Tag Archive | "juan samuel"

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In a new half of baseball, same old Birds showed up

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Peter Dilutis

Last season when Dave Trembley was fired and Juan Samuel took over, I argued (an argument that was met with much criticism from our morning show hosts) that the O’s had a chance at a new beginning.

They were stuck in a rut. The trend couldn’t be bucked.

I’m a big believer in a changed variable being a potential spark that pushes a group of people or a team forward and out of their fixed ways. While I was wrong about the Samuel hire being much of a jolt, even though the team did play a tiny bit better under his leadership, that theory was proven right a little over a month later when Buck Showalter led one of the worst teams in baseball to a 34-23 clip to end the season.

In 2011, things seemed to be rolling along fairly okay during the first two months. The games were close, the team was respectable, and the fans still somewhat cared. Then came the annual June swoon and July tailspin, and now the Orioles are staring down the barrel of a totally lost season here in the middle of July.

The All-Star break came at a great time for the O’s. In the games leading up to the break, Buck Showalter talked often about just needing to get to the break for an opportunity to regroup.

With three games off, Showalter could have come back with a new something. New lineup, new rotation, new bullpen roles, new left fielder…anything. He changed the lineup a bit, but nothing too dramatic. (Vlad was hurt, so we’ll see if he hits cleanup when he comes back)

Even without any earth-shattering changes, the O’s had a chance for quick fresh start. It wouldn’t be out of the question for them to regroup and come out for the second half with renewed energy, confidence, and purpose. Jeremy Guthrie, the O’s best, most consistent pitcher over the past few seasons, was on the mound. They returned home for a long home-stand against a good but not unbeatable team.

If the O’s were going to make one final, last-ditch run, this was going to be the time to do it.

I wasn’t home in time for the first pitch Thursday night, but I have “ESPN ScoreCenter” on my iPhone. The game started at 7:05. By 7:11, the Orioles were down 3-0.

Same story. Bad pitching. Getting down early. Having to adjust how they hit because they are down in such a big hole.

Nothing changed. Nothing.

Three days off. No difference.

Any slight renewed interest that fans may have had after a three day relief from O’s baseball was crushed after six minutes. Seriously…six minutes.

It’s a new half of Orioles baseball, but the same old Birds showed up. The same Birds that have been showing up for 14 years.

Lucky Baltimore.

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For O’s fan like myself, Christmas-and hopefully a New Year-begins next week

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

In the last month at WNST and in the sports world, most of the talk has been surrounded by the ongoing labor situation in the NFL(recently flaring up in a lockout by the owners threatening the 2011 season), disappointment from Terps basketball as yet another year with no NCAA Tournament aspirations, and various other sports topics of discussion-most of them negative.

But, I was surprised at the start of baseball season to see so much optimism toward the hometown Baltimore Orioles-mind you a team that has not had a winning season since 1997.

And of course, you can trace that optimism back to last summer, when veteran manger Buck Showalter-who built three franchises to the level of World Series participants-took over as manager of the Baltimore Orioles on August 3rd and led the Orioles to a 34-23 record-best in the AL East for the last stretch of the season.

Showalter’s arrival showed the impact of what a veteran manager (guys not named Dave Trembley or Juan Samuel) who knows the game of baseball along with evaluating key personnel can put wins on the board.

But frankly, it could also be said that Showalter was blessed with the healthiest Oriole team of last year, having both his leadoff hitter in Brian Roberts and his reliever in Koji Uehara healthy for the final run of the season.

Still, what Showalter did last year energized the displaced and beaten Oriole fanbase.

And I was one of them.

Last season, I went to one game before Showalter took over as manager of the Orioles-this coming from a former regular to OPACY.

I always enjoy going to Orioles games growing up. Baseball is my first love. My dad and I have been going to games since I was eight years old (I’m 23 now).I have so many fond memories of going to Oriole Park as a growing lad.

I remember when I was younger sitting in the club seats on the first base side when my dad got them from the car dealership he used to work for.

I still have my Orioles cards I received one night at the ballpark featuring the likes of Chris Hoiles, Cal Ripken, Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Brady Anderson and more.

I loved emulating Cal Ripken’s hundreds of batting stances and Mike Mussina’s trademark way of checking the runner at first base by bending down and looking through his legs.

One of the first games I ever went to at Camden Yards, I puked due to eating so much of the food there. (Not one of my finest moments but I can safely say I’ve never hoarded out since).

In 1997, my dad and I went to Game 1 of the ALCS verus the Cleveland Indians. The Orioles won that night with Scott Erickson on the mound, and we sat in a filled-to-the-brink Camden Yards in the back row of the left field bleachers.

I remember being in the fifth grade (my teacher also went to the game that night) and looking back behind me and just seeing a chain-link fence and a huge drop behind me. I was terrified. And even I wasn’t worrying about that, I couldn’t see much of the field or the players even with the binoculars I brought.

It was kind of a bummer for a ten-year old kid.

My dad was “well-off” at the time, but his reasoning for the nose-bleed seats were to save for the eventual World Series tickets.

Unfortunately…that never came.

And after 14 years of losing, the Orioles continued to test both my and my dad’s patience so much so that our journeys to Camden Yards dwindled and dwindled till we stopped going completely.

There’s only so much of an emotional roller-coaster ride you can take. Right O’s fans?

I would still watch the games on television religiously for 80% of the year until the usual August slide occurred post All-Star break, and then it was on to football.

It was part of the routine for the last decade-plus.

But things are different now. For the first time in years, the Orioles FINISHED well and on top of that, we might not have football to rely on this year Baltimore.

After Showalter put a spark into the team, that renewed sense of optimism put my dad and I back in the ballpark on several occasions. It was the first time in almost a decade that my dad had been at the park and for me, I could count on one hand how many times I had gone solo or with a group of friends to an Orioles game that wasn’t student night or giving something away.

The Orioles management in the off-season tried their best to keep that salivation going on the part of the Baltimore fanbase by  getting some new toys  for practically nothing, and with little risk involved.

