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“Rounding the Bases” in Orioles’ 2-1 defeat to New York

Posted on 19 July 2016 by Luke Jones

What went wrong in the Orioles’ 2-1 defeat to the New York Yankees on Monday night?

In trying to identify the top three losing factors with the addition of home plate for any not-so-honorable mentions and other notes, we go around the bases after the 91st game of the 2016 season.

1st — Yankees starter Ivan Nova deserves credit for his six strong innings, but he entered the night with a 5.18 season ERA and the Orioles are still waiting for their bats to wake up in July. They made the right-hander work over the first four innings by driving up his pitch count to 75 through four innings, but Baltimore stranded six runners over those four frames with Jonathan Schoop providing a solo home run in the third for the lone run of the night. Of course, the Orioles’ chances then plummeted against the intimidating trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position with Pedro Alvarez leaving the bases loaded and a runner at second in his first two at-bats. The one run was the club’s lowest output since being shut out by Seattle on May 17. Expecting the Orioles to sustain what they did offensively in their historic June would be unfair, but they’re now hitting just .253 and averaging an underwhelming 3.7 runs per game in 13 July contests.

2nd — It may have only been the fourth inning, but Nolan Reimold’s baserunning gaffe short-circuited a promising scoring opportunity for the top of the order. He slipped after rounding second base on Ryan Flaherty’s single inside the third-base bag with one out, but Reimold was way too far off the base anyway on a ball that Yankees third baseman Chase Headley recovered quickly. Instead of having runners at first and second with one out for Adam Jones and then the red-hot Schoop, the miscue left only Flaherty on second with two outs. The bailout was the precursor to Nova retiring the final seven hitters he faced before turning a 2-1 lead over to the back end of the New York bullpen.

3rd — Kevin Gausman turned in a very good outing that lacked proper run support, but the long ball continues to be a problem for the young right-hander as he allowed a solo shot to the struggling Alex Rodriguez in the second inning. It’s hard to fault Gausman too much as he retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced and allowed just two runs and six hits in his 6 2/3 innings, but the 25-year-old has now allowed a team-high 16 homers in his 93 1/3 innings this season. Thirteen of those have come in his last 56 2/3 innings — an ugly 2.06 per nine innings over that stretch — after he surrendered only three in his first 36 2/3 innings of 2016. The long ball is the biggest factor holding Gausman back as he’s improved both his strikeout and walk rates from a year ago, but he clearly deserved much better from his offense on Monday night.

Home — It was probably a long shot to throw out the speedy Brett Gardner at the plate, but center fielder Adam Jones’ throw on Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly in the third inning was uncharacteristically poor as it bounced multiple times to the plate and skipped past the cutoff man. … The Orioles have lost each of the last 10 series openers at Yankee Stadium, a stretch dating back to the start of 2013. Their club record of scoring at least two runs in 53 consecutive games was snapped. … Schoop’s homer was his 16th of the season, matching his career high set in 2014. … Manager Buck Showalter told reporters after the game that Matt Wieters would have an X-ray after being hit on his right foot by a Nova pitch in the first inning. The catcher played the entire game. … Chris Davis was unavailable after being hospitalized with a stomach virus on Sunday night while Hyun Soo Kim remained sidelined with a hamstring injury. … Vance Worley will make his first start since April 15 when he takes the ball against Yankees right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on Tuesday night.

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“Rounding the Bases” in Orioles’ 4-1 win over Yankees

Posted on 04 May 2016 by Luke Jones

Who stood out in the Orioles’ 4-1 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night?

In the spirit of hockey’s “three stars” system with the addition of home plate for honorable mentions and other notes, we go around the bases after the 25th game of the 2016 season.

1stMark Trumbo continues to give the Orioles everything they could have asked for in the offseason trade with Seattle as he hit two home runs and drove in three runs on the night. His first homer in the second inning was an absolute bomb to left with an exit velocity of 113 miles per hour and an estimated distance of 405 feet to tie the game at 1-1. He hit his second shot off Luis Severino in the fifth to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Trumbo isn’t going to hit .337 for the entire season, but it’s tough not to be reminded of the impact Nelson Cruz brought in 2014 when you see the right fielder continuously driving the ball with authority and leading the Orioles in home runs so far this season. It was the ninth multi-homer game of his career and second this season.

