Tag Archive | "white sox"

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A memorable day we hope never happens again

Posted on 29 April 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Accompanied by the punchlines and photos on social media was a sadness as a recording of the national anthem played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon.

As if the sight of an empty ballpark moments before the start of an Orioles game wasn’t strange enough, it had just hit me that we wouldn’t hear the customary “O!” that we’ve come to expect at any major sporting event in Baltimore over the years. Out-of-towners don’t get it and even some within the community don’t care for the practice, but there are few things more “Baltimore” than our own Star-Spangled Banner trademark you’ll even hear when fans follow the Orioles or Ravens on the road.

It was just the latest reminder of how far from ideal the concept of playing a baseball game without fans truly was, but that’s when I heard the faint but audible “O!” from a few dozen fans standing beyond the left-center gate. The sound warmed the heart in a week filled with much tension and sadness in the city of Baltimore, and it suddenly made more sense for the Orioles to be playing a game at home before embarking on what will now be a nine-game road trip.

“Oh, they were heard,” said a smiling Buck Showalter when asked about those fans cheering from afar during an 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Of course, the Orioles returning to the field is of little consequence compared to the real problems our city is facing and will continue to deal with in the coming hours, days, and weeks. The decision not to allocate the law-enforcement officials required for a regular game was a wise one, but the quiet atmosphere was a reminder of just how important fans are to the product.

As one of the select few able to watch the game in person, I enjoyed the previously-unheard sounds of Jimmy Paredes sliding into third base or first base coach Wayne Kirby calling for Delmon Young to run out a popup, but the atmosphere reminded of a junior varsity baseball game without the pings of aluminum bats. It may have been a day that made major league history, but we can only hope it never happens again as we look ahead to the return of both the Orioles and fans to Camden Yards on May 11.

“It’s something that we hopefully don’t take for granted,” said catcher Caleb Joseph, who jokingly pretended to high-five fans and sign autographs before the game. “Days like today definitely remind you if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have jobs. Hopefully, everything can be resolved as quickly as possible.”

A game being played without any fans wasn’t what anyone truly wanted, but if it represented baby steps toward some normalcy, we’ll take it. After watching so many parts of the city burn on Monday night, just seeing baseball being played at Camden Yards again was movement in the right direction.

For those watching on television or listening on the radio on a weekday afternoon, the surreal game at least provided a temporary distraction.

“They’re always watching. You all know that,” said center fielder Adam Jones, acknowledging more fans viewing on television than those attending any game under regular circumstances. “Cameras are always on. It was good to come out and get six [runs] in the first [and] get a stronghold off a good pitcher.”

The day was helped by the Orioles rolling over starter Jeff Samardzija and the White Sox to win their third consecutive game. While players were quick to note the insignificance of winning a baseball game in the city’s current climate, you still sensed their purpose of wanting to do something positive for fans despite their inability to attend the game.

Of course, the run of baseball-related distractions and sacrifice isn’t over for the Orioles as they’ll now play a “home” series — with home uniforms and all — against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg this weekend. But leaving town on a winning note helps.

“You tried to stay focused on the competition and us trying to get where we want to be at the end of the season,” Showalter said. “But I also talked to [players] about the people who are going to be sitting around our city watching this game. How many things have really gone on normal here in the last few days in our society?”

Yes, the perception of playing in an empty stadium was less than appealing, but it beat the alternative of canceling a third consecutive game at an abandoned Camden Yards. If it served as even a few minutes of leisure from the tension that currently exists in our city, the unorthodox measure was worth it.

There are much bigger issues at work in Baltimore — ones that won’t be solved overnight — but to hear cheers from those fans standing beyond the gates was a reminder of just how important something so unimportant can be. It isn’t a coincidence that we’ve occasionally heard the “Seven Nation Army” chants from protesters over the last couple days, either.

Sports have brought and will continue to bring us together, which is why I look forward to once again seeing a packed Camden Yards — hopefully as early as May 11.

“The last 72 hours I think in this city have been tumultuous, to say the least,” Jones said. “We’ve seen good, we’ve seen bad, we’ve seen ugly. We’ve seen our games canceled, postponed, relocated, a lot of families relocated.

“It’s a city that’s hurting, and a city that needs its heads to stand up, step up, and help the ones that are hurting. It’s not an easy time right now for anybody. It doesn’t matter what race you are. It’s a tough time for the city of Baltimore.”

One day at a time.

As unusual and less than perfect Wednesday’s game was, it was comforting to have a diversion.

