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In Orioles’ storybook season, a few stand out for me

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In Orioles’ storybook season, a few stand out for me

Posted on 05 October 2012 by Glenn Clark

It has certainly been a “storybook” season for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. No matter how their postseason run ends, there will be memories that will last for a lifetime.

I had an itch this week to compile a list of the top ten storylines for the season. It wasn’t an easy task, but here goes.

10. The ultimate reclamation

It isn’t SO crazy to think a team would have given OF Nate McLouth another chance in 2012. The former Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star was at least playing Major League Baseball, even if he hadn’t had a particularly good season since 2009.

Lew Ford was another story altogether. Ford went a full five years between Major League at-bats before being called up to Baltimore after ripping the cover off the ball at AAA Norfolk.

McLouth has been a significant contributor since being called up in August, taking over the every day LF spot and batting leadoff since Nick Markakis got hurt. Ford hasn’t contributed quite as much, but has come up with three big home runs when inserted into the lineup against lefties.

It has also lead to Tweets like this throughout the season…

9. “Why Not Again?”

Perhaps not the most significant story of the year, the story of Steve Johnson has likely been the most heart warming for Charm City in 2012.

I pulled this picture from Steve’s Facebook page…it’s probably three or four years old. I’d be willing to bet that at this point in his life, he’s probably embarrassed by things like this.

A Kingsville native, former St. Paul’s star and son of a former Orioles pitcher (and current broadcast analyst) made some of the more significant starts of the 2012 season. It’s Hollywood quality stuff. Even more amazingly, Johnson picked up his first big league win on August 8, 23 years removed from the exact date his father picked up HIS first victory during the Birds’ incredible 1989 campaign.

The Johnson & Johnson connection wasn’t the only inevitable comparison between the ’89 and ’12 O’s, as the cartoon birds, no name players and general disbelief of the respective campaigns was impossible to ignore. It even had me singing along…

8. What a dumb great trade.

SB Nation compiled reactions to GM Dan Duquette’s decision to deal SP Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for SP Jason Hammel & RP Matt Lindstrom before the season. Here are a sampling…

This from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was perhaps worse…

For what it’s worth, most of us would probably be forced to admit that we didn’t think much of the deal at the time. Guthrie had been the organization’s only quality pitcher for years and was very popular thanks to also being a stand up individual. How were we to know that Hammel was going to put together an All-Star season (when healthy) and Lindstrom would be a reliable option in the back of the bullpen before helping to land veteran Joe Saunders in a trade? And how were we to know that on the other end of the deal, Guthrie would implode in Denver before being sent to Kansas City?

Certainly the deal has turned out to be quite the feather in Duquette’s cap, as has the signing of SP Wei-Yin Chen-who has pitched to a 4.02 ERA and 1.261 WHIP over 32 starts? The only real question mark for Duquette has been Tsuyoshi Wada, who needed Tommy John surgery before he could make a pitch. The way things are going for this organization, you almost assume he’ll be Stephen Strasburg in 2013. (Okay…not really.)

7. I’m not so sure about this.

“Nick Markakis batting leadoff when he returns? I don’t know…”

I probably don’t need to show you August. Ah hell, I’ll show you August.

Markakis’ effort (before being sidelined in September) was especially crucial following the loss of OF Nolan Reimold, who hit .313 in 16 games to start the season in the role. Without Reimold, the Birds attempted to use a group of players including OF Endy Chavez and even briefly a return of 2B Brian Roberts, but none could hold down the role until Markakis. The Orioles are now hoping Markakis can somehow get back before the season ends.

6. These guys…of course!

While Hammel and Chen were obviously “hits” for the Orioles’ rotation, the other 60% didn’t pan out so well. Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta, former #1 overall pick Brian Matusz and veteran Tommy Hunter struggled mightily over the season’s first few months before ultimately finding their way back to the minors for seasoning (all have since returned and offered solid efforts out of the bullpen).

In their place, the Birds turned not only to the aforementioned Johnson, but more importantly gave the ball to two pitchers have provided a level of stability that could have been expected by absolutely no one, perhaps even themselves.

Chris Tillman was at least viewed recently as a significant prospect in the Orioles’ organization. After being acquired from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Birds’ haul (along with Adam Jones and George Sherrill) for Erik Bedard, there was a thought Tillman would ultimately prove to be part of the “cavalry” of young Orioles pitchers former VP of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail regularly spoke of.

