Tag Archive | "Tejada"

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Tejada continues hot hitting for Norfolk in win

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Durham plated two unearned runs in the top of the 10th inning, sending Norfolk to a 3-1 loss Sunday afternoon at Harbor Park.

With the score tied 1-1, Henry Wrigley opened up the 10th frame with a grounder to third base, but Miguel Tejada short-hopped his throw into the dugout, allowing Wrigley to advance to second. One out later, Reid Brignac plated pinch-runner Shawn O’Malley with a single to right off of Jon Link (0-2), giving the Bulls the lead. Former Tide Jeff Salazar later added a single to left-center to plate Brignac, extending Durham’s lead to 3-1.

Norfolk starter Jason Berken was extremely effective, but once again was left searching for his first victory of 2012. Berken, who entered the contest ranked 6th in the IL with a 2.50 ERA, allowed three hits and two walks while striking out five in seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 2.12.

Sunday was the third time this season that Berken left a game with a lead, only to see the opponents rally against Norfolk’s bullpen.

The Tides scored their only run of the contest in the seventh inning, as Joe Mahoney led off the frame with a walk and scored on a two-out triple by Blake Davis.

Tejada finished 1-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in the contest, and he’s now hitting .375 in seven games since joining Norfolk.

Hideki Matsui had a single in four plate appearances for the Bulls.

The Tides travel to Pawtucket on Monday to start a four-game set with the Red Sox. Zach Clark will be making his first start for Norfolk since being promoted from Double-A Bowie, and he’ll be opposed by right-hander Doug Mathis (3-2, 4.23). First pitch is slated for 4:05.

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Orioles circa 2010: We know they’ll lie, but will they lie down again?

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I know, I’m like a freaking broken record. Every year I write about how I’ve wrongfully had my media pass revoked and every year the Orioles make up some more lies to justify all of their mean-spiritedness and lack of professionalism. It’s Opening Day, I’ve again been deemed “not a media member” but that’s just the “off the field” stuff.

On the field, the word “improvement” has been thrown around all offseason in regard to the Orioles. As I’ve said many times, when you lose 98 games it’s hard NOT to improve the following season. It can’t get much worse, really.

As sickening as it is that I’ve taken a myriad of phone calls, emails and correspondence wondering “if the Orioles can win 78 games” – as though this disgracefully low bar somehow passes for “improvement” – I am officially one of the optimistic orange Kool Aid drinkers circa April 5th regarding the 2010 season.

It is my belief that this is the best team the Orioles have fielded this century. In 2004, the Orioles “best” performance was indeed 78 wins. Las Vegas has the 2010 Orioles over/under at 74 ½. If I were a betting man, I’d honestly take the “over” for the 2010 Orioles.

But this might be the year they finally prove they were right all along over these past 13 years of “rebuilding” and buying the bats and growing the arms.

Apparently, 78 wins will get a number of people here in Baltimore excited. At least that’s what people think until they realize that even that lofty “goal” would still be 25 games out of first place in AL East and the season would once again be effectively over right around June 20.

People have asked me every day for a month: “What do you think of the Orioles?”

My answer: “It begins with Kevin Millwood.”

Millwood is an unwitting victim of the wrong end of a big contract and the overlooking of putting Baltimore on his “not to visit” list when he inked his last contract in Texas. But, alas, he’s here now and needs to selfishly pitch well, even in MLB’s version of Siberia. He can set the tone with a big effort tonight in Tampa Bay.

It was different when guys like Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson were poisoning the next generation of Erik Bedard’s with their antics of bush-league, lack of professionalism. Millwood needs to be the “anti-aging” Orioles starting pitcher. He needs to be more like Rick Sutcliffe and less like the aforementioned bunch of vermin who spread their foul temperament and antics through the franchise like baseball’s version of a clubhouse cancer.

I’m not sure what kind of guy Millwood is – and again, therein lies the Orioles ability to unlawfully deny me a chance to do my job after all of these years – but I hope he acclimates, pitches well and leads by example for kids like Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman, who seem like the real thing.

Matusz might win 15 games this year if he stays healthy. And while that certainly IS progress, it’s not really much different than what Rodrigo Lopez and Eric Bedard both did twice in orange en route to meaningless, forgettable seasons for the Orioles.

But, as stated before, I’m bullish on the Orioles in 2010 in regard to “progress.” I think they might be OK and quite competitive against teams not named New York and Boston — if pieces fall into place and if good health can be found.

If the starting pitching can get them to the 6th or 7th inning five nights a week, that will allow for a more rested bullpen and a real chance for .500.

I’m sold on Miguel Tejada as a relevant third baseman in the AL East. I think he’ll hit .300 and be an RBI machine like he’s always been. He might be 50 years old for all we know, but I think he’ll be the least of the Orioles concerns at this point in his career. He’s coming as a complimentary player not the leader and “franchise” guy he was counted on to be six years ago. His lies, transgressions and B-12 shots will not even be a factor this summer in Baltimore.

Of course, this would be a good year for SOMEONE to step up and be the REAL franchise player.

Is it Nick Markakis, who is quietly putting together a nice Orioles career?

Or could it be Adam Jones, whose Tweets are fun to follow when he’s not up all night in San Diego?

Or will it be Matt Wieters, whose hype seemed justified over the final two months of 2009 when it appeared he was ready to become a star?