2ndChris Tillman was excellent for a second straight outing as he held the struggling New York lineup to one run and five hits over seven innings, his deepest start of the young season. The right-hander struggled with his fastball command at times and walked four hitters on the night, but he used his secondary pitches effectively to keep hitters off balance and struck out nine to match his career high. Four of those strikeouts came via his slider, three by his changeup, and two by his fastball, but his curveball was also an effective pitch for much of the night. Tillman lowered his season ERA to an impressive 2.81 in 32 innings, and he is now averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, which is markedly better than his 6.7 career average entering the 2016 season.

3rdBrad Brach faced four left-handed hitters in the eighth inning, but the reliever only allowed a soft one-out single to pinch hitter Dustin Ackley in a scoreless frame against the heart of the Yankees order. The lefty-heavy lineup might have been best suited for lefty specialist Brian Matusz in past years, but Brach has held lefties to a .148 average and Matusz has struggled since being activated from the disabled list late last month. Brach lowered his season ERA to 1.18 and has arguably been the Orioles’ most valuable reliever so far.

HomeChris Davis went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but he continues to play excellent defense as he scooped a couple balls in the dirt and made a good throw to second to get the lead runner on a close play in the fourth. Buck Showalter said after the game that his first baseman is playing Gold Glove-caliber defense so far in 2016, and it would tough to argue. … With Zach Britton still resting his left ankle, Darren O’Day picked up his 16th career save and second of the season in a scoreless ninth. The Orioles are 11-1 in games in which he pitches. … Baltimore collected its sixth straight win over the Yankees, a stretch dating back to Sept. 8 of last season. … The Yankees lost their season-high sixth consecutive game and have now scored three or fewer runs in eight of their last nine games. They’re eight games below .500 for the first time since May 29, 2007. … The Orioles retook first place in the AL East after Boston fell to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. … Tyler Wilson goes to the hill on Wednesday against New York southpaw CC Sabathia.

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Orioles-Yankees lineups and pre-game notes for Game 5 of ALDS

Posted on 12 October 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 3:55 p.m.)

NEW YORK — It all comes down to one game as the Orioles and Yankees finish off an incredible American League Division Series in the deciding Game 5 on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles will send Jason Hammel to the mound against New York’s CC Sabathia in a pitching rematch from Game 1 of the series last Sunday. Pitching in his first game in nearly a month, Hammel pitched well over 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing two earned runs and four hits while displaying some shaky control with four walks.

Sabathia earned the victory in game one as he allowed two earned runs in 8 2/3 innings of work to rebound from a mediocre showing against Baltimore in the regular season. The big left-hander makes his 17th career postseason start and is exactly who manager Joe Girardi wanted on the mound in a deciding game.

As for the state of the Orioles bullpen after 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Thursday night’s Game 4 win, manager Buck Showalter anticipated having all relievers available prior to the start of batting practice. Showalter revealed left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and right-hander Chris Tillman were also available to pitch in relief for Game 5. Those two would be the most likely candidates to pitch a potential Game 1 in Detroit on Saturday if the Orioles were to win and advance to the AL Championship Series.

Showalter explained that he regularly asks pitchers how they’re feeling but he ultimately makes the decision whether an individual is available in any given game.

“You don’t put them in that position [to choose],” Showalter said. “I haven’t heard anything that would make me think people are not available. Don’t hold me to it. We can gain something, hear something, find out something between now and game time, but so far so good.”

The biggest names in question for Game 5 are right-handed setup man Darren O’Day, left-hander Brian Matusz, and closer Jim Johnson. O’Day threw 30 pitches in his 2 2/3 innings of work on Thursday night and has appeared in all four games of the series.

Matusz only threw five pitches in Game 4, but he has also been used in all four games of the series and it remains to be seen if Showalter would be willing to use a pitcher still getting acclimated to a relief role for a third straight day. The young left hasn’t appeared in game three straight days since moving to the bullpen.

