Dignity for Breadsticks

What would it take for you to really kick a man while he’s down?

Certainly most of us would refrain from a belittling a man further when he’s already been chewed up and spit out in the most public of the public eye.

But still there’s that part of us that smells the blood in the water and we want a little more than just a pound of flesh. While Jay Gibbons was with the Orioles, I soured on him over his last few seasons and I said my piece. He got injuried every season. His power evaporated. He whined about losing his spot in the outfield. He got hurt again. His name was in the Mitchell Report. He owned up to it. The Orioles released him before the season started. He sent letters to every team begging for a chance to play any place in their organizations. Then he got signed by the Long Island Ducks of the Pacific League, where he’s donating his minor league salary to charity (which is a nice enough gesture).

So Jay Gibbons is down. I’m not exactly weaping for someone who’s made over 15 million dollars over a thus far medicore major career. I’m give this to Gibbons though, he’s been one of the ones who’s repeated apologized for using hgh. When you’re begging for a job, you have to be extra contrite. But now, you rarely…if ever..hear anything about Andy Pettite, Brian Roberts, Jose Gullien etc. being named in the Mitchell Report. I still see stuff about Gibbons and Nook Logan. Both are were unemployed before finally being picked up by the Pacific League. I don’t view this as much as being blackballed, its more like these guys are more marginal (at best players) and teams have better options in their own systems.

I saw this article about Gibbons’ most recent game in PCL. It’s depressing.

The Ducks had a road trip and played the York Revolution. The crowd picks a player who they think will strike out during the game. If the player picked does strike out during the game then the crowd gets free Pizza Hut breadsticks.

Gibbons was picked as the “Pizza Hut K-Man.” He goes up for his first at bat. According to the article, the crowd really gives to him. They boo him. They jeer him. They tell him how much of a rotten player they think he is. They’re all over him. He strikes out on three pitches. The crowd goes wild. Everyone’s getting free breadsticks. Woo hoo. Gibbons would go down again on three pitches in his next at bat too. The crowd gives him the same reception that at bat as well.

Jay Gibbons has went from the penthouse to the outhouse. He’s gone from a starter on a big league team with a fat contract to being branded a steroid user and playing for peanuts in lowest level in outcast baseball. He’s got his money. If I was him, I’d probably take my money and fade away into the sunset. He’s still out there hoping for a second chance.

Again, I wasn’t the biggest Jay Gibbons fan and I’m relieved that he was released. I wish him well in the PCL. Maybe he can get a second shot. Its a shame that he’s been reduced to being nothing but Jeer Fodder to Bread Stick Hungry fans.

A Couple of Things 6/30

In kind of a rush and wordpress’ toolbar is down, so pardon the lack of links. If you want to see the articles that I’m meaning, just go to Orioles.com…these are all things mentioned on the front page.

-Brandon Fahey’s back….HOO R—ugh. Frankly, Cintron has looked bad defensively in what I’ve seen of him. I guess if he can catch the call and not botch plays…he’ll do for the moment. Oscar Salzaar goes down to make room for the man, the myth, the Fahey.

-Word is (again, check O’s.com or Ken Rosenthal’s column for this one) that the O’s are interest in the Nat’s Felipe Lopez. There was a time when people thought Lopez was going to be a special player. That hasn’t worked out. He apparently has some off the field issues and some feel that he’s dogging it on the field. If the O’s give up nothing special for him, I suppose its worth a gamble if the team can’t possibly can’t find anything anywhere else. Of course, this is a rent a player situation where the team wants to have a servicable body at short this season. I’m hoping this happening, but he’d be the shortstop this team would have all season. That’s kind of like being the tallest midget, but I digress.

-Matt Albers is out of the season with a torn labrum. That one hurts. Albers has been a great player for the bullpen. He’s been that swingman who would pitch the seventh, pitch 3 innings when the starter couldn’t make it, or spot start. I’ve noticed his last few outings that he’s been off his game. This stinks. Hopefully, he can come back after surgery healthy and strong and pick up where he left off. I hate it though.

