Tag Archive | "Derek Jeter"

It’s time to name the GENIUS and JACKASS of the week …..

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It’s time to name the GENIUS and JACKASS of the week …..

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Rex Snider

Each Friday, Ryan Chell and I ponder the rosters of sports personalities that have made a GOOD or BAD impression throughout the week. We consider athletes, coaches, owners, media and just about anyone else with a connection to sports.

Fittingly, we call the segment GENIUS & JACKASS OF THE WEEK …..

Given the sparingly thin amount of sports action over the past seven days, I really had to dig deep for my current list of nominees. And, in keeping things fresh or ever changing, I have decided to list my potential recipients for your consideration:

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GENIUS OF THE WEEK

1)  Roger Goodell: by simply taking the high road and keeping his mouth shut regarding the James Harrison/Men’s Journal article, he merits support and a more positive image in the immediate future. And, God knows he needs it.
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2)  Vince McMahon: the dude has absolutely no shame and he’ll gladly be the butt of a joke or the proverbial “slapdick” when he walks into the rasslin’ ring in front of a national audience. This past Monday night, he emerged after months of seclusion to counter a good exchange with noted heel, but audience favorite, CM Punk. Do you think Vince knew he had some competition with the All Star Homerun Derby? Yep …..
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3)  Mark Reynolds: yeah, yeah, I know this incident actually took place last week, but we didn’t learn about it … OR the photo … OR the photoshopped images that would create such a buzz on the web, until just a few days ago. Say what you want, MILLIONS of people now know Reynolds wears #12 … and that he LOVES sunflower seeds.
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JACKASS OF THE WEEK

1) PacMan Jones: uh oh … you know what this means, right? Correct, PacMan ended up behind bars AGAIN. And, I know the world was shocked to learn he got arrested in a nightclub. After that, the story gets sketchy. Police say Pac’ resisted arrest. However, the Bengals misfit claims the cops are lying. Sure they are … and they probably fabricated the facts in the other 1,384, 277 incidents, as well.
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2) Steve Durham: I realize you probably don’t recognize the name, but he’s the federal prosecutor who entered prohibited evidence in the Roger Clemens trial. That’s correct, the long awaited perjury case ended in a mistrial during its FIRST WEEK. Hey, what’s a few million dollars of taxpayer money? We’ll see ya again, in September.
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3) Derek Jeter: the dude racks up his 3,000th hit while garnering adoration and accolades from an entire sports lovin’ nation, and what does he do to show his gratitude? He skips the freakin’ All Star Game !!!! Yeah, he’s nursing an injury. But, he looked fine, last weekend. I don’t care if he’s sore … he owed it to the FANS to show up in Arizona.
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Well, who would your choices be? You can find out my selections during today’s Afternoon Drive, which kicks off at 2pm …..

(NOTE: JAMES HARRISON IS BEYOND BEING A JACKASS; THUS, HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THIS AWARD)

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Fallen Star Game

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Chad Lamasa

Tonight is the MLB All Star Game.

 

Yawn!

 

I remember when I was a kid how much I looked forward to the All Star Game. There was nothing better than going to games at Memorial Stadium and punching out the dots for the players you were voting for, which for me was usually every Oriole on the ballot.

 

But now, I can’t even bring myself to watch the game anymore. How did I get to this point? There are a myriad of reasons, but I think number one on that list is that the game matters.

 

The moment the game was made to award home field advantage for the World Series, it ceased to matter to me.

 

It’s an exhibition game. The stats don’t count towards anyone’s career numbers. Why should it count towards the World Series?

 

To that end, if the game is going to matter, then they need to change some things. First and foremost change the rule that every team has to be represented.

 

Great, Matt Wieters got picked, but does he deserve to be there? Is there a more deserving player that got snubbed to make sure every team is represented.

 

Just because there is an Oriole on the AL team doesn’t mean I’m going to watch the game. Just like it wouldn’t make me not watch the game if there wasn’t an Oriole on the team. This isn’t my son’s rec league. These guys are pros, they’ll get over it.

 

Next up is  the rule that if a pitcher pitches on Sunday, they can’t pitch in the All Star Game. Depending on how rotations shake out this could keep several deserving pitchers out of the game.

 

I’ve heard that the pitchers are held to 30 pitches, and usually only one inning.  However, I understand teams not wanting to risk their pitchers getting hurt in an exhibition game. So how do you fix it?

 

As Mike Schmidt said on Mike & Mike this morning, move the All Star Game to Wednesday. Simple as that. The break would be from Monday through Thursday and games could resume on Friday.

 

Maybe that adds a day on to the end of the season. Not necessarily. Just schedule  one double header in the second half of the season and you’ve made it up without adding time.

