Tag Archive | "trembley"

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Positives, negatives and neutrals

Posted on 02 July 2009 by Keith Melchior

I have been accused of doing nothing but bashing and being totally negative about the Orioles this season and for the last few years. So, I thought I’d celebrate MY independence and share some of the positive, yes  positive things about the Orioles. In the interest of being totally objective and fair, I am also going to share the negative and neutral feelings I have as well.

THE POSITIVES:

Brad Bergesen.. He definitely has emerged as the ace of the staff

Adam Jones…. He came into spring training with an energy that carried over into the first 2 months of the season. He HAS to be the Orioles representative in the All-Star game….Eric who?

Luke Scott… the type DH we have needed since Harold Baines

Nolan Reimold… a welcome addition to the outfield. Ranks tops amongst rookies. If he has a solid 2nd half he should be rookie of the year.

Jim Johnson, Matt Albers, Brian Bass….all 3 have done the job when called upon. Yes they have hit some speed bumps but are performing more often than not.

Nick Markakis… a slump came at the wrong time, but he is a force in the outfield and leads the league in outfield assists. He will bounce back in 2nd half.

Brian Roberts… A big contract hasn’t slowed him down. One of the top ledoff batters in the league and has singlehandedly won a few games with his speed and timely hits.

Matt Wieters…. The team chose not to have him here on opening day because of the service time issue. Fans are waiting for him to develop into the “savior of the franchise”  Hopefully the 2nd half he’ll tear the cover off the ball like he did in the minors. A definite upgrade from Zaun.

Ty Wigginton…Accepted his role and has produced when called upon. Perfect utility player with a little pop.

THE NEUTRALS:

Jeremy Guthrie… he has yet to emerge as the true ace and needs to have a better 2nd half. LAst year the team wasn’t scoring runs for him, this year he has fallen behind too often in early innings.

George Sherrill….Puts too many runners on base, but was pretty much money the last month. We’re approaching  the time when he melted down last season and had to be shut down due to being overworked. I think he’s trade bait.

Cesar Izturis, Robert Andino… Both are better than what the Orioles had at SS last season. Still need to see some improvement in the ablity to get on base from these two. Neither has hurt the team that much in the field. If they can get on base for the top of the order it’s a huge bonus.

Danys Baez… Hasn’t been too bad coming back from an injury but has been good at times and bad at times. Trade bait if a team is desperate for  middle relief help.

Aubrey Huff… Power numbers are down and some feel he peaked too early in the season. If he is still here after July 31st fans can hope he doesn’t get hot the 2nd half of the season since he is a free agent. He’ll cost the team too much to re-sign.

Jason Berken, David Hernandez….Both showing some grit and guts after getting called up to fill in the rotation. They still need to learn how to get major league hitters out consistently. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow in the 2nd half.

Mark Hendrickson…He looks more comfortable as the left-handed middle man.

Andy McPhail…. He made 2 seemingly great trades with Houston and Seattle. Other than that he hasn’t done much to help the team. If he has carte blanche from ownership, he needs to prove it to the fans and go spend a little money for some better quality players and not count on retreads to fill roster spots while waiting on the future.

The Future:  This phrase has Orioles fan chomping at the bit. The young arms are coming, but when they arrive, who will be the ace of the staff, who will be the closer, and who will be the manager. Fans cannot put all the eggs in one basket and hope that Tillman, Matusz, Arietta can continue developing  in the minors then step right in and become 20 game winners. Odds say that maybe 1 of the 3 will be that player that breaks through the barrier instantly. It would be nice to see that trio become the 2nd coming of Maddox, Glavine and Smoltz.. It’s a lot to hope for and a big risk. Time will tell. 

THE NEGATIVES;

Melvin Mora – Power numbers are down. He was already on the DL. Another trip could spell his demise. I think he’s a free agent after this season so trading him for a mid-range prospect isn’t entirely ruled out.

Felix Pie… Advertised as a 5 tool player. He never seemed to make the adjustment to playing almost everyday in April and is an option as a pinch runner in the late innings. Lately he has been busting his butt to try to make an impression. He is young and has a lot to learn about major league baseball.