It was good to hear that familiar “O!” in the distance.

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buck

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Orioles to play in empty Camden Yards this afternoon

Posted on 28 April 2015 by Luke Jones

Facing circumstances not witnessed in Baltimore in over four decades, the Orioles have announced changes for the remainder of their scheduled homestand, which will include a 2:05 game Wednesday to be played in an empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Due to the citywide curfew and continuing safety concerns after Monday’s riots, the Orioles moved their scheduled 7:05 p.m. first pitch to the afternoon on Wednesday. The game will be closed to the public but will still be televised on MASN, which will surely create a surreal atmosphere at the ballpark. This comes after the first two games of a three-game set with the Chicago White Sox were postponed due to safety concerns stemming from Monday’s riots.

It will mark the first time in major league history that a game will be played without a paying crowd, according to Major League Baseball historian John Thorn. The lowest-attended game took place in 1882.

After consulting with city and local officials as well as MLB, the Orioles have moved their weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays to Tropicana Field. There had been discussions about the clubs swapping dates for a home series, but Baltimore will instead serve as the home team and will receive the gate for the weekend games in St. Petersburg minus costs incurred by the Rays.

“After conversations with the Orioles and local officials, we believe that these decisions are in the best interests of fan safety and the deployment of city resources,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by violence in Baltimore, and everyone in our game hopes for peace and the safety of a great American city.”

Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeff Samardzija will remain as the scheduled starters for Wednesday’s game.

The postponed games against Chicago will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on May 28 beginning at 4:05 p.m. Tickets for Monday’s postponed contest will be valid for the doubleheader with fans unable to attend having the opportunity to exchange their tickets for any remaining home game this season. All those with tickets to games on April 29, May 1, May 2, or May 3 at Camden Yards may exchange their tickets for any remaining home game. All of these exchanges will be made on a “dollar for dollar” basis.

All tickets are subject to availability and exchanges must be completed by June 30.

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Tuesday’s Orioles-White Sox game also postponed

Posted on 28 April 2015 by Luke Jones

As Baltimore tries to recover from one of the darkest times in its history, the Orioles have postponed Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

Despite discussions about playing in the afternoon, the club elected to postpone a second consecutive game after consulting with state and local officials as well as Major League Baseball. Even if games can be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this week, start times figure to be impacted by the citywide 10 p.m. curfew beginning Tuesday night that is scheduled to last for the next week.

With law enforcement officials having so many more important matters to address in the Charm City, the involved parties ultimately made the right call not using resources for a baseball game so soon after Monday’s riots.

Safety remains the highest priority, but complicating matters is this being the only trip into Baltimore for the White Sox this season. The Orioles are off on Thursday, but Chicago will be beginning a series in Minnesota.

Like Monday’s postponement, no makeup date has been announced, but fans are asked to keep their tickets and parking passes until more information is available.

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camden

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Report: Orioles-White Sox day game being considered for Tuesday

Posted on 28 April 2015 by Luke Jones

As Baltimore deals with one of the darkest times in its history, the Orioles and Major League Baseball continued to ponder how to handle what remains of the current homestand.

After postponing Monday’s game due to ongoing riots through the city, MLB will decide by 9 a.m. Tuesday whether the Orioles will play an afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, according to USA Today. Speaking to media on Monday evening, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged the possibility of the Orioles-White Sox series being moved to another location such as Nationals Park in Washington.

It goes without saying that the Orioles would prefer to play games at their home ballpark if at all feasible.

“We feel like we made the decision that would provide us the greatest possible security, in terms of protecting the fans, the players, the umpires, everybody involved,” Manfred said Tuesday evening. “We’re looking at every possible alternative in terms of completing the schedule in a timely way and making sure the games are played in a secured situation that’s safe for the fans. We’re going to look at every alternative.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a citywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Tuesday night that is to last for a week. Maryland governor Larry Hogan later declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard to help protect structures in the city.

Such developments would make it highly unlikely that the Orioles would be able to start games this week at the normal 7:05 p.m. first pitch — if they’re able to play in Baltimore at all.

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Orioles acquire outfielder De Aza, infielder Kelly Johnson in separate trades

Posted on 30 August 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Looking to augment their roster in their final push for the American League East title, the Orioles acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Chicago White Sox and infielder Kelly Johnson from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Unheralded minor-league pitchers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar were sent to Chicago to complete the deal for De Aza, who will provide a much-needed left-handed bat and speed, two areas in which the Orioles could stand to improve despite a comfortable seven-game lead in the division entering Saturday. The 30-year-old is hitting .246 with five home runs, 31 runs batted in, and 15 stolen bases while seeing time at all three outfield positions this season.

