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Orioles to face Astros in 2014 Civil Rights Game

Posted on 19 November 2013 by WNST Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—November 19, 2013

HOUSTON ASTROS TO HOST THE 2014 CIVIL RIGHTS GAME

Regular Season Game vs. the Baltimore Orioles Scheduled for May 30, 2014

Additional Civil Rights Game Activities Include MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion, and Youth-Focused Event

Major League Baseball today announced that the Houston Astros will host the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary activities, a series of eventsdeveloped by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The event is another example of the Houston Astros supporting MLB initiatives geared toward highlighting diversity throughout baseball.

The 2014 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Parkon May 30, 2014, airing nationally on MLB Network. Ancillary activities such as the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion and a youth baseball and softball event will all take place that week. Ticket sales and more information on the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary events will be made available at a later date on MLB.com/civilrightsgame and Astros.com/civilrightsgame.

“I am pleased to announce the Houston Astros, who have demonstrated a substantial commitment to supporting diversity throughout our industry, as the hosts of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Civil Rights Game,” Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. “The Civil Rights Game and its surrounding events are an opportunity not only for our game to honor those who have fought for equality throughout American history, but also to remind us that the battle against injustice continues.  As a social institution that features unprecedented diversity of all races and ethnicities throughout our sport, we are proud to join the Astros in remembering this important era in history.”

“The Astros are honored to host the 2014 Civil Rights Game,” said Jim Crane, Owner & Chairman, Houston Astros. “We have been pleased to support Major League Baseball’s many initiatives over the past two seasons and look forward to continuing to do so. The Civil Rights Game and its activities are a great way for us to honor those that have fought for equality in the past, and to promote diversity and opportunity in our game moving forward.”

In addition to the 2014 Civil Rights Game at Minute Maid Park, several events will take place throughout the week, including:

Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion

A group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role Baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game’s continued presence as a social institution in American society.  Previous panelists have included Martin Luther King III, human rights activist and eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Sharon Robinson, MLB Educational Programming Consultant and daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson; Dolores Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ambassador Shabazz, ambassador-at-large for Belize and eldest daughter of Malcolm X;Branch Rickey III, Pacific Coast League President and grandson of the late Branch Rickey; Thomas Tull, Chairman & CEO of Legendary Entertainment and Producer of the featured film “42”; Arte Moreno, Principal Owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Kenny Williams, Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox; Hall of FamersBarry LarkinJoe MorganTony Perez, and Dave Winfield; Dodgers legend Don Newcombe; Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons; and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, among others.The Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion will be streamed on MLB.com and Astros.com prior to the Civil Rights Game.

 

MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon

The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will honor the recipients of this year’s MLB Beacon Awards, whichrecognize individuals whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement. Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; and also Buck O’Neil, Don Newcombe, Bo Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Aretha Franklin,Morgan Freeman, John H. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Carlos Santana, three of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.  Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have includedCommissioner Selig, President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond andMichael Wilbon.

 

Youth Clinic

The youth baseball and softball clinic is an event designed to give young players locally the opportunity to interact with and learn from current and former players.  Interactive aspects will include batting cages, pitching machines and baserunning stations.

 

ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS GAME

The 2014 Civil Rights Game is the eighth installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010), then Atlanta (2011-2012) as regular season contests, and last year was hosted in Chicago by the White Sox. While much of the south was deeply affected during the Civil Rights Movement with violence threatening the well-being of many, Houston played a vital role in achieving peaceful desegregation, making it a crucial part of the overall civil rights effort.

