Tag Archive | "twins"

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as Britton takes the ball

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles go for two straight in the third of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — It’s amazing what an 11-run outburst and a shutout can do for your confidence when you’ve been struggling to do just about anything right.

Fresh off their first victory in nine games on Tuesday night, the Orioles (7-9) will send rookie Zach Britton to the hill for his second start at Camden Yards. The left-hander struggled in Cleveland last Friday, picking up his first career loss in an 8-2 beating at the hands of the Indians, but the Orioles hope for a similar result to what Britton did against Texas two starts ago when he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in a dominating performance. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Nick Blackburn.

Even with an eight-game losing streak thrown into the mix in the season’s first three weeks, the Orioles will look for their eighth win of 2011 tonight after failing to reach the eight-win mark in 2010 until May 6, which came in the form of a 2-0 victory over the Twins at Target Field. The Orioles’ next home win will be their fifth and did not pick up their fifth game at Camden Yards until May 12 last season.

Let’s hope I didn’t apply the jinx by passing along those notes.

Brian Matusz is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday as he continues to recover from an intercostal strain that placed him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. The club plans to have the left-hander throw over the weekend — hopefully on a mound. Matusz has built up to throwing from 120 feet on flat ground.

The optimistic outlook is for Matusz to begin a minor league rehab assignment next weekend. However, he will likely require a longer-than-normal stint considering he will need to build arm strength and stretch himself out before returning to the Baltimore rotation. A return to the 25-man roster in mid-May seems to be the most realistic prediction at this point. Of course, that’s assuming he experiences no setbacks in the meantime.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Minnesota
CF Denard Span
LF Jason Repko
RF Jason Kubel
1B Michael Cuddyer
DH Jim Thome
3B Danny Valencia
2B Luke Hughes
C Steve Holm
SS Matt Tolbert

SP Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles make it look easy in snapping 8-game slide

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Luke Jones

Following a 10-day stretch in which they couldn’t do anything right, the Orioles made it look simple in an 11-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

Scoring just 20 runs over the eight-game losing streak, Baltimore plated 11 runs in two-out situations, thanks in large part to four runs batted in from catcher Matt Wieters and three from leadoff hitter Brian Roberts. The pair drove in three in the bottom of the second to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead, their first advantage at any point since the end of the eighth inning in New York last Thursday.

Cleanup hitter Vladimir Guerrero put a cherry on top of the offensive explosion with a three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Orioles a season-high 11 runs and their third extra-base hit with two outs and runners in scoring position for the game. They had only one total in the first 15 games of the season.

Jake Arrieta mowed down the feeble Twins lineup in six shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. As he often has in his brief big league career, the 25-year-old struggled with his command, pitching into deep counts and walking three, but made quality pitches in thanks to Wieters’ calls behind the plate. Arrieta allowed the leadoff man to reach only once, providing some cushion when pitching into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.

It was quite the contrast to the 7.71 earned run average posted by Orioles starters and the 53 earned runs allowed by the entire staff over the last eight games.

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For a group shell-shocked by the violent U-turn following its hot start, the effort couldn’t have come at a better time.

“You go through things like this with real good clubs and with bad clubs,” said manager Buck Showalter after the Orioles snapped the longest losing streak of his brief 73-game tenure in Baltimore. “This one had a different feel to it for me, and I still feel that way. Who knows what tomorrow brings? It doesn’t mean anything. We all want to know about something before it happens. We don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

His words couldn’t ring any truer about a team that started the season 6-1 and followed with an eight-game losing streak before disposing of the Twins in easy fashion in the second of a four-game set. How the Orioles will respond Wednesday night with Zach Britton taking the bump after his first career loss last Friday in Cleveland is anyone’s guess.

Showalter has always voiced his pride in focusing on the little things, the intricacies that can make the difference between winning and losing on any given night of a 162-game season. Tuesday was no exception early in the game despite the lopsided final score.

With two outs and no one on in the second, Adam Jones beat out an infield single to keep the inning alive and set the table for what turned into three runs before the final out was recorded.

In the fourth, Wieters was hit by a pitch after Carl Pavano retired the first two hitters of the inning. Then, Robert Andino — who has seven hits and two walks in his last 10 at-bats in place of the injured J.J. Hardy at shortstop — singled up the middle to enable Roberts to come to the plate to double in another run.

Two innings where the starting pitcher was on the verge of getting to the dugout unscathed suddenly yielded four runs for the opposition. Things spiraled out of control from there for Minnesota.