At least there are several All Star Game candidates in orange this summer. It’s not another summer of David Segui, B.J. Surhoff and Gregg Zaun playing out their late 30’s at Camden Yards.

I’m not a Dave Trembley fan – the team tanked and quit down the stretch last year and each of those 98 losses were well-earned late last summer. Again, when the owner is the cheapest in the game and when Trembley will manage for 1/10th of what the best managers in MLB yield for a salary, I get what the team is doing.

They’re making money. They’re hoping these kids pan out and selling it to what’s left of a tortured fan base and using their media moles to “plant the seed” of hope. At least they can say they “were patient” while Andy MacPhail built what this cake turns out to be circa 2013, when it allegedly will mature. (They’re always two years away from competing with the Yankees and Red Sox, aren’t they?)

So, are the baby Birds ready to fly? Can the team be relevant enough to compete through the All Star break without falling 15 games behind Boston and/or New York?

We’ll see. But for the first time in a long time, they can legitimately threaten to be a .500 team if they stay healthy and have some key young prospects step up the way the insider pundits around the sport believe they will.

If Matusz is real?

If Wieters is real?

If Adam Jones can improve?

If Nick Markakis can remain consistent?

If Brian Roberts’ back can stay healthy?

If all of the young starters can get to the 7th inning with consistency?

If Tejada still has it?

And this is before we start projecting the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Garrett Atkins, Luke Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimond, who are all a literal box of chocolates. Does anyone really know what any of these guys will wind up doing come mid-summer? And what does anyone know about the bullpen, led by Mike Gonzalez?

Again – it’s the worst run franchise in professional sports. It’s not even close. That much has been borne out in living color over the past 13 summers. That will never change, even if Brooks Robinson is throwing out the first pitch on Friday. They are the worst group of people I’ve met in my 42 years on the planet — pure evil in their deeds, intents and actions.

But, perhaps this is the summer that all of their bloody deeds since 1997 are justified and they get people in Baltimore truly excited and energized about baseball.

If Tampa Bay could do it two years ago there’s no reason to believe the likes of Matusz, Wieters, Reimold, Bergesen, Tillman and company can’t step up to become very productive, young major leaguers and all hit their stride this summer.

It’s certainly a lot more possible than during the era of Omar Daal, Marty Cordova and Kevin Millar or any of the past sins of Peter Angelos’ ugly stewardship as the suddenly disappearing owner.

My real prediction: 78 wins.

I don’t think they can be above .500 with 54 games coming in the division against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. But I think they will certainly be far better and more interesting on the field than we’ve seen here in Baltimore over the last 13 years.

But given the history, let’s all sip the orange Kool Aid one ounce at a time…

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O’s Sharpen the Corners

Posted on 25 January 2010 by dansoderberg

The Orioles went into the off-season needing major upgrades on the infield corners. The team finished last season with journeyman Michael Aubrey at 1st base and the punchless Melvin Mora and Ty Wiggington sharing time at 3rd. My fear was that Andy MacPhail would pay lip service to improving on the corners only to come up short leaving O’s fans to suffer through a thousand at bats from Aubrey and Wiggington.

MacPhail has gone out and put his money where his mouth is this Winter. Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins are massive offensive upgrades and should provide potent bats for the middle of the 2010 order. The signings also allow the team to continue batting Adam Jones in the #2 hole and Wieters and Reimold in the bottom third.

I know not everyone is thrilled with the signings. People wanted the team to go out and trade for Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder, or sign Matt Holliday. I would’ve been all for such a deal, but neither Gonzalez nor Fielder have been dealt and Holliday signed a deal with St. Louis that another team didn’t come within $40 million of matching. I would’ve preferred Adam LaRoche at 1st with either Atkins or Tejada at 3rd, but any way you slice it the team is better today than it was when the season ended. Of course coming off a 64 win season the only place to go is up…we hope.

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From Shortstop to Stop Gap

Posted on 20 January 2010 by dansoderberg

With Spring Training just weeks away it’s looking like Miguel Tejada may be the Orioles last, best option at third base this season. The offseason started with such promise after the team traded for Kevin Millwood and signed Garrett Atkins and Mike Gonzalez within a few days. Those are significant additions to the roster, but the team is still sorely lacking a proven corner infielder.

Andy MacPhail stated earlier this week that he prefers to play Garrett Atkins at first base rather than third. That’s good news because it means that career minor leaguer Michael Aubrey most likely will not be the Opening Day first baseman. On the other hand it means the Birds need to find an everyday third baseman, all apologies to Ty Wiggington.

Former Oriole Miguel Tejada and former Twin Joe Crede are just about all that’s left of the free agent third basemen. Crede is the better defensive player, but he’s battled back injuries and has only played 234 games over the past 3 seasons. Signing Crede would most likely result in an early callup for prospect Josh Bell.

That brings us to Tejada. MacPhail dealt Tejada to the Astros after the 2007 season for 5 players, most notably Luke Scott. Tejada’s time in Baltimore was filled with run production and steroid controversy. I’m willing to overlook the steroid talk. The team signed admitted steroid user Brian Roberts to a $40 million so I doubt they’d take a moral stand at bringing back Tejada. Also, Tejada is still remarkably productive. He knocked in 86 runs and hit 46 doubles last year while playing 158 games. He’d fit perfectly in the #6 spot in the order behind Luke Scott and in front of Matt Wieters. I’m on board. Bring back Miggy on a one year deal with a club option.

