Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 12 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 09 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Posted on 09 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 08 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 04 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
BK: Brett, I am THRILLED to finally get to talk baseball with you. There are very few things that I enjoy more than Opening Day, especially when it involves the Baltimore Orioles having a home game on this sacred occasion.
Perfect weather. Great company. An Orioles win. Brett, what makes Opening Day so special?
BD: You know Barry, everyone gets excited for baseball, for the start of a new season, the start of spring, the end of a miserable winter (especially this year). But there are certain intricacies of heading to Camden Yards on Opening Day that really begin the wonderment. We both had the luxury in enjoying some of the festivities on Monday and let’s just say it was a good day.
But there are portions of the day-long event that simply define an Orioles home opener. Of course it all starts with the day drinking around the stadium. Whether it is basking in sunlight outside or enjoying big ass beers or running into familiar faces and friends (or even ex and current Ravens players showing their Birdland pride), it is a spectacle that should make all baseball fans jealous. It is like the ultimate tailgate, that spans from the Inner Harbor to Federal Hill to Canton and beyond.
Though actually entering in the Baltimore cathedral on Front Street is where the ‘magic’ really begins (you see what I did there? HA!). There are few better sights in this world than the view from the flag court, towering over the right field wall. And the smells of fresh barbeque and sausages on the grill only intensify the sensory overload. And I beg for anyone to find a better taste combination than putting the Camden Yards staple, “Boog’s Mustard,” on your hot dog, pit beef, ice cream or any other food for that matter.
With all that being said, the Orioles have found their way onto the field. It is early in the season and there will still be a lot of tinkering with the roster. Barry, what are your thoughts on the first official week of the season for Baltimore? What are some positives and negatives you have witnessed after the O’s first series?
BK: Just three games into the season, it is easy for fans to get worked up after losing two out of three to the Boston Red Sox. Sure, it is difficult to see the team lose close games at home, but there is no shame in losing a couple of early season contests to last year’s World Series champions. The American League East is going to be an extremely competitive division, and the Orioles should find themselves in the thick of it. Starting the season 1-2 does not change that fact.
My biggest positive from the first series has to be the performances of Zach Britton as a multi-inning reliever. On Opening Day, Britton shut down the Red Sox lineup for the 6th and 7th innings, and earned the win following Nelson Cruz’s solo home run. Britton also pitched two scoreless innings Thursday night in the team’s 4-3 loss. If the Orioles can continue to get this kind of production from him, the bullpen can benefit from the streamline roles that each pitcher has.
On the negative, I will continue to bash Ryan Flaherty, until the club realizes that he simply is not an everyday major leaguer. In the seventh inning of the second game, Flaherty’s errant throw to first base on a weak ground ball to third made everyone miss Manny Machado that much more. The play was crucial, helping to turn a 4-2 Boston lead into 6-2. What’s worse is that Flaherty went hitless in the first series, starting all three games. If the guy can’t hit, and he can’t field, what is he doing playing the hot corner at Camden Yards? I know it’s early, but there are other players on this 25-man roster that should push Flaherty for playing time and at-bats. Give me Lombardozzi at 3rd, Schoop at 2nd, and an Alexi Casilla-type role for Mr. Flaherty.
Posted on 29 March 2014 by WNST Staff
Posted on 28 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 28 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
BK: The Baltimore Ravens continued their strong off season by acquiring C Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 5th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Zuttah, a 6-year veteran out of Rutgers, is an ideal player to become the starting center in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. With Zuttah as the new starter, the Ravens interior line has become crowded, with incumbent C Gino Gradkowski, backup G/C A.Q. Shipley, and last year’s 6th round pick Ryan Jensen. Brett, what are your thoughts on the Ravens trading for Zuttah, and how does this low-risk move influence the O-line picture?
BD: I absolutely bow in the greatness that is Ozzie Newsome, when it comes to pulling off deals like this. The Ravens were able to get a player, just entering his prime, at a position of desperate need for only a 5th round pick. He has starting experience at four of five positions on the line, which only adds to his value for a team that arguably had the worst protection in football last year.
Most importantly, this move changes the focus of the Ravens draft board. It is well known the team strictly adheres to the “best player available” mantra when it comes to the draft. With the addition of Zuttah, it is one less hole Ozzie would have to reach for in the middle rounds of the draft. Many experts were wondering when (not if) they would take a future starting center, even predicting a high round pick for a position that notoriously can be filled later in the draft. With the depth of having Gradkowski, Shipley and Jensen on the interior, they may not be even inclined to take a center in the draft at all. There is also the outside chance one of those earns a starting spot at left guard, pushing Kelechi Osemele to right tackle. Essentially, retooling the entire picture in front of Joe Flacco.
Now the Ravens are not the only team in Baltimore making moves this week. The Orioles made a late Spring Training trade, sending IF Alex Gonzalez to the Detroit Tigers for super utility man (and Maryland native), Steve Lombardozzi. What do you think of the move, trading for the former Washington National, and what type of role do you see for him?
As a Hammond graduate who had the privilege of watching Lombardozzi play both basketball and baseball at Atholton, I am very happy to see a fellow Howard County kid back in the area after a couple of seasons with the Nationals and the briefest of stints with Detroit. Lombardozzi’s versatility is what makes him valuable to this Orioles team. As a switch-hitter with the ability to play 4 positions, Lombardozzi should see plenty of at-bats early in the season with Manny Machado on the disabled list. I would not be surprised to see “Lombo” in the starting lineup on Opening Day, where the Orioles will face LHP Jon Lester. While the attendance and fanfare will be heightened on Monday, Buck Showalter has historically played the matchups; the bottom half of the Orioles lineup could feature Lombardozzi playing third, with Jonathan Schoop playing second in a right-handed dominant lineup.
My biggest question with the acquisition of Lombardozzi is how the Orioles will find at-bats for all of their infielders. When the news broke that Machado was going to start the season on the DL, it opened the door for the Orioles to reward Schoop with the starting job at second base, while moving Ryan Flaherty to third. Lombardozzi was a quality bench player for the Nationals, and admirably filled in for Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa up the middle, and also saw time in left field. Flaherty’s versatility is very similar to Lombardozzi’s, and even Schoop can play second, shortstop, and third. The balancing act will be left to Showalter, and the first priority should be to continue the development with Schoop at the major league level. I am all in favor of Schoop as the starting second baseman, with Lombardozzi coming off of the bench as a pinch hitter and as a fill-in starter against left-handed pitching.