Saturday, May 31, 2008

Photo Gallery: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles; May 31st, 2008 - Balto., Md.

Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles; May 31st, 2008 - Balto., Md.

A Witness To History: Seeing Manny Ramirez's 500th Home Run...

Manny Ramirez joined an elite club Saturday as he became the 24th player to hit 500 home runs with a shot against the Orioles. His home run came in the 7th inning off Baltimore reliever Chad Bradford. It was quite a moment to see with all the flash-bulbs and multitude of Red Sox fans who came to the Yard.

Although we were on the wrong side of history -- again -- nevertheless, it was quite a moment to see.

Manny Ramirez’s 500th Homer and Dugout Embrace

Photo Gallery: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles; May 30th, 2008

Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles; May 30th, 2008 - Baltimore, Md.

The Baltimore Orioles gave last night’s game away and lost to the Boston Red Sox, 5-2. Despite the loss, the Birds hung in there with the Evil Empire 1A until the bitter end, as our pitching corps inly allowed two runs in the first and then three — all unearned — in the 13th thanks for errors by Melvin Mora and Freddie Bynum. They were frustrating to see; however, errors are a part a game — but you cannot have that happen against a team the caliber of the Red Sox. Mike Lowell and heads up baseball by Boston late doomed the Orioles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Man-Ram Goes For His 500th Home Run in Baltimore...

Lord, (as my significant other would say) I don't want this to happen in Baltimore this weekend...

I always want to be part of a milestone and history; however, never, ever on the wrong side of it.

I've already seen it once in person with this team, and sure as hell don't care to see it again...

The Roundup; Andy MacPhail, Oriole News and Thoughts

Recently on the website there was a Q&A posted in which Andy MacPhail answered a few questions from fans. I would not say that there was anything earth shattering that was divulged and it covering a myriad of topics from drafting players to Daniel Cabrera to both the performances of Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta in the minors.

The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec also looks into what Andy MacPhail can possibly do at the trade deadline. Despite the start by Baltimore, I see many changes coming on the horizon and the team on the field may not be necessarily the one that finishes up the season.

It sounds like even he was surprised the team's solid start:

"Look, I was pretty forthright in painting a pretty bleak picture, so I am surprised," MacPhail said. "I would have thought that after the things that I did, that we would struggle more than we have. I think this group is doing it out of tenacity. They're laying it all out on the field and that's all you can ask for. And the things that really matter, the things that they can control, they've really excelled at. I don't really know what's going to happen the next two-thirds [of the season], but the players are the ones that are actually doing it."
Well, in light of his statement and the obvious team chemistry on the field and in the clubhouse, the great start, and whatever else -- he sees the big picture -- the Baltimore Orioles need to get better, and there's not anyone who he will not deal (perhaps Jones or Markakis) to contend.
"I went into the clubhouse and [Nick] Markakis has an Adam Jones T-shirt on, Guillermo Quiroz has a Markakis T-shirt on," MacPhail said. "I don't know what's going on exactly with that or the hats or the video. But those are all signs of cohesiveness. Regrettably, it takes more than cohesiveness to win the AL East. But I think the people that have watched us, they have to be satisfied with some of the subtle things we've shown."
By the end of July, I really expect a few deals to go down. It sounds like he doesn't even expect his guys to compete and his focus is on rebuilding -- not building a contender.

Meanwhile, you cannot underscore the importance that Daniel Cabrera has had with the Orioles starting off so well. Spencer Fordin has a great piece on the tall righty and his numbers along with his approach on the mound have shown that the things have changed for Daniel. I figured he'd have a huge role in how the Orioles would develop this season, and I think he may have finally come around.

As well, you cannot discount the job that rookie Jim Johnson has done coming out of the bullpen, as he's been nothing but clutch in the mount in key situations. He's obviously not only made an impact on the fans and media -- but as well within the franchise. Lest we not forget about too George Sherill, the Baltimore closer...

Heather Irvin of Oriole Magic has her thoughts of the upcoming draft; Emily Agueda of WNST notes that the Orioles have failed in marketing & the station is also holding a King of Baltimore sports contest; Ben of Oriole Magic Central marveled at Tuesday's comeback as did Roy Firestone of Orioles Hangout; Scott Hoffman has a piece on Garrett Olson; Scott Christ has his thoughts on MASN; HRB of Dempsey's Army takes issue with Nestor Aparicio; and Roar From 34 mentions a promotion that the York Revolution is having throughout the year...

Finally, a portion of I-395 in Baltimore now has signs on it officially designating it "Ripken Way"...

The Evil Empire 1A, The Red Sox, Roll Into Town Once Again...

After taking two of three from the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles have yet another tough customer rolling into the Yard -- the Evil Empire 1A, the Boston Red Sox.

This will be the second visit for Boston in Baltimore, and so far, the Orioles are 2-0 against them. Right now, they are trying to snap a two game losing streak and are 5-5 in their last ten; moreover, they are only 11-19 on the road, so things may not seem so gloomy.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are at .500 -- a feat that perhaps few expected for them even approach by June. Thanks to amazing pitching, timely hitting, and the knack for making a comeback, they are still five games out of the AL division lead.

Despite Tuesday's amazing game, the Oriole offense is still struggling and that needs to improve against a patient Boston team that can mash.


Tonight: Josh Beckett (5-4, 4.43) vs. Daniel Cabrera (5-1, 3.70)
Saturday: Jon Lester (3-3, 3.55) vs. Garrett Olson (4-1, 4.09)
Sunday: Bartolo Colon (2-0, 2.25) vs. Brian Burres (4-4, 3.16)
Monday: Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-0, 2.53) vs.Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 3.64)

Well, for starters, we will not be seeing Steve Trachsel in the series -- that may be a good thing. Things look to be pretty even on the mound, and I'm going to be paying attention to Beckett, Lester (especially), Colon and Matsuzaka (whether he pitches or not).

I can see the Orioles getting a split in this series; however, the offense really, really needs to get itself in order.

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I was sick for the past few days -- actually, still am now, but I wanted to get something up on the blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grit, Determination and a Tale of Two Games…

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles may have pulled off their most memorable win in some time. There may not be anyone batting above .260 in the lineup; however, last night at the Yard — at least for the first five innings — became home run derby, or a modified version of batting practice and the latter half of the game became a battle of the bullpens.

The Orioles came back from deficits of four runs — twice — to defeat the Yankees in the 11th inning 10-9. I have no idea if the Baltimore comeback was a function the team digging deep and putting it together, or if it is because of a horrific New York relief corps, but to see them do that was beyond impressive. Cintron’s single in the 11th helped gave Baltimore the victory over LaTroy Hawkins, whom New Yorkers are probably not happy with today.

If you want a recap of the game, read here; alas, what I will remember from last night is the post-game press conference from Dave Trembley and his emotions nearly pouring out in front of the media. (I’ll see if I can find the video anywhere).

