Tag Archive | "Baseball"

fans pt. 2

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Angelos Was Right…About DC Baseball Fans

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Robert Canady

I fear Peter Angelos may have been correct.  About ten years ago when he was trying to block Washington, DC from getting a Major League Baseball team, he was quoted as saying, “There are no real baseball fans in D.C.”

I remember thinking at the time, what an out of touch old coot he must be.  I lived in the District for a while and worked there for many years.   I was a baseball fan, admitting like a lot of people in the greater Washington, DC area I had grown up elsewhere and found myself here due to my career path.  I still followed my hometown Cincinnati Reds, and became a regular at Camden Yards.

However after attending a game recently between the Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals, I might have seen a glimpse of what Angelos was talking about.   The day had everything a real baseball fan could hope for, one of the first warm Saturday’s of the year, both teams contending for first place early in the season and the promise of a successful season laid out ahead.


Walking into the stadium it seemed like I was going to be in for a real day to remember.  We made the obligatory walk around the concourse and saw the multitudes of food options, browsed the Clubhouse store and pondered a couple Nationals apparel items.

One thing that struck me was the huge number of fans in St. Louis caps and jerseys.  Now anyone that’s been to a professional game in DC, knows it’s not unusual to the see the opposing teams colors and logos, after all DC is one of the more transient cities in America.  And the Nationals in the past have even taken to marketing to the opposing teams fan base.  But the number of Cardinals fans seemed unusually high.

However, the real shock came once we were settled in our $40 seats on the field level.  I was surprised and bit taken aback to see the people directly in front of us holding an infant that couldn’t have been more than three to six months old.  The couple spent the majority of the game with one of them attending to the baby in one way or another, and I don’t think mom or dad were in their seats together for more than one inning of the entire game.

In addition it appeared grandma and grandpa came along to experience the site of baby fan witnessing her (I’m guessing by the pink towel) first Nationals game.   Grandpa actually appeared to be trying to watch the game. Grandma must have set a Nationals Park record for IPhone photos taken and uploaded to Facebook.

During the game, we were fortunate to witness, several bouts of crying, knee bobbing, burping, and of course the time honored 5th inning tradition of breast feeding, seriously!!

Now, I’m making an example of the couple that happened to be right in front of us, and may be nice of people.  But in our section we saw no less than four other parents with babies that were young enough that they needed to be carried in either a carrier or strap on baby pack, or whatever those contraptions are called.

Why would anyone think bringing a baby that young to a three hour long, outdoor activity packed with 40,000 people is cute? It’s not, it’s selfish and self-centered.   Nationals Park apparently has a doggie zone where you can bring your dog and several times throughout the game fans along with their pups are featured on the video board.   I guess we were in the baby zone but missed the sign.

Now before I get labeled a baby-hater which I’m really not, some of the adults weren’t much more tuned into the game.   Two young 30-something guys that sat right behind us, spent the majority of the game talking about problems at their office and how they seemingly had all the answers.  Well not all the answers, one of them asked how the Cardinals had scored their last run?  Which is somewhat understandable, we were about 300 feet from home plate after all.

All around us it was a constant swarm of non-baseball watching activity, such as groups getting up to “go for a walk.”  Countless trips in and out of the rows to check out a different concession item, well I can’t put too much blame there.

It just seems that nobody sits in their seats anymore, and I didn’t notice one single person around me keeping score with the complimentary scorecard that is still given out.

When the Nationals threatened to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, most fans paid little more than obligatory attention.  It took a few guys in the front row to turn around and shout and motion for people to stand up and get excited.

I know I’m from a different era.  My fandom began over 40 years ago. I grew up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in the late 60’s and stayed into the 80’s.    My formative years of baseball were following the Big Red Machine that would lose to the Orioles and the Athletics in the 1970 and 1972 World Series respectively.   Before winning back to back titles in the 1976 and 1977 against the Red Sox and Yankees—column interruption for Oriole fans to cheer—as I became old enough to drive myself to games, the defining moment of many baseball addicted youths at the time.