Johnson has also received extensive work in the series — appearing in all four games — but his 14 pitches to close out the 13th inning on Thursday night were a reasonable amount, making one assume he’d be available for an inning in Game 5 without many reservations.

There were no major surprises in the Baltimore lineup as Lew Ford will start in place of Jim Thome as the designated hitter and Robert Andino will play second base instead of Ryan Flaherty with the tough left-hander on the mound for the Yankees.

However, the Yankees made the bold decision to bench third baseman — and the highest paid player in the league — Alex Rodriguez for the start of the deciding Game 5. The 37-year-old is 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series and will be replaced by Eric Chavez at third base despite the fact that Rodriguez has four career home runs against Hammel.

Game 3 hero Raul Ibanez was back in the lineup for the Yankees, batting fifth and serving as the designated hitter.

Here are Friday’s lineups …

BALTIMORE
LF Nate McLouth
SS J.J. Hardy
CF Adam Jones
RF Chris Davis
C Matt Wieters
3B Manny Machado
3B Mark Reynolds
DH Lew Ford
2B Robert Andino

SP Jason Hammel (2012 regular season: 8-6, 3.43 ERA)

NEW YORK
SS Derek Jeter
LF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
CF Curtis Granderson
C Russell Martin
3B Eric Chavez

SP CC Sabathia (2012 regular season: 15-6, 3.38 ERA)

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Yankees’ Rodriguez gives post-game nod to Ray Lewis

Posted on 08 September 2012 by Luke Jones

After hitting a two-run homer to help the Yankees beat the Orioles Friday night, Alex Rodriguez paid tribute to Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis in his post-game interview.

Rodriguez wore a No. 52 University of Miami jersey in the Yankees clubhouse following their 8-5 win over the Orioles to retake sole possession of first place in the American League East. The third baseman grew up in Miami and attended Westminster Christian High School before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners with the first overall pick in the 1993 amateur draft.

Lewis played his college football for the Hurricanes from 1993 through 1995 before entering the NFL draft after his junior season.

“He’s my boy,” Rodriguez said. “I love Ray Lewis, I love the University of Miami, and I’m in his hometown. So, I’m honoring the Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.”

Though Rodriguez offered respect to one of Baltimore’s greatest sports heroes of all time, it’s highly unlikely the veteran won over any local fans as the Orioles are in the midst of their first pennant race in 15 years.

Here’s the post-game interview, courtesy of the YES Network:

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Phelps makes way onto odd list

Posted on 27 June 2012 by WNST Staff

AshleyMadison.com asked women across America which athlete they would most likely cheat on their husband with. Over 13,500 women responded by picking their top three athletes which yielded the following results :

International Soccer Star and Sex Symbol David Beckham was the overwhelming winner with 43.1% of ALL women surveyed saying they would cheat on their husbands with him.

