Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guaranteed Thrift Store Treasures For Less Than $10

Thrift store shopping is the best, you can always get some scores that no one will believe were found for cheap at a thrift store.  Anyone can take their paycheck and head to the mall and get a whole new wardrobe, a whole new look. But it’s the savvy shopper that can actually find amazing things at the second hand store.  If you have a limited budget, it’s a great idea to go to the second hand stores in your neighborhood and find some great gems of articles of clothing and accessories to accent your new look.

1.  Necklaces


Yes, necklaces are a great thing to shop for at the second hand store.  Someone unloaded thousands of their grandmother’s necklaces and other jewelry at the store, and it’s yours for the flipping through.  You will absolutely find something that has way more perceived value and that you love.  Heck, it may even become a family heirloom for your progeny in the future, but for the present, at least you’ll have a great new necklace to hang around your neck.

2.  Ironic footwear


Second hand shoes are tough because they are often worn out and worthless after a few wears. But sometimes you can luck into a great pair of shoes for under ten bucks. And sometimes the shoes are bad but can use a cheap repair and have a whole new life. If you’re looking for a vintage retro look, you can often find women bowling shoes sort of like the ones you can get new at bowlingshoes.com but they’re the real thing. I guess back in the day many more folks were buying their own shoes before hitting the lanes. Perhaps there wasn’t such a shoe rental market back then.

3.  Linda Ronstadt albums


One thing you will find almost everywhere is the complete works of Linda Ronstadt on vinyl.  It’s hard to believe, but she used to be a high selling recording artist and to be honest, her albums aren’t that bad.  Since there are so many of these things lying around, you can get them often for 99c or even less, maybe even 3 for a dollar.  They’re pretty good records and you can have them for cheap at almost every thrift store in the entire world.

4.  Artwork for the New Home


When you’ve just moved in somewhere, you have to deck out the place so it seems lived in, and like a home.  Eventually you can accumulate artwork that’s actually meaningful and pretty, but in the meantime you can fill the empty walls with artwork from the thrift stores.  You can get some cool stuff in frames (that you can even reuse down the road when you discard the art itself).  It can be fun to deck out the new house with items from the thrift store, which can be under ten bucks. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Extremely Expensive Bowling Balls that You Probably Couldn't Afford

Some of us are willing to spend a lot more money on our favorite pastimes than others. Traditionally, bowling is not considered to be a particularly expensive endeavor. A new ball will usually set you back between $50 and $150, and then you might need a pair of bowling shoes and a good bowling bag, like the ones you can find at bowlingbags.com. Overall, it requires a small initial investment and then just the price of maintenance plus the cost of renting a lane at the bowling alley. However, there are ways you can drive the costs up by getting a very expensive bowling ball like the ones in the list below.

1. Yoda Bowling Ball

There are tons of bowling balls out there that feature custom designs and they are all more expensive than regular balls. However, the exact cost will depend on the intricacy of the design. A perfect example is one bowling ball which has a very detailed portrait of Yoda from Star Wars on it. The workmanship alone will drive up the price, but then you also need to consider that just about anything with Star Wars on it is considered a collectible by many.

2. Skull Ball

The price of this ball goes up because it is a movie prop. It was used in the 1999 superhero movie Mystery Men by The Bowler, a character played by Janeane Garofalo. The movie wasn’t a hit, but it became a cult classic and still has a following.

3. Rose Ball

Kingpin is the most iconic bowling movie ever made and in it the main villain played by Bill Murray had a distinctive bowling ball with a rose inside it. This ball later went to auction and it was reportedly sold for around $20,000. BowlingBag-9-3.jpg

Whenever you are in need of quality bowling products such as bowling bags, visit http://bowlingbags.com and you will find a large selection available to you at affordable prices.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Photo of the Year

...so far.

Baltimore Sun : Karl Merton Ferron

From the Baltimore Sun, this might be one of the best baseball photos of the year. Homeplate Umpire Greg Gibson clears the plate so Chris Dickerson can officially score his game-winning walk-off three-run homer.
Amazing. Great shot by Sun photographer Karl Merton Ferron.

>>> Read More

Tragedy at Camden

Writing a baseball blog is supposed to be a fun hobby. I get to write about my favorite team, post funny memes and basically faff about on the internet in between responsibilities both professional and personal. But every so often something happens that I simply cannot ignore and I have to take a detour in the world of politics and my general disdain for most of humanity.

Today is one of those days.

Last week the forces of machismo, alcohol, rivalry, idiocy, and adrenaline combined in the stands of Camden Yards. When these things happen it is never a good thing, and it does happen often but it rarely ever ends in anything significant. Last week it did. At Wednesday’s Orioles – Nationals game Matthew Fortese from Hagerstown was with a young lady on their second date. Matthew made the, apparently, cardinal sin of wearing a Yankees hat at a baseball game and thus incurred the wrath of Gregory Fleischman and Michael Bell, a couple of 20-somethings from the greater Baltimore area.
The complete circumstances of what transpired throughout that night will likely never be entirely known. What we do know is this: The two men are accused of harassing Fortese and his girlfriend most of the night. This culminated with a full beer being lobbed at the couple. Fortese then stood up and confronted the two men. A punch was thrown, Fortese stumbled and fell backwards over the railing of their section. He landed on the concrete five feet below fracturing his skull in the process.
He is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma center. Bell and Fleischman are out on bail.

We now have to have a discussion on fan behavior at games.

First and foremost let us dispatch with the fake shock over this. Allow me to channel my inner Claude Raines when I say I am shocked, SHOCKED, to hear someone got seriously hurt at a baseball game fight. And please, do not mistake my flippancy for callousness. I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for the Fortese family and friends and I genuinely wish him the speediest and full recovery. I also have nothing but pity for the pathetic pair of boys that are charged with the assault. The bottom line is they did not intend to seriously hurt this man. Sure, they seem to be the guys who started it and one of them threw a punch but I do not believe that in their wildest dreams they expected something like this would happen.

>>> Read More

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What a night; Chris Dickerson's walk-off homer helps Orioles defeat Tigers, 7-5

What a week for the Orioles. After their come-back-from-behind victory on Wednesday, I didn’t think much else could have topped what I saw then.

Well, what happened at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday may have topped that. As you all probably know by now, the Orioles pulled an amazing win, defeating the Detroit Tigers, 7-5, in the first contest in a three game series.

With Baltimore down by three, 6-3, in the ninth, Detroit brought in Jose Valverde to close out the game. He was basically unemployed at the start of the season; however, Detroit brought him back – because they had no one else really to close out games!

Anyhow, if there was a closer the Orioles could come back against, it was Valverde.

Then it happened.

Nick Markakis led off the frame with a home run, and then Adam Jones along with Chris Davis followed up with back-to-back singles. The Tigers got two outs thanks to horrible at-bats by Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy; however, the next batter, Chris Dickerson decided to end things with one swing of the bat.

He took a Valverde offering and deposited it into right centerfield, ending the game. The sold out crowd of 46,249 who stayed until the end were in frenzy, and it felt like the Orioles had won a playoff game or something. It felt like a rock concert and you were surrounded by thousands of your best friends dressed in orange and black.

Most of the fans didn’t leave the stadium after the Orioles secured their 31st win of the season – at least until they saw Dickerson pied the face with shaving cream by Jones and Alexi Casilla.