>> Read more here...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Photo Gallery: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore, Md - May 26th, 2008

After a 5-game skid, the Orioles thanks to the brilliant pitching of Garrett Olson, Aubrey Huff’s three-run homer in seventh, along with Nick Markakis going 3-for-4 and breaking out a slump with a solo homer in the sixth, Baltimore beat the New York Yankees, 6-1. The woeful New York bullpen opened the game for Baltimore and wasted a great effort by youngster Darrell Rasner.

The story of the game besides Olson’s performance was Nick Markakis finally coming out of a deep slump. Baltimore’s number three hitter came through big on Memorial and he knows better than anyone that he needs to hit in order for the Orioles to win. As well, he was marvelous in the field as he gunned down Johnny Damon at home in the third inning thanks to a laser throw. I think that play embolden the Orioles, gave Olson even more confidence and showed the Yankees, despite everything, they’ll be hard to beat unlike in past seasons.

Despite having A-Rod in the lineup, the Bronx Bombers were limp and the Orioles took advantage.

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore, Md - May 26th, 2008
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Reality; Do We Jump Off The Cliff Now?

After an amazing start to the first two months of the season, the Orioles have lost five straight and are now 24-25. Two weeks ago, a lot of people were smitten by Baltimore as they beat the Red Sox and took two of three from the Nationals; however, reality might have suddenly as the New York Yankee took two of three from the Orioles & the surging Rays swept the Birds.

What can we say, are the Orioles who we thought they were? Aside from the excellent starting and relief corps (aside from Steve Trachsel), the offense was going to be a big problem.

Now the problem is downright awful. Despite a tight game yesterday that Tampa won with Evan Longoria's walkoff double, there is not an Oriole regular north of .260.

And you wonder why Baltimore has lost five straight. Nick Markakis is in a deep slump, and seems to be chasing everything, Roberts is trying to get into a groove, and everyone else seemingly cannot buy a hit. Most fans knew the offense would be an issue, but could it be this bad?

I honestly think things will go up, but we have a tough week with the Yankees starting this morning, and the Red Sox this weekend. At this point, I'd not be shocked if we ended up 4,5 games under .500 when all is said and done after Monday.

Alas, a problem that many knew would exist with the batting lineup has come to the surface.

Then comes Minnesota and the improving Toronto squad -- especially on the pitching front.

It may be a rough two weeks, and the offense needs to get together.

Despite the struggles, there are some positives on the squad, mainly James Johnson, who seems to be the go to guy in each and every situation, George Sherill in light of his loss yesterday has had amazing season, and Jeremy Guthrie has proven to be quite the solid pitcher if you glance away at the record.

The Orioles have a lot of pieces to build on for the future, but right now it's about investing for the future and finding a core. Anyone who expects this team to contend for anything else besides pride is mistaken; however, the teams is further ahead than anyone thought they'd ever be.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals; May 25, 2008

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals; May 25, 2008

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Do We Bag Trachsel?

I like Steve Trachsel, but today’s start was absymal. Should he get another chance, or should he be sent on his way? Was he rusty? Not feeling it? Just bad?

His line: 1 2/3 IP, 9R, 9ER, 2BB, 1K, 7H,

Season Stats: 2-5, 8.82 ERA, 33.1 IP, 45H, 35R, 33ER, 9HR, 22BB, 16K

Four straight losses, no offense to speak of — what needs to be done? Folks, it’s open thread time let’s hear it…

Photo Gallery: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals; May 24, 2008

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals; May 24, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Power & Electricity Outage...

The Oriole lost again -- this time, 2-0 to Matt Garza and the Devil Rays.

See the lineup below and see if you can pick out the problem.

Roberts .257
Mora .244
Markakis .253
Huff .246
Millar .243
Scott .257
R. Hernandez .209
Jones .256

Can't find it? Well, this is a big time group problem and the only ones who have improved in the past few weeks are Kevin Millar and Adam Jones.

I feel bad for Jeremy Guthrie -- he's a nice guy, but I'm sure he amongst all uss fans is wondering what in the world is going on.

With a lineup that features eight guys batting below .260, it is little wonder why we could not win the past few nights.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are You Kidding Me? The Orioles Boot Out Their Own Fans For Being Too Supportive?

If this is true, this is perhaps one of the most asinine things I have ever read that's happened to a group of fans at a sporting svent.

I've contended at times that going to an Oriole game at times is equivalent of going to a golf tournament.

After reading this article, you've got to wonder if Camden Yards is supposed cultivate a Disney-Land like experience, or one is going to a sporting event.

Take a look at Tony Giro's article in the Examiner, Hey, Whose Ballpark Is This Anyway?

Considering the editorial process an article such like this has to go through, I highly doubt these fans lied.

A Programming Note From MASN About's Saturday's Game...

Fox and being tied with Major League Baseball -- BOO!

Anyhow, for those of you who will be on Saturday during the Memorial Day weekend in front of your new HDTV LCD TV's, or regular tube...

Major League Baseball regulations prohibit regional telecasts of MLB games during the national blackout window from 1:10 pm to 7:05 pm on Saturdays. This protects the national broadcast of the Fox Saturday Game of the Week.

As the home team, Tampa Bay chooses the game’s start time and decided to begin this Saturday’s game early, at 6:10 pm. Since the start is within MLB’s blackout window, MASN is prevented from showing the start of the game.

Therefore, MASN will join the game in progress with live coverage starting at 7:00 pm. After the game, MASN will still carry manager Dave Trembley’s post-game press conference, as well as player interviews and game highlights on O’s Xtra with Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis.

I guess Tampa Bay didn't get the time change notice (no, seriously the Rays did not want a 7:10pm game start to coincide with their concert series they hold on Saturday nights down there after the game).

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Damn Yankees, Markakis & The Rays

Before the season began, I really didn’t know what to think of Brian Burres. The kid had looked brilliant at points in 2007, average in others, and flat out bad (especially in the 30-3 game). Personally, I’d thought he’d make a good spot starter coming into the season and nothing more than that, because certainly the bullpen didn’t suit him well.

However, so far in 2008, he’s been looking like a much better pitcher, and he’s now certainly someone we can depend on giving a solid performance when he’s on the mound. Buress went a little over seven innings, gave up a run, but once again, the Baltimore offense could not get anything going against Yankee starter Ian Kennedy.

Last night, the Evil Empire won in the bottom of the ninth, 2-1, as Robinson Cano drove in the winning run off James Johnson, who lost his first game of the year. Baltimore has lost their second game in a row, and are now 24-22 on the season.

I see a problem in the lineup right now — aside from the fact we don’t score very much — it’s Nick Markakis.

>>>Read More Here...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

LaTroy Hawkins to Appeal Suspension & My Problem With The Unwritten Rules of Baseball

I have a problem with the unwritten rules of baseball, but I have an issue with a guy who cannot take his punishment as a professional.

LaTroy Hawkins has really pissed me off.

From the AP: New York Yankees reliever LaTroy Hawkins was suspended for three games and fined $2,000 by Major League Baseball today for intentionally throwing at the Orioles' Luke Scott.

