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Orioles and MLB continue to insult fans with “rainball” at Camden Yards

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While you and most everyone you know was asleep last night, the Orioles, MLB and umpire Randy Marsh were seeing to it that a regulation major league game was played last night at Camden Yards.

In an embarrassing display of disregard for the fans and the players in a game that “officially” went until 12:19 a.m. this morning, Marsh spent six hours of the evening through four rain delays to get the Twins and Orioles onto the field for six innings of water-logged baseball and the Orioles stole a 4-1 win.

Today, on “Limited Access” at 2 p.m., we’ll be discussing how it’s evenings like Wednesday night and the utter disregard for the paying customers and their own athletes that continue to find Oriole Park empty most nights.  Can you imagine having a full-priced ticket for last night’s game and having to endure an evening at the ballpark where it rains all night and they insist on playing the game against any common sense?

As expected, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was red-faced with anger and livid that the game ever began — and anyone who looked at the forecast and/or the radar could’ve seen that the chances of playing a legitimate MLB game last night were slim.

Gardenhire said in his postgame press conference: “”The game should have never started in the first place. We never had a window all night long. All you have to do is look at the radar, and you see it’s supposed to rain all night long. Once we stopped the first time, we should never have gone right back out there. There was never more than a 15-minute window to do anything. It stopped raining, starting raining hard again.”

“It’s a joke,” he said, finishing with an obvious statement that I’m sure Bud Selig will fine him for at some point later in the day.

Gardenhire also told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

“Once we got going, we tried to play five innings. And Major League Baseball is nine innings. And we didn’t get a chance to do that because the weather, from the get-go, showed that we shouldn’t be doing this. From the get go!

“Somebody made a mistake here and screwed up. I don’t know who is supposed to be accountable for this mess, but my team ends up paying the final price.”

The Orioles will take any charity at this point, earning their 11th win of the year against 17 losses. As usual, it was Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Luke Scott leading the attack, each with a pair of hits. Markakis and Scott both hit homers.

As for the pitching, getting guys loose in the bullpen during these “on-off” rainy nights is a nightmare on the staff. The Orioles used up both Mark Hendrickson and Brian Bass over the six innings of the game.

Tonight, it’ll be Brad Bergesen (1-0, 5.17) vs. Glen Perkins (1-2, 3.34) in the cap of another two-game series at Camden Yards.

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Fixing the O’s without risking the future

Posted on 22 April 2009 by Jason Jubb

It’s not as complex as the team makes it out to be. A few simple moves and the team can be a little more palatable with a little more hope for the rest of the season.

The first move to add Brad Bergeson to the rotation is a start. Bergeson is a control pitcher who is the most ready of any of the prospects and even though he has had limited experience at AAA it is not a stretch to put him in the majors. The same cannot be said for the likes of Arrieta, Matusz, and Tillman who still need a year of seasoning before they should be considered.

Next, drop Adam Eaton and bring up David Pauley. Over the past 3 years Eaton has consistently had a WHIP of over 1.50 while averaging an ERA around 6.00. Do you really think anyone can do worse than that? You would be hard pressed to find a guy who has had his last 60 starts in the majors go so bad, and yet end up in a major league rotation the next year. David Pauley gets the nod after going 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA at AAA Pawtucket last year. I’m not saying Pauley will be the answer but I would rather see us get beat with a 25 year old pitcher who has a little upside as opposed to the consistent bad performance of Adam Eaton.

Keeping with the pitching, go ahead and send Hendrickson to the bullpen as the long/mop up man. If you have to send someone down, I think Brian Bass may pass through waivers…Then call up Chris Waters to be the lefty in the rotation. Once again, Waters is not going to set the world on fire but I would rather lose with a guy who has a chance to not totally stink. Mark Hendrickson lost that chance long ago as he has compiled a career ERA of 5.06 in 991 career innings. Also, this may only be a short term gig for Waters if he does not produce since we are hoping Rich Hill will get healthy and return to the rotation sometime in May.

