Tag Archive | "Indians"

Guthrie out of answers after suffering 13th loss of season

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Guthrie out of answers after suffering 13th loss of season

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Luke Jones

Jeremy Guthrie is one of the most standup guys you’ll find in the Orioles clubhouse.

Intelligent and analytical, the Stanford product is regularly willing to talk to the media, providing thoughtful insight after wins or losses.

Following Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians, in which an ineffective Guthrie suffered his major league-leading 13th defeat of the season, his frustration was clear.

Normally preferring to address the media in the auxiliary clubhouse (where manager Buck Showalter’s press conferences take place) after his starts, Guthrie instead held court at his locker, and his words were uncharacteristically brief after allowing six earned runs in five innings to drop his fourth decision in his last five starts (not counting last Sunday’s loss in relief to Boston).

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“I felt like I wasn’t able to throw the ball where I wanted to,” Guthrie said. “I wasn’t able to get ahead in the count, and when I fell behind, I had a really hard time throwing strikes and getting back into it.”

Eleven pitches and four batters into the game, the Indians held a 3-0 lead after Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run and Carlos Santana hit a two-run shot into the right-center bleachers before Guthrie could even get his feet under him. It didn’t get much better after that as the 32-year-old was lifted after facing two batters in the sixth, continuing a stretch in which Baltimore starters have completed six innings just twice in the last 17 games. Orioles starters have completed seven innings only once in their last 27 games (Guthrie on July 1).

Like anyone who’s watched the Orioles drop eight in a row, 13 of 14, and 22 of their last 28 games, what else is there to say at this point?

“It’s tough like other stretches we’ve had,” Guthrie said. “Each person needs to hopefully play better.”

Maybe the de facto ace was brooding over the 24 earned runs he’s allowed over his last five starts, spanning 29 innings (7.45 ERA). His earned run average now sits at 4.45 after beginning the month of June with an impressive 3.24 mark despite a 2-7 record.

He might not have been thrilled with pitching on three days rest after throwing 73 pitches in 3 1/3 relief innings against the Red Sox, saying he was “not sure” if it had an impact on Thursday’s poor outing.

The fifth-worst run support in the American League (3.45 runs per game) entering the night would weigh on the toughest of pitchers.

Or perhaps the effect of 27 losses in just over a season and a half since 2010 has the pitcher ready to be rescued with trade rumors circulating.

Whatever the case, Guthrie was unable to provide the shot in the arm the Orioles desperately needed to start the second half on a winning note.

Despite his recent poor stretch, the hard-luck Guthrie has deserved far better over the last two seasons and now sees another listless summer staring him in the face with the Orioles now 17 games under .500 and 18 1/2 games out of first place in the middle of July.

It’s not a pretty sight.

And, like the rest of us, he was in no mood to talk about it, either.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Guthrie, acting manager John Russell, and Adam Jones following the Orioles’ series opening loss to the Indians.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as struggling Orioles begin 2nd half

Posted on 14 July 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the struggling Orioles begin the second half by welcoming the upstart Cleveland Indians to town for a four-game set**

BALTIMORE — Following the Orioles’ beanball series in Beantown prior to the All-Star break, suspensions were handed down prior to the start of tonight’s series against the Cleveland Indians to begin the second half.

Closer Kevin Gregg and setup man Michael Gonzalez received four and three-game suspensions respectively while manager Buck Showalter will serve a one-game suspension tonight as the Orioles (36-52) begin the second half with bench coach John Russell serving as manager. Both pitchers are appealing their suspensions and are available to the club tonight.

“I played the game. I pitched inside and got him out and then I defended myself when [David Ortiz] came across out to the mound,” Gregg said about the altercation. “Words are exchanged. People say I was yelling at him; well, he was yelling at me. It happens a lot in this game. To think anything of exchanging words with a player is ludicrous.”

