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Orioles to face Astros in 2014 Civil Rights Game

Posted on 19 November 2013 by WNST Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—November 19, 2013

HOUSTON ASTROS TO HOST THE 2014 CIVIL RIGHTS GAME

Regular Season Game vs. the Baltimore Orioles Scheduled for May 30, 2014

Additional Civil Rights Game Activities Include MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion, and Youth-Focused Event

Major League Baseball today announced that the Houston Astros will host the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary activities, a series of eventsdeveloped by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The event is another example of the Houston Astros supporting MLB initiatives geared toward highlighting diversity throughout baseball.

The 2014 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Parkon May 30, 2014, airing nationally on MLB Network. Ancillary activities such as the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion and a youth baseball and softball event will all take place that week. Ticket sales and more information on the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary events will be made available at a later date on MLB.com/civilrightsgame and Astros.com/civilrightsgame.

“I am pleased to announce the Houston Astros, who have demonstrated a substantial commitment to supporting diversity throughout our industry, as the hosts of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Civil Rights Game,” Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. “The Civil Rights Game and its surrounding events are an opportunity not only for our game to honor those who have fought for equality throughout American history, but also to remind us that the battle against injustice continues.  As a social institution that features unprecedented diversity of all races and ethnicities throughout our sport, we are proud to join the Astros in remembering this important era in history.”

“The Astros are honored to host the 2014 Civil Rights Game,” said Jim Crane, Owner & Chairman, Houston Astros. “We have been pleased to support Major League Baseball’s many initiatives over the past two seasons and look forward to continuing to do so. The Civil Rights Game and its activities are a great way for us to honor those that have fought for equality in the past, and to promote diversity and opportunity in our game moving forward.”

In addition to the 2014 Civil Rights Game at Minute Maid Park, several events will take place throughout the week, including:

Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion

A group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role Baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game’s continued presence as a social institution in American society.  Previous panelists have included Martin Luther King III, human rights activist and eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Sharon Robinson, MLB Educational Programming Consultant and daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson; Dolores Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ambassador Shabazz, ambassador-at-large for Belize and eldest daughter of Malcolm X;Branch Rickey III, Pacific Coast League President and grandson of the late Branch Rickey; Thomas Tull, Chairman & CEO of Legendary Entertainment and Producer of the featured film “42”; Arte Moreno, Principal Owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Kenny Williams, Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox; Hall of FamersBarry LarkinJoe MorganTony Perez, and Dave Winfield; Dodgers legend Don Newcombe; Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons; and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, among others.The Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion will be streamed on MLB.com and Astros.com prior to the Civil Rights Game.

 

MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon

The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will honor the recipients of this year’s MLB Beacon Awards, whichrecognize individuals whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement. Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; and also Buck O’Neil, Don Newcombe, Bo Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Aretha Franklin,Morgan Freeman, John H. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Carlos Santana, three of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.  Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have includedCommissioner Selig, President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond andMichael Wilbon.

 

Youth Clinic

The youth baseball and softball clinic is an event designed to give young players locally the opportunity to interact with and learn from current and former players.  Interactive aspects will include batting cages, pitching machines and baserunning stations.

 

ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS GAME

The 2014 Civil Rights Game is the eighth installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010), then Atlanta (2011-2012) as regular season contests, and last year was hosted in Chicago by the White Sox. While much of the south was deeply affected during the Civil Rights Movement with violence threatening the well-being of many, Houston played a vital role in achieving peaceful desegregation, making it a crucial part of the overall civil rights effort.

 

ABOUT THE HOUSTON ASTROS & MLB DIVERSITY INITIATIVES

In 2010, the Houston Astros became the first MLB Club to have its own MLB Urban Youth Academy, which is a network of MLB facilities around the country that provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction to young people from underserved and urban areas. They also provide educational and baseball vocation training programs for Academy participants. The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy has attracted approximately 1,300 participants this year. In 2012, the Astros hosted the fifth annual Urban Invitational, a nationally-televised, round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed by MLB to give Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and their baseball programs, national exposure. The Club again hosted the event in 2013. Additionally, the Astros were the co-hosts of the second annual MLB Diversity Business Summit, MLB’s sports employment and business opportunity career and trade fair that provides attendees with unprecedented access to human resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball Clubs and MLB’s Central Office. Also in 2013, the Club hosted the sixth annual Breakthrough Series, which is a collegiate and professional scouting showcase featuring a diverse group of some of the top high school baseball players in the country.