Everyone stayed on the feet from the Markakis homer until the very end. It was quite a sight to see and just amazing how the community has responded to the Orioles finally becoming a winning organization.
Opposing teams have to know by now that no lead they build by now is safe with the Orioles, and that they will fight for all 27 outs.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Is Chris Davis for Real?

Designated hitter Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles high-fives teammate Nick Markakis #21after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals during an interleague game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 29, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Orioles won, 9-6.

At this point, in my life as a sports fan, I’m often not surprised by much.

So far this season, Chris Davis has me wondering if what I am seeing from him is for real based on his track record.

I was not sure if he could replicate what he did last season at the plate, especially towards the end coming into 2013; however, is exceeding that and a whole lot more.

His nickname among fans and the media is “Crush”, based on his power at the plate, size and physique, and since Opening Day, he has been doing just that.

Last night, he willed the Orioles to their 29th win of the season as he went 4-for-4 at the plate and hit two home runs against the Washington Nationals.

The Orioles won a thriller by a score of 9-6.

Davis put on a show on his t-shirt night and made sure that the 39,000 fans who attended last night’s game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards got their money’s worth.

He completely upstaged Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who had three home runs on the night off Baltimore starting pitcher Chris Tillman.

I attended the game last night with family and friends. We just sat back and enjoyed a show in Charm City that got more exciting as it developed.

Right now, he is hitting everything in sight and has greatly improved his batting eye. He clearly does not strike out the same level as last season and reminds me of Barry Bonds - at the turn of this century - during the first two months of the 2013 season.

>>> Read More

Garcia delivers big time; Orioles take three of four from the Nats

The Baltimore Orioles for the past year and half have been a team full of surprises and revelations.

When the organization signed Freddy Garcia, I knew we had a veteran who has been around the league, had some success and was at the twilight of their career.

Freddy Garcia was once a fireballer, but now he is a guy who relies on finesse and command to succeed.

There’s a reason why guys like him seem to stick around forever, and a prime example of that notion was shown on Thursday during a sweltering May night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Last night, he delivered a performance that the Orioles sorely needed. He threw shutout innings, gave up only three hits and struck out six as the Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals, 2-0.

The Orioles took three of four from the Nationals, and their record stands at 30-24.

Back to Garcia: the burly veteran kept the National bats quiet by mixing up his pitches and using his splitter to get guys out. Even more impressive, he retired 14 straight at one point and ended the night with seven consecutive outs.

Unlike the slugfests we’ve all seen this week, Thursday’s game resembled a pitching duel from back in the day.

The Washington squad seemingly had no chance against Garcia. Dan Haren pitched well for them, but their offense could not produce anything at all. They were expected to be contenders for a World Series spot during the winter; however, they are only 27-27 and have had offensive struggles all season.

>>> Read More

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chris Davis and the Orioles put on a show against the Nationals last night; They win despite 3 homers from Ryan Zimmerman...

Last night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards was simply an amazing experience from a usual game there. I had family over from out of town and decided at the spur of the moment to catch a game in Charm City.

We would not regret the decision. It is hard to believe only two years ago, the Orioles were a perennial doormat. Now, in 2013, the Orioles are a contender, and do they ever win in an exciting fashion.

As we all know, the Orioles won, 9-6, last night at Oriole Park against the Washington Nationals. There were a little over 39,000 fans in downtown Baltimore to partake a ballgame on a humid night and it felt like a playoff game in late May. It felt like a big party, as I decided to sit in the upper deck for change, rather than down in the lower sections.

Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals stands on deck before batting in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles during an interleague game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 29, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Zimmerman did not hit a fourth home run after hitting three at three other at bats. The Baltimore Orioles won, 9-6.
It looked like the Nationals were running away with the game as Jordan Zimmermann was masterful on the mound – for about half the game; meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman cranked three home runs off a shaky Chris Tillman and Roger Bernandina also went deep.

The game looked to be just about over; however, as opposing teams have figured out – no lead is safe against the Orioles.
Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 11, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, down 6-3, the Orioles struck back. They scored six runs in the frame thanks to a long ball by Steve Pearce,  Chris Davis’ second homer of the night (he hit one in the 4th), and RBIs from Manny Machado and Nick Markakis.

Once again, the Orioles used the long ball to secure a victory and pounded out 13 hits. It is safe to say that the offense has been carrying this team for much of the year. On that note, Ryan Flaherty – maligned by the fans due to his slow start – returned to the Orioles from his minor league stint and pounded out two hits.

And the fans cheered…

>>> Read More

Garcia delivers big time; Orioles take three of four from the Nats

The Baltimore Orioles for the past year and half have been a team full of surprises and revelations.

When the organization signed Freddy Garcia, I knew we had a veteran who has been around the league, had some success and was at the twilight of their career.

Freddy Garcia was once a fireballer, but now he is a guy who relies on finesse and command to succeed.

There’s a reason why guys like him seem to stick around forever, and a prime example of that notion was shown on Thursday during a sweltering May night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Last night, he delivered a performance that the Orioles sorely needed. He threw shutout innings, gave up only three hits and struck out six as the Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals, 2-0.

The Orioles took three of four from the Nationals, and their record stands at 30-24.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Orioles to raise awareness "4 ALS"

Orioles to raise awareness "4 ALS"

May is national ALS Awareness month. To continue baseball's long-standing commitment to raising awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Major League Baseball and all 30 Clubs are once again teaming up for "4 ALS." On Thursday, May 30, the Orioles will host The Brigance Brigade Foundation. The Brigance Brigade Foundation, founded by former Baltimore Ravens player O.J. BRIGANCE and his wife Chanda, was created to equip, encourage and empower people living with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, an illness from which Brigance himself suffers. The Foundation strives to improve the quality of life of ALS patients and their families by providing much-needed equipment, resource guidance and support services, as well as funding for various ALS research initiatives. Chanda, accompanied by O.J., will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Orioles' game against the Washington Nationals. The Orioles have donated 100 tickets for Thursday's game to the Brigance Brigade Foundation for ALS patients and their families, as well as Foundation volunteers.
O.J. Brigance is a championship football player who is one of the few players to have won both a CFL and NFL championship and the only player to accomplish this feat in the same city, Baltimore. In 2000, Brigance played for the Baltimore Ravens and made the first tackle of their win in Super Bowl XXXV. After his retirement as a player, Brigance returned to Baltimore to serve as the Director of Player Development for the Ravens, and since 2010, Brigance has been the Ravens' Senior Advisor to Player Development.
For additional information on ALS awareness and ways to help those suffering from ALS, fans can visit the Community Booth at Oriole Park on Thursday.
On Thursday, May 30, Orioles first baseman CHRIS DAVIS will appear at Catonsville High School from 12-1 p.m. on behalf of AT&T to educate students and faculty on the dangers of texting while driving and generate awareness for AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign. AT&T will present to students a 10-minute documentary, "The Last Text," which recounts stories of families and students who have lost loved ones or been involved in accidents as a result of texting while driving. This event is open to the media. Catonsville High School is located at 421 Bloomsbury Ave, Baltimore, MD 21228.
As part of the ongoing OriolesREACH partnership with Baltimore City Schools, Orioles pitcher JASON HAMMEL will meet with over 500 students from Curtis Bay Elementary School on Thursday, May 30 from 11 a.m. to noon to talk about the importance of regular attendance. This appearance is one of a number that Orioles players and the Oriole Bird will participate in to support the City Schools' initiative to promote three core pillars of success among students - attendance, diversity and teamwork -- over the final month of the school year. These pillars were identified as core character traits for students by Baltimore City Schools. Hammel will speak as a reward for those students who have reduced their absences by 50% through the "FAN"tastic Attendance Program. Students in grades K-8 will participate. Curtis Bay Elementary is located 4301 Tenth Street Baltimore, MD 21225.
Beginning this homestand, the Orioles have partnered with Southwest Airlines to offer the Southwest Airlines Check-in Offer Sweepstakes, to award one fan each homestand two Southwest Airlines round-trip tickets. Beginning today when the Orioles take on the Washington Nationals, fans may enter the sweepstakes by checking in at Oriole Park at Camden Yards via the MLB.com At the Ballpark mobile application. One winner will be selected for each of the Orioles' next six homestands through Sunday, August 25, and each will receive two Southwest Airlines round-trip tickets.

