Tag Archive | "camden yards"

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Sabathia simply better than Orioles’ top stars in Game 1 defeat

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — There’s no magical explanation for why the New York Yankees bested the Orioles in a 7-2 final to take Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Sunday night.

It wasn’t the wrong tactical decision by manager Buck Showalter or bad luck that cost the Orioles against their AL East rival.

The Yankees’ future Hall of Fame starting pitcher CC Sabathia was simply better than anything the Orioles had to offer in return. The burly left-hander delivered when it mattered most while Baltimore’s All-Star trio of Jim Johnson, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters couldn’t get the job done in the game’s final two innings.

Johnson surrendered a leadoff home run to Yankees catcher Russell Martin on a 2-0 fastball up in the strike zone and gave up five runs (four earned) to turn a nail-biter into a laugher by the time the Orioles collected the final out in the top of the ninth inning.

“I made a mistake, obviously to Martin, and a couple of other mistakes over the middle of the plate and we paid for it,” Johnson said. “It’s unfortunate after the effort we got out of everybody else that I didn’t hold my end of the bargain.”

But Johnson wasn’t alone as the Orioles had their chances to surge ahead against Sabathia, but the veteran southpaw made big pitches when he needed them late in the game. Baltimore tried to break a 2-2 tie by getting a runner in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings, but Sabathia was at his best when the Orioles threatened to retake the lead.

Collecting his eighth career win in the postseason, Sabathia held the Orioles to two earned runs over 8 2/3 innings, striking out seven and stranding the potential go-ahead run in scoring position after a leadoff double by J.J. Hardy in the eighth inning.

Jones struck out swinging on a 2-2 cutter for the first out before Wieters fouled out to first baseman Mark Teixeira as the All-Star hitters could not give the Orioles the lead. First baseman Mark Reynolds grounded to short to end the threat before the Yankees’ bats surged ahead in the final inning.

“We had our chances,” Showalter said. “We had some some chances there, some good people up that had solid years for us, and it’s more a tribute to [Sabathia] than any detraction from our guys.”

Despite some exercising 20-20 hindsight after the series-opening loss, there was no reason to preserve Johnson for extra innings because the possibility of a save situation didn’t exist playing extra frames at Camden Yards. Even with his ninth-inning struggles in Arlington, you don’t shy away from your best reliever who allowed just one run over his last 26 innings and gave up only three home runs all year over 68 2/3 innings of work in the regular season.

You can count on one hand the number of times Johnson didn’t come through for the Orioles this season and still have fingers remaining. The latest occurrence just happened to come at the wrong time for his club.

Others — including Hall of Fame shortstop and TBS analyst Cal Ripken — called for Jones to bunt in the eighth inning with Hardy standing on second with nobody out. While it wouldn’t have been a bad play had Showalter called for his center fielder to lay one down, you can understand the decision to allow his best hitter to swing away with a runner already in scoring position and Wieters and Reynolds not exactly sporting stellar career numbers against Sabathia. There’s also the argument Jones had various ways to move the runner to third even if he couldn’t collect a hit.

Jones hadn’t laid down a sacrifice bunt all season and entered the night with a .341 average in 41 career at-bats against the Yankees left-hander. Even if he does advance Hardy to third, critics are then questioning the Baltimore manager for taking the bat out of the hands of the team’s most valuable hitter if Wieters and Reynolds don’t come through. A Jones bunt may have also led Yankees manager Joe Girardi to walk Wieters intentionally, leading to the strikeout-prone Reynolds and the rookie Manny Machado being the ones needing to cash in. It’s not exactly a successful trip through the order with both your No. 3 and 4 hitters having the bat taken out of their hands.

Going to Johnson in a tie game in the ninth and allowing Jones to swing away in the eighth weren’t the wrong moves. You don’t suddenly change who you are and what brought you here just because you’re playing in the postseason.

The Orioles’ top guys simply didn’t come through while Sabathia did.

When the chips were down late in the game, the Yankees pitcher was simply better than the best on which the Orioles have counted all season long.

The home loss makes Monday’s Game 2 that much more critical for the Orioles to win, with rookie left-hander Wei-Yin Chen going to the mound against the 40-year-old Andy Pettitte. There’s plenty of baseball to play in the five-game series, but the Orioles’ failure to come through on Sunday night made their road to the American League Championship Series that much more difficult.

Now faced with the task of winning three of their next four possible games against the Yankees — and the final three being played in the Bronx — to take the series, the Orioles backs are once again against the wall. And in case you’d forgotten, they’re used to it.

