Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FanFest Notes & Thoughts: Nick Markakis

Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis spoke with the media at FanFest. He updated everyone on his injury, status heading into Spring Training, Brian Roberts, the pitching, and also the offense.

Here are some quotes and notes I was able to pick up from him.


Commenting about his recent surgery…

Um, I’m doing good. It’s a sensitive area where I got cut open; as far as pain-wise, I don’t have any pain, it’s just uncomfortable, and it’s – you know, not being able to do certain things I want to do. It seems like a like a long recovery, but you know – it will be over as soon I know, and then we’ll be rolling again.

More about the MRI, surgery, procedures and how he found out…

Um, the first time I arrived; my first MRI, there was still some swelling and in there; so it wasn’t able to show what it needed to show.

It got towards the end of the season; the injury – I was about 100%, over time I got my second MRI, I was 75% better, and then the last 25%. I just knew something was wrong in there and it wasn’t able to show what it was. I know my body, so I went to Richie, and then the trainers, and they sent out for an MRI, and then they set me up with Dr. Myers on the west coast.

He looked at the MRIS’s, did a couple of tests on me, and basically told me what he thought was going on.

Nick’s preparation so far heading into Spring Training…

I’m doing a lot of pool activity – working on my lower half, my core; that’s just about it. Starting to jog a little bit lightly; each day, something is added in, and we’ll go from there.”

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Orioles Have Been Busy Today...

Well, the Orioles were busy on Mondaybusy on Monday. They announced that several players signed minor league deals with the organization,several players signed minor league deals with the organization, and some of them may be names you recognize.

Ok, so the Orioles didn’t sign marquee guys; in fact, most of these players are your proverbial low-risk, high reward guys.

From MASN Sports, Roch’s BlogRoch’s Blog: The OriolesOrioles finally reached agreement on a minor league contract with right-hander Armando GalarragaArmando Galarraga, who's listed among nine pitchers invited to camp in a few weeks.

Pitcher Pat Neshek and catcher Ronny Paulino also signed minor league deals with the Orioles and will report to Ed Smith Stadium.

Other invites include left-handers Ryan Edell and Dennys Reyes, right-handers Willie Eyre, Steve Johnson, Jon Link, Miguel Socolovich and Oscar Villarreal, catchers John Hester and Brian Ward, infielder Steve Tolleson and outfielder Scott Beerer.


Also, the Orioles announced that they signed left-hander Seong-Min Kim of South Korea to a minor league contract.

Kim, 17, has been pitching for the 18-and-under South Korean national tea


"We are glad to sign a player that our scouts feel is one of the top amateur left-handed pitchers in South Korea," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said in a statement. "Kim has an excellent curveball and very good control."

Some of these guys are intriguing to me, specifically, Pat Neshek – who was an effective reliever before he got hurt with Minnesota (and has an interesting blog)-- along with Armando Galarraga.

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FanFest Notes & Thoughts: Nolan Reimold

Nolan Reimold

As most of us fans know, it’s been a very tough road for Nolan Reimold during the past few seasons.

Between personal problems, battling for playing time, plus bouncing up and down between the minors and majors, it’s been a wait-and-see game with him; however, when given a chance to play, he’s delivered.

His ability to come through in the clutch was evident in game 162 of last season for Baltimore where he had a key at-bat to help knock out the Boston Red Sox from the playoffs. At Fan Fest – with both with the fan forums and the media – Reimold picked out the final moments of that particular game as a highlight to remember of the 2011 season.

Despite his struggles, he’s still part of the Baltimore Orioles immediate future. With Luke Scott now with the Tampa Bay Rays after being non-tendered by the Orioles, the time perhaps is now for Nolan.

He will probably be the starting left fielder for Baltimore next season and that’s a good thing. We all know he can hit (based on his rookie season) and play hard; however, the question now is: can be it done with any consistency?

Reimold seems prepared for Spring Training; however, he’s got things in perspective.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plugging along

The Baltimore Orioles continue to plug along this offseason making tiny moves that, while solid, divide the fanbase. Some feel that the Orioles are making specific targeted moves, like an engineer replacing a key cog or spring to make a glorious machine operational again; others feel that the team is rearranging the deck charis on the Titanic, on Alderaan and the Death Star is approaching.