>>> Read More

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid; Davis and Machado

We all know by now that the Baltimore Orioles got killed by the Washington Nationals last night, 9-3.

After a lengthy rain delay, the game featured two starters that were in Double-A only about two weeks ago. One guy – Kevin Gausman – was making his second start in the majors for Baltimore; meanwhile, Nathan Karn for Washington was making his major league debut.

The game itself was not pretty to watch, as you got the feeling, “ok, at any point, no lead is safe”, based on what both teams were doing at the plate in the first half; however, for Gausman, the results were not good at all.

The 22-year-old only lasted four innings and gave up seven runs – all earned. He allowed three long balls and is now 0-2 with an 11.00 ERA in two starts.

Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman #37 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the first inning during an interleague game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 28, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The youngster left his pitches up in the zone. They were fastballs and were crushed by major league hitters. Gausman may get away with those pitches in the minors, but not in the majors, nor against a team that was christened as World Series bound in the spring.

At this point, most front offices would send a pitcher like Gausman back to the minors. However, that will not be the case as manager Buck Showalter announced he would make his next start on Sunday.
Um, against the out-of-this-word Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hammel and Johnson

We all know that Jason Hammel has struggled this season on the mound despite a 6-2 record.
For much of the first two months of the season, the tall righty has been unable to go deep into games. More often than not, the bullpen, along with the offense has to bail him out.
On Monday, the Hammel that we as fans saw for much of the first half in 2012 re-emerged in Washington, D.C..

Starting pitcher Jason Hammel #39 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the first inning during an interleague game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.
He went eight strong innings, only allowed two runs and struck out in Baltimore’s 6-2 win over Washington.

Monday's game is the first in a two-game set in the Nation's Capital. The two teams play in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Washington Nationals have been injury riddled and were without young phenom Bryce Harper in the starting lineup. The Orioles took advantage of it.

The tall righty was aggressive against the Nationals and just seemed to be a very complete pitcher yesterday. He mixed up his pitches and kept the opposing team at bay all afternoon. Of course, the offense came through for him with a three-run fourth inning and they kept going from there.

Manny Machado had three hits; Nick Markakis and Yamaico Navarro drove in two runs and had two hits. Adam Jones and Steve Pearce also drove in runs. Baltimore was able to pound 15 hits, and got Washington starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez out the game after 5 2/3 innings.

Again, the story of the game was pretty much Hammel. The Orioles, considering how much their bullpen has been relied upon on all season, need a start like this from one of their pitchers. It could be the beginning of something, or just a very good start during a very long season.

Baltimore’s main problem despite their 28-23 record as of this morning has been their starting rotation. In order to still stay in the hunt for the division – or a playoff spot – they’ll need more outings like this from Hammel and the rest of the staff.

If you want to look up the odds of the Orioles winning tonight, learn about the Bookmaker bonus here.

Jim Johnson #43 of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 26, 2013 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Finally, I was listening to the radio driving into work and there was a debate on whether Jim Johnson should be the closer for Baltimore.

>>> Read More

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Those Damn Yankees

How do the Yankees do it? Seriously, year after year the seemingly ageless New York Yankees continue to be at the top of the division. This year has been the worst of it. The lineup is essentially spare parts and Robinson Cano. Lyle Overbay routinely bats clean-up. The rusted behemoth Travis Hafner sits behind him and then it is a collection of backups and stopgaps as the normal travelling all-stars nurse various and sundry injuries. This was supposed to be the year that the Yankees’ age and dollars catch up to them. It was not a n uncommon belief to think that the Yankees might even finish at the bottom of the AL East. And, yet again, here we all are looking at the Yankees with 30 wins before June.

As a Baltimore fan watching the Yankees do this year after year causes me a special kind of pain. My first game of the year was the contest against the Yankees this past Monday. I was given a remarkable ticket by a colleague of mine. Sitting in section 42, which is a grandly significant number for those of us who always know where our towel is at, I noticed immediately that I was, of course, surrounded by fans of the hated pinstripes.

Maybe it is something about the uniform that makes the Yankees just be. I know that there are only a few things that I see that cause me such a visceral reaction of disgust: seeing those symbols elicits a physical reaction of dread and revulsion. The point of that little meander is this: the Yankee uniform carries with it the game’s greatest histories and the souls of its greatest players. The interlocking NY, as much as it makes me want to wretch every time I see it, carries with it a certain power. And the players know that. How else do you explain a guy like Vernon Wells?

Wells was left for dead in Los Angeles. He comes to New York and suddenly he is playing like he did five years ago. Same can be said for Hafner. Or how about players like Francisco Cervelli, who should never be as good as he is, or Lance Nyx, or Melky Cabrera for that matter? Players that on any other team you know would be also-rans and benchwarmers come to New York, are thrust into the spotlight while wearing that uniform and they suddenly succeed.  I know for a fact that I am not the only non-Yankee fan in the world that is repulsed by the sight of the team when they come to town. And the team knows it to, I am sure the hatred fuels this team on some level. Why else would they be called the Evil Empire?

>>> Read More

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chen and the Starting Pitching

Wei-Yin Chen #16 of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 12, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Baltimore Orioles had another successful weekend, taking yet another series against the Minnesota Twins.

They won two out of three games, thanks to the offense and work by the bullpen. The starting pitching has not been great; however, on Sunday, Wei-Yin Chen was rolling and perhaps headed another brilliant performance until the fifth inning.

Towards the end of the frame, Chen looked to be in pain. From media accounts, he exited the game with an oblique strain and it is unknown the severity of the injury at this time. It was a moment that made me wince and say to myself, “oh s**t, please tell me he’s not gone for a long time…”

So far, Chen is the one starter who can be counted on to go deep into games. The other arms in the rotation – while they have not been horrendous – have not been nearly as consistent as Chen.\

>>> Read More

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Resiliency and the DH Spot...

Last night’s game looked lost for the Orioles. I was listening to the game on my way to western Pennsylvania and it seemed liked they were headed to a loss against the Minnesota Twins. Jason Hammel – who started the game – was off; the Orioles were mired in a six-run deficit and shutout in the first six innings, plus the offense seemed to be non-existent.

However, business started to pick up for Baltimore in the final two-thirds of the game. The offense woke in the latter third of the contest and they scored three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to tie things at six; then, in the tenth inning, the Orioles plated in three runs and decided the game once and for all.

The bullpen – T.J. McFarland, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson – pitched six innings of relief and helped Baltimore earn their 22nd win of the season. They have won seven out of their last eight series and are doing their best to keep up pace with the New York Yankees and Red Sox.

