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My 3-part “Orioles in review” series begins with…the report card

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Drew Forrester

With baseball season over in Baltimore – once again, five weeks too early – it’s time to spend a few days reviewing what happened and what lies ahead.

I’ll start my 3-part “Orioles review” with the 2010 Report Card.

When your team only wins 66 games, it’s easy to hand out a bunch of C’s and D’s, but I was a little more kind than that given the club’s outstanding play in August and September.  They took what MIGHT have been a 50-win-campaign and turned it into just another bad season.  And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.  20 years from now, folks will look back at 2010 and say to themselves “well, they were bad that year…”.  Had they gone 50-112, folks would remember that FOREVER as one of those historically bad seasons for ANY club in baseball history, not just Orioles history.

Winning 66 games was a miracle based on where the team was when Buck took over in early August.

Here are the grades:

Pitchers

Brian Matusz (C+) — Didn’t get off to a great start, but came on strong in Aug/Sept and showed he’s here to stay.  Could wind up being next year’s version of this year’s David Price (Tampa Bay).  At some point, it’s all going to come together for this kid.  He has a bright future, for sure. Let’s hope it’s in Baltimore.

Jeremy Guthrie (B) — Was the team’s best pitcher and, honestly, their best PLAYER all season.  Take away the 2009 season when the club cut his salary in pre-season and he’s put together three VERY good campaigns in Baltimore since arriving in 2007.

Brad Bergesen (C) — Another pitcher who responded well to the arrival of Showalter.  He still has a propensity to get involved in a big inning on occasion, but his stuff is as good as anyone’s on the staff and he’ll be in the rotation to start 2011.

Chris Tillman (D) — Sprinkled in the occasional good start, but for the most part he remains overmatched with his lack of control and little movement on his fastball.  Hopefully not a “AAAA pitcher” but that’s what it’s looking like more and more — hitters can’t touch him at the AAA level but he can’t get hitters out consistently enough at the big league level.

Kevin Millwood (D) — Wasn’t nearly as bad as his final numbers showed, but the bottom line is that he appeared disinterested from the start and that lack of enthusiasm translated into the worst season of his career.

Jake Arrieta (C-) — Control problems continue to plague him (52k/48bb) at the major league level, as they did in the minors, but he occasionally showed flashes of good stuff and should contend for a starting rotation spot in 2011 spring training.  WHIP (1.53) and BAA (.271) were way too high, but as a first year contributor, he had some decent moments.

David Hernandez (B-) — Accepted his bullpen role well and turned out to be impressive in his non-starter-work.  Could eventually compete for a starter’s spot again, but his lack of durability was an issue in his previous efforts to start.

Jason Berken (B-) — Was arguably the team’s most consistent pitcher – out of the bullpen – before getting hurt.  Like Hernandez, might not have been good enough to a consistently good starter, but he seems to have settled into his bullpen role with enthusiasm.

Koji Uehara (B-) — When healthy, he’s good to very good.  When not healthy, he’s not helping.  The question isn’t whether or not he can pitch and be effective.  He can be.  The question is “can he stay healthy?”.  Had some success as the closer, but also gave up several big home runs in that role.

Jim Johnson (C) — Injury-riddled 2010 didn’t give him a chance to do much.  Will be interesting to see what role Showalter gives him.  Was at his best as the 8th inning set-up man.

Mark Hendrickson (C-) — The journeyman left hander figures to NOT return in 2011.

Matt Albers (C) — Trade bait, perhaps?  He’s been OK in Baltimore, but with Hernandez and Berken (and maybe Koji?) coming back, where does he fit in?

Alfredo Simon (C-) — Too inconsistent to be counted on.  Experiment as the closer didn’t work.  He can’t start.  So what do you do with him?  Teach him to pitch left-handed?

Michael Gonzalez (C) — Didn’t really get enough work to justify any grade, but on the whole, he was just OK, at best.

Field Players

Ty Wigginton (B) — Should have been the team’s MVP, truth be known.  Carried the team in April and May when they were horrible.  Had an off-month in June, but rebounded nicely under Showalter and looks to be Buck’s kind of player.  Get used to seeing him, he’ll be back next year.

Luke Scott (B) – Blossomed into the team’s best – and, maybe, only – real power hitter.  If not for that 3-week injury where he hurt himself jogging around the bases, he would have enjoyed, perhaps, a VERY good season.  The only knock on him?  Where do you play him in the field?  He was OK at first base…better than I thought he’d be, but he can’t play left field every day, that’s for sure.

Adam Jones (C+) – He is, without question, the club’s most mysterious player.  One week he’s red hot and has that big-player swagger and the next week he’s swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, grounding into double play-after-double play, and watching fly balls sail over his head.  Personally, I think he’s the player with the most potential on the roster.  But his 2010 was just “eh”…some good, some bad…mostly “eh”.

Nick Markakis (C) — Hard to give Nick much better than a “C” when a lot of his numbers were down across the board.  That said, I really believe the power drop-off can be attributed more to where he hit in the lineup than anything else.  Still remains one of the game’s best defensive outfielders and with solid additions to the lineup, he could once again be a .300, 24 HR, 100 RBI guy without question.

Felix Pie (C) –  An incredibly gifted athlete who certainly improved over his injury-riddled 2009, but he’s still not nearly the 5-tool player that everyone imagined he’d be when he came up through the Cubs system.  His blemishes are obvious — not patient enough at the plate, not enough power  and prone to the mental mistake more than you’d like.  But there’s plenty of good with him as well.  Improved defensively, for sure, and looks to be more comfortable against left handers.  It wouldn’t hurt the club to make him part of trade talks in the off-season, but if nothing else, he’s a valuable role player going forward.

Corey Patterson (B) – For what he was – a minor leaguer out of a job in the spring – Patterson turned out to be a more-than-adequate 4th outfielder in 2010.  He probably won’t be back in 2011, but it wouldn’t be a bad decision to bring him back if he’s willing to settle for the part-time role again.  He is what he is — a decent professional player.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But he had a good year in 2010.

Cesar Izturis (C-) – Outstanding defensive year was tempered by the expected offensive fizzle.  He’s better at the plate than given credit for — but the numbers don’t lie.  The Orioles need to do better at the shortstop position, that’s for certain.  Will they?  I’m not so sure.  I have a weird feeling Buck likes him…and that he might be back on a 1-year deal while the team figures out what they’re going to do at the position long-term.

Brian Roberts (C) — Tough to assess him based on the fact he missed 100 games.  As expected, the team benefitted greatly when he returned, but it wasn’t “the old” B-Rob for the most part.  15 RBI in 59 games?  Wow.  4 HR in 59 games?  Ugh.  14 doubles in 59 games?  Eye opening.  But let’s assume his early season injury contributed to his lack of production.  At this point, though, you would figure the Orioles are starting to think about “life after B-Rob”.  It’s coming sometime soon.

Josh Bell (D) — Wasn’t ready.  Period.  Overmatched.  Period.  53 strikeouts in 53 games.  2 walks.  A .214 batting average.  Was OK in the field, and that’s being kind.  Just not big-league caliber yet.  But it also means the Orioles will be in the market for a 3B this off-season.

Matt Wieters (C-) — Seemed to pick it up when Showalter arrived, but it wasn’t a good sophomore season from “Mauer with Power”.  His defense was questionable at times and his long, loopy swing was victimized throughout the early part of the season by fastball pitchers.  A .249 batting average clearly isn’t good enough, but the more eye opening stat was 11 HR in 130 games.  Not time to panic yet, because he’s a year and a half into his career — but we all probably expected more at this point.  Patience, young grasshopper, patience .

