Tag Archive | "Adam Jones"

Orioles pitcher Tillman added to AL All-Star team

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Orioles pitcher Tillman added to AL All-Star team

Posted on 14 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — In a surprise that arrived as the Orioles were recognizing their 2013 All-Star selections on the field prior to Sunday’s game, starting pitcher Chris Tillman was named to take part in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic at Citi Field in New York.

Taking the place of Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander who pitched on Sunday, Tillman becomes the fifth Orioles player to be named to the American League All-Star team and the only pitcher. He is 11-3 with a 3.95 earned run average in 19 starts while serving as one of the club’s most consistent starting pitchers in the first half.

“It’s an honor,” Tillman said after Sunday’s 7-4 win over Toronto. “It was kind of a surprise to find out last minute. It’s special for the city and for me to go with my teammates.”

Tillman entered Sunday fourth in the league in wins and 23rd in ERA — a number that will prompt many to say he isn’t deserving of the honor — and owns a 20-6 record since June 25, 2012. He has the second-highest winning percentage among AL starters over that span, trailing only Detroit’s Max Scherzer.

Acquired along with fellow All-Star representative Adam Jones from the Seattle Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade prior to the 2008 season, Tillman is now the fourth of the Orioles’ five All-Star representatives this year who was originally acquired via trade. Third baseman Manny Machado was drafted with the third overall pick of the 2010 draft while Jones, Tillman, shortstop J.J. Hardy, and first baseman Chris Davis were trade acquisitions of former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

“He’s not a secret around the league,” said manager Buck Showalter, who found out a couple days earlier that Tillman might be added to the All-Star roster. “He wasn’t drafted here. He got here in a trade. Somebody else is real smart. Not me, but somebody was smart getting him here. We’re lucky to have him, and he’s got an interesting future.”

This year’s All-Star Game will mark the first time the Orioles have had five or more representatives since the 1997 game when third baseman Cal Ripken, second baseman Roberto Alomar, center fielder Brady Anderson, starting pitchers Mike Mussina and Jimmy Key, and closer Randy Myers were all selected to participate.

Comments (0)

orioles-white-sox-baseball.jpeg11-1280×960

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wanted: Orioles Offense. 7 Day Wrap Up

Posted on 09 July 2013 by mattcostantini

 

 

So here we are Orioles fans, a week and a few days into July and the Orioles bats have become anemic.  So far this month there are only two players batting over .250, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.  Aside from those two, you are seeing some sickly numbers across the board and it’s coming at the worst time possible, the Rangers are in town.

The Birds have gone a dismal 2 and 5 over the last 7 dropping series’ to the last place White Sox, the debilitated Yankees, and last nights 1st game against the Rangers.

In the series against the White Sox the O’s averaged just 2.6 runs per game, down from their season mark of 4.8.  Now far be it from me to say the White Sox batters shouldn’t be able to out-hit the Orioles with their 27th ranked offensebut c’mon!

“Well Chris Sale’s top 5 in ERA”

He didn’t pitch against us.

The worst part is that the Birds’ only win in the series came against Hector Santiago, who pitched a great game. Watching this series you would have thought they ran into the mid-90′s Braves judging by the starters stat lines(Santiago 7IP, 2ER, 9K’s Quintana 7IP, 0ER, 11K’s).  Orioles batters with runners in scoring position were non-existent going just 3-18 over the series (This will be an on-going theme for the rest of the article).  JJ Hardy will take the majority blame here with his 0-6 with RISP.  The starting All Star shortstop in the month of July is batting just .115 with only 1 extra-base hit.  It’s alright though because the Birds are headed to New York just after giving them the brooms.

The Yankees series gave the Orioles no breathing room as Ivan Nova put on an Oscar-worthy CC Sabathia performance (9IP, 3H, 2ER, 11K’s) but Baltimore still had the 2-1 lead going into the 9th!  Cue Jim Johnson, blown save number 6 in game 1.  Game 2 had a different feel as Chris Tillman struggled getting first pitch strikes and seemed a little wild all day.  Yankees take it 5-4, even though the Orioles got to Andy Pettitte early on.  The final game of the series saw a great comeback win in which Adam Jones dropped the hammer on Mariano Rivera with an eventual game winning 2-run shot in the 9th.  The bats continued their struggles through this series too, 2-17 RISP accruing 2 runs in 2 of the 3 games.  Momentum is now on the Orioles side with the Adam Jones late game heroics though right!?!?

Not at all when Scott Feldman got rocked by his former team (Rangers) in his Camden Yards debut allowing 7 runs over 5 and a third.  In all fairness Feldman had to pitch close to the vest all night as the Black and Orange converted just once in 12 opportunity’s with RISPMatt Wieters hit a 2-run homer in the 7th to somewhat absolve himself from the normal amount of heat he would take for striking out 4 times in a game.

