Tag Archive | "Opening Day"


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Twelve Orioles thoughts on Opening Day win over Toronto

Posted on 04 April 2017 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles topping Toronto in a 3-2 final on Opening Day, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Asked Sunday whether he was concerned that he hadn’t hit a home run in the Grapefruit League, Mark Trumbo cited how he didn’t hit any in the spring of 2013 before hitting 34 in the regular season. I’d say he further proved his point on Monday.

2. It takes a lot for Manny Machado to surprise me with anything he does in the field at this point, but his diving stop and throw to get Toronto’s Devon Travis — who has good speed — reminded us how lucky we are to watch him work at the hot corner.

3. Despite showing great fastball velocity, Kevin Gausman struggled with his command and walked four hitters over 5 1/3 innings, but he made good pitches in key spots to give his club a chance to win. He walked more than three in a start just once all last season.

4. The Orioles are now 7-0 in season openers under Buck Showalter. Yes, it’s only game and they even had a good Opening Day record during their 14 straight years of losing, but his clubs have clearly tried to set an early tone during his tenure.

5. Hyun Soo Kim would have been my choice to lead off against right-handed starters to begin the season, but it’s tough to take too much issue with Seth Smith and his .344 career on-base percentage in the top spot for now.

6. After being left in the bullpen in last year’s American League wild-card game loss in Toronto, Zach Britton pitched two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in a tie game. Baseball’s funny.

7. How important is home-field advantage to the Orioles, who are 241-162 at Camden Yards since the start of 2012? “This is one of those places where you never feel good when they get the last at-bat,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “They’re probably the top power-hitting team in the game.”

8. After left-handed bats posted a 1.025 on-base plus slugging percentage against Mychal Givens in 2016, the right-hander gave up an RBI double to the lefty-swinging Ezequiel Carrera in the sixth inning. He needs to continue to hone the use of his changeup to combat those struggles.

9. It doesn’t show up in the box score, but Chris Davis made several superb scoops at first base to save his fellow infielders over the course of Monday’s game. He doesn’t get enough credit for the dramatic improvement he’s made there since coming to Baltimore in 2011.

10. Kudos to the home crowd for giving former Oriole Steve Pearce a nice ovation during pre-game introductions. Pearce had three hits against his old club, but that reception meant a lot to him and was much deserved.

11. Playing in his first Opening Day, Trey Mancini came off the bench to single off lefty Aaron Loup in the 10th and is 5-for-11 with three homers against southpaws in his brief career. He becomes an intriguing piece for the future if he can play a respectable right field.

12. File this one in the #FashionTweets department, but the Orioles debuted their new matte batting helmets, which better replicate the look of their caps and don’t have the glossy look.

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Davis Oblique strain 4-25

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Rocky Start for O’s

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Tom Federline

Not exactly the start most Oriole fans were anticipating , now is it? Orioles are one (1) game above .500 at 15-14 and tied with the Yankees for first. Really? The Orioles have the same amount of wins as the last place team Toronto at 15-17.  Grant it the Orioles got a taste of all the teams in the East in the first month. Two-thirds of their games were against AL East. The entire division was going after each other in that first month. That is no excuse. Early in the year is no excuse. If you saw some of the games and not just O’s, you should agree, the caliber of play in the East is sub-par.  The AL East has started out looking like the battle of mediocrity.

The AL West may have surfaced as the more dominant division. Oakland, Texas and LA Angels are making a case as formidable opponents. Pitching is usually ahead of hitting and the Oakland A’s pitching staff is on fire. 4th in the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA, while the O’s are 22nd at a 4.28 ERA. The O’s pitching is suspect and the hitting comes in spurts, leaving to many runners in scoring position consistently. The way the O’s have started out, it looks like most teams are going to be formidable opponents this year.

After almost 30 games, let’s give an assessment, position-by-position:

Left field: Looks like we are going to have all hit and questionable fielding (Cruuuuuuuuz). Or all fielding and no hit (Lough). Cruz – is a bright spot. His hitting has saved many a game. Hopefully Brady has him on the “non-detectible juice diet”. Lough has been a disappointment. Needed him to step up as lead-off and that is not happening by a long shot.

Centerfield: Jones – I’m not a fan. He is over-rated as a fielder. He’s not hitting and he continues to be fooled by the low outside sinker/curve ball. He has gotten paid an awful lot of money to lose that habit. You would think after 8 years – he may have learned something. Clean-up hitter cannot be batting .250 with 1 HR.