The Orioles recently signed journeyman bat Wilson Betemit. Betemit's nine season career has taken him to eight different teams. Betemit resurrected his career last year spending time in Kansas city and Detroit. In almost 100 games and 350 ABs between the two teams he put up a .343 OBP and a .795 OPS. The Orioles are considering him the primary DH going into 2012. Betemit most certainly does not have the power numbers one would expect the DH to have but I don't feel that the Orioles need to worry about power numbers.

According to NBC Sports' Hardball talk, the Orioles' lineup is very intriguing. To them, the Birds have a very realistic chance at having eight players in the starting nine hit 20 or more homers. If that is the case then Betemit's primary job as DH is to maintain his high OBP, which is the one basic offensive statistic in which the Orioles were well-below league average last year.

The Betemit signing is a point to the engineering metaphor I mentioned earlier. This is the type of move that Billy Beane would have made a decade ago. Betemit's contract is for two years, with a third year option at a very affordable $3.25 million. If Betemit's option triggers the whole thing could cost the Orioles six million dollars. This is a good deal.

The Orioles are still linked to free-agent journeyman starter Edwin Jackson. Jackson is supposedly listening to offers from many teams and the Orioles may or may not have made him a specific multi-year offer. The Orioles' rumored offer is for either four guaranteed years or for three and an option. Jackson seems to be deciding between taking the multi-year deal or taking a one-year contract from the Boston Red Sox. For someone like Jackson, who has more frequent flier miles than he has career wins, the thought of a solid multi-year contract must be comforting but that means playing for a team that will most likely be on the short-end of the stick for a long time. On the other hand you could continue your rambling-man ways and play for one year in New York or Boston knowing there is a good chance you could either be traded or dropped after one year yet again.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is It Worth Going After Yoenis Cespedes, or Not?; Top 100 Prospects & More

Yoenis Cespedes at the plate...

As of today, the Orioles may still be short a slugger in their lineup; however, recently, Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes is now available as a free agenthowever, recently, Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes is now available as a free agent. He has officially established residency in the Dominican Republic and is playing winter ball there.

So far, Cespedes has struggled in the Dominican. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina, he is currently hitting .143, (5-for-35) with one home runcurrently hitting .143, (5-for-35) with one home run, 10 strikeouts and no walks for Aguilas.

That’s not good. Who knows if Cespedes is struggling because of a long layoff, or his batting eye may be suspect.

At this point, if anyone signs him to a long-term contract, who knows what they will be getting. Is he a finished product? Raw? Or perhaps not good as advertised? Is his bio and life in Cuba the truth, or something embellished?

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Adam Jones: Should He Stay With the O's Long-Term, Or Go?

During the offseason, one the biggest names on the Orioles – Adam Jones – was a target of trade rumors, specifically with the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and infielder Martin Prado.

Baltimore didn’t wind up trading Jones as we all know; however, will he stay with Orioles throughout his career, move to greener pastures, or go to a winner?

Jones’ profile has risen in the game, and he has steadily improved over the past few years. One would think considering the Orioles are mired in a 14-year losing skid, perhaps trading away Jones for young pieces to build on is a prudent move.

Based on what I’ve read, Dan Duquette wants to keep Jones – then again, isn’t ignoring offers for him. I would imagine it would take quite a haul to acquire Jones, and a lot of teams right now won’t give up what it would take.

Another issue is whether Jones would want to stay in Baltimore. Based on what I got from FanFest, it remains to be seen.

>>> Read More

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Will Brian Roberts Ever Return?

A lingering topic at FanFest -- and for much of the off-season -- involved second baseman Brian Roberts.

As we all know, he’s missed much of the past two seasons dealing with post-concussion syndrome issues and other injuries. At this point, one has to ask – will Brian Roberts ever suit up for the Baltimore Orioles again?

Considering that he missed FanFest and not been heard from for much of the winter, who really knows?

There’s nothing he or anyone can do in this situation. I would imagine it is killing Roberts inside.

Everyone appreciates a guy who is as well-rounded as Roberts is on the field and at plate.

