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A House of Cards

Posted on 15 April 2010 by garyyclark

There is plenty of blame to go around for the wosrt start the Orioles have had since the 0-21 1988 season that saw manager Cal Ripken Sr. get fired after just 6 games (I think it was 6 if my memory is wrong please forgvie me).  This team is built upon a flawed foundation and like a house built on a bad foundation as you fix one problem other problems crop up.  Until the Orioles re-evaluate the way they conduct business this team isn’t going anywhere.  in the Midst of our 13th losing season this team picked right up where it left off at the end of last season and the season before, and most seasons before that since we started losing. 

We were led to believe and many of us started believing in this team based on the things Andy Macphail has said and done.  Like Rex has said on numerous occasions before this season people were putting too much stock in how good the team was going to be this year.  We needed to be more realistic but that being said I don’t think anyone envisioned 1-8 and it is only going to get worse with the west coast road trip and the yankees and red sox coming.  The Orioles very will could be 4-26 at the end of the first 30 games and if that is the case Dave Trembley will be fired. 

The Orioles foundation is built upon a house of cards.  On the surface at times they appear to be trying.  They have a regional network that is “supposed” to infuse money into the team.  We have a farm system that has gotten significantly better with all of this “young talent.”  We have gotten rid of the “bad apples” that were poisoning the team.  We have a new improved spring training facility that allegedly allowed the Orioles extra time to work on some of those lacking “fundamentals” (ie baserunning, bunting, etc.)  We have a back end of the rotation that is young but was expected to be the strength of the team in a lot of ways.  Matusz looks to be the real deal but Bergesen might never recapture the glimmer of success he had before his injury.  The front of the rotation is another matter all together.  We have a
“can’t miss” player in Wieters comparable to say Evan Longoria.  But the truth of the matter is we are myopic due to the 12 plus years of losing.

We have come to trick ourselves into believing that the Orioles are close to turning the corner in the next few years but we aren’t close we just appear to be close.  And we appear to be close because the Orioles are built upon a house of cards that to the general fan until this disastrous start looked solid.  This start has just exposed many of the problems that still exist.  MASN brings in money but the team still refuses to spend the money necessary to lure the pieces that they need to solidify this team.  Rex discussed in his five part blog yesterday how Macphail started off failing by not getting his man Joe Girardi.  In a lot of ways this illutstrates the Orioles flawed philosophy.  They wanted Girardi, he was available, and the right guy for the job.  Macphail had links to him and he traveled to Chicago to court him.  He did not however offer him a serious contract.  3 Million dollars for 3 years is not a serious offer to a guy that was considered one of the top managers in the game and available.  The Orioles routinely over this period of losing have also bought “affordable” players that were once productive but have seen better days.  We have some serious holes that the Orioles cannot fill with their farm system.  We do not have corner infielders, our second baseman is falling apart and aging, and our shortstop can field but that is about it.  We do have a catcher though.  Evidence of these holes are the Orioles always trying to fit square pegs in round holes.  We are a team of DHs, and guys without natural positions.  I mean we got Atkins for third base and he played that position half a season but he will “work” right?  We continue to put Ty Wigginton in the middle infield even though he cannot field, Mike Gonzales closed for maybe one season and has never really been a solid closer but he should work shouldn’t he? Every one that can hit is a potential first baseman for the Orioles right?  Where is the guy in our lineup who can hit 40 homeruns?  Were is the guy to fear?  Nowhere because we don’t have him. 

Its funny we are so blind that when a guy is average we get excited.  Markakis is a good player but he is not this all star some in Baltimore believe him to be.  Adam Jones he is an all star but every team has to have one right and he was ours…LOL.  Sure he won a gold glove but at this point he looks far from a gold glove centerfielder.  Wieters may be what experts expected him to be but he has a ways to go and by the time he is good the Orioles probably wont offer him a competitive contract and retain him.  The only player right now that I think the Orioles really have that I believe will be good is Matusz.  He looks to be a real pitcher.