 

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Hardy overtakes Andrus at shortstop in latest American League balloting figures

Jones Passes Trout for Top Outfield Spot; Cabrera Maintains Overall Lead

 

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is bidding for his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start, has surpassed Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the second balloting figures for the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field in New York. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on FOX as part of its “Baseball Night in America” pre-game show. The second National League balloting results will be revealed tomorrow night on ESPN during “Baseball Tonight” at 7:00 p.m. prior to its Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, is aiming to become just the third Orioles shortstop to earn a fan-elected start, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times; 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). In addition, he is attempting to become the first A.L. shortstop other than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees to earn a fan-elected starting nod since Tejada. Hardy, who leads all A.L. shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBI, has totaled 1,231,843 votes. He is trailed closely by Andrus, a two-time All-Star, who has received 1,045,885.

Hardy’s Orioles teammate Adam Jones has taken over the top spot in the A.L. outfield with 1,944,450 votes, and last week’s leader, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, follows right behind with 1,939,486 votes. Jones, striving for his third All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, would become just the fourth Orioles outfielder in history to receive a fan-elected start, joining Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1970-71), Ken Singleton (1981) and Brady Anderson (1997). Jones, who has reached base safely in 52 of his 61 games this season, ranks among the top 10 in the A.L. with 43 runs (tied for third), 77 hits (fourth) and 18 doubles (tied for fifth). Trout, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, is vying for his second Midsummer Classic appearance after becoming the seventh-youngest A.L. position player in All-Star history last year. The 21-year-old has reached safely in 55 games this season and his 24 multi-hit games are tied for second in the A.L.

Rounding out the top three outfielders is Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who has collected 1,067,973 votes as he aims for his fifth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start (2002). The nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, who is one home run shy of 300 for his career, would join Ron LeFlore (1976), Rusty Staub (1976), Chet Lemon (1984) and Magglio Ordoñez (2007) as the only Detroit outfielders to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. Hunter, in his first season in the Motor City, is trying to hold off a trio of outfielders, including Nick Markakis (1,030,653) of the Orioles, three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Jose Bautista (1,021,813) of the Toronto Blue Jays and 2009 All-Star Nelson Cruz (1,011,198) of the Rangers.

Hunter’s Tiger teammate Miguel Cabrera continues to hold the overall lead in the A.L. with 2,355,128 votes. The seven-time All-Star, who is bidding for his first-ever fan-elected start, leads the Majors with a .368 batting average, 67 RBI, 88 hits, 26 multi-hit games and a .447 on-base percentage. The 2012 A.L. MVP, who became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also paces the A.L. with 47 runs scored. He is trailed at third base by 20-year-old Manny Machado (1,170,108) of the Orioles, who leads the Majors with 26 doubles and ranks second behind Cabrera with 84 hits.

Joining Hardy and Cabrera in the A.L. infield is Hardy’s Baltimore teammate and first baseman Chris Davis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Davis, who has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 2,084,274, is contending for his Midsummer Classic debut, and would become the first Orioles first baseman since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1985 to receive a fan-elected start. Davis, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and a .719 slugging percentage, is on pace to hit 55 home runs and 55 doubles. He is trailed at first base by four-time All-Star Prince Fielder of the Tigers, who has tallied 1,469,537 votes. Cano, who is seeking his fourth consecutive starting assignment and fifth All-Star nod overall, would become the first A.L. second baseman to earn four consecutive fan-elected starts since Roberto Alomar had five from 1996-2000. Cano, who has garnered 1,851,371 votes, leads Major League second basemen with 15 home runs and a .510 slugging percentage, and he is tops among A.L. second basemen with 39 RBI. He is followed by three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Dustin Pedroia (1,106,949) of the A.L. East rival Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins backstop Joe Mauer, who has totaled 1,492,396 votes, continues to lead Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795), a two-time All-Star, behind the plate. Mauer, a five-time All-Star and three-time fan-elected starter, would join Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six times) as the only Twins to earn at least four fan-elected starts.