But after 2009 (5.40 ERA 1.554 WHIP in 12 starts), 2010 (5.87 ERA 1.528 WHIP in 11 starts) and 2011 (5.52 ERA 1.645 WHIP in 13 starts), it appeared as though Tillman was all but done in Baltimore.

And then this happened.

Of course it did.

Perhaps even more improbable was Miguel Gonzalez, who was all but abandoned by the Boston Red Sox following 2009 Tommy John surgery. Executive Director of International Recruiting Fred Ferreira signed off on Gonzalez to the Birds after seeing him throw just nine pitches (according to SI’s Albert Chen). Perhaps we should have expected the man who discovered Vladimir Guerrero knew what he was doing.

And just like that, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez saved a rotation and very likely a season.

I feel like there’s someone else we should thank…

Of all of the decisions made by Dan Duquette upon arrival, perhaps the decision to make Rick Peterson (a fixture of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics) the team’s Director of Pitching Development has immediately paid the most dividends.

(5-1 on Page 2…)

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Game times announced for potential AL East tiebreaker and Wild Card game

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 7:15 p.m.)

Major League Baseball has announced times for a potential American League East tiebreaker game on Thursday and the AL Wild Card play-in game on Friday.

A potential one-game tiebreaker between the Orioles and New York Yankees would take place at 7:10 p.m. on Thursday night. Of course, the Orioles must defeat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and the Yankees must lose to Boston for this game to be necessary.

The Orioles would hold the tiebreaker over New York for home-field advantage due to their superior record against AL East opponents this season.

The AL Wild Card Game will start at 8:37 p.m. on Friday night. Should the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the regular-season finale, they are guaranteed to at least host the wild card play-in game. They would then play the Texas Rangers, who fell in Oakland Wednesday.

If Baltimore falls to the Rays on Wednesday, they would go on the road to play the Rangers in Arlington.

The potential AL East tiebreaker game and the AL Wild Card game are both scheduled to be televised on TBS.

Here’s MLB full listing of postseason schedule:

AL Wild Card Game
Friday, October 5
TBS
8:37 p.m.
NL Wild Card Game
Cardinals @ Braves
Friday, October 5
TBS
5:05 p.m.

American League Division Series
Series
Date
Network
Air Time (ET)
AL Division winner #2 @ Tigers
Saturday, October 6
TBS
TBA
AL Division winner #1 @ AL Wild Card
Sunday, October 7
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
AL Division winner #2 @ Tigers
Sunday, October 7
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
AL Division winner #1 @ AL Wild Card
Monday, October 8
TBS
TBA
Tigers @ AL Division winner #2
Tuesday, October 9
TBS
TBA
Tigers @ AL Division winner #2
Wednesday, October 10
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
AL Wild Card @ AL Division winner #1*
Wednesday, October 10
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
Tigers @ AL Division winner #2*
Thursday, October 11
TBS
TBA
AL Wild Card @ AL Division winner #1*
Thursday, October 11
TBS
TBA
AL Wild Card @ AL Division winner #1*
Friday, October 12
TBS
TBA
National League Division Series
Series
Date
Network
Air Time (ET)
NL Division winner #2 @ Giants
Saturday, October 6
TBS
TBA
NL Division winner #1 @ NL Wild Card
Sunday, October 7
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
NL Division winner #2 @ Giants
Sunday, October 7
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
NL Division winner #1 @ NL Wild Card
Monday, October 8
TBS
TBA
Giants @ NL Division winner #2
Tuesday, October 9
TBS
TBA
Giants @ NL Division winner #2
Wednesday, October 10
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
NL Wild Card @ NL Division winner #1*
Wednesday, October 10
TBS or MLBN***
TBA
Giants @ NL Division winner #2*
Thursday, October 11
TBS
TBA
NL Wild Card @ NL Division winner #1*
Thursday, October 11
TBS
TBA
NL Wild Card @ NL Division winner #1*
Friday, October 12
TBS
TBA

American League Championship Series
Series
Date
Network
Air Time (ET)
ALCS Game One
Saturday, October 13
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Two
Sunday, October 14
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Three
Tuesday, October 16
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Four
Wednesday, October 17
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Five*
Thursday, October 18
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Six*
Saturday, October 20
TBS
TBA
ALCS Game Seven*
Sunday, October 21
TBS
TBA

National League Championship Series
Series
Date
Network
Air Time (ET)
NLCS Game One
Sunday, October 14
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Two
Monday, October 15
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Three
Wednesday, October 17
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Four
Thursday, October 18
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Five*
Friday, October 19
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Six*
Sunday, October 21
FOX
TBA
NLCS Game Seven*
Monday, October 22
FOX
TBA

