Posted on 23 August 2014 by WNST Staff
Posted on 06 June 2014 by WNST Staff
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland right hander Jake Stinnett has been selected in the second round (45th overall) of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago Cubs.
Stinnett is the 15th Terrapin to be drafted over the last four years and is the highest-selected Maryland player since Brett Cecil was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (38th overall pick) of the 2007 draft.
A second team All-ACC selection as a senior, Stinnett has served as Maryland’s Friday night ace throughout the 2014 campaign leading the Terps to their first NCAA Super Regional appearance in program history this weekend against Virginia.
The Vista, Calif., native has compiled a 7-6 record in 15 starts (2.65 ERA), striking out a program-record and ACC-best 130 batters in 112.0 innings this season. Opponents are hitting just .192 against the righty hurler, which ranks third in the ACC.
This season, Stinnett accomplished a feat not seen in the ACC since 2006 winning weekly player of the week honors four times.
Stinnett was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 29th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but chose to remain at Maryland for his senior season.
Posted on 31 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski
It’s not that he’s not good enough.
Jeff Samardzija is pitching as well as anyone in the Big Leagues. His 1.68 ERA, along with his 1.06 WHIP are certainly stats to write home about. By any estimation, the Cubs’ current ace is a bona fide number-one starter on the majority of the seven-plus teams who are currently coveting his services.
But, while his 2014 numbers have been stellar through the end of May, baseball has a way of making players turn into who they really are. And, over the long haul, Samardzija isn’t an ace and probably isn’t worth the asking price of a king’s ransom, two first-borns, and nude pictures of the acquiring team’s GM’s wife.
The Orioles, sitting at a game below-.500 aren’t only “a player away” from being a true contender. They’re at least a starter, a closer, a left fielder, and a fast table-setting leadoff hitter away from being the class of the AL East. This, coupled with the hard-luck the club has faced with injuries thus far, makes it a no-brainer to pump the brakes on the idea of sending the likes of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, or Eddy Rodriguez to the Cubs in exchange for a 29-year-old starter who has never won double-digit games in the Major Leagues.
Some will make the argument that Samardzija would be a perennial double-digit wins guy if he had any offensive support–but what pitcher wouldn’t? The same argument could be made for the Bud Norris’, Miguel Gonzalez’s, and Wei-yin Chen’s of the world; each of whom are capable of 10-12 wins with some decent four-plus runs per game type of support.
Bringing a pitcher like Samardzija to Baltimore in exchange for two potential front-end starters isn’t the type of trade that creates long-term success. It’s a stop-gap. It’s a short-term “what have you done for me lately” type of move.
For what it’s worth, if you look at the Cubs rotation, Samardzija’s numbers aren’t even the best of the bunch. In fact, Oriole castoff Jason Hammel, has five wins and a WHIP of 0.91. And, if you want to argue that “wins” are an overblown statistic, please, go for it. But keep in mind, at the end of the season, the teams that play in October play because of that very statistic.
Some guys are winner and some aren’t. There are intangibles that some pitchers have and others don’t. Before falling in love with the idea that “wins” don’t matter, or “Samardzija would be great on another team,” I’ll toss out some names like the aforementioned Norris, C.J. Wilson, Edwin Jackson, and all of the other pitchers who have convinced fans and front office execs that their mediocrity is based on their surroundings.
When he gets traded, and there’s no doubt he will, Samardzija will help out wherever he goes. He’ll bolster a contending team’s rotation.
But the Orioles don’t really need that. They need to make the long-play, and he’s the wrong guy for anything like that.
Posted on 28 May 2014 by Luke Jones
The Orioles need better starting pitching and they need an ace if they truly want to compete for a World Series title.
That cry has been uttered by fans and media alike for the better part of two years — even longer if you prefer going back to the free-agent departure of Mike Mussina after the 2000 season — as the rotation has mostly been comprised of arms with the ability of No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 starters who have often struggled to pitch deep into games, leaving the bullpen overworked and eventually worn out.
It comes as no surprise to see the reaction to a CBS Chicago report suggesting the Orioles are the “leading team of interest” in Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who currently sports a miniscule 1.68 earned run average through his first 11 starts of the 2014 season. That mark is second in the majors despite the 29-year-old being limited to a 1-4 record pitching for the woeful Cubs.
