Tag Archive | "american league"

Orioles agree to six-year extension with center fielder Adam Jones

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Orioles agree to six-year extension with center fielder Adam Jones

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Saturday 6:45 p.m. update — The Orioles have completed the deal and will announce it on Sunday, according to MASNSports.com. Jones’ agent Nez Balelo remained in Baltimore over the weekend to finalize details with executive vice president of baseball operations.)

In what would be a benchmark moment for the future of the organization, the Orioles are reportedly close to a club record long-term extension with star center fielder Adam Jones.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Baltimore was closing in on a six-year agreement for money in the neighborhood of $85 million as of Friday morning. That contract would trump the franchise record $72 million contract the  Orioles offered to Miguel Tejada prior to the start of the 2004 season. A new agreement would buy out Jones’ final year of arbitration before he was scheduled to become a free agent following the 2013 season.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has remained mum on the topic of a Jones extension, dodging questions about it in several local interviews, but it appears the Orioles will make a long-term commitment to the 26-year-old outfielder.

Jones is hitting .311 with 14 home runs (tied for second in the American League) and 29 runs batted in this season in what’s easily been his most productive start to a season in his seven-year career in the big leagues.

Reports indicate Jones has already taken a physical as the two sides iron out final details for the deal on Friday morning.

The center fielder is making $6.15 million this season and would likely become the highest paid player on the team with a deal certain to surpass the six-year, $66.1 million extension signed by right fielder Nick Markakis prior to the start of the 2009 season.

With the Orioles set to welcome the Kansas City Royals to town to begin a three-game set, Friday could prove to be a memorable night in the history of the organization.

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With All of the Losses, Even the 15-7-0 Is Now in the BCS Title Picture

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With All of the Losses, Even the 15-7-0 Is Now in the BCS Title Picture

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I have no concrete proof that Towson University is building a statue for Rob Ambrose, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

A lot of people are surprised by the Tigers’ success, but not me. I’m so effing stunned I’m still not a hundred percent certain it actually happened…

There’s no way anyone…in the world…could have ever seen a CAA Championship coming this season. This team still has more work to do though. They won’t feel incapable of beating anyone they play in the NCAA playoffs, starting with Lehigh December 3rd at Unitas Stadium.

Seriously…this is Towson we’re talking about. This can’t be real.

2. I thought I was happier to see the Washington Redskins lose when they play miserably, but I think I was even happier to see their fans suffer heartbreak Sunday.

I will admit that I thought those a-holes in DC were done after Tony Romo hit Jason Witten from 59 yards away…

…but somehow Mike Shanahan’s team stayed in the thing long enough to have a kick to win in overtime. Graham Gano of course missed the kick and DeAngelo Hall channeled DeAngelo Hall to help the Cowboys survive.

I celebrate your misery, clowns. May you never win another game…unless for some reason you play the Steelers. Even then, I dunno.

3. Tony Sparano is giving Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross something very similar to what Lou Brown gave Rachel Phelps.

Does anyone remember earlier this year when the Buffalo Bills were good? No? I swear I thought they were…

Stephen Ross started interviewing coaches before bothering to fire Sparano. Sparano used that to fire up his team, convincing them to win in order to piss off the ownership there that wanted to get new players and coaches. Suddenly Matt Moore and Reggie Bush are playing like real National Football League players and there’s a problem on South Beach…at least for now.

It’s very similar to what Lou Brown did back when he was managing the Cleveland Indians…

Did we ever find out if Brown won American League Manager of the Year that year? He was a hell of a skip.

(Side note. Every time the Orioles tried to hire a General Manager this offseason I assume the calls went awfully similar to that time when Charlie Donovan called Brown at Tire World to offer him the gig with the Tribe.

“How would you like to be the Birds’ GM?”
“Gee. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? This is your chance to be a Major League Baseball General Manager!”
“Let me get back to you, will you Peter? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.”)

4. Andrew Luck has an impressive lateral motion towards the Heisman Trophy.

Do you get the feeling the Stanford quarterback is saying to himself, “Well, if no one else wants it…”?

I’d show you something from the Cardinal’s win Saturday night over rival California, but there wouldn’t be anything that would convince you Luck has locked up the award.

Instead, here’s Lee Corso dropping the “f-bomb” on ESPN’s College Gameday Saturday morning from the University of Houston. There’s no real reason to share the video, other than the fact that it includes the f-bomb.

5. If ANYONE has put their name back in the Heisman mix, that person is Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.

The Bears’ QB almost singlehandedly made sure next weekend’s “Bedlam” game was uninteresting to the rest of the country by throwing (and running) all over Oklahoma Saturday night…

It’s probably too little, too late as far as the Heisman is concerned-but it is certainly a reminder that RG3 has been one of the most entertaining players in the country all season. This TD pass to Kendall Wright however is probably not one he should take credit for…

Also humorous? Erin Andrews took the worst of a Gatorade shower intended for Griffin…

AND…in the hysteria on field after the win in Waco, America fell in love with a gal rushing the field on crutches…

6. At times, Matthew Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks in the world.

But if he did this more often the Detroit Lions wouldn’t have to make dramatic second half comebacks week in and week out like they did Sunday against the Carolina Panthers…

This game also involved Lions TE Tony Scheffler invoking an AT&T Flash Mob commercial in a TD dance…

And a note to Fantasy Football owners: Lions RB Kevin Smith ran for over 100 yards in this game. The physics of that alone are stunning, really.

