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Orioles receive lift from unexpected source

Posted on 18 May 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles needed a lift in more ways than one on Sunday.

The short-term need of a starting rotation without an ill Bud Norris or an ailing Chris Tillman was apparent as Baltimore begins a brutal stretch of 21 games in 20 days on Tuesday.

On top of that, the Orioles were facing the prospects of being swept at home after falling four games below .500 for the first time in four years on Saturday night. A pick-me-up was in order after a struggling offense had wasted stellar outings from Wei-Yin Chen and Ubaldo Jimenez in the previous two games against the Los Angeles Angels.

A change in karma was required for a club struggling to find its footing through the first six weeks of the 2015 season. Even though their early-season concerns remain, the Orioles needed a new wrinkle to end the series on a positive note and head into their final off-day for three weeks with a good feeling.

And that’s exactly what rookie Mike Wright provided in turning in 7 1/3 shutout innings in a 3-0 win before 41,733 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Displaying impressive poise, Wright became the first pitcher in franchise history to toss a scoreless start without walking a batter in his major league debut as he also added six strikeouts while surrendering just four hits.

Wright’s fastball was on display from the very beginning, recording his first major league strikeout when he blew a 98 mph fastball past 2014 American League MVP Mike Trout in the top of the first. His fastball was still touching 97 mph in the eighth inning as he mixed in his slider, changeup, and curveball throughout the afternoon to keep Angels hitters off balance.

Though rated as only the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball American last offseason, the 2011 third-round pick out of East Carolina earned Sunday’s opportunity after steadily working his way up the organizational ladder over the last few seasons. If only for one afternoon, Wright put the hype surrounding the likes of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Hunter Harvey on the back burner while he enjoyed the limelight, leaving to a standing ovation in the eighth.

Yes, the day belonged to the 6-foot-6 right-hander and the Orioles reaped the benefits as their lineup once again struggled through a nondescript afternoon — albeit against the talented Garrett Richards — before Adam Jones provided some much-needed insurance with a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth.

There’s no telling what’s next for Wright as manager Buck Showalter will weigh his immediate options in the starting rotation, but the 25-year-old certainly earned another opportunity after shutting down an Angels club that had won five straight games. He became the first Orioles pitcher to post a scoreless start in his major league debut since Chris Waters did it against the Angels in 2008 and the first to do it at home since Anthony Telford shut down Oakland at Memorial Stadium in 1990.

The Orioles hope Wright makes many more meaningful contributions, but the aforementioned names serve as a reminder that you can’t take too much away from what we witnessed on Sunday.

You hope there’s more to come, but Wright provided a shot in the arm that the Orioles needed to feel better about the weekend and themselves.

Even if it was only for one afternoon.

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Orioles offer latest example that it isn’t 2014 anymore

Posted on 17 May 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A year ago, starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez too often let down his Orioles teammates in a nightmarish campaign that ultimately landed him in the bullpen.

On Saturday, the Orioles wasted a stellar outing from the right-hander in a 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels that dropped Baltimore four games below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. It was just the latest reminder that it isn’t 2014 anymore.

Continuing his excellent start to 2015, Jimenez pitched six shutout innings before two infield singles and a Chris Iannetta chopper off the glove of Manny Machado — not an easy play, but one we’re used to seeing the 2013 Gold Glove third baseman make — tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh. A single by Marc Krauss plated the second Angels run and gave them a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in another frustrating loss for the Orioles.

Sporting a sparkling 2.43 ERA in seven starts spanning 40 2/3 innings, Jimenez was victimized by bad luck in the seventh, but the lack of support from the other phases of the game is an all-too-familiar theme so far this season as the Orioles lineup managed just one run — a Steve Pearce solo home run in the fourth — and three hits, none of them coming after the fourth inning. In fact, not a single hitter even reached base after Pearce hit his third homer of the season for the first run of the game.

“We are just not getting the timely hits right now,” Pearce said. “Hitting a lot of balls hard right at people. Tomorrow is a new game, and we have to shake it off. We’re still [only] five games back. It’s still a long season, and we are hoping to turn this thing around starting tomorrow.”

Matters weren’t helped with relievers Darren O’Day and Zach Britton allowing four more runs in the final two innings, making what was a one-run deficit an insurmountable five-run hole for an offense that’s managed just two runs and eight hits in the first 18 innings of a three-game set against the Angels, who have shaken off a slow start of their own with their current five-game winning streak. Those offensive numbers wouldn’t be as frustrating if not for the fact that Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker each arrived in Baltimore with ERAs of 4.98 and 6.61, respectively.

With Memorial Day just over a week away, the Orioles still haven’t been able to find that consistent winning combination they mastered in running away with the American League East a year ago. When they’ve scored plenty of runs, the pitching hasn’t gotten the job done. And when they receive good performances on the mound, the offense has too often disappeared like it did on Friday and Saturday.

