the manhOrse in winter

Posted in histOry on January 4th, 2014 by The Wayward O

With apologies to lesser men, here are at least 13 true facts about Aubrey Huff, who retired Saturday but remains Blog of Team’s favorite player of recent memory, with perhaps an exception or two that will not herein be discussed.
- born in 1976, Aubrey Lewis Huff grew up in a trailer park near Fort Worth, Texas. His favorite athlete growing up was Rangers fireballer Nolan Ryan
- when Aubrey was six years old, his father was killed while “trying to play peacemaker to a man and woman he had never met” who were having a domestic dispute
- After his father was killed, young Aubrey asked his mother for a batting cage. He wanted to be a baseball player. He must have had natural talent because he was no “workout warrior”
- Aubrey OBP’d at a .342 clip (good) and OPS’d at .806 (real good) over a 13-year major league career and hit 242 home runs. It’s not easy to hit 242 home runs in the Big Leagues and only a relatively small handful of humans have done better
- the 2007 death of his good friend, Rays pitcher Joe Kennedy, affected him deeply and Aubrey, who joined the Orioles after the 2006 season, took Kennedy’s No. 17 thereafter. Aubrey was a 5th-round draft pick in 1998
- later that year, a reeling Aubrey, whilst drinking vodka/Red Bulls on a radio show in Florida, was asked “is Baltimore a baseball town?” In reply he called Baltimore a “horseshit city.” It became a thing of lore
- after Charm City showered Aub with a veritable orgasm of indignant opprobrium related to said radio show commentary, Aub hit .304 in 2008 while OPS’ing at a .912 clip and swatting 34 home runs for Team. In 2009 Aub was traded at the deadline for some guy. He fared poorly in Detroit before his ship would come in
- Huff sings country – or used to anyway
- it has been reported that, along with a tattoo of his father, Aubrey has a man-horse tattoo


Animated

- in 2010, after signing a one-year, $3 million deal with the San Francisco Giants, Aub would pair with fellow “water buffalo” Pat Burrell and the pair would help the young-ish Giants club their way to an unanticipated World Series title. Huff is credited with helping put the series out of reach with a monstrous, two-run home run off of Ranger’s hurler Tommy Hunter on Oct. 31 of that year. That magical year he also proved he could hustle when necessary. Aub, minus Pat the Bat, would assume minor role in a 2nd World Series run with the Giants in 2012
- he has battled an anxiety disorder, which became more acute during his first year after signing a big, post-World Series contract with the Giants after the 2010 title
- Aubrey Huff has been known to wear a rally thong


Sneakin’ rally through the alley

- As a big-league ballplayer, Aub earned roughly $58 million in total player play. He would play nearly 1,500 regular season games before playing in a post-season game (see NYT article, linked above). In his retirement-related comments, Aub suggests he is embarking on broadcast career. You’ll do great. Blog knows it

trades, dOngs and passings

Posted in histOry on December 31st, 2013 by The Wayward O

Blog of Team takes advantage of Dark Times at Year’s End to delve into year that was.

It was a strained year on-field, in which homer-dependent -happy Team finished above .500 but well out of the money. But it also was a year in which many of Team’s shrewdest moves were on display.

Now, our 2013 off-season also is shaping up to be strained, with many high-profile departures and, thus far, few acquisitions that are more than marginal. However, compared with recent past years, one doesn’t need a microscope to see why fans of Team have high hopes.

Fans of Team also saw passing of two Oriole greats. Both were unexpected deaths that occurred during course of post-career public obligations.

In other years this endeavor has attempted to be more comprehensive. This year Blog of Team had to make minor concessions to time and keep it a skootch more abbreviated. But hopefully the high- and low-points we all experienced are mostly alluded to here. If Blog missed a couple-few, and you got to howl about it, please do so in comments!

