Results tagged ‘ Baltimore Orioles ’

Baltimore Orioles: Some gave all

The Baltimore Orioles should be playing the Chicago White Sox right now in a Memorial Day matinee at Camden Yards. Of course we all know why that isn’t the case, but we go onward. And we hope that baseball returns to us soon.

However one thing that isn’t different is that today is Memorial Day. Today our nation pauses to remember our war dead and to give honor to both they and the families they left behind. And I want to make something clear; this isn’t the moment to throw Coronavirus victims and first responders into a place of honor. I’ve heard several folks suggest it would be an opportune moment to recognize them as well.

And the answer is no – today is about our war dead. It’s not even about vets or active service members. It’s about those who never came home. We owe it to those people and their families to always make it about them. I have no issue with a day honoring those people, it just can’t be today. Today’s about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in war.

And again, we can’t ever forget that. We can’t ever forget that there are Gold Star families out there who were altered forever when their loved one died in war. And that’s why we have the ability to watch baseball. Which hopefully returns to us soon. As the title states, SOME GAVE ALL.

Baltimore Orioles: Return-to-play proposal coming

Baltimore Orioles fans might not have to wait much longer for news about the 2020 season. Multiple reports came out yesterday suggesting that within the next week the league will submit a return-to-play proposal to the player’s association. It’s unclear what that proposal will entail, however the word on the street is that the league wants to start the season in late June or early July.

First off keep in mind that the players will have to come to terms with the league on some major things, including salary. There are virtually no scenario’s out there which involve fans being able to be admitted to games – at least at first. If situations in certain cities improve over the course of the season, perhaps that could cease to be the case. So the owners are presumably going to want the players to agree to further pro-rated salaries given the loss of gate revenues.

Again, word on the street is that the league will look to start “Spring Training 2.0” sometime during the second week of June or so. It also appears that will be occurring in teams’ home ballparks. So the O’s would be training at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

What’s unclear is whether or not a slate of exhibition games would be included in this “Spring Training 2.0.” If teams are training in their home parks, I would assume that might not necessarily be the case. You might have some teams such as the O’s and Washington, the NY teams, Chicago teams, etc, who might consider setting up joint practices or perhaps the equivalent of NFL scrimmages of yesteryear, however I wouldn’t think teams would be traveling to other teams’ parks to play formal exhibition games. But I could be wrong.

There are all kinds of rumors in terms of how the season will unfold in terms of the divisions, but the most feasible idea I’ve seen is putting the O’s in a division (only for this year) with Miami, Tampa, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the NY teams, Boston, and Toronto. Those teams would make up the entire 2020 schedule. But time will tell how that turns out.

And that’s another reason why this is taking longer than it probably should. Baseball can’t just start games up where teams would be have been in their schedule otherwise. They’re going to have to release an entirely new schedule with new dates and new games. It takes awhile to postulate how that’s going to work, and presumably that will be part of what’s rolled out to the players in the next week.

Baltimore Orioles: MLB drops the ball on Boston cheating scandal

As the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the league await news about the beginning/resumption of the 2020 season, MLB came down with their discipline of the Boston Red Sox for their cheating in 2018. And unless you’re a Boston fan, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed:

  • T.J. Watkins, formerly the BoSox’s video replay system technician operator, is suspended for the entirety of the 2020 regular season and postseason. The league found that he at times utilized game feeds to steal signs.
  • Boston forfeits their second round pick in the 2020 first year player draft
  • Now former manager Alex Cora is suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season. Cora of course has already been deposed of his duties, so all this means is that he couldn’t sign with another team or play a role in this season – whatever this season ends up being. (For the record, this discipline is the result of his actions with the 2017 Houston Astros, and not the 2018 Boston Red Sox.)

The Boston Red Sox issued a statement in response:

As an organization, we strive for 100% compliance with the rules. MLB’s investigation concluded that in isolated instances during the 2018 regular season, sign sequences were decoded through the use of live game video rather than through permissible means.

MLB acknowledged the front office’s extensive efforts to communicate and enforce the rules and concluded that Alex Cora, the coaching staff, and most of the players did not engage in, nor were they aware of, any violations. Regardless, these rule violations are unacceptable. We apologize to our fans and Major League Baseball, and accept the Commissioner’s ruling

-MLB

I’ll put it like this – these “penalties are flat out INSULTING to any non-Boston fan. I might accept that their level of cheating might not have been as hands-on as that of Houston in 2017. But this is seriously less than a slap-on-the-wrist. Again, in my view it’s flat out insulting.