Labrum injuries aren’t very common, but the O’s got two players in the same trade who either had one or got one. We knew Patton was hur, that’s the reason that the O’s were able to get him. Albers just got hurt. Its freaky, but it happens. It was a good trade then and in a few years, I think it’ll be a better trade. I feel rotten for Albers though. That’s a bad break.

-With Albers out, what about the pen? Fernando Cabrera is back with the team and pitched last night. I don’t think he’s long relief though. Adam Loewen is coming back and he can fill that role, hopefully. Everything about Adam Loewen now, I hafta just cross my fingers and hope something works out. He can pitch multiple innings and make a spot start, hopefully. Randor Bierd should be back at some point soon.

-Hey, we took 2 out of 3 from the Cubs. That was a fun trip to Wrigley. I’m hoping for 2 out 3 from the blasted Nats now.

A gutwrenching save

George Sherrill….what can say?

Last night’s 7-5 win over the Cubs was a rollercoaster ride. It started out as what looked like a blowout win. Luke Scott hit a two run triple, Nick Markakis drove in 2, and Brian Roberts had 3 hits (including his 1,000th career hit) as the O’s were cruising with a 7-1 lead. Jeremy Guthrie finally had some run support but then Jim Edmonds hit a 3 run homer that knocked out Guthrie in the 7th.

Then the 9th inning came around. The O’s were up by 7-5. I’m beginning to think Sherrill makes these high pressure situations happen on purpose just to see if he can get out of them. To start out the 9th, Sherrill gave up 2 hits and a walk. The bases were loaded with no outs. At this point I had a feeling of impending doom. I thought of the Oriole bullpens of years past. Of course, the pen this season has been leaps and bounds better than any pen that the O’s have had in years.

With no outs and the bases full, I was dying. Bases loaded 2 outs, you have hope for a pop-up. Bases loaded 1 out, you hold the hope for the game ending double play. Bases loaded and no outs, you cross your fingers and hold out hope for the double play and then pop-up.

I thought about Chris Ray last year in the ninth. There would be a 1 run lead, 1 man out, and 1 out and the batter would get a hit. Ray would do his little thing where he’d turn around and point to the ball. That was one thing he did that annoyed me. I think he had said it was his way of leading the outfielders know where the ball was going. He’d point and the outfielder would keep running and running and running and Ray would be point in the right field bleachers. Game over. We lose. I’m mad.

I thought about Jorge Julio. I remember him being worse than what he was. Now I’m not saying he was great…far from it. But he had a few decent years with us. After he got traded to the Mets, his career hit the fan. He had 36 saves in 2003. I thought back on the 2005 Jorge Julio. That was the year that he had a round ERA of 5.90. That was the year the myth became fact that Julio could bean a batter and the ball would go 450 ft over the fence. I had flashbacks to that last night.

I thought about Todd Williams. Todd Williams gave up a game winning RBI to Miggy Cabrera on a blotched intentional walk turned hit. That’s all I really need to say because that still sticks to me like a bad rash.

I thought about Danys Baez. He gave up 36 earned runs in 50 innings last season and was very bad. Very very very bad. He was bad.

I thought about several more bad relievers of the Oriole pen too. I thought of Brower, Shuey, Bell, and Winston Abreu.

Sherrill obviously isn’t any of these guys. He’s a better pitcher, but the situation brought about the flashbacks.

Then Sherrill faced the guy who could have been our starting shortstop, Ronnie Cedeno. Cedeno would have been in any package for Brian Roberts. Cedeno’s faring ok this season. A few pitches later, Sherrill makes him look foolish with the old high standing strike. Cedeno’s out on strikes. There’s one out but I’m not feeling much better. There were butterflies in my gut with razorblade wings.

Fukudome was up then. I was worried about this one. He’s had a good year. Based on his previous 55 pitch at bat against Jim Johnson, I was worried about a walk happening here. But my fear was foolish because BOOM Sherrill strikes Fukudome out and makes him look silly with a flailing wailing strike three. Two out, I’m feeling better, but there’s still the matter of those 3 men aboard.

But there wasn’t any reason to fear, because…Sherrill would strike out Henry Blanco.