Lastly, cut ties with Felix Pie. I know he has only had a handful of AB’s with the O’s but I have never seen someone who looks so awkward in the majors. He is rigid and timid in the field, while he looks to have no approach at the plate. I find it hard to believe that he can master these skills at age 24 (allegedly, he looks older to me). To draw an analogy, it’s kind of like the wide receiver who can’t catch, you learn to catch when you are 7 years old not 23. Pie lacks skills that should have been acquired years ago. And I have a funny feeling he also might pass through waivers at this point…

In Pie’s spot I would give the AB’s to either Montanez or Reimold. Neither guy is young by prospect standards so it’s about time that one of them makes or breaks in the majors. I would give the edge to Reimold mostly because Montanez has had his chances in AAA and failed more than once. His lifetime average at the AAA level is .241 in 510 AB’s before this season. I am not that impressed with his year last year at AA since he was two years older than the league average at that time.

It’s that easy. The team gets a little better, fans will appreciate the fresh faces, and we do not have to rush the young pitching. If you see Andy MacPhail let him know he can hear me on the Sunday Morning Blitz along with Rex Snider from 10am-12pm or email me at Jason@wnst.net for more advice.

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Birds get complete effort, beat White Sox 10-3 to get Bergesen a debut win

Posted on 21 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles looked like a different team tonight. A great start from a promising young draftee after five years of striving to get this opportunity. The meat of the lineup produced big-time, the bottom of the order chipped in and the bullpen was perfect. End result: Orioles 10, White Sox 3.

Brad Bergesen gets the win. Aubrey Huff hit two homers. Nick Markakis and Luke Scott were terrific. And despite the long-ish rain delay, it still was a memorable night.

Drew started blogging during the rain storm. I picked it up in the sixth. Hope you enjoy our coverage, especially if you missed the game.

11:17 p.m. — Huff continues to pile on. He’s hit two homers and driven in four and the rout is now three outs away from being over. It’s 10-3 and they’re icing down the champagne for Bergesen, who did a nice job.

11:03 p.m. –So just who is the star of this one? Bergesen who is going to win his ML debut? Or Markakis who is 4-for-4? Or Luke Scott who is 3-for-3? Or Aubrey Huff who hit a tape-measure dinger an hour ago? Lots of stars tonight. Heck, even Zaun and Izturis have contributed tonight and the bullpen has been spotless over almost three innings so far…

10:56 p.m. — Both Gregg Zaun and Cesar Izturis have chipped in here in the 7th, the latter with a two-RBI double down the RF line. Luke Scott is 3-for-3. The Orioles have played a great game tonight. Waking up the bats at the bottom of the lineup would surely pay some dividends on this home stand. And it looks like they’ve found a young pitcher who can take the ball every five days and keep them in games.

10:47 p.m. — Nick Markakis is now 4-for-4. He’s hitting .389 on the season. Pretty spectacular start for him after signing for the big bucks. Meantime, the bottom of the order continues to just drag:

Gregg Zaun is hitting .108. Felix Pie is hitting .139. Cesar Izturis is leading the group at .163.

It’s amazing they’ve en route to be a .500 team and 7-7 with this happening on a nightly basis.

10:39 p.m. — I’ve been watching all night but I’m now coming out of the bullpen for Drew, who has to wake up at 4:30 a.m. I have to hope there are more people who care than are at the ballpark tonight. It was a long rain delay and I’ve been watching the game in delay all night. Sad to Bergesen’s family at the ballpark watching their boy make his big-league debut in such a lonely environment.

Brad Bergesen was very composed, as predicted. Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis continue to rip the ball. This has been a nice night to be in line to break a five-game losing streak. And Bergesen’s line should bring about some hope until Sunday, when he should take the ball again vs. Texas.

Bergesen: 5 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, just 1 earned run, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. A helluva start. These are the kind of numbers that Mark Hendrickson and Adam Eaton won’t acheive on a nightly basis every fifth day.

