Archive for the ‘ Baltimore Orioles News ’ Category

Baltimore Orioles: Changes in the booth?

If a report that came out yesterday is correct, Baltimore Orioles fans should expect a change in 2019 regarding one of the ways they consume the games. Longtime radio voice Joe Angel is rumored to be retiring. Angel, 71, has been calling Orioles’ games on the radio since 2004.

And let me also say that he’s been calling Orioles’ games very well on the radio since 2004. I’m a fan of Angel’s work, and assuming I’m fact that he’s planning on “hanging up his mic,” it’s a loss for Orioles fans. Nobody’s blaming the man for retiring mind you, but I felt he was really great at what he did.

Angel enjoyed two stints with the O’s, working with Jon Miller and Chuck Thompson during the late 80’s and early 90’s. He returned to the Orioles in 2004, where he was paired with Fred Manfra. As time went on Manfra cut back his work load, and more and more Angel found himself calling the games with Jim Hunter. Angel and Hunter in my opinion had chemistry together, and I always felt that they presented the games very well together on the radio.

For the record, neither the Orioles nor Joe Angel himself has commented on this report – it could always be erroneous. However the report’s out there. The question is where do the Orioles go now in terms of a lead play-by-play guy? I would submit that the aforementioned Jim Hunter could easily fill that role. In fact, as loyal as he’s been to the organization I think he’s deserving of a shot to fill that chair.

Like many teams the Orioles in effect have traditionally used a dual play-by-play man in the radio booth. The announcers would alternate every couple of innings. If the Orioles go with Hunter, do they bring in another guy capable of doing play-by-play, or instead bring in someone just to fill the color commentary role?

Whatever happens, the Orioles need to get this right. There’s no other sport which has a relationship with radio the way that baseball does. Radio play-by-play is a huge thing in baseball, and it’s a role that teams really need to figure out when the position is open. They also need to ensure that whomever is paired with that play-by-play guy has good chemistry. Again, this is more important in baseball than in any other sport.

Assuming in fact that this report is true, I wish Joe Angel well.

Baltimore Orioles: Frank Robinson and Adam Jones

The Baltimore Orioles and the baseball world lost a good one this week in Frank Robinson. This much we know. I think that part of why he’s so beloved in Baltimore and will always be thought of as an Oriole (despite playing more years in Cincinnati) is because he turned the Orioles into champions. Or at the very least, they became champions upon his arrival.

The Orioles were already a good team; they had a budding organization that was almost built into a proven winner. Then Robinson was added to an already potent lineup, and suddenly the Orioles won the World Series in his first year with the team (1966). With Frank it wasn’t so much his play on the field. That set a standard of par in and of itself; as a player, Robinson was never anything less than outstanding.

However more so with Frank Robinson, it was about his leadership both on a off the field. He didn’t expect excuses from his teammates as to why they screwed up or why this or that happened. Over the past couple of days I’ve heard more than one or Robinson’s former teammates say how if they committed an error in the field, it wasn’t a coach they were worried about facing, it was Frank. While Robinson could be tough at times, it was all in the interest of making the team better.

Over forty years after the Orioles traded for Frank Robinson, they made another trade. This time however, the centerpiece of the trade wasn’t an established winner or a proven talent. It was a guy named Adam Jones, who had an incredible upside and who represented a potential bright future for the young Orioles.

I don’t need to go into too much detail about Adam Jones. We all know who he is and what he’s accomplished in Baltimore. (We all also know that he’s still a free agent lingering out there ready to be signed…but that’s another story for another day.) Let’s be clear, Jones didn’t bring a world championship to Baltimore. He tried valiantly, but it just never happened.

The Orioles also had further to climb to get to that level when Jones arrived as opposed to when Robinson came aboard. However Adam Jones did very similar things on a slightly smaller scale for the Orioles and the city of Baltimore. I suspect that wherever Jones goes for the remainder of his career, he’ll always be seen and remembered as an Oriole – much like Frank Robinson. Similarly, his play on the field spoke for itself. But it was also the way he conducted himself that stood out.

Jones was an example to players young and old who came through the Orioles during his tenure. Again similar to Robinson, he held teammates to a high standard. And that began with him taking accountability when he made mistakes. However with his play on the field and with how he conducted himself on and off of it, he immediately endeared himself to the Baltimore community and to his teammates and coaches.