Game over. Sherrill loaded ’em up and stuck out the side. O’s win 7-5 with Sherrill being nails at the end. Sherrill’s got 26 saves this season. I scoffed when he was announced as this season’s closer. I didn’t see it going well, but it’s worked without a hitch.

I salute you George Sherrill and your flat cap brim…and your gut wrenching 9th inning theatrics.

Mandatory Teixeria Post

This isn’t my first post on this and I’m sure it would be the last…

I watched some of Mark Teixiera’s 3 homer game on Sunday and of course, I thought about his impending free agency. There’s the whole bit that we’ve heard a bazillion times about Teixiera: That he’s a local boy and he’s said the right things about the possibility of playing in Baltimore, that Peter Angelos supposedly has a crush on him, that signing him would suddenly result in sellouts every night, that signing him would speed up the O’s rebuilding, and that bringing him aboard would cure cancer and stop global warming.

I’ve been on the fence about signing him. The thought of signing him is nice, but it somehow seems to undermind the whole rebuilding effort. If the team is committed to rebuilding it just seems that spending 20 million a year on then 29 year old first baseman is kind of the opposite of what should be done.

A few things that I’ve mulled over.

1. We have no first baseman on the big team and there’s really nothing in the minors that’s going to be a help anytime soon at all. Kevin Millar is what he is. He’s a good clubhouse guy, doesn’t embarrass himself at the plate, but he’s a stopgap. Signing Teixiera would turn a weakness into a strength. Since there’s nothing within the team to help at first anytime soon, Teixiera makes sense in that aspect.

2. Here’s the part where I dream about possiblities.

If Brian Roberts does not get traded, If Adam Jones develops into something of the player that we hope he’ll be, If Nick Markakis gets some lineup protection, If Teixiera signs, and if Matt Wieters becomes the franchise player that he’s hype to be….that’s a lot of ifs, but if the ifs turn out to be reality…then that’s a solid 1-5

Roberts leading off, Jones hitting second, Markakis hitting third, and then Wieters/Teixiera in whatever order in the 4 and 5 spots. That could be the makings of a sweet lineup.

3. What if Teixeria becomes the next Tejada?

This is the one thing that worries. Brian Roberts could very likely be traded soon. Then if a lot the other ifs that I just mentioned might not happen. What if the O’s rebuilding effort takes a few years (which it will). Signing Teixeria isn’t going to be the magic wand that some think its going to be. If he signs a 5 year/100 million deal to come here and the team struggles the first 3 years, is he going to grumble and pull a few Tejada-esque trade demands. Remember, towards the end of his tenture in Texas, he wasn’t exactly a happy camper. Is this going to happen in Baltimore?

In the end, if he signs here, he signs here. I’m not violently opposed to it but I’m not praying every night that it happens. It has its pros and a few cons. I really do think that the O’s will make a push to sign him. I really wish I had a firm stance on this one…but I don’t. If it happens, then I think he can help.

Sunday blues and a goodbye to Freddie B.

With today’s loss against the Brewers, the O’s are 1-11 on Sundays. Seriously. Since beating the Mariners on April 6th, the O’s have lost every Sunday game since.

Today’s game was more frustrating because Manny Parra gave up 6 walks in 5 innings. As a team, the O’s left 9 on base. The game turned when the O’s had the bases loaded up in 2nd with one out and Melvin Mora hit into an inning ending double play. What could have blown the game open, instead turned things the Brewers way. Which resulted into 11 Sunday loses in a row.

Ryan Bukvich pitched 0.2 innings and surrendered a homer to Prince Fielder right off the bat. Bukvich was called up and our boy Freddie Bynum got DFA’ed. I’m bummed the Bynum got DFA’ed. I wish Bynum was better, but the move needed to be made. I didn’t think it was going to happen this quickly. Trembley has had Bynum starting most of the time. With that going on, I figured Bynum would be bench for a bit before the DFA went down. Apparently the Hammer of MacPhail falls quickly. Bynum’s gone and Alex Cintron is our shortstop until someone better comes along.

For the most part, Bynum has been a sure 0-4 game in and game out. Though MacPhail and Trembley have both said, they’re willing to sacrafice offense for defense. Bynum’s ok defensively, not great, but ok. Nothing to merit a starting gig in the bigs. I wish it coulda worked out Boom Boom Bynum. But it didn’t.