After college I moved to cities with no baseball teams first Tampa then Raleigh, yes there actually was a time when Devil Ray…excuse me Rays didn’t exist.   Tampa was the spring training home of the Reds at the time, and I eagerly awaited every late February when pitchers and catchers would show up followed shortly by the full squad. By this time in the 80’s , Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Manager Sparky Anderson had been replaced with the likes of Dan Billardelo, Ron Oester and Russ Nixon, and the Reds regularly finished in last place of the National League West, behind among others the Los Angeles Dodgers their hated rival at the time.

After the teams left Florida, I took out a mail order subscription to the Dayton Daily News which would arrive in a timely fashion three to four days later and I would devour the box scores and latest—well as latest as they could be—stats.  It’s now with all the details that are available on MLB.Com, bsaeballreference.com and other sites, a through baseball geek can find out what his favorite player is batting on Tuesday nights, against left handers after having chicken-cordon bleu for a pre-game meal.  Back in 1984, I was happy to find out three days later that Dave Concepcion had gone 2-4!!

So enough of convincing that I grew up a baseball fan and remain a baseball fan.   I arrived in Washington the same year that Camden Park opened and made the drive up from Georgetown for several weeknight and weekend games those first couple years.  Hmmmh…I was in DC and I was a baseball fan.  But this is when Angelos was still relying on ticket buyers from what he now considers enemy territory.

The game against the Cardinals was a sellout crowd of 44,000.   Drawing over 2 million fans to Nationals Park each year as they have, the number may say there are enough fans to support the team in DC.  But after what I experienced this past week, I have to wonder if Angelos had a valid point.





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Orioles still waiting for early return on $50 million investment

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Even after investing a franchise-record amount of money for a free-agent starting pitcher, the Orioles knew they weren’t getting a sure-fire ace when they signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract in February.

His career has been consistently inconsistent, looking every bit the part of an ace at times and appearing more like a fringe fifth starter in other stretches of his major league career.

But the Orioles need much better than what they’ve gotten through three starts as Jimenez surrendered five earned runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 11-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards. He gave up two more home runs and saw his record fall to 0-3 to accompany a 7.31 earned run average and 2.06 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).

Whether giving up homers (four in 16 innings) or walks (10) in his first three outings — all against American League East opponents — the root of Jimenez’s struggles are simple to identify but more complicated to fix with unorthodox mechanics that require plenty of maintenance over the course of a six-month season.

“His command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “If you look at his history, he gets better as the year goes on. He’s actually pitched competitively for us. He’s real close to keeping us there.”

The Baltimore skipper was being generous in referencing Sunday’s deficit only being 3-1 entering the top of the sixth inning, but Jimenez started the game with a career 5.10 ERA in April, easily his worst month throughout his eight-year career. Last season, it was even worse as Jimenez posted a 7.13 ERA over his first five starts before rebounding to post a 3.30 ERA and help Cleveland qualify for the postseason.

But history doesn’t make Jimenez — or the Orioles — feel any better as he tries to make a strong impression to justify the long-term investment paid to him. Of course, three starts — good or bad — will not determine whether executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette made a wise addition this winter, but the Orioles added Jimenez with thoughts of the high ceiling he possesses when he’s right on the mound.

So far, he hasn’t been able to climb out of the basement as he gave up a Eutaw Street homer to Colby Rasmus in the first inning and a home run to Brett Lawrie with one out in the sixth before being lifted a batter later. Jimenez only gave up 16 home runs all last season and is a quarter of the way to that mark before Easter Sunday.

“Tough one, really bad one,” Jimenez said. “I couldn’t be there for the team once again. I’m missing right down the middle of the plate. I’ve been making too many mistakes right down the middle.”

It’s too soon to panic as Jimenez’s track record suggests he’ll be much better than what he’s shown, but the Orioles are counting on him to be a top-half-of-the-rotation starter to go along with Chris Tillman. Improved starting pitching is a must for Baltimore to get back to the playoffs for the second time in three years.

