Saturday, February 28, 2009

Huff Daddy Rollin'; Guthrie Good: O's Down Fish, 4-2

Jeremy Guthrie finally appeared on the mound for the 2009 Baltimore Orioles this spring and had a good afternoon as the Baltimore Orioles downed the Florida Marlins, 4-2. Aubrey Huff was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three runs driven in, and Nick Markakis had two hits, both doubles. Baltimore scored twice in the first and third innings, and they got a lot of help from Jeremy Heremida who allowed two doubles to sail over his head.

Melvin Mora drove in the other run.

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A Review of MLB's "30 Camps In 30 Days" Profile of the Baltimore Orioles...

The MLB Network is nothing short of great, and this late evening, I caught a re-broadcast of “30 Camps In 30 Days” that profiled the Baltimore Orioles.

Well, the broadcast was very comprehensive and needless to say they went over everything under the sun with the Orioles. I sat in bed with laptop in hand and just bulleted the pertinent items.

The review is long, so sit back and be patient.

Panel: Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds, Jon Hart & Greg Asminger. Trini Kusnierek was onsite in Fort Lauderdale interviewing players.

• All concluded that the pitching will shape the Orioles in 2009, but they like that are following the model of the Rays , and mentioned the role of Andy MacPhail.
• The panel figured that the Orioles are indeed improving; however, it is going to be a long road.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Uehara Impresses; O's Lose to the Marlins, 3-2

The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Florida Marlins, 3-2, down in Jupiter, Florida; however, the story of the day had nothing to do with the game, but with the amazing work of Koji Uehara in his first appearance on the mound stateside.

Uehara went two solid innings, gave up a hit and struck out three. According to what I heard on the radio broadcast, his control was excellent, and his assortment of pitches kept hitters off track.

This is obviously the first look we have had with Uehara, but if can pitch like this in the regular season, their investment will pay off big time. His start was highly anticipated by fans, the organization and the Japanese media; therefore, one could assume that he made quite a favorable impression.

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Manny Ramirez is Either Greedy, Stupid or Delusional...

Ok, Manny Ramirez is crazy. At this point, the Dodgers should just drop him and move on. Do they need him -- yes -- however, do they want to deal with his demands and petulant nature? No.

I hope he enjoys forced retirement because there's no way in hell a team is going to give him what he wants.

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Koji Debuts on the Mound for Baltimore This Afternoon

In about an hour, Koji Uehara -- the newest Oriole import -- starts on the mound for Baltimore as they take on the Marlins in Jupiter, Florida. I'm sure his start will be eagerly anticipated by the organizational brass, along with some in the Japanese media. It will be interesting to see how he faces off against major leaguers and what stuff he's got on the mound.

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Jim Calhoun Goes Crazy on a Reporter; Should Coaches Get Paid Millions?

Ah, times are tough for everyone and one has to ask why someone should feel sympathetic to a millionaire. This may or may not be case in this instance; however, sometimes some questions should not asked in a particular forum.

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Another Newspaper Bites The Dust

It's time to say goodbye to yet another newspaper -- wow. The times, yes they are changing...

From the Washington Post: Colorado's oldest newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, is shutting down today, and industry analysts say it won't be the last to be pulled under by a rising tide of financial woes.

E.W. Scripps announced yesterday that it is closing the 150-year-old Rocky, which has won four Pulitzer Prizes in the last decade, leaving Denver, like most American cities, a one-newspaper town.

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The Birds of Baltimore Whip the Cards; Quick Hits...

A day after a lackluster Grapefruit League debut, the Baltimore Orioles bats woke up and beat the St. Louis Cardinals down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 11-3.

The star of the game was Scott Moore who was a perfect two-for-two at plate and also hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to pad Baltimore's lead. Youngster Nolan Reimold also went two-for-two with a two-run home run along with four runs driven in, and Brandon Snyder had two hits.

Danys Baez was not good in his first spring outing. He only lasted an inning, walked the bases loaded and gave up two runs.

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Alex Rodriguez Feeling The Heat...

After Alex Rodriguez brought his cousin -- Yuri Sucart -- into the public eye after he mentioned him in a press conference two weeks ago at George Ms. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.

However, the beleaguered slugger decided that his cousin was still good company to keep around. Sucart drove Rodriguez home in a SUV away from a game yesterday; alas, today, the Yankees are asking him to stay away -- from all ballparks.

I guess the-powers-that-be in the Yankees organization are trying to make the smoke go away.

>>> Read More

Danys Baez on the Mound vs. the Cardinals...

This afternoon in Florida, the Baltimore Orioles take on the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Lauderdale.

The lineups are posted on Roch's blog, and today we'll see much of the projected regular season lineup -- Roberts, Huff, Markakis, Mora, Izturis -- along with guys who will be given a look such as Craig Brazell, Justin Christian, Chad Moeller, and Nolan Reimold.

As well, Danys Baez returns to the mound today after missing all of 2008 due to injury and wanting to be a starter, not a reliever. He spoke about the anticipation of today's start with the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec:

>>> Read More

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Could the Nationals Disaster Be Almost Over?