Drew’s running blog from the first six innings is here…

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Red Sox complete 4-game sweep, batter Orioles 12-1

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

1:50 p.m. — The Red Sox are getting well this inning off of the O’s bullpen. Mike Lowell just added another single. Update on Radhames Liz: 1/3 IP, 3H, 6ER, 1BB, 2HBP. His ERA is now: 67.50.

1:45 p.m. — The Bad News Bears weren’t this bad. Youkilis just sent a “seeing eye” pop that bounced an inch from the RF line to score another run. This one looked like it had a message of some kind. Just a crazy swing of the bat. Add another ER to Liz’s line…

1:39 p.m. — Liz just bounced one in front of David Ortiz that hit his leg. Here comes Matt Albers. He inherits the bases loaded and one out in the 7th inning.

Liz: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 W, 2HBP … His ERA is now 47.25.

Oh, and there’s three more ducks on the pond and Kevin Youkilis is awaiting like Alberts is raw meat. Jim Hunter just said: “Not a good outing for Radhames Liz.”

Yeah, ya think? That’s a helluva observation, Jimmy!

1:36 p.m. — Another single, 9-1. Radhames Liz is NOT a Major League pitcher. Now Matt Albers is warming in the bullpen. At this point, I have no idea why they’re not just saving the bullpen for tomorrow. Brad Bergesen is making his major-league debut. It would be a good idea to save the bullpen.

1:34 p.m. — It hasn’t taken long for Radhames Liz to go into “arsonist” mode. He’s given up a double, he’s hit one batter and walked one. Oh, and he did get one out. It’s 7-1. UPDATE: Another single, 8-1.

1:10 p.m. — This just in: Felix Pie SUCKS! He can’t hit. He can’t run the bases. And he certainly looks lost in the outfield shagging flyballs. The defense has been “spotty” at best over the first two weeks of the season. But, Pie just played a relatively easy play for a major league centerfielder into a two-run triple for David Ortiz. YES…a TRIPLE by Ortiz at Fenway Park! They’re down 6-1. Sarfate’s ERA is going to suffer, but that was just brutal defense. Embarrassing…they’re nine outs away from being swept by the Red Sox in Boston.

I have great admiration for Jim Palmer for not simply jumping out of his seat and saying: “I wouldn’t have pitched for a franchise this bad!”

12:58 p.m. — Looks like five innings is the max, except for Koji Uehara these days. Hendrickson is out. Dennis Sarfate is next. The Birds are still down 3-1.

12:22 p.m. — Well, hopes are that Mark Hendrickson is settling down. He just struck out the bottom of the Red Sox order in 4th inning. He might even make it to the 6th or 7th inning if he keeps throwing at this pace. Jim Palmer is talking incessantly about his 1970 appearance on Patriots Day in Boston. (I love old ‘Cakes’ stories…)

12:06: Finally, we get our first real “call up” treat here in 2009. Brad Bergesen (1-1, 2.45 ERA at Norfolk) will take the ball tomorrow night at Camden Yards vs. the White Sox. Not sure if that sells them any more tickets (some will be going for the free Koji T-shirt) but I’m excited to watch this kid pitch.

12:04 p.m. — The Orioles are on the board, getting a rare RBI single from Cesar Izturis in the 3rd inning. Nick Markakis just played a flyball out into a triple. Jim Palmer: “That should be an error but that’s not the way they do things anymore.”

‘Cakes’ cracks me up!

11:49 p.m. — Mark Hendrickson has been lucky to escape the first two innings with only three runs allowed, as he loaded the bases in the first with no outs and escaped with only two runs plated. In the second, he gave up a monumental home run to Jason Varitek in the 2nd inning.

Now, Ryan Freel made it to first on an infield single and was hit in the head with a throw trying to steal second base and left the game groggy with Robert Andino taking his spot at third base.

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The Orioles try to avoid ‘the broom’ for breakfast

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

To say the weekend in Boston has been counterproductive would be an understatement. Yesterday at Fenway, Koji Uehara was very, very good, allowing just two runs in 7 innings in what was the best start of the year for any Orioles starter. But unfortunately, Jon Lester was even better, stifling the O’s bats and holding them to just four hits in seven innings while striking out nine Birds. Even Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff stuck out twice in trying to solve the young lefty.

