Tag Archive | "New York Yankees"

My mea culpa to Derek Jeter and the Yankees

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My mea culpa to Derek Jeter and the Yankees

Posted on 04 October 2012 by Drew Forrester

This won’t take long.

When the Yankees came in to Baltimore back in early September and lazily bumbled their way through a four-game set here, I pronounced them second class citizens.

I wrote a blog at that time predicting the Orioles – not the Yankees – would win the American League East.

Turns out, I was wrong.

My reasoning was solid, I’ll remind you.  The Orioles had a cakewalk-schedule over the final 20 games, while the New Yorkers had a tough one.  Baltimore’s team is filled with youth, the Yankees are filled with early signs of arthritis.

I figured the Orioles would cruise through their schedule and win the East.

I was wrong.

The Yankees, to their credit, held serve.

Nothing else to see here…if the Orioles go to Texas on Friday and win the Wild Card game, we’ll see New York for five more games — well, wait, make that FOUR more games.  That’s how long it will take the Orioles to dismiss Joe Girardi and Company in the ALDS.

 

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Reshuffling The Orioles Deck

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Reshuffling The Orioles Deck

Posted on 11 September 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

When the Orioles and Yankees got together for their 4-game set over the weekend the biggest winner of all might have been the Tampa Bay Rays. After biding their time without Evan Longoria and suffering through their typical case of mid-season offensive anemia the Rays still find themselves in the thick of the AL East race, close to full strength if David Price is ready to return this week as speculated, and ready now to pounce on the Yankees and Orioles who both suffered significant (injury) losses over the weekend while splitting a 4-game series. Meanwhile the Rays took 2 of 3 from the Rangers and prepare to descend on Camden Yards for a 3-game set beginning on Tuesday.

Whatever hopes the Orioles had for the playoffs took a big step backward with the loss of their most credible and consistent hitter and improbable table setter in Nick Markakis. How the Orioles respond now is anyone’s guess, but maybe the loss of Markakis isn’t quite as devastating as it would appear on the surface. While the O’s are much (much, much) better with Markakis than without, the improbable season of Chris Davis continues (and now in a much bigger way it would seem) in Markakis’ stead. Also the Orioles have been unable, since promoting Manny Machado to the big league club, to find an adequate way to take advantage of Wilson Betemit’s abilities against right handed pitching due to his lack of ability in the field and the compelling desire to keep Chris Davis in the lineup.

 

The stacking of the lineup has been the subject of a lot of debate amongst Orioles fans all season, and as clearly the team needs a new answer in the lead-off spot; here’s how I’d stack things going forward:

 

VS. Left Handers

1. SS – JJ Hardy (R) 285/351/453

2. LF – Nate McLouth (L) 210/355/379

3. CF – Adam Jones (R) 296/329/481

4. C  – Matt Wieters (R) 313/388/487

5. 1B – Mark Reynolds (R) 237/368/412

6. DH – Chris Davis (L) 256/287/433

7. 3B – Manny Machado (R) 250/280/542

8. 2B – Robert Andino (R) 210/291/305

9. RF – Lew Ford (R) 365/324/588

 

 

VS. Right Handers

1. LF – Nate McLouth (L) 259/337/444

2. 1B – Mark Reynolds (R) 232/346/487

3. DH – Wilson Betemit (L) 304/360/506

4. CF – Adam Jones (R) 285/336/525

5. RF – Chris Davis (L) 257/316/466

6. 3B – Manny Machado (R) 291/296/494

7. C  – Matt Wieters (L) 213/294/391

8. SS – JJ Hardy (R) 217/256/370

9. 2B – Robert Andino (R) 221/285/320

 

 

 

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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Well, for one night anyway, I can proudly remind all of you:  ”I called that one!”

If you didn’t read THIS BLOG yesterday, you missed it.  If you did read it, I’m sure at some point last night you said to yourself, “That damn idiot on WNST said this was going to happen.”

Of course, I didn’t know Buck Showalter was going to fall asleep in the dugout just before the 8th inning and had no idea Pedro Strop would melt under the heat of a pennant race…but I knew, for sure, that New York’s rag-arm pitching staff would have their hands full on Thursday night.  And so they did.

You’re going to see much more of what I’m terming “The Pinstripes Collapse” all weekend at Camden Yards.

Let me say it again, in case reading it my Thursday blog wasn’t emphasis enough:  The Yankees’ pitching staff sucks.  Once Joe Girardi gets past Sabathia and on the odd-night, Kuroda or Hughes, he has nothing but league-average or below from which to choose.

Wait until Sunday when Wild Pitch Freddy Garcia takes the mound for New York.  Major League Baseball might do well to get another box of balls shipped off to Camden Yards in time for the homer-fest we’ll see when Freddy toes the rubber.

