Tag Archive | "trembley"

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Orioles continue to sink even lower than we thought possible

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As the biggest critic of Orioles ownership over the last decade, I’ve purposely refrained from being particularly hard on the team in 2009. Unfortunately for you, the WNST fans and true Baltimore sports lovers, they have me right where they want me. I’m back on the radio without a press pass to their games and no one is going to tune into my show if all I do is tell the truth, and bury them for their ineptitude, mean-spiritedness and general incompetence over the past dozen years for four hours every day.

And at this point, what do I have to lose? Short of them killing me, what do they have left to take away from me?

The team is awful (again), there is not an iota of pride remaining in being an Orioles fan and I’ve watched about 90% of the action this season and I’m here to tell you that it has NOT been a fun or memorable summer for baseball here in the land of pleasant living.

And really, telling the truth — see the paragraph above — is NOT what Baltimore wants to hear from me about the Orioles. It’s like a broken, freaking record — me bitching about the Orioles.

And, here in the summer of 2009, the truth hurts and this blog hurts!

At their current pace, the Orioles “defining moment” of 2009 might be their 100th loss sometime around October 1st and that would certainly speak volumes for where the organization stands in the MLB cosmos.

As every sports fan in Baltimore has uttered at some point since the turn of the century: “Thank God for the Ravens!” And anytime we even think about talking Orioles baseball at WNST, someone will send a nasty note over stating this: “Just forget about the Orioles and talk about the Ravens.”

Well, as I said three years ago during the Free The Birds campaign, I will not be letting Peter Angelos or any of his servants off the hook for this decade-and-a-half civic tragedy — the worst stretch of bizarre local ownership and strategy since Bob Irsay pilfered the Colts off in the middle of the night back in March 1984.

No, we’re not done with the Orioles. As Drew Forrester has said many times: “We’ll either kill them or fix them. It’s their choice.”

But this current dismal summer of dreadful baseball — in a season when “miracle-man” Andy MacPhail has talked about promise for young players — still has six weeks left on the schedule and there are no creampuffs left on the docket and there is no end to the bleeding in sight.

You can piss on me in the comments below all you want, but this current team they’re fielding might be the worst of them all on some nights because we all want to buy into some hope and promise for a better team in the future.

Here is your stat of the day: the Orioles were 40-48 at the All Star break, which is hardly acceptable or decent, although MASN’s lame coverage and “state run” media would tell you this was a team “on the rise.”

Now, the Orioles are 48-72, which means they’ve managed to go 8-24 since Adam Jones doffed the cap in St. Louis.

Folks, that’s .250 baseball and 32 games is about 20% of the season by my math. Of course, when you’ve already put up a legendary 4-32 a few years ago — and for now, we’ll just let the 1988 team off the hook because that had nothing to do with Peter Angelos or 2009 — somehow 8-24 doesn’t sound like it sucks so bad.

But it sucks. And this team sucks. And this ownership still sucks. And the broadcasts still suck. And MASN still sucks. And — once again — it’s another set of broken promises, lies and “come ons” about progress, youth, getting better and competing in the AL East.

And this was supposed to be the time of the season when the team starts to exhibit some signs of hope for the future and some momentum going into 2010?

What stat do you want me to throw at you? They’re 4-14 this month. They haven’t won in a week. They can’t score runs with the bases loaded and nobody out.

They’ve dealt away three veterans and gave Aubrey Huff away for nothing. Every night the team is behind it seems.

And I’m not really sure that any of these young players know how to win or are surrounded by any positive role models who’ve won. Gregg Zaun was the only guy with a ring and they gave him away, too.

Here’s where the orange Kool-Aid drinkers will say: What about Adam Jones? And Nolan Reimold? And the promise of Matt Wieters? Blah, blah, blah…I hope they all step up in 2010 or beyond and make me eat my words. But for now, we report the truth.

And here’s the truth:

The ownership group of this franchise has lied to the city for years about just about everything.

“We’re close” or “we’ll win next year” or “we have some exciting young players” all sounds like incoherent babble at this point. MacPhail has bragged about all of the pitching in the system with the likes of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta coming to “The Show” and making the Orioles competitive in the elite AL East division.

I’ve now seen them all. They all have some nice strengths but some glaring weaknesses. None of them have the hype of a Ben McDonald and if they’re all as good as he was the Orioles might sniff .500 at their zenith of this era. Pitching is never a sure thing in the majors. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that.

Ok, so now what happens? This offseason won’t be much different from any in the past. How can this team possibly get better or find talent outside the organization during the winter to compete in the AL East?

When does this team finally turn the corner and even feign some competitiveness that will lead them somewhere near a .500 record in the future?