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The Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5: 'Best Sports Atmospheres'

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The Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5: ‘Best Sports Atmospheres’

Posted on 04 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Welcome back for another edition of the Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5.

Today the topic was what has been the best environment you’ve ever seen sports live in.  Historic Stadiums, great games, wild crowds, all factors to be considered.  Simple subject, let’s see what CMS Host Drew Forrester and CMS Producer Glenn Clark had to say.

Wonderboy:

5.  League Championship Series Baseball

4.  The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Coney Island, New York

3.  University of Maryland @ John’s Hopkins, Men’s Lacrosse on a Friday Night at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland

2.  UFC/Boxing World Championship Title Bout, Vas Vegas, Nevada

1.  A major January 1st College Football Bowl Game

As usual, Drew’s was a little different, he even gave a bonus pick!

BONUS:  August 31, 2005 – Dodger Stadium.  Derek Lowe gets the win in a complete game shutout allowing just 1 hit… in a Brooklyn Dodger uniform nonetheless… throwback unis only make the feel of the game a little retro and different.

5.  April 27, 2002 – Fenway Park, Boston Massachusetts.  Derek Lowe pitches a No-Hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

4.  Spring 1990 – Edsel Ford High School Field, Dearborn, Michigan.  Derek Lowe throws his first scholastic no-hitter as a senior.

3.  October 1, 2008 – Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois.  Derek Lowe gets a Game 1 win over the Cubbies in the NLDS pitching 6 innings, and striking out 6 as well.

2.  October 6, 2003 – Network Associates Stadium, Oakland, California.  Derek Lowe picks up a save in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS for the Red Rox advancing his team to the American League Championship Series… he also ‘disrespected’ Miggy Tejada by grabbing hit crutch in celebration after the striking out the final batter.  Pretty funny stuff.

1.  October 20, 2004 – Yankee Stadium, New York, New York.  Derek Lowe takes the ball in Game 7 for the Red Sox and after 6 inning giving up just 1 earned he led the way to the ’04 World Series and a baseball championship in Boston since 1918.

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Another bad news day for Orioles as Alomar & Tejada are front and center

Posted on 11 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

There’s no doubt that “Roberto Alomar” and “AIDS” will be among the most googled phrases on the internet today, as these outlandish and crazy rumors start flying now that the N.Y. Post has outed a story of an ex-lover who has made allegations galore about the former Oriole All Star and potential future Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar. Among them, the $15 million suit by his ex-girlfriend Ilya Dall alleges that Alomar had AIDS and had unprotected sex with her after being raped by two Mexican men. (Like I said, it’s a racy one!)

There are links everywhere and no doubt this will be a bloggers’ paradise today on the world wide web. While you are reading about Alomar on the New York Post, be sure to click on the insert piece about Darryl Strawberry’s sex life, circa 1986 and a preview of his upcoming book, “Straw: Finding My Way.”

Here’s a sample paragraph: Strawberry writes the goal on the road was to “tear up your best bars and nightclubs and take your finest women . . . The only hard part for us was choosing which hottie to take back to your hotel room. Lots of times you . . . picked two or three.”

It’s been a nice start to the baseball season, huh?

Let’s not forget that the two biggest stories of today involve two players — Miguel Tejada and Roberto Alomar — who the Baltimore Orioles and Orioles’ fans contributed millions of local dollars to their vast personal wealth. It’s another dark chapter of the Orioles’ dark recent history. And this is on the backside of the ARod saga, which no doubt will reach a crescendo at Camden Yards on Opening Day when 25,000 New York Yankees fans invade the stadium to see Baltimorean Mark Teixeira’s first game as a pinstriper.

Sick isn’t it? But back to Alomar and Tejada…

Alomar was the most skilled player I’ve ever seen play the game, probably the most raw talent of this generation because of his five-tool abilities. I was a big fan of Roberto Alomar. And he was a champion in Toronto and a class act there. Here in Baltimore his reputation was sullied by the spitting incident involving John Hirshbeck, when owner Peter Angelos came to Alomar’s defense and was an outspoken supporter of his second baseman. It was the contribution of Alomar’s spitting fine to Davey Johnson’s wife’s charity that wound up creating friction between King Peter and then-manager Johnson in 1997. Angelos used it publicly as a justification for firing Johnson. (Or, ahem, was it a “forced” resignation?)

Tejada, who is expected to plead guilty today in federal court in Washington, D.C. to perjury and potentially could go to prison, was the next most-talented player the Orioles have had in this generation, another five-tool superstar with MVP-like numbers consistently. He signed the richest deal in franchise history in 2003. He also made a bunch of bizarre, childish mistakes during all of the steroid investigations with stories about vitamins and B-12 shots and his “no speakie English” testamonies didn’t hold up. He was — just like Alomar — a wonderful player to watch play baseball. They were both a “reason” to go the ballpark. They were great, great, iconic baseball players who both get a Hall of Fame “yes” from me if the ballot ever came my way, if we’re only counting what happened between the lines.

But two of the team’s most productive players since the opening of Camden Yards have now been publicly indicted since the sun came up this morning, and Rafael Palmeiro and David Segui and Jason Grimsley and Albert Belle and Sidney Ponson aren’t even among the indicted.

Where have you gone Cal Ripken? And Brooks Robinson?