Right field: Solid. Best right fielder in baseball. Has been robbed year after year on Gold Glove award.. Hitting over .300. Doing his job. He should not be leading off, but they have no one else to do the job. Nick is a better 3 or 5 hitter.

Third base: Heeeeee’s baaaaaack. They sure did lead us on that Machado was going to be ready for Opening Day, now didn’t they? That was an un-welcome surprise. When ole Manny jogged out onto that field on Opening Day, let’s just say he wasn’t looking sure footed. We’ll see how it plays out. Nice timing with him coming back and Davis going out. Flaherty and Schoop performed well. They just aren’t Manny.

Shortstop: The DL is inevitable for Hardy. You can see the pain and stiffness as he runs. Lower back spasms and hamstring problems. It’s only a matter of time. One of those two nagging ailments , is going to blow. That could hurt. He is the elder statesman and rock of that infield. His bat can do some talking also. Potentially another Flaherty/Schoop /Lambardozzi tandem.

Second base: Ouch, another questionable position. Schoop is close, but he’s not there yet. He needs to get through that first round of at bats. He’s another one fooled by the low sinker and steady diet of curve balls. He needs to make adjustments. I like Flaherty. Problem is you have to eat his bat. Just not consistent enough. I like Lombardozzi, but he is strictly a utility guy also.

First base: Just ouch  –

No HR or RBI title this year. Let alone will the threat still be there, when he gets back. When Davis gets back? That could be at the All-Star break. Team will miss his glove at first. He had a gold glove performance last year, but he fell victim to the unscrupulous GG voting also. Pearce is not the answer. Markakis should stay in right. Although, I believe first base is his ultimate position.

Catcher: Major surprise offensively. A blessing we were not expecting. Weiters, I don’t believe, has ever had a hot April. Well he had one this year. A pleasure to watch at the plate. Confident placing bat to the ball. What a relief when he comes up to the plate. The Orioles needed that. Defensively, still one of the best in the business. Don’t agree with him looking over at the dugout to get pitch call though. Maybe it’s to early, maybe him and some of the pitchers are not seeing eye to eye. But something isn’t right with the pitching.

Pitching: I’ll just keep it brief – Has NOT helped my blood pressure. Starting pitching has left us with “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis. Tilman is the only one who has come close to looking confident. Ubaldo finally had a decent outing last time out versus the Twinkies. Thank you Zach Britton for giving the middle relief some creds. I still don’t know half of the middle relievers. And I prefer a lights out closer. Hunter is no intimidator. That is not going to bode well, second time around.

Some positives and negatives to feed on. It seems like the O’s are hanging on a thread. I know it’s early. I know it’s going to be a long rough roller coaster ride. Maybe it will all come together in September? Your thoughts? Go O’s!







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B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles First Week

Posted on 04 April 2014 by WNST Staff

By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen

BK: Brett, I am THRILLED to finally get to talk baseball with you. There are very few things that I enjoy more than Opening Day, especially when it involves the Baltimore Orioles having a home game on this sacred occasion.

Perfect weather. Great company. An Orioles win. Brett, what makes Opening Day so special?

BD: You know Barry, everyone gets excited for baseball, for the start of a new season, the start of spring, the end of a miserable winter (especially this year).  But there are certain intricacies of heading to Camden Yards on Opening Day that really begin the wonderment. We both had the luxury in enjoying some of the festivities on Monday and let’s just say it was a good day.

But there are portions of the day-long event that simply define an Orioles home opener.  Of course it all starts with the day drinking around the stadium. Whether it is basking in sunlight outside or enjoying big ass beers or running into familiar faces and friends (or even ex and current Ravens players showing their Birdland pride), it is a spectacle that should make all baseball fans jealous.  It is like the ultimate tailgate, that spans from the Inner Harbor to Federal Hill to Canton and beyond.

Opening Day Introductions at Camden Yards

Though actually entering in the Baltimore cathedral on Front Street is where the ‘magic’ really begins (you see what I did there? HA!).  There are few better sights in this world than the view from the flag court, towering over the right field wall.  And the smells of fresh barbeque and sausages on the grill only intensify the sensory overload.  And I beg for anyone to find a better taste combination than putting the Camden Yards staple, “Boog’s Mustard,” on your hot dog, pit beef, ice cream or any other food for that matter.

