Tag Archive | "David Hernandez"

50 words or less …. who is America’s most influential athlete?

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50 words or less …. who is America’s most influential athlete?

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Rex Snider

Are you a little tired today? Those 13 inning affairs are not good for one’s sleep schedule, that’s for sure. But, it is Wednesday and we’re halfway to reaching another weekend.

The Orioles and Mariners will hit the field at 7:05pm for tonight’s second game of the series. And, tonight’s task for the birds lineup will likely be even tougher, as they face Felix Hernandez. The Orioles will counter with Chris Tillman.

Yep, some situations seem very unfair. But, that’s the game. And, here’s your daily dose of “50 Words Or Less” …..
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Welcome Back
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All too often, those of us who have a platform for expressing opinions and predictions, will proudly boast when we’re right …. but, we conveniently forget to acknowledge when we’re wrong …..

Right now, JJ Hardy is proving my forecast for him to be inaccurate, and I’m more than okay with it. I hope that when September rolls around, I can have my FONZIE MOMENT, and say …. “I was wr-wr-wr-wrong”.

And, no, I won’t be getting any input from Adam Jones.
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An Influence ??? (Bonus – 100 words)
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I don’t think I’ve ever hidden my love for NASCAR and motorsports. But, I’m also a realist and stock car racing does not have a huge following in this area. That said, most sports fans are familiar with NASCAR’s biggest personalities …..

But, when you hear Jimmie Johnson’s name, does it give cause to think INFLUENTIAL dude? I’m more likely to describe Johnson as a WINNER, DOMINATOR and perhaps, HUMBLE beyond most others.

Influential? According to the good folks at Forbes Magazine, Jimmie Johnson’s ability to court corporate sponsors and appeal to a loyal fan base makes him #1 on the overall list.

Well, you can certainly rest assured he won’t get arrested at 3am for driving after drinking too much. He won’t fail a urinalysis or find himself in compromising situations with women other than his wife. Oh yeah, and he won’t be spouting hogwash on Twitter, in the near future.

So, I get it. Jimmie Johnson really is an influential guy. But, more importantly, he’s a good person. Here’s the Forbes ARTICLE
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30 Short Years Ago
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On May 11, 1981, I was in 8th grade at George Fox Middle School. Cal Ripken was starring on the stage, at Rochester. And, Ray Lewis was finishing up kindergarten.

A long time ago, huh?

It was also one of the darker days in music, as Nesta Robert Marley left this world. An absolute legend? No doubt. We’re now 30 years removed from his death and Bob Marley’s music is still a popular staple of our music loving culture.

“One bright morning when my work is over I will fly away home”
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Meanwhile, In Arizona
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Have you checked on David Hernandez lately? Yep, that David Hernandez …..

He’s carving a nice relief role for the Diamondbacks, with a 2.16 ERA and 16 strikeouts thru as many innings. Groundbreaking stats? Nope …. and his numbers were even more impressive before he surrendered a run, last night.

I gotta feeling we’re gonna see David Hernandez’s name next to a 30 save season in the near future. Stay tuned …..
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A Really GREAT Grandfather
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Quick, take a look at your family tree and see if Wellington Burt’s name is anywhere within its roots. If so, you could have MILLIONS coming your way …..

Mr. Burt died in 1919, but his estate was cast to reward his great-grandchildren, 20 years after his last grandchild’s death. And, now is the time …..

Of all the damn luck ….. and to just get a windfall of money from a dude you never met? Yup, I would be okay with it. Here’s the STORY
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Unlucky Sports Events
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We’re just two days away from “Friday The 13th” and all the tales of black cats, broken mirrors and bad luck. So, we’re dedicating Friday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE to the “Unluckiest Moments In Sports”.

Do you have a suggestion for one of those moments? Would you like to hear from a certain guest? There’s plenty of sports action to cite, from Baltimore and beyond.

Email me with your ideas (rex@wnst.net). I’ll chat with you, today @ 2pm ……

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For O’s fan like myself, Christmas-and hopefully a New Year-begins next week

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

In the last month at WNST and in the sports world, most of the talk has been surrounded by the ongoing labor situation in the NFL(recently flaring up in a lockout by the owners threatening the 2011 season), disappointment from Terps basketball as yet another year with no NCAA Tournament aspirations, and various other sports topics of discussion-most of them negative.

But, I was surprised at the start of baseball season to see so much optimism toward the hometown Baltimore Orioles-mind you a team that has not had a winning season since 1997.

And of course, you can trace that optimism back to last summer, when veteran manger Buck Showalter-who built three franchises to the level of World Series participants-took over as manager of the Baltimore Orioles on August 3rd and led the Orioles to a 34-23 record-best in the AL East for the last stretch of the season.

Showalter’s arrival showed the impact of what a veteran manager (guys not named Dave Trembley or Juan Samuel) who knows the game of baseball along with evaluating key personnel can put wins on the board.

But frankly, it could also be said that Showalter was blessed with the healthiest Oriole team of last year, having both his leadoff hitter in Brian Roberts and his reliever in Koji Uehara healthy for the final run of the season.

Still, what Showalter did last year energized the displaced and beaten Oriole fanbase.

And I was one of them.

Last season, I went to one game before Showalter took over as manager of the Orioles-this coming from a former regular to OPACY.

I always enjoy going to Orioles games growing up. Baseball is my first love. My dad and I have been going to games since I was eight years old (I’m 23 now).I have so many fond memories of going to Oriole Park as a growing lad.

I remember when I was younger sitting in the club seats on the first base side when my dad got them from the car dealership he used to work for.

I still have my Orioles cards I received one night at the ballpark featuring the likes of Chris Hoiles, Cal Ripken, Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Brady Anderson and more.

I loved emulating Cal Ripken’s hundreds of batting stances and Mike Mussina’s trademark way of checking the runner at first base by bending down and looking through his legs.

One of the first games I ever went to at Camden Yards, I puked due to eating so much of the food there. (Not one of my finest moments but I can safely say I’ve never hoarded out since).

In 1997, my dad and I went to Game 1 of the ALCS verus the Cleveland Indians. The Orioles won that night with Scott Erickson on the mound, and we sat in a filled-to-the-brink Camden Yards in the back row of the left field bleachers.