Like I said, this is what Orioles baseball has come to in 2009. Stories of the character of “heros of Birdland” coming out pretty filthy years later, after they’ve taken more than $100 million of local money out of town.

Not a low blow. Just a fact…

And reporting on these stories with facts like these above give the Orioles “justification” to ban the free speech of the local media and eliminate access from legitimate media.

Just think about it…

Baseball season is around the corner and we’re going to continue to write and speak the truth and the facts.

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Ray – will he stay or will he go?

Posted on 23 January 2009 by raybachman

It’s hard to believe that Ray Lewis may have played his last game as a Raven. I know that the Ravens are gonna do everything they can to keep him but, Ray Lewis has to look out for himself. People throw the word loyalty around. I am a strong believer in loyalty but, this is Ray’s last big contract and loyalty doesn’t pay the bills.

It was good to see the Orioles lock up Markakis for the next 6 years. Now you can finally buy an Orioles jersey and keep it for a few years. I saw a Tejada jersey for 10 bucks. That’s pretty funny. Nothing worse than wearing a jersey of player that’s not on the team anymore.

Mark McGwire is in the news again. This time his brother is saying that Mark used HGH and steroids. No shocker there but, it’s good to see McGwire’s image continue to take a hit. Ever since he told me to go the F—  home and go to bed when I was 13 and asked him for his autograph.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said he wants Brett Favre back. Have fun Rex!

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A holiday message to Peter Angelos and the Orioles

Posted on 24 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The Baltimore Orioles can try to silence their critics today and attempt to ban the free speech of all of their many disgruntled customers and fans from posting angry diatribes on message boards like WNST on the internet, but there’s no getting around it if you’re Peter Angelos today. If you are from Baltimore and love Baltimore sports and you are celebrating any religious holiday from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanza to Festivus over the next 48 hours and anywhere from Highlandtown to Hong Kong, inevitably amongst so many family and friends with food and drink and cheer, you’ll be talking about two things:

1.    How much the Orioles suck and once again what a disgrace it is to be an Orioles fan (and/or a MLB fan in general) after this whole Mark Teixeira fiasco

And …

2.    How much fun the Ravens have given us this year and whether they can win this Sunday against Jacksonville and whether they’ll go far into the playoffs and give us the thrill of a Super Bowl again

Clear advantage: Ravens

“WNST” has no control over any of your holiday conversations. There is no “WNST stance” at your dinner table. There are just facts and opinions. Yours and mine. My opinions are listed right here, under the heading “Nestor Aparicio’s blog.” Yours are listed below in the comments and as long as you don’t write like a complete jackass and you’re staying on the topic – which is Mark Teixeira and the Orioles and the Yankees and free agency and baseball or the Ravens and the Jaguars and the NFL playoffs – your unabridged words get YOUR name on it just like mine do. And agreeing with me – or disagreeing with me — is not even remotely part of the equation. Just say what’s on your mind. Write what’s on your mind. And have some sensible, logical argument loaded with facts and documentation to back it up. And as the Ravens would say: “Don’t be a jerk!”

And there’s nothing Peter Angelos can do to ban you from speaking your mind on the internet. (Although I’m not really sure he knows the internet exists based on the Stalinist manners in which the team is positioned publicly by not answering legitimate questions from legitimate journalists about the issues of the team and the economic strife it causes the downtown business community.)

That’s what WNST.net is all about: free speech. And people have really been speaking up on this Teixeira situation. Not just here, but all across the internet and on our Facebook page as well.

The informed and “smart” people are pissed that the Orioles continue to print money with a Wayne’s World television network that we are all funding publicly via our cable bill and then refuse to reinvest our money back into the community via putting a quality product on the field that resembles Major League Baseball. The uninformed (or those who continue to get their “state-run news” from places like MASN, The Examiner, The Sun, Pressbox and CBS Radio, who all are directly funded and thereby controlled by Peter Angelos) will say that Mark Teixeira is a “traitor” and his filthy agent Scott Boras is a rat and did the Orioles dirty all because they refused to take a measly $40 million dollars less to come and try to salvage this disgraceful franchise from itself.

People ask me all the time about the Orioles and Angelos and MASN and being “banned” from asking any legitimate questions about the franchise to anyone inside the franchise. You know, the way I did for 20 years to make a living and feed my family. You know, like a real journalist, which I’ve been since 1984 through both big city newspapers and a variety of radio stations here and across America.

And my answer is always the same: it’s not what I think that’s important. I’m just one voice and in the old world before the breakdown of a “closed” media in America and before the internet, mine was one of a dozen significant voices in Baltimore that could be heard by the masses – four guys via television, four or five sports talk radio hosts and the handful of sports columnists from The Sun.

But over the last few years – let’s say since Miguel Tejada signed here – it’s changed greatly because of the internet and the ability for the “common fan” to speak out on more than just sports radio. And it’s their ability to put their real name and their real pictures with their thoughts. Are you on Facebook? If you are, you know what I mean. (As an aside, if you’d like to blog here at WNST.net, just drop me a note and I’ll do my best to get you started. We’re looking for people who love local sports as much as we do!)

And over the next two days anyone who is from Baltimore and is having a ham or a turkey or an egg nog or some cookies with their holiday cheer will be talking about the Orioles and Ravens. That’s always been a fact, sports and conversations with family during the holidays. But those conversations are now open for the public to view via the internet. Social media is a bitch, like that. There’s nowhere to hide anymore…

It’s not just “that loudmouth from Dundalk” screaming on the radio.