With all that being said, the Orioles have found their way onto the field.  It is early in the season and there will still be a lot of tinkering with the roster.  Barry, what are your thoughts on the first official week of the season for Baltimore? What are some positives and negatives you have witnessed after the O’s first series?

BK: Just three games into the season, it is easy for fans to get worked up after losing two out of three to the Boston Red Sox. Sure, it is difficult to see the team lose close games at home, but there is no shame in losing a couple of early season contests to last year’s World Series champions. The American League East is going to be an extremely competitive division, and the Orioles should find themselves in the thick of it. Starting the season 1-2 does not change that fact.

My biggest positive from the first series has to be the performances of Zach Britton as a multi-inning reliever. On Opening Day, Britton shut down the Red Sox lineup for the 6th and 7th innings, and earned the win following Nelson Cruz’s solo home run. Britton also pitched two scoreless innings Thursday night in the team’s 4-3 loss. If the Orioles can continue to get this kind of production from him, the bullpen can benefit from the streamline roles that each pitcher has.

Flaherty and SchoopOn the negative, I will continue to bash Ryan Flaherty, until the club realizes that he simply is not an everyday major leaguer. In the seventh inning of the second game, Flaherty’s errant throw to first base on a weak ground ball to third made everyone miss Manny Machado that much more. The play was crucial, helping to turn a 4-2 Boston lead into 6-2. What’s worse is that Flaherty went hitless in the first series, starting all three games. If the guy can’t hit, and he can’t field, what is he doing playing the hot corner at Camden Yards? I know it’s early, but there are other players on this 25-man roster that should push Flaherty for playing time and at-bats. Give me Lombardozzi at 3rd, Schoop at 2nd, and an Alexi Casilla-type role for Mr. Flaherty.

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Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles

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Orioles Are Out of the Gate

Posted on 09 April 2013 by Tom Federline

Or are they out, AT the gate? Nah, just a little bumpy beginning. Adam Jones had a t-shirt made for all his teammates…..”to be continued”. Cool shirt, they need to market that. Can last season be continued? How about if we settle for somewhere around……….just try and keep up the winning atmosphere and add a few new surprises. Last year, was simply that…..last year. A story of the unexpected, renewed baseball in Baltimore and the underdog making good. Well, the Orioles aren’t going to be underdogs this year and they certainly will not be sneaking up on anybody. It’s time to show up, the ground work has been laid, it’s time to build up.

Rough first week, cool, but rough. The “Boys are Back in Town” – Thin Lizzy. Joe Angel and Fred Manfra are on the radio, people are wearing orange, it is 80 degrees, there is a spring in our step annnnnd the Orioles are 3 – 4. Augh, welcome to 162 game season. Losing the last 2 at home, then losing at Boston has not helped. I guess it was asking a little to much, for the Orioles to spoil “the arrogant ones”, home opener on Monday, but it sure was wishful thinking. It was nice to hear Oriole cheers in Fenway. Come on Birds, come on Buck-Buck, settle down and just play baseball.

First week positives: 1. It’s baseball season. 2. It’s finally Spring. 3. Opening Day at Camden Yards.  4. Earl Weaver dedication of “First Pitch.” 5. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Weiters, JJ Hardy, Manny Macahado (Man-ny, Man-ny, Man-ny! Get used to that one, gang). 6. Pitching potential. 7. Had opportunities with runners-in-scoring position.  8. First Orioles moment for 2013 DVD – Chris Davis’ Grand Slam and the 130 decibel eruption at Camden Yards!

First week negatives: 1. Gary Thorne “In our side” voice. 2. “The Shift” – it cost the Birds versus the Twins in the second game. 3. Is it baseball or is it slow pitch softball? 4. Buck-Buck over-managing. 5. Not taking advantage with runners-in-scoring position. 6. Brian Roberts, Nolan Reimold out ……again.7. Pitching melt downs (it’s early) 8. 3 wins – 4 loses, reality check.

Injuries – thought Roberts was going to make it through April and was hoping until All-Star break – didn’t happen. Just make him like their 20th coach in the dugout. The number of coaches allowed in baseball is almost getting as ridiculous as it is in football. Nolan Reimold, see you later or start taking steroids again. Your body is and will remain broken down. I am a fan of both, but it looks like the PED’s have taken their toll. There is one injury that cannot happen………..and you all know who it is. Steve Pearce, whoops – no, it would be that guy behind the plate, Weiters. No Weiters = No playoffs.