Jan. 16 - Jobs of amorphously-titled CEO Dan Duquette and Manager Buck Showalter extended through 2018 season. Two days later Team lynchpin Matt Wieters receives $5 million raise over 2012 pay of $500,000. Not long after, however, in March, the San Francisco Giants likely struck fear into heart of Warehouse by paying their star catcher, Buster Posey, $167 million over nine years. Wieters’ future assumes firm number one spot on list of topics with with speculating bird watchers occupy their time.

Jan. 19 - Earl Weaver dies on cruise ship. Team’s great manager, architect of its golden years in 1970s and 1980s and forward-thinking baseball strategist passes away at age 82.

Feb. 18 - Team locks up reliever Darren O’Day, who was on track for another stellar year. Following day Team gives former outfield standout and steroid-era urban legend Brady Anderson an executive-suite gig.

March 25 - Designated hitter Wilson Betemit hurt in spring game. Wilson’s injury seen internally a serious blow and leaves Team struggling to find production from DH spot. Unlike many springs past, much of Team was set going into Grapefuit League action.

April 4 - Brian Roberts ruptures tendon in knee stealing second base in opening series vs Rays. Great sadness re-endarkenates soul of Orioles nation. No team goes through baseball season without injury but it can be said that Team’s 2013 campaign was marred significantly by these two and at least one more.

April 5 - Chris Davis hits grand slam as sun-splashed Orioles home opener ends with happiness and, in Dulaney Valley, the Merrye Peasants dance. Earl’s passing remembered in touching ceremony, in which first pitch was skipped in favor of ball placed on pitcher’s mound.

April 12 - Bubble gate! Adam Jones, in bubblante-delicto, misplays fly ball, allowing three Yankees to score. Misplay, not Jonesie’s first on young season, sparks weeks of debate about bubble-blowing and whether … yeah let’s not re-ponder all of that. It was almost worse than “run differential-gate” and “one run game-gate.” Later in game Yankees would turn bizarre triple play.

May 5- Like playoff vintage from 2012, Team proves again in 2013 it can handle its business on West Coast.

May 15 - Another in Triumvirate of key early-season injuries hits Team as starter Wei-Yin Chin seizes up with muscle strain that would cost him large chunk of season.

May 18 - Looking lost and listless, closer Jim Johnson melts down in 9th inning and allows Rays to gallop past Team in 9th inning. This undoubtedly was one of performances that led to JJ being traded to Oakland after season in move of debatable wisdom.

June 1 - Starter Jason Hammel ejected after giving up dong barrage vs. Tigers and then plunking Matt Tuiasosopo. Hammel had a rough season, including suffering a forearm injury, and couldn’t hold on to his spot in rotation.

June 5 - For those of us who obsess over WBAL radio broadcasts, 2013 featured a skinnier (and sassier) Fred and a just-as-cool-as-ever Joe calling ‘em as they saw ‘em. But, in a revolting development, Royal Farms abandoned the Chicken Man radio campaign in favor of featuring a crazy woman who eats three convenience-store meals a day. Lady, you got to eat right.

June 13 - Boy wonder Kevin Gausman guts out gutsy start at Fenway. The consensus after 2013 was that kid’s stuff is real deal despite fact that he WHIP’d and ERA’d high. Kevin supposedly is in mix for full-time role in 2014 rotation.

June 21 - Buck goes nuts in loss at Toronto. After (ugh) Angel Hernandez ejects him, Buck returns favor, ejecting umpiring crew. Like Nicky, who goes berserk about once a year, Buck’s usually good for at least one memorable ejection each season.

June 26 - Team’s current other wunderkind, Dylan Bundy, requires Tommy John surgery to address lingering injury.

June 30 - Team establishes itself as “buyer” heading into July with three-game sweep of Yankees at Camden Yards. Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit home runs to pace Orioles on rare Sunday night baseball broadcast.

July 2 - Team ships Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and loot to Cubsies for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger in effort to shore up rotation for playoff push. No Oriole fan ever will forget Jake’s great moments, including his 2012 Opening Day gem. But trade also illustrates limited value of falling in love with young, untested pitchers to complete exclusion of other available talent.