I’m well aware it’s a different guy, but can we talk about this picture for a second? I say this as a HUGE Silent Bob fan. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Are those shorts? Is it some sort of jean skirt? Is it a denim quilt? Holy hell.

7. No one knows how to pronounce his name, but Chris Ogbonnaya had himself a fine day Sunday.

Well, I feel like a bit of a silly goose for taking fantasy advice and playing the Jacksonville Jaguars defense against the Cleveland Browns Sunday.

The only meaningful highlight in this one came from Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who invoked Cleveland “hero” LeBron James by tossing powder in the air after scoring a TD…

And in an unrelated story, here’s a 6 year old kid crying about the New York Jets after their loss to the Denver Broncos the other night. He has an awful mother…

El oh el.

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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

On Friday’s edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, Thyrl Nelson and I celebrated Sunday’s Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductions of Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick with a four hour tribute to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

During the show, I named my Top 10 moments during that special run in O’s history. As I explained last week, these Birds represented “The Only Magic I’ve Ever Known.”

(I didn’t include Jeffrey Maier or the season ending games in either season on this list. These were the memories we WANT to remember.)

10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)

ripkenkinugasu

When Cal Ripken played in his 2,216th consecutive game in Kansas City, he already owned the record for consecutive games played.

If he had stopped at 2,210 consecutive games, there would have been no argument that he didn’t hold the record.

With no offense to Sachio Kinugasa, but nothing that happens in Japan can be fairly compared to anything in Major League Baseball. When Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, the record was his.

That being said, the fact that Kinugasa was able to attend the game at Kauffman Stadium made the warm June night pretty special. The evident connection between the two men made the night even more fun for baseball fans.

If you ever get the chance to chat with CSNBaltimore.com writer (and longtime Baltimore Sun columnist) John Eisenberg about this night, please do. The stories are a LOT of fun. I’d tell you myself, but they aren’t my stories.

9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)

moose

I have never been more captivated by watching a baseball game than I was that Friday night.

At the time, Home Team Sports (HTS) was still a premium channel on Comcast in Baltimore County. Friday night games however were regularly available over the air (most on WNUV 54), allowing 8th graders like myself to sit at home and watch the games instead of hanging out with our friends.

I’ll never forgive Sandy Alomar for the hit that he managed off Mike Mussina in the 9th inning that night. His brother is my baseball idol, but his name is evil in my mind.

There’s been only one Orioles no-hitter in my lifetime (a combined effort from Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson in 1991), never a solo no-hitter. I’ve seen the Orioles no-hit themselves a couple of times, but I’ve never seen an Orioles pitcher throw a no-no.

I really thought I was going to that night.

8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)

aleast

With their 9-3 defeat of the Blue Jays at the building formerly known as SkyDome, the O’s clinched their first AL East title since 1983.

More significantly, they became only the sixth team in MLB history to win the division title going “wire to wire”, in first place from Opening Day to Game 162.

It was a remarkable run for the Birds, although 14 year old Glenn Clark may not have fully realized how significant it was because he was too worried about playoff matchups and hoping to avoid the Yankees in the ALCS.

He got his way. Unfortunately it didn’t end up making much of a difference.

7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)

bradya

The legacy of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season in 1996 can certainly be labeled as “clouded” at best.

That being said, whether the 50 home run campaign (which concluded with a dinger on the season’s final day in Toronto) was aided by substance or simply a result of a former leadoff hitter “reaching his athletic opus”, it still stands as the only time in Orioles history a player has reached the mark.

(Frank Robinson previously held the team record with 49.)

Despite the rumors, following Brady’s home run exploits in 1996 was fun for Orioles fans-especially the stretch were he lead off four straight games by going yard.

And no matter how we felt about it, there’s little chance the Orioles make a run to the ALCS in 1996 without those 50 home runs.

6. A walk off slam (May 17, 1996)

hoiles

Anderson’s “moment” was a season in the making. The Ripken “moment” was nearly 14 years in the making.

Hoiles’ “moment”? Roughly one swing in the making.

The Orioles trailed the Seattle Mariners 13-10 in the 9th inning. What happened next was something I had practiced in my back yard roughly 160,000,000,000 times.

With two outs, the bases loaded and a 3-2 count (of COURSE it was a 3-2 count), Chris Hoiles hit what can only be described as the MOST ultimate of “ultimate grand slams.”

Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know just how frustrating the 2011 season has been for Baltimore Orioles fans.

I also know how frustrating the 2010 season was. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006. And…I think you get the point.

I was born on September 6, 1983. Just over a month later (October 16) the O’s vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 to claim their third (and still most recent) World Series title. Despite being alive for 40 days when it happened, I’m ashamed to say I have no memories of the title.

The 1989 Birds were a special group. I’ve watched the “Why Not” video a number of times in my life, mostly thanks to my friends BJ and Chris Appel. While they finished short of winning the American League East crown, the team has left many folks in Charm City with special memories.

Unfortunately, I had just turned six years old when the season was cut short. My memories of the ’89 Orioles are extremely limited, and the team itself really didn’t mean much to me as a baseball fan.

I’ve made it quite clear that I am much more of a lacrosse person than I am a baseball person. I’ve made it obvious that certain things about baseball in recent years have made me turn from the game. That’s been made worse by the fact that the team here in Baltimore has given me almost nothing to enjoy for nearly 15 years now. Like many other fans in this city, the demise of our own team has lead to a lessened interested in the sport in general.