 

Another problem I have is that players are now bowing out of the All Star Game. This is starting to become the Pro Bowl. If a player is on the ballot and voted in, he should be required to show up to the game. The only exceptions would be if they are on the DL prior to the game, or a family emergency arises. If a guy is nicked up and doesn’t want to play, I can accept that, but I think they should still make an appearance at the game.

 

Take Derek Jeter for example. He is saying he’s mentally exhausted and needs the break. Fine, don’t play, but at least make an appearance, tip your hat and be done with it. I’m sure MLB and the fans would like to honor him for becoming the first Yankee to get 3,000 hits.

 

When I was a kid, the players seemed to take pride in the game and played it like it was a World Series game. They wanted to win the game for their league. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. With free agency and Inter League play the players all know each other now and it seems to have taken some of that competiveness out of the game.

 

You also didn’t see the players from the other league as much back then. Now with ESPN, and again, Inter League play, you see these guys every night so that takes away from how special the game is.

 

So have fun watching the All Star Game. I’m going to be enjoying the Best of Randy “Macho Man” Savage on DVD. 

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Yankees swindle a 23 year old kid who loves baseball …..

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Yankees swindle a 23 year old kid who loves baseball …..

Posted on 11 July 2011 by Rex Snider

Indeed, we are upon that time of summer when Baltimore’s baseball fans must start looking elsewhere for compelling storylines and boxscores.  I suppose spinning the recent Orioles vs. Red Sox series into a “beanball war” might drum a little interest, but do any of us really think the birds were a formidable opponent?

Of course not …..

But, as I’ve suggested, plenty of intriguing stories did result from a mid-July weekend of baseball.

Perhaps, the most notable was the goodwill gesture emerging from Yankee Stadium.  After weeks of awaiting the historical significance of Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit, it finally happened on Saturday night.

And, as if the moment was written from fictional lore, #3000 came in the form of a homerun. 

Oh yeah, it gets even better – schmoozier and more heartwarming …..

The fan who caught the ball, Christian Lopez, quickly came to grips with the most fitting destination for the historical baseball …..

Cooperstown?  Nope.

The Lopez family keepsake collection?  Nope.

A safety deposit box?  Once again, no.

Mr. Lopez decided the baseball was destined to be personal property of Derek Jeter, because “he worked so hard for it …. The ball should be his.”

I don’t deny, nor dispute Christian Lopez’s love for the game of baseball and the purity that accompanies being a fan of the sport.  But, I do question if he made the right decision and if the process in rendering such a quick conclusion is prudent for all parties involved.

That baseball is worth a LOT of money.  Conservative estimates by notable collectable experts valued it at a minimum of $250,000 or a cool quarter of a million bucks …..

That’s serious cash, huh?

Yet, in the spontaneous passion of the moment, the 23 year old man who coincidentally donned the same hat worn by Jeter, decided to hand the keepsake over to the Yankees shortstop.

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In exchange, he received tickets for the remainder of the season, along with articles of memorabilia.

Was it a fair deal?  That’s up to Christian Lopez …..

But, I’ll assert one very important consideration – it’s a deal and agreement that should’ve been discussed the following day.

Too many emotional and perhaps, personally inhibiting factors exist in the immediate moments following such a historical incident.

The fan is caught up in the massive celebration that accompanies the moment.  Such recipients are quickly sequestered from the ensuing bombardment of fellow fanatics.  That’s a good decision, because somebody will do everything in their power to steal that baseball.

I’m absolutely in support of ushering guys in the shoes of Christian Lopez away from the masses of gawkers, hawkers and stalkers …..

But, a more intriguing reason for getting the guy away from others is team officials want to “negotiate” or lean on them for a quick exchange of the ball for some trinkets and fodder.  Why not toss in a few bottles of whiskey and some beads, too?

After all, that’s the legitimacy and hoodwinking credibility that goes into such a transaction.

I’m not privy to Mr. Lopez’s financial status, although, he said he has plenty of time to make the money and he doesn’t really need it …..

Really?

How many 23 year olds (or thereabouts) do we know who couldn’t tangibly benefit from a $250,000 windfall?

Marston Hefner?  Taylor Swift?  Sam Bradford?

I look at a select group of young men who I would put into a situation just as Christian Lopez found himself on Saturday evening.  I’ll consider WNST’s Ryan Chell, Luke Jones and Glenn Clark …..

These guys love sports.  Heck, they eat, sleep and breath sports.  And, I can picture all three of them being caught up in a moment of significance at a sporting event.  Furthermore, I can reasonably picture each of them coughing up a valuable memento in the HEAT OF THE MOMENT.

They love Baltimore and the Orioles, for better or worse.

But, each of them could greatly benefit from $250, 000 …..

Better yet, $250,000 could and would impact their lives to a much greater extent than any gesture of gratitude from the Orioles or a legendary player.