I remember being in the fifth grade (my teacher also went to the game that night) and looking back behind me and just seeing a chain-link fence and a huge drop behind me. I was terrified. And even I wasn’t worrying about that, I couldn’t see much of the field or the players even with the binoculars I brought.

It was kind of a bummer for a ten-year old kid.

My dad was “well-off” at the time, but his reasoning for the nose-bleed seats were to save for the eventual World Series tickets.

Unfortunately…that never came.

And after 14 years of losing, the Orioles continued to test both my and my dad’s patience so much so that our journeys to Camden Yards dwindled and dwindled till we stopped going completely.

There’s only so much of an emotional roller-coaster ride you can take. Right O’s fans?

I would still watch the games on television religiously for 80% of the year until the usual August slide occurred post All-Star break, and then it was on to football.

It was part of the routine for the last decade-plus.

But things are different now. For the first time in years, the Orioles FINISHED well and on top of that, we might not have football to rely on this year Baltimore.

After Showalter put a spark into the team, that renewed sense of optimism put my dad and I back in the ballpark on several occasions. It was the first time in almost a decade that my dad had been at the park and for me, I could count on one hand how many times I had gone solo or with a group of friends to an Orioles game that wasn’t student night or giving something away.

The Orioles management in the off-season tried their best to keep that salivation going on the part of the Baltimore fanbase by  getting some new toys  for practically nothing, and with little risk involved.

They traded away David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio-two pitchers who had the chance to be non-tendered by the club anyway-for a 30 home run third basemen in Mark Reynolds who had an off-year due to injuries in 2010.

The same could be said for former Cubs/Marlins/Braves first baseman Derrek Lee-once on track for Triple Crown numbers several years back with Chicago, and an offensive upgrade at shortstop with J.J. Hardy forcing Cesar Izturis to the bench.

And the club reached out to the competition and stole the closer of the Toronto Blue Jays from last season in Kevin Gregg to hopefully do the same for the Orange and Black.

But ultimately, the icing on the cake came when the Orioles finally reached out to former AL-MVP Vladimir Guerrero and signed him to a one-year deal.

Guerrero-who was sought by the Orioles years ago when he first hit free agency in 2004-was a huge part in the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series last year, and even if he has an off-year, I’ll take a drop-off from 29 HR, 115 RBIs and a .300 batting average any day of the week.

People say he’s injury prone, but he did play in 152 games last year as a DH.

I’m right along with Buck Showalter right now in wanting to just get this thing started.

I’m the kid at Christmas waiting for his parents to come downstairs so we can get started opening them.

The enthusiasm has to be there. How can you be disappointed in what the Orioles did in the off-season?

They went out and addressed needs-and with short-term solutions-maybe even guys who turn their careers around and become a piece of the U-turn in Baltimore.

You have to crawl before you can walk. You have to show the superstars out there-guys like Prince Fielder-that this team is going somewhere before they are going to make a commitment.

And if they don’t work out? They won’t be here. This isn’t Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, and Javy Lopez where they’re stuck with these guys for several seasons paying them for mediocrity while holding someone else back.

And while all the talk about earning a wild card spot, reaching the playoffs, and even getting to .500 this year is all good and nice, sorry Baltimore-this is where I have to lay it down like it is.

Even with the moves they made from a year ago, it’s going to be near-impossible to improve by 20+ wins in the standings. They still have relatively the same pitching staff from a year ago, some injury concerns, and a similar bullpen in many aspects.

So hold off on the-”We’re gunning for you Boston and Baltimore”-especially you…Buck Showalter.

But I will say this. I don’t care how they finish right now. And if even if the consecutive losing streak continues this year, it’s not going to be because they started out with just two wins on the year in the first three weeks.

They’ll be exciting to watch and competitive.

We’ll be in April soon. Everyone will have a clean slate and on Opening Day, everyone will be on the same level,  identical records and have common ground is in place.

The best thing in the world of Orioles baseball would be for this team to get off to the tremendous start the team got off to in 2005-going 42-30 under Lee Mazzilli while enjoying first place-but this time staying there with another former Yankee leading the way.

And I’d be there to watch it.Now let’s get started.

WNST is ready for the Orioles 2011 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Koji Back With O’s For 2011, Hardy On The Way?

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Jay Trucker

Would your boss be satisfied if you called out 50% of the time?

Apparently, the O’s were happy to bring back Koji Uehara, 35, for a 3rd season despite the Japanese former All Star’s penchant for fatigue-related sick days.

To be fair, Uehara’s first two seasons in MLB varied widely. Signed to much fanfare before the 2009 season, Uehara came to Baltimore to start games. Beset by injury, Uehara and the club quickly realized that his days of starting were behind him. Also, humidity is really not his thing.

In 2010, Uehara was an effective reliever, saving 13 games and finishing the year with a 2.86 ERA.  He can be an important piece to the back end of the bullpen if he can manage to stay upright.

The club was uncharacteristically quick in re-signing Uehara, perhaps because they are dealing so much relief pitching this offseason. They shipped David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio to Arizona for Mark Reynolds earlier in the week and appear poised to deal more pitching to improve their infield.

Speaking of…

According to CBS Sports, the O’s are set to announce a trade of minor leading pitchers James Hoey and Brett Jacobsen to Minnesota in exchange for infielders J.J. Hardy and Brenddan Harris.

O’s GM Andy MacPhail seems to have finalized this deal late last night, well after the sweater vest crowd usually nods off for the evening. Look for an announcement after the Rule V draft today, unless Peter Angelos decides to nix it on a whimsy.

Hardy, 27, is the centerpiece of the trade. His OPS is 100 points better than light-batted Cesar Izturis. Hardy has two more years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent.

Harris, 29, struggled in limited appearances last season, but he’s a career .260 hitter with a .318 OBP. Harris has played every position around the diamond, including 218 games at shortstop.

It looks like Robert Andino will have to find another club for which he can ride the express to and from AAA to the bigs.

An infield of Reynolds, Hardy, Roberts, and Anyone But Atkins won’t win the AL East, but it represents a steady improvement from last season.

My vote would be for the O’s to bring in Paul Bunyan-esque Jim Thome to DH. Thome was good for 25 dingers in only 276 at bats last year. Let’s see what he has left at age 39 and give guys like Markakis and Reynolds some real lineup protection. My two cents.