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

My 12th birthday was September 5, 1995. It was a special day to be an Orioles fan (like I need to tell you) as Cal Ripken passed Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. My parents were kind enough to purchase me EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday that year-an oversized Orioles “Starter” brand jacket.

(I know I wasn’t the only one who wore a Starter jacket at the time.)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that jacket off for two years-even in the summer.

Baseball was my most significant love in 1996. The Ravens came into existence during the offseason but wouldn’t “take over” the city for another three to four years. In fact, as rabid as we were in Baltimore for the return of the NFL, there were multiple games between Memorial Stadium and what was then known as PSINet Stadium in the early years of the Ravens’ existence that were “sold out”, but featured less than empty crowds.

It was a baseball town, and I loved the Orioles more than I even loved girls.

One of the most exciting moments of my life was the day I found out Home Team Sports (HTS) had been moved from the “premium” tier of Comcast programming in Baltimore County and instead became a basic cable channel.

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

In 8th grade, I was often caught not paying attention to teachers in class. While other kids were writing love notes, I was found to be drawing miniature baseball diamonds and impressing my friends with my ability to name the starting nine for every other team in Major League Baseball.

I was a complete and total nutjob when it came to baseball.

I’m not sure I can fairly explain how much those 1996 & 1997 teams meant to me as I hit puberty. My entire attitude was determined by what the Orioles had done the night before.

I still remember coming home from Perry Hall High School one late fall afternoon in 1995 to have my dad tell me the Orioles had signed Roberto Alomar. I didn’t believe him at first, but ultimately celebrated as if I had received straight A’s on my report card.

The 1996 & 1997 Orioles gave me some of the happiest memories of my life as a sports fan. They also of course gave me some of the saddest memories of my life, as they failed to advance past the ALCS in both years.

As far as “Orioles Magic” is concerned, the only thing I REALLY know about “magic” for the Orioles franchise happened during those two seasons.

I’ve explained my excitement about Alomar’s impending induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame many times. Part of my identity as a Baltimore sports personality is tied to my affection to the man who will take his place in Cooperstown next weekend.

I find it fitting that as Alomar enters the Hall of Fame, he will share the stage with the architect of those Orioles teams, former General Manager Pat Gillick. Gillick’s career is directly tied to Alomar, having brought the second baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays, where the pair would win two World Series titles. Gillick would go on to bring Alomar to Baltimore, where he would lead the O’s to their only Wild Card playoff berth and their first AL East crown in 14 seasons.

My guess is that most of the coverage surrounding next weekend’s induction ceremony will be about the time Alomar and Gillick shared with the Jays. But for Orioles fans, next weekend’s ceremony will be a reminder of a special (albeit short) era of success in Baltimore.

It’s with that in mind that I am happy to announce that Thyrl Nelson and I have come together to dedicate next Friday’s (7/22) edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

We’ll use the show to congratulate Alomar and Gillick on entering the Hall of Fame, as well as to honor the teams that were truthfully the most special in my lifetime.

We’ll talk to players, coaches, broadcasters and even fans who were around those teams. Some interviews will be live, some will be taped earlier in the week. As guests continue to confirm, I’ll do my best to pass them along.

Older Orioles fans might not look back on the ’96 and ’97 with the same fondness that I do. But this is all I’ve known of winning baseball in Baltimore…well…ever.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you’ll tune in next Friday to AM1570 WNST or online at WNST.net to join in the celebration. I hope you’ll chime in with calls, emails, Tweets (@WNST or @GlennClarkWNST on Twitter), Facebook messages and other memories of those teams.

It’s the only “Magic” I’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t look like it will be changing soon.

(Eds. Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated the Ravens had experienced “multiple blackouts” in their early years.)

-G

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Feast or Famine: An exercise in futility

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Keith Melchior

With the NBA and NHL playoffs both leagues crowning  champions this week,  I think back to when Baltimore rejoiced in the Ravens’ Super Bowl  victory. The city was painted purple and fans from all over partied in the streets and watched the celebration in the rain. Hard to believe that was 10 years ago already.

Imagine how you’d feel if you were a fan of a team that never won a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA title or Stanley Cup.  Here in Baltimore, with our 2 major sports, we’ve experienced 4 NFL championships (1958, 1959, 1970, 2000) and 3 World Series titles (1966, 1970, 1983).  Buffalo comes to mind as a city that has never experienced the feeling of winning a championship. The Bills (NFL), Sabres (NHL),  and the old Buffalo Braves (NBA) have had some really good teams that never won a championship. Cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Montreal, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh Green Bay and Chicago all know what it’s like to win numerous championships and on many occasions, fans from a few of those cities love to rub  those championship victories in the faces of many Baltimore fans.

We’re well aware the Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and in the AL the Cleveland Indians last won the series in 1948. Around the Baltimore area, we hear the complaining about the Orioles only making the playoffs twice in 27 years and not winning a World Series title since 1983.

It’s hard to win championships in any given league. Many franchises were fortunate enough to win multiple titles in their history.  Others, however, haven’t been lucky enough to even win at all. Some have never gotten the chance to play for a league championship. Talk about a hard pill to swallow. How would you like to be those fans?

