Tag Archive | "Garrett Atkins"

The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Really Thought Would Be Better

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Really Thought Would Be Better

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Our Fifth Edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday on “The Reality Check” discussed the subject “Players We Really Thought Would Be Better.”

If you were the type who wanted wordier explanations, you’d be listening to the show. You really should be. It’s fantastic.

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten)…

Pitcher-Brandon Webb

Catcher-Charles Johnson

First Baseman-Travis Lee

Second Baseman-Todd Walker

Third Baseman-Garrett Atkins

Shortstop-Rey Ordonez

Outfielder-Jeffrey Hammonds

Outfielder-Matt Lawton

Outfielder-Corey Patterson

Designated Hitter-Travis Hafner

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Orioles Rock Bottom Team

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Orioles Rock Bottom Team

Posted on 08 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Ryan Chell and I introduced a new segment Wednesday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. The segment is called “The Starting Nine (Ten)” and is remarkably similar to “The Tuesday Top 7″ that you hear Drew Forrester and Luke Jones doing every week.

During Major League Baseball season, we’ll use “The Starting Nine (Ten)” to pick out the best players at each position in baseball (Pitcher, Catcher, DH, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B and three OF’s). It’s similar to how “The Morning Reaction” guys select the best Baltimore Ravens every week in season.

Outside of baseball season, we’ll select a topic and fill a roster with the same positions based on the topic.

For example, this week’s topic was “The Faces of the Rock Bottom Era of Orioles Baseball (1998-present).”

Here are “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Ryan and I put together…

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten):

Pitcher-Daniel Cabrera

Catcher-Brook Fordyce

First Base-Garrett Atkins

Second Base-Delino DeShields

Shortstop-Brandon Fahey

Third Base-Mark Reynolds

Outfield-Felix Pie

Outfield-Marty Cordova

Outfield-Larry Bigbie

Designated HItter-Vladimir Guerrero


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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Faces of Orioles ‘Dark Ages’

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Faces of Orioles ‘Dark Ages’

Posted on 19 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

Continuing to watch Felix Pie stumble and bumble his way around left field night after night lead Drew Forrester and I to come up with an idea for this week’s Tuesday Top 7.

This week’s topic was The Top 7 “Faces of the Orioles’ Dark Ages.” The “dark ages” would be the time between 1998-present where the Baltimore Orioles have failed to post even one winning season.

Drew and I agreed that we wouldn’t include Pie on the list, mostly because at this point we would just be piling on.

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Travis Driskill

driskill

6. Garrett Atkins

atkins

5. Jose Morban

morban

4. Daniel Cabrera

dcab

3. Freddie Bynum

bynum

2. Rafael Palmeiro/Sammy Sosa/Vladimir Guerrero

palmeiro
sosa
vlad

1. Marty Cordova

cordova

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Matt Riley

riley

6. Mike Gonzalez

gonzalez

5. Jay Gibbons

gibbons

4. Sammy Sosa

sosa

3. Adam Loewen

loewen

2. Brian Roberts

roberts

1. Justin Duchscherer

duch

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Guerrero’s 7-year itch gets scratched in Baltimore

Posted on 05 February 2011 by Drew Forrester

Andy MacPhail finally gave in.

Perhaps it’s four years of losing and the spector of having his Baltimore tenure tied to last place and disappointing results after arriving with such hope and promise.

But MacPhail is apparently going to try and deliver a winner to Charm City before most likely moving on at the end of this season.

I don’t know if we should all say “Thank you, Andy” or “What took you so friggin’ long?” but the diehards like me who have waited so long for a competitive Orioles team just might get their wish in 2011.

It all came full-circle yesterday when word trickled out that Vlad Guerrero was heading to Baltimore, seven years after snubbing the O’s in favor of the Angels.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Vlad Guerrero the-second-time-around is still better than no Guerrero at all.  (BTW, here’s Rex Snider’s blog on the subject if you want to see how he feels about it.)

Vlad is a better hitter than Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie will ever be, period.  Heck, I can’t imagine there’s one player on the Orioles 40-man roster right now who will ever have a career-at-the-plate like Guerrero.  In case you haven’t paid attention for the last 15 years or so, here are THE NUMBERS that have made Guerrero one of baseball’s five best offensive players since 1996.  Hall of Famer?  If not, they should just stop putting people in.

So that’s the summary of Guerrero.  He’s better than either of the team’s two “younger” left fielders – even now at age 36 – and his bat is as productive as anyone the Orioles have had in…well…how about forever?