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Recently acquired 3B Mark Reynolds joins WNST first to discuss bouncing back along with new team

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Recently acquired 3B Mark Reynolds joins WNST first to discuss bouncing back along with new team

Posted on 07 December 2010 by Ryan Chell

Mark Reynolds

It took awhile for the Orioles to get started, but Monday finally brought news that Baltimore made a move with the Arizona Diamondbacks-bringing in third baseman Mark Reynolds in exchange for Orioles pitchers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.

Reynolds, 27, will likely supplant Josh Bell as the team’s Opening Day third baseman and brings a solid combination of power(121 HRs in 3+ seasons) and some speed on the base-paths( 24 SB in 2009).

The trade will likely be a work in progress for both sides, as both the Orioles and Reynolds are in the works of trying to rebound from disappointing seasons and personal slumps.

Reynolds joined Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” in a WNST exclusive to discuss the trade, and the being a Virginia Beach native discussed coming back home to the Chesapeake Bay area.

“I have a lot of family there,” Reynolds told Snider. “My parents are still there, along with my aunts and uncles, cousins…a lot of family there. I get back there-usually around the holidays-because I live in Arizona now.”

Ultimately playing in front of his family is going to be worth the move to the East Coast to suit up in the orange and black.

“It’s gonna be great playing close to home. I get to see some family and friends on an off-day. It’s a positive experience and I’m looking forward to it.”

Reynolds, a fifth-year veteran out of the University of Virginia, can play both first base and third base for his new ball club. In his career, he has a total of 121 career home runs, 346 RBIs, and a career batting average of .242.

Reynolds’ best season came in 2009 when he hit .260, had an OBP of .349 and a OPS of .892. He hit 44 HRs-good for 4th best in the NL-and 102 RBIs on top of stealing 24 bases.

The Orioles certainly would hope to have that version of Reynolds as opposed to his 2010, where he fought through numerous injuries and batted .198 while striking out a league-high 211 times.

His lack of production at the plate also affected his base-stealing skills, as his stolen base production dipped from 24 in 2009 to just seven last year.

Reynolds admitted that he hates making excuses for his slump, but the injuries a year ago were a lot to handle based on his abilities, and his injuries ranged from his quad, his thumb, and to cap it all off, he ended up being hit in the head by a 95-MPH fastball while at the plate facing Nationals pitcher Collin Balester back in August.

“I had never been hurt in my career,” Reynolds said. “Then, on the last day  of spring training, I hurt my quad and that hindered me from stealing bases, which is a major part of my game. I wasn’t really comfortable playing defense, or pushing off of my back leg.”

Reynolds said he never felt the same after that and felt out of his element. And the worst part about it all? He didn’t feel comfortable sitting out of games with the injury either.

“I’m stubborn,” Reynolds admitted. “I’ll play through anything. I hate missing games, so that season got off to a slow start.”

Ultimately the injuries continued to be a slippery slope for the fourth-year veteran.

“It was very frustrating,” Reynolds told Snider. “Obviously, I don’t picture myself as a sub-.200 by any means. And I don’t expect that to happen ever again. One thing after another this past year, and it resulted in a down year.”

He vows never to have that bad of a season again-especially now that he has a fresh start in Baltimore. He learned a lot through the adversity he suffered through the past year. And he still believes that he has the skills to contribute to the Orioles and that his overall baseball skills haven’t fallen off the table.

“But my power numbers were still there, still drove in some runs, and was still able to get on base pretty quick. This past year, I learned a lot about how to deal with injuries and how to take a day or two if I need it, instead of struggling to play through it.”

The Orioles will retain his services for at least two more seasons before a club option is available.

In a sense, this is a great trade for the Orioles. They got a power-hitting third baseman who had one off-year for cheap, and they did not have to give up any of the hot pitching prospects in the organization.

The Diamondbacks were high on starting pitcher Chris Tillman, but instead the Orioles were able to work out the deal for Reynolds instead with Hernandez-a pitcher who excelled after moving to the bullpen-and the other pitcher that came over in the Erik Bedard trade to the Seattle-Kam Mickolio.

Not giving up Tillman in that deal could mean that they could then package him in another move toward another corner infielder.

Reynolds said that now his job is getting to know his teammates, preparing himself for spring training, and learning to respect a manager in Buck Showalter, who used to manage his original ballclub before he became a member of the team, that he doesn’t know too much about just yet.

“I actually just got off the phone with him a little bit ago,” Reynolds said. “And he was welcoming me to the team. He sounded like a good guy to play for. I’m just going to go in it with a positive attitude…[and] hoping to get some wins and help turn this team around.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Orioles throughout their off-season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Orioles trade Mickolio, Hernandez for Arizona’s Reynolds

Posted on 06 December 2010 by Jay Trucker

That breeze you hear against your window is the sound of Mark Reynolds swinging for the fences at Camden Yards.

According to ESPN’s Buster Onley, the O’s have traded pitchers Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for the 27 year-old slugger.

Here’s the good news about Reynolds. He hit 76 home runs in the last two seasons. He gives the Orioles a legitimate cleanup hitter and power corner infield, which the team sorely lacked since….um, for a really long time.

Here’s the bad news about Reynolds.
In the same two seasons he combined for 443 strikeouts. The Virginia native has led the league with over 200 k’s per season for the last three years.

Reynolds should be an interesting contrast to Nick Markakis’ “stare at strike three on the corner” strategy. Reynolds sees a lot of pitches, but he’s not afraid to take a whiff, either.

If the Orioles were able to land Reynolds for only Mickolio and Hernandez, this trade should be considered a success. Both pitchers have struggled with their command. A strikeout king in the minors, Hernandez was converted to the ‘pen in 2010. Mickolio, a 6’9″ Montana native, faltered in Spring Training last year and saw only limited action in the majors.

Mark Reynolds is no Adrian Gonzalez, and his .198 average in 2010 is cause for legitimate concern. However, he is a better pickup than the retreads the club signed last season (Yes, I’m still dogging you, Garrett Atkins. Never forget). He should hit for power in Camden Yards.   However, he will have to increase his rate of contact if he hopes to remain a full-time player.

According to baseballreference.com, the Diamondbacks signed Reynolds for $5 million in 2011 and $7.5 million in 2012. His contract has an $11 million option for 2013 with a $500,000 buyout. The Orioles will inherit Reynolds’ contract.

