Tag Archive | "david"

Tags: , , , ,

What does Wieters’ promotion mean to you as a Baltimore Orioles fan?

Posted on 27 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Needless to say, there will be a virtual overkill of speculation about Matt Wieters today at WNST.net and AM 1570. Here’s your chance to write what’s on YOUR mind about his pending promotion on Friday.

Comments welcomed below.

Is it good? Is it bad? Are you going to the game? Are you excited? Will Friday be a historic day in the history of the Orioles moving forward?

Tell us how you feel…

Even good “one liners” are welcomed…

Comments Off on What does Wieters’ promotion mean to you as a Baltimore Orioles fan?

Tags: , , , , ,

Preakness on my mind…

Posted on 12 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m up early this morning and reading online about the Preakness and where it stands in the realm of the sports world circa 2009. I’ve been googling videos, watching drunken fights, potty races, some bare breasts and (oh yeah) horse racing and a history and legacy that defines sports in Baltimore and Maryland over the last century.

This week I could most certainly write my annual “Can The Preakness Be Saved?” blog/column and now that I’m back on the radio maybe it’s time to have a spirited debate about the Preakness and its merits on AM 1570.

Does it matter?

Do you like the changes to infield?

Are you going this week?

When’s the last time you went? (Or, when is the last time you went to any track, period?)

Why don’t you go?

Do you know how to read the Racing Form?

If you do go, why do you go?

I’m actually going to the race on Saturday and have been asked to participate on one of the stages and interview some of the stars of the event. I’m excited and honored. I love the Preakness but I also readily and sadly admit its incredible decline from once reverent status.

It’s been fascinating to see how everyone from Peter Angelos to Kevin Plank to David Cordish — and to my knowledge these are three of the most prominent and wealthy branders, marketers and developers our community has — have all rallied to keep the Preakness in Baltimore.

I just can’t figure out why, other than sentimentality and the dream to try to fix it in someway but my fear isn’t for the race as much as the sport in general. No one under 50 acknowledges that the track exists. And they’ve done a horrible job over the last 25 years of keeping the track up to date, the sport up to date and the marketing of the Preakness has turned up a reputation as a raunchy, outdoor, East Coast Mardi Gras drunken fest.

My questions:

Are they bailing out Chrysler here or can this race not only be “saved” but can it be “revived” over the next decade? And what would it take to revive the Preakness? (Not to mention revive horse racing in general.

No one loves the Kentucky Derby more than I do. But the city of Louisville absolutely “lays out” for that event in every way, for every man, woman and child. It’s a BIG, BIG deal there — a major source of civic pride that only the Ravens have in Baltimore circa 2009.

Then there’s the whole slots, gambling, new track issues…

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover at 2 p.m. today.

(We’ll also talk a little Caps Game 7, King of Baltimore Sportstalk and Orioles-Rays).

Comments Off on Preakness on my mind…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Game 7 is a go: Caps beat Penguins 5-4 in OT

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Washington Capitals season will march on after a 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh that was one of the more exciting events of the year. David Steckel’s tip-in off a shot from Brooks Laich went past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at 6:22 of overtime and the Caps have forged a Game 7 on Wednesday at Verizon Center.

We watched the action at Silver Spring Mining Company with another packed house of Rock The Red nuts. It’s as much fun as I’ve had in years, especially sharing hockey with a community of like-minded fans. It’s like a little mini-Ravens fan celebration.

The game was sensational throughout with the Caps holding leads throughout the third period only to allow the Penguins to force overtime on a goal from Sidney Crosby with 4:14 remaining in regulation. It could’ve been devastating and the Caps even put the Penguins on a power play on a slashing call on Brooks Laich with 2:02 remaining in the third period.

The Caps tightened up. They got the game into overtime and found a way to win. Even Alexander Semin came back to life tonight, scoring a goal in the second period.

I’ve said it many, many time. Game Seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs is the best, most-consistently excited sporting event there is in the world.

We’ll be at the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk semifinals during the game on Wednesday night with the 13 contestants and some local celebrities at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk. A great time is guaranteed on Wednesday.

Game 7 — there’s nothing like it!

