Posted on 10 June 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 05 June 2012 by WNST Staff
(FROM PRESS RELEASE)
Several Orioles players dotted the leaderboard according to the voting results released Tuesday for this year’s All-Star Game selections. Center fielder Adam Jones is the top-ranking vote-getter among Orioles players with 857,543 votes and is in fifth place among outfielders. Matt Wieters is in second place among AL catchers with 713,469 votes.
Other Orioles in the running after the initial voting results were revealed include J.J. Hardy, who is third among shortstops and Robert Andino, who is in fourth place among second basemen. Nick Markakis ranks 12th in the AL outfield race.
Posted on 31 May 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 29 May 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 27 May 2012 by Glenn Clark
I’ve already used both space on Twitter (@WNST, @GlennClarkWNST) and on AM1570 WNST.net to opine about the significance of the Baltimore Orioles giving CF Adam Jones the richest contract in franchise history.
We now finally know all of the details and Jones is set to discuss those details Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
I won’t be attending Sunday’s press conference. I would, but our WNST.net Ballpark reporter Luke Jones has been denied the right to ask questions at previous press conferences and I don’t want to run the risk of causing a scene at what should almost certainly be a day of celebration.
Adam Jones’ contract extension is as much an event to celebrate as almost anything we’ve seen in the last 15 years of baseball in Charm City. The Birds have perhaps addressed both their present and their future and made a major statement about their willingness to do things differently than they have for more than decade while losing many more games than they won.
I’m aware Jones perhaps took a hometown discount in signing the contract a season and a half shy of free agency. I’m aware the team still appears to need more pitching than they currently have to be an annual contender. I’m aware that the team now needs to shift attention to catcher Matt Wieters when it comes to contracts.
There was something bigger than jumped out at me though.
As I was given more time to dissect what Jones’ deal really means, I thought back to December 1997. For O’s fans around my age, Brady Anderson was about the coolest thing to ever happen to the Orange & Black. He had young female fans worship him and young male fans…well…basically worship him. He had it all. Sideburns, muscles, personality, charm, speed, defense and an amazing 50 home run season.
(I didn’t mention anything about performance enhancing drugs. You do what you want there.)
After Anderson’s 50 home run campaign in 1996 and the Orioles’ run to the ALCS in ’97, young fans like myself lived in fear of waking up one morning to be informed that Anderson had signed a major deal with the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians.
Anderson was certainly not the commodity at 34 that Jones would have been had he reached free agency at 28, but he still had market interest. He ultimately passed on shorter deals with more per season to accept five years and $31 million from Peter Angelos and the Orioles. Anderson’s best seasons were clearly behind him, but it still meant quite a bit for the franchise to make the move.
I also thought back to January of 2009, when Andy MacPhail locked up OF Nick Markakis for six years and $66 million, the richest contract extension the franchise had given to a player until Jones’ deal. (SS Miguel Tejada had received the overall most lucrative contract in team history until Jones.) While certainly not reaching superstar status, Markakis has given the Birds stellar defense and a mostly consistent bat.
But beyond the significant contracts, there is a more important similarity between the two players whose time has spanned much of the team’s “Rock Bottom Era.” The issue is that neither player was able to use his major contract to help keep the team accountable.
A baseball player with a rich contract is in a unique situation with the franchise paying the deal. Because the money is guaranteed, the player has the right to get away with certain things a player in another league might not be able to. In the case of the Orioles, they’ve really needed a player who has been willing to stand up and say “we need better” as the team suffered through losing seasons after losing season.
Allow me to be fair to the two players involved. Anderson was only part of the club at the very beginning of their lean years, and the team was still making at least some attempts to improve by bringing in the likes of Albert Belle and others. (Anderson however has become a well known defender of the Angelos regime in recent years, which has helped him find his way back into the organization.) Markakis has never been much of a vocal type, but he did publicly question the direction of the organization. His participated in a dinner with Angelos that season to discuss those very issues.