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My 3-part “Orioles in review” series begins with…the report card

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Drew Forrester

With baseball season over in Baltimore – once again, five weeks too early – it’s time to spend a few days reviewing what happened and what lies ahead.

I’ll start my 3-part “Orioles review” with the 2010 Report Card.

When your team only wins 66 games, it’s easy to hand out a bunch of C’s and D’s, but I was a little more kind than that given the club’s outstanding play in August and September.  They took what MIGHT have been a 50-win-campaign and turned it into just another bad season.  And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.  20 years from now, folks will look back at 2010 and say to themselves “well, they were bad that year…”.  Had they gone 50-112, folks would remember that FOREVER as one of those historically bad seasons for ANY club in baseball history, not just Orioles history.

Winning 66 games was a miracle based on where the team was when Buck took over in early August.

Here are the grades:

Pitchers

Brian Matusz (C+) — Didn’t get off to a great start, but came on strong in Aug/Sept and showed he’s here to stay.  Could wind up being next year’s version of this year’s David Price (Tampa Bay).  At some point, it’s all going to come together for this kid.  He has a bright future, for sure. Let’s hope it’s in Baltimore.

Jeremy Guthrie (B) — Was the team’s best pitcher and, honestly, their best PLAYER all season.  Take away the 2009 season when the club cut his salary in pre-season and he’s put together three VERY good campaigns in Baltimore since arriving in 2007.

Brad Bergesen (C) — Another pitcher who responded well to the arrival of Showalter.  He still has a propensity to get involved in a big inning on occasion, but his stuff is as good as anyone’s on the staff and he’ll be in the rotation to start 2011.

Chris Tillman (D) — Sprinkled in the occasional good start, but for the most part he remains overmatched with his lack of control and little movement on his fastball.  Hopefully not a “AAAA pitcher” but that’s what it’s looking like more and more — hitters can’t touch him at the AAA level but he can’t get hitters out consistently enough at the big league level.

Kevin Millwood (D) — Wasn’t nearly as bad as his final numbers showed, but the bottom line is that he appeared disinterested from the start and that lack of enthusiasm translated into the worst season of his career.

Jake Arrieta (C-) — Control problems continue to plague him (52k/48bb) at the major league level, as they did in the minors, but he occasionally showed flashes of good stuff and should contend for a starting rotation spot in 2011 spring training.  WHIP (1.53) and BAA (.271) were way too high, but as a first year contributor, he had some decent moments.

David Hernandez (B-) — Accepted his bullpen role well and turned out to be impressive in his non-starter-work.  Could eventually compete for a starter’s spot again, but his lack of durability was an issue in his previous efforts to start.

Jason Berken (B-) — Was arguably the team’s most consistent pitcher – out of the bullpen – before getting hurt.  Like Hernandez, might not have been good enough to a consistently good starter, but he seems to have settled into his bullpen role with enthusiasm.

Koji Uehara (B-) — When healthy, he’s good to very good.  When not healthy, he’s not helping.  The question isn’t whether or not he can pitch and be effective.  He can be.  The question is “can he stay healthy?”.  Had some success as the closer, but also gave up several big home runs in that role.

Jim Johnson (C) — Injury-riddled 2010 didn’t give him a chance to do much.  Will be interesting to see what role Showalter gives him.  Was at his best as the 8th inning set-up man.

Mark Hendrickson (C-) — The journeyman left hander figures to NOT return in 2011.

Matt Albers (C) — Trade bait, perhaps?  He’s been OK in Baltimore, but with Hernandez and Berken (and maybe Koji?) coming back, where does he fit in?

Alfredo Simon (C-) — Too inconsistent to be counted on.  Experiment as the closer didn’t work.  He can’t start.  So what do you do with him?  Teach him to pitch left-handed?

Michael Gonzalez (C) — Didn’t really get enough work to justify any grade, but on the whole, he was just OK, at best.

Field Players

Ty Wigginton (B) — Should have been the team’s MVP, truth be known.  Carried the team in April and May when they were horrible.  Had an off-month in June, but rebounded nicely under Showalter and looks to be Buck’s kind of player.  Get used to seeing him, he’ll be back next year.

Luke Scott (B) – Blossomed into the team’s best – and, maybe, only – real power hitter.  If not for that 3-week injury where he hurt himself jogging around the bases, he would have enjoyed, perhaps, a VERY good season.  The only knock on him?  Where do you play him in the field?  He was OK at first base…better than I thought he’d be, but he can’t play left field every day, that’s for sure.

Adam Jones (C+) – He is, without question, the club’s most mysterious player.  One week he’s red hot and has that big-player swagger and the next week he’s swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, grounding into double play-after-double play, and watching fly balls sail over his head.  Personally, I think he’s the player with the most potential on the roster.  But his 2010 was just “eh”…some good, some bad…mostly “eh”.

Nick Markakis (C) — Hard to give Nick much better than a “C” when a lot of his numbers were down across the board.  That said, I really believe the power drop-off can be attributed more to where he hit in the lineup than anything else.  Still remains one of the game’s best defensive outfielders and with solid additions to the lineup, he could once again be a .300, 24 HR, 100 RBI guy without question.

Felix Pie (C) –  An incredibly gifted athlete who certainly improved over his injury-riddled 2009, but he’s still not nearly the 5-tool player that everyone imagined he’d be when he came up through the Cubs system.  His blemishes are obvious — not patient enough at the plate, not enough power  and prone to the mental mistake more than you’d like.  But there’s plenty of good with him as well.  Improved defensively, for sure, and looks to be more comfortable against left handers.  It wouldn’t hurt the club to make him part of trade talks in the off-season, but if nothing else, he’s a valuable role player going forward.

Corey Patterson (B) – For what he was – a minor leaguer out of a job in the spring – Patterson turned out to be a more-than-adequate 4th outfielder in 2010.  He probably won’t be back in 2011, but it wouldn’t be a bad decision to bring him back if he’s willing to settle for the part-time role again.  He is what he is — a decent professional player.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But he had a good year in 2010.