155 games remaining. The Birds have a chance. I say that every year. But really, for the first time in many a year, the light at the end of the tunnel is a little brighter. Heck , for the first time in many a year, there actually appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Ok Adam Jones, I have the orange Kool-aid out, I have the radio playing with the TV muted, I am ready for the “To be continued….” saga. The nucleus is tight. They had a taste of winning. There is motivation. There is talent down on the farm. Buckle yourself in – it’s gonna be a wild ride. Let’s GO O’s, Let’s GO O’s!




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Your Monday Reality Check: No one feels like “fool” on Opening Day Eve this year

Posted on 01 April 2013 by Glenn Clark

This one won’t be quite as long as some of my other Monday columns. So you’ve got that going for you. (Which is nice.)

Thursday, April 5 was “Opening Day Eve” for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. Like so many years before, the moment wasn’t marked with such excitement in Charm City, but more a reminder of what “hadn’t been” for a franchise over the better part of two decades.

To reflect those emotions, a number of O’s fans planned to join WNST for a Candlelight Vigil that night downtown near the Brooks Robinson statue. We had hoped to make the event a bit larger, but like so many events related to the Birds in the years leading up to that night we were unable to garner any much emotion from area baseball fans other than indifference.

As I was wrapping up “The Reality Check” that afternoon on AM1570 WNST.net, I played a clip from Orioles OF Adam Jones recorded at a media workout that day. I was preparing for a regular Thursday segment called “Free Advice” and got a bit worked up when I heard the All-Star label a group of Orioles fans as “fools” (I was much more willing to dismiss his insinuation that Opening Day was a “shitshow”). I would re-live all of the details, but Luke Jones put them all together quite nicely that night.

A lot of Orioles fans were angry with me for going toe-to-toe with the would-be MVP candidate, despite the fact that I did so on behalf of…well…Orioles fans. I haven’t felt much of a need to write about the issue in detail, mostly because Adam Jones apologized quickly both privately in a text message exchange with me that night and publicly via Twitter. It ultimately left me with a bit of a newfound respect for the man who patrols Center Field.

Moreover, I never felt the need to write about the issue at length because the emotions of that Opening Day Eve changed so quickly over the course of the coming weeks and months.

I will admit openly to being a fan of the perhaps cheesy Denver folk band The Lumineers. They have a hit song in rotation now called “Stubborn Love” that includes the lyric “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love’s indifference.” It’s a play on a thought well known, the thought that the passion of love is more equal to the passion of hate or anger than it is contrary. Instead, the lack of passion (or emotion at all) in indifference is more diametric to love than anger.

The Orioles were finally able to remove themselves from the feelings of indifference from fans in 2012. They instead returned to the role of “Stubborn Love”, as emotions were strong throughout the campaign. When the Birds picked up one of their 16 extra inning wins, fans found themselves experiencing a level of pandemonium, even a level of “Orange Fever.” When Dan Duquette and company made a move fans questioned (like trading for veteran DH Jim Thome or P Joe Saunders or failing to acquire a bigger name available player before the trade deadline), the emotion in response was anger instead of indifference.

I finally sat down and watched “BUCKle Up Birds” Sunday night, the Orioles’ 2012 season highlight video. It was fun to remember how much emotion was involved each and every night of the baseball season. It was the first season since the arrival of social media-or even since the internet became prominent-that we got to experience these things together as Orioles fans.

And on this Opening Day Eve 2013, the emotions are much different.

Perhaps we’re not going “all in” on the belief that the team is primed to make another run to a Wild Card appearance (I picked the Birds to finish third in the AL East Friday and finish right around .500), but we’re still legitimately excited about the start of baseball season. Not “saying we’re excited about baseball season because we like the chance to get together and drink on Opening Day but really we’re miserable because we know baseball season is going to suck again this year.”

I would have always expected a good crowd for our Opening Day event Friday at Pratt Street Ale House downtown, but this year I’m also excited for the number of future Thursday night and Friday afternoon events we have scheduled for away and home games respectively. It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before on Opening Day Eve in my adult life.

That’s all I’ve got this week. I’m sure I’ll be angry about something, I’m sure I’ll end up yelling and screaming at some point during the course of the week. But today I’m just grateful that Opening Day Eve feels like a legitimate celebration instead of cause for a candlelight vigil.

I’m grateful we don’t feel like fools this year…even if it is April 1. I hope it’s like that again next year.