The Red Sox designated hitter was also suspended four games after charging the mound against Gregg last Friday night. Orioles relief pitcher Jim Johnson, Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were also fined, but will not face suspensions.

With the four-game sweep in Boston and the first half history, the struggling Orioles hope to reverse an abysmal stretch of baseball in which they have lost seven straight and 12 of 13 games prior to the three-day rest. Jeremy Guthrie, who ironically earned the loss in Baltimore’s last game after pitching in relief, returns to the hill to face talented Indians pitcher Justin Masterson. Guthrie hopes to avoid a league-leading 13th loss and get the Orioles back on track.

Vladimir Guerrero is out of tonight’s lineup as he continues to nurse a sore wrist suffered after being hit by a pitch in Sunday’s finale in Boston. The veteran told Showalter he “needs one more day” to rest before returning to the lineup. All-Star catcher Matt Wieters will hit cleanup and serve as the designated hitter after traveling across county for Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Outfielder Luke Scott appears closer to returning from the 15-day disabled list and told reporters he will receive a cortisone injection in his injured right shoulder on Friday. After a few days to respond to that, he will likely go on a brief rehab assignment. Scott hasn’t swung a bat or lifted any weights since being placed on the disabled list in order to rest the shoulder.

Showalter also set his rotation through the weekend with Jake Arrieta starting Friday, Alfredo Simon on Saturday, and Mitch Atkins taking the hill on Sunday. The Orioles manager has not decided on a starter for Monday’s opener against the Boston Red Sox.

You can listen to Showalter’s pregame comments and Gregg’s reaction to the suspension in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Cleveland
LF Michael Bradley
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
C Carlos Santana
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Orlando Cabrera
RF Travis Buck
1B Matt LaPorta
3B Lonnie Chisenhall

SP Justin Masterson (7-6, 2.64 ERA)

Baltimore
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
DH Matt Wieters
1B Derrek Lee
LF Felix Pie
3B Mark Reynolds
2B Blake Davis
C Craig Tatum

SP Jeremy Guthrie (3-12, 4.18 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Mixed Martial Arts-Bellator Fighting Championships 42 (Saturday 9pm from Concho, OK live on MTV2); Arena Football: AFL Kansas City Command @ Chicago Rush (Friday 8pm from Chicago live on NFL Network); Soccer: MLS-New York Red Bulls @ DC United (Thursday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open BancSabadell (Friday 6:30am, Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Barcelona on Tennis Channel); Golf: PGA Tour The Heritage (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Hilton Head, SC); Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (Friday 12:30pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on CBS. All golf from Savannah, GA)

10. Rush (Friday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Coheed and Cambria (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live, Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rooney (Wednesday 7pm Bourbon Street); John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage, Thursday 8:30pm State Theatre), Bret Michaels (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Michael McDonald (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv); Charlie Sheen (Tuesday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Stephen Kellogg (Friday 8:30pm Jammin’ Java-Vienna); Soulive (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Local H (Sunday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel), J Roddy Walston & The Business (Wednesday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel); Saliva (Monday 7pm Jaxx); Gorillaz “The Fall” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’m ABSOLUTELY done with the Charlie Sheen fascination. I’m done even with the morbid curiosity. Unless he’s donning a Cleveland Indians jersey and hurling fastballs, I’m simply not interested.

I AM interested however in a Charm City appearance by the holy trinity…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7DFsBcVMDA[/youtube]

Love Blues Traveler? You’re a good American. I loved Blues Traveler myself and will absolutely admit that I’m all in on John Popper’s new project…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f5xq5bRaQU[/youtube]

Want to hear something that TOTALLY kicks ass? Here are Soulive and Robert Randolph doing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC_HXU-N3Ac[/youtube]

I’m not sure if anyone is still in the band, but I know Local H at least USED to be pretty awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2Oe5YKhzCE[/youtube]

9. Glenn Clark’s Easter Plans (Sunday)

Here’s what I know. I DEMANDED Cadbury Cream Eggs Benedict from my girlfriend last year and she failed. It had better not happen again…

cadburycreameggsbenedict

This is proof that God exists…I think.