And I’ll be honest; if there was something that could have made the Houston Astros look sympathetic, it was this. Because if I’m Houston I’m pretty ticked off at the penalty that my team got, compared with the Boston Red Sox. This utterly wreaks of the rich just get richer.

Losing a second round pick might be serious for a team, but again if I’m Houston I’m questioning how they only lost a second round pick and I list a first and a second in two different drafts. Nevertheless, this is what the league and commissioner Rob Manfred have decided. So the matter is now closed.

Baltimore Orioles: Where we stand on a season

Greetings and salutations, Baltimore Orioles fans! We’ve all heard the potential contingencies for getting the season started, and there are positives and negatives to them all. The question is where exactly do we stand?

You can go on message boards and Facebook sites and get a wide array of opinions. From some saying “shut it down” and “we just have to accept that there’ll be no baseball maybe until 2021 or even ‘we,” to “play now with fans in the stands.” My personal opinion on the matter is that this is the moment to at least discuss what MLB will be in 2020. The curves do appear to be flattening. So it’s worth discussing.

Baseball’s in a much different and frankly better spot than sports such as hockey or basketball. They were in the home stretch of their respective seasons. But baseball would have just begun a couple of weeks ago. Baseball also has the ability to schedule doubleheader’s, thus getting in more games. That doesn’t happen in other sports.

I’ve advocated the idea of scrapping the AL and NL for one season, and playing the Grapefruit League against the Cactus League. My Pearson’s view is that’s a better alternative than the entire league going to Arizona. Teams have their own facilities in those respective places, and it would still give them a sense of playing “at home.” Not totally, but at the very least you’re playing in a ballpark that you feel is “yours.”

This past week we also hear another idea, that of putting the league into regional divisions and you play games in your division only. The O’s would have been lumped in with Washington, Philadelphia, both NY teams, and probably Boston. Something along those lines. It’s unclear exactly how the standings and/or post-season would have worked, but I digress. This would also allow for teams to play games in their home ballparks.

The one thing that all of these plans (and presumably the contingencies of which we haven’t heard) has in common is that they don’t allow for fans. Teams would be playing in empty ballparks. And I think it would have to be that way – at least at first. I don’t deny that it’s possible (albeit unlikely) that teams could admit fans later in the summer. But we would have to cross that bridge when we would get there.

What happens remains to be seen. But America needs sports. People can say it’s not essential and so forth – and that may be true. However it gives people repose from the real world. So my hope is that one of these plans, or one of which we haven’t heard, moves forward. And soon at that.

Baltimore Orioles: Mark Reynolds retires

Veteran journeyman infielder Mark Reynolds, a former member of the Baltimore Orioles, announced his retirement yesterday. Over the course of his 13-year career, Reynolds hit .236. However again over the course of those 13 years, he averaged 29 home runs a year. It was pretty much either a home run for Reynolds, or a strikeout.

Reynolds played for the Orioles in 2011 and 2012. He became somewhat of a cult hero amongst Orioles fans. Again, he had the potential for majestic, tape measure-type home runs. I once covered a game where he hit the ball into the club level seats at Camden Yards (on the second deck). At other times he looked lost at the plate, and swung through the same pitches he previously hit into the stratosphere.

It’s kind of a microcosm into life in a sense. We all have moments where we’re really on, but others where we’re really off. The Orioles first signed Reynolds prior to the 2011 season to play third base. However it turned out that his skills at third had regressed. Then they started playing him at first; and he played a very decent first base. Again, a microcosm of life. If one thing doesn’t work, something else might.

Reynolds of course was a member of the 2012 Orioles, which returned the franchise to the postseason for the first time in 14 years. And that added to the cult following that Reynolds assembled during his time in Baltimore. Nevertheless, I hope Birdland joins me in wishing Reynolds well moving forward!

Baltimore Orioles: Idea for the 2020 season

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB remain in a holding pattern regarding starting the season. I have to admit this is one of the strangest situations I’ve seen in my life – springtime with no baseball. No NBA or NHL playoffs. The NCAA tournament being canceled.

There are various opinions as to whether or not the season will eventually start. I still say that at some point it will. Whether that’s June or July remains to be seen. But I do personally believe we’ll have baseball this year. But who knows.

There are also multiple scenario’s for when the season will start, how many games will be played, etc. I’ll spare the details because there’s no point in going over that now when we just don’t know. However many of the ideas seem to center around teams playing games in spring training parks – which at first would be empty. (Perhaps eventually they could admit fans.) One even has the entire league centering in Arizona given that the parks are so close together.