So what can be done about this?  Well first I think the Orioles need to go out and get a manager that these cats will play for.  The aint playing for Dave Trembley and are regressing.  Lets face it how can they respect Trembley when the team doesn’t?  If the team thought Trembley was the guy then he wouldn’t have fallen into the job when Girardi didn’t take it and the certainly would have given him more than the one year contract they gave him at teh end of last season.  They don’t think he is the guy and he knows it.  Dave Trembley is a terrible manager.  He is not strategically a good manager.  I know from coaching baseball when a manager makes decisions that cost games or are perplexing the players begin to lose confidence.  Our players lost confidence the day Mike Gonzales blew his first save and the lost even more on the home opener.  The loss the other night that Matusz went into the 8th with a 4-1 lead was probably just another kick in the balls.  These players are dejected an deflated and Trembley needs to go and go now.  And don’t tell me you can’t fire a manager this early because you can.  Remember when the Rockies and Marlins fired managers in mid season?  Remember the results?  They were good if memory serves correct.  While you are firing Trembley fire the coaching staff as well.  Kranitz and Crowley are terrible.  Let the new guy pick his staff.  After you fire Trembley take some of that MASN money and go buy a good manager.  I don’t care what it takes but hire a guy like Ozzie Guillen that these guys will play for.  We need a no nonsense taskmaster that will buts skulls when he needs to.  After that go pay for some of the infielders we need or make trades.  9000 people at your home game the other night tells you we don’t care and you are running out of our money.  I think each passing loss opens the eyes of another apologist.  You wanna make money Angelos than spend some money you cheap bastard.  This is a foundation that has cracks all in it.  It is time to razz this building and rebuild a new one the right way.  Until then we will continue to suck.  We might even be worse then last year’s nationals the way things are going.

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Orioles circa 2010: We know they’ll lie, but will they lie down again?

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I know, I’m like a freaking broken record. Every year I write about how I’ve wrongfully had my media pass revoked and every year the Orioles make up some more lies to justify all of their mean-spiritedness and lack of professionalism. It’s Opening Day, I’ve again been deemed “not a media member” but that’s just the “off the field” stuff.

On the field, the word “improvement” has been thrown around all offseason in regard to the Orioles. As I’ve said many times, when you lose 98 games it’s hard NOT to improve the following season. It can’t get much worse, really.

As sickening as it is that I’ve taken a myriad of phone calls, emails and correspondence wondering “if the Orioles can win 78 games” – as though this disgracefully low bar somehow passes for “improvement” – I am officially one of the optimistic orange Kool Aid drinkers circa April 5th regarding the 2010 season.

It is my belief that this is the best team the Orioles have fielded this century. In 2004, the Orioles “best” performance was indeed 78 wins. Las Vegas has the 2010 Orioles over/under at 74 ½. If I were a betting man, I’d honestly take the “over” for the 2010 Orioles.

But this might be the year they finally prove they were right all along over these past 13 years of “rebuilding” and buying the bats and growing the arms.

Apparently, 78 wins will get a number of people here in Baltimore excited. At least that’s what people think until they realize that even that lofty “goal” would still be 25 games out of first place in AL East and the season would once again be effectively over right around June 20.

People have asked me every day for a month: “What do you think of the Orioles?”

My answer: “It begins with Kevin Millwood.”

Millwood is an unwitting victim of the wrong end of a big contract and the overlooking of putting Baltimore on his “not to visit” list when he inked his last contract in Texas. But, alas, he’s here now and needs to selfishly pitch well, even in MLB’s version of Siberia. He can set the tone with a big effort tonight in Tampa Bay.

It was different when guys like Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson were poisoning the next generation of Erik Bedard’s with their antics of bush-league, lack of professionalism. Millwood needs to be the “anti-aging” Orioles starting pitcher. He needs to be more like Rick Sutcliffe and less like the aforementioned bunch of vermin who spread their foul temperament and antics through the franchise like baseball’s version of a clubhouse cancer.

I’m not sure what kind of guy Millwood is – and again, therein lies the Orioles ability to unlawfully deny me a chance to do my job after all of these years – but I hope he acclimates, pitches well and leads by example for kids like Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman, who seem like the real thing.

Matusz might win 15 games this year if he stays healthy. And while that certainly IS progress, it’s not really much different than what Rodrigo Lopez and Eric Bedard both did twice in orange en route to meaningless, forgettable seasons for the Orioles.

But, as stated before, I’m bullish on the Orioles in 2010 in regard to “progress.” I think they might be OK and quite competitive against teams not named New York and Boston — if pieces fall into place and if good health can be found.

If the starting pitching can get them to the 6th or 7th inning five nights a week, that will allow for a more rested bullpen and a real chance for .500.

I’m sold on Miguel Tejada as a relevant third baseman in the AL East. I think he’ll hit .300 and be an RBI machine like he’s always been. He might be 50 years old for all we know, but I think he’ll be the least of the Orioles concerns at this point in his career. He’s coming as a complimentary player not the leader and “franchise” guy he was counted on to be six years ago. His lies, transgressions and B-12 shots will not even be a factor this summer in Baltimore.

Of course, this would be a good year for SOMEONE to step up and be the REAL franchise player.