It’s the thousands of people from Owings Mills to Oakland, from Aberdeen to Arbutus, from Hunt Valley to the ‘hood, who feel the same way I do saying the same things I’ve been saying since the firing of Jon Miller and Davey Johnson. Try as they might to make Andy McPhail the “fall” guy on this one, the truth is pretty clear to anyone with a brain: nothing has truly changed in this franchise except for the Baltimore script on the road, gray sweaters.

Because I have created a public forum here on WNST.net I don’t have to speak for the many, many people who are disgruntled. Most of them are like me — disguised summer night after night as empty forest green seats that used to be filled with people from our community who felt aligned with the team and felt a part of a civic bond that brought our parents and grandparents joy in being Baltimoreans and being Orioles fans. It meant something. It meant a LOT. It made grown men by the thousands openly sob when Memorial Stadium was abandoned for Camden Yards over 17 years ago (God, has it really been that long?).

(If you doubt that the “feeling” exists, think about how the Ravens made you feel around 11 p.m. on Saturday night on TV from Dallas or how you’ll feel at 4:15 this Sunday, with your heart pounding and your pride on red alert…that’s what I’m talking about it. When you can feel that way about the Orioles again, you’ll know and recognize it as one and the same.)

Through the comments section of this website and many others (including Facebook, which is amazing), the “little people” get to say what’s on their minds now and it ain’t pretty for Angelos, McPhail and the Orioles. It’s impossible to be an Orioles fan or a fan of MLB without the obvious “truths” slapping you on the skull like a Daniel Cabrera or Armando Benitez floater: THE GAME OF BASEBALL IS BROKEN and has been broken for YEARS! And the Orioles are just terrible at “playing the game” of modern baseball. Whether it’s drafting or signing players or marketing or being good community partners and treating fans, customers, employees and the media with any dignity or respect with truth and honesty, this franchise finds ways of alienating just about everyone consistently.

The community is comfortably numb and has been for years. People are “ho hum” about the Orioles’ inability to get out of the cellar.

This inability to come even remotely close to getting a local boy the stature of Mark Teixeira into a Baltimore jersey – and then blaming it on the agent or the player’s heart or saying “too much money” when the truth is that their efforts to land him were predictably insulting and lame – is Standard Operating Procedure. From Syd Thrift to Mike Flanagan, from Jim Beattie to Andy McFail — you could see this coming a mile away if you are a student of the “Oriole Way” under Angelos’ tenure.

Did you really believe that Angelos and McPhail would find a way to land Teixeira? C’mon…really? I’ll put this in a language Angelos would understand: What precedent would have predicted a victory on this one?

It’s really rather uncanny that they seem to screw up everything all the time, even when they have the money to make a “tipping point” change in the direction of the franchise. Being known as the “anti-Pete” here in Baltimore (again I’m just an educated guy with a voice…most people I meet feel the way I feel), I almost never have to worry about “eating crow” or them ever getting any good anytime soon because when they hit the “Y” in the road of decision – during those pivotal times in the growth of the franchise — they allow occasions like this Teixeira situation to happen over and over again.

(And for the record: I’d LOVE to “eat crow” and watch the Orioles win 92 games next year like the Rays did. Nothing would be better for our city than to have the Orioles win…)

This Teixeira fiasco is what makes them perennially losers, on and off the field, inside and outside the stadium and The Warehouse.

For them to blame it on “money” is just ludicrous. It’s a sick joke, really, that they put $22 million more back into their pockets yesterday all while pointing to the Yankees and MLB and Boras as the “evil villain.” This franchise and the Angelos family and investment group is simply awash in millions of dollars from MASN and the entire premise of the public financing the betterment of the franchise via our cable bills was their civic promise to get better and to compete. On — and off — the field!

And if they can’t compete with the Yankees on the only player of this generation who would actually consider coming to play for the Orioles in the prime of his career and change things for the better and change the public sentiment about whether Angelos really cares about seeing a World Championship in Baltimore before he dies – then why are they even in business? Are they playing for third place in AL East?

Why doesn’t this miserable group just sell the team already and let the healing begin for the city and the franchise? Ya know, FREE THE BIRDS already…

Here’s the real question for Teixeira: if the money had been equal, would he have really signed in Baltimore knowing what he knows about Angelos, this franchise and how unhappy all of its players have been for a decade? Only he will know the answer to that question but – sure — I have my doubts…

(I bet if Cal Ripken owned the team, Teixeira would be an Oriole. But, who wants to take that bet or play that game?)

No doubt about it: the way the Yankees sign players is an outright embarrassment to the game and the fact that their payroll is over $200 million and the Orioles will be $65 million creates a competitive imbalance that is almost impossible to overcome. And that’s with or without a luxury tax. And that’s with or without Teixeira in orange and black. (And you can fill in your Tampa Bay or Marlins feel-good story here, but that’s an anomaly over the course of the past 12 years.)

The real story is this: the Orioles have PLENTY of money. They have been stealing money from the cable companies for almost three years now. MILLIONS of dollars have been lining their pockets simply because the Washington Nationals exist. As much as Angelos fought to keep the Nationals out of the nation’s capital, it’s by far been the biggest financial windfall of his awful stewardship of our civic treasure that’s been so sordidly tainted that it’s almost unrecognizable as Orioles baseball. The franchise has gone from being worth $172 million in 1993 to more than $750 million because of the cashflow of MASN and the undercurrent of cash that the Nationals pay King Peter.