8. Mortal Kombat available on Playstation3/XBox360 (Tuesday)

11 year old Glenn Clark is FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW.

If Streetfighter Turbo comes next, I might be in full blown panic mode.

While we’re on the subject of video games, how many folks do you know that are Grand Champions in NFL Blitz 2000?

The answer is at least one.

blitz

7. College Football: Navy Blue-Gold Spring Game (Friday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports)

I won’t be able to make it out to Annapolis Friday night, but I do have a couple of thoughts related to College Football.

1-Alabama fans have to be at least a LITTLE embarrassed by the Nick Saban statue that was unveiled in Tuscaloosa, right? Of course, the more embarrassing part is that I’m SURE this means Auburn is rushing to get a Gene Chizik statue erected too.

2-Cliff Tucker is trying is hand as a receiver for the Maryland football team now that the whole hoops thing is over, huh? Seems like a good option, but I feel as though maybe I would have gone with Competitive Cheer…

cheer

6. NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals-New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics (Game 2 Tuesday 7pm from Boston live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 7pm from New York live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 3:30pm from New York live on ABC); Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic (Game 2 Tuesday 7:30pm from Orlando live on NBA TV, Game 3 Friday 8pm from Atlanta live on ESPN2, Game 4 Sunday 7pm from Atlanta live on TNT); Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers (Game 3 Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on NBA TV, Game 4 Saturday 2:30pm from Indianapolis live on TNT); Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Game 3 Thursday 8pm from Philadelphia live on TNT, Game 4 Sunday 1pm from Philadelphia live on ABC); Western Conference Quarterfinals-Portland Trailblazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Game 2 Tuesday 9:30pm from Dallas live on TNT, Game 3 Thursday 10:30 from Portland live on TNT, Game 4 Saturday 5pm from Portland live on TNT, Game 5 Monday from Dallas TBD); Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 2 Wednesday 8pm from Oklahoma City live on TNT, Game 3 Saturday 10pm from Denver live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday 10:30pm from Denver live on TNT); Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs (Game 2 Wednesday 8:30pm from San Antonio live on NBA TV, Game 3 Saturday 7:30pm from Memphis live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday from Memphis TBD); New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Game 2 Wednesday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on TNT)

Let’s be honest…NBA basketball is AWFUL in the regular season and just sorta okay in the playoffs.

But Dwyane Wade and Jalen Rose (and Kyle Korver) did some pretty impressive things over the weekend…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC9H66odmrk[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=748HJrUPuys[/youtube]

5. NHL Playoffs: Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 4 (Wednesday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet & VERSUS), New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Game 5 (Saturday 3pm from Verizon Center live on NBC), Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 6 if necessary (Monday TBD from New York live on Comcast SportsNet)

I know there are a few folks in Baltimore who have gone to the dark side and are rooting for the hockey team down in the Nation’s Capital.

That’s their choice…I won’t judge them. Much. I MIGHT however buy them a new Washington Redskins shirt to wear this football season while we’re all donning purple at M&T Bank Stadium.

To those that are still on the fence, I encourage you to root for the Rangers. If you’re not familiar with Sean Avery, let me introduce you to a few young ladies who ARE familiar with Mr. Avery…

Hilary Rhoda

rhoda

Elisha Cuthbert

cuthbert

Lake Bell

lakebell

And “Stacy’s Mom” herself, Rachel Hunter

rachelhunter

You seriously don’t think this guy is worth rooting for?!?!?

4. Charm City Heroes (Friday-Saturday Pikesville Hilton)

With no offense to Frank Robinson, Mike Curtis, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Roberto Alomar, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, Raymond Berry, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Brian Roberts, Buck Showalter or anyone else scheduled to attend this event (holy hell that’s quite the list), it’s not complete.