Name it, buying a first house, paying off student loans or simply getting ahead in this dismal economy, each of these young men would be far better off by selling such a keepsake.  But, in the moments following their nabbing of history, I can envision them getting swindled – by a tugging of the heartstrings.

What are the chances Christian Lopez had a couple beers on Saturday evening – prior to the big moment?  I would reckon such odds are pretty good.  If so, a whole new can of worms opens up, if you get my drift …..

Let’s just call it like it is …..

The moment was a true piece of history.  That’s why Major League Baseball manufactured “special baseballs” when Jeter stood in the box for his 3000th hit.  That’s why a World Series atmosphere existed at Yankee Stadium on a muggy Saturday, in July.

The Yankees brass, like any other organization, knew the best chances of getting that baseball from the grip of Christian Lopez was RIGHT THEN and RIGHT THERE.  So, they took advantage of the circumstances.

In reality, and in legitimate surroundings, a “cool off” period should exist …..

The team should make contact with the fan and go thru the measurable steps to ensure the ball is secured.  They should even offer to put it in a safe deposit box for 24 or 48 hours.

If the fan really feels the player should have the ball, than so be it.  Will a “cool off” period change such heart driven feelings?  I wouldn’t think so.

What’s wrong with Yankees officials urging Lopez to talk with his parents?  Yeah, I know he’s an adult, but how many 23 year olds still seek the wisdom of a mother or father under such weighty situations?

Call it like it is, Saturday night’s festivities might appear to be one of those legendary fan and player symbolic exchanges.  But, the truth is the Yankees took every advantage of a 23 year old kid who loves baseball.

And, that’s wrong.

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The struggles of Markakis are becoming a national story

Posted on 04 June 2011 by Rex Snider

With each passing day, many of us are eagerly anticipating an awakening of the Orioles offensive attack. The production, or lack thereof, is becoming a predictable expectation for opposing teams and their followers.

Friday’s edition of the Toronto Star previewed this weekend series as an easier task than a few recent slugfests involving the Blue Jays, especially given the “light hitting” Orioles attack.

Truth hurts, huh?

I won’t suggest the birds clubhouse is brewing with finger wagging and varied versions of the blame game; plenty of accountability and resulting culpability exists among the ranks.

But, a sobering reality is the Orioles find themselves at 25-30 and in familiar digs; they’re occupying the cellar of the American League’s Eastern Division, as the final days of spring trickle into summer.

The seasonal change means there is a LOT of baseball remaining. Can this lineup awaken from a season-long slumber? Doubts are growing by the day, and a prominent name that usually evades criticism, locally and nationally, is starting to feel the heat.

Welcome to the current plight of Nick Markakis …..

I am making certain to police my views and opinions on this very subject, because I have been especially critical of Nick’s star power and value among Orioles fans. And, my strong assessment can be attached to prior seasons.

Do I think he’s a good ballplayer? Without question, YES. However, I have never subscribed to the belief he’s one of the best young talents in the game, nor have I thought he was a foundational player for the franchise.

That said, I think Markakis has displayed a consistency in his first five seasons that suggests he’s a dependable offensive threat. Through his big league career, he has rewarded normal expectations of a top of the lineup hitter.

Over the past 4 full seasons, he’s averaged: .299 avg, 45 doubles, 18 homers, .466 slugging

When such numbers are yielded with consistency, a resulting expectation ensues. That’s the deal, period. And, such accomplishments eventually translate into a more global sense of demand, specifically on the national stage.

So, when Sports Illustrated released yesterday’s figurative roster of baseball’s MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYERS thru the first couple months, I was not surprised to see Nick Markakis as a prominent part of it.

He’s hitting .239, with 4 doubles, 4 homers and a putrid .311 slugging line. Do you realize how difficult it is to achieve such a low slugging percentage? Better yet, have you considered how difficult it will be to keep a player with such poor numbers at the top of a lineup?

For all his well publicized struggles in the first couple months, freakin’ Derek Jeter has a higher slugging percentage than Markakis. Yes, that’s how bad it really is …..

As I stated, there is plenty of “blame sandwich” for just about all of the Orioles hitters to gets a substantial bite, but expectations should not be ignored when it comes to the failures at the plate.

Mark Reynolds? He is exactly what last season evidenced …..

Derrek Lee? In 14 fewer games, most of his production exceeds that of Markakis …..

Yet, they’re the lightning rods for most of the scorn emanating from the impassioned souls of Orioles fans. Why is that? Well, as always, Markakis gets a notable “pass” with the baseball loving people in this city.

“He is the future”

Damn, if I had a couple bucks for every caller who made that statement.

Perhaps, we shouldn’t be shocked by lesser numbers and production from Nick Markakis – his doubles, homeruns and slugging percentage have flattened or decreased over the span of the last 3 seasons.

But, disappointment and frustration should exist given the lack of overall production, in 2011. Maybe it’s time to reassess the pedigree of Markakis. Better yet, it’s absolutely time to reevaluate the lofty reputation he’s garnered.