So just what do the Baltimore Orioles stand for in 2009? What is their mission statement?

Are they in business to bilk the public out of tens of millions of dollars via their Mickey Mouse TV network or are they trying to fix the team on the field, bring back enthusiasm for their core product – Major League Baseball – and help the city get stronger on summer nights with a full ballpark and a bustling downtown business community? Are they committed to making their fans proud to put those “Baltimore” sweaters back on or are they presenting lip service by signing Cesar Izturis and saying Teixeira “cost too much”?

I’m honestly not sure what they’re trying to do, other than “save face” when another big ticket ballplayer spurns their “Confederate” money to go to New York and play for the Yankees. And they’re even doing a lousy job of covering up what happened over the past few weeks.

The truth is this: they didn’t really want Mark Teixeira.

Sure, you can harbor all of the anger and resentment you like in the direction of Mark Teixeira. It’s not his mercy mission in life to come and play for the dreadful Orioles who refuse to offer him a market rate salary and then expect him to come here and play for 20% less money and also expect him to be a miracle cure for all that ails this woeful, woebegone franchise. He’s a baseball player, not a martyr. And quite frankly, why should he take LESS money to play for the Orioles, especially when Angelos and the franchise actually had the money to pay him?

Ask yourself – and ask honestly – if you were Mark Teixeira, why would you take $40 million LESS to come play for Peter Angelos when you could go to New York and play in front of the biggest crowds in the best environment and with the best chance to be successful and have fun?

If you were Mark Teixeira, you would’ve done the same thing he did yesterday. You’d be wearing pinstripes just like him.

You really would…

And the Orioles have no one to blame but themselves for allowing this to happen. Peter Angelos had a chance in the last negotiation to attempt to get a salary cap for baseball. Instead, Don Fehr bent him and his buddy Bud Selig and the MLB owners over for another decade of days like yesterday when the best players in the game (ARod, Jeter, Sabathia and Teixeira are the four highest-paid players in the business) opt not only to wear pinstripes, but also to get the most amount of money while they’re doing it.

Instead, six years ago, Angelos fought for social welfare with his own customer base by taking Comcast to court and winning nearly $3 per month from every household in the state. He’s getting paid well over $100 million a year just for having that lightweight television network. He’s been getting drilled in the public forum for years for doing the “wrong thing” with the baseball team and the community. He had a chance to step up and change that yesterday. He could’ve “bought” himself a few years of peace by stroking a check and stepping up and saying, “I’m trying hard and it’s as important to me as it is to you!”

But once again, he’s the fool with the deep pockets. Instead, King Peter “passed” on Mark Teixeira. And he put the money back into his own pocket. That’s just a fact.

And I’m just one voice in a cacophony of people screaming “FREE THE BIRDS” over their holiday meals this week.

And of course, “GO RAVENS” as well.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. Cheerful Kwanza.

Festivus, of course, doesn’t begin until Sunday at 7…

At least we hope…
P.S. Tell your family you love them this week!

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Christmas deadline for Teixeira? Not really…

Posted on 20 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Want the craziest true story I’ve heard in Dallas in my first 24 hours? Apparently, I missed running into Mark Teixeira and Scott Boras in the lobby of the Ravens team hotel here in “Big D” by 15 hours. As much as we’re following this Teixeira situation at WNST as a major Baltimore news story – it has been the most followed, camped-out  Baltimore media popcorn trail since Jayne Miller chased Jobie Palczynski through my old Dundalk stomping grounds of Berkshire (the neighborhood I played little league, in no less) back in 2000 – I never though I’d almost cross paths with the pair of them at their “Texas” hideaway when I boarded the plane.

(I’m even getting people angered by giving them what I feel are “breaking news” stories on the Teixeira trail. Hey folks, news is news and we’re doing our best to be honorable as well. But who knows where the honor is amongst these baseball people who all lie as their lips move in these negotiations that involve crazy millions of dollars.)

Here’s the worst part: I’m a lifelong reporter and journalist and had I bumped into “Tex” I don’t know if I would’ve even recognized him and I have no idea what I’d even say or ask. Or whether I’d believe anything any of these cats would tell me.

Would I say, “Hey dude, how bad do you really want to play for the Orioles?” Or, “Why in the world would you not sign in Anaheim or Boston knowing what you know about this seemingly eternal mess?” And most viscerally, “Why did you hire Scott Boras as your agent?” But after thinking about it, I’d probably simply say this: “Do you care about Baltimore and Baltimore baseball and if you do what will it take to get you to be an Oriole and want to fix this for your hometown?”

(And that’s assuming that I’d actually be given the opportunity to ask questions in order to get lied to by them. The Orioles deny legitimate journalists from asking questions like these. And they resent me pointing out when they lie. But they DO lie. So do the agents. So do the general managers. So do the other owners, like John Henry.)

Maybe Tex would actually look at me with tears in his eyes – the way Mike Flanagan once did – and say, “I’m coming to Baltimore because things need to be changed and I’m the guy to do it!” Now of course, if Teixeira DID say that, I’d be the first guy buying a season ticket and singing the praises of Peter G. Angelos as making a significant change in the direction of the ballclub.

