Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Orioles Celebration
October 7, 2012

5 minutes of the O’s celebrating their Wild Card win. If you love the Orioles, you must watch this.

Advertisements

Football season for the Orioles
October 5, 2012

Jumping into the playoff fray for their first time in 15 years, and the Orioles land on a Game Seven.  Okay, it’s the wild card, but with the addition the 2nd non-division winner baseball’s post season it serves the same purpose.  Win and advance, lose and go home, options previously left for the NFL playoffs.

I know plenty of Oriole fans are frustrated at this scenario, particularly since the game is played in Texas.  But a one game, winner take all contest serves Baltimore well.  

A story today on Grantland, previewing the A.L. Wildcard pointed out eloquently, that even the woeful Houston Astros won a best of one series 54 times this year.  It also pointed out that the worst teams in baseball often beat the best.  

So putting a pair of teams together that each won 93 games allows for the possibilities that anything can happen.

The Orioles I talked to agree.  Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Joe Saunders all were lauding the opportunity they have. Every one of them telling me this format better suits Baltimore.  After their season of intense theater, they seem so well prepared for the pressure.  

Sure Yu Darvish has better stuff than Joe Saunders. Sure Joe Saunders has never won a game in this ball park.  Sure the Rangers trot out a lineup littered with all stars, ones that have at times pulverized the Birds this season.  

So what.

The Rangers are reeling after the worst final week choke job in recent baseball memory.  They went from the best record in the American League to wild card in the blink of an eye.  All the pressure rests squarely on their shoulders.  The Orioles just hope to apply a little more, and in doing so, bring playoff baseball back to Camden Yards on Sunday. Image

Thome’s Message
October 3, 2012

I love Jim Thome.  He’s the only player I cover any more that’s older than me.  And with such experience comes wisdom.  

A few hours before the Orioles face the Rays, still  hoping to somehow win the A.L. East or at least guarantee another game at Camden Yards, Thome has a message for his team.

He reminds his younger mates, two of whom are less than half his age, to relax and understand that no matter what the Orioles have made the post season.  But more  importantly, for them to cherish every moment of this incredible journey.

I could tell them the same things, but of course they would mean nothing. But coming from a man with 612 career home runs, and a man who has played in the post season in nine different seasons, it means the world. Image

Orioles survive Invisi-Shields
October 3, 2012

James Shields pitched the best game I’ve ever seen in person.  A club record 15 strikeouts, zero walks and did it all on just 106 pitches.  I was told he would have come out for the 10th if necessary.  

But he made one mistake, and made it to the wrong guy.  A high change up to Chris Davis was mauled off the R in center field some 440 feet from home plate.  Davis now has a HR is six consecutive games tying the club record set by Reggie Jackson in 1976.  

Credit the Rays, they gave their all in a game that means nothing to them.  They did their fans justice.  Still, the Orioles found a way to beat them anyway, in their cow palace.  The kind of wins that reminds us again, the O’s belong to be here.

Miguel Gonzalez had no major league resume before this season, and his minor league resume had been tossed in the trash by 29 other teams.  But the O’s gave him a chance and he somehow has repaid them with 9 wins and the ability to match the best, at their best when Baltimore needed it most.

Gonzalez went six and a third innings allowing no runs and striking out seven. That of course is the perfect recipe for the Orioles this season.  Get to the 7th with a lead, and they win.  Jim Johnson closed it out going through the heart of the Rays order.  

Johnson was then thrust into the post game spotlight, nothing he enjoys less, but shared how proud he is too be part of arguably the best bullpen in the American League. 

The Orioles hopes of winning the division, of winning the top spot in the wild card thus guaranteeing more baseball at Camden Yards continues because of this win.  Feeling awfully lucky to be here and witness.

Image

Pregame for a big game
October 2, 2012

The Rays will not lay down.  Their lineup remains the same as does their attitude according to their manager, Joe Maddon. On Twitter, Maddon wrote “We’re going to go hard to win these 2 games just the way Buck and the Orioles did it last year. I know he wouldn’t want it any other way”

Not news Oriole fans necessarily wanted to hear, but maybe they’ll just have to be a little louder.  They certainly are here in numbers.  During batting practice we saw more orange than blue, and this picture, just minutes before first pitch, shows a healthy spread of Oriole fans.  

I’ll say again though, amazing to see so few people here to watch a pair over very good baseball teams. 

Image

Wake me up when September Ends
October 1, 2012

Check that, don’t wake me up.  Don’t wake anyone up in Baltimore who remains bathed in the glory of this Orioles dream season.

It’s 6:30 AM on Monday October, 1st and I sit here at BWI Airport awaiting a flight to Tampa.  It’s a trip I thought I might never make, hitting the road to cover the Orioles (and not a Sarasota spring thing, hoping to find cause to believe the O’s could remain relevant until training camp). 