Is it Nick Markakis, who is quietly putting together a nice Orioles career?

Or could it be Adam Jones, whose Tweets are fun to follow when he’s not up all night in San Diego?

Or will it be Matt Wieters, whose hype seemed justified over the final two months of 2009 when it appeared he was ready to become a star?

At least there are several All Star Game candidates in orange this summer. It’s not another summer of David Segui, B.J. Surhoff and Gregg Zaun playing out their late 30’s at Camden Yards.

I’m not a Dave Trembley fan – the team tanked and quit down the stretch last year and each of those 98 losses were well-earned late last summer. Again, when the owner is the cheapest in the game and when Trembley will manage for 1/10th of what the best managers in MLB yield for a salary, I get what the team is doing.

They’re making money. They’re hoping these kids pan out and selling it to what’s left of a tortured fan base and using their media moles to “plant the seed” of hope. At least they can say they “were patient” while Andy MacPhail built what this cake turns out to be circa 2013, when it allegedly will mature. (They’re always two years away from competing with the Yankees and Red Sox, aren’t they?)

So, are the baby Birds ready to fly? Can the team be relevant enough to compete through the All Star break without falling 15 games behind Boston and/or New York?

We’ll see. But for the first time in a long time, they can legitimately threaten to be a .500 team if they stay healthy and have some key young prospects step up the way the insider pundits around the sport believe they will.

If Matusz is real?

If Wieters is real?

If Adam Jones can improve?

If Nick Markakis can remain consistent?

If Brian Roberts’ back can stay healthy?

If all of the young starters can get to the 7th inning with consistency?

If Tejada still has it?

And this is before we start projecting the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Garrett Atkins, Luke Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimond, who are all a literal box of chocolates. Does anyone really know what any of these guys will wind up doing come mid-summer? And what does anyone know about the bullpen, led by Mike Gonzalez?

Again – it’s the worst run franchise in professional sports. It’s not even close. That much has been borne out in living color over the past 13 summers. That will never change, even if Brooks Robinson is throwing out the first pitch on Friday. They are the worst group of people I’ve met in my 42 years on the planet — pure evil in their deeds, intents and actions.

But, perhaps this is the summer that all of their bloody deeds since 1997 are justified and they get people in Baltimore truly excited and energized about baseball.

If Tampa Bay could do it two years ago there’s no reason to believe the likes of Matusz, Wieters, Reimold, Bergesen, Tillman and company can’t step up to become very productive, young major leaguers and all hit their stride this summer.

It’s certainly a lot more possible than during the era of Omar Daal, Marty Cordova and Kevin Millar or any of the past sins of Peter Angelos’ ugly stewardship as the suddenly disappearing owner.

My real prediction: 78 wins.

I don’t think they can be above .500 with 54 games coming in the division against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. But I think they will certainly be far better and more interesting on the field than we’ve seen here in Baltimore over the last 13 years.

But given the history, let’s all sip the orange Kool Aid one ounce at a time…

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Tillman’s demotion a Sign of Progress

Posted on 30 March 2010 by dansoderberg

Flashback to Memorial Day weekend 2006. The Orioles were scuffling, searching for competent starters, and dipped into the Minors to pluck a prime pitching prospect to plug a hole in the rotation. The prospect’s name was Hayden Penn, he was 20 at the time and had made only a handful of starts above the Carolina League. Predictably, Penn was bombed before mercifully being demoted back to Bowie 8 starts later.

Today’s demotion of Chris Tillman to AAA Norfolk signifies a sea change in the Orioles’ organizational philosophy and pitching depth. If this were 2006 the Orioles would have shoe-horned Tillman into the Opening Day rotation regardless of his struggles with command this Spring. The fact is that unlike seasons past the team actually had options this year. This time last season we were looking at a rotation featuring the dregs of MLB: Adam Eaton, Alfredo Simon and Mark Hendrickson.

Fast forward one year later and a young pitcher as talented as Tillman couldn’t pitch his way onto the team. He was beaten out for the 5th starter job fair and square by David Hernandez. Don’t cry for Tillman. He’s 21 years old with a world of talent and a very bright future. He can go to Norfolk, improve his command, and be in the Big Leagues this Summer. But unlike years past, and prospects past, Chris Tillman will have to earn his promotion to the Bigs.

We watched Daniel Cabrera and Adam Loewen struggle for years failing to show progress despite seemingly unlimited opportunity. The Orioles have stockpiled young pitching under Andy MacPhail’s leadership to the point that names like Arrieta, Tillman, Hernandez, Britton, Patton, etc. won’t be rushed to the Majors out of need and won’t be rewarded for poor performance. Tillman’s demotion is disappointing for Chris but it signifies organizational progress for the O’s.