There’s no disputing Samardzija being a talented pitcher as he would be a clear upgrade in the starting rotation, but he’s also expected to be one of the top commodities available on the open market this summer. And that’s why it’s a dangerous proposition to bid on a solid pitcher who’s having a career season if you’re the Orioles or any club hot after his services.
As desperate as the Orioles should be for better starting pitching with their best competitive window closing after the 2015 season when Matt Wieters and Chris Davis are both scheduled to become free agents, Samardzija needs to be viewed for who he really is and not what the Orioles want him to be. The right-hander is off to an unbelievable start, but his 3.90 career ERA and 4.34 ERA pitching in the National League Central only last year suggest he isn’t much more than a solid upgrade and is not someone worth gutting a top-heavy minor-league system to acquire.
In other words, the Orioles wouldn’t be getting a David Price or a Cliff Lee in adding the 6-foot-5 right-hander to the starting rotation. And pitching in the American League East is a different story than the National League.
The Cubs are undoubtedly looking for a king’s ransom in exchange for Samardzija’s services, and there will be plenty of clubs looking to acquire him, which will further drive up the price. Should the Orioles be willing to part with some combination of top pitching prospects Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Hunter Harvey, and Eduardo Rodriguez in order to land him?
It’s true that the Orioles have far too often been disappointed in waiting for a slew of top prospects to realize their potential in recent years, but that doesn’t mean executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette should willingly fork over what few minor-league pieces he has for what history suggests is an improvement but not a dynamic difference-maker to put the Orioles over the top. It will ultimately come down to Chicago’s asking price and how many teams are sold on Samardzija’s start in 2014 and the idea of him truly being an ace.
Is Samardzija — who is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season — worth the combination of Rodriguez and 21-year-old second baseman Jonathan Schoop or the package of one of Gausman, Bundy, or Harvey and a lower-level prospect? Perhaps, but if other clubs are willing to exceed that kind of a deal, the Orioles must remember that Samardzija’s 66 career starts prior to 2014 suggest he’s not even as good as Ubaldo Jimenez.
Despite his tiny ERA, Samardzija is averaging 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 2014 — actually down from his career average of 8.5 — and a .269 batting average on balls in play against him provides statistical evidence suggesting he won’t sustain his incredible start, which even the layman would predict anyway.
It’s a difficult call as the Orioles appeared to signal during spring training that they’re finally “going for it” after investing $50 million in Jimenez and signing slugger Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $8 million contract. Throwing money at free-agent commodities is one thing, but giving up young and cheap talent in a farm system needing more depth is a dangerous proposition if you’re not overwhelmed with what you’re getting in return.
The Orioles know their best window for competing is closing with Cruz, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis set to become free agents after this season and Davis and Wieters the year after. If there were ever a time for the Orioles to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal, it’s now, particularly with the AL East looking very average.
But is the Chicago pitcher the right target?
Samardzija would improve the rotation, but whether the Orioles would be so much better with him that Duquette should pony up a couple of his top pitching prospects is open for debate.
And the history before the first two months of 2014 suggests the answer is probably not.
Posted on 02 February 2014 by WNST Staff
The Chicago Cubs have invited 24 non-roster players to major league spring training, which begins Thursday, February 13 when pitchers and catchers are invited to report in advance of their first formal workout on Friday, February 14 at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz.
Position players are invited to report to camp Tuesday, February 18 with the team’s first full squad workout Wednesday, February 19.
The following nine pitchers have been invited to major league camp: right-handed pitchers Marcus Hatley, Kyle Hendricks, Carlos Pimentel, Armando Rivero and Brian Schlitter, as well as left-handed pitchers Tommy Hottovy, Eric Jokisch, Jonathan Sanchez and Tsuyoshi Wada.
Five infielders have been invited to major league camp: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Ryan Roberts, Chris Valaika and Jeudy Valdez.
Seven outfielders have been invited to big league camp: Albert Almora, Chris Coghlan, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Kalish, Mitch Maier, Darnell McDonald and Casper Wells.
Three catchers have been invited to big league camp: John Baker, Rafael Lopez and Eli Whiteside.