July 7 - In Team’s best on-field 2013 moment, center fielder Adam Jones throws cold water on Mariano Rivera’s endless and cloying going away party. Wayward O goes crazy and nearly requires police escort out of Bronx.


Mo Face! via MLB.com

July 26 - Chris Tillman, another product of Team’s shrewd past dealings, becomes first Oriole since 2007 to eclipse 13-win mark with dominant start against Boston. Team was pretty hapless against Yankees and Rays in 2013 but Boston, the eventual World Series champs, suffered opposite fate.

July 31 - Orioles trade two known Orioles, including L.J. Hoes, for starter Bud “Taco” Norris in deadline move. Team drops chassis in 11-0 home loss to Bud’s visiting Astros in what now-departed Nate McLouth called “our worst game of the year.”

A week prior Team also traded for over over-the-hill reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Moves notwithstanding Team would tread water in July and August as Boston and Tampa Bay pulled away.

Aug. 25 - Cap’n Nicky ends lengthy extra-base hits drought. Sun-bleached Fans of Team go, OK Cool. Nicky says “I’m just glad I hit the ball hard.” Because Cap’n Nicky is Cap’n. This was a Feldman win that also featured a J.J. Hardy dong and gave fans some hope that flagging Wild Card push was gaining momentum.

Aug. 30 - Known Oriole Xavier Avery sent to Seattle for Mike Morse as Team seeks consistent offensive production. Morse would prove to be irrelevant.

Sept. 1 - After Dan Duquette lets backup catcher Taylor Teagarden go and brings in pair of supposedly better-hitting backstops, Buck showalter – in rare public moment of apparent displeasure – tells Baltimore Sun “I’m sure there were some good reasons.” Implication is that Buck was not in on move or did not agree with it.

Sept. 12 - Swept in Bronx at hands of that juicing, lying so-and-so A-Rod and his Yankees, Team slips beneath wild-card waves.

Sept. 23 - Team drops fourth straight to Rays in series where, going in, there remained only marginal playoff hope. Said hopes are extinguished. But that was not worst news. Fans of Team and Players of Team all say “OH JEES OH YIPES LET MANNY BE OK.”

It seems he is gonna be Okay!

One more note about this day: This was not first time in 2013 that Team was swept by Rays. They were swept by Tampa Bay between May 17-19 as part of six-game losing streak that month. One major difference between playoff squad from 2012 and 2013 vintage was that the latter displayed penchant for damaging losing streaks.

Sept. 29 - Most Valuable Oriole Chris Davis exits game with gimpy wrist after collision with Jacoby Ellsbury. Davis, the Texas castoff, put up monster numbers in 2013, and Team – in having acquired him – showed herein its best lights. Davis set club single-season home run record on Sept. 17.

October - Unlike 2012 October proves uneventful except for 16th, when 30th anniversary of Team’s last championship comes and goes. Defensive and offensive accolades are parsed out – going in large measure to members of Team – in late October and early November. Team also finds new pitching coach Dave Wallace, who is said to love America and eat whole-grain breakfasts.

Nov. 7 - Sun reporter Eddie Encina quotes Jonesie as follows: “I think it’s a very big winter. I think our fan base wants to win. I think now you go into it where .500 isn’t good enough anymore, and as a player I like that.”

Dec. 3 - Team, unwilling to go to arbitration with Jim Johnson, trades him to Oakland for Jemile Weeks in move Duquette essentially admits to be a $10 million salary dump.

Dec. 17 - To surprise of exactly nobody Brian Roberts, his ill-fated contract with Baltimore having elapsed, signs $2 million free-agent deal with New York Yankees. Fans of Team will always remember B-Rob, not just for his injuries, but for the dynamic and talented player he used to be — full of passion for game.

Dec. 18 - Orioles nation pencils in David Lough for left field after Team makes what appears to be potentially complementary trade with Royals, sending Danny Valencia to Kansas City. Valencia stepped up and claimed DH role for Team during second half amid disturbing talent-vacuum.