I mean, seriously, I’ve seen better looking pitchers on picnic tables.

Yeah, they’ll scratch out a win in this 4-game series (if they’re – ahem – “lucky”) but that won’t be enough to keep New York and their insufferable fans from knowing the truth in their heart — they’re not going to finish the season ahead of the Orioles and, in all likelihood, their September fall-from-grace will cost them a spot in the upcoming playoffs.

I told you this on Thursday:  The Yankees are done.

“The Pinstripes Collapse” continues in Baltimore this evening.

 

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An open letter to the New York Yankees — It’s over, guys.  O-V-E-R…

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An open letter to the New York Yankees — It’s over, guys. O-V-E-R…

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

To: Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees

I’m sure when you all looked at the 2012 schedule back in March, you probably assumed the post-Labor Day series in Baltimore would be a 4-game walk-in-the-park.

Turns out you were right.

It WILL be a walk-in-the-park.

For the Orioles.

Let me officially welcome you guys from New York to the beginning of the end.  I imagine you started to feel it – for real – last weekend in Yankee Stadium when the Birds buzzed in and slapped you around on Friday and Sunday, serving notice that this September might be different than the others of the last 14 seasons prior to this one.

In fact, let me take a second to remind you that Yankee Stadium actually transformed to “Camden Yards in The Bronx” this year, as the Orioles won all three series’ played in “your” place.  How’s that humble pie taste, Joe?

If you haven’t been paying attention — and honestly, when I watch the Yankees this season, I wonder if you are — the Orioles are threatening to claim the top spot in the American League East.  And with Tampa Bay putting their foot up your ass in Florida earlier this week, the Yankees are in the not-so-delightful position of actually having to fight for the right to make the post-season.

For once, the Yankees are just like any other team, fighting and scratching for wins down the stretch.  You’ve lost more than you’ve won since the All-Star break.  Not all bad for a team of scrubs.  But not good for a team like the Yankees who are supposed to win 55% of their games just by showing up at the stadium on time.

And now, on September 6, the time has come to separate the men from the boys.  Let’s see how the Yankees react to this moment-of-truth over the next four days in Baltimore.  Do you have the stones to man-up and win 3 out of 4 to put a halt to this freight train in orange?  Or will you buckle under the pressure of that 10-game A.L. East lead you squandered in less than 50 days?

Here’s my guess:  The Yankees are going to leave town late Sunday evening embarrassed and battered.

Based on the pitchers you’re scheduled to send to the mound, I’d say you guys will be very fortunate to win 2 of the 4 games and more likely a safe bet to win only one.  And it sure wouldn’t surprise me if you go 0-for-4 in Charm City this weekend.

This weekend, by the way, is simply the finishing touch on a season gone haywire here in Baltimore, where the Orioles have done the unthinkable and gone from worst to maybe-first.  That we’ll be jetting above the Yankees in the process is just icing on the cake.  I’m not naive enough to think this is the beginning of some sort of decade long trend where the Orioles win division titles “on the trot” (as they say in England) while the Yankees wallow in 3rd or 4th place.  That gives me even more energy to laugh at what’s happened this year.  It’s come completely out of nowhere.  We might not experience something like this for another decade.  So while we have it, here, at our fingertips, we’re going to revel in it.  You don’t mind, do you?

How that all relates to the upcoming post-season, I have no idea.  But I know this…when the dust settles in a few weeks the Orioles will be ahead of the Yankees in the standings.

Make book on that.

(Please see next page)

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red sox o’s

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Forget the Home Field Advantage: An AL Team Will Win the World Series

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Big Chee

Wretched. Sucky. Lopsided. These are just some of the adjectives I stumbled upon on Twitter this morning that described last night’s All Star Game, an 8-0 blowout victory for the National League. Right out of the gate, Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, surrendered 5 runs to give the National League a comfortable lead. From there, the American League had no answer for Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Kershaw, Dickey, Hamels (you get the picture), and Melky Cabrera’s two run homer turned the game from a solid lead to a drubbing.

Speaking of Twitter, baseball fans on social media seem to be crying foul over the home field advantage the NL will earn once again in the World Series. I was not one of them, and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with adding a little competitive spirit to the Mid-Summer classic, I explained in my last blog on WNST.net.