 

ABOUT THE HOUSTON ASTROS & MLB DIVERSITY INITIATIVES

In 2010, the Houston Astros became the first MLB Club to have its own MLB Urban Youth Academy, which is a network of MLB facilities around the country that provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction to young people from underserved and urban areas. They also provide educational and baseball vocation training programs for Academy participants. The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy has attracted approximately 1,300 participants this year. In 2012, the Astros hosted the fifth annual Urban Invitational, a nationally-televised, round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed by MLB to give Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and their baseball programs, national exposure. The Club again hosted the event in 2013. Additionally, the Astros were the co-hosts of the second annual MLB Diversity Business Summit, MLB’s sports employment and business opportunity career and trade fair that provides attendees with unprecedented access to human resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball Clubs and MLB’s Central Office. Also in 2013, the Club hosted the sixth annual Breakthrough Series, which is a collegiate and professional scouting showcase featuring a diverse group of some of the top high school baseball players in the country.

 

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ARoid HOF Plaque

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A-Roid is Special

Posted on 18 August 2013 by Tom Federline

Alex Rodriguez is special in his own mind and to the thousands of nieve Yankee fans that still support him. He is so special, he has been allowed to put his inevitable suspension on hold. He is so special, he is still playing baseball and he is still getting paid. He is so special, MLB is not even going to hear his case until November/December of this year, (after post season). Why is that? The 12 other suspended players accepted their defeat, accepted their guilt. You caught us, suspend us without pay (we don’t need all that ridculous cash anyway), and BTW thank you for enforcing this now. That way we can have a vacation and then return for the playoffs. Review all of the above, as it presents more evidence that professional sports “Is Fixed”.

A-roid, could you just do us all a favor and “Don’t Come Around Here No More” – (Tom Petty). You make me sick. If you never show your face again in Baltimore or at Camden Yards – our city and our experience at the stadium is better for it. Just go away. Don’t even stop by and pick up Brady for one last butt PED injection. You have tarnished the game of baseball. In this Steroid Era (1990-Present), you and the other 70% fellow needle sticking butt buddies, have managed to place doubt whenever excellence is being achieved, i.e. currently the Orioles own Chris Davis.

Chris Davis has offered is two cents on any allegations directed at him by addressing talk about chasing the single season Home Run record. Not verbatum – but here’s the jist – “The only record I’m concerned about is Roger Maris’ 61. The others don’t count.” Those are my sentiments and more than likely the sentiments of all true baseball fans. Hopefully Davis is not pulling a Rafeal Palmeiro. Hopefully he is legit. Hopefully Albert Pujols is legit. Hopefully Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are legit. What are your thoughts? Here’s mine – thanks to Bud Selig, the players union and MLB – they are all guilty. And if they have not tested positive, they are the ones with the good agents, they are the ones paying off the right people at the testing labs. I don’t know what happened with A-roid and his 28 million a year. Maybe Biogenesis got to greedy with A-roids’ name on the list and the buy-off price got to high. That’s why the other 12 had to surrender.

It’s just not right. It’s all fixed, plus one. Meaning – it’s “all fixed” with performance enhancing drugs simply adding salt into baseballs wound. A-Roid is special and pretty and rich. Kinda makes you a little envious of A-roid. It makes me so envious – it makes me gag. Which I almost did, last Sunday. I can tell you one thing, I’m glad I did not have a heavy object in my hand or I would have been out buying a new television this past week.

Last Sunday afternoon – I turned on the PGA golf tournament. Within minutes my stomach started to rumble and become mildly upset. For ten miuntes all I heard were the “commentators” continuously swoon over Tiger Woods and Phil Mikelson. Whose rounds by the way, were long completed and they were on their way home. The golf “groupies” couldn’t accept the fact that competitive golf could still be played without Tigger ” Mr.4-iron” and Phil “how do you like my fake smile?” I digress. Bottom line – golf is off, what else is on? I turned the station to find Detroit vs. the Yankees. Oh joy, Justin Verlander (another potential juicer) vs. A-roid. I was asking for pain at this point.