Eight-time All-Star and six-time fan-elected starter David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox maintains a comfortable lead at designated hitter, having received 1,716,410 votes. Ortiz, who is trailed by Lance Berkman (957,618) of the Rangers, would become the second Red Sox player in history to earn seven fan-elected starts, joining his former teammate Manny Ramirez. In addition, Ortiz would become the 10th player in A.L. history to receive at least seven fan-elected starts with a single team, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17, Baltimore), George Brett (11, Kansas City), Carew (9, Minnesota) and Dave Winfield (7, New York), and other A.L. All-Stars Ken Griffey, Jr. (10, Seattle), Ichiro Suzuki (9, Seattle), Ivan Rodriguez (9, Texas), Jeter (8, New York) and Ramirez (7, Boston).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.

The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.

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Roberts doubles for Baysox in win

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BOWIE, Md. – The Baysox (22-28) shut out the Altoona Curve (22-27) 4-0 to win their first home series of the year Monday afternoon. It was the team’s third shutout win of the season and third win in a row.

The team was going on all cylinders as the Baysox pitching tied their season best by allowing just three hits and the Baysox offense continued to come through with big hits that helped build the team’s lead. Four of the team’s 10 hits were for extra-bases.

“Everything was in sync today,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We got some big extra-base hits – they are huge because when we were in those ruts where we were losing five straight, it seemed like if we had six hits they were six singles. It takes away a lot of pressure when you are able to hit a home run, especially with a man on base. Things were falling into place and guys were able to manufacture runs because of that extra base.”

Baltimore Orioles Brian Roberts and Endy Chavez were both in the lineup for the Baysox Monday afternoon on Major League rehab assignments. Roberts finished 1-3 with a double and Chavez finished 1-2 with a walk.

Baysox right-handed starting pitcher Oliver Drake pitched six shutout innings for the Baysox Monday afternoon. He did not allow a hit through the first four and one-third innings of the game and allowed just one total hit while striking out three batters and walking three in the win.

“My sinker was moving and I was getting some ground balls and I was able to have them put swings on ball in counts that I wanted to,” said Drake. “It was able to throw all of my pitches for strikes today, which was nice. There were a couple times where I got a little erratic and fell behind a couple guys and walked them for the most part I was able to make them hit the ball on the ground.”

“I always used to hear managers say, ‘you get good karma when you get good starting pitching,’ and you aren’t going to get any better than that,” Kendall said. “[Drake] went out there and commanded his pitches. It was a good day.”

The Baysox jumped out to a rare early lead in the bottom of the third inning against Altoona starter Phil Irwin. First baseman Buck Britton hit a lead off double to center field and moved to third base when right fielder Josh Barfield singled to left field. Britton scored when third baseman Zelous Wheeler grounded into a double play to give the Baysox a 1-0 lead.

Bowie added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Barfield hit a lead off single to center field and scored when Wheeler hit a two-run blast to center field to make the score 3-0.

“We have a runner on second base with now outs and I was just trying to get him over and I hit a home run,” Wheeler said. “It was a nice day to play the game and we had some good at bats today so it was nice to come away with the win.”

The Baysox added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Altoona reliever Mike Colla. Hoes hit a lead off double to left-center field and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Robbie Widlansky. Shortstop Manny Machado hit another sacrifice fly to plate Hoes and give the Baysox a 4-0 lead.

Right-handed reliever Robert Hinton pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. Left-handed reliever Cole McCurry pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. Right-handed reliever Pat Egan pitched the ninth inning for the Baysox and allowed one hit, while walking one batter.

RHP Tim Bascom (3-2, 4.25) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they begin a three game road series against the Akron Aeros. He will be opposed by RHP Giovanni Soto (4-2, 4.07). The Baysox depart for Akron for a three game road trip beginning Tuesday, May 29 before returning to Bowie Friday, June 1 for a three game home stand against Reading.

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Britton allows 3H, 2BB over 5IP for Bowie in rehab start

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BOWIE, Md. – With three Baltimore Orioles players in the line-up, the Baysox (20-28) rolled past Altoona (22-25) 9-6 Saturday night to end a four game losing streak against the Curve.

