6 more to go…

Sunday spells the end for the season for the Orioles, and I for one am thankful. I’ve save the wax poetic post til Sunday. 3 games against the Yanks and 3 against the Red Sox.

Want to know what kind of season it’s been?

http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060924&content_id=1679677&vkey=news_bal&fext=.jsp&c_id=bal

That’s what kind of season it’s been.

Jay Gibbons can hit his wife in the noggin with a foul ball during a game. That’s what kind of season it’s been.

Hayden Penn is pitching tonight. I figured he’d take his knocks, but not with a two by four. He had a swell performance in his last start against the the D-Rays. That’s great, but Tampa has a Triple A line-up. My fear is that Penn might just be a AAAA pitcher. Yes it’s early and he needs more than a few starts, but he’s looked bad. I’ve got no problem with using him as tradebait, but at the same time he does need time. 3 bad starts doesn’t make him worthless garbage. As I type this, Penn leaves the game hurt. Not sure what’s wrong, but maybe this is something that’s affected him and messed up him.

Nice piece on the O’s website about Ernie Tyler. Do yourself a favor and read this and see something good about the Orioles.

http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060925&content_id=1681679&vkey=news_bal&fext=.jsp&c_id=bal

With the end of the season coming, look for some different things here. Nothing radical or anything, but neither you nor I want to see posts every time I do post that drool over the prospect of Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano in orange and black and imaginary line-ups, that while fun…do nothing more than make one cranky when they realize what the current line-up consists of….a few good bats and some other guys who are out machines. With the cold southern winter looming, I’ll be home more and indoors more…so I will going out of my way to post more. The winters in South Carolina can be cold. The North Carolina mountains keep out a lot snow, but if something comes through Atlanta, I get it.

Clemson whipped up on the Tarheels Saturday 52-7, which was also the reunion for the 1981(the year I was born…what a great year)  Nationship Championship team. I like this team’s chances in the ACC this year, as long as there’s not the annual stretch where we lose games we should to the likes of Wake Forest or NC State. If the Tigers can at least split the games b/t Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, I really like our chances. But man, that Boston College heartbreak could hurt still.

The Panthers won their first of the season 26-24 against the hated Tampa Bay Buccaneers to end a bad start. The Panthers also knocked out Tampa QB Chris Simms out for the season with a ruptured spleen. Glad to hear he’s ok.

I’m leaving Thursday after work and will be at the beach for 3.5 glorious days. Tomorrow’s going to be one of those days where I have a lot of to do after work, so tonight’s game may be the last of the 2006 Orioles I see.

The Orioles have a Brother in suffering

I just got done talking with my buddy Chris and we were talking about how miserable our seasons have been. Chris is a Cubs fan, so if anyone knows something about heartache and wretched seasons, he should. We’ve noticed that our teams have a lot in common (besides finding new ways to lose and disappoint). The Orioles have a habit of swinging trades to get cast-offs from the Cubs. Sometimes it works (Corey Patterson) sometimes it does not work at all (Sammy Sosa).

Want some ways?

1. Injuries. The Cubs may have the market cornered on injured players, but we’ve had our share this season. 

The Cubs have had  Prior and Wood on the DL most of the season (the team should just go ahead and write their names on the DL in permanent marker). Derek Lee went down. Michael Barrett had the most painful injury we men can imagine. I’m sure there’s more… in fact I know there’s more.

The Orioles have had Brian Roberts go down. Jay Gibbons (who I am now tired of) do his annual crumbling act. The former Oriole known as Javy Lopez was a DL mainstay. David Newhan broke his leg. Corey Patterson banged up his shoulder. Injuries happen, but the first half was brutal to the O’s.

2.Both teams have had several players regress unexpectantly.

The O’s? Rodrigo Lopez and Bruce Chen were supposed to be dependable starters. This season, the only things you can depend on these two for is to break your heart and give up runs.  Rodrigo is one loss away away from tying the O’s season franchise record. I hope he gets it, especially since I’ve heard nothing but how he wants that tenth win.

Ryan Dempster was supposed to be the ace closer for the Cubs. The guy had a great season last year, but this season has been a nighmare in the ninth for Cubs fans.  In 2005 he has a 3.13 ERA and 33 saves out of 35 chances. This season it’s a 4.84 ERA (1-8 record) and 24 saves out of 32. Hey, Ryan..Todd Williams called and he wants his stats back.

3. Erik Bedard and Carlos Zambrano are brothers in suffering. Both of them have great stats and have mostly quality starts, but they either get no support or their bullpen will give the lead up.