Here comes A-Roid and his first at bat…. Home Run. RUKM? My stomach has now begun to rumble. There were some boos in the crowd………. prior to his at-bat. All of which, turned to cheers and a standin ovation after the homerun. RUKM? Just wasn’t right, man. More reasons not to respect Yankee fans. At this point I buckled over, while shouting a few choice “unmentionalbles” at the television. And for those who know me – it was quite “juicy”. At this point, I was hoping that was the worst of it. Oh no, MLB and Fox Sports wasn’t convinced I was sick enough. Next they put up a stat – “A-Roid is 1 RBI away from tying Stan Musial.” That was it – dry heaving and piercing pains in the back of my head almost did me in. A-roid and Stan Musial in the same sentence. You just gagged like I did, didn’t you? Just how wrong is that? My take – the Steroid Era boys get their own record book and Wall of Shame.

Enough already. Let’s get positive. Orioles – whoops – that’s a tough one. They are not hitting in the clutch and how about this newsflash? Jimmy JJ Johnson – no more 9th inning! Bench him for 50 games and no pay. Guess what happens? He gets a vacation, he gets to ponder the use of “juicy juice” and he’s back for playoffs. Orioles in the PLAYOFFS? Not at this pace. Not with thier current attitude. They have experienced their second low-point of the season. And no extended high point to off-set the lows. It’s not all Jimmy JJ’s fault. They all are guilty, including Buck-Buck. Where is your “closer by committee”, Buck-Buck? What’s with the all the LOB in scoring position, Buck-Buck? O’s are not going to the Promised Land with current state of affairs.

Summary – no more juicy juice talk please. O’s have an outside shot at making a run. Let’s have fun. Just go away A-ROID and take your other suspected/questionable PED teammate buddies with you: Teixeira, Sabathia, Jeter (oh yeah throw him in there too), Granderson, etc. etc. Yankees go home. Let’s just make it O’s, Red Sux and some team that plays inside in Florida. Fan in need of Orange Kool-aid.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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jason hammel

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Jason Hammel, Smoke In Mirrors?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by timjones60

How often does a team’s number one starter fall so far into the rotation that they are now that same teams number five. Not often but with the Orioles, it seems as if it’s almost an annual occurrence. Jake Arrieta, 2012’s opening day starter was projected to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in the 2012 season, but he was cursed by lack luster performances in which he was jettisoned out of the rotation to the bullpen and even bounced back and forth between Norfolk and the major league club. Now the Orioles seem to be in a similar boat with Jason Hammel.

Hammel is 7-7 after last night’s 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. And as the 2013 season keeps moving along, it seems more and more that Jason Hammel is not the pitcher that we the Orioles faithful might have thought he was. After he went 8-6 in an injury plagued season, he showed signs of hope that the Orioles finally had their front of the line starter. He logged a career low 3.43 ERA last season and even had a complete game shutout. Now that Hammel has started 20 games this season (the same number of games he started last year) his numbers are inflated. Keep in mind he has only pitched one third of an inning less this season than last season, so the wear and tear on his arm isn’t all that different than where it was last season.

Hitters are clearly seeing the ball better against him with his hits up by 30 hits, he’s given up 23 more earned runs, and his strike outs are down dramatically. So maybe his numbers of 2012 were an aberration. His track record sure points to it.

With the impending trade deadline also around the corner, Hammel’s job may be on the line. The Orioles are still actively involved on the trade front even after making a splash by acquiring Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. Multiple reports have the birds interested in some of the Houston Astros starting pitchers including Bud Norris and yes Erik Bedard. If the Orioles make a move for either pitcher, I would not be surprised to see Jason Hammel be a piece in that trade, or be pushed back into the bullpen to accommodate the new starter. Either way, Jason Hammel is not who we thought he was.

Follow me on twitter @tacotim3

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Your Monday Reality Check: Unlike would-be assailants, Buck rises above fray

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Your Monday Reality Check: Unlike would-be assailants, Buck rises above fray

Posted on 24 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

There are a few of you who I’m assuming were forced to find a new baseball team to root for Sunday night.

Actually, I’m probably speaking to a smaller audience as many of you jumped ship to become fans of the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees or Washington Nationals or some other team.

No? So you’re telling me you don’t know ANYONE who posted something on Saturday night saying something along the lines of “If the Orioles don’t put one in Jose Bautista’s ear Sunday I’ll lose all respect for Buck Showalter and stop rooting for them”?

