Tag Archive | "Cesar Izturis"

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Why the Orioles bullpen held a closed-door meeting

Posted on 05 May 2009 by Luke Jones

From the home office in Glen Rock, Pa., I bring to you the Top 10 Reasons Why the Orioles Bullpen Held a Closed-Door Meeting on Monday Afternoon.

10.  They’re still trying to figure out just how high Radhames Liz’s ERA was in his last stint with the club.

9.  “I know we’ve asked you before, but is it pronounced ‘Danny’ or ‘Dan-eez?'”

8.  They figured since they can’t manage to close the door late in the game, they might as well try to do it in the clubhouse.

7.  With minicamp starting Friday, the relievers discussed who among them could be that big-play receiver the Ravens lack.

6.  To cool complaints about not having established roles, the front office sent over a pack of these for the bullpen to share.

5.  “George, when you’re the closer, we called it colorful.  When you’re not, the brim’s just kind of lame.”

4.  Jamie Walker shared his new seminar titled “How to Critique Umpiring Tactfully.”

3.  After watching another episode of The Office, Chris Ray shouted, “Conference room, 5 minutes!”

2.  Figuring out how to get the bullpen phone to go straight to voice mail is not a one-man job.

1.  In an attempt to jumpstart the club, instead of pitching the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, the relievers will now take turns hitting seventh, eighth, and ninth in the lineup.

(Update:  Gregg Zaun, Cesar Izturis, and Felix Pie were unavailable for comment, as they were working in the bullpen with pitching coach Rick Kranitz.  MASN’s Jim Hunter immediately praised the decision.)

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Losing mentality still evident with the Orioles

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Luke Jones

As if losing 11 of their last 14 games isn’t bad enough for the Orioles, players are now complaining about the infield at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

In an article published by The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Peter Schmuck revealed several infielders—including Aubrey Huff and Cesar Izturis—are suggesting the length of the grass is a major factor in the club’s erratic defense this season.

Just add it to the long list of excuses accumulated over the last 12 years of losing.

The premise behind a thicker infield was to help a pitching staff expected to struggle mightily, not an uncommon idea in the history of the game.  The problem is the grass hasn’t managed to stop Orioles pitchers from allowing a league-high 40 home runs.

Go figure on that one.

Then, of course, let’s move the fences back.  That will solve everything!

Not surprisingly, the club tried it in 2001 and went 30-50 at home, as the Orioles hit only 58 home runs at Camden Yards that season.  After numerous complaints that it had altered the angle of the batter’s eye wall, the original dimensions were restored in 2002 and have been left alone since.

Losing organizations will find excuses just about anywhere—whether it’s the length of the grass, the park dimensions, or the hot dog vendor’s excessive yelling.  Why waste time with trivial items like signing free agents and improving the farm system when you can complain about the ballpark?

It just shows that despite an improving farm system and the success of several young players at the major league level, the culture of losing is still alive and well in Baltimore.

It’s no surprise hearing players complain about the infield, especially after the well-publicized comments that were made in spring training regarding the facilities in Ft. Lauderdale and Sarasota—problems that have gone unresolved for years.  In fact, players were completely justified in voicing their displeasure about the substandard spring training facilities to ownership.

However, complaining about the length of the infield grass just reaffirms the losing mentality that has stricken this franchise.

The remedies for the longer grass are simple.  First, exercise your diligence as professionals and take the extra infield practice to make the necessary adjustments—something Dave Trembley preaches with his club.

Don’t complain about the infield and make excuses—the fans that are still listening don’t want to hear that.

Better yet, voice these concerns privately to general manager Andy MacPhail.  The grounds crew only follows the instructions handed down from the front office, so fix the problem—if it is, in fact, a problem.  I suppose it’s possible this has already been brought to his attention, and if it has, why isn’t anything being done about it?

Considering the speed at which the organization is addressing the spring training situation, you can expect the grass to be addressed when Nick Markakis is taking his farewell tour in 2022.

Ultimately, the infield grass should not be an issue.  It should actually provide a home-field advantage if it is truly the “longest grass in baseball” as Huff describes it.  Shouldn’t opposing defenses be having much more difficulty than the infielders playing half of their games there?  It’s common sense.

The losing mentality of making excuses needs to stop before the younger players begin feeding into the same culture.  It doesn’t matter if the grass is too thick or the infield is made of concrete; it’s not going to slow down a ball that’s hit 375 feet into the Orioles bullpen.

We expected the losing—MacPhail told us this before spring training even started—but don’t make excuses.  The main goal of this season is development, watching young players gain experience as they prepare to hopefully compete in the next few years.  Part of that process is adopting a winning attitude—going about your business like a winning franchise—even if the results aren’t there.  Unfortunately, this attitude starts at the top with ownership, and it remains to be seen if the positive strides made by MacPhail will continue without interference.

Until then, stop making excuses and try to improve.  We will tolerate the losing—there’s no other alternative right now—but don’t insult our intelligence.

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Signing Roberts Is The Right Thing To Do

Posted on 19 February 2009 by Alex Thomas

The Orioles are showing more promising signs of turning the franchise around under Andy MacPhail. Signing Brian Roberts to a contract extension is the right thing to do, both on and off the field.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Brian Roberts and the O’s are close to inking a four-year contract extension. Roberts is slated to make $8 million this season, so the terms of the contract extension would not begin until the 2010 campaign.

It appears as though Roberts wants to be an Oriole, despite having never played a meaningful game in his career and despite the deplorable way the team treated him during the negotiation process.