Don’t misunderstand my message, it’s not his fault that fans have overrated his abilities and true existence from a threat perspective. He’s not peddling “Nick Markakis” via Twitter or any other social marketplace.

He’s very much himself; a guy who doesn’t appear to say much or carry a leadership quality among teammates. Give him credit on this one – he’s not pretending to be a more demonstrative presence.

Lets just be honest about the season and the failures of the Orioles lineup …..

Nick Markakis is tasked with a responsibility to spark this offense, while also driving in runs. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks. That’s why he’s gonna get paid even bigger bucks, next season, and beyond.

A significant portion of the Orioles weak offensive production rests upon his shoulders. He needs to figure it out …. NOW. As I’ve said, I have never believed he’s as good as many hometown followers suggest. But, he’s not this bad, either.

Nick Markakis has been disappointing. And, I didn’t need a national publication to point it out.

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Could Post-Steroid Era Equal Yankees Demise?

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Could Post-Steroid Era Equal Yankees Demise?

Posted on 16 May 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

The Major League Baseball season has reached the quarter pole (more or less) and so far it’s been quite a ride and realization. The AL East, despite our sincerest beliefs to the contrary remains at this point very much up for grabs with only 3 games in the loss column separating first and last place. Orioles’ fans were expecting to be moderately encouraged and summarily frustrated with their team all at once and so far that’s been the case. Improved offense however hasn’t been the case for the O’s. It can be argued (and has) that statistically, this year’s team isn’t much better than last year’s version, if at all; and while the pitching has been encouraging, lights out hardly comes to mind when assessing the O’s, whose team ERA ranks 13th in the AL as of Sunday.

The fact that the Orioles remain competitive themselves is seemingly the byproduct of luck and timing (2 proven essentials in baseball success) more than any marked improvement from last year to this. While the expectation that the bats will eventually come around and bring with them even more chances at victories is feasible, recent history suggests that things could just as easily begin to unravel as the weather begins to warm.

 

Even without our modest hopes for a successful season, the respective struggles of the Red Sox and Yankees have added an extra layer of enjoyment to the season so far. Safe money might suggest that market corrections of sorts may be due for both of them soon too.

 

The Red Sox, despite their marked improvements from last year to this and the return of a healthy regime of incumbent stars have stumbled mightily out of the gates. While it’s conceivable that their sweep of the Yankees over the weekend and return to .500 could mark the worm turning for the Sox, there are still lots of questions and potential concerns surrounding a team that many had penciled in as the AL’s best to begin the year.

 

And while the Yankees have probably played above the expectations that followed their most disappointing off-season in recent memory, they too may have seen the worm begin to turn at the hands of the Red Sox last weekend. The Yankees have also, so far been the beneficiaries of an inordinate number of home games to begin the season.

 

After missing out on a few of their apparent earmarked bounties in free agency and while seeing the Red Sox make bold moves to improve themselves at the same time, the most disappointing part of the Yankees off-season might be the lingering contentiousness that they created in negotiations with Derek Jeter. Now that some of that contentiousness may have reached the locker of Jorge Posada too, it may begin to become a bigger distraction than the team would have invited.

 

The Orioles once went through a bit of this themselves. As much as we might point to the ambitious spending that followed the 1999 fire sale as the ultimate demise of competitive Orioles baseball, the devolution of the 1997 team into 1998 probably went much deeper than that. The “Ripken Rules” as they were described and his preferential treatment by the team had been earned no doubt, but surely there were times over the course of the Davey Johnson era where deference to aging superstars had to supersede the best interests of the team. Not just deference to Ripken as was much publicized, but to the wealth of stars past their primes on the O’s roster at that point. Maybe the Yankees too are now reaching that point.

 

While we all waited and hoped against hope that the Yankees and Sox might spend themselves under the table, perhaps it’ll be other market factors that could potentially contribute to their respective downfalls…or at least their returns to Earth.

 

Steroids and the steroid era certainly changed baseball, and they still arguably are changing baseball. If the dramatic effect that widespread steroid use had on the game has now been realized, then surely we are entering an era where the impact of their absence is beginning to be felt as well. How that shapes the next era in baseball is anyone’s guess, but whoever figures it out first, and positions themselves on the forefront of it will see the early benefits as a result.

 

While we can surely measure the impact of steroids and the lack thereof from game to game and intimate the return of pitching dominance to Major League Baseball, the more important impact of the absence of steroids in baseball from a team building standpoint is likely related to career longevity. Steroids not only enabled players to put up insane homerun numbers from year to year, but they also seemingly allowed them to do it at a much more advanced age than had been previously feasible. As a result the realization of value in free agent commodities went up and so did the standard length of free agent contracts.