Here’s a list of all current major sports franchises, the year they last won a championship and the current drought ;

Baseball – Chicago Cubs 1908 – 102 yrs, Washington (Senators/Nationals) 1924 – 86 yrs,  Cleveland 1948 – 62 yrs,  Pittsburgh 1979 – 31 yrs,  Baltimore 1983 -27 yrs,  Detroit 1984 – 26 yrs,  Kansas City 1985 – 25 yrs,  New York Mets 1986 – 24 yrs,  LA Dodgers 1988 – 22 yrs,  Oakland 1989 – 21 yrs,  Cincinnati 1990 – 20yrs,  Minnesota 1991 – 19 yrs,  Toronto 1993 – 17 yrs,   Atlanta 1995 – 15 yrs,   Arizona 2001 – 9 yrs,  LA Angels  2002 – 8 yrs,  Florida  2003 – 7 yrs,  Chicago White Sox 2005 – 5 yrs, St Louis 2006 – 4 yrs,  Boston 2007 – 3 yrs,  Philadelphia 2008 – 2 yrs,  NY Yankees 2009 – 1 yr,  SF 2010 – current.

These 7 current teams have yet to win a World Series;  Houston 1962 – 48 yrs , San Diego Padres  1969 – 41 yrs,  Milwaukee Brewers 1969 – 41 yrs, Texas 1972 – 38 yrs – Seattle* 1977 – 33 yrs, Colorado 1993 – 17 yrs, Tampa Bay 1998 – 12 yrs….  *Seattle is the only team to have never played in a World Series.

NHL – It’s not an easy task to win the most beautiful trophy in all of professional sports, Lord Stanley’s Cup. It takes 16 playoff wins to accomplish the feat. Unlike the NBA, where certain teams seem to dominate the post-season, the NHL has crowned 8 different champions in the last 8 seasons. The only 2 teams to repeat as champion in the last 20 years were Pittsburgh in 1991/92 and Detroit in 1997/98. Detroit and New Jersey are the only teams to win twice in the millennium.

The drought continues for former Cup winners;  Toronto 1967 – 44 yrs, Philadelphia 1975 – 36 yrs, NY Islanders 1983 – 27 yrs, Calgary 1989 – 22 yrs,  Edmonton 1990 – 21 yrs, Montreal 1993 – 18 yrs, NY Rangers 1994 – 17 yrs, Dallas 1999 – 12 yrs,  Colorado 2001 – 10 yrs, New Jersey 2003 – 8 yrs, Tampa Bay 2004 – 7 yrs, Carolina 2006 – 5 yrs, Anaheim 2007 – 4 yrs, Detroit 2008 – 3 yrs, Pittsburgh 2009 – 2 yrs, Chicago 2010 – 1 yr, Boston 2011 – current.

These 12 franchises have never won a Stanley Cup in their history; LA Kings 1967 – 44 yrs,   St Louis 1967 – 44 yrs, Buffalo 1970 – 41 yrs, Vancouver 1970 – 41 yrs, Washington 1974 – 37 yrs,  Minnesota (North Stars -1967-1993 and Wild -2000) 37 yrs,  Atlanta (Flames 1972-1980 and Thrashers  1999-2011) – 22yrs**,  San Jose 1991 – 20 yrs,  Ottawa 1992 – 19 yrs,  Winnipeg 1979-1996 – 17 yrs ** , Florida 1994 – 17 yrs,  Phoenix 1997 – 14 yrs, Nashville 1998 – 13 yrs, Columbus 2000 – 11 yrs… **Atlanta’s franchise was sold and will move to Winnipeg in 2012, the 2nd time NHL hockey has failed in the ATL.

These teams have never played in a Stanley Cup final;  Atlanta, Winnipeg, San Jose, Phoenix, Nashville and Columbus.

Boston ended their 39 yr drought last night, making Toronto the only team left from the original 6 not to win at least one Stanley Cup in the last 18 years.

NBA – The NBA is very stingy when it comes to crowning new champions. The sport has been dominated by Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio over the last 50 years, with those teams claiming the NBA title 36 times.  Since 1960, there have only been 15 different NBA champions crowned.  The Dallas Mavericks won their first ever NBA title in the 30 yr history of the franchise this week.

The drought continues for the following teams; Milwaukee Bucks 1971 – 40 yrs, New York Knicks 1973 – 38 yrs, Golden State 1975 – 36 yrs, Portland Trailblazers 1977 – 34 yrs, Washington 1978 – 33 yrs,  Philadelphia 1983 – 28 yrs, Houston 1995 – 16 yrs, Chicago 1998 – 13 yrs, Detroit 2004 – 7 yrs, Miami 2006 – 5 yrs, San Antonio 2007 – 4 yrs, Boston 2008 – 3 yrs, LA Lakers 2010 – 1 yr, Dallas 2011 – current.

Having a lot of different teams winning an NBA Championship over the years was almost like trying to unseat Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund or Hulk Hogan for the WWF championships, it just didn’t happen very often as noted by the gaps between the droughts from 1983 to 2011 when the likes of San Antonio (4), Detroit (3), Houston (2),Boston (3), LA Lakers (8), and Chicago (6) won 26 of 28 championships during that span. Miami and Dallas are the only different, “non-repeating” teams to win a title in 28 seasons

These franchises have never won an NBA title;  Phoenix 1969 – 42 yrs, Atlanta &  Cleveland 1970 – 41  yrs,  Utah 1975 (in New Orleans) – 36 yrs, Denver, New Jersey, & Indiana 1977 – 34 yrs,  LA Clippers 1979 (in San Diego) 32 yrs,  Sacramento 1986 – 25 yrs, Minnesota & Orlando 1990 – 21 yrs,  Memphis 1996 (in Vancouver) – 15 yrs, Toronto 1996 – 15 yrs, New Orleans 2001 – 10 yrs, Oklahoma City 2008 – 3 yrs

These 10 teams have never appeared in an NBA final: Charlotte, LA Clippers, Sacramento, Oklahoma City**, Toronto, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, and Minnesota. **(the  franchise won in 1979 as the Seattle Supersonics before moving to OKC)

NFL – They talk about wanting parity in the NFL and they are right. Here is an interesting list of all the current NFL franchises and the last time they won either the Super Bowl or the old NFL Championship post 1940′s.