Additionally, minor league catchers Luis Flores and Will Remillard will assist at times in big league camp.
Posted on 23 December 2013 by WNST Staff
The Orioles today announced that they have claimed RHP LIAM HENDRIKS off of waivers from the Cubs.
Hendriks, 24, was claimed off of waivers by the Cubs from Minnesota on December 13. He appeared in 10 games (eight starts) for the Twins in 2013, going 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA (47.1IP, 36ER). He also made 16 starts for Triple-A Rochester. Originally signed by Minnesota as an international free agent in 2007, Hendriks will be the third Australian-born Oriole in club history when he makes his debut, joining JOHN STEPHENS (2002) and DAMIAN MOSS (2003). In six minor league seasons in the Minnesota organization, Hendriks went 42-28 with a 2.99 ERA (580.1IP, 193ER) in 100 games (98 starts).
With this move, the Orioles now have 39 players on the 40-man roster.
Posted on 02 July 2013 by WNST Staff
The Orioles today announced that they have acquired RHP SCOTT FELDMAN and CA STEVE CLEVENGER from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHPs JAKE ARRIETA and PEDRO STROP and INTERNATIONAL SIGNING BONUS SLOTS 3 and 4. Clevenger has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Additionally, OF NOLAN REIMOLD has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Feldman, 30, is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA (91.0IP, 35ER) and nine Quality Starts in 15 outings for the Cubs this season, including a 4-1 mark and 2.25 ERA (40.0IP, 10ER) in six starts in May. He is 46-50 with a 4.66 ERA (818.2IP, 424ER) in 219 career games (116 starts) over nine seasons with Texas (2005-12) and the Cubs (2013). Since 2011, Feldman has improved his strikeout rate to 17.8% of batters faced and lowered his walk rate to 6.4%, compared to 12.7% and 8.4%, respectively, over the first six years of his career.
“Feldman is a proven starter with postseason experience who should help stabilize our rotation for the second half,” Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said.
He appeared in nine postseason games for Texas in 2011, going 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA (13.2IP, 5ER) while pitching in the ALDS (one game), ALCS (three games) and World Series (five games). Feldman set career-highs with 17 wins, 31 starts and 189.2 innings pitched for the Rangers in 2009.
“We’re having a good season & need to stabilize our starting pitching to advance to the playoffs,” Duquette told MASN. “And that’s what this deal is aimed to addressed.”
Feldman, who was scheduled to start Tuesday for the Cubs against the Oakland Athletics, will fly out to Chicago tonight to join the Orioles, and will start Wednesday against the White Sox, according to an interview Feldman did with Sirius XM.
“I know Maryland’s known for Crabcakes and Football,” Feldman joked while on with former GM Jim Bowden.
He will be the third Hawaiian-born player in Orioles history, joining INF LENN SAKATA (1980-85) and LHP SID FERNANDEZ (1994-95).
Clevenger, 27, has batted .327/.426/.596 in 15 games for Triple-A Iowa and is 1-for-8 in eight games for the Cubs this season. He is a .199/.262/.275 hitter in 79 major league games with the Cubs since 2011. The Baltimore-born Clevenger was selected by the Cubs in the 7th round of the 2006 First Year Player Draft and has batted .310/.372/.429 in 563 career minor league games. He graduated from Mount St. Joseph’s High School.
Arrieta, 27, is 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA (23.2IP, 19ER) in five starts for the Orioles this season. He has gone 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA (358.0IP, 217ER) in 69 games (63 starts) in four seasons with Baltimore after being selected by the O’s in the 5th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft.
Arrieta was shocked by the trade, but ultimately he understood the decision the Orioles had to make, and he knows that it benefits both he and the two clubs involved.
“I think for both sides, it kind of came to that fork in the road and they chose to make a trade,” Arrieta told the Sun. “I think that is really the best way to look at it. This is something that is going to do me a lot of good.”
Strop, 28, is 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA (22.1IP, 18ER) in 29 games for the Orioles this season. He went 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA (101.0IP, 37ER) and three saves in 111 games for the Orioles after being acquired on September 1, 2011 from Texas.
“It was frustrating knowing you can do better than what you are doing,” Strop told MLB.com.