According to ESPN, the Washington Nationals have decided to fire special assistant Jose Rijo and will shut down the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic as part of a restructuring of the team’s operations in Latin American in the wake of an age-changing scandal involving one of the team’s top prospects -- Esmailyn Gonzalez, who is also known as Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo and given a $1.4 million signing bonus.

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The Metropolitians Get The Best of the Birds of Baltimore, 9-3; Maryland vs. Duke

The Birds of Baltimore opened up Grapefruit League Season by losing a laugher to the New York Mets down in Fort Lauderdale, 9-3.

Oriole pitching had some bright spots, while some guys struggled on their first day on the mound.

Brad Hennessey -- who started the game -- took the loss, as he only lasted 1 1/3 innings before leaving because of a sore elbow. Let's hope it's not serious; however, he was shaky as he allowed two runs. Afterwards, Chris Waters got 1 2/3 innings of work and gave up a run on three hits. David Pauley -- who pitched in the fourth inning -- downright awful as he allowed four runs on five hits in only 1/3 of an inning worked.

>>> Read More

Alex Rodriguez's First Spring Training Game...

Interesting reaction to Alex Rodriguez down in Florida. He's booed in his first; however, in his next at bat -- he homers -- and then gets a standing ovation!

Ugh. I guess all that matters is if you deliver and win. I'm sure as long as he hits them out and doesn't struggle at the plate, he'll be embraced by Yankee nation.

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The Birdland Stimulus of 2009...

As times are tough for many out there in today's economy, the Orioles -- much like many other teams -- in the sport baseball are trying to get as many fans into the park for the upcoming season.

Orioles Director of Communications, Greg Bader was kind enough to forward this press release to me about a few fan-friendly programs that may help with offset the cost of attending a ball game in Charm City.

He touched on a few of these programs in a Q&A with the blog a few weeks ago, and some that were mentioned are below, along with a few more offerings.

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Live Baseball for a Change...

The exhibition games kick off in a few minutes and the Orioles take on the Mets in Fort Lauderdale this afternoon to finally start some live baseball. The game will be on MASN, but if you have, there should be a radio feed available; however, there's no video online.

I think 105.7 should also have a stream of the available online, as well as on the radio.

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Live Baseball for a Change...

The exhibition games kick off in a few minutes and the Orioles take on the Mets in Fort Lauderdale this afternoon to finally start some live baseball. The game will be on, there should be a radio feed available; however, there's no video online.

I think 105.7 should also have a stream of the available online, as well as on the radio.

>>> Read More

The Baby Birds Beat Italy; Let The Games Begin; Quick Hits...

The Orioles will kick off exhibition season on Wednesday as they face off against the New York Mets; however, some of the young, future Birds took on Team Italy and beat them in impressive fashion, 4-0.

Roch Kubatko literally had a game running blog along with Peter Schmuck, and kept us all at work -- thanks a lot! -- updated with the latest from the game. It looks like our young pitching -- Matusz (who started), Patton, Bergesen, Tillman, Wilfredo Perez, Arrieta -- looked great and were solid at the plate.

Donnie Murphy and Scott Moore each doubled in a run and Craig Brazell drove in the third run with a single; the final blow was delivered by Adam Donachie's home run in the eighth inning.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baseball America Releases Top 100 Prospects; Baltimore's Matt Wieters is Number One...

A lot has been made of the Orioles rebuilding project, and perhaps the fruit of the organization's labors is finally starting to come forth.

This morning, Baseball America released it’s 20th annual Top 100 Prospects with Oriole catcher Matt Wieters leading the way at number one. David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays was second and Colby Rasmus of the St. Louis Cardinals was third.

>>> Read More

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A Look at the Orioles from AOL...

This morning, AOL's Andrew Johnson took a look at the Brian Roberts extension and how it would shape the Baltimore Orioles to come. Instead of looking at the deal again -- as frankly, we've talked enough about it -- I decided to focus on the last few paragraphs about the team's future.

From AOL: Crazy as it sounds, Baltimore has a chance, albeit a somewhat remote one, to challenge the big boys in its division very soon. The offensive core is nearly in place. Nick Markakis is young and even more underrated than Roberts. Center fielder Adam Jones has a sky-high ceiling. Highly regarded prospect Matt Wieters could become the best offensive catcher in the game over the next season or two.

>>> Read More

Are the 6-Game Plans Gone? Quick Hits & Around the Blogosphere...

It's cold, it's very cold out up here in Maryland. Well, it's only two more weeks until Florida and I can't wait to head South and out of the cold for a few.

I was scouring some of the blogs, and other media sites this evening and WNST's Drew Forrester along with a few others have found that you cannot find the 6-game plans that have been available on the Orioles website in the past. Well, I took a look at the page and you indeed cannot see them. You can now only find 81, 29, and four 13 game season ticket plans for sale.

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Orioles Photo Day Yesterday (via Getty Images)

The Orioles had their photo day yesterday down in Fort Lauderdale, and here are some of the excellent shots provided from Getty Images.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Ray Lewis a Cowboy? Oh, God No!

I root for the Redskins, and have the Ravens as my second favorite team; therefore, I know all too well that Ray Lewis -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker -- is a free agent. He's spent 13 years in the purple & black and is an indelible part of the franchise's history; however, my stomach recoiled when I read that he wants to join one of the sports teams I revile the most -- the Dallas Cowboys!