The Baysox offense scored their nine runs on just eight hits, but were able to take advantage of seven walks to get the offense going. In the team’s four run second inning, the offense recorded just two hits, but also drew four walks to get more runners on base.

“We took advantage of some walks to give us a lead,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We also had one inning where we came through with a base hit and then we got a two-run home run. I thought we ran the bases well and we took advantage of some stolen bases – we will take runs any way they come.”

Baltimore Orioles left-handed starting pitcher Zach Britton made his season debut for the Baysox Saturday evening, pitching five innings and allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six and walking two in the win.

“I think tonight was a successful start,” said Zach. “I got my pitch count up and I definitely threw a lot more breaking balls than I normally would, but I just wanted to get the feel for that. Towards the end I got a little tired, but overall I though it was pretty good.”

Baysox right fielder Buck Britton, the older brother of pitcher Zach Britton, had a strong game in support of his brother Saturday. He went 2-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. This is the third season in a row that the two brothers have had some limited opportunities to play with each other.

“At that time in the game, I felt like we needed a big hit, the count went to 3-2 and I got a fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on it,” Buck said, “Last year every time [Zach] pitched I would hit a home run too. I don’t know what it is – I guess sometimes the Britton’s just get going.”

The Baysox also had two other Orioles players making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox Saturday – third baseman Mark Reynolds and left fielder Endy Chavez. Reynolds finished the game 1-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and a fielding error. Chavez was 1-5 with two runs scored.

For the sixth time this homestand, the Baysox opponent scored first. Saturday night, Altoona struck first with two runs in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Miles Durham drew a walk and then moved to second base when Quincy Latimore reached on a fielding error by Reynolds. Elevys Gonzalez then singled to left field to score Durham and move Latimore to third when he scored on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.

The Baysox jumped back into the lead in the bottom of the second inning against Altoona starter Nathan Baker. With one out, shortstop Manny Machado was hit by a pitch and catcher Caleb Joseph followed by drawing a walk. Buck singled to right field to load the bases and designated hitter Josh Barfield hit an infield single to score the first run. Chavez grounded into a force out and second baseman Jonathan Schoop followed by drawing a walk to score another run. With Reynolds batting, Baker threw a wild pitch that advanced all the runners and plated Barfield. Reynolds then drew a walk to load the bases and Baker was called for a balk with center fielder LJ Hoes batting to plate Chavez and give the Baysox a 4-2 lead.

Bowie extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning against Altoona reliever Kyle Cofield. Hoes drew a lead off walk and scored from first base on a double to center field by first baseman Robbie Widlansky. With two outs, Buck homered to center field to give the Baysox a 7-2 lead. Jeff Inman replaced Cofield on the mound to finish the inning.

The Curve got back in the game in the top of the sixth inning against left-handed pitcher Jake Pettit. Matt Curry hit a one out single to left field and Durham drew a two out walk. Latimore then hit a three-run home run to left-center field that made the score 7-5.

The Baysox again extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hoes drew a two out walk and stole second base with Widlansky batting. Widlansky then singled to center field to plate Hoes and extend the Baysox lead to 8-5.

Bowie added another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Altoona reliever Vic Black. Chavez hit a lead off single to second base and scored on a Mark Reynolds double to right field after a throwing error by the right fielder to make the score 9-5.

Altoona mounted a last rally in the top of the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Kyler Newby. Elevys Gonzalez hit a one out double, but was then thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Robbie Grossman then hit a two out single to center field and scored when Brock Holt doubled to left field to make the score 9-6. Right-handed reliever Greg Burke entered to finish the ninth inning and record the save.

Pettit pitched two innings and allowed three runs on three hits while striking out two batters and walking one. Newby pitched one and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out four batters.

Baker earned the loss for the Curve, pitching three innings and allowed four runs on three hits while striking out three batters and walking five.

RHP Bobby Bundy (2-7, 5.26) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the third game in a four game home series against the Altoona Curve.

The Baysox are home through Monday, May 28 for an eight game home stand. Baltimore Orioles players Brian Roberts, Mark Reynolds and Endy Chavez will be making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox over the weekend.