Reimold, 29, was placed on the disabled list on May 12 with a right hamstring strain. He is batting .188/.257/.327 in 31 games for the Orioles this season.
The Orioles will not have to make a corresponding roster move with Reimold until Feldman arrives with the team.
Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Odds to win the 2012 World Series
Philadelphia Phillies 11/2
New York Yankees 13/2
Los Angeles Angels 7/1
Detroit Tigers 8/1
Texas Rangers 10/1
Boston Red Sox 10/1
San Francisco Giants 15/1
Tampa Bay Rays 18/1
Miami Marlins 20/1
Cincinnati Reds 20/1
Atlanta Braves 22/1
St. Louis Cardinals 25/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 28/1
Milwaukee Brewers 28/1
Washington Nationals 30/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 40/1
Toronto Blue Jays 40/1
Chicago Cubs 40/1
Colorado Rockies 40/1
Cleveland Indians 60/1
Chicago White Sox 65/1
Minnesota Twins 75/1
Kansas City Royals 80/1
New York Mets 80/1
Oakland Athletics 80/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 100/1
San Diego Padres 100/1
Seattle Mariners 100/1
Baltimore Orioles 150/1
Houston Astros 200/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant
New York Yankees 13/4
Los Angeles Angels 7/2
Detroit Tigers 4/1
Boston Red Sox 11/2
Texas Rangers 11/2
Tampa Bay Rays 9/1
Toronto Blue Jays 22/1
Cleveland Indians 28/1
Chicago White Sox 35/1
Kansas City Royals 40/1
Oakland Athletics 40/1
Minnesota Twins 40/1
Seattle Mariners 60/1
Baltimore Orioles 75/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant
Philadelphia Phillies 9/4
San Francisco Giants 7/1
Atlanta Braves 9/1
Cincinnati Reds 9/1
Miami Marlins 9/1
St. Louis Cardinals 11/1
Milwaukee Brewers 14/1
Washington Nationals 15/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 14/1
Colorado Rockies 18/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 18/1
Chicago Cubs 22/1
New York Mets 40/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 40/1
San Diego Padres 50/1
Houston Astros 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL East
New York Yankees 2/3
Boston Red Sox 3/1
Tampa Bay Rays 9/2
Toronto Blue Jays 12/1
Baltimore Orioles 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL Central
Detroit Tigers 1/4
Cleveland Indians 10/1
Kansas City Royals 12/1
Chicago White Sox 12/1
Minnesota Twins 16/1
Odds to win the 2012 AL West
Los Angeles Angels 4/5
Texas Rangers 1/1
Oakland Athletics 30/1
Seattle Mariners 45/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL East
Philadelphia Phillies 1/2
Miami Marlins 11/2
Atlanta Braves 6/1
Washington Nationals 8/1
New York Mets 50/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL Central
Cincinnati Reds 7/5
St. Louis Cardinals 2/1
Milwaukee Brewers 11/4
Chicago Cubs 18/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 30/1
Houston Astros 100/1
Odds to win the 2012 NL West
San Francisco Giants 5/4
Arizona Diamondbacks 2/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 11/2
Colorado Rockies 7/1
San Diego Padres 15/1
Over/Under Regular Season Win Totals
Arizona Diamondbacks 86½
Atlanta Braves 86½
Baltimore Orioles 69½
Boston Red Sox 90½
Chicago Cubs 73½
Chicago White Sox 75½
Cincinnati Reds 87½
Cleveland Indians 78½
Colorado Rockies 80½
Detroit Tigers 91½
Miami Marlins 85½
Houston Astros 63½
Kansas City Royals 78½
Los Angeles Angels 91½
Los Angeles Dodgers 80½
Milwaukee Brewers 85½
Minnesota Twins 72½
New York Mets 73½
New York Yankees 93½
Oakland Athletics 72½
Philadelphia Phillies 93½
Pittsburgh Pirates 72½
San Diego Padres 73½
San Francisco Giants 87½
Seattle Mariners 71½
St. Louis Cardinals 85½
Tampa Bay Rays 86½
Texas Rangers 91½
Toronto Blue Jays 81½
Washington Nationals 83½
courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).