Julio Lugo (D) – Not much there.  Nothing memorable stands out, which is why he won’t be back next year.

Craig Tatum (C) — He’s the back-up catcher, but an adequate enough one.  Was actually decent defensively.  Not dangerous at the plate, but back-up catchers rarely are.

Staff

Andy MacPhail (C-) — Rescued from a “D” or even “E” grade with Showalter’s August-September impact.  All four of his off-season acquisitions were basically either non-contributors (Atkins, Gonzalez), not motivated to succeed (Millwood) or not good enough (Lugo).

Buck Showalter (A) — Nothing else to say.  Easiest grade to give.  Gives everyone hope for 2011.

Dave Trembley (D) — Game after game, there were always “next-morning-questions” about his strategies and in-game decisions.  Was never given a decent roster to work with, but he turned out to be overmatched as the head honcho.

Juan Samuel (B-) — I thought he was better than Trembley, for sure, and the questions about strategies and what not weren’t as prevalent as those involving Trembley.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 30 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because Mike Tyson, Wayne Brady and Bobby Brown blew up in the interwebs yesterday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzyIp_m5gkM[/youtube]

AWESOME.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says John Harbaugh claimed Ravens DE Trevor Pryce ‘will be back with us’

I’m torn on this.

I understand that there are circumstances that meant Trevor Pryce might not dress anyway in the Steel City. I understand that the Ravens like what Ken Hamlin brings to the table defensively, in veteran leadership and most importantly on Special Teams.

I understand all of that.

But I will admit that I am uncomfortable with the entire situation. The NFL mandates that you keep a 53 man roster. I would imagine that if the Ravens COULD release Prince Miller they probably would have, but he has to stay on the roster for another week.

We’ll see how this all shakes out. If anything, it says the most about Trevor Pryce-who was once amongst the best defensive players in the AFC; but now finds himself as nothing more than a potential roster casualty.

Strange times.

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ray Rice didn’t practice Wednesday, but teammates believe he’ll play Sunday in Pittsburgh vs. Steelers

Ray was made unavailable by Ravens staffers yesterday, but he had no noticeable limp when he was walking in the locker room and walking on the practice field. For now, I’ll lean towards the idea that he’s 60-40 to be on the field at Heinz Field. That number is trending up…

And honestly, I think the Ravens can survive without Ray Rice Sunday. I think they can still establish something with Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain and Jalen Parmele-even if they aren’t as dynamic as they would be with Rice.

Still-I’m betting he plays as of this moment.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Jared Gaither (back) returned to practice for first time since early in Training Camp

It was clearly good to see Gaither back out on the practice field. It would be particularly helpful if he could see the field Sunday, but I will admit that I am not expecting it.

You know who it would be REALLY nice to see on the practice field in Owings Mills? Shannon James. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

shannonjames

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Anquan Boldin named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

Boldin’s response? “Doesn’t matter.”

A couple of things before we move on from the Ravens…

-Cory Redding (concussion) and Tony Moll (hip) also didn’t practice Wednesday. We don’t know much yet about their status for Sunday, we’ll hope to find out more today.

-Speaking of which, Ryan Chell will be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today (I’m moving…yes…in the monsoon) for Ravens practice. Make sure you’re tuned into AM1570, following on Twitter (@WNST) and checking WNST.net for updates. We are expected to hear from Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison and Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg following practice.

5. The AP says Kevin Millwood masterful as Orioles topped Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field

Apparently someone made a mistake and sent Brian Matusz to the hill last night at The Trop wearing a “Millwood” jersey. Weird.

I assume that’s the last time we’ll ever see Kevin Millwood in a Birds uniform, so at least he gave us a nice memory. Or he gave the 73 people in Charm City who were watching the game a nice memory.

I would have watched, but “Modern Family” was on last night. Sorry.

6. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

Millwood’s line in out-dueling Jeff Niemann? 7IP, 0R, 2H, 3BB, 7K.

Pretty good.

Felix Pie added a two run triple; scoring Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

We’ll call the numbers “effective.”

Effective enough in fact that it’s worth going to look at them-then coming back here. When you come back here, Pheobe Price will be waiting for you. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

phoebe

7. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says O’s considering adding bars/restaurants to Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I think this is a bit of a no-brainer. They’re not selling out their boxes and club seats, so it would make sense to alter some of the club level to include a few restaurants and bars with a view of the field.

They don’t need to go crazy with this. When I was in Phoenix, Chase Field not only had a TGI Friday’s in left field (which was nice); but they also had a NIGHTCLUB in Center Field. That isn’t necessary.

But I wouldn’t mind there being something like a Hightopps in left field…where I could sit and enjoy 23-368 Mooseheads. You know, somewhere that I could look like this…

beer

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Arrieta will avoid surgery after getting second opinion

Before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-Alfredo Simon had his suspension reduced from two; which he began serving last night. I’d have a reaction, but really…why???

-The Orioles finished the road portion of their schedule last night, they now return home to OPACY for the final series of the season. The Detroit Tigers are in town, and if the rain will allow, Jeremy Bonderman will face Jeremy Guthrie tonight; and first pitch on MASN will be at 7:05pm.

9. TowsonTigers.com says Cincinnati Associate AD Mike Waddell introduced as new Athletic Director

Did you miss Mike Waddell this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? If you did, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out! Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Sean McManus (CBS Sports President/son of Jim McKay)-who discussed the Sports TV industry and this Saturday’s Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park with Drew Thursday morning
  • Sean Salisbury (“Sean Unfiltered”-Voice America Sports Radio)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to talk all things NFL
  • Bob Harris (Duke Play by Play Voice)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to preview Saturday’s showdown between the Blue Devils and Terrapins
  • Jason La Canfora (NFL Network)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to take a trip around the league
  • Damon Klepczynski (Mountain Branch)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to talk some Ryder Cup
  • Roland Williams (VERSUS College Football analyst, former Raiders/Rams TE)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon on “The Afternoon Drive” Wednesday to preview Navy/Air Force Saturday
  • Jennie Finch (Former USA Softball Player)-who joined Rex Wednesday to discuss her role with the Avocado League
  • Casper Wells (Detroit Tigers OF, former Towson Tiger)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Wednesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to preview his return to Baltimore this weekend
  • TONS of audio from 1 Winning Drive Wednesday-including John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Kelly Gregg, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain

It’s all in the Audio Vault-so don’t worry; I have your day planned for you again. Look outside. It’s not like you were going anywhere…

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland WR Torrey Smith expected to play Saturday vs. Duke

THANK.GOD.

But if for some reason the star Wide Receiver COULDN’T go, I’d recommend Ralph Friedgen consider inserting Roxanne Pallett. (Thanks Guyism!)

pallett

And finally, I leave you with this.

Best ever rain song? How about Led Zeppelin…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVvgWHawlqY[/youtube]

The O.A.R./Robert Randolph version isn’t bad either…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iSWnI9DtOI[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Is Alfredo Simon jeapordizing Opening Day 2011?

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Oriole manager Buck Showalter was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for one game (Monday night in Tampa) as a result of the supposed intentional hitting incident involving Jose Bautista on Sunday in Toronto. Alfredo Simon was fined and suspended for three games, which is all currently under appeal. As I said, Showalter served his suspension (his was not able to be appealed). While a player is appealing a suspension, he’s allowed to play and remain with the team.