A common theme over the previous eight games, only with the Orioles on the wrong end every night.

“There is a lot more talent in the clubhouse than we’ve had in the past,” said Wieters, who scored a career-high three runs and posted his second career four-RBI game. “And with the track records all these guys have, you know they are going to do some damage at some point.”

It’s amazing how easy it looks when you’re getting productive at-bats throughout the lineup and making quality pitches on the hill.

Whether it was the law of averages simply swinging in the opposite direction for one night or the start of another hot spell — would you be surprised with either at this point? — the Orioles needed this one, regardless of how different this year might feel in their minds.

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Live from Camden Yards: Eight not so great as Orioles try to break streak

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles try to break their eight-game losing streak in Game 2 of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — Lauded as one of the greatest numbers in franchise history, eight now stands for the current losing streak that’s flipped an improbable start into a hellacious stretch of baseball in which the Orioles (6-9) haven’t even led in a game since the end of the eighth inning last Thursday against the Yankees in the Bronx.

After winning the opener of their first three series of the season, Baltimore has now dropped each of the last three series opening games. The Orioles had started 17-4 in openers since Buck Showalter took over as manager on Aug. 3, 2010.

While the losing streak weighs on everyone’s mind with Jake Arrieta heading to the hill to face veteran Carl Pavano, many are consumed with thoughts of the late William Donald Schaefer, who passed away at age 89 on Monday. The Maryland state flag and Baltimore City flag are flying at half-mast this evening at Camden Yards as the Orioles have planned a moment of silence as well as a video package to remember the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor.

Without his efforts, I wouldn’t be typing this entry from one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball right here in downtown Baltimore.

Getting back to baseball-related news, manager Buck Showalter passed along a positive report on lefty Brian Matusz, who was pain-free today after throwing a flat-ground session on Monday. His return is far from imminent, but the Orioles would certainly like to add some stability to a shaky starting rotation with his return.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Minnesota
CF Denard Span
2B Matt Tolbert
LF Jason Kubel
DH Jim Thome
RF Michael Cuddyer
3B Danny Valencia
1B Luke Hughes
C Drew Butera
SS Alexi Casilla

SP Carl Pavano (1-1, 3.60)

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 7.04 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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New Orioles coming up empty as losses continue to mount

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Over the current losing streak, which grew to eight games with a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday, the Orioles haven’t hit or pitched well. Whether talking about young players or veterans, mainstays or newcomers, the Orioles simply haven’t performed, transforming a harmonious 6-1 start into a 6-9 crisis in a matter of only nine days.

No one is absolved from the last eight games, but it’s hard to overlook the newest Orioles and their struggles to begin the season.

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President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail set out to improve a club that finished 34-23 under manager Buck Showalter by adding offensive pieces to provide protection for developing positional players and alleviate the pressure on a young starting rotation. He also looked to add a veteran to the back-end of the bullpen after the disastrous early-season results from Michael Gonzalez a season ago.

The architect was applauded for signing two former All-Stars, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, to fill the third and fourth spots in the lineup. MacPhail traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop J.J. Hardy in separate deals to complete the infield transformation.

Kevin Gregg — along with his 37 saves — was lured to Baltimore with a two-year, $10 million contract and a not-so-secret agreement to be the closer despite Koji Uehara’s success in the role last season.

After 15 games — yes, only 15 games — it’s not looking too hot.

Lee and Guerrero have looked the part of two aging sluggers with their best years long behind them. Lee’s average dipped to .204 after an 0-for-2 night in which he drew two walks. The first baseman’s plate discipline and defense are as good as ever, but his bat has looked slow, with only two extra base hits and struggling to get around on good fastballs.

The free-swinging Guerrero’s average fell to .242 after going 0 for 4 against the Twins. The slugger has yet to draw a walk in 62 at-bats this season and is slugging an anemic .306 with only two hits going for extra bases. Entering the night, his 2.97 pitches seen per plate appearance was the lowest among American League hitters with 50 or more at-bats.

Meanwhile, Guerrero’s occupation of the designated hitter’s spot has pushed Luke Scott to left field on an everyday basis, weakening the defense and putting more pressure on the inexperienced pitching staff.

It’s not exactly the return the Orioles had in mind after spending $15.25 million for the third and fourth spots in the order.

Reynolds has fared better than the latter two with a .692 OPS, but his .224 average isn’t going to make anyone forget his struggles from a season ago in Arizona. His defense has also been erratic, looking like a Gold Glover on one play but then struggling to make the simple throw on the next.