Comments Off on Game 7 is a go: Caps beat Penguins 5-4 in OT

Tags: , ,

Getting fired in the Oriole Park press box

Posted on 06 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The stories of The Baltimore Sun’s firings are now circulating and the fallout are stories and blogs on the web with tales of the corporate bloodletting last Wednesday. Former Sun sports columnist and WNST.net contributor David Steele tells his tale on the web here about getting fired in the Oriole Park press box.

Rick Maese checked in with me last week as well and said he’s taking some “down” time with his family.

Both of these guys were true professionals and will be missed around town.

Comments Off on Getting fired in the Oriole Park press box

Tags: , , , ,

Watching “The Sun” set in Baltimore…

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been a rough 48 hours in our industry. Sports writing and sports journalism and careers going away at The Baltimore Sun, people we know and read and work with getting fired at an alarming rate. The economy is a mess, newspapers, radio and television revenue models are coming undone and sponsors and businesses are screaming for ROI (that’s “return on investment” for those who aren’t in the sales world).

Here at WNST.net, we’re building a business model that works and one that we hope will be sustainable long after The Sun sets. And as The Sun sets, we continue to make our product at WNST better so that we can become the place you come to every day for your Baltimore sports news and information and analysis.

When advertisers advertise their businesses here, we actually help get them business. We are accountable. We deliver results. We’ve been doing that for local businesses for 17 years. (If we didn’t, we’d have been gone a long time ago!)

We’ve gotten so good at growing our business that last week I got the greatest “compliment” I could ever be given. Big ‘ole WBAL dropped a dime and forced the Ravens to stop allowing me to do a Ravens post-draft live show with the Ravens scouts, ending a 13-year tradition that began with Phil Savage in 1996.

Of course, that’s less access for you — the fans — via WNST, but it’s a sensible “short-term” business play from the Ravens and their radio partner, who are no doubt struggling to make their numbers in 2009. (Steve Davis getting fired was evidence of their financial struggles.)

I get it. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I “get it.”

WNST has grown so much that the “big boys” now pay us “special” attention, while they talk out of both sides of their mouths about how tiny our audience is in Arbitron’s monthly fiction.

The truth?

We’ve always had success with local businesses because our business connects with local people who care about Baltimore as much as they do. We’re a local company and we’re really proud of that!

But in the end, it’s really YOU – the WNST.net users and AM 1570 listeners – who make the difference by supporting our sponsors and advertisers. It’s essential for our survival as well and we’re not afraid to tell you that.

That’s what WNST.net was built to do –connect Baltimore sports fans and Baltimore businesses via our medium and our content on the radio and the web. And if we’re going to survive this miserable economy along with all of the rest in our industry, we need to get better every day at every facet of our work. We need to give you the best sports journalism, blogosphere, audio vault, videos and the most up-date-news and information via our text service and website and radio station.

We want to be YOUR place for Baltimore sports. We want to provide special “value” that you can’t get anywhere else.

Every day…

Anytime…WNST.net is here for you. (I work on it around the clock to try to make it great so I’m happy for you to read it at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night.)

Every click on our website, every contest you enter, every comment you make, every coupon you click on and utilize helps keep us in business and helps us – and our sponsors – feed our families.

Anyone who knows me or has listened to WNST probably knows my background. I was basically groomed — since I was 15 years old – to be a Baltimore sports journalist, writer and radio guy by working with, for or near every journalist this region has produced since Klaus Wagner was here and Randy Blair died.

All I ever wanted to do when I was 20 years old was cover the Orioles, become a columnist and have a “retirement dinner” as a lifer sports writer at The Baltimore Sun. I wanted to be John Steadman…only better! (I have a pretty high bar…)

I’ve grown to love this business, for better or worse. I love Baltimore. I love newspapers. I love Baltimore sports. I love great sportswriting and great stories about local people. I like talking about sports and learning from the people who do it at the highest level. It’s probably the key reason that Brian Billick chose to be my partner and work via Living Classrooms to benefit the community whenever we can.

Doing the “Baltimore sports media thing” is all I’ve ever done since I was 15 years old. I just turned 40.

If it says “Baltimore” or “Maryland” on it, I want to support it and promote it.

But it’s very tough watching the changing climate of the business of media in Baltimore (or anywhere else for that matter) affect so many lives and people who have dedicated their lives to creating interesting, entertaining, informative and accurate portrayals of local news and sports here in the land of pleasant living.