In fairness, Jimenez is just one of several problems to plague the Orioles in their 5-7 start as an underperforming offense was limited to just five runs over the weekend and the defense has been shaky with Gold Glove winners Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy missing time. The Orioles have no choice but to be patient with their free-agent prize, hoping the good Jimenez will surface sooner rather than later and provide the quality pitching he’s capable of for significant stretches.

It hasn’t been there in the first half of April, but Showalter expressed confidence after Sunday’s outing that Jimenez is “better than that.”

“He’s got the right mentality. He’s been through tough times before, but he wants it to end now,” Showalter said. “I guarantee you. I understand what the numbers say, but you guys have seen it. It’s very close to there being some quality outings, but at this level and against this competition, close sometimes gets you in trouble.”

And close isn’t good enough in the AL East.

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Hardy moving closer to return to Orioles lineup

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The Orioles lineup finally broke out in a 14-5 win on Tuesday and received good news about the status of shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Though the 31-year-old was sidelined for the fourth time in five games while dealing with lower back spasms, manager Buck Showalter said prior to Tuesday’s game that Hardy would have been available to come off the bench if necessary. Of course, the convincing win over the New York Yankees made Hardy’s use unnecessary as the Orioles provided more than enough offense to support a shaky outing from starter Wei-Yin Chen.

“A lot better, much more available,” Showalter told reporters of Hardy’s status prior to Tuesday’s win. “I’m optimistic he’d be an option [Tuesday]. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes. I wouldn’t have said that [Monday]. He’s improved, very close to being ready to start. … You can tell just by his face. So that’s good.”

With All-Star third baseman Manny Machado still on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from offseason knee surgery, the Orioles have been without a pair of Gold Glove defenders on the left side of the infield.

Left with a short bench, Showalter has been forced to use Ryan Flaherty, Steve Lombardozzi, and Jonathan Schoop at three infield positions, but the trio combined to go 8-for-15 with four runs scored on Tuesday to ease concerns about the bottom of the order.

With the Orioles scheduled to play a night game Thursday to conclude their three-game set with New York before an off-day, Showalter could elect to keep Hardy on the bench for one more game to be on the safe side before the Orioles return to Camden Yards to begin a six-game homestand.

Chen struggles again

Lost in the offensive explosion occurring in Tuesday’s win was another lackluster effort by Chen, who earned the win despite allowing four earned runs and nine hits in five innings of work.

In two starts, Chen has allowed eight earned runs and 21 hits over 10 2/3 innings. The Taiwanese lefty has yet to issue a walk this season, but he’s often been up in the strike zone while catching too much of the plate.

The Yankees and Red Sox did have their share of hits that weren’t exactly clobbered against Chen — suggesting he’s been unlucky on top of his overall ineffectiveness — but his start to the 2014 season continues a disturbing trend from the end of last season. Over his last nine starts dating back to Aug. 27, 2013, Chen has allowed 72 hits over 46 innings of work while posting a 6.65 earned run average and a 1.85 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

Of course, Chen’s track record over the first two-plus seasons of his career suggests he’s much better than what he’s shown recently, but his lack of command within the strike zone has been alarming.

Bats finally wake up

After being held to just 22 runs in their first seven contests, the Orioles plated 14 runs and bashed 20 hits to quell premature panic about the offense. The last time the Orioles collected 20 hits was May 10, 2011.

All nine starters collected at least one hit and all but one (Matt Wieters) had multi-hit games. Wieters, Adam Jones, and Delmon Young each hit home runs to match the Orioles’ total of three long balls in the first seven contests of the year.

Wieters and Young each collected three runs batted in against Yankees pitching.



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Orioles minor league recap – 4/7

Posted on 08 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Monday…

* Triple-A Norfolk’s game against Gwinnett was postponed due to rain

* Double-A Bowie’s game scheduled against Richmond was postponed due to rain

* Single-A Frederick was off on Monday

* Single-A Delmarva saw its game at Hagerstown postponed due to rain

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction 2014 MLB Predictions

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles scheduled to begin the 2014 season on Monday, The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction offered its Major League Baseball predictions on Friday morning.