The Ravens stuck with Ray Lewis when he had his legal trouble, and I understand football is a business; therefore, loyalty has to count for something.

>>> Read More

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Something Is Down & Dirty in Washington

I feel for Nationals fans. They should not have to endure what's going on with their team.

It looks like some heads will definitely roll in Washington D.C. not for anything political, related to the economy or for anything else other than yet another baseball scandal. It's going to be interesting how this team handles this situation considering the amount of money given to a prospect -- a whopping $1.4 million -- who suddenly aged four years and who is someone else all together.

Now, the federal government is investigating general manager and team vice president Jim Bowden and several others in their role in this whole scandal.

Does anyone smell a conspiracy?

>>> Read More

Brandon Snyder Impresses in Camp

Although it looks like most of the bench spots may be taken up with the new signings, prospect Brandon Snyder may be giving some some healthy competition. It's not likely that Synder will make the team; however, he's impressing those in the camp who have the power to determine one's fate.

In light of it all, Dave Trembley is giving a lot of players a good look and a fair shot at camp.

>> > Read More

Your 2009 Baseball Odds From Vegas Watch

Folks, here are your win totals caculated by Vegas Watch for your favorite team. Hey, at least the Orioles are predicted to improve -- somewhat. The usual suspects -- The Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Phillies, Mets, Cubs and Tampa Bay are expected to do fairly well.

I would say everything else is fair; however, there's not much love for the AL Central as they think Cleveland barely wins the division. It looks like Pittsburgh, Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City, Washington, and San Diego are picked to be the bottom feeders in their respected divisions.

>>> Read More

Some Thoughts From the Governator About Drugs in Sports...

As we know with the current steroid scandal in baseball, drugs in sports has become a hot topic. This weekend, California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger decried to use of performance enhancing drugs in sports...

WASHINGTON -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to athletic competition -- or to steroids. And the former champion bodybuilder says there's no place for drugs in sports these days.

>>> Read More

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pitcher Jason Johnson Diagnosed With Cancer, O's Quick Hits, Maryland Beats North Carolina...

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last two days, but I went to catch a mixed martial arts event on Saturday, and honestly just took a day off as well.

Well, there's some sad news concerning a former Oriole pitcher. Hurler Jason Johnson -- who pitched for Baltimore 1999-2003 -- has been diagnosed with cancer of the retina. He's been signed to a minor league deal with the Yankees, and has had a luckluster career as a pitcher; however, one has to feel for him, but it sounds like he'll be fine.

Here's how he found his diagnosis.

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News on an Old Friend: Kris Benson; Glavine Back in ATL

Former Oriole Kris Benson has finally found a new home in the deep heart of Texas. According to the Washington Post, Benson has signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers -- who seem to perpetually need pitching -- and has received an invitation to Spring Training.

Too bad we had to give John Maine away for him; however, he did teach Erik Bedard a change up.

Bedard left Baltimore a couple of years later as well and realized the grass was not greener on the other side.

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Brian Roberts' Extension Official

I thought there might have been a good chance this would be aired, but the Orioles made the four-year extension with Brian Roberts official.

From Peter Schmuck's blog: "Obviously, this is an extraordinarily happy occasion for the club,'' MacPhail said. "I just want to thank ownership. I'm very grateful to Peter [Angelos] we can be here and do this."

Brian downplayed any frustration with how long the process took and said he always wanted to play his entire career in Baltimore.

"The city of Baltimore is my second home,'' he said. "With looming free agency and the lure of looking at every team in Major League Baseball to see where you wanted to play, this is the place I wanted to play.

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Orlando Hudson Signed to a 1 Year/3.4 Million Deal With Incentives; The Difference in Salary Between He and Brian Roberts is Stark...

If you want to see how fortunate Brian Roberts is to have gotten the deal he received, contrast it with Orlando Hudson -- a second baseman that has multiple Gold Gloves and a stellar reputation.

From Free agents are on sale, and the Dodgers picked one up on the cheap Friday when they agreed with second baseman Orlando Hudson on a one-year contract, baseball sources confirmed.

The deal is worth $3.4 million with another $4.6 million in possible incentives.

>>> Read More

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm 50/50 on the Roberts Deal...

Well, it looks the Brian Roberts deal is official and an announcement will be made later today at camp in Fort Lauderdale.

After Andy MacPhail all but made it known that Roberts was available at a price -- young prospects -- that no one met, both the Orioles and the second baseman knew he was better off staying in Charm City and being a critical piece in making the franchise into a winner.

I assumed -- as did many -- thought that Roberts would wind up in a another uniform (due to all the losing and umpteen personnel changes) even before he came up for free agency, he really must have had a change in heart. One could assume -- despite the kind words about the city and his teammates -- he wanted out big time, but he put up a nice public face and sat down long enough to honestly think, "is the grass greener on the other side?"

After seeing what has happened to his former mates, Bedard and Tejada, the economy, along the market for second basemen -- no. Ok, I am just speculating, but I'm sure this might have crossed Roberts' mind.

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Brian Roberts; Quick Hits

It's been a positive week in Birdland, and today Brian Roberts spoke to some of the media briefly about his almost-done contract extenstion with the Baltimore Orioles...