Prior to yesterday’s quality start by Uehara, which also gave the bullpen a much-needed respite, the starting pitching has been dreadful of late but yesterday it was the bats that fell silent in taking the O’s down to defeat. The top of the order has been phenomenal but the bottom has been unacceptable, even on a bad NL team where the pitcher would be batting in the No. 9 hole.

Gregg Zaun is hitting .129.

Felix Pie is hitting .161.

Cesar Izturis is hitting .162.

And the one thing you never can count on but always looms large — good health — has become an issue with red-hot Adam Jones now out of the lineup with a tweaked hamstring joining Norfolk Tides catcher/superstar-in-waiting Matt Wieters on the shelf temporarily.

At some point, this can only get better, right?

Today at 11 a.m. the Orioles will try to avert a four-game sweep at the hands of the BoSox before coming back home tomorrow night to open a homestand against the Chicago White Sox. It’s always weird — baseball for brunch — but it’s Patriots Day in Boston and the runners will be tearing up the route of the Marathon all morning in Beantown.

Utility player Ryan Freel was angry regarding playing time last week and approached Dave Trembley and the organization about the issue. Maybe he should consider hitting more than .071 when he does get a rare start as he did against Lester yesterday.

The Orioles are now 6-6 and send Mark Hendrickson (1-1. 3.00) to the hill against Justin Masterson to avert not only a sweep but a sub-.500 return to Camden Yards.

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Orioles Magic goes to 5-2! Orioles almost blow six-run lead, hold on to beat Rangers 10-9

Posted on 13 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

In a twisting, turning game that was long on offense, short on pitching and entertaining to the end, the Orioles outlasted the Rangers’ late attack to win 10-9 over the Texas Rangers in Arlington to go to 5-2 on the season. The Birds jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning and had fallen behind 4-2 by the fourth inning. Led by four hits from Aubrey Huff and three from Brian Roberts, the Orioles scored eight runs in the 4th and 5th innings and held a 10-4 advantage and Koji Uehara was rolling into the 6th inning when he fell apart giving way to Danys Baez and the bullpen of arsonists.

The Rangers scored five unanswered runs late in the game and had pulled within 10-9 by the 9th inning.

The Rangers got two baserunners on in the 9th inning and even pulled off a double steal before George Sherrill gave everyone a Don Stanhouse-like scare (thrill?) before fanning Marlon Byrd to end a 3:16 epic.

The game featured 27 hits — 16 by the Orioles, including four by Huff who is doing a nice interview with his co-worker Amber Theoharis.

Great defense by Nick Markakis. Great defense by Brian Roberts. Great offense from the top of the Orioles’ order.

The Orioles are 5-2.

Oh, yeah. And the Orioles wore BALTIMORE on their chests and the game was in HD with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer tonight from Arlington.

My running blog is below and features more than just the game.

11:14 p.m. — Wow, Nick Markakis might’ve just single-handededly won the game with a diving, flailing catch at the wall of a ball that Michael Young just clobbered. It would’ve been a double and might’ve even been an inside the parker with a bad hop. Kinsler almost got doubled off after hitting a foul line double down the right field line to start the inning. No doubt this one should be tied. Cakes made the best defensive play of his career in a big, big spot. Good work!

11:10 p.m. — Frank Francisco came in and just flat pumped gas. Three up, three down and Roberts, Jones and Markakis didn’t look to be a factor with the big guy. He was impressive. Now, here comes George Sherrill. Gary Thorne just said: “Put your seat belts on…” No doubt. They’re three outs from a 5-2 start. This is a big inning. They can’t blow this massive lead all the way, can they? Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. That’s a helluva test…

11:01 p.m. — Dave Trembley is “managing” this one by the book. He’s going to go matchup-by-matchup and play the numbers. Jim Johnson is next to get some work to face Taylor Teagarden, one of the more colorful names in the big leagues. Johnson goaded T2 into a flyout to Adam Jones. And Brian Roberts just robbed Elvis Andrus of a single by diving into the hole on one of the best plays of this — or any other — season. Major leather from BRob! Onto the ninth. George Sherrill will get a save opportunity.