I was one of them. I would’ve been at The Sun 23 years now if I didn’t leave back in 1992 when I had the chance and they offered a buyout. And yesterday, I probably would’ve been one of the guys “tapped on the shoulder” and told I wasn’t needed anymore.

It’s very sad.

Rick Maese, David Steele, Ray Frager, Bill Ordine – these were all good newspapermen who all lost their jobs, salaries and potentially their careers on Wednesday on Calvert Street. But the bleeding is far from over at The Baltimore Sun. One blog on the internet written by David Ettlin (another former co-worker of mine), gave this account:

If you want a description of what it’s like to be a survivor, you can use this unattributed quote: “It’s a little like being the turkey who survives Thanksgiving but knows Christmas is a month away.”

That said, my entire company at WNST.net and my business plan is predicated on the actual “fall” or decline of traditional newspapers, radio and television. We think – arrogantly, no doubt – that we at WNST.net cover Baltimore’s sports scene with more passion, depth, accountability, credibility and journalistic integrity than anyone in the marketplace.

We’re NOT just a “little AM radio station” anymore. We think we’re pretty damned good at what we do.

But, we don’t want to just be your “radio station.”

WE want to be YOUR “morning newspaper” – but online. From your phone. From your computer. From anywhere you are, anywhere in the world. A click away…

And one that you know. And one that you trust. And one who wants to see good things for Baltimore and local sports.

That’s the company I’ve set out to create. But the questions about the entire “field” abound…

Will The Sun go away? Will traditional radio and local television survive? How about local cable TV? What happens to magazines and periodicals and local community newspapers?

What will happen if people actually find out how much they’re paying to have MASN beamed into their living rooms? And if MASN doesn’t wake up every year with $100 million of “free” money…

How bad will the economy get?

I dunno. So far, so good at WNST but we ALWAYS need more sponsors and business and partners. We’re certainly not getting rich and it hasn’t been an easy year, that’s for sure. Our clients are hurting. Our listeners are losing jobs. Our friends are losing their livelihoods.

As for WNST and “new media,” while we have the same challenges that every other entity in “old media” has in 2009, we are currently the undisputed leader on the internet for daily traffic for a sports entity in Baltimore.

I always write about “Alexa” rankings. You can research them here. Well, here’s today’s ranking for daily traffic:

WNST.net 125,666

WBAL 131,055

MASN 132,974

We remain so far ahead of all of the other AM and FM radio stations and local periodicals and websites that when I put their numbers on the website they accuse me of “bragging.” Well, it wasn’t like Ray Frager ever wrote the truth about WNST’s reach when he had the chance so if I don’t make it clear what’s happening, who will?

We just want you to know the truth…about how many of YOU there are out there who go to WNST.net every day.

We appreciate you tuning us in at AM 1570. We encourage you to visit the website and give me direct feedback via email or your comments anytime.

We want to make the site great. I’m working on a web questionnaire with an entry to win a great grand prize over the next 10 days.

We want to throw more parties. Have more fun. Do more bus trips. Do great sports radio. Have awesome fantasy contests. The works…we want to be a website you come to every day.

As always, sensible comments are always appreciated…

Comments Off on Watching “The Sun” set in Baltimore…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fixing the O’s without risking the future

Posted on 22 April 2009 by Jason Jubb

It’s not as complex as the team makes it out to be. A few simple moves and the team can be a little more palatable with a little more hope for the rest of the season.

The first move to add Brad Bergeson to the rotation is a start. Bergeson is a control pitcher who is the most ready of any of the prospects and even though he has had limited experience at AAA it is not a stretch to put him in the majors. The same cannot be said for the likes of Arrieta, Matusz, and Tillman who still need a year of seasoning before they should be considered.

Next, drop Adam Eaton and bring up David Pauley. Over the past 3 years Eaton has consistently had a WHIP of over 1.50 while averaging an ERA around 6.00. Do you really think anyone can do worse than that? You would be hard pressed to find a guy who has had his last 60 starts in the majors go so bad, and yet end up in a major league rotation the next year. David Pauley gets the nod after going 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA at AAA Pawtucket last year. I’m not saying Pauley will be the answer but I would rather see us get beat with a 25 year old pitcher who has a little upside as opposed to the consistent bad performance of Adam Eaton.