World Series
Series
Date
Match-Up
Network
Air Time (ET)
Game One
Wednesday, October 24
AL Champion at NL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Two
Thursday, October 25
AL Champion at NL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Three
Saturday, October 27
NL Champion at AL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Four
Sunday, October 28
NL Champion at AL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Five*
Monday, October 29
NL Champion at AL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Six*
Wednesday, October 31
AL Champion at NL Champion
FOX
TBA
Game Seven*
Thursday, November 1
AL Champion at NL Champion
FOX
TBA

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Want to see potential Yankees at Orioles game on Thursday for AL East crown? Here’s ticket info…

Posted on 01 October 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that tickets for a possible tiebreaker game to be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday, October 4 will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2, exclusively online at www.orioles.com.

Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders who paid their postseason invoice have already received tiebreaker tickets along with their postseason tickets and will be charged only if a tiebreaker is played.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. until noon, 13-game Plan Holders will receive their first opportunity to purchase tiebreaker tickets and all Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders will have an opportunity to purchase additional tickets. Tiebreaker tickets will be available to Plan Holders at the Season Plan Holder discount only during this exclusive two-hour window. A unique passcode will be required and is being sent via email today.

Beginning at noon, in an effort to maximize the opportunity for Orioles fans to purchase tickets, those fans residing in the MASN broadcast territory (which includes Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware and portions of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and West Virginia) will have a chance to purchase prior to the general public.

At 2:00 p.m., potential tiebreaker tickets will go on sale to all fans, including those outside of the MASN broadcast territory.

All tiebreaker game ticket sales will take place exclusively online at www.orioles.com

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Orioles clinch first postseason berth since 1997

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Orioles clinch first postseason berth since 1997

Posted on 30 September 2012 by Luke Jones

The Orioles missed their chance to celebrate at Camden Yards Sunday afternoon, but they have officially landed in the postseason for the first time since the 1997 season.

With the Los Angeles Angels falling to the Texas Rangers in the second game of a doubleheader, the Orioles’ magic number for a postseason berth fell to zero as they have assured themselves of at least a wild card spot in the 2012 postseason.

The Orioles will undoubtedly take a few moments to celebrate as they arrive in St. Petersburg for the final three-game set of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays, but they remain focused on winning the AL East as they’re deadlocked with the Yankees in first place.

Should they remain tied with the Yankees, the teams would play a tiebreaker game in Baltimore on Thursday that would be considered the 163rd game of the regular season to determine the division champion. The season series was tied 9-9 between the clubs, but the Orioles own the next tiebreaker to host the game by way of their superior division record. Baltimore owns a 42-27 mark against the AL East while New York is only 38-31 as both clubs play their final three games against AL East opponents.

The Oakland Athletics won Sunday to remain one game behind the Orioles in the wild card race. Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Orioles via their 5-4 record in the head-to-head series this season, meaning they would host the wild card play-in game on Friday should the Orioles not win the division and the teams finish with the same record.

Regardless of how the final three games of the regular season play out, Orioles fans can take satisfaction in knowing their team is heading to a place it hasn’t been in 15 years.

 

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Orioles turn back clock 30 years with win to pull into first-place tie

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Orioles turn back clock 30 years with win to pull into first-place tie

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Upon completing a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox Saturday night to pull into a first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East, the Orioles are in a position they haven’t faced in 30 years.

The last time the Orioles were tied for first place this late in the season was Oct. 2, 1982 when Baltimore pulled even with the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL East on the penultimate day of the season. Entering that final four-game set with the division-leading Brewers at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles trailed by three games and needed a sweep to win the division in Earl Weaver’s final season as manager (before he returned to manage the club in 1985).

After winning the first three games of the series to pull even with Milwaukee, the Orioles fell short in that final game of the 1982 season as future Hall of Fame pitchers Don Sutton and Jim Palmer squared off in what resulted in a 10-2 win for the Brewers. Of course, the stakes were much higher then with no wild card spots and the Orioles needing to win to keep their season alive.

The Orioles enjoyed sole possession of first place this late in the 1983 and 1997 seasons, with no one challenging them in the final month of 1983 and the Yankees getting no closer than two games behind Baltimore in the final week of the 1997 campaign.

