Tag Archive | "oriole park at camden yards"

We debut our #WNSTSweet16 list with the Greatest Local Sports debuts

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We debut our #WNSTSweet16 list with the Greatest Local Sports debuts

Posted on 07 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

On Sunday night we introduced our first #WNSTSweet16 discussion topic for 2014. As we celebrate 16 years as Baltimore’s local sports media leader, we’re looking at some of the “water cooler” topics you’ve most discussed since we first turned on the microphone.

With the debut of #WNSTSweet16, our first list focuses on just that-debuts. The Greatest Local Sports Debuts is the topic in fact. As we look over the history of Baltimore (and Maryland) sports, what single games, seasons, etc. stand out as the best of the best?

We’ve been discussing the topic here, on-air at AM1570 WNST and on social media for the last couple of days and will continue to do so. Here’s the list.

16. The inaugural season of the Baltimore CFL Colts/Baltimore CFL’s/Baltimore Football Club/Baltimore Stallions (1994)

As I look back on the first of two years of Canadian football in Charm City, what stands out most was the attendance figures for the home games.

Courtesy of Wikipedia, that’s 31,000 or more fans at EVERY home game at Memorial Stadium to watch (let’s be honest) a second rate product. It was a remarkable testament to the rabid nature of football fandom in Baltimore and further proof of the city’s worthiness of a NFL return. The team itself was quite good-including future NFL players like O.J. Brigance, Josh Miller and Shar Pourandesh as well as Canadian Football Hall of Famers like Tracey Ham and Mike Pringle. The season ended with a loss to the BC Lions in the Grey Cup, a year before the franchise would become the only American team to ever win a Grey Cup.

No. 15 next page…

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On Halloween weekend, perhaps it’s fitting to have a schedule-gate horror sequel

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On Halloween weekend, perhaps it’s fitting to have a schedule-gate horror sequel

Posted on 02 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

The Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII will obviously go down as the biggest sports story of 2013 here in Baltimore. But for those of us who live in Charm City-we truly know the story that has actually been the most discussed.

The Ravens opened on the road in 2013-getting absolutely crushed by the Denver Broncos in the process-due to the fact that the Baltimore Orioles were previously scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox on September 5-a date that was traditionally held for the defending Super Bowl champs to open at home.

The debate that occurred between when the Ravens won the Super Bowl and when they played the Thursday night opener in the Mile High City was one of the historically contentious debates our city has ever seen. Instead of debating what was best for the city, the debate became more about allegiances. The common question was about whether you supported the Ravens or the Orioles-the National Football League or Major League Baseball-and who you thought the bad guys were in the process.

What was so rarely discussed was what was best for Baltimore and what needed to happen to ensure such issues wouldn’t occur moving forward. As I mentioned in a column this March, this issue wasn’t as uncommon as some wanted to paint it. I reported then that the 2012 Baltimore Marathon was dangerously close to being cancelled because the O’s could have ended up hosting Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS had they won the AL East. (They would have still needed to win the ALDS to host the first two games of the Championship Series, but the race would have been cancelled prior to that because of the possibility.)

As I reported in March, the Birds had the power to force such a cancellation because in their lease agreement for the Camden Yards complex with the Maryland Stadium Authority-they have been granted not only the first right to dates available, but they have essentially been granted ALL rights to dates available. They have the exclusive power to decide they want a date for a game (or an event), preventing the Baltimore Ravens or another entity from using the complex.

I told you then this situation wasn’t going anywhere. I told you then this was an issue that needed to be addressed in a bigger picture scope than just adjusting a football game. I wasn’t kidding.

The situation already looms as a factor twice in 2014. The Orioles are scheduled to be home against the Cleveland Indians over Memorial Day weekend-the same weekend the Ravens are scheduled to host the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium. Then on Labor Day weekend the Birds are scheduled to be home against the Minnesota Twins-the same weekend Ohio State is scheduled to face Navy at the home of the Ravens. The scheduling complexities of that weekend have already lead to the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Baltimore for at least the next two years if not longer. No solutions have been determined for those events-instead the parties involved appear to simply be hoping those events will work out.