This thing has gone from the ridiculous to sublime for me. All of the effort I put into Free The Birds and my efforts to shed legitimate light on whether this ownership group really cares about Baltimore and baseball in Baltimore comes down to “tipping points” in their stewardship of the franchise like this one right here, right now.

As Third Eye Blind would ask: “How’s it gonna be…?” Are you going to step up and make this franchise real again and make people like ME  — and there are thousands of people like me…more who feel the way I do than don’t that’s for damned sure based on the empty seats alone and the empty city on all of those summer nights – want to come back to the ballpark consistently and live, eat, breath, sleep and DIE Orioles baseball?

Honestly, there were 60,000 of us who sat in 15-degree windchills to watch the purple football team play two weeks ago. The city is on “buzz alert” on a holiday Saturday night with purple fever.

When’s it gonna be like that for the Orioles again? When can we be proud to be Orioles fans again and have some civic pride instead of the mournful and deep shame and anger and “numbness” so many of us sadly feel and desperately want to change.

Signing Tex would say two things:

1.    It would tell me the Orioles are serious about competing for a championship just for stepping up and winning the first competition — the offseason. There is no “second place” here for the Orioles. If they can’t get a kid who played his high school games in the shadow of the lights of Camden Yards in a glorious era to want to come home and wear a gray sweater at Yankee Stadium that says “BALTIMORE” across the crest, then who the hell will they EVER get to take their “Confederate” money? More than anything, whatever he’s worth to Boston or Anaheim or Washington, he’s worth at LEAST 25% more to this franchise right now. Especially considering all the money they have from their TV deal at MASN. And the way they’ve slashed payroll waiting for a “tipping point” player. Teixeira is a game changer (in perception anyway) for them because it’s their ONE chance to win back the fans. Their money would be well-spent for the buzz factor alone. This hot stove conversation during the holidays and Ravens playoff drive is GREAT for them. People want to “buy in” to Orioles baseball. I want to “buy in” to Andy McPhail and the new regime. But I need to see changes. This is the Orioles franchise saying: “Come back! We’re all in!”
2.    From the player side, it would say that Teixeira really IS in Baltimore to “fix things.” Teixeira — unlike Kevin Millar or Jay Payton or Omar Daal or Aubrey Huff or Adam Jones or Luke Scott or Matt Wieters – has a choice in where he’ll play for the rest of his career. Picking Boston or Anaheim (or even Washington if the dough were right) would be what virtually every free agent in MLB would do. The only one who didn’t choose elsewhere in the past decade was Miguel Tejada, and the Orioles overpaid by at least $12 million to get him and there’s no doubt that Miggy has second-guessed his decision because he told me as much himself. Make no mistake about it: if the Orioles snag Teixeira it’ll say as much about HIM as it will about them. They don’t deserve him, really, no matter what they pay. But maybe he is that special guy who will be teary-eyed about Baltimore and wanting to return the Orioles to glory. That alone will brand him as a “Ripkenesque” figure (and then the heavy lifting will begin civic-ly for him). Honestly, his first phone call should be to Ripken and reach out by aligning himself as closely as possible with Cal. (As an aside, I DID get some inside “community” information on Teixeira. He’s a major donor to his alma mater, Mt. St. Joe, donating a “seven-figure” number to the school over his first six years in the bigs. ANOTHER reason to think Teixeira would be a “right guy” as Eckman would say about his commitment to Baltimore via being an “Oriole for life.”

So here’s the Teixeira and Baltimore “passing in the night” story for you:

Several Ravens staffers and fans, in town early to sharpen their golf skills, checked into Dallas a day early. Word is Teixeira and Boras stood in the lobby of  what has become the Ravens’ team hotel in Las Colinas and looked up at the ESPN scroll on the bar TV and Teixeira said something to the effect of: “Well, they found out about this pretty quickly in Boston!”

No doubt Boras “leaked” the “covert” meeting. But that’s the game. Stir up the masses and use the media as a weapon.

The plotline thickens daily. But I’m not convinced Teixeira needs to sign anything before next week or any self-imposed “Christmas deadline.” Because Boras’ words and deadlines slip. And Red Sox owner John Henry’s media negotiating tactics sharpen. And all the “Peters” twist in the wind, writing blogs and quoting unnamed sources who openly lie to everybody about everything. It’s so bad that John Schuerholz (as fine a guy as I know and an old-schooler who John Steadman so admired) has taken to name calling.

(And by “Peters” I meant: Peter Schmuck, Peter Gammons, Peter King and Peter Pascarelli. Feel free to insert your Dick jokes here.)

I don’t think there’s any deadline. I think Boras has this thing right where he wants it. The media is trailing, fueling the fire. The fans are into it. It’s the ONLY game Baltimore fans have had to play in years. It’s like a pennant race that money CAN buy! The Baltimore fans are killing the Orioles to drive up the price. John Henry is playing poker. Arte Moreno is laying low because he’s got a pretty damned good offer as well. And the Nationals are an outsider with a big need and a big offer.

The only thing better than having four suitors is having five. Who knows if the Yankees will want to play?

Boras has negotiated Mark Teixeira into the stratosphere with this salary drive pitting four cities and four fan bases and four ownership groups into “crisis” mode. It’s a true hot stove bonanza amidst financial crisis in the “real” world. Kudos to Boras! It’s gonna make Teixeira plenty rich but it’s not gonna make him a “right guy.”