If you just go by the numbers in the last 7 games, Matt Wieters is 0-6 with RISP, batting a mere .211.  The 2nd Base Trio of Alexi Casilla, Ryan Flaherty, and Brian Roberts are .156 reaching base just 7 times (Brian Roberts with the majority of at bats).  JJ Hardy and Chris Davis are both batting sub .125, although Davis has 2 HR and 5 RBI.  The only saving grace at this point is Adam Jones and Nick Markakis combining for a .339 with 8 runs.

Don’t worry O’s fans the pitchers will not be getting a pass here eitherJason Hammel and Scott Feldman need to be more consistent from start to start, a solid 1 run performance against the Yankees but allows 5 against the White Sox?(Hammel) and  2 in Chicago only to come home and get shelled by the Rangers. (FeldmanChris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez both get passes in my book as they have been the only consistent starters in this rotation.  Let’s all just collectively pray to the Baseball Gods that Wei-Yin Chen’s return Wednesday brings some stability to a wildly inconsistent (as of late) rotation.

On the injury front Steve Johnson is throwing in Sarasota which could get some of these over-used relievers a little R&R in the second half and Wilson Betemit on the other hand, well, who cares.

I for one can’t wait until the All-Star break hits so that the Orioles can get a rest and their heads away from their recent struggles.

-Matt Costantini

Comments (0)

Your Monday Reality Check: “I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check: “I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!”

Posted on 08 July 2013 by Glenn Clark

Coming off what I’m sure you all will agree was a well-earned week of vacation, I thought quite a bit about writing a lengthy piece about Jim Johnson and the Orioles’ closer situation. Despite Johnson’s 1-2-3 ninth inning in Baltimore’s 2-1 win Sunday over the New York Yankees, the situation remains quite fluid and will be followed closely in the coming weeks.

Although I will point this out from an appearance I made Sunday morning on the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports channel…

That happened at 8am Sunday. Call me “Glennstradamus”?

But I’m NOT writing about that. No…because while I was sitting at Chase Field in Phoenix Friday night watching the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Colorado Rockies I had a thought cross my mind. The thought was furthered during that appearance I made on the SXM Fantasy Channel Sunday morning.

That thought has everything in the world to do with the movie Mallrats. Or at least kinda.

Stick with me.

If you listen to “The Reality Check” (and since I’ve seen the ratings-I KNOW you do), you’ve probably heard me discuss the fact that in a previous life, I was obsessed with director Kevin Smith and his films. I embarrassingly admitted just a few weeks ago to Allen McCallum that I went to see the movie “Jersey Girl” in theaters THRICE with different young ladies. I’m not even remotely proud.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Mallrats” (and if not, go ahead and take the rest of the day off to view it. In fact, I’m broadcasting at Ryleigh’s in Federal Hill Monday afternoon courtesy of Pinnacle Vodka. Just bring your laptop and I’ll bring a copy of the flick you can watch before you head over to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.), you’ll probably remember Jason Lee’s character Brodie and his sincere respect for all things related to his local shopping mall. One particular issue he has is with a small child who sits down on the escalator, ignoring the dangers of getting caught.

A few escalator rides in, Brodie’s fears play out as the child gets caught and is hurt. If you don’t mind a tiny bit of foul language, here’s a clip…

The take away phrase in that clip would be “that kid is back on the escalator again!”

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Orioles well-represented in All-Star Game, including three starters

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Orioles well-represented in All-Star Game, including three starters

Posted on 06 July 2013 by Ryan Chell

Manny Machado turned 21 Saturday, and he received the perfect birthday gift from the Oriole and baseball fans out there.

His first All-Star appearance.

Machado, the Orioles young spark at 3B, was named an AL All-Star Saturday as a reserve.

“I mean, I worked hard in the off-season to set my goals, and obviously for this, to make the All-Star Game and the playoffs as a team,” Machado told MASNSports. “You really don’t anticipate it until it happens. Now, it’s here. I’m going to be an All-Star. That’s pretty great, pretty exciting to say.”

In just his second season in the majors, Machado is currently hitting.316 with 6 HRs, 42 RBIs and leading the league in doubles.

His defense also has been noted, as he has just six errors in 270 chances at the hot corner.

Joining Machado in New York on July 16th will be 1B Chris Davis, SS JJ Hardy and OF Adam Jones.

Even better? Those three joining Machado will be starters for the AL.

With three starters, it is the biggest representation among the 1st team for the Orioles since 1997 when Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken, and Brady Anderson took the field first for the American League.

No other AL Team has more than one starter.

The last time the Orioles had four All-Stars was 2005, when 2B Brian Roberts, SS Miguel Tejada, CL BJ Ryan, and 3B Melvin Mora all went to the Midsummer Classic-with Mora as a reserve.

Davis, who led the MLB in voting, is a legitimate MVP candidate as he is leading the majors in home runs with 33.