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walk off 04-29

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Orioles Best Season Since……..Why Not

Posted on 01 January 2013 by Tom Federline

It’s that time of year again. Time for reflection. Time for regrouping. Time to start out the New Year on a positive. SO…….. how ’bout ‘dem 2012 O’s hun? It only took 22 years for this O’s fan to get that “old school – down to the bone chilling – orange and black – Orioles Magic,” feeling back into my soul. And it felt good. The town was energized, young Oriole fans finally experienced a Baltimore Orioles summer, many Oriole fans cleared off the cobwebs and  the hard core Oriole fans were revived. It had “Been Such a Longtime” – Boston. That was a nice touch by the way, from the Camden Yards Audio/visual folks, playing that song at the park at the end of the season.

1989 – the “Why Not” – year. 2012 – the “We’re Not Giving Up” year. Early season perception of those two years: 1989 – the Orioles seemingly on a downward spiral, especially after the 0 – 21 start and 54-107 1988 season. 2012 – the Orioles below .500 since 1997 and ranked 28th out of 30 teams in the Power rankings. So naturally, what has become an annual tradition, I went out and bought an Orioles gaming ticket for them to win the World Series, this year at 125 to 1. Sadly, couldn’t cash in. Happy, probably won’t see those odds again anytime soon.

Remember1989? Frank Robinson was manager. Rex Barney at…………..Memorial Stadium! HTS with Mel Proctor and John Lowenstein (my favorite Orioles TV team) and Jon Miller/Joe Angel on the radio. Besides Brady and Cal, how about names like Randy Milligan, Joe Orsulak, Jim Traber, Bob Milacki, Kevin Hickey, Gregg ‘the otter” Olson? Come on, hit me up with some more. Dig deep into the memory bank. This year was that same kind of year. Some big names with (at times) an unfamiliar supporting cast,  “stepping up to the plate”, becoming a team and surprising everyone!

Yes, there was 1996 and 1997 – but come on O’s fans – give credit where credit is due – Angelos did actually go out and try and buy it. The talent was retained with high price tags. They were expected to win. They were expected to participate with the 75% of the players that were “juicy juiced enhanced” at the time (whoops that last one slipped). It had been 12 years and no World Series appearance. Management made a move. Those two years came and went. Now, it has been 29 years since a World Series appearance. But this time, it is a more welcomed, different approach.

Since it is the New Year and I would like to stay as positive as long as I can (which means until the harsh reality of work tomorrow), let me offer my top 5 moments/games of this past season:

5. Opening Day – Friday 4/6/12, win 4-2 over the Twins. It was Opening Day, need I say more?  The Cartoon Bird was back! It was the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards and the place is still immaculate. Partly due to annual renovations at the stadium, this year in particular – new lower concourse floor, lower field wall in right, Batters Eye Pub in centerfield, the soon to be (at the time) Monument Plaza out in left, etc. Then there was the Opening Day Ceremony pageantry, then the game, then……… Nick Markakis (Future Hall of Famer) – smacking a home run in his first at-bat, on his first swing, after coming back from injury. Play Ball!

4. Sunday 4/29/12, win bottom of the ninth, 5-2 over the Oakland A’s at the Yard. O’s trailing the whole game, went into the ninth down 2-0, Bartolo Colon going for complete game. Weiters a 2-run double and then Wilson Betemit crushed a walk-off 3-run homer. They had won 6 out of 7 and you could feel the tide-a-changing. Little did we know, that game was just a glimpse of what was to come the rest of the year.

3. Saturday 7/14/12, Jim Palmer Statue day at the Yard, win in extra innings (13), 8-6 over the Tigers. Taylor Teagarden. Say it again, Taylor Teagarden – just a cool name – hit a game winning 3-run homer. This was AFTER the Birds had squandered a 4-1 lead in the 9th – the Tigers tied it. The Tigers then went ahead in the 11th – the O’s tied it in the bottom. Then the Tigers went ahead again in the 13th – only to have Taylor Teagarden end it in the bottom. Another game to be added to  “Classics of the Year”. 

2. Friday 10/5/12, Wild Card play-in game, win 5-1 at Texas Rangers. Joe Saunders, Joe who? The chosen starting pitcher to potentially springboard the Orioles beyond that playoff albatross that has been looming since 1997. He was 0-6 at Texas stadium with like a 10.00 era – then BOOM – Dan Duquette/the Buck “stops here” Showalter – make another Classic move. O’s move on to play the Evil Empire.