Roberts clearly is relieved to be at the end of a multi-year process that nearly led to him being traded to the Chicago Cubs before spring training a year ago. He had made it clear that he wanted to get something done quickly this spring and team officials obviously felt the same way.

"It'll be a relief at some point,'' he said, "but if something hadn't work

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Luke Scott Wants to Play in the Field, Not DH...

This post may or may not be an issue right now, but one has to wonder what the status of Luke Scott will be considering the acquisition of Pie. As it seems, although Luke will do whatever the team wants him to do -- however, he wants to play in the field as much as possible.

That may not be possible with Pie on the squad.

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A National Disaster: The Washington Nationals Get Screwed By a Dominican Prospect (Not Good)

It looks like some heads will definitely roll in Washington D.C. not for anything political, related to the economy or for anything else other than yet another baseball scandal. It's going to be interesting how this team handles this situation considering the amount of money given to a prospect -- a whopping $1.4 million -- who suddenly aged four years and who is someone else all together.

I smell a conspiracy -- a big one. For a franchise looking to gain credibility among the national media and it's fanbase, this has to sting.

>>> Read More

This May Only Be the Beginning of Alex Rodrigez's Troubles...

Alex Rodriguez's mea culpa on Tuesday may not have done any good -- now, he's being summoned by the powers that be in Major League Baseball to explain himself. Ah, I wonder if the beloved sport will protect him, do nothing, or make him walk the plank for his misdeeds that supposedly took place six years ago.

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Griffey's Career Comes Full Circle: Returns to Seattle in 2009...

For Mariners fans, they got a dose of good news on Wednesday night as Ken Griffey -- a future Hall of Famer -- decided to return where his career began.

Although this may be sort of a marketing ploy to make fans somewhat happy after a disastrous season in 2008, the Mariners need to make a statement. Whether the return of Griffey out West is a just fool hearted attempt to relive history or add a piece that may help the organization, it's good thing that he's returning to where he had his most success and got to build up a legendary career.

As a baseball fan in general, I'm happy to have read the news.

>>> Read More

Brian Roberts Signed to a Four Year/$40 Million Deal

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the deal for Brian Roberts seems to be done.

From Roch's Blog: There's more to do than just cross the T's and dot the I's, but the Orioles are close to reaching an agreement on a contract extension with Brian Roberts that has been confirmed at four years and $40 million.

Two open issues need to be addressed, and one of them is just about resolved, the other in discussion. Neither issue is a deal-breaker. The principal stuff is done.

Look for Roberts to take his physical on Thursday and the club to make an announcement on Friday.

Again, I think he might have been signed for one year too long, and he will not be the same player now than he will be at the end of the contract; however, I can understand that he's got a lot of value on and off the field to the Baltimore organization.

I just know a lot of fans are happy that he's remaining in the black and orange.

>>> Read More

Derek Jeter Speaks on A-Rod, Steroids, and Himself...

After the entire circus of half truths, lies, deceptions and a really bad Razzie-like performance by Alex Rodriguez while facing the gauntlet by the the media, his teammate and perhaps the most important person on the Yankees -- Derek Jeter -- spoke his mind today.

He gave his full support to Alex Rodriguez, despite his body langauge yesterday in the press conference. Jeter said the right things; however, you must wonder if he's seething down deep when it comes to his teammate.

Jeter was one of many who showed his support to Rodriguez, but you have to wonder would they have done if this were, let's say, Melky Cabrera who is facing the media.

However, you have to realize Alex Rodriguez is the best player on the planet and the Yankees need him to reach their Manifest Destiny -- the World Series.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Week Later: Alex Rodriguez, I Still Don't Believe You...

Well, this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez met the media -- numbering over two hundred -- and issued a mea culpa about his steroid use in the media.

I think he's telling us only a quarter of the story, and he knew exactly what he was doing. Let's just say, I don't at all think he should be believed. Alex may have wanted to come off as a repentent man for his PED use; however, he still came off as an actor, rehearsed and only sorry he got caught -- not because of what he did.

He was still polished -- way too polished.

Again, I am really starting to like that some current players and baseball personalities -- David Ortiz, Ozzie Guillen, Jamie Moyer, Chris Young (Padres), and a few others -- have spoken out.

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Pondering About Adam Jones

Another of the storylines heading into the season involves a player who many have come to love -- gregarious Adam Jones, the Orioles starting center fielder.

The tall outfielder, who has also become a fan favorite so far during his Baltimore tenure has the physical gifts and work ethic to become successful; therefore, a lot is riding on him to take his game to the next level.

Jones -- who batted .270 with nine home runs and 57 RBI's in '08 -- looked like a ten year veteran in the outfield; however, I am still not sold as to what he can do at the plate -- yet -- despite decent numbers in Baltimore.

>>> Read More

Brian Roberts Inked to a Deal?

It looks like the Baltimore Orioles and Brian Roberts are close to an extension. Well, at this point I pretty much surmised this was going to happen since the market has fallen, he's comfortable in Baltimore, one could assme he's on board now with the rebuilding and the team stuck with him throughout the Mitchell Report.

I'm sure this move will placate of a lot of the fanbase; however, one has to wonder how good he will be when he's 35 versus 31. The good news is that he seems to keep himself in real good shape and has not spent much time on the shelf aside from when his elbow was literally ripped off his arm in late 2006.