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Former Ravens exec Bailey joins new USFL

Posted on 16 May 2012 by WNST Staff

San Diego, Calif. (May 16, 2012) — The United States Football League (USFL) announced today that Jeff Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback during his 12-year NFL career, has been named to the USFL’s board of advisors.

Garcia will serve on the player development branch of the USFL’s advisory board. The Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. resident joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff and former NFL and San Diego Chargers executive Jim Steeg – Chairman of the USFL board of advisors – along with former Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens executive vice president James Bailey and sports consultant/coach Terrell Jones on the board.

“We are thrilled to have Jeff involved and to be able to tap into his knowledge and experience in the professional football world as we look forward to re-launching the USFL in 2013,” USFL President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Cuadra said. “Jeff’s extensive background and networks with professional football players will undoubtedly help carry out the USFL’s mission of helping our players live successfully and responsibly as positive citizens on and off the field.”

The USFL is planning to field eight teams for its inaugural 14-game season in 2013, kicking off in March and concluding with a championship game in June. The league has targeted a number of U.S. cities for franchises.

The USFL’s board of advisors will be responsible for guiding and advising USFL management on various areas of operations and, eventually, focus on identifying candidates and selecting the league’s commissioner.

Garcia began his NFL stint with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 and went on to play with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans. He led the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders to the 1998 Grey Cup championship and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, providing his springboard to the NFL.

Garcia, retired from football, is the owner of Beyond Wealth Sports, a company representing professional athletes on and off the field. It is focused on mentoring athletes and helping them prepare for the transition from sports to secondary careers. Garcia’s business practice is directly in line with the USFL’s long-term goals for its players.

The USFL is designed to allow players not drafted by the NFL, or those that have been released by NFL teams, an opportunity to play professional football under the same rules as the NFL. In order to maintain financial responsibility and sustainability, the USFL will structure itself under a single-entity business model. All player and coach contracts will be owned by the USFL, and each team owner will be a member operator of the league.  

The USFL intends to create a working relationship with the NFL by allowing access to its players and personnel. This relationship will be one of respect and collaboration, but the USFL will operate independently with a focus on developing its players and creating the best fan experience possible.

The USFL will also endeavor to prepare players for life after playing football by providing mentorship and counsel to expand the athletes’ awareness of opportunities inside and, especially, outside of football.  Additionally, the USFL wishes to enhance the fan experience by providing greater access to its players and employing technology to enhance the viewing experience for its fans.

Biletnikoff was a six-time All-Pro wide receiver who totaled 589 receptions for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns during his 14-year NFL career with the Raiders. He began his professional coaching career in the original USFL, coaching with the Oakland Invaders and the Arizona Wranglers.

Steeg is a 35-year veteran as an NFL executive and the former COO of the San Diego Chargers. Prior to joining the Chargers, Steeg was instrumental in the growth of the NFL’s Super Bowl, having worked for the NFL for 26 years, where he was Senior Vice President of Special Events.

Bailey was responsible for the management of all business, financial and legal operations in his 21-year tenure with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens franchise. He facilitated and oversaw the relocation of the franchise to Baltimore.

Jones, CEO and founder of TJones Group, LLC, has been involved in professional sports as a coach and consultant for more than 16 years. He has worked with the NFL, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Jones has successfully negotiated endorsement deals for his clients as well as sponsorship deals with major corporations, and will consult with the USFL on its business operations.

About The United States Football League

The United States Football League, LLC, a Delaware LLC, is a professional spring outdoor football league owned by EndZone Sports Management and is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. Jaime Cuadra is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the USFL. The USFL’s vision is provide a high-level competitive environment to help develop players for the National Football League, while preparing its players for succeeding as professionals and in life on and off of the field during and after their football careers. While the USFL initially operated from 1983-87, the new USFL plans to debut in the spring of 2013 by fielding eight teams nationwide to play a 14-game season, including a four-team playoff tournament, and providing fans with an exciting and innovative brand of football. The USFL plans to adopt all playing rules of the National Football League. For more information on the USFL’s 2013 launch, please visit the USFL online at www.theusfl.net and via social media on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheUSFL) and on Twitter (@TheUSFL).