When will the team be able to attract any top free agents to come to Baltimore and help the team compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox?

Where’s that “veteran, straw who will stir the drink” that the Orioles will bring in to show some leadership?

Once they fire Dave Trembley, who will be the “next victim up” to try to get the Orioles out of the cellar?

When will the team stop banning free speech and allow the legitimate media back into the stadium to ask questions?

When will they stop running these stupid, mind-numbingly phony commercials on MASN that make the games all but unwatchable on top of a team that has been wretched over the past month?

When will residents of Boston and New York stop filling our city and our ballpark with out-of-town fans who boo and jeer young Orioles players from the moment they arrive?

It’s just a dreadful, dreadful product right now — the entire package of Orioles baseball. Going into September, I can’t remember a season worse than this because the promise of these young players from lips of MacPhail and the baseball “establishment” back in the spring was palpable.

We were supposed to feel better about the team at the end of the summer, not worse…

From going to the games to watching the games on TV to following the progress of the team even through the box scores and the standings every day — this really isn’t any fun.

It’s not fun to watch. It’s not fun to talk about. It’s not fun to listen to me on the radio talking about it.

Honestly, to any thinking person this is about the worst summer yet in a dozen horror shows since 1997.

But you don’t really want to hear that from me, do you?

They promised hope. They promised progress. They promised excitement.

They’re dangerously en route to playing the last two weeks of the season and not trying to hit triple digits in the loss column.

They made promises not only to you and me but also to Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis, who were the latest to sign multi-year contracts here under the guise that the team would show progress and get competitive.

Of course, Jim Hunter will tell you every night that 8-24 is progress.

Obviously, from where we sit today, it just looks like the latest batch of lies from Angelos and his henchmen.

Orioles Baseball 2009 — Feel The Tragic!

Ooops. That’s right. I’m not supposed to criticize the home team, am I?

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As Trembley rolls under the losing orange bus, I’ll defend him…

Posted on 02 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Watching the post-game press conference with Dave Trembley today has been illuminating. The Orioles are really reeling. The pitchers gave up 23 hits today. They used six pitchers who gave up a collective 18 runs. Their No. 1 starter in the on the disabled list. Next up, they’re apparently bringing in their No. 1 prospect in the organization, Brian Matusz, for Tuesday night and the manager is taking massive heat.

Today they were beaten 18-10 and swept while nearly 100,000 Red Sox fans rolled into Camden Yards this weekend and booed his young players while they floundered.

Before the game, his all-but-washed up veteran and emotional third basemen rolled him under the bus in a pre-game tirade that will go down as legendary.

Melvin Mora went on and on about “respect.” It was about as bad of a thing as you could possibly do to a manager in the middle of a bad stretch.

But I can’t blame this mess on Dave Trembley at this point.

As a matter of fact, since I’ve called for some clarity on his situation a few weeks ago I’ve honestly been tremendously impressed with how he’s conducted himself publicly amidst the losing.

I almost feel sorry for him. But for some reason, he’s not as testy in his post-game press conferences and I’m actually learning a lot as a fan. He’s been honest, decent and even-keeled during this stretch showing patience and concern and sharing real information and real management skills publicly.

You learn a lot more about teams and players and people when teams lose. Everyone’s a helluva winner.

Right now, Trembley’s team is losing and he’s taking the heat with dignity and respect for the media and the fans.

He’s explaining things and doing it honestly. That’s all I can ask for.

Melvin Mora says he deserves more respect. In my opinion, Dave Trembley and the Orioles fans deserve more production.

Here are some of Dave Trembley’s post-game quotes from today:

“I’m just glad our guys didn’t quit. I’m real pleased about that. We didn’t pitch well. To say we didn’t pitch well is an understatement. It wasn’t our day. Had some great at bats. Ran the bases well. They hit the cover off it.

“We’ll get it figured out. I had to extend some guys today. Hendrickson threw 30 pitches last night, gets extended today.”

On Jason Berken: “It’s been hard on him. I’m sure it’s been real difficult situation for him. He’s stuck and we’ve gotta do something to get him out. He’s in neutral and we’ve got to help him.”

On today’s strike zone and the umpires: “I’ve been suspended and paid an awful lot of money. I’m not going to comment on that.”

Zaun: “Who wants to lose your catcher in the 3rd inning of a game? It was a quick trigger.”

On the losing and the poor play: “It’s a lot tougher for them than it is for me. They’re doing the best they can. They didn’t get it done. I’m sure they feel absolutely terrible.”

