Results tagged ‘ Baltimore Orioles ’

Baltimore Orioles: Mike Mussina gets the call from the hall

Former Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Mike Mussina has gotten the call. In other words, he’s going to the hall of fame. Mussina will be enshrined in Cooperstown as a member of MLB’s best team in July.

It’s been a long time coming for the former Oriole pitcher, who of course famously defected to New York following the 2000 season. Rumor has always been that New York offered approximately half a million more than the Orioles – but he got the number he wanted and didn’t turn back. There was semi-bad blood for awhile, especially as Mussina was never fondly received at Camden Yards in pinstripes. But in recent years he’s been seen at Orioles games here and there. And I think that Orioles fans have forgiven and forgotten as well.

Mussina was drafted in 1987 by the Orioles, and made his debut in 1991. Over ten years with the Birds, he won 147 games and had a win percentage of .645. He also pitched to an ERA of 3.53 over those ten years. For the record, those numbers are all better than the numbers he accumulated in his eight years in the Bronx.

For his entire career, Mussina won 270 games with a win percentage of .638. Not to mention an ERA of 3.68. As I said, Mussina’s Orioles numbers were better than his New York numbers. He also pitched for the Orioles for two seasons longer. Far be it from me to suggest which hat Mussina wears into the hall, but…them’s the facts!

Baltimore Orioles: What’s up behind the dish?

Who’s the starting catcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 2018? Is there even a designated starting catcher? The Orioles currently have Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns on the 25-man roster.

Both saw action last season – both with the Orioles and in the minors. My personal opinion is that both of them could perhaps benefit from just a little more time in the minors. That isn’t to say that they both shouldn’t or won’t be on the roster come Opening Day.

My personal opinion is that much like other positions, the starting catcher spot will be decided in spring training. And again just a prediction, I think it’ll be Wynns and Sisco in essence platooning the spot. But there’s another side to this as well…

…catcher isn’t just a run-of-the-mill position. People like to compare pitchers to quarterbacks in football. For sure, both positions find themselves throwing the ball. However in reality the quarterback is really the brains of the operation – as is the catcher. The Orioles are a young team and that’s true across the board. But catcher is a spot where the O’s could perhaps benefit from having a steely veteran leading things.

Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go with the two young guys in a platoon setting. But one way or the other, catcher is a position battle on which to keep an eye.

Baltimore Orioles: Umpiring and officiating

The Baltimore Orioles have been victims of poor umpiring in the past. Every team in baseball has. You’ve probably seen #umpshow on twitter. MLB, along with every other league out there, is usually fairly guarded in terms of how it deals with it’s umpires and officials.

In watching yesterday’s NFL games, I have to admit that I was outraged at some of the calls. The New Orleans Saints flat out missed out on a shot to go to the Super Bowl due to what should have been a clear pass interference call that was let go. In the AFC game, New England quarterback Tom Brady was the beneficiary of a phantom roughing-the-passer call when a defender’s hand passed in front of Brady’s face mask – without touching it.

These are all judgement calls – much like balls and strikes. I’ve never been one to suggest removing the human element from officiating in sports. Not only that, but if leagues introduced some sort of robotic officiating system that could always be hacked. Are we really thinking that some fan with the means and know-how wouldn’t hack and corrupt the system in favor of his favorite team?

However one thing I noticed on my twitter feed last night was that a lot of people were saying that the NFL has an officiating crisis. I might agree; officiating this season was atrocious. I’m not one to suggest games are fixed; however the two teams who benefitted from bad calls yesterday were New England and Los Angeles – both big media markets. Interesting twist to say the least.

I suspect that leagues can keep up the charade that these are judgement calls and so forth only until it affects their bottom line. When ratings start to go down, that’s when leagues will take notice. No, I’m not suggesting that people stop watching sports – because I’m not doing that myself. However that’s when leagues would take notice. And I’m talking something major – such as horrible Super Bowl ratings, or even a non-sold out Super Bowl or World Series game.

Of course, the alternative is that leagues could recognize the issues for what they are and fix them. Pool reporters are allowed in officials’ locker rooms across sports after games. The refs/umps have the option of giving statements if they so desire. That also means they don’t have to do so if they opt not to.

How exactly is it fair that players and coaches are required to speak to the media, but officials can hide? Perhaps a place to start is to force these guys to speak to the media. If the media wants to talk to them, that is (not every game is going to have blown calls and require a statement). Perhaps that would garner some accountability on the part of the officials. If they know they’re going to get grilled for their mistakes, that is.