Dec. 20 - Orioles, scrambling to replace aforementioned closer, had settled on 2-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour. But this day Team balks, and spits out contract, due to what it calls problems with the aging Oakland reliever’s shoulder. At year’s end Team had no closer. 2014 appears to be dawning with key questions unanswered for Team in starting rotation, possibly outfield and bullpen.

Dec. 26 - Well-remembered center fielder Paul Blair passes away at age of 69. Blair stole 24 bases and OBP’d at a .344 clip for the 1970 World Series Champions. Like Blog of Team, he also talked a lot of shit.

histOric

Posted in histOry on July 14th, 2013 by The Wayward O

There are a lot of “stats” going around Blogs’phere about my man Chris / Crush / Class Davis and he keeps doing “firsts” in Orioles and in baseball history and everything …


Sorry, Teddy

But even Blog of Team was shocked when said Blog saw above postcard from dakOtas…

Anyway look, the murderous Yankees are finished. The Blue (Blooded) Jays are about to get bored and give up. It’s time to knuckle down and set sites on destiny, my friends. Don’t even worry about it.

Oh, almost forgot: This semi-original Post of Blog of Team was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

sO many nuggets in the year that was…

Posted in histOry on December 31st, 2012 by The Wayward O

This New Year we look back on a Team that let some of its proverbial Old Guard go, saw young kids make big contributions, honored its historic past and ultimately fell short in October after a 93-win season. There were so many nuggets – to poach a phrase – in 2012 that it’s hard to imagine Blog has mined them all. But it was not for lack of trying. If you see any glaring omissions, please chime in with a comment. Happy New Year!

Jan. 6 - At dawn of 2012 Team is in midst of being outbid for Prince Fielder. Meanwhile Adam Jones trade rumors are swirling. Also it’s funny, now in hindsight, to read about the push to have Jim Johnson become a starter, given what he would accomplish as closer later in 2012. On this day Nicky Markakis goes under the knife to have a muscle tear in his abdomen fixed.

Jan. 11 - Luke Scott signs deal with Tampa Bay Rays, ending a four-year tenure in Baltimore that was sprinkled with personality and the occasional home run. Also, we learn that Melvin Mora’s reported retirement is off. Melvin is seeking a minor league contract with anyone who will have him, especially if they are “close to my house.” MellyMo would not play in the majors in 2012. As of this writing, however, he was – according to Spanish-language news sites – gearing up to represent his native Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Jan 21 - Jonesie Tweets about a “great lunch meeting” with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, leading Blog to (correct) conclusion that trade rumors were overblown. Also this week, we learn that Buck plans to stick with Mark Reynolds at third base going into spring. Pretty much everyone sees this as a mistake except the Orioles.

Jan. 23 - The Wilson Betemit era dawns over Baltimore. The following day, the Orioles’ not-big-enough offer to Prince Fielder officially falls short as the rotund superstar signs with Detroit. Prince would go on to play 162 games for the Tigers in 2012 and have a huge year. Eight years left on that deal, though …

Jan. 27 - We hold our breath as Brooks Robinson is hospitalized after a fall. Brooksie would be back in the hospital in April with another ailment. But the fabled Hall-of-Fame third baseman would come back strong!

Feb. 6 - Jeremy Guthrie, who did his bit in Baltimore, leaves via trade. Goodbye, Jeremy Guthrie. You did your bit in Baltimore. Hello Jason Hammel! Hello Matt Lindstrom! Hope! Change! And we learn this week that Team essentially plans to hold an open house during spring training, in which any pitcher can hope to make the starting rotation. Perhaps “Open Mound” is a better term. Anyway, it is difficult at this juncture to reconcile inklings of potential with Team’s track record of pitching failures.

Feb. 10 - KOREA-GATE. Orioles are very sorry for failing to TENDER A STATUS CHECK prior to signing then 17-year-old lefty pitcher Kim Seong-min. The fiasco surrounding Kim led to a ban on Team scouts watching KBA games and had fans thinking, “Is our new GM, who spent the last decade outside of baseball, a bumbling rube?” In May, according to a Baltimore Sun report, Kim was in Sarasota “for a workout.” But he was not signed.