  • ·         Ultra-conservative New York Jet QB Tim Tebow was second with 19.6% of all women surveyed.
  • ·         New England Patriot and the most prolific QB in the NFL, Tom Brady was a close third with 17.9%. Brady is currently married to Supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
  • ·         Mark Sanchez may be the #1 QB on the Jets but only 8.1% of women said they would have an affair with him, well behind his back-up, Tim Tebow.
  • ·         MLB Future Hall-of-Famer and New York Yankee Derek Jeter led the way with 16.5% of women looking to hit a Home Run with him, edging out Yankee Third Baseman Alex Rodriguez, who garnered 13.2% of women respondents.
  • ·         In the battle of the Manning’s, Peyton edged out his younger brother Eli : 9.6% to 8.5%.
  • ·         NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James is the top NBA player amongst women looking to go to the hoop, with 5.8% of all women surveyed looking to cheat with the King. (Kobe Bryant came in second with 4.4%)
  • ·         Andy Roddick (5.6%) out volleyed both Rafael Nadal (4.6%) and Roger Federer (4.2%) to become the top tennis player chosen amongst women
  • ·         Michael Phelps was the leading Olympian with 10.5% of women ready to jump in the pool with him.
  • ·         Top 5 NFL players (are all QB’s): Tim Tebow (19.6%), Tom Brady (17.9%), Peyton Manning (9.6%), Aaron Rodgers (9.5%), and Eli Manning (8.5%). The top non-quarterback was Reggie Bush (6.9%).
  • ·         Top 5 NBA players: LeBron James (5.8%), Kobe Bryant (4.4%), Lamar Odom (3.7%), Dwyane Wade (3.6%), and Kris Humphries (3.3%)
  • ·         Top 3 MLB players: Derek Jeter (16.5%), Alex Rodriguez (13.2%), and Matt Kemp (1.6%)
  • ·         Top 5 non- NFL, NBA, and MLB athletes: David Beckham (43.1%), Christiano Ronaldo (11.0%), Michael Phelps (10.5%), Kelly Slater (9.2%), Lance Armstrong (7.4%)
  • ·         Top 10 athletes overall: David Beckham (43.1%), Tim Tebow (19.6%), Tom Brady (17.9%), Derek Jeter (16.5%), Alex Rodriguez (13.2%), Christiano Ronaldo (11%), Michael Phelps (10.5%), Peyton Manning (9.6%), Aaron Rodgers (9.5%), Kelly Slater (9.2%).  Tiger Woods came in 15th (6.1%).

**Note:  The percentages are based on 300% since each women picked three athletes.  You could also divide every number by three to get an accurate percentage based on 100%.

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Zach Britton dishes on the best hitter he's faced

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Zach Britton dishes on the best hitter he’s faced

Posted on 03 June 2011 by Rex Snider

Yesterday’s edition of the Afternoon Drive served up an interesting and exciting cast of guests, highlighted by a conversation with Orioles rookie phenom, Zach Britton, as he promoted an upcoming event benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project.

And, of course, we talked a little baseball …..

Our conversation covered Adam Jones’ amazing catch during Wednesday’s game, the rigors of a west coast roadtrip, the butterflies experienced during the MLB draft and a commitment to winning.

However, it was my final question and Britton’s response that inspired me to reassess some of the latest rumblings we’ve heard about overrated and/or “over the hill” players.

Pointedly, I asked “who is the best hitter you’ve faced at the big league level?”

Britton qualified his answer by citing the amazing increase in talent among Major League hitters, in comparison to the lineups he faced in the minors.

Surprising to hear? Of course, not.

As for the best hitter he’s faced, Britton feels it’s Alex Rodriguez …..
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In a very brief window, A’Rod has faced the Orioles southpaw just 3 times …. and he’s 3 for 3 in those opportunities. On an optimistic note, the hits were singles.

Ironically, Alex Rodriguez highlights a current Sports Illustrated article that reveals the “Most Overrated Players In Baseball”, in accordance with a survey of current players.

Hmmm …. Britton’s response has caused me to wonder how many American League starting pitchers were polled for the SI article. Perhaps, some envious positional counterparts were personal in their choices?

On the flip side, Britton’s experience on a big league mound is limited; he hasn’t faced a handful of the American League’s lineups, yet. He has yet to throw a pitch that counts to the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer or Jose Bautista.

In blunt honesty, I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Zach Britton has struck me as a humbly modest, yet fiercely competitive individual. You can hear the interview in its entirety HERE

We are appreciative of Zach’s time and generosity in spending a few moments with us, especially on a rare off day; upon returning from the west coast.

To that extent, it’s only fitting to elaborate on the primary reason for yesterday’s conversation, which emphasized on Zach’s commitment to supporting military personnel and specifically, the Wounded Warriors Project.

The Orioles will be represented by pitchers Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta during an upcoming event at the Under Armour Warehouse, where they’ll participate in assembling backpacks of gear for injured soldiers.