Here’s the drought between championships;  Detroit 1957 – 53 yrs, Philadelphia 1960 – 50 yrs, Cleveland 1964 – 46 yrs, NY Jets 1968 – 42 yrs, Kansas City 1969 – 41 yrs, Miami 1974 – 36 yrs, Oakland 1983 – 27 yrs, Chicago 1985 – 25 yrs, Washington 1991 – 19 yrs, San Francisco 1994 – 16 yrs, Dallas 1995 – 15 yrs, St Louis 1999 – 11 yrs, Baltimore 2000- 10 yrs, Tampa Bay 2002 – 8 yrs, New England 2004 – 6 yrs, Indianapolis 2006 – 4 yrs, NY Giants 2007 – 3 yrs, Pittsburgh 2008 – 2 yrs, New Orleans 2009 – 1 yr, Green Bay 2010 – current.

These 10 franchises have never won a title in their history; Minnesota 1961 – 49 yrs, Atlanta 1966 – 44 yrs, Cincinnati 1968 – 42 yrs, (AFL merged teams – Buffalo 1970 – 40 yrs, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 1970 – 40 yrs, San Diego 1970 – 40 Yrs) Seattle 1976 – 34 yrs, Jacksonville 1995 – 15 yrs, Carolina  1995 – 15 yrs, Houston 2002 – 8 yrs….

Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville and Houston are the only current teams who have never played in Super Bowl game although Detroit and Cleveland both won an NFL Championship in 1957 and 1964, respectively. Even in the parity era of the NFL, only 17 of the current 32 teams (53%) have ever won a Super Bowl. Parity might give teams a chance, but it doesn’t guarantee them a title.

With MLB in preliminary talks about eliminating the divisional format and going to 2 leagues with a balanced schedule, the playoffs would expand to 5 teams in both the AL and NL. The teams finishing in 4th and 5th place would be the wild card teams and have a best of 3 series to determine who gets to play the top seed in the divisional round. Those 2 teams, along with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers would face off  in the divisional round. The LCS would pit the winners of round 2 in a best of 7. That seems to make the scramble for playoff seeding much more interesting. The only thing left is for MLB to scrap the  All-Star game winner securing home field advantage in the World Series. That should be left up to the individual teams to decide with best overall record determining the advantage.

Should MLB make the switch, we wouldn’t have to hear the Oriole apologists complaining about the Orioles having to play in the over-matched Al East anymore. Thankfully, that would be a thing of the past and hopefully so would their string of non-playoff appearances.

How sweet would it be to have both the Orioles and Ravens celebrating championships together? Extremely.  Then we could rub it in other fans’ faces for once.

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

AL East:

crawford

Drew Forrester-
Boston (1)
New York
Tampa Bay
Baltimore (82 wins)
Toronto

Glenn Clark-
Boston (1)
Tampa Bay
New York
Baltimore (78 wins)
Toronto

AL Central:

adamdunn

Drew-
Detroit (2)
Chicago (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Kansas City
Cleveland

Glenn-
Chicago (2)
Detroit (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Cleveland
Kansas City

AL West:

bwebb

Drew-
Texas (3)
Oakland
Los Angeles
Seattle

Glenn-
Texas (3)
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle

American League Awards:

hellickson

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Jon Lester Glenn-Jon Lester

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-J.P. Arencibia Glenn-Jeremy Hellickson

MVP:
Drew-Joe Mauer Glenn-Josh Hamilton

NL East:

phils

Drew-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
New York
Washington

Glenn-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
Washington
New York

NL Central:

greinke

Drew-
Cincinnati (2)
Chicago
Milwaukee
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Houston

Glenn-
Milwaukee (3)
Cincinnati
Chicago
St. Louis
Houston
Pittsburgh

NL West:

tejada

Drew-
Colorado (3)
San Francisco (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

Glenn-
San Francisco (2)
Colorado (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

National League Awards:

CarlosG

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Roy Halladay, Glenn-Madison Bumgarner

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-Freddie Freeman, Glenn-Brandon Belt

MVP:
Drew-Carlos Gonzalez, Glenn-Prince Fielder

American League Playoffs:

sox

Drew-
Division Series: Boston beats Chicago, Detroit beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Detroit, 4-2

Glenn-
Division Series: Boston beats Detroit, Chicago beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Chicago, 4-3

National League Playoffs:

philly

Drew-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, Cincinnati beats Colorado
NLCS: Philadelphia beats Cincinnati, 4-3

Glenn-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats Colorado, San Francisco beats Milwaukee
NLCS: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, 4-2

World Series:

Drew-
Boston beats Philadelphia, 4-2

Glenn-
Philadelphia beats Boston, 4-2

If you missed the explanation of our MLB Picks Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 17

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 17

Posted on 19 March 2011 by Luke Jones

Counting down 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.

Previous selections:
20. Matt Wieters’ debut
19. Hideo Nomo tosses the only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston

17. 30-3 – Aug. 22, 2007

final score

Sometimes a picture tells you everything you need to know.