In fact, they embrace it.

“That is why we play five games,” Johnson said. “Every time we take the field we are going to compete. We are going to play hard. Obviously, it’s an unfortunate way to lose this first game, especially at home. So like I said, we’ve battled all year. Why would we make it easy now?”

 

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I just took a vicious gut punch and can’t wait to do it again

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Glenn Clark

There is no 15-7-0 this week. I’m a man with priorities.

My priorities Sunday were quite simple. I wanted to get through pre-game and post-game shows, enjoy a Ravens win and get to Oriole Park at Camden Yards as quickly as possible to watch a playoff game with my family.

At the end of the night, those priorities were realities even if the day didn’t play out exactly the way we had hoped it would.

Sunday night was everything baseball in Baltimore should be. It was an incredible gathering of friends and family for a vitally important civic event in a town where family names have baseball connections. We’re familiar with these types of nights in Baltimore, we just know them as “football games”. We’ve waited not so patiently for another one on the baseball diamond for a decade and a half.

It finally came Sunday night and it was absolutely as intense and electric and meaningful as any lifelong (or even Johnny-come-lately) Baltimore Orioles fan could have imagined it would be.

You know what’s amazing? I stood in the outfield for two hours during a rain delay and never heard a single complaint. Not about the lines for beer, not about the weather itself, not about the massive crowds making it difficult to maneuver or find space to stand comfortably.

Hell, we had waited 15 years. What’s another couple of hours?

After the New York Yankees were introduced to a less than partial crowd, there was a break before introducing the home team to their fans. The break might have been mere seconds, but it felt like time stood still. I remember the first time being alone with a girl at 16 years old, but I don’t remember my anticipation ever being as great as it was in those moments. The opportunity to show appreciation for ending one of the most miserable runs a fan base has experienced was a moment not soon to be forgotten.

That moment was followed up by a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Perry Hall High School shooting victim Daniel Borowy and guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, the man who stepped in and defined heroism in fending off the shooter that August morning. As a PHHS grad who has remained very close to the school in recent years (and who both went to school with and grew up down the street from Jesse to boot), I will admit that I lost it a bit during the moment. Even those without Gators ties could certainly revel in the significance of the occasion. THIS is truly a representation of what Orioles baseball should be. The most important things happening in our community should be tied to, recognized by and celebrated with the franchise that has remained in our city since 1954.

This was a moment that far transcended sports.

As Game 1 of the ALDS went along, it felt like every pitch was the most important ever thrown in the history of the sport. Each tantalizing inch around the plate was crucial, with fans hanging on every centimeter afforded to CC Sabathia but taken away from Jason Hammel. When the Birds were able to break through and plate two runs off the bat of Nate McLouth in the 3rd inning the staff at OPACY could have set off actual fireworks and they might have gone unnoticed by a crowd that could only be described as bat-sh*t bonkers.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Steve Johnson’s health factors into decision to keep him off roster

Posted on 07 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter decided to sleep on it before finalizing his 25-man roster for the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

Even then, he admitted it was a very difficult process to leave several good arms off the roster, including pitchers Steve Johnson, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton.

“It’s hard to handicap what’s more particularly [difficult] — this guy or that guy — they’re all hard,” Showalter said. “We put a lot of thought with keeping mind you have to be cautious if you have an issue physically with somebody.”

The decision to leave the local product Johnson off the roster was especially difficult with his contributions down the stretch as a starter filling in for Game 1 starter Jason Hammel. Making four starts and appearing in 12 games this season, Johnson went 4-0 with a 2.11 earned run average in 38 1/3 innings.

However, the rookie injured his left knee after landing awkwardly from taking a comebacker hit by Boston’s Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 29. Johnson deemed himself ready to go this week and would have likely started a potential division tiebreaker against the Yankees on Thursday had the Orioles finished in a tie at the end of the regular season, but some uncertainty remained in the mind of Showalter.

“As good as we think Steve could feel, there’s some unknown there with the knee,” Showalter said. “But, we’re going to keep him here. We’re going to send probably a couple guys down to Sarasota to the instructional league to be in that camp there, but we’ll decide that after the game. Every one of those guys, as I told them today, has to have the mindset that they’re playing tomorrow, because they could be.”

Johnson will remain on call should there be a health issue with Hammel or another pitcher on the 25-man roster while a few others such as Britton and outfielder Xavier Avery will be sent to Sarasota to compete in the instructional league to stay sharp in case they’re needed later in the postseason.