First off, I disagree with the punishments as handed down by MLB. I have a real issue with the fact that the Orioles are being held to the coals in this situation. Remember a few weeks ago when the Yankees and Tigers had a beaning incident and both benches were warned?…a NY pitcher still went on to hit another Tiger, and magically he wasn’t tossed. So this creates an impression now that the league is trying to make an example out of a team that’s out of contention. Furthermore, the suspension was handed down as the Orioles made their way to Tampa to face the Rays, a team that just clinched a playoff birth (against the Orioles). Hmmm…the league wouldn’t be trying to make the O’s play short-handed so as to give an added boost to a playoff team by chance would they? (For those who say that Simon isn’t an integral part of every Oriole game, I would also submit that a suspension forces a team to play short-handed; they can’t call up another player to take his roster spot.)

But that aside, the suspension is what it is. (I would also mention that Shawn Marcum, the Toronto pitcher involved, got fined for his part in the fiasco, although he wasn’t suspended.) As I said, Simon is appealing the suspension; the season in ending on Sunday. If the league doesn’t hand down a decision before Friday and the suspension remains in tact, it will carry over into 2011. So that would mean that the Orioles would go into Opening Day with the potential of having to play a man short on the roster (assuming that Simon is on the team of course). If the league really wanted to screw the Orioles over, they could render their decision after the weekend, which would require Simon to sit out for the entire opening series (assuming the suspension is upheld).

Ideally, the decision is rendered before this could become an issue, which would allow Simon to serve whatever part of his suspension is in tact right now. It’s a small point, however I would hate to see the O’s get off to a poor start next season because they have to play short-handed due to a petty issue that carried over from 2010. Being a bit of a maverick myself, I support every player’s right to appeal any fine or suspension. However I just hope that this doesn’t somehow come back to bit the Orioles in the rear come next season. I suppose my point is that I’m sort of wondering aloud what kind of moxie one small decision like this could bring upon the entire team. Odds are that even if Simon’s supension carries into 2011, it won’t make a huge difference, however you never really know until the time comes.

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Do the Orioles know something about Jose Bautista?

Posted on 27 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Nevermind the fact that the O’s got swept by Toronto this past weekend. The big story out of this series is what came out of the last game. Long story short, Jose Bautista got hit by Rick VandenHurk in the third inning, and Shawn Marcum hit Luke Scott in the fourth. At that point both benches were warned, however Buck Showalter brought in Alfredo Simon in the fifth, who promptly hit Bautista a second time. Both Simon and Showalter were tossed from the game, and Marcum made the following statement after the game:

“I guess that’s how they do things over there. I think we have a little more respect for the game and respect for players on other teams. We’re not going to throw at them on purpose, even if they have 50-plus homers. It is part of baseball; I understand you have to pitch people inside, but to bring a guy in from the bullpen and throw two pitches at him and then get ejected, it seemed like it was very intentional.”

First off, regardless of the record I’ve always been proud at the way that the Orioles have approached every game this season. One thing that Dave Trembley preached was respect for the game and you opponent. If anything, the O’s might have been respecting the game by doing what they did. First off, I would submit that Bautista was in fact hit intentionally on both occasions. If that’s the case, I would say that it was done with good reason. Bautista’s hit 52 homers in 2010…his previous career high was 16 in 2006. I don’t want to convict someone of steroid use in the absence of concrete evidence, however the fact remains that one of the indicators of steroid abuse is a player who’s numbers are inflated year-over-year. (Bautista hit 13 homers in 2009.) There’s no question that his home run total is raising eyebrows at the very least.

That aside, Jim Palmer’s said on more than one occasion on MASN that Cito Gaston has a reputation for stealing signs. So is there potentially more than meets-the-eye here? As I’ve said on more than one occasion, I have no issue with teams enforcing the unwritten rules of the game when they’re broken. Stealing signs is a big no-no. We’d be naive to think that it doesn’t go on, however the fact is that baseball’s always been a gentleman’s game, thus is shouldn’t go on. I’ve seen on more than one occasion in games against Toronto this year where the batter’s literally had his bat waiting for the pitch when the Oriole pitcher threw it; almost like he knew where the location would be prior to the pitcher knowing it. Where I come from that’s called junk ball, and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

Shawn Marcum might want to think twice next time he wants to make comments like that, because perhaps there’s good reason for Bautista to have been hit. Certainly it could have been coincidental for sure. However if that’s truly the case, why did Toronto retaliate immediately against Luke Scott the next inning? The O’s could have thrown at Bautista because of the stealing signs, and/or because they know or think that his numbers are being churned out artificially. The Orioles won’t see the Blue Jays again until next June at Camden Yards. Marcum probably won’t forget this…neither will the Orioles.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a (semi) Happy Thursday for me, because the bad news is that Andy Roddick suffered his annual collapse last night at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. My alcohol consumption during the match was at an all-time high. As soon as Tipsarevic went up 0-40 on A-Rod’s serve to close the 2nd I knew something bad was happening.

BUT…it isn’t all bad news. For example, if you happened to poke over to MASN2 last night, you might have seen something more awesome than even WWE can offer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKZk88o4ppw[/youtube]

For the record, Gaby Sanchez’s clothesline > Edge’s spear.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles got to Jon Lester early, but Red Sox rallied to win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

When the Orioles scored four runs in the first inning against Jon Lester, I thought to myself (and asked on via Twitter @WNST) if anyone had a weather report for hell. I was assuming freezing rain myself.

Sadly, Jon Lester turned back into Jon Lester at some point, and the Orioles bullpen that has been very good as of late turned back into the Orioles bullpen that wasn’t even a little bit good for stretches this season. Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon were about as good as…Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon.

(Edit from GMC: That’s not really fair. Mark Hendrickson was good for the vast majority of the season. But that doesn’t really help my point, so I won’t mention it.)

Remember August? August was really good for the Orioles. Maybe if we can find a Hot Tub Time Machine we could go back to then…

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

The good? Felix Pie had a pair of doubles and Adam Jones had a double, 2 RBI and scored a run. Also, Ty Wigginton went 2-3, scoring a run and driving in another.

The bad? While Jake Arrieta gave up just 3 earned runs on 6 hits and didn’t walk anyone, he was also pulled after 5 innings after having already thrown 95 pitches.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, check out Hope Dworaczyk. This will be much more fun. Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!

hoped

3. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says O’s called up Brandon Snyder, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino

And for some reason, Reimold was in the lineup last night facing Jon Lester. Luke Scott was not.

(Edit from GMC: I know there was a “reason”. Spare me.)

Word is that Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk and Troy Patton are going to follow this group. If this doesn’t sell tickets for Sunday afternoon against the Rays, I’m not sure what will. In fact, I’m pretty sure Rick VandenHurk bobblehead night will be September 15th.

It will be good to see these guys on the field a little bit for the next few weeks, at least for as much as I’ll actually be watching. My guess is that I won’t really be watching that much. I’ve got tennis for the next 10 days and college football starts tonight. You really think I’m going to bother with baseball?

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds playing games in September that ‘almost’ matter

I don’t think “almost” is an appropriate term here. I think the more appropriate term is “sorta.”

The fact is, the Orioles are 34 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’re not even in the REALM of “almost.”

But there are some things about this September that make it “sorta” meaningful. Extending a good month into a strong close to the season helps in changing the culture in Charm City. Having a good month and then tanking again anyway makes fans think to themselves “same old Orioles.”