They traded away David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio-two pitchers who had the chance to be non-tendered by the club anyway-for a 30 home run third basemen in Mark Reynolds who had an off-year due to injuries in 2010.

The same could be said for former Cubs/Marlins/Braves first baseman Derrek Lee-once on track for Triple Crown numbers several years back with Chicago, and an offensive upgrade at shortstop with J.J. Hardy forcing Cesar Izturis to the bench.

And the club reached out to the competition and stole the closer of the Toronto Blue Jays from last season in Kevin Gregg to hopefully do the same for the Orange and Black.

But ultimately, the icing on the cake came when the Orioles finally reached out to former AL-MVP Vladimir Guerrero and signed him to a one-year deal.

Guerrero-who was sought by the Orioles years ago when he first hit free agency in 2004-was a huge part in the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series last year, and even if he has an off-year, I’ll take a drop-off from 29 HR, 115 RBIs and a .300 batting average any day of the week.

People say he’s injury prone, but he did play in 152 games last year as a DH.

I’m right along with Buck Showalter right now in wanting to just get this thing started.

I’m the kid at Christmas waiting for his parents to come downstairs so we can get started opening them.

The enthusiasm has to be there. How can you be disappointed in what the Orioles did in the off-season?

They went out and addressed needs-and with short-term solutions-maybe even guys who turn their careers around and become a piece of the U-turn in Baltimore.

You have to crawl before you can walk. You have to show the superstars out there-guys like Prince Fielder-that this team is going somewhere before they are going to make a commitment.

And if they don’t work out? They won’t be here. This isn’t Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, and Javy Lopez where they’re stuck with these guys for several seasons paying them for mediocrity while holding someone else back.

And while all the talk about earning a wild card spot, reaching the playoffs, and even getting to .500 this year is all good and nice, sorry Baltimore-this is where I have to lay it down like it is.

Even with the moves they made from a year ago, it’s going to be near-impossible to improve by 20+ wins in the standings. They still have relatively the same pitching staff from a year ago, some injury concerns, and a similar bullpen in many aspects.

So hold off on the-”We’re gunning for you Boston and Baltimore”-especially you…Buck Showalter.

But I will say this. I don’t care how they finish right now. And if even if the consecutive losing streak continues this year, it’s not going to be because they started out with just two wins on the year in the first three weeks.

They’ll be exciting to watch and competitive.

We’ll be in April soon. Everyone will have a clean slate and on Opening Day, everyone will be on the same level,  identical records and have common ground is in place.

The best thing in the world of Orioles baseball would be for this team to get off to the tremendous start the team got off to in 2005-going 42-30 under Lee Mazzilli while enjoying first place-but this time staying there with another former Yankee leading the way.

And I’d be there to watch it.Now let’s get started.

WNST is ready for the Orioles 2011 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 03 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it’s time to name “The Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

As I posted on Facebook last night, the retro version of TGSOATTW is the song “Wounded” by Third Eye Blind. There will never be a day when the song won’t mean the world to me…

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

As far as the NEW version goes, I also showed my hand on Facebook last night. (A reminder that you can be my friend on Facebook by searching “Glenn Clark” and adding the goofy guy in the pink shirt who is dancing at a wedding.)

When we look back on 2010 in the future, there is no doubt in my mind that we will remember it as “The Year of Cee-Lo Green.” For as great as “F*** You” is, there’s something even more amazing about “Old Fashioned”…

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

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says future of horse racing in jeopardy as David Cordish wins Anne Arundel County slots vote

Well…now we know.

I’m completely torn on this entire situation.

On one side, I ABSOLUTELY think David Cordish will create a world-class facility. I think it will be outstanding both on the interior and the exterior; and I think it will attract money from both inside the Old Line State and from elsewhere. His track record makes me believe he’s going to do a hell of a job.

On the opposite side, I also think the vote is an unquestioned blow to the state of horse racing in Maryland-at least for the short term. Immediate slots revenue at Laurel might not have been the BEST solution for the future of the sport in the state, but it was probably the best option right now.

The issue now is all about what the Maryland Jockey Club and MI Developments do moving forward. They’ve stated that this will mark the end of live racing at Laurel Park, with Pimlico instead hosting 40 days of live racing in the Spring.

While that might be a necessary move, it clearly isn’t the best option for the sport. The MJC (and MID) will have to go back to the drawing board and consider other options. Is it time to shift focus to a new track? Is it time to explore options for slots in Baltimore? Is it time to think about how the facilities could be better used?

I do not believe this has to be the final nail in the coffin for the sport in the state. But I DO believe it has the potential to be if the folks involved aren’t willing to immediately change course.

It’s going to be an interesting stretch over the next few months.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome would be interested in Shawne Merriman if he clears waivers

Here we go…

I’ll say this much. If I was the GM of the Ravens, I’d pass on “Lights Out.” I think risking a roster spot in season on a guy whose career has been marked in recent years by injuries and ineffectiveness is a questionable judgment at best.

But I’m not saying that because I believe the team doesn’t have pass rush problems.

The team has MAJOR pass rush problems-there’s absolutely no question about that. I’m worried that there might not be an in season fix for the Ravens.

But I DON’T think the answer should include taking a risk on a player who is surrounded by more question marks than the book “Are You My Mother?”

Now-could Shawne Merriman end up in Charm City? Maybe. There’s almost no chance any NFL team claims him off waivers, so he’ll be available. If he passes a physical and is humble enough to understand that he isn’t the Pro Bowl player he was at the beginning of his career-maybe he’s a fit.

It certainly doesn’t smell like it though.

3. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens not interested in Randy Moss

We knew this-but now we don’t even bother having to mention it anymore.

The Ravens aren’t interested in Randy Moss…even if they should be. To me, this is one of those “right player, wrong time” situations.

Randy Moss would be the PERFECT compliment to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Donte’ Stallworth (I’ve never thought TJ Houshmandzadeh was a logical fit myself); but it’s not something that can be forced.

If the Ravens had an offseason to meet with Moss and discuss his role and what their expectations were for him-they might be in a place where they could feel more comfortable in adding him to the mix. But adding a player like that in the middle of the season is dangerous.