However, in this 2012 season, let’s not spend too much time on this argument, because, quite frankly, it does not matter. This year, the American League’s individual teams are far superior to the National League, and it’s not even close. That can be evidenced by the fact that the American League went 142-110 (.563 win %) over the National League in interleague play this year, and the AL team with the best record (NY Yankees) swept the team in the NL with the best record (Washington Nationals.) Don’t get it twisted, I am well aware that the Texas Rangers have been victims of the American League losing two years in a row in the ASG, and if the Rangers had been home Game 7 last year, the results very well could have been different. However, one exhibition game in July cannot change the fact that there are five teams in the American League that are better than all in the National League,  even if it was a beat down. Here are the five teams that would beat the National League pennant winner in 2012, even if the game is held in the Nation’s Capital.

1.)       The New York Yankees

The Yankees are defying the post steroid era notion that achieving greatness is all about pitching. The 7yr/$161 Million Dollar Ace CC Sabathia has been solid, but his 3.45 ERA is far from spectacular. Ivan Nova might lead the staff with 10 wins, but his 3.92 ERA is even higher than Sabathia’s. Phil Hughes has been up and down all season, Andy Pettite is on the 60 Day DL and Hiroki Kuroda is simply an innings eater. Not to mention Michael Pineda’s season ending injury before the season even started, as well as the legend Mariano Rivera’s freak accident while shagging fly balls that put the rest of his career in jeopardy. This season could have been lost for the Yankees. However, they have the best winning percentage in baseball at the break, leading the Orioles by 7 games in the AL East.

In post steroid era ball where players in their 30s are supposed to be tailing off and fading into the sunset, the Yankee veterans only continue to shine. They lead the majors with 134 home runs as a team.  Derek Jeter at 38 years old is tied for 1st in hits in the American League with Miguel Cabrera. Nick Swisher is on pace for over 100 RBIs. Eric Chavez has shown flashes of the player he was in his prime in Oakland, his versatility and personality has been great for the clubhouse. Andruw Jones has been punishing left handed pitchers as of late. And let’s not forget that Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera’s important defensive ability. All Star Curtis Granderson continues to be worth the investment when they snatched him from Detroit before last season, he has 24 HRs at the break. This lineup is loaded 1-9 and even superb National League starters like Clayton Kershaw and Steven Strasburg cannot find relief in this lineup.

2.)       Texas Rangers

You may be wondering: How can the Texas Rangers be on this list when they have lost the World Series the past two years in a row without the home field advantage? Or you may be curious how the Rangers will fare after two integral pieces of their 2011 postseason out of the conversation this year. I’m talking their #1 last year, CJ Wilson, who left for Los Angeles and their preseason #2 starter Derek Holland who has been less than mediocre in 2012, spotting a 5.05 ERA at the break.

Production at the plate has been key for another successful season thus far in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, who sport the 2nd best record in baseball at 52-34, leading the Angels by 4 games in the West. You can make an argument that despite his recent cool-off from his historic April, Josh Hamilton had a MVP 1st half, batting .308, leading baseball in both HRs (27) and RBIs (75). Ian Kinsler leads the majors with 63 runs scored. Fellow All-Stars Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are key contributors to the Rangers leading the majors in team average (.280), runs (443), hits (844) and RBIs (430).

The pitching staff inevitably will have to play a big part in this team’s success just like 2011, and there are new names that will do so. Despite a somewhat slow start by Yu Darvish, the $100 million man from Japan made the All-Star Team and continues to improve and adjust to the American game. Fellow All-Star Matt Harrison has been even better with an 11-4 record and 3.10 ERA. Roy Oswalt adds a veteran presence, even if he has been up and down. If the lineup just continues business as usual in dominating opposing pitching staffs, this should lessen the pressure of this staff to carry them to a World Series victory.

3.)       Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to get lost in the conversation for World Series favorites at the All-Star break, due to the fact that if the season ended today, they would face the Baltimore Orioles in a one game playoff for the wildcard draw in the postseason. They are 48-38, four games back of Texas in the AL West, probably short of the lofty expectations this team faced to start the 2012 season. The Angels made the biggest splash at MLB’s Winter Meetings, signing preseason favorite AL MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year/$254 million dollar deal. In addition, they snatched up former Texas Ranger and Cy Young contender CJ Wilson to form a 1-2 punch with Jered Weaver that could be the best in the game.  While the Angels are getting slowly but surely getting back on track, their start to 2012 was not exactly a smooth ride. Pujols went 92 at-bats in the month of April without hitting a home run. Weaver & Wilson have been rock solid, middle of the rotation guys Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have been extremely disappointing with 4.86 and 5.75 ERAs, respectively.

I have not even mentioned Mike Trout, the best position player in the American League not named Josh Hamilton. The All-Star Game last night gave Trout national exposure. The baby faced 20 year old not only leads the American League in batting average at .341, but he gets himself in position to score more than anyone in the AL as well with 26 steals at the break. Mark Trumbo will continue his power surge and build off his 22 home runs. Torii Hunter is continuing to prove how valuable of a veteran he is on this roster in the #2 spot in the lineup as well as his defensive ability in the outfield. Manager Mike Scoscia has the experience and savvy to keep this team rolling in the 2nd half and in the playoffs. It would be shocking if the AL West does not produce two of the four teams in the Final 4 of the American League playoffs.