“We have been looking to get a little bit better balance to our lineup with the addition of a left-handed hitter,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. “De Aza is a left-handed hitter that can help balance out the lineup and contribute to the team. We thought it was important to continue to add major league players who can help us in September and also be eligible for the post-season when we advance.

De Aza is a career .268 hitter with a .331 on-base percentage and 77 stolen bases in seven major league seasons. In 2013, he hit .264 with 17 homers, 62 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 153 games.

The Orioles hope De Aza can provide what they hoped they were getting when they acquired David Lough from the Kansas City Royals last winter, but the latter is hitting just .213 in his first season in Baltimore and has largely been relegated to late-inning defensive replacement duties and pinch-running in the second half.

He is expected to report to the Orioles for Sunday’s game, meaning the organization will need to make a 25-man roster move to activate him. De Aza is eligible for arbitration and not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2015 season.

In a separate trade, Duquette acquired Johnson and minor-league infielder Michael Almanzar from Boston in exchange for Triple-A Norfolk infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus. Johnson will give the Orioles a veteran option at third base in the wake of the season-ending injury to Manny Machado and is hitting .212 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 87 games split between the New York Yankees and the Red Sox.

Johnson has a career .250 average with a .332 on-base percentage in nine major league seasons spent with Atlanta, Arizona, Toronto, Tampa Bay, the Yankees, and Boston. Johnson has played games at first, second, third base, and left and right field this season.

“Kelly Johnson can play a couple of different positions,” Duquette said, “He’s familiar with the American League East, he’s played for all the other teams but ours, and now he’ll get a chance to play for ours. He’s got some power and he can get on base and he can hit right-handed pitching, and that gives us some more options to help our ball club. ”

Manager Buck Showalter said Johnson is not expected to report to the Orioles until Monday when rosters can expand to 40.

Almanzar was selected by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft this past winter, but the organization elected to return him to Boston in early July. He is a career .251 hitter with 55 home runs and 333 RBIs in seven minor-league seasons.

Acquired in the Jim Johnson trade last offseason, the 27-year-old Weeks batted .278 in 62 games for the Tides while dealing with injuries this season. De Jesus was a .282 hitter in 113 games with the Tides.

The 22-year-old Chalas was 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 30 relief appearances between Triple-A Norfolk and Single-A Frederick this season. Over five minor league seasons in the organization, Chalas sported a 24-21 record with a 3.73 ERA.

Blackmar, 22, was 10-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 games (18 starts) for Frederick this season. In four years in the Baltimore organization, Blackmar went 21-13 with a 3.75 ERA.

Earlier Saturday, the Orioles outrighted pitcher Suk-min Yoon and infielder Cord Phelps to Norfolk, creating two open spots on the 25-man roster.

 

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Ravens to begin 2013 season playing on the road

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Luke Jones

What was feared all week became official on Friday afternoon as the Baltimore Ravens announced they will not host the NFL’s season opening game on Thursday, Sept. 5.

Unable to work out a compromise with the Orioles, who are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards on the same night, the Ravens will play on the road against an opponent yet to be determined. Baltimore will remain involved in NBC’s nationally-televised opening game to begin the season, but the news will bring major disappointment to Ravens fans hoping to see the Orioles move the start time of their game.

Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne told AM 1570 WNST that the Orioles were willing to change the start time of their game on Sept. 5, but the teams could not move past the logistical concerns created by two games being played on the same day. Byrne also said it was unfair from a competitive standpoint to expect the Orioles to play a doubleheader at some point during that weekend.

Moving the time of the Orioles’ scheduled 7:05 p.m. game on that night required approval from Major League Baseball, the players union, and the White Sox.

“After thorough discussions among the Orioles, the NFL and the Ravens, it became clear that holding both an Orioles’ game and the Ravens’ regular season opener on the same day would create logistical situations that would cause serious issues for the city of Baltimore, and fans for both teams,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement. “The Ravens greatly appreciate the willingness of the Orioles to adjust the start of their game in an effort to make this sports spectacular happen. But, in the end, anticipated problems with parking, rush-hour traffic, plus crowd and car congestion around Oriole Park and M&T Bank Stadium, will keep the doubleheader from taking place.”