Feb. 19 - Clay Rapada disappears into Yankee maw amid rumors that Team, under tutelage of new pitching coach Rick Peterson, will implement a program of BIOMECHANICAL TESTING to vet talent, approaches and injury risk. The move feels part and parcel with Dan Duquette’s other numbers-based approaches. Wayward O is no statistician, and one year is a TINY SAMPLE, but injuries were fewer during 2012 campaign. Fake injuries plummeted, certainly, amid the winning.

Feb. 20 - Look at this Tweet! Wayward O has inkling! In non-Orioles news, this was the day when the Washington Nationals’ plan to “shut down” Stephen Strasburg first began to sear the soul of a nation … and throughout 2012 the searing went on without pause. And it goes on still.

Feb. 26 - Look at THIS TWEET TOO! Blog of Team = prescient. Sadly, any intelligence associated with this Tweet negated by Feb. 27th Tweet urging Redskins not to trade up for RGIII. LoL Wayward O you so stoopit! Also, Okayyy Reimold!

March 5 - Spring training baseball on radio, er, computer. On this day Blog of Team marveled at Chris Davis’ smooth approach at the plate. Davis was heading for a fantastic year. Manny Machado rocks a #85 jersey, makes a nice play.

March 11 - Matt Wieters says all the right things after Team renews his contract for $500,000. Many are left to wonder whether Orioles should have done him better. It’s a tough spot for the spending-conscious Os, who treated Nick Markakis in much the same manner before ultimately rewarding him. Also, it’s not as if Matt is starving to death. He got a $6 million signing bonus after he was drafted in 2007.

March 23 - Rule 5 draftee Ryan Flaherty makes team! He celebrates by flubbing pop-up in Florida sunshine. This was a week in which fans had held their breath about Zach Britton’s shoulder, learning eventually that Zach was not facing surgery. Zach, a bright spot during the brutal 2011 campaign, would see limited action in 2012.

April 6 - Nicky hits 2-run bomb in first inning and a triple in the sixth to key Orioles’ opening day win against Twins. Jake Arrieta, who would see his share of bumps in 2012, gave up no runs in seven innings this day and the stadium radar gun put him at 96 mph. Also Wayward O got a triple peanut.

April 11 - Season-opening sweep of Twins tempered this day by the New York Yankees, who capped sweep of Baltimore with a 6-4 win on a 10th inning, go-ahead home run by Nick Swisher, who as of this writing thankfully is not an Oriole. During the first game of this series, a 6-2 loss on April 9, there was major angst as Yankee catcher Russell Martin accused Robert Andino of tipping pitches. On April 10 Andino said of the prospect of Yankee retaliation “I don’t know, I ain’t a future teller.” It was one of the departed Andino’s great quotes and just another reason why he was such a fan’s favorite.

April 14 - Wins like these have the faithful wondering things like, “When will the collapse come?” and “Yeah but it’s just the Blue Jays.” Simply put, fans are having trouble believing their eyes. In this game the Os came back from a late 4-2 deficit to win 6-4 behind home runs from Nolan Reimold and Betemit. Young Brett Lawrie is tagged out by Matt Wieters trying to steal home and later is thrown out by Matt attempting to steal second.

April 22 - A 3-2 win in ten innings at Anaheim secured Orioles a winning road trip that included their first touch on the West Coast. As Blog wrote at the time: “We also saw Team dodge veritable Rogue’s Gallery of Oriole Killers including, but not limited to, Jose Bautista, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Vernon Wells — not to mention presumptive Oriole-killer Albert Pujols.” Mark Reynolds mired in depths of brutal hitting and fielding slump at third base.

April 28 - While Team’s other eastern import, Tsuyoshi Wada, prepares for Tommy John surgery, Wei-Yin Chen earns second win on season this day with seven crisp innings in Baltimore. Chen was just fantastic all season long, though perhaps he tired a bit down the home stretch. He easily eclipsed his previous innings-pitched marks in 2012.