In the famed 1989 “Why Not?” campaign, the Orioles began the final series of the season in Toronto trailing by one game and needing to win two of three to force a one-game playoff with the Blue Jays — or win all three to take the division outright — but dropped the first two at SkyDome to fall just short of pulling off the impossible.

Though focused intently on winning the AL East, the Orioles’ magic number for clinching a wild card spot is down to two with four games to play, all but assuring them of their first postseason berth since 1997. However, the Oakland Athletics’ comeback victory over Seattle Saturday kept them one game behind the Orioles in the wild card race. Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Orioles via their 5-4 record in the head-to-head series this season, meaning they would host the wild card play-in game on Friday should the Orioles not win the division and the teams finish with the same record.

Should the Orioles remain tied for first with the Yankees, the teams would play a tiebreaker game in Baltimore on Thursday that would be considered the 163rd game of the regular season to determine the division champion. The season series was tied 9-9 between the clubs, but the Orioles own the next tiebreaker to host the game by way of their superior division record. Baltimore owns a 41-27 mark against the AL East while New York is only 37-31 as both clubs play their final four games against AL East opponents.

Regardless of how the next four days play out, the Orioles are tied for first place at the conclusion of play on Sept. 29. They can clinch a spot in the postseason with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Even typing those words makes it difficult to believe for a club from which so little was expected.

But believe it.

And buckle up.

 

 

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Yankees’ Rodriguez gives post-game nod to Ray Lewis

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Yankees’ Rodriguez gives post-game nod to Ray Lewis

Posted on 08 September 2012 by Luke Jones

After hitting a two-run homer to help the Yankees beat the Orioles Friday night, Alex Rodriguez paid tribute to Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis in his post-game interview.

Rodriguez wore a No. 52 University of Miami jersey in the Yankees clubhouse following their 8-5 win over the Orioles to retake sole possession of first place in the American League East. The third baseman grew up in Miami and attended Westminster Christian High School before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners with the first overall pick in the 1993 amateur draft.

Lewis played his college football for the Hurricanes from 1993 through 1995 before entering the NFL draft after his junior season.

“He’s my boy,” Rodriguez said. “I love Ray Lewis, I love the University of Miami, and I’m in his hometown. So, I’m honoring the Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.”

Though Rodriguez offered respect to one of Baltimore’s greatest sports heroes of all time, it’s highly unlikely the veteran won over any local fans as the Orioles are in the midst of their first pennant race in 15 years.

Here’s the post-game interview, courtesy of the YES Network:

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An open letter to Adam Jones (and anyone else who doesn’t like Orioles attendance)

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An open letter to Adam Jones (and anyone else who doesn’t like Orioles attendance)

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It was only a matter of time before Adam Jones started popping off on Twitter regarding his feelings about the lack of people standing behind him in centerfield at Camden Yards. It wasn’t as juicy as last year’s advice to “knock the s**t outta the Yankees fans” but he made his feelings well known yesterday about the worst crowd of the season to see the season’s most significant game to date.

It’s very apparent that Adam Jones cares more about whether the good people of Baltimore come to Orioles games than his bosses and owner do but still not enough to vest himself in our community enough to recruit people to come and pay to see the team play.

 

It must be a bummer for any Orioles player to endure the emptiness of the home ballpark while finally playing meaningful games and quality baseball.

In 2012, the price to pay for 15 years of losing and the worst owner in the history of professional sports is what Adam Jones now sees with a fantastic view from centerfield every night: an empty stadium in downtown Baltimore and plenty of green seats to backdrop every fly ball.

It’s been very clear that the prescient message I sent with “Free The Birds” in 2006 – “if you’re not careful, Mr. Angelos, we might leave and never come back” – has now become a prophecy. The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are everything you’d want in a local sports team to follow – interesting, fun, lively and relevant – and a grand total of 48K came to Camden Yards over four days to watch the best baseball this city has seen in 15 years.

The empty seats are a glaring reminder of what’s gone wrong with the franchise and the city’s passion for the Baltimore Orioles since Peter Angelos bought — and then wrecked — the franchise.

Once Adam Jones stops talking out of the side of his mouth and at the end of this run of success in 2012 – and I’m not betting it won’t end in a parade just yet because I’ve seen stranger things happen — it’ll then be time to invest himself in our community the way he likes to on his Twitter account.

He got the $85.5 million deal back in May and it’ll be his turn to become a Baltimore resident or not. If he’s really interested in people coming to the ballpark then I hope he’ll spend the offseason with the fans here and be Mr. Oriole all winter.

Where will he be in November…and December…or January?