The offense pounded out eighteen hits last night and every batter – except Matt Wieters – had a hit. Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris Davis each had three hits; meanwhile, Mick Markakis, Nate McLouth, Alexi Casilla and Chris Dickerson each had two.hits.

The league knows now that the Orioles will play every out in the game and not give up.

That is what winning franchises do and the Orioles are for real. They are maturing and becoming a force in the American League. The Birds have moved far away from the losing culture of the past and are now expected to compete.

>>> Read More

Saturday, May 11, 2013

On Dealing with Success

The Baltimore Orioles are successful. They are a successful baseball team. They are winning consistently, honestly, and they are doing it with ease. I sit here on a beautiful overcast Baltimore morning and the Orioles are currently tied with the Boston Red Sox with the best record in the American League.

How do I process this?

How does a long suffering Orioles fan deal with success?

I am used to failure, I am used to struggle. I am used to talking about what moves need to be made for the immediate and long-term future.

Last year the Orioles exorcised the demons of a decade and a half of misery. Broken promises, busted players, bad decisions, and downright bad luck were the hallmarks of this team. Still, many did not believe this team was ACTUALLY good. They were simply the luckiest team in baseball history because that fit the narrative. The narrative being the Orioles stink and are perpetually playing for five years down the road. There was no way in the world that the Orioles could have actually turned the corner, that can’t happen. They would most certainly come back down to Earth with a cretaceous-like explosion.

>>> Read More

Friday, May 10, 2013

Miguel Gonzalez Heads to the DL

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez #50 of the Baltimore Orioles sits in the dugout before taking the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Too bad to see about this about Miguel Gonzalez; however, it is probably for the best at this point. It is early in the season and better to rest him now with the blister issue than later.

Gonzalez being lost could be a minor blow to the team considering how well he pitched last season. I would not be too alarmed as the Orioles have depth right now in their system and are playing very well at the moment.

>>> Read More

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fans invited to attend exclusive fundraising event for Shannon's Fund on May 18

Fans invited to attend exclusive fundraising event for Shannon's Fund on May 18

Pre-game event to include visits from BRADY ANDERSON, MIKE BORDICK, DAVE JOHNSON, a current O's player and other former Orioles

Prior to their game against the Tampa Bay Rays next Saturday, May 18, the Orioles will host an exclusive fundraising event for Shannon's Fund, an endowment at the University of Maryland Medical Center that provides financial assistance to hospital patients in need. For $50, fans will receive a left field lower box game ticket and enjoy a pre-game party on the Roof Deck that will include visits from BRADY ANDERSON, MIKE BORDICK, DAVE JOHNSON, a current Orioles player and other former Orioles. The deadline to purchase tickets for this event has been extended to Tuesday, May 14.
The Oriole Bird will also pose for photos with fans attending the event, which will take place from 1:45-3:30 p.m. Light refreshments, including two complimentary drink tickets, will be included, along with an Orioles gift bag for each guest. Tickets for the Shannon's Fund event are available at www.orioles.com/shannonsfund. The Orioles' game against the Rays will begin at 4:05 p.m.

>>> Read More

O's took a chance and gamble with Machado has paid off

Third baseman Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles throws to first base for the second out of the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during their 5-4 win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 16, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.

In August of 2012, the Baltimore Orioles were in the wild card hunt and desperate to solve a problem – third base.

As we all know from last season, former Oriole Mark Reynolds despite his power was struggling at the hot corner, and executive vice president Dan Duquette, the front office, along with manager Buck Showalter were looking for a solution.

In the middle of that month, the Baltimore Orioles did something bold and head-scratching at the same time. They promoted Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie to the majors.

At first, I was bewildered at the news. I wondered why they would promote a 20-year-old who was only hitting .266 at the time with eleven home runs in 400 or so at-bats at Bowie?

Furthermore, the organization announced Machado would play third base – a position he manned only twice in the minors. When I heard that, I too shook my head; however, if Machado could play much better than Reynolds at third, then why not?

>>> Read More

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wei-Yin Chen signs with Scott Boras

Wei-Yin Chen #16 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the Opening Day game on April 8, 2013 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.
I would not necessarily call this major news; however, this week, Oriole left Wei-Yin switched agents.
He has hired Scott Boras. You all know who he is.

From the Baltimore Sports Report: Wei-Yin Chen has hired super agent Scott Boras to represent him according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The O’s lefty signed a three year, $11.388 million deal with Baltimore prior to the 2012 season and has impressed in his first 38 big league starts.

MLB Trade Rumors and Orioles Hangout have more of the news.

A co-worker with the company I work for stopped me in the hallway and mentioned this to me.
Then he went into a diatribe on how Scott Boras is the worst things that happened to baseball, and on and on.

I say ‘whatever’.

Right now, Chen going to Scott Boras isn’t a big deal. He’s with the team until 2014, and has an option for 2015. It’s not like his deal is up after the season.

Sports agent Scott Boras (R) talks with Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner (L) during pregame warmups at Nationals Park August 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Boras represents Stephen Strasburg, a right handed pitcher from San Diego State University and the overall first round pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, who signed with the Nationals earlier this week wth a record contract for an amateur player.

As for Boras, I have nothing against him as a fan – or blogger. He’s good at his job, seems to have a lot of players under his stable and does well for his clients.

Hell, professional – and even collegiate sports – is a big business.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flying High Out West

The Baltimore Orioles began their eleven-game West coast swing and started off on a high note as they defeated the Oakland Athletics, 10-2. The offense was clicking last night as every starter had a hit; Chris Davis hit his eighth homer; both Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis plated in two runs, plus Adam Jones – who is still red hot – had three hits.

Baltimore starting pitcher Jason Hammel was not great but did his job well. He went six innings, gave up two runs on three hits and kept the homer happy Athletics at bay.

The Orioles are now 13-9 and are two games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

About Last Night and Dylan Bundy

The Baltimore Orioles pulled off another win against the Toronto Blue Jays last night, 4-3, as pitcher Mike Gonzalez won his second game of the season and Jim Johnson recorded his eighth save on the young season.
The Birds are now 12-8 on the season and will look for the series sweep as Josh Stinson – who was called up from Norfolk this week – will start the game on the mound this afternoon.

Baltimore was triumphant on the night as they used a four-run second inning and hit Toronto starter, R.A. Dickey hard. Aside from that, Dickey was not all that terrible, but the poor frame did him in.

Now that we’re on the topic of Dickey, what can you say about the Toronto Blue Jays? They were expected to contend and take the division according to many baseball experts; however, with an 8-13 record, they are mired in last place in the American League East.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

About Last Night and Arrieta Demoted

Last night, the Orioles pulled off a walk-off victory as Nick Markakis singled in the winning run to help them win, 2-1.

Chris Tillman – who started for Baltimore – pitched very, very well. He went 6 2/3 innings, gave up a run on four hits, and was rolling until the 6th inning. Despite solid outing on the mound, Tillman – as well as every Oriole starting pitcher – needs to go deeper into games.

It’s that simple. Each and every year with the Orioles (as well as the 29 other teams in the sport), it’s about starting pitching.

While the Orioles are off to a good 11-8 start, the bullpen should not be taxed as much as it has. It is still very early, but the starters should look towards pitching seven plus innings as night.