10:52 p.m. — A leadoff double by Luke Scott is wasted. The Orioles have 16 hits. They had a six-run lead in Texas, where no lead is safe. They even got a decent start from Uehara. But it hasn’t been enough to put away the explosive Rangers. Bottom of the order is coming up for the Rangers and it’s as soft as the Orioles bottom three are on a nightly basis. I expect pinch-hitting. Jamie Walker is next up for the O’s…

10:41 p.m. — Andruw Jones just hit a monster homer off of Danys Baez, who stinks. It was a two-run job and the score is now 10-9. It was 10-4 when I turned it on a half hour ago. It’s only the 7th inning. I have a feeling the fireworks are far from over — on both sides!

10:39 p.m. –What a strange day? I got to work at 1:15 and by 1:45 Harry Kalas was being rushed to the hospital and was reported dead at 1:54. At Padonia Station at 6:40 p.m. Ray Bachman told me that Mark Fidrych had died. And on the way back from the show with Billick and DeCosta tonight, my wife told me that she saw on the web that Marilyn Chambers died. A very weird day when three celebs who I interacted with all die in the same news cycle…

Harry Kalas came on my show anytime we ever asked him. He was just a super nice man. My heart breaks for all of his many, many friends and admirers. He was the voice of Philadelphia. He was the voice of the NFL. As a guy who has made a living in radio, he was a very inspirational, powerful voice. A tragic loss for many…

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych will always hold a special place in my heart. He was just fantastic for a 7-year old boy to watch during the summer of 1976. I was a baseball freak and he was a loveable superstar. Just a magic summer he had, only to be replicated once that I can think of, and that was Fernando Valenzuela (who was also a super good guy!) I interviewed Fidrych at a few All-Star Games back in the 1990′s and he even did a radio liner for me. He had a thick New England accent and the same floppy hair.

Ah, Marliyn Chambers. Well, I didn’t interview her as much as I called in as a listener to ask her a question when she was on the Tom Snyder overnight radio show. I did it as “a dare” with the guys on the sports desk at The Evening Sun in the late 1980′s. The culprits shall remain nameless, but I remember sitting in Jack Gibbons’ office at 2:15 a.m. with the lights off talking with Marilyn Chambers and Snyder saying “You’re on the air!” I don’t even remember what question I asked her, but I’m sure it was something stupid.

Like I said, just a weird night and now the O’s are trying to blow this one…

10:28 p.m. — I just got back from Padonia Station where we had an awesome evening with Brian Billick and Eric DeCosta. It was a rambling 90-minute discussion about all things purple and NFL draft. Good stuff…can’t wait for you to hear it and see it! I’ll splice the videos in with the “Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk” auditions.

I flipped the Birds game on and the score after their early fireworks was 10-4. Lots of hits, lots of runs and Koji Uehara looked like a legit No. 2 starter for the second time, doing a decent job of keeping the Rangers at bay until he fell apart in the sixth and couldn’t get anyone out.

Enter Danys Baez…

He’s didn’t quell the storm, but it’s now 10-7 and the O’s are into the bullpen and have nine outs left and three runs to give to baseball most potent offensive attack.

It’s still a game…

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Feel the Magic: The O’s are beating the AL East’s best

Posted on 11 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

So far, there’s not much to complain about. If the Orioles can just get a dozen more starts like Mark Hendrickson’s gem last night, this might turn into an interesting spring. There once was a time when beating Tampa Bay in April was meaningless. No mas…

As I watch the rain fall today — and I can’t believe that they’ll actually play this evening but the forecast is for a late afternoon clearing and an “ontime” start –  the pitching advantage certainly benefits the Birds tonight with Jeremy Guthrie taking the ball against Jeff Niemann. The Orioles are now 3-1 and have managed to hold on late in all three games, contests that in previous years might’ve gone the wrong way. And the bullpen has really kinda stunk all week, which usually means “death knell.”

