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

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My answer: “It begins with Kevin Millwood.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Matusz is real?

If Wieters is real?

If Adam Jones can improve?

If Nick Markakis can remain consistent?

If Brian Roberts’ back can stay healthy?

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

If Tejada still has it?

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

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

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

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

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

My real prediction: 78 wins.

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

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

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O’s: I’m Having my Doubts About Dave Trembley

Posted on 01 April 2010 by Matt Duggins

It reminds me of a line from Hoosiers where Cletus says to Gene Hackman’s character (Norman Dale), “Norm, I’m trying hard to believe you know what you’re doing here.” 

 

Even as an eternal Orioles optimist- especially on April 1st– even I’m having to try hard to believe Dave Trembley knows what the hell he’s doing. 

 

If I’m not mistaken, the Orioles play exhibition games today, tomorrow and Saturday in Florida.  I would imagine they fly to Baltimore on Saturday night, get a day at home on Easter Sunday, stretch it out at OPACY on Monday morning, and then head to Tampa to open the season on Tuesday night.

 

Keeping that schedule in mind, why in God’s name did Dave Trembley send Jason Berken out there to start yesterday’s game?  Better yet, why is he sending Jake Arrieta out there to start today?  At this point shouldn’t the starting five be in their regular rotation?  

 

Brad Bergesen made his last outing of the spring on Tuesday.  If he is indeed the number 4 starter, he would next pitch a week from Friday in the home opener against Toronto.  On Tuesday he got roughed up for 6 ER in 5 IP.  He gave up three homeruns. 

 

So instead of keeping his guys in rotation, Trembley is going to let Bergesen sit on THAT outing for a week and a half?

 

I understand they got rained out on Sunday and everything got pushed back, but having Jake Arrieta pitch against Tampa Bay today is just a waste of innings. 

 

Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’m sure there is some grand plan here to make sure everyone is well rested for Opening Day and the stretch of 16 consecutive games that the Orioles open the season with, but I’m just not getting it.

 

According to the MASN website, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Cesar Izturis have stayed behind in Sarasota today rather than make the trip to Port Charlotte to get some AB’s against the Rays. 

 

Today’s lineup includes lineup against the Rays includes Scott Moore and Brandon Waring.  Ty Wigginton is batting second and playing second base.  Craig Tatum is catching.  Felix Pie is leading off.  Nolan Reimold is hurt and hitting fifth.

 

In years past, it seemed that guys were champing at the bit to get the hell out of Florida and on with the regular season.  This year it seems like they could use another three or four weeks down there. 

 

It really is starting to feel like they’re crossing their fingers and just hoping that the pieces of the puzzle all magically come together by Tuesday.  Or maybe there’s some magical switch that they flip when the calendar turns to April.

 

Don’t count on it.

 

I mentioned that 16 game stretch to open the season.  It’s really a pretty brutal stretch.  After nine divisional games with Tampa and Toronto, the Orioles wing out west without an off day, for a seven games in seven days stretch with Seattle and Oakland.  Rest for the weary?  Nah, after that they get twelve, yes twelve, straight against the Yankees and Red Sox. 

 

The point is that trying to make adjustments on the fly is going to be hard in April.  They can’t simply figure it out as they go.  Unless, of course, they don’t really care about winning this year. 

 

They don’t have the luxury of being able to string 8 or 9 wins in a row together like the Yankees do.  The Orioles simply don’t have the pitching for those kinds of streaks. 

 

The pitching matchups in Tampa are not favorable.  The Rays send Shields, Garza, and Niemann.  The Orioles counter with Millwood, Guthrie, and Matusz. 

 

Starting slow out of the gate could be devastating to this team.  If the Orioles come out of that 16 game stretch something like 6-10, things could get really ugly in a hurry. 

 

In my estimation, March was a fiasco for the Orioles.  Maybe it’ll come together in April.  Just pray it’s before 7:05 Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

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Former O’s phenoms resurface in Atlantic League

Posted on 21 March 2010 by dansoderberg

Just in time to temper your enthusiasm for the O’s latest crop of pitching prospects it was announced this week that former Orioles Matt Riley and Sidney Ponson will be pitching in the Atlantic League this season. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Riley, who in 1999 was the best O’s pitching prospect since Ben McDonald, will pitch for the York Revolution. Riley was rushed to the Big leagues as a 19 year old, blew out his arm and was never the same. He’s now 30 and still trying to establish himself in the majors.