Of course, Hardy is currently rehabbing a strained oblique in Sarasota, leaving the Orioles with a giant hole in the No. 9 spot in the order currently occupied by the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino.

With an offense sputtering near the bottom of the American League in numerous statistical categories, the offseason discussion of the Orioles having one of the best lineups in the league seem downright preposterous.

“I’m still excited about [the lineup],” said center fielder Adam Jones, who hit his third home run of the season in the seventh inning. “You’ve never heard about anybody going in a slump? It’s [15 games] into the season or however many games. Not everybody is going to rake the entire season, so it’s a spell. Let’s get it all out of the way now and come back tomorrow ready to swing the bats.”

The Orioles hope the struggles of Gregg are also just a spell as he melted down again in the ninth inning on Monday, allowing two runs — one coming on a wild pitch — and walking two batters to transform a narrow 3-2 deficit into an insurmountable three-run hole. The right-hander left to a showering of boos reminiscent of Gonzalez’s early-season struggles last season.

The Orioles paid handsomely for Gregg’s 37 saves a year ago, ignoring his career 4.02 earned run average and 1.33 WHIP that suggest he’s a solid enough reliever, but not the guy you’re going to feel comfortable with in the ninth inning, night in and night out.

While shopping for inexpensive, short-term solutions in the lineup, MacPhail has  invested $22 million over the last two offseasons on middle-of-the-road closers in Gonzalez and Gregg. Regardless of how the duo fares the rest of the season, giving multi-year contracts to pedestrian relief pitchers just doesn’t pay off.

Of course, I realize it’s still early. The Orioles weren’t as good as their 6-1 start and aren’t as bad as the current 0-8 spell sparking nightmares of last season among the frustrated fan base.

Lee and Guerrero deserve — and will undoubtedly get — plenty of time to snap out of their early-season slumps. Their track records speak for themselves.

Perhaps Gregg will figure out his issues and rebound to become the closer the Orioles envisioned in the offseason.

But these were the guys brought to Baltimore to prevent these types of losing streaks and late-inning meltdowns from taking place as they did a season ago.

And so far, none of it has worked.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman, and Adam Jones following the 5-3 loss to the Twins on Monday night.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orange Crush chat at 7 as Orioles look to snap 7-game skid

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles begin a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins***

BALTIMORE — Something has to give.

Mired in a seven-game losing streak that’s dropped them to third place and two games below .500, the Baltimore Orioles (6-8) return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to open a 10-game home stand against the last-place Minnesota Twins (5-10) tonight at 7:05.

With both teams struggling to score runs and ranking among the worst teams in baseball offensively, Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.30 ERA) and Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano (0-3, 9.42 ERA) have to be treating tonight as an opportunity to right themselves after severe struggles to begin the 2011 campaign. Liriano’s struggles have raised more eyebrows as the lefty went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 2010.

Both lineups for tonight’s opener possess two players hitting above .250: Denard Span (.339) and Jason Kubel (.321) for Minneosta and Brian Roberts (.267) and Vladimir Guerrero (.259) for Baltimore. As anemic as the Orioles lineup has looked in the first two weeks of the season, the Twins have scored six fewer runs and have yet to win a series this season.

Sounds like the right recipe to break out, but then again, the Twins are probably having similar thoughts looking across the field at the other lineup.

The Orioles have selected the contract of left-handed reliever Clay Rapada and placed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas on the 15-day disabled list with an injured groin. Rapada did not allow a run in two appearances with Triple-A Norfolk and gives the Orioles another lefty in the bullpen to complement the struggling Michael Gonzalez.

To clear room on the 40-man roster, injured pitcher Justin Duchscherer was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, creating even more doubt as to whether the veteran will make any significant contribution to the Orioles after signing a one-year contract in the offseason.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Minnesota
CF Denard Span
2B Matt Tolbert
RF Jason Kubel
DH Jim Thome
LF Delmon Young
1B Michael Cuddyer
3B Danny Valencia
C Drew Butera
SS Alexi Casilla

SP Francisco Liriano

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
3B Mark Reynolds
CF Adam Jones
LF Jake Fox
C Matt Wieters
SS Robert Andino

SP Chris Tillman

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

Posted on 15 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-5) travel to the ‘The Forest City’ and face the Cleveland Indians (8-4) Friday for a 3-game weekend series.

After a disappointing loss to the Bronx Bombers in extra innings Thursday night, the Orioles have to re-group and focus on the next opponent. This should be a test for the Birds and Buck Showalter to see how they rebound from a crushing 2-game set in New York.  