But there will be criticisms about the move.  People who fancy themselves armchair GM’s will point to the fact that the Orioles had to cough up $8 million to get a guy that no one else in the league wanted.  Some will compare the paltry $2 million that Tampa Bay forked over for Manny Ramirez and wonder how on earth the Birds got bilked out of $8 million for Guerrero.  Sharp-eyes for the game of baseball will say Guerrero is showing obvious signs of wearing down, but his abilities even at the 16-year mark of his career are far greater than Miguel Tejada or Garrett Atkins, the two “prize” signings of last winter (neither of whom made it to August 1 with the club).

Unlike the off-season of 2010 when the Birds tried to convince people they were trying by signing guys on the cheap with little or no hope of making a major impact, this off-season has been quite different.  Yes, guys like Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy are coming to town on the heels of “off” years.  Derrek Lee, like Guerrero, is older and more vulnerable than he was when the O’s tried to get him in the past.  Justin Duchscherer was the club’s marquee pitching acquisition and he threw in 5 more major league games than your’s truly over the last 2 seasons.

But guys like Lee and Guerrero and Hardy — they’re competent, HIGHLY capable players who have a history of excellence. Do they all have (continued…)

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Striving For Mediocrity

Posted on 02 February 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

It’s about this time every year that my brain begins its semiannual transition out of one mode and into another. By August, I start to get the itch for football season and slowly begin checking out of baseball. It’s a lot easier to do when your team is nowhere near playoff contention, and as we all know that’s the way it’s been since I was in middle school. But nonetheless, it’s about now when I begin to fondly look forward to having a baseball game to listen to on the radio every night and enough daylight to get me to at least the 5th or 6th inning if I’m out on the farm.

So now, we must inevitably begin the speculation of how the 2011 edition of the Baltimore Orioles will fare. I have to say first off that it’s kind of a new experience for me to see some guys on the O’s roster that I’ve actually had on my fantasy teams in years past. I had JJ Hardy that year he was hitting homeruns like it was going out of style, and I also had Justin Duscherer for that season when Oakland moved him into their rotation and he put up some solid numbers. But unfortunately, this actually shows us that the Orioles’ offseason strategy has not changed at all.

Early on, when the top shelf free agents are looking for new homes, they’re nowhere to be seen; or if they do make an appearance, it’s only ever a half-hearted attempt at snagging one (case and point, Adam Dunn). Then, after the dust settles, they go about the business of filling their roster needs with so-so position players who might be better than who they had last year but are a far cry from being the building blocks of a playoff team. Round it out with a couple guys who were stars five years ago, but are now in the twilight of their careers, and you’ve got the Angelos/MacPhail formula for “success”.

Over the years, I’ve gotten sick after spiking my tea with orange Kool Aid enough times that I refuse to do so again. I tend to be more of a realist than an optimist in just about everything. But for some reason, the one exception I always made to that was for the Orioles. Not again. This year, I’m going to assume that this team still sucks until they show me otherwise. Exactly one year ago, I wrote a blog right here where I praised the front office for bringing back Miguel Tejada, and speculated that he, along with Josh Bell and Garrett Atkins, were going to at least give the Birds a shot at breaking .500 in 2010. Reading that again now, I feel like Gary Cooper saying that Gone With The Wind was going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history.

I’m officially changing my modus operandi of being a fan, because they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Are you listening, front office? We’re still in the midst of this “grow the arms and buy the bats” mantra, but whenever it comes time to actually buy, you once again take the bargain basement route and bring home the guy who set the MLB record for most strikeouts in a season (Reynolds), a flash-in-the-pan hitting shortstop (Hardy), and yet another transient, aged power hitter (Vlad). And the best part is, Andy managed to go over what Pete wanted to spend! I guess the economy hasn’t been good for the ambulance chasing business, either. But they’re committed to winning, don’t doubt it for a second!

This team has proven me wrong (and Murphy’s Law right) more times than I care to recall. And I really hope they prove me wrong again this year… by at least having a pulse.

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Better than the Monday paper: I love hearing Buck talk, but wins must follow

Posted on 31 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Words, challenges and wishful pre-season plans of “taking care of our business”.

I like the talk, actually.

Without question, it’s better to hear Buck Showalter play the tough-guy role than to hear Dave Trembley mumble something about the team giving it everything they had and other funny post-game chatter like “it’s always fun to play in a good, competitive baseball game like the one (we lost) tonight.”

Showalter talks the talk, for sure.

And I like it.

But all of that talk won’t mean squat if he can’t get his 25 players to perform in 2011.  We can’t have another last place summer of dread.

That’s why words and challenges don’t mean much.  After 13 years of losing here in Baltimore, I hope Buck understands that we all just can’t blindly buy his yapping…hook, line and sinker.