We all know the Ponson story. Sir Sid’s problems were for the most part self inflicted. He was also rushed to the Majors as a 21 year old in 1998, and despite a 12 year career never fulfilled the club’s expectations. This season he’ll toil for the Long Island Ducks.

I’ll root for Riley to stay healthy and for Sidney to stay out of any Aruban prisons. Their stories should serve as cautionary tales for the Orioles and fans alike. The names Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta and Bergeson have stoked the fan base for the first time in years; but as the old adage goes, “There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect”. Andy MacPhail’s philosophy of stockpiling young arms is the right approach. If one of the 4 names mentioned above develops into a staff ace the Orioles and their fans should consider themselves blessed. Let’s just hope Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman aren’t pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers in 2020.

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Swing and a Miss

Posted on 28 October 2009 by dansoderberg

The Cardinals named strike out king Mark McGwire Hitting Coach, but the Orioles had yesterday’s biggest swing and miss. Before I get too far I want to thank Nestor for having me in studio today to talk about The Buddy Project and our upcoming fundraiser (www.thebuddyproject.net/ball). I really appreciate the opportunity and had a lot of fun talking baseball on the show. I can attest that Nestor isn’t all that Nasty and is one of the good guys.

I must say that Nestor was pretty fired up about the Orioles not sending any current players to the Brooks Robinson tribute on Monday evening. I admire Nestor’s passion, the Angelos-run Orioles have just about zapped all of my mojo, and agree that current players should have been in attendance. I don’t blame the players. I did blame the players for not going to Elrod’s funeral, that was disgraceful.

The Orioles front office wasted a golden opportunity on Monday to begin bridging the gap between the Orioles glorious past and what they’ve been selling as a promising future. Andy McPhail should have called Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and strongly urged them to not only attend the event, but familiarize themselves with Brooks’ career and what’s he has meant to Baltimore. A DVD of Brooks’ highlight reel wouldn’t have hurt either. The fact that this didn’t happen signifies that the team doesn’t feel it’s important for the gap to be bridged, and that alone shows a major disconnect between the club’s leadership and the frustrated fan base.

As for the World Series I’m picking the MFYs in 6. I’m pulling for the Phillies, but I envision Lidge giving up a late inning momentum shifting homer in Yankee Stadium. I think the team’s are evenly matched and it should be an entertaining series, especially Game 2 with Pedro on the mound, but the Yankees hold the clear advantage in the bullpen and I think that puts them over the top. That being said I’d much prefer to see Ryan Howard hit a Series winning bomb off of Mariano Rivera. Fingers crossed.

When I was on with Nestor today I mentioned how not so long ago the Phillies looked a lot like the current Orioles. Through most of my childhood, with the exception of 1993, the Phillies were a terrible franchise. Their fortunes began to change when they developed talented young players like Rollins, Utley, Howard and Hamels. The improved minor league depth also allowed the team to make deals for Lidge, Blanton and Cliff Lee. The Phillies also spend some cash, with a 2009 payroll of $113 million. The Orioles seem to have assembled a group of talented young players, they have some talent to package in deals, and if Peter ever gets off that big pile of MASN money there may be hope for this franchise yet. Of course, that is one massive if.

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When 99 > 100

Posted on 04 October 2009 by dansoderberg

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

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

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

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So, just how irrelevant are the Orioles?

Posted on 02 September 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Let’s start with these simple facts: the last three days have been the best weather days of this or any other century and Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been pretty much devoid of any signs of life from Baltimore fans. There have been roughly 10,000 Orioles fans at the ballpark each night while the team is en route to probably getting swept tonight by the New York Yankees.

The evil empire. The doers of bad deeds, like paying the best players on the planet the most money to come and continue a winning tradition. They’re easy to hate but it’s mandatory that you respect the New York Yankees.

They play to win. For the most part, they exclude class. And you get your money’s worth.

And you know how much tickets have been for these games?

Yeah, eight bucks. So for just $8 anyone in a four-state area could come and watch the Orioles play under the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

So, clearly, people aren’t as turned on by Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, etc. as the ownership hoped we’d all be.

To my way of thinking, after 12 consecutive years of putrid, rancid baseball you’d think any signs of life and youthful exuberance would at least put a spark under people to support this seemingly nice young group of men who wear “BALTIMORE” on their road jerseys, except on Friday nights.