>>> Read More

A Rotation Spot Seems to be Rich Hill's to Lose...

It's only been a few days, but so far it looks like Rich Hill will find a slot in the starting rotation when 2009 season starts unless he implodes. That much was noted yesterday by the Spencer Fordin on Monday, as it looks like they are confident in Hill's pedigree and stuff despite his well-documented struggles.

Baltimore's starting rotation began to come in sharper focus on Monday, when manager Dave Trembley admitted that Rich Hill is all but pencilled in for a starting job. Hill, who was acquired from the Cubs earlier this month, is attempting to shake off a troublesome back ailment and return to the command that he displayed during the 2007 season.

>>> Read More

Brian Roberts Extension Thoughts

Both Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko today made mention of the Brian Roberts extension negotiations, and both their posts really mirrored one another.

They got a both few words from Andy MacPhail earlier today, and this is what was said...

From Roch's Blog: Orioles president Andy MacPhail told me earlier today that "each side is moving closer to the other" in the Brian Roberts contract negotiations.

Asked if he's more optimistic now that he's been previously, MacPhail said, "I'd say so. We're not there yet, but we're moving toward each other, which is a good sign."

Roberts and his agent, Mark Pieper, have made it clear that they don't want to engage in talks once spring training ends.

>>> Read More

Jeremy Guthrie on Team USA for the WBC

Everyone, let's give our congratulations to Jeremy Guthrie -- the newest member of Team USA -- who will be playing in the World Baseball Classic in March.

From the Baltimore Sun: Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie has been selected for the final roster of Team USA for next month's World Baseball Classic.

Guthrie, who went 10-12 with a 3.63 ERA in 2008 and is the lone holdover from last year's Orioles' rotation, was informed of the decision late last week. He'll report to Clearwater, Fla., with the rest of the American team on March 1. They'll start a three-game exhibition schedule two days later before Team USA opens the tournament against Canada in Toronto on March 7.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Koji, Koji, Koji; Baez, Quick Hits

It looks like the full workout -- with the position players -- like take place on Thursday. I'll be looking forward to seeing the development from camp, and eagerly awaiting the first game taking place in the middle of next week. I am lamenting a little that MASN is only showing a handful of Spring Training games, but then again, I can watch on at work or when I can to keep up with the games.

At the moment, Koji Uehara -- aside from perhaps Matt Wieters -- has been the talk of the camp and the media. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz was impressed with the new acquistion as he threw his first bullpen session this morning; meanwhile, it looks like his teammates are making an effort to know him. He'll be one guy I'm going to watch this spring, and let's hope he shows us why the Orioles made an investment in him.

>>> Read More

Alex Rodriguez Speaks on Tuesday; The Media Needs to Go After the MLBPA Union...

On Tuesday at about 1:30pm, the most infamous man in baseball right now -- Alex Rodriguez -- is scheduled to speak in front the media (nearly 200 plus strong) to talk about his admission of using performance enhancing drugs during his time with the Texas Rangers.

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Roy Oswalt Lays The Smackdown on Alex Rodriguez for His Drug Use...

This weekend, Roy Oswalt spoke out against Alex Rodriguez, and for me it was kind of refreshing to hear. At this point, baseball is taken a punch in the face at least in the public eye with the vents of last week, and now for the sake of it's future and credibility in the public eye, something needs to change. "A-Rod's numbers shouldn't count for anything," Oswalt said in a phone interview with "I feel like he cheated me out of the game."

Oswalt also said he is bothered by the blanket of suspicion that has covered all players from his era because of the actions of those who have tested positive.

"It does bother me. Especially for the guys that went out there and did it on talent. We're always going to have a cloud on us, and that's not fair at all. This is my ninth year, and I've done nothing to enhance my performance, other than work my butt off to get guys out. I'm going out there with the ability God gave me. They have that ability, too, and they're putting something on top of it."

As a Ranger, Rodriguez was 3-for-5 vs. Oswalt with two doubles, one home run, three RBIs and two walks. Last year, as a Yankee, Rodriguez was hitless in two at-bats against Oswalt.

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Will Matt Wieters Start Out the Year in Baltimore?

Although most fans and the national media are curious if Matt Wieters will find himself in the majors; however, if the Orioles (mainly, Andy MacPhail) have their way the highly touted catcher will begin in 2009 in the minors (more than likely Triple-A, rather up in Baltimore).

From the Andy MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations, has gone on record as saying that he'd prefer that Wieters begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk and progress to the Majors sometime before the All-Star break. That's MacPhail's mind-set, though, and Wieters prefers to think in terms of doing whatever he can to prepare himself for the long haul.

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The A-Rod Tale Gets More Bizzare: He Calls Up Serena Roberts to Apologize...

I can only imagine what Tuesday will be like in Tampa -- the home of the Yankees' Spring Training Camp -- however, today it was released that Alex Rodriguez decided to apologize to Selena Roberts last week.

For those of you who may have already forgot, Ms. Roberts was the reporter who outed A-Rod on his positive drug test in 2003. Now, I know America appreciates apologies -- but then again, what made Rodriguez go after Roberts in the first place during his interview with Peter Gammons, accusing her of misdeeds and stalking, only to be disproven by the authorities. Well, I am sensing A-Rod has a problem with the truth...