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O’s Sharpen the Corners

Posted on 25 January 2010 by dansoderberg

The Orioles went into the off-season needing major upgrades on the infield corners. The team finished last season with journeyman Michael Aubrey at 1st base and the punchless Melvin Mora and Ty Wiggington sharing time at 3rd. My fear was that Andy MacPhail would pay lip service to improving on the corners only to come up short leaving O’s fans to suffer through a thousand at bats from Aubrey and Wiggington.

MacPhail has gone out and put his money where his mouth is this Winter. Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins are massive offensive upgrades and should provide potent bats for the middle of the 2010 order. The signings also allow the team to continue batting Adam Jones in the #2 hole and Wieters and Reimold in the bottom third.

I know not everyone is thrilled with the signings. People wanted the team to go out and trade for Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder, or sign Matt Holliday. I would’ve been all for such a deal, but neither Gonzalez nor Fielder have been dealt and Holliday signed a deal with St. Louis that another team didn’t come within $40 million of matching. I would’ve preferred Adam LaRoche at 1st with either Atkins or Tejada at 3rd, but any way you slice it the team is better today than it was when the season ended. Of course coming off a 64 win season the only place to go is up…we hope.

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When 99 > 100

Posted on 04 October 2009 by dansoderberg

The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays last night for their second straight win after 13 straight losses. The win also guaranteed that the O’s couldn’t reach the much dreaded 100 loss mark. Maybe Andy MacPhail should have picked up Trembley’s option 2 weeks ago.

Frankly, I don’t see much difference between 99 losses and 100. The fact is this team is dreadful and doesn’t figure to be much better in 2010. I think picking up Trembley’s option was the right thing to do. He seems like a stand up guy and a good man. He has his players’ backs, perhaps to a fault. I’ve heard complaints about his in game management, but I don’t see how anyone can fairly judge him given the complete lack pitching on this roster. And after watching Sam Perlozzo’s bullpen management Trembley looks like Tony LaRussa.

I think Trembley is set up to fail in 2010. The Orioles need a RH power hitter to slot behind Markakis, major upgrades at 1st and 3rd, an innings eater if not an ace, and a couple of bullpen arms. My guess is MacPhail makes a half hearted run at a few bats before settling on an injury risk like Troy Glaus, passes on the available front line pitching and signs a closer coming off a bad year, a la Kevin Gregg. Despite progress by Matusz and Tillman, and the debut of Arietta, the 2010 Orioles are a near lock for at least 90 losses. A total that will likely cost Trembley his job.

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Misters Irrelevant

Posted on 29 September 2009 by dansoderberg

The Orioles are steamrolling towards 100 losses. The progress of some of the young players has provided a few bright spots in another dismal season, but the light at the end of the tunnel is still distant and faint. Andy MacPhail is already on record stating that the Orioles don’t figure to be major players in free agency and will not package prospects in a deal for a proven slugger.

After 12 years of futility and irrelevance the team is already lining up in the punt formation for the 2010 season. If this team enters Spring Training with Jeremy Guthrie as the Opening Day starter and Michael Aubrey at 1B and Ty Wiggington at 3B they’ll be a lock for a 5th place AL East finish and likely another 100 losses. That’s not progress.

There are players available that could supplement the youngsters and there is certainly money available in Angelos’ coffers. I’d love to see DeRosa, Holliday and Lackey in Orange and Black in April, but I think it’s pretty clear that Peter is going to go all Scrooge McDuck on us and spend the winter swimming in gold coins.

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The indignity of 100 losses for the Orioles

Posted on 29 September 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Naturally, the Orioles theme of the offseason — after the firing of Dave Trembley at some point this Monday — will be “progress.” Isn’t that what Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey talk about after all of these losses, night after night?

Andy MacPhail (and after 2 1/2 seasons of this perpetually sinking ship that knows no depths, we might revert to Chicago’s theme of referring to him as “MacFail,” but that would be giving him too much credit) will preach youth and patience and the injuries to Brad Bergesen and Adam Jones derailing an otherwise promising campaign in 2009.

Brian Matusz is Mike Mussina. Matt Wieters is Joe Mauer. Adam Jones is the next Eddie Murray.

Blah, blah, blah.

Look at the standings. Look at the scoreboard. Look at the 11-game losing streak that they’re adding to every night with complete disasters coming out of the bullpen on a 24-hour cycle. (Oh, that’s right, you forgot they were even playing back around the time Route 140 opened toward Westminster on July 30th!)