I mean…seriously…how about our city’s greatest Olympic champion?

phelps

Could anything say “hero” more than that picture?!?!?

3. Ravens Pre-Draft Luncheon (Tuesday 12:45pm 1 Winning Drive, airing 5:30pm on AM1570 WNST), Brian Billick Live! Pre-NFL Draft Show (Tuesday 7pm Mother’s Federal Hill)

I guess the excitement surrounding the NFL Draft has been a bit dampened because of the lockout. But that’s only because we haven’t spent time watching NFL DRAFT PORN!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkLG6LHNdXk[/youtube]

I want all of them.

2. Boxing: Top Rank-Roberto Marroquin vs. Frankie Leal (Saturday 11pm from Thackerville, OK live on Fox Sports Net nationally, Comcast SportsNet locally); Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares (Saturday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on Showtime); Friday Night Fights: Breidis Prescott vs. Bayan Jargal (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on ESPN2)

Of course this makes the list because Ravens S Tom Zbikowski is scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Marroquin-Leal fight.

By the way, if you haven’t seen “The Fighter”, you might as well just admit you hate America. How AWESOME is this clip?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oln0_q_x1lw[/youtube]

1. College Lacrosse: Navy @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 8pm from Homewood Field live on ESPNU); Hobart @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on ABC2/ESPN3.com); Vermont @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm UMBC Stadium); ACC Lacrosse Tournament: Maryland vs. North Carolina (Friday 5pm from Durham, NC live on TheACC.com), ACC Championship Game (Sunday 3:30pm from Durham, NC live on Comcast SportsNet); CAC Tournament: St. Mary’s @ Stevenson (Wednesday 4pm Caves Athletic Complex), CAC Championship Game (Sunday 2pm from Caves Athletic Complex if Stevenson wins Wednesday)

I’ve posted this before I’m sure. I don’t care. Suck it, UNC!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0SnOgHx3eg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles officially place Hardy on DL, recall Bergesen

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Luke Jones

In a move anticipated for a few days, the Orioles officially placed shortstop J.J. Hardy on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-handed pitcher Brad Bergesen from Triple-A Norfolk prior to the start of the series opener with the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

Hardy has gone to Sarasota to rehab a strained left oblique and the move is retroactive to April 10. The new shortstop was batting .200 with two runs batted in in six games this season.

Bergesen was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk last Saturday to clear room for the arrival of relief pitcher Chris Jakubauskas to aid a taxed bullpen last weekend. Originally slated to make the start against the Yankees on Wednesday before the rainout pushed Chris Tillman back a day, Bergesen is now slotted to make his second start of the season in Cleveland on Sunday.

The Orioles would benefit from an opportunity to use Bergesen out of the bullpen briefly on Wednesday or Thursday to prevent a 10-day stretch between outings before making the start against the Indians. Despite being optioned to the Tides, Bergesen never reported to Norfolk and remained with the team after making his only start of the season on April 6.

He allowed two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work in a loss to the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for analysis throughout the Orioles’ abbreviated two-game set with the New York Yankees in the Bronx.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 5

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 5

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As we move closer to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game
8. Moose misses perfection
7. Eddie comes home
6. Bonilla’s slam in first playoff win

5. A beautiful place for a ballgame – April 6, 1992

It was both unusual and perfectly natural.

The Orioles had never played a home opener away from 33rd Street, but, still, it felt very much like home at 333 West Camden Street with the historic B&O Warehouse, the Bromo Seltzer tower, and the city skyline providing a beautiful backdrop.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened 19 years ago as the new “old” ballpark that would become the standard by which new parks are judged. The dignitaries came, including President George H. W. Bush who threw out the honorary first pitch — in the dirt — to catcher Chris Hoiles.