Perhaps there is an argument to be made that Markakis’ 2010 outburst DID lead to accountability, as two years later the Orioles have shown themselves (at least for two months) to be one of the better teams in baseball.
But moving forward, I hope it’s a role that suits Jones well. I hope the fire, drive, passion and determination to win that have made Jones an emotional figure in recent years will translate both on field and off. I hope that if the Birds make questionable decisions, he’ll call them out for them. It doesn’t need to be something he does publicly, just a statement made privately from the player slated to receive more money during his tenure than any Oriole before.
I hope Jones embraces not only the responsibilities of an on field leader and star, but as a bit of a caretaker for an organization that has so desperately lacked the right man for the role. I hope he puts pressure on the organization to make the moves necessary to stay in contention every season. I hope he never takes the easy way out and thinks “Mr. Angelos (or insert future owner’s name here) has made me a rich man. It’s not my place to stand up to him.”
I feel as though Jones can be a significant part of the solution for the Orioles. I hope he’s up for everything that comes along with the task.
Posted on 25 May 2012 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones predictably downplayed the news of an imminent long-term extension to remain in Baltimore.
The 26-year-old reminded reporters nothing was official, suggesting they talk to his agent Nez Balelo or Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. But as the questions continued, Jones’ excitement began shining through as he appears hours away from not only becoming a rich man but remaining in the place that gave him his first extended opportunity to play in the big leagues.
“It would be cool,” said Jones, who is reportedly on the verge of signing a six-year contract worth upwards of $85 million. “I don’t want to jinx anything.”
Jones confirmed he took a physical on Thursday and was asked how much the team’s 28-17 record and the best start of his career have played a role in stimulating negotiations. The outfielder was unaware whether his agent or the club had initiated the negotiations leading to the rumored deal that would set a club record for the total amount of money offered.
While reminding reporters he could get paid anywhere when becoming a free agent after next season, it appears Jones will refrain from hitting the open market.
“What’s playing a role [in wanting to stay] is just the guys, the team, the hunger that everybody wants,” Jones said. “They want to win. It’s been 14, 15 years of getting your ass kicked here. I’ve been four [years] of getting my ass kicked. It’s not fun.”
The news wasn’t lost in the Baltimore clubhouse on Friday as the Orioles had lifted spirits despite losing three of their last four games.
The long-term commitment to Jones sends the message to the rest of the team’s young players that the organization intends to reward its young players for performing by investing significant money in them.
“He’s definitely a piece that you want to keep around for a long time,” right fielder Nick Markakis said. “I’ve been playing with Jonesy for a little while now, and he brings a lot to team and he brings a lot to the table. Up and down, he’s got it all.”
Jones was asked whether he had spoken with owner Peter Angelos about a contract, admitting that he had not. However, the outfielder expressed a desire to communicate with the 82-year-old to exchange their visions for the organization. Angelos is rarely around the club and most players have never even met the owner.
“[I] really do want to talk to him about a lot of different things that I have ideas of,” Jones said. “See what is the goal. What do we want to do here? If I’m a part of it, I’m a part of it. We’re adults, and I do want to meet with him.”
Now that Jones appears to be remaining in Baltimore for the foreseeable future, many have already turned their attention to catcher Matt Wieters, who is not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2015 season and is represented by agent Scott Boras.
Wieters was asked whether he had begun thinking about his own future with Jones’ deal now all but done, but the Baltimore catcher has more pressing issues on his mind despite expressing happiness for his teammate.
“I’m not worried about [my contract] now,” Wieters said. “I’m happy for Adam when it gets done, but at the same time, we’re worried about playing right now.”
With the Orioles off to their best start since 2005, optimism is abundant around town and Jones has taken a few opportunities to experience that recently. The enthusiasm reminds him of the Orioles’ winning past and why he wants to be a part of the effort to restore that tradition.
“It’s a winner’s city,” Jones said. “I would love to be in the middle of it as opposed to going somewhere else and not being really mine.”
Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Adam Jones, Buck Showalter, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters right here and follow WNST on Twitter for the latest updates and analysis from Camden Yards throughout Friday’s game.