Here’s all you need to know about the offense: Brian Roberts is hitting .438 and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are stroking it at a .429 clip. The table is being set. I don’t love Jones in the No. 2 hole — he strikes out too much — but if he can continue to make contact and maybe even use his speed to bunt and hit behind runners (and Roberts will be on base plenty) there will be RBI opportunities for Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora or whomever is in the middle of the order. And, of course, there’s always the mystery of where Matt Wieters will bat once he’s summoned from the Tidewater Basin.

The difference between the Orioles winning 65 or 75 games this year will depend on the pitching. Heck, Hendrickson just MAKING it into the sixth inning is a victory if he can do that every five days. Resting the bullpen, which no doubt will be taxed, is essential. Especially with Adam Eaton-up-innings looming on Easter Sunday.

They’re 3-1. It’s raining. Guthrie wants the ball. They’ll be wearing BALTIMORE grey sweaters on Monday night (please join us at Padonia Station for a combo “Billick-DeCosta” draft show and BALTIMORE viewing party at 7 p.m. as the Birds travel to Arlington to take on the Rangers). A split over the next 48 hours and they will have taken two series against  “elite” teams in the AL East to start the season. And the reasoning goes: if they can beat these teams, they can beat anyone.

One more thought for the weekend: WOW, Evan Longoria is solid. If Wieters is HALF this good it’ll be fun watching when he gets called up, no matter their record.

Rain, rain…go away! We gotta play the Rays today…

Hope to see you at the Blast game tonight! (I’m DVRing the Birds in “low def” on MASN).

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Boos for Teixeira and the ghost of Jeffrey Maier spark O’s to 10-5 win over Yankees

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, whatever they did to keep away the New York fans and somehow get orange-colored sweaters into the seats worked. It was a major victory for the Orioles front office, keeping Opening Day from being ruined by a sea of pinstripers.

Then, of course, the outcome, a 10-5 win over the Yankees, didn’t suck either. And the WAY they won, right? A stolen home run with all of the imagery of Jeffrey Maier. They chased the Yankees big-money starter C.C. Sabathia in the fifth inning. The bullpen folded just to the brink of collapse but the offense led the way late in the game. It was a blueprint for how they’re going to win this year (if they’re going to win). Get a solid start. Give way to the bullpen. Hit the ball. Don’t kick the ball around. And take their chances.

No reason to do play-by-play here – I’m assuming you watched the game. Doesn’t everyone watch Opening Day? But the most compelling part of today’s game was the ability to stay into the game and it was a good dramatic start to the season and it gave Orioles fans everywhere some pride, a nice beatdown of the Yankees and Mark Teixeira on Opening Day.

My favorite memory will undoubtedly be the Teixeira boo birds. It was a classic “Welcome Home” for Tex, who said he didn’t expect anything like what he saw from his “neighbors” today.

Every time Mark Teixeira came to the plate, the crowd killed him. It was perhaps the most brutal “welcome” for a player in Oriole Park history. I don’t ever remember a specific player getting hammered quite so lustily by the crowd.

Here’s a couple of close ones, this side of John Elway, Denver, circa 1983: the night Pedro Martinez got the “whose your daddy” chant for the Opener in 2004, the night in 2004 when we brought 2,000 fans into the right field bleachers to razz Vladimir Guerrero (I think he had three hits and 6 RBIs that night) after he signed with the Angels, maybe Bill Hasselback after the fight, certainly Cito Gaston anytime after the 1993 All-Star Game. Sammy Sosa certainly got the great signs and scorn as a Cubbie when he came in town after getting popped with the “Scarlet S.”

But the Teixeira raspberries were right up there on Opening Day. It was well done by the disgruntled Orioles fans, even if you and I probably would’ve done the same thing and signed with the Yankees given the circumstances and the money involved and the notion of being an Oriole and working here with a perennial doormat team. But the Mt. St. Joe star got the ultimate “Baltimore cheer” at the ballpark today. Good for the fans!