It’s a fitting tribute and act of fellowship, as Britton and Arrieta have active and veteran military personnel among family members. The event is scheduled for June 7th, and you can learn more about it HERE

Lip service is a cheap and easy way to suggest support for our real American heroes. Yet, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta are selflessly committing time to help those who have made real sacrifices, and that’s a refreshing reality.
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50 words or less .... Thursday, April 21st

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 21st

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rex Snider

The birds’ bats have awakened and punished the Twins pitching staff over the past couple nights. Maybe, the sky isn’t falling after all. Ye of little faith !!!! And, just think ….. the BIG BOYS are coming to town over the next week …..
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Maybe, Just Maybe
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This Wieters kid is gonna be a big league hitter. After absorbing a lathering of criticisms from inside and outside Baltimore, is the Orioles prized catching prospect primed to “BUST” out in the right way?

If he does, I’m gonna remind Steven Goldman of Baseball Prospectus, every single day.
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Keep An Eye Out
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Starting today at around lunchtime, gawkers around the inner harbor will probably get occasional glimpses of baseball’s rockstars. My sources are telling me Derek Jeter will spend his off-day searching for Baltimore’s “fountain of youth”.

It gets better …. the Yankees obnoxious fans start rolling into town tomorrow.
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Simply The Greatest, EVER
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During yesterday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE, we devoted musical selections to female artists. I saved the best for last, and in my opinion there has never, EVER been a better voice than Karen Carpenter.

I’m not a huge fan of her soft melodies, it just means I can sacrifice my preferences and recognize talent.
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Dodgers, Divorce & Dysfunction (BONUS – 100 word special)
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Does Bud Selig have his hands full? In a word …. YES. And, his problems aren’t being caused by the poor-mouthed Marlins, Pirates and Royals. Nope, it’s much bigger …..

The Cubs can’t attract fans. The Mets have been investing with crooks. And the Dodgers have finally fallen victim to their owners’ aborted marriage. As of today, Major League Baseball is overseeing the business operations in Chavez Ravine.

I’m probably in the minority on this one, but there is a comfort in knowing the Orioles are not in financial ruin. The Dodgers could use Andy MacPhail’s fiscal discipline; yes, I said that.
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Dude, Just Listen To Me …..
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Have you noticed Justin Timberlake is not growing his hair very long these days? According to some notable published articles, the actor/singer is battling a thinning hairline.

It’s simple, he just needs to click on this TAB. I did it and six months later, I have never been happier.
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Family First? Not According To This Guy
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Perhaps, I was a little heavy handed in labeling Richie Whitt the “D-bag Of The Day” for his article regarding Colby Lewis choosing the birth of his child over pitching in a baseball game.

But, I still feel Richie is a D-bag. Decide for yourself – here’s the article.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 11

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As we move closer to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds

11. Hoiles’ dreamlike slam stuns Mariners – May 17, 1996

A unique moment in sports is occasionally so memorable that it takes on a life of itself.

An event where only several thousand were present gradually transforms into an occasion witnessed by hundreds of thousands, if only for its improbable nature and the euphoria its aftermath creates.

There’s nothing more cliched in sports than the boyhood dream of stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with your team trailing by three runs.

Full count, two outs, and the bases loaded.

It’s the stuff of wide-eyed boys playing in the backyard on a July afternoon, dreaming of one day playing in the big leagues.

And it was the exact scenario presented to Chris Hoiles, who capitalized on that dream in one of the wildest games in Orioles history.

Hoiles

It was a typical slugfest that characterized the 1996 season. Both the Orioles and Seattle Mariners were short on pitching but could mash opponents into submission with an offensive onslaught — the two clubs hit a combined 502 home runs in 1996 — that wore out scoreboard operators around the league.

After jumping out to a 7-2 lead through five innings, the Orioles bullpen proceeded to surrender an inexcusable 11 runs in four innings of work. A grand slam by 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez off Alan Mills had given the Mariners an 11-9 lead in the eighth, and the lead grew to 13-10 as Seattle closer Norm Charlton worked in the bottom of the ninth.

Many of the 47,259 in attendance had gone home after the game had eclipsed the four-hour mark and appeared destined to be a deflating loss thanks to the ineffective bullpen. Even more at home had surely turned off the television set as the clock approached midnight.

Yet, what happened next would have many more thousands claiming they were there, or had at least hung on to watch the bottom of the ninth on TV.