Welcome to the AL East.

Now the Birds will be challenged day-in and day-out for the rest of April taking on the red-hot Cleveland team this weekend and up-coming series-sets at home against the Twins, Yankees, Red Sox and away versus the White Sox to round out the month.

On the other hand, Manny Acta’s ball club has shocked the league so far by jumping out to an early lead in the AL Central, already compiling a 7-game win streak. The Tribe are led by the arms of Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA), & Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA), all of whom are scheduled to start against the O’s this weekend.

Due to the unconvenient weather during the O’s and Yankee’s series, decisions have been made to include the first ‘WNST Weather Predictor’. This will give fans, who live in Cleveland or plan on traveling there to dress accordingly.

Friday: Partly Cloudy- High 59, Low 48 – Chance of Cesar Izturis hitting a HR 30%.

Saturday: Rain/Thunder/Wind- High 55, Low 41 – Moderately to heavy K’s for Jeremy Guthrie.

Sunday: Partly Cloudy- High 54, Low 45 – Sunshine breaking through in the afternoon cause Buck Showalter called for it.


(6 -5 )                                                                                  (8 – 4)

 

Friday, April 15th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 16th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 0.64 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA)

 

Sunday, April 17th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Brad Bergesen (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA)

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.213 AVG / 1 2B / 3 HR / 10 RBIs

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.268 AVG / 2 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.195 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 2 RBIs

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.283 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

5. Luke Scott- LF

.211 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

6. Adam Jones- CF

.195 AVG / 0 2B / 2 HR / 5 RBIs

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.250 AVG / 5 2B / 1 HR / 9 RBIs

8. Matt Wieters- C

.212 AVG / 2 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.300 AVG / 0 2B / 0 HR / 1 RBIs
 

Cleveland Indians Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Michael Brantley- CF

.311 AVG / 4 2B / 0 HR / 6 RBIs

2. Asdrubal Cabrera- SS

.286 AVG / 2 2B / 4 HR / 10 RBIs

3. Shin-Soo Choo- RF

.200 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

4. Carlos Santana- C

.205 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 6 RBIs

5. Travis Hafner- DH

.282 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

6. Orlando Cabrera- 2B

.295 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 7 RBIs

7. Travis Buck- LF

.136 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

8. Matt LaPorta- 1B

.189 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

9. Jack Hannahan- 3B

.235 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

 

 

 

 

 



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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 7

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Luke Jones

With less than a week until the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game
8. Moose misses perfection

7. Eddie comes home – July 22, 1996

He was supposed to be a lifer in Baltimore.

You just don’t picture your best player for over a decade going someplace else.

But as a result of a disintegrating relationship with owner Edward Bennett Williams and the local media when the Orioles hit hard times in the late 1980s, Eddie Murray had requested and been granted a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell in December 1988 (My apologies for bringing up the worst trade return in franchise history — yes, it was worse than the Glenn Davis trade).

It appeared to be the sad end to an eventual Hall of Fame career in Baltimore as Murray played the next eight seasons with the Dodgers, New York Mets, and Cleveland Indians, never looking quite right in anything but an Orioles uniform.

However, the baseball gods arranged the circumstances for a reunion eight years after the trade with the Orioles looking for a designated hitter to plug into an already formidable lineup. Manager Davey Johnson’s plan to use Bobby Bonilla in the role had resulted in a miserable start for the surly slugger and his reinsertion into the outfield. The Orioles sent struggling pitcher Kent Mercker to the Indians in return for the 40-year-old Murray, who was finally coming home where he rightfully belonged.

Eddie

It had been 2,849 days since Murray had last donned his customary No. 33 Orioles jersey — which had been retired by the club without any fanfare after the trade to the Dodgers. His return came against the Minnesota Twins on July 22, 1996, and it was as if the star had never left, with 42,129 screaming “Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!” to resurrect the celebrated chant from Memorial Stadium years earlier.

How would “Steady Eddie” respond in his first game back with the Orioles? In the fifth inning and hitting from the right side of the plate, Murray homered to left-center off Minnesota starter Rich Robertson as a euphoric crowd was momentarily taken back to the late 70s or early 80s. Murray earned a curtain call after hitting his first round-tripper as an Oriole since Sept. 22, 1988.

The Orioles lost in Murray’s debut, falling 9-5 to the Twins, but no one would forget his homecoming to the club that had drafted him 23 years earlier.

