Opening Day Live Blog tomorrow

I go to work at 6 tomorrow morning and the good thing about my job is that I’m not locked into a set schedule. If I get things done quick and hustle, then I can wrap up early and vice versa. So the plan is tomorrow, to move quick and get done and watch as much baseball as humanly possible.

With the new laptop, its easier to go sit in the recliner and do this. Last season, with the old desktop it was a chore to watch and post, turn the head, watch and turn the head and post. I’ll try and do this more this season. The Extra Innings is ordered as of an hour ago, so its showtime.

I should be back home by game time, if not shortly after.

A few game notes on tonight (Braves at the hated Nats)

 *Jon Miller’s voice was a wonderful sound to hear. Its been too long.

*I was amused by the reception George Curly W Bush got, the reception being a smathering of boos mixed with applause.

*The blasted Nats have already gone up 2-0 to nothing through one inning on some sloppy defense by the Braves.

*I’ll give the cursed Nats credit, they have a nice park.

O’s crush the much hated Nats

It’s only spring training, but we gotta take ’em where we get ’em. The O’s demolished the arch-nemesis known as the Washingtonal Nationals today by a comfortable 11-3 margin. The tease we all know as Daniel Cabrera went a strong 5.1 innings. Cabrera struck out 5 and walked a mere 1 batter. He ran out of gas in the 6th and gave up a two-run homer. So it’s time to ask that blasted question “Is this the season that it all clicks for Cabrera?” After last season, I’ve written him off as a wash. When he’s good, he’s good….but when he’s bad, ooooooh my is he bad. Maybe Krantiz is the guy he needs as a pitching coach. But his past two pitching coaches have been Ray Miller and Leo Mazzone, neither are known as the Terry Crowley of pitching coaches. No more excuses for Cabrera, if it doesn’t work this season, it’s time for this rollercoaster love/hate relationship to end.

A few odds and ends

-Luke Scott hit a 2 run homer today.

-Adam Jones hit 2 doubles today.

-Scott Moore is batting a hefty .556 this spring.

-Rocky Cherry has a 0.00 ERA thus spring. If  he keeps this up, he might force his way into the bullpen.

-Melvin Mora has a .455 average. If he does this during the season, some team might actually take that contract.

-Steve Trachsel has a 6.92 ERA this spring. He best not start on opening day.

-Radhames Liz has been sent to Minor League camp. I’m not upset over this. Macphail and Trembley are showing that they’re not rushing the kids to be on the big club just for the sake of being there. Liz’ll be back and he’ll be better when he is.

-Jim Hoey is sidelined indefinately with biceps tendinitis in his right arm.

Spring Training Rundown

I like Spring Training because you can scour over the box scores and they bring you hope. Case in point, today’s win against our hated rival, the loathesome Washington Nationals.

Prime case in point: 

Daniel Cabrera went three innings. He gave up only 2 hits, 0 runs, no walks, and struck out 1.

The Spring Training Optimist says this is the year Cabrera gets it all together. A new pitching coach is going to help him get over the hump. Look at what he did today. He went 3 innings against alot of the Nats’ regulars. Dukes, Pena, Milledge, and Lopez…there’s some talent there. It’s not the Yanks or Red Sox, but he did good and didn’t walk anybody

The Spring Training Realist says if he would have went 4 innings he would have melted down. Cabrera is what he is and he’s an underachiever. He’ll have some good games and then more bad games. It’s the Nats and its only a Spring Training game.

Radhmes Liz, Hayden Penn, Garret Olson, and Ryan Keefer all pitched scoreless innings. Olson struck out 3 over 2 innings of work, but also walked  2. His control is still somewhat suspect, but that’s still a better day for him. McCrory gave up the only run of the day.

Scott Moore drove in 3 runs today, one of those a solo homerun. Costanzo drove in the only other other run. Moore’s going to be making a push to make the 25 man roster. If trades can still be swung for vets like Millar, Mora, Payton, Huff, or Gibbons then his road will be a lot easier. If none of them are traded then he’s going to fighting hard for a reserve role. A day like this should help. I don’t think yesterday’s snafu of blatantly running through Juan Samuel’s stop sign at third and scoring anyway will banish him to Norfolk.

Matt Wieters went 0 for 3 with 3 K’s at DH today. Let’s hope no one jumps off the bridges over this. Plenty of vets have these days (alot of O’s last season did….*ahem* Corey Patterson) and they’ll have plenty more. Wieters is just a kid and seeing major league pitching for the first times. He’ll be in the minors and he’ll learn to hit major league caliber pitching. He’s not going to be catching in Baltimore yet, so there’s no need to rush him.

Steve Trachsel had a good day  yesterday, pitching the O’s to a 7-5 win over the Marlins. Trachsel went 2 innings and gave up 1 hit and struck out 1. Sarfate, Novoa, Acquino, Hoey, Johnson, and Bukvich all pitched scoreless innings. Matt Albers and Randor Bierd both gave up 2 runs apiece in their own innings of work.

My two week absence happened at the same time as the O’s yearly end of season season collapse. I’m glad I missed it. The first week of my absence was my yearly Ben’s week o’ fun. It didn’t start out as fun.