Only he can decide what that means and where his “heart” lies. Or his wallet. And why he’ll choose wherever he chooses.

If he doesn’t come to Baltimore and play for Peter Angelos’ Orioles in 2008, I really can’t blame him. But god help him and the Orioles if they can’t work this out because they’ll both get crushed by the fans. And Teixeira will have three cities where he’ll get lustily booed next season.

Pass the popcorn…

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Why should Teixeira sign a “hometown discount” deal here?

Posted on 12 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

With all due respect to my colleague Drew Forrester, I have a different “conspiracy” theory on the Mark Teixeira chronicles that unfolded in Las Vegas last week and look like they’ll drag on for a few more days. Here’s the most simple, unasked question of the day: “If you were Mark Teixeira, would you sign up to be a Baltimore Oriole circa 2009?”

I mean, honestly, what’s the upside for him? He’s going to get plenty of money wherever he signs and the No. 1 & No. 2 issues for him – besides the money – are “Can I win there?” and most importantly, “What are the odds I’ll be happy there?”

With everyone and their mother now working for Peter G. Angelos Enterprises or sucking milk from the nipple of the baseball franchise, you aren’t going to EVER hear any REAL analysis in the “old media” about what’s happening in the Warehouse on this one. All you’ll hear from everyone from Steve Melewski to Mark Viviano to Bruce Cunningham to Scott Garceau to Roch Kubatko (and I apologize to the other dozen on the payroll who I’ve left off the list) is this: “The Orioles offered him a LOT of money. He just took the most money and signed with (Bostom Anaheim, Washington, etc.)!”

And Drew – or any of the others — can paint him as a “phony” or a “bad guy” if he wants to and so can you. (For the record I’ve never met or spoken with Teixeira and I’ve honestly never heard anything particularly glowing about his personality or local charm. I don’t think his personality will be selling them tickets. Let’s not expect him to be Cal Ripken is all I’m saying…)

But if Mark Teixeira were my son, I don’t know what I could possibly say positively as a parent (or even an agent) about why he should take a “hometown discount” to come play for the lowly Orioles who have wrecked the franchise over the past dozen years and would fully expect him to be the savior to fix it.

Yeah, maybe Teixeira USED to dream about playing in Camden Yards. Didn’t we all? But that was when it was full and fun and the team woke up on Opening Day with a legitimate chance to win. If you were Mark Teixeira, you’d probably be much more intrigued by an opportunity to spend the next decade in Boston where the stadium is full, the energy is like “real” Major League Baseball and where everyday you’d perform with something on the line. Why does Teixeria want to be standing at first base with an orange cap next spring when he’ll be getting jeered at his own hometown stadium by Red Sox and Yankees fans 20 times?

All of the stuff that made the Orioles enviable 15 years ago when Texeira was a kid no longer exist because of the reign of terror of this ownership group.

That’s why Mike Mussina left. And that’s why no top-tier free agent outside of Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez has even thought about coming here to play. And honestly, what besides Andy McPhail being charming and convincing to all of his co-workers in the media has changed here since 1999?

The team still sucks. The team has plenty of money that it’s refusing to truly spend to bring a winner here. The team still must compete with New York and Boston (and Tampa Bay now) annually. The stadium here is more empty than it’s ever been. And if you think the team’s human resources department has championed “togetherness” and fairness amongst its employees/players, just go ask Brian Roberts or Nick Markakis how it’s been to be an Oriole lately in negotiations. Angelos fights with his best players. It’s not a pattern, it’s a way of life.

So – in your wildest orange fantasyland — if Teixeira DID turn down the extra $30 or $40 million Boston is offering and come “home” to Birdland, what expectations would be placed on him to make this moribund franchise a contender again? He’d instantly become the face of a franchise known for perennial losing. He’d be dubbed “the savior” by the Orioles’ own employees in the media. For $150 million, he’d BETTER be, right?

Sure, as an Oriole he’d be a hometown hero to all of the Baltimore types like you and me for a little while, but then the season would start and as far as I can tell Teixeira is only going to bat four or five times a night and I’m assuming he’d be a lousy pitcher. This franchise isn’t close to being an annual contender for Tampa Bay at this point, let alone Boston and New York.

Really…think about it…what’s the upside for Teixeira to come back and be a part of this mess when he can go win in Boston or Anaheim and make MORE money?

If he were YOUR son, what would you tell him to do? (And Dave Johnson, who also works for Mr. Angelos, is off the hook to answer this one! Maybe one day he’ll have to make that decision himself.)

If you want a “Nestor conspiracy,” try this one:

My bet is that the Orioles are NOT serious – as usual – and just threw a number big enough number out to the media and the “sources” to look like they did their best so they can come back to what’s left of the fan base here in Baltimore and say “we gave it the college effort…we offered him $140 million!” It smells like their twisted attempt to win some “credibility” PR by “bidding” on Teixeira. (Two weeks ago, McPhail was telling everyone they really weren’t all that interested in Teixeira. They went from uninterested to “let’s give him $150 million”? I’m just saying…)

The late, great Syd Thrift has long left the Orioles and has left our planet. His words were still the most prophetic in all of the “new era” of Baltimore baseball history: “Confederate money.”

Do you think there’s any way Scott Boras is going to direct Teixeira to Baltimore for a discount?

Get serious…

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