Only 34 games into 2015, the Orioles know they have plenty of time, but their play has just felt off with even the defense and bullpen — arguably the two components most responsible for three consecutive winning seasons — faltering at critical times.

“We just have to deal with it,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We had challenges last year. We have good people. We’ll overcome it. I have a lot of confidence in that.”

Yes, it’s still early, but the Orioles need to recapture their mojo from a season ago. Or, it could get start getting late a lot quicker than they would have anticipated.

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Orioles trade Webb, minor-league catcher Ward to Dodgers

Posted on 09 April 2015 by Luke Jones

After designating right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb for assignment hours before the start of the 2015 season, the Orioles have sent the reliever to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade also involving three minor-league players.

Baltimore is sending Webb, catcher Brian Ward, and its competitive-balance draft pick (74th overall) to the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Chris O’Brien and right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen. Both newcomers will report to the minor leagues with O’Brien going to Double-A Bowie and Rowen reporting to Triple-A Norfolk.

The good news for the Orioles is that Los Angeles will assume all responsibility for Webb’s $2.75 million salary for 2015. The 29-year-old cleared waivers last week as the Orioles were trying to make space in a crowded bullpen that already has eight pitchers to begin the season.

Rowen posted a 3.45 ERA in 47 innings with Triple-A Round Rock last season. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched in eight games for Texas last season, finishing with a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old O’Brien, son of former major league catcher Charlie O’Brien, batted .266 with seven home runs and a career-high 53 RBIs in his first full year with Double-A Chattanooga in 2014. He has thrown out 30 percent of runners trying to steal during his minor-league career.

Signed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal two winters ago, Webb pitched well in 2014 before the late-July acquisition of standout lefty Andrew Miller left him as the odd man out in a deep bullpen. The right-hander posted a 3-3 record with a 3.83 ERA in 49 1/3 innings for the Orioles.

Ward was held in high regard from a defensive standpoint, but his .642 on-base plus slugging percentage between Bowie and Norfolk last season made it clear his offense wasn’t as far along as his catching ability.

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Former Towson RB West participating in NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Posted on 31 May 2014 by WNST Staff

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Former Towson football running back Terrance West will be among the group of 35 top rookies from the 2014 NFL Draft class who will come together in Los Angeles from May 29-31 to learn the business of football at the 20th annual National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Rookie Premiere.

Throughout the event, players will gain information to assist in the development of their professional careers. The union’s annual orientation includes seminars focused on financial planning, brand building, group player rights, and social media best practices.

Among the featured guest speakers are former and active NFL players Marshall FaulkWillie McGinestTorry HoltBrandon WilliamsDaunte CulpepperKevin BentleyJamaal CharlesIsrael Idonije and Austin Pettis. Additional speakers include NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI) President Keith Gordon.

“NFLPA Rookie Premiere is an unparalleled opportunity for our partners to engage with tomorrow’s most influential athletes today,” said Gordon. “For the first time as professionals, players will learn about the business of football from fellow players, union leadership, and industry experts as they start to build a game plan to succeed beyond their playing careers.”

The three-day event, hosted by NFLPI, the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, will also feature one of the most thrilling moments for any rookie – wearing their official Nike team uniforms for the first time during photo shoots with trading card companies Panini America and Topps at LA Memorial Coliseum.

Other notable rookies joining West at the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere include quarterback Blake Bortles (Central Florida, Jacksonville Jaguars), quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville, Minnesota Vikings), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina, Houston Texans), wide receiver Marqise Lee (Southern Cal, Jacksonville Jaguars), linebacker Khalil Mack (Buffalo, Oakland Raiders), quarterback Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, Cleveland Browns) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Clemson, Buffalo Bills).

Launched in Los Angeles in 1994, NFLPA Rookie Premiere is unique across professional sports as the event provides business partners with unmatched access to many of the NFL’s most promising and marketable young stars. Each year, NFLPI facilitates approximately 100 individual player service deals for NFLPA Rookie Premiere participants.

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Orioles reportedly talking to left-handed starters Saunders, Capuano

Posted on 10 February 2014 by WNST Staff

With the start of spring training fast approaching, the Orioles continue their stated quest of adding a veteran starting pitcher and are reportedly looking at two veteran southpaws to potentially add to the mix.

Baltimore is talking to former Orioles starter Joe Saunders and journeyman Chris Capuano, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Saunders pitched with Seattle in 2013 — going 11-16 with a 5.26 earned run average — while the 35-year-old Capuano pitched to a 4-7 mark with a 4.26 ERA with the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers

“Chris is in excellent physical condition and his mound sessions are going extremely well,” Capuano’s agent Michael Moye told FOX Sports.