Hawkins, who pitched for the Orioles in 2006, has appealed and the suspension is delayed until a decision is reached. The suspension had been set to begin today, when the Yankees host the Orioles in the final game of a three-game series.
And of course, like a good manager, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi tries his best to explain why his player should not be suspended.
"I was a little bit surprised" that Hawkins drew a three-game penalty, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Guys have been throwing inside for a long time. I think you're trying to set a precedent where no one gets hurt badly."
Whatever, Joe.

Look, I understand the logic of revenge, an eye-for-an-eye or whatever a team needs to get back at their superstar (as in Tuesday's case - Derek Jeter), but there needs to line a drawn as to what should be acceptable, and what crosses into cowardice.

I think it's dumb to throw at someone to begin with, but as a fan, and guy who knows baseball tradition -- I accept it.

What makes LaTroy a punk to me is that when he had an opportunity to get back at the Orioles, he aimed for Luke Scott's backside and missed.


However, with the next pitch -- whether it got away from him, it slipped, or it was intentional -- it was aimed at Scott's head.

It is needless to say that throwing at someone's head is crazy; however, if you're going to endanger someone's career, potential long-term health and life, you've got a problem.

Furthermore, Hawkins' appeal of a judgment when his actions were an obvious attempt to inflict harm makes him a punk to me.

Next week, when LaTroy comes to town, and when he's sitting all snug in the bullpen, Oriole fans should unload on him.

Yankee Smackdown & The Rundown

After the 12-2 drubbing of the Yankees on Tuesday, the Orioles were riding high and looking forward to taking on the youngster, Darrell Rasner; however, the same Birds that whooped up on the Bombers last night would be listless.

Baltimore lost to New York 8-0, and there was not much that came of this game at all. Olson, who has been solid since his call-up had nothing as he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings. Perhaps he did not have his stuff, or he just was intimidated, but he looked awful.

Of course, Alex Rodriguez, needless to say is back -- he hit a homer, and was robbed of a second home run by the umpires (it hit the yellow stairs, but the officials called it a ground rule double).

Not that the home mattered in the final score, but there needs to be some version of instant replay instituted. Anyhow, there's not much more to add from last night's game -- the Orioles were horrible, and the Yankees took advantage.

Speaking of the Yankees 12-2 drubbing, the Baltimore Orioles are one of the biggest surprises in baseball and Craig Heist of Pressbox takes a look at how Andy MacPhail, Dave Trembley and the moves made have helped to improve the product on the field. When it comes down to it, this is Dave Trembley's team, and he should be (and deservedly so) get the credit; however, I think the guy who has made the most difference is Rick Kranitz and his work with Daniel Cabrera and the young pitchers.

Jim Henneman of Press Box Online has a glowing piece on Dave Trembley, Peter Schmuck mentions the role reversal of the Yankees and O's, & Stan Charles of Pressbox sees a parallel between the hiring of Dave Trembley versus the Yankee's Joe Girardi.

I'm going to hold my optimism for now. Well, right now, we should focus on seeing the team improve and building up a core of young talent both at the major and minor league level, not focusing on wins and losses. I cannot see Baltimore sustaining their success as summer goes along -- they are just too thin on the bench, and as well with their everyday starting lineup.

The pitching staff looks fine, but I'd concerned about the younger guys and if they wilt (like Burres did last year over) a 162 game season.

However, with the Orioles good play, the new Oriole Magic video that has been aired at the ballpark and plastered on the internet, as well a few players who are actually likable, Baltimore's future looks bright; however, fans should see the forest from the trees -- the Orioles will not compete for the pennant this year, or much less make the playoffs.

But, it looks like the culture of the past decade has started to change and that's a good thing.

Alas, the season has been real fun so far.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

About Last Night: Has D-Cab Turned the Corner & LaTroy Hawkins

Well, we all know how the Orioles did last night -- very splendid! There's not much need to regurgitate what happened up in the Bronx, but there are a few questions I have in mind.

One is Daniel Cabrera for real? I think he may have finally turned the corner after many years of struggles and unfulfilled promise.

However, two good months does not underscore four years worth of mediocrity.

Two, is Adam Jones finally starting to pick it up after a four-hit night?

Three, is LaTroy Hawkins insane? The at-bat against Luke Scott was bush-league in apparent retaliation to Derek Jeter being hit by a fastball Daniel Cabrera was trying to throw inside. Sorry, it's one thing to throw at someone, it's quite another to aim for the head. Well, he might have been upset during the so-called "heat of the moment"; however, you just do not do that.

I never liked some of the "unwritten rules" of baseball, but aiming for someone's head is crossing the line.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Photo Gallery: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals: May 20th, 2008

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals: May 20th, 2008

Battle of the Birds Photos - Part of the "Battle of The Beltways"...

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles played in a three games series this weekend at Camden Yards; however, before the games of the field began, 'The Bird' from the Orioles & 'Screech' from the Nationals met up at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Baltimore to see who was the supreme mascot.

They both competed in a series of challenges including: horse races, tug-o-war, arm wrestling, basketball free-throw shooting, and an egg race. After the contest, the mascots signed autographs signing and photos.

However, it looks the 'The Bird' won the 'Battle of the Birds'.

I could not make the event, but Leigh Friedman of the ESPN Zone provides us the pictures. If you're ever in the Inner Harbor, visit the ESPN Zone -- Leigh and the staff there will take care of you, and will make sure you enjoy a small part of Charm City.

Facing the Evil Empire...

Folks, we face the Yankees up in the Bronx tonight, Wednesday and Thursday. Honestly, who would have thought before the season that on May 20th, the Orioles would be at 23-20, while the Evil Empire would be at the bottom of the American League standings?

The Orioles had a nice little homestand, winning four out of five; meanwhile, the Yankees had their hands full with the Mets, as they were swept in two straight games.

We here in the mid-Atlantic region are giddy; the New Yorkers up there are wondering what in the world is going on?

Like I said yesterday, the next two weeks will tell a lot about the Orioles. Baltimore has been winning by excellent starting pitching, timely hitting and a "us-against-the-world" mentality. The Yankees have suffered through injuries, aging talent and lackluster pitching -- especially, on part of ther youngsters.

There was a time where the Orioles would serve as a doormat for the Yankees -- however, this series might be a test for both teams. The Bronx may be an intimidating place to play, but right now the pendulum is swinging in Baltimore's way.

Can it continue?

>>> Read More at Oriole Magic...

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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Weekend That Was & MASN's Coverage

I was at the games this weekend, and I'll say it was good to see both Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles fans out en masse to see their teams. The games at Camden Yards were far from a sellout; however, strong crowds on all three days made the series very interesting and enjoyable to watch.

Unlike a Yankee/Red Sox series in Baltimore, the Washington fans were very friendly and there were no fights -- at least from what I know and saw. Anyhow, it was kind of a home game for some Nationals fans who trekked up I-95 and the Parkway (they must be given props for dealing with the awful Friday traffic) to see their team.

The O's fans were out too in force, and it was good to see Baltimore continue it's winning ways and take two out of three from the Nationals.