Keeping with the pitching, go ahead and send Hendrickson to the bullpen as the long/mop up man. If you have to send someone down, I think Brian Bass may pass through waivers…Then call up Chris Waters to be the lefty in the rotation. Once again, Waters is not going to set the world on fire but I would rather lose with a guy who has a chance to not totally stink. Mark Hendrickson lost that chance long ago as he has compiled a career ERA of 5.06 in 991 career innings. Also, this may only be a short term gig for Waters if he does not produce since we are hoping Rich Hill will get healthy and return to the rotation sometime in May.

Lastly, cut ties with Felix Pie. I know he has only had a handful of AB’s with the O’s but I have never seen someone who looks so awkward in the majors. He is rigid and timid in the field, while he looks to have no approach at the plate. I find it hard to believe that he can master these skills at age 24 (allegedly, he looks older to me). To draw an analogy, it’s kind of like the wide receiver who can’t catch, you learn to catch when you are 7 years old not 23. Pie lacks skills that should have been acquired years ago. And I have a funny feeling he also might pass through waivers at this point…

In Pie’s spot I would give the AB’s to either Montanez or Reimold. Neither guy is young by prospect standards so it’s about time that one of them makes or breaks in the majors. I would give the edge to Reimold mostly because Montanez has had his chances in AAA and failed more than once. His lifetime average at the AAA level is .241 in 510 AB’s before this season. I am not that impressed with his year last year at AA since he was two years older than the league average at that time.

It’s that easy. The team gets a little better, fans will appreciate the fresh faces, and we do not have to rush the young pitching. If you see Andy MacPhail let him know he can hear me on the Sunday Morning Blitz along with Rex Snider from 10am-12pm or email me at Jason@wnst.net for more advice.

Comments Off on Fixing the O’s without risking the future

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Red Sox complete 4-game sweep, batter Orioles 12-1

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

1:50 p.m. — The Red Sox are getting well this inning off of the O’s bullpen. Mike Lowell just added another single. Update on Radhames Liz: 1/3 IP, 3H, 6ER, 1BB, 2HBP. His ERA is now: 67.50.

1:45 p.m. — The Bad News Bears weren’t this bad. Youkilis just sent a “seeing eye” pop that bounced an inch from the RF line to score another run. This one looked like it had a message of some kind. Just a crazy swing of the bat. Add another ER to Liz’s line…

1:39 p.m. — Liz just bounced one in front of David Ortiz that hit his leg. Here comes Matt Albers. He inherits the bases loaded and one out in the 7th inning.

Liz: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 W, 2HBP … His ERA is now 47.25.

Oh, and there’s three more ducks on the pond and Kevin Youkilis is awaiting like Alberts is raw meat. Jim Hunter just said: “Not a good outing for Radhames Liz.”

Yeah, ya think? That’s a helluva observation, Jimmy!

1:36 p.m. — Another single, 9-1. Radhames Liz is NOT a Major League pitcher. Now Matt Albers is warming in the bullpen. At this point, I have no idea why they’re not just saving the bullpen for tomorrow. Brad Bergesen is making his major-league debut. It would be a good idea to save the bullpen.

1:34 p.m. — It hasn’t taken long for Radhames Liz to go into “arsonist” mode. He’s given up a double, he’s hit one batter and walked one. Oh, and he did get one out. It’s 7-1. UPDATE: Another single, 8-1.

1:10 p.m. — This just in: Felix Pie SUCKS! He can’t hit. He can’t run the bases. And he certainly looks lost in the outfield shagging flyballs. The defense has been “spotty” at best over the first two weeks of the season. But, Pie just played a relatively easy play for a major league centerfielder into a two-run triple for David Ortiz. YES…a TRIPLE by Ortiz at Fenway Park! They’re down 6-1. Sarfate’s ERA is going to suffer, but that was just brutal defense. Embarrassing…they’re nine outs away from being swept by the Red Sox in Boston.

I have great admiration for Jim Palmer for not simply jumping out of his seat and saying: “I wouldn’t have pitched for a franchise this bad!”

12:58 p.m. — Looks like five innings is the max, except for Koji Uehara these days. Hendrickson is out. Dennis Sarfate is next. The Birds are still down 3-1.

