Tag Archive | "steve johnson"

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Reaction to the passing of Orioles manager Earl Weaver

Posted on 19 January 2013 by WNST Staff

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans.

Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”-Orioles owner Peter Angelos, via a team release.

“Every time I look at an Oriole, it’s going to be missing a feather now without Earl.“-Orioles manager Buck Showalter 

“Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career…and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”-Cal Ripken Jr. 

“I would say that Earl Weaver had the greatest impact on me as a baseball player-more than anyone else. He was tough to get along with and only cared about winning, but he is the reason why Oriole baseball is what is today. Earl was a genius and a Hall of Fame manager, and the closest that’s ever got to that is the man we have right now in Buck Showalter.”-Former Orioles catcher and MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey.

“It’s a sad day for Orioles fans and all of baseball. Earl certainly was one of the greatest managers. To me, his greatest strength was his ability to get his players to focus on playing the game on a daily basis. The results were many wins, and a Hall of Fame career.”-Former Orioles OF Ken Singleton, who played for Earl Weaver from 1975-1982.

“O’s and MLB family lost a great leader yesterday. Earl Weaver wasn’t blessed with height but if u measured his HEART he was a 7 footer.

The man lived a great life. I think it should be a celebration. 82 years is a remarkable feat.”-Orioles OF Adam Jones

“[Earl] was a strange, intense but unforgettable man…a big part of my youth.”-Broadcaster and longtime Oriole fan Roy Firestone.

“It’s a sad day, obviously. Earl was a terrific manager and I have to be grateful that Earl was with us for the Legends Series and we got a chance to spend time with him for every single statue ceremony unveiling. He is terrific. His simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball are unmatched. He’s a treasure for the Orioles and we are so grateful we had the opportunity to work with him this year.”Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette

“Really sad to hear about that today.  He meant a lot to this city and to this organization.  You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else for today to spend all day with Oriole players and thousands of Orioles fans just to remember everything about him.”Steve Johnson, Orioles Pitcher

“It was the perfect relationship. We won, he was tough, we got our World Series checks. It worked…you don’t ever forget an Earl Weaver. And not just if you were an umpire. Fans, players, everyone…Earl was about winning and that was what he did.

It’s a sad day for any of us that knew Earl but it’s also a sad day, I think, for anybody that has been involved with Orioles baseball. We were lucky to have him here because he did end up in the Hall of Fame. He managed some marvelous teams. But I think now we all share the pain of him being gone.

Earl never wanted to be your friend because I think he thought it would detract from his ability to be a manager.  But the one thing he did want to do — he let you know that he was loyal to you by putting your name in the lineup. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

One of the great stories is Mike Flanagan came up to me and said ‘One year you had pitched 5 innings. It was your second or third time out at spring training and you were running foul line to foul line. He (Earl Weaver) called me over to the bench and said you see that guy out there? And Mike said you mean Jim Palmer? He said yes, just do what he does and you will be fine here in the big leagues’. Mike would always tell me that and I almost wanted to call Flanny to tell him that Earl had passed away. But he (Earl Weaver) said if you do what he does things are going to take care of themselves. Couple of years ago up at the Hall of Fame, the night before the induction I told him that story and said one of the biggest compliments you ever paid me, not directly to me, was what you told Mike Flanagan.  He looked at me and said I just didn’t tell Flanagan, I told everybody…” -Former Orioles Pitcher Jim Palmer

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Showalter “Bucking” right choice for Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 28 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

There were a number of great choices for WNST’s fifth annual “Local Sportsperson of the Year” in 2012.

Let me remind you that there are only a few qualifications for the honor.

First, the person must be local. They must be an athlete, coach or front office member for a pro, college or high school team in the state of Maryland. Individual sport athletes who represent the state of Maryland also qualify.

Second, the person must stand out from other people over the course of the 12 calendar months. The accomplishments of that individual must be comparable to if not greater than the accomplishments of others in the area.

And finally, that person’s year must stand out from other years during their tenure/career in the area.

If you’ve forgotten, 2012 is the fifth year we’ve given the honor, with our past winners being Michael Phelps (2008), Todd Bozeman (2009), Greivis Vasquez (2010) and Rob Ambrose (2011).

There were a handful of candidates whose 2012 accomplishments would make them easy winners almost any year.

-Loyola basketball coach Jimmy Patsos lead the school back to the NCAA Tournament after inheriting a program that could only be described as “in the doldrums.” The sweat equity Patsos put into building a MAAC Championship program is perhaps unmatched, as the coach spent almost as much time shaking hands and kissing babies as he did running drills until finally reaching the ultimate goal for a low-to-mid major program.