Baltimore's pitching has been excellent, perhaps with the exception of the performance of the bullpen on Saturday. They'll need the luck the next weeks as they take on the Yankees in the Bronx, face the emerging Rays this weekend, tango with the Evil Empire again over Memorial Day Weekend, and then the Red Sox aka the Evil Empire 1A rolls into Charm City again.

The next two weeks will break or make the Baltimore Orioles. I figured we would not be contenders at all, but are we all not shocked by the 23-20 record so far? I think we are more ‘pretenders’ than ‘contenders’; however, as the first seven weeks have shown us, anything can happen.

If we finish .500 during this stretch, we should petition MLB to give Dave Trembley Manager of the Year consideration. Ok, we can't vote for him -- however, you cannot understate the job he's doing motivating his team with the talent on board.

MASN's Coverage This Weekend:

This weekend, MASN has a mixed talent broadcast of both the O's and Nationals series. Last year when I saw the games on TV, I thought it was kind of silly to have two broadcasts of the same game within pretty much one region -- so, I guess the network decided to use it's resources and combine everything.

I have been awfully critical of MASN since I started this blog from day one; however, I liked what I saw this weekend. Granted, I only watch perhaps half the game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, meaning that I didn't see everything; however, MASN had put together a very solid product with the games on air. I'm sure a lot of fans who got to see the games live on TV enjoyed what they saw.

I'll say that the network did a good job in getting the talent together, and I was especially impressed how Jim Palmer and Don Sutton interacted and played off one another. It's pretty obvious both men had known each other for years and had a relationship established, but it was fun hear some of their stories (they both played in the '66 Series) and analyze the game.

Needless to say, the chemistry was nothing but great between the two. Yes, both men can very much talk, talk and talk.

Sometimes it's kind of difficult to hear seasoned pros like Jim Palmer and Don Sutton in the same room doing a broadcast; however, it worked out very well and I'll be looking forward to seeing them on TV in Washington.

Sutton is a gentleman and the pro's pro, thus, it is always a joy when I can to see him break down a game -- especially when it comes to pitching; Palmer is a little different -- he tend to be far more critical, more of a storyteller and well, likes to talk about himself, however, he worked very well in the setup this weekend.

It looked like Bob Carpenter and Gary Thorne acted as sort of the supporting cast over the weekend, thus, both men seemed to be regulated to simply calling the game, which is fine. I could imagine it was a little difficult trying to give everyone equal time; however, considering everything involved, the broadcasts this weekend were nothing but solid and as a baseball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the coverage.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Photo Gallery:'Battle of the Beltways'; Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles, May 18th, 2008

Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles; May 18th, 2008

Nats Beat O's, 2-1

Baltimore, Md. -- Mired in a two game losing streak and at risk to be swept by the surprising Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Nationals needed someone to act as a stopper.

They found it in rookie pitcher John Lannan.

The young southpaw, who had struggled last week against the New York Mets, looked absolutely brilliant against their American League rivals on Sunday.

He was locked in a pitching duel with Baltimore right-hander, Jeremy Guthrie for much of the game; however, Lannan emerged victorious by shutting down a Baltimore offense that has been pulling magic tricks out of a black cap to start off action four games over .500.

The rookie was bolstered by Cristian Guzman’s two hits – one which was a solo homer, and Ryan Zimmerman’s late RBI, as Washington defeated Baltimore, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 33,745 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Their win snapped the Baltimore Orioles four game winning streak.

For seven innings, Lannan absolutely stymied the Orioles as he only allowed five hits and pretty much kept them off the base paths until late in the game.

Before today’s game in Charm City, heavy and winds whipped through the region, and the action was pushed back thanks to a lengthy rain delay which was two hours long.

To add insult to injury, those in attendance had to endure yet another delay about 25 minutes in length during the eighth inning.

Needless to say, a game that was clocked at a little under two-and-half hours felt like it went on for about twelve.

Washington got on the scoreboard in the third inning as Cristian Guzman hit his fourth home run – a solo shot -- which landed a few rows over the wall in right centerfield.

The Nationals, who were up by only one run in the seventh inning, tried to get aggressive but were undone by the rocket arm of Baltimore’s young outfielder, Nick Markakis.

With two outs in the frame, Washington’s catcher, Wil Nieves singled to right and Elijah Dukes, who was on second, ran hard to the plate and tried to score; however, Markakis’ throw hit the glove of Baltimore catcher Quillermo Guiroz and nailed Dukes at the plate.

Although it looked like Dukes might have been safe, the call by the umpire was uncontested and the top half of the inning ended with the Nationals up by one.

In the eighth inning, Washington added an important insurance run and took a 2-0 lead. Felipe Lopez started the frame off by doubling off Baltimore reliever Chad Bradford; thereafter, Guzman moved Lopez to third with a sacrifice bunt placed perfectly down the first base line.

A batter later, Ryan Zimmerman hit a double down the right field line to drive in Felipe Lopez, but Lastings Milledge grounded into a double play to end to the rally for the Nationals.

The Orioles scored in the eighth inning – only after enduring another rain delay, which was about 25 minutes in length. Before the rain delay, Adam Jones singled to center, and then Luke Scott, who came in as a pinch hitter, doubled.

The grey skies overhead soon broke out in a brief, but heavy rain; thereafter, the sun peeked out, and the sky was blue with clouds.

Once play resumed with one out in the frame, Brian Roberts hit a deep sacrifice fly to center and that enabled Jones to cross home plate give Baltimore their first run; however, the inning came to a sudden end as Melvin Mora lined out to Elijah Dukes in right center field.

Baltimore’s Jamie Walker pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning; meanwhile, Washington close Jon Rauch pitched an uneventful bottom of the frame for his tenth save.

Lannan earned his fourth win of the season as he struck out five and walked one by missing up his pitches and using pin-point control; meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie – who is far better than his record indicates -- lost his fourth game of the season by going seven innings and allowing a single run – Guzman’s homer.

With the win on Sunday, the Nationals were able to salvage a win in the series as they head back home for a three game set against the Philadelphia Phillies that begins on Monday.

Washington is 19-26, and remains in last place in the National League East by six games.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Photo Gallery: Orioles Win First Game in the “Battle of the Beltways, 5-3

Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles: May 16th, 2008

O's Beat Nats, 5-3

(from a piece I wrote for an online outlet, the DC Sports Box and has a little slant towards the Nationals - sorry, I'm not doing the same work twice...)

Baltimore, MD – On an unseasonably cold Friday night, the Washington Nationals began interleague play with their neighbor to the north, the Baltimore Orioles. The weekend series, dubbed “The Battle of the Beltway”, is the first of two series matchups between the franchises in 2008.

While it might lack the venom of the “Subway Series” – Yankees versus Mets – both teams are coming off a successful week as the Orioles swept a two-game set from the Boston Red Sox and the Nationals took three of four from the Mets.

When all was said and done Friday night, the Birds of Baltimore took the first game of the regional interleague series as they beat Washington, 5-3 in front of 29,266 divided fans. The loss was tough to take as the bats were active and pitching passable, but the Nats had much trouble on defense — in the outfield in particular.