Cesar Izturis (C-) – Outstanding defensive year was tempered by the expected offensive fizzle.  He’s better at the plate than given credit for — but the numbers don’t lie.  The Orioles need to do better at the shortstop position, that’s for certain.  Will they?  I’m not so sure.  I have a weird feeling Buck likes him…and that he might be back on a 1-year deal while the team figures out what they’re going to do at the position long-term.

Brian Roberts (C) — Tough to assess him based on the fact he missed 100 games.  As expected, the team benefitted greatly when he returned, but it wasn’t “the old” B-Rob for the most part.  15 RBI in 59 games?  Wow.  4 HR in 59 games?  Ugh.  14 doubles in 59 games?  Eye opening.  But let’s assume his early season injury contributed to his lack of production.  At this point, though, you would figure the Orioles are starting to think about “life after B-Rob”.  It’s coming sometime soon.

Josh Bell (D) — Wasn’t ready.  Period.  Overmatched.  Period.  53 strikeouts in 53 games.  2 walks.  A .214 batting average.  Was OK in the field, and that’s being kind.  Just not big-league caliber yet.  But it also means the Orioles will be in the market for a 3B this off-season.

Matt Wieters (C-) — Seemed to pick it up when Showalter arrived, but it wasn’t a good sophomore season from “Mauer with Power”.  His defense was questionable at times and his long, loopy swing was victimized throughout the early part of the season by fastball pitchers.  A .249 batting average clearly isn’t good enough, but the more eye opening stat was 11 HR in 130 games.  Not time to panic yet, because he’s a year and a half into his career — but we all probably expected more at this point.  Patience, young grasshopper, patience .

Julio Lugo (D) – Not much there.  Nothing memorable stands out, which is why he won’t be back next year.

Craig Tatum (C) — He’s the back-up catcher, but an adequate enough one.  Was actually decent defensively.  Not dangerous at the plate, but back-up catchers rarely are.

Staff

Andy MacPhail (C-) — Rescued from a “D” or even “E” grade with Showalter’s August-September impact.  All four of his off-season acquisitions were basically either non-contributors (Atkins, Gonzalez), not motivated to succeed (Millwood) or not good enough (Lugo).

Buck Showalter (A) — Nothing else to say.  Easiest grade to give.  Gives everyone hope for 2011.

Dave Trembley (D) — Game after game, there were always “next-morning-questions” about his strategies and in-game decisions.  Was never given a decent roster to work with, but he turned out to be overmatched as the head honcho.

Juan Samuel (B-) — I thought he was better than Trembley, for sure, and the questions about strategies and what not weren’t as prevalent as those involving Trembley.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” There’s few things I enjoy this much in the world.

The Retro version? This is too easy. We went drunkpin bowling for my birthday Saturday night, and “Mo Money Mo Problems” nearly got me thrown out. Absolutely the greatest hip hop song of all time…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twkh0YiInPM[/youtube]

Here’s the NEW version of the GSOATTW…Lil’ Wayne & Drake…Language probably not safe for work…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHZtMNbrmWE[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says new Ravens WR Houshmandzadeh ‘entertaining’ during introductory press conference in Owings Mills

Just go ahead and say it. “Championship”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs1N5NYyb24[/youtube]

TJ Houshmandzadeh was plenty entertaining at 1 Winning Drive Tuesday-whether it was saying Cincinnati Bengals coaches were “nervous” before facing the Baltimore Ravens or saying his departure from Seattle had “nothing to do with football.” He was intelligent and engaging, and made a press conference interesting.

Unfortunately, an impressive press conference doesn’t count for any wins in the AFC North standings. What happens on the field will matter MUCH more than anything that happens in any press conference.

Unless of course something like one of these happens at a Ravens press conference this season. That WOULD be newsworthy…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRBfZna8QlA[/youtube]

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says LB Sergio Kindle believes he’ll be able to return this season

If the Ravens don’t get Sergio Kindle back this season, the decision to trade Antwan Barnes to Philadelphia looks more and more foolish to me.

I have a bad feeling that pass rush will be an area of concern within a month or so of the start of the season. Bringing in Josh Wilson improves the secondary, but the secondary will only be as good as the pass rush will allow it to be.

Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce are the most important puzzle pieces, but the team will need to be able to get a rush from elsewhere. The number of injuries the team could help Paul Kruger or Edgar Jones be active against the Jets Monday night, and if so they’ll need to show some ability to get to the quarterback to stay active.

I just feel like it’s going to be a concern. Getting Kindle back between Week 6 and Week 9 could help that.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens worked out former Atlanta Falcons, LSU CB Chevis Jackson Tuesday

Jackson wouldn’t be a player they’d be looking at for the active roster (which could have something to do with why he didn’t join the team Tuesday), but instead to join the practice squad after Prince Miller signed with the New England Patriots.

The real question is-if the Ravens are conducting tryouts, why wouldn’t they give Alyssa Pallett a look??? (Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!)

pallett

4. The Sun’s Tim Smith says Lyric Opera House to be renamed after former Ravens owner Art Modell and wife Pat Modell

I know nothing about opera and less about donating millions of dollars. With that being said, I think this is an awesome story shared between two Charm City institutions.

The first performance at the new Modell Center? A Ray Lewis/Old Spice musical extravaganza…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxqlw3cKZHA[/youtube]

5. Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer says Brian Baldinger, Steve Beuerlein, Ron Jaworski, Steve Largent, Joe Theismann, Marcellus Wiley amongst former NFL players who think Ravens will reach Super Bowl

A few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-As you already know, Jaworski will be part of the broadcast team Monday; as he, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya will have the call for ESPN from the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford.

-The Ravens return to the practice field today for a “bonus day” in Owings Mills. We’ll be out there live, and I’ll check back in with Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to let you know what’s going on in Ravensland.

6. The AP’s Howie Rumberg says Orioles got to CC Sabathia early in win over New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium

Look-you don’t have to even bother asking if I watched last night. I played in my weekly Tuesday night Kickball/Ultimate Frisbee showdown in Bel Air, then I came home to watch Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal in Flushing Meadows.

And since I haven’t been watching the games, I will admit that I’m always skeptical when I check back to see the scores. I mean, the O’s can’t REALLY be on the verge of a sweep in The Bronx, can they? They couldn’t REALLY have beaten CC Sabathia last night thanks in part to a Nolan Reimold homer, could they?

There’s so much evidence that it almost HAS to be true, but I’ll continue to admit that I’m skeptical. Can you blame me?