Again, Frank Robinson brought championships to Baltimore. However it can’t be stressed enough that Adam Jones helped to guide the Orioles further than they had gone in a generation. I don’t think that will ever be forgotten. Frank Robinson’s legacy with the Orioles has been set for some time. However I think you can put Jones up there with Frank as a similar-type character in the history of this team and this city. Neither time nor consequence will ever dim the glory of their deeds.

Baltimore Orioles sign pitcher Nate Karns

The Baltimore Orioles have officially signed a free agent in anticipating of the 2019 season. Pitcher Nate Karns signed on with the O’s yesterday. Karns signed a one-year deal worth $800,000, plus a possible $200,000 in incentives.

Over five seasons with four different teams (most recently Kansas City), Karns has a career win percentage of .573, and a 4.37 ERA. For what it’s worth, he gives up on average of 27 home runs per 162 games. Karns hasn’t appeared in a game since May of 2017 with Kansas City, after which he underwent thoracic outlet surgery. Then last year he was shut down during spring training with elbow inflammation and didn’t pitch in 2018.

So the Orioles are assuming a bit of a risk in signing Karns. I’m not sure he should be labeled a reclammation project, but it’s been awhile since he’s appeared in a game due to one injury or the next. He was ultimately outrighted last October by Kansas City, and he became a free agent.

The Orioles have two slots presumably open in the starting rotation. I suspect that’s where Karns will land, although his and others’ performances in spring training will play a role in that as well. Karns has been a starter for most of his career, but again nothing is set in stone per se.

In other news, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA is projecting the Orioles to finishe with 105 losses in 2019. That’s the highest projected loss total in the majors. That would also mean that they’d win 57 games – a ten-win improvement over 2018.

Would that be considered a successful season? In the context of rebuilding, I would submit that it would. However again things have to be put in the proper context. Out of context, that’s a miserable season. But put back into the proper context of a ten-win improvement, a rebuilding team, and a young team, I think most Orioles fans will take that.

Baltimore Orioles: Frank Robinson taught the Oriole Way is the CORRECT way

We got word earlier today that former Baltimore Orioles great Frank Robinson passed away after a battle with bone cancer. He was 83. Robinson played for the O’s for six years, hitting an even .300 and smacking 179 home runs. He was a 14-time all-star, and a World Series MVP.

But this isn’t about statistics. Frank Robinson taught the Orioles how to win. He had played in Cincinnati for ten years, and was traded to the O’s in 1965. They were World Champions in 1966. During his tenure in Baltimore he went to three consecutive World Series between 1969-71, winning one of them. He’s also remembered as the only player to hit the ball clear out of Memorial Stadium. An orange and black flag with the word HERE was placed at the spot where the ball cleared the grandstand.

Robinson played for various teams throughout his career, and in 1975 became a player/manager with the Cleveland Indians – homering in his first at-bat under that title. And with that, he became baseball’s first African-American manager. His time as a manager led him back to Baltimore, taking over for Cal Ripken Sr. six games into the 1988 season. He was relieved of managerial duties in May of 1991.

Obviously you have the “old guard” of the Orioles, which includes the Brooks’, Palmers,’ Powell’s, et al of the world. Frank Robinson is definitely a part of that group. Any Orioles fan of that 1960’s or early 70’s era identifies with Frank Robinson. Those such as myself knew him from stories from our fathers – and of course as one of the Orioles’ managers. 

Ironically one memory I have of Frank came well after his playing and managing days were over and he worked in the MLB offices. When the Orioles unveiled his statue on the left field flag court in 2012, Robinson returned to Baltimore to speak at the event. That speech includedn this simple but poignant quote, invoking past, present, and future:

The Oriole Way – is the CORRECT way.

That always struck me. Robinson of course remained popular in Baltimore for the remainder of his life, which as we’ve chronicled sadly ended yesterday. His final managing job in the majors was with the Washington Nationals, in their first three years of existence. Coming into Camden Yards as a visiting manager, he still got the royal treatment with a video tribute between innings. In typical Frank Robinson fashion, he accepted the accolades humbly by lifting his cap skyward and thanking the fans.

It was always about the fans for Frank and for many others of his generation. As I said, Robinson played for quite a few other organizations. Heck, he played in Cincinnati for four years more than he did Baltimore. However I think if you ask most baseball fans, they’ll identify him as a Baltimore Oriole. And I think that Frank Robinson would be cool with that. Because as he himself taught, the Oriole Way is the CORRECT way. Rest in Peace, Frank Robinson.