-Even with the success Patsos had, perhaps he wouldn’t even be deemed the most qualified candidate as his own school. Charley Toomey lead the Greyhounds to one of the most improbable National Championship runs in recent lacrosse history. The Hounds came into the season unranked, but ran off 12 straight wins to open the season and finished the campaign with only one loss-a one goal defeat and the hands of Johns Hopkins. The Hounds posted a dominant national title victory over Maryland to deliver the first national championship in school history (any sport) at the D1 level.

-Adam Jones wasn’t just the Baltimore Orioles’ MVP, an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012. He was the anchor of a team that finally snapped a decade-and-a-half long playoff drought and perhaps most importantly endeared himself to Baltimore baseball fans forever by inking a six year contract extension to ensure fans he wouldn’t be breaking their hearts by donning pinstripes in the next few years.

-Ray Rice is likely headed to another Baltimore Ravens Team MVP honor and also warmed the hearts of purple & black fans by signing a five year contract extension of his own. Rice picked up his third Pro Bowl nod while being the rock for an offense poised to break the franchise record for most points scored in a season and helping to claim a second consecutive AFC North title for the first time in team history.

Like I said, there were plenty of great candidates.

But when it came to picking a winner, Baltimore fans were right. It actually was quite easy.

Buck Showalter actually came just ONE POINT shy of winning this honor before. The 34-23 finish he guided the Orioles to in 2010 nearly nabbed him the award, and the contentiousness of the fighting between contributors here at WNST actually lead to a change in how we selected our recipient.

In a way, Showalter has essentially owned this town ever since his first game as skipper in orange and black. Fans swooned when he famously proclaimed “I know the save rule and, quite frankly, it doesn’t carry much weight with me. I like the win rule a little bit better” following his late inning handling of Mike Gonzalez and Alfredo Simon in a win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Perhaps even more admirably, Showalter showed immense class each and every time he was asked about the seeming reluctance for Orioles fans to return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in droves after the misery that had experienced in rooting for an organization that seemed disinterested in returning a quality product to Baltimore. Even as the Orioles were in the mix for the AL East crown in late August in front of small crowds during a series against the Chicago White Sox, Showalter continued to say things like “it would be pretty presumptuous on anybody’s part to think that they’re going to trust us that quickly”. He didn’t just save baseball in this town, he remained as classy as possible in the process.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Saunders Was Not the Best Option

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Tonight, the Orioles take on the Rangers in Arlington for their first playoff game since 1997. Buck announced his starter half way through the day on Thursday, as Joe Saunders takes the mound, in a win or go home matchup versus a team that has back-to-back World Series appearances.
This is all information that everyone from Southern, PA. to the Eastern Shore already know. But most do not know what kind of record the Orioles starter has going into this game at Rangers Ballpark. Though he has not pitched in Texas this season for Baltimore, he did spend the beginning of his career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Southern California, West Coast, Wichita (sorry went off on a tangent there). Six times Saunders has headed to Arlington with the ball in his hand, his record: 0-6, 9.38 ERA.

Now the options are limited for this game and Saunders does have the most (aka the only) playoff experience of any starting pitcher on the roster, but this could one of the few mistakes Buck has made all season (and it could be a huge one). The Orioles really can only look to a couple pitchers for this game, as Chen pitched Monday and has struggled the last month. Gonzalez has come up big in big games all season, but pitched Tuesday and they haven’t thrown him out there on short rest at all in his rookie campaign. Tillman is out, pitching Wednesday night (where he did not look good at all) and Hammel is just coming off the DL, so Buck cannot risk his season on a balky knee.

So the Orioles are left with Joe Saunders or Steve Johnson; not the best way to go into what could be the last game of the season. Most would look at Saunders stats noted earlier and think Johnson was the no-brainer, but he has knee issues himself and is another guy they limited all season long as a rookie. But there is one more idea, a rare occurrence in MLB, but does happen several times each season; a bullpen game.

Everyone knows the bullpen has been not only the most consistent, but strongest part of this roster, virtually dominant all season. With the amount of young arms they have moved from starters, these kids can throw their arms out for two innings in the most important game for Baltimore in a decade and a half. Hunter has reached 100mph on the gun since moving to the bullpen, while Arrieta and Matusz have been definitively better not starting games and Johnson may be able to go if only asked to hold down the first inning or two. Add on guys like Patton, O’Day and Ayala, who have been nothing short of spectacular all season, and the bullpen has the best chance to win this game.

If those seven pitchers get through seven, with the lead or keeping it close, Bird land will be in good shape for some Orioles Magic. With the back end solidified by Jim Johnson, who in all reality could give Buck two innings if needed, a close game is a win for the O’s (especially if you look at the statistics or have just paid attention to this team this year). For those worried about wearing everyone out, any pitcher out their will only go once in three days, as the first game of the divisional round will not be until Sunday.

So only time will tell whether Buck has made the only major mistake of the season but this could be costly one.