Koji Uehara… Excitement over his first start and win over the Yankees turned into a weak arm, weak hamstring and 2 trips to DL. He simply does not have the endurance to be a starter. He has proven one thing, he was a waste of money.

Chris Ray… meltdown after meltdown hurting his chances to emerge as the closer or set up man again. But he’s coming back from Tommy John surgery. He should be in Norfolk all season to develop into the closer should Sherrill be traded.

Gregg Zaun… He started the season batting .091 and although on a recent hitting tear as a part time player, he still looks overmatched at times. That proved he was not an everyday catcher anymore.  He will probably retire as a backup to Wieters and help him develop his skills.

Dave Trembley… In his 2nd full season as manager. When he replaced Perlozzo he promised a return to fundamentals and showed a fire and determination to lead the Orioles back into the winning ways. He will be remembered as the manager of a team that lost 30-3 and a team that came back from 9 runs down to beat the Red Sox. Other than those two “defining moments”,  Trembley has as much personality and grit as a cardboard cutout.

11 and possibly a 12th losing season… Losing is the most negative thing about this team. When veteran guys like Huff, Roberts, Jones, Markakis and Guthrie  have not experienced  playing meaningful games after August 1st, how can they be an example to the younger players, with the exception of being as positive and helpful as they can. Losing is contagious and the Orioles have proven they know how to lose. They need to learn how to win and build confidence so that winning may once again become as contagious as the losing has been.

 

So there you have it…Regardless of what manypeople think, I am not totally negative about the Orioles. Call it frustration over not seeing the team in the post-season but 3 times in the last 26 years. That’s more than half my life. It is time to return to the promised land of post season play, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride. If the same pattern of losing continues into 2011 and 2012, there will be more reasons to become negative about the Orioles. How cool would it be to have BOTH the Ravens and Orioles be winners year in and year out?

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Ohhhhh what a comeback: Oriole Magic percolates at The Yard after the rain…

Posted on 30 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It isn’t hype to say that a miracle happened at Camden Yards tonight. It isn’t hyperbole to say that this was truly the greatest comeback in Orioles history. It really was.

I’m sure this morning many of you will awake to read this and say what most of the city (or the few who were watching to begin with will say): “They were losing 9-1 when the rain came. How the hell did they win that game?”

Well, the box score will tell you all about the comeback — an amazing display of perserverance that saw them get five runs in the 7th inning and five more in the 8th to overcome the Red Sox in an 11-10 win before a stunned contingent of mostly Red Sox fans, who stayed to celebrate what looked to be a rout at 10:45 p.m. after a lengthy and wet rain delay that came in the fifth inning.

In the 7th, Aubrey Huff, Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott heroics were all upstaged by Oscar Salazar’s big home run off of Hideki Okajima.

In the 8th, it was Nick Markakis’ big two-out shot off the left field wall that highlighted a firestorm offensive display against Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Everyone got in on the act. They managed 13 hits and 10 runs in two innings against the best bullpen in the game and on a night when all but a handful of their fans walked out of the ballpark during a rain delay.

Afterward Dave Trembley said (without joy): “That’s about the best ballgame I’ve ever been involved in. You play all 27 outs. It was calm. But every time we scored it got a little bit more wild. I guess the word would be: believable. Very impressive.”

Well, for all of Trembley’s relative lack of enthusiasm, at least the MASN boys were in great spirits. Jim Hunter looked like he was going to pee himself. Rick Dempsey couldn’t stop smiling. The remaining Red Sox fans were looking for more cold beer. Jim Palmer looked stunned. Gary Thorne was screaming like it was Game 7 Avalanche-Red Wings on ESPN circa 1998. (I love Gary Thorne!)

Former Baltimore Sun writer David Steele commented on my Facebook thread with this amazing observation: With the biggest win in Orioles history “they quieted their own ballpark.”

That’s a scary thought — but it’s true. The more the comeback came, the fewer the people who were cheering in the stands in red shirts. There was one rowdy group of orange over the O’s dugout, the heartiest of hearty souls after 11 p.m. I’m sure they have some great stories to tell. MASN had one cutaway of a Red Sox fan jawwing with an O’s supporter in the box seats and it looked like a fight was about to throw down.