Will he be shaking hands, kissing babies and attempting to become a guy who eventually gets one of those shiny statues out on the patio that no one is visiting these days?

Will Adam Jones be in the community trying to win back the fans of Baltimore?

I’m not talking sitting at a table in a card shop or swag store charging $50 for an autograph. I’m talking about being a true ambassador for the community.

This isn’t about the marketing department. This isn’t about buying more billboards or state-run MASN ads. This isn’t about popping off on Twitter or mandating “sitdowns” with people like me who are still pissed about the entire tenor and arrogance of the Baltimore Orioles and Peter Angelos over two decades.

If the players on the field are embarrassed by an empty stadium, it’s my belief is that THEY – directly – are the only ones who can do something about it. We have to care about them and want to invest our money

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

Posted on 23 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As Mike Mussina makes his triumphant return to Baltimore this weekend for the Orioles Hall of Fame activities it’s certainly a thought-provoking time to be a long-time observer and fan of the franchise.

Sure, the Orioles are once again relevant — playing meaningful and exciting games every night — which harkens to the days of 1996 & 1997 when “Moose” was an integral part of the magic of being an Orioles fan every fifth day during the zenith of Camden Yards’ passion and Inner Harbor energy.

Mussina has been gone from Baltimore – except for three visits a year in New York Yankees pinstripes – for 12 years now. So long ago that time has seemingly dimmed the glory of his deeds and his departure serves as a truly seminal moment in the awfulness of the Orioles franchise under the stewardship of Peter Angelos since 1993.

In the 1970’s it was routine for the Orioles to lose players to owners, markets and franchises that had more wealth, population and revenue. Many members of the franchise “Hall of Fame” and “Oriole Way” stalwarts left like Mayflowers in the middle of the night for greener pastures including Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Reggie Jackson, Wayne Garland and Doug DeCinces and later Eddie Murray, Mike Boddicker, Mike Flanagan, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Bordick were all dealt away to save cash and get younger players.

But in the 1980’s and 1990’s, replete with a fan base from six states that pumped unprecedented money into the franchise and reached into the state’s funds to build Camden Yards and turn Baltimore into a spigot for Major League Baseball profitability, the Orioles never lost a player they wanted to keep.

Not until they lost the best player and pitcher of his generation of Baltimore baseball when Mike Mussina wore the “turncoat” label and bolted for the New York Yankees.

After the 2000 season, tired of three years of losing and Angelos’ low-balling and obvious meddling and mismanagement, Mussina simply took the advice of his agent Arn Tellem and played out his option and walked. On Dec. 7, 2001 after years of eschewing the notion of playing in big, bad New York he signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal to play for the Evil Empire.

I’ll share my many personal memories and my friendship with Mussina later in this blog but I can remember the surreal nature of watching that press conference from The Bronx from Chicago’s Sporting News Radio studios with my jaw open. It was the definitive signal that quality Major League Baseball players simply didn’t want to be in Baltimore anymore and it had little to do with crab cakes or the American League East.

Mussina was thought to be “irreplaceable” at the time and 11 years later time has borne out that diagnosis.

Mussina left the Baltimore Orioles because the owner stunk. He knew it and everyone in baseball knew it.

So, Mussina will finally return and don Orioles colors this weekend for the final time and he’ll find a few fresh statues on the veranda, a team in the midst of its first pennant run in 15 years and a seemingly soulless shell of a former love affair for baseball in Baltimore.

There’ll be plenty of empty seats and shoulder shrugs at his mostly sweet and sour induction into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame this weekend. Certainly a worthy candidate if there ever were one, Mussina’s time as a starter for the Birds is only eclipsed by the deeds of Jim Palmer, who as I’ve said many times is the greatest (and most underappreciated) Oriole of all time by any measurement.

Palmer let loose with a haughty pronouncement on a MASN broadcast earlier this week in promoting this weekend’s festivities. “The Moose is going to Cooperstown – at least I hope. He’s got 270 wins,” said Palmer, who went on to proclaim that in the steroid era to win all of those games and Gold Gloves and remain a “clean figure” in the needle witch hunt of the Mitchell Report should get him a Hall of Fame ballot punched in 2014.

For “real” Orioles fans, he’ll always be known as the Benedict Arnold of the modern generation for leaving the

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Could Ichiro have been an Oriole?

Posted on 24 July 2012 by James Finn

So, Ichiro in pinstripes, huh?