President

Then, after years of waiting for a new ballpark, the Orioles took the field at their downtown home as newly-signed veteran Rick Sutcliffe took the mound to deliver the first pitch in Camden Yards history. After making just 24 starts in his final two seasons with the Cubs, Sutcliffe was brilliant in his first game in Baltimore, stifling the Cleveland Indians in an old-fashioned contest that lasted just over two hours.

Sutcliffe delivered a five-hit shutout, striking out six and walking one in a 2-0 victory for the Orioles.

Baltimore received all the runs it needed in the fifth when Hoiles’ automatic double over the left-center wall plated Sam Horn with the first run in Camden Yards history and Billy Ripken’s suicide squeeze drove in Leo Gomez with the second and final run of the afternoon.

With 44,568 rising to their feet with two outs in the ninth — as they had hundreds of times at Memorial Stadium — Sutcliffe fanned Indians first baseman Paul Sorrento looking on an away fastball. The first game and the first win was in the books at the new home of the Baltimore Orioles.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1SCJlk7Zuw[/youtube]

The opening win set the tone for a surprising season after the 1991 club had lost 95 games in its final season on 33rd Street. The Orioles went an impressive 89-73, finishing seven games behind the Toronto Blue Jays and in third place.

All these years later, it still feels like it was only yesterday when Cal Ripken and the Orioles took the diamond at the Yard for the first time. It was both new and familiar. But most importantly, it was perfect.

Opening Day

Camden Yards firsts on Opening Day
First pitch – Rick Sutcliffe delivers a high fastball for a ball at 3:20 on April 6, 1992

First batter – Kenny Lofton flies out to right fielder Joe Orsulak

First hit – Paul Sorrento singles to left-center in the top of the second

First strikeout – Sutcliffe fans Mark Whiten in the top of the second

First Orioles hit – Glenn Davis singles up the middle in the bottom of the second

First run and first extra-base hit - Sam Horn scores on a Chris Hoiles automatic double in the bottom of the fifth

First win - Sutcliffe strikes out Sorrento to earn the 2-0 shutout

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 6

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 6

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Luke Jones

With only days remaining until the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game
8. Moose misses perfection
7. Eddie comes home

6. Bonilla’s slam leads to first playoff win at Camden Yards – Oct. 1, 1996

The scenario seemed impossible only two months earlier, but the Orioles found themselves playing in their first postseason game in 13 years and first ever playoff contest at Camden Yards.

Floundering at the .500 mark in late July, rumors were flying that general manager Pat Gillick was about to trade outfielder Bobby Bonilla and pitcher David Wells in separate deals for prospects. However, owner Peter Angelos famously (ominously?) vetoed the trades, citing a commitment to win in 1996 despite the struggles of the club to that point.

The Orioles found their stride in mid-August and clinched the wild card spot on the penultimate day of the season. They ironically found themselves in an American League Division Series matchup with the Cleveland Indians, the team linked to trades for both Bonilla and Wells at different points that summer.

Under the absurd playoff format of the time, the teams would play Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore despite the AL Central champion Indians holding the homefield “advantage” in the series. The final three games of the best-of-five format were to be played in Cleveland.

Wells pitched adequately (four earned runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings) as the Game 1 starter, but it was Bonilla who provided the drama of the afternoon. With the Orioles holding a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Indians starter Charles Nagy had exited the game and lefty Alan Embree had plunked Rafael Palmeiro to load the bases with two outs.

Wanting Bonilla to bat left-handed — considered to be his weaker side — Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove brought in Paul Shuey to get the final out and to keep the Indians’ potent lineup within striking distance. The count went full before Shuey delivered a low fastball that Bonilla clobbered into the temporary bleachers above the right-field scoreboard (added for the postseason) for a grand slam, sending 47,644 into an absolute frenzy at Camden Yards.

Bonilla

It was the first postseason grand slam by an Oriole since pitcher Dave McNally — who threw out the honorary first pitch that afternoon — hit a slam in Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Bonilla took a curtain call from the screaming crowd after creating postseason magic for the first time at Camden Yards.