 

If we go back to 1986 or so, after baseball got their billion dollar CBS contract and $3 million contracts became the gold standard, free agency in baseball was a risky proposition. Teams who endeavored into free agency thereafter, at higher and higher prices, did so at their own risk and more often than not seemed to come up short value wise. Before Randy Johnson with the Diamondbacks and Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox, the list of big named free agents who led their teams to the Promised Land was a short one. More often back then, successful teams were built through homegrown talent and astute trades, usually capitalizing on players trying to build their resumes for free agency.

 

After being controlled by their original teams for 6 seasons or more under baseball’s rules, free agents reaching the market at or near 30 years old likely won’t be seeing 6 and 7-year contracts once teams begin to realize the downside of these contracts and move forward more cautiously. Surely those players can no longer be expected to have primes that extend beyond the age of 35.

 

While the Yankees and Red Sox are unlikely to spend themselves under the table anytime soon, the compilation of aging players, and at times the deference to their years of service over their immediate impact on the team may lead the big spenders down an interesting path in the not too distant future. The Yankees may be halfway there already. While the values being realized between the contracts of both Jeter and Posada might be enough to sink most franchises, that’s probably not the biggest issue as the Yankees see it. The fact that both are feeling slighted by their treatment in this the twilights of their respective careers threatens to be a much bigger problem than simple economics for the Yankees.

 

Expect A-Rod to take them down a similar path before all is said and done, and Sabathia is poised to hold the team hostage for a contract that will pay him handsomely for far longer than he projects to be effective at season’s end.

 

Yeah…with or without genuine expectations for their own team this season, it’s sure shaping up to be an interesting season for Orioles fans anyway; and in some way, for the future of baseball.

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Yankees April 22nd – April 24th

Posted on 22 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (8-10) host the New York Yankees (10-6) this weekend for a 3-game set beginning Friday night.

Last week, these two ball clubs were disrupted due to rain and one of the games has been postponed to a later date. But the extra inning loss to the Yanks last Thursday night in New York was like a bad hangover the Birds could not shake until this past Tuesday against the Twins.

As the Bronx Bombers bats are heating up in mid-April, the O’s are just trying to find some offensive consistency game-in and game-out. With the young starting pitching beginning to show signs of stability, and life from the lineup, the bullpen has to hold up their end. Perfect example was Monday nights loss to the Minnesota Twins. SP Chris Tillman went 6.2 IP and gave up 3 runs, good enough to keep the Orioles in the ball game. After a solid relief appearance by RP Clay Rapada for the Birds,  RP Kevin Gregg came in and gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th, and the Orioles lost by 1 run. This has to change, and fast.

The New York Yankees have a problem of their own, and it deals with one of the fan-favorites, OF Brett Gardner. He has been struggling since the start of the season (15 Games / 47 AB / 1 2B / 0 HR / .128 AVG / 2 RBI ), so manager Joe Girardi benched Gardner in the final game of the Toronto series this week in favor of OF Andrew Jones.

No Transactions for either team in the last three days.

Well, I was right! The Orioles accomplished all THREE of my “Keys to the Series” vs. the Twins:

1. The offense has to come alive vs. the struggling Twins pitching staff. - CHECK

2. Britton must shine on national television Wednesday night. - CHECK

3. Buck needs to get the Birds back on track and find a team leader for this ball club. - CHECK

Here are the Orioles “Keys to the Series” vs. the Yankees:

1. Take last Thursday night’s extra inning loss personally and play with vengeance.

2. Silent the Yankee fans at Camden Yards quickly.

3. The young pitching has to shut down the hot bats in the Bronx Bombers lineup.

The official ‘WNST Weather Predictor’ this weekend vs. the Yankees

Friday 7:05pm : PM Rain – High 51 / Low 44 – With the likely chance of Friday night’s game being a rain out and Yankee fans coming down, look out for them doing this!!!!

Saturday 7:05pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 72 / Low 61 – As the weekend night game comes around, look forward to seeing this particular Yankees fan at Camden Yards!!!

Sunday 1:35pm : Scattered T-Storms – High 74 / Low 59 – Supposedly the sun breaking out in the afternoon, I’m hoping for this O’s fan to be in attendance!!!!

Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees

( 8 – 10 )                                                                                     ( 10 – 6 )

Friday April 22nd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA)

Saturday April 23rd, 7:05pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Chris Tillman (0-2, 6.16 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

Sunday April 24th, 1:35pm EST

Orioles vs. Yankees- Camden Yards

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 3 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 14 RBI

2. Nick Markakis- RF

18 Games / 69 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .203 AVG / 6 RBI

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

18 Games / 67 AB / 14 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .209 AVG / 6 RBI

4. Vladimir Guerrero

18 Games / 75 AB / 21 Hits / 2 2B / 3 HR / .280 AVG / 9 RBI

5. Luke Scott- LF

14 Games / 42 AB / 8 Hits / 2 2B / 2 HR / .190 AVG / 4 RBI

6. Adam Jones- CF

17 Games / 63 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 3 HR / .222 AVG / 8 RBI

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

18 Games / 59 AB / 11 Hits / 2 2B / 1 HR / .186 AVG / 10 RBI

8. Matt Wieters- C

16 Games / 52 AB / 14 Hits / 4 2B / 3 HR / .269 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Robert Andino- SS

9 Games / 25 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 0 HR / .308 AVG / 0 RBI

New York Yankees Projected Lineup & 2011 STATS

1. Derek Jeter- SS

16 Games / 64 AB / 14 Hits / 1 2B / 0 HR / .219 AVG / 4 RBI

2. Nick Swisher- RF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 2 2B / 0 HR / .273 AVG / 8 RBI

3. Mark Teixeria- 1B

16 Games / 58 AB / 15 Hits / 4 2B / 6 HR / .259 AVG / 16 RBI

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

13 GAmes / 41 AB / 15 Hits / 5 2B / 4 HR / .366 AVG / 10 RBI

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

16 Games / 66 AB / 20 Hits / 6 2B / 4 HR / .303 AVG / 13 RBI

6. Andrew Jones- LF

6 Games / 16 AB / 4 Hits / 1 2B / 1 HR / .250 AVG / 2 RBI

7. Jorge Posada- DH

15 Games / 50 AB / 8 Hits / 0 2B / 5 HR / .160 AVG / 9 RBI

8. Russell Martin- C

15 Games / 51 AB / 16 Hits / 3 2B / 4 HR / .314 AVG / 11 RBI

9. Curtis Granderson- CF

16 Games / 55 AB / 15 Hits / 3 2B / 6 HR / .273 AVG / 9 RBI

If you are home or out this weekend and want the latest information during the O’s game from the experts, then head online and enter the Orange Crush Live Chat with Luke Jones this entire weekend!!!!

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 21st

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 21st

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Rex Snider

The birds’ bats have awakened and punished the Twins pitching staff over the past couple nights. Maybe, the sky isn’t falling after all. Ye of little faith !!!! And, just think ….. the BIG BOYS are coming to town over the next week …..
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Maybe, Just Maybe
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This Wieters kid is gonna be a big league hitter. After absorbing a lathering of criticisms from inside and outside Baltimore, is the Orioles prized catching prospect primed to “BUST” out in the right way?

If he does, I’m gonna remind Steven Goldman of Baseball Prospectus, every single day.
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Keep An Eye Out
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Starting today at around lunchtime, gawkers around the inner harbor will probably get occasional glimpses of baseball’s rockstars. My sources are telling me Derek Jeter will spend his off-day searching for Baltimore’s “fountain of youth”.

It gets better …. the Yankees obnoxious fans start rolling into town tomorrow.
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Simply The Greatest, EVER
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During yesterday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE, we devoted musical selections to female artists. I saved the best for last, and in my opinion there has never, EVER been a better voice than Karen Carpenter.

I’m not a huge fan of her soft melodies, it just means I can sacrifice my preferences and recognize talent.
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Dodgers, Divorce & Dysfunction (BONUS – 100 word special)
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Does Bud Selig have his hands full? In a word …. YES. And, his problems aren’t being caused by the poor-mouthed Marlins, Pirates and Royals. Nope, it’s much bigger …..

The Cubs can’t attract fans. The Mets have been investing with crooks. And the Dodgers have finally fallen victim to their owners’ aborted marriage. As of today, Major League Baseball is overseeing the business operations in Chavez Ravine.

I’m probably in the minority on this one, but there is a comfort in knowing the Orioles are not in financial ruin. The Dodgers could use Andy MacPhail’s fiscal discipline; yes, I said that.
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Dude, Just Listen To Me …..
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Have you noticed Justin Timberlake is not growing his hair very long these days? According to some notable published articles, the actor/singer is battling a thinning hairline.

It’s simple, he just needs to click on this TAB. I did it and six months later, I have never been happier.
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Family First? Not According To This Guy
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Perhaps, I was a little heavy handed in labeling Richie Whitt the “D-bag Of The Day” for his article regarding Colby Lewis choosing the birth of his child over pitching in a baseball game.

But, I still feel Richie is a D-bag. Decide for yourself – here’s the article.

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

Posted on 11 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-3) battle against the New York Yankees (5-4) in a 3-games series beginning Tuesday.

These two teams have not a played a meaningful series in New York (in the Orioles eyes)… well… since This tragic moment in Baltimore history.

With the first full week of the MLB season in the books, it is still premature to make predictions, but the Orioles have impressed many around the league and may even break the 13-year consecutive losing seasons this year (who said it was too early to make predictions). Oh yeah, here is one more prediction… This ‘Already’ retired player will be the next to be linked to steroids… can’t you tell!!!