Posted on 25 May 2012 by Peter Dilutis
These first two months of 2012 have been really, really fun here in Baltimore. As I’ve said numerous times before, I was seven years old the last time the Orioles had a winning season in 1997. Since then, we’ve all been teased by hot starts and promising prospects, only for the losses to mount during the summer and the players to depart over the winter.
For a few weeks now, I’ve wanted to believe that this organization has finally turned the corner. I’ve wanted to believe that Buck Showalter was finally the right manager to lead this team back to contention, and that Dan Duquette was finally the right general manager to make the aggressive, smart moves needed to contend in the toughest division in all of sports. The notion that this young, talented core assembled by Andy MacPhail and supplemented by Dan Duquette was finally good enough to take on the beasts in the American League has certainly crossed my mind. Some days, I believe it to be true. Other days, I remain skeptical.
After all, even if all of this does come together and 2012 turns out to be a magical year here in Birdland, will it continue?
Will the increased revenue generated from the added attendance that the coming months will undoubtedly bring barring a complete meltdown be put back into the team? Will it allow Dan Duquette to go out and not only add pieces, but keep his own? Would this version of the organization that is finally getting a taste of what it feels like to win in Baltimore have the drive to keep building, rather than constantly crossing their collective fingers hoping that 90 percent of the puzzle falls into the correct places in order to contend?
The Orioles are winning, and quite honestly, they aren’t showing many signs of slowing down. But how would this organization, led by an owner who has shown absolutely no commitment to winning consistently in this market and a general manager who was both highly successful and out of baseball for nearly a decade, handle success? How would they handle, well, not sucking?
I wasn’t sure. I was, and still am, more skeptical about the long-term relevance of the Baltimore Orioles than 2012. Once a team starts to win and gets that taste in their collective mouths, it’s often very tough to slow them down. Whether or not this team contends for a World Championship in 2012 is certainly up in the air, but I have a hard time envisioning this team not being at least in the top half of the baseball world come October. Even that would have to be considered a successful season given the bleak outlook of both the present and future just two months ago.
However, with an Adam Jones extension seemingly inevitable at this point, I have to say I am extremely surprised, impressed, and excited about where this organization is headed.
Peter Angelos is still the owner, and all that comes from that is not going to change. But the fact that the decision makers in the organization recognized the necessity of doing SOMETHING with Adam Jones prior to the trade deadline is a very good sign.
The fact that the decision was to extend Jones rather than trade him is an even better sign.
This organization has claimed to be rebuilding ever since Syd Thrift traded the likes of B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Charles Johnson, and the rest of the mediocre crew back in 2000. They’ve claimed that they have been building for the future each and every year of this decade and a half losing streak. We’ve heard the same tune from Jim Beattie, Mike Flanagan, Jim Duquette, and Andy MacPhail. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, the “building” never got past the ground level and they were using some pretty inferior hammers in the process.
When Buck Showalter was hired, he referenced the movie Braveheart and talked about how there would come a point in time when the organization would decide to release the spears and “go for it.” At this time, it would be determined that the core in place at the time was ready to contend, and at that point, it would be time to open the checkbook and make the moves necessary to contend for a championship, not just for one year but each and every year.
Posted on 15 May 2012 by Glenn Clark
Posted on 13 May 2012 by Paul Mittermeier
It’s time for another edition of What Had Happened Was. There were a lot of quality events to choose from this weekend. It’s a crazy time in sports because you have meaningful baseball in May, the NCAA Lacrosse tournament, the NHL and NBA Playoffs, and Football. That’s right football, it’s the most dominant sport in this city and even though it’s just a rookie camp it still rates when you talk about the most important events of the weekend. So here we go it’s time for the top three sports events of the weekend.