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

So many good things to look at here:

-Jake Arrieta went 6 and a third last night, allowing just 2 earned runs on 8 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 3.
-Not only did Reimold homer, but Ty Wigginton went 2-4 with a double, run scored and RBI; Nick Markakis went 2-4 with a run scored and RBI; and Brian Roberts went 2-5 with a run scored.

So-as has become a new custom around here-I encourage you to ABSOLUTELY go look at the numbers, but then come back to check out Jodi Gordon courtesy of The Beer Goggler via Busted Coverage…

jodigordon

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Troy Patton, Pedro Viola called up; David Hernandez activated Tuesday

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-The Birds and Yanks wrap their 3 game series this week with a matinee showdown at Yankee Stadium. Brad Bergesen takes the hill against Ivan Nova, first pitch is on MASN at 1:05pm.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox manager Brad Komminsk wrapping up the season with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today here at WNST.net to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • John Harper (New York Daily News)-who talked Orioles, Yankees and Buck Showalter with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Justin Gimelstob (Tennis Channel)-who went around the U.S. Open with Drew Wednesday morning as well
  • Lorenzo Neal (Former Ravens, Bengals FB)-who discussed his former teammate TJ Houshmandzadeh with Rex Snider Tuesday afternoon
  • Bob Glauber (Newsday/ESPN First Take)-who discussed the New York Jets before the Monday Night Football showdown with Rex Tuesday afternoon
  • Frankie Edgar (UFC Lightweight Champion)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • The entire TJ Houshmandzadeh press conference (with an introduction from WR Coach Jim Hostler) from Owings Mills, and the entire Kevin Anderson press conference (with incoming school president Wallace Loh and acting president Nariman Farvardin) from College Park

It’s all in the Audio Vault, make sure you check it out today. Then you can send me a card. Or a fruit basket. I’d love a fruit basket.

9. The AP says new Maryland AD Kevin Anderson wants to take Terps from ‘good to great’

There’s no question that Debbie Yow left the Terrapins’ athletic program in very good shape-both on the field and economically.

That being said, the school would clearly like to see their “money” sports competing at a more consistent national level.

That’s where Kevin Anderson comes in.

There are two pieces in place now with Dr. Loh established as President and Anderson as Athletic Director.

Now everything shifts to the football program.

A win over Navy was nice, but Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin know exactly what they’re up against. The leadership of the school and the department will have to decide what they’re looking for, and whether the current head coach and/or the head coach in waiting can meet those expectations.

They might not be coaching for their jobs-but I don’t think it’s unfair to say they very well could be.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins DT Joe Vellano, S Kenny Tate amongst ACC Players of the Week

Trust me, I asked-this type of honor is nice but does NOT earn you a date with Tal Berkovich. (Thanks Guyism!)

berkovich

It really should though.

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Big Lebowski meets The Matrix. The Dude abides…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqqIUxZTdVc[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles bolster ‘pen, hope to continue spoiler alert

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Jay Trucker

Don’t tell Buck Showalter’s Orioles that their September games are meaningless. After dropping a series opener to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, the Birds won the last two games of the series against the Rays and a matinee holiday opener in New York against the division-leading Yankees.

The Yankees (86-52) are now 2.5 games ahead of the Rays (83-54) in the contentious AL East, while the O’s are having a lot to do with the pennant race.

Showalter’s fightin’ Birds will play New York five more times and Tampa three more times before the season’s end. Suddenly, the haves in the A.L. have to be concerned with the perennial have-nots.

Meanwhile, the O’s continue to expand their roster, bringing up David Viola, who was 3.4 with a 3.59 ERA in Bowie.

David Hernandez, who has both started and pitched from the bullpen, is also likely to be called up.

Meanwhile, Koji Uehara, who looked one of Andy MacPhail’s worst signings during the first 4/5 of his two-year deal, is suddenly playing like an elite closer. He’s currently 7/7 in saves with a miniscule 2.38 ERA. He pitched a perfect ninth inning in the Bronx Monday afternoon.

The former Japanese All Star, who struggled as a starter in the States and was often visibly laboring in the humid climate, has been excellent since inheriting the closer’s role.

Hmm, maybe this is why EVERY SINGLE OTHER TEAM IN THE MAJORS WAS ONLY WILLING TO LOOK AT HIM AS A RELIEVER?

Oh well, better late than never. If Koji can help the O’s continue to play the spoiler role, his pitiful first year and a half plus will be forgotten, and he’ll earn another MLB contract somewhere…as a reliever.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a (semi) Happy Thursday for me, because the bad news is that Andy Roddick suffered his annual collapse last night at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. My alcohol consumption during the match was at an all-time high. As soon as Tipsarevic went up 0-40 on A-Rod’s serve to close the 2nd I knew something bad was happening.

BUT…it isn’t all bad news. For example, if you happened to poke over to MASN2 last night, you might have seen something more awesome than even WWE can offer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKZk88o4ppw[/youtube]

For the record, Gaby Sanchez’s clothesline > Edge’s spear.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles got to Jon Lester early, but Red Sox rallied to win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

When the Orioles scored four runs in the first inning against Jon Lester, I thought to myself (and asked on via Twitter @WNST) if anyone had a weather report for hell. I was assuming freezing rain myself.

Sadly, Jon Lester turned back into Jon Lester at some point, and the Orioles bullpen that has been very good as of late turned back into the Orioles bullpen that wasn’t even a little bit good for stretches this season. Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon were about as good as…Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon.

(Edit from GMC: That’s not really fair. Mark Hendrickson was good for the vast majority of the season. But that doesn’t really help my point, so I won’t mention it.)

Remember August? August was really good for the Orioles. Maybe if we can find a Hot Tub Time Machine we could go back to then…

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

The good? Felix Pie had a pair of doubles and Adam Jones had a double, 2 RBI and scored a run. Also, Ty Wigginton went 2-3, scoring a run and driving in another.

The bad? While Jake Arrieta gave up just 3 earned runs on 6 hits and didn’t walk anyone, he was also pulled after 5 innings after having already thrown 95 pitches.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, check out Hope Dworaczyk. This will be much more fun. Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!

hoped

3. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says O’s called up Brandon Snyder, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino

And for some reason, Reimold was in the lineup last night facing Jon Lester. Luke Scott was not.