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Sporting MLB’s best record, Orioles welcome Rangers Monday

Posted on 07 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore?

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Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore?

Posted on 18 July 2011 by WNST Interns

You can count me among the collection of those who were a little surprised by Saturday’s announcement of JJ Hardy’s new deal with the Orioles.

From a financial perspective, I don’t dispute the commitment from the birds. The organization’s top prospect, Manny Machado, is learning his craft at Frederick and limited middle infield options appear on the horizon during the upcoming off-season.

An expenditure of $22 million over 3 years seems quite reasonable for the Orioles.

But, in viewing the deal from JJ Hardy’s side of the fence, I am a little perplexed. In fact, I think a few peculiar questions should exist …..

Given the perceived lack of shortstop depth in the 2012 free agent class, did Hardy’s representatives feel he couldn’t garner at least $8 million, per season, over the next few years?

Has the product of 3+ months on a last place Orioles team provided Hardy with a comfortable outlook over the next 36 months?

Is this deal really about financial security for a lifetime, as Hardy approaches his 29th birthday?
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I guess the preceding questions are a roundabout way of suggesting JJ Hardy and his agents huddled and ultimately said “let’s do the safe thing.” After all, the world knows the Orioles shortstop has realized a big league career littered with injuries and stints on the disabled list.

And, while he’s had a briefly respectable run in an Orioles uniform, it’s quite apparent Hardy is not the player envisioned during the summers of 2008 and 2008, in Milwaukee.

I’ve been quietly impressed with his transition to the leadoff role in Brian Roberts’ absence, and he’s flashed stellar defense with some consistent power potential through the first half of the season.

But, what possesses JJ Hardy to renew with the Orioles – for a modest raise – without testing the market? I’m not ranking him as the complimentary to Jose Reyes, but he would be a formidable consolation prize for a contender that needs a shortstop for the next few seasons.

Does he envision an Orioles team capable of doing something markedly better than what’s been achieved through 92 games? Maybe, he’s just comfortable here …..

Like I said, it’s a good deal for the Orioles. And, the shortstop obviously thinks it’s a contract fit for his immediate future. But, one question lingers for me …..

Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore? I would really like to know.

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I thought Adrian Gonzalez was boycotting Arizona …..

Posted on 12 July 2011 by WNST Interns

Before you start reading this blog, be assured of one thing; it has NOTHING to do with politics, immigration issues or Supreme Court decisions.  But, is has everything to do with holding athletes accountable for their words and actions.

A little more than a year ago, Adrian Gonzalez drew a line in the sand at the Arizona/Nevada border, or was it the Arizona/California border?  What the heck, I don’t know.  But, he did go public in proclaiming he would BOYCOTT the 2011 All Star Game, if selected to play in it.

Gonzalez’s reasoning was pointedly specific; he disagreed with Arizona’s new laws pertaining to illegal immigration and law enforcement’s investigative powers.

I thoroughly respect anyone’s opinions on just about anything.  And, I certainly believe Adrian Gonzalez is entitled to feel the way he feels about issues close to his heart.

But, when he opens his mouth and uses his stature as a pro athlete to make a stance and ultimate statement on a political issue, it’s done with a calculated purpose.  He knew those comments would fuel public reaction and he trusted such words would have an impact on the All Star Game’s destined unveiling in Phoenix.

Like many celebrities, Adrian Gonzalez ignorantly assumed his presence or threatened lack of presence would in some way handicap an industry’s showcase event.  He was wrong …..

Be clear about one thing – he wasn’t WRONG for feeling the way he felt – he was WRONG, because he entrusted the image of Adrian Gonzalez to be as big as the game.

And, it’s not.

Somewhere, somehow, Gonzalez came to an evident grip with his own reality and true appeal to the landscape of our pro sports culture.  While a distinct few personalities can impact an event, with their absence, he’s not one of them.

No single player is bigger than their game.

Adrian Gonzalez has obviously learned such a lesson and swallowed a little humble pie without much notice paid by the people who foot the bills; the fans.  Last night, he appeared at the Homerun Derby and gave those same fans the only real thing demanded, expected and desired of him.

