothered to read up on the Baltimore Orioles, or furthermore any team not named the Yankees or Red Sox in the AL East.

Dave Trembley, Orioles

Predicting what the Orioles will do is a fool's errand, but one would assume that the team's nominal successes in 2008 will spare Trembley. That the O's are hovering around .500 and not in last place speaks to Trembley's, well, adequacy. But things can change. Especially in Peter Angelos' Baltimore.

I guess despite the Orioles' nice run of late, it does not matter what they do -- some will never rid themselves of their thoughts about this team.

Did Dayn not bother to check the standings as of late -- the freaking Orioles are 37-34. I'm sure he and 99.5% of people, such as myself picked this team to be awful, but alas, Baltimore is winning.

Really, that deserves our manager (Trembley) to be on a short leash even though he's gotten more out of his players than anyone even expected?

Just dumb and a case of being grossly misinformed or being overly provincial.

Then again, Perry may be right on everyone else mentioned in the piece.


Baltimore Sweeps Houston; Now Vs. Then, A Year Later

I didn't know what to think when the season started, I figured we would be lucky to see .500 this season at any point and it would be more of the same in terms of losing.

Last night, the amazing Orioles swept the Houston Astronauts by defeating them 7-5 in a exciting game at Camden Yards. Baltimore had yet another come-from-behind win, their 22nd; however, they managed to score in the middle of the game, as opposed to in late innings and cause a cardiac arrest. Alex Cintron lead the way with three hits including a home run that sparked the offensive barrage -- alas, he nearly served as the goat as he committed an error and misplayed a ball in ninth inning that alomost sparked a Houston comeback.

A six-run fifth inning helped out the Orioles and helped Brian Burres -- who had been struggling as of later -- earn his sixth win. Although he was far from dominant, he was serviceable, as he pitched a little over five innings and earned his sixth victory -- a team high.

George Sherrill earned his 24th save.


At this point last year, Dave Trembley became manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

Needless to say at that juncture, although the Orioles had played well when he came to the helm, they were still a sub .500 team with little hope of getting better.

We still had Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada as our "stars", but yet they could not get us out of a fourth place finish as well the butt of a national joke.

Also, one year ago, Andy MacPhail became the Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles -- more or less, the man in charge.

MacPhail, highly regarded as a baseball man from a family with a rich legacy in the game, fans knew they were getting someone who knew the game -- however, we were skeptical as to how things would actually come about.

As well, who knew what Dave Trembley would be like as manager of the Baltimore Orioles?

Let's fast forward one year later.

The Orioles, much to the surprise of the nation, much less their own base, are over .500, seventy-one games into the season.

Andy MacPhail, through long hours of work with his staff has perhaps done the impossible -- that is making the Baltimore Orioles into a viable franchise again.

So far, MacPhail has looked like a genius and perhaps foresaw the future by sending Bedard to Seattle (see how that worked out!) and our big ticket, Miguel Tejada to Houston where they can't buy a win and are sinking like the Titanic. The deals he made in the off season have been proven invaluable, as we now have fan favorites in Luke, Adam Jones, & George Sherill; as well, youngsters who have made quite a contribution like Matt Albers and Dennise Sarfate.

I'm sure more guys will be on their way up to the big leagues, for example the amazing Matt Wieters, with Jake Arrieta in tow along with Billy Rowell and Nolan Reimold.

Meanwhile, in Charm City and in Oriole Nation, we have a team that doesn't give up until the very last out, and although we don't have any superstars -- we have a team that's likable, personable, plus one the region can identify with.

Young guys are getting their shot and making that most of it, and they are being embraced by the fans.

You can't say enough about Adam Jones, but let's also not forget Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz, Jeremy Guthrie, but also Brian Burres -- who may be struggling, but through guts and determination is showing why he deserves a shot at this level.

But all the recent success starts at the top, and you cannot give enough credit to Dave Trembley. He's instilled a sense of professionalism and pride within this team that seemed to be missing with Perlozzo, Mazzilli, Regan, et. al.

Yes, a big component of how I feel is that we are winning; however, it looks like the team respects Trembley and is buying into his philosophy.

We as fans can't be more grateful, and some who have not been to Camden Yards are coming back for not only the promotions, but to see winning and inspired baseball. Instead of knowing the game is over the by third inning, fans know they will get their money's worth and each game can provide that magical moments which makes following the Orioles worthwhile.

The Milwaukee series may have exposed some of the Orioles' weaknesses -- young pitchers who are still learning to be consistent on this level (item: Garrett Olson and Daniel Cabrera), not being able to do much with hitters in scoring position and a bullpen that has had a lot of pressure put on them.

Needless to say, the Orioles have been playing well; however, their weaknesses may undo the success they have had so far.

I realize Baltimore may not contend for the pennant (then again, I have been wrong on just about everything this season), but we have more hope than we ever had in a decade and we should be thankful.

However, the mission is far from accomplished. More deals and time will be needed to make the Orioles into a competitive franchise again. Some moves will be lauded, and there will be a few that will be scrutinized and ripped apart; alas, you have to take some risks – not only in sports, but in all facets of life – to become successful.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The O's Comeback Again: Defeat Houston 2-1 in 10 Innings

For the second night in a row, the Orioles once again had another come-from-behind victory as they beat Houston, 2-1, in the ten innings. Kevin Millar poked a base hit up the middle off of Houston closer Jose Valverde in the 10th inning to drive in Adam Jones and send the crowed at Oriole Park at Camden Yards rocking home.

The Orioles were buoyed by Luke Scott's homer in the seventh inning that tied the game, and once again, the bullpen kept the game close when Chad Bradford pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Once again, Jeremy Guthrie pitched his heart out -- however, once again, the de-facto ace of the staff earned the no decision. His only mistake was giving up a solo homer -- a bomb -- to one of the best hitters in the NL, Lance Berkman in the top of the seventh inning.

Guthrie's final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K.

Perhaps if he was on any other team, he might have easily earned the 'W', but with the Orioles, the lack of run support for Guthrie seems to be standard operating procedure. Guthrie has a sub four ERA, and with that alone, he should have at least a .500 record, if not above it -- alas, the Orioles don't score runs for him which has now become some crazy epidemic.