It’s “sorta” meaningful. The games are completely irrelevant in terms of baseball, but the end of the season could help in trying to cultivate a dead baseball environment in this area.

To REALLY change the baseball environment in this town, a team would have to win THROUGHOUT the season. Not just for a month-or even two.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Joel Guzman crushed 32nd home run for Bowie Baysox in win over Altoona Curve on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things.

-The Birds and BoSox wrap their 3 game series with a rubber match tonight at OPACY. Brad Bergesen faces Daisuke Matsuzaka, first pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Adam Jones was forced to leave last night’s game with back pain still stemming from being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch last week. It still doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern, but it’s still an issue a week removed.

-Multiple reports (including MLB.com) say David Hernandez is about a week or so away from returning. That’s good news. But you already knew that.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens placed Mike McLaughlin on IR to make room for Josh Wilson on roster

And if he hadn’t ended up on IR, the practice squad would have been the other possible destination for McLaughlin. He was an undrafted LB out of Boston College who the Ravens decided to move to FB-which he hadn’t played since high school. He was AT BEST a longshot to make the roster, but will buy himself some time to continue developing over the next year now that he’s on IR.

Of course, if the Ravens were going to make room on the roster for someone-I sorta wish it had been Izabel Goulart. Thanks, Guyism!

izabelg

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens’ game tonight big for bubble guys like Prince Miller, Demetrius Williams, David Reed

I will admit that I’d still be a bit surprised just to see Demetrius Willliams on the field tonight. I know he returned to practice this week and is sort of a “bubble” guy, but it looks more and more like he almost HAS to make the roster-and there doesn’t seem to be anything smart about playing a roster guy with a bad ankle on a terrible carpet.

Prince Miller’s road to the roster got much longer when the Ravens acquired Josh Wilson. Not only does Wilson give the Ravens necessary depth at CB, but he could free up Chris Carr to return punts. Miller will get the chance tonight, but Carr could very well end up being the guy in the regular season. Reed could be in trouble as well-as it looks like he’s behind both Williams and Marcus Smith on the depth chart.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Troy Smith fighting for final roster spot

And you will see PLENTY of the former Heisman Trophy winner tonight. As I’ve said throughout the week on AM1570, expect 4 quarters of Smith tonight-similar to how John Beck went 4 quarters against the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-The Ravens and St. Louis Rams get together at Edward Jones Dome tonight. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 locally. I’ll be joining Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 pm on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to preview the game.

-Did you miss Rams color analyst (and former Super Bowl champion) D’Marco Farr with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other stuff you can hear in the Audio Vault includes…

  • Brian Billick (Former Ravens coach and WNST part owner)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his “man crush” on Aaron Rodgers (didn’t he have a man crush on another QB from Cal?) and all things NFL
  • Mark Mravich (SI NFL Editor)-who discussed the SI NFL Preview Issue with Drew, including Peter King’s choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the Super Bowl
  • Paul Azinger (former PGA Championship winner)-who discusses his new book “Cracking the Code” with Drew-a book about being the captain of the 2008 Ryder Cup winning US team
  • Peter Schrager (FoxSports.com)-who joined Drew to preview College Football season, which starts tonight.

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Get there today, and as always-YOU’RE WELCOME!

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens picks Navy to beat Maryland 31-24 Monday at M&T Bank Stadium

I haven’t decided exactly what my pick will be just yet (I’ll announce it tomorrow), but my guess is that I’ll end up picking the Mids by at least 10 points myself.

Speaking of the number 10, here’s a picture of Arianny Celeste from Maxim via NextRound.net….

celeste

10. TowsonTigers.com previews tonight’s season opener at Indiana Hoosiers

If this was Villanova or another good CAA team, the conference would have a real chance to score a major upset. However, it is not-so I’ll take IU at about a 31-6 clip.

The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Matt Devlin, Derek Rackley and Stacy Paetz are on the call.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via Deadspin, here’s a photo of Joakim Noah golfing. That’s all you need to know.

joakim

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because myself, the lovely “Boomer Sooner”, “The Luckiest Dang Roommate on the Face of the Planet” and “The Luckiest Dang Roommate’s Girlfriend on the Face of the Planet” all wandered up to Camden, New Jersey (which might be the single WORST place on the face of the planet) to check out the great Jimmy Buffett.

I would sit here and sing the praises of Jimmy Buffett (and/or the multiple Coronas we downed beforehand), but you already know just how great he is. Instead, I’ll let you know that my personal favorite Jimmy Buffett live song is “Southern Cross”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7Ah-Ch8NQ4[/youtube]

And yes, you ARE allowed to pick a cover as your favorite song to see live. Of course, now that I found out that it is ALSO Boomer Sooner’s favorite song; I think I’m going to have to consider another. I mean, this is still relatively new for me. I can’t let her think that I respect/value her opinion, can I? She’s a girl!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Birds crushed 4 homers against Justin Masterson, bullpen in win over Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!?!?!?

Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Matt Wieters and Luke Scott all homered last night (Luke Scott did something on the road?); and the team survived a shaky performance from Jake Arrieta to win their 7th in their last 8.

I don’t know what else to say. The fact is it DOESN’T matter as the team has won 7 of 8 but STILL has the worst record in Major League Baseball-although they’re just a half game in front (behind) of the Pittsburgh Pirates in that race. However, it is really nice to have a stretch like this. They’re not going to win 87.5% of their games the rest of the way; but if they can compete to stay around .500 the rest of the way, we’d all be entertained.

But it still wouldn’t REALLY matter.

What matters is what happens this offseason, and what happens next spring.

But if we’re going to have to watch the games, I guess we might as well be entertained. It’s either this or watching YouTube clips “Come On” highlights from Arrested Development and South Park…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5BMQ-xpTog[/youtube]

Okay, that clip was more entertaining. Sorry to the O’s…

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of another win

By the way, Arrieta’s final line last night was 6IP, 6R (5ER), 6H, 2BB, 3K. I feel like I’m going to hear someone describe his start as “gutty” at some point today.

You know the (new) drill here. You actually DO want to look at the numbers now, which is stunning. Do that, then look at this picture of Nikki Mitchell from The Smoking Jacket/Busted Coverage. Win/win I call it!

nikkimitchell

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara could take save opportunities from Alfredo Simon

I know Buck Showalter is all about winning games (and trust me, I’m GRATEFUL for that); but I don’t think Uehara makes sense.

Uehara’s 2 year, $10 million deal ends in a month and a half; and I just can’t fathom Andy MacPhail having future plans for him in Charm City. Then again, MacPhail was the guy who gave him stupid money and a stupid promised start in the rotation originally.

If Showalter wants to find out whether or not he has a closer on the roster for next season (and I’m guessing he doesn’t), he should go with Simon and Gonzalez. If he’s just hellbent on making sure Steve in Homeland loses his bet with Drew Forrester; maybe it’s worth taking a shot on ol’ “Sideburns.”

4. Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker says former Mariners manager Wakamatsu could join Buck Showalter’s Orioles staff

Apparently these two have a history that dates back to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and this would be a natural fit. I’d be fine with it, but I’d prefer they go out and get an actual PLAYER from the Emerald City. For example, is Ichiro available?

This of course is part of the question surrounding what the Orioles’ staff will look like a season from now. Few in Baltimore would be saddened to see Terry Crowley depart, but baseball minds will tell you he’s still amongst the better true hitting coaches in baseball. There’s an argument that the young pitchers on the Orioles staff would be better suited to have Rick Kranitz stick around for continuity, but there’s also an argument he hasn’t earned that right just yet.