“It still feels good,” Davis told reporters postgame. “I think anytime you are getting that recognition not only from your fan base but from everybody across the nation, I think it feels good to know that people are watching. I think what we did last year toward the end of the season really kind of opened people’s eyes to the fact that there’s some good baseball being played in Baltimore.

Davis will be going to his first ever All-Star game. Along with his 33 HRs, Davis is also 2nd in the majors in RBIs to last year MVP and Triple Crown candidate, Miguel Cabrera.

Davis is also sixth in the majors with his .324 batting mark and is 14th in hits with 102.

OF Adam Jones, who will be going to his second consecutive All-Star game and his third in four years, is currently hitting .287 with 15 HRs and 59 RBIs for Buck Showalter’s squad.

Despite a threat from Angels OF Mike Trout, Jones was the leading vote getter among AL OFs. It marks his first ever start.

SS JJ Hardy makes the team as a two-time All-Star-his first as an Oriole and as a member of the American League.

It’s also his first ever start; he last made the NL All-Star team in 2007 as a member of the Brewers but lost out on a starting bid to Jose Reyes.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of all the fans in Baltimore and everyone else that voted. It means a lot to me.

Hardy led all AL SS in home runs (15) and RBIs (46) and has a .980 fielding percentage in 350 chances.

Not making the team was catcher Matt Wieters, a two-time All-Star and OF Nick Markakis. OF Nate McLouth had consideration for some of the voting process but also will not be headed to Citi Field come July 16th.

The game will air on Fox.

Follow WNST for all your Orioles news! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Comments (0)

Machado’s key play allows Orioles to turn tables on Yankees

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Machado’s key play allows Orioles to turn tables on Yankees

Posted on 29 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Manny Machado knew he was taking a major chance.

Tagging up from second base with two outs and the Orioles trailing the New York Yankees by a run in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday night seemed hardly worth the risk to only move up 90 feet with your cleanup hitter coming to the plate.

Conventional baseball wisdom screams that you never make the final out at third base, but sometimes you need to push the envelope against an ace like CC Sabathia, who hadn’t allowed a hit through the first five innings. Manager Buck Showalter said afterward that you can’t become “a prisoner to the book” in those rare moments as Machado followed his two-run double earlier in the inning with the aggressive decision to move up to third.

“It’s a do-or-die play. It’s something that Buck allows us to do — to play our game,” Machado said. “If you have a shot for it, go for it. I wanted to take the extra base.”

It was an eyebrow-raising decision that paid off as Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner made the catch flat-footed on J.J. Hardy’s fly ball to medium deep left-center and Machado slid into third ahead of the throw, moving 90 feet closer to home plate. Moments later, Adam Jones sent a dribbler down the first-base line for an infield single, allowing Machado to cross the plate with the tying run.

The 20-year-old wouldn’t have scored on the play had he not made the bold baserunning decision.

The good fortune was a case of preparation meeting opportunity as the Orioles tied the game and ultimately completed a 4-3 comeback win to open a three-game set and move a game ahead of the Yankees in the loss column for second place in the American League East.

Machado’s play was reminiscent of the countless times the Yankees would take advantage of a moment of weakness, with shortstop Derek Jeter headlining the list of players to do it against the Orioles time after time. Like clockwork, the underdog Orioles would work to build an early lead in many games prior to last year, only to see the Yankees chip away and ultimately surge ahead in the late innings for a demoralizing loss.

Of course, the Orioles have no reason to be intimidated by the Yankees these days as the division rivals are tied 15-15 since the start of the 2012 season, including the five games played in the American League Division Series last October. Friday night was the latest example of Baltimore turning the tables against an injury-plagued Yankees club.

“I tell guys all the time, if you feel something, you’ve got a good feel, go for it,” said Showalter about Machado’s tag-up. “I have the other part of it after it’s over, but I’m going to be upset if you feel something and don’t go for it. That’s the type of intelligent recklessness you have to have.”

Nate McLouth delivered the big blow an inning later as he homered over the right-field scoreboard to give the Orioles the lead for the first time all night. The game-winning homer brought back memories of last year’s ALDS Game 5 when he hit a potential game-tying drive off Sabathia in the sixth inning that was ruled foul despite the Orioles’ claims that it nicked the right-field foul pole at Yankee Stadium.

The left fielder wasn’t interested in revisiting that call but was asked whether he thought back to that moment last October as he was rounding first base.

“I wasn’t out of batter’s box before I thought that,” McLouth said. “Off the bat, I knew it had the distance. It stayed true, it stayed straight, and I was happy about that.”

The Orioles were also happy with the relief work of rookie Kevin Gausman, who followed T.J. McFarland’s rough start with 4 1/3 shutout innings to keep the early deficit at 3-0 and make the eventual comeback possible. The 22-year-old earned his first major league victory in the process.

Tommy Hunter followed Gausman’s effort with two dominating innings to earn his second career save as closer Jim Johnson received a second night off after working three consecutive games earlier in the week.