A revamped lineup by manager Manny Acta was in store for the Washington Nationals last night with the return of 2007 All-Star Dmitri Young from the disabled list as the designated hitter (1-for-4 on the night), a hot Aaron Boone at first, and Elijah Dukes starting in right.

Despite three hits and two RBI’s from Ryan Zimmerman, along with two hits from Jesus Flores and Lastings Milledge, Washington never could find the kill shot and let this game slip away. The Nats would tag Orioles starter Garrett Olson for nine hits in five innings, but could turn only three of them into runs.

The Nationals got off to an early and promising start at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. In the first inning, Felipe Lopez singled to start the action and Cristian Guzman followed with a double sending Lopez to third. The next batter, Ryan Zimmerman, hit a sharp single to score both men on base and gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

The lead would be short-lived however, as Baltimore would tie the score at two in the bottom of the third inning, as Adam Jones and Brian Roberts singled and Melvin Mora walked to load the bases for Nick Markakis. Nats’ starter Shawn Hill then got the ground ball he wanted, but could not get the ultimate result he needed to escape damage.

Ryan Zimmerman fielded the grounder cleanly and threw to second to force Melvin Mora for the first out. Alas, Felipe Lopez, who took the throw at second, threw the ball away while attempting to double up Markakis at first after a hard take-out slide by Mora did its job.

Adam Jones would cross the plate on the grounder and Brian Roberts scored on Lopez’s error.
The Nationals would strike again in the fourth inning as Elijah Dukes would hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Aaron Boone to give them a 3-2 lead; however, in the bottom of the frame, Orioles’ left fielder Luke Scott would hit his third homer – a ball that cleared the right-centerfield wall by plenty to tie the game 3-3.

Baltimore would put the game away in the fifth inning, an inning of baseball that would be a comedy of errors for both teams.

Brian Roberts drove a ball to the right field corner to start off the inning, and was helped tremendously by a huge fielding miscue by Elijah Dukes, resulting in a triple. The Baltimore second baseman’s hit careened off the right field wall and took a big bounce over Dukes, who tried to play the hit too closely to the “tall wall” scoreboard, and the ball carried halfway back to the infield allowing Roberts to slide safely into third.

Melvin Mora, back in the O’s line-up after missing two games with a sore shoulder, hit a fly ball to right center that appeared catchable, but fell just between Nats center fielder Lasting Milldege and right fielder Dukes. After the game, Milledge admitted neither player called for the fly ball. It was scored a double for Mora, and Roberts walked home to take the lead for Baltimore.

After Hill struck out Markakis, Aubrey Huff hit a sharp grounder that Hill snared, and the Nats caught Mora in a run-down, with Huff eventually taking second on the play. O’s first baseman Kevin Millar singled to drive in Huff for a 5-3 lead, but the inning ended as the slow-footed Millar tried to stretch the hit into a double and was thrown out – easily – at second.

Baltimore’s Garrett Olson would earn his third win of the season, but he was not nearly as sharp as he was in his first two starts. He went five innings, allowed three runs on nine hits and struck out three while walking one.

Washington’s Shawn Hill finally got his first decision of the year – a loss. He too went five innings, however, as the game went on his command would wane and he was tagged for five runs – four earned. Due to the poor defense behind him, however, his numbers were well-inflated. Between Milledge and Pena, several fly balls that fell as “hits” should have been caught. Hill threw 99 pitches, struck out three and walked one.

Matt Chico, who has been struggling as starter, pitched a little more than two innings of one-hit ball in relief and Jesus Colome wrapped things up in the Nationals’ loss.

Baltimore’s relief corps kept Washington from doing any further damage as reliever Matt Albers pitched two innings and James Johnson came into the eighth inning and struck out the side. George Sherrill, the Oriole closer, earned his 16th save of the season.

The two teams continue their matchup in Charm City on Saturday night as Washington’s Odalis Perez (1-3) counters against Baltimore’s Brian Burres (3-4).

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Rivalry That Does Not Exist: O's vs. Nationals Play Kick Off the Annual Battle of the Beltway: The Bird & Screech Face Off...

Well, the non-existent rivalry between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles kicks off tonight at the Yard.

What can we say -- right now, no one cares that the team formerly known as the Expos are playing the recently-down-on-their luck Orioles. The reason is simple -- aside from the few people 40 and over who were around to see the Senators and the Orioles face off (and the Senators were bad), there's no real history between the two franchises.

Lest we not forget the role of Peter Angelos in this whole affair.

Once you look at the record of Washington this season and the talent they've got, plus the Orioles' reputation -- it's east to see why no one wants to hype this up.

We need an incident or better yet, the two teams winning to create any interest.

Until that happens, the team that's in my backyard which I see often (the Nationals) are playing the team I rooted for as a youngster and to this very day (the Orioles).


Shawn Hill (0-0, 3.56) vs. Garrett Olson (2-0, 2.95)
Odalis Perez (1-3, 3.71) vs. Brian Burres (3-4, 3.59)
John Lannan (3-3, 3.40) vs. Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 4.18)

Well, this weekend, you'll see starting pitchers on both teams (aside from Odalis Perez) that are high on potential, but not experience or wins.

Both Washington and Baltimore are in the rebuilding stage in terms of their respective franchises. As we all know, no one expected the Orioles do be doing so well, and the Nationals are where most expected them to be with their talent base.

Baltimore's offense has been lackluster at times and have pulled together wins by grinding and taking advantage of opportunities; however, until recently, Washington's offense has been nothing short of horrible until a solid output this week in Flushing Meadows.

Ryan Zimmerman is by far their best all-around force at the plate, but he's struggled to hit around .250 for most of the season, and their high-OBP guy, Nick Johnson is on the shelf thanks to a wrist issue. Aside from Cristian Guzman, everyone in the batting lineup is struggling.

The pitching for Washington has been solid, but a few bad outings and the struggles of Matt Chico have dragged them down. Their bullpen has been rock solid, but shaky at times during the season.

Baltimore should be able to perhaps take two of three in the series. They just seem to have the much more solid team right now, and the young pitching that the Orioles have should be able to counter the Nationals just fine.

Because of the lack of offense on part of Washington, I am giving Baltimore the advantage in the series.

To hype up the series, the Washington Nationals in a PR blitz to hype up the regional series came up to Baltimore's Inner Harbor during the lunch hour and passed out promotional items as well as inform people about the franchise to the south. I am pretty much indifferent to it all, and I think most would agree that the Baltimore Orioles still have somewhat of an influence in the D.C. area through advertisements and MASN, so why can't the Nationals return the favor?

Besides, both teams are struggling with attendance at the game -- a marketing effort would not hurt to get more people through the turnstiles.

Even King Peter threw in his two cents about the affair -- he's now for the whole rivalry, even thought in 2004-05 he was against it (and profited greatly ever since).

Mr. Angelos is not dumb -- he's right -- both teams need each other to succeed in this market and they need to start winning along with build up their fan bases (more so in the Orioles case).

Finally, MASN is sort of revamping their programming this weekend to make the series more interesting, at least on the TV end.

