Tag Archive | "oriole park"

The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

IT WAS HOT AS HADES in that lower Manhattan federal courtroom. Jam-packed with bidders, curiosity seekers and baseball fans, the Baltimore Orioles franchise was up for grabs on August 2, 1993, and the bidding was as steamy as the air in the room once the price began to rapidly accelerate into the stratosphere.

The fact that there was any bidding at all was somewhat surprising to Peter G. Angelos, a Baltimore attorney who had begun a power play five months earlier to purchase the Major League Baseball franchise that was being sold off via an auction nearly 200 miles away from its home on the Chesapeake Bay. In the hours leading up to the auction, Angelos managed to turn his sole competitor from a previous suspended bid for the team during June into a partner. William DeWitt Jr., a Cincinnati native whose father once owned the St. Louis Browns in the 1940s and a minority investor in the Texas Rangers, joined Angelos’ celebrity-led local group from Maryland just hours before the bidding was to begin in the sweltering Custom House. DeWitt was promised a role in the operations and management of the club.

It was an amazing coup for Angelos to pull DeWitt from being a worthy, legitimate competitor into a teammate that morning, after convincing him that he’d be involved and an influential part of the eventual winning group. It was shocking that DeWitt had pulled out because several times over the previous eight months, he was convinced that he was already the winning bidder and new owner of the Orioles.

In February 1993, after six months of lengthy, arduous negotiations on a fair price, DeWitt had entered into a deal with Orioles majority owner Eli Jacobs to buy the team for $141.3 million. Jacobs, who was in his final days of semi-liquidity and quietly on the verge of bankruptcy, didn’t have the legal authority to close the deal with DeWitt once the banks seized his assets in March. Instead, the Orioles wound up at auction five months later and suddenly Angelos – with DeWitt now shockingly a member of his ownership team – believed he would emerge victorious without breaking a sweat in the summer heat of The Big Apple.

But that afternoon, after entering the courtroom in what he believed would be a rubber-stamped win, instead he found himself embroiled in a bidding war with a stranger he never strongly considered to being a worthy foil in the fray.

Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer and Triple-A baseball team owner, wanted badly to be a Major League Baseball owner. Baltimore native and former NFL player Jean Fugett represented a group led by TLC Beatrice, which featured a rare minority bid for an MLB franchise on that day in New York. One bidder, Doug Jemal of Nobody Beats The Wiz electronics stores, had early interest but bowed out before the steamy auction.

That August day, the bidding began at $151.25 million, which included a “stalking fee” of $1.7 million which was originally awarded to DeWitt’s team because of his vast due diligence and legal work done months earlier when he thought he had won a deal to secure the Orioles in the spring.

George Stamas, who represented Angelos’ group during the bidding process, opened the bidding at $153 million, which was seen as a good faith gesture from the combined bid with DeWitt, which could’ve been perceived as artificially deflating the sale price by judge Cornelius Blackshear. Loria, who was a stranger to the Angelos group, immediately raised it by $100,000. Stamas barked out, “One million more – $154.1!”

And for the next 30 minutes, the bids drew north from the $150 millions into the $160s. With every bid, Loria would raise by $100,000. Stamas, on behalf of Angelos, raised it by $1 million at a time. After 13 rounds of back and forth money, Angelos had the leading bid $170 million. Fugett, who had been completely silent during the auction, asked the judge for a recess.

The request was granted and the judge headed to his chambers.

And, suddenly, it got even hotter in a blazing courtroom on a sweltering day in The Big

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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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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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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

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Like I told you on Thursday — the Yankees are gagging

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Pinstripes Collapse” continues in Baltimore this evening.

 

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Filling Oriole Park Has Nothing To Do With Fans

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Filling Oriole Park Has Nothing To Do With Fans

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

This is a great time to be an Orioles fan. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the absence of expectations coupled with the success of this team has created a perfect storm of circumstance that’ll make this (regardless of the way that it ends) likely the most exciting season of Orioles baseball since 1989 at least. And given that it took 14 years of futility to sap this fan base of its enthusiasm and optimism we can only hope that another season like this will never happen again.