With no offense to Gary Allenson, T-Bone Shelby or Jeff Datz; those jobs really aren’t significant enough to worry about who handles them. Should Buck Showalter have someone from his past (Toronto Blue Jays 3B Coach Brian Butterfield comes to mind) that he wants to fill the role; that’s fine. Should he decide to keep one or more of the current guys in place, that would be fine as well.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Scott Moore homered in Norfolk Tides’ loss to Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The Birds and Tribe face off again tonight, with first pitch from the Comeback City at 7:05pm on MASN. Brad Bergesen faces Josh Tomlin-whoever that is.

-Did you miss Hall of Famer Earl Weaver with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Drew and Earl talked about Buck Showalter, the anniversary of Cal Ripken’s MLB debut and much more. Head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Chorye Spoone (Bowie Baysox pitcher)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his season in the O’s system
  • Orlando Alzugary (WQAM Miami)-who previewed the Miami Dolphins as we continue to preview AFC East teams this week in our look at the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule
  • Purple reports from Westminster with Luke Jones; as well as sound from McDaniel College Tuesday with John Harbaugh, Jameel McClain and Tom Zbikowski
  • Chris Chester (Ravens OL)-who joined Thyrl Nelson following practice Tuesday
  • Ken Singleton (YES Network)-who discussed the anniversary of Cal’s debut and some New York Yankees baseball with Rex Tuesday
  • Ryan Couture (Strikeforce fighter, son of Randy Couture) and Reed Harris (WEC General Manager)-who both joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday during “The MMA Report”

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, meaning once again you have your day taken care of for you. As always, you’re welcome.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Chris Carr, Jared Gaither likely to miss Ravens preseason opener tomorrow night vs. Carolina Panthers

We still don’t know about some of the other question marks on the roster, including Fabian Washington-who could be sat to protect him from the M&T Bank Stadium turf.

If Washington & Carr can’t play, it would be likely that Travis Fisher and Cary Williams would start. Wow.

They could still go out and make an acquisition. For example, I believe Paulina Stanek is available. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

stanek

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Domonique Foxworth underwent knee surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews

That’s right, the ugliest name in all of sports medicine-which also so happens to be one of the best.

It’s a long road back from an ACL tear-but there’s no question in my mind that Domonique can handle it both mentally and physically. Because of the timing of it, he should be in good shape to be back in time for Training Camp next season.

In the meantime…umm…does he maybe have a cousin who can come play for the Ravens???

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Shayne Graham, Billy Cundiff to alternate kicks tomorrow night

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things:

-Training Camp is CLOSED to the public (and to the media) today, so if you head up to Carroll County-a trip to Chick-Fil-A will be about your only option. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Luke Jones will still be checking in throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider today on AM1570 WNST as we prepare for the Ravens’ preseason opener tomorrow night.

-This morning’s “Training Camp Top 5″ was “If you were to get in a fight with Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the upper deck at Heinz Field, which current or former Ravens would you want on your side?”

Here’s my list:

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Steve McNair
  3. Bart Scott
  4. Tom Zbikowski
  5. Arthur Jones

Here’s Drew’s list:

  1. Rex Ryan
  2. Kelly Gregg
  3. Ray Lewis
  4. Jarret Johnson
  5. Frank Walker

And via Twitter (follow us @WNST), here’s Nestor Aparicio’s list…

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Bob Sapp
  3. Sam Adams
  4. James Trapp
  5. Ray Lewis

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins De’Onte Arnett, Taylor Watson to miss Training Camp in College Park

The Terps held their football Media Day yesterday at Byrd Stadium, and you will be able to hear from plenty of players (including Jamarr Robinson, Da’Rel Scott, Alex Wujciak, Poly’s LaQuan Williams, Antwine Perez, Torrey Smith and more) via WNSTv in the next few days/weeks.

It was a slightly awkward day at Media Day yesterday, as the cloud of last year’s 2-10 record and the uncertainty surrounding Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin (the man tabbed to be the program’s next head coach) remains. It will remain that way until (unless?) Maryland turns things around this season.

The other news to come out of Media Day was that LB Avery Murray has left the team for personal reasons, and Zach Kerr & Ronnie Tyler are still in summer school.

Patrick and I discuss Maryland’s O-Line, preview North Carolina and North Carolina State; and get into a spirited discussion regarding Navy football in this week’s “D1scast”-which you can hear now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

10. LA Times’ Chris Dufresne names Navy 24th best team in country

What Patrick and I discussed yesterday surrounded the nature that this is CLEARLY the best team in Annapolis since maybe as far back as the Roger Staubach era; but all of the positive feelings could go away should Ken Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen lose just the season opener against Maryland.

Their schedule doesn’t allow for them to make too much noise the rest of the way (they face other ACC bottom-feeders like Duke and Wake Forest as well as a Notre Dame team that may or may not be a factor in the BCS this season). Should they suffer an early costly loss, it will be hard to maintain a Top 25 (or Top 25-range) status.

That being said, this is a FANTASTIC problem for the Mids to have.

You know who won’t have trouble staying in the Top 25 this season? Sophie Reade. (Thanks Guyism!)

sophie

And finally, I leave you with this.

I named “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” earlier this week on Facebook (you can add me as a friend-just search for “Glenn Clark” and add the goofy looking guy sipping Orange Kool-Aid because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights). “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison isn’t just A comeback song, it is THE comeback song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Shake, rattle, and roll: Orioles Magic!

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

In hitting the second walk-off home run of his career, Brian Roberts sent notice to baseball, his teamates, and most importantly the fans that this wasn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. Thus far in 2010, the O’s have almost been accessories to the accomplishments of other teams. We’ve seen 11th hour walk-off homers against the O’s, clutch hitting, celebrations (many of which I would say were bush league), and many other things. I suppose it even got to the point to where teams knew that something fluky would happen in their favor that would propel them to victory, whether it was a ball hitting the bag and being fair, an infield error, or even a bad call that would go against the Orioles. One way or the other, their every desire always seemed to be granted when they’d play the O’s.

In last night’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox, that same potion seemed to be brewing when Paul Konerko hit a solo home run off of Alfredo Simon in the 9th inning knotting the ballgame at two. Common sense dictated that the Orioles would probably find some way to blow the game, whether that meant that Simon would give up another run that inning, or Chicago would win it in extras. Sure enough, the White Sox had runners at the corners in the top of the 10th, only to have Matt Albers induce a Carlos Quentin grounder to third to end the inning. (I might add that MLB Network could at least try to cover up the fact that they felt Quentin beat the throw to first base, even though replays were pretty conclusive to the contrary.) So in the last of the 10th, Brian Roberts stepped to the plate…

…and promptly sent a 1-0 pitch towering towards Charles Street! While the ball didn’t make it quite that far, it went over the scoreboard in right field, which made it a home run. A walk-off home run at that! As he rounded the bases, Brian Roberts reminded us of the concept of Orioles Magic, which was introduced in 1979 on the heels of Doug Decinces’ homer against Detroit at Memorial Stadium. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has gone right for this team in 2010. Granted the O’s have caused a lot of their own problems, however the aspects that they cannot control have all gone against them as well (injuries, bad calls, etc). Now many people appear content to say that they can’t even lose properly because they want the Orioles to get the #1 pick in the draft. I have no yearn to see that, as I want the Orioles to win as many games as they can.