It wasn’t a dominating performance by any means, but the Orioles were just a little bit better — possibly as little as 90 extra feet in the case of Machado’s sixth-inning decision.

An early deficit, a critical play or two to orchestrate a comeback, and rock-solid bullpen work to seal the victory. The Yankees painfully showed them that sequence for so many years, reminding that it’s often the little things that lead to big wins.

But the Orioles quickly reminded everyone that even a victory over Sabathia is only as significant as the next day.

“It’s big to win against their No. 1 in the first game of the series,” Machado said, “but it’s a new game tomorrow.”

Comments (0)

Who’s your favorite in the AL East with July right around the corner?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Who’s your favorite in the AL East with July right around the corner?

Posted on 18 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The American League East is what we thought it would be — sort of.

The Orioles entered play on Tuesday trailing the first-place Red Sox by only two games and fourth-place Tampa Bay was only five games back in what’s been a very competitive division. The biggest surprise might be the unexpected flip-flop of Boston and Toronto as the Red Sox were regarded by many as the weak link in the division and the Blue Jays were the winners of the offseason after a plethora of big acquisitions that haven’t paid off to this point in the season.

As we approach the midway point of the season, it’s clear to see the Orioles’ biggest flaw is the starting pitching that’s posted a 4.80 earned run average, ranking 13th in the AL. The trickle-down effect on the bullpen has helped contribute to some regression that was expected anyway after a remarkable 2012 performance.

While there is some potential for improvement from within with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on track to return by early July, questions will remain when Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez have been the only consistent pitchers in the rotation. Perhaps Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman can provide a boost in the second half similar to the one offered by Tillman and Gonzalez last season, but most believe the Orioles must address their starting pitching if they’re to give themselves a good chance to win the division.

However, flaws and concerns exist with each of the other four clubs in the division as well.

As surprising as the Red Sox have been sitting in first place under new manager John Farrell, Boston is currently dealing with concerns in their starting rotation as Jon Lester has been ineffective and Clay Buchholz is dealing with a neck injury. The Red Sox lead the majors in runs scored, but they’ve also had concerns in the bullpen that could come back to haunt them in the second half.

The Yankees’ early-season fountain of youth has seemingly dried up as their offense ranks 10th in the AL in runs scored and is still without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and has already lost Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson to the disabled list a second time. New York’s starting pitching is keeping them competitive, but you wonder whether so many absences are finally catching up as the Orioles recently moved into second place.

Tampa Bay might be the most intriguing of the AL East clubs — and not because they were my preseason pick to win the division — as the Rays lineup has been much better than anyone expected (fifth in the AL in runs). However, the pitching has been a major disappointment, ranking 11th in the AL in ERA as All-Star closer Fernando Rodney has been a shell of his 2012 form and 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price is on the DL. You’d have to think the Rays will pitch better as the year progresses, but it’s difficult imagining the lineup continuing to produce in the second half like it has.

Toronto has played better of late after winning six straight games, but the Blue Jays lineup ranks eighth in the AL in runs scored and 14th in team ERA as starters R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson haven’t lived up to expectations. The Blue Jays face an uphill climb, but they are capable of holding their own against the rest of the division as we’ve seen in their games with the Orioles.

Based on what we’ve seen over the course of the season, it’s difficult not to like Boston’s chances because of the relative consistency they’ve received from their offense and starting pitching, and Tampa Bay is also dangerous if it can get Price back while maintaining a similar level of offensive production. However, the Orioles might just be good enough to prevail in the AL East with a very good lineup, excellent defense, a solid bullpen, and even mediocre starting pitching.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still try to upgrade by the trade deadline.

Seeing doubles

Third baseman Manny Machado entered Tuesday’s game with a major-league-leading 32 doubles in 71 games and is on pace to hit 73 this season, which would break the major-league record of 67, set by Earl Webb of Boston in 1931. The franchise record is held by Brian Roberts, who hit 56 back in 2009.

At one point do we simply start referring to doubles as “machados?”

The soon-to-be 21-year-old entered Tuesday also leading the majors in hits (99) and multi-hit games (29). Over his last 51 games, Machado has 24 multi-hit games and is batting .346 with 26 doubles, two triples, three homers, 34 runs scored, and 26 RBIs in his last 51 games.

Machado hasn’t hit a home run since May 5, but it’s amazing to think what type of home-run potential he might have as he gets stronger and simply puts a bit more loft on some of those line drives as he continues to develop as a hitter. Even though he’s on pace to break a doubles record that’s more than 80 years old, Machado may only be scratching the surface of his potential as a run producer and power hitter.

With Machado leading the majors in doubles and Chris Davis hitting more homers (24) than anyone in the big leagues, they can become just the second pair of teammates to lead the majors in doubles and home runs in the same season. According to STATS, the only other time it’s happened was 1927 when Babe Ruth led the majors in homers (60) and Lou Gehrig in doubles (52).