I’m not talking about a large group of people who suggested they would swear off the team. There were certainly a few, and many more who suggested they would lose respect for the skipper even if they didn’t stop rooting for the team.

The Baltimore Orioles were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend, a disappointing series outcome even against a red hot Jays team that has now won 11 straight games. In Saturday’s 4-2 loss, Jose Bautista hit a tie-breaking two run bomb in the 8th inning. As he rounded third base, Bautista offered the following gesture to Birds reliever Darren O’Day…

It was immediately pointed out by many that O’Day had been a bit animated himself Friday night when he recorded a big seventh inning strikeout of Bautista in the Birds’ 7-6 loss. However quite a few Birds fans (clearly frustrated by seeing the bullpen falter for the second consecutive evening) took to social media to suggest Bautista’s gesture fell into the area of baseball’s “unwritten rules” and meant an O’s pitcher might need to go head hunting Sunday.

I immediately responded to those thoughts with a post at the WNST.net Facebook page Saturday afternoon…

I would share the responses to my post, but they aren’t particularly family friendly. I mean, am I even allowed to share “Go Fist Yourself” as one particularly deranged commenter suggested I do?

Multiple posts suggested I was unaware of baseball’s “unwritten rules” and therefore incapable of doing my job. Those people (of course) couldn’t be further from being accurate. Not only am I aware of the “unwritten rules”, I through a high-five the day Maxim shredded them because I know them well enough to absolutely detest them.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Hardy overtakes Andrus at shortstop in latest American League balloting figures

Jones Passes Trout for Top Outfield Spot; Cabrera Maintains Overall Lead

 

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is bidding for his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start, has surpassed Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the second balloting figures for the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field in New York. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on FOX as part of its “Baseball Night in America” pre-game show. The second National League balloting results will be revealed tomorrow night on ESPN during “Baseball Tonight” at 7:00 p.m. prior to its Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, is aiming to become just the third Orioles shortstop to earn a fan-elected start, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times; 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). In addition, he is attempting to become the first A.L. shortstop other than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees to earn a fan-elected starting nod since Tejada. Hardy, who leads all A.L. shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBI, has totaled 1,231,843 votes. He is trailed closely by Andrus, a two-time All-Star, who has received 1,045,885.

Hardy’s Orioles teammate Adam Jones has taken over the top spot in the A.L. outfield with 1,944,450 votes, and last week’s leader, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, follows right behind with 1,939,486 votes. Jones, striving for his third All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, would become just the fourth Orioles outfielder in history to receive a fan-elected start, joining Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1970-71), Ken Singleton (1981) and Brady Anderson (1997). Jones, who has reached base safely in 52 of his 61 games this season, ranks among the top 10 in the A.L. with 43 runs (tied for third), 77 hits (fourth) and 18 doubles (tied for fifth). Trout, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, is vying for his second Midsummer Classic appearance after becoming the seventh-youngest A.L. position player in All-Star history last year. The 21-year-old has reached safely in 55 games this season and his 24 multi-hit games are tied for second in the A.L.

Rounding out the top three outfielders is Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who has collected 1,067,973 votes as he aims for his fifth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start (2002). The nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, who is one home run shy of 300 for his career, would join Ron LeFlore (1976), Rusty Staub (1976), Chet Lemon (1984) and Magglio Ordoñez (2007) as the only Detroit outfielders to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. Hunter, in his first season in the Motor City, is trying to hold off a trio of outfielders, including Nick Markakis (1,030,653) of the Orioles, three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Jose Bautista (1,021,813) of the Toronto Blue Jays and 2009 All-Star Nelson Cruz (1,011,198) of the Rangers.