But then again…

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

4. National Football Post has Ravens 4th in power rankings

Which seems about right, considering Sarah Longbottom was ranked 3rd. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

longbottom

5. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark lists Haloti Ngata amongst NFL MVP candidates

And a few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-A reminder that we will be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today, as the Ravens return to the practice field. John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and others are scheduled to meet with the media following practice-you’ll hear from them throughout the day on AM1570 WNST and at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Greg Gumbel with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? He’ll be at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday to call Ravens-Dolphins for CBS. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out! Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault today include…

  • Lomas Brown (ESPN)-who went around the NFL with Drew Wednesday
  • Craig Calcaterra (“HardballTalk”-NBCSports.com)-who wrapped up the MLB season with Drew Wednesday
  • KC Keeler (Delaware Football Coach)-who previewed the Blue Hens’ visit from Towson Saturday and talked Joe Flacco with Drew Wednesday
  • Reed Harris (WEC GM)-who discussed the UFC/WEC merger and the future of both companies with Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Kirk Hinrich (Washington Wizards Guard)-who discussed the start of NBA season in DC with Thyrl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Steve Johnson (Bowie Baysox Pitcher)-who talked about his former San Francisco Giants teammates winning the World Series with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Nate Davis (USA Today)-who went around the NFL with Rex Tuesday
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault. See what I did there? I planned your day for you again. This is getting a bit ridiculous.

6. The AP says Orioles declined option on reliever Mark Hendrickson, give him $200,000 buyout

So long Mark, we’ll always have the memories…

Like….ummm….

In all honesty, Hendrickson was serviceable at times, and was downright EFFECTIVE for stretches against left handed hitters.

I don’t think anyone is crying for the guy when he walks away with $200,000 either. What a nice life that must be…

7. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Juan Samuel apparently coming back to Birds

I will admit that I’m surprised. I’m not stunned, but I’m surprised. I thought Juan Samuel made a statement about what he was going to do moving forward when Buck Showalter was hired-so I didn’t expect him to end up back in Orange and Black.

Of course, Samuel likely thought there was a chance he could end up filling one of the managerial vacancies around Major League Baseball. Clearly this news means that he’s not in the picture for the Pittsburgh Pirates job, and the Milwaukee Brewers decided to go elsewhere when they hired Ron Roenicke yesterday.

As it appears that he’s coming back, hopefully he’ll be able to make a contribution. Sadly, I don’t think that contribution will be 30 home runs.

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says corner infield power bat, shortstop, starting pitching biggest areas of need for O’s

Like Dan Aykroyd said to Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, “Great kid, you’ve identified it, the next step is washing it off.”

Andy MacPhail knows what the team needs-now he just needs to go get it.

No problem, right?

Can I add one more name to the Orioles’ shopping list this offseason? I’d like for them to add Jorgie Porter. (Thanks Guyism!)

jorgieporter

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland preparing for either Jacory Harris, Stephen Morris to be under center for Miami Saturday

This is a MAJOR question mark.

Against some teams, the dropoff from starter to backup wouldn’t be the most significant situation facing an opponent.

But if the Terps don’t have to face Harris when they play the Hurricanes Saturday, it is UNBELIEVABLY significant.

It doesn’t mean they’ll win. But it DOES mean they’ll have a chance, which I wouldn’t think they’d have if Harris played.

10. The Diamondback’s Conor Walsh says Terrapins women picked up double double from Alyssa Thomas en route to exhibition blowout over Gallaudet

The inappropriate joke of the day would be something along the lines of “Well-at least the Bison players didn’t have to hear any trash talk from the Terrapins at Comcast Center while they were losing…”

I wouldn’t say that though, because I’m not inappropriate.

Exhibit A: It would be inappropriate of me to NOT pass along this picture of Sofija Milosevic. (Thanks Totally Crap!)

sofija


And finally, I leave you with this.

This is the end of a real live Canadian Football League game. Honestly. I don’t understand any more than you do (Thanks Deadspin!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5BFaykcxGg[/youtube]

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 06 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I again get to name a couple of “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” I live for this stuff.

The NEW TGSOATTW is “Runaway” by Kanye West and Pusha T. He did the song on Saturday Night Live this past weekend…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaGT26DZFdE[/youtube]

And here’s the RETRO song…John Lennon’s version of “Stand By Me.” I saw a commercial last night for the “Power to the People” issue that’s hitting stores and it featured this song prominently. His version is REALLY underrated…

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

Of course, the greatest EVER version of “Stand By Me” is the one the Playing For Change gang did…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Ravens cut CB Prince Miller, signed OL Scott Kooistra

This was clearly the move Ozzie Newsome and company had intended to make to get Trevor Pryce back this week. Of course, that was before Rex Ryan (rightfully) jumped in.

Scott Kooistra likely won’t be active Sunday when the Ravens face the Denver Broncos. If I’m guessing-unless there’s an additional injury along the O-Line, Scott Kooistra doesn’t get active at all this season. But he does give the Ravens some flexibility, which is much needed at this point.

As far as Prince Miller is concerned, the team wanted him on the practice squad when they originally cut the roster to 53. Unfortunately, the New England Patriots stepped in. It looks like they’re going to make it work this time; which will allow the undersized corner to develop; and will give them a reserve returner should Tom Zbikowski (and/or others) get hurt.

Logical decision. Not life-changing, but logical. I could use a lesson in this type of decision-making.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says OT Jared Gaither not cleared to play in visit to California back specialist

So…more good news, huh?

The word is that after visiting Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles; Gaither is “improving”, but will remain week-to-week.

GREAT.

John Harbaugh and company will eventually have to make a tough decision regarding Gaither. If he doesn’t REALLY show improvement in terms of getting back on the football field (one day of limited practice doesn’t represent improvement), they’ll have to consider placing him on Injured Reserve.

If I’m guessing, Jared Gaither will play for the Ravens at some point this season. But I’m certainly not getting the type of response that makes me feel good about that guess.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says DE Paul Kruger confirmed to miss at least two weeks

He’ll be missed, as Greg Mattison will have to flip around Haloti Ngata, Cory Redding and Brandon McKinney to adjust to not having Kruger.