The New York Yankees went on to win the World Series that year.

Suffering at second base

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

Comments (1)

You couldn’t ask for a better year for Dad

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You couldn’t ask for a better year for Dad

Posted on 16 June 2013 by Luke Jones

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

As we spent the day honoring our fathers, grandfathers, or any man who’s embraced the enormous responsibility of being called “Dad,” it’s easy to reflect on what was a great year for Dad if he’s a Baltimore sports fan.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to cherish the Orioles’ first playoff appearance in 15 years with the man who held your hand as he walked you through the gate at Memorial Stadium or Oriole Park at Camden Yards countless times or sat down to watch with you on TV or just happened to put the ballgame on the radio as he drove you nowhere in particular. Witnessing a raucous and packed Camden Yards wave rally towels for Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series was as good as it gets after 14 seasons largely filled with misery and eventual apathy.

The Ravens’ second Super Bowl championship undoubtedly meant more if you can remember your father crying when the Colts skipped town in the middle of the night or you spent a large portion of your childhood wondering with Dad if Baltimore would ever get another NFL team as autumn Sundays were all too quiet for far too many years. Whether you made the once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Orleans or celebrated at home with the rest of Charm City as Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and John Harbaugh raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the feeling accompanying that bear hug, high five, or glowing smile will never be forgotten by those fortunate enough to share them with their fathers.

It was the perfect way to bid farewell to Lewis, who was the omnipresent figure teaching Baltimore to “raise the roof” and to remember what it felt like to have an NFL team in the infancy of the franchise and making an improbable return from injury for the “last ride” of his career, entering the pantheon of the city’s all-time best sports figures over the last 17 years.

The last 12 months have been a wonderful time to spend with Dad, but many weren’t able to share those special memories with the man holding so much influence over not just their Baltimore sports fandom but in other aspects of their lives. For those individuals, his presence may no longer be here physically, but his spirit lives on through every pitch and each snap, the cheers and moments of disappointment, and with each breath his son or daughter takes.

I once heard someone say that when you lose your father at a young age, you spend the rest of your life trying to make him proud. Truer words have never been spoken if you’ve found yourself in that unenviable position, regardless of how old you might be.

Sunday marked the ninth Father’s Day I’ve spent without my dad, but his smile and embrace were felt as strongly as ever while watching what transpired on the Baltimore sports scene over the last year.

Many landing in this wonderful but difficult business of sports media will point to the influence their father had in sharing a love for sports, writing, or both at an early age. My dad didn’t live long enough to see me take the unique path to where I am today that began with five rewarding years in public education, continued with a unique media competition at WNST.net, and eventually turned into a full-time opportunity to cover the local teams with which I grew up. But he’s the biggest reason why I’m doing what I love today and he – along with my mom, of course – was my biggest fan in whatever I tried to accomplish.

I miss his physical presence and voice every day after nearly nine years without him, but I know he’s been right there with me along the way, starting with the first Ravens game I attended without him in 2004 when I sobbed uncontrollably just six days after he died – the emotion came immediately after Reed returned an interception 106 yards for a touchdown in the closing seconds to wrap up a victory against Cleveland — and continuing each time I walk into the press box or cover another training camp practice in the sweltering heat of Owings Mills in August.

Your perspective changes when you work in media as you get to know athletes and coaches – for better or worse – and remember the obligatory rule of no cheering in the press box. You have a job to do, so the manner in which you watch and enjoy games changes from your previous experiences as a fan. What was once only a passion becomes a profession, with responsibilities that accompany such an awesome job.

But it doesn’t change how you feel inside, especially when you had the kind of relationship I enjoyed with my father through the first 21 years of my life. There isn’t a time that I’m walking to my car after a late night at Camden Yards or an afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium in which I don’t think of Dad, silently asking him what he thought of the game.

I can almost hear his opinions on Flacco, Harbaugh, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado even though each of those individuals came along years after his passing. And I know I’m not alone in sharing the sentiment that my late father has enjoyed the best seat in the house over this last year in particular.

What a year it was, Dad.

As the Orioles were on the verge of clinching their first postseason berth since 1997, one of the most unique scenes of the year occurred on the final home date of the regular season. Moments after a win over the Boston Red Sox, manager Buck Showalter and his club of talented but unproven players mixed with a few journeymen stood on the field watching a game between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels on the video board, with the outcome determining whether the Orioles would officially clinch a spot that afternoon or would need to wait a little longer.

It was a unique scene in which players and coaches transformed into fans just like the 41,000 gathered at the ballpark that afternoon. And it was a moment that brought a lump in my throat and moisture in my eyes as I thought of the countless games at the ballpark with my dad, who served as an usher for nine years at Memorial Stadium and was with me for virtually every game I attended through 2004.

I could remember the many times talking to him when I was away for college at Syracuse and how he’d inevitably fit into every conversation, “The Orioles still stink.” Truthfully, the language was a bit more colorful, but it was a running joke to mask the annual disappointment we both held.