Needless to say, all of this is a tough sell. Leagues don’t want to make changes, but as I said…the New Orleans Saints flat out lost a shot to go to the Super Bowl yesterday. As hard as teams work to get to that point, that’s tough to rectify.

Baltimore Orioles: Interleague play, 2019

The Baltimore Orioles don’t start interleague play until the end of May this year. That’s when the San Francisco Giants come to town, for a weekend series. The American League East plays the National League West this year.

And as a result this might be one of the more fun years in terms of interleague games, because we’ll see matchups that we don’t see often. A month or so after that SF series, the Orioles will entertain San Diego for two games. However on the flip side, it also means more travel.

Towards the end of July the Birds will make a supplemental visit out west to drop in on NL West teams. The road trip will take them through Phoenix, Los Angeles (actually an AL series, against the Angels), and San Diego. So as a result, the Birds also get a visit from the zoos Angeles Dodgers in September.

Incidentally, the Orioles will get a visit from the Washington Nationals in July, and they’ll head down the pike to D.C. in August. Both series’ are in the middle of the week – not ideal for fans on either side. I was always a proponent of how they originally did these series’, three games in each park – and over a weekend. From the perspective of the fans, that was the best way to do it.

Baltimore Orioles need to honor Buck Showalter in 2019

The fact that 2019 will be a strange year for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans should go without saying. And it’s not just limited to the players on the field. Fans will have to get used to peering into the Orioles’ first base side dugout at Camden Yards and not seeing Buck Showalter manning things.

That’s not a dig at new manager Brandon Hyde. It’s merely stating a fact. As I said when Hyde was hired, fans shouldn’t dislike him simply because he’s not Buck Showalter. Because I can guarantee you that Showalter probably wouldn’t take that attitude.

That aside, the manager will simply be one difference this coming year. However I would submit that the Orioles do need to make Buck a small part of this season. I would hope that it goes without saying that he’ll be in the Orioles’ hall of fame at some point. But that’s not what I’m talking about…

…the Orioles owe it to Buck to have a “Buck Showalter day/night” at Camden Yards in 2019. I’m not sure how exactly that would work, but in essence everyone in attendance gets some sort of Buck Showalter souvenir, and have a ceremony on the field before the game honoring Buck and presenting him with some sort of award.

Let’s not forget that Buck took the organization and brought it further than it had ever gone in years. However perhaps more importantly, he restored pride to the Orioles’ organization. The same pride that Brandon Hyde is now taxed with restoring.

Too often we remember figures for how they left us – and Buck is no exception. However the Orioles and the city owe it to him to show their appreciation this year. Some of these theme nights can come across as corny for sure. But it’s an honor that Buck deserves – sooner rather than later.

Baltimore Orioles: Can Chris Davis regain his stroke?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Baltimore Orioles in 2019 will be whether or not Chris Davis can improve his offensive output. Davis’ current contract, worth $161 million, is the largest in team history. It hasn’t paid off as of yet per se.

If Davis can turn things around, the “new administration” will immediately get props from the fan base. But either way, that’a a big if. Davis is doing his part however, as he’s changing up his workout regiment this off season. Davis has been working out in Texas for the past month or so. The hope is that he can regain the stroke he had a few years ago.

But what if he does regain some sort of power? That obviously bodes well for the O’s, but what would that mean for the rebuild? Odds are it would mean that the young hitters around him would become better in shorter time. No pressure there for Davis.

Baltimore Orioles: Hindsight is 20/20 with Chris Davis

The Chris Davis contract has become one of the most scrutinized in Baltimore Orioles’ history. Especially when the alleged contract that’s been offered to Manny Machado by the Chicago White Sox amounts to approximately $2 million a year more than what Davis is making with the Orioles. That’s certainly not lost on the fan base.

However hindsight is always 20/20. At the time the Davis contract was inked, there was legitimate fear amongst fans and team officials that one of the best sluggers in the league would leave Baltimore. And yes, at the time Davis was considered one of the best sluggers in baseball. The contract was widely applauded by fans and analysts alike. Nobody could have predicted that the bottom would fall out on Davis when it did.

We’re also talking about a different time. Yes for the Orioles, but also for the league. That Chris Davis contract might well end up being one of the last massive long-term deals. Teams aren’t as willing to commit big time dollars over a long period of time. Granted the Machado deal that’s on the table in Chicago is bigger. But it’s a far cry from the ten years, $400 million that he was seeking.