The bullpen – which was no doubt a strength for the team last year – is fairly deep, but as the year goes forth, the starting corps will have to do more to ensure the Orioles keep winning.

>>> Read More

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Curious Case of Jake Arrieta

Ah, Jake Arrieta.

If you bring up his name to a lot of Orioles fans, it often does not conjure up good thoughts at all.

Sunday’s game was a case exhibit for that opinion.

I saw the self-destruction of Arrieta live and in person at the Yard; however, before the game against the Dodgers, I and several season ticket holders in my respective section pondered how many innings Arrieta would toss.

Furthermore, we all wondered when he would finally implode.

“He’s going to last six innings”, said one person.

“I say five, plus”, harked another.

Although I consider myself an optimistic person, but I quipped, “Four and two-thirds.”

For the first three frames on the mound, Arrieta looked as good as ever, and the Baltimore offense was rolling.

With a comfortable cushion at the time, he breezed through a Los Angeles lineup has that been struggling and endured a long losing skid; however, starting in the fourth inning, the implosion happened.

Walk after walk, followed up by a hit, then more walks, wiped away a 4-1 Baltimore lead which led to a 7-4 loss.

The loss prevented a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.

During the fourth and fifth innings, we all shook our heads and looked up wondering, “Will he ever get it out there on the mound?”

>>> Read More

Friday, April 19, 2013

Press Release: Friday's Orioles-Dodgers game postponed due to rain

Friday's Orioles-Dodgers game postponed due to rain

Split-admission doubleheader Saturday at 1:05 and 7:05 p.m.

Tonight's game between the Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers has been postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a split-admission doubleheader tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. Separate admission is required for each game. Tickets for the April 19 game will be honored for the April 20 1:05 p.m. game. Gates for the 1:05 p.m. game will open at 11:00 a.m. and gates for the 7:05 p.m. game will be announced at the conclusion of the 1:05 p.m. game.

Fans may also exchange their tickets for tonight's game for any remaining non-prime Orioles home game this season, subject to availability. Complimentary tickets are non-exchangeable. StubHub tickets are also non-exchangeable, but may be resold on StubHub up until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Student Night tickets may be exchanged for equal value of the ticket price. All tickets are valid for the makeup game.

The Earl Weaver tribute will take place as scheduled prior to the 7:05 game.

Stadium parking lots open at 10 a.m. and prepaid parking permits dated for April 19 are valid for the 1:05 makeup game.

>>> Read More

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some Thoughts on Opening Day

Once again Opening Da has come to Baltimore. There are few things in the world like Opening Day. There simply are not many annual events that take place that legitimately feel different every year. Even one’s birthday, over time, rings hollow at points but not Opening Day.

Every year a new Opening Day brings with is a new set of possibilities that may unfold. E very Opening Day brings with it the hopes a winning season; the playoffs, or even a championship. That is what makes it so great, the promise of a new year; the promise of another Summer of memories. And in a world of broken dreams, it is a promise that is virtually impossible to break.

The Orioles opened the 2013 season like they did last year, on the road. The delayed home opener gives us fans a chance to catch a glimpse of what our summer hopefully has in store. The Orioles took two of three from the Rays in three very hard-fought, extremely entertaining, baseball games. The story of the series was Chris Davis, the Orioles’ first baseman and default middle-of-the-order bat. If there was anyone doubting the ability of Chris Davis to be that middle-of-the-order-guy Davis has announced his presence with authority by hitting a homerun in each of the three opening games against the Rays. The only way he could top it would be to hit a game-winning grand slam at the home opener.

Chris Davis, of course, did just that. He hit a grand slam to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning during the home opener. Davis has hit four homers in four games and has hit a homer in each of his last 11 games dating back to last year’s regular season. Now, it is absolutely absurd to think Davis could sustain anything in the same solar system as this pace, but he has definitely proved that he is the “bat” that so many felt the Orioles needed to obtain.

>>> Read More

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Home Opener & Baseball is Back...

In a few hours, the home opener will take place at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This will be my tenth one in a row I’ve attended, and each one is like a holiday from life – if only for a few hours. The original forecast for today called for rain; however, driving into work on I-695, the skies started to clear and you could see a hint of blue peeking through the air.

I figured sitting out in the cold and damp rain was going to suck, but I do think things will clear up by game time and the view at the ballpark will be a picturesque one.

So far, the season has started out a high note for the Orioles and they did a good job against the always pesky Tampa Bay Rays. Chris Davis seems to be singlehandedly willing the Orioles to victory with three homers and 11 runs batted in during his first three games; Adam Jones has been hot at the plate, the starting pitching has been solid and the bullpen – with the exception of Wednesday night – has been dependable.
The bad news out Florida was that Brian Roberts got injured – again. That’s bad to hear considering how will he played in spring training and in the first three games of the season. Hopefully, he’ll be back on his feet on the field soon; however, with him – who knows?

>>> Read More

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Orioles WILL Compete in 2013

The reports of the Oriole’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Yes there are the stat-sheets and theorems and analyses that say the Orioles will not stand a chance. Baseball Prospectus pegs the Orioles as a 74-win team next year.

“Hogwash,” I say. “Humbug,” I cry! “Bullfeathers,” I add. The Orioles unlikely rise to the postseason in 2012 completely flipped the narrative on this team in a shockingly abrupt  manner. And what a narrative it was. The Orioles are not supposed to be good. They haven’t been good for more than a decade. They were supposed to make slow-steady baby steps toward contention. They were supposed to trade Adam Jones and consider trading JJ Hardy and Matt Wieters to build a young, hungry Tampa Bay Rays-like team. They weren’t supposed to come out of nowhere, do something that hasn’t been done since the Roosevelt administration (the Teddy Roosevelt administration), and make the postseason. It did not makes sense, it flew in the face of modern baseball analysis and therefore it must be a complete fluke.

All of that is true. 100% true. The Orioles won an exorbitant amount of one-run games. They won way too many extra-inning games. And those wins, which are essentially coin-flips, the Orioles would not have made the playoffs. After all they beat the Pythagorean Win-percentage by more than 10 games, that is an unheard of amount of luck that is extremely unlikely to be replicated.

But that is not why the Orioles of 2012 will resemble the Orioles of 2013. I contend that people are getting too lost in the surface of the numbers. If you scratch the surface a little deeper you see a different narrative. Yes Virginia, the Orioles can compete next year and can go back to the playoffs.

>>> Read More

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life, the Orioles, and Everything

If anyone out there who reads this has known me for long enough they will most likely be shocked at the words that they are about to read: I am at a loss for words.

I, James Clayton Baker, have run out of things to say. Honestly, it has been difficult to write this winter. Since my last post, which ironically was one of the most popular posts I have ever made, the Orioles had a quiet offseason, spring training has begun, Baltimore experienced a useless un-snowy winter, my life as an educator continued to roll along, and I discovered the importance of the Oxford comma.

More importantly, I just haven't felt compelled to write recently. Yes, life has certainly gotten in the way and duties both personal and professional will always take precedence over that which is essentially a hobby. I never hoped to spin these internet ramblings into any sort paid gig or new career. Of course if the corporate hivemind over at MASN WANTED to give me my own weekly call in show - well I'm all ears. No, I started this on a whim in college and as I typed those words I just realized that was seven years ago. Which is probably the true source of my lack of production; how many times have I written essentially the same article over the last seven years?