For Sunday night’s game, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman will be available out of the bullpen if necessary. Gonzalez is tentatively slated to start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles elected to keep Tommy Hunter on the 25-man roster as a power right-handed arm and potential long reliever. He has pitched effectively in relief, posting a 0.71 ERA out of the bullpen in 12 2/3 innings covering 10 September appearances.

“If we presented good options as a starter, we felt like Tommy could be a real contributor as a reliever, too,” Showalter said. “He’s certainly done that since he’s pitched out of the pen. He can give us some length out of there if we need it. The off day plays into it a lot.”

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Perry Hall guidance counselor to throw out first pitch for Game 1 of ALDS

Posted on 07 October 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE — The opening game of the American League Division Series will begin with a salute to a local hero.

Sunday’s ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Perry Hall High School guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, who will be accompanied by Perry Hall student Daniel Borowy, in what’s sure to be an emotional scene.

On Aug. 27, after Borowy was shot in the back by another student in the school cafeteria, Wasmer responded quickly and bravely to tackle the gunman, preventing further injury to anyone else.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

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Game times set for potential ALDS Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Should the Orioles win the American League Wild Card play-in game against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, we now know when they will play the New York Yankees in the first two games of the AL Division Series.

With Major League Baseball switching to a five-game format in which the lower-seeded team hosts the first two games and the higher seed hosts the final three games of the Division Series, the Orioles would welcome New York to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday and Monday.

The league announced Game 1 would begin at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday evening. Game 2 would then take place on Monday night with an 8:07 p.m. first pitch. Both games would be televised on TBS.

The final three games of the series — with Games 4 and 5 only being played if necessary — would take place at Yankee Stadium Wednesday through Friday.

Times have yet to be announced for those contests, but all three would again be shown on TBS.

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Want to see potential Yankees at Orioles game on Thursday for AL East crown? Here’s ticket info…

Posted on 01 October 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that tickets for a possible tiebreaker game to be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday, October 4 will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2, exclusively online at www.orioles.com.

Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders who paid their postseason invoice have already received tiebreaker tickets along with their postseason tickets and will be charged only if a tiebreaker is played.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. until noon, 13-game Plan Holders will receive their first opportunity to purchase tiebreaker tickets and all Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders will have an opportunity to purchase additional tickets. Tiebreaker tickets will be available to Plan Holders at the Season Plan Holder discount only during this exclusive two-hour window. A unique passcode will be required and is being sent via email today.

Beginning at noon, in an effort to maximize the opportunity for Orioles fans to purchase tickets, those fans residing in the MASN broadcast territory (which includes Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware and portions of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and West Virginia) will have a chance to purchase prior to the general public.

At 2:00 p.m., potential tiebreaker tickets will go on sale to all fans, including those outside of the MASN broadcast territory.

All tiebreaker game ticket sales will take place exclusively online at www.orioles.com

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Orioles Magic and 666: The Number of The East

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been six years and six days since we launched the “Free The Birds” campaign to speak out about the awfulness that the Baltimore Orioles had become under the stewardship of Peter G. Angelos. Coincidentally, today the Orioles “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth in the American League is 6.

It’s absolutely astonishing that we’re going to the Ravens’ fourth game of the season tonight and the Baltimore Orioles are playing meaningful baseball games every night. It’s almost awkward and overwhelming, the energy we’re all feeling for sports in our community.

So as 70,000 gather downtown and bring the purple love for the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens on national television, has all been forgiven and “fixed” according to the customers of the Baltimore Orioles?

If you’re counting the tens of thousands of empty seats this “Orioles Magic” show has played for over the last month you’ll see that the franchise and the 2012 Orioles still have a long way to go to undo the untold damage to the psyche of its own fan base. Even worse, there are many potential baseball fans who are unaware – or uninterested – in coming back to the ballpark and soaking in the love of Birdland, which right now is just about the happiest place on earth.

Fill in any reason you’d like: price, distance, inconvenience, HDTV, love of Jim Hunter, blah, blah, blah.

Bottom line: it ain’t a tough ticket.

I’ve never stopped going to Orioles games. I’ve been to eight games a year every year since 2003 when they proved to be awful business partners and 2006 when they took away my press pass (I’m the only person in history of Baltimore media to be “banned” from Orioles games). People give me free tickets and I use them.

I’ve flown to Sarasota twice to see them play in spring training. I’ve seen the Orioles play in New York three times a year every year for 8 years. I’ve seen them play in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Tampa, Philadelphia.