Me and my now former roommate Chris met up in Asheville for an Asheville Tourist game. Chris goes to grad school now in NC, so it was a good spot to meet up. If you ever have the chance to go to a Tourist game, do it. The ballpark is a great little park. Anyways, we got to the game late. The reason for this was I-26 was backed up like any other interstate on a Friday should be. Once I hit I-40, it was marginally better. But that was 40 minutes I lost. I met up with Chris and we rode to the park. We got near the park and the park looked more like a major league park inside of a single A park. Cars were parked on the streets for a mile or two. There’s not a real parking lot for the park, so you have to fend for yourself. We made the mile, maybe two, walk to the park from where I parked only to find they were sold out. I bought the first scalped tickets of my life at this point. They were face value, it wasn’t like I paid 20 bucks for a minor league game. It seems unfathomable that I bought a scalped ticket for a low A game. It turns out that this was the final game of the season AND fireworks night, thus the crowd.

We got into the park and the seating is about 80% general admission. Our hot tickets were general. In the Greenville park, you can always find somewhere to catch the game even if there’s no seats. You can sit on the grass, in the Spinx club, or stand around. It wasn’t like this in Asheville. It was the packed and nowhere to sit or stand. After about 15 minutes, we decided to cut our losses and split. On the hike back to car, a gnat flew directly into my eyeball. This would plague me the rest of the night. 

Since baseball wasn’t in the cards, we went and grabbed a couple of drinks before we split our seperate ways back to Greenville. When I hit the interstate, my car’s thermostat needle went straight to hot. Since my car is a mobile indian burial ground, I was very concerned. I stopped and put some anti-freeze in it. Ten minutes later, it was hot again. I stopped at a gas station and bought more anti-freeze. Seven minutes later, it was hot again. I was hoping to inch my way back to Greenville. Two minutes, it was hot again. Lucky, I managed to get a rest area. I called Chris and he met me there. Then after getting arrangements made for a wrecker, it was an hour and half wait for the wrecker. Needless to say, it was one of the worst nights in awhile. I have the car back sans the old raditor and I’m sans some money.

The rest of the week o’ fun went better. Labor Day I went down to Clemson with a few friends and met up with some friends down there for the FSU/Clemson game. Death Valley is an awesome place. The tickets I ordered were from the FSU website since I couldn’t get any from the Tiger site. I didn’t make any new FSU friends that night. Clemson got out to big start and in usual fashion, hung onto a close win.

The following Saturday, I took my Mom down to Atlanta to our yearly trip to a Braves game. This year it was the Nats playing the Braves. The Braves rolled 9-2, but it was still a fun game. Washington looks as bad as their record. Still though, going to a baseball is great.

It was a busy week. I’m going to Charlotte a week from Sunday to catch the Panthers play. So I’ll manage to catch all my teams play this year except the O’s.

As for the O’s, I missed a lot.

-Danys Baez going out for the season and likely all of next.

-Victor Zambrano signing

-Daniel Cabrera taking over the role of this season’s Rodrigo Lopez.

-Nick Markakis hitting 20 HR and 100 RBIs

and every thing I mentioned last post.

Is that this weekend? I must have forgotten somehow..

Yep, the biggest rivalry in the history of sports resumes tomorrow.

Dodgers v. Giants? Yawn. I’m nodding off at the thought of that.

Braves v. Mets? Are you joking? Surely you jest!

Red Sox v. Yankees? Ha…what are you smoking? You must work for ESPN!

Cards v. Cubs? Please, that’s small potatoes.

The one true and legendary rivalry resumes Friday. America’s darlings, the Baltimore Orioles visit the much loathed and hated Washington Nationals. You hafta know from the nonstop hype on ESPN. Everytime I turn to it, it’s O’s this, Nats that. Perlozzo is on, enlightening America’s sports fans with his vast wisdom. Dimtri Young, one of the premier first basemen is baseball history, is on trying to downplay the hype. They have comparsions of the two best GMs in baseball Mike Flannagan and Jim Bowden. The makes me make with an excited frenzy!

O how those Nationals make me sick!

The Orioles will visit the hate-filled atmosphere of the bloodthristy arena known to most as RFK.

The sharpest mind in baseball, the Oriole’s braintrust Sam Perlozzo, will have his work cut out from him this weekend as he matches wits with Manny Acta. Acta will have to keep his guard up against Perlozzo’s most dangerous mangerial tactic…the bunt.

Brains won’t be the only part of this deathmatch.The offense will be on display as well.

Dimtri Young, Ryan Langerhans, Felipe Lopez, and Austin Kerns could only dream of being as good as any Oriole!

Ryan Zimmerman? Please, I’ll take Melvin Mora any day of the week and 3 times on Sunday. Zimmerman doesn’t have that drive to do more and make up his own strategy as the game unfolds. It’s like having two Sam Perlozzos! It’s so unfair to the Nats, it’s almost criminal.

Storylines include:

Winston Abreu plays against the O’s for the first time since his release!

Ryan Langerhan’s quest to bat his weight!

Cristian Guzman’s vow to defy the critcs and prove that he is the best shortstop in baseball!

Miguel Tejada’s race for homerun number 3!

Freddie Bynum to unleash hell on the basepaths in the 9th inning!

Todd Williams proving that he’s a nightmare in relief (Not the Nat’s nightmare though).

Chris Ray looks to extend his lead for grandslams given up in the ninth inning!

In the Battle of the Beltway 2008, the O’s will take no prisoners and raze RFK, then make DC their own. What a glorious weekend it will be. Call into work, cancel your plans, and do everything possible to ensure that you don’t miss this classic. Thousands of years from now, this weekend series will be looked upon as the most important in the history of baseball.

I pledge my allegiance alright, I’m pledging allegiance that the O’s will trample the Nats!