Shortly after his return to Baltimore, the struggling Orioles — who were 51-52 on July 28 — began to gel, storming to a 37-22 finish to win their first wild card berth. Many players credited Murray’s veteran presence as an important factor in the team’s turnaround in the final two months of the season.

But for Orioles fans who had idolized Murray for his 12 seasons in Baltimore prior to the frigid departure, it was a heartfelt lesson that you can come home again.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 9

Posted on 27 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As we’re only days away from the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS

9. Baltimore hosts the Midsummer Classic – July 13, 1993

After the Orioles won their third World Series in October 1983, the next 10 years would be a largely forgettable period in Baltimore sports history. Just a few months after that championship, Robert Irsay and the Colts would skip town in the middle of the night, leaving Baltimore without an NFL team for the next 12 years. The Orioles would fall on hard times as their farm system had dried up after years of producing premium talent.

As a result, Baltimore had sadly become an afterthought in the sports world, but that changed with the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992 and the news that Baltimore would host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1958. The baseball world was about to see the Charm City’s gem of a ballpark and would proceed to copy its retro-classic style with new ballparks throughout the league.

logo

After Ken Griffey Jr. had put on a memorable show the previous day in the Home Run Derby, the best players in baseball played the 64th Midsummer Classic in the best ballpark in baseball. Maryland’s favorite son Cal Ripken earned the loudest ovation from the 48,147 in attendance.

Ripken

The game was dominated by the American League in a 9-3 victory for the Junior Circuit with Minnesota Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett earning MVP honors with a home run and two runs batted in. However, the game provided two moments that would be talked about for years.

The first came in the top of the third inning when Phillies first baseman John Kruk stepped to the plate against Mariners lefty Randy Johnson, notorious for his wildness and dominance against left-handed hitters. It would result in one of the more humorous sequences in baseball history.

The second memorable moment was far less amusing to Orioles fans and was a reminder that division rivalries took priority over league loyalties. Earlier in the night, the hometown fans had voiced their disdain for Toronto manager Cito Gaston and the seven Blue Jays selected for the game by booing them loudly during team introductions. That, however, would pale in comparison to what occurred in the ninth inning — and even the years to follow.

We may never know the full story, but what transpired left a sour taste in the mouths of Orioles fans for a long time. As Mike Mussina threw in the bullpen, Blue Jays closer Duane Ward took the mound for the top of the ninth as most fans assumed the Orioles pitcher would enter the game to close out the win for the American League.

However, as Ward recorded the first two outs and began to work against Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza, fans realized Mussina would not be getting the call and responded with thunderous boos for Gaston that made the pre-game jeers sound affectionate. Gaston shook his head and smiled in disbelief as Ward struck out Piazza for the game’s final out and the boos continued to rain down on the field as American League players congratulated each other.

While some accounts differ, Gaston had apparently told Mussina he would not use him in the game. Mussina explained he was simply completing his regular work between starts since he would pitch for the Orioles three days later in Milwaukee. However, Gaston interpreted Mussina’s timing as a way of showing him up and forcing him to put the hometown pitcher in the game.

Regardless of whose story you believe, the incident would only pump more venom into Baltimore fans’ disdain for Gaston and the world champion Blue Jays as the slogan “Cito Sucks” (see below) had been born. The manager would be vilified in Baltimore for years as fans never forgave him for leaving Mussina in the bullpen in favor of his own closer in a blowout victory in Baltimore. It was a disappointing ending to an otherwise wonderful showing by the Charm City and its beautiful ballpark.

Cito

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I left “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” playing on a loop on my DVD player the other night, which means I’ve seen THIS scene play out about twenty times now since Thanksgiving. It hasn’t gotten old.

(Edit from GMC: You know damn well there’s an “F word” in this clip. Act accordingly.)

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says John Harbaugh didn’t intend to direct Tuesday night comments to all Baltimore fans

But there’s no doubt how folks in Charm City TOOK the comments, and that’s what Harbaugh is going to have to keep in mind moving forward.

I’m a little spent on Harbaugh comments following my column yesterday comparing him and former Ohio State coach John Cooper (you should go here and read it). I’ve talked to a number of football fans in town over the last 24 hours and there’s no question the comments stuck with fans.

I understand where John Harbaugh’s emotion came from Tuesday night. I understand that he’s as frustrated (if not more) than anyone in town right now.

But he HAS to be more respectful to fans-even when they’re insane. (Edit from GMC: Says the guy who loses his mind on football fans on a regular basis.)

