Tag Archive | "Opening Day"

B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles First Week

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B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles First Week

Posted on 04 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson

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!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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

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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.

-G

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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.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Your Monday Reality Check-O What A Weekend

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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.

-G

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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:

PITCHERS
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

CATCHERS
32 Matt Wieters
28 Ronny Paulino

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

OUTFIELDERS
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?

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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.”

YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THE EVENTS HERE…

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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Orioles Warm Stove

Posted on 12 February 2012 by Tom Federline

Is the baseball stove even on? I know last week Dan Donesquat had my oven on fire. In the matter of a few days, I had heard the Orioles had hired Brady Anderson back (to teach how NOT to get caught?), let Jeremy Guthrie go (only reliable arm they had) and were talking to Manny ‘Steroid Hair” Ramirez for a comeback. After the Ramirez announcement – I tuned out. I actually turned off the radio when I heard ”Duquette talks with Ramirez.”  The first words out of my mouth were – are you kiddin’ me? Have to admit, I embellished that statement and even made myself laugh. Warm stove, hot stove, or no stove, just what is going on?

Am I quick on the trigger with my play on the O’s new GM’s name, Dan Donesquat? I attempted an Opening Day line-up and realized there really was no apparent DH. The former Boston BlowSox GM has made some moves, so he has done…………….. something. The O’s have 40 some guys claiming to be pitchers. I guess he is banking on fresh new arms, the farm system to pick up the slack and surprises galore. So let’s just say, it “appears” as if our new GM has done squat. I’m an O’s fan. I have orange kool-aid year round in my kitchen cabinets. But haven’t the orange faithful been down this road way to many times?

Brady is coming back! Director of Player Developement and Conditioning. Here I go again – Are you kiddin’ me? (laugh). So now the boys can learn how to take steroids, pay the right testing lab and NOT get caught. I was a Brady Anderson fan. It’s a shame he earned his way to get thrown in with 75% of all the other steroid using athletes in the 90′s.  Are the O’s resurging with the leagues oldest lead-off hitter? The O’s need one.

 

Wait a minute Donesquat I get it – so when you sign Ramirez and thank him for putting you on the map back in Boston – he will be the antithesis to Brady on steroid use. Ramirez can teach how to get caught on juice when you get greedy. Or will Ramirez be here to teach hair care? Maybe Ramirez will be the DH? Ok, I have to stop. No steroid hair.

Jeremy Guthrie gone. I get he is coming up on the last year of his contract. Had another “hard luck” year. A little arm soreness, a friend of the long ball, age, need to change the gaurd, etc. Who was the O’s “go to” guy these last few years? Who ate up innings with “quality starts”? Who was the only guy on that pitching staff, you could say when it was his turn in the starting rotation, “At least we have a shot tonight?” I guess you are a gambling man Dan Donesquat. We are anxious to see. And good ole Jeremy Guthrie, my advice to you is, you’re just “Gonna Walk and Don’t Look Back” – (Peter Tosh and Mic Jagger – great duet). Good luck in Rockies land, you deserve it.

Opening Day line-up (proposed as of today): 1. Robert Andino – 2b (Roberts is done). 2. J.J. Hardy – SS (Thanks you Andy Didfail). 3. Adam Jones – CF (our hope). 4. Chris Davis – (Designated Hitter – found ‘em). 5. Nolan Reimaold – RF (please make it this year). 6. Matt Weiters – C (solid). 7. Wilson Betemit – 3b (Dan Duquette safety). 8. Mark Reynolds – 1b (will he top 200 K’s this year). Endy Chavez – RF (who?). Opening Day Starter – Jake Arietta (our hope). I also heard we got a Tippy Martinez clone in this Tsuyoshi Wada (who?) Injured Reserve – Nick Markakis Future HOF (1/3 of year),  Brian Roberts (indefinite /let go?).

Injured Reserve – Markakis’ abdominal surgery may be more than he bargained for. Hopefully not. Last year Ryan Zimmerman from the Washington Nationals, had a similar injury and played in 101 games. Grant it, on a different timetable. Zimmerman probably coasted during the 2011 off-season and spring training, then became injured beginning of April. We take our stomach muscles and knees for granted. Brain Roberts is a mess. A self inflicted bat to the head, a head first slide into first? What aren’t they telling us?

It finally turned cold. I need something on the stove and in the fireplace to keep me warm, preferably hot. It sure isn’t the Orioles. Actually, the nut ball fan that I am, I believe the O’s have a good base. I thought they did last year and the year before that and the year before that. I would love to take back my nickname for the new O’s GM and praise his rolling of the dice. But the story is all to familiar. We all know the trouble starts at the top with Mr. Please Free the Birds Angelos. Maybe Dan’s hands are tied. Maybe Dan was just tired of being re-tired. Maybe Baltimore O’s fans are due for a few surprises. Maybe I’ve already started drinking to much orange kool-aid.