May 1 - May already and haven’t even mentioned BUCK SHOWALTER yet. Buck gets career win No. 1,000, Brian Matusz snaps long winning drought and Nick Johnson finally comes alive a little bit as Orioles beat Yankees in da Bronx.

May 4 - Mark Reynolds appears to snub Buck after hitting a home run in Boston … It was clearly just an oversight on Mark’s part (he saw he would get silent treatment as a joke from teammates and was trying to sort of get them back). But some writers would hilariously seek in coming days to “defuse a controversy” where none existed. The best part of this infamous .gif is Buck’s reaction: spot-on comedic timing.

May 6 - In a game that fans will remember for decades, Chris Davis pitches two scoreless innings of relief to earn a win in Boston after 17 innings. Davis, who went 0 for 8 at the plate, becomes the first American League position player to notch a pitching win since the 1960s, if memory serves. The Orioles sweep the Red Sox in Boston, win their fifth in a row (including two in the Bronx over the Yankees) and run their record on the young season to 19-9. Davis’ o-fer, incidentally, dropped his batting average to .299.

May 8 - Josh Hamilton day at Camden Yards. The troubled mega-talent launches four (4) two-run jacks. Josh calls the game one of his career highlights. All Buck could so was tip his cap.

May 12 - Team secures series win over visiting Tampa Bay as Jim Johnson earns 11th save and Bill Hall, called up prior to game, hits home run. The slumping Mark Reynolds earns a DL stint with a phantom injury and the Brad Bergesen experiment effectively ends as 3E is designated for assignment. Mid-May would see Team spend a few weeks in first place before ceding the pole position to the Yankees in early June.

May 27 - Adam Jones gets contract extension that should keep him where he belongs for a long time.

June 4 – The Orioles again target potential starting pitching in the amateur draft, picking Kevin Gausman fourth overall.

June 12 - Brian Roberts returns to lineup. The well-remunerated former star puts concussion issues in past, but future will be clouded by other injuries.

June 14 - Team smashes former ace Erik Bedard, now with Pittsburgh, in 12-6 romp.

June 16 - Jason Hammel flirts with no-hitter on Fox Saturday Baseball vs. Braves in Atlanta. Nobody could watch on Internet because … well … Fox. But television watchers in Baltimore and Georgia bear witness to Hammel’s gem, which ran his record to 7-2. Wayward O bore witnesses after the fact, watching archived version.

June 20 - While Team fared decently against interleague opponents including Philly, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, this day saw the Orioles swept by the woeful New York Mets. They made the last game of this series interesting but Brian Roberts grounded out with the bases loaded to end it. Two days prior, eventual Cy Young Award winning knuckleballer R.A. Dickey one-hits Team with a 114-pitch, complete-game masterpiece. June was perhaps the Orioles’ roughest month as Team posted a 13-13 mark and saw worries of regression again surface behind a late June scoring drought many blamed on aftereffects of the Dickey game. Adversity!

June 22 - We learn that Reimold has been bitten badly by injury bug once again. The left fielder, absent from lineup since late April, requires surgery for bulging disc in his neck. Ouch, man. Along with several less-important Orioles, Nick Markakis also is battling injury. But our resilient squad still manages to take two of three from eventual NL East champion Nationals in Baltimore.

June 26 - Muted MLB.tv gamecasts mysteriously begin un-muting themselves as baseball seeks to force Internet fans to listen to ads in between innings. But Bud Selig still hasn’t figured out how to override the MUTE BUTTON on the computer. Hardware 1, Software 0.

June 27 - The Mike Trout catch. Nuff said. Also our friend Brian Roberts is starting to raise eyebrows because of the sheer number of soft outs he’s making.

June 29 - Derecho’d! Also Chen strikes out 12 A’s in a 6-1 win.

July 4 - Mark Viviano wishes nation a happy 136th birthday.