Posted on 30 May 2011 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Boxing-Sebastian Zbik vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (Saturday 10pm from Los Angeles live on HBO), Super Six World Boxing Classic Semifinals-Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson (Saturday 9pm from Atlantic City live on Showtime); Arena Football: AFL Jacksonville Sharks @ New Orleans VooDoo (Friday 8pm from New Orleans live on NFL Network)
10. Rihanna/Cee-Lo Green (Saturday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys (Friday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Gabriel Iglesias/Russell Peters/Lisa Lampinelli (Friday 8pm Patriot Center); Creedence Clearwater Revisited/Three Dog Night (Friday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole, etc. (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Matt and Kim (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Steel Pulse (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Against Me! (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Bang Tango/Kip Winger (Saturday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Chuck Brown (Saturday 8pm & 11pm Rams Head On Stage); Death Cab For Cutie (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); The Bridge (Wednesday 8pm 8×10 Club); Bone Thugs N Harmony (Tuesday 7pm Bourbon Street); Bill Cosby (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap), Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (Sunday 2pm Wolf Trap); Brian Wilson (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Kenny Chesney/Zac Brown Band (Saturday 4:30pm FedEx Field); The Script (Sunday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); “X-Men: First Class” opens in theaters (Friday); Monster-Mania Con 18 (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn)
First of all, there is simply no excuse if you’re not listening to The Bridge. They’re local, they’re outstanding and they’re really good looking. (Did I just say that?)
There’s a really good chance I stand across the water and watch Three Dog Night. I mean, wouldn’t you?
I’m a little embarrassed by how much I enjoy The Script. I feel like I might as well be a chick.
I can’t believe Zac Brown Band has to open for Kenny Chesney. Lord knows it should be the other way around…
9. Auto Racing: NASCAR STP 400 (Sunday 1pm from Kansas City, KS live on FOX)
I never really enjoyed watching auto racing to begin with, so I have to assume that the racing gods will be willing to make sure every race ends with someone doing something idiotic on the last lap just to make sure we have something to talk about the next day, right?
For what it’s worth, I’m sure JR Hildebrand will always appreciate the Christmas cards he’ll get from Jean Van De Velde FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
“Thinking about you pal. Know if must be tough…again.”
And then there’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. I get the feeling he just didn’t want the Chicago Cubs to feel like they didn’t have company.
8. Golf: PGA Tour The Memorial (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday 3pm Sunday 2:30pm live on CBS. All golf from Dublin, OH); Champions Tour Principal Charity Classic (Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from West Des Moines, IA live on Golf Channel); LPGA Tour ShopRite LPGA Classic (Friday 12pm Saturday 5pm Sunday 4:30pm from Galloway, NJ on Golf Channel); Nationwide Tour Melwood Prince George’s County Open presented by Under Armour (Thursday & Friday 12:30pm Saturday 2:30pm Sunday 1:30pm from University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park live on Golf Channel)
At last week’s event, some guy I’ve never heard of beat some guy I’ve never heard of in a playoff. But good news! The guy who won is the nephew of some girl I’ve never heard of.
Former Terrapins coach Gary Williams is the host of the Nationwide Tour event this weekend, which means I’d almost think about caring about it.
If he makes a decent putt in the Pro-Am, I can only pray he celebrates accordingly…
7. Mixed Martial Arts: The Ultimate Fighter Finale-Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos (Saturday 9pm from Las Vegas live on SpikeTV)
Saturday night’s event is highlighted by Clay Guida vs. Anthony Pettis. You may remember Pettis as the author of THE GREATEST MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MMA….
Holy hell I still don’t believe that happened.
6. Soccer: Team USA vs. Spain (Saturday 4:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on ESPN), Team USA Women vs. Mexico (Sunday 2pm from Harrison, NJ live on ESPN2); MLS-DC United @ Los Angeles Galaxy (Friday 11pm from Los Angeles live on Fox Soccer Channel)
Understand-I WILL be rooting for the Red, White & Blue Saturday afternoon. That being said, it doesn’t change the fact that my heart will always belong to Spain’s Paz Vega. It is what it is.
5. Scripps National Spelling Bee (Preliminaries Wednesday 8am live on ESPN3.com, Semifinals Thursday 10am live on ESPN, Finals Thursday 8:30pm live on ESPN. All spelling from National Harbor in DC)
The bad news: Erin Andrews is no longer involved in Spelling Bee coverage.