Today’s win was a recipe for 2009 success. Get a decent starting effort – let’s say six innings or more. Be opportunistic on offense, even when you aren’t hitting home runs. Today, the Orioles strung together hits and walks and aggressive baserunning (did you see that Ty Wigginton tag on a fly ball to Johnny Damon in left field?) to beat the highest-priced team money can buy. Oh, and a few big late hits from Cesar Izturis and Aubrey Huff sealed the fate of the 0-1 Yankees.

They’ll need more efforts like today’s over the course of a long 162-game season. They outplayed the Yankees today, even without the help from that kid in left field who will be 2009’s Jeffrey Maier.

My favorite gaffes, events or notable random notes:

Jim Hunter, direct quote: “We’ve already experienced a lifetime of great memories here in this grand ballpark at Camden Yards.”

We have?

Speaking of Hunter, his predecessor was twice caught on camera by MASN, which must’ve flipped out the upper management.

First, Jon Miller was caught in the shot with Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, canoodling with his old chums before taking the ESPN assignment. Then, Miller was with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer the instant the camera was on them like 60 seconds later. It was crazy and Miller twice went scrambling out of the shot so he didn’t piss anyone off. We all know he should’ve never left to begin with…

Early in the game, when Teixeira was getting mercilessly booed, the MASN HD cameras panned to a women who was nursing a Bud Light and clearly mouthing the words: “a—–hole”…kinda funny!

The “Yankees Suck” cheers early in the game were a nice sound to hear emanating from Camden Yards…

Is it just me or does Dave Trembley look like William Shatner in those goofy MASN commercials where he’s scolding “the media” with his wife as the audience in his living room?

So much to talk about. And it’s just the beginning. A great start to what we all hope is an interesting season for the Orioles.

And the best part? The return of “Oriole Pride” at least for a day. The crowd was eaily 80 percent orange, a major upset.

At least tonight Orioles fans go to bed in sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Let’s see what Koji Uehara can bring on Wednesday.

You really couldn’t ask for much more on Opening Day.

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A gloomy forecast — today and for the ’09 Birds

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The sky is gray across the horizon in downtown Baltimore this morning as the Orioles kick off their 2009 campaign amidst a city full of Yankees fans and the inaugural appearance for Baltimore’s homegrown Mark Teixeira as a pinstriper. It was a dark day even before the clouds and scattered showers moved in from the south.

The Orioles, who haven’t played a meaningful game since October 1997, appear to be about to put another 162 insignificant games into the record books as the “dark era” of Birds baseball continues, the longest stretch of inepetitude in the history of the storied franchise. The Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Orioles “win/loss” total at 71 1/2, which means if the Orioles play just “18 games under .500″ you win the bet.

I’m not a betting man, but based on what I’ve seen for six weeks in spring training regarding their pitching, I’d be jumping at the “under” on this proposition. That said, I like this team, these position players and the quality of the character it appears Andy McPhail has assembled.

I want to cheer for Brian Roberts. I like Luke Scott and Adam Jones. I’m interested in Felix Pie, although I think he’ll probably be this year’s version of Jeff Stone. I think Aubrey Huff looked inspired for six months last summer and I’m not convinced he won’t rebound with another big year. I’m not sure what to make of Melvin Mora at this point in his career and I think Cesar Izturis will be fun to watch field the ball. And Nick Markakis is just a solid ballplayer, almost a throwback.

On the rare nights that the bullpen will be delivered a 7th inning lead, it’ll be fun to see if they’re as good as advertised.

Some things I’m watching for this season:

When will Matt Wieters arrive for good and how will he perform? It’ll be the biggest franchise mid-season debut since Ben McDonald, which was a very, very big deal.

Let’s be honest: these current starting pitching is a joke and if Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Adam Eaton are the real five starters we’ll use all season, this team is probably 10 games under .500 before Memorial Day and then it becomes a “what to do?” for McPhail.

How will Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman do on the farm this year, especially before the All-Star break. If the current O’s veterans are as bad as we think they’ll be, which of these guys will be heatlthy, effective and ready to promote?