The Los Angeles Lakers Game seven win over the Denver Nuggets comes in at #3. I’m a Lakers fan but the main reason for this checking in at #3 is that Steve Blake was the catalyst for the Lakers’ game seven win. Kobe Bryant is the superstar of the Lakers and everyone talks about Andrew Bynum and Pao Gasol upfront. Saturday night however belonged to Blake. Steve had an answer for every Nuggets run as he made one big three pointer after another. Blake finished the night 7-11 from the floor and 5-6 from three point land. The former Maryland point guard tossed in 19 points in 29 minutes. It is absolutely amazing that he is still going strong in the NBA. Blake not only was the catalyst for the game seven win he also made the game clinching shot in game four. Maryland fans should be proud that Blake is still making an impact in the NBA
You just knew the Orioles would check in somewhere in the top three. They were just short on their Mothers Day comeback or they would have been #1 again this week. They just missed out on their second weekend sweep of a division opponent so Friday night’s win checks in at #2. It was the Orioles seventh come from behind victory of the season when they trailed going into the seventh inning. That stat in itself shows the resiliency of this year’s team. The fact that guys like Steve Tolleson and Bill Hall are getting clutch hits says something too. Nick Johnson picked a great time to hit his first home run as an Oriole his seventh inning, two-run blast was the difference in the game.
I have heard so many people talk about how closers are overrated in baseball. I laugh when I hear that. Does anyone feel pretty good right now when the O’s get to the eighth inning and Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson blow the opposition away? That’s a pretty good feeling and you can’t tell me that’s overrated. Kudos to Dana Eveland. He was really struggling on Friday night but somehow, someway battled through it and kept his team in the game. Eveland is just another call-up from Norfolk making an impact on this club. It’s still real early but the O’s are holding their own against the American League East and are going to make it through the brutal 15 game stretch against teams that won at least 90 games last year with a winning record (8-5 so far). BTW- Wieters is still untouchable Bulldog.
Posted on 06 May 2012 by Paul Mittermeier
Time for my weekly review of the top three sporting events of the weekend and my one non-sports related event . I’m not sure how I squeezeed in a non-sports event this time. It was a busy sports weekend with a lot of extra baseball thrown in. In case you didn’t know the Baltimore Orioles have the best record in Major League Baseball. I think that kind of gives you a hint as to what my #1 sporting event is going to be. Here we go!!
The Washington Capitals 3-2 win over the Rangers to even their best of seven series 2-2.
Give the Capitals credit they have fought hard for everything they have gotten in this postseason. It’s not easy to change the way you play the game sometimes. Dale Hunter finally has his team believing in his system and it’s starting to pay off. The Caps have grinded out every game in this year’s playoffs. Each game in their first round series was decided by one goal and three of the four games in this series have as well (the exception was game one). Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green scored goals in the Caps 3-2 win. Green’s Powerplay goal in the third period was the difference. It’s the 13th time that the trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green have all scored goals in the same game. The Caps are 13-0 in those games. The last time those three all scored a goal in the same game was back in 2010. The m0st impressive thing about the Capitals victory was the way they bounced back from a three OT loss on Wednesday night. Washington has now turned the series into a best of three starting Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. It was such a great race on Saturday afternoon. I’ll have another came all the way from the #19 post to catch Bodemeister and complete an improbable victory. No horse had ever won the Kentucky Derby from the #19 post position but I’ll Have Another and jockey Mario Guttierez did everything right.
Gutierrez got a great break out of the gate and then ran the horse into perfect position to make a run at Bodemeister in the stretch. I felt bad for Bodemeister’s trainer Bob Baffert. The best moment of the whole day was when they showed Baffert walking with his son Bode before the race. Baffert is recovering from a heart attack that he suffered six weeks ago. Even Baffert admitted after the race that I’ll have Another just ran a great race. You don’t often hear trainers say they are ok with finishing second but that’s exactly what Baffert said afterwards. I’ll have Another Trainer Doug O’Neill wasted no time after the victory proclaiming that I’ll Have Another was coming to Baltimore for the Preakness in two weeks.
Tell me that O’Neill (the man in the middle) doesn’t look like a guy you would just like to hang out and have a beer with! Here’s my favorite hat from Saturday.