We want to, for sure.

But we can’t.

Too many scars.  Too many burn marks.  Too many unfulfilled promises.

Too much losing.

I’m not sure if the announced FanFest crowd on Saturday (reportedly 2,000 LESS than a year ago) had anything to do with the asinine “adult autograph policy” or the fact that for some strange reason, the Orioles and the Special Olympics (Polar Bear Plunge) decided to both plan significant community events on the same day.

I don’t know why Saturday’s FanFest crowd was off by 15% or so.

But I do know this, because – as a diehard myself – I was there.  The folks who managed to make their way down to the Convention Center on Saturday were overflowing with confidence in Showalter and the team in general.  Count me among those who think this Orioles team will finally escape the American League East basement and threaten a .500 record or better in 2011.  Call me nuts if you want, but that’s what I think.  I know a lot of the diehards ( …continued)

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Once again, fans pay the price for Orioles lack of common “cents”

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Orioles FanFest 2010 was one of the best events I attended all of last year. In fact, I labeled it a “grand slam” in this blog right here, written shortly after I arrived home on a Saturday afternoon when I strolled around the Baltimore Convention Center with 10,000 other orange followers.  I even remember thinking to myself as I saw gobs of people lined up for their first glimpse of Garrett Atkins — “These folks here are so awash with Orioles fever, I don’t think the team could screw THIS thing up.”

Well, I was wrong.

The Orioles, apparently, never heard of the theory “leave well enough alone”.

They’ve thrown a monkey wrench into FanFest 2011.

They’re charging adults for autographs.  Actually, they’re charging anyone over the age of 14 for autographs. Yes, 15 year olds, 16 year olds, 17 year olds, 25 year olds, 35 year olds.  They all pay for an autograph at FanFest.

You read it right.

The Orioles are so hell-bent on squeezing every available nickel out of your pocket on January 29th that they’ve now sunk to the lowest-of-lows…they’re making you hand over money in order to be graced with the scribbled signature of one of their stars.

Now let’s make sure we position this correctly from the Orioles side.  They’re putting this policy in place – charging folks – because “it will shorten the lines” at autograph stations.  The money being raised is “going to charity” through the club’s OriolesREACH program.  Developing a more strategic method of autograph distribution will “avoid fan disappointment” (and those words “avoid fan disappointment” come right from their own press release).

You can go ahead and insert your “avoid fan disappointment” punch line here…now.

But let’s sift through all the goodwill and the efforts to expedite the efforts of adult autograph seekers and call the $15.00 charge for what it is.

Gouging.

That’s all.

It’s gouging the fans who attend – those who have already PAID entry to get in – and trying to pry even more money from a fan base that is on the “owed” side of this relationship, as the Orioles have been taking Baltimore’s money for over a decade now and have offered little overall value in return.

Interestingly enough, the Orioles web-site has plenty of information about FanFest.  Go ahead and check it out right here.

Notice anything?

The admission fee isn’t listed on the site.  You’ll have to pay to get in, of course, but the team won’t list that price on the web-page.  I *think* it’s $10.00 to get in, but I’m not really sure.  Whatever the case, why isn’t the admission fee on the team’s official site?  I don’t have that answer, but I’m sure you can consider the reasons.

Autograph seekers have become a national pest.  Not quite to the level of the stink-bug craze in the Middle Atlantic, but close enough, I suppose, for teams like the Orioles to say this to themselves:  ”If they’re going to stuff themselves into our event and clog up the lines and eat up the valuable time of our players, we’re going to have to make money off of them.”

That’s really the truth.  Nothing more.

You know how I know that’s true?

Because the Orioles COULD have done this:

They could have made you (an adult) go to their web-site and pre-register for a spot in one of their autograph lines (which is what you have to do now, already).  You could have then organized the “sessions” at FanFest and controlled the lines (continued) by handing out windows-of-time based on your web-site registration.  In other words, you register and you get a return e-mail that says, “Turn this in at 12:45 pm and your “session” is 12:50-1:00 pm at the table with Nick Markakis, Chris Tillman, Matt Wieters and Jason Berken.”  It’s all electronically controlled and easy to pull off with today’s software.

And then (and here’s the kicker), the Orioles could announce “and for every person who registers, we’ll donate $15.00 to OriolesREACH and distribute those monies to various local charities”.

Novel concept:  If the Orioles are that concerned about shortening the lines, “avoiding fan disappointment” and contributing money to charity, they can still do that and NOT charge adults money for autographs.  They could just donate the money themselves.

Here’s another novel idea: How about just doing a better job (continued)

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday-

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because Drew and I were discussing our (high school) alma maters this morning; and I found out some interesting things.