Right now, I am thinking that he will not be back to start the season. Also, if Roberts was to come back – would he ever be the same?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prince Fielder, Betemit/OBP and Other Stuff...

Now that the Prince Fielder saga is overPrince Fielder saga is over (and it was very bewilderingbewildering), where does it leave the Orioles in terms of their lineups? Honestly, I do think the team still needs another bat.

By the way, although Fielderalthough Fielder would have definitely helped the Orioles at the plate; however, it would have been a very poor use of resources by the organization. I don’t think he would have aged all that well, considering his body type.

Plus, do you think that the Orioles would want to pay a guy north of $23 million per year?$23 million per year? Does it make sense to devote that much of a payroll to one guy? The Detroit TigersDetroit Tigers felt the need to, despite being favorites in American League Central alreadyAmerican League Central already.

The Orioles will not be contending for a championship anytime soon, so it would have little sense to sign him now.

It would have been a fun show to watch, however.

The team needs a lot more than a power-slugging first baseman; quite frankly, the Orioles have more holes to cover, need to work on a deeper bench, and really need to do a better job developing minor league talent.

The local media and professionalslocal media and professionals who cover the team day by day were definitely right about Fielder, despite what the national writers and some online personalities thought.

Despite the acquisition of Wilson Betemit, I think the Orioles are still lacking in power and also an ability to get on-base.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If You Want To Take Part in MLB's Fan Cave...

If you have the time to take part in MLB's Fan Cave up in New York, there's information below about what it is all about and sign up.

Thanks to Amanda Sarver at the Baltimore Orioles for passing us the press release from MLB...


Entry Deadline to be a Fan Cave Contestant is Extended to January 31

Seventeen Major League All-Stars have already confirmed to visit the MLB Fan CaveMLB Fan Cave in 2012 to participate in the web series, interact with fans through the Fan Cave’s social media platforms, and meet the contestants who will be watching every game of the 2012 season.

Players who have confirmed are Bronson Arroyo (Reds, P), Jose Bautista (Blue Jays, OF), Jay Bruce (Reds, OF), Tyler Clippard (Nationals, P), Ubaldo Jimenez (Indians, P), Josh Johnson (Marlins, P), Matt Kemp (Dodgers, OF), Evan Longoria (Rays, 3B), David Ortiz (Red Sox, DH), Hunter Pence (Phillies, OF), Brandon Phillips (Reds, 2B), Michael Pineda (Mariners, P), David Price (Rays, P), CC Sabathia (Yankees, P), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies, SS), reigning American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (Tigers, P), and Shane Victorino (Phillies, OF). Bautista, Ortiz, Phillips, Price, Sabathia and Victorino all visited the MLB Fan Cave in 2011.

Major League Baseball will select multiple fans to spend nearly every waking moment in the Fan Cave during the 2012 season where they will meet these and other players who visit along with interacting with celebrities, entertainers and musicians.

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The Prince Fielder Chase is Over... He's Going to Detroit

Folks, the Prince Fielder chase is over. Looks like Scott Boras was able to get a big payday for his big slugger from someone -- the Detroit Tigers. So much for him and Baltimore Orioles. That sure was not going to happen.

I'm just surprised everything with him took this long, but in the end, he got paid... big time.

As Boras, whether you love, despise, or friggin hate him ...Link the man does his job better than anyone. I thought he might be delusional in terms of his client's - Fielder's - interest; however, he knew that someone was going to bite on him, and they did. Boras isn't one of most sought after agents in the business for nothing.

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Baltimore Signs Wilson Betimit; Prince Fielder Chatter

The Orioles signed Wilson Betemit last night to a two-year dealWilson Betemit last night to a two-year deal, with an option for a third one. He’s not the free agent we all expected; however, he’s got some pop in his bat and can play an array of positions in the infield, and some outfield.

I mean, Betemit is a decent major leaguer, but not on the wrong side of 30 – yet – and productive.

He’s now involved in the infield mix when Spring Training rolls around next month; however, it is safe to assume that Betemit is on the roster.

>>> Read More

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Fan Fest Thoughts and the Baltimore Ravens Today

As I have mused throughout the winter, I have not been all that impressed with the moves that the Orioles have made in preparation for 2012.