I spent the last week at Oriole Park watching this surreality show play out as the franchise that could do no right could finally do no wrong.  I saw Camden Yards drenched in Orange as fans watched Chris Davis launch moon shot after moon shot, Matt Wieters making impossible throws to embarrass would be base stealers and Buck Showalter on the bench watching his every decision play out even better than he could have imagined.

The greatest question remains, how in the heck did a team rife with players seemingly better suited for residence at the Island of Misfit Toys, come together for the most enjoyable season in Orioles history.  

I know that description sounds like a stretch, but the great Vince Bagli described it to me that way Sunday and since he’s seen EVERY season of modern Orioles baseball, I feel good in going with it. 

We’ll never have a fully satisfying answer, and that’s why sports are so important to our culture.  Sometimes, it just comes together.  I know we can heap a healthy portion of reason on Buck Showalter.  His resume of turning teams around trumped all his players resumes that said they weren’t good enough.  Career years from Jim Johnson, Adam Jones, Chris Davis of course helped.  But getting not just good, but great play from the likes of Nate McLouth, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, teenage wunderkind Manny Machado, by all reason should not have happened.  But it did. 

Here are some photos from the last week I collected, and I look forward to posting many more as this amazing journey continues.

Image

ImageImageImage

History delayed
October 1, 2012

History delayed

The Orioles gathered on the field, becoming one with the fans as they watched the 9th inning of the Angels/Rangers game Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles delayed the inevitable for a few hours, stealing away a moment the Birds could share with their fans. That though proved just a minor setback as Baltimore later celebrated its first trip to the post season since 1997.

Ray Lewis can and will inspire anyone and everyone
March 29, 2012

Ray Lewis somehow found his way into the Stanford men’s basketball team locker room before the Cardinal’s NIT Semifinal against UMass.  Not surprisingly, Stanford won the game.  Thanks to deadspin for sharing first.

Mike Mussina: great Orioles talent, but HOF?
March 28, 2012

Mike Mussina, for so many in Baltimore, defines the dawn of a dark era.  The losing seasons had started three years prior, but his bolt north to New York crystallized the reality that the glory days had died.

Picture courtesy: 60ft6in.com

In theory it’s hard to blame Mussina.  He received an extra year and 16 million more from the Yankees (should be noted though, Mussina never enjoyed a World Series Championship in New York despite playing on the team with the highest payroll every one of his 8 seasons in the Bronx.  The homerous cynic in me cries KARMA!)

But when Moose exercised his free agency rights to leave, he trampled on the emotions of Orioles fans.  Going to the Yankees, whom we could still seriously call  our rivals in 200o, was a straight gut shot.  Baltimore hasn’t had anything resembling an ace since, nor a winning season.

11 and a half years later, the club announces Mussina as an Orioles Hall of Famer.

His numbers certainly bear that out. He posted an E.R.A. of 3.53 in his eight Baltimore seasons, finishing at least 6th in the Cy Young Award balloting 9 times. He outpitched Randy Johnson twice in the 1997 Division Series.

If the Hall of Fame is a reward solely for one’s level of play, there can be no debate on Mike Mussina’s inclusion in Baltimore. But if Hall of Fame includes impact on the community, the way a player treats fans, and whether or not he crushed the hopes of a fan base by leaving for an arch rival, then yes debate is warranted.

Again, it was Mussina’s right to leave, but it’s the Orioles right to include whom they want in their Hall of Fame. The club says yes, what say you Orioles fans?

Loyola’s dream journey thanks to Jimmy Patsos
March 15, 2012

After watching Jimmy Patsos navigate the media, supporters, and all manner of well wishers in Pittsburgh, it’s hard to believe they ever had the NCAA Tourney without him.  A relentless, restless connoisseur of life he creates a vacuum the moment he leaves a room.

A quality practice started Thursday followed by a trip to the Andy Warhol Museum.  Patsos saw the parallel.  The Greyhounds currently enjoy their 15 minutes of fame, and his question to his team before they take the court against Ohio State tonight, are your 15 minutes up?  He navigated through the exhibitions like they were trying to trap him, barely pausing, but at the same time offering a running dialogue about Warhol.

This served as a distraction sure, but you have to love that on the day of the biggest game of his career, he focuses on teaching his kids some culture.

Speaking of his commentary, Patsos’ story telling capabilities are legendary, but so full of tangents you really have to focus when he gets going.  Or sometimes, don’t even listen, just watch him go.

His players love it.  They know he knows basketball, but much more he wants to give them a foundation for the future. A 92 percent graduation rate for his players, combined with a 24 win season make him a hot commodity in coaching ranks.  And should he pull an upset tonight against the Buckeyes, you can start printing invitations to his going away party.  They will come for him.

But right now,  all the efforts to build a program from a one win disaster to the MAAC Champions are rewarded.  Jimmy’s 15 minutes I do believe, are just beginning.

(this picture below works perfectly for Patsos.  He doesn’t stand still long enough to get in focus.  Loyola A.D. Jim Paquette enjoys a conversation with the constant motion expert)