12:22 p.m. — Well, hopes are that Mark Hendrickson is settling down. He just struck out the bottom of the Red Sox order in 4th inning. He might even make it to the 6th or 7th inning if he keeps throwing at this pace. Jim Palmer is talking incessantly about his 1970 appearance on Patriots Day in Boston. (I love old ‘Cakes’ stories…)

12:06: Finally, we get our first real “call up” treat here in 2009. Brad Bergesen (1-1, 2.45 ERA at Norfolk) will take the ball tomorrow night at Camden Yards vs. the White Sox. Not sure if that sells them any more tickets (some will be going for the free Koji T-shirt) but I’m excited to watch this kid pitch.

12:04 p.m. — The Orioles are on the board, getting a rare RBI single from Cesar Izturis in the 3rd inning. Nick Markakis just played a flyball out into a triple. Jim Palmer: “That should be an error but that’s not the way they do things anymore.”

‘Cakes’ cracks me up!

11:49 p.m. — Mark Hendrickson has been lucky to escape the first two innings with only three runs allowed, as he loaded the bases in the first with no outs and escaped with only two runs plated. In the second, he gave up a monumental home run to Jason Varitek in the 2nd inning.

Now, Ryan Freel made it to first on an infield single and was hit in the head with a throw trying to steal second base and left the game groggy with Robert Andino taking his spot at third base.

Comments Off on Red Sox complete 4-game sweep, batter Orioles 12-1

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

O’s blow early 7-0 lead, lose 10-8 to Red Sox in Boston

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

These are the losses that bust you up, the ones you never understand. Except that over the years, evenings like tonight have become so commonplace that they’re shrugged off en route to 90 losses. The Orioles blew a 7-0 lead tonight, allowing the Red Sox 10 runs on 12 hits and even sprinkling in a devastating error by Aubrey Huff to lose 10-8 at Fenway Park tonight.

The “BALTIMORE” jerseys were somehow absent tonight (good luck on the explanation for that one). The Red Sox were wearing bright red “warm up”jerseys and blue caps with the cartoon pair of Red Sox with white trim. They were sharp, but looked like a world championship softball team. But I’m sure they’ll sell some hats.

The Red Sox have suffered the first two weeks with an anemic offensive attack and yet while David Ortiz continues to struggle — he struck out three times tonight — Jason Bay and Dustin Pedroia led the way for the Sox tonight battering Jeremy Guthrie out of the game in the 5th inning and hammering the bullpen led by Danys Baez. Matt Albers got into hot water in the 8th but escaped like Houdini.

The Orioles are now 6-4 — not too shabby, all things considered but they are taking on all of the characteristics of a bad team. Orioles pitching has allowed 29 runs in the last 16 innings of baseball.

Not good!

My running blog below…

10:26 p.m. — Markakis flies out. Huff strikes out. Threat ends ugly and empty. Did I mention that they blew a 7-0 lead tonight with their ace on the hill?

10:19 p.m. –The Orioles are threatening in the eighth. Two on, Markakis up. It’s a “defining” moment. Iwajima is in the game. Lefty on lefty…

10:07 p.m. — They’re booing Big Papi…LOUDLY! Fenway Park sounds like a festival of the “Boo-g Powells.” Big Papi has now fanned three times. He looks like Little Papi in 2009 thus far. Alberts got Youkilis to ground into a double play. There’s still hope! They survived a bases-loaded, no out jam! This could be a “defining” moment, a turning point in the season. Or, maybe not…

10:05 p.m. — Matt Albers is in the game. The bases are loaded. Nobody out. And Big Papi is coming to the dish. Trouble?

9:58 p.m. — Someone just left me a comment about how Gawd-awful MASN’s in-house commercials are and how often we are subjected to them. Agreed. Just painful, and we’re only two weeks into the season! And now, after blowing a 7-0 lead, I’m subjected to Amber Theoharis smiling and giving us “minor league” pitching updates from Bowie, which will be a “good news” staple all season.

The biggest story in the Orioles’ universe tonight is their catcher of the future who should already be here tweaking a hammy in suburban Atlanta. I suppose it’s great that so many folks are interested in their farm system and they’re actually “marketing” these kids. I just hope to God a few of them can actually play come 2011. This is the biggest “sell job” the franchise has ever put on us while we watch pitching that has allowed 29 runs in the last 15 innings.

9:48 p.m. –I hear Danys Baez is a great guy. (I’ve never met him.) But he sucks as a pitcher. The Orioles have now officially blown a 7-0 lead with their ace on the hill against a division opponent that was reeling offensively before tonight.