The Birds enter the mid-week series atop of the AL East, and the Pinstripes in second place. But with superb outings by their young starting pitching, timely hitting, and strong defense, it is no coincidence that the O’s have an early 1-game lead.

RHP Chris Jakubauskas joined the Orioles 25-man roster as the club sent RHP Brad Bergesen down to AAA-Norfolk Saturday. Jakubauskas is in the running to make his first 2011 start this Wednesday against the Bronx Bombers. He made only one start in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and went 6-7, with a 5.32 ERA in 35 games for the Seattle Mariners during the 2009 campaign.

SS J.J. Hardy is inevitably heading to the 15-day DL, mostly likely early Tuesday, with a strained left oblique, leaving INF Cesar Izturis and INF Robert Andino to hold down the position during his absence. Buck Showalter has said that the two will split time until Hardy returns. The club plans on bringing up another pitcher to fill the roster spot left by Hardy, many are speculating that RHP Brad Bergesen, who was just sent down to AAA-Norfolk, is the choice and the front-runner to start Wednesday’s contest.

(6-3)                                                                              (5-4)

 

 

Tuesday, April 12th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (2-0, 4.09 ERA)

 

 Wednesday, April 13th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA) or Brad Bergesen (0-1, 4.91 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50 ERA)

 

 Thursday, April 14th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA)

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.189 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 8 RBIS

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.250 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 2 RBIS

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.270 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

5. Luke Scott- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 0 RBIS

6. Adam Jones- CF

.212 AVG. / 0 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.241 AVG. / 3 2B / 1 HRS / 8 RBIS

8. Matt Wieters- C

.192 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.167 AVG. / 0 2B / 0 HRS / 1 RBIS

 

 

New York Yankees Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brett Gardner- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

2. Derek Jeter- SS

. 206 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

3. Mark Teixeira- 1B

. 182 AVG. / 0 2B / 4 HRS / 10 RBIS

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

.321 AVG. / 2 2B / 3 HRS / 5 RBIS

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

.324 AVG. / 4 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

6. Nick Swisher- RF

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 6 RBIS

7. Curtis Granderson- CF

.172 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 3 RBIS

8. Jorge Posada- DH

.138 AVG. / 0 2B / 3 HRS / 6 RBIS

9. Russell Martin- C

.300 AVG. / 1 2B / 3 HRS / 8 RBIS

 

 

 

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Rougher waters loom for the Orioles young, depleted pitching staff

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Rougher waters loom for the Orioles young, depleted pitching staff

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Rex Snider

We are four games into the 2011 season and the optimism of a “brand new start” is resonating throughout this city. I suppose four consecutive wins, featuring solid pitching and good fundamentals will attract the wandering eye, huh?

In this span of just five days, the Orioles have garnered a splash or two on the national stage, as well. Such exposure also rallies the attention of many casual, local baseball fans who’ve lost interest over the past several seasons.

This renewed excitement is certainly noteworthy and even if it’s short-lived, the feeling is rekindling for many of us. I applaud the reborn enthusiasm, but I will also take this moment to serve as the cautious voice of reason …..

I’m not casting a conspicuous warning that 158 games remain on the balance of the schedule. Everybody can count, and we’re all aware of the slight fraction of a season that has expired. Plenty of good (and bad) baseball remains.

I have been pleased with a product that appears to be building on last season’s late success. However, I’m also very cautious about the immediate schedule of opponents looming directly ahead.

I’m not looking beyond the Detroit Tigers, as two games remain in this first series on the home slate. At some point, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Magglio Ordonez are likely to awaken to find the deliveries of Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman appetizing.

But, starting this Friday, the action and potential threats to this young pitching staff will arrive front and center. In defense of their American League Championship, the Texas Rangers will become the kinda guests we won’t welcome for a weekend series to wrap-up the first homestand.

The Rangers are not the Rays.

Their lineup doesn’t expose an easy out, with combinations of power, speed and plate discipline clogging nearly every spot from top to bottom. They’re obviously the real deal and quite capable of knocking the Orioles young pitching staff down a couple notches.

If Zach Britton turns in a duplicate performance of last Sunday’s debut, one of the game’s lesser known legitimate rockstars will likely plant a “WELCOME TO THE SHOW” souvenir on the flag court:
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And if it’s not Nelson Cruz, it will be Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre’ or just about any other guy in that lineup. In truth, Britton was hit pretty hard, and he benefited from a bit of luck when it came to scorching liners finding gloves.

I get it …. Sunday’s game marked his first time on a big league mound and the “butterfly effect” was most certainly a factor. But, excuses won’t save the young phenom if he surrenders early counts in his favor, as he did numerous times against Tampa.

The same cautionary suggestions apply to Jake Arrieta if he deals the very hand witnessed in Monday’s home opener. He fell behind, while customarily wrestling with command and benefited from a less than patient approach by the Detroit lineup.

