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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 reminds us of when “hype” has gone wrong

Posted on 23 February 2014 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you haven’t heard that we’re celebrating our 16th year as Baltimore’s sports media leader here at WNST. What’s that? You haven’t?

We’re celebrating our 16th year as Baltimore’s sports media leader here at WNST. To mark the occasion, we’re taking a look at some of the bigger “water cooler” topics that have been discussed during the course of the WNST era. We’re already six lists into the year, here’s a look back on them if you’ve missed any.

Week 1: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 “debuts” in local sports history
Week 2: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports playoff moments
Week 3: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 local sports people who “had a dream”
Week 4: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local athletes who deserved to win a championship but didn’t
Week 5: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local Olympic sport athletes
Week 6: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local sports “Heartbreakers”
Week 7: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 most underappreciated Maryland basketball players

Perhaps it’s fitting that a warm, sunny Sunday mark the start of our eighth week. Luke Jones returns to the reigns of the #WNSTSweet16, and before it gets cold again, we’d like to think a little about baseball. Spring Training games start this week in Sarasota, making it an appropriate time to have baseball on the mind.

There is plenty of excitement for the start of O’s season in Charm City after the recent signings of P Ubaldo Jimenez and DH/OF Nelson Cruz. In fact, I would venture to guess that Birds fans might now describe themselves as “hyped” for the start of the season.

Of course, we’ve been here before. A number of players, whether acquired in free agency or brought up after being drafted and developed by the organization, have given us great hope but failed to deliver. That’s what we’re talking about in this week’s #WNSTSweet16, as the topic is The Sweet 16 “Orioles Who Didn’t Live Up To The Hype”.

Much like last week’s list, Luke has to deal with two sets of criteria. One is that the player has to have received “hype” (defined by Dictionary.com as “exaggerated publicity, hoopla”) before or upon his arrival. So Luke may end up ranking players based on just how much “hype” they actually received OR based on just how spectacularly they failed to live up to said “hype”.

The name Jeffrey Hammonds jumped out at me when we came up with this particular topic. Hammonds was viewed as a “complete” player that couldn’t miss after being selected fourth overall in 1992. Hammonds would go on to become an All-Star with the Colorado Rockies but never lived up to expectations in Baltimore. (This is particularly tough for me to accept because Hammonds is one of my all-time favorite Orioles and the player I was most wrong about in my life.)

In more recent years, two players the Orioles acquired (in different ways) tend to jump out. Andy MacPhail traded Garrett Olson to the Chicago Cubs in January 2009 for a prospect named Felix Pie…who…well…yeah. There are a lot of you who thought Felix Pie was the team’s next great outfielder. (Spoiler: He wasn’t.)

Before this past week, Vladimir Guerrero was the team’s most significant acquisition since the 2004 offseason (when they signed Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez). Guerrero arrived to much fanfare in 2011 (an offseason that also saw the Birds acquire well known vets like Derrek Lee) but failed to deliver-tallying just 13 home runs and 63 RBI. (But hey, he did show us it was possible for a player to have an On Base Percentage just 21 points higher than his batting average!)

Who else? What other Orioles didn’t live up to expectations or hype?

We want your ideas. Leave them here in the comments or email Luke via luke@wnst.net. We will be discussing the list throughout the day Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We’d love to have you Tweet with us or discuss the topic via Facebook by using the hashtag #WNSTSweet16.

On Tuesday morning, Luke will unveil the “official” list here at WNST.net and then discuss it with Drew Forrester on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” at 8am. Luke will then re-visit the list at 4pm Tuesday on “The Reality Check Driven by Jerry’s Toyota Scion”.

When was the hype too much for an Oriole who just simply wouldn’t be able to live up to it? Let us know now!


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