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Orioles place Patton on DL, recall S. Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 14 August 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles Tuesday announced that they have selected the contract of left-handed pitcher J.C. Romero and recalled right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Troy Patton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 13, with a right ankle sprain. To make room for Romero on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich has been designated for assignment.

Romero was acquired from the Cleveland organization yesterday. He will wear #48.

This will be the third stint with the Orioles this season for Johnson, who was optioned on August 9. He won his first major league start on August 8.

Patton is 1-0 with a 2.58 ERA (52.1IP, 15ER) and 48 strikeouts in 50 appearances for the Orioles this season.

Socolovich pitched to a 6.97 ERA (10.1IP, 8ER) in six appearances for Baltimore.

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Orioles option Steve Johnson to Norfolk to make room for Machado

Posted on 09 August 2012 by WNST Staff


The Orioles Thursday announced that they have selected the contract of infielder Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie and optioned right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for Machado on the 40-man roster, second baseman Brian Roberts has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Machado, 20, has batted .266/.352/.438 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI in 109 games with the Baysox this season, including a .275/.365/.505 line in 91 at-bats since the All-Star break. Machado will be the 31st player in franchise history to debut before his 21st birthday when he sees his first game action (he is 20 years, 34 days old today). The last player to debut for the O’s before turning 21 was Hayden Penn (June 7, 2005 at 20.237). The last position player to debut for the club before his 21st birthday was Eugene Kingsale (September 3, 1996 at 20.014).

The Orioles’ first round selection (#3 overall) in the 2010 First Year Player Draft out of Brito Miami Private School in Miami, FL, Machado came into 2012 rated as the #2 prospect in the Orioles organization and the #11 prospect overall by Baseball America. He played in the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City in July, going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Machado was a 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star. He will wear #13.

Johnson earned his first major league victory last night against Seattle, allowing two earned runs and striking out nine over 6.0 innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (8.0IP, 3ER) in two games (one start) with the Orioles this season.

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Special night ends with bold decision by Orioles

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Luke Jones

The story of Wednesday night was supposed to be local product Steve Johnson, who won his first major league start in front of numerous friends and family at Camden Yards in the Orioles’ 9-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Johnson earned his first big-league win exactly 23 years to the day his father Dave Johnson won his first major league game in the Orioles’ famed 1989 “Why Not?” season. It was a touching moment to see friends and family greet the 24-year-old pitcher in the hallway outside the clubhouse following the game as the Orioles completed a three-game sweep and won their fifth consecutive game.

However, the headline was short-lived with the shocking news that the Orioles will promote 20-year-old shortstop Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie to Baltimore for Thursday’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals. The announcement came shortly after 11 p.m. and just minutes after it was learned the organization would promote top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to Bowie for his next start.

What a night.

Many will debate the merits of promoting a 20-year-old shortstop from Double A to play third base, a position at which he’s only played two games in 219 minor-league contests. Machado hit his 11th home run of the season on Wednesday night and was hitting .266 with 59 runs batted in 109 games for the Baysox this year.

The numbers aren’t overwhelming, but the potential is, as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are counting on Machado to contribute to a club in the midst of a pennant race this late in the season for the first time in 14 years.

His transition to third base might have its share of growing pains, but the defensive struggles of Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit have set a low bar at the hot corner. Some scouts have projected an eventual move to third for the 6-foot-3 infielder anyway, but that long-term decision doesn’t have to be made right now.

Unlike the announcement three years ago of the Orioles promoting catching phenom Matt Wieters, this wasn’t a decision made a couple days in advance to boost ticket sales on a Friday night in late May. The club will likely see more walk-up sales than usual on Thursday night, but the Ravens’ televised preseason opener in Atlanta will stunt the potential of more people showing up at Camden Yards.

Whether you agree with the promotion or not, this was a decision based solely on giving the Orioles a better chance to win now by promoting their most attractive positional asset in the farm system. Machado must play every day for this move to make any sense, and manager Buck Showalter has made no secret about his affection for the young infielder’s ability and mental makeup.

It may work, or it may not.

But it’s a bold strategy, one made with no regard for delaying the start of his service clock as the Orioles have done with other young players in recent seasons.

No one really knows if Machado is ready to handle third base for a contending major league club, but we’re about to find out. If he’s truly the special talent so many inside and outside the organization have tabbed him to be, early struggles will not ruin his psyche or potential for success in the future.

A fun and compelling season is about to get that much more interesting on Thursday night.

The promotion came out of left field, but, then again, so has everything else about this 2012 season in which nearly every statistic suggests the Orioles should be resting well below the .500 mark while they instead hold a 60-51 record and are tied with Detroit and Oakland for the American League wild card lead.

I’ll borrow a 23-year-old expression that’s been used over and over in this unlikeliest of seasons for the Orioles.

Why not?