What a night! These crazy kids are so up and down it’s impossible to know what you’re getting. Lost in this amazing win will be the dreadful start of Rich Hill, who managed to give up 9 runs in less than four innings before the magical rain that changed the O’s fortunes tonight.

You gotta admit that what happened tonight takes a certain amount of chutzpah and stones. It was a comeback for the ages. Like Bills-Oilers. Or Maryland-Miami. Or Len Bias at the Dean Dome. (Or sadly, Duke-Maryland 2001!) That Flacco effort in Cleveland last year didn’t suck either.

It was memorable and hopeful. Like Jimmy V, these guys never gave up. You have to respect that. It makes them likable and heroic in many ways. The Markakis at bat could be a “defining moment.”

The Orioles and Sox have a quick turnaround. They play the cap of the three-game series at 1:35 p.m. with Josh Beckett facing Brad Bergesen.

11:26 p.m. — If you are watching the Orioles game right now, you’re one of the few lost souls who have returned. After trailing the Red Sox 9-1 when a brutal rainstorm entered the city early in the evening, the Orioles have come back in the “second half” and brutalized Boston pitching in various ways to take an amazing 11-10 lead in the 8th inning.

There appear to be about 10,000 Red Sox fans still in the ballpark and a handful of rowdy Orioles fans who are truly the last rats on the ship.

A longer blog will follow, but we’re up and we’re paying attention and we’re stunned in amazement at the greatest comeback in Orioles history.

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Want to waste 5 million dollars? Sign Koji Uehara!

Posted on 28 June 2009 by Keith Melchior

For the 2nd time this season Koji Uehara is on the disabled list, this time with arm troubles.  Koji started 12 games this season and has a record of 2-4. That’s it, folks, 6 decisions in 12 starts.  His ERA is a semi-respectable 4.05 and his strikeout to walk ratio is 4-1. Right now, Koji has earned about $416,000 per start and $2.5 million per win. So in retrospect,  this guy has turned out to be a waste of 5 million dollars. But the apologists will all come out and say, “the Orioles did a good thing by signing Koji Uehara and management showed they are not afraid to go into the foreign markets now..” Well after this episode, I am reminded of the song  “Once bitten, twice shy baby.”

Koji averages about 5+ innings per start which is hardly considered a quality start, except in manager Dave Trembley’s rotation. If Koji is expected to perfom in the 2nd half of the season and prove his worth, the Orioles will get him on a strength and conditioning program while he’s out until after the all star break. I don’t know how hot and humid it gets in Japan, but Baltimore weather get’s pretty stifling at times. If Koji has no endurance now, what’s going to happen to him in the really hot and humid months of  July and August?  I realize the long relief specialist right now is Brian Bass, and there’s no way Mr Angelos is going to allow a relief pitcher to make 5 million of his dollars and only be available to pitch every 3 or 4 days.

Koji got everyone wearing the orange glasses excited early in the season, but it became rather obvious he couldn’t finish what he started. I know it’s not my money, but after Koji returns in 2 weeks he better be pitching deep into the 7th or 8th innings.

I am willing to bet a Japanese lunch with anyone that Koji Uehara will end up on the DL again. If that happens,  Orioles, it’s time to cut your losses, say sayonara to him and his interpteter, burn his worthless jerseys and tee shirts, and eat his contract like a roll of sushi.

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Rain drops Koji: Birds lose to Mariners 6-3

Posted on 11 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

My new favorite Oriole, Matt Wieters, was the featured Bird tonight but didn’t play. Koji Uehara looked pretty good until the rain came. The Orioles lost again.

Mired in an offensive slump, tonight’s Birds lineup was another head-scratcher with Ty Wiggington, Gregg Zaun and Robert Andino at the bottom of the order. To their credit (and perhaps Dave Trembley, who filled out the card) they combined for 3 of the Orioles’ 7 hits tonight in a 6-3 loss.

Uehara gave up three runs in the sixth inning and another in the fifth, while Brian Bass pitched 1 2/3 of rocky relief.

Uehara looked like he was affected by the rain and Trembley’s postgame indicated that as well. He said the hamstring wasn’t an issue.

The Mariners got a big night from Russell Branyan, who hit a home run off Bass further than any ball I can remember, landing the last row of the bleachers below the scoreboard in deep, deep right centerfield. They called it 450-feet. They said it’s the sixth furthest shot in the history of Camden Yards. I don’t believe it. It looked like it was at least 475 and was just amazing.