Once again, Oriole Magic came alive as Baltimore was able to pull out the win, and make things exciting for fans; however, all these comebacks may set a dangerous precedent.

Is the bullpen going to always deal with added pressure to keep the game close when the the Orioles are always seemingly behind? Are the hitters going to start pressing? And finally, what happens when the luck runs out? (Disagree with me, but the law of averages may start to catch up with the Orioles).

Well, the starting pitching needs to go deeper, and the Orioles have to be a lot more effective when they have men in scoring position.

It sounds simple enough, but it's always easier said than done.

The comebacks may be great for us fans, as we are getting no doubt our money's worth; however, I think they can only keep this up for so long.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photos and Report: Oriole Closer George Sherrill at the ESPN Zone; June 17th

George Sherrill at the ESPN Zone; June 17th

For fans who came into the Inner Harbor on their lunch hour, or a day in the city, that ventured into the ESPN Zone on Tuesday got to see the newest Oriole, George Sherrill participate in a Q&A for about 20-25 minutes.

After the Q&A session, he signed autographs and posed for pictures in an adjacent room near general seating area of the restaurant.

In an event sponsored by ESPN Zone and the team's public relations department, Sherrill was affable, introspective and personable, joking with the fans and the event's moderator, team’s radio play-by-play man Fred Manfra.

The Baltimore closer talked about his life in independent baseball, his road to the majors and his personal experiences along with perseverance have shaped his time in the big leagues.

Sherrill never got drafted in college or high school and may have got into the majors in an unconventional way – however, he never wavered on his dream. “I had other jobs and hated them – I hated going to class; some kids enjoyed it, but I hated it. I loved going to the ballpark each day, and nothing beats it.”

In the past few weeks, I gotten to see him up close on the field, and we all as fans can agree, he’s had a hot start to the 2008 campaign and is nothing but a welcome addition to the organization. He had nothing but positives when it come to his teammates as George said, “it’s great – you’ve guys like Millar who are gonna keep it loose, as well as Walker who keeps it loose in the ‘pen; it’s a good mix of guys, old, young, outgoing…”

Of course he gave the man at the helm in dugout, Dave Trembley credit by saying, “it’s great; I love playing for him – except he’s a Notre Dame guy.”

Sherrill adds: “He knows the right buttons to push; he knows how to get everything out of you. He seems to the be one who spurs the late game heroics, with the pinch hits, pinch runners with like (Guthrie), but he (Trembley) seems to know how get everything going. If he’s got something negative to say, he’ll start out with a positive. All the coaches are for the most part --- positive, trying to build you up and get the most out of you.”

He also gave credit to his pitching coach, Rick Kranitz.

“Is a funny quiet guy, when he comes to the mound – he cracks a joke; he’s always loose and his meetings have a lot of information in them. He tries to work on your strengths and hits on your weaknesses if you’re out there and need something from him.”

Although he’s over 30, and is in no shape or form still a prospect – he knows all too well that being in the majors is a not a right – but a privilege, and he intends to stay here.

He added, “I don’t care about personal accolades – they’re nice and all, but I want to win. I want a ring and hopefully bring Baltimore back a World Championship.”

He also opined of the state of the team before the season – despite the gloom and doom of many in the media, “we knew we were going to be good – of course most of what we heard, we were going to win like 50 games or something.” He added, “The guys we have in the clubhouse, I knew we would be better than that.”

We all know as fans, the season has been filled with comebacks and also strong play; thus, Sherrill gave credit to the many fans of the Baltimore Orioles and how it pumps up the team.

“The fans, with the wins from behinds, give us all confidence.”

All in all, he is extremely likable, humble, and very personable. I knew based on what I have read about him, he’s a down to earth individual, and what you see with George is what you get.

About his famous flipped cap: “In independent ball – I used to bend it, but you know it used to look crooked, but when I got to San Antonio, I got grief about it, so I kept it as it was.”

Sherrill quipped when his teammates started to do it after each successful save for the first, “I could not stop laughing – it was against Tampa, and I could not stop laughing – but it’s all in good fun.”

“I like it.”

Photo Gallery: Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 17th, 2008

Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 17th 2008

Oriole Magic Comes Through Again; O’s Down Astros, 6-5 & Wild Bill

The spirit of 'Will" Bill Hagy stayed alive last night as the Orioles pulled yet another come-from-behind win last night as they beat the Houston Astronauts (ok, the Astros), 6-5. The nail for the coffin for Houston came in the 8th inning, as Melvin Mora came through in the clutch -- with two outs, nevertheless -- hitting a double in the gap that would bring the Orioles back from a 5-4 deficit.

Like with most games as of late, the Orioles chipped away at their opponent's lead throughout the game and they were helped greatly by home runs by Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis. As well, the Baltimore bullpen came through again when it was needed by pitching well over four innings, and George Sherill came through with his 23rd save.

Jim Johnson -- the ever so-clutch pitcher -- got his second win of the season. Oriole starter Garrett Olson looked really off last night, as he pitched only 4 2/3 and was charged with four run -- all earned.

Of course, last night will be remembered for two reasons -- they being Miguel Tejada and "Wild" Bill Hagy.

Read More at Oriole Magic...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Miggy Returns to Baltimore

There has been a lot of discussion online about return of Miguel Tejada as the Houston Astros come into town Tuesday-Thursday at the Yard. Anyhow, he was signed to a monster deal in 2004 to a piece of the puzzle to vault the Orioles back into contention.

He had a career season in '04, driving in 150 runs and slamming 34 homers; however, in the years after, he was very productive, but did not come close to his numbers the first year in an Oriole uniform.

Let's fast forward to 2008 -- he's now two years older than originally thought; he's gotten slower, and has been ensnared into the whole Mitchell Report mess.

All that above is the least of his problems.

He could be indicted for apparently lying to the Feds about his involvement in the Rafael Palmeiro affair, as well as his alleged drug use.