Ultimately, it’s unfair to judge the past by the standards of the present. Furthermore, the final chapter on Chris Davis in Baltimore doesn’t have to have been written yet. Things can always improve. And if the new regime in Baltimore has anything to do with it, perhaps in fact they will.

Baltimore Orioles: Would the Birds want Manny Machado?

Former Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman/SS Manny Machado has reportedly been offered a contract by the Chicago White Sox Worth $250 million. This over eight years. Give or take, that’s approximately $31 million per year for eight seasons. To a simpleton such as myself, that sounds like a no-brainer.

But as we all know, that’s far off from the 10 years, $350-$400 million contract that Machado craves. However here’s an interesting question: would the Orioles even want Machado? The reasons for having him on your team are obvious. But the argument against it…?

In looking at Manny’s actions and comments since leaving the Orioles, it strikes me what a great job Buck Showalter did in reigning him in. You never saw Manny say something along the lines of I’m not Johnny Hustle, or anything like that. That isn’t to say that he didn’t have his moments – because he most certainly did. But for the most part, he was fairly subdued in terms of some of his darker tendencies.

Whether or not that would continue to be the case or not would remain to be seen. Manny’s been gone from the Birds since July. And obviously when he went to L.A. he was allowed to express himself a bit more freely. Would he feel strange about coming back to a place where he might be expected to conform?

Obviously whether or not Brandon Hyde would want to reign Manny in the way Buck did is another story. Whether or not he would have the clout or presence to do so would remain to be seen. But there’s another angle to this as well. The Orioles be Orioles fans like their players to be members of the community, and in effect institutions. Is Manny, and his selling of his talents to the highest bidder, what they want?

End of the day, Manny isn’t on the Orioles’ radar. Not because of anything I said above. But because of the fact that the franchise is rebuilding. He doesn’t fit into their future. The Orioles are trying to find a new Manny Machado.

Baltimore Orioles: Should rules be bent?

The Baltimore Orioles and all of the other teams in MLB operate under the same rules. This much we know – in general. But there’s a player out there named Kyler Murray, who you might know as the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Oklahoma. Or maybe I should call him a “potential player.”

Murray plays both football and baseball – and he could have a legit future in either sport. He was drafted by Oakland Athletics in last year’s draft. Both the A’s, and the league want Murray to pick baseball. He’s a great talent. It appears that he’s more inclined to pick football – because of the possibility of more up front money right away. (If it were me I’d look at the fact that baseball would potentially provide for a longer career and more money over a longer period of time. Plus baseball contracts are guaranteed while football contracts are not – but that’s just me.)

According to various reports, Murray is willing to pick baseball right now – at a price. Murray wants a big league contract worth $15 million. That’s more than is allowed under the rules of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement. But the question is whether or not MLB would consider bending that rule, or in essence waiving it – to keep a promising talent in the game.

I’m kind of a “rules guy.” The rules are there for a reason, in this case to ensure that there’s no wage disparity. But MLB also risks losing a talent to another sport. So what gives?

I’m not sure that there is a right answer. Baseball certainly has a stake in keeping Murray in the sport, and obviously the A’s do as well. But if I were the Angels, Mariners, or Rangers, what exactly would I think of this prospect? Baseball bending it’s own rul in favor of one of their division rivals? That might not sit well.

I suppose that at the end of the day my stance is that the rules are the rules. They’re there for a reason. An entity like MLB would probably not want to be bending it’s own rules – from the perspective of precedent. Because any team could then come and ask for a special accommodation, and reference that they did it for Oakland. Time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Is social media changing the dynamic?

For years and years fans complained that they didn’t know what was going on with the Baltimore Orioles. The ownership of Peter Angelos rarely seemed to communicate or.’a plans, leaving people in the dark in terms of the direction of the franchise. However much of that seems to be over, as sons John and Lou Angelos are running the show.

Whether or not the general public should know or has a right to know “what’s going on” is another story. Fans think they should have this right and/or privilege. And they aren’t shy about expressing that sentiment.

And a big part of this is social media. That’s a tool that I use myself quite often. However it also gives people a stake in what’s happening with any team that they follow. It allows them to speak directly to the team – via twitter and other manners.

And if fans don’t feel they.’really being heard, they seemingly have no issue packing up and in essence finding another team. Fans are mandating more access and more of an understanding on what’s going on with the team. And if they don’t get it, the team doesn’t get their money.

Years ago this wasn’t the case – and again, years ago there was no social media.

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