The Orioles had a semi-rally in the first inning that got them two runs but could’ve been much worse. Former Oriole Garrett Olson was on the ropes yet survived five innings and got his first win of the season, which must’ve tasted good coming against the team that shipped him out for lowly Felix Pie back in January. After Luke Scott homered in the first, Olson settled down and did enough to survive.

Trembley lamented in the postgame about the offensive struggles of the team. “When it rains it pours” is how Trembley put it. “You stick with your guys, you back them up and there’s not a whole of other things you can do.”

As an aside, I think Ichiro Suzuki is one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen. He exciting to watch, even when he strikes out looking silly at the hands of Brian Bass. I wish he was an Oriole!

The Orioles will welcome the Atlanta Braves to Camden Yards for three games.

Please feel free to join Bob Haynie at The Next Friday night before the game for an ice cold Bud Light.

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Looking For Laughs? Try “Wired Wednesdays” Exclusively On MASN

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Mark Suchy

I realize that with the Orioles in Seattle last night, many of you probably weren’t awake by the time Dave Trembley put on a headset in the dugout during the middle innings.  And in retrospect, I wish I had written a transcript of his “interview” with Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez.  Because if Trembley’s contempt for these ridiculous sessions (which must be written into his contract, because why else would he consent to do it willingly?) wasn’t obvious before, he virtually announced to the entire viewing audience how he truly feels about this “obligation”.  It was alternately uncomfortable, awkward, distracting and borderline hilarious.

Trembley actually uttered something along the lines of “We all have our crosses to bear” and “Oh geez, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do sometimes” during the course of this stilted 4 or 5 minute “conversation”.  All the while, Thorne and Martinez laughed uncomfortably while asking such laughably soft questions as “Boy, Ichiro is a tough out, isn’t he Skip?”  It was really something to behold.  Towards the end of this, Thorne said “We’ll let you go right after this at bat” and Trembley laughed and referenced someone named “Monica” and said something along the lines of “I can’t get on her bad side.”  When this segment mercifully ended, the Oriole Manager virtually slammed the headset down in obvious disgust.

It was really the highest form of unintentional comedy I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I can understand where Trembley’s frustrations stem from, as he’s attempting to stay focused on every pitch (and given some of his dubious strategy, he needs to stay as focused as possible).  But his outward bitterness is so startlingly obvious, can’t someone in authority give him a break and just can this ridiculous segment?  It’s high comedy, sure, but it’s also becoming a public forum for the obvious tension between Trembley and the powers-that-be over a job “requirement” he clearly has no desire to fulfill.

I believe that all televised sports are oversaturated with these silly Q & A sessions.  Sideline reporters asking dumb questions of a head coach as his team heads to the locker room at halftime (“Coach, your defense gave up 28 points and 3 TD passes by Peyton Manning in the first half.  What adjustments do you have to make to get back in this game in the second half?”).  Mindless in-game handoffs for “information” (“Player X was knocked unconscious on that vicious hit by Player Y, and his availability to return is doubtful”).  And these sessions like MASN holds every “Wired Wednesday” really take the cake.  Imagine John Harbaugh being required to talk to the game announcers as the game is taking place.  Or Phil Jackson.  Or honestly any coach in any sport.

Any educated and experienced fan knows what their eyes are telling them as they watch a game.  It’s almost insulting to have these networks throw this garbage at us while we attempt to enjoy the game.  And honestly, if you really care what any coach is thinking during a game, just find the post-game press conference on television, online or in print to get those details.

Apparently, though, Dave Trembley and MASN will have to learn to get along nicely, at least through the remainder of this season, or his managerial tenure, whichever ends first.  As I watched this on-screen train wreck last night, I wondered if the Orioles” next manager, or somebody like, oh, Earl Weaver, would ever consent to this silliness as part of their contract to manage the ballclub.  Because if one thing is certain, Trembley wants no parts of these “interviews” any longer.

And given the level of questioning, I know that I don’t.

But man, it sure is funny.  In a way that I don’t think the corporate suits ever intended with this half-baked idea.