4.  The Managing has been lacking…BUT

Sam Perlozzo does not overwhelm with his in-game saavy. He has a bunt fetish that bothers me. Why do you have your hottest hitter (Nick Markakis last month, Melvin Mora Thursday) bunt with 2 outs? To Sam’s defense, this roster is like giving someone a go-cart to race in the Daytona 500 and calling them a lousy driver when they finish at the bottom of the field.

Dusty Baker has never been accuser of being a brilliant manager, but he’s had a lot of tough luck this season. He was supposed to get an extension that never came and he’s been kicked around in Chicago. I thought, on paper, the Cubs should have won the NL Central. You don’t play the game on paper though. The Injuries have destroyed the Cubs and doomed Dusty from the start. I’m surprised he lasted the season.

Solution?

Merge the teams.

Why not?

An Infield on Lee, Roberts, Tejada, Ramierez would be awesome.

Zambrano, Bedard, Benson, Lowen, Hill….and Cabrera..who the hell knows about Cabrera.

Prior and Wood would have no spot on this team. I’ve heard too much suffering that the contant injuries of these two have wrought on their fans and I want none of that.

An outfield of Markakis, Pierre, Murton with Melvin Mora doing utlity.

Ramon and Michael Barrett splitting Catcher and DH. Or Jacque Jones, I don’t know… it’s a good problem to have when you see Fernado Tatis DH.

The Cubs have a better bullpen than the O’s (there’s minor league teams with better bullpens than the Orioles) with the exception of the closer role. We have a great closer and boom.

Of course, this is merely a filler daydream post in a lost season. But it does show you that Orioles fans aren’t the only ones who are glad that the miserable  stretch known as 2006 will soon be over and hopefully better days (and some better players) await for the Orioles (and hey, the Cubs too).

site notes: I’ll be at the beach Thursday-Sunday, so I won’t be posting for a good reason. I won’t be here. For four days I’ll be at the beach in NC, not the senior paradise known as Myrtle Beach, having a last hurrah with friends before Summer’s over (actually it ended today but you know what I mean)….I’m not happy with the site and will look to get things adjusted soon….

Fan Protest

I haven’t been home much, so I failed to do a pre-protest post…so here’s a post protest post.

Here’s some links about the protest.

First, Mike Boehm of Oriole Magic, was there and gives his account.

http://orioles.mostvaluablenetwork.com/oriole-magic/the-rally

Great stuff. Make sure to watch the You-Tube at the end of the article. 

Dan Steinberg from the Washington Post has a four part account.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2006/09/live_from_the_os_protest_part.html

The Sun has an article too.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-sp.protest22sep22,0,3080478.story?coll=bal-sports-baseball

From the sound of it, Petey didn’t like too much. But something has to give. I love the Orioles, but something has to give. For now nine seasons, this franchise is going in circles. With the magical MASN money that will be at the team’s disposal this offseason, will it matter? A couple weeks ago in an interview Angelos said Roy Oswalt’s extension was “insane.” “Fourteen million dollars a year for someone who plays every fifth day is insane.” I’d like Angelos a lot more if he kept his mouth shut and would quit meddling.

Kudos to all the protesters who went out and made a lot of noise… and these weren’t troublemakers. These were fans who know their O’s , doing the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer, chanting Elrod’s name, and making more noise for the O’s that the team has heard at the home the whole season.  Maybe this is the kick in the pants this team needs.  There’s some talent on this team, but it’s not complete. This offseason will be huge.

I’ve got pictures…

Got the pictures from last Saturday’s Cubs/Braves game sent to me. Here’s a few choice ones that are a cut above… 

smoltz1.jpg

Here’s a great picture of Smoltz warming up.

buds.jpg

The eye candy was out at the Ted.

smoltz.jpg

Here’s another Smoltz one.

smoltz2.jpg

Smoltz again..this time with pitching coach Roger McDowell, aka the guy who replaced Leo Mazzone. by the way, have you noticed Leo has shaved the mustache and his head? He looks like a pug.

field.jpg

Turner Field at night. Great picture.

smoltz3.jpg

Let’s end this with another Smoltz picture.

My deadbeat friend, the Orioles

There have been two reasons that I don’t post as regular as I used to:

1. This blog is a labor of love, yet I don’t feel like posting everyday.

2. The Orioles stink.

I’m going to draw a parrarel here, just bare with me as I get it set up…

I’ve realized that the O’s are like that friend you had when you were in elementary school, the one who had the new nintendo (with powerpad), all the new toys, the big house, and played every little league sport. You were best friends then and during high school you still said hey in the hallways but you lost touch. Then one day, nine years after graduation you have to run into Walmart and get some tube socks and a bag of Doritos and you bump into him.