In that moment sitting in the press box on that Sunday afternoon, I thought to myself, “Not anymore.”

Lucky enough to be at Yankee Stadium to cover the ALDS last October, I wore my favorite shirt to Game 5, a maroon polo that belonged to my dad and my grandfather before him. The color has faded to a light salmon and it has a few more holes around the collar and shoulders than I’d like to admit, but the shirt was the only garment of choice as the Orioles were unfortunately eliminated in a highly competitive series in which fans could still be proud of the club’s remarkable season.

A few months later, I wore the same shirt as I settled into my seat in the auxiliary press box at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for Super Bowl XLVII. Coincidence or not, there was something fitting about the seat to my left somehow remaining empty throughout the game as I thought back to 12 years earlier and the giant hug shared with my dad as we watched the closing seconds of Super Bowl XXXV on TV. I remembered the many conversations about our dream of one day attending a Super Bowl together and hoping we would get another chance.

As the confetti fell and I quickly made my way downstairs for post-game interviews, I felt the same lump in my throat and moisture in my eyes that I did on that final day of September in Baltimore a few months earlier.

I suppose it wasn’t exactly how we pictured it, but we did make it to a Super Bowl, Dad.

It would be difficult to ask for a better sports year as we spent Sunday honoring our fathers in various ways. Whether you took him to the ballpark or got together to watch the Orioles on TV, shared a meal, called him on the telephone, or simply spent a few moments lost in memory, I can only wish and pray you’re as lucky as I was – and still am — to have had such a wonderful dad.

His love of Baltimore sports and, more importantly, the valuable life lessons he offered about what it meant to be a man, a compassionate friend, a devoted husband, and a father are ones I remember and still try to fully grasp as I approach my 30th birthday and dream of one day having a family of my own.

Whenever someone who knew him tells me how much I resemble him, I smile proudly after once cringing when I was a teenager — though I’ll promise to refrain from growing his trademark mustache.

I feel his presence at every game, imagining him chomping on peanuts or popcorn while making an absolute mess, and it makes me smile far more often than I cry all these years later.

I’ll never stop trying to make him proud, hopefully experiencing a few more years like this past one along the way.

I hope you enjoyed it, Dad.

I know I did.

Comments (4)

Markakis moves into top 3 among AL outfielders in All-Star voting

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Markakis moves into top 3 among AL outfielders in All-Star voting

Posted on 15 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Orioles may be trailing the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, but they’re dominating the entire league when it comes to voting for Major League Baseball’s 84th All-Star Game.

The latest voting update has four Orioles players who would find themselves in the startling lineup for the 84th edition of the exhibition as first baseman Chris Davis, outfielder Adam Jones, and shortstop J.J. Hardy are leading the league in voting at their respective positions. Joining them as a projected starter would be eighth-year veteran Nick Markakis, who ranks third among AL outfielders behind Jones and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Markakis has never been selected to an All-Star Game.

Catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado rank second in voting at their respective positions and outfielder Nate McLouth ranks seventh among AL outfielders.

Davis has the second-highest vote total of any AL player behind Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who has a lead of over 1.6 million votes over Machado.

Last year, the Orioles sent three players to the Midsummer Classic (Jones, Wieters, and closer Jim Johnson), marking the first time they’d had multiple selection in an All-Star Game since 2005 when Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, and B.J. Ryan were all selected to play.

In-stadium voting concludes on June 28, but fans may vote online through July 4. The All-Star teams will be unveiled on July 7 with the game itself scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTING
(as of June 15)

FIRST BASE
Chris Davis, Orioles 2,999,094
Prince Fielder, Tigers 1,980,129
Mike Napoli, Red Sox 744,334
Albert Pujols, Angels 693,062
Mitch Moreland, Rangers 645,071

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Yankees 2,409,512
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox 1,635,674
Ian Kinsler, Rangers 1,123,654
Omar Infante, Tigers 872,142
Jose Altuve, Astros 734,896

SHORTSTOP
J.J. Hardy, Orioles 1,871,010
Elvis Andrus, Rangers 1,358,412
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers 1,322,791
Jed Lowrie, Athletics 1,019,861
Derek Jeter, Yankees 669,698

THIRD BASE
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 3,277,890
Manny Machado, Orioles 1,626,209
Adrian Beltre, Rangers 1,105,706
Evan Longoria, Rays 898,422
Josh Donaldson, J. Athletics 500,773

CATCHER
Joe Mauer, Twins 2,127,175
Matt Wieters, Orioles 1,615,625
A.J. Pierzynski, Rangers 885,137
Carlos Santana, Indians 864,779
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox 748,725

DESIGNATED HITTER
David Ortiz, Red Sox 2,488,451
Lance Berkman, Rangers 1,239,521
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays 769,322
Mark Reynolds, Indians 745,058
Mark Trumbo, Angels 722,667