One more note:
In conjunction with this weekend's series between the Nationals and the Orioles at Camden Yards, the Orioles' Bird will take on the Nationals' eagle mascot (Screech) in ESPN Zone's "Battle of the Birds."

This light-hearted depiction of the ever-increasing cross-town rivalry will take place Friday May 16 from 4-5pm at ESPN Zone in Baltimore.

The Bird and Screech will compete is as series of challenges including: horse races, tug-o-war, arm wrestling, basketball free-throw shooting, and an egg race. After the contests, the birds will be available for autograph signing and photographs.

Thanks to Formula PR for the notice...

Bet on Baseball at - America's favorite sports betting destination for all sports fans; adding more excitement and bonuses than any other sportsbook; on the web.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Hits Keep Coming Radio Show: May 14th; Rays & Marlins Doing Well, Joba, Steinbrenner & More!

Topics Discussed:

* Are the Orioles, Rays and Marlins for real?
* Goose Gossage’s comments about Joba’s fist pumps
* Hank Steinbrenner opens his big mouth again.
* Quick hits on Barry Bonds new indictment

Help Out Former Oriole Executive Jim Dquette and His Daughter Raise Funds to Fight Nephrotic Symdrome

Former Oriole executive Jim Duquette's six-year old daughter, Lindsay, is in a battle right now with a foe that's ravaging her young body.

From Roch's blog: "The Duquettes are holding a fundraiser May 31 in the Maryland/DC area aimed to fight a disease known as “Nephrotic Symdrome" that their 6-year-old daughter, Lindsey, still suffers from.

Here’s the link again:

There are quite a few prominent names in the world of baseball who have donated to the fund; however, every day fans have also stepped up to the plate and given what they can.

A special shout out, as Roch also mentioned in his blog post goes out to the Orioles Hangout website and it's posters have raised in well over excess of three thousand dollars for the fundraiser.

Fans, if you can, help the Duquette's out!

- thanks to The Baltimore Sun's Roch Around the Clock and Orioles Hangout for the info...

The Idiot File: ESPN's Obviously Biased Coverage; The Manny Ramirez Tagline & Dissing the O's...

Well, one should never count on "The Worldwide Sports Leader" for fair and balanced coverage (sorry, Fox News) unless you play in Boston, New York or Chicago if you're into baseball.

Look at the highlighted portion of the graphic. Do we have a problem here? If I remember correctly, didn't the O's win yesterday? Didn't Jay Payton hit the game-winning grand-slam? I would say Manny Ramirez didn't exactly steal the thunder of the Baltimore Orioles.

It's nice and wonderful that the Red Sox and Yankees drive ratings to your network and page-views to your website; however, wouldn't it be nice to perhaps show a little accuracy?

Anyone who watched SportsCenter last night knows that the mercurial, goofy left-fielder made an excellent catch, but can't ESPN give the Orioles credit for, um, winning the game?

O's Sweep Sox; The Rundown...

For the past several years, the Baltimore Orioles have been worse than a laughing stock -- they have been disrespected, spat upon and treated well, like dirt. However, things might be changing and for the better.

Yesterday, the Orioles had a dramatic come-from-behind victory as they beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-3, yesterday afternoon as Daniel Cabrera won his his fourth game and George Sherill earned his 15th save.

We had a new hero of the day — the always intense Jay Payton. We have swept the Boston Red Sox, or as I call them the Evil Empire 1A. The Orioles of last year would have given up in the 6th inning or had no clue as to how to defeat Boston, but this year's team is different.

I got home around the sixth inning and once I saw Lester weaken & the Boston bullpen come into the game, the Orioles had a chance to come back.

The Payton homer was incredible and I literally jumped up for joy — something I have not done during an Oriole game for a long time.

It’s been good to see more orange and black at the Yard and the fans get into it again. We more than likely will finish under .500 and the roster won’t be the same in August, but it’s been real fun so far.

Finally, this team is likable and is starting to connect with fans and it’s something that’s been missing for a long time.

They're actually likable, gritty and they have heart.

Danny Boy was good and he didn’t walk anyone AGAIN!

Well, let's hope the winning continues, it's been a fun ride so long. So for long, the Baltimore Orioles were just plain unwatchable, but now watching Baltimore baseball has become fun again.

Baltimore now has a confident team, and one that has been in pretty much every game now.

Although it is more likely than not that the Orioles may not continue their hot play, we've got to give them props and the Sun's Peter Schmuck is tipping his cap to them. MASN Sports has more on the victory yesterday afternoon, as does the Baltimore Examiner;

The Oriole brass is ranting and raving about Chris Tillman at Bowie; meanwhile, Jim Hoey is out for the season; Ramon Hernandez and Melvin Mora are still hurting; Amber Theoharis thinks the Orioles are lacking at the shortstop position and she's right, it's a spot that lacks any real punch (believe or not, can you imagine the team with Miguel Tejada right now??? I can't).

Finally, it looks like the Washington Nationals may be focusing their marketing efforts in Baltimore -- take a look at what the team is planning to do this morning (perhaps they are trying to build up the rivalry between the two cities)...

ESPN ZONE Announces NATIONAL ‘SPORTS SPELLING BEE’ Competition To Be Held in Baltimore, May 29th!

In tandem with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, ESPN Zone will debut a spell-off for sports fans on May 29 with the inaugural "Sports Spelling Bee." Spellers will go head-to-head at the Baltimore ESPN Zone spelling the names of local and national sports figures from various eras, including members of the Orioles.

The info is below...

ESPN ZONE Announces NATIONAL ‘SPORTS SPELLING BEE’ competition: Sports Fans Battle for Title of Spelling Champ at Eight ESPN Zone Locations

BURBANK, Calif. (May 12, 2008) – Sure, you know the number of times Coach K has taken the Blue Devils to the Final Four and that the Pittsburgh Penguins’ legendary #66 led the team to two Stanley Cups, but the real test is whether you can correctly spell Krzyzewski and Lemieux. In a tribute to sports fans with spelling prowess, and in honor of the renowned Scripps National Spelling Bee, sports dining and entertainment mecca ESPN Zone announces its inaugural “Sports Spelling Bee” competition.

The Sports Spelling Bee is timed in conjunction with the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, slated for May 29-30. Six ESPN Zone locations (Anaheim, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and New York) are seeking competitors to go head-to-head in proving their sports spelling acumen on Wednesday, May 28. The two remaining locations – Baltimore and Denver – will hold their Sports Spelling Bee on May 29. Quarterfinal rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee are scheduled for May 29, and Semifinal and Final rounds of the Scripps Bee will be televised on ESPNHD.

Each ESPN Zone location will accept up to 50 Sports Spelling Bee competitors for the single-elimination event. Spellers ages 21 and over will attempt to spell the names of local and national and past and present athletes and coaches. The challenge level ranges from Easy to Difficult, and the competition will continue until there is one champion speller left standing in each location.

“ESPN Zone is a veritable playground for sports fans – we have patrons who can answer any trivia question in the book about their favorite player or team,” said Christine Baum, national marketing manager for ESPN Zone. “We created Sports Spelling Bee to appeal not just to sports fans who are trivia brainiacs but also those who have a deep-seeded passion for any sports-themed event, no matter the challenge.”