Every year about this time I usually jot off some sort of missive defending the Orioles. The article would go on to say while they are most likely to finish in the bottom half of the division things could happen, things could not happen, things could change and the planets could align and the Orioles could do better. Different year, the same article. The names change, the numbers change but it is essentially the same thing.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jair Jurrjens

Last week, the Baltimore Orioles signed another pitcher; however, it was not a name that I even had on my radar.

Then again, there were rumors about a few years ago concerning Jair Jurrjens donning the black and the orange. Back then, he was a young pitcher who looked to be on the cusp of greatness; however, injury, setbacks and struggles on the mound have lowered his value.

That led to Jurrjens being non-tenured by the Atlanta Braves in the off-season. Now, the Orioles and Dan Duquette are looking to again take on a low-risk, high-reward type of player.

>>> Read More

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Earl means to me

By James Baker

Yesterday Baltimore woke to learn that Earl Weaver, legendary manager of the Orioles, had passed away. Weaver was 82 years old and collapsed in his cabin attended by his wife while on the annual Orioles’ Fantasy Cruise. Roughly 18 thousand fans attended the Orioles’ annual Fanfest yesterday at the Baltimore Convention Center, as the news filtered through the crowd the celebratory nature of the day took on a bittersweet tone as the Orioles community would now begin to mourn a true giant of Orioles history.

In the day since his passing the baseball literati have written the memorial pieces that one would expect when a true legend takes his final reward. All have been varying degrees of great or beautiful so today I come here to explain what Earl Weaver meant to me.

Of course I am too young to have ever seen Weaver manage. I know Earl like I know any other historical player or coach. I know him as a collection of stats, numbers , video clips and photos. I have seen him speak, I have seen the statues and the various other exhibits which only now are truly memorials.  But Earl was more than that to this town.  In a way Weaver has always been a ghost to me. Weaver has always been a specter from the past, a shadow that still casts itself over the team and town. What made Weaver so great?

Of course Weaver was an elite manager, one of the winningest managers since 1960; considered to be eons ahead of his time when it comes to statistical analysis, so much so that he is now largely dubbed the “Godfather of Sabermetrics.”  Weaver’s teams earned American League pennants in 1969, ’70, ‘71 and ’79 as well as a World Series trophy in 1970. He was a master of platooning and believed in the importance of a strong bench. Three-run homers were as valuable as diamonds according to his world view and he loathed the thought of playing for one run because “that’s all you will get.”

>>> Read More

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Earl Weaver Passes Away

Yesterday was a sad day for not Oriole fans, but all who follow the sport of baseball.

Former Baltimore manager Earl Weaver passed away on Friday night while on a cruise for the team. He was 82.

I learned about the news right before FanFest and it was surreal to have heard. You never think someone like Weaver, who embodies the spirit of Baltimore sports, would seemingly live forever on this planet.
They never do.

He may have passed on; however, he has achieved immortality.

>>> Read More

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Q&A About FanFest, Season Ticket & More with VP of Communications & Marketing of the Baltimore Orioles, Greg Bader

We recently did a Q&A with Vice President, Communications & Marketing of the Baltimore Orioles, Greg Bader.

In what has become a yearly occasion during the offseason, we do a Q&A with him about plans for upcoming the season centered around FanFest, Camden Yards, Spring Training and other informative stuff for fans.

We touched upon on myriad of topics including FanFest, season tickets, spring training in Florida, public reaction to last season, the upcoming winter caravan and their relationship with the Baltimore Ravens.


To start off, I would assume with the Orioles finally getting back into playoffs after 15 years this fall, fans are eagerly anticipating FanFest. What does the organization happen to have planned for the fans this weekend?

We are expecting to see one of the largest turnouts in FanFest history on Saturday, and we hope we can deliver for our fans.  There are some interesting fan forums scheduled, including one that shows a few sneak peeks of The BUCKle Up Birds: An Underdog Story DVD.

We will also be showing the DVD in a screening room throughout the day.  We’ll have a lot of the old favorites, but some new elements as well to keep things fresh.  In all, if you haven’t yet been to FanFest, it’s really a great opportunity to bring your family, enjoy a day of Orioles Baseball surrounded by many friends and fellow fans.

On that note, has there been an increased demand for tickets for the 2013 season? Has the season ticket base grown and aside from the team winning on the field? Also, how does the organization plan to keep fans enticed and interested in the product?

We just recently sent out our season ticket invoices, so that process is still very early.  New sales are encouraging in the early stages, and we hope to have a strong day this weekend with our single-game tickets going on sale.

Now is the time to get tickets for the Yankees and Red Sox games, as the longer our fans wait, the more chance there is for visiting team fans to get tickets.  Hopefully, as our fans did for the game on September 6, the final weekend series against Boston and the playoffs vs. Yankees, the response from O’s fans will be overwhelming and the percentage of visiting team fans will be reduced for all games in 2013.

As well, has that increased the interest of fans that have inquired about heading down to Sarasota for spring training?

Sarasota is such a great location for families, especially in February in March, so we hope our fans make the trip.  Ed Smith Stadium is truly the jewel of the Grapefruit League, and the relationship with have with Sarasota is incredibly positive.

For our Baltimore season ticket holders, we do provide free tickets to select spring training games for our fans able to make it to Florida, so that’s an added incentive to make the trip.  According to Visit Sarasota County records, interest in and travel to Sarasota from the Mid-Atlantic region has been up dramatically since our partnership began late in 2009.

In addition, how has the corporate community embraced the newfound success of the Orioles?

We were excited to see the corporate community embrace us during our postseason run last year, and the excitement level has not dissipated so far this offseason.  We have had some productive conversations with many new potential partners and appreciate the support from the business community throughout the region. Our partners who have been with us over the past several years have been tremendous as well, and we appreciate their loyalty and support.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Buck and The Duke Extended Until '18

I'm sure you all have heard and read this, but Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette have had their contracts extended until 2018.

Finally, after nearly a decade-plus, the Orioles finally have some stability within the organization. Obviously, most fans have heard in the past week or two that the organization was working on a long-term deal for Showalter; however, I did not hear much about Duquette.

Both men worked magic last year to get the Birds in postseason for the first time in 15 years. They came to the Orioles hungry for a second opportunity and wanted to do their part to create a winner.

They have done so.

Part one of the mission is accomplished: the team is no longer a perennial loser.

Part two of the mission: winning a World Series for the first time in 30 years.

Baltimore majority owner Peter Angelos has been given a lot of grief (much deserved, in my opinion) throughout his ownership throughout the years. However, this evening, he and everyone with the organization have given a lot of fans hope and a cause for celebration.

I'm still critical about what the team has done to improve in their offseason, but it's a good night for Orioles fans.

Birdland will be sure celebrating this Saturday at FanFest.

>>> Read More

Press Release: Orioles announce 2013 Early Bird Promotions Schedule feat. giveaways and savings

Orioles announce 2013 Early Bird Promotions Schedule feat. giveaways and savings

The Orioles today announced their 2013 Early Bird Promotions Schedule, a variety of giveaways and promotions designed to appeal to fans of all ages during the upcoming season. Highlights of this year's promotions include an Adam Jones Replica Away Jersey, a 1983 World Champs Floppy Hat and the return of the AT&T Fans' Choice Bobblehead. Also new to the schedule this year are a Men's Travel Kit, a Beach Towel, and Ear Buds.