When he was with the Orioles, he was the offense force, but yet also perhaps was a detriment to the team through his constant trade demands, whining, also earned the ire of fans based on his play at shortstop -- which had started to decline in his tenure with the Orioles.

There have been a few articles in the Sun (here, here) and also Roch has opined about it, but what do you all think?

The New York Mets Are Classless; Willie Randolph's Firing...

Well, after weeks of much speculation and ominous headlines in both the New York and National press, the fans of the New York Mets are probably happy with the news this morning -- made most likely before most even woke up on the East Coast.

At 3:15 a.m. ET -- that manager Willie Randolph had been fired along with Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto were also let go. Meanwhile, Jerry Manuel takes over -- for now.

How classless. If you were going to fire him -- why do it after he traveled cross country and boarded a plane. I guess Sunday being Father's Day delayed the inevitable.

From the AP: After weeks of speculation that his job was in jeopardy, Willie Randolph finally got fired by the New York Mets while most fans were sleeping.

The Mets had Willie Randolph manage the team Monday night in L.A. -- and fired him early Tuesday morning.

Randolph was let go in the middle of the night Tuesday, 2½ months into a disappointing season that has followed the team's colossal collapse last September.

Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over on an interim basis for Randolph, who led the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series. They got off to a strong start again last year but plummeted down the stretch and have been unable to rebound.

A preseason favorite to win the NL pennant, the $138 million Mets (34-35) had won two in a row when Randolph was dismissed early Tuesday morning -- making him the first big league manager to get fired this season.

Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were cut loose in an enormous overhaul that was revealed in a fact-of-the-matter news release at a stunning time -- about 3:15 a.m. ET, nearly two hours after New York's 9-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Ken Oberkfell, the club's manager at Triple-A New Orleans, and Dan Warthen, pitching coach for the Zephyrs, will join the major league staff along with Luis Aguayo, a Mets field coordinator.
For a while I wondered if the Mets were looking to create like a mini-series or something with this whole saga with Willie Randolph.

I don’t blame Willie for the Mets’ woes; they’ve got a top-heavy team with aging players, injuries, and their players seem to have a problem coming through in the clutch.

It’s simple - the Mets are mediocre and I think things are not going to change no matter how badly they wanted things shaken up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

George Sherrill Appears At The ESPN Zone, Tuesday June 17th at Noon!

ESPN Zone continues its season-long Orioles Q&A series Tuesday, June 17, at noon with closer George Sherrill, who is currently second in saves in Major League Baseball.

An Orioles broadcaster will host the free event, which will include an autograph singing and tons of giveaways. For more information, fans can call (202) 783-3776.

Bill Bavasi on the Unemployment Line...

Since you can't fire the players...

The Seattle Mariners decided to from GM Bill Bavasi this afternoon due to their lack of success in 2008 and having the worst record in baseball. Currently at 24-45, they are worst team in the sport, and after a sweep by the Washington Nationals changes were in order.

Although the Mariners won 88 games in 2007, and acquired Erik Bedard from the Orioles via trade and Carlos Silva, the deals have no translated into additional victories.

Considering that they were expected to contend, the writing was on the wall after two and a half months of ineptitude.

Again, I ask, do you think Mariners fans are happy with Jones and Sherrill in an Oriole uniform, along with three of their former prospects in the farm system?

I think not, and from the beginning I knew the Mariners gave way too much for Bedard.

Even the Seattle papers out there at the time said this deal would kill the team (ok, this has not so much done that -- it's the fact their high priced players can't hit, their pitching sucks, as does their 'pen)

Now Bavasi paid the price and Andy MacPhail has come off looking like a genius so far.

Um, John McLaren, you might want to start updating your resume...

'Wild' Bill To Be Honored on Tuesday...

Tomorrow night at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles will honor 'Wild' Bill Hagy with a T-Shirt promotion (adorned with the number #34 on the front and back -- for the section he did his cheer in -- they will be given out to the first 10,000 fans), and will give fans a chance to remember a part of the Baltimore sports lexicon.

From the Orioles Press Release: ... on Tuesday, June 17, the first 10,000 fans 15 & over attending the 7:05 p.m. game against the Houston Astros will receive a Wild Bill Hagy t-shirt in honor of the late Orioles superfan. June 17 marks the anniversary of Hagy's birthday, and Hagy's friends and supporters will join the Orioles in honoring him throughout the game. The shirt will feature the number 34, which was the number of the section in the upper deck at Memorial Stadium from which Hagy led "O-R-I-O-L-E-S" cheers.
As we all know, he lead the famous O-R-I-O-L-E-S chant, by not only screaming it out, but doing gyrations with his body the best he could to spell out the letters. He lead crowds during the late 70's to mid-80's, and would whip the crowd into a frenzy.

I was fairly young during this phenomenon, so I can't recall any great stories or what not; however, I did get to meet him a handful of times at events, and once at a game. He seemed like an everyman and almost a quiet guy -- but no doubt a true fan as everyone just seemed to gravitate towards him.

To be remembered for anything is special, and it is nice that the Baltimore Orioles franchise have taken out a day to give thanks to a fellow that embodied 'Oriole Magic' way back when...

O's Nearly Stage Another Comeback Against the Bucs...

If you weren't at the Yard yesterday -- much less this weekend -- you've missed some incredible baseball by out 2008 Orioles. Well, Sunday was nothing short of incredible, as the Baltimore Orioles nearly came back in an inexplicable fashion, but the Pirates knocked us out the 10th inning. In the end, Baltimore dropped the third game of the interleague series to Pittsburgh, 5-4.

For third consecutive game, Oriole Magic came alive again as Brian Roberts jacked a two-run opposite field home run off Matt Capps in the bottom of the ninth inning with two out. The usually reliable George Sherill came into the game in the tenth inning, but a RBI single by Adam LaRoche’s in the tenth drove in the winning run.

It was later revealed via Roch's blog that Sherill now has a case of "tired arm".

Despite the loss, the Orioles engineered yet an incredible comeback that no one could have foreseen; however, this season, anything is now possible.