That aside, I think there’s a big difference between the Orioles of 2010, and the Buck Showalter-led Orioles of 2010. Showalter is now 6-1 on the season with the Orioles; much of that is due to a shot in the arm that he perhaps brought into town with him, however he seems to have the team paying closer attention to detail as well. There are many people that might read this and skeptically think that this is all a fluke, and that eventually the Orioles will revert to their old ways. I’m no prophet; for all I know that might happen. However in the past the Orioles have had second half swoons that have hurt them in the standings. Perhaps a second half surge in 2010 might help them to start quickly in 2011. I always knew that the O’s had the talent to win games, it was just a matter of getting everyone healthy at once, and putting everything together. By invoking Orioles Magic last night, Brian Roberts melded the Orioles’ past, present, and future with one swing of the bat. Who knows what the future holds, however the fact remains that winning is a heck of a lot more fun than losing.

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because I was out of town yesterday-but had an outstanding experience. I poked my head into a random farmers market (for security reasons, I’ll leave the location undisclosed), and it was a magical experience. A friend of mine (I think for future reference we’re going to call her “Boomer Sooner” here) made a delicious concoction of beeksteak tomatoes, feta cheese, a multigrain baguette, lemon basil and pepper.

Seeing as how my meals are usually made up of frozen pasta or Chick-Fil-A, it was a refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately my phone was dead, so I failed to Twitpic the experience. I’m sorry everyone!

But as I pointed out yesterday on Facebook (search “Glenn Clark” and add the guy who is drinking orange kool-aid and shaking his head because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights), the highlight of the event was the fact that this vision of food took place in direct earshot of a group called the Second String Band. I wish I had their version of “If I Had a Boat” available, but instead you’re going to have to settle for Dave Matthews’ version. No offense to Lyle Lovett, it’s just that everyone else does his song better…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap1ruVdAwl8[/youtube]

And while we’re here, let’s go ahead and post Dave Matthews (& Emmylou Harris) covering “Long Black Veil”-most famously from Johnny Cash. I mean, as long as we’re here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCLqphW77aA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net says Peter Angelos directly involved with Ravens, MASN divorce

My initial response? “Surprise, surprise.”

It’s frustrating to read this story, but it is by no means stunning. MASN has been nothing short of a trainwreck since it’s inception (that’s not a low blow), even when one Glenn Clark was briefly part of the programming. In fact, if you ever needed proof that MASN was a trainwreck from the go, the fact that Glenn Clark was ever part of it has to be absolute proof!

The good news that comes from the MASN/Ravens divorce? We’ll NEVER have to watch Tom Davis have to talk about a franchise he so clearly despises. The guy was almost comical in his snide comments regarding the organization-which was a bit interesting considering his over-the-top love affair with the Major League Baseball team in town. You know, the Major League Baseball team that employed him.

There was a sense that the Orioles finally came around to working with the Ravens out of necessity. The Ravens pep rally and giveaway nights at Camden Yards would attract the biggest crowds of the season; and it was always fun to see the likes of John Harbaugh, Steve McNair and Willis McGahee throw out the first pitch at a game.

I hope the Orioles don’t really think they don’t “need” the Ravens anymore. I hope they’re not foolish enough to think that they’ve fixed their problems and don’t need the help. I’m as excited as anyone else about the 5-1 start under a new manager, but this is still a desperate situation.

2. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Tavares Gooden, Chris Carr amongst Ravens who missed practice Sunday

The good news? Tavares Gooden returned to practice Monday, according to our own Luke Jones-who is reporting from the practice field at McDaniel College.

The bad news? Chris Carr did not practice again Monday morning. He wouldn’t answer questions about the injury (believed to be his hamstring) after practice Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, and John Harbaugh dismissed questions as well.

I’m not sure what there is to know, but I know that an injury to Chris Carr is reason for concern. With Domonique Foxworth out for the year and Lardarius Webb on PUP, Chris Carr is a very important part of this football team. Hopefully the injury is not significant.

Luke passed along a few more notes from this morning-as OL’s David Hale & Stefan Rodgers as well as safety KJ Gerard WERE practicing, while Ramon Harewood, Tony Moll and Marcus Paschal were again NOT practicing.

Talking about football is just so great…

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says ‘cutting down penalties’ area of concern for Ravens in Training Camp

An area of concern for Glenn Clark? Finding more pictures of Nikoleta Rali (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

nikoleta

And a few more Ravens notes before we move on…

-Remember, today and tomorrow are the only days this week you can go watch the team practice at McDaniel College. The team will have a walkthrough Wednesday that is closed to the public, and are off Friday following Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

-Our own Luke Jones is back out in Carroll County all day today, keeping you updated with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider every hour on AM1570 WNST.

4. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jeremy Guthrie out-dueled Mark Buehrle as Orioles topped White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Who in the hell are these guys?!?!?

I had a TERRIBLE feeling when Ramon Castro crushed the home run in the 9th off of Alfredo Simon to make it 4-3. But much like when I had a terrible feeling as the team tried to blow a 9-1 lead against the Los Angeles Angels last week, the team managed to hold on.

And with that in mind, I say “Buck Yeah!”

koolaid

It doesn’t REALLY matter what happens in these games the rest of the way as the season ended before even Memorial Day; but it is nice to actually win some of them anyway. What happens from April-June of NEXT year will be significantly more important, but I’ll continue to enjoy it for now. It certainly beats the alternative.

5. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of another win

And once again, I’m left without my tag line here.

Guthrie was absolutely stellar, allowing one run on 6 hits and just one walk over 8 innings. Felix Pie homered, and just about everyone in the lineup (including Cesar Izturis) had a double.

I CANNOT figure out who these guys are.

But just to keep up appearances, take a look at the numbers and THEN take a look at this picture of Shanna McLaughlin hanging out in the Central Florida locker room. I don’t know why she did it, but I’m glad she did. Thanks Busted Coverage!

shanna

6. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Troy Patton optioned to Norfolk, Craig Tatum expected to take his place on O’s roster

Apparently Buck Showalter went to Andy MacPhail and said he wanted another position player for the bench. I’m sure Andy MacPhail was happy to have someone offer him thoughts about personnel.

When Tatum officially gets called back up, make sure you’re signed up for the WNST Text Service. You’ll find out the news as soon as it happens.

I’m guessing Jake Fox will be happy to not have to catch anymore. Or at least I am…

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Buck Showalter wants to give Jason Berken ‘a break’

And given how he’s struggled recently after lighting the world on fire earlier in the season, it is apparent that his workload (leading the league in innings pitched) has caught up with him.

Now it is a bit strange that the team would option Troy Patton at the same time that they’re giving Jason Berken a break-but I will admit that the starting pitching has been pretty good recently. When Kevin Millwood wasn’t hammered in the first inning Saturday night, I thought it a minor miracle.

That doesn’t mean that I’m convinced that the starting pitching is somehow “fixed.”

I have a bad feeling that the team will end up getting at least a few rough starts soon (maybe not against the Cleveland Indians-they’re terrible; but possibly against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend despite the fact that everyone else has no-hit them this season). It is probably a risk worth taking though, and hopefully Berken will be ready to go before too long.

8. NorfolkTides.com says Zach Britton roughed up in Tides’ loss to Louisville Bats on farm

And a few things before we move on from the Birds…

-They’ll close up their 4 game series with the Pale Hose tonight at OPACY, Brian Matusz takes the hill against Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Jay Jaffe from Baseball Prospectus this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Mark Kelso (Buffalo Bills Color Analyst)-as Drew continued to preview the teams on the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule this season
  • Rex Hoggard (Golf Channel)-who broke down Tiger Woods’ struggles in Akron and previewed the PGA Championship this weekend
  • A live check-in from Luke Jones this morning from Westminster at Training Camp
  • John Harbaugh’s Sunday press conference
  • Lomas Brown (ESPN Analyst and former NFL O-Lineman)-who joined Eric Aaronson to look around the league.