The good news: I’m pretty sure no one will have to spell “sardoodledom” ever again…
4. NBA Playoffs: NBA Finals-Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat (Game 1 Tuesday 9pm from Miami live on ABC, Game 2 Thursday 9pm from Miami live on ABC, Game 3 Sunday 8pm from Dallas live on ABC)
Two things we can agree about as Americans.
One-we love our military. God bless.
Two-we of course hate LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
This is where things get sticky, because rarely as Americans have we ever knowingly accepted anything about Germany, so our upcoming love affair with Dirk Nowitzki is going to be uncomfortable at best.
Let’s remember though-without the Germans, we wouldn’t have ever had “Beerfest”…
Yep, go Mavs!
3. NHL Playoffs: Stanley Cup Finals-Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks (Game 1 Wednesday 8pm from Vancouver live on NBC, Game 2 Saturday 8pm from Vancouver live on NBC, Game 3 Monday 8pm from Boston live on VERSUS)
Another tricky spot here. We can either root for Canada…or we can root for a city that gave us the Red Sox and the worst sports “reporter” in Charm City. (You know who you are…and I’m sure you’re reading!)
So…let’s always remember that Canada gave us Our Lady Peace…
And the great Pamela Anderson…
So….let’s go Canucks!
2. Council of Ravens Roosts Convention (Thursday-Sunday throughout Ocean City); 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears NFL appeal of ruling lifting lockout (Friday St. Louis)
You never know who you might bump into down in Ocean City during Ravens Roosts weekend. For example, you MIGHT bump into Sergio Kindle and Brian Billick…
OR you might bump into the legendary Intern Genna, who I believe has a permanent address in OC…
(Edit from GMC: She’s the one on the right. I’m sure you can stumble upon her at Seacrets…where you might find Ray Rice too.)
1. Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour French Open (Tuesday & Wednesday 8am Thursday 5am Friday 7am live on Tennis Channel, Tuesday & Wednesday 12pm Thursday 8am live on ESPN2, Friday 11am Saturday-Women’s Final & Sunday-Men’s Final 9am live on NBC)
No American men are around for Week 2 of a grand slam event. Say it with me in your best Jim Nantz voice, “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.”
Clearly the highlight of Roland Garros thus far has already been documented by Deadspin.
And since we have nothing to REALLY talk about here, here’s one more picture of Maria Sharapova. I mean, why not?
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…
Posted on 30 March 2011 by Glenn Clark
When Nestor Aparicio told me Wednesday would be the day I would scribe my Baltimore Orioles preview piece, I chuckled a bit. I’m sure he had no idea of the symbolism involved.
If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST (and you certainly should), you probably know that Wednesday marks the first time I’ve taken a vacation since returning to the Charm City airwaves in 2008.
I’m headed to Phoenix, which is where I lived and worked for two years after leaving CBS Radio here in Baltimore.
Just before departing CBS for the Valley of the Sun, I heard that Nasty was organizing an event called “Free The Birds”. I will admit now that upon hearing of the event, my thoughts (in my head and on-air) were along the lines of “what a blowhard.”
It wasn’t until I got to Arizona that I truly understood what Nestor was doing.
My only full season of MLB coverage in Arizona came in 2007. I was there for the end of the 2006 season and half of the 2008 season-but ’07 was my only full year of covering baseball-specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It you’ll remember, 2007 was the year the D-Backs went on an improbable run to the NL West crown and a trip to the NLCS (where they would ultimately be dismissed by the Colorado Rockies).
The 2007 Diamondbacks were a special group. They were a young team (CF Chris Young, RF Justin Upton, SS Stephen Drew, 1B Conor Jackson and 3B Mark Reynolds were all at the beginning of their careers) with a few “journeymen” type veterans (1B Tony Clark, 2B Orlando Hudson and LF Eric Byrnes) sprinkled in.
Their pitching staff (led by stars Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson) was clearly what carried them to October, but even that group included some journeymen, as Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez held down rotation spots.
They were a fun team that found success from Opening Day until the postseason, and it made the entire summer in Phoenix sort of magical.