On Mora and whether they’ve reached an understanding: “I don’t know. I don’t talk through the press. Here’s where I’m coming from: You show up to the ballpark and expect to play. And you do the very best you can all the time. And if you don’t play, you stay prepared to play. It’s about the team and it’s never about one guy.

And all of you people are very sharp and know how we do things. I’m not going to talk through the newspaper or the TV.”

“You pull for your guys. You want them to do well.

“We’ve got a bunch of young guys here. Don’t let the performance and the bad numbers make you think that you don’t belong here or that you shouldn’t be here or you should take a step back. Learn from it and prepare to pitch in four or five days.

“They know what their stats are. They know their performance. They know it better than you and me. And they’re reminded of it constantly. We’ve got to do something to help Berken and try to do something in the best interest of the team.

“You do what’s in the best interest of that person and the team.”

ON THE ENTIRE MORA SITUATION, PRIOR TO THE GAME

“I’m disappointed that he feels that way,” Trembley said.

“Melvin’s been a very good player for a long time. We don’t show disrespect toward anybody.

“I don’t look at things from that side. I don’t look at things from the negative or bad side. I try to do what’s best for the team. I try to do what’s best for each individual, but for the team, as well.

“It’s too bad that people’s feelings are hurt or feel disrespected and all that. That has never been my intent. I’m going to do the best I can for the team. I’ve never taken that stance to be personal toward anybody, and I think everybody understands that.

“I’m trying to help people. I’m not trying to hurt anybody. If I give a guy a day off, guys who are up there in age, they’ve played a long time, guys who are struggling, I’m trying to help them. I’m not looking to hurt them.”

TODAY’S BOX SCORE

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Trembley suspended for comedy show in Seattle

Posted on 10 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While I thought it was funny — Dave Trembley doing his best Piniella-Weaver tantrum in the first inning on Tuesday night in Seattle — apparently Bud Selig and the boys at the MLB office weren’t laughing. Today, Trembley was given a two-game suspension by the poobahs and will miss tonight and tomorrow night’s games at Camden Yards against Toronto.

Bench coach Dave Jauss will serve as acting manager for a few days and those who are “done” with Trembley will get their wish for at least a few days.

By the way, it’s kinda crazy they could suspend Trembley when he was RIGHT on the call.

But who says MLB is fair?

Apparently, the reason he was suspended wasn’t necessarily the outburst as much as admitting to the media afterward that he continued to manage the game from the bench.

Aren’t we in a silly era when they still “throw out” managers who we all know are managing by proxy somewhere?

Trembley apparently declined an invitation to sit in the press box tonight. I suppose he’ll manage by “text” from somewhere in the owner’s box with a shrimp cocktail, a crab cake on crackers and a tie on next to Andy McPhail. Getting suspended is a respite from the fray and as evidenced by the display below, that might not be a bad thing…

Anyway, here’s a funny video from Seattle shot by fans behind Trembley over the dugout…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTWFvLp4QVA[/youtube]

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Trembley tossed, Luke Scott muscles up as the “forgotten man”

Posted on 08 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

On a day when ESPN.com ran a gigantic story about the great future of the Orioles’ outfield of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold, it was Luke Scott who looked the present tense in Seattle as he devoured Mariners’ pitching for three hits and seven RBIs last night at Safeco Field in a 12-4 win.

Dave Trembley got tossed in the first inning after a Scott double and apparently told Scott “hit one out for me” and Cool Hand Luke answered with the biggest game of his career and the biggest individual effort since Ramon Hernandez’s 7-RBI night in Seattle back in 2006.

The video of Trembley’s ejection is here. It almost looks like he was trying to “stir it up” and get thrown out early in this one, even though he was clearly right on the call. After Scott’s double, the throw from the outfield toward the plate nicked the pitcher’s mound and took a wild bounce into the stands at Safeco. The lead runner should’ve been awarded home but wasn’t. Trembley went nuts!

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was lifted in the 3rd inning with a bout of dizziness.

Here’s the full game story and box score at WNST.

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

Posted on 30 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rain drops Koji: Birds lose to Mariners 6-3

Posted on 11 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04 June 2009 by WNST Interns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hitting slumps are acceptable. Mental mistakes are not.

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

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

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Matt Messiah has arrived…now will the wins follow?

Posted on 01 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least that’s the way I feel.

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

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

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Wieters HOF

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

Posted on 28 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wieters HOF

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

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

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

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

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

Or four years?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will he be Cal Ripken or Jim Fuller?

Will he be Eddie Murray or Craig Worthington?

Where will he bat in the order?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my message to Wieters:

Change the losing culture here in Baltimore, Matt!

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

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

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

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

I’m not a Wieters beater.

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

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

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

They tell me you’re “The Savior.”

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

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