I sat the at the bar at Piv’s Pub in Cockeysville last night in a sea of NFL watchers as the Orioles played on one little TV with no one watching them find a way to blow another game.

The Orioles are entering some very dangerous territory here this week: losing 100 games would almost surely convince even the most “bleeding orange” fan that this is not a franchise in the midst of a dramatic “Tampa Bay-like” turnaround.

Wouldn’t it?

Oh, that’s right: the people who STILL believe that the Orioles are “changing their ways” can NEVER be convinced that this civic disaster of a franchise is anything but:

A. Doing the right thing.
B. Changing for the better.
C. Going to the playoffs next year.

It’s too easy to pile on at times like these. With the Orioles, it’s always like shooting fish in a barrel to drop a steamer on them — usually on the field, but ALWAYS off the field.

When they lose 30-3. When one of their pitchers start headhunting. When they’re in the middle of an 11-game losing streak. When the bullpen is a band of arsonists. When steroids allegations come. When they ban free speech from the media. When they treat anyone with an IQ over 90 like a moron. When they tell 1,500 real Baltimore sports fans to “stay home.” When they say they want to promote goodwill and community loyalty while pissing on the biggest media entity on the internet in the city.

It just never ends, does it?

For those of you who hate me remember this: I can’t WAIT for the day when they stop giving “haters” like me this most obvious of material.

The ONLY thing that matters is winning. Because no matter how poorly they continue to treat people who want to help them, they really believe the floodgates will open with fans the nanosecond they go two games over .500.

But here’s the cold reality circa September 2009:

They’re 60-96. They have six games left.

They need to SPLIT the final six games to avoid triple digits losses for the season — and this would be the first time since 1988 that this has occurred and the lowest depth of the Peter Angelos era. (The Birds also went 54-100 in 1954.)

Can they avoid the supreme embarrassment of 100 losses?

I don’t know, but you’d think pride would take over at some point this week, wouldn’t you?

Guess we won’t be seeing those Dave Trembley MASN ads with him treating his wife poorly come next spring training, huh?

Bon Voyage, Dave. I’m sorry I never spoke to you but there was nothing I could’ve done to help your image or keep your job.

You were doomed from the start…

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

I will have my “mock roster” up later today. I feel like I’m heavy on RB’s and D-Line right now. I may have to play around with that.

Let’s see what everyone has to say……

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Harbaugh has ‘thought about’ not playing some starters tomorrow night

Nestor Aparicio says WNST giving away trip to Foxboro

Rex Snider says A-Rod partnered with Elijah Cummings to deliver speech at Milford Mill

Keith Melchior says Hendrickson, Reimold best Birds in August


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Chris Ray loser in relief as Birds fell to Yankees

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jason Berken takes hill tonight vs. Sabathia, Yanks

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Fiorentino, Albers, Sarfate, Castillo joined Birds with rosters expanded

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Bergesen shut down for season

Yankees Official Site’s Bryan Hoch says Posada homered Twice as Bombers topped Birds

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Luke Scott’s 3 run bomb not enough as Birds fell to Yanks

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says MacPhail doing right thing with pitchers, but could hurt Trembley in process

The Sun’s Dan Connolly and Arin Gencer say while in town playing Birds, Alex Rodriguez spoke at Milford Mill Academy

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Yankees bullpen held Orioles scoreless, Orioles bullpen struggled vs. Yanks

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says x-rays on Adam Jones’ ankle negative

The Sun says Babe Ruth Museum to honor Brooks Robinson

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Felix Pie homered for Birds in loss

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says O’s expected to add 3 or 4 more players to roster next Monday

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Markakis team’s nominee for Roberto Clemente Award

The AP says David Hernandez gave Birds ‘uneven’ pitching performance, got no decision

New York Post’s George A. King says Swisher, Hinske hit back to back homers for Yanks in win

New York Times’ Tyler Kepner says Yanks survived poor effort from AJ Burnett to win

New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand says Damaso Marte winner in relief as Yanks topped Birds

Newsday’s Erik Boland says Mariano Rivera pitched 9th inning to record 38th save

Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig says Cano also homered for Yanks in win

Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera says Luke Scott’s homer 57th homer hit to Eutaw Street at OPACY

CBS Sports’ Larry Dobrow has Birds 26th in power rankings


Norfolk Tides Official Site says Andy Mitchell winner as Tides shut out Charlotte in Game 2 of doubleheader

Norfolk Tides Official Site says David Pauley loser as Tides shut out by Knights in Game 1 of doubleheader