He hit baseballs. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

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Yankees swindle a 23 year old kid who loves baseball .....

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Yankees swindle a 23 year old kid who loves baseball …..

Posted on 11 July 2011 by WNST Interns

Indeed, we are upon that time of summer when Baltimore’s baseball fans must start looking elsewhere for compelling storylines and boxscores.  I suppose spinning the recent Orioles vs. Red Sox series into a “beanball war” might drum a little interest, but do any of us really think the birds were a formidable opponent?

Of course not …..

But, as I’ve suggested, plenty of intriguing stories did result from a mid-July weekend of baseball.

Perhaps, the most notable was the goodwill gesture emerging from Yankee Stadium.  After weeks of awaiting the historical significance of Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit, it finally happened on Saturday night.

And, as if the moment was written from fictional lore, #3000 came in the form of a homerun. 

Oh yeah, it gets even better – schmoozier and more heartwarming …..

The fan who caught the ball, Christian Lopez, quickly came to grips with the most fitting destination for the historical baseball …..

Cooperstown?  Nope.

The Lopez family keepsake collection?  Nope.

A safety deposit box?  Once again, no.

Mr. Lopez decided the baseball was destined to be personal property of Derek Jeter, because “he worked so hard for it …. The ball should be his.”

I don’t deny, nor dispute Christian Lopez’s love for the game of baseball and the purity that accompanies being a fan of the sport.  But, I do question if he made the right decision and if the process in rendering such a quick conclusion is prudent for all parties involved.

That baseball is worth a LOT of money.  Conservative estimates by notable collectable experts valued it at a minimum of $250,000 or a cool quarter of a million bucks …..

That’s serious cash, huh?

Yet, in the spontaneous passion of the moment, the 23 year old man who coincidentally donned the same hat worn by Jeter, decided to hand the keepsake over to the Yankees shortstop.

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In exchange, he received tickets for the remainder of the season, along with articles of memorabilia.

Was it a fair deal?  That’s up to Christian Lopez …..

But, I’ll assert one very important consideration – it’s a deal and agreement that should’ve been discussed the following day.

Too many emotional and perhaps, personally inhibiting factors exist in the immediate moments following such a historical incident.

The fan is caught up in the massive celebration that accompanies the moment.  Such recipients are quickly sequestered from the ensuing bombardment of fellow fanatics.  That’s a good decision, because somebody will do everything in their power to steal that baseball.

I’m absolutely in support of ushering guys in the shoes of Christian Lopez away from the masses of gawkers, hawkers and stalkers …..

But, a more intriguing reason for getting the guy away from others is team officials want to “negotiate” or lean on them for a quick exchange of the ball for some trinkets and fodder.  Why not toss in a few bottles of whiskey and some beads, too?

After all, that’s the legitimacy and hoodwinking credibility that goes into such a transaction.

I’m not privy to Mr. Lopez’s financial status, although, he said he has plenty of time to make the money and he doesn’t really need it …..

Really?

How many 23 year olds (or thereabouts) do we know who couldn’t tangibly benefit from a $250,000 windfall?

Marston Hefner?  Taylor Swift?  Sam Bradford?

I look at a select group of young men who I would put into a situation just as Christian Lopez found himself on Saturday evening.  I’ll consider WNST’s Ryan Chell, Luke Jones and Glenn Clark …..

These guys love sports.  Heck, they eat, sleep and breath sports.  And, I can picture all three of them being caught up in a moment of significance at a sporting event.  Furthermore, I can reasonably picture each of them coughing up a valuable memento in the HEAT OF THE MOMENT.

They love Baltimore and the Orioles, for better or worse.

But, each of them could greatly benefit from $250, 000 …..

Better yet, $250,000 could and would impact their lives to a much greater extent than any gesture of gratitude from the Orioles or a legendary player.

Name it, buying a first house, paying off student loans or simply getting ahead in this dismal economy, each of these young men would be far better off by selling such a keepsake.  But, in the moments following their nabbing of history, I can envision them getting swindled – by a tugging of the heartstrings.

What are the chances Christian Lopez had a couple beers on Saturday evening – prior to the big moment?  I would reckon such odds are pretty good.  If so, a whole new can of worms opens up, if you get my drift …..