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

I know well that Baltimore Orioles fans weren’t REALLY mad that a pitcher was thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

I know very well that Baltimore Orioles fans were mad about late Saturday afternoon was THEIR pitcher getting thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

As much as I wasn’t interested in fighting with baseball fans on Twitter, I was certainly happy to see the passion. The passion has been perhaps my favorite part of the Birds’ resurgence over the last 14 months.

I was up close and personal (okay, ten rows back) from that very passion Friday night. I had a great friend invite me down to Oriole Park at Camden Yards after our live broadcast of “The Reality Check” at Hooters Friday afternoon. My fiancé and I spent the evening wandering through the ballpark with our friends, taking in the Centerfield Bar, the Orioles’ corporate suite and our fantastic lower level seats at the sold out game against the Detroit Tigers. (I don’t say those things to rub in how great my night was, but instead to offer another thank you to my friend Mike-who might very well be reading this. He was a tremendous host. Indulge me for his sake, please.)

When Nick Markakis came to the plate to lead off the 9th inning, I couldn’t find a single person that wasn’t standing. By the time Chris Dickerson sent everyone home happy, the 40,000 or so in attendance were whipped into an absolute frenzy.

It was one of the more amazing moments I could ever remember as a baseball fan…and it might not have even been the most exciting victory the O’s had all week.

There was more passion inside OPAC Y Friday night than any sunrise Easter service I’ve ever attended in my life. It was a night full of fire, a night full of madness and a night full of, well, Orange Fever.

Dickerson perhaps supplied the final act of “Orioles Magic” with his three run, two out walk-off jack; but the displays of “Orioles Magic” were bountiful from the time I hit President Street at 1pm and couldn’t get to Harborplace until 1:55 because the city was packed.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as fans came by to see Larry Sheets while we were sitting at Hooters. There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as a group of Orange and Black supporters shouted down Tigers fans who came to visit at Hooters and declared they had made the trip because “the Tigers were winning the World Series and they wanted to see as many games during the World Series year as possible.” They also couldn’t believe Luke Jones would describe the Orioles as having the American League’s best offense. I’m so glad the Birds were able to make them second guess by Sunday evening.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as we walked to and from the stadium. They were of course more after the game, including many who wanted to go out of their way to throw high fives or start a “Seven Nation Army” chant back up.

“Orioles Magic” was everywhere. The passion was real.

The passion was real again Saturday, but I wasn’t necessary as close to the action for it. I had to attend an ex’s wedding in Pikesville Saturday night and watched the better part of the game from my couch.

I’ll admit, it didn’t give me quite as good of a view of Matt Tuiasosopo’s shoulder as home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt did when Jason Hammel plunked it. My view also included a MASN broadcast where Mike Bordick wasted no time in letting me know the pitch was a slider and barely more than 80 miles an hour. Obviously no pitcher could ever purposefully hit a batter with such a pitch.

Obviously.

I took to Twitter to say the following…

It lead to a 30 minute back and forth that included legitimately ANGRY responses from 20-30 Orioles fans absolutely bullish about how disastrous of a decision Wendelstedt had made to toss Hammel without a warning.

Because apparently giving up three straight home runs suddenly needs to come with a warning.

Hendelstedt of course had every right to toss Hammel from the game. He didn’t have a radar gun available behind the plate, but even if he could tell the ball wasn’t thrown with Nolan Ryan heat, he had the right to decipher the pitch may well have been thrown with frustration.

Warnings come when an umpire fears retaliation. Ejects come when an umpire fears a pitcher throw a ball merely out of frustration.

Sometimes those decisions come with collateral damage. Hammel (and just about everyone connected to the organization) wanted to let you know after the game that there was no intent involved in the pitch. Of course, if you can remember the time a pitcher admitted intent after a game I’d love to have you forward it to me. (It’s glenn@wnst.net by the way.) (Edit from GC: I absolutely meant to say “admitted intent after a game and wasn’t suspended. I did not. It’s my fault and I apologize. Thanks to those of you who reminded me that Cole Hamels had indeed admitted intent after plunking Bryce Harper.)

Sadly, no umpire has the time to stop the game and conduct a full trial to determine intent on a pitch. I don’t necessarily think Jason Hammel intended to plunk Matt Tuiasosopo, but I don’t know for sure he didn’t, either.

Neither does anyone else, despite how many of you angrily Tweeted otherwise.