Baltimore Orioles, MLB could be playing under different rules

If commissioner Rob Manfred gets his way, the rules under which the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB play might soon be vastly different. And in saying that, I mean…there are rules that get tweaked (which happens every year), and then there’s what Manfred wants to do. Make no mistake, if he gets his way the game will never be the same.

As originally reported by The Athletic, Manfred and the player’s union are discussing the following changes: Universal Designated Hitter (eliminating the need for pitchers to hit in the National League), three-batter minimum for all pitchers, 20-second pitch clock, trade deadline prior to the all-star game, expansion of rosters to 26 men, and a provision for two-sport players to sign major league deals Let that sink in for a moment.

Not all of these ideas are bad in my view. I’m indifferent to the trade deadline concept and two-sport players being able to sign big league deals. However I think allowing 26 men on the roster is a good idea. It doesn’t change things a heck of a lot, but it allows teams some additional support.

I’ve been very clear on the DH over time – for those who have read me over the years. I think that the rules on both leagues should in fact be uniform. And thus I think the DH should go away entirely. I’ve never liked it. Certainly the player’s union is going to be in favor of it because more high-salaries DH jobs will open up and help extend guys’ careers. But it gets us further and further away from what the game always has been and should be.

Manfred has wanted a pitch clock for some time. Now what would focus on the pace of play would be forcing teams to leave relievers in for at least three hitters. But again, I’m not a fan of that. Managers matching up in later innings is part of the game. It always has been, and it always will be. Are we really considering removing that from the sport?

End of the day, baseball evolves just like everything else. I just hope it doesn’t happen too quickly. Again, pitchers are a part of that day.’a lineup. Why shouldn’t they hit also? So to Rob Manfred and the rest of the league, I would simply say to be careful.

Baltimore Orioles: Spring Training 2018 is big for fans also

I’ve spent a lot of time saying how important this year’s spring training would be for the Baltimore Orioles. The organization is building from the ground up, not with a new manager and a new GM. It all goes without saying.

But it’s also a key time for fans. Can anyone really name this team’s lineup? Probably not – I know I can’t. That’s something that will work itself out in this year’s spring training. And that’s why fans should really pay extra attention.

This is going to be your team – good or bad. Like them or not. So it behooves fans to watch whenever they can. At some point in the near future, we’ll find out which games MASN will carry during the spring. I would highly recommend that folks make a point of tuning in whenever they can, or following however they are able. Get emotionally invested in these guys. They’re the future. And they’re the Orioles of today.

The Orioles will host their annual Spring Fest at Ed Smith Stadium on February 16th from 9 AM – 1 PM. The event is modeled somewhat after FanFest, but is designed to celebrate the start of spring training. This is just another way that the Orioles imbed themselves in the Sarasota community all year around.

Baltimore Orioles: What role should loyalty play in sports?

I would submit that there are few organizations in professional sports as loyal as the Baltimore Orioles. They take care of their own for the most part. You can look at how many former stars that retain jobs with the organization to see that. It is that good or bad?

The father of NBA star Anthony Davis recently stated that he wouldn’t want his son playing for the Boston Celtics because the organization has no loyalty. Mr. Davis was referring to how the Celtics had traded Isaiah Thonas Jr. after he led them to the eastern conference finals, and after he had to miss time to deal with the death of his sister. It does come off as incredibly cold.

However Boston’s simply wheeling and dealing – at least that’s what GM Danny Ainge would say. He’s trying to better the team. But the price of doing it in that manner appears to be loyalty. Speaking for myself, I much prefer the Orioles’ approach of taking care of their own.

Granted the O’s traded almost their entire team last year. However it wasn’t as coldly done as some franchises do it. There’s also a difference between busting up a losing team and continually wheeling and dealing while you’re a contender.

There’s also another reason why loyalty is a good thing in sports. It allows your community and your fans to form bonds with the players. Baltimore fans had a bond with the Orioles of the 1970’s and 80’s. They lived in the community, their kids went to school with the kids of their fans, etc. We also saw that level of bonding with the most recent crop of O’s; the Machado, Hardy, Jones, etc. group.

That makes things a lot easier in the sense that the community is imbedded with those players. If you simply import the best team money can buy every year, I’m not sure there’s the same draw to the players or the team. When you allow it to happen organically, it can make a difference.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Time will tell which way works better. But given any circumstance, I’ll take loyalty every time.

