Archive for August, 2007

Swing and a Miss
August 24, 2007

On the heels of, shall we say, a slightly humbling experience ( I still can’t figure out why the O’s didn’t just take a knee). The Orioles had a chance to change focus from the 30 unanswered runs scored by Texas to the brilliant and gutsy draft and sign of Georgia Tech catch Matt Wieters.

Granted they tried. A press conference was scheduled Thursday evening at 6:00 to introduce Wieters to the media. All the local TV cameras would be rolling, and probably some national ones too.

Then we received an e-mail announcing a change in plans.

MEDIA ADVISORY August 23, 2007
WIETERS NEWS CONFERENCE POSTPONED
UNTIL FRIDAY AT 6 P.M.

The Orioles news conference to introduce CA MATT WIETERS, their first round pick in this year’s amateur draft, has been postponed until tomorrow, Friday, August 24, at 6:00 p.m. in the Auxiliary Clubhouse at Oriole Park, prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins.
Wieters is scheduled to take batting practice with the Orioles prior to tomorrow’s game.
Orioles credentials will be required to attend both batting practice and the news conference.

This is a copy and paste although didn’t actually come in orange but I though it seemed appropriate.

So we pulled our camera back from Camden Yards and put it in the planner for Friday.

Turns out, Wieters did meet with the media who were still there during the game (we don’t keep a camera there because there’s nothing for the videographer to do 99% of the time during a game).

Then this morning, the internet went to work again.

MEDIA ADVISORY August 24, 2007
WIETERS NEWS CONFERENCE CANCELLED

Because of a late change in plans last night, there will be no news conference tonight with Orioles first round pick CA MATT WIETERS.

Wieters completed his physical late yesterday, signed his contract and met with media at Camden Yards during last night’s game. He is scheduled to fly to Massachusetts this morning to join the short-season Class A Aberdeen IronBirds, who are playing at Lowell. Wieters will work out with the team for several days on their road trip before possibly being activated.
We apologize for the inconvenience.

If they had just told us, ‘hey stick around and he’ll be available during the game’ no problem. A little overtime, but for the Orioles best draft pick maybe since Mike Mussina, worth it.

Instead, we miss our chance to share Wieters with the fans and think about a very bright future. Now we’re left wondering how it is that the introductory press conference for the team’s top pick (something they’ve done every year of recent memory) just gets tossed under the rug when they Orioles so badly need some good free publicity.

On the field they seem headed in the right direction, but nothing ever seems to go just right with this franchise.

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The Bright Orange Light
August 16, 2007

We may currently endure dark, heavy rain showers in Baltimore but not since 1997 has the forecast seemed so bright. A stretch of games against the Red Sox and Yankees that saw them win four of six, and that barely even registers on the Orange Optimism Scale.

Late last night Baltimore signed its 1st round pick, 6’5″ heavy hitting catcher Matt Wieters. They did it with nine minutes till the deadline, and by two million dolllars, ponied up the highest signing bonus in team history ($6 million).

Wieters, by many accounts, was the best player in the draft. He lasted till the 5th pick only because of who represented him. Scott Boras. The most demanding agent in baseball, and a pariah with whom the Orioles previously had bad blood.

They knew when taking Wieters that they had to deal with Boras. It seemed illogical that they would have drafted him, knowing what it would take to sign him, and not sign him.

But these are the Orioles. For a decade now, whatever could go wrong did, and if it looked promising they’d kill that too. Some of it bad luck, other bad judgement, and even more still just cheap.

That’s why signing Wieters is a landmark moment for the franchise. He was the guy they were’nt supposed to be able to land. Up until 11:50 PM on Wednesday, the message boards lit up with a combination of resigned self loathing and deep seated anger at the team.

Then it changed.

We see the light at the end of the tunnel and it has s lovely orange hue.

Erik Bedard is now far more likely to resign with the team than opt out after 2009. Same for Brian Roberts. Same for season ticket holders.

This is huge. This makes the Orioles relevant once more. The Ravens have made Baltimore a football town and the Orioles let them but they’ll soon have to share.

Welcome to Baltimore Matt Wieters.

Redskins/Ravens Scrimmage
August 4, 2007

100 degrees but only 44 percent humidity so they say it only feels like 150 degrees on the field. A guess from the press box says 15,000 fans on hand which is pretty cool for a glorified practice. But while it wont last as long as a regular game, the amount of things going on at once leaves you a little dizzy.

At midfield you have two sets of one on one drills between lineman battling at the same time. Then the Ravens offense in the red zone and the Redskins offense going the other way from the 40 yard line. And no timeouts. So while I had to miss a bunch, what I saw Ravens fans will like. The lineman drills consistently saw one on one wins for the home team. Haloti Ngata almost went untouched with a move to beat his man. Three times in a row Chris Chester kept his defender at bay, and rookie Jared Gaither simply engulfed 7 year veteran Andre Carter. You would have thought Carter was the rookie.

The down side for the Ravens came from some of the veteran lineman. Keydrick Vincent looked like France in WWII, completely run over. Mike Flynn didn’t fare much better.

They’ve now spread things out and watching the offenses have some room you have to be impressed with Jason Campbell. The 6’5″ quarterback from Auburn is accurate and strong. He hit James Thrash dead perfect on a 45 yard strike to beat Samari Rolle for a touchdown.

The Ravens starter didn’t impress as often. We know Steve McNair no longer possesses a cannon but several lolly gagged passes were picked or should have been.

More to come…

First teamers of 11 on 11 went the way of the Ravens. Washington went first and the Reskins managed just one first down after starting from their own 35. Strange though Washington did not use Campbell at all for the full team scrimmage. It showed. The Skins went nowhere.

The Ravens then with the ball marched down the field. A 3rd down conversion from McNair to Todd Heap thrilled and then made nervous the crowd. He wouldn’t go down. Six Redskins finally gang tackled number 86. Some players can’t off the switch, it’s why they love him. Kyle Boller finished up the drive and looked solid until it was first and goal. Remember though, in a scrimmage you won’t do anything save the most vanilla of plays. It’s not easy to get anything done in little space. However, a couple of ugly looking pass attempts to Demetrius Williams didn’t anybody clamoring for number seven to start. The drive resulted in the most familiar of fashions, a Matt Stover field goal.

Nothing but 2nd and 3rd teamers left playing and it’s almost interview time so I’m headed to the locker room. Good Start Baltimore, it’s something from which to build.