Yesterdays trade seem to out of nowhere, and rendered a gasp heard all around the MLB. Chalk another on up for the “Evil Empire”.

It got me thinking: Was it public knowledge that Ichiro was on the trade block?  How did the Yankees give up essentially nothing to collect Ichiro.  The Mariners even tossed in cash to cover a significant chunk of his salary.  The players the Yankees offered up, no names with seemingly little potential.  This deal has the fowl stench of back room deals politicians make make with snake oil salesmen.

Ichiro said during his press conference that he wanted a chance to play for a contender, while allowing Seattle to give an opportunity to younger players to play and develop.  Well, my friend, believe it or not, the Orioles are still contenders.

Would the Orioles have had a chance to match, or even sweeten the offer?  Even as a .261 hitter this season, Ichiro would almost certainly hit lead off on this team (still has speed, a more natural lead off hitter then Markakis).  Granted, we don’t need help in the outfield, but since the Orioles have consistently been in the practice of adding aging veterans to the roster (i.e – Thome, Tejada, Guerrero, Sosa, Tejada again), this would be a deal that would be right in the wheelhouse of the front office.  Imagine for a second, and outfield with Ichiro, Jones, and Markakis.  Without question, this would have been the best defensive, if not outright, outfield in baseball.  It wouldn’t have solved the holes at 1B and 3B, but regardless, when the Birds acquired Thome, we didn’t “need” a DH, but the deal has started to pay off over the past road trip.

Any team chasing a playoff spot that doesn’t jump at the chance to add an Ichiro to their roster, quite frankly, is bonkers.  I have no idea what the market is for him, but with so many teams in contention, he could have been worth a kings ransom to an overzealous GM.

The Mariners, I feel, reacted too quickly in this scenario.  Ichiro, who gave so much of himself, wanted a chance to play for a contender.  He’s a future Hall of Fame player, He’s earned it.  The front office bent over backwards to facilitate a quick trade, and it just so happened the Yankees were in town.  Should Ichiro had longed to play for a contender early in the month, when the O’s were in town, things could have been different.

If Ichiro really wanted to help out the franchise that treated him like a golden god for over a decade, he’d have allowed them time to negotiate a bigger deal, that strengthens their roster for the future, not . I strongly feel that if it were announced he was on the market, the Mariners would have had several suitors lined up making offers.  They’d have a tougher decision then Emily Manard on the Bachelorette over who to pick*.

The Orioles have done business in the past with the Mariners.  We were able to dump that bum Erik Bedard off on them, and in exchange, got a franchise player in Adam Jones (who by the way, leads the Orioles in nearly every offensive category this season), George Sherril (who by the way, was an All-Star closer during his time here), and Chris Tillman (who by the way, has only given up 2 earned runs since being called up to the 25 man roster this season).  If the Mariners truly wanted AA level arms, we’ve got tons of em. Take your pick!

All in all, I can’t fault Ichiro for going to the Yankees.  I’m probably just a little sour the Yankees found a way to get better.  I don’t mind Yankee player like the Jeters, Riveras, Posadas, those that came through the originization.  I don’t like the scores of players (Rodriguez, Texiera, Giambi, Mussina, Clemens, Sabathia, Damon) who found success elsewhere, then sold his soul for the chance at a ring.  Seems we can add Ichiro to this list now.

I think it’d been nice to see him finish out his career in the Blue and Green uniform that suited him so well for so long.  It’s so rare that a player sticks out an entire career in just one city.  Even if he wins a championship this season, it’ll just be a footnote, and won’t be what he’s remembered for.

Ichiro, as far as I’m concerned, will still be a Mariner.  Even if he had ended up wearing Orange and Black in Charm City.

*Note: I’ve never seen an episode of the Bachelorette.  I had to Google her name. Coincidentally, the finale was last night.  I didn’t read far enough, nor do I care, who she ended up with.

@JamesTFinn on Twitter

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Orioles acquire outfielder Steve Pearce from Yankees

Posted on 03 June 2012 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Saturday that they have acquired outfielder-first baseman Steve Pearce from the New York Yankees organization in exchange for cash considerations.

Pearce, 29, was batting .321 with 15 doubles, 11 home runs, 30 RBI and a .996 OPS in 52 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

In 185 major league games over five seasons (2007-11) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pearce batted .232 with 29 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 52 RBI.

To make room for Pearce on the major league roster, veteran Bill Hall was designated for assignment. In seven games for the Orioles, Hall batted .222 (2-9) with one home run, two runs scored and one RBI.

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