It’s part of the job, whether he wants it to be or not.

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Jameel McClain will appeal $40k fine

There’s no doubt McClain’s fine was a bit excessive for a first time offender who had no intent to hit Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller in the head. But something tells me the NFL has decided they need to make a statement in this case because the game was seen by a HUGE audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Make no mistake. This will absolutely be a significant issue as the NFLPA enters labor discussions this offseason and we head towards a potential lockout in 2011. If the league wants any concessions from players regarding revenue, they are almost certainly going to have to concede this outrageous fines even if they are simply trying to protect their players.

It’s not going to be an easy fight.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ed Reed believes Steelers WR Hines Ward deserved fine as well

Speaking of fine, here’s a picture of Danielle Dwyer. (Thanks Brosome via Busted Coverage!)

danielled

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens lost CB Prince Miller to Detroit Lions, signed CB Danny Gorrer to practice squad

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens return to the practice field at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today. Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Ray Lewis and others are scheduled to address the media. We’ll have full coverage, so make sure you stay tuned to AM1570 WNST, follow us on Twitter (@WNST) and keep checking back at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Ravens TE Ed Dickson with Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Sean Salisbury (“Sean Unfiltered”-Voice America Sports Radio)-who went around the NFL with Drew Thursday
  • Michael Bradley (Philadelphia Magazine)-who talked about his decision to not give his Heisman Trophy vote to Cam Newton with Drew Thursday
  • Our Morning Reaction “Cheap Shots From The Bleachers”, as Drew took a shot at Cam Newton winning the Heisman, and Glenn Clark took a shot at fans who don’t “get” the Army/Navy Game
  • Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News)-who went around the NFL with Rex Snider Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Barry Barnes (Fanhouse)-who went around the AFC North with Rex Wednesday
  • Jean Fugett Jr. (Former Washington Redskins & Dallas Cowboys TE)-who discussed the loss of Todd Heap with Rex Wednesday
  • Lee Hull (Terps WR Coach)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Wednesday for “The Terrapins Coaches’ Report”
  • Steve Beck (Military Bowl Executive Director)-who discussed the Maryland-East Carolina matchup with Thyrl Wednesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Mike Bauman (MLB.com)-who checked in with Thyrl Wednesday from the MLB winter meetings in Orlando
  • Plenty of audio from 1 Winning Drive Wednesday; including Dickson, Jameel McClain, Le’Ron McClain, Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and Kelly Gregg
  • Post-game audio from Maryland’s win over UNC Greensboro last night; including Gary Williams, Jordan Williams, Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so make sure you take a few minutes today to check it out. You know you want to.

5. MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier says Orioles, Minnesota Twins could finalize deal for JJ Hardy today

Between this and Mitch Atkins, I’m not sure how the Birds CAN’T win the World Series next year!

If they’re still looking to make a splash before the end of the meetings, I have a suggestion for Andy MacPhail. Consider Alina Vacariu. (Thanks Guyism!)

vacariu

(Edit from GMC: UPDATE-CBSSports.com now says the deal is done. Hooray!)

6. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says O’s agreed to terms with Koji Uehara on one year deal

I don’t know if this has ever happened before, but if I were the Orioles I might go ahead and consider a ticker tape parade BEFORE Spring Training.

The Orioles made other news Wednesday, as they distanced themselves from comments made by Luke Scott in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.

I can’t imagine why…

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker respond to adversity as Maryland crushed UNC Greensboro

The Spartans stink. That being said, even they could beat Penn State.

Gary Williams said after the game he considered making lineup changes following the Terps’ poor offensive output against Temple in the BB&T Classic.

Cliff Tucker said he didn’t know he was starting until earlier in the day Wednesday.

Gary Williams WANTS to stick with Tucker and Bowie all season. Fans want to see Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard in the lineup.

What ends up happening will have everything to do with whether or not Tucker and Bowie can play with consistency over the next few weeks.

Maryland opens ACC play Sunday afternoon (4pm on Comcast SportsNet/Fox Sports Net) when they host Boston College at Comcast Center.

8. TowsonTigers.com says Josh Brown and Rashawn Polk scored 18 points each, but Towson couldn’t hold off George Washington in DC

A loss to the Colonials probably won’t impress anyone, but a six point game against GWU at the Smith Center is likely a sign of progress for Pat Kennedy’s team. One major problem from last night? They got just one point from Troy Franklin. I don’t think they’ll win many games that way.