Step aside, Comedy Central.  It’s “Wired Wednesdays” each week on MASN!

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Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy: Birds give finale away in 3-2 loss to Seattle

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While we’re all drinking the orange Kool Aid these days in hopes of “better days ahead,” it’s losses like last night’s in Seattle that keep anyone who appreciates good baseball scratching our heads in disgust. After a series of boneheaded baserunning blunders and mental mistakes, the Orioles finally succumbed to the Mariners in a 3-2 loss at Safeco Field when Adrian Beltre hit a seeing-eye single past Cesar Izturis off Jim Johnson in the 9th inning to win the game.

Aubrey Huff – allegedly a veteran – not only got picked off of third base by Mariners catcher Rob Johnson in the sixth inning to kill a rally but was also caught stealing in the ninth to thwart any chance of a go-ahead run. To his credit, Huff faced the music afterward, telling The Sun: “There’s no reason to get picked off right there. That’s just a stupid rookie mistake by a veteran guy. It can’t happen. There’s no reason for me to be off the base that much. If Wieters gets a hit, I’m scoring anyway. It was really, really stupid.”

At least he’s showing some accountability for his losing behavior.

Perhaps sometime soon someone will ask Dave Trembley why the team insists on “hit and run” situations with the game on the line?

But aside from the general lack of offensive production and oppotunity, there were plenty of goats to go around in the Pacific Northwest. Nolan Reimold also got caught stealing earlier in the game and the situational hitting has been non-existent. Matt Wieters hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded early in the game and Brian Roberts is now mired in an 0-for-17 slump heading into Oakland for tomorrow’s series with the A’s.

So how bad has the offense been since Friday night’s “Matt Messiah” game?

The Orioles have stranded what few runners they’ve had over the past week and have scored only five runs in 27 innings in Seattle and were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Add in the weekend brilliance of the Detroit staff and they’ve now scored only five runs in their past 39 innings and have scored three or fewer runs in 9 of the past 19 games.

Hitting slumps are acceptable. Mental mistakes are not.

Trembley, who is usually dour even when the team wins, looked downright distraught last night during a terse post-game press conference because he knows this was a very winnable game that got away.

The whole team might want to hit the cage in Oakland with outfielder Luke Scott, who continued his torrid pace with a home run in the second inning and an RBI double in the sixth. He’s now registered five home runs this week while no one else on the Birds has hit a homer since last Friday.

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May Orioles report card

Posted on 02 June 2009 by Keith Melchior

Here’s my May Orioles report card.

Brian Roberts – A … still the catalyst on the team. A very solid player

Adam Jones – A+… He still plays too shallow in CF sometimes and balls fly over his head, but he has been a pleasant surprise. With the solid 2 months he’s had, he definitely deserves All-Star recognition.

Nick Markakis – B+..production has fallen off a bit, stuck out a few too many times with runners on base, deserves All-Star recognition too.

Aubrey Huff - B.. playing a solid 1st base, hoping he’ll heat it up soon. If he does, he is the first one I’d look to trade out.

Melvin Mora – C.. I don’t think he’s 100%. He’s turned into a singles hitter as his power numbers dwindle.

Luke Scott – B+.. In a heck of a hot streak as of late, so they’ll probably trade him in July. He’s just what they Orioles need.

Nolan Reimold – B..(qualifies for an incomplete) He probably saved his job in LF and his spot on the team when he hit that GW HR last week.  He could hit better in his sleep than Felix Pie. He was helped by Lou Montanez’ injury and trip to the DL. Here’s hoping he gets settled in .

Gregg Zaun – F.. Did playing on an artificial surface pad this guys numbers? He has lost it at the plate and behind the plate, and rather quickly.

Ty Wigginton – B.. not playing every day hurts his ability to perform consistently, but he is an adequate utility player. Much better than the other 3

Felix Pie – F.. He should be sent to Norfolk so he can play every day and work on his game. Sitting on the bench here in Baltimore isn’t helping. When Lou Montanez returns from the DL, I’ll drive Pie to Norfolk.

Cesar Izturis – C.. has been pretty decent in the field and producing at the plate is all you can ask for at this position. They got him for his defense

Robert Andino – C.. not lighting it up but he’s not supposed to. He’s a “band-aid player” in case of injuries. There’s no need for him to have to play once or twice a week.