 

Miggi returns to Birdland

I had fully intended to have this up before yesterday’s game, but things happen. Anyway, Miggi’s back in Baltimore with the Astro’s. They lost to the mighty O’s as they came back from behind again to win 6-5.

Last year when Miggi got traded, I was relieved. It had to happen and it needed to happen. Tejada’s a good player. He has a good bat but his defense is average. With the freakshow the O’s have at short right now, it really makes me look back at Tejada with some rose colored glasses.

Towards the end, he was wearing me with the trade requests and subsequent denials that he requested a trade. That was where I was getting tired of it. I know he only to be on a winning team and last year’s Orioles were anything but that. Then when you’re someone like Tejada who gets reassured that the team is going to get some big time players to help him out and then Jay Payton and Aubrey Huff get signed that’s not the help you need. That was the Oriole way of the past decade though.

He did get under my skin sometimes with the trade requests and lack of hustle. A few years in a losing culture might kill your hustle a little, but that’s no way to justify it.

Tejada’s a good player and I hope does well in Houston. I hate it when a player gets traded and comes back and gets booed. I missed the game last night, so I don’t know what the crowd reaction was. Hopefully it was positive. He put in his time with some bad teams and had some great seasons here. The one that comes to mind best was 2004 with 34 HR and 150 RBI. After that, his numbers still didn’t come close that year…but he did he still was one of the few reasons to watch the O’s during those years.

MacPhail sold at the right time on Tejada (and Bedard). Tejada should have been traded a year or so earlier. But the bunch we got is doing ok. Luke Scott has been the best thing I’ve seen in Left Field for years. Dennis Sarfate and Matt Albers have been a big part of the bullpen revival. Mike Constanzo is in the minors and Troy Patton is out for the year. Its been an even trade really for both sides. Tejada started in Houston on a tear, but he’s cooled a little as of late. So, I thank him for his four seasons here. Things didn’t work out here but that’s ok. The Orioles needed to rebuild. Tejada wouldn’t be an asset whenever the Orioles would be ready to compete. Tejada could net a few pieces helpful to the rebuild and Tejada needed a change of scenery away.

 I’ll watch the game tonight and see Freddie Bynum (or hopefully Alex Cintron…though that’s almost a push) and then see Tejada at short at the top of the next inning. No, he wasn’t a plus defender, but sometimes you don’t miss somebody til they’re gone.

Few Things 6/15

A few things

  • The O’s took 2 out of 3 from the Pirates in a surprisingly tight series. Not that we’re scores better than the Pirates or anything. But I was expecting some bland baseball this series. Not the case.
  • The O’s are back at .500 with a 34-34 record. Everytime they fall back to .500, I say to myself “It’s been a nice run” and resign myself to sub .500 ball the rest of the season. Then they crank off a few wins, lose a few more, go back to .500 and I say the same thing. Repeat. Repeat and rinse.
  • It irks me sometimes when Trembley brings in Jay Payton as a defensive sub in the late innings for Luke Scott. I know that Scott isn’t a gold glover out there, but Jay Payton ain’t that great either. I know he’s slightly better, but if the game is tight and Payton comes in the 8th inning and then has to bat in Scott’s spot at the top of the 9th, I hate that. Scott’s offense makes up for whatever he might lack defensively. His defense is actually much better than I expected. Payton’s late inning appearances, I feel, are more of a way to appease Payton rather than game strategy. I could be wrong.
  • Daniel Cabrera apparently was shaky today. I didn’t see him, so I can’t judge. He went 6 innings, gave up 4 runs, 5 BB, and 2 K’s. His last few outings have been a step back. I’m crossing my fingers that he’s just having a few bad starts and not reverting to his old ways.
  • Dennis Sarfate became a dad today, on Father’s Day. What are the odds.
  • Off day tomorrow, before The Houston Astros and you know (more on that tomorrow) come to Baltimore, then it’s 3 at the Brewers, 3 against the Cubs at Wrigley, and then Interleague wraps up with 3 at the much hated Nats new place.