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Steve Johnson winner as Baysox topped Binghamton

Frederick Keys Official Site says Bobby Stevens’ solo HR only scoring as Keys fell to Kinston

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Steven Bumbry homered for Ironbirds in win over Tri-City

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Shane Mathews loser in relief as Lake County topped Shorebirds

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Hobgood loser as Orioles fell to Burlington

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Waring homered for Baysox in win over Mets

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Waring, Matt Angle, Florimon, Brian Parker also called up to Bowie

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Chorye Spoone struggled for Keys in loss to Indians


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy
says Cleo Lemon cut, Ravens roster down to 75

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Derrick Martin amongst players ‘fighting’ for jobs Thursday night at Falcons

The Official Site says Harbaugh thinks injured players like LB Ellerbe “Can’t make the club in the tub”

The Official Site says players to have weekend off after Thursday’s trip to Atlanta

The Sun’s Ken Murray says keeping Hauschka as only kicker could open up roster spot for someone like Talavou, Lawrence, Parmele, or Derrick Martin

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley and Ed Lee says Suggs will test his heel Thursday night at Falcons

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says teammates beat up Suggs upon return to practice

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ed Reed did not practice Tuesday afternoon

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens have 3 QB’s left-Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Suggs not sure how long he’ll play Thursday night in Georgia Dome

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says CB Chris Carr, OT Jared Gaither, RB’s Matt Lawrence and Cedric Peerman all returned to practice

The AP says Derrick Mason thinks offense will ‘move the chains, score touchdowns’

Atlanta Falcons Official Site says Falcons traded for Tye Hill ahead of Ravens game

Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Mark Bradley says Tye Hill acquisition similar to acquisition of Foxworth last season for Falcons

NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan says Ravens have 21st best QB’s in league

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks thinks Ravens will finish 11-5, win AFC North-all other analysts think Ravens will finish 2nd

Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki says Ravens ‘need’ to trade for Brandon Marshall

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Heap’s ‘health’ will determine success this season

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens have ‘decent’ emergency plan behind Flacco at QB

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Chiefs imploding before opener with Ravens


The Sun’s Jeff Barker says kickers Mike Barbour, Nick Ferrara haven’t been able to separate from each other

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph knows Golden Bears will be looking for ‘revenge’ vs. Terps

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Tedford thinks Terps ‘dangerous’

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph counting on ‘youthful arrogance’ from Terps

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says O-Line out to prove inexperience not a problem

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Terps haven’t scored defensive TD since Erin Henderson in ‘06

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Ralph thinks practices aren’t always great after school starts

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Cal has offensive question marks beyond Jahvid Best

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says WR Coach Lee Hull thinks things have ‘finally clicked’ for Adrian Cannon

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says DHB told Cannon to ‘be better’ than him

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Friedgen has been in ‘phenomenal mood’ during summer

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Bears coach Tedford thinks QB Kevin Riley better than last year when he visited College Park

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Tedford knows Terps have ‘balance’ offensively

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says kicker will be ‘game-time decision’ for Ralph

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Phil Costa tends to be prepared early

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Turner will have 70+ family and friends in Berkeley Saturday night

Washington Examiner’s Rick Snider says Chris Turner gets chance to return home to native California

San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto says Don Brown’s defense will provide ‘interesting first test’ for Cal QB Kevin Riley

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Turner, Scott ‘key’ to Terps’ success

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Bears using last year’s loss as ‘motivation’ vs. Terps

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh profiles freshmen QB’s CJ Brown, Danny O’Brien (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Ralph doesn’t want to see penalties, turnovers in Berkeley (must subscribe)


Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Tobias Harris visited College Park again (must subscribe)


The Official Site says Bill The Goat to participate in Capital One All-America Mascot Challenge

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Mids Brady DeMell, Bobby Doyle, Doug Furman also returning to native Ohio

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says scout team Ohio natives Mike McCarthy, Matthew Kelley, Scott Blasinsky, Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick also making trip to Ohio Stadium

Columbus Dispatch’s Bob Baptist says Navy DL Chase Burge will have supporters in native Ohio


Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Tigers have little chance of beating Northwestern


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Bozeman expecting Joe Davis, Anthony Anderson, DeWayne Jackson to make impact replacing Bears’ departures


Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says Woodward Stakes could be last race for Preakness champ Rachel Alexandra


Examiner Jeff Hemelt worries USL-1 expansion could water down USL-2


-Luke Scott’s bomb was impressive last night. A win would have been more impressive.

Talk to you tomorrow.