I’ve been going back to the ballpark this month and I’ve reached into my wallet to do it.

I purchased two tickets for the Cal Ripken Statue Thursday night extravaganza. I bought four tickets for this Monday’s DH for $4 each. I checked the credit card receipts. I spent $18.80. Because of the scarcity of the Ripken tickets, it cost us $47.80 for a pair of standing rooms that we turned into sitting rooms in the back row of Sec. 380.

My total investment in the Orioles so far in 2012? That’s right: $66.60.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or @WNST on Twitter, you know that I’m at the ballpark because I’m sending up pictures, observations, analysis and some dark humor.

I turned down offers for free tickets the past two nights because I had other obligations for work.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and chased down a pair of tickets to every postseason game the Orioles could play this October. And then I realized that I’ll be in Kansas City for the Ravens’ game next weekend.

And I have to ask myself the same question many Baltimore sports fans are asking themselves – am I a bigger fan of the Orioles or the Ravens? And if I had to pick just one…???? Hmmm…

I’m asking Baltimore sports fans these questions all month here in our GREAT BALTIMORE MEDIA SURVEY. Take it for a chance to win a trip to Cleveland in November!

For me choosing between the Orioles and the Ravens is like picking between whether you love your

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NM swing 6-5-07

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Orioles Riding the Wave

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Tom Federline

Besides an Opening Day, when was the last time you were at Camden Yards and watched a full “wave” circle the bowl without a break in it? Been to the Yard lately? Get in on the wave! These Birds just don’t give up. It’s coming to the end of September –  AND THEY ARE STILL IN IT! I know you all are with me – how many times have you been shaking your head saying, “They did it again.” Defense, timely hitting, pitching and that bullpen – “The Orange Curtain.” The wave has gained momentum in Baltimore and it is picking up speed. It only has been 15 years……….When you look at your kids, 15 years seems like yesterday, when you think of Orioles in the playoffs, it seems as if it were in another millennium. Wait a minute, it was.

I was at the game when CC (I should be starring in a Biggest Loser episode) Sabathia, took out one of the main cogs in the wheel. When Markakis went down, I figured “and so do the Birds.” Well surprise, surprise, surprise – (Come on what TV show is that from?) I had made a remark, if Markakis, Jones or Weiters goes down, the season is more than likely over. Well one of them did and it ain’t over. They have pulled together and refuse to lose. Serious passion displayed in the dugout that night when Nick came back up with hand in temporary cast and met with Buck-Buck. Binos were around neck and ready. My first thought – “not good”, second thought – not that I have been know to curse or anything – CC Sabathia ears had to be on fire. It is tough experiencing this run without the best right fielder in baseball and this swing:

 

Can’t even imagine how tough it is on him.

Hold the phone – This is just seriously down and out cool – Birds just won the first game of the doubleheader at the Yards vs. the Blow Jays, 4-1. JJ mows down the opposition………….again. “Put another one in the WIN column” – thank you Joe Angel. There was an eruption from my television set – I thought maybe it was the announcement that Gary Thorne would not be doing the second game either – but actually the Yard had filled up on a late Monday afternoon and was cheering their surging team to victory. Get to the Yard, do not pass go, do not collect $200, take the get out of jail for free card (for safety reasons) and Get to the Yard.

The 16 in-a-row extra inning win streak, is second to the 1949 Cleveland Indians (17), who holds the record. That is quite a remarkable accomplishment. It is a major part of what defines the team. Adam Jones, the entire bullpen and Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden has 7 hits in 50 at-bats and it seems every one of them has been a game changer and/or knocked in a run. Taylor Teagarden – what a name – stay with me here –  Who now claims the second most colorful name in Orioles History?

Music to my ears. Friday night – Peter Gabriel. Sunday afternoon – an exuberant “O” during the national anthem at ……FedEx Field Skins game (I was a guest). And the topper late Saturday afternoon, 12th inning, O’s 9 Red Sux 6 and the 500+ Oriole faithful drowning out the Red Sux fans with “Let’s Go O’s” at Fenway Park! I put the game on through the stereo and cranked it up. I really don’t know what was better – the chant or the Red Sux fans reaction?