Jeremy Guthrie – B.. has shown flashes but still somewhat inconsistent and struggles to get into 7th inning

Rich Hill – B+.. a pleasant surprise, so McPhail is batting .500 with his ex-Cubs

Koji Uehara – C.. guts alone can’t win ball games, ask Kyle Boller. Runs into trouble after 5 innings way too often. Hopefully he can improve his stamina when off the DL.

Jim Johnson  – B.. looks like he picked up where he left off last season before he was shut down. Dominant at times.

Danys Baez – B-.. Quite different than the guy who couldn’t get anyone out 2 years ago, but he still lacks that consistency that middle relievers need. Probably trade material come July.

Brian Bass – B+.. talk about a guy who seemingly rose from the dead. He was probably on his way out but he turned it around in a hurry after a disasterous April. He has become a solid middle reliever. Hope he stays that way.

Matt Albers – C.. Looks like his choice to rehab instead of surgery is working  as has held his own.  Let’s see what June has in store for him

Jamie Walker – F.. after a decent April, that meltdown over the balk last month transformed  him back into the  Jamie Walker of 2008.

George Sherrill – B.. not the All-Star he was at this time last year, but the best option they have since Chris Ray blew up and did his Walker routine.

Bergesen, Berken, Hernandez – Incomplete – They all look like they belong with the big club thus far.  We’ll see how they progress in June.

Matt Wieters – A+ for hype…..incomplete for grade. rocky start of a major league career going 2-11. Once he settles in and plays more, he’ll be fine.

Dave Trembley – C- .. He locked himself into a rut but playing the B lineup on Sundays and usually the last game in a series. You have to have players who can accept that role and can step in and play to make it work for you. If he is that stuck on getting his reserves in a game, then why not stagger them, that way you don’t have all 3 in the game at the same time…i.e. rest Izturis Friday and play Saturday and Sunday and rest Mora on Saturday and play on Sunday, etc etc.. … His bench players are terrible. Pinch hitting a .200 hitter for a .198 hitter? Why bother?  The team is 5 games under .500 at this point, no thanks to Trembley. The top of the lineup all hit and hit and hit and won games despite the rocky pitching efforts. Some of Trembley’s in-game decisions are highly questionable, he is stubborn about his reserves playing time, and his record on Sundays/ final game of a series is worthy of a firing if he can’t turn that trend around. If he’s trying to win baseball games, he is doing it with smoke and mirrors.

Team Overall – C.. the recent 5 game win streak helped. With their lineup, they should beat teams like Washington and teams that are reeling and slumping.  The comeback win over Toronto was impressive, but the 2 losses to Detroit over the weekend were tough to swallow. How they fare in June and July with the development of the rookies will go a long way in determining whether they are serious in contending in the future or will settle for mediocrity. Hanging onto players like Felix Pie, Gregg Zaun  and Robert Andino drag them down. having 3 bench players hitting a combined .198 gives Trembley no options in late innings or against NL teams. Perhaps Baez and Koji can be used as pinch-hitters. Pie should go to Norfolk, Zaun and Andino can just go, period.  The Orioles are better than advertised at times. Now it appears they have a log-jam on the mound when Koji returns from the DL.

Question – What ever happened to Mike Flanagan?

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Matt Messiah has arrived…now will the wins follow?

Posted on 01 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It was a fun weekend to be a real Orioles fan. The kind where the joy of baseball, if it’s ever mattered in your life at any point, comes back in a rush. Sure, all of the steroids and losing and empty nights at Camden Yards have taken their toll over the past 12 years, but the Orioles finally can say they are in the business of “selling hope.”

You know why? Because, this time, the fans actually believe in Matt Wieters and what the Orioles are selling.

How do I know? Because they announced the three-game crowd this weekend at 108,000 people and for once it didn’t look like they were padding their numbers.

The Orioles are selling hope. The Orioles are selling youth. The best minds in baseball say they’re on the right path. The fans are buying the hype and – for the first time – the tickets to the games.

People dropped everything and ran to the ballpark this weekend to see the orange Messiah in person.