The Orioles won 10-4 thanks to four home runs (two by left fielder B.J. Surhoff), grabbed another win in Game 2, and prevailed in the series, 3-1, as the Indians never recovered from the shock of losing the first two games in Baltimore despite having the best record in baseball that year.

Baltimore would go on to lose in five games to the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but Bonilla’s slam in Game 1 against the Indians provided one of the most exciting moments in Camden Yards history and, temporarily, validated Angelos’ decision to veto the deadline trades.

However, Bonilla and Wells would depart via free agency after the season, and the long-term damage Angelos’ meddling created for the franchise is up for strong debate as the Orioles haven’t returned to the postseason since 1997 and have gone through a plethora of frustrated general managers in the process.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 7

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 7

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Luke Jones

With less than a week until the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game
8. Moose misses perfection

7. Eddie comes home – July 22, 1996

He was supposed to be a lifer in Baltimore.

You just don’t picture your best player for over a decade going someplace else.

But as a result of a disintegrating relationship with owner Edward Bennett Williams and the local media when the Orioles hit hard times in the late 1980s, Eddie Murray had requested and been granted a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell in December 1988 (My apologies for bringing up the worst trade return in franchise history — yes, it was worse than the Glenn Davis trade).

It appeared to be the sad end to an eventual Hall of Fame career in Baltimore as Murray played the next eight seasons with the Dodgers, New York Mets, and Cleveland Indians, never looking quite right in anything but an Orioles uniform.

However, the baseball gods arranged the circumstances for a reunion eight years after the trade with the Orioles looking for a designated hitter to plug into an already formidable lineup. Manager Davey Johnson’s plan to use Bobby Bonilla in the role had resulted in a miserable start for the surly slugger and his reinsertion into the outfield. The Orioles sent struggling pitcher Kent Mercker to the Indians in return for the 40-year-old Murray, who was finally coming home where he rightfully belonged.

Eddie

It had been 2,849 days since Murray had last donned his customary No. 33 Orioles jersey — which had been retired by the club without any fanfare after the trade to the Dodgers. His return came against the Minnesota Twins on July 22, 1996, and it was as if the star had never left, with 42,129 screaming “Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!” to resurrect the celebrated chant from Memorial Stadium years earlier.

How would “Steady Eddie” respond in his first game back with the Orioles? In the fifth inning and hitting from the right side of the plate, Murray homered to left-center off Minnesota starter Rich Robertson as a euphoric crowd was momentarily taken back to the late 70s or early 80s. Murray earned a curtain call after hitting his first round-tripper as an Oriole since Sept. 22, 1988.

The Orioles lost in Murray’s debut, falling 9-5 to the Twins, but no one would forget his homecoming to the club that had drafted him 23 years earlier.

Shortly after his return to Baltimore, the struggling Orioles — who were 51-52 on July 28 — began to gel, storming to a 37-22 finish to win their first wild card berth. Many players credited Murray’s veteran presence as an important factor in the team’s turnaround in the final two months of the season.

But for Orioles fans who had idolized Murray for his 12 seasons in Baltimore prior to the frigid departure, it was a heartfelt lesson that you can come home again.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 8

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 8

Posted on 28 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As we’re a week away from the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game

8. Moose just misses perfection – May 30, 1997

Excruciatingly close.

It felt destined to happen.

But it wasn’t quite meant to be.

On a Friday night in late May 1997, Mike Mussina had faced 25 Cleveland hitters and retired all 25. The Camden Yards faithful could taste perfection as the 28-year-old ace was two outs away from pitching the first perfect game in franchise history. It was an electric scene that felt more like a postseason game than one taking place before school was even out for the summer.

And just like that, it was over.

A clean single to left field by Indians catcher Sandy Alomar ended the perfect game and no-hitter. But what remained was arguably the most dominating pitching performance in Camden Yards history, with a nod to Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter four years later.