Get on your boogie, surf, wake board or body surf. Just whatever you do, catch this O’s Wave and hang on. The wave may die out, but trust me it is better to catch the wave, than watching a good one go by. Buckle up –  It’s going to be quite a week. “Don’t Give Up” O’s – (Peter Gabriel). You have fans! Yes, they are coming out of the woodwork, but who cares, they are coming. Orange is a Fall color. It’s just been awhile since we have really appreciated it.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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The Orioles aren’t winning one of the two wild card spots — and here’s why

Posted on 14 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Yep, you read it right.

The Orioles will not be playing in the one-game wild card game on Friday, October 5.

That’s because they’re winning the American League East.

Book it.

The Yankees and Tampa Bay will fight it out for the “other” wild card spot after Oakland claims one out in the American League West.

There’s no need for me to go into a full-blown explanation of how or why the Birds are going to win the East.  You’ve watched the games all year.  Luck aside — thanks Bobby Valentine — there are just too many other obvious signs that point to the fact that the Orioles are actually going to claim the top perch in the East.

Chris Davis threw two shutout innings in Boston back in May.  And was the winning pitcher in that game.

Nate McLouth showed up after a stint in the minors, looking like the Nate McLouth who used to be really good.

Some guy named Tyler Teagarden has contributed to three or four wins…which is about as many games as I think he’s played all season.  He could walk into any Royal Farms in Baltimore and not one person would know he is.

Oh, wait, his name is Taylor, not Tyler?  See what I mean…

Mark Reynolds started the year at 3rd base and looked like Roger Dorn from Major League, taking balls off his shoulders, hands, etc.  Then he moved to first base in May and looks like the second coming of Mark Teixeira over there.

The Orioles called up Manny Machado in August and he’s been outstanding since his call-up.  He’s the first Oriole to ever collect a game-winning hit before he was able to shave.

It’s been an amazing run.

And it’s only going to get better – and more fun – in the next month.

The Orioles are going to win the American League East.

From worst to first.

Mark it down, kids.

Baltimore Orioles — 2012 American League East Champions.

 

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On September 6, 2012, The Orioles Took Us back In Time

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Peter Dilutis

We’ve all watched movies or read books that depicted some sort of a time machine. A character would enter the time machine and get to experience a bunch of memories from the yesteryears, hoping and praying that they’d be able to fend off the incoming reality and stay in the past for the remainder of time.

My memories of the Orioles early in my life have always stayed with me, but they’ve dimmed as I’ve gotten older. I remember my first day of Pre-K, my First Communion, my first day of middle school, my first baseball game as a little leaguer, etc. Fitting right in with those memories are memories of sitting in the left field stands with my mom in the mid 90s when we had to order our tickets at the beginning of the year to make sure we got good seats for the games we wanted to go to.

I faintly remember sitting in left field watching B.J. Surhoff and Brady Anderson patrol the outfield as the fans were hanging on every single pitch. I remember when fans really associated with the players on the field, and welcomed them as part of their Baltimore family.

But again, as time has passed and losing seasons have amassed, the details of those memories have faded.

Until last night, when I entered into my own personal time machine as I walked into Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The ceremony was really special and something that I’ll probably always remember. It was evident from early on that this was going to be a special night. It wasn’t going to be a bunch of fans attending the game simply because they got free tickets or because they wanted to take home a bronze statue to put on E-bay. I knew last night would be different, but to what extent? I wasn’t sure…

I started to get an idea of just how different this warm September night would be when Jason Hammel threw his first strike. The crowd erupted. Like, literally erupted. J.J. Hardy made two really nice plays to start the inning as Jason Hammel set down the first two Yankees he faced in his return from the disabled list.

Then something really, well, crazy happened. Jason Hammel threw strike two to Robinson Cano. Fans started to stand. More fans got up. And more. And more…

Every single person in the stadium was on their feet, urging Jason Hammel to strike out Robinson Cano. There wasn’t anything on the scoreboard urging the fans to stand up. There wasn’t any lame applause sound effect being played over the loud speaker. Rather, it was just a pure moment of baseball joy that engulfed the 46 thousand fans that packed the most beautiful sports stadium in the world. It was pretty special.

Even more special was the bottom of the inning. J.J. Hardy singled with one out, as did Nate McLouth. Adam Jones brought Hardy home to give the O’s the 1-0 lead, and then Matt Wieters stepped to the plate.

On the first pitch, Wieters, who in 2009 made the most anticipated rookie debut in recent Orioles history, once again penned his name into the Orioles history books as he tomahawked a three run home-run into the left field stands. With one swing, Matt Wieters and the rest of his Orioles teammates announced to the city, and to the world, something that I would have laughed at five months ago.

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