Every game in every series at Chase Field (and away from Chase Field) mattered. Every game had a story line. Every game had underlying drama.
Every game was discussed by sports fans the next day on radio, around water coolers and on social media accounts (MySpace was the most popular at the time) throughout the state.
As someone who wasn’t from Phoenix (and who actually went to Chase Field for three games in June looking like the above and below pictures), I had no emotional ties to the D-Backs. Yet as the season continued, I found myself more and more emotionally invested as the city where I resided came down with a case of Diamondbacks fever.
I even found myself in a public fight with Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall before NLDS Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs-arguing with him that the team shouldn’t play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch because it would give too much encouragement to the Cubs fans in attendance.
I REALLY didn’t care in my heart whether or not the Diamondbacks won the series. My team (the O’s) had just polished off their 10th consecutive losing season. Yet for some reason, the magic of the Diamondbacks’ accomplishment had touched even a dyed-in-the-wool Birds fan like myself.
It was then…in October of 2007…that I finally understood what Nestor (and company) were trying to say.
I hadn’t experienced that type of feeling as an Orioles fan in a decade.
I haven’t experienced it since then of course either.
The last time a meaningful game was played in Baltimore was in October of 1997, when Tony Fernandez crushed both Armando Benitez and the dreams of every 14 year old kid at Perry Hall High School like myself.
I at least got to see a meaningful game as a high school freshman. We’re now approaching a time where area kids will enter high school having not been alive for a single meaningful baseball game.
After seeing the Diamondbacks’ magical run and the way even a transient city like Phoenix was carried away by a season of baseball-I knew that “Free The Birds” was about the desire to finally see the city of Baltimore again experience the same thing.
And we all know just how much the city of Baltimore really needs to experience something like that.
That brings us to the 2011 Baltimore Orioles.
What’s happened with this franchise since 1997 isn’t the fault of President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, Manager Buck Showalter, DH Vladimir Guerrero or any other player, coach or front office member…with one glaring exception-but we’ll leave Peter Angelos alone this time.
Just because the past 13 seasons aren’t the fault of the overwhelming majority of the principles involved in 2011 season doesn’t mean that the issues surrounding the past 13 seasons can suddenly be ignored.
Whether they like it or not, the 2011 Baltimore Orioles carry the burden of the failures of recent teams.
Just as the 2010 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2009 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2012 Baltimore Orioles will if this team doesn’t succeed.
The team (and most notably CF Adam Jones, who recently made some colorful comments to the Baltimore Sun) will be reminded of that when they report to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday, April 22nd to open a six game homestand against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
It will be a somewhat painful reminder that what happened between 1998-2010 is still very much an issue to fans in Baltimore today.
The 2011 Baltimore Orioles will have to accept the desperation of a fanbase deprived of a winner for 13 cities every time they step on a baseball diamond.
We’ll find out over the next six months whether or not they can handle the responsibility.
The early returns have been questionable. Jones has popped off about the fanbase, Showalter took time in an interview to worry about the money Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is spending and how Yankees SS Derek Jeter stands at the plate.
The Orioles (and Orioles fans) cannot afford to waste their time this season worrying about anything other than winning baseball games.
They’re fighting a battle that won’t be easy. While most pundits agree this team is better than they have been in recent years-few believe they will be better than the Yankees, Red Sox or even the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Few believe that meaningful games will return to OPACY after the All-Star Game this season.
The Orioles will look to do their best to prove those pundits wrong, and it won’t be easy.
In the meantime, they’ll have to try to win back an entire city. There will always be a group of hardcore fans that will support a team emotionally and economically no matter what the results are-but this team will look to re-establish a broader level of support beyond that group.
To do so-the only thing they can concern themselves with is winning.
In fact, the Orioles would be wise to channel Al Davis and consider a “Just Win, Baby” mentality for 2011.
If they do so-Jones won’t have to worry about who is in the stands when the Yanks come back to town this August. Showalter won’t have to worry about how much money any other team in Major League Baseball spends.
The 2011 Baltimore Orioles just need to worry about winning.
If they can win even enough to have their name on the Wild Card race list when the Yanks visit this August-the feeling at those games will be even more special than what I experienced at playoff games in Phoenix in 2007.