Returning giveaways and promotions include a 2013 Schedule & Car Magnet, two Little League Days, a Field Trip Day, three T-Shirt giveaways, four post-game Fireworks displays, and two post-game Kids Run the Bases promotions.

The club's annual Fan Appreciation Weekend has been extended to a full week and is scheduled for the final homestand of the season, September 24-29 against the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
Every Tuesday is Ollie's Bargain Night, presented by Ollie's Bargain Outlet, featuring $9 Upper Reserve tickets when purchased in advance. Every Friday is Student Night presented by AT&T, featuring $6 LF Upper Reserve tickets with valid Student ID.

>>> Read More

Monday, January 14, 2013

Adam Jones and the WBC

Over the weekend, the Baltimore Sun and MASN Sports reported that Oriole centerfielder Adam Jones will play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

From the Baltimore Sun: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has accepted an invitation to play for the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March.

Team USA manager Joe Torre called Jones before Christmas and extended the offer. And what was the Orioles’ favorite class clown’s response?

“’I’m an American,’ in my best Toby Keith voice,” Jones joked in reference to the country music star.

Jones is expected to be the only Oriole on Team USA, but club executive vice president Dan Duquette said starter Miguel Gonzalez (Mexico) and reliever Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic) are candidates to pitch for their countries.

Oriole fans all feel like that we know Jones – somewhat – through his persona that he projects in public. It would be an understatement to say that he is pumped and energized to play for team USA when the World Baseball Classic kicks-off in March.

Meanwhile, closer Jim Johnson declined to take part in the WBC.

That being said, I will probably head down to Florida and watch the WBC in Miami and sync that with Orioles spring training.

>>> Read More

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nolan Reimold

On Friday afternoon, the Orioles and Nolan Reimold agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $1 million. The two sides avoided arbitration.

From the Baltimore Orioles:

Orioles agree to terms with OF Nolan Reimold
The Orioles today announced that they have agreed to terms with OF NOLAN REIMOLD on a one-year contract, thus avoiding arbitration.

Reimold, 29, was limited to 16 games in 2012 due to a herniated disk in his neck and was on the disabled list from May 1 through the end of the season. In his 16 games, he batted .313 (21-67) with five home runs and 10 RBI.

The Orioles now have eight arbitration eligible players remaining: CA MATT WIETERS, INF CHRIS DAVIS, LHPs BRIAN MATUSZ and TROY PATTON and RHPs TOMMY HUNTER, JASON HAMMEL, JIM JOHNSON and DARREN O'DAY.

I believe this may be Reimold’s last chance to make it as an everyday player – much less a bench guy – with the Baltimore Orioles. One would think that he would probably be battling out with Nate McLouth for the left-field spot.

Over the past several seasons, he has shown potential at the plate and has impressed with his overall play; however, for one reason or another, something gets in the way.

>>> Read More

Friday, January 11, 2013

Press Release: Orioles Caravan to visit four Maryland affiliate locations

Orioles Caravan to visit four Maryland affiliate locations

            The Orioles and OriolesREACH today announced plans for a three-day, four-city caravan around Maryland that will include appearances by Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations DAN DUQUETTE, Manager BUCK SHOWALTER and several Orioles players.

            On Wednesday, January 16, Orioles pitchers BRIAN MATUSZ and KEVIN GAUSMAN and the Oriole Bird will appear at the William Talley Recreation Center at 121 North Bentz Street in Frederick, home of the Class-A Frederick Keys, to meet with children from the Police Athletic League and the Frederick Boys and Girls Club, signing autographs and playing games with the children from 4:00-5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.

            On Thursday, January 17, Orioles pitchers and former Bowie Baysox stars ZACH BRITTON and CHRIS TILLMAN and the Oriole Bird will appear at the Westfield Annapolis Mall at 2002 Jennifer Road from 6:00-8:00 p.m. to sign autographs, pose for photos with children and take part in question and answer sessions with fans in the JC Penney Concourse. A raffle to benefit the Bowie Health Center will take place as part of the event that is free and open to the public.

            Also on January 17, Showalter will serve as the keynote speaker at the Aberdeen Ironbirds' Hot Stove Dinner at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Orioles pitcher JIM JOHNSON will join Showalter at the event. Tickets for the dinner are $40 and are available through the Ironbirds' website www.ironbirdsbaseball.com.

>>> Read More

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Press Release: MASN announces six-game spring training TV schedule for Baltimore Orioles

MASN, the television home of the defending American League wild card champion Baltimore Orioles, will broadcast six Orioles spring training games. All will appear on MASN HD, MASN's dedicated high-definition channel, beginning with the Orioles' Feb. 25 home game against the New York Yankees from Sarasota, Fla.

The network's Grapefruit League coverage also includes five more games from Ed Smith Stadium, the team's spring training home: March 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays, March 14 against the Tampa Bay Rays, March 17 against the Minnesota Twins, March 23 against the Philadelphia Phillies and March 27 against the New York Yankees.

All afternoon games will be replayed the same day in prime time on MASN HD.

The popular team of play-by-play voice Gary Thorne and color analysts Jim Palmer, the longtime O's pitcher and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick will again call the action during MASN's spring training broadcasts. Fans can also access all of the Orioles news from spring training by logging onto Roch Kubatko's "School of Roch" for around-the-clock reports at MASNsports.com.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Denied - No Player Elected to the Hall of Fame This Year

Everyone knew there was a chance at no player eligible being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Well, this Tuesday afternoon, for the first since 1996, it happened.

We can all understand that the voters wanted to send a message and not elect anyone connected to PED/steroid use; however, could they not find someone worthy to induct?

>>> Read More

The Hall of Fame

Ah, today has the potential to be a colossal mess for sports fans and those in the media as the National Baseball Hall of Fame announces their inductees for 2013. From what I’ve read and heard, there’s a extremely good chance no one is getting in.

Obviously, as an online blogger, I will never be one of the roughly 600 writers and journalists who have a vote; however, I’m going to opine and chime in on this whole debate.

As we all know, this year’s vote could perhaps be the most controversial in memory due to the whole steroid/PED debate.

Honestly, I do not know where to begin with all of this. Personally, can anyone seriously answer this – what is the Hall of Fame supposed to be?

It is a museum, like the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.?

Is it a hallowed place that is  supposed to convey history and honor the best players of their respective generation?

Is it a place meant to be a money-making machine?

Or is it like a church? Well, like a place of serenity or worship? Should it convey morality?

I personally view the Hall of Fame as this: a place where history intersects with baseball immortality.

It is a place where the best of best in baseball are honored for their achievements on the field, whether they were good, surly or just simply bad guys.

Considering baseball’s place in the context of American History and in sports’ fans hearts, I can see why the writers are having such a hard time with this year’s decision.

Most people in the United States America likes to heap praise on a winner, they don’t like deception, or wide scale cheating. Well, fans I know believe in the spirit of fair competition and a level playing field.

They believe as long as you what did in life honestly, did not cut corners and put in a hard day’s work, you should be rewarded.

That theory above sometimes does not mesh with other professional fields (think politics or the financial market); however, most people do not have a problem with success.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

LaRoche Back to the Nationals...

Well, it looks like one of the big boppers left on the market, Adam LaRoche, has gone ahead and re-signed with the Washington Nationals.