And since the Ravens could use the help at rush end, I have to suggest they consider Lucia Dvorska. I mean…just take a look. (Thanks Guyism!)

dvorska

4. ESPN.com has Ravens 6th in power rankings

As we discussed on the show this morning, this is particularly tough. The reality is that power rankings JUST DON’T MATTER. Like…at all. This isn’t college football’s AP poll. Power ranking can have no bearing on what happens in the NFL whatsoever.

But with that being said, it is ABSOLUTELY a bit goofy that the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are ranked ahead of the Ravens despite the Ravens having defeated both teams on the road this season.

Not getting worked up about it. It simply doesn’t matter. It’s just a bit goofy, that’s all.

5. b’s Matt Vensel says RB Willis McGahee romantically linked to “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star

So now you know.

A couple of things before we move on from the Ravens…

-We’ll be out in Owings Mills today, as the Ravens return to work at 1 Winning Drive. We’re expected to hear from Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and others; as well as conference calls with Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates throughout the day.

-Make no mistake-the Pats trading Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a 3rd round pick is GOOD NEWS for the Ravens. They’re much better off not having to face Moss when they wander up to Foxborough for a Week 6 showdown at Gillette Stadium. It doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily win, as the Pats will STILL have Tom Brady under center-but it does make matchups a bit more in the Ravens’ favor.

6. MLB.com’s Thomas Boorstein says Adam Jones believes ‘accountability and credibility’ reasons why Orioles improved under Buck Showalter

The question is-why does Adam Jones think there wasn’t accountability under Juan Samuel or Dave Trembley? If he’s simply trying to blame those managers and not accept responsibility for himself and his teammates, he’s not being fair.

The other question is-why was Adam Jones touring Bristol, Connecticut; New York; and Seacaucus, New Jersey Tuesday? Why was Adam doing appearances on MLB Network, ESPN Radio and SI.com?

Is it because the O’s have such a hold of the Charm City market that they simply don’t need the promotion? It’s good promotion for ADAM-no doubt about that. But how did it help the Birds?

It’s a legitimate question.

7. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester gives highest O’s grades to Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Jeremy Guthrie and Corey Patterson

As I told him this morning, it’s a bit laughable to give Ty Wigginton and Corey Patterson the same grades as Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie; but I’m all for Drew looking dumb.

My highest grades this year? They mostly went to Molly Simms. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

mollysimms

8. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly say Juan Samuel to interview with Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates

I’ll be rooting for Juan Samuel…but my guess is that he’s not REALLY a good manager. It will be much harder if he ends up in the Steel City than if he ends up in Milwaukee too.

Did you miss former Orioles broadcaster Buck Martinez (now with TBS) previewing the Rays/Rangers series and talking playoffs in general with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports)-who went around the postseason and also discussed his new book “Death of the BCS” with Drew Wednesday
  • DJ King (Washington Capitals enforcer)-who previewed this weekend’s start to the regular season with Drew Wednesday
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf)-who discussed Ryder Cup and breast cancer awareness with Drew Wednesday
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Josh Thomson (Strikeforce fighter)-who previewed his Saturday night clash against JZ Cavalcante in San Jose with Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Pete Prisco (CBSSports.com) and Gary Mihoces (USA Today) who each joined Thyrl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss what they saw at Heinz Field Sunday

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so I’ve got your day planned out again for you. YOU’RE WELCOME BALTIMORE!!!

9. Winston-Salem Journal’s Dan Collins says Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe won’t pick starting QB between Tanner Price and Skylar Jones for Saturday’s Navy game until later in the week

No matter who plays QB for the Demon Deacons, Ken Niumatololo’s Midshipmen MUST get going offensively. This was supposed to be the best group of talent they’ve had since the Roger Staubach era. It hasn’t looked like it thus far…

10. UMTerps.com says Maryland soccer topped #2 UConn as Ludwig Field

Awesome. But then again, awesome is basically what we expect from Sasho Cirovski’s Terrapins.

To celebrate a big Terps win, here’s a completely unrelated picture of Jewel Santini! (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

santini

And finally, I leave you with this.

Thanks to both former WNST intern Meredith Morris and my sorta-roommate Aubrie Veydt for pointing this out on Facebook (search Glenn Clark, add the best looking guy you find). I think the kid’s name is Keenan Cahill. He’s a YouTube superstar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVSsYvC6O8s[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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2010 Orioles: Failure or yet to be determined?

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Going into the 2010 season, we all thought that ‘dem O’s would at the very least be better than they had been over the previous twelve years or so. Nobody was predicting that they’d be in contention for the playoffs at this juncture, or even potentially have a winning record. However I think that most people expected that they’d be above fifty wins to say the least (by now). As a fan, I predict the Orioles to win every game 1,000,000 to nothing! However analytically, I felt comfortable predicting at the beginning that this team would finish the year hovering around .500 (give or take ten games either way). Had the Orioles reached that plateau, I would have declared this season an overwhelming success in Birdland, as I think most people would have done.

However the fact is that this team isn’t going to finish anywhere remotely near .500. In fact, they’re probably going to finish with a worse record than they did in 2009. First off, mentioning the fact that the Orioles’ season was snakebitten nearly from the beginning by injuries is fair. That might come across as sounding like an excuse; maybe it is, maybe it’s not. However if it is an excuse, it’s also a fact. Had Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Jim Johnson, Alfredo Simon, Luke Scott, Michael Gonzalez, and others not been hurt early in the year, perhaps things would have been a bit different. This isn’t to say that the team would have been churning out wins left and right, but I don’t think it would have been the disaster that it ended up being. (And I only mentioned a few of the injuries that caused guys to spend time on the DL; there were other players such as Miguel Tejada that missed several games in a row due to bumps and bruises.) I would submitt that the loss of Brian Roberts hurt this team moreso than did anything else, as the entire offense is streamlined down from him, as of course are those all-important double plays. As a result, guys batted out of turn for most of the season, and the O’s had a different lineup for each day of the week, which never allowed for continuity day-in and day-out.