4.)       Detroit Tigers

Fittingly, the Tigers are mentioned right after the Angels, another team that failed to live up to expectations after they partook in an active offseason. Prince Fielder signed with Detroit for 9 years, $214 million making him the second biggest FA signing behind Pujols.  Ace Justin Verlander was the starter in the American League All Star Game. Yet this team is only 44-42 at the break and in 3rd place in the worst division in the American League, the Central.

Again, there is too much talent on this team for this to continue. Let’s start with the pitching staff. Don’t overthink Verlander’s meltdown last night in the first inning. He’s in contention for another Cy Young, as he leads the league with strikeouts at 128 and is 4th in the majors with a 2.58 ERA. Max Scherzer, 8-5, has been much improved and rookie Drew Smyly has hit the All Star break in stride, winning his last two starts and holding a 4-3 record into the break.

At the plate, Miguel Cabrera is certainly in the running along with Hamilton and Trout for AL MVP. He is hitting .324 and is tied in first with Jeter for hits with 111 , is 2nd in the AL behind Hamilton with 71 RBIs Right below the young phenom in batting average is Austin Jackson of Detroit, hitting .332. Prince Fielder has not been atop the league as far as statistics go, but his presence at the plate will be a huge factor in determining where the Tigers go in the 2nd half.

Finally, let’s not also forget their manager Jim Leyland. This guy has been in the game long enough and had plenty of success throughout his entire career to not let this slow start get his guys unraveled. His cool demeanor will allow for his players to bring it all together making a run to the World Series in 2012.

5.)       Chicago White Sox

However, the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox are my choice for the 5th team that would win the World Series against an NL team because they are better than any of the NL teams that will be in the World Series. Now hear me out on this one:

A good portion of this article has been in regards to the strength of the lineups of each of these teams. When you take a look at the White Sox, their lineup is certainly potent enough to compete at the next level. And just like the Yankees, the veterans are getting it done on the South Side. Let’s start with the resurgent Adam Dunn. Whatever it was that Dunn did in the offseason to get this mojo back after his disastrous 2011 campaign, it has turned him into a comeback player of the year candidate. He leads the American League in walks and is 2nd in HR with 25. How about Alex Rios? He is third in the AL in hits for the first place White Sox. Still think Team Captain Paul Konerko is not a Hall of Famer? He just made is 6th All Star Game and is 3rd in the AL in average at .329. Finally, if you’ve never heard of Alejando De Aza, it’s ok. But get to know him now: he’s 5th in the AL in runs scored and chipped in 15 SBs.

Speaking of guys one might not ever heard of, let’s move onto the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale. Sale has been so spectacular this season that he could have easily been selected to start last night’s All Star Game and who knows? Maybe it would have been worth watching All this 23 year old has done is spot a 2.19 ERA, .95 WHIP (both 2nd in the AL) along with 10 wins. Let’s not forget another member of the White Sox who could be mentioned as Comeback Player of the Year in Jake Peavy. He leads the team with 108 K’s, and just made his 3rd All Star appearance. Also, keep an eye on Jose Quintana in the 2nd half. In 8 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

Even if you are just a casual baseball fan, you probably could have guessed the first four teams on this list.  As far as the fifth position, there are plenty of teams that can receive consideration. The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation features All Star David Price which led the MLB last year in ERA. The Boston Red Sox started 2012 slow, but are slowly creeping into the Wild Card conversation and getting healthy. Let’s not forget about the great things that the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians have done this year! If those two teams acquire some big name pitching at the deadline, they could certainly be considered for a shot at the World Series.

So there you have it. There are the five teams that will beat the Dodgers, Nationals, Giants, Braves, Pirates or whoever the National League crowns champions and earns home field advantage in the World Series. Let the debate begin…

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Is This The Beginning of the End?

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Is This The Beginning of the End?

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Robert Testoni

The best part about the baseball season is that because of its length, in most cases the cream rises to the top. Make no mistake, they could end the season a month earlier and accomplish the same thing. There are teams that have gone from last to first in a year, (1987 Minnesota Twins, 1991 Atlanta Braves) but those were good teams that came together and stayed around for a while because of a solid nucleus of players. The 2012 Baltimore Orioles have been fun, but this may be coming to a crashing end.