End on a positive - The cartoon bird is back! And I do like the 20 years at Camden Yards site, here’s the link http://orioles.mlb.com/bal/camdenyards20/index.jsp .  

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

As the confetti dropped Sunday night at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis to punctuate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots, a harsh reality set in throughout Charm City.

While the Baltimore Ravens were eliminated some 14 days earlier, the immediate hangover effect of an AFC Championship Game loss lingered into Super Bowl week. The significance of the Super Bowl even without the Ravens’ involvement prevented the malaise of the football offseason from setting in too quickly.

It’s here now though, and it absolutely stings.

Just as we’ve finally had enough time to get over the Ravens’ heartbreaking defeat in Foxborough, we’ve been forced to accept the fact that there really isn’t anything on the sporting horizon that we can deflect our purple energy towards. After working ourselves into a frenzy over the course of the last two months, we have basically no choice but to sit on our collective hands for the better part of the next seven months while we wait for John Harbaugh’s team to take the field once more for real.

Sure, we’ll all drink some beer and tell our favorite Earl Weaver stories on Opening Day. Most of us will throw down a few shekels on the Kentucky Derby winner on Preakness Saturday in May. We’ll be gripped to any rumors related to the Purple Birds.

The moments of excitement will be fleeting and there will certainly be no outlet for us to channel any level of sporting fervor.

Here’s the rundown on the “Reality” of the situation:

-Much of the country will immediately shift their focus to College Basketball season. In past years, an exciting University of Maryland has provided a level of excitement after football season concluded. Barring a miracle it won’t be the case this season, as the Terps sit at 3-5 in ACC play with no significant victory and none likely to come. This was to be expected in Mark Turgeon’s first season but it won’t help anyone in the area shake themselves awake from an “end of football season coma.”

One small shining light is Loyola University basketball, as the Greyhounds find themselves tied with Iona for first place in the MAAC at 11-2. This year’s team is the best Jimmy Patsos has ever had, and has a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament. The only cloud for the Hounds’ chances is that the Gaels certainly have more overall talent. It doesn’t mean Loyola couldn’t figure a way to a MAAC Tournament title, it’s just reality.

Coppin State entered Monday with a respectable 7-3 MEAC record and a legitimate crop of talent. Morgan State’s season has been mired by a mid-season suspension of head coach Todd Bozeman and has lead to a disappointing 3-6 conference record entering Monday. The Eagles have a semi-realistic chance of winning the MEAC Tournament, the Bears can’t be completely ruled out but have struggled.

Towson and UMBC have basketball teams. One has a first year coach (the Tigers’ Pat Skerry), one has a coach who might be in his last season (the Retrievers’ Randy Monroe). Neither are even a little good.

Before I leave the topic, the University of Maryland women (who provided us a pleasant distraction with their 2006 NCAA Championship run) have a nice team again under Brenda Frese. They’re not liking a team that could make a Final Four run, but they weren’t supposed to be that year either.

-Other fans across the country will turn their attention to the NHL and NBA. With no team in either sport (and no arena for hope of a team relocating here in either sport) Baltimore isn’t afforded the opportunity to shift attention to such areas.

A handful of sports fans in Baltimore are interested in the Washington Capitals, who have made the NHL Playoffs in each of the last four seasons. After firing coach Bruce Boudreau earlier this season, the Caps find themselves sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff picture now under Dale Hunter and aren’t likely to make a run longer than last season’s advance to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

There are less than a handful of Washington Wizards fans in Baltimore, which might be good news because the Wizards are unthinkably terrible.

-College Lacrosse season gets underway in the next 10 days, and both Johns Hopkins and Maryland find themselves in the Top 10 of preseason polls. A run to the Final Four from either the Blue Jays or Terrapins would be pleasant, but with the National Semifinals and Finals back in Foxborough Memorial Day weekend is not likely to register the same way for any local sports fan.

-That of course brings us to baseball. The Baltimore Orioles play their first Spring Training games on March 5. They’ll hope to avoid being mathematically eliminated from the AL East race before their first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards April 6. There’s no guarantee they’ll succeed.

That’s where we are. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality. I don’t write this to try to depress anyone. The good news (for you) is that you won’t have to talk about it for four hours a day. I’m not afforded the same opportunity. And it’s not as if I’m really telling you anything you didn’t know, I just felt as though Monday was the day everything sunk in.

We’ll still be here for you however…if for no other reason than to pass the time.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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