So given the fact that the O’s were so uncompetitive for the entire season to date, is 2010 a grand failure? If you’re the type of person that chooses to live in ignorance and refuses to look past the tip of your nose, then yes I suppose it is. However I maintain that there’s always more than meets the eye, especially with regard to the fine line between success and failure. As I said, I would have been willing to say that the year was a success had they hovered around .500. However I don’t think that the season unfolding the way it has equates with failure. And I don’t say that because the Orioles are part of who I am and because I love them so much. I say that because we have to keep in mind that returning a franchise to glory in any sport is a “process.” The mistake that Andy MacPhail made was declaring phase one of the rebuilding plan over and done with. At the end of last season, he said that Dave Trembley would be judged more on wins and losses than in the past. Ultimately that’s exactly what happened.

Brian Roberts’ injury on April 9th set in motion a series of events that culminated with Buck Showalter taking the reigns. In my opinion, the writing was on the wall for Trembley as soon as Roberts hit the DL. However all of the other injuries probably accelerated that process. So when the season went south early, Trembley was relieved of his duties on June 4th, and replaced with Juan Samuel on an interim basis. The team continued plodding along throughout the summer with a few good things and many bad happening, until Buck Showalter came into town on his white horse to save the day. The team immediately began performing better, and thus we stand at that point today. I would submit that if in two-to-four years the team is competitive and perhaps in the playoff race, 2010 could be judged a success. I suppose it’s symbolic of life in a way in that when we come to an ends, we often have to look back at the just completed journey with a fond smile. That journey can sometimes be harsh while it’s going on, however when it’s completed and it’s solution brought to fruition we appreciate it even more.

Let’s be frank; this team has a long way to go. However if they manage their cards right and continue along this path with a solid coaching staff and quality players, this team might well contend down the road. Odds are that the Tampa Rays won’t have the financial assets to keep their team together after this season, and certainly the Red Sox have shown signs of breaking down the stretch as well this year. (The difference is that all Boston has to do is sign a check to maintain their status as one of the sport’s best teams.) So given those things, maybe this team will be competitive in a couple of years. And if that’s the case, I submitt that 2010 would be judged a success. Perhaps not in the vain which we expected, however in the grand scheme of things it would be a successful year. Having said this, the ultimate success of any season at this point would be Buck Showalter leading a victory parade down Pratt Steet, as the thundering roar from 34 came raining down on Oriole opponents.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because my boy Mike Polk (who did the EXCELLENT Cleveland tourism videos) is back with another song that I’m sure will be a SMASH hit in The Comeback City. It has something to do with a guy who used to play for the Cavaliers. The language is probably NSFW-unless of course you work for me. In which case, the language is basically how I say hello. (Thanks Deadspin!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIe23C1NvU4[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz sharp as Orioles dropped Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Brian Matusz was MASTERFUL last night.

Masterful to the point that after the Orioles had scored one run, I almost pulled a Drew Forrester and declared the game ‘over’ on Twitter (follow us @WNST).

Here’s the question: can Brian Matusz pitch like that (or at least consistently good) over a consistent stretch of the season? If he can, he’ll be the pitcher that Orioles fans hoped for. In fact, he’ll be a pitcher that could have made even Dave Trembley look like a real manager.

It’s nice to see it every now and then, as it makes you think it’s possible. But until I see it with regularity, it’s actually just frustrating.

You know what ISN’T frustrating? Winning. That’s awesome. Let’s keep doing that.

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

There’s plenty good to look at here…which is strange. Matt Wieters, Corey Patterson, Brian Roberts and Felix Pie were all solid at the plate-and Koji Uehara finished things off in the 9th.

All of these are good things.

So go ahead and look at the numbers today. After you do that-take a look at Alessandra Torresani; who apparently posed for FHM…and my heart. (Thanks Guyism!)

fhm

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Ty Wigginton, Andres Blanco engaged in spat after play at third in Birds’ win

This is why I can never be a “baseball guy.”

The stupid “unwritten rules”, the “baseball stuff”, etc.

Ty Wigginton blocked third base-which seemed smart enough to me. He didn’t want the guy who had just crushed a double to be able to reach third base. I didn’t either. So I was happy that Ty Wigginton blocked third base.

The guy that crushed the double thought it was a bad move baseball-wise. There are probably a least a handful of folks who feel the same way.

The discussion is so ridiculous to me that we might as well be discussing someone’s VORP while we’re at it.

Ugh.

4. Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin says O’s believe there’s ‘no coincidence’ they started playing better when Buck Showalter showed up

I’m well aware that Buck Showalter didn’t come to Charm City, flip over tables, yell at everyone in earshot and threaten immediate firings if the team didn’t start winning games.

But there is no doubt in my mind that Buck Showalter’s arrival reflected a mentality in players that their roster spot wasn’t going to be guaranteed moving forward just because they were part of Andy MacPhail’s “plan.”

Unlike under Trembley (or Juan Samuel), it appears clear that Showalter isn’t going to keep someone on the roster come Opening Day 2011 just because Andy MacPhail wants to see what they have in the player. The best 25 guys are going to make the roster.

The pitchers who have shown signs of being good but haven’t been consistent (Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen of course top the list) are going to have to prove that they’re amongst the Top 25.

That’s as good an explanation as any as to why this team has played better since Showalter arrived. The laziness of another losing summer has made way for an understanding that every man on the roster is going to have to earn anything they might get moving forward.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Robert Andino homered for Norfolk Tides in loss to Durham Bulls on farm

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

-The Birds and Rangers continue their 4 game set tonight at OPACY; with Jake Arrieta facing C.J. Wilson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN2. Brad Bergesen and Kevin Millwood wrap the series for the Birds, they’ll face Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter respectively.

-A reminder that tomorrow’s game is not on MASN or MASN2-but instead on FOX. That’s two straight Saturday FOX games for the Birds. Earlier in the year I would have preferred watching “That 70′s Show” reruns, but the Orioles have been downright watchable recently. I’d still prefer “That 70′s Show” reruns, but who wouldn’t???