You may know that Drew graduated (reportedly) from Glen Burnie High School. What you may NOT know is that there are a number of other significant former Gophers, including former Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tony Saunders (who was on with Rex Snider yesterday here at AM1570 WNST); Kansas City Chiefs OT Branden Albert and singer Toni Braxton.

I am a proud Perry Hall High School graduate, and if you check our Wikipedia page; we have plenty of notable alumni as well. Former Delegates Alfred Redmer and James Ports; Tonja Walker from “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital”; and CNN’s Reggie Aqui. Oh, and there’s another one…Craig M Horlacher. Not familiar with Craig Horlacher? Let’s see what Wikipedia says about Craig…

“Craig M Horlacher, (GUINESS) Largest weiner size ever recorded

Let’s go Gators!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Cal Ripken may join Orioles in part time advisory role, then transition to full time position after son Ryan Ripken graduates

This is the first sort of “clarity” we’ve received about what exactly is being considered by the Iron Man, Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos. This is a logical role, although the question of what exactly Cal would be “advising” still comes to mind.

The easy answer would be “personnel”, as despite Cal’s incredible business accumen, I doubt he’s getting involved with the organization to give his ideas for how MASN can help market Adam Jones.

An organization would Cal Ripken involved for the advice he can offer to baseball players and regarding baseball players. He has value in Sarasota offering advice about fielding and staying healthy (Felix Pie should be the first player he talks to), but he also has value in the Warehouse telling Andy MacPhail “you know, I just don’t think Garrett Atkins fits the bill for what we’re looking for.”

Of course, now we’re entering the potential world of having “too many chefs in the kitchen.” Andy MacPhail is responsible for baseball decisions; but no one REALLY believes Peter Angelos has completely removed himself from that area. The organization is set to hire Buck Showalter as manager, and EVERYONE who knows ANYTHING about Buck Showalter has confirmed that he is going to have to have a hand in baseball and personnel decisions, if not more than that.

Now there’s a chance Cal Ripken joins that group.

Look, I don’t think ANYTHING bad can come from having Cal involved with the organization; and clearly they can use as much help as they can get in the baseball operations department. But this could end up being a combustible situation.

Of course, when you’re 29-59 it’s certainly worth trying.

2. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says former Birds closer George Sherrill placed on waivers by Los Angeles Dodgers

Jay points out in his column that MacPhail deserves some credit for “selling high” with Sherrill. I had no problem myself with the trade-as it appeared that the team got two reasonable prospects back in Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.

If we’re being completely fair though, Bell and/or Johnson need to produce at the big league level for us to TRULY say this was a good trade. Otherwise, it was a trade that cost the team a closer ahead of an annual tailspin.

As far as those who think the Orioles should try to re-acquire Sherrill for the 2nd half of the season are concerned, well….okay. Sherrill may be well served by returning to a no-pressure role in Charm City (maybe a 7th inning role); but I wouldn’t be in a rush to run out and bring back “Flat Breezy.”

As far as whether or not I thought George Sherrill would ulimately struggle at Chavez Revine?

“Never a doubt George, never a doubt.”

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s will spend 2nd half trying to avoid worst record in franchise history

I really don’t want to think about this.

In fact, instead of thinking about this, let’s think about Rosie Jones. (Thanks Guyism!)

rosiejones

4. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Steve Bumbry homered for Delmarva Shorebirds on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-After missing Mike Gonzalez yesterday, we missed Billy Rowell this morning as well. Damn. BUT-if you missed Rich Dubroff from the Carroll County Times or Golf.com/SI’s David Dusek live from the British Open at St. Andrew’s with Drew Forrester this morning-make sure you check it out today in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

-I found out this morning Sidney Ponson retired from professional baseball. Is this news? Did we know this before? How did I miss this? So long “Sir Sid”…we’ll always have…the memories???

5. National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh says addition of Anquan Boldin means Ravens ‘have Super Bowl contender written all over them’

Which is about the most common theme I can think of when it comes to this football team.

The Ravens BEFORE acquiring Anquan Boldin were a team that was very good and had a chance to compete to win the AFC North. The Ravens AFTER acquiring Anquan Boldin are a team that has a REAL chance to get to Dallas for the Super Bowl.

Like I keep saying, just because they’re a Super Bowl CONTENDER doesn’t mean they’ll WIN the Super Bowl. The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets are Super Bowl CONTENDERS as well.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say “that’s why they play the games.”

6. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens report fans have suffered injuries in Westminster

Which doesn’t surprise me at ALL. We’ve all seen it. It doesn’t mean the Ravens came up with a perfect policy to fix the problem (Edit from GMC: I think it’s far from it), but fan behavior and unruly crowds HAVE been a problem at McDaniel College. That’s really not arguable.

Now, if Brooke Erickson comes to Training Camp next year, I don’t care what policy is in place. There’s going to be trouble with unruly crowds (Thanks COED Magazine via Busted Coverage!)…

erickson

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Beck expects ‘battle’ for QB job in Training Camp

Which is something we really haven’t discussed much.

When the Ravens acquired Marc Bulger, it was so widely assumed that Troy Smith would be dealt that we basically just started putting together a 53 man roster without including him.

But with the Philadelphia Eagles apparently likely to hold on to Michael Vick; the one realistic trade scenario that was presented appears to be gone.

The Ravens will NOT just be giving Troy Smith away, no matter how quickly some fans would like to see him go. If he isn’t traded, he and Beck will be set for a battle for the #3 QB job…a battle that Smith would CLEARLY be the favorite to win.

It isn’t popular necessarily, but it’s reality. Troy Smith might not LIKE being the team’s 3rd QB-but he might not have a choice. It might be the only job available.

And Troy Smith might very well be the best option for the Ravens as a 3rd QB.

We’ll have to wait and see what quarterbacks get hurt between now and Week 1. That would clearly impact where Smith could possibly end up.

8. ABC2′s Tia Craddock says Michael Phelps gave Baltimore City summer school students free swim lessons

Like I said yesterday, I think this is a great thing. I have said for some time that Phelps should be more visible with his charity and community involvement here in Baltimore; as he is likely the most recognized Baltimorean worldwide.

But with no offense to Michael-if I had my choice; I’d probably prefer to get my swim lessons from Lisa Angeline (Thanks NextRound.net via Uproxx!)…

lisaa

9. D1scrouse’s Patrick Stevens says Navy QB Ricky Dobbs named to Davey O’Brien Award watch list

Some of my feelings towards Ricky Dobbs are similar to my feelings towards former Morgan State Bears guard Reggie Holmes. I just really enjoy watching some college athletes-and Ricky Dobbs is ABSOLUTELY one of them.

There’s a new @DobbsForHeisman Twitter account that is pretty awesome. Not quite as awesome as getting a response from the Old Spice guy on YouTube, but it’s still pretty good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CijzuweLK4I[/youtube]

And by the way, Patrick and I posted a new D1scast this week discussing his preseason Top 25 Football poll, the new ACC TV deal, and why hitting “Reply All” isn’t always a great idea. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to check it out!

10. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Maryland, Texas in negotiations for future football series

I understand that the Terps will make a bunch of money from this series-and that’s important. But as I said on Twitter last night (follow us @WNST), it offers NOTHING football-wise. It’s a bit of a no-win; and I’m not sure how many recruits will be overly impressed by watching the Terrapins get pummeled by 35 points by the Longhorns at FedEx Field.

Now, playing a game in Austin (or Dallas, or Houston, or San Antonio) WILL get the next Maryland football coach (be it James Franklin or whoever else) in front of recruits in The Lone Star State. That IS a good thing.

And as I mentioned before, money is a factor. Cue AC/DC….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je7MqES4Wfk[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

I get a lot of questions about some of the music that’s played on the show. I figured I’d share a couple of the songs I get a particular number of questions about. One is “French Navy” by Camera Obscura…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3CkfvYMCWM[/youtube]

Another is “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep On Dancing” by Mike Doughty. At least the title isn’t too long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9GzLOk52Wo[/youtube]

If you want to know about anything else we play on the show, feel free to let me know.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because the Netherlands beat Uruguay and advanced to Sunday’s World Cup Final. This means Rafael Van Der Vaart gets to play another significant game in South Africa.

Why is that good news? Well…apparently you don’t know that Rafael Van Der Vaart is married to Sylvie Van Der Vaart…

vandervaart

Like I said, this is good news.

Of course, had Uruguay won-we would have been talking more about Diego Forlan-WAG Zaira Nara, and there wouldn’t have been anything bad about that either…

zairanara

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Johnny Damon crushed walk-off homer to lift Tigers past Orioles in Detroit

Look, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. I WAS named “Apologist of the Morning” by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. I said it last night on Twitter (follow us @WNST), and I’ll stick by it…

Here’s where I’ll be fair. Sometimes the other team tries too.”

I should have prefaced that. I should have said that if the Orioles were a good team, they’d earn the benefit of the doubt that sometimes the other team tries too.

I didn’t feel as though the Orioles didn’t try last night, or as if anything in particular was a glaring reason for why they LOST the game. I really DID feel as though the Tigers were just much better.

