Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tejada, Teshmada, O's Win Baby

ANOTHER come from behind, one-run win for the Orioles last night. Baltimore is 17-10 in one-run games compared to 13-31 last year.

I will repeat that:
Baltimore is 17-10 in one-run games compared to 13-31 last year.

Orioles are 36-34 after 70 games. They have never been more than 2 games below .500 this year. They have five different guys with 10 or more home runs before the all star break: Mora, Markakis, Huff, Millar, and Scott.

Adam Jones is starting to hit more, average creeping up to .260.

I said it before, I'll say it again, if you like baseball, the Orioles are really fun team to follow this year. Would be nice to get the sweep from Houston before hitting the road for 9 in Milwaukee, Chicago (Cubs) and D.C.

I am not sure where all of this is going, but I like it. Before I ever loved college basketball or followed the NFL, baseball was my passion as a kid, and following the Orioles when they are playing well is a pleasure. It's the day in, day out nature of baseball, watching the team grind out at bats and wins that has been incredibly gratifying to watch.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Orioles and Tiger and Rocco Oh My

What a sports weekend.
Carried right into a sports Monday.
What with the Orioles doing their best Orioles Magic bit against the Pirates at home; and the drama of the U.S. Open at an all-time high ... I'm just sayin that was good stuff.

If you thought Tiger's putt to force the Monday playoff was dramatic, just wait til' the Orioles are 81-80 on the last Sunday of the season; 2 on, 2 out, George "the duck man" Sherrill on the hill... here comes the pitch...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

O's Visit Fenway for Three

I have this sports dork fantasy where busloads of Orioles fans make their way to Fenway Park and take over the place (or at least 1/5th of one section) and Boston fans are meant to feel as we do when their legions invade Oriole Park.

Ah yes, picture Luke Scott at the plate, praise the Lord, launching a home run past the Pesky Pole and the stadium (or at least a few hundred loud people wearing orange), erupting in cheer. That would show em!

Perhaps not.

Regardless, the calendar says June 10 and the plucky '08 edition of the Birds are 31 and 31, an even .500. If they can just hang on for 100 more games, we'll get that 10 straight losing seasons gorilla off our back.

Here are the keys to getting it done:
Daniel Cabrera needs to throw strikes. Duh. It looked at one point like he had things figured out, then I watched him throw a pitch 4 feet inside on a 3-1 count. Had the pitch not hit the batter, it would have hit the bat boy. Come on Daniel.

The Orioles needs to score some runs for Guthrie. Jeremy Guthrie gives a quality start almost every time he pitches and the Orioles respond with a run or two. He is legit, for some reason the bats go to sleep when he pitches. He's 10th in the league in ERA but is 3-6. Come on bats.

A few players need to get very hot at the bat. Markakis just went through a hot stretch where he improved his averaged from the .240s to the .280s. Until that time, it seemed the whole lineup was batting .250. It'd be nice if the Orioles had at least 2 more scary hitters.

Wait. We interrupt this post that 15-30 people will read (thanks) to report that Chipper Jones is batting .420. Back to the action.

That's about all I've got; except of this ... just read the O's - Sox preview in the Sun and Boston is (wait for it) 26-6 at home this year. Wow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gilchrist Opts Out

Maryland and Va. Tech now have something in common -- Gus Gilchrist told both schools he'd play there and it turns out he won't play for either. After initially committing to VT, Gilchrist, who is thought to be a very skilled big man, difference-maker kind of a player, had second thoughts and got out of his commitment and enrolled at Maryland.

NCAA rules said he had to wait 'til the end of the fall semester to play for Gary's Terps. Maryland was appealing this ruling but apparently it didn't happen and today UM issued the release pasted below. We are to believe that Gilchrist is leaving Md. so he can try to play immediately somewhere else (i.e. not sit out in the fall). Dude would have missed what? One ACC game? All the real action in college hoops starts in the new year anyway.

This is either a very impatient, fickle young man, or things just ain't going well in CP. Perhaps a combo of both.

Will be interesting to see what's reported coming out of all this.


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland athletic department announced today
that Augustus Gilchrist (Temple Hills, Md./Progressive Christian) has been granted a transfer release from the men’s basketball program.

Gilchrist enrolled at Maryland in January 2008. The ACC sit-out rule for Gus Gilchrist will expire the last day of Fall 2008 exams. Subsequent to that time, Gus would have been able to compete for Maryland in all remaining regular-season games, the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.

“Gus has asked for a release to explore other options which may allow him to play more games at another university outside the ACC, pending an NCAA waiver,” said Head Coach Gary Williams.

“I would like to thank Coach Williams and the basketball staff at Maryland for all of their support and attempts in appealing this process,” said Gilchrist. “I wish them the best in the future.”

The release allows Gilchrist the opportunity to transfer to another NCAA school.—

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fenway Park at Camden Yards

I don't think any development in sports in the last decade has out and out depressed me as much as the complete domination of Oriole Park by Red Sox fans when Boston is in town. Manny's 500th homer Saturday night could not have been better for Sox fans had it been hit in Boston. It may as well have been. After all, our gorgeous ballpark seats some 15,000 more fans than Fenway, and most of its seats were filled by Red Sox faithful. Watching the highlight on sportscenter, all you could see were Sox-clad fans screaming and jumping up and down after it was hit in celebration.

As an Orioles fan, you just want to turn and look away. I cannot blame Sox fans for coming down and making a weekend of baseball in Baltimore a part of their annual tradition. After all, what's not to like? We have an amazing stadium situated downtown in walking distance to plenty of hotels, we have thousands of face value seats available, our team doesn't put up much of a fight, and you get to party with your friends and/or family as if you were home.

If the Orioles were great and our park was an outdated Matchbox car of a stadium where you couldn't even buy an obstructed view ticket without paying triple digits, I'd take a road trip too.

(That's the best I can do, by the way, in summoning some form of zinger to Red Sox fans, who have us beat, up, down and all around.)

But that's not really what this is about. This is about the visible, emotional, painful evidence of one team at the very top of popularity and success and another continuing to try to find its way. I believe in Andy MacPhail and the current rebuilding process, but it's going to take years and years to reverse the decay of the Orioles franchise and distrust of its fan base. Placing Baltimore on the road jerseys is a good first step. Becoming less hospitable hosts to our guests from the North is another. Someone make it stop.