1. Sunday 5/6/12, the Marathon (17 innings, 6 hours +), the “where were you when….” game, WIN 9-6 at Fenway! If I remember correctly, something about Chris Davis pitching and getting the win? No game recap here, just watch it on Orioles Classics (MASN). Here’s a little salt to pour in the wound for the Red Sox fans though, that game completed a weekend SWEEP! 

“O” what a year. One heckuva roller coaster ride. The cool thing though………..meaningful baseball was back in Baltimore. They simply just never gave up. The future looks bright. I would advise on purchasing some Oriole shades. Who knows what lies ahead? Optimism for once, exists. I remember ’89, I have the VHS tape. I will always remember 2012, I will purchase the DVD.  Orioles Magic – Summer of 2013. I’m feeling warm already. Happy New Year.



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Your Monday Reality Check-O What A Weekend

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

I receive plenty of ridiculous messages via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, phone and here at WNST.net every week. I have a soft spot in my heart for those many messages and those who send them.

On Sunday, one of the more ridiculous messages I’ve seen was brought to my attention on Twitter.

bet ur pissed Os are 3-0 and ur boycott isnt working

I won’t say who sent me the note because I have no idea if they’re an actual listener/reader or just a troll who was sent my way during my brief spat with Baltimore Orioles OF Adam Jones last week. There’s no particular reason to allow this person any attention anyway.

The statement here is so ridiculous that I will need a minute to address it. I’ll start with the notion that I’d be “pissed” about the O’s starting the season with a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The note implies one of two things-either I’m not a fan of the Birds at all or I’m a fan who for some reason doesn’t want to see them win.

I’ll start with the notion that I’m somehow “not an Orioles fan”. Here’s a picture from Chase Field in 2007 when the Orioles visited the Arizona Diamondbacks and I was working at The Fan 1060 (KDUS) in Phoenix…

I looked almost exactly like that all weekend. I could probably post about 1,000 more pictures here-but you can check my personal Facebook page for your own proof. As Nestor Aparicio knows all too well, somehow asking for a team to get better translates into “not a fan” in the minds of folks who likely also believe their favorite band WANTS to be known as a sellout. I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan, plain and simple.

The next thought would be that I for some reason don’t want the team to win. This is an all-too-often misconception related to WNST’s “Free The Birds” campaign that I have openly supported since its’ inception in 2006. I’d like to come back to this in a second.

The final part of the statement “your boycott isn’t working” reflects an absolute lack of knowledge about “Free The Birds” in general. To some, it is incomprehensible that I can both believe a current regime is incapable of creating a quality product but yet appreciate the product when it shows to be of quality.

Before heading in to see the Birds open the season against the Twinkies Friday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I wandered across Pratt Street to chat with fellow fans at Luna Del Sea. I had a great time hanging out, talking baseball and promoting FTB. Two listeners in particular approached me to say “thank you” for defending those who believe in our cry (and also the cries of groups like “Occupy Eutaw Street”) on my show last Thursday. I engaged in a great back and forth in which I reiterated a statement that I feel must be repeated.

“Free The Birds to me has only ever been about one thing-making the team better. It’s not anything personal about players, managers, general managers or even (wait for it) owners. If the Orioles can get better and baseball can become relevant in Charm City again with Peter Angelos as owner I will owe a debt of gratitude to the man. I just don’t really believe it will happen.”

Free The Birds isn’t a “boycott”. Free The Birds is ABSOLUTELY not a statement that we don’t support the Baltimore Orioles when they take the field. Those misconceptions will exist in the minds of some forever, but it won’t make them true. Free The Birds (for me) is simply a belief and statement that losing is NOT okay.

That concept alone is apparently not even enough for all to agree. That’s fine. Not every fan has to demand quality from the entity they support. The fact that Bon Jovi has managed to sell plenty of concert tickets over the course of the last decade is living proof of that.

The fact is, I want quality from the Baltimore Orioles and I don’t believe it will happen with Peter Angelos as owner. But my belief/expectation will never be cause for me to “hope” or “root” against such an occurrence. As many of you are aware, I don’t pick the Baltimore Ravens to win every football game they play. There hasn’t been one time in my life however that I wasn’t rooting for them to show me just how little I know.

I root against my own belief that the Orioles will fail to succeed under the control of Peter Angelos. I OPENLY root against it.

Like many years during what I’ve called “The Rock Bottom Era” here in Baltimore, the Birds got off to a hot start this weekend. Pitchers Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel combined to allow ONE run over 22 innings pitched. That number seems so impossible I’ve actually quadruple-checked it.