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

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Lardarius Webb ‘very close’ to returning from PUP list

I’m really interested in exactly how this plays out next week in Owings Mills. Having Webb part of the 53 man roster is good for multiple reasons. First of all, it gives the Ravens DESPERATELY needed depth amongst their top corners. Secondly, it may help them avoid having to keep someone on the 53 man roster that they might not necessarily want to keep-like a Cary Williams or Prince Miller.

Now, Webb has to get on the practice field at 1 Winning Drive first-and then has to prove that he’s ready to play in a game. Even if the Ravens choose to hold him out against the New York Giants next week and the St. Louis Rams in 2 weeks; he has to prove that he’s game ready for September 13 against the New York Jets.

If he does that, everything about this roster improves.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ed Dickson, Mark Clayton expected to play vs. Washington Redskins Saturday night; Oniel Cousins unlikely, Chris Carr ‘unknown’

I expect to see at least a bit of Carr on the field at FedEx Field tomorrow night, probably about as much as we’ll see from Fabian Washington. It will likely be the Travis Fisher/Cary Williams/Prince Miller show in the secondary again-and almost no doubt there will be more of Chris Hawkins and Doug Dutch as well.

At tackle, expect to see plenty of Tony Moll tomorrow night. I’m a bit surprised the Ravens didn’t make a move to bring in an extra body this week at tackle. Even more surprised knowing Louisa Lytton is not currently on another NFL roster. (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

lytton

8. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says record 112,000 fans attended Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens are walking through today, but you cannot see it live and in person as it is closed to both the media and public. They’ll face the Skins tomorrow night at FedEx Field in Landover (the city formerly known as Raljon), kickoff is at 7pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 and Comcast SportsNet (the CSN version is the DC broadcast). Luke Jones and I will be live at FedEx Field, hosting a “Purple Haze” chat here at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Le’Ron McClain live with Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things available in the Audio Vault include…

  • Graham Gano (Redskins kicker and former Raven)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon to preview tomorrow night’s game
  • Audio from all around Westminster-including John Harbaugh, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb and Dannell Ellerbe
  • Greg Aiello (NFL PR Director)-who joined Rex Thursday to discuss all things Roger Goodell
  • Tom Grieve (Rangers color Analyst)-who discussed Josh Hamilton and all things Rangers with Rex as well
  • All of the Baltimore sports media auditions with Nestor Aparicio on “The Morning Reaction” Friday

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, so you have your day planned. I’m really much too good to you.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland reserve LB Ben Pooler likely to miss season after tearing ACL in camp

While not necessarily devastating news for Ralph Friedgen’s Terps, it certainly isn’t good news either.

The Terrapins will need some LB depth, and I think Jacqueline Kirby might be the perfect choice. (Thanks Uncoached via Busted Coverage!)

kirby

10. LA Times’ Lisa Dillman says Michael Phelps failed to make final in 400 meter individual medley at Pan Pacifics

I’m not too terribly worked up by this, as this is not particularly easy.

In fact, it’s almost as tough as trying to remember the names of all of Antonio Cromartie’s kids. (Thanks HBO via Fanhouse and YouTube!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5qzQ2HBh0s[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

So apparently I was duped on “The Skinwich” yesterday. It ISN’T something KFC is planning on rolling out now or anytime in the future.

BUT…that doesn’t mean that all food in the world is healthy and NOT delicious. Thanks to The Smoking Jacket, I offer you some other ideas. One if IHOP’s Pancake Cheesecake Sandwich…

IHOP

Another is Friendly’s Mac ‘n Cheese Quesadilla…

friendlys

You know what, I’m going to need a minute here…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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If Showalter wins now he’ll have the power in the offseason

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Rex Snider

I know its only been two weeks. But, as the games go by, this Orioles team has looked like a different breed of ballplayers.

Of course, you can overlook Luke French’s mastery of the lineup, last night.

It happens, right?

Let’s also be honest: regardless of who manages or who plays the corner infield positions, NO VERSION of the Baltimore Orioles can be expected to win 10 of 15 games over the course of an entire baseball season.

From a winning perspective, they’ve been playing over their heads. And, I’m okay with that. God knows for the first 105 games of the season, they played at a level well below their ankles.

If nothing else, Buck Showalter’s presence has proven this team is capable of playing at a level better than Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel could demand.

In a twisted way, part of that blame is on THEM. Yet, part of it is not. Big league ballplayers are paid handsomely for their overall efforts and proposed production. Through the first 2/3 of the season, these players failed the organization, and themselves.

But, lets put that in the rear view mirror.

We’re sitting here on August 18th and the team is 5 games over .500 under Showalter’s watch. And, that’s all that really matters when it comes to the new skipper’s leverage during the upcoming off-season.

We’ve all formulated a likely scenario for Buck’s first winter, in Baltimore, right?

Some of us believe he will really inspire the front office to make distinct, articulable moves in the direction of improving the Major League product. Of course, this is something Andy MacPhail has failed to do over the last few years.

Yet, some of us also believe that when the “pedal hits the medal”, Buck will ultimately be shown Andy’s blueprint for a SUCCESSFUL season, at Camden Yards. We suspect that plan doesn’t really include WINS or HIGH CALIBER TALENT, right?

However, it does seem that most of us believe Buck Showalter will not agree with the “MacPhail Mathematical Methods Of Orioles Baseball.” He’s in for a shock, right?

There is just one problem with this proposed falling of the dominos …..

Andy MacPhail probably didn’t think Buck would have this type of impact. In his wildest dreams, he really didn’t think the team might actually start winning games, right?

And, there lies the potential problem …..

If the Orioles maintain a winning record over the final 42 games, Buck Showalter carries a much bigger stick into the off-season. His presence and philosophies must be honored. If Andy (and ultimately Peter Angelos) resists him, this entire hiring of the ORIOLES SAVIOR could blow up in their faces.

Imagine the braintrust convenes for their November and December direction, when Buck proposes scenarios involving names like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzales and other big name producers.