The erratic Charlton — who would bring his high-wire act to Baltimore two years later to the tune of a 6.94 earned run average in 1998 — walked Roberto Alomar, allowed a Bobby Bonilla double, and issued a free pass to Cal Ripken in the process of getting the first two outs of the inning. Hoiles came to the plate with a chance to become the 20th man in major league history to hit a walk-off grand slam to erase a three-run deficit.

The count went full as the several thousand still in attendance rose to their feet with the imagined scenario playing out before their eyes. Then, Hoiles deposited the 3-2 pitch into the left field seats to give the Orioles an inconceivable 14-13 victory as the stunned Mariners walked off the field.

His teammates mobbed him at the plate as Hoiles became the only known player in history to hit his “ultimate” grand slam with a full count and two outs. The select fans who had stuck around Camden Yards that night had seen one of the most exciting moments in franchise history.

And thousands more would learn of it the next morning, kicking themselves for heading home early or turning off the tube the previous night.

Myself included.

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Trivial Thursday Thoughts ....

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Trivial Thursday Thoughts ….

Posted on 10 February 2011 by Rex Snider

Just a small list of stories and issues that we’ve covered on the “Afternoon Drive” over the past couple days …..

–  If you were among the 111 MILLION people watching the Super Bowl, there is a good chance you caught the shot of Cameron Diaz feeding A’Rod in a luxury suite.  Evidently, the Yankees star didn’t think it was very cool to televise it and he “flipped out” on Fox executives.

My blunt advice to A’Rod and other celebs – if you’re gonna take free tickets to sit in a suite, you’re fair game for any and every camera.  If you weren’t comfortable with such a reality, I know of at least 400 people who would’ve traded places …..

–  My latest on-air conversation with Allen McCallum regarded a plethora of different topics.  However, our most spirited conversation regarded “who bats 2nd in the Orioles lineup”.  Al and few callers like the prospect of slotting Adam Jones in the spot.

I can’t agree with the logic.  Jones carries a .319 career OBP, and he averages 124 strikeouts, per season, while only walking 30 times.  Show me a team with a #2 hitter meriting such numbers and I’ll guarantee you they’re a LOSER. 

Adam Jones simply lacks the eye and plate discipline of Nick Markakis – the obvious choice.

–  As you probably know, February is “Chick-Fil-A Month” at WNST.  Our friends at Chick-Fil-A are providing FREE BREAKFAST on Thursdays, throughout the month.  Everybody loves eating Chick-Fil-A, right?

Well, some of us LOVE the taste of Chick-Fil-A more than others.  In fact, some of us can probably be described as ADDICTS when it comes to the tasty menu.  This list would absolutely include Glenn Clark ….

During yesterday’s WNST Staff Meeting, I made the foolish decision of trying to eat a Chick-Fil-A breakfast sandwich in the presence of Mr. Clark.  For the first time in my life, I sensed what it must feel like to be a wildebeest in the world of a lion ….

It was “contentious” moment, to say the very least.  For a few moments, I was certain my Glock was going to make its first public appearance at the WNST studios.  The man is absolutely obsessed with Chick-Fil-A.

–  Admittedly, I’ve been a little surprised by the modest moaning and groaning over Vlad Guerrero’s age.  The newest Orioles designated hitter is 36 years old, and some fans want to hand him an AARP card.

Are they panicking in New York?  Alex Rodriguez will be 36 this season.  Are they panicking in Los Angeles?  Bobby Abreu will be 36, too.  Are they panicking in Boston?  Yep, David Ortiz will be 36, as well.

Give it a break, Vlad will be fine.  He is a consistent producer – period.

On yesterday’s program, former Orioles outfielder, Mike Young stopped by for a few moments and we chatted about his career.  One of the questions I asked regarded getting hit by a Major League pitch.

Mike was plunked 20 times during his career.  He couldn’t recall a specific incident that proved more painful than others.  As he said, “they all HURT ….”

But, this inspires me to ask, if you had to suffer one of these consequences, would you rather be drilled by an Aroldis Chapman fastball …..

Clocked by a Mike Tyson right jab …..

Or, sacked by a full speed version of Ray Lewis?