When the Orange Kool-Aid was spiked in May, I was the voice of reason. I have always thought August 1st was a good date, as at that point, the contenders and pretenders tend to sort themselves out. Although, I will not stick a fork in our birds right now, because they do have a month to right the ship. Let’s have fun a do a progress report.

In this look, I want to compare the Orioles of this year to the last 5 winners of the American League East. The 2007 Red Sox, 2008 Rays, 2009 Yankees, 2010 Rays, and 2011 Yankees tell an interesting statistical story of what it takes to win the division. Frankly, I know that statistics do not tell the whole story, but in baseball, which is ‘stats driven’ it lets you know where you need to be as a team.

Let’s start off with what I think is the most glaring issue with this team, the defense. In the last 5 seasons no division winner has committed more than 102 errors. That was the New York Yankees off last year. Right now, the Orioles our on pace to commit over 145 errors for the year. That means that Orioles would allow ¼ of an out more per game than the Yankees of last year. No division winner in this span has ranked lower than 4th in the league in this category. As of now, the Orioles are last.

The range for earned run average over the past 5 years is between 3.73 and 4.26. Although the Orioles team staff ERA is right in line with the range of winners at 3.85, there is more to the story. Looking deeper into the numbers the staff ERA has gone up every month of the season. After a wonderful 3.03 in April, they went to 4.16 in May, and 4.25 so far in June, which is the red flag.

Let us turn to the offense and simply look at batting average first. Taking the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010 out, no other team has hit at a clip less than .260. The Orioles are at a .244 team average right now, and as we have seen lately, it isn’t getting any better. Everyone remembers than Tampa team for having an excellent pitching staff, with no hitting. Even they hit for a .247 average.

Lastly, looking at the OPS the Orioles .716 is .20 points lower than lowly hitting Tampa team from 2010. Frankly, if you look at the class of the division over the time, the Orioles need to get the OPS up to the .800 range.

Obviously these numbers are not the, all answers to everything, but it gives you a start of where the Baltimore Orioles need too be to win the division. At this point they do not seem to be measuring up.

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Why are you mad that Phillies fans took over the ballpark?  You knew it was going to happen…

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Why are you mad that Phillies fans took over the ballpark? You knew it was going to happen…

Posted on 10 June 2012 by Drew Forrester

I wasn’t in Baltimore for most of this past weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to witness the Orioles and Phillies live and in-person.

But I read enough e-mails and saw plenty of Twitter outrage to know what happened Friday through Sunday.  Philadelphia baseball fans took over the ballpark in Baltimore for three days.

So…that surprises you?

It shouldn’t.

And, frankly, it shouldn’t even anger you.

For starters, there’s no way to keep them out.  Second, the Orioles themselves – the front office, that is – are thrilled to see upwards of 135,000 people make their way into the stadium.  The color of the t-shirt they’re wearing doesn’t bother the organization one iota.  If you think the Orioles’ brass is miffed with the overflow of Phillies fans in the house, you’re nuts.  Out of town fans spend American money just like hometown fans would if they bothered to show up and support the Birds.

I understand why it irritates the common fan.  It’s just not pleasant to have 27,000 of “their” fans in the place and 13,000 of your own on a Friday night.  I get it.  But I’ve stopped fretting over it.  This is the way it’s going to be here for a long time to come.  Sorry to be the guy delivering that dose of reality to you, but Boston, New York and Philadelphia fans will take over the ballpark when their team comes to town.  There just aren’t enough die-hard Orioles fans left to fill all 45,000 of those seats night-in and night-out.

The Orioles success on the field this season isn’t anywhere near enough to turn the tide on the situation involving visiting fans.  It’s going to take years and years of winning and “doing the right thing” from the desks of the front office folk before a new generation of Baltimore baseball fans start bleeding orange to the point that it gets them to the stadium 15-20 times a season.

The best thing you can do right now is the same advice I gave you back in early May when the club got off to that blazing start and we had a certain segment of the fan base up in arms over “bandwagon” Orioles fans who were suddenly back in the fold because the team was winning.

Stop worrying about who is a fan, who isn’t a fan, what fans are actually coming to the games and what fans aren’t…and just watch the team play good baseball and hope they continue to do so.

It’s been so long since we’ve actually had a decent team in Baltimore that I find myself on most nights just settling in to (hopefully) enjoy a team with a reasonable chance of winning.  I’m still looking smarter-than-ever because I’m the goof in town who said they’d win 78 games…but no matter how many they win, I know for certain this brand of baseball that we’ve watched over the first 60 games is far more pleasing than the garbage teams the organization has made us support over the last six years or so.

Just watch the games.  Cheer for the team.  And stop worrying about other team’s fans coming in and taking over the stadium.

It’s not going to change.

Not for a long time, anyway.