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First Workouts & Quick Hits

Today the Baltimore Orioles held their first workout in Fort Lauderdale, and on Wednesday, the rest of the team should be there as well. This Spring Traning should be interesting as there are a lot of new faces in camp, and right now all eyes have been on the duo of pitcher Koji Uehara and catcher Matt Wieters.

Obviously the real big storyline of camp is the state of the rotation -- who'll be on it, who won't; however, we'll be keeping eye on the bullpen as to how it shapes up and as well the position players. My eyes will be on Felix Pie, Rich Hill, David Pauley (a dark horse) and Chris Ray -- who is coming off injury.

There's been a lot that has already come out of camp -- I don't know if the news is necessarily insightful, but the scribes down in Florida are getting a lot of content.

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A Look Back at the Tejada Deal: Baltimore Came Out Ahead, Obviously...

As most of us know, last off-season, Miguel Tejada was traded to the Houston Astros for outfielder Luke Scott -- a fan favorite who hit .257 with 23 homers and 65 runs in driven in, Troy Patton -- who sat out 2008, but is full of promise, Matt Albers -- who was 3-3 with a 3.49 ERA before ending the season with shoulder problems, Dennis Sarfate -- a fireballer, who served well out of the bullpen and was just shaky as starter, and Mike Costanzo -- currently in the minors.

Much like the Bedard deal, the Tejada trade might have set the course of the Astros back a couple of years, while helping out the Orioles immensely with their ongoing rebuilding process.

The sad thing is that the deal came on the eve of the release of the Mitchell Report. Well, the Houston organization felt confident about the deal -- Tejada did hit .283 with 13 home runs and 66 RBIs, all vastly below his career numbers -- and I'm sure they now regret signing off on this transaction.

Even worse, Tejada was implicated in the Mitchell Report the next day, and to add insult to injury -- he reported to Houston two years older in a matter of weeks than he was in Baltimore.

However, it does not compare to how the former spark plug of a shortstop has fallen, and that reality has been shocking along with saddening for fans, no matter if you liked him or not.

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Former Oriole Larry Bigbie Speaks About Steroids, the Mitchell Report & More to the Baltimore Sun...

Ah, to cap off a horrible week new-wise in baseball, former Oriole Larry Bigbie in the Baltimore Sun speaks to Dan Connolly about his role in the Mitchell Report, his career and also the fallout from everything -- up to his relationships and friends lost.

This is a must read article, as Bigbie -- once a highly touted young player, flamed out and is paying perhaps a dear price for being caught up in a bad situation as well as choosing the wrong friends.

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Hank Aaron Does Not Want The History Book Re-Written Because of Steroid Use

The Commissioner of Baseball -- Bud Selig -- is obviously not pleased with the turn of events despite the implementation of drug testing and the public relations hit baseball continues to take. Thursday morning, he spoke with USA Today's esteemed journalist Christine Brennan about the steroid era.

Although Selig has taken a lot of lumps from fans and the media alike during his tenure, a different side of him was shown in Brennan's piece -- an upset, and saddened leader who may be ready to strike the hammer. This week has been ugly on the sport, and now many want to see the record book redone -- thus, Selig alluded to it with Brennan.

However, a member of baseball immortality -- Hank Aaron, the former holder of the all time home run record -- believes things should stay as they are.

>> > Read More

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pitchers and Catchers Report: Yahoo's Jeff Passan Gives His Take on The O's...

Today, pitchers and catchers report to camp down in Fort Lauderdale, and after what's transpired this week news-wise in baseball, it's a welcome relief. For the most part, all 30 teams should be up and running in either Arizona or Florida this weekend. Position players should be in their respective camps by mid-week.

I guess the other semi-news worthy event that took place was the Scott Moore cleared waivers, and will be in camp with an invitation to Spring Training. Unless he makes the team -- which may be a long shot with Freel, Wigginton on the squad -- assume he'll find his way to Norfolk soon enough.


Finally, Yahoo's Jeff Passan in Season Divisional Season Preview (this one for the AL East, obviously), gives his take on the Baltimore. His review is very promising -- especially towards Wieters and the future -- and goes quickly into the key storylines heading into spring training...

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Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings Wants to Draw Alex Rodriguez in Front of Congress? No Thanks

Ah, after the grandstanding that our congressmen and women have done during the past couple of years trying to get a handle on the steroid problem, now that the economy has gone to the toilet -- should we engage in another hearing?

If Maryland's -- my home state -- Elijah Cummings has his way, we might. However, I'll say hell no at the top of my lungs.

>>> Read More

Phelps Apologizes Again ... This Time to the Far East (with video)....

I guess the Phelps story will end at some point; however, it's not anytime soon. Now, in an effort to save face overseas -- he's apologizing ... again, this time being forced by the Mazda car company to the people of China.

From the New York Times: At the behest of a sponsor, Michael Phelps has recorded a video apology to the people of China, expressing his remorse over the recently published pictures of him using a marijuana pipe and thanking them for their support and forgiveness.

>>> Read More

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spring Training is Upon Us; Quick Hits

As start of Spring Training is upon us, one has to look at the work Andy MacPhail has done so far. I know that there were a lot of fans – myself included – who thought the man at the helm of the Orioles was well, a tad slow.