After an Opening Day sellout, another crowd of 30,000 plus took in Saturday night’s game (there was even a buzz about it at Power Plant Live as I was leaving the Alabama Shakes show at Rams Head Live). Sunday’s crowd looked all too “Baltimorean”, but the Easter holiday clearly had something to do with it.

(Oh and I didn’t even mention the awesomeness of the orange uniforms Saturday night. The last time I’ve wanted an article of clothing so badly was the first time Stone Cold Steve Austin donned a knee brace.)

It was an awesome weekend that left the city buzzing. It makes Monday a happier day to be in the state of Maryland than it would have been otherwise.

It doesn’t mean things have changed with the Orioles organization. It doesn’t mean the Birds will be 6-0 when the New York Yankees leave town. It absolutely doesn’t mean the AL East should be on notice. It means we’ve had way more fun as fans for three days than we would have otherwise.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe this weekend marked an official turnaround for the Orioles. Maybe the excitement of eliminating the Boston Red Sox last September truly carried over and this type of baseball will be a reality for the Birds all season.

Maybe the Orioles truly are better despite an offseason that made us believe they might be worse.

Let me repeat that. Maybe this weekend was a sign that the Orioles really are better. I don’t believe it, but I’d love to be wrong.

If they are, Free The Birds is a success. This is all we’ve ever wanted.


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Opening Day roster set as Orioles enter 2012 season

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Luke Jones

Making their final cuts of the spring, the Orioles have formulated their 25-man roster for the start of the 2012 season.

Japanese left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 28 with an elbow ligament impingement. The Orioles hope Wada can improve his conditioning and continue to adjust to American baseball before the club must make a decision whether to place him in the bullpen or insert him in the starting rotation. In five spring innings, Wada allowed five earned runs, five hits, two walks, and six strikeouts.

Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden was also placed on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to recover from a strained back. The move is retroactive to March 26 after Teagarden received only five Grapefruit League at-bats while dealing with the lingering back issue.

The Orioles selected the contracts of first baseman Nick Johnson and catcher Ronny Paulino to fill their final two spots on the 40-man roster. Johnson hit .292 in 48 spring at-bats and — more importantly — remained healthy after being invited to camp as a non-roster invitee.

Paulino will take Teagarden’s place as the backup catcher and hit .216 in 37 at-bats in the spring.

Left-handed relief pitcher Zach Phillips was the final cut in the bullpen despite an impressive 1.35 earned run average in 13 1/3 innings this spring. Fellow southpaw Troy Patton did not allow a run all spring (10 1/3 innings) and is out of options.

Here is a look at the Orioles’ 25-man roster with the season set to begin on Friday:

34 Jake Arrieta
29 Tommy Hunter
39 Jason Hammel
16 Wei-Yin Chen
17 Briant Matusz
27 Matt Lindstrom
38 Luis Ayala
40 Troy Patton
63 Kevin Gregg
47 Pedro Strop
56 Darren O’Day
43 Jim Johnson

32 Matt Wieters
28 Ronny Paulino

19 Chris Davis
11 Robert Andino
2 J.J. Hardy
12 Mark Reynolds
36 Nick Johnson
24 Wilson Betemit
3 Ryan Flaherty

21 Nick Markakis
10 Adam Jones
14 Nolan Reimold
9 Endy Chavez

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Arrieta Officially Named Orioles Opening Day Starter

Posted on 02 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Free The Birds & Peter Angelos: Where are the Orioles 6 years later?

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As you know, it’s not without a lot of soul-searching that I write or talk or act in regard to the Baltimore Orioles. It’s no secret that I have a vested interest in the team being relevant in many ways – spiritual, financial, family-related, community desires – I share the dream of a better day for the baseball team in our city. I still live three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards so it actually affects my neighborhood, community, business, life and joy.

I’m here with a very long and detailed blog but a very succinct message direct from Jim Valvano: “Don’t give up! Don’t EVER give up…”

This is not the time to give up hope for a better tomorrow and better baseball experience in Baltimore just because the last 14 years have been catastrophic under the iron-fisted reign of the Angelos family. (I always use the Chicago Blackhawks’ miraculous turnaround as an example of a franchise’s triumphant return to relevance and parades.)

In my opinion, it’s the time to be heard. It’s time for you — the fanbase and the citizens of the state — to speak up and stop writing about it on Facebook and talking about it at work and waiting for Peter Angelos to die or sell the team.