Towson now heads to Catonsville next for a contest with UMBC at RAC Arena Saturday night. The Retrievers had a rough night last night, as they were pounded by Rider 81-39. I’d tell you something about that game, but what the hell is there to say?

9. The AP says Shane Walker & Robert Olson each scored 14, but Loyola lost to George Mason in Fairfax

Tough night for Jimmy Patsos’ Greyhounds last night at the Patriot Center.

In honor of the holiday season, I’m going to try to make some spirits bright here. Here’s a picture of Tehmeena Afzal. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

afzal

10. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terrapins Offensive Coordinator James Franklin finalist for head coaching gig at Vanderbilt

This COULD end up being helpful for Kevin Anderson and the folks in College Park.

James Franklin did a HELL of a job with Danny O’Brien this season. Should he leave for the Commodores, his leadership would be missed.

But the Terps have a MESS on their hands with this transition. Either they’re going to have to force Ralph Friedgen out and give the job to Franklin (which didn’t seem so unlikely a season ago), or they’re going to have to dish out a million bucks they don’t have.

If Franklin heads to Nashville, Maryland avoids that problem. Either they can extend Friedgen should he have another good season or they can hire whatever available coach they want to hire.

But bear in mind-the leadership at the University of Maryland WANTED James Franklin to be the next head coach. The move wasn’t just made to keep him from going back to Kansas State. They ABSOLUTELY thought Franklin represented what they wanted in a head coach.

It’s just become a much stickier situation than they originally expected.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Time for a few new versions of “The Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

It’s a Christmas edition this time around.

The retro version of TGSOATTW is “Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds. WIN.

The new version is the version of “Last Christmas” they did on GLEE. Please don’t judge me because I like this.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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df

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 01 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it’s time to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

I’ll start with the Retro Version. The retro version is in honor of tonight’s start of Hanukkah. My personal favorite (half) Jew is the great Lenny Kravitz, so here’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” If you’ve seen Lenny recently, please tell him to come back. He was freaking AMAZING.

The NEW version of TGSOATTW is a song heard prominently on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. I hope that tonight’s Grammy Awards nomination announcement features the band Ra Ra Riot. “Shadow Casting” is quite good…



Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Ravens waived S Ken Hamlin, signed FB Jason McKie

As I reported yesterday, the Ravens also tried out former Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans TE/FB Joel Gamble before going with McKie. I was told they made the decision because they felt McKie was more of a natural fullback while Gamble was more of a hybrid. Gamble is a Baltimore native (and Carver grad).

As far as McKie is concerned, I can’t imagine him being asked to do much more than block-but they’ll definitely need him to block. The likelihood is that Le’Ron McClain’s ankle will probably keep him out Sunday night, and the Ravens’ current roster options just aren’t particularly good. Dennis Pitta can help and Jalen Parmele could see the field; but in a game where running the ball will be important-the Ravens will need a true blocking back.

Don’t rule out Hamlin returning to Charm City at some point this season. He was cut once (to make room for Prince Miller humorously enough) but returned in favor of Trevor Pryce. The Ravens like the veteran presence that Hamlin gives them-but he hasn’t even been active much in recent weeks.

2. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ravens not concerned about outcry regarding towel giveaway

During our “Cheap Shots From the Bleachers” segment before last year’s Ravens-Steelers game at M&T Bank Stadium, I really used up all of the venom I have on this subject.

OF COURSE it’s shameful that the Ravens are giving away towels the night of a Ravens-Steelers game.

OF COURSE it’s embarrassing to hardcore Baltimore football fans to see their own team use a “copycat” version of a rival tradition.

OF COURSE fans should chose NOT to waive the towels but instead to use their hands to clap, bang thundersticks, or otherwise make noise.

OF COURSE the Ravens should really know better in this entire situation.

Unfortunately, they’re still going to give the stupid towel away Sunday night even though there is no one excited about it.

Hey-it makes a nice dish rag. If they were giving them away on the way out-I’d be okay with it. And even ol’ Forrester thinks it makes a nice wall flag…

df

3. The AP’s Alan Robinson says Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger wearing protective boot, expected to play Sunday vs. Ravens

OF COURSE Ben Roethlisberger is going to play Sunday.

(I’ve said “OF COURSE” a lot today. Annoying anyone?)