Now you have your day planned. You can thank me later.

9. UMTerps.com says 22 Maryland freshmen reported to College Park Sunday before practice begins Tuesday

Overheard from Ralph Friedgen’s tour of the area Sunday…

“This is Route 1. Never go here. I know you will anyway, so when you do-don’t act like an idiot. Don’t let me find out how stupid you are. Don’t get arrested at Cornerstone. Don’t bother women at Bentley’s. PLEASE and Thank You.”

Hopefully the young Terrapins were listening.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps trying to break streak of 6 straight seasons scoring 25 or fewer points per game

You know what would help this team offensively? A little photographic inspiration. May I suggest Pia Muehlenbeck? (Thanks Guyism!)…

pia

And finally, I leave you with this.

As I said yesterday via Facebook, I’m not sure if it even technically counts as a board game, but I know what the greatest board game of all time is…

connect4

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles: Two months to go, nothing to play for…except these 5 things

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Drew Forrester

A week or so into the Orioles 2010 season – marred by a pair of 3-game drubbings at home by Toronto and Tampa Bay – I was already baseball’d out.

48 hours into Ravens camp and I’m already “injury’d out”.

So rather than write what everyone else is writing – “everything’s going to be just fine” or “the sky is falling, we might not win 6 games” – about the Ravens, I’ll go back to the well one more time and offer a few observations about our orange feathered friends.

With the debut of Buck Showalter as manager on Tuesday, I figured it’s time to take a good look at the remaining two months of the season and list some of the things that REALLY matter between now and the end of September.

As we know, the 2010 baseball season in Baltimore is over.  But the 2011 season is sort-of starting right now, for several players have “something to prove” in the final 60 days of the campaign.  I’m not talking about how Adam Jones finishes the season (he’s going to be on the team next season and start in center field) or how Matt Wieters finishes (he’s the catcher here…period) or whether or not Brian Roberts ends his season next week or finishes the year playing regularly (he’s going to be the 2nd baseman on opening day next year).

I’m talking about the unknown.  These are the things we don’t know…and things that matter over the last two months as it pertains to the start of 2011.

1. Who’s the closer? I’m not saying this because Alfredo Simon coughed up the game last night, but I don’t think he’s the closer of the future for the Orioles.  You know what you get with him.  A guy who usually puts at least one runner on base in a close-out situation, if not more.  Some nights, he escapes, some nights, he doesn’t.  I’d like to see the club use David Hernandez in the closer role and give him a legitimate shot at either earning the job heading into 2011 or throwing it up for grabs.  He, like Simon, is prone to the occasional walk, but I think he has better command of his fastball than Simon and, to me, he’s just more dependable.  I think the club has some “live arms” in the bullpen.  Let’s use the last two months to figure out which one is best suited to close in 2011.  And before you say it…no, it’s NOT Mike Gonzalez.

2.  Can Luke Scott play first base? In a short sample of work (21 games over two season), Scott has been adequate at first base, with three errors in all.  With each game, he seems a bit more comfortable to me.  Here’s what I DO know:  Luke can’t play left field.  Here’s what I DON’T know:  Can he play first base on a regular basis (meaning, 120 games) and still be productive at the plate and field the position well enough to justify earning the status of “starting first baseman”?  I’d use the last 55 or so games to really figure that out and if Scott handles the situation decently, I’d be willing to look at him as the incumbent first baseman next year.  That is, unless we go out and buy a big free-agent first-baseman/quality hitter in the winter.  Never mind, you already know the answer to that.  Let’s see what Luke can do.

3.  What’s the Pie factor? Since the All-Star break, Felix Pie has become Felix Pie again, hitting roughly .190 and striking out more times than Clinton got monthly visits from Monica.  At times, Pie looks like a project worth keeping around.  Despite his recent struggles, he’s become more selective at the plate and his power potential looks better than it did a year ago.  But he’s still not done enough to warrant earning a full-time role in the outfield, no matter what happens with Nolan Reimold in the minor leagues.  If I’m the Orioles, I think long and hard about Carl Crawford regardless of what Pie does between now and the end of the season (and if that means shipping out Reimold in a deal for something of quality, I’d think about that, too).  But in the meantime – not knowing what Crawford will do and assuming the Orioles won’t pay him, anyway – I’d go ahead and keep playing Felix every night in left field and use the last 55 games to figure out whether or not he’s the man in 2011.  It would be nice if he could stay healthy for longer than 6 weeks, too.  We’ll have to see about that.

4.  Can the Bell ring? I don’t have much to go on, granted, but I’m not “feelin’ it” with Josh Bell so far.  He’s a wild, free-swinger at the plate and I don’t see the natural athleticism in the field at 3rd base.  That said…he’s in the January of his major league career and he needs time to show if he can do it or not.  With Tejada gone, it’s obvious that the Orioles are going to go with Bell throughout the remainder of the season.  But I hope they’re not just playing him to play him.  I hope they’re evaluating him as well.  If he doesn’t show enough quality in the field, there might be a need for some off-season shopping to bring in someone at the hot corner.  And no, I don’t mean Miguel Tejada Visit #3.  I mean a real 3rd baseman. If Bell is decent in the field and shows improvement at the plate, he’ll be the starter in 2011.  I’m not feelin’ it yet, but I’m willing to give him more time.

5.  Izzy worth one more year? Face the facts, we’re an organization that doesn’t spend a lot of money on players, so ANY opening that requires a check to someone – particularly a big one – might be met with a patchwork effort.  That’s how Cesar Izturis got here in the first place…MacPhail didn’t want to spend real money on a high-profile shortstop.  Anyway, two years later, Izturis is again a free agent and the Orioles will enter the off-season without someone to play that position in 2011.  This “Izturis debate” would be moot if we had someone in the wings waiting to come up and take the gig.  We don’t have that player.  So…in his two years here, has Izturis done enough to warrant a new deal?  Maybe.  I’d use the last two months to really look at him, study the numbers and decide if it’s worth bringing him back for ONE more year (assuming he’ll take a one-year deal) and use that money to try and lure Crawford to Baltimore in the off-season.  I know Izturis isn’t a great player.  But he’s a dependable defensive player and an occasionally adequate offensive contributor.  He’s been more involved in rallies and wins this year than you’re willing to give him credit for, I can assure you of that.  I’m not saying DEFINITELY bring him back.  I’m saying it might be worth CONSIDERING bringing him back and I’d use the last 55 games to give him a quiet audition.  One more thing about the benefit of having Izturis around:  When you fill out the lineup card, SOMEONE has to bat 9th.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because for the first time in my life, I finally tried it…

trout

And of course…I loved it. I’m not sure that I PREFER it to a chicken box, but when it comes to dining with a Half and Half…I can get behind some lake trout.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP/STATS’ Brett Huston previews Orioles-Padres series starting tonight at Petco Park

There’s some real buzz in San Diego today about former Toreros pitcher Brian Matusz coming back to town.

There’s some real buzz in Baltimore today about having a baseball team that feels like being stung by a million bees over and over again.