For a full breakdown of what Drew Forrester and Luke Jones had to say, click HERE.


AL East
Tampa Bay 93-69
*Boston 92-70
*Baltimore 90-72
New York 83-79
Toronto 74-88

AL Central
Kansas City

AL West
Los Angeles

NL East
New York

NL Central
St. Louis

NL West
Los Angeles
*San Francisco
San Diego

* = Wild Card berth

AL MVP: OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles
NL MVP: C Yadier Molina, St. Louis
AL Cy Young: David Price, Tampa Bay
NL Cy Young: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco
AL Rookie of the Year: SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston
NL Rookie of the Year: OF Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati

ALCS: Detroit over Tampa Bay
NLCS: Los Angeles over Washington
World Series: Los Angeles over Detroit, 4-2

See Drew Forrester’s predictions on the next page >>>>>

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#WNSTSweet16 Orioles Who Didn’t Live Up To The Hype

Posted on 25 February 2014 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles celebrate their 60th anniversary in Baltimore this season, there’s no shortage of players who have failed to live up to inflated expectations over the years.

Whether watching young talent drafted to be the next franchise player fall flat or acquiring veterans via trade or free agency who suddenly looked like shells of their former selves, the Orioles have whiffed with greater frequency over the last 30 years, but that doesn’t mean they were immune to players failing to live up to hype in the earlier days of the organization.

As WNST.net’s Glenn Clark laid out, players must have made it to Baltimore — thus disqualifying the incredible legend of minor-league pitcher Steve Dalkowski and former top prospects never to play for the Orioles such as outfielder Alex Ochoa — and qualified “based on just how much ‘hype’ they actually received or based on just how spectacularly they failed to live up to said ‘hype.'” This provides flexibility to potentially include players who performed admirably despite not living up to overwhelming expectations as well as individuals whose play was inexplicably poor despite reasonable visions of success.

To clarify, this isn’t a list of the 16 worst players in franchise history as not living up to the hype doesn’t necessarily mean failure as you’ll see with at least a few selections on the list. Of course, that doesn’t mean some of the names appearing here weren’t downright awful in their time with the Orioles.

Without further ado, I present the WNST Sweet 16 Orioles Who Didn’t Live Up To The Hype:

Continue to next page for No. 16

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Looking at the Orioles’ non-roster invitees in Sarasota

Posted on 14 February 2014 by Luke Jones

The Orioles officially began spring training with their first official workout on Friday as they look for a number of answers over the next six weeks leading up to Opening Day on March 31.

After examining the players on the 40-man roster earlier in the week, it’s time to take a look at the 19 non-roster invitees who will join the club in Sarasota and try to leave the kind of impression with manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette that warrants a spot on the major league roster.

Few likely have a real chance of migrating to Baltimore in late March, but many will be looking for a spot in the minor-league system in hopes of getting the call to join the Orioles at some point this season.


RHP Alfredo Aceves
Opening Day age: 31
Musing: His experience pitching for both the Yankees and Red Sox over the last six years gives him a better chance than most non-roster arms to crack the Baltimore bullpen, but his personality clashes in Boston and a 1.73 WHIP last season are red flags that contrast his 3.69 career earned run average in the big leagues.

LHP Nick Additon
Opening Day age: 26
Musing: The southpaw spent the last seven years as a starter in the St. Louis Cardinals organization but has never pitched in the majors and signed as a minor-league free agent after posting a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings in Triple-A Memphis last season.

RHP Tim Alderson
Opening Day age: 25
Musing: A former first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2007, Alderson was acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for Russ Canzler last July and went 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA in 33 innings with Triple-A Norfolk to finish the 2013 season, primarily pitching in relief.

RHP Fabio Castillo
Opening Day age: 25
Musing: The Dominican minor-league free agent posted a 5.34 ERA in 89 1/3 innings starting and relieving for the Giants’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last season and will be entering his ninth season of professional baseball.