However, in light of yesterday's near euphoria, there's one troubling thing that most fans noticed -- could Daniel Cabrera be regressing after perhaps having a breakthrough? After looking like a completely different pitcher in April and May, June has been a return to the Daniel of old -- inconsistent, lacking confidence and command.

A while back, it was discussed on the blog what would happen if Daniel lost a game and would he be able to come back and be effective? That question is now up in the air. Like I said before the season began, Daniel Cabrera may be the one ingredient that may help the Orioles in 2008 or break them. His poor starts have been somewhat overlooked by Baltimore's unexpected performance, but his last three starts have been troubling and his ERA has nearly climbed up a run since then.

Every good pitcher has a poor start every once a while, but most don't have three in a row.

I'll ask again nearly a month later -- do you think Daniel Cabrera could ever be a consistent pitcher at this level, or will we have to get used to his Jeckyll and Hyde performances?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Photo Gallery: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 15th, 2008

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 15th, 2008

Oriole Magic Happens Again? Trembley Your Manager of The Year?

Seriously, is this team charmed, lucky or just that damn good? The Orioles once again staged one of their amazing comebacks -- their 19th! -- as they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the ninth, 8-7.

After coming back from behind twice, it looked the Orioles had their backs against the wall as Adam LaRoche hit a 2-run homer to put the Pirates up 7-6.

Well, in the spirit of the 2008 Orioles, the game is never over until the final out. Against Pittsburgh closer Matt Capps, Oscar Salazar led off the bottom of the ninth with the tying homer and three batters later, Ramon Hernandez singled in the winning run with two outs, as the Baltimore Orioles garnered another improbable victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baltimore is now 34-33, and seemingly have all the confidence in the world. In a year in which gloom and doom was expected, the Orioles are competing in the AL East -- something no one would have imagined in March.

Thus, it brings to mind one question -- should Dave Trembley -- 67 games into the season be given AL Manager of the Year consideration? Well, seeing what I have, if the Orioles continue their nice little run, he should! In today's Baltimore Sun, Rick Mease asks that question and it causes you to wonder how much of a difference has Trembley made (could you imagine this happening to Sam Perlozzo?)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Melvin Mora & His Family Profiled For Father's Day

O's Beat Bucs During Throwback Night, 9-6

At this point last year, if the Orioles were behind by five runs in let's say the third inning, a game would be over. However, with this team's new collection on the roster, anything can happen -- thus, never consider a Baltimore Oriole game over until the last out.

With 47,000 plus on hand in a full house at the Yard, and with the Orioles in throwback uniforms on hand, plus former Oriole manager Earl Weaver and third baseman Doug DeCinces honoring the 1979 team, you knew there was potential for the night to be memorable.

For the 18th time, the Orioles once again came back from being down and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-6. A big night from Melvin Mora, Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Luke Scott's homer helped Brian Burres recover from a horrible start to get his fifth win. He but got the win after six innings of work, in which he gave up six runs on eight hits.

Despite the Pirates jumping on the Orioles in the first two innings, the Baltimore offense came back and brought Oriole Magic back to the Yard for yet another night.

Does anyone think the cartoon bird on the cap of either the 60's, 70-80's should make a return, at least maybe Saturdays, Sundays at home, or better yet all the time?

Photo Gallery: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 13th, 2008

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles; June 13th, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

O's Lose to Sox, 9-2; The Bucs Come To Town...

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles got shelled by the Boston Red Sox, 9-2. The game was pretty much decided in the fifth inning as the Orioles played the percentages to walk the bases loaded for Mike Lowell.

Lowell took advantage and hit the ball over the Green Monster for a grand slam. By then it was game, set, match.

Not much else happened for Baltimore; however, they are now a game under .500, and finished 5-4 on their current road trip -- a nice little feat considering they had the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox in succession.

Now, interleague baseball (for better or worse) starts up again as the Orioles take on the NL Central. They'll take on the Pirates, Astros, Brewers and the Cubs all in a span of two week, and thus will not see any AL action until the end of the month.

I don't know how the Orioles will fare against these teams, but both the Pirates and Astros are hovering around .500, and the Brewers are above it, and the Cubs have the best record in baseball. This could be a very interesting stretch to say in the least.

But first come the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom the Orioles matchup with this week since the 1979 World Series. For me, it doesn't mean much as I was born in 1978; however, for a segment of older fans, it brings forth a warm nostalgia and reminds fans of cheaper ticket prices, winning baseball, and stars of lore.

At the Yard tonight, Earl Weaver and Doug DeCinces will be in attendance, plus, it will be throwback jersey night -- so, all in all, it should be a memorable night for fans of all ages.


Friday: Phil Dumatrait (3-3, 3.44) vs. Brian Burres (4-5, 4.96)
Saturday: Zach Duke (4-4, 4.10) vs. Radhames Liz (1.0, 3.48)
Sunday: Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.55) vs. Daniel Cabrera (5-2, 4.35)

I'm almost tempted to call the Pittsburgh Pirates the bizzaro Baltimore Orioles, as their records and the state of the their franchises, city, fanbases, and rebuilding stage are virtually identical; however, the Pirates may be slightly ahead.

I've already seen them twice in Washington, and they are perhaps a couple of pieces away from becoming a contender, but they have a lot of young talent. Some of it is waiting to break through, some have hit their peak, and there are quite a few guys (Burnett, Gorzellany, Bullington) who have not lived up to their potential.

The lineup has some pop, and Jason Bay has returned to All-Star form; meanwhile, they are getting amazing production from Ryan Doumit, and Nate McLouth is perhaps the next big thing in waiting.

Well, I think both these teams are evenly matched, although Pittsburgh is 6-4 in their last ten, and took a series from the Washington Nationals yesterday.

The Orioles need to step and take advantage of the Pirates' pitching -- which is really not all that great, but Dumatrait has had a solid season so far, and Duke can be either mediocre or very good depending on how he starts off a game. Malholm, at this point, is just another run of the mill starter; thus, the Orioles match-up against them very well.