Of course, the 32-year-old Saunders earned local fame pitching for the Orioles in the latter stages of the 2012 season after he was acquired from the Arizona Diamondback on Aug. 26, 2012. The lefty was 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven regular-season starts before earning the win in the inaugural 2012 AL Wild Card Game against the Texas Rangers, pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run.

Despite another solid outing in Game 4 of the Division Series, Saunders departed via free agency last winter by signing a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Mariners.

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Ride WNST Caps Puck Bus to D.C. for L.A. Kings (March 25)

Posted on 16 December 2013 by WNST Trips

The 2014 WNST.net “Rock The Red” Puck Bus is back! This time, we’ll be taking a group of hockey fans from White Marsh and Catonsville down to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 25 to watch the Capitals host the Los Angeles Kings in a 7:05 p.m. game.

All aboard another WNST Rock The Red Puck Bus to D.C. for another 60 minutes of old-time hockey with the Washington Capitals. Our Gunther Motorcoaches will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:15 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 4:45 p.m.. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hockey and fun aboard the WNST Rock The Red Puck Bus to D.C.

As always, families are welcomed and encouraged to join us!

COST: $75 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

Here’s a look at one of our Puck Bus trips via WNSTv:

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Special Purple Reign deal for West Wing

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Special Purple Reign deal for West Wing

Posted on 25 August 2013 by WNST Staff

Recently I reached to our many Baltimore transplants and Ravens fans at The West Wing about Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story and was told by Kazy, Peter and the crew that if we put a really special deal together they’d help us spread the word about the 480-page opus of the Super Bowl XLVII run and all of the never-been-told stories of the championship.

In mid-August, while cleaning the basement of WNST, we found two unopened boxes of the original Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac and decided we’d package these for our friends in Cali who want to read both books.

So here’s a special offer for all West Wingers. Hope you check out the books and learn even more about how the Ravens have won two championships.

Purple Reign Both Books (including LAST COPIES of original 2001 softbound book)

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001) OUT OF PRINT SOFTBACK

$49.99 plus S&H

FOR WEST WING MEMBERS: $35.99 DELIVERED!!!!

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Orioles acquire veteran C Snyder from Angels

Posted on 29 April 2013 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Orioles traded minor league right handed reliever Rob Delaney to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for veteran catcher Chris Snyder.

The 32-year-old Snyder will join the Birds in Seattle Monday night (replacing Luis Exposito on the 25 man roster according to MASN) and will backup Matt Wieters. The O’s felt the need to make the move after placing backup C Taylor Teagarden on the 15 day DL Sunday with a dislocated thumb suffered in Saturday’s win over the Oakland Athletics.

Snyder hasn’t played a game at the major league level in 2013 but has played 706 in his nine year MLB career. Snyder is a career .225 hitter with 77 home runs in just over 2,000 career at-bats. He hit .176 with seven homers in 76 games last season with the Houston Astros.

Delaney, 28, made just three appearances for the AAA Norfolk Tides this season, going 0-1 and allowing six earned runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings pitched.

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Headed to San Diego? Join our WNST purple pep rally on Saturday at Tilted Kilt

Posted on 23 November 2012 by WNST Staff

WNST proudly announces our pre-game Pep Rally and Tailgate Party of the Year in San Diego next weekend as our Miller Lite/Jiffy Lube Purple Roadtrips make our return to the west coast.

On Saturday, Nov. 24th, WNST will partner with The West Wing (Los Angeles’ biggest purple Baltimore ex-pats) from 3 p.m. til 7 p.m. at The Tilted Kilt in Gaslamp District next to Petco Park. Join Nestor Aparicio and a myriad of Ravens fans for a social afternoon of Baltimore love.

Admission is FREE and Tilted Kilt will have the following specials for all Baltimore Ravens fans:

$14 — Miller Light pitchers 60 oz. pitchers
$3.00 Miller Light drafts
$3.00 Crab fries
$4.00 Purple juice (served shot style)
$9.99 One pound of Crab Wings

On Sunday, The West Wing is throwing a massive party in the parking lot of Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium.

Their purple tailgate party will be in parking lot P2 — as in Party Too — everyone is welcome to join the party, but must buy a ticket if they want the catered food and beers.

Tickets for the tailgate and/or the bus ride from Hard Rock Hotel to game and back can be purchased by email: ravenswestwingers@gmail.com or via their website at http://thewestwingla.com/

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After fighting all year long, Orioles’ extra wait to clinch very fitting

Posted on 30 September 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It was unlike any scene we’ve ever witnessed as the Orioles remained on the field after the final out of their 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox Sunday.

An outpouring of raw emotion that better belonged in a storybook or movie script as fans applauded their efforts and hoped for a post-game celebration.