Yes, it was a fun weekend despite the gruesome pair of losses on Saturday and Sunday (not to mention any flaming criticism of manager Dave Trembley, who befuddles many of us on a day-to-day basis with his decisions). Friday’s night’s rainbow, spirited crowd and big victory made for a rare memorable night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles are off to the West Coast for the week. They’ll play well into the night. Will Matt Wieters matter to you on Wednesday night around midnight in the sixth inning?

We’ll see. Will you be chasing him around all summer and following the box scores or the live game action to monitor his progess? Again, we’ll see.

But for one weekend – successful or not – a kid named Matt Wieters gripped the city’s water cooler talk and created a stir downtown with traffic, cheers and thousands of people reacquainting with their orange laundry. Whether he lives up to the hype and whether the Orioles will ever win because of it remains to be seen.

But right now, that doesn’t really matter. Matt Wieters – he will be referred to as Matt Messiah in this space from this point forward – represents hope in the form of a 6-foot-5 switch hitting catcher from Charleston, S.C.

But with this kind of an introduction this can only go one of two ways: very well or very poorly.

Time will tell. He’ll either hit .300 and become a stalwart, franchise rock or he’ll be a .260 hitter and continue the disappointment of what’s left of the Orioles diminished fan base (see McDonald, Ben; Dauer, Rich; Bonner, Bob; Fuller, Jim; among many, many others who didn’t pan out as superstars and Hall of Famers).

But for now, as the Orioles begin June of 2009 in their 12th year of ineptitude and are again mired in sole possession of last place, even though he only went 2-for-11 in his weekend debut at home amidst the sea of flashbulbs and media hype, Matt Messiah will be given the benefit of the doubt.

At least that’s the way I feel.

What’s good for Matt Messiah is good for Baltimore.

The whole city needs this kid to be the real deal.

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Wieters fever: Will he be the savior that this franchise needs?

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Wieters fever: Will he be the savior that this franchise needs?

Posted on 28 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

We fully expect that Camden Yards will be packed tomorrow night for the debut of Matt Wieters. It’s a Friday night, the forecast is good and this is probably the most unique evening of baseball in Baltimore since “Fan Appreciation Night” back in May 1988, when the team was greeted with unconditional love after an 0-21 start.

Clearly, the Orioles marketing folks have finally put the “WNST Cap” on and used an evening to create an “event.” They were already guaranteed about 30,000 on a $6 student/fireworks night. And after a couple of years of press, accolades and hype, the can’t-miss-kid is coming to town. They could’ve made his debut tonight, but they’ve chosen a night when they were already en route to a full house. This alone, is a departure from some of their foolish decisions related to getting people interested in the team.

Here’s where you can make all of the jokes about how few people still DO go to Orioles games. Yesterday, the Orioles battled back from an 8-3 deficit to win a game in dramatic, 11th-inning style with a walk-off home run by young Nolan Reimold and there weren’t 5,000 people in the stadium to witness it. On Tuesday night, it was truly a “friends and family” night with less than 3,000 people there in the rain to watch young Jason Berken pitch his debut.

That won’t be the case tomorrow night when the flashbulbs glow all over Camden Yards for the coming of the catcher/messiah. It will be a virtual “sea of orange.”

(ONE FAIR WARNING: If you’re planning on “walking up” tomorrow at 6:30 and getting in, think again! The Orioles have one of the most inept game day staffs in the universe. You will be standing line until the 4th inning trying to get in if you roll up there at any point after 6 p.m.)

Oh sure they’ll say Wieters is “just another ballplayer” and one of the many “fine young prospects in the organization.” Andy McPhail and Dave Trembley have already begun calling for “calm” and have made the “give the kid some space” pronouncements.

They’ll say all of the “right” things because they don’t know if he’ll hit .300 or flop once he gets to the big leagues. No one ever knows but Wieters is about as much of a sure thing as we’re going to get in this lifetime in an Orioles uniform.

All of the indicators of maturity, pedigree and ability are there for Wieters to literally be a Hall of Famer.

Wieters HOF

Go to www.mattwietersfacts.com for more fun like this above…

He was the best player in the draft, who was made hard to draft because of the Scott Boras factor and signability issue. But at the 11th hour two years ago, Peter Angelos found a way to get it done and get him into an orange jersey.