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Orioles continue to sink even lower than we thought possible

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As the biggest critic of Orioles ownership over the last decade, I’ve purposely refrained from being particularly hard on the team in 2009. Unfortunately for you, the WNST fans and true Baltimore sports lovers, they have me right where they want me. I’m back on the radio without a press pass to their games and no one is going to tune into my show if all I do is tell the truth, and bury them for their ineptitude, mean-spiritedness and general incompetence over the past dozen years for four hours every day.

And at this point, what do I have to lose? Short of them killing me, what do they have left to take away from me?

The team is awful (again), there is not an iota of pride remaining in being an Orioles fan and I’ve watched about 90% of the action this season and I’m here to tell you that it has NOT been a fun or memorable summer for baseball here in the land of pleasant living.

And really, telling the truth — see the paragraph above — is NOT what Baltimore wants to hear from me about the Orioles. It’s like a broken, freaking record — me bitching about the Orioles.

And, here in the summer of 2009, the truth hurts and this blog hurts!

At their current pace, the Orioles “defining moment” of 2009 might be their 100th loss sometime around October 1st and that would certainly speak volumes for where the organization stands in the MLB cosmos.

As every sports fan in Baltimore has uttered at some point since the turn of the century: “Thank God for the Ravens!” And anytime we even think about talking Orioles baseball at WNST, someone will send a nasty note over stating this: “Just forget about the Orioles and talk about the Ravens.”

Well, as I said three years ago during the Free The Birds campaign, I will not be letting Peter Angelos or any of his servants off the hook for this decade-and-a-half civic tragedy — the worst stretch of bizarre local ownership and strategy since Bob Irsay pilfered the Colts off in the middle of the night back in March 1984.

No, we’re not done with the Orioles. As Drew Forrester has said many times: “We’ll either kill them or fix them. It’s their choice.”

But this current dismal summer of dreadful baseball — in a season when “miracle-man” Andy MacPhail has talked about promise for young players — still has six weeks left on the schedule and there are no creampuffs left on the docket and there is no end to the bleeding in sight.

You can piss on me in the comments below all you want, but this current team they’re fielding might be the worst of them all on some nights because we all want to buy into some hope and promise for a better team in the future.

Here is your stat of the day: the Orioles were 40-48 at the All Star break, which is hardly acceptable or decent, although MASN’s lame coverage and “state run” media would tell you this was a team “on the rise.”

Now, the Orioles are 48-72, which means they’ve managed to go 8-24 since Adam Jones doffed the cap in St. Louis.

Folks, that’s .250 baseball and 32 games is about 20% of the season by my math. Of course, when you’ve already put up a legendary 4-32 a few years ago — and for now, we’ll just let the 1988 team off the hook because that had nothing to do with Peter Angelos or 2009 — somehow 8-24 doesn’t sound like it sucks so bad.

But it sucks. And this team sucks. And this ownership still sucks. And the broadcasts still suck. And MASN still sucks. And — once again — it’s another set of broken promises, lies and “come ons” about progress, youth, getting better and competing in the AL East.

And this was supposed to be the time of the season when the team starts to exhibit some signs of hope for the future and some momentum going into 2010?

What stat do you want me to throw at you? They’re 4-14 this month. They haven’t won in a week. They can’t score runs with the bases loaded and nobody out.

They’ve dealt away three veterans and gave Aubrey Huff away for nothing. Every night the team is behind it seems.

And I’m not really sure that any of these young players know how to win or are surrounded by any positive role models who’ve won. Gregg Zaun was the only guy with a ring and they gave him away, too.

Here’s where the orange Kool-Aid drinkers will say: What about Adam Jones? And Nolan Reimold? And the promise of Matt Wieters? Blah, blah, blah…I hope they all step up in 2010 or beyond and make me eat my words. But for now, we report the truth.

And here’s the truth:

The ownership group of this franchise has lied to the city for years about just about everything.

“We’re close” or “we’ll win next year” or “we have some exciting young players” all sounds like incoherent babble at this point. MacPhail has bragged about all of the pitching in the system with the likes of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta coming to “The Show” and making the Orioles competitive in the elite AL East division.

I’ve now seen them all. They all have some nice strengths but some glaring weaknesses. None of them have the hype of a Ben McDonald and if they’re all as good as he was the Orioles might sniff .500 at their zenith of this era. Pitching is never a sure thing in the majors. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that.

Ok, so now what happens? This offseason won’t be much different from any in the past. How can this team possibly get better or find talent outside the organization during the winter to compete in the AL East?

When does this team finally turn the corner and even feign some competitiveness that will lead them somewhere near a .500 record in the future?