For the most part, I feel the Orioles have gone with ‘value’ in terms of the players they have signed; however, they have started to make inroads with Asian market, signing two arms – Chen and Wada.

During a break in the afternoon, I got a chat to ask Orioles.com beat writer, Brittany Ghiroli about the state of the Orioles in the media area.

Being that Ghiroli has covered the team for a couple of seasons now, and is from Connecticut, I wanted to get her perspective.

More or less, she said that the team is doing the right thing now in terms of rebuilding. In addition, we had a long conversation about the acquisitions that the Orioles have made.

I told her that there were a lot of fans, including myself – to an extent – who have not been impressed with Dan Duquette so far.

While Ghiroli understood the fact many of us lament that fact that no marquee names, or ‘name’ veterans were signed, she mentioned an important point that I perhaps overlooked: the acquisitions didn’t cost the team anything in terms of draft picks or compensation.

Thinking about what Ghiroli said, it’s an important thing to think about. With the state of the Orioles as-is, they need to collect as much talent as possible and hope some of the players pan out.

They are in no real position right now to give away any of their prospects, and if they did – it would be a detriment to the organization, plus their overall general plans.

>>> Read More

FanFest 2012 - Quick Thoughts

On Saturday, the Baltimore Orioles once again held their annual FanFest. I'll have more thoughts later on, and so will James; however, I’m going to give you all some brief thoughts from the day.

This year, the keywords were patience and realism, not optimism or false dreams. Over nine-thousand fans showed up at the Baltimore Convention Center – seemingly no small feat considering the weather and anticipation for the big Ravens’ game on Sunday – longing for baseball again.

Rather than selling fans hope, Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and others were a tad more realistic this time around with their thoughts along with expectations. I think that’s a good thing as the team is rebuilding, most likely to finish in the second division; therefore, we should not be fooled.

Well, now fans know the real state of the Baltimore Orioles, so expectations for next season seem to be much more tempered. The mood at the convention center didn’t have the same buzz as in 2011, although people were happy to have a taste of baseball back in the region – if only for a day.

>>> Read More

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Reality of the Situation

With Fan Fest this weekend, and with pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in about a month, or less. How do you all feel about the progress that the Orioles have made in the off-season?

I know that the organization is - again - starting from scratch; however, I am not all that enthused with the job Dan Duquette has done so far. I know he's trying to look at the international markets and gauge what talent is out there, in addition to 'value' signings -- um, but perhaps most fans expected more. Really, the team needs another bat in the middle of the order and a veteran, *name* arm -- not 4A or journeyman types.

I do think he’s very much taking his time with his moves and is definitely evaluating the organization than making a move to just make a move.

For the most part, they moves that the Orioles have are very much underwhelming. I’m not sure how much the organization has in their coffers, or the revenue that MASN produces for the Orioles, but you’ve got to wonder why the checkbook was not open.

Duquette thinks that the Orioles can reach the .500 level – or inch above it. Um, I don’t think that is going to happen unless there is a serious overhaul with this team and the front office opens up the wallet big-time. Plus, the young talent – especially, the pitchers – would need to take a serious step forward and avoid the up-downs during a long season.

So far, I have not thought much of Duquette’s moves. It seems like he genuinely wants to see the organization succeed – for his sake and theirs. I do like that he’s going into the Far East and trying to find players of value who won’t break the bank. Plus, he’s retooling the front office and scouting departments; however, I do wish he would be more aggressive.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Do You Market The Baltimore Orioles?

With Spring Training around the corner, and the 2012 starting as the winter season ends, the question is this?

How does one market the Baltimore Orioles?

We know that the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards is this year and the organization will be having several things going on with that. That being said, it’s a great marketing tool, but at the end of the day – I care about the product on the field and winning.

Camden Yards has been kept in immaculate condition, and it’s still a gold standard of ballparks everywhere. There have been more additions to it in terms of concessions, seating options and more attractions.

Well, that’s all wonderful and good; however, once again, the product on the field has not left much to be desired.

Back in the day, Camden Yards was filled and it seemed that you had to know someone to get a ticket. Now, it’s fairly easy to get one – well, maybe not Opening Day – and there are some night you can’t even give them away.