Of course, I should be fair. They AREN’T any good. This is what happens when you aren’t any good. Even when you play well (Jake Arrieta pitched well, the Orioles added runs in the 8th and 9th inning, etc), the teams you play against can figure out ways to beat you.

Maybe another Tweet I sent out last night was more fitting for this team…

“Well, the Orioles managed to find a way to lose again. Just like a season long kick in the nuts…

It really is.

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

Matt Wieters had both a double and a triple in last night’s game. Rumor has it that afterwards he IMMEDIATELY needed an IV.

Credit Arrieta for pitching well…6 and 1/3 innings, 1 earned run, 7 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks. Hopefully he won’t give up hope. I’m not exactly sure how he couldn’t, but I hope he won’t.

You know what, you REALLY don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, look at this video that SecretSauce.TV put together called “Twilight for Guys.”

(Editor’s Note: Warning. This video involves girls in their underwear making out with each other. Or in other words, don’t watch mom.)

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

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Felix Pie activated, Kevin Millwood sent to DL

And Felix Pie had two hits last night. Although he couldn’t move Matt Wieters (trust me, I think it was terrible baserunning from Wieters too) to 3rd base-or score him-in a key situation; but I’ll leave that alone.

By the way, he didn’t win AOTM-but I wanted to address something Peter Schmuck wrote. Schmuck wrote…

“For his trouble, he waited 21/2 months for enough offensive support to earn his first victory of the year and now appears to be wilting under the weight of this discouraging season.

How else could you explain his performance Monday in Detroit, where he lasted just one inning, threw 45 pitches and allowed five runs? It was the third-shortest outing of his 14-year career and the sixth time in his past eight starts that he gave up at least five runs.

I understand that Millwood did a decent job to start the season, but are we really surprised that he’s struggling???

Kevin Millwood is a solid MLB pitcher who was poorly cast by Andy MacPhail as a front of the rotation starter on a bad team. He’s a good pitcher, but he’s a good pitcher who should be the 3rd or 4th starter on a good team.

He’s a pitcher who was 48-46 over his last 4 seasons (all with the Texas Rangers) before being traded to Baltimore. He averaged a 4.67 ERA over those 4 seasons as well.

He was GOING TO STRUGGLE this season. He isn’t Roy Halladay. He isn’t Felix Hernandez. He isn’t Andy Pettitte! He’s a veteran starter who has been good in his career; but has struggled at times.

It’s frustrating because it almost eliminates his trade value as we approach the July 31 deadline; but it isn’t surprising. It’s what happens when a team acquires “a guy” instead of “the guy.”

We know all too much about that here in Charm City.

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Garrett Atkins officially released by Birds

Now here’s the part where we all sit around and think about our memories of Garrett Atkins…

-There was the time he hit his home run
-There was the time he went to London and brought Aldous Snow back to the Greek Theater
-There was the time he blew up that BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
-There was the time he blew the call on Maurice Edu’s goal in the Team USA-Slovenia match
-There was the time he announced Mary Kane as his running mate in his campaign to replace Martin O’Malley as governor of Maryland

I’m not sure why everyone was down on him, it was a hell of a run.

(Edit from GMC: Apparently only the 1 home run was true amongst the things on that list. I could have sworn…)

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Zach Britton, Ryohei Tanaka struggled for O’s on farm

Before we move on, a couple of things…

-The Birds are back in action tonight as they try to avoid the sweep at Comerica Park. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Max Scherzer is at 7:05pm on MASN. My guess? The Tigers will finish the sweep. But I always assume the other team will win.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox pitcher and Orioles prospect Steve Johnson on “The Morning Reaction” this morning on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. We also had ESPN analyst and former Rangers/Cubs/etc OF Doug Glanville (author of the new book “The Game From Where I Stand”) and former Terrapins/Blast star Desmond Armstrong to talk World Cup on the show this morning-make sure you check them out as well.

6. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ed Reed likely to be out until October

This wouldn’t surprise me necessarily. I know that Ed is wanting to get back on the field; but I wouldn’t exactly be stunned if he missed Training Camp. Should he miss Training Camp, there would be a major question as to whether or not he should be PUP’ed.

There are some simple facts here. 1-While Ken Hamlin and Tom Zbikowski give the Ravens depth at safety, neither are Ed Reed. 2-There are CLEARLY other issues involved in this, with Ed bringing up his contract multiple times during an interview on “The Morning Reaction” last Friday.