9:35 p.m. — That Kevin Youkilis header was quite scary. Baez looked a little unglued. He clearly felt horrible about it. Always the scariest thing in baseball, next to the pitcher comebackers.

9:14 p.m. — The game is tied after Nick Green launched one over Adam Jones’ head. Guthrie is headed the shower. Even after being staked to eight runs of offensive support, he can only be the loser. He leaves the game with eight runs scored — no thanks to the Huff botching of a Bill Buckner-esque grounder — and two aboard. Enter Danys Baez. They call this “relief” pitching?

9:12 p.m. — Jeremy Guthrie was sailing through the fifth but all hell has broken loose with two outs. A triple, a couple of walks and then the Aubrey Huff snafu has staked the Red Sox to the brink of getting into the Orioles line of arsonists waiting out in the bullpen.

9:02 p.m. — The Matt Wieters “situation” is apparently nothing too serious, but the Orioles have been known to “fib” with their media relations. So, who knows? We’ll know more tomorrow.

8:48 p.m. — Lots of offense. Lots of bad pitching. Looks like another fun evening at Fenway Park is shaping up. At least Guthrie has survived the initial storm. More than we can say for Josh Beckett. Nick Markakis hits a salami. And Brian Roberts and Adam Jones continue to be the best 1-2 punch in MLB over the first two weeks.

Oh…and Big Papi looks sick. They’re on the way to a series lead. But then again, the bullpen will be called upon at some point.

7:12 p.m. — What the heck happened to “BALTIMORE” on the black road jerseys? Explanation anyone?

7:11 p.m. — Wow, those Red jerseys pop off the screen in HD. Just seeing Brian Roberts stroll up to the plate hitting .444 is pretty cool, especially when you consider how many times this organization dangled him out on the trade market. He’s rich. He’s cool. He’s community-oriented and an all-around good guy. And, he’s hitting .444. What’s not to like about BRob? One of the real reasons to go the ballpark if you do go…

I’m not going to blog inning by inning, but if you want to comment on the game at any point, feel free. I’ll approve them over the next hour during dinner. Looks like a beautiful night to be at Fenway for a game.

Comments Off on O’s blow early 7-0 lead, lose 10-8 to Red Sox in Boston

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A gloomy forecast — today and for the ’09 Birds

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The sky is gray across the horizon in downtown Baltimore this morning as the Orioles kick off their 2009 campaign amidst a city full of Yankees fans and the inaugural appearance for Baltimore’s homegrown Mark Teixeira as a pinstriper. It was a dark day even before the clouds and scattered showers moved in from the south.

The Orioles, who haven’t played a meaningful game since October 1997, appear to be about to put another 162 insignificant games into the record books as the “dark era” of Birds baseball continues, the longest stretch of inepetitude in the history of the storied franchise. The Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Orioles “win/loss” total at 71 1/2, which means if the Orioles play just “18 games under .500” you win the bet.

I’m not a betting man, but based on what I’ve seen for six weeks in spring training regarding their pitching, I’d be jumping at the “under” on this proposition. That said, I like this team, these position players and the quality of the character it appears Andy McPhail has assembled.

I want to cheer for Brian Roberts. I like Luke Scott and Adam Jones. I’m interested in Felix Pie, although I think he’ll probably be this year’s version of Jeff Stone. I think Aubrey Huff looked inspired for six months last summer and I’m not convinced he won’t rebound with another big year. I’m not sure what to make of Melvin Mora at this point in his career and I think Cesar Izturis will be fun to watch field the ball. And Nick Markakis is just a solid ballplayer, almost a throwback.

On the rare nights that the bullpen will be delivered a 7th inning lead, it’ll be fun to see if they’re as good as advertised.

Some things I’m watching for this season:

When will Matt Wieters arrive for good and how will he perform? It’ll be the biggest franchise mid-season debut since Ben McDonald, which was a very, very big deal.

Let’s be honest: these current starting pitching is a joke and if Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Adam Eaton are the real five starters we’ll use all season, this team is probably 10 games under .500 before Memorial Day and then it becomes a “what to do?” for McPhail.

How will Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman do on the farm this year, especially before the All-Star break. If the current O’s veterans are as bad as we think they’ll be, which of these guys will be heatlthy, effective and ready to promote?