(Edit from GMC: I know there was a “reason”. Spare me.)

Word is that Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk and Troy Patton are going to follow this group. If this doesn’t sell tickets for Sunday afternoon against the Rays, I’m not sure what will. In fact, I’m pretty sure Rick VandenHurk bobblehead night will be September 15th.

It will be good to see these guys on the field a little bit for the next few weeks, at least for as much as I’ll actually be watching. My guess is that I won’t really be watching that much. I’ve got tennis for the next 10 days and college football starts tonight. You really think I’m going to bother with baseball?

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds playing games in September that ‘almost’ matter

I don’t think “almost” is an appropriate term here. I think the more appropriate term is “sorta.”

The fact is, the Orioles are 34 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’re not even in the REALM of “almost.”

But there are some things about this September that make it “sorta” meaningful. Extending a good month into a strong close to the season helps in changing the culture in Charm City. Having a good month and then tanking again anyway makes fans think to themselves “same old Orioles.”

It’s “sorta” meaningful. The games are completely irrelevant in terms of baseball, but the end of the season could help in trying to cultivate a dead baseball environment in this area.

To REALLY change the baseball environment in this town, a team would have to win THROUGHOUT the season. Not just for a month-or even two.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Joel Guzman crushed 32nd home run for Bowie Baysox in win over Altoona Curve on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things.

-The Birds and BoSox wrap their 3 game series with a rubber match tonight at OPACY. Brad Bergesen faces Daisuke Matsuzaka, first pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Adam Jones was forced to leave last night’s game with back pain still stemming from being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch last week. It still doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern, but it’s still an issue a week removed.

-Multiple reports (including MLB.com) say David Hernandez is about a week or so away from returning. That’s good news. But you already knew that.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens placed Mike McLaughlin on IR to make room for Josh Wilson on roster

And if he hadn’t ended up on IR, the practice squad would have been the other possible destination for McLaughlin. He was an undrafted LB out of Boston College who the Ravens decided to move to FB-which he hadn’t played since high school. He was AT BEST a longshot to make the roster, but will buy himself some time to continue developing over the next year now that he’s on IR.

Of course, if the Ravens were going to make room on the roster for someone-I sorta wish it had been Izabel Goulart. Thanks, Guyism!

izabelg

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens’ game tonight big for bubble guys like Prince Miller, Demetrius Williams, David Reed

I will admit that I’d still be a bit surprised just to see Demetrius Willliams on the field tonight. I know he returned to practice this week and is sort of a “bubble” guy, but it looks more and more like he almost HAS to make the roster-and there doesn’t seem to be anything smart about playing a roster guy with a bad ankle on a terrible carpet.

Prince Miller’s road to the roster got much longer when the Ravens acquired Josh Wilson. Not only does Wilson give the Ravens necessary depth at CB, but he could free up Chris Carr to return punts. Miller will get the chance tonight, but Carr could very well end up being the guy in the regular season. Reed could be in trouble as well-as it looks like he’s behind both Williams and Marcus Smith on the depth chart.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Troy Smith fighting for final roster spot

And you will see PLENTY of the former Heisman Trophy winner tonight. As I’ve said throughout the week on AM1570, expect 4 quarters of Smith tonight-similar to how John Beck went 4 quarters against the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-The Ravens and St. Louis Rams get together at Edward Jones Dome tonight. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 locally. I’ll be joining Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 pm on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to preview the game.

-Did you miss Rams color analyst (and former Super Bowl champion) D’Marco Farr with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other stuff you can hear in the Audio Vault includes…

  • Brian Billick (Former Ravens coach and WNST part owner)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his “man crush” on Aaron Rodgers (didn’t he have a man crush on another QB from Cal?) and all things NFL
  • Mark Mravich (SI NFL Editor)-who discussed the SI NFL Preview Issue with Drew, including Peter King’s choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the Super Bowl
  • Paul Azinger (former PGA Championship winner)-who discusses his new book “Cracking the Code” with Drew-a book about being the captain of the 2008 Ryder Cup winning US team
  • Peter Schrager (FoxSports.com)-who joined Drew to preview College Football season, which starts tonight.

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Get there today, and as always-YOU’RE WELCOME!

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens picks Navy to beat Maryland 31-24 Monday at M&T Bank Stadium

I haven’t decided exactly what my pick will be just yet (I’ll announce it tomorrow), but my guess is that I’ll end up picking the Mids by at least 10 points myself.

Speaking of the number 10, here’s a picture of Arianny Celeste from Maxim via NextRound.net….

celeste

10. TowsonTigers.com previews tonight’s season opener at Indiana Hoosiers

If this was Villanova or another good CAA team, the conference would have a real chance to score a major upset. However, it is not-so I’ll take IU at about a 31-6 clip.

The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Matt Devlin, Derek Rackley and Stacy Paetz are on the call.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via Deadspin, here’s a photo of Joakim Noah golfing. That’s all you need to know.

joakim

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because WNST.net’s own Jay Trucker posted a gem on Facebook yesterday (you can add me as a friend by searching for “Glenn Clark” and clicking on the pic of the goofy dude in a Dan Wilcox jersey at Artscape, you can also “like” WNST.net). It’s a combo of 50 Cent’s “Wanksta” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City.” It’s actually quite good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KJma_pcJDE[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles touched up Ervin Santana in 9-7 win over Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

In Charm City, two straight wins ABSOLUTELY qualifies as a winning streak. We take what we can get.

I know I wasn’t the only person who was terribly afraid that a 9-1 lead was going to completely disappear after the rain delay. Thankfully Los Angeles (slash Anaheim slash California slash etc.) thought it was a good idea to have Torii Hunter steal third base in the 9th inning despite not even being the tying run.

You take them however you can get them-especially when you don’t have too many of them.

Kudos to Brian Matusz, who looked like the guy that everyone on the face of the planet was counting Cy Young Awards for before the season started. Hopefully he can do that again in the future.

Back to back wins. Is this what heaven is like?

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Look at all of this:

-Luke Scott was 2-5 with a 2 run bomb
-Ty Wigginton was 2-5 with 2 RBI and scored a run
-Adam Jones was 3-4 with a pair of doubles and scored 3 runs
-and even Felix Pie was 3-4 with a triple, 3 RBI and a run scored. Hell, he even tallied a stolen base for a second night in a row. Talk about Orioles Magic!!!