I see the Orioles easily taking two out of three depending if the offense can take advantage of the Pittsburgh youngsters on the mound.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Olson Lit Up: O's Lose 6-3

For the Orioles, the first inning last night was nothing short of ugly. Garrett Olson, who has looked nothing but a pitcher that belongs in the major leagues got roughed up badly by the Red Sox offense, especially at the hands of Jason Varitek who hit a three run homer that made the difference.

Baltimore lost 6-3 last night, and are now back at .500 with a record of 32-32. The good news is that Luke Scott homered, his 10th of the season; however, it looks like rotund Bartolo Colon is back as he stifled the Orioles for six innings. It looked like Baltimore might surge and start yet another comeback in the ninth inning, but Terry Francona brought in Jonathan Papelbon, and the game ended just as suddenly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Empathy For Jay Gibbons

If you have a chance to check out this evening, you should probably read "Players like Bonds, Gibbons, Logan Struggle To Find Work". It's a pretty eye-opening piece on how some unemployed players who implicated in the Mitchell Report have had a very hard time finding work and are still on the market.

Obviously, we know the saga of Barry Bonds, but much of the piece is devoted to former Oriole Jay Gibbons.

Thus, if you read the piece, you'll also see a letter -- an impassioned one -- that he wrote to all 30 teams within baseball.

Here's some of what he wrote:

I have faith and hope that some team will give me the chance to prove that I can not only be a productive player but also be a stellar member of their organization. My faith in a second chance has inspired me to work harder than I have at any time in my life. My faith has gotten me through this most difficult period in my life.

All I need is a chance -- any chance -- anywhere. I am more than willing to begin the process of proving that I can and will be a productive major league player by playing in the minor leagues.
I am so willing to prove myself as a player, and a person, that I will donate ALL of my minor league earnings to your Club's charity. In the event that I earn the right to play at the major league level, I will gladly donate a significant sum to that same charity.

Once again, all I need is a chance and I will prove that I can be an extremely productive player and a great addition to your organization.
Well, I have chastised our former slugger, but also feel tremendous empathy for him, as I have talked to him a few times and seen him interact with others -- especially kids -- in PR/community for the team.

I'll say, he may have cheated for whatever reason, but honestly, I think he should get another chance to play baseball, considering some of the other players who were in the report are employed and still have their careers intact. Furthermore, not to criticize other players, but he's unemployed mostly for the fact HE DIDN'T PRODUCE.

That's really it. If he were a .300 hitter with 35 homers a year annually, someone would justify him being employed and take the sword for him. It's that simple.

I do think Jay cheated and stole money? Yes. However, there's a long list -- perhaps maybe multiplied by the amount of players not in the Mitchell Report who have profited handsomely from the specter of drugs and the brass of Major Baseball turning it's back to an obvious problem.

Perhaps Gibbons may be closer to finding work as the Sun posted this:
From The Baltimore Sun:Gibbons, whom the Orioles released in March, several months after he admitted to using human growth hormone and agreed to a Major League Baseball-imposed suspension, said he expects to sign with a New York- or New Jersey-based Atlantic League club by tomorrow and should be in uniform within days.

"I want to continue my career and start over," said Gibbons, 31. "This is an opportunity, and that is all I have been looking for."

Gibbons has split time in his native California and his offseason Arizona home waiting to catch on with another organization. In May, he sent a letter to the other 29 baseball organizations asking for an opportunity to play.
I think he's served his punishment by just the embarrassment factor alone. He was hung out to dry by Major League Baseball, and was pretty much tried and convicted by most fans on the 'net, sports talk radio as well as the press.

In the end, I only wish Jay Gibbons the best of luck getting a spot back into the sport, as I believe he's truly sorry, wants forgiveness, and a chance to play again -- unlike some of the others who have been implicated, who have either lawyered up or refused to talk.

Why would I want him to be employed again? I think despite Jay Gibbons have been a multi-millionaire several times over and over should be given another shot despite his inclusion in the Mitchell Report. Obviously, he's starting from square one and will need to earn his spot, but from the letter I have read he's shown a lot of contrition, and considering some of his peers are playing despite also being in the document -- Gibbons should be given a chance to prove and redeem himself.

Before I go, one person needs to be singled out for his compassion -- Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski for at least responding to Gibbons letter with dignity and decorum, despite the team not being interested in his service.

Having Okajima’s Number; O’s Whoop on the Red Sox, 10-6

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox, 10-6, thanks to an amazing comeback in the latter innings, and big-time clutch pitching by the bullpen. Folks, the Orioles have stormed the party in the AL East and are making things interesting in a division that features the Evil Empire (Yankees) & Evil Empire 1A (Red Sox), along with the top heavy Jays and surging Rays.

Aubrey Huff went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI and pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Red Sox. Brian Roberts, Ramon Hernandez and Freddie Bynum also drove in two runs for the Orioles, who have won four of their last five. The big moment for the Orioles came in the seventh inning as Hideki Okajima, got hammered and took the loss he was charged with three run in 1/3 of an inning.

Daniel Cabrera was charged with seven hits and six runs over five innings with four walks, and has not looked as nearly dominant as he was in April-May. Is he slowing down, tied or reverting back to the form he had in 2008? It's too early to say, and he was looking fine until the fourth inning -- then the patient, and aggressive Red Sox lineup tattered him.

The beautiful thing about last night was the Oriole comeback. Unlike in previous years, when the Red Sox were ahead, O's fans might have turned off the TV -- however, now, it's unpredictable and when the bullpen holds down the opposing offense, Baltimore has a chance to win.

Yes, the Orioles don't have the best offense, but they are making the most of their opportunities, thus moments that took place in the 7th and 9th innings, separate the 2008 Orioles from teams of the past decade.

We're still a game over .500, and although we may not be considered one of the elite -- baseball is taking notice that things are changing with the Baltimore Orioles. We may not have the lure of the Red Sox or Yankees, but Baltimore is making a good run and hopefully we can start making other teams' lives miserable rather than being a doormat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photo Gallery: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals; June 9th, 2008

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals; June 9th, 2008

Trachsel Sent On His Way: DFA'ed This Afternoon...