It was a historic moment in baseball history, even if it came at the expense of the hometown team.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Texas Rangers’ absurd 30-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader was the fact that the Orioles led 3-0 heading into the fourth inning. If only they could have quit right there.

With a score that looked more like a Cowboys-Ravens’ result — if not for the Ravens holding a 3-0 all-time record against Dallas — the Rangers became the first team in 110 years to plate 30 runs to set modern major league and American League records. It was the second-most runs scored all-time, behind only the Chicago Colts who scored 36 against the Louisville Colonels on June 29, 1897.

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After starter Daniel Cabrera was chased from the game after giving up six runs in five innings, his work would be the best of the day as Brian Burres, Rob Bell, and Paul Shuey combined to allow an incredible 24 runs in four innings of relief. The Rangers’ production included a nine-run sixth and a 10-run eighth as the Orioles staff allowed a team-record 29 hits.

The result was more lopsided than the Rangers’ 26-7 win over the Orioles in Arlington in 1996, but at least there was no sign of Manny Alexander taking the hill in the late innings. The Orioles bullpen provided enough comedy — and agony — on its own without handing the ball to a position player for mop-up duty.

“I knew we’d get the bats going, but I never expected anything like this,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the game. “When the faucet is on, you want it to stay on. You never want to cut it off.”

That faucet more closely resembled Niagara Falls with Ramon Vazquez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — the Rangers’ eighth- and ninth-place hitters that day — each hitting two homers and driving in seven runs. To add further insult to injury, Texas took the nightcap of the doubleheader, 9-7.

The most amusing part of the 30-3 debacle? Rangers reliever Wes Littleton pitched three scoreless innings to earn the easiest save in big league history.

On a day in which he should have been happy after the Orioles announced he would return to manage the club in 2008, then-interim manager Dave Trembley was instead asked how you respond after such a humiliating defeat: “You have a real short memory and you let it go.”

Perhaps the result was a terrible omen as Trembley would manage the club to a 187-283 record (.398 winning percentage), though he had very little to work with in his four seasons.

Never was it more evident than that evening at Camden Yards.

final score

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Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

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Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

I was sitting at Love Field Airport in Dallas when I got the news.

Like so many stories in these past 18 months, I got the news from Twitter. Enrique Rojas from ESPNDeportes.com Tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles had finally signed free agent Designated Hitter/Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero to a one year deal worth eight million dollars.

guerrero

I smiled when I saw the news.

As an O’s fan-particularly an O’s fan who has seen my favorite team reach the playoffs only three times during the 27+ years I’ve been on this planet-one of which was a World Series win when I was only a month old-it’s easy to get carried away by any good news at all.

We just haven’t gotten much of it in Charm City during the regime of owner Peter Angelos, especially since 1998.

I will admit that after the Guerrero rumors didn’t produce a deal by the team’s annual Fanfest celebration January 29th at the Baltimore Convention Center-I had a bad feeling this was going to be another swing and miss for the organization and Birds fans alike.

That’s why the news of the deal was most exciting.

Not only did President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail come through to add a nine time All-Star and borderline Hall or Famer we’ve all enjoyed watching for years as a Major League Baseball fan, but he did it at a price some five million dollars more than we were told the team had originally offered.

In a few moments, it felt as though the organization had gone through a complete change. If felt as though we could finally mark the turning point in what I heard MASN’s Tom Davis call “The Rise of the Orioles” over the weekend.

Hell of a lede, huh?

Reality set in for me sometime around 2pm Saturday as I was sitting at Comcast Center in College Park watching Maryland blow out Wake Forest.

The reality in the acquisition of Guerrero is that the Orioles are a better team today than they were a week ago-but that nothing has REALLY changed organizationally.

The Birds invested $8 million dollars in their current and future on-field product Friday.

The $8 million they invested might well solidify them as a favorite to finish third in the American League East; and will lead to more MLB talking heads picking them to finish at or slightly above .500 this season.

Despite his age (35) and having missed nearly half the 2009 season with a torn pec (he played in just 100 games); there’s fair reason to expect Guerrero to equal his 2010 production (.300, 29 HR’s, 115 RBI) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2011.

For those reasons, there is an understandable excitement surrounding the acquisition of Guerrero-myself included.

But the Orioles didn’t change the course of their organization by signing Guerrero.

They signed a player for ONE season and gave him $8 million.

They didn’t make an annual investment of $8 million in a player in his prime who will be around for five seasons.

They made a one time investment of $8 million in a player who is nearing the end of his career.

They DIDN’T spend $56 million over four seasons to acquire Adam Dunn-which is what the Chicago White Sox did this offseason.

They DIDN’T spend $96 million over six seasons to acquire Adrian Beltre-which is what the Texas Rangers did this offseason.

Some folks will say the Orioles exercised fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, fiscal responsibility still hasn’t replaced “wins” in determining who wins the AL East and AL Wild Card.

The Orioles gave Vlad Guerrero $3 million more this season than they gave P Koji Uehara a season ago. (The team actually made more of an “investment” in Uehara than they did Guerrero-as he was originally given 2 years, $10 million.)

As CBS’ Ian Eagle would say, “that’s not a low blow…”

Guerrero makes the Orioles better, but most folks willing to take an impartial look at the general scope of the American League would agree that they’re still not approaching a place where they can legitimately compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have added Guerrero. They ABSOLUTELY did the right thing in making the addition. They should be commended for the decision to upgrade their team this way.