That said, the excitement that is Orioles baseball 2012 hasn’t seemed to get the turnstiles at the stadium moving, at least not to the degree that many would have expected so far. That’s led to a spirited debate about what can and should be done to get back the fans as well as a number of divergent theories about what’s keeping them away now despite the successes of the team to date.

 

So, for what it’s worth…here’s mine:

 

The first and easiest reason why fans aren’t flocking to the ballpark right now is because they can.

 

On any given night, it’s easy to head to the ballpark without planning or preparation, pick up tickets for any seat in the house and enjoy the show. Therefore, there’s simply no urgency about having to do it today. For as long as that remains the case, fans will take to the ballpark whenever they’re good and ready and so far they just haven’t been ready.

 

While many expected that winning would bring back the fans, expecting it to happen overnight was just wrong. It’s my best guess that if the excitement of this season is going to get more folks out to the park, the real impact won’t be felt until next year with the purchase of new season tickets. My other best guess, and the tougher pill for fans to swallow is that this won’t happen by the team appeasing or satisfying the “regular fans”. As ticket selling priorities go, “regular fans” are and will remain at the bottom of the pecking order. If the Orioles are able to take care of the top end of that pecking order, the regular fans will simply fall back into line because they’ll have little choice.

 

Think for a second about why or how Oriole Park ever sold out regularly in the first place. Think about why or how any Major League ballpark sells out regularly. It starts with a firm base of season tickets sold. Since this season began with no expectation of success or of ticket scarcity, it stands to reason that there wasn’t a whole lot of urgency for anyone to buy or renew their season tickets. No reason, that is, except to avoid the game day surcharge.

 

Without getting off on too much of a tangent here, this is also why the surcharge is viewed by the team, as a necessary evil. We’ve already established that on any given night a fan can show up on a whim and buy pretty much any seat in the house. Therefore why would fans ever buy any tickets in advance, much less commit to 13, 26, 81 or some other fixed number of games in a season ticket package when they can simply show up and buy tickets whenever they want?

 

Thursday September 13th against the Rays looks to me like a nice day to take in a ballgame. But if I buy those tickets today, and my wife winds up sick, or it rains on September 13th, I’m stuck with them. If Wei-Yin Chen is pitching against David Price on the 12th, I might rather go to that game instead. If I can wait until the day of the game to decide, there’s no reason to buy in advance except to avoid the surcharge, there are however plenty of good reasons not to buy in advance.

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Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

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Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve argued with WNST morning show host Drew Forrester for a decade about this. He’s always said – much like everyone in the Angelos family – “When the Orioles win they’ll ALL come back!”

Well, in case you haven’t noticed while you were dusting off your purple gear this week for tomorrow night’s meaningless and mostly unentertaining Ravens game in Atlanta, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are just about everything you’d want in a MLB team in a “small market” where the owner is pocketing over $100 million in profit every year.

They have young stars. They are exciting every night – including last night’s 14-inning marathon victory over the Seattle Mariners that unfolded like The Ilyiad. They seem to play sudden death baseball a lot. It’s almost like they WANT you to fall asleep on them.

And these days, it appears, that most Baltimore sports fans have in fact “gone to sleep on the Orioles.”

By and large, most of you are not coming to Orioles games right now. The Orioles haven’t inspired you to buy a ticket, despite their good fortunes and entertainment value on the field.

This is a perfect day for me to write about going to Orioles games because I’m going to the game tonight.

Why?

Well, I got free tickets.

My complaints and reasons for not giving Peter Angelos my money are legendary and well-documented. The incident when the team stiffed me on a $30,000 sponsorship, then attacked me at a game in 2004 and sent an apology note signed, “The Bird.” Then, after 21 years of covering the Baltimore Orioles through three ownership groups, they took my press pass in 2007 and have summarily lied about why, which is standard operating procedure from the Angelos family.