Steve Trachsel has been designated for assignment by Baltimore; thus, it should be no big surprise to anyone who has been following the team at all in 2008.

Good guy, but I don't see him coming back to the majors unless someone really needs an emergency starter.

From the Baltimore Sun: Rather than continue to use Steve Trachsel in an unfamiliar relief role, the Orioles decided today to designate him for assignment, ending his second stint with the club. The move was made before tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

To replace Trachsel on the roster, the Orioles returned to a four-man bench by purchasing infielder Oscar Salazar's contract from Triple-A Norfolk.

Trachsel, 37, left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed inside and wasn't available for comment. He went 2-5 with an 8.39 ERA in 10 games this season, the first eight as a starter.

Trachsel didn't make it past the third inning in four of his starts. As a reliever, he allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in six innings, with five walks and no strikeouts.
Oscar Salazar has been called up from Norfolk and takes Steve Trachsel's roster spot.

NY Times Rips Oriole Park's Crab Cakes

I got wind of this article that appeared in the New York Times this week titled, "Buy Me Some Sushi and Baby Back Ribs", about a culinary critic who visited a number of ballparks by a reader, Brendan Spiegel. The author of this piece, Peter Meehan, sampled food at 12 ballparks, including Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards and gave his opinion about what he devoured.

Long story short, he does not have a high opinion of a certain concession stand -- most likely Charm City Seafood (he doesn't name it the in article, but I assume this where he went) and here's what he said"

"And in Baltimore, I came face to face with a crab cake sandwich that edged out guinea pig (yes, guinea pig) as the least appetizing dish I have ever tried..."

If you read the article further, on page three, Meehan chronicles his sampling of Maryland's state staple -- the crab cake -- from a concession stand at Camden Yards.
Still, that dish did not compare to the horror that I encountered in Baltimore, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Between innings, I happened upon a stand called Charm City Seafood behind home plate, whose crab cake sandwich had just been touted in The Baltimore Sun that very morning for its “artful seasoning.” So I ordered one.

It was handed to me in a paper basket with a packet of tartar sauce. The bready puck was tepid, soggy and fishy, like a sponge that had been used to clean fish. I couldn’t manage a second bite: it was, without question, the worse dish I had the displeasure of sampling at a ballpark.
As a fan who attends upwards of 40 plus games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I can certainly attest that the stadium serves great crab cakes -- in fact, I order from Charm City Seafood and also get one from the Championship cafe often.

Perhaps Mr. Meehan got served a bad one, or had a server who didn't pay attention or even care. Who knows. It's a shame that's what his impression the crab cake was, and hopefully he doesn't begrudge everything else in the park.

I do have one question -- how could he miss Boog's BBQ? He may or may not be a baseball fan or just doesn't know the region, but I figured that should have been one obvious place should gone to.

Whether or not we harbor against Mr. Meehan's piece is up to us (some Baltimore fans do have a long memory); however, I did find it informative. For some, food makes the ballpark experience rich, but let's hope it didn't spoil his visit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Orioles TV Time Change ... From The Friendly Folks at MASN

Game Time Change for upcoming Orioles series in Boston

Games and Pre-game shows to begin one hour early on Tuesday and Thursday

The Baltimore Orioles have announced time changes for upcoming games against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox requested the changes to avoid an overlap with Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tuesday, June 10, game will begin at 6:05 p.m. on MASN HD
Thursday, June 12, game will begin at 6:05 p.m. on MASN HD

The Orioles pre-game show, O’s Xtra will begin at 5:30 p.m. on both days.

For more information, visit

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O's Lose in Toronto; The End of the Road For Trachsel?

Well, the Orioles fought and fought yesterday; however, Doc Halladay and the Blue Jays bested the Orioles, 5-4, yesterday in Toronto. Former Oriole B.J. Ryan earned his 13th save of the season, and they were buoyed by Vernon Well’s big day — which included three hits — including a solo home run, and Marco Scutaro’s 2 RBIs.

Our Luke Scott had a pair of homers and three RBI for the Orioles and Radhames Liz went five innings and earned the no-decision as he gave up two runs on four hits. He also struck out three and walked three. Matt Albers (3-2) was tagged with the loss after being touched for three runs on two hits in one inning of work.

Despite the Orioles’ three game win streak being snapped, they have won five out of their past seven, and are still at the .500 mark after 62 games — a feat that most here probably didn’t think would happen at this point.

One change that I feel is coming is on the pitching front, as I think Steve Trachsel has pitched his last game in a Baltimore uniform. The veteran came into the game during the ninth inning with the Orioles up by 8; however, surrendered earned four runs (two earned) in his outing — he was hurt by two errors — but he looked very hittable and fidgety.

The writing may be on the wall for the erstwhile pitcher.

Trachsel allowed four runs (two earned) after entering in the eighth inning Saturday with the Orioles leading 9-1. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, but he was removed in the ninth without getting an out after allowing a two-run double to Kevin Mench and walking Brad Wilkerson. Trachsel stared at the manager for almost Trembley’s entire trip to the mound.

Trembley said before the game yesterday that he was adhering to the 24-hour rule before speaking to Trachsel about the incident.

“I would think that [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] and I will discuss it on the plane tonight going to Boston,” Trembley said. “We have to do what’s best for Steve Trachsel, but we also have to do what’s best for the team, quite honestly.”

Meanwhile, Trachsel said this:

Trachsel said yesterday that he is frustrated trying to adjust to the routine of a reliever. He also said he was surprised Trembley took him out when he did Saturday.

“I figure I should be able to throw two innings and save everybody from having to get up in the bullpen,” he said.

For a team whose offense could be hot, and cold the next, Trembley made the right move on Saturday to stop a potential wound from profusely bleeding on the field. Trachsel did not look good, and at this point, since he’s not part of the tangible future of the organization — he should probably be sent on his way and the spot should be given to someone else.

What do you feel about Trachsel?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tim Lincecum

Being that the Orioles were out of town, I decided to head down to Nats' Park in Washington and catch the Giants this weekend where I saw Tim Lincecum on Friday night and Barry Zito on Sunday.