But as fans, we should have a little more IQ than to respond by saying things like “the confederate money era is over” or “they’ve finally decided to change their financial ways” or the one a caller named Aaron dropped on Drew Forrester and I Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST…

“Now the Orioles are set up to go out and get Prince Fielder this offseason.”

None of those things have changed.

For whatever reason, the team decided to make an $8 million upgrade that will help them win a handful of additional games this season. On paper, they will send a lineup to the plate that might end being in the top third of the league after finishing 13th in runs scored a year ago.

But adding Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero in an offseason puts them in good shape to win the 2005 NL East, not the 2011 AL East.

And it certainly doesn’t show that they’ve suddenly changed their ways in terms of spending money.

One eight million dollar payment does not suddenly enter them in the Albert Pujols discussion.

Hopefully things will go well for the Orioles in 2011.

Hopefully Guerrero will match his 2010 output.

Hopefully Lee and SS JJ Hardy will stay healthy and return to their 2009 productivity.

Hopefully 3B Mark Reynolds will keep his power numbers up even if his batting average and strikeout numbers are less than desirable.
Hopefully C Matt Wieters will reach the levels we thought he would reach a season ago.

Hopefully RF Nick Markakis and 2B Brian Roberts will be Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts.

Hopefully CF Adam Jones will look like the 2nd half of 2010 Adam Jones and not the 1st half of 2010 Adam Jones.

Hopefully the starting pitching will continue to develop.

If those things happen, the Orioles could be interesting to watch this season. It could be especially important to sports fans in the state of Maryland as we have no guarantee the Ravens will be reporting to McDaniel College in Westminster for Training Camp in July-or at all.
But can we all agree to not get carried away? Can we all agree to be able to react at an appropriate level?

The Orioles aren’t suddenly an expected contender because Guerrero is in tow. And they’re certainly not a team that has suddenly changed their business model in a way that will allow them to add players and compete on an annual basis.

They’re simply a little bit better than they were a week ago.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

-G

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MacPhail hits a HOMERUN on Vlad Guerrero deal …..

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MacPhail hits a HOMERUN on Vlad Guerrero deal …..

Posted on 05 February 2011 by Rex Snider

Is there any chance that you will look back, ten years from now, and recall exactly where you were, or what you were doing when the marriage of Vladimir Guerrero and the Baltimore Orioles spread throughout the sports world?

Probably, not.

While the addition of this sure-fire Hall Of Famer stands to benefit the Orioles in so many distinct ways, the blunt reality is Guerrero is a short-term fix and benefit for the ballclub …. and I’m okay with that.

For the past couple months, I’ve been publicly lobbying for this acquisition.  And, as the weeks toward Spring Training have dwindled, my plea has been getting louder.  It’s an ideal fit for both sides – Guerrero is a lifetime .333 hitter at Camden Yards, and the Orioles sorely needed his lethal stick.

Yeah, I’ve heard the rumblings about the slugger being “over the hill” and an “injury risk”, as well as his perceived lack of appeal to other clubs – especially as camps are set to open in just a couple weeks.

To those who bemoan this signing, I’ll simply question your knowledge of Vlad Guerrero, as well as the intimacies of baseball ….

Oh, and let’s not forget the folks who decry Guerrero’s signing as a figurative BLOCK of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.  Are you serious?  Welcome to the big leagues, bunk.  The truth is Pie and Reimold have BLOCKED THEMSELVES.

Both players have garnered opportunities, and while they haven’t necessarily squandered such chances, they haven’t seized them, either.  It can be a cruel business – produce or else.

So, let’s take a quick look at the supposed liabilities involved in bringing one of the greatest hitters of the past decade, to Baltimore …..

OVER THE HILL

Guerrero is coming off a season that yielded a .300 batting average, with 29 homers, 115 runs batted in and 83 runs scored.  And, these statistics were not an aberration – he has batted under .300 just once, since 1997.

But, perhaps, the most telling fact from last season was Guerrero’s .320 batting clip with runners in scoring position.  Ironically, this is also his career average with RISP, as well.

If he’s “over the hill”, just give me a few more geezers …..

INJURY RISK

This is undoubtedly the biggest misconception and overblown worry about Vlad Guerrero.  Yeah, he missed 60 games, in 2009.  Players get injured, but Guerrero has played in 140+ games, per season, in 7 of 8 years.  And, he has played in 140+ games in 11 of his 13 full Major League seasons.

But, since we’re talking about injury risks, let’s bring Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold back into the discussion …..

In his half dozen pro seasons, Reimold has spent time on the disabled list in 5 of them.  Got that?  He’s been on the DL in 5 of 6 seasons.  In fact, Reimold has played in 130+ games in just 3 of his 6 pro years.

As for Pie, he has been injured in 3 of his last 6 pro seasons, and he has played in 130+ games, just twice in those 6 years.  Of course, some of his missed time was simply attributed to poor performance.

That said, if we’re talking about “injury risks”, it’s a pretty safe argument to suggest Vlad Guerrero has been a much healthier option than the two players he’s likely to deprive of playing time.  And, he doesn’t ride the bench for less than stellar production.

LACK OF APPEAL AMONG OTHER CLUBS

This was absolutely the most humorous of the assertions against bring Guerrero to Camden Yards.  Indeed, I’ve heard those who’ve proclaimed “nobody else wants him …. that should say something.”  You’re right, it does.

Guerrero is pretty much limited to designated hitter duties.  Thus, every National League club is eliminated from the discussion.  To compound his narrowed opportunities, only a handful of American League teams entered this past off-season needing to fill the DH slot.