RHP Eddie Gamboa
Opening Day age: 29
Musing: After five previous seasons pitching in the Orioles system, he became a knuckleball hurler last year and was re-signed to a minor-league contract after going 6-11 with a 4.43 ERA in 25 starts split between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk.

RHP Brock Huntzinger
Opening Day age: 25
Musing: A 2007 third-round pick of the Red Sox, Huntzinger spent the last seven seasons pitching in the Boston organization and went 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 49 relief appearances split between the Double-A and Triple-A levels last year before signing with Baltimore as a minor-league free agent.

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
Opening Day age: 20
Musing: The Venezuelan product is one of the top prospects in the Baltimore system and went an impressive 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA split between Single-A Frederick and Bowie last season, which has made him a target of other organizations in trade talks but a piece the Orioles don’t want to give up.

RHP Mike Wright
Opening Day age: 24
Musing: Named the Orioles’ minor league pitcher of the year last season, the 2011 third-round pick went 11-3 with a 3.11 ERA primarily with Bowie before a late-season promotion to Norfolk and has a reasonable chance to arrive in Baltimore at some point before the 2014 season comes to an end.

Continue to non-roster position players >>>>>

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Orioles sign veteran Delmon Young to minor-league deal

Posted on 13 January 2014 by WNST Staff

Looking to add another designated hitter option, the Orioles announced Monday they’ve reached a minor-league agreement with veteran outfielder Delmon Young that includes an invitation to spring training.

The 28-year-old is a career .303 hitter against left-handed pitching and split time between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay last season, hitting .260 with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in. In eight major league seasons, Young has hit .282 with 100 home runs and 520 RBIs in 3,692 career at-bats.

Young will compete with the likes of Nolan Reimold, Steve Pearce, and Rule 5 selection Michael Almanzar for the right-handed DH job previously held by Danny Valencia, who was dealt to Kansas City for left fielder David Lough earlier this winter.

Former Oriole Jack Cust also contacted the organization about a tryout and is expected to work out at the club’s minicamp in Sarasota on Tuesday. The soon-to-be 35-year-old hasn’t played in the majors since 2011.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported Monday the Orioles have also shown interest in a reunion with power hitting infielder Mark Reynolds.

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Orioles’ two-year deal with Balfour falls apart due to shoulder concerns

Posted on 20 December 2013 by WNST Staff

Instead of preparing to introduce their new closer and first impact acquisition of the offseason Friday, the Orioles will now restart their search for a ninth-inning option.

A two-year, $15 million agreement with former Oakland closer Grant Balfour is dead after concerns arose about the state of his right shoulder during his physical. Baltimore had planned to hold a press conference to introduce the new closer on Friday, but those plans never came to fruition.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed to local media in a conference call Friday that the Orioles would be moving on.

The Orioles will now be forced to look elsewhere on the free-agent market despite Balfour converting 62 of 67 save opportunities for the Athletics over the last two seasons. The options are dwindling with Fernando Rodney and Chris Perez topping the list of established closers who are still available.

Balfour had Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2005, and he had surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his shoulder four months later, costing him the entire 2006 campaign. However, his track record since then has been relatively injury-free as he will be 36 at the end of the month.

The Orioles have a history of striking deals with free agents, only to have the physical hit a snag. Aaron Sele, Jeromy Burnitz, and Xavier Hernandez are among the notable names over the years, and the club had to restructure an agreement with right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens last offseason after lingering concerns over his knee.

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Orioles select contract of outfielder Dickerson

Posted on 06 September 2013 by WNST Staff


The Orioles announced Friday that they have selected the contract of outfielder Chris Dickerson from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, infielder Alex Liddi has been designated for assignment.

Dickerson, 31, batted .245/.274/.412 in 46 games with the Orioles earlier this season.

Liddi, 25, batted .222/.269/.378 in 49 games for the Tides after being acquired from Seattle on July 6.

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