This isn’t supposed to work this way. This is supposed to be where I say “You don’t want to look at the numbers, so instead go look at (blank).” So once again, I guess I’ll suggest you look at the numbers THEN look at this picture of Montana Fishburne (Laurence Fishburne’s daughter); who thought the quickest road to fame involved releasing a sex tape. What, you think there’s something wrong with that? (Thanks Don Chavez!)

fishburne

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says David Hernandez ‘likely’ DL bound with sprained ankle

Which is the bad news that comes from what was an otherwise good night. The good news is that Josh Bell and Brian Roberts were both hurt during the game, but both appear to be okay.

Who takes David Hernandez’s roster spot? I’ll say Frank Mata. And I’ll be unimpressed. Make sure you’re on our WNST Text Service, as you’ll find out as soon as it happens.

4. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says former Buck Showalter players believe manager ‘perfect guy’ for Birds

It’s great insight from a handful of players that played for Showalter with the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees or Texas Rangers, including:

-Luis Gonzalez
-Matt Williams
-Greg Colbrunn
-Doug Glanville
-Matt Nokes
-Matt Riley
and more.

Plus, you can hear from all of these players in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. It will get you excited. Being within 35 games of .500 would get you more excited, but let’s take what we can get for now.

5. Baysox.com says Steve Johnson winner as Bowie topped Portland Sea Dogs on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things:

-The Birds and Halos wrap up their 3 game series tonight, first pitch from OPACY is at 7:05pm. Dan Haren takes the hill for LA, he’s looking for his first win since coming to the American League. Jake Arrieta opposes him for the Orioles-you can see the game on MASN. If the Birds sweep the Angels, Showalter might as well head over to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office and start working there.

-Did you miss former Orioles (well, kinda)/Tampa Bay Rays/Florida Marlins/Glen Burnie Gophers pitcher Tony Saunders with Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Vault include:

  • Steelers Play By Play Voice Bill Hillgrove-who previewed Pittsburgh with Drew this morning as we continue to look around the AFC North
  • New Navy basketball assistant and former Duke hoops star/Syracuse QB Greg Paulus-who talked to Drew about his new role on Billy Lange’s Midshipmen staff
  • Trevor Pryce-who joined Thyrl Nelson fresh off the practice field at McDaniel College Wednesday
  • All sorts of audio from Westminster Wednesday-including John Harbaugh, Roger Goodell, Matt Birk and Michael Oher

So there you go. Your whole day is planned for you. Tell your boss to get bent-you need to listen to the latest and greatest at WNST.net. It will go over fine. I promise.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says John Harbaugh, Ravens were ‘excited’ to host NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at Training Camp Wednesday

Which you could certainly tell from player reactions, both via audio and on Twitter (you can follow us on Twitter @WNST!). For example, banged up CB Lardarius Webb (@LWebb21) said:

“Roger G is a laid back type of guy! He don’t seem to be that guy everyone tries to say he is. Nice meeting you G.

If only Goodell would have Tweeted back something like “You too L-Dubs!” That’s the type of world I’d like to live in.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ravens could be in line to play game overseas

I don’t know how I feel about this at all. The idea is that playing a game in London (or Barcelona…or Amsterdam…or Berlin…or wherever) would be good for marketing and branding. I can understand the value of that.

However, I’m not so sure it’s a great idea football-wise. I know the New England Patriots had no trouble with jetlag or strange surroundings, but you never know how a group of athletes are going to handle such a drastic change in preparation and game atmosphere. These guys don’t like it when they have to bump kickoff back three hours to 4pm. They’re creatures of comfort, and this isn’t comfortable.

It probably wouldn’t be a situation where the team would have to give up a home game at M&T Bank Stadium. The more likely scenario would be that an opponent who sometimes struggles with ticket sales (the Jacksonville Jaguars come to mind) would be hand-picked to face the Ravens-who are one of the league’s more model franchises.

It’s potentially good for the organization big picture, but it might not be good for the franchise in a single season. It leaves me torn. My pal Chad Dukes would say “I’m Torn like Natalie Imbruglia.”

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens to try out former LSU CB Chris Hawkins today

Which is all well and good, but I can’t imagine they’d be trying him out thinking there was any legitimate chance he could be on the field come September 13th when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Here’s a question: Why wouldn’t the team give Zhang Jingchu a tryout??? (Thanks Guyism!)

jingchu

9. CSNBaltimore.com’s Joe Platania says Derrick Mason missed practice Wednesday, Davon Drew returned, Matt Birk could return soon

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things:

-Our own Luke Jones reported that Oniel Cousins (throat) came off the PUP list and returned to practice. The Ravens are practicing at 8:45am and 2:45pm (2:45pm is scheduled to be a full squad workout) today if you want to head up to Carroll County.

-Luke will be checking in throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider on AM1570, with Training Camp reports at the bottom of every hour. We are also scheduled to hear from John Harbaugh, Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham after practice-you will be able to hear from them in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Navy an early 7 point favorite against Maryland

Well, it’s come to this.

I know Ken Niumatalolo’s Mids look like they’re going to be a good team this year-but I cannot believe we’ve gotten to a point where the Terrapins are a 7 point dog to Navy on a neutral field.

I’ve said this before. It’s easy to look at these teams and assume Navy is better this season. That doesn’t necessarily mean Navy is going to win. I would probably pick Navy (the funny part is I might pick them by 10+ points), but it doesn’t mean they’ll just roll right past the Terps-who if nothing else will probably have more size and speed on the field.

I’m still afraid they will.

11. Universal Sports’ Matt Stroup says Michael Phelps picked up two golds at Nationals in Irvine, CA

Which means that Michael Phelps has surpassed Terry Caulkins for the most gold medals in U.S. National Championship history. Unlike some folks, I’m unbelievably happy for the Baltimore guy.

I also have a question. Is this the type of accomplishment that would impress Edita Vileviciute? If so, I might go buy a Speedo. (Thanks Heyman Hustle/Busted Coverage!)…

edita

And finally, I leave you with this.

“The Other Guys” opens in theaters tomorrow. Anyone else interested?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6WOoUG1eNo[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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