Baltimore Orioles: Brandon Hyde and a Super Bowl takeaway

With the Super Bowl now being over, the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the Major League Baseball are now on the clock. Pitchers and catchers report next week. I can sense the excitement already.

That said, there’s something I’ve noticed about manager Brandon Hyde in his limited public remarks thus far. He seems very dedicated to forming relationships with the players. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s trying to be “buddy-buddy” with them. But he’s trying to get to know them, and what makes them tick. And certainly I’m sure, he’s hoping that they’re trying to do the same thing with regard to he and his staff.

I noticed a similar motif regarding the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots last night. Coach Bill Belichek and quarterback Tom Brady of course are the constants over 17 years of success. But I heard more than one player say that it was about relationships. That’s what makes a team a team.

So that really boded well for the Orioles’ future in a sense. If there’s one organization that any team in any sport would want to emulate, it would be the Nee England Patriots. If the Patriots are all about relationships and the Orioles are trying to form relationships, that probably means that the Orioles are doing something right.

Baltimore Orioles: Super Sunday

The Baltimore Orioles are roughly a week-and-a-half away from pitchers and catchers reporting. However that and everything else in the sports world takes a back seat today. It’s Super Sunday!

Baltimore of course has a rich history in the Super Bowl, with the Colts playing in two and winning one, and the Ravens winning in both of their appearances in the big game. It’s also worth mentioning that the CFL Baltimore Stallions won the Grey Cup, which is Canada’s version of the Super Bowl. And of course no discussion of Baltimore’s pro football championship ties is complete without mentioning the great Johnny Unitas and the 1958 NFL Title Game – the greatest game ever played.

Ironically, there is an old school tie to Baltimore football in today’s Super Bowl game. The original owner of the Baltimore Colts was Carroll Rosenbloom. In 1972 he executed a tax-free swap of franchises (basically a straight up trade) with Robert Irsay, then the owner of the Los Angeles Rams. That second name of course is one that still makes hair on the backs of necks stand up across town – not limited to my Dad, who was a HUGE Colts fan as a kid.

Obviously the direction of both franchises since then is well-documented. Having said that, Rosenbloom died in 1979, and his widow, Georgia Frontiere, inherited the team. Ironically Rosenbloom had redrawn his will so that his son Stephen would get it, however he died before that will could be executed. However the Rams have since been sold and are no longer in the Carroll Rosenbloom family.

Of course the Rams since then moved St. Louis, and now they’re back in Los Angeles. But that’s Baltimore’s slight connection to today’s game. For what it’s worth, it’ll be a very close game. Personally I’m rooting for Los Angeles. But it’s tough to pick against Tom Brady.

Baltimore Orioles: Super Sunday

The Baltimore Orioles are roughly a week-and-a-half away from pitchers and catchers reporting. However that and everything else in the sports world takes a back seat today. It’s Super Sunday!

Baltimore of course has a rich history in the Super Bowl, with the Colts playing in two and winning one, and the Ravens winning in both of their appearances in the big game. It’s also worth mentioning that the CFL Baltimore Stallions won the Grey Cup, which is Canada’s version of the Super Bowl. And of course no discussion of Baltimore’s pro football championship ties is complete without mentioning the great Johnny Unitas and the 1958 NFL Title Game – the greatest game ever played.

Ironically, there is an old school tie to Baltimore football in today’s Super Bowl game. The original owner of the Baltimore Colts was Carroll Rosenbloom. In 1972 he executed a tax-free swap of franchises (basically a straight up trade) with Robert Irsay, then the owner of the Los Angeles Rams. That second name of course is one that still makes hair on the backs of necks stand up across town – not limited to my Dad, who was a HUGE Colts fan as a kid.

Obviously the direction of both franchises since then is well-documented. Having said that, Rosenbloom died in 1979, and his widow, Georgia Frontiere, inherited the team. Ironically Rosenbloom had redrawn his will so that his son Stephen would get it, however he died before that will could be executed. However the Rams have since been sold and are no longer in the Carroll Rosenbloom family.

Of course the Rams since then moved St. Louis, and now they’re back in Los Angeles. But that’s Baltimore’s slight connection to today’s game. For what it’s worth, it’ll be a very close game. Personally I’m rooting for Los Angeles. But it’s tough to pick against Tom Brady.

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