As of now, the Orioles are by all accounts supposed to finish last in American League East. They have players such as Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, slugger Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy on the squad; however, does anyone really care about this team in the dead of winter? Is there any excitement – aside from hardcore fans – for the season to be approaching?

>>> Read More

Monday, January 16, 2012

Should the Orioles Take a Chance on Manny Ramirez? If He Can Hit, Why Not…

Ok, I am a little late on this topic; however, as we all know, the organization took a look at Manny Ramirez last week during a workout in Florida.

We all know Ramirez’s sordid history in the game and his drug issues. He’s obviously not been an upstanding citizen in the game and frankly has bastardized his profession.

Ramirez spoke to ESPN this week about a possible comeback – despite the fact that he would need to sit out 50 games due to his PED use.

He actually sounded a lot different from what I have seen out of him in the past.

Ramirez sounded contrite, apologetic, and perhaps realized how stupid he’s come off over the years. Who knows if this is an act of desperation, or if he wants to go for an Academy award.

As a fan, I would not want him anywhere on the Baltimore Orioles, or even any of the other 29 franchises. That’s how strongly I feel about him, but if he can hit – the Orioles might want to use him.

Yes, I said it. The Orioles need the offense and a potent bat in the lineup. They have not signed a power bat, and now their pickings are getting slim unless they want to pay Prince Fielder a king’s ransom.

>>> Read More

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Big Moves in the East

Last night the Nee York Yankees traded away their star catching prospect, slugger Jesus Montero and other pieces to the Seattle Mariners. In return the Yankees got Mariners rookie sensation Michael Pineda. Still not finished, the Yankees also consummated a deal for Los Angeles Dodgers free agent Hiroki Kuroda.

The Yankees have officailly set their rotation leaving them room to dump struggling AJ Burnett to free up salary or maybe even trade struggling young starter Phil Hughes.

One question comes to mind, why would the Mariners do this? Montero is a catcher in theory, but all reports have him as being a well below average backstop. His bat is supposed to be stuff of legend, but Seattle is such a vast ballpark I'm not sure how well a power bat like Montero will really play there. Pineda is young, cheap and talented - very talented. This seems like such a lopsided deal right now, lopsided in the Yankees favor. I could sit here and try to soothe the hurt of this by quoting stats that have Pineda being far more human away from Seattle. I could talk about Pineda's fly-ball tendencies and how those will bite him a bit in the wind-tunnel of New Yankee Stadium; but I won't because it doesn't really matter. Pineda is a Yankee, as is Kuroda. They will drink the same magic elixir as Bartolo colon did last year and be co-Cy Young winners.

The Orioles signed Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-Yin, and it is a great move. He was considered the best Japanese pitcher coming out this year not named Darvish. The step is a bit bigger than that former statement implies but the fact remains that the guy is talented. If Chen were signed by one of the powers of the AL East it would have been headline news on ESPN. And the Orioles got him, he is young, cheap and has serious upside. It was a great move.

>>> Read More

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Luke Scott a Member of the Rays...

Well, Luke Scott - who the Orioles non-tendered this offseason - has signed with the Tampa Bay Rayssigned with the Tampa Bay Rays. It looks like the Orioles wanted to move on from him, and sure enough they have...

From the Baltimore Sun:

Luke Scott, the outspoken, energetic sluggerLuke Scott, the outspoken, energetic slugger who spent four seasons in Baltimore and was named the 2010 Most Valuable Oriole, has agreed to a one-year deal with the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays that includes a 2013 option, according to an industry source.

Exact terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Scott, 33, was in his final year of arbitration after making $6.4 million in an injury-marred 2011 that ended in July, when he decided to have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. In December, the Orioles decided not to tender him a contract -- he would have made at least $6 million and likely more -- and allowed him to become a free agent.

Honestly, considering the way that Baltimore's offseason has gone, I would have figured they might have given Scott an incentive-based contract. We all know he's streaky and isn't the best fielder out there; however, when he hits, he can help lift a team for periods at a time. At this point, he's a designated hitter and he may not be a good fit with Baltimore now.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moves Made and Progress?