Hunter’s Tiger teammate Miguel Cabrera continues to hold the overall lead in the A.L. with 2,355,128 votes. The seven-time All-Star, who is bidding for his first-ever fan-elected start, leads the Majors with a .368 batting average, 67 RBI, 88 hits, 26 multi-hit games and a .447 on-base percentage. The 2012 A.L. MVP, who became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also paces the A.L. with 47 runs scored. He is trailed at third base by 20-year-old Manny Machado (1,170,108) of the Orioles, who leads the Majors with 26 doubles and ranks second behind Cabrera with 84 hits.

Joining Hardy and Cabrera in the A.L. infield is Hardy’s Baltimore teammate and first baseman Chris Davis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Davis, who has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 2,084,274, is contending for his Midsummer Classic debut, and would become the first Orioles first baseman since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1985 to receive a fan-elected start. Davis, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and a .719 slugging percentage, is on pace to hit 55 home runs and 55 doubles. He is trailed at first base by four-time All-Star Prince Fielder of the Tigers, who has tallied 1,469,537 votes. Cano, who is seeking his fourth consecutive starting assignment and fifth All-Star nod overall, would become the first A.L. second baseman to earn four consecutive fan-elected starts since Roberto Alomar had five from 1996-2000. Cano, who has garnered 1,851,371 votes, leads Major League second basemen with 15 home runs and a .510 slugging percentage, and he is tops among A.L. second basemen with 39 RBI. He is followed by three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Dustin Pedroia (1,106,949) of the A.L. East rival Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins backstop Joe Mauer, who has totaled 1,492,396 votes, continues to lead Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795), a two-time All-Star, behind the plate. Mauer, a five-time All-Star and three-time fan-elected starter, would join Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six times) as the only Twins to earn at least four fan-elected starts.

Eight-time All-Star and six-time fan-elected starter David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox maintains a comfortable lead at designated hitter, having received 1,716,410 votes. Ortiz, who is trailed by Lance Berkman (957,618) of the Rangers, would become the second Red Sox player in history to earn seven fan-elected starts, joining his former teammate Manny Ramirez. In addition, Ortiz would become the 10th player in A.L. history to receive at least seven fan-elected starts with a single team, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17, Baltimore), George Brett (11, Kansas City), Carew (9, Minnesota) and Dave Winfield (7, New York), and other A.L. All-Stars Ken Griffey, Jr. (10, Seattle), Ichiro Suzuki (9, Seattle), Ivan Rodriguez (9, Texas), Jeter (8, New York) and Ramirez (7, Boston).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.

The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.

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Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

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Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Glenn Clark

“You play games on holidays all the time, including Rosh Hashanah. Just move the game to Wednesday.”  

I’ve talked myself into and out of writing about this about ten times in the last couple of days.

For some reason, a simple issue related to scheduling has turned into a referendum related to singular support of one of Baltimore’s two major professional sports teams. Once again, we’ve drawn a line in the sand and said “either you’re with the Orioles or you’re with the Ravens. No other way around it.”

It reminds me of how most people view social, economical and political issues in this country. You HAVE to support the beliefs of one side of the political spectrum or the other. There’s no room for discourse. Personally, I side sometimes with liberals (I am fully supportive of marriage equality) and other times with conservatives (Rand Paul had every right to know whether or not the President would be willing to kill American citizens on American soil).

Unfortunately, if I were to side with one political party or the other, I would find myself ostracized for not simply toeing the party line. This week has somehow because a week of talking points and finger pointing without any willingness to completely discuss all aspects of the issue and accept there may be a little bit more to be accomplished than playing a blame game.

We know the situation. Because the Ravens won the Super Bowl, the NFL intended to extend to them the recent tradition of opening the following season at home. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the Orioles are scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, making the game an impossibility because the Ravens share the downtown Camden Yards Sports Complex.

Somehow instead of working proactively to try to solve the problem, the two sides have instead reached excruciating levels to make sure the appropriate level of blame was placed in one direction or another.