On the field, Roberts has arguably been the best lead-off hitter in the majors. He has a .284 life-time average, and has hit at least 40 doubles in four of the past five seasons. He’s also been a base-stealing machine, collecting 40 steals last year and swiping 50 bags in 2007.

The Orioles had to extend Roberts’ contract, because despite all of the promising pitching they have down in the farm, they have exactly ZERO second baseman prospects who will be ready to play major league ball in four or five years.

And with Matt Weiters coming up at some point this season, the Orioles are just one solid short stop away from being completely solid up the middle. I’m not sold on Cesar Izturis, but Roberts, Weiters, and Adam Jones will make the Orioles defensively sound in the middle of the diamond.

Off the field, Roberts has been the Orioles most prominent figure in the community through his work with the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

Quick, name another Oriole who has done something like that for the Baltimore community.

I’d bet a dollar that you can’t.

Considering the atrocious way the Orioles as an organization have reached out to their fans and the city, or lack thereof, Brian Roberts has been their saving grace in the community.

He deserves the pay-raise because of that alone, not to mention dealing with the clowns in the dugout and in the Warehouse who have left their stink on the Orioles franchise over the past decade.

And B-Rob is probably the Orioles’ most popular player locally and their most recognizable name nationally. This signing makes Roberts the face of the Baltimore baseball in 2009, and who better to be the face of an organization?

So I take my hat off to Brian Roberts, and the Baltimore Orioles, for doing the right thing.

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Meanwhile, Down In D.C. …..

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Rex Snider

For the past 6 months, Baltimore sports fans have been fixated on any and every tidbit of rumor regarding the Ravens.  It doesn’t matter the season officially ended nearly two weeks ago, on a cold night, in Pittsburgh.

 

With each passing day, the topic is “who are the new coaches” ….. “will Ray stay” ….. “will Sizzle stay” ….. “who’s gonna go deep” ….. “will Kyle stay” – okay, just seeing if you’re reading this.  But, seriously, everything revolves around the Ravens.

 

How about the Orioles?  Spring training begins in less than three weeks, aren’t you excited about this new roster?  Cesar Izturis is anchoring shortstop, Mark Hendrickson is slotted in the rotation and if you’re hungering for something new, we’ve got PIE ….. in the outfield.

 

Look outside ….. do you like the view?  It looks like a scene from Mystery, Alaska, huh?  To compliment that girlie-ass snowstorm, that served as a major inconvenience, a couple days ago ….. we’re now saddled with a coating of lethal ice – capable of rendering 695 into a soupy version of the 3rd turn at Daytona.

 

You know what we could really use?  That’s right …… what could break us outta this winter-doldrum?  Aside from an “all expenses paid vacation” to the Caribbean, I was thinking the Orioles could do something nice, like host an event spirited for FANS, on a cold, blustery weekend.

 

In fact, couldn’t the Orioles host a giant carnival-like bonanza – with exhibits, attractions, player appearances and ticket promotions?  They could name the extravaganza “Bird Bash,” “O Whatta Party,” “Andy Land” or ….. how about FANFEST ???

 

This could be a major breakthrough in recapturing the attention of a fan base that has basically dwindled to a mere fraction of former numbers.  Look at it this way, the Orioles roughly have the same amount of fans paying attention right now, as in July or August.  However, there aren’t any present distractions.

 

Do the Orioles realize fans are DYING for something to do this coming weekend?  For God’s sake, they’ll be spending Saturday at movie theatres, browsing Ravens message boards and watching the Terps getting “blown out” by the Hurricanes.

 

Of course, I’m being a little sarcastic.  All of us remember the FanFest celebrations of past years, right?  It seemed like a huge success, until the scheduling blunder (conflicting with a Ravens playoff game) a couple years ago.  But, that killed it – so it seems.

 

Now, FanFest has been transformed into a watered-down version of its former self.  For the past couple years, the event has been held just a couple days before the start of the regular season – and with little or no inconvenience for players.

 

Lets forget that former FanFest events aided FANS in coping with a long, raw winter.  Why hold this event when the season is essentially already here?  It’s a stupid idea – with primary consideration of the guys who are supposed to be giving back to the community.  Anyone can see this …..

 

Do the Orioles really have such little control over players?  Do they really think hosting a FANS EVENT is best served on the Saturday prior to the season’s start?  The answer is obviously YES ….. for Orioles players, staff and management.  It’s just easier – for THEM.

 

But, how about the family from Dundalk, who spends the entire winter here?  Or, do they consider the couple in Glen Burnie, who devote a half-dozen Sundays, each summer, in devotion to a team that’s on a decade-long skid?  Should these folks and everyone in their shoes be the primary consideration, when planning an event for them?

 

Let’s do this ….. listen up Andy – listen up Mr. Angelos …..

 

This coming season, instead of running that ridiculous jumbotron escapade, featuring a few hot dogs chasing each other around the basepaths, how about running a survey of when FanFest should be held?  Applause could dictate. 

 

Uh-huh ….. can’t do that.  After all, who’s gonna walk into that clubhouse on the final day of the season and say “see ya on the final weekend of January boys ….. and bring your happy face.”  That’s not gonna happen, is it?

 

For those readers who noticed the blog headline and are wondering “where’s the part about DC” ….. here ya go …..

 

Last weekend, the Nationals held FanFest, down in the nation’s capital.  That’s right, fresh off the heels of the BIGGEST event in the town’s history, and in the DEAD OF WINTER, Jim Bowden and his group put together a big party for the fans.

 

And, guess what?  The players showed up and things went nicely.  Novel idea, huh?  So, I’m left with just one question ….. what have the Orioles done for their fans, this winter?

 

The answer is obvious ….. they’ve done the same thing for the past decade – NOTHING.    

 

 

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