So it’s bad enough that no one really cares about the Orioles. Once again, for the 12th cruel summer in a row, we’ve been subjected to making the Orioles irrelevant in the sports landscape.

But what’s worse? It just occurred to me while seeing the sea of empty seats and hearing these MASN commercials continue to make me want t puke that not that many Baltimoreans have any interest in seeing the best baseball players in the world play for $8, either.

You would think between Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, local frenemy Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia and Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettite, some folks here would love the sport of baseball to come and see several sure-fire Hall of Famers play.

And, like on Opening Day, the ballpark had the potential to be overrun with Orioles fans but it’s not.

They’ve had 25,000 available empty seats the past three nights that the Orioles can’t seem to get their own fans to occupy for as little as eight bucks. And if people don’t want to see the Yankees play for $8 and they don’t want to see this group of “exciting young group of future Hall of Famers” what do they have left to sell?

Pretty sad.

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Orioles continue to sink even lower than we thought possible

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here’s the truth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orioles Baseball 2009 — Feel The Tragic!

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

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Young Matusz shoved around by the Angels, lose 5-1

Posted on 15 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Brian Matusz’s night was long and unproductive. In his home debut, he labored through 5 2/3 innings, giving up a whopping 11 hits,  five runs (four earned) and walked three, while striking out seven. He threw 98 pitches and leaves the game with the Orioles trailing 5-1 and two inherited runners.

The game story is here.

The box score is here.

It’s hot. The stadium is kinda lonely for a Saturday night. And the Orioles big night last night with Felix Pie seems a distant memory.

You’ve gotta enjoy the rare wins when you get them.

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5 W’s about the Ravens & O’s

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Jerry Reinhardt

Who will win the place kicking job for the Ravens? The battle between Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka to replace Matt Stover is one of the most important of training camp. Stover had been the Ravens’ most consistent offensive threat. It’s early, but Gano seems to have the early lead. He has been more accurate kicking field goals and has had deeper kickoffs. We’ll have to see how they do when the bright lights come on in a game. We cannot afford the luxury of carrying 2 kickers any longer. Whoever wins the battle must provide the Ravens better distance on field goals and kickoffs without giving up too much accuracy. May the best kicker win!

What free agent pitcher will the Orioles’ sign in 2010 to help mentor the baby birds? I had hoped Jeremy Guthrie would be able to fill this role next year for the Orioles but I don’t think he will be with us next season. The O’s rotation of the future is taking shape now and will need a veteran presence ala Rick Sutcliffe to help teach our young staff. Sutcliffe was signed in 1992 to help teach the Ben McDonald, Arthur Rhodes, Jose Mesa, and Mike Mussina how to prepare, pitch, and win. Bertgesen, Hernandez, Tillman, and Matusz should have a veteran starter to lean on and learn from.

Next year, the Orioles are going to have to overpay a good pitcher to come to the team. If we are going to overpay, why not get a HOFer like Tom Glavine to mentor the staff for a season or two like Sutcliffe. I’m not sure he would be willing to come to Baltimore, but he is the type of leader the staff will need. His 2 Cy Young Awards and 305 career victories would command respect of our young starters. He has been through this type of rebuilding project with the Braves. He has experienced the lows of a hot prospect who lost 17 games his first full season in the bigs and survived to become a consistent winner. He could help our young starters keep their confidence and survive their early career struggles.

I know the Orioles need to sign a veteran to mentor and guide our young starters. I cannot think of anyone who is or will be available, that would be better for the job than Tom Glavine. The Orioles need Tom Glavine for 2010 and should be talking to him now!!!

Where will Michael Vick land? Rumors have him headed to the Packers, Patriots, or Redskins. I don’t see him as a starting QB this year. He has missed 2 years of football and won’t have much time to get ready. Mark Clayton has injured his hamstring. Hamstrings are hard to treat and tend to linger. The Ravens may be looking for another WR soon. Vick would look nice in a purple jersey lining up at WR and occasionally at RB. I don’t think Ozzie has any interest but it’s nice to dream about it.

Why am I the most gullible writer in this blogishsphere? Because I believed Super Joe “The Riffleman” when he held up the clay pigeon and said he had been training like this for years. I had never heard of it & thought maybe he was that good. O well, I can laugh at my naivete as long as the Riffleman gets the Ravens to the Super Bowl!                                                                   

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Hail Cesar: Matusz impressive in debut win over Tigers

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

9:57 p.m. –The Orioles got a huge rookie debut from Brian Matusz tonight. Cesar Izturis flashed leather and even hit a home run as the Birds defeated the Detroit Tigers 8-2 at Comerica Park.