Each Sports Spelling Bee competitor will have 30 seconds to correctly spell the given name, which can include a first or last name. The first round will kick off with local names; the second round will include national names; and the third round and beyond will include both local and national names. Contestants are only allowed to ask what team the athlete/coach is/was associated with, as well as one repeat of the name.

To enter ESPN Zone’s Sports Spelling Bee competition, hopefuls are asked to send an e-mail to and include their name, address, phone number, year of birth and the ESPN Zone location at which they’d like to participate. Participants may also register in-person by visiting the Retail Store at their local ESPN Zone location. Walk-up participants may be accepted on event day, if space is available.

The 2008 “Sports Spelling Bee” champ at each ESPN Zone location will walk away with a prize package including: a “Sports Spelling Bee” trophy; an ESPN Zone gift pack (a six month supply of ESPN Zone game cards and $100 in ESPN Zone gift certificates); a one-year subscription to ESPN The Magazine; an ESPN Home Entertainment Sports DVD; a Disney Interactive Studios Video Console Game; and various noteworthy prizes specific to each location. In addition, all competitors that make it to the final round will receive ESPN Zone game cards for their efforts.

To receive more information or schedule an interview with an ESPN Zone representative, contact Formula at (310) 578-7050 or via e-mail at

About ESPN Zone

For sports lovers of all types and ages ESPN Zone is an all-encompassing sports dining and entertainment mecca where guests are immersed in an ESPN experience. The concept is built on the broad appeal of ESPN and its affiliated brands. ESPN Zone offers the ultimate viewing experience on more than 150 monitors, including a high-definition big screen. In addition to delicious American Grill Food and top-notch service, guests at each ESPN Zone location can enjoy more than 10,000 square feet of interactive games and attractions. The ESPN Zone concept was developed by Disney Regional Entertainment, which currently operates eight ESPN Zone units in Anaheim, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Manny Being Manny: The Catch In Baltimore Today...


From today's game, only as Manny can do it. Such a savant, but nothing short of funny...

Manny Ramirez made an over-the-shoulder running catch of Kevin Millar's fly ball to left field in the fourth inning on Wednesday then took the time to high-five a fan in the stands before throwing the ball into the infield to complete a double-play.

A tip of the hat to Sox and Dawgs for the video...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Steinbrenner II Talks & We Have To Listen Whether We Want To or Not....

Folks, the Yankees are not what they used to be -- at least for right now. With a litany of injuries, along with A-Rod and Posada out, as well as struggles of the young pitching staff, it looks like the Bronx Zoo Part II may be opening up for business.

With a bloated playroll and only 120+ games to go, Hank Steinbrenner mused about the Yankees.

He more or less has called his team out -- again -- and once again Mt. Yankee blew up and let the press know what was on his mind.

Hank said:

Gentlemen, it's time to get your act together. "We've got to forget about all the injuries and start playing our butts off," Steinbrenner told The Post. The Yankees were buried by the Rays on Monday. These are difficult days for Joe Girardi's club. "The bottom line is that the team is not playing the way it is capable of playing," Steinbrenner said. "These players are being paid a lot of money and they had better decide for themselves to earn that money."
Again, I have no idea if he's channeling dear old dad, or thinks he can be his father, but does he realize his team is stumbling because of the aforemtioned problems?

The Yankees seem to both want to rebuild and also compete (evidenced by being so top heavy with veterans), and it's very hard to do both.

Something has to give, and I certainly do think that the Yankees may seriously miss the playoffs in 2008. They have to realize their window perhaps may be closing quickly, and that New York might have to take it on the chin for a year or two...

The New Oriole Magic Video; So Bad, It's Good...

The Oriole Magic video after the game was so bad, it was actually good.

In what will become a classic for years to come, Kevin Millar, Adam Jones, Dennis Sarfate, Jeremy Guthrie and a few other O's were nothing but horrible, but having fun, lip-synced as they pretended to actually play the guitar, drums, etc, danced around in a non-rhythmic fashion, and showed clips of old-school O's players, great moments from the past and the present day.

Sorry, it is so bad, it's good... here are some video caps, and I swear if they win again, I'll record it on my video camera or see if I find it on Youtube.

I didn't know what the hell I saw on the video screen after the game, but I started snapping away and as soon as I saw Millar it was going to be interesting...







Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles: Balt., Md - May 14, 2008

Boston Red Sox va. Baltimore Orioles: Balt., Md - May 14, 2008

Some Fighting At The Yard...

An unintended consequence of having an Red Sox-Oriole series where both teams are competitive is the jostling and yelling back and of drunken hooligans trying to show some bravado or be loyal to their team.

As if the players on the team care what happens 400 feet away from the action.

I caught this last night during the Oriole game as a Red Sox fan, high fiving his buddies and other fellow Boston fans tussled with some Baltimore fans in the upper left field seats.

I'm all about having fun, some trash talk and there, and rooting for whomever; however, some people forget baseball is just a game and entertainment, not much more than that as fan.

Apparently, some people have not figured that out or take their sports way too seriously.

Most of the time it's the alcohol talking and idiots like you see in the picture ruin it for everyone --- well, until they are thrown out of the stadium, or arrested.

Remember, folks it's just a game which will be meaningless the next morning in the grand scheme of life.

Just have fun and enjoy it.

Johnson's Clutchiness Along With Luke's 3-Run Homer Downs The Red Sox, 5-4

A win is always a good thing. However, one against the World Champions and the legions of their fans invading Baltimore is even better.

I really don’t need to rehash the details of last night, but the Orioles beat the Red Sox last night, 5-4. Most of us already know what happened with the Luke Scott three-run homer and Jim Johnson’s clutch performance perhaps saved the game.

Johnson’s matchup with Ramirez was classic in the 7th inning.

The end result could have gone in favor of the Red Sox or the Orioles, but Johnson’s pounding of the strike zone and not being afraid to battle Manny paid off in the end. He helped Guthrie earn the win, and sent Baltimore Orioles fans home happy.

We’re 20-19 right now, and honestly, did any of us think we would be at this point right now? Remember, this was a team projected to lose 100 games. Granted, we still have 120+ games to go, but if this happened in 2007, this would have been a game the Orioles assuredly would have lost.

I don’t know if the Orioles will stay above .500 — the analyst in me says no; however, I like what I see on the field so far and this team is far better than the 2007 version, which on paper had vastly superior talent (on paper).

Finally, I saw a lot of orange mixed in with Boston’s red and blue in the stands. I’d say the ratio was 50-50 of Red Sox vs. Oriole fans, but after several seasons of just the total domination of the Yard by Red Sox Nation, it was great to see a lot of Baltimore fans come out and support the team.

For me, it was good to see a lot of orange in the stands again — the O’s need to do more promotions like that to just foster team spirit.

At this point, it doesn’t matter how it’s done, the organization just needs the perception that people still care.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Red Sox Are Coming To Town; Adam Jones; The Rundown...

The Baltimore Orioles tango with the Boston Red Sox, or as I dub them, the Evil Empire 1A tonight and tomorrow at the Yard.