Five years earlier, Mussina had pitched a one-hit shutout in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. He had retired the first 12 batters of the game before allowing a Kevin Reimer double. Then in his first full season, Mussina retired the last 15 hitters he faced in an 8-0 victory.

As dominating as that performance was, Mussina was even better against the Indians — this time in front of the home crowd. Not only did he mow down the Indians in order, but it was the ease in which he did it that made it so memorable. The excitement grew as Mussina finished perfect frame after perfect frame. With perfection continuing from the middle to the late innings, it began feeling like a foregone conclusion that he would complete one of the rarest feats in the history of the game that night in front of 47,759 screaming fans.

But with Alomar’s sudden screamer to left, we were all reminded just how difficult it is to reach perfection.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity over how close he had come, only to have it ripped away with one out in the ninth, Mussina responded by striking out Brian Giles and Marquis Grissom to end the game, completing the second one-hit shutout of his career. The Orioles won 3-0 with Mussina having to wonder if he’d ever get that close again in his career. Amazingly, he would come close several more times in his brilliant career.

Moose

In 1998, Mussina retired the first 23 Detroit hitters of the game in a two-hit shutout. And in what turned out to be his bittersweet swan song with the Orioles, Mussina pitched a 15-strikeout, one-hit shutout on Aug. 1, 2000 in his last complete-game performance with the club before exiting Baltimore at the end of the season.

There was only one moment in Mussina’s career that eclipsed what he did on that May night in 1997, but it came in his first year with the New York Yankees. On Sept. 2, 2001, Mussina would retire the first 26 Boston hitters of the evening and even went to two strikes against pinch-hitter Carl Everett before he lined a single to left-center, breaking the pitcher’s heart yet again in his quest for perfection.

None of these performances, however, would match the electricity of that night in 1997 when Mussina flirted with perfection against the Indians. The man who won 147 games in his 10 years in Baltimore was never more dominant in his Orioles career than he was on that night.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 10

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 10

Posted on 26 March 2011 by Luke Jones

With the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards just over a week away, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners

10. A season ends too soon – Oct. 15, 1997

Even 14 years later, it’s still hard to accept a light-hitting infielder ending such a marvelous season with one potent swing of the bat.

The Orioles had seized first place on Opening Day and never looked back for the entire 1997 season, winning their first division crown since 1983.

Their 98-64 record topped the American League and was a mere three games behind the Atlanta Braves for the best in baseball. Considering the Orioles had swept the Braves in Atlanta in their first ever interleague series back in June, Baltimore held a rightful claim as the best team in baseball entering the postseason.

But the Orioles somehow found themselves trailing the underdog Cleveland Indians 3-2 in the best-of-seven format as the teams traveled back to Baltimore for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. The Baltimore bats had fallen silent despite the struggles of reliever Armando Benitez costing the Orioles Game 2 and the failure of backup catcher Lenny Webster to simply catch a pitch in a 12-inning loss in Game 3 at Jacobs Field.

As 49,075 nervous fans filed into Camden Yards, the Orioles loved their chances with ace Mike Mussina taking the hill against Charles Nagy, a good starter but hardly the type to strike fear in the hearts of hitters. Mussina had been tremendous throughout the postseason, most recently striking out 15 Cleveland hitters in seven innings of the Game 3 defeat.

Mussina was once again brilliant, pitching eight shutout innings while striking out 10 and allowing just one Cleveland hit. On the other side, Nagy scattered nine hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings, but the Orioles failed to scratch a single run across the plate to force a Game 7, leaving 14 men on base that afternoon.

The scoreless tie moved into the 11th inning as Benitez, the goat of the series despite a strong regular season, took the hill after closer Randy Myers had pitched two scoreless innings. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Benitez threw a hanging slider that second baseman Tony Fernandez — who hit 94 career homers in 17 seasons — deposited into the auxiliary bleachers set up above the out-of-town scoreboard for the postseason.