Of course, if Sabrina Maree lived in the Steel City (or here in Baltimore); I’m not so sure Big Ben wouldn’t be too distracted to make it to the game Sunday night. (Thanks The Beer Goggler via Busted Coverage!)

sabrinamaree

4. ESPN.com drops Ravens to 4th in power rankings

Calm down. The only three teams ahead of the Ravens are the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and New York Jets; who are all 9-2. The Ravens are first amongst the 8-3 teams.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-I’m all for the idea of a “No Means No” chant Sunday night. I think it has to start during TV timeouts right before the Steelers take the ball. If this happens, I will seriously OWE the city of Baltimore for being so freaking awesome.

-The Ravens return to the practice field at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today. We’ll of course be out there to cover everything happening on and off the practice field. Make sure you remain tuned in to AM1570 WNST, checking out WNST.net and following us on Twitter (@WNST).

5. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says chances of Cesar Izturis returning to Orioles continue to improve

With no offense to Cesar Izturis, umm……..I’d rather not.

Connolly says Jason Bartlett will be dealt by the Tampa Bay Rays, but not to Baltimore. Miguel Tejada is headed to the San Francisco Giants, who lost Juan Uribe to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It could still be an option for the Minnesota Twins to deal JJ Hardy, but they’re not guaranteed to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka or not move him to second base.

If all else fails, why not Maggi Caruthers?!?!? (Thanks Guyism!)

caruthers

6. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Ralph Friedgen named ACC Coach of the Year, QB Danny O’Brien named Rookie of the Year

Both of these were sort of “no brainer” types of decisions.

The only other real options for Coach of the Year were Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer. As the Seminoles did basically what everyone expected them to do and the Hokies only started playing well after losing to Boise State and James Madison; it would have been hard to justify either being honored ahead of Friedgen.

And I’m not sure I have many more words to scribe regarding O’Brien. Maybe it’s best the Terrapins DIDN’T make it to Charlotte to play in the ACC Championship Game. I’m not sure what else I could have said about him.

He’s like Matt Wieters. You know, expect…he’s actually done something.

7. UMTerps.com previews tonight’s tilt with Penn State in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

I’ll say Terrapins 77, Nittany Lions 69.

I think it will be close for a while though, and I don’t doubt that Talor Battle will get his.

But there would be no excuse for Maryland to not roll up to State College and dominate inside with Jordan Williams. That should absolutely be the difference maker.

SHOULD be I say.

8. The AP says Justin Fry’s 16 points not enough as UMBC fell at Penn

Randy Monroe’s Retrievers MIGHT be better than last year; but it hasn’t resulted in a win yet.

And with a trip to UConn coming Friday night-I’m not sure a win is coming soon either.

Towson is in action tonight, the Tigers host Western Michigan at the Towson Center at 7pm.

9. The AP says Michael Harper scored 19 points to lead Coppin State past Lincoln (Pennsylvania) at CSPEC

Now they gear up for not only an early season MEAC showdown; but the ultimate rivalry game-as they visit Hill Field House for a date with the Morgan State Bears Saturday at 4pm.

But to celebrate the Eagles’ win, I offer a picture of Dani Thompson. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

danithompson

10. The Sun’s Hanah Cho says Maryland officials maintain they will work to protect Preakness as future of horse racing in jeopardy

Did you miss Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Richard Hoffberger Wednesday morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out! Other things you’ll find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Mike Bires (Beaver County Times)-who talked Steelers with Drew Wednesday
  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who talked Ravens with Drew Wednesday
  • Paul Cantabene (Mustangs Lacrosse Coach)-who joined Drew Wednesday for “The Stevenson Coaches’ Report”
  • A Birds starting pitchers game (courtesy of Sporcle.com) Drew and Glenn Clark (I know him) played Wednesday morning, as well as a call from “Steve M from Kingsville.”
  • Keith Booth (Maryland assistant coach)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Tuesday for “The Terrapins Coaches’ Report”
  • Scott Smith (Strikeforce Fighter)-who joined Thyrl and John Rallo Tuesday during “The MMA Report”
  • Gregg Doyel (CBSSports.com)-who went around the sports world with Thyrl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Allen McCallum (WNST MLB Analyst)-who joined Rex Snider Tuesday for “The MLB Report”
  • Gabrielle Dow (Ravens VP of Marketing)-who joined Nestor Aparicio Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive” to discuss the towel fiasco
  • John Czarnecki (FoxSports.com)-who went around the NFL Tuesday with Nestor

And finally, I leave you with this.

So apparently the North Carolina A&T band plays a version of the Antoine Dodson “Bed Intruder” song. Awesome. Thanks WNST intern Barry Kamen courtesy of Ryan Chell’s Facebook page…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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