From Nats Insider: The Nationals' unwillingness to budge on their longstanding, two-year offer to Adam LaRoche paid off in the end. LaRoche today agreed to the deal after failing to find another club willing to give the free agent first baseman the three-year contract he sought all along.
The contract guarantees $24 million, according to a source familiar with the details. LaRoche will earn salaries of $10 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014, with a $2 million buyout in 2015 if either side elects not to pick up a mutual option.

- snip –

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo never budged on his two-year offer, explaining his rationale to LaRoche in person: With every other position on the field locked up through at least 2105, Rizzo wanted to ensure at least some long-term roster flexibility.

So LaRoche set off to find if any other organizations were willing to offer three year contracts, with the Red Sox, Rangers and Orioles among the potential suitors. None of those clubs, though, was willing to go to a third year, in part because none wanted to give up the draft pick that would have been required after the Nationals made a $13.3 million qualifying offer to LaRoche in early November.

Rizzo all along felt that qualifying offer -- which also would have guaranteed draft pick compensation to the Nationals had LaRoche signed elsewhere -- would help increase the chances of the first baseman staying in D.C. And the GM was proven correct.

LaRoche was no doubt looking for a long-term deal and big payday based on his gaudy numbers from the 2012 season.

>>> Read More

Does More Need to Happen With the Orioles?

With about five to six weeks before pitchers and catchers report to the various camps of the 30 MLB franchises in both Florida and Arizona, most teams are into the home stretch of the winter.

As we as fans know, the Orioles at glance have not done much with retooling their roster. Now, we are still in early January and there's more to be done by Dan Duquette along with the front office; however, the consensus among most fans is that the franchise doesn't want to spend money.
Now, the Orioles will dole out a bunch of money to players due to raises, arbitration and contract stipulations as the Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck noted in article; therefore, the team may stand pat with their starting pitching (res. Chris Tillman and the growth of Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman) and the impressive core of everyday guys.

However, it seems that the Orioles have to do more. One would think after an impressive and unexpected playoff run, they would do a lot more.

I've been a blogger for a long time covering this team, but I have had season tickets of some form since 2003. For the first time in a very, very long time I'm truly anticipating the start of 2013 season; however, as a paying customer I'd like to see more happen.

>>> Read More

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Orioles and Buck Showalter Near a Contract Extension...

As we all know, the Orioles had a wildly successful 2012, and there has been a continuous discussion as to if - or when - manager Buck Showalter would be signed to a contract extension.

Fans have been wondering if he would be in the organization long term, and now we may have an answer.

According to MASN's Roch Kubatko and CBS Sports' Paul Heyman, the Orioles and Showalter have laid the framework in place for an extension.

The duration will be three years, based on reports.

In my honest opinion, it was a foregone conclusion that the two sides were going to get something done.

If you're reading this blog, you know the impact that Showalter has had on the franchise. He's changed the culture with the Orioles from top to bottom and it's been pretty much observed by fans, the media and insiders in the sport.

Many people argue that a manager makes little discernible difference with a team. That is not the case with Showalter, as he has been able to excel at field management, the bullpen, getting the most out of his players, player evaluation and the facilities down in Sarasota.

>>> Read More

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Native American mascots - an essay

By James Baker

Since nothing is really happening in Birdland I feel like I have to take a moment to discuss something else. Recently, MLB unveiled updated batting practice alternate caps for each team and to the surprise to many the Atlanta Braves went retro and brought back their cartoon native mascot affectionately(?) called “the screaming savage.”

This, of course, has resurrected the controversy over MLB teams using Native American names, cartoons, and paraphernalia.  Is it offensive? Should these names be retired? Are ALL offensive, or only some? Do some of these organizations get a pass on their extensive histories in the league?

To me these are all very complicated questions with equally complicated answers and the debate speaks to this nation’s continuing struggle with its own social history.

Myself, I am not necessarily offended by any of this stuff simply because it is not my place to BE offended by these various caricatures. I am a suburban-born white-guy, end of story. There is no way that I will ever truly feel the sting of discrimination as if I was someone from one of the multitudes of demographic minorities. Yes, even though I live in Baltimore where I am a demographic minority I am still part of the cultural hegemony of white-ethnic-Europeans that run most of the developed world. Some of you may roll your eyes at that last line, trust me I am not espousing some sort of self-loathing white-guilt when I write that – it is just simply the facts of the matter; 500 years ago Europeans took to boats, sailed around the world and subjugated the native peoples of those lands in the name of gold, glory and God. It is the reason we speak English, it is the reason most of us are some sort of Christian and it is the reason we believe in capitalism.

So no I am not offended, but as a person that has spent the lion’s share of his life studying American history I look at these things and wonder, “Why?”  Ethnic-stereotypes and ethnic-caricatures are not anything new in America, one does not need to go far back into American cultural history to see what I am talking about. (TRY THIS AT HOME(!): Do a quick search of “old racist ad” and… enjoy? )But what is interesting to me is that virtually all other types of those mascots and advertising strategies have been relegated to the dustbin of history along with the minstrel show. Today they are largely a bygone curiosity, except for Native American imagery.

>>> Read More

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Press Release: Orioles Fanfest autograph vouchers on sale

Orioles Fanfest autograph vouchers on sale

This Saturday at Orioles.com

Vouchers for autograph sessions at the Orioles' 2013 FanFest will go on sale this Saturday, January 5, at 10:00 a.m. The list of autograph session times and participants will be posted online for preview at www.orioles.com/fanfest by 9:00 p.m. this Friday, January 4. Orioles FanFest will be held on Saturday, January 19 at the Baltimore Convention Center from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Holders to begin at 10:00 a.m.

At this year's FanFest, the Orioles will continue an autograph policy designed to support youth charitable endeavors through OriolesREACH and reduce fan disappointment by shortening wait times. Children ages 4-14 will have a specially designated Kids Only player autograph station presented by ESSKAY that is free of charge and will operate continuously throughout the day. All other ESSKAY autograph stations at FanFest will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers exclusively at www.orioles.com/fanfest for $15 each, with all of the proceeds to benefit children's charities through OriolesREACH. Since instituting the autograph policy in 2011, FanFest has raised over $185,000 for the Orioles Charitable Foundation.

There will be 250 vouchers available for each ESSKAY autograph session, guaranteeing that each fan purchasing a voucher for a particular session will receive an autograph from each of the players at the station. Fans will be able to print their vouchers at home and must present them to the attendant at the appropriate autograph session, shortening the amount of wait time in autograph lines. Fans must be in line for their autograph session no later than 30 minutes after the session begins.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ray Lewis

I grew up in Montgomery County, and root for the Washington Redskins since everyone in my family does; however, since I work primarily in the Baltimore area now and have friends who love the Baltimore Ravens, I sort of adopted them as a distant, second team.

I try to catch a game at M&T Bank Stadium at least once a season and was floored hearing the news that Ray Lewis will retire at the end of the season. Unlike most players who find themselves moving into the next phase of their lives, Lewis is doing it on his own terms and for a damned good reason – family.

Despite what happened off-the-field in the early part of his career in Georgia, Lewis has matured, grown up and has become a pillar of the community.
Life will go on, the team will get another linebacker, and the 2013-14 NFL season will kick off around Labor Day; however, Lewis' impact cannot be understated.

>>> Read More

Proud Partner: Ticket Network

We have top views at Orioles, games, plus a loaded NFL, schedule. Check these tix to Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

Proud Partner - Crisp Ads

CrispAds Blog Ads