When the curtain comes down on the Texas series, the birds head to the Bronx for the first of three visits. The Yankees will pose a similar threat to the Rangers; they’re going to force these young pitchers to work and they’ll KILL mistakes.

Robinson Cano has emerged as the team’s best hitter and he feasts on poor pitching performances …..
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Mark Teixeira has started the season on a hot streak and the Jeter/A’Rod combination is not going to hit a substandard .270 again. Tillman will avoid the Texas bats, but he’ll be forced to protect Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field against a compliment of 6 hitters from the left side of the plate.

It is what is, I suppose …..

The Orioles are manning an unblemished 4-0 record, and all of us understand its a bit of an aberration. Losses on the scoreboard await this team in the very near future and everybody who loves baseball comprehends the realities of a 162 game schedule.

Many of us have claimed that we want to see improvement, beyond anything else. And, while the win/loss record usually dictates success, I think the overall performances we witness from this impressionable pitching staff is just as vital.

In an ironic way, a pitcher’s statistical performance can be as misleading as a perfect 4-0 record. I’m not buying high, nor selling low, I’m just taking a wait and see approach with the likes of Tillman, Britton, Arrieta and company.

Some notable bumps in the road await each young arm in this rotation, and quite honestly, I’m betting a few of those bumps are just a few days ahead of us.

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My bold guarantees for the Major League Baseball season

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Rex Snider

With today’s official kickoff of the Major League Baseball season, I have decided to throw out my personal commemorative first pitch, of sorts. In fact, I’m throwing out SIX PITCHES, in the form of my half-dozen “locks” or guarantees for the upcoming campaign.

Nothing outrageous ….. such as the Pittsburgh Pirates making the playoffs.

Nothing obvious ….. such as the Pittsburgh Pirates missing the playoffs.

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Nothing cruel ….. such as being subjected to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But, I do have a solid six hunches regarding the upcoming slate of regular season and postseason action. Will I be wrong? Nope, not a chance …..
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San Francisco Giants – One & Done

The defending World Champions were an aberration, if not a freak of the modern game. Dominant starting pitching, complimented by a stifling closer? Yep. But, the Giants lineup was pasted together with retreads, fill-ins and future contributors. Aubrey Huff led the team, across the board, in offensive production – and he gathered slightly above average numbers.

It won’t happen, again. They will be home when the playoffs begin.

Mr. November Nails 3,000 Hits During A Stellar Season

It’s hard to believe the New York Yankees do not have a member of the 3,000 hit club. As we know, that’s about to change, with Derek Jeter needing just 74 hits to become the 28th member of the prestigious group – and he’ll do it in near record time.

But, my bold guarantee is Jeter reaches his milestone during an impressive “Jeter-like” season, hitting over .300 and serving as a spark plug to the Yankees offense. He’s been written off way too soon.

Gonzalez, Santana & Beckham

No, I am not referring to Adrian, Johan or David. As the 2011 season comes to an end, names like Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Santana and Gordon Beckham will be even more recognizable as the budding stars of the game’s next era. All three of these players will take a GIANT step toward such prominence, this year.

Brewers Prove An Ageless Reality

We’ve witnessed this mistake numerous times over the last 30 years. George Steinbrenner tried it; along with Tom Hicks, Drayton McLane, Gene Autry and a few other owners. Championship-caliber teams can rarely be built, or substantially comprised during a single off-season. But, that’s exactly what Mark Attanasio and Doug Melvin are trying, in Milwaukee.

With the certain departure of Prince Fielder, after 2011, the Brewers are ALL IN with additions, such as Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and most recently, the baggage-ridden Nyjer Morgan. Such teams lack continuity and are under an immediate pressure to win, on Opening Day. If they’re not in contention at the trade deadline, most assembled clubs are broken apart.

I expect the Brewers to be “sellers” as August approaches.

Top Rookies Are Not In The Majors

I have absolutely no idea who the American and National League “Rookies Of The Year” will be …. but, I’d be willing to bet neither player starts the season on a big league roster. It’s happened many times and will likely happen, again, in 2011. I suppose this is my way of suggesting some caution on hefty predictions for Jeremy Hellickson, Brandon Belt and Chris Sale.

Hall Of Fame – Class Of 2017 ???

As the 2011 season concludes, Jim Thome and Chipper Jones will officially go on the “Cooperstown Clock”. I’m more optimistic regarding Thome’s impact during the season, but it’s obvious both players are coming to the finish line of superb careers.

Thome will reach 600 homers, which virtually locks him in as a first ballot inductee. I think Jones is a much more debatable candidate. I’m tempted to include Ivan Rodriguez, but I can see him hanging around in 2012, especially if he’s above the 2900 hits plateau.

*** Tomorrow, I will cast a half dozen bold predictions for the Orioles

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