OUTFIELD
Adam Jones, Orioles 2,740,505
Mike Trout, Angels 2,710,115
Nick Markakis, Orioles 1,463,392
Torii Hunter, Tigers 1,425,571
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays 1,379,251
Nelson Cruz, Rangers 1,310,079
Nate McLouth, Orioles 1,300,158
Alex Gordon, Royals 1,040,685
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox 1,004,434
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics 926,611
Coco Crisp, Athletics 869,153
Josh Hamilton, Angels 726,485
Austin Jackson, Tigers 712,623
Shane Victorino, Red Sox 682,220
Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees 620,734

Comments (0)

Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

Posted on 15 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen still has hurdles to clear in his recovery from a strained right oblique, but the hope is he will return to make at least a start or two prior to the All-Star break.

The left-hander threw off a full mound Saturday in Sarasota for the first time since the oblique injury occurred in a start against the Minnesota Twins on May 12. Chen threw 35 pitches without any reported discomfort or pain, according to manager Buck Showalter.

“We’ve kind of got his schedule mapped out now, so that’s good,” Showalter said. “I’m going to go over it with [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] out on the field and hopefully we’ll proceed with that.”

The Orioles had planned to have Chen accompany them on this week’s road trip to Detroit and Toronto, but it appears they will at least have Chen pitch in a simulated game in Sarasota before he takes the next step of either rejoining the club for a bullpen session or two or beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.

Showalter has a step-by-step plan mapped out that culminates with Chen making his return to the mound for the Orioles, but he wants to play specifics close to the vest for now.

“I’ve got the date that if everything goes well that he’ll be pitching for us,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, if things go well, he can make a couple starts before the break, at least. But we’ve got to cross a lot of bridges here.”

Roberts inching closer to rehab assignment as Reimold starts his Tuesday

Injured second baseman Brian Roberts will travel with the Orioles on the next road trip to Detroit and likely Toronto as he continues to take batting practice and ground balls at second base.

Sidelined since April 4 with a right hamstring injury that required surgery in early May, Roberts could begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as June 24 if everything goes smoothly. Completing a running progression to test his surgically-repaired hamstring has been the final major hurdle in determining when he can return to game action.

Showalter has liked seeing Roberts with the club to closely monitor the final stages of the recovery process after spending the better part of the last two months recovering in Sarasota.

“We all like Sarasota,” Showalter said. “It’s been great for the organization, but it’s not Baltimore and it’s not around your team and your teammates. I think that’s been good for him too.”

Former Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley will accompany Roberts on his minor-league rehab assignment that isn’t expected to last the full 20-day period a position player is allowed.

Crowley will also accompany outfielder Nolan Reimold when his rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie begins next week.

Showalter expects Reimold’s rehab assignment to be wrapped up prior to Roberts beginning his.

Hammel still under weather

Right-hander Jason Hammel was still under the weather dealing with a virus as the Orioles prepared for the third of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

He has been instructed to stay away from Camden Yards in fear of him being contagious, but the Orioles hope to have him back at the ballpark on Sunday to more closely evaluate his status for Monday’s start in Detroit. Showalter remained optimistic that the 30-year-old will take the hill against the Tigers, but nothing is guaranteed until head athletic trainer Richie Bancells gets a better read on his condition Sunday.

“Right now, that’s a little bit of a challenge for us. We’ll see,” said Showalter, who revealed Hammel received some intravenous fluids on Friday. “Right now, I’m planning on him pitching Monday. Talking to Richie, until he gets his arms around it, [we won't know and] we’re not going to bring him in the locker room until he’s past that [contagious] stage.”

Machado in historic company

Third baseman Manny Machado continued a remarkable season on Friday night, clubbing two more doubles to give him a major-league-leading 30 in 68 games this year.

According to Elias, since 1900, the earliest any major league under 21 reached 30 doubles was 81 games by Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams in 1939. Machado’s 30 doubles in 68 games are the most by any player under age 22 since 1920, topping Williams’ 25 in 1939 and the 24 hit by Yankees Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio in 1936.

Machado is on pace to hit 71 doubles this year, which would top the major league record of 67 set by Earl Webb for Boston in 1931. The franchise record for doubles is 56, set by Roberts in 2009.

Jacoby Jones and WWE

Ravens wide receiver and “Dancing With the Stars” third-place finisher Jacoby Jones threw out Saturday’s, but WWE chairman Vince McMahon may have been a more appropriate choice based on the atmosphere of the late-afternoon game.

It was the brainchild of center fielder Adam Jones, but the Orioles used professional wrestling theme songs for their walk-up music during Saturday’s game. Jones assigned a song to each player in the lineup as well as starter Freddy Garcia and the relievers in order to have some fun at the ballpark.

Among the themes heard during batting practice on Saturday were The Rock, The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and D-Generation X. Jones promised a mix of some old-school themes as well and posed with a replica WWE title for the following photo prior to the game, courtesy of @PTisFLY on Twitter.