But I get it. It’s passion. It’s magical.

It’s way better than everyone getting together to ignore Eric DuBose’s most recent start together.

-G

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Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

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Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Glenn Clark

“You play games on holidays all the time, including Rosh Hashanah. Just move the game to Wednesday.”  

I’ve talked myself into and out of writing about this about ten times in the last couple of days.

For some reason, a simple issue related to scheduling has turned into a referendum related to singular support of one of Baltimore’s two major professional sports teams. Once again, we’ve drawn a line in the sand and said “either you’re with the Orioles or you’re with the Ravens. No other way around it.”

It reminds me of how most people view social, economical and political issues in this country. You HAVE to support the beliefs of one side of the political spectrum or the other. There’s no room for discourse. Personally, I side sometimes with liberals (I am fully supportive of marriage equality) and other times with conservatives (Rand Paul had every right to know whether or not the President would be willing to kill American citizens on American soil).

Unfortunately, if I were to side with one political party or the other, I would find myself ostracized for not simply toeing the party line. This week has somehow because a week of talking points and finger pointing without any willingness to completely discuss all aspects of the issue and accept there may be a little bit more to be accomplished than playing a blame game.

We know the situation. Because the Ravens won the Super Bowl, the NFL intended to extend to them the recent tradition of opening the following season at home. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the Orioles are scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, making the game an impossibility because the Ravens share the downtown Camden Yards Sports Complex.

Somehow instead of working proactively to try to solve the problem, the two sides have instead reached excruciating levels to make sure the appropriate level of blame was placed in one direction or another.

The bad news for those who have supported the Ravens in this battle is that the people who point this out the holiday hypocrisy are absolutely right to do so. The NFL has claimed the Jewish holiday as the reason they don’t want to move the season opener back to Wednesday, as they did a year ago to not go head to head against President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Some fans have gone to an extremely ignorant level to make this point. I have stated that personally-I, Glenn Clark, would provide that no league play ANY games on any particular holiday. That’s a one man grandstand and as a caller reminded me this week, “that ship has already sailed.” The league plays on holidays.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it apparent at the league’s meetings in Phoenix he expected his team to be the opponent in the opener in Charm City. It has lead some to believe that this is simply the league kowtowing to Kraft because he’s Jewish. I’m not really going to even bother responding because the real answer isn’t particularly relevant.

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Orioles, Ravens hope to accommodate smokers after Stadium Authority ban

Posted on 25 February 2013 by WNST Staff

The Maryland Stadium Authority is implementing a ban on smoking at the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. Effective March 4, 2013, the ban will apply to all games and events held within the stadium structures at Camden Yards.

The ban prohibits the “the burning of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance that contains tobacco” within the stadiums–whether such spaces are covered or uncovered, walled or exposed, or open or closed to public access. The ban will also prohibit smoking within 25 feet of any entry, outdoor air intake, or operable window of the stadium structures.

Roy Sommerhof, Vice President of Stadium Operations for the Ravens, said the team will make accommodations for those attending football games and other special events held at M&T Bank Stadium who wish to smoke.
The Orioles will announce a similar policy to accommodate smokers prior to Opening Day.

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Orioles-Yankees lineups for Game 2 of ALDS

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Orioles-Yankees lineups for Game 2 of ALDS

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles will send left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the mound in hopes of evening the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at one game apiece.

Here are Monday night’s lineups as the Orioles face off against Yankees veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte for the first time since Sept. 19, 2010. The Baltimore lineup surprisingly includes left-handed designated hitter Jim Thome, who hasn’t faced southpaw pitching very often this season.

The 42-year-old is 5-for-28 against left-handed pitching this season but does have three home runs.

BALTIMORE
LF Nate McLouth
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Mark Reynolds
DH Jim Thome
3B Manny Machado
2B Robert Andino

SP Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)

NEW YORK
SS Derek Jeter
LF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
C Russell Martin
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Eduardo Nunez

SP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA)

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I just took a vicious gut punch and can’t wait to do it again

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I just took a vicious gut punch and can’t wait to do it again

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Glenn Clark

There is no 15-7-0 this week. I’m a man with priorities.

My priorities Sunday were quite simple. I wanted to get through pre-game and post-game shows, enjoy a Ravens win and get to Oriole Park at Camden Yards as quickly as possible to watch a playoff game with my family.