The bad news for those who have supported the Ravens in this battle is that the people who point this out the holiday hypocrisy are absolutely right to do so. The NFL has claimed the Jewish holiday as the reason they don’t want to move the season opener back to Wednesday, as they did a year ago to not go head to head against President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Some fans have gone to an extremely ignorant level to make this point. I have stated that personally-I, Glenn Clark, would provide that no league play ANY games on any particular holiday. That’s a one man grandstand and as a caller reminded me this week, “that ship has already sailed.” The league plays on holidays.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it apparent at the league’s meetings in Phoenix he expected his team to be the opponent in the opener in Charm City. It has lead some to believe that this is simply the league kowtowing to Kraft because he’s Jewish. I’m not really going to even bother responding because the real answer isn’t particularly relevant.

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The Orioles Peter Angelos and the Machiavellian Theorem

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The Orioles Peter Angelos and the Machiavellian Theorem

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

With each passing day and each Orioles win the team’s chances at actual playoff qualification are becoming more and more realistic. Given the previous decade and a half or so of Orioles baseball, as fans now find themselves on the precipice of the success that they’ve been pining for, it would seem almost a given that fans would be coming out in droves to see the spectacle that has become winning Orioles baseball. That however, at least until now, hasn’t been the case.

We’ve been talking for months, as the team continues to exceed any reasonable expectations, about when the fans could and would begin to truly “buy in” and when they’d back up that faith with their attendance at the ballpark. Yet here we sit, in the latter stages of a legitimate playoff chase, and still the ballpark sits empty.

 

Maybe it’s time we looked a little deeper at how we arrived here in order to understand how we can all begin to move forward.

 

In his Masterpiece “The Prince” Niccolo Machiavelli lays out some political ideals that have not only stood the test of time and that remain viable in modern political theory, but also may have given Orioles ownership the blueprint by which they’ve been operating throughout the Peter Angelos regime.

 

One of the most popular and debated Machiavellian questions arising from “The Price” is the question of whether it’s better to be loved or feared. Machiavelli suggests that while being loved is nice (I paraphrase), it is fear that stirs the hearts of men and keeps them in line. People will turn on those that they love when the going gets tough, but with fear comes the expectation of hardship, and that more than anything compelled by love will cause men to think twice before crossing their benevolent leaders.

 

During the early Angelos years, the owner operated the club like a fan would, bringing in high caliber baseball architects to build his club, giving them the authority and financial means to do their work and although at times still overbearing (rulers still have to remain the boss) Angelos, in comparison to previous regimes, was easy for fans to endorse and (dare I say?) love.

 

As the 1997 season wound down however and fans became disenchanted with the team, they weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure over everything from the crowds that now filled the stadium (wine and cheese) to the talent brought in to do the job (mercenaries). Fans complained about everything from the aging talent, to the misguided leadership of the club, to the seemingly preferential treatment given to Cal Ripken Jr. to the length of the speech that the owner gave on the night Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record. Love indeed didn’t keep the fans from turning (at least in word) on the team and its owner.

 

That love didn’t compel the fans either to consider the plight of the Orioles when the city gave a far cushier deal to the Browns to relocate to Baltimore and become the Ravens, it didn’t compel fans to stand together with Angelos in his battle against the teams cable outlet or against Major League Baseball to keep the Expos out of DC. The goodwill built by the owner, with the fans, didn’t seem to serve him at all once the going got tough for the Orioles. Nor did the goodwill built by the owner toward his players (in taking care of them financially and in standing by them during baseball’s strike/lockout or in siding with a star player during a battle with his manager) serve him well when other teams came waving bigger checks, better chances to win or opportunities to play with their family members.

 

Maybe the 1993-2000 chapters of Orioles baseball did prove to Angelos that it was better to be feared than to be loved. It also seems that it’s cheaper, easier and more profitable too.

 

At that time it also likely became apparent to Angelos that he’d have some dirty work to do, and that no matter how he elected to run the franchise from that point forward, there was little the fans, the city, the league or anyone else could do about it. Angelos could (and arguably did) tear down the magnificent franchise he had helped to build and polish and in the process remind fans that not only was he the boss, but also that whatever he decided to do, he could do, and that everyone would simply have to accept it. Angelos laid the groundwork for fear. The fear that he could and would run this franchise in any way that he saw fit, from a competitive standpoint that he could and would be willing to run them into the ground, and that those who didn’t like it had no recourse.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

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Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

Posted on 13 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

If I understand the way the math works, the Baltimore Orioles’ magic number to clinch an American League Wild Card spot currently sits at 48.