On Monday, the Baltimore Orioles signed another pitcher as they signed left-hander Wei-yin Chen from Taiwan.left-hander Wei-yin Chen from Taiwan.

Here’s on the signing from the Orioles.com:

Chen, 26, spent the last four years with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Central League. He went 38-30 with a 2.48 ERA in 117 games, 88 of them starts. Chen had a 2.68 ERA in 25 appearances last season. He will be the first Taiwanese-born player in Orioles history.

"Chen works off of a 92-94 mph fastball and he uses a hard, slurve-like breaking ball as an out pitch," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "He has exceptional command and we like the quality of his pitches to help our team."

Chen had a career-high 13 wins in 27 starts, striking out 153 in 188 innings, in 2019. He led the Central League with a 1.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and four shutouts in 164 innings in 2009.

He was a member of the Chinese Taipei national baseball team in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. He went 1-0 in two starts in the 2008 Games, tossing seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over the Netherlands.

They have been looking to sign him throughout the winter, and Chen agreed to a 3-year pact. Dan Duquette said that the Orioles were going to make it a mandate to start looking at the international marketsa mandate to start looking at the international markets, and sure enough they have.

Time will tell how all the international efforts by the Orioles show in the win column. While I do like the fact the Duquette is thinking somewhat outside the box,is thinking somewhat outside the box, the team should have focused more on major league veterans with experience and at least a ‘name’ player.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Baltimore Inferiority Complex

If you have grown up in Baltimore you know what I am talking about - if you don't know what I am speaking of allow me to explain.

Virtually everyone that has grown up in the greater Baltimore area suffers from a unique condition called the "Baltimore Inferiority Complex" (BIC). The BIC results in your average Baltimorean taking a salty attitude towards virtually every other city in the US - especially on the east coast. Baltimore is sort of the forgotten middle child of the east coast. Sandwiched between Philadelphia and the national capital the larger bands, stage shows, comics, speakers and world in general tends to bypass us. We have lost a basketball team, and a football team and the biggest contribution to the larger picture of American culture has been "The Wire;" not exactly something for the tourist board.

Philly, DC, New York and Boston get songs written about them - happy songs, upbeat songs. Songs featuring Baltimore are usually in the Tom Waits vein.

Growing up in this type of environment lends someone to believe that the world has it out for our weird little town. The Orioles never get the calls, the NFL did everything it could to keep a team from coming to Baltimore, the NBA hates us. Hell even the war for which we are "famous" (the one where we saved the effing country?) is the one you gloss over in your high school history classes.

If cities were Presidents then Baltimore is James K Polk. Industrious, got things done, loud, brash and largely ignored.

Why am I bringing this up? Two words: Prince Fielder.

>>> Read More

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Q&A with Greg Bader: Camden Yards 20th Anniv., Uniform Changes and More..., Part 2

We recently did a Q&A with the Communications Director of the Baltimore Orioles, Greg Bader and we touched upon on myriad of topics - the 20th Anniversary of Camden Yards, the uniform and cap changes, general Camden Yards questions and concerns, plus what has been going on with Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

The Q&A was quite lengthy, so we have split it up into two parts. This is part two.


What were your thoughts about the change over from Aramark - the old food service vendor - to Delaware North Companies Sportservice? Did you get any opinions from the public -- good or bad?

18 years with one ballpark concessions vendor is a long time, and while Aramark was a terrific partner, we believed the switch to DNC Sportservice would be a benefit to our fans.

The new Birdland hotdog, as well as the steak and egg sandwich and the addition of local favorites Pollock Johnny's and Natty Boh have been great additions about which our fans have raved. And there are still more changes to expect in 2012-new menu items and new food and drink destination points around the ballpark, some of which have been confirmed and some of which have not yet been announced.

With FanFest next month, what can we look forward to as fans? Any new additions, changes?

FanFest will be similar to what fans experienced in 2011, though the layout at the Convention Center is a bit different (we actually have more square footage).

Autographs will be handled the same way, and with that program raising nearly $100,000 for the Orioles Charitable Foundation, we wanted to duplicate the way that was done.

One change to the event will be an improved Spring Training area for fans to get information on tickets as well as Sarasota activities and travel/hospitality options.

>>> Read More

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