However here’s another thought, or perhaps another spin on that. Throw out the concept of American League and National Leauge – just for this year. Assuming the 2021 season goes off as planned, everything would revert back to normal for that. But there are 15 teams (including the Orioles) in the Florida Grapefruit League, and 15 in the Arizona Cactus League.

You see where I’m going with this, obviously. Why not play out the season using that as a “line of demarcation” in a sense, and have teams battle it out to go to the playoffs in their spring training “divisions?” Then obviously you have a World Series between whomever comes out of the Grapefruit League, and whomever comes out of the Cactus League.

At first, it would keep teams in one geographic area, and yes this would presume that at least at first there would be no fans. However as time goes on, perhaps things loosen up a bit, allowing fans to attend games. On top of that, perhaps at some point and in certain situations, games could transition back to the cities that the teams represent.

There would be a lot of logistics involved in this sort of idea, including rules. I would hope that in this model the league might agree on one uniform set of rules, meaning either the use of a DH or having pitchers hit. You would obviously still have series’ and so forth, and yes there would potentially be doubleheaders.

I’m not big on gimmicks in baseball. I’m somewhat of a purist, and in general I don’t think the sport should be amenable to too much change. But if you’re going to utilize the spring training facilities and so forth, that seems like a plausible way to do it. One way or the other, there’s going to have to be some movement away from the norm in order for a season (potentially a shorter season) to be played. One way or the other, my hope is that the words PLAY BALL! ring out from somewhere fairly soon.

Baltimore Orioles: News on the regular season

Yesterday was tough for Baltimore Orioles fans, and fans across baseball. Yesterday should have been Opening Day. Fans should have congregated at Pickles & Sliders across from Camden Yards, and fans should have poured into the ballpark early for batting practice. Speaking for myself, I kind of took it personally in a way.

However yesterday also brought what could be deemed as some good news. It appears that the players and owners came to an agreement on the 2020 season. The deal isn’t yet official, but is expected to be ratified at noon today.

In effect, training camps will be resumed in mid-May, setting up a late May or early June start to the season. Each team will play somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 games, with the regular season lasting through October. The post-season would thus be in November.

The league will also schedule doubleheaders so as to get more games in. Perhaps in some cases two per week. Which would be an interesting dynamic.

Again this isn’t official, however my understanding is that camps would be resumed at individual ballparks as opposed to spring training facilities. However the schedule of games itself will have to be somewhat fluid. Some cities will become unplayable – such as New York at the moment. So games will have to be moved, played in front of no fans, etc. Everything would be on the table.

Presumably this means that the spring slate of games won’t be picked up. Teams will just have workouts and presumably intrasquad games. All of this of course is dependent upon the virus itself. If it starts to go away or is brought under control, the league will open up. If areas are still infested, they’ll remain closed.

Baltimore Orioles: Today would have been Opening Day

Today should have been Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles. John Means should be on the bump this afternoon for the Birds against New York. The Inner Harbor should be buzzing, crowds should be gathering at Pickles & Sliders across the street, and people should be raring to get into Oriole Park at Camden Yards for batting practice.

But as we all know, none of that is happening today. First and foremost, I feel badly for the players and fans. Today should be a holiday with a carnival atmosphere. Instead it’s the reality with which we’ve all been living the past couple of weeks. It’s just – nothing. (Now in all honesty, just sitting here penning this column does give me a certain twinge of normalcy.)

However I feel very badly for the businesses around the ballpark who rely on the Orioles to be vibrant. Pickles and Sliders across the street are just the two most prominent examples. However there are countless street vendors, store owners, restaurant owners, hoteliers, etc., who rely on a boon from people attending Orioles games everyday. Heck, Opening Day on it’s own is a huge amount of revenue. It will be back; this much we know. But in the immediate interim that doesn’t help the business owners, all of whom are hurting.

However MLB’s indicated that perhaps there’s some light at the end of the tunnel in this. Please note the word perhaps. If the Coronavirus is still ravaging our shores, baseball obviously won’t be played. There have been a lot of scenarios discussed, including a “doomsday scenario” which has no games being played. Meaning that the season would be canceled.

However the one scenario that seems to be gaining steam (according to multiple reports yesterday) is starting the season in early June. The regular season would then go into October, and the post-season in November. That would probably include neutral site post-season games in warm weather cities or domes.