I got to speak with Lincecum on Sunday, and he's as nice as any athlete could be. The kid looks like he's a student at a local university -- however, seeing him on the mound, you'd not think a kid with his stature could be that proficient of a pitcher. Though he's got some strange herky-jerky delivery that one a fear that he might seriously injure himself on the mound -- it's effective and it's amazing to see.

Folks, the kid is special and could be a legend soon enough assuming he doesn't get injured or hit the proverbial wall. Watching in him in person interact with fans, sign for everyone who wanted and having me at well over 6'4" ask him questions and he answer them not like some spoiled brat, but a normal unassuming person has vaulted him into one of my favorite talents in the game.

If the Giants become competitive in the near future, Lincecum will become a household name all over the nation.

Here are some photos of him in action:

Photo Gallery: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals: June 8th, 2008

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals: June 8th, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sir Sidney Excommunicated From Texas

Former Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson was designated for assignment. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said Ponson, who was 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA, was sent away "for disrespecting teammates and club personnel."

Right-hander Sidney Ponson, who seemed to have his career back on track, was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers in a surprise move prior to Friday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Texas general manager Jon Daniels was vague about the reasons for the decision, saying Ponson had been dumped "for disrespecting teammates and club personnel."

"I'm not going to get into details other than to say that we're clearly trying to put together a team here in the true sense of the word … and based on recent comments and other such things, it was pretty clear that he didn't want to be part of that," Daniels said.

"That's not something we're going to tolerate. We want guys who want to be here, guys who are going to pull for their teammates and be proud of the organization."

Texas has 10 days to trade, release or outright Ponson to the minors. Daniels said Ponson had done nothing illegal and hadn't violated any club rules.

Ponson cleared out his locker and left the stadium several hours prior to the start of the game against Tampa Bay.

The Rangers signed Ponson, 31, as a minor league free agent on March 10, and the Aruba native began the season with triple-A Oklahoma. He was called up by the Rangers on April 26, and had been one of Texas' most successful starters, compiling a 4-1 record and 3.88 ERA for a pitching staff that began Friday last in the majors with a 5.09 ERA.

"The last thing you want to do is lose a starter who's given you reasonably consistent, quality outings," Daniels said. "But some things are more important than that."

Ponson's checkered career has included stops with six big league teams, four in the last three years.
Nice. Glad to see you've overcome your problems, Sid.

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A Smaller Barry Bonds?

Without a contract for 2008 and with time to perhaps reflect or whatever, Barry Bonds does look considerably smaller in this video from ESPN.

Well, on Friday, he pleaded not guilty to 15 federal charges of lying to a grand jury about his performance-enhancing drug use and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in 2003.

Could The Rays and Red Sox Be Cancelling One Another Out?

Ah, here's some of the fall-out from Fight Night a few days ago between the Rays and Red Sox...

Boston Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields and six other players were suspended yesterday after a brawl at Fenway Park.

Three Red Sox were suspended: Crisp for seven games, pitcher Jon Lester for five games and first baseman Sean Casey for three games.

Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson penalized five Rays: Shields for six games, designated hitter-outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson for five games, outfielder Carl Crawford for four games and second baseman Akinori Iwamura for three games.

In Boston's win Thursday, Crisp was hit by a pitch from Shields during his first at-bat and charged the mound. Mayhem soon followed.

This might be a great opportunity for the O's, Blue Jays and Yankees to gain ground. It was literally stupid for the Rays -- as much like as like them -- to engage in such a thing. They have lost five - yes - five players (although their suspensions will most likely be staggered).

Tampa paid a big price for trying to be brave and make a point...

Thanks Armando! O's Win Two In A Row in Canada...

Thanks for the Present, Armando! Well, after a wretched series with the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles have won 3 out of their last 5; thus, continued the winning last night in Toronto, 6-5.

The offense continued its hot streak thanks to a big inning in the eighth. Adam Jones and Melvin Mora each hit a two-run home in the frame, and Kevin Millar belted a solo homer. As well, Nick Markakis went 4- for-4 with a double, run batted in and a run scored while Brian Roberts had two hits and scored a run.

Dennis Sarfate (3-1) only needed two pitches to earn the win in relief of Brian Burres, who allowed three runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. George Sherrill worked the ninth for his 21st save.

Shaun Marcum’s nice start went out the window as he held the Orioles to one run on seven hits in seven-plus frames; however, Brian Tallet and Armando Benitez – ah, that good old friend of ours who contributed many memorable moments in Oriole folklore – allowed the game to get out of hand!

Thanks again for the gift, Mr. Benitez. Too bad you were DFA’ed after the game.

And the Orioles won today 9-3, thanks to the offense busting out on A.J. Burnett, who usually dominates the Birds. Although the ninth inning got a little scary thanks to a few errors, and Trachsel on the mound, the troops rallied to finally win a quality start for Jeremy Guthrie.

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals - June 6th, 2008

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals

Jim McKay Passes Away at 86

Jim McKay, the longtime face of "ABC's Wide World of Sports" and most widely acclaimed for his tactful yet compassionate reporting of the Israeli hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, died Saturday. He was 86, but lived a rich life and was very much of my childhood -- most notably, Saturday afternoons growing up.

McKay was also part of the Baltimore Orioles ownership group which is headed Peter Angelos.

Godspeed, Jim.

Friday, June 6, 2008

St Louis Cardinals vs Washington Nationals - June 5th, 2008

St Louis Cardinals vs Washington Nationals

Boston Red Sox v. Baltimore Orioles; June 2nd, 2008

Boston Red Sox v. Baltimore Orioles; June 2nd, 2008

Olson Wins Number Five: O's Beat Twins, 3-2; The Jays On Tap...

In light of what I said about two weeks about the first part of June being very important and telling as to where the Orioles would stand for the rest of the season -- right now, needless to say -- they're doing fine.

With a record of 29-30, and still in last place in the AL East, the Orioles earned a very important series victory on Thursday as both Adam Jones homered, and Nick Markakis added a two-run shot as Baltimore beat Minnesota, 3-2.