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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

As usual, the Orioles have started the season strong and have thusfar played well and been fun to watch. But unless I and every other casual observer are dead wrong, the Orioles will hang in there thru May, falter in June or July, and be completely out of contention by August. It’s a really good feeling to look at the standings and see your team on top, but the last time I did that in the month of September was before I even had my driver’s license. And now this year, my 30th birthday will come and go while the Angelos reign of terror continues.

That may be a corny segue, but reigns of terror are tonight’s real topic. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen put both feet in his mouth again last week by telling Time magazine that he admires Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The history in a nutshell: As a young man, Castro and his lieutenant Ernesto “Che” Guevara led the bloody communist overthrow of Cuba’s government in 1959. When it was over, Castro made himself Cuba’s President, and still holds the office to this day. Tens of thousands of Cubans were tortured and killed during and after the revolution, and many others fled to the United States and settled in Florida. Today, the city of Miami is the epicenter of Cuban exiles and their descendants, many of whom still dream of the day when Cuba is free again.

The Miami fans were furious, and Guillen subsequently apologized and was suspended for five games by the Marlins (not MLB). Granted, if Guillen were the manager of the Mariners or the Twins or the Brewers, there may not have been such a level of anger from the local fanbase. But should there be?

As I started thinking about this, the first person that came to my mind was Marge Schott. If you’re younger than me, you may not even recall who she is, as I barely remember her myself. Marge Schott was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1999, and is noteworthy as the first woman to buy a major league franchise. In many ways, she actually parallels Peter Angelos in that her legacy of philanthropy and community involvement is mostly overshadowed by her pitiful management of her team and other controversies. She was alleged to have frequently thrown around the n-word, said that she didn’t like her players to wear earrings because it “looked fruity” (apparently that’s a gay slur), and stated publicly more than once that Adolf Hitler had been a good leader for Germany but “went too far”. Schott and Angelos also have the commonality of firing manager Davey Johnson after a season in which he took their teams to the playoffs.

Schott was suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for the entire 1993 season (that’s over six whole months) following her Hitler comments, which brings me back to Ozzie Guillen. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is double standards. If Marge Schott had the book thrown at her for praising a genocidal dictator, why does Ozzie Guillen get a pass for doing the same thing?

Stop reading. Google up “Angelos Castro Selig” and click the images tab. Can it be? For those who don’t remember, back in 1999 Peter Angelos and Bud Selig arranged to have the Orioles play two exhibition games against the Cuban national all-star team, one in Baltimore and one in Havana (the visiting teams won both contests). The events were touted as gestures of good will and attempts to create more friendly US-Cuba relations, but another main goal was undoubtedly to get more access to Cuban players for MLB teams (which never happened). Peter Angelos, having been one of the top campaign contributors in the country to then-President Clinton and Congressional Democrats, had no trouble getting the government’s blessing to do all this in spite of America’s longstanding Cuban embargo. The aforementioned photograph is of Fidel Castro sitting in the stands in Havana and chatting with Peter Angelos and Bud Selig, who are seated on either side of him.

So obviously, Bud Selig doesn’t exactly have the standing to condemn Ozzie Guillen for kissing up to Fidel Castro, which is probably why he relied on the owners of the Marlins to do it. Now, I am not one who believes that we should run around punishing people for being offensive. By its nature, offensive speech is what the First Amendment was written to protect, and the second thing that I absolutely hate in this world is political correctness.

But I want consistency.

Back in 1999, Bud Selig armtwisted Marge Schott into selling her controlling interest in the Reds following her second round or pro-Hitler comments. And then last year, he oversaw the ugly removal of Frank McCourt as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big difference between the two was that while Schott’s ouster was purely personal, McCourt’s was due to shady business practices; specifically that he was “siphoning team revenue for non-baseball use and had completely alienated the Dodgers’ fanbase.” according to MLB’s court briefs.

Does that sound like somebody we know?

MASN pulled in $159 million in revenue last year, so you can do a little arithmetic and figure out about how much it has made since its creation seven years ago. We all remember the promises Peter Angelos made about using that money to improve the team and how this was finally going to give the Orioles the resources needed to compete with Yankees and Red Sox. And yet, since MASN was created, the Orioles annual payroll has averaged just $78 million- not significantly higher than it was before MASN and less than half of what New York or Boston paid in that same time period. Of course, operating expenses and lots of taxes accounted for some of it, but one still has to ask “That money wasn’t invested in the Orioles, so where did it go?”