Now he’s a massive underachiever. Instead of accepting that scholarship to Duke, he burns trash at the landfill. (underachiever, like the O’s…see). He’s got a bad defeatist attitude. His reasoning often makes little or no sense.  Then there’s the money he’s wasted over the last nine years. He blew on cheap women, child support, mudflaps, and six packs of schlitz beer. You still keep in touch with him because you know he’s good guy and you’re rooting for him to get it all back together. But he rarely or never calls you back. Everytime you meet somewhere he’s always late. Anytime he sees you he needs you to help him with something (shouldn’t take more than a couple hours….after the hour drive to Anderson), needs to borrow some tools you’ll never see again, or needs money. He’ll hit on your sister…or your girlfriend. But for some reason you still like the guy. He promises you that give him a little time and he’ll get himself back together. You believe him…but after the 6th time you don’t anymore..especially after you realize that he picked your pocket.

I haven’t watched much of the O’s lately. I did see Erik Bedard’s shutout of the Red Sox, but at this point of the season, I don’t go out of my way to watch a 17-2 thumping or a 2-0 shutout where Kris Benson gets screwed over by the offense again. If I’m home and a games on, I’ll turn it on…but the 2006 Baltimore Orioles have worn out their welcome with me.

Onto happier things, The Clemson Tigers defeated the much hated FSU Seminoles 27-20 on a 1 yard touchdown by James Davis with 8 seconds left. Special teams tried to give this game away, allowing two kicks by Jad Dean (one XP, one FG) blocked and both returned for 2 pts and the other for a touchdown. That’s something that will have to be addressed, but it was a great game in a day of great games (LSU-Auburn, Oklahoma-Oregeon, Florida-Tennesee,) and some great buttkickings..Miami and Notre Dame getting theirs kicked.

I’m going to have to figure what to post when this season of misery and heartbreak is over and the playoffs are over. I’m not going to post twice a week about how we have to sign Soriano or Carlos Lee and then moan until spring training once they go elsewhere. I’ll figure something out.

guess what..a negative article on the Orioles

Saw a rare article on the O’s on ESPN.com today.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=2587235

This one dwells on a lot of negatives…much of which you can’t argue with. The Orioles have never rebuilt. Too often we look for quick veteran patch jobs, see Conine, Jeff. Millar, Kevin. Gomez, Chris. etc. Any of those players I have no problem whatsoever being on the bench. When they become starters and you see them everyday and are a part of your “masterplan to winning,” somethings wrong.

Just read the article, it’s a good read. I can’t argue with a lot there. This offseason is pretty big. With the MASN money that is supposed to transform the O’s into a winner now at the front office’s disposal, something is supposed to happen. Of course, I’ve heard this song and dance before, so I’ll believe when it happens.

Will Soriano or Lee come here? I think Lee goes to the Cubs or Houston. I’ll take either.

Will Schmit or Zito come here? Unless we grossly overpay….I don’t think so.

The left field situation is a horrible joke. Brandon Fahey is an alright guy to have sub once a week, but playing him out of position in LF, while he’s struggling with his bat….is tough to watch. Fernado Tatis is out of position, and that showed the other night. What is with the playing everyone of position? Why not use Fiorantino in LF or call up Terrero?

Seeing Chris Gomez at 1st hurts too.

There is some solid young talent here, but it’s nowhere near enough to win in the AL East.

Speaking of young talent…Hayden Penn hasn’t looked to good in his first two starts, has he?

Back from the ATL

Sit down…grab a drink and something to eat, maybe a pillow….an alarm clock..because this post went longer than I thought. It could be a good thing.

Went to Atlanta this weekend and got my computer woes fixed today too…

My trip to Atlanta was one of those trips that was almost sort of magical. I’ve had good trips to the ballpark, but this one was different. It consisted of being in the right place at the exact right time.