The Red Sox always play us tough; however, this weekend, the Twins took 3 out of 4 from them and they'll be looking maintain their slim division lead (Tampa is 1/2 game back from first in the AL East right now).

The Orioles took three out of four in Kansas City, and despite the excellent pitching from both the starting and relief corps -- they are still struggling woefully on the offensive front.


Tonight: Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 4.32) vs. Josh Beckett (4-2, 3.70)
Tommorrow: Daniel Cabrera (3-1, 3.54) vs. Jon Lester (2-2, 4.06)

I'd be happy with a split, and even more elated with a sweep in this short two-game series. Game one will be difficult as Beckett seems to back on his game and Guthrie will need a solid effort to win; however, I'm looking eagerly to see game two as it will be a test to see if Cabrera can stifle the Sox potent offense.

The Boston offense is always brutal, and you've got a determined and focused Manny Ramirez looking forward to reaching a milestone, so he's the one in that lineup I am assuredly most afraid of.

For Baltimore, Huff has been leading the way and Bynum has busted open since his return. It looks like Markakis has ended his slump, but Roberts, Jones and several others have been struggling at the plate.

Perhaps home is where the heart is for the Orioles, and they can pick up from their road trip in Kansas City.


James Baker of Oriole Magic looks at the struggles that Adam Jones has been facing at the majoe leagie level with the Orioles. He points out that many Baltimore fans are a little upset at the lack of success the youngster has shown, and also there was piece by Jeff Zrebiec in the Sun this weekend on that topic.

Whoever is complaining about Jones isn’t seeing the forest from the trees. He’s young and ready tore it up in the minors, so let him get through his lumps at this level.

I think it takes at least 2 years, or maybe roughly 1000 at bats to truly evaluate a player. We have plenty of time on our hands and are not looking to compete for a pennant in 2008, Jones is the future, not so much the present.

People need to relax.


Kevin Millar has a entry up on the Orioles MLB site about the current slump he's going through. Considering he's a vital part of the offense, as is, he knows all too well that his act needs to get together. He goes on an on about life in 2008, and the struggles the Baltimore team will go through, thus it is a piece worth reading.


Pete Sabatini laments on the lack of Oriole offense; former Oriole pitching coach Leo Mazzone is bored and restless, so he wants back into MLB in his former position; Nowick Gray of the Orioles Hangout thinks that the loss of Bedard and Tejada have made the Orioles a more cohesive unit; Jon Wilt looks at the pitching stats in the minors; Rick Kranitz is the focus of the PressBox Online cover piece; Aubrey Huff is kicking ass at the plate in the cleanup spot, meanwhile, Garrett Olson is more focused than ever according to the Washington Post.

Finally, I am a little late on this, but Yahoo Sports has a wonderful on Melvin's Mora family honoring Mother's Day...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day; The O's Lose to K.C., Some Minor Notes...

As many of us know, yesterday was Mother's Day throughout Major League Baseball, and select players on all teams celebrated the day and helped promote the cause against breast cancer via the Susan G. Komen Foundation by either adorning pink arms bands, necklaces and some actually used pink bats at the plate.

After starting off their road trip on a disastrous note with two bad series in the Golden State, the Orioles won the first three games in Kansas City before being shut out by the Royals, 4-0.

I didn’t see much of the Orioles this weekend, but I just got watch a little of the game online via this morning and they seemed to have certainly no chance against Brian Bannister. Sunday was just one of those games where you just had to tip your hat to the opponent because they deserved the win.

Bannister went eight strong innings, as he allowed two hits along with two walks and struck out five. Jose Guillen & Billy Butler had two hits and an RBI, while Alex Gordon and Mark Teahan also drove in runs for Kansas City.

Brian Burres was serviceable and would have to had to pitch the perfect game yesterday; however, he allowed four runs in the contest for his fourth loss of the year.

Overall, we should be quite glad with the way our Baltimore Orioles turned their road trip around as our division rivals, the Evil Empire 1A (the Boston Red Sox) stroll into town for a brief two-game set this week. With it being May, the economy and gas prices, the Red Sox fan turnout we should assume may not be as strong this time at the Yard.

However, this upcoming series is important for us. Although the Red Sox lost two out of three in Minnesota, they still boast one of the best pitching corps and starting lineups in all of baseball; thus, a sweep of Boston, or even a split would benefit Baltimore greatly.

Oh yes, if you have not seen, Alex Cintron has been called up from Norfolk to bolster our bench or start in the infield, while Bob McCrory’s brief tour in the majors comes to an end — for now.

Despite the Orioles being at .500 right now, you’ve got give them credit for staying in pretty much every game and for the pitching effort.

Like I said, due to Mother’s Day Stuff and other obligations, I didn’t see much Oriole baseball aside from TV clips and

Ramon Hernandez sat out the game yesterday due to a sore wrist, and I'm hoping that's not a sign of trouble -- as you never know with that type of injury what can happen. The Sun's Bill Free has a minor league report and a few prospects are mentioned of note in the piece...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Florida Marlins & Hanley Ramirez Agree On A Long-Term Deal…


According to the AP, The Florida Marlins and shortstop Hanley Ramirez agreed on a contract extension for six years and $70 million. Despite the history with the Marlins of dumping high-value players or trading them, they have decided to put an investment with one of their core players -- in fact, he may be one of the top three in the game.

Many, yes -- including myself, have been very critical of the Florida organization with their high turnover of players and taking the revenues they receive to not reinvest in their team. They scout well and know how to pick young talent, but it seems that the fan base down there are a little disillusioned with the franchise.

Well, let's hope this is a sign of change down there.

An official announcement is expected to come as early as next week, according to Florida media reports.

The Marlins have a $21 million payroll this season. Ramirez's extension is the biggest contract in franchise history.

"We have something, but we're working out the details," Ramirez told on Friday. "We'll have good news very soon."

When reporters approached Ramirez before Saturday's game against Washington, he smiled, laughed and waved.

"No comment, no comment," he said.

Ramirez, whom the Marlins obtained in the trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Boston Red Sox, is earning $439,000 this season.

Ramirez would have been eligible for arbitration after this season and would likely have earned a significant pay raise. He was National League Rookie of the Year in 2006 and hit .332 last season with 52 stolen bases and 212 hits last season -- second only to NL MVP runner-up Matt Holliday.

As of Saturday morning, he was hitting .336 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs in 35 games.

The Marlins, known as much for dealing away star players as they are for a pair of World Series championships, currently lead the National League East. The team is off to its best start in franchise history (21-14) despite its meager payroll. In fact, the Marlins' $22 million payroll is by far the smallest in the major leagues.

"As we get closer to the stadium, those things will change," owner Jeffrey Loria said in March. The Marlins plan to build a new stadium on the site of the Orange Bowl in Miami's Little Havana district and locking up Ramirez long-term would give the team a bankable star with whom to open the new stadium in 2011 if all goes according to plan.

If there's anything the fans of the Marlins should deserve, it's having Hanley in uniform hopefully for years to come.

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