I really felt the need to tell you that because for some goofy reason I sat and worked on it Sunday while I was supposed to be watching the Baltimore Ravens practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Congratulations Birds, you’ve successfully gotten me to take attention away from the Ravens and place it on the orange and black. The moment has actually occurred. I’m blown away.

The magic number is 48.

That means that if the total combination of O’s wins combined with losses (individually) from any other team in the Wild Card race reaches 48 before the end of the season the now 15 year playoff draught will officially be over.

It means the Birds will be playing on Friday, October 5 as part of Major League Baseball’s first ever Wild Card play-in games.

I honest to God can’t believe I’ve just typed all of this.

It’s time to cue the music.

I feel like it’s safe to say that I’ve been as reluctant (if not more reluctant) than anyone in town to accept this as an actual, realistic possibility. And if truth me told I would still say “no” if an assailant questioned my belief that the Orioles make the playoffs with a gun pointed to my temple.

It might seem like a four game split with the Kansas City Royals at home would be an odd time for me to suddenly stand and pledge allegiance to the “Why Not?” bandwagon, but…you know…Machado and all.

My original idea for my weekly “Reality Check” column was to write about the realities of 3B Manny Machado’s hot start (6-16, 3HR, 7RBI in four games). I had planned to say “I hate to be the bad guy, but let’s remember that the most likely scenario is that Machado won’t be able to continue this success for the rest of the season or likely even for the rest of August.”

I had intended to say something along the lines of “American League pitchers will likely end up catching up with Machado, who also won’t have the benefit of facing Kansas City Royals pitching every time out.” I was going to add thoughts along the lines of “let’s not forget that even OF Xavier Avery collected 10 hits in his first eight games after getting called up to Baltimore earlier in the season.”

I probably would have mentioned that in the coming week Machado would have to go up against veteran pitchers like Red Sox starters Josh Beckett (albeit a Beckett that has struggled mightily in 2012) and Clay Buchholz as well as reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. It’s a bit more legitimate than a group of KC starters that included Will Smith, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen.

I also think I would have mentioned that Machado had not hit .300 in a single month while playing in the Eastern League this season, making a market correction from a very hot start to August seem likely at some point.

That’s what I WAS going to do. But for some reason, it just didn’t stick.

As we’ve repeated ad nauseum during the 2012 Orioles campaign, there is no statistical explanation for why the Birds have won 62 of their first 115 games. Those of us who have been watching understand that the team has benefitted from an incredible bullpen, a number of home runs, great success in close games and expert guidance from AL Manager of the Year candidate Buck Showalter.

That’s why I couldn’t write the Machado column. I didn’t have it in me.

Maybe there IS a chance Machado can continue to make significant contributions as a 20 year old in a lineup that has been seeking an additional spark. The Birds don’t have a full season .300 hitter in their lineup, but they’ve managed to get continued contributions from unexpected places.

Career journeyman INF Omar Quintanilla is batting .328 in just 20 games sense being acquired in a deal with the New York Mets. Veteran (and by “veteran” I mean “washed up”) OF Nate McClouth has eight hits in his first 24 AB’s since being called up from the Norfolk Tides. Even the miserable bat of Mark Reynolds (.211 and just nine home runs in 289 AB’s) provided what proved to be the game winning RBI in Sunday’s win over KC.

I don’t think it can be sustained. I didn’t think it could be sustained two months ago. I was wrong then. Maybe I’m wrong now. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand exactly how all of this has happened this way this season.

So can Manny Machado keep contributing to an Orioles team pushing towards an appearance in the postseason?

What the hell?

Or…why not?