Hell, four months ago at a charity cocktail function, Brady Anderson told me I “should leave Baltimore if I don’t like the way the team is being run.”

But I still watch them every night – which either makes me a sucker, a fool or an eternal optimist. Or maybe just someone who loves Baltimore and the Orioles and remembers how much fun baseball was for the entire community before Angelos wrecked the franchise for anyone who takes the time to examine all of the facts.

Oh, here’s one more warm and fuzzy — this Friday will mark the one-year anniversary that one of their legendary players, broadcaster and caring front office man Mike Flanagan put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The Orioles have played 110 games this year. I’ve watched about 95 of them in their entirety. The other 15 I’ve either fallen asleep (like last night) or kept track via my mobile device on WNST’s live box score feature.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might find five games where I haven’t been live tweeting most of the evening from my couch. So, I’m qualified to bitch in many ways because I’m the biggest Baltimore Orioles fan you’ll ever find.

And, again, I’m not giving Angelos my money – not tonight or any night.

In Dundalk, we would simply call him a scumbag and leave it at that.

But he doesn’t care about whether you or I come to the ballpark. He’s sucking that $3.00 per month from my cable bill and yours, 

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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I hope contract helps Jones keep Birds accountable

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I hope contract helps Jones keep Birds accountable

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve already used both space on Twitter (@WNST, @GlennClarkWNST) and on AM1570 WNST.net to opine about the significance of the Baltimore Orioles giving CF Adam Jones the richest contract in franchise history.

We now finally know all of the details and Jones is set to discuss those details Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

I won’t be attending Sunday’s press conference. I would, but our WNST.net Ballpark reporter Luke Jones has been denied the right to ask questions at previous press conferences and I don’t want to run the risk of causing a scene at what should almost certainly be a day of celebration.

Adam Jones’ contract extension is as much an event to celebrate as almost anything we’ve seen in the last 15 years of baseball in Charm City. The Birds have perhaps addressed both their present and their future and made a major statement about their willingness to do things differently than they have for more than decade while losing many more games than they won.

I’m aware Jones perhaps took a hometown discount in signing the contract a season and a half shy of free agency. I’m aware the team still appears to need more pitching than they currently have to be an annual contender. I’m aware that the team now needs to shift attention to catcher Matt Wieters when it comes to contracts.

There was something bigger than jumped out at me though.

As I was given more time to dissect what Jones’ deal really means, I thought back to December 1997. For O’s fans around my age, Brady Anderson was about the coolest thing to ever happen to the Orange & Black. He had young female fans worship him and young male fans…well…basically worship him. He had it all. Sideburns, muscles, personality, charm, speed, defense and an amazing 50 home run season.

(I didn’t mention anything about performance enhancing drugs. You do what you want there.)

After Anderson’s 50 home run campaign in 1996 and the Orioles’ run to the ALCS in ’97, young fans like myself lived in fear of waking up one morning to be informed that Anderson had signed a major deal with the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians.

Anderson was certainly not the commodity at 34 that Jones would have been had he reached free agency at 28, but he still had market interest. He ultimately passed on shorter deals with more per season to accept five years and $31 million from Peter Angelos and the Orioles. Anderson’s best seasons were clearly behind him, but it still meant quite a bit for the franchise to make the move.

I also thought back to January of 2009, when Andy MacPhail locked up OF Nick Markakis for six years and $66 million, the richest contract extension the franchise had given to a player until Jones’ deal. (SS Miguel Tejada had received the overall most lucrative contract in team history until Jones.) While certainly not reaching superstar status, Markakis has given the Birds stellar defense and a mostly consistent bat.

But beyond the significant contracts, there is a more important similarity between the two players whose time has spanned much of the team’s “Rock Bottom Era.” The issue is that neither player was able to use his major contract to help keep the team accountable.