Keeping in line of the growth of this in 2008, rookie Garrett Olson won his fifth game as he allowed two runs and eight hits through 6 1/3 innings in Baltimore's third win in four games. Although he got into trouble in the first part of the game, through guts and guile, he was able to hold off the Twins.

George Sherrill threw a scoreless ninth for his 20th save of the season.

The Baltimore Orioles next counter against a tough Toronto team that's 32-30 on the season and are fighting for a top spot in the AL East.


Tonight: Orioles' Brian Burres (4-5, 4.87) vs. Shaun Marcum (5-3, 2.63)
Saturday: Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 3.58) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.32)
Sunday: Radhames Liz (1-0, 3.38) vs. Roy Halladay (7-5, 2.94)

The Jays' strength this season as in the past has been their starting corps, and the Orioles will have it tough this series. Although the Orioles had a very respectable showing in Minnesota, they go up against a great young arm in Marcum on Friday, Burnett who has seemingly owned Baltimore on Saturday, and Halladay -- one of the best in the game -- on Sunday.

Needless to say, the offense needs to be on their game, and despite the Jays only being over two games above .500 along with losers of two in a row, Baltimore has a task on it's hands. Despite the Toronto offense being with Vernon Wells and a lack of power in their lineup, they will be a formidable challenge.

The good news is that the Baltimore offense has picked within the last week, and Adam Jones is starting to come around and show the promise that everyone in baseball has been raving about. As well, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis have come out their slumps to contribute.

Now, the rest of the team needs to pick it up.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Press Release on First Round Draft Pick From The Orioles...

The Orioles today selected LHP BRIAN MATUSZ with their first-round selection in the 2008 First Year Player Draft, taking the college junior with the 4th overall pick in the draft.

Matusz, 21, is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left handed pitcher from Cave Creek, AZ. A three-year starter at the University of San Diego, he has gone 12-2 this season with a 1.71 ERA (105.0IP, 20ER) and 141 strikeouts.

In his three seasons with the Toreros, he is 26-8 with a 2.94 ERA (317.0IP, 101ER) in 48 games (45 starts) with 397 strikeouts. In 2007, Matusz was named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's best collegiate player. He was also named to the Wallace Award Watch list for the best collegiate player in the nation and the Roger Clemens Award Watch list, vying for the nation's best collegiate pitcher.

Matusz is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School, where he earned two varsity letters and was named Arizona Player of the Year award along with a Baseball America All-America distinction. Area scout Mark Ralston was responsible for his election.

The draft will continue until approximately 9 p.m. tonight before resuming tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. and will last up to 50 rounds. A full list of the Orioles selections will be available tomorrow night, following the conclusion of the draft.

Here's a video of Brian:

About Last Night: O's Lose to Twins, Draft, Adam Loewen

The seemingly upward climb of Daniel Cabrera hit a little bump in the road as Baltimore lost to Minnesota, 7-5, last night in Minneapolis. Despite leading for much of the first half of the game, the Daniel of old returned in the fifth and sixth inning as the Twins scored four runs combined and the Orioles were left to lick their wounds. Daniel Cabrera (5-2) took the loss for the O's, allowing six runs on eight hits over six frames.

Baltimore's offense was able to knock out Kevin Slowey, the Minnesota starter, out of the game; however, they could not capitalize on a multitude of scoring opportunities. Joe Mauer homered and drove in three runs, helping Boof Bonser get a win out of the bullpen on Wednesday night.

Kevin Millar and Melvin Mora each hit solo home runs for the Orioles, who have dropped five of their last seven contests. Brian Roberts went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Nick Markakis had two hits and one RBI.


The 2008 MLB draft is upon us, and while it is known Tim Beckham will be chosen first by the Rays, the Orioles have a number of options to choose from. It's conventional wisdom that Baltimore will go after a pitcher -- San Diego area pitcher Brian Matusz -- as their first round pick.

Unless something changes, I guess that's what may happen. I like Justin Smoak as a power option -- the Orioles sorely need it -- however, the Baltimore media is reporting it will more than likely be Matusz.

From Roch's blog: The Orioles' pick seems pretty clear unless the Kansas City Royals muck up the works and take San Diego pitcher Brian Matusz at No. 3. I'm guessing they'll take high school first baseman Eric Hosmer instead.

Hosmer is high up on the Orioles' draft board, along with Beckham, Matusz, Alvarez, South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak and Missouri pitcher Aaron Crow.

Obviously things can change, and at times, events like this may become unpredicatable, but it looks like many are set with Matusz as the first pick.

The Baltimore Sun goes through the top five players the Orioles are looking at as their first pick & Dan Connolly muses with fans as to who they want as a part of the organization; and if you want a very good rundown of the draft picks in the latter rounds, the excellent and newest blog in Oriole-land, Camden Depot may be the place to go along with Orioles Hangout to get your draft expertise. As well, the Washington post has some tidbits and insight as to what the Orioles might do this afternoon.

I would like to hop into the fray and give my thoughts, but I am a little weak in that department and I only have so many hours in the day to devote to blogging.


Meanwhile, O's hurler Adam Loewen should be back in June and will more than likely have him in the bullpen. This is good news, as the Orioles are set with a glutton of pitching options right now, so there's no need to throw Loewen into the Lion's Den and have him starting again. I say that Baltimore should take their time with the youngster, and let him heal, get his command back and just let him build little by little in relief.

From the Baltimore Sun: Although the club is not addressing it specifically, Loewen might rejoin the Orioles as a reliever. He has come out of the bullpen just six times in his six-season pro career and only three times in 32 big-league games.

"I think we are developing the plan for the role that Loewen will be in when he comes back, but we are going to wait and see what he does in the minor leagues on his rehab stint first," Trembley said. "[Team president] Andy MacPhail and I and [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz and Adam Loewen have discussed all the options."

Pitching out of the bullpen would help ease Loewen (0-1, 7.85 ERA in four 2008 starts) back into the majors while putting less wear on a tender left elbow that has hampered the former first-round pick for more than a year.

Needless to say, the best course of action is to have Adam just get his mojo back and have him make a go of it in 2009.

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