We’ve imagined he’ll be rebuffed, right?

Andy will try to explain “small-ball” to him …. or he’ll reveal a side that Buck did not expect to see, regardless of the warnings. That’s our suspicion, anyway.

Although, such a situation could occur, Buck’s clout might be able to rival these deeply entrenched practices.

Think about it …..

Buck Showalter can stride into November with the distinction of steering this team in the right direction. And, the resounding proof could be found in the win/loss column. It has been a long time since such a situation happened.

And, if it does, the Orioles manager could be afforded an instant OUT CLAUSE from his marriage to MacPhail/Angelos, without harming his reputation.

If Andy doesn’t live up to promises or assurances, especially as it regards the spending of money on talent, Buck could walk away with even higher stock than when he arrived.

When is the last time that happened with a departing Orioles manager?

Imagine the Orioles do what they always do and Buck gets frustrated …..

He could walk into Andy’s office on a December morning and say “this isn’t going to work for me” …..

Thus, he could resign and issue a blanketing statement that basically says “I want to thank Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail for the opportunity to manage such a storied franchise. Unfortunately, our philosophies and ideals regarding the construction of a successful franchise are not in harmony. I wish the Orioles success, 2011.”

If that happens, who loses?

In one corner, you’ve got Andy MacPhail and his red sweater. And, in the other corner, you’ve got Buck Showalter, who just managed the worst team in baseball to a winning record over the final 57 games.

Buck wins that one.

His reputation would be intact and another team would gladly hand him its reigns.

Meanwhile, Andy MacPhail would be exposed as a fraud. His reputation would certainly take a hit …. in and out of Baltimore.

This Orioles team has 42 games remaining – and it’s a very tough September schedule. But, if Buck Showalter finds a way to finish just ONE GAME over .500, he’ll carry more swagger than Rex Ryan in the Jets media room.

Stay tuned, this could get good …..

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Orange crush and purple haze

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

I attended Oriole fan fest at the Baltimore Convention Center in January. As I drove down Russell St towards Pratt, I could still see the Ravens banners on the light poles on the road. Ironically, the Ravens had just lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL playoffs the week before, ending their season. I felt a bit odd driving to an event for the “boys of summer” while evidence of the NFL season was still very fresh in the hearts of the fans. That day the O’s had approximately 12,000 people attend fan fest, including yours truly. I suppose that at the time I felt as if I was in some sort of strange time tunnel in that the city itself appeared to be in between worlds. The wounds of the Ravens’ loss was still in the hearts and minds of most people, however the city was starting to paint itself orange in anticipation for the Orioles.

Now I suppose we find ourselves in the reverse situation, as the Orioles’ season begins to enter it’s doldrums, and the Ravens are beginning their assent to the forefront of people’s minds. In looking towards the NFL season, Ravens’ fans should most certainly feel a sense of excitement, as the team is looking to once again compete to be amongst the NFL’s elite. While Joe Flacco finished the regular season with a QB rating of only 88.9, he did have a completion percentage of 63.1%, and he finished with 3600 yards plus for the year. However we also need to keep in mind that the Ravens also had only one 1,000 yard plus receiver in Derrick Mason. Going into 2010, the Ravens have added Anquan Boldin (formerly of the Cardinals) to their receiving corps, which gives Flacco another big target with sure hands. Boldin’s presence will probably also force defenses to play more zone coverage against the Ravens, which will open up passing lanes underneath for Joe Flacco. Ultimately with two receivers such as Boldin and Mason, Todd Heap should have the opprotunity to cut open across the middle.

The heart of the Ravens’ team is still the defense, led of course by Ray Lewis. As they say on the street, ’nuff said. However they have sustained some injuries thus far in camp, as Domonique Foxworth is out for the season with a torn ACL. Cornerback Chris Carr also injured his hamstring, and Haloi Ngata left this morning’s practice with back spasms. The thing that’s exciting about the Ravens this season is that I personally believe that they’re a black horse candidate to win the AFC North. While the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs last season, that was probably due in large part to injuries. The Steelers lost Willie Parker when he signed with the Washington Redskins, and Santonio Holmes when he was traded to the NY Jets, replacing him with their old friend Antwaan Randel-El (formerly with the Redskins). Most importantly, Pittsburgh will be without Ben Roethlisberger for at least the first month of the season due to suspension (possibly six weeks). Does anyone see Byron Leftwich causing a quarterback controversy in Steel Town? Survey says: probably not. The Bengals are of course the defending AFC North champions, however needless to say I would think that T.O. will probably have that franchise in shambles by week five or six.

So as Baltimore’s purple clad warriors begin to gear up for the season, the boys of summer are still here playing every night. Needless to say, it’s been a tough year thus far. However I think that we have to view 2010 as two seasons; 2010, and 2010A. The 2010 portion of the season included a 2-16 start numerous injuries, poor play, and ultimately the firing of manager Dave Trembley in the beginning of June. Since then, Juan Samuel led the Orioles valiantly, however to no avail. On July 29th the Orioles effectively ended 2010 when they announced the hiring of Buck Showalter as the Orioles’ permanent manager, launching us into 2010A. Opening night was on August 3rd against the Angels…Brian Matusz pitched a gem for ‘dem O’s, who beat Anaheim 6-3. One week later, the O’s have played six games in their new “season,” and have a record of 5-1.

Unfortunately we all know that this truly isn’t two seasons, and that going into play tonight the Orioles have a record of 37-74 on the year. However if this past week is any indication, the future is still bright. Granted many people felt that the future was bright back in January at fan fest as well. However at the time the O’s were a franchise that had some pieces in place but lacked a true direction. Now that a bona fide manager is in place and many of the injured birds are returning, the Orioles look to finish the last two months of the season in a respectable manner. 2010 was always supposed to be about putting the ingredients together, and while it took a bit longer than people would have expected, that finally appears to be happening. Going into play tonight the O’s had played six games under Showalter, all six of which had been quality starts. Even pitchers such as Jake Arrieta (who didn’t end up getting a decision in their start) have pitched well. The team appears to be paying much closer attention to detail, which will ultimately win them games. If these O’s stay hot through the end of the season, odds are they’ll take that momentum into 2011, and the sky’s the limit from that point forward.