I’ll guess that Reed’s situation will be the story we’re most interested in while we’re in Westminster. In fact, I hope it is. A Joe Flacco injury would be a more interesting story. I’m not looking for something like that.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s John Eisenberg says costly moves show Ravens commmitted to making run towards Super Bowl

I would counter with the same thing I’ve said a hundred times before. The moment the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin, they showed me they were intent on getting to Dallas and hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I’m not worked up about the additions of Marc Bulger, Ken Hamlin or Walt Harris. Any NFL team could make those types of moves.

Acquiring Anquan Boldin? That’s a Super Bowl-type move.

By the way, John Eisenberg will join Rex Snider this afternoon on AM1570 WNST at 3:30pm.

8. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says Ravens offense now in ‘spotlight’ thanks to offseason moves

This is very similar to what I told Mike Florio in his ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports season preview magazine. There is a shift here. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Michael Oher are the nucleus of a unit that should make the Ravens winners for years to come.

They’ve added pieces like Matt Birk and Anquan Boldin to that. They’ve kept pieces like Derrick Mason and Todd Heap with that.

And they’ve done it without sacrificing much of anything defensively.

There’s a reason why they’re considered a “Rolls Royce” of professional organizations.

By the way, I’d like to put something in the “spotlight” myself. Something named Rhian Sugden. (Thanks Guyism!)

rhian

9. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says former Terps coach Dave Cottle removes name from consideration for Harvard lacrosse job

I said from the jump that I wasn’t sold on this being a good fit for Dave Cottle. He really has no background in the northeast, and having to get kids to an Ivy League school isn’t as easy as the success Princeton has had would make you think it was.

The Penn State job would have been a great gig for Cottle-but the Nittany Lions found their man. Instead, he’s probably better suited sitting it out and seeing what might open up in the next year or two. He’s MUCH better off in the Mid-Atlantic. Had Towson parted ways with Tony Seaman (which they rightly didn’t), that might have been a good fit.

10. UMTerps.com says Comcast Center to host Women’s NCAA Tournament games on Sunday, March 20 & Tuesday, March 22 2011

I’ve attended Women’s Tournament games in College Park, and they do an outstanding job of hosting the event. Hopefully, Brenda Freses’s team won’t be on the outside looking in during March Madness this year.

Question: Is there any chance Laura Leigh Siani could be part of the Tournament??? (Thanks Brosome/Busted Coverage!)

siani

And finally, I leave you with this.

Is it even safe for the Orioles to go to the Ballpark in Arlington this weekend??? Not only are fans falling from the upper deck (I’m not even going to bother re-posting that video), but even fans in the outfield are pinning kids against fences to try to steal cheap souvenirs…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7_C92Q3uIQ[/youtube]

Heat does crazy things to people…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Enduring the second half: What I’d like to see from the Orioles (Part 1 of 2)

Posted on 05 July 2010 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles officially reaching the halfway point of the season on Sunday, the second half of the schedule began much like the first—with a 12-9 loss in Detroit on Monday afternoon.

It’s no secret that much of Baltimore has shifted its attention to the Ravens and the upcoming start of training camp with the Orioles appearing destined to finish with the worst record in franchise history. Whether you choose to persevere through the season’s final three months or tune out in hopes of regaining your sanity after the horrid first half, much needs to be accomplished between now and October—on and off the field.

The most critical question of whether Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos will commit to significantly improving the roster via free agency and trades in the offseason will linger long after October—and beyond—but in the mean time, a plethora of other issues can be addressed, some by the organization and others by players themselves.

If I had a crystal ball to predict what will unfold over the final three months of 2010, here’s what I’d like to see:

1. A new skipper is hired

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s imperative that the Orioles bring in a guy who truly wants the job and is willing to do the legwork of changing the culture of losing that exists in the clubhouse. It won’t happen by season’s end or even in 2011, but the club needs a dynamic leader.

I’ve championed Buck Showalter as the man, mainly due to his work with the Arizona Diamondbacks during the infancy of the franchise. Showalter, of course, did not stick around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor when Arizona won the World Series in 2001, but his obsessive work ethic could hopefully do wonders for the Orioles’ player development.

With MacPhail’s preference for an experienced manager, Showalter might be the man needed to ruffle some feathers, not only at the big-league level but throughout the organization.

2. A true commitment to the international market is made

While most have focused on the Orioles’ inability—or unwillingness—to make improvements through free agency and their poor track record with the amateur draft for the better part of 25 years, the organization continues to abstain from the international market.

The Orioles have opened a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, but far more needs to be done on the international front, both in the Caribbean and the Far East. The club’s sheer number of international scouts pales in comparison to their competitors in the American League East, a simple but poignant indication that the organization is not doing enough to find talent elsewhere in the world.