And will the Orioles start the M.L. service time on any of these kids with a summer call up? Or will McPhail allow the current veteran group to get their heads beaten in night after night? Or will Danys Baez or Brian Bass or David Pauley step in and perform? Or not?

That’s why we watch and certainly I’m poised to talk baseball every single day on WNST and AM 1570.

I just hope in these tough economic times, perhaps the people of Baltimore will return to baseball this summer and come to care again about the Orioles, if not in the stands perhaps on their TV’s around town. Of course, it would help if the franchise actually did its fair share and “came back to the people.” During the last six months, the team did exactly two events to promote their team. One of them was two days ago.

They continue to do foolish, selfish and mindless things that almost go unnoticed by the media that is in the business of making excuses for their sins so they can benefit financially.

Today’s starting pitcher — their No. 1 guy and big “hope” for the season — had his paycheck cut by 15% four weeks ago. Happy Opening Day, Jeremy Guthrie!

They continue to ban free speech, even daring their current players to not speak out about unsafe playing conditions in spring training.

We’ll see how much “progress” the organization has over the next six months. Let’s see how the puppies do on the farm. Let’s see how the young emerging stars perform in a mostly empty stadium and with starting pitching that no one can takes seriously as a team that will compete in the AL East in 2009.

But, let’s see how the season goes. My prediction: 65-97. Probably worse if someone doesn’t come in and save the rotation by July.

Comments Off on A gloomy forecast — today and for the ’09 Birds

Tags: , , , ,

O’s Today: Liz to the ‘pen (I don’t get it…)

Posted on 16 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

The ever-changing Orioles pitching rotation got a tad thinner today when the club informed Radhames Liz that he will have to make the opening day major league roster as a member of the bullpen. 

Liz made 17 starts for the Orioles a year ago and was, for the most part, a liability as a starter, with a 1.779 WHIP and nearly as many walks (51) as strikeouts (63).  Still, as far as young pitchers in spring training with major league experience, Liz has to command a small measure of respect from Dave Trembley and Rick Kranitz.  Evidently, any respect he does get will come from performing well out of the bullpen, at least for now.

I’m not completely sure why the bullpen-banishment took place — then again, almost every pitching move the club has made since the start of the off-season hasn’t made sense to me.  

Liz was “decent” in spring training.  His E.R.A. is high (a disease plaguing every O’s starter but Guthrie for about the last three years), but his walks are down. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess. He is what he is…a young man, somewhat overmatched at the major league level, who has been thrust into an uncomfortable position in Baltimore because the team’s pitching has been so woeful in recent years. That said, he’s occasionally been a bright spot — and with better command of his fastball and the ability to get ahead of the hitter in the count, he could turn out to be a contributor in the rotation.  

They gave Daniel Cabrera 12 lives, it seemed.  Doesn’t it make sense to give Liz the chance to at least LOSE the starting spot he inherited last season because the team had nowhere else to turn?  He might not have been good enough last year — but don’t 17 starts in the major leagues give him the edge over, say, Brad Bergesen?  Or, any of the re-treads they brought in like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson?  

I thought the mantra for ’09 was:  “we’re not going to win anyway…”

Isn’t that why the team eschewed conventional wisdom and passed on quality free agent veteran pitchers in the off-season?  

“We’re not going to win anyway…”

So, why not give Liz a shot at starting the season in the rotation? 

If your response is:  “He got his chance last year — and he stunk…”

Someone following the game of baseball would reply:  “Yeah, so did Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson…”

Liz’s demotion could also mean the Orioles are more concerned with the health of Jim Johnson then they initially let on yesterday when they announced Johnson would be shut down for a week with a shoulder impingement.  

Perhaps they’re thinking they might need a right handed pitcher to move in for Johnson if his injury is worse off then initially reported?

These are among the questions I’d be asking if…of course…the team hadn’t locked me out of spring training by refusing to provide me with a media credential in Ft. Lauderdale.

On Monday, the O’s dropped a 5-3 decision to the Twins.  Mark Hendrickson went three innings and gave up 5 hits and 2 earned runs…while David Pauley worked 1.2 innings and surrendered 2 earned runs and 4 hits.  Neither of them should be a starter for the ’09 team unless seven other guys get the bird flu.

Comments Off on O’s Today: Liz to the ‘pen (I don’t get it…)