Let’s just call it like it is …..

The moment was a true piece of history.  That’s why Major League Baseball manufactured “special baseballs” when Jeter stood in the box for his 3000th hit.  That’s why a World Series atmosphere existed at Yankee Stadium on a muggy Saturday, in July.

The Yankees brass, like any other organization, knew the best chances of getting that baseball from the grip of Christian Lopez was RIGHT THEN and RIGHT THERE.  So, they took advantage of the circumstances.

In reality, and in legitimate surroundings, a “cool off” period should exist …..

The team should make contact with the fan and go thru the measurable steps to ensure the ball is secured.  They should even offer to put it in a safe deposit box for 24 or 48 hours.

If the fan really feels the player should have the ball, than so be it.  Will a “cool off” period change such heart driven feelings?  I wouldn’t think so.

What’s wrong with Yankees officials urging Lopez to talk with his parents?  Yeah, I know he’s an adult, but how many 23 year olds still seek the wisdom of a mother or father under such weighty situations?

Call it like it is, Saturday night’s festivities might appear to be one of those legendary fan and player symbolic exchanges.  But, the truth is the Yankees took every advantage of a 23 year old kid who loves baseball.

And, that’s wrong.

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MLB Draft: high school talent can be undeniable

Posted on 08 June 2011 by WNST Interns

In the wake of Baltimore’s selection of Dylan Bundy, in Monday’s first round of the Major League Baseball draft, a noticeable amount of Orioles fans and followers have openly questioned the reasoning of the choice.

And, in like many circumstances, it seems like some “catch phrases” and overblown beliefs are spreading like a bad cold. Some of the things we’ve heard, include:

“we need a college player, because they’re more Major League ready”

“we don’t know how a high school player will develop”

“a college player is closer to being a sure thing”

This particular blog is not invested in trying to shoot down or discount any of the above suggestions. To a point, each phrase has its own merit and can be attributed to failures of past draft picks.

However, a more significant reality exists …..

Each player drafted atop any respective class can best be described as an individual freak of nature. They possess physical skill sets and a hand/eye coordination that exceeds a level most of us could ever fathom.

In being individuals, they also have respective levels of intelligence, discipline, maturity and abilities to lead or succeed in a competitive environment. To a degree, some of these qualities can be attributed to age, and the difference between 18 and 22 can be a distinguishing window of growth and development.

Far more humans make better, wiser decisions when they’re four years removed from their 18th birthdays. Young men can and will make stupid decisions off and on the baseball field.

Just consider Bryce Harper’s antics after homering on Monday evening ……

That said, each player is different and there really is no foolproof mathematical or scientific gauge for determining whether an 18 year old is going to fail in comparison to a player a few years older.

I don’t care about overall statistics regarding demographics. Each player is different, with respective personal physical qualities and character traits. Dismissing a player from consideration, simply because they’re a high school athlete is near-sighted and a disservice to the future of the organization.

After all, past history suggests high school players can and will succeed at the highest level. Consider this list of former high school athletes drafted within the last 15 years:

Wade Davis, John Danks, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Josh Johnson, Matt Cain, Matt Latos, Jeremy Hellickson, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Cahill, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Josh Beckett, Tommy Hanson, Phil Hughes, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Gavin Floyd and Zach Britton

Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Stephen Drew, Adam Jones, Prince Fielder, James Loney, Denard Span, Brian McCann, Joe Mauer, David Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton, Alex Rios, Carl Crawford, Brandon Phillips, Justin Morneau, Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth, Vernon Wells and Jimmy Rollins

Trust me, in the above lists, I omitted a plethora of average players – meaning guys who have been sporadic contributors, or those who experienced a rather common existence in the big leagues. But, many of them still made an impact on the game.

The message I’m trying to convey is each player is unique and plenty of pedigree exists at the high school level. There is no certain formula or recipe to determining whether an amateur player will convey to the highest level of baseball.

If an organization commits to selecting the given players possessing the most upside, with blended character traits, the best likelihood for success exists. It is what it is …..

As we stand here today, I like the Bundy pick, regardless of anything else.

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