And will the Orioles start the M.L. service time on any of these kids with a summer call up? Or will McPhail allow the current veteran group to get their heads beaten in night after night? Or will Danys Baez or Brian Bass or David Pauley step in and perform? Or not?

That’s why we watch and certainly I’m poised to talk baseball every single day on WNST and AM 1570.

I just hope in these tough economic times, perhaps the people of Baltimore will return to baseball this summer and come to care again about the Orioles, if not in the stands perhaps on their TV’s around town. Of course, it would help if the franchise actually did its fair share and “came back to the people.” During the last six months, the team did exactly two events to promote their team. One of them was two days ago.

They continue to do foolish, selfish and mindless things that almost go unnoticed by the media that is in the business of making excuses for their sins so they can benefit financially.

Today’s starting pitcher — their No. 1 guy and big “hope” for the season — had his paycheck cut by 15% four weeks ago. Happy Opening Day, Jeremy Guthrie!

They continue to ban free speech, even daring their current players to not speak out about unsafe playing conditions in spring training.

We’ll see how much “progress” the organization has over the next six months. Let’s see how the puppies do on the farm. Let’s see how the young emerging stars perform in a mostly empty stadium and with starting pitching that no one can takes seriously as a team that will compete in the AL East in 2009.

But, let’s see how the season goes. My prediction: 65-97. Probably worse if someone doesn’t come in and save the rotation by July.

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Breakfast with Jim Schwartz and the NFC coaches

Posted on 25 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The NFL Owners Meetings are about to wrap up out here in Dana Point, Calif. later this afternoon and the final day brings the opportunity to dine and schmooze and interview the NFC coaches, which of course took me to the table of new Detroit Lions coach and longtime WNST.net contributor, Jim Schwartz. As an Arbutus native and Mt. St. Joe grad, I feel I owe it to Baltimore (as well as to Schwartz’s many friends and relatives) to get as much of the video up as possible.

I’m running to grab a plane but I have about an hour’s worth of great stuff — ranging from draft perspective to the 0-16 Lions to Schwartz’s view on Mark Teixeira and his new time management techniques. It might take me two days to get all of the videos up on the site but they’ll be coming soon and I’ll be releasing a few a day for the next week.

I’ve literally shot 2 1/2 hours worth of notable interviews, including more stuff with Rex Ryan, Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Mike Smith and tons more footage of yesterday’s sitdown with John Harbaugh, who had his brother Jim and dad Jack here for the last few days as well. It was my first chance to meet Jack Harbaugh, who might be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Just wonderful family, the Harbaughs!

The main focus of the last few days from the NFL’s perspective has been the impending start to negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. I could sum it all up, but Don Banks of SI.com did a very nice job in yesterday’s column. In short, the word “Armageddon” has been thrown around here in regard to a potential work stoppage in 2011 with the uncapped year looming large in 2010.

It’s been three great days here in Southern California and, as always, I learned a lot, listened a lot and asked a lot of questions. I’ll be bringing it all back and onto the air at AM 1570 and here at WNST.net over the next few weeks as we prepare for the April 25 draft.

It’s really amazing at an event like to see the Ravens alumni of coaches fare so well in the NFL.

Even with Brian Billick and Mike Nolan no longer in the fraternity the list is extraordinary and makes me proud to be a Ravens fan.

From Ted Marchibroda’s staff: Jim Schwartz, Ken Whisenhunt, Marvin Lewis and Eric Mangini are head coaches.

From Billick’s staff: Lewis, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith all had tables and held court the last two days.

And of course, there’s John Harbaugh who is always upbeat, positive and genial in dealing with folks.

It’s almost like a purple reunion, especially when you consider David Modell has been here with his usual comedy routine, insights and his awesome 3D company, 3eality. I’m a big fan of David and I miss his presence with the team. Of course the last place I ever thought I’d run into him was at an NFL event but he was here and in fine spirits.

I’ll be checking in over the next few days and it was nice to see the Terps ladies advance in the NCAA Tournament. Anything to keep my mind off of the Orioles pitching at this point!

Off to the airport…

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