So perhaps one of these days people will drive down Pratt St to Oriole fan fest through a Ravens’ Super Bowl parade. It seems that sports fans in Baltimore have suffered for too long in that the city was dealt an unfair blow in losing the NFL for so long, and now for the past 13 years the Orioles have struggled. However perhaps that era of disappointment is coming to an end. So with that said, ain’t the beer cold?!

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Buck is in the Yard

Posted on 05 August 2010 by bigbrad

I know, I know. It’s early. But hey, let’s get a little excited about this. Mr. Buck Showalter has started his Orioles managerial career off with a 2-0 record. It’s not like we are playing the Royals, but a playoff contending team in the Angels. Grant it, it is a small sample of our beloved birds that might just be playing with a little hop in their step until someone goes out and gives up seven runs in the first two innings in a few days. But still, it’s got me excited as I count down the days until my fantasy football drafts, or the Ravens first preseason game next week, or even the free practice that the Ravens are having at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. Ok, so I might be a little more excited about the football season starting. Until the Ravens kickoff, however, it is still baseball season. And there is a professional baseball team in this town that I love.

 

All I’m saying is that I have watched the last two games with Buck at the helm, and I like how he is getting the guys to play. Heads up plays all around. Matt Wieters and Ty Wigginton were actually paying enough attention in the ninth inning to throw out Torii Hunter at third base. I have no idea why Mr. Hunter was trying to steal that base, but hey, I’ll take it. It just seems like the Orioles are hustling a little harder, paying a little more attention, and caring about winning. I don’t know if it is a sort of tryout to see who will be around next season or if they are genuinely tired of being the worst team in baseball. Whatever it is, I hope it isn’t a coincidence that this is starting to happen after Buck Showalter took control of the clubhouse. I do not know Buck Showalter, nor do I know Juan Samuel or Dave Trembley for that matter, but from what I have seen and heard from the outside looking in, Mr. Showalter was the right choice at the right time for these Orioles.  

I would like to see progress in this master plan by Andy MacPhail. And I think that this is a good step forward…finally.

 

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Two weeks ago, my executive producer, Glenn Clark, in the midst of the Orioles in discussions with Buck Showalter to become the next Orioles manager, said that the Orioles were going to wait till the start of Ravens training camp to announce the decision.

He said the Orioles have done this before. In 2006, they announced the resigning of 3B Melvin Mora, who had actually signed his deal weeks before the news broke.

Angelos wants this team as the top dog in the city even if fans aren’t going to Oriole Park at Camden Yards anymore. He knows baseball season has ended in the last week of July for at least the last ten years.

Well lightning struck twice Thursday, as Tim Kurkjian of ESPN has reported that the Orioles have hired Showalter as manger of the team.

Buck Showalter

Showalter reportedly will take over the team from interim manager Juan Samuel on August 3rd when the Orioles take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to start a six-game home stand.

The Ravens open full-team practices on Friday morning at 8:45 at McDaniel College, with all veterans reporting and suiting up for hitting, tackling, and running routes.

We’ll have to wait and see what the water-cooler talk is tomorrow, and who is the Baltimore manager we should be paying the most attention to. Showalter or John Harbaugh?

John Harbaugh

Showalter and his 882-833 career record managing in the big leagues will fit right into the driver’s seat of the Orioles, and will try and stop the bleeding when it comes to this year’s Orioles team (31-70), which is off to its worst start in franchise history and is veering itself dangerously close to the worst teams ever to suit up and hit the field.

Showalter will be the third man in the manager’s seat this year for the Orioles, as he replaces Samuel (16-31) and Dave Trembley(15-39).

Showalter had been named AL Manager of the Year twice in his managerial career, once with the Yankees in 1995 and then with the Rangers a few years ago.

He has proven to turn teams around fast, as every one of the organizations he has managed-the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers, all were terrible before Showalter took charge. He also has a hand in the front office aspect of the job, as he helped in the player personnel department with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and most recently had a small role with the Cleveland Indians before taking the broadcasting job at ESPN.

The Diamondbacks and Yankees both won World Series titles because of Showalter’s work; the only problem is that they hoisted the trophies one year after giving Showalter his walking papers.

He spent four years as Yankees manager (313-268), three seasons in Arizona (250-236), and (319-329) with Texas.

But with that, he eventually wears out his welcome. He has also had issues with the front office, as he is known as quite the control freak. That has been the main cause of his quick exits over the last dozen of years, and we’ll have to see if those problems arise again with the most meddling of owners in Peter Angelos and a attention-to-detail man like Andy MacPhail.

I would assume that Showalter would at least get three or four years on his contract to fix this team, because this team is not anywhere close to being competitive for at least two more seasons.

What Showalter does bring to the table is a man who has been around the league, and has garnered a lot of respect from players, coaches, and front office personnel.

He is the first high-profile, experienced managerial candidate the Orioles have introduced since the hiring of Mike Hargrove back in 2000.

With 13 straight losing seasons, talk around the league is that the Orioles are too deep into the cellar to attract any high profile free agents.

Having a big name like Buck Showalter in charge could put some of those doubts-not all-to rest.

It could maybe attract a player, like first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres, who played under Showalter from 2004-2005.

The players in Texas really like Showalter, and we should see soon how Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Matt Wieters all warm up to Buck.

But as said above, now we as Baltimore sports fans have a dilemma on our hands.

As the Orioles have put themselves on center stage (or at least tried to) yet again, we must ask ourselves. If we have a chance tomorrow to spend some time watching the Buck Showalter Introductory Press Conference, or the Ravens practicing, and we only have one choice…what’s it going to be?

The Orioles continue to show their selfishness by wanting you to choose baseball. Showalter could be the answer, but for now, let’s keep saying that John Harbaugh is still the top coach in town.

Tune into WNST and wnst.net as we continue to follow this new hire and hopefully a turning new page in Baltimore Orioles history!

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