I guess we all jumped to conclusions, and although Baltimore may not be a contender this season, or next – the organization is in a lot better shape than it has been in the past. So we didn’t get Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe or A.J., but I see improvement.

While the Orioles didn’t get the marquee or veteran arms we like, he finally made inroads into Japan and Far East by acquiring Koji Uehara and rid us of Daniel Cabrera. Meanwhile, he stockpiled on arms and got Rich Hill – a pitcher who started with such high hopes with the Cubs, but is a work in progress – David Pauley, and a litany of others.

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Andy MacPhail speaks to Birdland & MASN's Schedule...

"The Warehouse Wire" email popped into my mailbox today, and the man at the helm -- Andy MacPhail -- gives us a pep talk video as he discusses the trades and players signed, and a summation of the team so far.

Thank God Spring Training is here and at least it will take our mind off the trouble in the world, along with the drug scandal for a while.

>>> Read More

Alex Rodriguez Book Release By Selena Roberts Has Been Moved Up...

Ah, I guess there was a reason why the news of Alex Rodriguez's failed drug test was brought out when it was -- and now, the author of the now infamous Sports Illustrated article -- Selena Roberts -- has decided to move up the release of her book on Rodriguez up.

Right in the smack of the beginning of April, and three days before the Yankees play their first regular season game at their new stadium.

Oh boy. Does anyone not doubt that he'll be the talk of the 2009 season?

From MSNBC: Publication of Selena Roberts' "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez" has been moved up from May 19 to April 14 as scrutiny builds on the New York Yankees slugger after he acknowledged using banned substances from 2001-2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers.

>>> Read More

Will Bud Selig Open Up Pandora's Box? Records Need To Be Left Alone & What We Think as Fans...

As the world knows, baseball has been rocked by a steroids scandal for the past few seasons -- however, it has reached a crescendo this week with Alex Rodriguez's admission of drug use and the saga of Miguel Tejada.

The Commissioner of Baseball -- Bud Selig -- is obviously not pleased with the turn of events despite the implementation of drug testing and the public relations hit baseball continues to take. Thursday morning, he spoke with USA Today's esteemed journalist Christine Brennan about the steroid era.

Although Selig has taken a lot of lumps from fans and the media alike during his tenure, a different side of him was shown in Brennan's piece -- an upset, and saddened leader who may be ready to strike the hammer.

>>>Read More

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Brian Roberts, Looking Ahead & Does He Stay in Baltimore?

For Oriole fans, Brian Roberts is a name synonymous with hard work, hustle and being of one of best lead off men in baseball. That being said, right now we all know that the second baseman is in final year of his current contract in Baltimore, and question now is will he remain a part of Birdland?

After the 2008 season, I would have said he would be traded before Spring Training; however, now the answer is no.

In the past few weeks, Brian Roberts has shown a willingness to stay in Baltimore as his representation and the Oriole front office along with Andy McPhail are actively working to extend his deal. He has said over and over that he would not be willing to have contract discussions after a certain point in Spring Training to focus on baseball. Considering the market for players and the economy, Brian may find it in his best interest to stay in Baltimore.

>>> Read More

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Tragedy of Miguel Tejada

This week has not been a good one for hard-core fans of the game, and perhaps one of the sadder stories of the steroid era came to a conclusion yesterday.

Miguel Tejada this week was charged with lying to Congressional investigators about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. He pleaded guilty yesterday to the charges, and his punishment -- if any -- should be coming shortly.However, the saddest part of yesterday was seeing Tejada in Houston yesterday evening during a press conference after appearing in Washington.

He was signed to a handsome contract to be part of the rebuilding process in Baltimore as a free agent from Oakland -- where he was considered one of the better shortstops in the game at the time -- and vault the team into contention.

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The Angels Got a Bargain...

Bobby Abreu has found a new home in sunny California, and boy did the Angels ever get themselves a bargain…

From ESPN: Bobby Abreu has reached preliminary agreement on a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, a baseball source said. The Angels expect to announce the contract once Abreu passes a physical exam, which was scheduled for Wednesday, and the team clears a spot on the 40-man roster.

>>> Read More

ESPN Zone Event: Commemorating the 1989 'Why Not' Season

The ’Why Not’ 1989 Season Celebration - ESPN Zone, Balto., Md.

Last night at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Habor, Oriole fans got to relive some of the magic of the incredible 1989 season where a young team led by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson -- that finished 1988 with 107 losses and started the season 0-21 -- shocked all of baseball by contending in the American League East until the final weekend of the season.

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Brett Favre Retires -- This Time For Good?

Finally, Bret Favre will probably be leaving the game and this time I don't think he's coming back...

From ESPN: Without the tearful public ceremony that accompanied his retirement announcement from the Green Bay Packers just 11 months ago, quarterback Brett Favre has told the New York Jets he is retiring.

Favre had instructed his agent, James "Bus" Cook, to inform the Jets on Wednesday that he is retiring. The Jets confirmed the retirement in a statement, then discussed it with the media in a conference call.

Favre was expected to speak to the media in a conference call at 6 p.m. ET."We had an all-encompassing conversation," owner Woody Johnson said of his discussion with Favre. "

He told me at that point that he had made his decision to retire and thanked everybody and talked about what a great experience he had with the New York Jets."