The Twins and Rays went with cheaper options, in Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.  And, the Rangers wanted to upgrade their defense at 3rd base, which relegated Michael Young to DH, with the acquisition of Adrian Beltre.

That really left the Orioles and Mariners as likely obscure options.  Both teams had the designated hitter role filled, but they could’ve improved with some position jockeying, by adding a player of Guerrero’s caliber.

Finally, I really want to address the naysayers who’ve reasoned “DOES VLAD GUERRERO MAKE THE ORIOLES A PLAYOFF CONTENER?”  Well, that really is a great unknown, huh?  Conventional wisdom suggests that he probably doesn’t raise the team to such lofty expectations – but the games are played on the field, not the blogs.

Regardless of even a modern day version of “Murderers Row”, any team will realize success based on their pitching.  However, Guerrero’s presence in the lineup makes the team better, in both tangible and intangible ways.

He makes the Orioles lineup much more formidable – his .320 batting average, with runners in scoring position, dwarfs the .246 mark achieved by batters in the cleanup spot for the Orioles, last season.  He’s a bonafide run producing hitter.

Along with Derrek Lee, Guerrero will provide Nick Markakis with protection he’s never enjoyed.  Plus, given Brian Roberts’ and Markakis’ knack for working walks and stellar baserunning, Guerrero will most definitely have his RBI opportunities.

In mentioning, Roberts and Markakis, do you realize they’ve never played for a winning team at the big league level?  Together, these guys have played 1,980 games in an Orioles uniform and they’ve never been part of a winning season.

Vladimir Guerrero can change that …..

He might not be the piece that leads the Orioles back to the postseason, but he makes the lineup and team substantially better.  If Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis taste winning for the first time, it might translate their game to another level.

The same can be said for the younger players, such as Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.  Having them exposed to WINNING at an early stage of their careers could prove invaluable for years to come.

So, for those who decry the Guerrero acquisition as a blocking of Reimold, Pie or anyone else, I say HOGWASH.  I don’t want to hear the foundational excuse about “being ready to win”.

If you’re not ready to win, than you’re ready to lose.

I applaud the Orioles for getting this deal wrapped up.  Perhaps, they overpaid to get their man.  We knew such a reality faced this organization, on the heels of 13 consecutive losing seasons, right?

Welcome to Baltimore, Vlad.  Most of us are happy you’re here …..

 

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MacPhail makes Orioles better, but does that reward fans?

Posted on 01 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

It took four off-seasons and a bunch of whiffs on good players who wanted “real money”, but Andy MacPhail finally made good on his promise to “buy the bats”, even if it turned out to be an aging 35-year old Derrek Lee who couldn’t finagle a multi-year deal out of anyone and finally caved in for what’s likely to amount to a 6-month internship with the Orioles.

The Orioles got their first baseman yesterday when Lee agreed to a one-year contract worth roughly $8 million dollars.  And make no mistake about this:  While he’s nowhere near the offensive weapon of Adam Dunn or Adrian Gonzalez, Lee is a much better option than trying to do the square-peg-in-a-round-hole thing otherwise known as Luke Scott at first base.

That makes three new players in Orioles orange – at least – heading into spring training and there’s little argument from anyone that those three are more capable than those they’re replacing.

Mark Reynolds is better than Josh Bell.  Well, frankly, that’s like saying “The opera is better than you think it is…it has to be!”  Reynolds is better than Bell in the same way a steak from Ruth’s Chris is better than one from Golden Corral.  It just is.

And J.J. Hardy is an offensive upgrade over Cesar Izturis.  Period.  Don’t let those silly stats try and prove that Hardy is better defensively than Izzy, because he’s not.  But he’s much more adept at the plate, which is what Baltimore needs more than a slick fielder at that position who can’t hit hit his weight.

So, the team is better heading into 2011, right?

Yep.  It is.

One more time, for the knuckleheads who will read this and somehow take a negative message out of it:  This is Drew, saying, right here:  The Orioles are better heading into 2011.

But how much better ARE they and how much better COULD they have been, had they actually shelled out some real money in this off-season?

That’s the question.

Are they good enough to complete in the A.L. East with the team they have right now?  Most likely, no.  Only those willing to guzzle the Orange Kool-Aid out of a bucket would dream of the club playing a game next September that had any real importance attached to it.

Are the Orioles good enough to fight Tampa Bay and Toronto for 3rd place in the East?  Sure.

And if you’re able to selectively (and for the last 13 years, routinely) forget about the fact that finishing in 3rd place really doesn’t mean anything, the scrap to get out of the basement and at least finish with a respectable record where you look DOWN at a couple of teams instead of UP at all of them would be worth your attention this summer.

But as the Ravens prepare to embark on yet another playoff run this month, I’m reminded of something that goes hand-in-hand with the Orioles current plight.

There’s nothing like playoff football.  And playoff baseball.  And playoff hockey.

In other words: the only thing that distinguishes your season is a trip to the playoffs.

The Padres choked away a final month 7-game lead last September and missed the playoffs on the final day.  Think they look back on the 2010 season with fondness?  Of course not.

So while 3rd place would be nice, and a step in the right direction, it’s always fair to ask:  ”Is that the best we can do?”

Well, it’s the best you can do when you don’t sign Adam Dunn.  It’s the best you can do when your concept of “buying the bats” is trading for a guy who averages 200 strike-outs a year in the National League and was available in a December trade for what amounted to a live arm (Hernandez) and the equivalent of a year-long VIP pass to Disney World (Mickolio).  3rd place might very well be

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