I hope the players enjoy their weekend in one of the country’s best cities. I also hope they actually find a way to win a game (or more)…although I think their only real chance to do it is Sunday when Jake Arrieta faces Jon Garland.

Geez…the team didn’t even lose yesterday and I’m dejected talking about them.

Ugh.

Jack Cronin from XX Sports Radio in SD joined us today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to preview the Pads. If you missed it, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today and check it out. Other guests this morning included…

-A trip around MLB with our buddy Craig Calcaterra from HardballTalk at NBCSports.com
-An update of U.S. Open action at Pebble Beach from our buddy Rex Hoggard from The Golf Channel

It’s all up there in the Audio Vault here at WNST.net, make sure you check it out!

2. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Markakis thinks O’s “all bad right now”

Which simply means Nick Markakis has been watching Orioles baseball.

How many people sent a message to tell Nick he was being “too negative”, by the way?

Nick is really the only player on the team who can speak out when it comes to the organization right now. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and David Hernandez haven’t performed nearly well enough-and are hoping that if they’re forced to deal with it, they’ll at least get good contracts.

Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman have all been merely okay this season-and wouldn’t want to piss off the guys that could actually deal them to a real team before July 31st.

Cesar Izturis, Lou Montanez, Garrett Atkins, Corey Patterson, Julio Lugo, Frank Mata, Craig Tatum, Matt Albers, Jason Berken, Alfredo Simon and Scott Moore aren’t relevant enough.

Jake Arrieta just got here. Brian Roberts is hurt.

Markakis is the only player who has MOSTLY (save for the power numbers) kept up his end of the bargain AND has a contract. In that way, he NEEDS to be vocal. He NEEDS to stand up. I know it’s not in his nature-but he’s the only guy who can do it right now.

Or…the team can just keep losing-and those of us who follow them can wonder if they really care. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from Nick, as the organization needs to be reminded by ALL parties (not just Nestor Aparicio’s blog this morning) that what’s happening here is NOT okay.

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Andy MacPhail not planning on unloading at Trade Deadline ‘for the sake of moving payroll’

If MacPhail is hoping to fleece someone in exchange for Kevin Millwood, he’s crazy. If these guys are going to be dealt, they’re probably going to be dealt for disappointing returns. The bulk of the guys that are available on this roster might as well have “for a player to be named later” attached to the end of their name.

That’s what happens when you have a bad team with bad players.

Hopefully Andy will go ahead and part with some of these guys despite the fact that he might not get the returns he wants. There’s no reason to force Ty Wigginton to suffer like this. He had a good month. Reward him for that.

But knowing the pace Andy works at, he’s probably still trying to figure out how much he can get for Sidney Ponson.

4. Virginian-Pilot says Nolan Reimold’s 2 run double lifted Norfolk Tides to win on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-The Birds ARE back in action tonight, with Matusz facing Wade LeBlanc and the Fathers at Petco Park. First pitch is at 10:05pm on MASN2.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”-Steve Melewski from MASN. Steve took the time to beat up Bobby Valentine for having a .510 winning percentage and only one playoff appearance. If the Orioles were .510 and had a playoff appearance in the last 13 seasons; we’d probably have a parade!

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens signed former Pro Bowl safety Ken Hamlin, unable to agree to deal with Walt Harris

Unless he just doesn’t think he can make the team out of Training Camp, I can’t FATHOM a reason why Walt Harris would pass on a chance to join this team in Westminster.

You’re unemployed, and a good team wants you. You say NO?

Maybe he’s holding out for an offer from the Kansas City Chiefs-a team that he would feel more comfortable about being able to stick with-but this still kinda boggles me.

Ken Hamlin provides the Ravens an insurance policy for Ed Reed, and could end up providing the team with some depth at safety-although I struggle to see how the team could afford to keep 5 safeties.

Of course, they might keep 55 Defensive linemen, so what do I know?

6. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens released Ashton Hall, Brad Jones, Courtney Smith, John Fletcher, Daniel Sanders

I’d say they’d be forgotten, but I’m not sure anyone was particularly aware they were here….other than the Cincinnati fans that tried to convince me Brad Jones was an impact player.

And with these players now gone, I once again implore Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh to consider making an addition. How about Jessica-Jane Clement??? (Thanks Guyism!)

clement

7. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Oher to receive Congressional Award Gold Medal

I really have nothing else to say about this other than “Congratulations” to Michael, who has been a tremendous representative to both the team and Charm City. We’re very proud.

You know who else deserves a Congressional medal? Roxy Louw. (Thanks Barstool Sports!)

louw

No, I DON’T care that she’s from South Africa. Why would I?

8. Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy says after declining interview at Maryland, Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni accepted Penn State job

Which really IS kinda stunning.

The easy assumption is that the folks in State College had a boatload of money to offer (whereas we know the folks in College Park have been dealing with some significant budget issues in recent years) thanks to the Big Ten Network TV money they’re getting. As my pal Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse on Twitter) pointed out to me, the Nittany Lions also recently hired the great Cael Sanderson as their wrestling coach, so they’re certainly taking more sports seriously.

Does it reflect poorly on the Terrapins that Tambroni wouldn’t even interview but then took a lesser job? Sure. But the relevance is only as significant as the performance of their own hire John Tillman. If John Tillman succeeds as head man for the Terps, it won’t matter that Jeff Tambroni didn’t interview.

If Tillman struggles-everything Tambroni, Paul Cantabene, Marc Van Arsdale, Don Zimmerman, Leland Rogers, Gary Gait, Scott Marr, Lars Tiffany, Lars Ulrich and Gary Larson does in the future will be an issue.

(Edit from GMC: Lars Ulrich was GREAT in “Get Him to the Greek” by the way.)

(2nd Edit from GMC: Patrick wrote something really good about new Gary Williams assistant Bino Ranson this morning. Read it. You’ll be better for it.)

9. The Towerlight’s Colin Stevens says Mike Hermann resigned as Towson Athletic Director

Which you would have already known had you been following us on Twitter (@WNST) or listening to Drew Forrester Thursday morning on AM1570.

I think Mike Hermann did a good job during his tenure at Towson; but the Hermann era will be remembered as a time when Pat Kennedy’s basketball team struggled, Gordy Combs’ football team struggled so much he had to be fired, and Tony Seaman’s lacrosse team didn’t necessarily live up to expectations. There was progress made at Unitas Stadium, but they never did get the new arena underway to replace the Towson Center.

That being said, I don’t think the Tigers are better without Mike Hermann than they were with him.

10. InsideMDSports.com’s Jeff Ermann says heralded freshman LB Javarie Johnson left Terrapins due to ‘academic and personal issues’

Which clearly reflects poorly on Ralph Friedgen, but sometimes these things happen.

To replace him…maybe Sophie Reade? (Thanks Don Chavez/Busted Coverage!)

sophie


And finally, I leave you with this.

I love interns. In fact, we have a great group of interns working with us over here at 1550 Hart Rd. this summer. One of my favorite games to play with interns is the “Formal Friday” game. When an intern comes in, I let them know that while some places of business have “Casual Fridays”, we do things the opposite way. During the week we’re allowed to dress casually (and trust me…we do), but on Fridays we look more presentable.

Our midday intern…we call him “Young Howard” due to his resemblance of Howard Stern from years past in the movie “Private Parts”…told me that he didn’t work Fridays. Therefore, I let him know he’d need to do it on Thursday. He did…

logan

And then of course we have our morning show intern “Ryan Dundee”, who even one-upped Logan this morning…

ryan

I couldn’t even IMAGINE having a real job.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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