With the Ravens now opening their 2013 season on the road, the strongest possibilities of an opponent that evening are the Denver Broncos or the Pittsburgh Steelers. The news comes as an even bigger disappointment when remembering the NFL did not award the Ravens with the season-opening Monday night game in the 2001 season in what was then a privilege bestowed upon the previous season’s Super Bowl champion.

The last defending Super Bowl champion to open up the following season on the road was Tampa Bay in 2003.

The NFL is currently exploring fan activities in Baltimore centered around the season-opening game, including a pre-game concert.

“While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles and Major League Baseball and understand the logistical problems in trying to schedule the teams on the same day,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said in a released statement. “The Ravens will open the season on the road on Thursday night, September 5, in our annual NFL Kickoff Game on NBC. We are exploring potential fan activities in Baltimore around the Kickoff Game, including a pre-game concert.”

The Orioles released the following team statement regarding the sides’ inability to work out a compromise:

“The Orioles have great respect for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens and thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, and the White Sox for doing everything possible to work with us to explore all options to reschedule the September 5 game. We also appreciate the work of the NFL and the Ravens over the past several weeks as we attempted to accommodate the Ravens’ interest in a game the same evening. Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that even an earlier start time would still create such enormous logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan experience for both events which all parties realized would not be in the interest of their fans or the City.”

Circumstances for all involved parties led to the inability to work out an agreement, but you can even attribute the Ravens opening on the road — in some small part, anyway — to bad luck.

Since the NFL began awarding the season-opening Thursday game to the previous year’s Super Bowl champion in 2004, the Orioles either had a scheduled off-day or were on the road on the date of the prime-time affair eight out of nine times. The Orioles played a scheduled home game in 2007 and rescheduled a game that was postponed earlier in the season in 2011.

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Are you ready for Ravens to open 2013 on road without Kickoff game in Baltimore?

Posted on 18 March 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

PHOENIX — So, the Baltimore Orioles hold all the cards. And that’s always a dangerous thing. And that’s the way Peter Angelos loves it.

If you are a lover or fan of the Baltimore Ravens and are awaiting the big announcement from here at the NFL Owners Meetings at the beautiful Biltmore in Arizona about the NFL Kickoff extravaganza at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 5th you’ll be waiting a little longer.

There’s been an impasse. The Orioles have a game scheduled against the Chicago White Sox on that night of the traditional NFL opener and it appears that moving that baseball game back by seven hours is more difficult that it appears.

Of course, it’s on the desk of Peter Angelos now and has been passed onto the desk of Bud Selig and well…there’s really no reason for MLB to do anything or move anything on behalf of Baltimore’s truly loved NFL team.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been on the phone with Bud Selig for the past week and there’s still nothing even remotely promising on the horizon and it’s pretty evident that the Ravens are concerned and the word is now on the street.

Moving the game to Thursday afternoon would take the approval of MLB, the Orioles, the White Sox and the MLB Players Association.

And here’s the real story – all parties have known about this issue for six weeks and nothing substantial has been accomplished.

A source with the Baltimore Ravens told me that the Ravens and NFL would be willing to pay the Orioles to move the game.

“If there’s a financial loss for them, sure we’d be willing to compensate them. It’s only fair.”

Moving the Ravens kickoff game to Wednesday, Sept. 4th was an option but the team and the NFL will not play on Rosh Hashana. Moving the game to Friday night wouldn’t help because the Orioles are home that night and the NFL has a long-standing “no play on Friday” rule to stimulate interest in high school and college football.

If the Ravens were to not host the game there’s a line of reasoning that they’d still play the Thursday night opener but it would be on the road, potentially in a division rival (Pittsburgh is the hottest rumor with Denver not far behind.) There would be a television issue with CBS losing a key game like that to the NFL kickoff game.

The Ravens consider playing the Thursday night game a huge competitive advantage because of the 10 days off after the game. They almost consider it a second bye week after a long training camp. They will almost certainly play a game on the night of Sept. 5th.

There’s also a rumor of a concert or event in Baltimore in conjuction with a potential road game but all of these are in limbo because the NFL still wants the Ravens to play at home on Sept. 5.

Stay tuned.

The Ravens are hoping for the generosity of Peter Angelos to kick in and a reasonable settlement to have the game in Baltimore.

We’ll see how that works out for them…

I can report with full confidence that the Ravens are not optimistic.

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Hammel, Floyd Battle As Orioles, ChiSox Wrap Four Game Set

Posted on 19 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hunter Battles Peavy As Birds Try to Take Game 3 in Chicago

Posted on 18 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Chen, Danks Square Off For Game 2 in Chicago Tuesday

Posted on 17 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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