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Orioles option Britton to Norfolk, will recall Steve Johnson for Wednesday’s start

Posted on 08 August 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced after Tuesday’s game that they have optioned left-handed pitcher Zach Britton to Triple-A Norfolk. Britton is 1-1 with an 8.10 earned run average in five starts for the Orioles this season.

A corresponding roster move will be announced Wednesday, but the Orioles are expected to recall Tides pitcher Steve Johnson to make the start after scheduled starter Tommy Hunter warmed up in the bullpen during the Orioles’ 8-7 win over Seattle that lasted 14 innings.

Johnson made his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers on July 15, pitching two innings and allowing an earned run on a home run by Miguel Cabrera. He was optioned back to Norfolk following that game.

The 24-year-old is 4-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games at Triple A, 14 of those being starts.

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Local kid realizes dream of playing for hometown Orioles

Posted on 15 July 2012 by Luke Jones

There was little to celebrate in the Orioles’ 4-0 loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers, but Sunday will go down as a day rookie pitcher Steve Johnson will never forget.

The local product and son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson made his major league debut as the Johnsons became the sixth father-son duo to play for the club over its 59-year history. He entered the game to loud cheers in the eighth with the Orioles trailing 3-0.

“When they said I was finally in the game, my heart started pounding,” Johnson said about entering in the eighth inning. “It was just nice to be out there and have the fans get behind me that inning.”

Johnson pitched two innings and allowed a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera on a changeup in the ninth, but the right-hander will never forget walking off the mound to end his first inning of work in the big leagues. After struggling with his control while walking the first two batters he faced, Johnson escaped trouble by collecting two strikeouts to leave the runners stranded and walked to the dugout to a thunderous ovation.

With father Dave and other friends and family watching his debut, it was a special moment in an otherwise lackluster day for the Orioles before 30,439 at Camden Yards.

“Just walking off the field in the eighth inning, getting the strikeout and getting out of that jam — having the fans get behind me — that was a pretty special moment,” Johnson said. “That is something I’ll take with me.”

The home run by Cabrera was the only hit allowed by Johnson as he struck out two and walked two over his 47-pitch outing.

Facing a roster crunch in needing to clear spots for starting pitchers in each of their next three games against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles predictably optioned Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk following the game. However, Johnson appeared to leave a good impression with manager Buck Showalter, who was happy to see the young pitcher receive such a warm welcome in his hometown.

“I thought he threw the ball pretty well as soon as he got his feet on the ground there,” Showalter said. “This is a guy who — if you throw out Norfolk last year — had as good numbers as you want to see in Bowie [last year] and Norfolk this year if you look at the hits-to-innings and the strikeouts. He’s got a good feel for pitching just like his dad.”

Before talking with reporters after the game, Johnson briefly met with his father, who was repeatedly shown on the MASN telecast during the two-inning stint. Pitching for the Orioles brought Steve back to his early childhood with spotty memories of watching his father pitch at Memorial Stadium.

“He said congrats. [There] probably will be a little hugging a little later, but he just shook my hand and said you pitched well.”

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Pitcher Steve Johnson optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after MLB debut

Posted on 15 July 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced after today’s game that they have optioned RHP STEVE JOHNSON to Triple-A Norfolk.

Johnson made his major league debut in this afternoon’s game against Detroit, allowing one earned run on a solo home run, walking two and striking out two. He is 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA (66.2IP, 23ER) in 15 games (10 starts) for the Tides. He was acquired by the Orioles with INF JOSH BELL on July 30, 2009 in exchange for LHP GEORGE SHERRILL.

Steve, and his father, Dave, who pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91, became the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles, joining Bob and Terry Kennedy, Don and Damon Buford, John O’Donoghue Sr. and John O’Donoghue Jr., Dave and Derrick May, and Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr.

Though the Orioles didn’t announce a corresponding roster move following the game, pitcher Chris Tillman will be recalled to make Monday’s start against the Minnesota Twins.

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Orioles recall pitcher Steve Johnson to take Hammel’s roster spot

Posted on 15 July 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles Sunday announced that they have placed right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14, with a right knee injury and recalled right-hander Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk.

In 18 starts for the Orioles, Hammel is 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA (109.1IP, 43ER).

Johnson, 24, was 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA (66.2IP, 23ER) in 15 games (20 starts) for the Tides. He was acquired by the Orioles with INF JOSH BELL on July 30, 2009 in exchange for left-handed pitcher George Sherrill.

Johnson was on the Orioles’ roster July 2-3 in Seattle, but did not appear in a game. He will be making his major league debut.

Steve, and his father, Dave, who pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91, will become the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles, joining Bob and Terry Kennedy, Don and Damon Buford, John O’Donoghue Sr. and John O’Donoghue Jr., Dave and Derrick May, and Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr.

Johnson, a product of St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, will wear uniform No. 52.

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