-G

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MASN has gobs of money but they don’t want to give any of it to the Nationals

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MASN has gobs of money but they don’t want to give any of it to the Nationals

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Drew Forrester

You would think the prospect of the Orioles getting $75 million or more annually via TV rights fees would make the ballclub happy.

It might also make them better.

But that’s not the case.

It’s not the case because the same guy who owns the Orioles also happens to own the TV network that pays that rights fee to the team.  Confused?  Conflict-of-interest, you say?  Perhaps it is, but that’s what the story involving MASN and the Washington Nationals has become — one giant conflict of interest.

Sadly, it’s the Orioles on-field product that could suffer the most during this time of uncertainty.

THE REALITY OF WHAT’S GOING ON

The short version of the story is this:  The Washington Nationals currently receive $29 million a year from MASN for a rights fee.  They are allowed to “challenge” that rights fee figure every 5 years.  The Nationals believe they should receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million per-year in exchange for MASN televising their home and away games.  MASN feels like $35 million is a fair number.  Therein lies the conflict, one that has remained unresolved for so long that Major League Baseball had to step in to arbitrate the situation and award a new rights fee figure to the Nationals.

Oh, yeah, the Orioles also receive $29 million annually from MASN.

Peter Angelos owns MASN.

And he also is the majority stockholder of the Orioles.

You get it, now?

MASN receives roughly $14 million a month (yes, a MONTH) from Xfinity (nee Comcast) according to a source familiar with the financial agreement between those two.  That $168 million alone would be more than enough for MASN to generate nearly a $70 million profit according to the source.  Add in payments from Verizon, DirectTV and other cable carriers in the Mid-Atlantic and the sports network could be pocketing more than $100 million in annual profits.

So what’s the issue at hand?

Money.

The Nationals  - currently receiving $29 million – think their fair value is more like $100 million a year.

MASN doesn’t want to give it to them.  In fact, they’d rather just hand over $35 million annually to the DC franchise.

Wrapping this up and making it into a real barnburner is the added situation involving the Orioles and their rights fee.  When Peter Angelos (MASN) negotiated with Peter Angelos (Orioles), Peter made Peter agree to a clause that stipulates the Orioles will always receive the same amount of annual rights money as the Nationals receive from MASN.  Pretty tricky, huh?

Now, though, Peter doesn’t want to pay the Nationals $50 million or $75 million or $100 million because…yep…he’d also have to pay the Orioles the same amount.

It’s not quite as intriguing as “50 Shades of Grey” but it’s a helluva story.

MORE MONEY MEANS SPENDING MORE ON PLAYERS 

When the TV network originated back in 2006, it was done so almost purely to provide the Orioles with enough additional revenue to compete with big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.  There’s the still-legendary story that Angelos handed to then-fledgling “Press Box” in which the owner claimed the only way to compete with the beasts of the AL East would be to spend with them for free agents using a RSN (Regional Sports Network) as the catalyst for such spending.

Interestingly enough, it’s the Nationals – not the Orioles – who have become players in the free agent market over the last few years.  Whether or not you like Jayson Werth as a player, one thing is for sure:  the Nationals weren’t afraid to put money on the table for him a few years ago.  They made a legitimate effort for Mark Teixeira in 2009 and reportedly made overtures to Prince Fielder before he signed on in Detroit.

That Washington is in first place right now isn’t really part of this story.  That the Nationals aren’t afraid to spend money – lots of it – on baseball players most certainly is, though.

Therein lies another reason that MASN (Angelos) doesn’t want to inflate the rights fee paid out to the Nationals.  He knows the Nats will spend it on players.  He knows, in stark contrast to what his club has done since MASN hit the scene in 2006, the Nationals will improve their team with his money.

And if Washington spends their (just for for argument sake) $70 million on players and ups their annual payroll to the $125 million or so mark, what will the Orioles do with the $70 million THEY receive from MASN?  Will they spend that extra money (roughly $45 million more than they receive right now) on players, too?

(Please see next page) 

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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