Bud Selig was willing to kick Marge Schott and Frank McCourt out of the owners’ club for conduct that was immoral but not technically illegal. What Angelos has done with MASN isn’t technically illegal either; after all, he is a lawyer and he brokered the deal with Selig’s blessing. But now that we’ve had time to see it in action, there can be no question that what Angelos has done is highly unethical. He’s siphoned revenue away from not one but two teams for non-baseball purposes. He’s alienated the fanbase. He’s fixed it so that Comcast customers who aren’t even baseball fans are paying for his channels. And all the while, Bud Selig stood by and let it happen.

It’s the same thing that happens when the government plays favorites with private industry; different entities are allowed to play by different rules. This leads to a lack of true competition, and the end result is that the consumer is denied the full potential of what the free market could produce. Those who benefit from the unlevel playing field think that it’s just fine and are happy to leave it that way, while those who suffer because of it either accept it and work around it or just stop caring. It’s why less than half of America votes these days, and why Camden Yards is usually empty unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town.

Bud Selig is too chummy with Peter Angelos to hold him accountable for getting rich by wrecking the Orioles, the same way he’s too chummy with Fidel Castro to say anything about Ozzie Guillen. Selig has failed to enforce his own standards equally, and we Orioles fans have suffered thru 15 years of pathetic losing baseball because of it. We all know that Cuba needs to be rid of Fidel Castro and the Orioles need to be rid Peter Angelos, but Major League Baseball also needs to be rid of Bud Selig.

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Brooks at 3rd

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Babe, Brooks or Cal

Posted on 21 October 2011 by Tom Federline

Tomorrow, Saturday October 22 at noon, there will be an unveiling of statue down at the Camden Yards Complex. A statue dedicated to Brooks Robinson has been sculptured and is planned to have a home in a small plaza in the median between Pickles Pub and the non-utilized NW Russell Street left field entrance to Camden Yards. Finally, someone made a sensible baseball/City of Baltimore decesion to erect a statue of a Baltimore Oriole at Camden Yards. In contrast to the blockheads who chose to erect a statue of the Red Sox/Yankee icon, Babe Ruth. It only took the Orioles and the City almost 20 years to figure that one out. Yet another display of the ineptitude of the Baltimore Orioles organization. Wonders never cease, the brainstorm to recognize a Baltimore Oriole Legend actually at the Baltimore Orioles home field.

Brooks Robinson was and will always be “Mr. Oriole”.  The “Human Vacuum”, finally getting recognition. A name synonymous with the Baltimore Orioles and  Greatest Third Baseman to ever play the game. Hopefully they didn’t hire the same numbnut that sculptured that misplaced Yankee statue out at the North Eutaw Street plaza. If so, Brooks may be fielding with a left handers mitt. For those of you who may not know, the statue of the Babe has him holding a right handers catchers mitt. Yeah, they done blown that one. Babe was a left handed pitcher/outfielder/first baseman. They try to save face by saying, the sculpture represents the Babe at St. Marys School. No, ya done blown it.

I have not seen previews of the Brooks statue, but I sure would like to see the statue of Brooks poised in his classic fielding position.

 

Does a statue of Brooks belong at the Camden Yards Complex? Absolutely. Brooks is in declining health and it is fitting this honor comes while he is still on this earth. He deserves to experience this. I like the location. It would be more fitting if they would relocate that Red Sox/Yankee statue at least over to the Babes namesake museum on Emory Street and get it off Baltimore Oriole territory! I say keep the north Eutaw Street entrance for the retired numbers deal only or potential site for the statue of future owner and Baltimore Iron Man icon - Cal Ripken.

Let’s “Lay It On the Line” here – (Triumph). What is a statue of Babe Ruth doing at the home of the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – he was born here. So what? As a child he lived in a house/bar on the grounds of the baseball field. So what? Was the great Bambino ever associated with the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – Yes, he played 3 months for the minor league Baltimore Orioles and then was traded to the Boston Red Sox. What numbnut decided to put that statue at one of the main entrances to the ballpark in the first place? What group of numbnuts decided that it was appropriate to put a statue up of a man who is clearly identified with the New York Yankees? Old Yankee Stadium was commonly referred to as – “The House that Ruth Built”. I am a fan of Babe Ruth. I have seen the movies. I have read the books. The statue belongs in New York or over at Emory Street.

Statue of Cal? To early? Has he obtain that status? Cal breaking Lou Gehrigs consecutive game record at Camden Yards will always be etched in the minds of all Oriole fans. Could you call Cal, the second Mr. Oriole? In my book - yes. Brooks and Cal - one team for their entire career while representing the organization with class. If Cal would buy out Angelos and turn this organization around……….I’ll sculpture the statue of Cal. Well maybe not, I may end up putting Rafael Plameiro and Brady Anderson in there, sneaking up behind him and injecting Cal with HGH. Whoops, let’s not go there with this blog.  