"I have great admiration for him as a player and a person. I wish him only the best in his life after football," Ryan said.

Happy trails, Brett. What a career...

>>> Read More

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interviewing with a Sox Blogger; Roberto Alomar Allegedly Ill

I recently did a brief Q&A with a Bottom Line Sox -- a Red Sox blog -- about the 2009 Baltimore Orioles. I tried my best to answer his questions in full at least with the team we've got right now.

If you've got a moment, check out it here...


It's been a utterly depressing week in sports with the whole A-Rod episode along with Miguel Tejada; however, today brings another sad tale -- assuming it is true.

Former Oriole and potential Hall of Famer Roberto Almoar may be hit with not only a lawsuit, but a deadly disease which has permeated all segments of life, race, gender and economic status.

>>> Read More

Tejada Pleads Guilty, What Happens From Here?

It looks like former Oriole Miguel Tejada has had his day in court and took the easy way out. This has been a bad week -- can we just get to Spring Training already? From the Baltimore Sun: WASHINGTON - Former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court to the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

According to a criminal information document filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia yesterday, Tejada was not truthful with staffers from the congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Aug. 26, 2005. It was part of the perjury investigation of former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro.

>>> Read More

Adam Dunn Finally Decided To Sign With the Nationals; Oriole Quick Hits & Around the Blogosphere...

I was intrigued if Dunn could fit in Baltimore for his power and batting eye; however, he finally signed in the most logical place left for him to go -- down the Parkway in Washington.

To be blunt, they needed him more down there than the Orioles did up the road.

From WASHINGTON -- The Nationals finally got their left-handed slugging first baseman, signing free agent Adam Dunn to a two-year contract Wednesday, according to a baseball source. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Nationals are expected to hold a news conference at Nationals Park on Thursday. General manager Jim Bowden was not immediately available for comment.

Dunn, 28, and Bowden have a history together with the Reds organization. Bowden drafted Dunn in the second round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft. Three years later, Dunn was in the big leagues and became Cincinnati's best power hitter.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sorry Alex Rodriguez, I Still Don't Believe You -- You're Only Sorry You Got Caught...

After watching Alex Rodriguez's full performance of ESPN with Peter Gammons, I'm convinced the third baseman is only sorry that he got caught.

His performance didn't sway me in the least & Rodriguez was doing fine in his mea culpa until he started going after Selena Roberts and talking about the "kids".

>>> Read More

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Wigginton an Oriole; Scott Moore DFA'ed

It looks like Ty Wigginton is officially an Oriole; meanwhile, Scott Moore -- who was tabbed to be a utility man; meanwhile, has fallen out of favor with the club due to injuries and a poor season has been designated for assignment.

Six days after Ty Wigginton was first in Baltimore to take a physical, the Orioles finalized a two-year, $6 million deal with the infielder today.

Wigginton, 31, batted .285 with 23 home runs for the Houston Astros last season, and he's hit 22 or more homers while batting .275 or higher in each of the past three seasons.

>>> Read More

Fleecing the Emerald City -- One Year Later

Ah, Erik Bedard.

Nearly a year ago today, he was treaded to Seattle for outfielder Adam Jones, and pitchers George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio.

At the time, I didn't know what to think of the deal as I was pleased that MacPhail was ready to take a risk, while worried that Bedard was going to build on his 2007 season and make Baltimore possibly look like fools.

Of course, some fans and those-on-the-inside knew better about Bedard -- he was known by some in the media to be surly, lack a work ethic, seemingly not have a passion for the sport and of course the injury history -- and didn't think he'd be successful out West.

I figured that his career record, plus his age and the way he finished off 2007 despite his lofty numbers would not translate well in Seattle.

>>> Read More

Former Oriole Miguel Tejada in a Legal Mess

Former Oriole, Migurel Tejada -- who has been under investigation by the government for a while -- has now been charged with lying to Congressional investigators about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. It's looking like an ugly side of the game may be exposed this spring with the Bonds trial, Clemens, the whole A-Rod saga, and now this...

From the Washington Post: Federal prosecutors accused Tejada of making misrepresentations to Congressional staffers during an interview in a Baltimore hotel room focusing on the prevalence of steroids in the game.

The charge came in "a criminal information," a document that can only be filed with the defendant's consent and usually signals a plea deal is near. Tejada, who now plays for the Houston Astros, is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Washington, court officials said.

>>> Read More

Braden Looper Off the Market...

It looks like Braden Looper has a new home...

From JSOnline: The Brewers' agreement with free agent right-hander Braden Looper is in place, pending the passing of a physical examination.

The deal will be for one year plus an option. I haven't been told if that option is a vesting option (meaning it kicks in if Looper reaches a certain level), a club option or a mutual option, in which either side could exercise it. But the deal will have an option of some kind for 2010.

With camp starting this weekend and with the acquisition of Hill, Parrish and Pauley a bit earlier, it looked like the Orioles were done with shopping on the market for pitching help. I don't mind too much that we lost out on Looper -- he would have been a stop gap and is an average pticher at best -- however, he could have made up for a lot of inexperience on the Baltimore roster.

>>> Read More

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