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Is quiet leadership a bad thing in today’s world?

Posted on 05 November 2010 by Domenic Vadala

As we know, sports can be a great motif for life in general. As a part of the oh-so-competitive corporate world, I’ve been told time and time again that it’s important to toot-your-own-horn when you do something good at work. If you don’t, they say, you’ll never be able to move up. I come from humble stock, and bragging about how great I am is just not something with which I’m comfortable. Having said that, I’ve seen less-than-qualified people be promoted over me, and I’ve even been threatened with my job for giving credit to others.

The purpose of this column is not to vent about my job. However if life mirrors sports, does the same theory or idea hold true? As a Washington Redskin fan, I hated Donovan McNabb for years. Not only did he play for the Eagles, but he had the uncanny ability to beat the Redskins whenver he needed to do so. However looking back on those games today (with McNabb now playing for the burgundy and gold), I can see that he played all of those games with the grace, class, and leadership that he exhibits now with the Redskins. He’s not an overly emotional player in that he never lets you see him sweat when he’s under duress. My point isn’t to bring up or discuss his benching last Sunday afternoon in Detroit, although I’ll say that I think it was a bad move. However that was only the latest instance in a long line of times where McNabb’s been embarrassed during his football career. He even refused to publically denounce T.O. when they were teammates and Owens saw fit to call him out. He was benched by Andy Reid in Baltimore a few years back at halftime, and he took his medicine without complaining. However each time his team wins or he makes a great play, he’s always up there saying how great of a route Chris Cooley or DeShawn Jackson ran on that play.

On the other hand, showboaters such as Michael Irving and Deion Sanders never seemed to struggle for respect. Both of them were great players without a doubt, however they never carried themselves with the humility or grace with which someone like McNabb does. Derek Jeter (as much as we hate him) is a quiet guy, but he plays for the Yankees so he’s essentially loud by association. Alex Rodriguez can be loud at times, and as we saw earlier this season he seemingly has no regard for the game’s unwritten rules (ask Dallas Braden). The league, media, and fans even swept Rodriguez’s steroid use under the rug. Yet a quiet type of guy like Rafael Palmeiro was villianized. (Granted Palmeiro lied to Congress, but on the field he was fairly mild-mannered.) So what am I trying to say here? To be honest, I’m really not sure myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that for whatever reason, it’s easier for society to accept someone like a Michael Irving or Alex Rodriguez. The majority of society are emotional people; therefore they react and empathize with someone like that. When people see someone like Donovan McNabb or even Raffy, they immediately think that the guy has no moxie whatsoever. In fact, when they screw up people are potentially more likely to hold them accountable. McNabb was benched because he threw a horrible interception late in the game, or Palmeiro single-handedly ruined baseball with his steroid use. This, as opposed to Michael Irving may act like a thug and have a drug addiction but he’s a great receiver, or Alex Rodriguez took steroids, but so did everyone else.

What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. Steroids are wrong no matter how you look at it, and regardless of who’s taking them. However I suppose what I’m saying is that people can accept the shortcomings of humanized athletes or public figures moreso than they can those of the quiet leaders. And I think that’s a horrible trend. We should all aim to be like Donovan McNabb, telling reporters how great his teammates are. Instead, as a society we’re more like Michael Irving, who never wasted an opprotunity to promote himself to the cameras or microphones. Nowadays NFL players are almost expected to do some kind of endzone dance when they score, whereas the true legends of the game such as Johnny Unitas simply walked off the field. Again, we all wish that we had that kind of class.

I don’t think for one moment that Donovan McNabb isn’t respected in the NFL, however I’ve heard that he wasn’t always liked by the fanbase in Philadelphia because of his professionalism. All jokes about that making sense for Philadelphia people aside, that’s a sad state of affairs. Is that why he was traded? I don’t know, however I would assume that had he perhaps spoken his worth from time to time, they might have thought twice about it. Instead, he motored along like a good soldier and propped people up around him. To me, that’s leadership much moreso than someone that steals the limelight on a continual basis. But yet, those are the people that seemingly make it in today’s society. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

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