When will the team be able to attract any top free agents to come to Baltimore and help the team compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox?

Where’s that “veteran, straw who will stir the drink” that the Orioles will bring in to show some leadership?

Once they fire Dave Trembley, who will be the “next victim up” to try to get the Orioles out of the cellar?

When will the team stop banning free speech and allow the legitimate media back into the stadium to ask questions?

When will they stop running these stupid, mind-numbingly phony commercials on MASN that make the games all but unwatchable on top of a team that has been wretched over the past month?

When will residents of Boston and New York stop filling our city and our ballpark with out-of-town fans who boo and jeer young Orioles players from the moment they arrive?

It’s just a dreadful, dreadful product right now — the entire package of Orioles baseball. Going into September, I can’t remember a season worse than this because the promise of these young players from lips of MacPhail and the baseball “establishment” back in the spring was palpable.

We were supposed to feel better about the team at the end of the summer, not worse…

From going to the games to watching the games on TV to following the progress of the team even through the box scores and the standings every day — this really isn’t any fun.

It’s not fun to watch. It’s not fun to talk about. It’s not fun to listen to me on the radio talking about it.

Honestly, to any thinking person this is about the worst summer yet in a dozen horror shows since 1997.

But you don’t really want to hear that from me, do you?

They promised hope. They promised progress. They promised excitement.

They’re dangerously en route to playing the last two weeks of the season and not trying to hit triple digits in the loss column.

They made promises not only to you and me but also to Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis, who were the latest to sign multi-year contracts here under the guise that the team would show progress and get competitive.

Of course, Jim Hunter will tell you every night that 8-24 is progress.

Obviously, from where we sit today, it just looks like the latest batch of lies from Angelos and his henchmen.

Orioles Baseball 2009 — Feel The Tragic!

Ooops. That’s right. I’m not supposed to criticize the home team, am I?

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Teixeira in Baltimore: Now it’s really funny

Posted on 12 August 2009 by Matt Duggins

As I watched Mark Teixeira hit what would be the game winning homerun on Sunday night as the Yankees completed a four game sweep of the Red Sox, I couldn’t help but chuckle a little. 


The win pushed the Yankees to a seemingly insurmountable 6 ½ game lead over Boston, and well on their way to returning to the playoffs after a one year absence. 


Their big off-season splash in the free agent market returned dividends yet again, as Teixeira added to his already gaudy totals for the year, and now has a league leading 29 HR and trails only Justin Morneau in the AL with 84 RBI.  AND he’s still got two months of meaningful, regular season baseball left to play. 


That projects out to around 42 HR and 122 RBI for his first full season New York, and if he can pick up the pace a little, he could easily post a .300 average.  Who’s to say if anybody is worth $20 million, but if Teixiera can post those kind of numbers year in and year out, Brian Cashman won’t be losing much sleep over that signing.


Honestly, watching Teixeira pump his fist and celebrate with his Yankee teammates after dealing that crushing blow on Sunday didn’t sicken me in the slightest.  I actually thoroughly enjoyed watching the entire game.  It was a good, entertaining, meaningful baseball game.


Now, had Teixeira lost his mind and signed on to play this Grapefruit League brand of baseball they play here in Baltimore, now that would have sickened me.  What a complete and total embarrassment that would have been.  Can you imagine that guy, with that glove, and that bat, and that baseball IQ, running out there with this team? 


By now somebody would have had to explain to him that we don’t believe in sacrifice flies in this town, that moving guys over with a bunt is for little leaguers, and that if you haven’t been thrown out at third base, well, you just haven’t really lived yet.


Could you imagine the regret that guy would feel every time he hopped on I-97 and headed to the ballpark.  Imagine the ride home each night.  Ughh.  I mean, steamed crabs are good and all, but they ain’t that good. 


He would have a hard time convincing me that he had a better job than me.  Honestly. 


This isn’t about the Orioles’ future.  I might still believe in that- they don’t make it easy, but I still might believe.  It’s really about the past.


It would have been one thing if Teixeira could have looked at himself as the missing link, that one player that could put the Orioles right there in contention with New York and Boston. But it’s completely another to ask a proven, 29 year old, Gold Glover to stand around and participate in the type of baseball the Orioles play.


Like it or not, this losing, this fundamentally unsound BS they try to sell, has become their M.O. over the last 12 years.  The fact is, as I’m sure Andy MacPhail will find again this off-season when he looks to the free agent market for some corner infielders, that until these young guys can somehow change that losing reputation, they shouldn’t even expect the courtesy that Teixeira gave them by listening.






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