Matusz on his comfort and happiness after the win: “I’d like to enjoy it a little longer. I was a little nervous out there. I can go out there for my next start and be a little more comfortable.”

On his family: “It’s awesome to have that support, My family and friends have been supportive. It’s awesome. I could hear them all after my first pitch.”

On his effort tonight: “It’s important to really attack the zone. I had a couple of walks today. I fell behind in the count. To not nibble so much on the corner and go after the guys. The strike zone is a little smaller. Relax. Have fun. It’s the same game. Enjoy it and hopefully I can carry it over.”

On Izturis: “Izzy was awesome. He made some great plays. Got me out of a jam. It was a lot of fun.”

9:07 p.m. — The Orioles are, for once, piling on a first-place team. It’s 8-1 and even Melvin Mora has taken out some of his frustration with an RBI single. Matusz was sensational, if not a bit brief. The bullpen has made quick work. It looks like they’re gonna win.

What more can you ask for? Oh yeah — a great photo op of Matusz have a post-effort chat in the dugout with Chris Tillman and David Hernandez. Gary Thorne says they’ve been inseparable.

Hopefully, Tillman and Matusz are as effective as Hernandez and Brad Bergesen have been. Then, perhaps, 2010 will be a far more interesting campaign.

8:37 p.m. — Like a good book or a good movie, tonight Brian Matusz left us wanting more. Like Led Zeppelin. LOL! He’s done for the night. His line: 5IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 3W, 5K…his ERA is 1.80, 99 pitches and is winning pitcher of record.

I can’t argue, although he looked like he was just getting going. But he finishes in double-digit pitches and leaves feeling really, really good about his debut. We ALL feel good about his debut.

Could’ve been better and more dominant. But he certainly didn’t give in when he was in a jam. He was impressive!

Nick Markakis just piled on with a two-run homer. It’s 5-1 Birds. Matusz is in line for a W…

8:34 p.m. — You can’t the kid hasn’t been gritty. He’s had some Tigers tee off on him. He’s gotten some nice defense. He’s battled out of some jams. He’s got moxie! The Birds are still up 3-1

8:28 p.m. — Hard to believe Mike Mussina’s debut was 18 years ago tonight. Just incredible how old I am.

8:23 p.m. — All hail Cesar Izturis. He’s having a career night. Two amazing defensive plays. And now, the unlikely home run.

God, these MASN commercials are painful! I haven’t live blogged in a few weeks and it seems that every time I do it’s unavoidable to not point out how bad the broadcasts are. How “homerish” it’s gotten. And how defensive the announcers are in regard to criticism of a last-place team on a 4-13 run after the All Star break.

I’m not looking for “funereal” — but how about just having some balance and integrity for what truly is: A LAST PLACE team. As Peter Schmuck might say: “Don’t pee orange on my cap and tell me it’s raining.”

Matusz has fought nicely. He finally gave up a run in the fourth. They’re playing hasty baseball at Comerica Park tonight.

The Birds are up 3-1. All Hail Cesar!

8:05 p.m. — It’s an exciting night to be an Orioles fan. The future isn’t just “coming” any more. From all indications, it’s here.

Matusz went 1-2-3 in the first. He struggled and battled in the the second inning and got an amazing play from Cesar Izturis, who followed it up with another web gem in the third.

We’re hanging on every pitch. We’re impressed by that slingshot lefthanded delivery. And we’re hearing Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez salivate with each pitch. Martinez seems particularly zoned in on pitch selection, which is good for a former big league manager and catcher. (And this makes it all the more embarrassing when he protects the organization and makes excuses for their last place standing in the AL East. He’s a great baseball man, even if he is from out of town. He doesn’t need to be a shill.)

Well, Matusz is through three innings. The Orioles have staked him out to a a 2-0 lead on a nice offensive output in the first inning with a big hit from Matt Wieters.

Matusz has rosy red cheeks. (Like I said, a lot of weird observations when you’re seeing the kid for the first time.)

I love baseball when it feels like it matters. Tonight, somehow like Wieters debut against Detroit in May, feels like an “ascension” for the organization. For the first time in a long, frustrating summer, we get the “final piece” added to the big league roster.

I’ll be checking in to write and approve posts all night…

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