At the end of the night, those priorities were realities even if the day didn’t play out exactly the way we had hoped it would.

Sunday night was everything baseball in Baltimore should be. It was an incredible gathering of friends and family for a vitally important civic event in a town where family names have baseball connections. We’re familiar with these types of nights in Baltimore, we just know them as “football games”. We’ve waited not so patiently for another one on the baseball diamond for a decade and a half.

It finally came Sunday night and it was absolutely as intense and electric and meaningful as any lifelong (or even Johnny-come-lately) Baltimore Orioles fan could have imagined it would be.

You know what’s amazing? I stood in the outfield for two hours during a rain delay and never heard a single complaint. Not about the lines for beer, not about the weather itself, not about the massive crowds making it difficult to maneuver or find space to stand comfortably.

Hell, we had waited 15 years. What’s another couple of hours?

After the New York Yankees were introduced to a less than partial crowd, there was a break before introducing the home team to their fans. The break might have been mere seconds, but it felt like time stood still. I remember the first time being alone with a girl at 16 years old, but I don’t remember my anticipation ever being as great as it was in those moments. The opportunity to show appreciation for ending one of the most miserable runs a fan base has experienced was a moment not soon to be forgotten.

That moment was followed up by a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Perry Hall High School shooting victim Daniel Borowy and guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, the man who stepped in and defined heroism in fending off the shooter that August morning. As a PHHS grad who has remained very close to the school in recent years (and who both went to school with and grew up down the street from Jesse to boot), I will admit that I lost it a bit during the moment. Even those without Gators ties could certainly revel in the significance of the occasion. THIS is truly a representation of what Orioles baseball should be. The most important things happening in our community should be tied to, recognized by and celebrated with the franchise that has remained in our city since 1954.

This was a moment that far transcended sports.

As Game 1 of the ALDS went along, it felt like every pitch was the most important ever thrown in the history of the sport. Each tantalizing inch around the plate was crucial, with fans hanging on every centimeter afforded to CC Sabathia but taken away from Jason Hammel. When the Birds were able to break through and plate two runs off the bat of Nate McLouth in the 3rd inning the staff at OPACY could have set off actual fireworks and they might have gone unnoticed by a crowd that could only be described as bat-sh*t bonkers.

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Steve Johnson’s health factors into decision to keep him off roster

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Steve Johnson’s health factors into decision to keep him off roster

Posted on 07 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter decided to sleep on it before finalizing his 25-man roster for the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

Even then, he admitted it was a very difficult process to leave several good arms off the roster, including pitchers Steve Johnson, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton.

“It’s hard to handicap what’s more particularly [difficult] — this guy or that guy — they’re all hard,” Showalter said. “We put a lot of thought with keeping mind you have to be cautious if you have an issue physically with somebody.”

The decision to leave the local product Johnson off the roster was especially difficult with his contributions down the stretch as a starter filling in for Game 1 starter Jason Hammel. Making four starts and appearing in 12 games this season, Johnson went 4-0 with a 2.11 earned run average in 38 1/3 innings.

However, the rookie injured his left knee after landing awkwardly from taking a comebacker hit by Boston’s Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 29. Johnson deemed himself ready to go this week and would have likely started a potential division tiebreaker against the Yankees on Thursday had the Orioles finished in a tie at the end of the regular season, but some uncertainty remained in the mind of Showalter.

“As good as we think Steve could feel, there’s some unknown there with the knee,” Showalter said. “But, we’re going to keep him here. We’re going to send probably a couple guys down to Sarasota to the instructional league to be in that camp there, but we’ll decide that after the game. Every one of those guys, as I told them today, has to have the mindset that they’re playing tomorrow, because they could be.”

Johnson will remain on call should there be a health issue with Hammel or another pitcher on the 25-man roster while a few others such as Britton and outfielder Xavier Avery will be sent to Sarasota to compete in the instructional league to stay sharp in case they’re needed later in the postseason.

For Sunday night’s game, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman will be available out of the bullpen if necessary. Gonzalez is tentatively slated to start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles elected to keep Tommy Hunter on the 25-man roster as a power right-handed arm and potential long reliever. He has pitched effectively in relief, posting a 0.71 ERA out of the bullpen in 12 2/3 innings covering 10 September appearances.