A baseball player with a rich contract is in a unique situation with the franchise paying the deal. Because the money is guaranteed, the player has the right to get away with certain things a player in another league might not be able to. In the case of the Orioles, they’ve really needed a player who has been willing to stand up and say “we need better” as the team suffered through losing seasons after losing season.

Allow me to be fair to the two players involved. Anderson was only part of the club at the very beginning of their lean years, and the team was still making at least some attempts to improve by bringing in the likes of Albert Belle and others. (Anderson however has become a well known defender of the Angelos regime in recent years, which has helped him find his way back into the organization.) Markakis has never been much of a vocal type, but he did publicly question the direction of the organization. His participated in a dinner with Angelos that season to discuss those very issues.

Perhaps there is an argument to be made that Markakis’ 2010 outburst DID lead to accountability, as two years later the Orioles have shown themselves (at least for two months) to be one of the better teams in baseball.

But moving forward, I hope it’s a role that suits Jones well. I hope the fire, drive, passion and determination to win that have made Jones an emotional figure in recent years will translate both on field and off. I hope that if the Birds make questionable decisions, he’ll call them out for them. It doesn’t need to be something he does publicly, just a statement made privately from the player slated to receive more money during his tenure than any Oriole before.

I hope Jones embraces not only the responsibilities of an on field leader and star, but as a bit of a caretaker for an organization that has so desperately lacked the right man for the role. I hope he puts pressure on the organization to make the moves necessary to stay in contention every season. I hope he never takes the easy way out and thinks “Mr. Angelos (or insert future owner’s name here) has made me a rich man. It’s not my place to stand up to him.”

I feel as though Jones can be a significant part of the solution for the Orioles. I hope he’s up for everything that comes along with the task.

-G

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Orioles banged up with Toronto in town

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Orioles banged up with Toronto in town

Posted on 24 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the heels of an encouraging 6-4 road trip, manager Buck Showalter spent most of Tuesday’s pre-game press conference providing updates on a number of health concerns as the Orioles open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Left fielder Nolan Reimold is once again out as he continues to deal with neck spasms that forced him out of the final two games in Anaheim over the weekend. Manager Buck Showalter said the spasms affect the outfielder’s throwing more than his ability to swing the bat, leaving the door open for Reimold’s ability to pinch-hit with Toronto having three southpaws in the bullpen.

Showalter remains confident that Reimold will not need to go on the disabled list but admitted he hasn’t progressed as quickly as the club originally hoped. Endy Chavez will once again start in left and lead off for the Orioles in the first game of the series.

“Nolan is kind of day-to-day,” Showalter said. “He was in [Monday] for treatment. It’s getting a little better, little by little. The problem is playing has set him back. He’s OK for maybe half to three-fourths of the game and then as the game goes on, it gets worse. When you have that type of spasm, you also have a strain. We’re trying to resolve it completely so that the game doesn’t set him back to square one.”

Closer Jim Johnson is also doubtful to be available on Tuesday night after spending the night in the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Showalter said most of the club dealt with the virus in the final days of the 10-game road trip.

The Orioles will also be without starting second baseman Robert Andino following Tuesday’s game as he will fly to Miami to be with his wife for the birth of their third child on Wednesday. Andino will miss at least one game and possibly two before returning to the club later in the week.

With Andino going on the paternity leave list, the Orioles are allowed to add another player to the roster, which would likely be someone with the ability to play the outfield with Reimold’s short-term status up in the air. Matt Antonelli would be a possible candidate for the promotion from Triple-A Norfolk.

Japanese left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada underwent an MRA on his pitching elbow on Tuesday, but Showalter did not have the results from Dr. John Wilckens. The swelling in the arm has subsided, but the Orioles will wait to see if there is any structural damage after the pitcher’s rehabilitation program was shut down over the weekend.

Showalter didn’t offer anything new on Dontrelle Willis’ bizarre situation in which he left Triple-A Norfolk without permission, simply stating he expects the ordeal to be resolved and hopes Willis will ultimately remain with the organization.Willis has filed a grievance against the Orioles, claiming he received permission to leave from director of baseball administration Tripp Norton and that they are preventing him from signing with another organization.