This blog is about ACTION and YOU getting involved and being heard…

Hence, we are planning several events next Thursday and Friday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to “Be Heard By The Birds.”


Let’s be honest, if the fans of the Baltimore Orioles don’t speak up on Opening Day, what’s the point and who will hear it? No one seems to hear or say anything of relevance regarding the team after the first 24 hours of the baseball season.

Do you think this version of the Baltimore Orioles is acceptable? Do you think a team that’s continues to add zeros to its guaranteed profit center at the direct expense to the community should be allowed to empty downtown on summer nights and spend entire season wallowing in last place as the worst franchise – and most profitable – in Major League Baseball?

What we’re calling for with @FreeTheBirds12 campaign and via our Facebook Free The Birds 12 page is a public referendum on baseball in Baltimore.

I think the fans of the Baltimore Orioles should be heard and we’re encouraging a loud, full-scale and personal protest in anticipation of Opening Day. And as I’ll write next week, this is really so Major League Baseball hears our message as a community. They’re really at the heart of the “blame game” if you want to know why this whole thing stinks, point your initial finger toward Bud Selig, who berthed the Washington Nationals and gave Angelos a platinum orange parachute.

And if you don’t want to protest this sham that’s been perpetrated on the fans of the Baltimore Orioles then don’t bitch about the team being in last place every year with a scandalously low payroll and even lower reputation in the baseball community where no one but the desperate or wayward come to take employment as players, coaches or front office personnel.

Quick, name the last time a player, coach or management person took at a job in Baltimore when they had any other option in the sport?

We’ve seen the results of having the great Andy MacPhail was on board. He sold the orange Kool-Aid via pathetic videos like THIS and pitched it over to Buck Showalter, who is now saddled with a guy in Dan Duquette that 29 other teams thought was essentially “un-hirable” for a dozen years in an industry that continues to get younger and more competitive and cutthroat every year as the cost of doing business skyrockets and fan interest is waning or has hit a plateau in many markets.

Of course here in Baltimore it’s in free fall that for most of us was unthinkable a dozen years ago and is now so bad that the sheer math means they can’t fall much further. Where do you go from 14 years of irrelevance, six consecutive years in last place and the inability to lure any players of substance to Baltimore to annually compete with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees?

There will be many nights in April and May when less than 6,000 people will watch the Orioles play in person. And no matter what directives the MASN Sports crew follows from Peter Angelos, you can’t hide an empty stadium night after night.

But the one thing that MASN and the media trail of Angelos’ negotiations during the Washington Nationals’ birth has done a great job of doing is hiding this incredible revenue stream he’s amassed – a annuity worth tens of millions of dollars annually – for simply “owning” the team. He’s collecting and siphoning money off of your cable TV bill every month. Like clockwork.

Drip, drop…

Clip, clap…

More pennies for Peter…

It’s been my experience that most citizens have no idea that they’ve become a welfare provider for the Baltimore Orioles, MASN and Peter Angelos.

All while downtown rots on summer nights and the Orioles become a brand known for losing, profiteering and turning its back on the community that birthed the franchise and built them a temple in the middle of downtown that has become a sad reminder how great baseball used to be in Baltimore.

It’s a profound sadness that has ensued for our community and anyone who has ever worn a Baltimore Orioles hat feels when the team’s record – on and off the field – is discussed by anyone who’s watched this reality show gone awry over the past 20 years.

Yes, we did Free The Birds in September 2006 and it was a very simple message: “Please sell the team or fix the team.”

Clearly, Peter Angelos has done neither. If anything, he’s done his personal best to make sure neither of these is possible.

It’s probably Angelos’ worst nightmare but it’s very, very easy for me to look any Baltimore Orioles fan in the eyes and say: “I was right…but I wish I was wrong.”

The Baltimore Orioles have been firmly ensconced in last place almost every day since Free The Birds on Sept. 21, 2006. It’s been 2,022 days, 817 games…and their record has been 338-479 or .413 baseball.

Oh, and the Washington Nationals have strangely become relevant and competitive while Angelos has taken his hundreds of millions of dollars of MASN money and pocketed it while watching downtown Baltimore get more vacant every year while his pockets are lined with profits that he couldn’t have dreamed imaginable when he bought the team in 1994 with 18 other investors (many of whom have departed) for $173 million.

This week our WNST staff will be outlining and discussing the reality of the Baltimore Orioles’ place on the local landscape

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