A stunned Camden Yards watched Indians closer — and former Oriole — Jose Mesa fan Roberto Alomar looking for the third out in the bottom of the 11th, ending a season that appeared destined to finish with a championship. The Indians celebrated on the mound as the Orioles dejectedly watched a team that won 86 games during the regular season celebrate a trip to the World Series that they felt belonged to them.

Alomar

Of course, the aftermath of that Game 6 loss only rubs salt into the losing wound. The Orioles haven’t returned to the playoffs since or even enjoyed the fruits of a winning season after the wiry Fernandez broke the hearts of Orioles fans.

What would have happened if the Orioles had prevailed over Cleveland and made it to the World Series? Would the Orioles have bested the Florida Marlins to win their first championship in 14 years?

Perhaps Davey Johnson would have remained as manager the next year and Pat Gillick as general manager after his contract expired in 1998.

Or, at the very least, maybe the sting of the last 13 seasons would have been lessened with a World Series title in 1997.

In truth, the organization’s problems had started long before that mid-October afternoon, but it’s excruciating to think what might have been had the Orioles broken through with a single run that afternoon.

It was a classic game and undoubtedly a memorable moment in the 20-year history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but it easily ranks at the top as the most painful.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 12

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 12

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Luke Jones

Winding down to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle

12. Eric Davis defies the odds – Sept. 15, 1997

It wouldn’t have mattered if Eric Davis never stepped foot on a baseball field again.

This was worlds more important than pennant races, home runs, or winning a game played by children.

But the sight of Davis trotting out to right field three months after being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing what was assumed to be season-ending surgery was a moment unlike any other in the history of Camden Yards. The man who had had a baseball-sized tumor removed from his colon in the middle of June was once again catching and throwing a baseball sooner than anyone  — except, perhaps, Davis himself — thought he would.

Davis

Still undergoing chemotherapy once a week, Davis had recovered quickly enough to resume baseball activity and returned to the Orioles in mid-September, not only providing an extra boost to the lineup but inspiring the unnamed millions battling the disease with an example of perseverance and courage. To see a 35-year-old professional athlete in picturesque shape fighting the same disease that’s affected us all, either directly or via someone we know, was both terrifying and empowering.

Watching him essentially “beat” the disease by taking the the field and batting third in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians was an emotional reminder to appreciate what we too often take for granted. The Camden Yards faithful responded with standing ovations at several points, none more memorable than the bottom of the first when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat since May 25. Both teams joined the 41,602 in applause as Davis took pause to acknowledge the outpouring of emotion before stepping in against Brian Anderson.

Davis would fly out in that first plate appearance and go hitless in three at-bats before being replaced by B.J. Surhoff in the sixth inning, but none of that mattered. The outfielder could have gone 0-for-the rest of the season and would have accomplished more than any of his teammates in that wire-to-wire division-winning season.

He, of course, wouldn’t go hitless after embracing a part-time role and dealing with the reality of poison being pumped through his body for two hours every week to fend off the cancer doctors were confident had been caught in time. A month later in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, with the Orioles trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, Davis stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth. Facing tough lefty Paul Assenmacher with the Orioles holding a narrow 2-0 lead, Davis launched a solo home run to left field for what amounted to the game-winning run, sending the series back to Baltimore for Game 6 after a 4-2 win.

His full recovery — in a baseball sense — was evident the next season when Davis hit a career-high .327, including a club-record 30-game hitting streak, with 28 home runs and 89 runs batted in. Through his illness and amazing recovery, Davis became much more than the good ballplayer he had been over the course of his 12-year career prior to coming to Baltimore.

He was a symbol of inspiration.

“This is real,” Davis told Sports Illustrated in the spring of 1998. “I like baseball, but I’ve known for a long time that baseball is a game. It is when baseball stops that life begins.”

And no one will forget that September afternoon in Davis’ life when baseball was able to begin again.

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