“If we presented good options as a starter, we felt like Tommy could be a real contributor as a reliever, too,” Showalter said. “He’s certainly done that since he’s pitched out of the pen. He can give us some length out of there if we need it. The off day plays into it a lot.”

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Game times set for potential ALDS Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Should the Orioles win the American League Wild Card play-in game against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, we now know when they will play the New York Yankees in the first two games of the AL Division Series.

With Major League Baseball switching to a five-game format in which the lower-seeded team hosts the first two games and the higher seed hosts the final three games of the Division Series, the Orioles would welcome New York to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday and Monday.

The league announced Game 1 would begin at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday evening. Game 2 would then take place on Monday night with an 8:07 p.m. first pitch. Both games would be televised on TBS.

The final three games of the series — with Games 4 and 5 only being played if necessary — would take place at Yankee Stadium Wednesday through Friday.

Times have yet to be announced for those contests, but all three would again be shown on TBS.

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The Orioles are begging for our help.  I say we should give it to them…

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The Orioles are begging for our help. I say we should give it to them…

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Closed-door meetings happen all the time in sports.  They’re usually held during a time of panic, when a manager, coach or player feels the need to get everyone’s attention by shutting off the outside world and addressing those who are in the battle together.

Prior to the final game of their series in Tampa Bay last week, the Yankees held a rare closed-door meeting and aired some of their laundry.  It worked, albeit briefly, as New York salvaged the final game of the series with a 6-4 win.

It’s time for us to have a closed-door meeting.

Who is “us”, you ask?

Us…the baseball fans of Baltimore.

I’ll go ahead and shut the doors and get it started.  I assume you don’t mind if I run the meeting.

Welcome in…

Last week, the Orioles announced a drastic reduction in ticket prices for this week’s home series with the Tampa Bay Rays, offering $4.00 and $8.00 seats in hopes of boosting the attendance for arguably one of the biggest three-game sets in Baltimore since 1996 or so.

Let’s all understand something before we get to the meat of the meeting (no pun intended).

This was a DRAMATIC move by the Orioles.  I put dramatic in all caps for a reason.  This is a team so desperate for an extra buck or two that over the last three years they’ve charged baseball fans MORE money just because you decide on a whim to attend a home game without day-before notice.  This is an organization that has taken to “back-dooring” their own tickets to Stub Hub in what can only be termed “professional scalping”.  In other words, money and more money are typically all that matters to the Birds when it comes to matters of ticketing.

But then last week’s news was released and the Orioles actually came full circle and publicly told us what most smart people already knew:  In order to get fans back, you have to give them a reason.  You have to lead them by the hand.

The baseball team, for the first time in as long as I can remember, is now saying “we need you, please.”  This, of course, is the organization well known for their motto of “when we win, the fans will come back…wait and see.”  Dropping ticket prices and making a public plea for support is as close to a mea culpa as you’re going to get from the Orioles.  If you were waiting for a personal apology e-mail, it’s not going to happen.  But make no mistake about it:  The Orioles are basically saying, now, “We’ll make the first move.  Take us up on our kindness and help the team beat Tampa Bay.”

Don’t pay any attention at all to the way they’ve marketed the ticket price drop over the last week.  They’ve used the “20 year anniversary of Camden Yards” as a means of connecting the price reduction with the opening of the ballpark in 1992.  We all know they wouldn’t be doing this if they were 20 games out of first place.  In the past, they’ve offered a handful of upper deck nosebleed seats for $1.00 just to say “we’re trying”, but never before have they reduced GOOD seats.

Anyway, as one Orioles front office staffer remarked to me last week, this move was done in part because the organization was “stunned” (the front office employee’s word, not mine) at the horrible attendance for the White Sox series three weeks ago.  When 47,000 people showed up for FOUR important home games at the end of August, the wheels started turning in The Warehouse and panic set in — and rightfully so.

The recently-completed Yankees series sold itself.  The club smartly kicked off the 4-games by having the Ripken ceremony on Thursday night and then playoff fever coupled with the New Yorkers who made their way to Baltimore over the weekend added up to a terrific four days of crowds at Camden Yards.

(Please see next page)

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