Finally a statue worth checking out prior to going to the ball game, Brooks Robinson – now your talking. For goodness sakes relocate that Yankee Saltan of Swat and just get it off the Baltimore Oriole grounds. Make room for the new sheriff. Congratulations Brooks. Congratulations Orioles organization – you may actually have done something right. We’ll see tomorrow.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Former Oriole Jerry Hairston on Brewers teammate Prince Fielder: “He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch”

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Former Oriole Jerry Hairston on Brewers teammate Prince Fielder: “He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch”

Posted on 06 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former Orioles 2B Jerry Hairston Jr spent his first 11 years in the major leagues-seven of them with Baltimore-without ever seeing the postseason, but over the last three years he has certainly made up for that lost time before his career comes to an end.

Jerry Hairston Jr.

Hairston, 35, is currently an infielder for the NL-central champs, the Milwaukee Brewers, and his team currently is in the mix for a trip to the NLCS should they defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth and deciding game.

Hairston is currently hitting .444 against Arizona, and after coming over from the  Washington Nationals at the trade deadline, he gave the Brewers that veteran utility player and presence-finished 2011 hitting .270 with 5 HRs and 31 RBIs in 120 games of action and 337 at-bats.

Playing October baseball is something that has rejuvenated Hairston, and he joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Tuesday to chat about this year’s opportunity to hopefully grab a World Series ring with the Brewers.

“There’s nothing like postseason baseball,” Hairston said. “I mean obviously playing in the big leagues for many years and playing the regular season is definitely a thrill, but once you get to the postseason and have a taste of it, you want to go back every year.”

In a sense, Hairston is kind of greedy. Despite not reaching the playoffs until 2009, he ultimately did get his first World Series ring as a member of the New York Yankees organization on his first try.

He just hopes that he can contribute and help his teammates and the franchise-which has no championships to their record-earn that elusive prize that he was granted with.

“I was very fortunate to play on a Yankees team that won a World Series and obviously being on this team this year, it’s been a great experience and hopefully it will be able to continue,” Hairston told Clark.

He feels like the team they have in place is built for a championship run, and he credits his manager, Ron Roenicke, for helping them to put that talent together.

“He’s kind of a laid back guy, but he’s intense now,” said Hairston. “He never really has a whole lot to say, but when he says it, he really means it so he’s definitely the perfect guy for this club. Obviously, the characters we have, have done a great job of letting us be ourselves, and he’s definitely in line for Manager of the Year.”

Hairston left the Orioles via a trade in 2005 that brought Sammy Sosa to Baltimore, and while that seems like years ago and several stops ago, he does hold a special place in his heart for Charm City and hopes that they soon can experience what Brewers fans are enjoying right now.

“When I first came up, Camden Yards was always packed. I know the last couple of years have been really rough in Baltimore but…that’s how the Milwaukee Brewers fan-base has become.”

In order for the Orioles to contribute next season, they are obviously going to have to dip into the free agent pool and get players that can match up against the elite of the AL East.

One of those players that Oriole fans are yearning for is 1B Prince Fielder, and Hairston said fans are in the right for demanding his services in an orange and black uniform.

“He’s definitely a joy to be around,” Hairston said.  “He’s a very intense competitor. I mean he plays every single day, doesn’t want to take days off,  and he wants the bat in his hand when the game is on the line.”

“He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch and you want as a teammate, but the biggest thing about him is that I was kind of unaware he’s a pretty good first baseman. ”

Hairston also passed along his wishes toward the man that pushed him out of Baltimore, Brian Roberts, who he considers a friend despite their competition years ago for the same position.

Roberts and Hairston see each other every off-season at home in Arizona, and Hairston told Oriole Nation to be patient with Roberts despite his injury concerns because the guy loves Baltimore.

“I know he’s gone through a lot the last year-and-a-half with his back and many different injuries, and the concussion. It’s tough, as you get a little older, you get more nagging injuries. And I know Brian, if healthy, wants to be out there playing. I’m hoping Brian gets back and ready to go for next year.”

And when it comes to his own future, Hairston said he’ll keep playing as long as teams want him and he continues to have fun doing so.

“I have been, especially the last couple of years,” Hairston replied. “You know I really enjoyed playing baseball and hopefully I’ll get the chance to a couple more years.”

“It’s been a great journey.  I been very fortunate to play on different teams in different cities, from San Diego to D.C, to Baltimore, New York, Texas, Chicago.  I’ve seen the spectrum of this country and different organizations, and so I’ve had fun at every stop and I really enjoyed my career.”

WNST thanks Jerry Hairston Jr. for joining us and is rooting for him in the playoffs! Once an Oriole…always an Oriole. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports

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