Comments (0)

Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Hardy overtakes Andrus at shortstop in latest American League balloting figures

Jones Passes Trout for Top Outfield Spot; Cabrera Maintains Overall Lead

 

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is bidding for his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start, has surpassed Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the second balloting figures for the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field in New York. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on FOX as part of its “Baseball Night in America” pre-game show. The second National League balloting results will be revealed tomorrow night on ESPN during “Baseball Tonight” at 7:00 p.m. prior to its Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, is aiming to become just the third Orioles shortstop to earn a fan-elected start, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times; 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). In addition, he is attempting to become the first A.L. shortstop other than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees to earn a fan-elected starting nod since Tejada. Hardy, who leads all A.L. shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBI, has totaled 1,231,843 votes. He is trailed closely by Andrus, a two-time All-Star, who has received 1,045,885.

Hardy’s Orioles teammate Adam Jones has taken over the top spot in the A.L. outfield with 1,944,450 votes, and last week’s leader, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, follows right behind with 1,939,486 votes. Jones, striving for his third All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, would become just the fourth Orioles outfielder in history to receive a fan-elected start, joining Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1970-71), Ken Singleton (1981) and Brady Anderson (1997). Jones, who has reached base safely in 52 of his 61 games this season, ranks among the top 10 in the A.L. with 43 runs (tied for third), 77 hits (fourth) and 18 doubles (tied for fifth). Trout, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, is vying for his second Midsummer Classic appearance after becoming the seventh-youngest A.L. position player in All-Star history last year. The 21-year-old has reached safely in 55 games this season and his 24 multi-hit games are tied for second in the A.L.

Rounding out the top three outfielders is Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who has collected 1,067,973 votes as he aims for his fifth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start (2002). The nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, who is one home run shy of 300 for his career, would join Ron LeFlore (1976), Rusty Staub (1976), Chet Lemon (1984) and Magglio Ordoñez (2007) as the only Detroit outfielders to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. Hunter, in his first season in the Motor City, is trying to hold off a trio of outfielders, including Nick Markakis (1,030,653) of the Orioles, three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Jose Bautista (1,021,813) of the Toronto Blue Jays and 2009 All-Star Nelson Cruz (1,011,198) of the Rangers.

Hunter’s Tiger teammate Miguel Cabrera continues to hold the overall lead in the A.L. with 2,355,128 votes. The seven-time All-Star, who is bidding for his first-ever fan-elected start, leads the Majors with a .368 batting average, 67 RBI, 88 hits, 26 multi-hit games and a .447 on-base percentage. The 2012 A.L. MVP, who became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also paces the A.L. with 47 runs scored. He is trailed at third base by 20-year-old Manny Machado (1,170,108) of the Orioles, who leads the Majors with 26 doubles and ranks second behind Cabrera with 84 hits.

Joining Hardy and Cabrera in the A.L. infield is Hardy’s Baltimore teammate and first baseman Chris Davis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Davis, who has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 2,084,274, is contending for his Midsummer Classic debut, and would become the first Orioles first baseman since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1985 to receive a fan-elected start. Davis, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and a .719 slugging percentage, is on pace to hit 55 home runs and 55 doubles. He is trailed at first base by four-time All-Star Prince Fielder of the Tigers, who has tallied 1,469,537 votes. Cano, who is seeking his fourth consecutive starting assignment and fifth All-Star nod overall, would become the first A.L. second baseman to earn four consecutive fan-elected starts since Roberto Alomar had five from 1996-2000. Cano, who has garnered 1,851,371 votes, leads Major League second basemen with 15 home runs and a .510 slugging percentage, and he is tops among A.L. second basemen with 39 RBI. He is followed by three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Dustin Pedroia (1,106,949) of the A.L. East rival Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins backstop Joe Mauer, who has totaled 1,492,396 votes, continues to lead Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795), a two-time All-Star, behind the plate. Mauer, a five-time All-Star and three-time fan-elected starter, would join Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six times) as the only Twins to earn at least four fan-elected starts.

Eight-time All-Star and six-time fan-elected starter David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox maintains a comfortable lead at designated hitter, having received 1,716,410 votes. Ortiz, who is trailed by Lance Berkman (957,618) of the Rangers, would become the second Red Sox player in history to earn seven fan-elected starts, joining his former teammate Manny Ramirez. In addition, Ortiz would become the 10th player in A.L. history to receive at least seven fan-elected starts with a single team, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17, Baltimore), George Brett (11, Kansas City), Carew (9, Minnesota) and Dave Winfield (7, New York), and other A.L. All-Stars Ken Griffey, Jr. (10, Seattle), Ichiro Suzuki (9, Seattle), Ivan Rodriguez (9, Texas), Jeter (8, New York) and Ramirez (7, Boston).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.

The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.

Comments (0)