What’s unclear is whether or not 162 games would be played. The Player’s Association has indicated that they’d be willing to accept scenario’s where it’s members played up to two doubleheaders a week to beef up the number of games. That isn’t to say that it would still get teams to 162 games, however.

What’s also unclear is if they’re just going to keep the schedule as it is and move the dates back. However my own personal twist on this would be for the league to suspend interleague play for this season, which would trim several games off the schedule. Games which theoretically would have been unnecessary anyways – because when was the last time interleague play figured into who made the playoffs and who did not?

Either way, I think they’ll need to reshuffle the schedule. I think that’s a given. Especially if doubleheaders are going to be scheduled. And on that note I would submit that they should agree that perhaps Saturdays and one other floating day be deemed the doubleheader days. Perhaps make it so that Fridays and Sundays are never doubleheader days to avoid guys doing it on back-to-back days, however ultimately the more games that can be played the better.

All of that remains in limbo, however. If the Coronavirus remains in play as a factor in our society, baseball won’t start in June. On the flip side however, we might see it before then. Teams will have to resume spring training in some capacity. It’s unclear if that will include exhibition games or just workouts, but it’s possible May could bring us a truncated slate of exhibition games. Time will tell.

In the mean time there’s something that Orioles fans can do today to remind themselves of what should be taking place. First pitch was scheduled for just after 3 PM this afternoon. At that time, go on Facebook (assuming you have a Facebook feed) and check into Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Just as a reminder that today was to be Opening Day. And in hopes that it isn’t too far down the road.

Baltimore Orioles: Season won’t start April 9th (updated)

The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB remain in a holding pattern as the nation and the world battles the Coronavirus. However USA Today’s Bob Nightengale is reporting that commissioner Rob Manfred has said that the season won’t begin by April 9th. So again, we remain in a holding pattern.

Nightengale (who’s article I linked above) also said that the league is looking at various options that still include playing a 162-game schedule. It’s unclear what those options are, however I have to assume that most of them would involve playing well past when the league’s been comfortable playing in the past. Meaning presumably into November.

Again, the situation is fluid. What’s also unclear is the status of the crowds at games. Whether or not fans would be allowed come whenever they start the season remains to be seen. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation. But here we are.

Update: The league announced that the start of the season has been pushed back to at least mid-May:

It’s tough to imagine an April and early May without baseball. But we’re about to find out what that’s going to be like. And it’s still unclear whether or not fans would even be allowed at games come that point.

Baltimore Orioles: We WILL get through this

The fact that the Baltimore Orioles and everyone else is kind of in a holding pattern right now is secondary. For people such as myself who breath this sport and this team (for purposes of this column) 365 days a year, that’s a bitter pill. It isn’t the off season, it’s just…nothing.

But that’s the way it has to be, folks. It just is. Public health is something that’s too important to risk just for the sake of even America’s pastime. Or the NCAA Tournament, and so forth. Orioles’ PA rep Chris Davis spoke yesterday on what the players’ plans are with the start of the season delayed at least two weeks:

I think a lot of it is up in the air. Hopefully, in the next few days, there are going to be more answers to the questions that we’ve had, but right now we’re just in a holding pattern.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Davis went onto say that some players would like to remain and work out at Ed Smith Stadium so as to get ready for the season (which eventually will begin). However it’s unclear if that will be possible or allowed. This truly is an unprecedented situation.

As you may have noticed, I find something to write everyday in the off season. Some days that’s not easy, but I find something – even if only fluff. It just keeps the site “tended to,” and up to date with fresh content. However it doesn’t come off as appropriate for me to do that given the current situation.

So in a sense similar to the league, this column is being put into a holding pattern. If there’s relevant news about the O’s or the league, I’ll report it. That might not come for a week or two, or it could come tomorrow. We just don’t know. Furthermore when things resume, we’ll still have daily coverage of the Orioles and the games – be they exhibition games or regular season.

However I want to leave you with a thought for the time being. We WILL get through this. And I don’t mean the O’s or the league, I mean the country as a whole. And of course the rest of the world. America’s made it through bad situations before, and we’ll do so again this time. If people listen to the authorities, stay home when ill, self-quarantine, etc, the numbers will go down. And before we know it, the screams of PLAY BALL! will be heard at Camden Yards.

Americans are resilient. We always have been. We’ll get through this. I say that as sure as hot dogs at a ballgame. My hope and prayer is that all readers stay safe and healthy during this uncertain period of time.

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