Wieters has come into the organization and literally earned every promotion he’s received over the last two years.

But the franchise needs “saving” as much OFF the field as on the field. Sure, winning will be the ultimate tonic for all that ails the Orioles. (At least that’s what the current ownership believes.)

But what will Wieters’ impact really be in Baltimore over the next four months?

Or four years?

Or for the next decade or so, if he’s truly “The Chosen One” for the organization?

Will he be a guy who does charity work and lives in the community?

Will he be another guy who lives “out of town” during the offseason?

Will he be stupid enough to go on a radio show and call Baltimore a “horseshit” city? (Doubtful, by the way!)

Will he be able to hit .300 and have the kind of impact that Joe Mauer has had in Minnesota?

Will we be comparing him to Mike Piazza or Earl Williams in 2011?

Will he be Cal Ripken or Jim Fuller?

Will he be Eddie Murray or Craig Worthington?

Where will he bat in the order?

Will fans flock to see him after tomorrow night? Will Wieters be playing in front of 40,000 empty green seats once the “shine” wears off his star?

Will he be a “reason to come to the ballpark” more so than Nick Markakis or Brian
Roberts, who have both exceeded any reasonable expectation over the past five years yet still play in an empty stadium most nights when the Red Sox or Yankees aren’t in town booing the home team?

What’s going to make this promotion of Matt Wieters “special” somewhere down the line?

Here’s hoping that all of our wildest dreams or fantasies as Orioles fans are realized with this promotion on Friday. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of the end of the 12 years of hell and the 16 years of lousy ownership and leadership and accountability. (I’m in no way holding my breath that the Angelos clan will ever learn how to be a quality community partner and civic leaders for the greater good of Baltimore, but I never say “never.”)

So, I’m drinking the orange Kool Aid for the time being. (Hey, I’m at least sipping from a Dixie cup until Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz get here.)

If Matt Wieters is here to save us all, then I’m the first convertible soul to sign up for the congregation. But it’s going to take more than just rolling the ball onto the field at Camden Yards to change what has been a generation of despair for anyone in this region who loves baseball as much as I do.

Here’s my message to Wieters:

Change the losing culture here in Baltimore, Matt!

Hit .300 and drive in runs. Be a fiery leader and say and do the “right” things here. (In other words, stay away from Aubrey Huff!)

Buy, don’t rent, here in Baltimore and get to know the people and heritage and history of the city. Put a little effort into being special and you’ll get special treatment! And whatever you do, don’t take marketing or human relations advice from Peter Angelos or any of his kin.

We want a hero. We want another Cal or Brooks. We’ve been patient but it’s now all on you. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. That’s the way it goes when you get a $6 million signing bonus and negotiate til the 11th hour and you’re the No. 1 prospect in all of the major leagues according to anyone with a baseball website.

We’ve been waiting a long time for you kid!

I’m not a Wieters beater.

I’m more in line with “Going to bat for Matt!”

Come on up, do your best, make us proud to have “Baltimore” on our chests and give us a fun summer.

After all, if it’s ever going to change here – this sea of ineptitude, mean-spiritedness and arrogance this ownership has wreaked upon Baltimore since 1993 – it has to begin somewhere.

They tell me you’re “The Savior.”

For once — at least — I hope they’re not lying.

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Adam Jones wins one: Orioles outlast Nats 4-2 in 12 innings

Posted on 23 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Somewhere, there’s a Bob Hope like joke here somewhere. Ya know, “What the only thing worse than watching two last place teams play for nine innings?”

Of course, deadpanned: “Watching them play for 12 innings.”

But that’s what I did tonight as the Orioles and Nationals pitching staffs combined to duel well into the night in a 2-2 deadlock until Adam Jones hit a two-run double, improbably scoring pitcher Danys Baez who also vultured the victory in Washington D.C.

Nolan Reimold got the “Battle of The Beltway” started with a homer in the first inning off of rookie starter Jordan Zimmerman but that was all of the offense the O’s could manage before the 12th inning.

O’s starter Rich Hill was decent, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just three hits although he walked four Nats as well. Manager Dave Trembley used four members of the bullpen — Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, Baez and George Sherrill — so there will be an extra tax for the extra baseball tonight.

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