And no, signing a 33-year-old Koji Uehara two winters ago doesn’t qualify as really trying.

It won’t fix the franchise alone, but tapping into the international waters instead of wasting $5 million on the Garrett Atkins types of the world every winter is a far better use of resources with a higher potential reward.

As one simple example, Robinson Cano, my choice for Most Valuable Player of the first half, was signed out of the Dominican by the New York Yankees. Talent is out there; it’s up to the Orioles to find and develop it.

3. Do whatever it takes to fix Matt Wieters

The claims of “Mauer with Power” and “Switch-Hitting Jesus” were always ridiculous, but no one—inside or outside of Baltimore—expected Matt Wieters to struggle as he has over the first 600-plus at-bats of his major league career.

It’s not just the .239 average or the lack of power (.344 slugging percentage) this season, but his approach at the plate is undisciplined and his swing is passive, often looking to slap the ball somewhere instead of attacking the baseball when he gets a good pitch to hit.

Many blame Terry Crowley while others will point to the team’s struggles and the overwhelming expectations bestowed upon the young catcher, but Wieters needs help to realize his vast potential.

Whether it’s a new hitting coach, a former Oriole such as Eddie Murray working with him, a demotion to the minors, or the apparition of Charley Lau returning to tinker with his swing, Wieters must get on track if the Orioles are to pull themselves out of this 13-year abyss. Aside from the final month of his rookie season, he’s looked nothing like the future star so many projected him to be.

For the record, I still believe Wieters eventually becomes a good-to-great catcher in the big leagues, but the organization must do everything in its power to help him.

Immediately.

4. The trade pieces perform and are dealt at the deadline

Anyone with delusions that Kevin Millwood, Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada, Jeremy Guthrie, or any other veteran would fetch a return comparable to the one the Orioles received for Erik Bedard a few years ago was always setting himself up for disappointment, but these players have a few more weeks to improve their value in hopes of being dealt.

Millwood’s struggles are painfully apparent as the 35-year-old was shelled again on Monday afternoon in Detroit, lasting only an inning while giving up five runs against the Tigers lineup. His 2010 story has transformed from a sympathetic figure (standing at 0-4 despite a 3.26 ERA on May 8th) to one who can’t get anyone out (5.77 ERA after Monday’s start).

Even if MacPhail was unable to find a suitable deal for Millwood at the deadline, there were hopes that Millwood could perhaps fetch a compensatory pick as a Type B free agent—and certain to reject arbitration—but as Millwood’s ERA continues to skyrocket, that likelihood is becoming very unlikely.

Wigginton would appear to have the most value with his recent All-Star selection and the versatility of playing several positions on the diamond, but his hot start feels like a long time ago, and the numbers support it.

Entering Monday afternoon’s game, Wigginton has hit just .218 in 202 at-bats since May 3. For the sake of fetching a better return, a Wigginton hot streak would do wonders by the July 31st deadline.

Tejada might be an attractive option for a team looking for a third baseman or even a short-term answer at shortstop, but his .373 slugging percentage suggests a singles hitter, not the man who once led the league in runs batted in or even the hitter who led the National League in doubles last season. In other words, teams won’t be knocking down the door at the Warehouse to get him.

Guthrie might be the most valuable piece as he’s under control for two more seasons. His 4.64 ERA isn’t sparking by any stretch of the imagination, but a National League team looking for an arm to supplement the back-end of the starting rotation could do far worse than Guthrie.

Of course, the Orioles could elect to hold on to Guthrie because of those two years of control and his positive presence for a young rotation.

Reliever Will Ohman (2.88 ERA) might be another trade candidate, but it’s hard to imagine getting anything more than minor league filler for the lefty specialist.

5. Brian Roberts gets healthy for 2011

The simple act of Brian Roberts taking the field again in 2010 matters very little for a team currently 32 games below .500, but it might be viewed as a symbolic act to show he will be fully-recovered in 2011, the second year of a four-year extension signed 17 months ago.

Roberts is once again taking batting practice in Sarasota, but we’ve heard this story several times already. Surgery continues to be ruled out by all parties, so it’s imperative for Roberts’ back to hold up as we’re now approaching a time frame in which surgery could jeopardize the start of his preparation for the 2011 season.

It’s too late to debate whether it was a good idea to give the then-31-year-old Roberts a four-year extension, so you can only hope the decision to rest and rehabilitate the herniated disc proves to be the right one for his career.

If there’s any long-term risk for Roberts to try to play baseball again in 2010, he should be shut down immediately and given the rest of the season to rest.

Check out Part 2 of what I’d like to see from the Orioles over the season’s final three months later this week.

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