One thing is clear: plenty of energy is being expended on a guy who’s won four games since the 2007 season.

Here are Tuesday night’s lineups:

Toronto
SS Yunel Escobar
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
1B Adam Lind
3B Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
LF Marcus Thames
C Jeff Mathis

SP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.66 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Endy Chavez
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
DH Wilson Betemit
3B Ryan Flaherty
2B Robert Andino

SP Tommy Hunter (1-1, 5.79 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening as I bring live updates from Oriole Park at Camden Yards and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Buck Showalter’s pre-game press conference here.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles try to solve Sabathia in Yankees series finale

Posted on 11 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — With the hopes of salvaging a win in a three-game set with the New York Yankees, the Orioles will have to accomplish something they’ve only done twice in CC Sabathia’s career.

And that’s hand a loss to the 290-pound southpaw.

While struggling against the Yankees ace is a common theme among American League teams, the Orioles are responsible for Sabathia’s third-highest win total in his 12-year career. The left-hander is 16-2 with a 2.74 earned run average in 22 career starts against Baltimore.

Manager Buck Showalter will present a lineup full of right-handed hitters, with right fielder Nick Markakis the only left-handed bat scheduled to start against Sabathia.

The big topic of discussion prior to Wednesday’s game was the defensive struggles of third baseman Mark Reynolds, who committed a critical error in the Yankees’ three-run six inning and failed to catch a foul popupin Tuesday’s loss. Showalter is sticking with Reynolds at third base for now, preaching confidence that the 28-year-old will begin hitting — and fielding.

Reynolds’ inability to corral a Russell Martin grounder in the sixth eliminated the possibility of a win for Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen in his major league debut.

“We had plenty of opportunities in that game last night to not make anything like that matter,” Showalter said.

Much was made over Reynolds’ commitment to get into better shape in the offseason and the improvement he showed in spring training. His defensive start strongly resembles last season through the first five games of the year, but Showalter isn’t going to mess with the slugger’s psyche quite yet by making a change.

“That’s part of the reason that he’s in there [at third base] today.”

The Orioles have struggled mightily with runners in scoring position so far this season, going just 6-for-41 through five games. Showalter was aware of the numbers but compared it to a basketball team struggling at the free-throw line, pointing out the importance of not placing too much emphasis on it with his club.

“You’ve got to stay away from emotional at-bats,” Showalter said.

The Orioles manager was also asked if he would go to former closer Kevin Gregg in a save situation if Jim Johnson were to be unavailable on a given night, and his answer wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

“We have multiple options,” Showalter said. “Every club has to think about that. A lot has to do with how much they’ve been pitching and where they are physically. We have really three guys down there who have some experience pitching in that part of the game.”

Of course, Showalter is referring to Johnson, Gregg, and newcomer Matt Lindstrom, but it was interesting how general Showalter was in his response when asked specifically about Gregg.

Second baseman Brian Roberts continues to take batting practice and to work with the team, but Showalter said the veteran is still getting back into the rhythm of a big-league environment. There is still no timetable for a possible minor league rehab assignment, and Showalter was unsure whether he will travel with the team on the road trip.

“We’re going to lean on him and the doctors,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to walk by him every day [saying], ‘What about today?’ … He knows what the next step is. The next step is he goes and plays somewhere. And when it happens, it happens.

“It’s just such an inexact thing.”

(Update 6:30 p.m.: The Orioles have signed veteran pitcher Joel Pineiro to a minor-league contract. He will report to extended spring training before likely reporting to Triple-A Norfolk.)

Here are tonight’s lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Garnder

SP CC Sabathia (0-0, 7.50 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Nolan Reimold
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Mark Reynolds
DH Ronny Paulino
1B Wilson Betemit
2B Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter’s pre-game press conference and follow WNST on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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