Saturday I went with Chris to see the woeful Braves host the cursed Chicago Cubs. After a “fine” morning at work, I got to his house and we got on the road at 1 pm. The commute from Greenville to Atlanta should take three hours. The keyword here is SHOULD. The traffic in Atlanta unreal. Anytime I think the city of Greenville is huge, a trip to Atlanta will quickly denounce that thinking. Six to Eight lanes wild traffic. When entering the city, a small town boy like me can be overwhelmed by the carnivous flow of traffic. That though, the traffic flowed as easily as it was suprising and with an hour stop at the Cracker Barrel (whose “country store” is a worthless collection of overpriced knicknacks and candy…but when on the road in the south, a meat and three is a much preferred alternative to McDonalds or Burger King) we were at the gates before 5 pm…i forget, but let’s say 4:40, a remarkable pace to and through the asphalt hell known as Atlanta. I stepped outside of the gates to make a phone call and midway through my conversation I saw a man walking up to where I was standing. The man’s face was UNMISTAKABLE.  I have watched the Braves since I was in 5th grade and I’ll always have a soft spot for them (never fear though, I’ll always suffer with the O’s) and especially that first team I watched. I could name all of them. Terry Pendleton, Sid Bream, Steve Avery, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Jeff Blauser, Damon Berryhill, Mark Lemke…It was a time where I could only care if they won. I didn’t give a damn about ERA, RBI, OBP and all that stats blather. If they were on my team they were boys and the guy I saw WAS one of my biggest boys…

 

It was Otis Nixon. Chances are you may not have a clue who Otis Nixon is, but if you’ve seen him once you’ll never ever forget his mug. Otis was centerfielder for the Braves for 3 seasons on what would be 17 season career with 9 different teams (2 stops with the Braves). Nixon was a great fielder, medicore hitter (.270 career BA w/ 11 total HR), and murder on the bases. The man stole 620 bases in his career. Seeing him walk up and by, I was awestruck by the presence of medicore journeyman ballplayer that I could only stare as he walked by and got into a waiting car and left. 

Once in the stadium, we were wandering about and stumbled onto the Braves pregame bullpen. There was action in it and I expected to see call-up tossing some butterballs or something of that nature. I was happily incorrect as John Smoltz was throwing heat. The view is downward and we were about maybe ten feet up. For about fifteen minutes Smoltz threw and it was awesome. I forget my camera, but Chris bought his and got about a dozen pictures. I’ll post a couple when he sends me some. Being that close to hall of famer in action is something I will never forget.

After that I saw Mark Lemke, who now does radio shows from Turner Field with Chip Carey. Lemke was one of those players who were never an all-star, but they played their butts off. Those are the players you love to have on your team. I got him to autograph my ticket, not because it’ll worth hundreds of dollar when I’m old and gray..it won’t be. I got him to autograph because he was a player I like when I was kid and it was for that kid in me who will always love baseball.

Then there were the people I met at the park. There was a man and his wife who ran a beer stand and they live in Atlanta for a while and they explained to me how they managed to outwit the traffic (there ARE backroads in Atlanta). There was the guy who was with the promotions/event staff who used to work as a vendor at Camden Yards for 5 seasons. Great park he said, but when games weren’t selling out he had to move on. Good guy, even for a Red Sox fan. 

There also happened to be a game at Turner Field that night. Wade Miller made his Cubs debut against Chuck James and let’s just say the suffering continued this night for the Cubbies. By the way, Cubs fans travel very well. I’d say it was 60/40 Braves. Miller only lasted 3 innings and got rocked. 74 pitches and only 36 were strikes. Carlos Zambrano was supposed to start, but was scratched due to injury..which makes Miller’s performance even more of disappointment. Adam LaRoche and Brian McCann homered off him.

The Cubs tried. Matt Murton hit a homer and Juan Pierre stole 2 bases. Miller dug them into too big a hole and with Derek Lee and Aramias Ramierez going 0 for the day the offense struggled. Derek Lee made three great defensive plays at first base. Seeing the man in person, you really that this man is huge.  

All in all it was an excellent day…with the exception of getting back to Greenville and getting my car to find that it won’t start and the ordeal that was dealing with that yesterday, but this is not the place for it. So Saturday was my last game that I’ll be going to for the season and it was probably the best experience I’ve had at a ballpark, though the best GAME was the O’s/Braves game I went to this season and the O’s fans came out pretty good for that one. So I’ll have to wait til 2007 til I can go to a game, but I made to 3 Braves games (Orioles, Mets, and Cubs), 1 Durham Bulls  game, 1 Asheville Tourists game, and probably 15 or 16 Greenville Drive games, so it has been an epic season for going to ball games.

An Orioles note: The O’s were eliminated from playoff contention officially this weekend. It’s been a rough season, kids….but I guess all we can do is root for ’em and hope the front office can bumble into doing some right moves this offseason and get this team right. I see some good things with this team and I really think just the additional of a couple players could make a would of difference as well as the the subtraction of a couple. It is what it is, and it hasn’t been the best season.

Thus ends the longest post I’ve ever done.