Joining most of the 41,257 spectators who remained in the ballpark in the moments following the game, players and coaches became fans themselves as they watched the top of the ninth inning of the Angels-Rangers game on the video board at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles hoped to celebrate the guarantee of a postseason berth with their home fans on their home field, but the Angels’ dramatic comeback victory against Texas closer Joe Nathan ended those thoughts as the club walked off the diamond with mild disappointment.

The standing ovation they received while walking to the dugout felt like the perfect ending for an imperfect finish to the day. Everything started so promising for the Orioles, who held up their end of the bargain by completing a three-game sweep of Boston. But as they’ve learned all season long, little comes easy as the teams they needed to lose didn’t on Sunday afternoon.

Entering the day tied for first place with the Orioles, the Yankees bounced back from an early deficit to win in Toronto. The Angels’ win in the first game of a doubleheader in Arlington kept the Orioles’ magic number at one for clinching a postseason berth as they boarded a plane to St. Petersburg for the final three-game series of the regular season.

The Orioles would finally clinch their first postseason berth since 1997 late Sunday evening as the Angels dropped the second game of the doubleheader in Arlington.

“It would have been a neat moment to share had it worked out, but you can’t really expect anybody to lose,” left fielder Nate McLouth said. “You’ve got to kind of take care of your business, but it was nice to kind of wave goodbye to the fans. It would have been neat to have clinched right there, but it was kind of a cool moment, anyway.”

There was nothing phony about the on-field viewing party as the Orioles planned to watch the conclusion of the Angels game together and thought it appropriate to watch with the fans. Players and fans hung with every pitch before Torii Hunter’s two-run double with two outs sent players toward the clubhouse and fans toward the exits for an anticlimactic finish to an incredible scene.

As special as it would have been to see the Orioles clinch at home and celebrate on the field at Camden Yards, you’re reminded of what this club is all about. Scratching and clawing their way to victories in 28 one-run games and 16 straight extra-inning games over the course of the season, there’s something fitting about the Orioles — and their long-suffering fans — having to wait just a bit longer to secure their first postseason spot in 15 years.

“It definitely was a little awkward because everything was kind of working [our] way, but we’ve had to fight for everything this year,” closer Jim Johnson said. “With the way that game finished up, this [race] is going to come down to the wire. Look at how last year finished; it was ‘March Madness’ in September. This game’s crazy. You never know what’s going to happen, and that’s the way this team’s been fighting all year.”

For manager Buck Showalter, the post-game scene was a reminder of just how far the Orioles have come since he arrived in Baltimore late in the 2010 season. He’s continually preached the need to win back fans by putting forth a product they’ll want to see over and over.

The Orioles have done that and then some — even if the crowds haven’t always reflected that — but the manager isn’t interested in taking any of the credit. Showalter wants the focus on his players, even if we all know how big a part he’s played in restoring that pride in the organization.

“I spent more time watching the players and their reactions,” Showalter said. “As I’ve gotten older, I try to really step back and take in a moment. I took a couple of scans around behind me in the stands. We want to keep that. That’s our responsibility. It’s our responsibility to play good enough baseball and conduct ourselves in a way that people want to come back and see what’s going on here with our team.”

The post-game clubhouse was what you’d expect as plastic tarps were folded up on top of lockers for a champagne celebration that wasn’t to be. To call it a letdown would be an overstatement with players aware they would clinch a postseason berth late Sunday evening if the Angels dropped the second game of the twin bill against the Rangers.

To clinch at home would have been exciting, but to clinch anywhere is what’s really important. And the Orioles were so close, they could taste it before departing for their series against the Rays..

“Who cares? If you’re in, you’re in,” said center fielder Adam Jones about not being able to clinch a spot at Camden Yards. “Nobody cares. I don’t care. You can do it home, road. We can clinch on the plane. We’re going to party somewhere.”

If Sunday was the final day of baseball at Camden Yards this season, the spontaneity of that scene between fans and players will go down as one of the most memorable moments in the history of the franchise.

And it was just the latest example of how far the Orioles have come by owning a Sunday in late September — even if the Ravens weren’t playing this weekend.

The Orioles hope they haven’t seen the last of Camden Yards this season, but the next few days will determine their fate.

“Hopefully, we can bring them something fun,” said Johnson, who’s noticed fans becoming more and more involved without being prompted by the scoreboard or public address system. “They’re into the game. They understand the situations, they stand up by themselves, they start their own chants, they’re into it. It puts more pressure on the other team, but it also gives you a little boost of adrenaline at the same time. If you can harness that, that’s a huge advantage.”

It’s an advantage the Orioles haven’t had — or needed to have — in a very long time.

And we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if they can take advantage of it in October.

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