July 6 - He was so dazzling on Opening Day. But after a brutal outing against the Angels, Jake Arrieta earns a dreaded taxi ride to AAA Norfolk.

July 8 - After a worrisome June, many feared Team would get knocked out of contention during seven-game road swing through Seattle and Anaheim. But scrappy Team wins three of these games, including a brilliant 8+ inning effort by Chris Tillman on July 4 and a July 3 outing in which Chen bests Felix Hernandez. The July 3 outing is almost lost at the hands of Pedro Strop but Robert Andino bails him out with a ninth-innng home run. The win on July 6 is the first in the bigs earned by Miguel Gonzalez, who would shine throughout the second half. The July 6 win also features a great diving catch by Xavier Avery.

July 9 - Jonesie poaching delicious spare ribs at home run derby. The following night, on live television, the All-Star Game is broadcast and Tim McCarver says things. The NL wins again, grabbing home field advantage in World Series for the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants.

July 15 - Nooooo! Jason Hammel set for (thankfully minor) knee surgery. Too much loose cartilage. The parlor game of mid-July is guessing who would replace him in rotation. Brian Matusz, recently sent down to work on stuff, did not get the call. That would prove to be a wise move by Brain Trust. Tommy Hunter got the taxi ride. Also on this day, the Orioles are blanked by Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

July 22 - July 17th saw Team skid to a 4-9 mark to begin a month where their playoff hopes have gone to die in the past (see: 2005). But this day saw them run a winning streak to five games on the road against Minnesota and Cleveland that featured wins from Hunter, Chen, Gonzalez, Tillman and Zach Britton. Britton tossed six innings in his second start of the year and fears of fading away were quieted this day most resoundingly. J.J. Hardy, who had something of a weak year with the bat, paced the attack to benefit Zach with 2 hits, one of them a home run.

July 25 - RUN DIFFERENTIAL idiocy reaches its peak this day with team’s 10-1 loss at hands of Rays. Team proceeds to win nine of next 13 games. But one of the losses during the span, a 14-9 beatdown by Oakland, serves to flame the run differential fire.

July 29 - Brian Roberts’ brief 2012 flirtation with a comeback ends as the second baseman elects season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.

July 31 - Giants skipper Bruce Bochy inserts Matt Cain to pinch run for Aubrey Huff. LoLz. Tillman notches another win in his magical season, this one in the Bronx. Lew Ford gets first MLB hit since 1839. Nick Markakis, tearing the AL a new one since getting keys to leadoff spot, goes 3-for-5 to lift his average to .292. The Orioles make no big moves at the trade deadline, though they were rumored to have been trying to deal for Phillies starter Joe Blanton.

Aug. 9 - Manny Machdo debuts at third base, collects two hits including a triple in his second at-bat that will live in Baltimore lore. But Billy Butler makes sure Manny tastes defeat in his big game, smashing three hits including a home run off of Chen. The next day, apparently angered by the KC win, Manny takes matters into own hands, hitting two home runs off Luke Hochevar in a 7-1 Orioles romp. The power display triggers a giddy round of Manny-mania among the faithful. The unassuming Miguel Gonzalez runs record to 4-2 on Aug. 10.

Aug. 14 - Earl Weaver treated to three-run Reynolds Wrap on his 82nd birthday. Orioles cruise to 7-1 win over hapless Red Sox. Many were left to wonder whether Josh Beckett may have bumped Bobby V. after beleaguered big mouth pulled his starter. Jen Royle hazing reaches fever pitch.

Aug. 17 - A week after being immortalized in Camden Yards with a statue in his honor, Hall-of-Fame first baseman Eddie Murray settles insider trading charges brought by federal securities regulators. Former Oriole Doug DeCinces, too, is caught up in this mess and many are left to wonder, without naming names, whether others may have been too.

Aug. 24 - Matusz, who has struggled mightily with consistency as a starting pitcher, is recalled to Baltimore to help from the bullpen. He would go on to shine in this role but will vie for a starting job this spring.

Aug. 26 - Matt Lindstrom and other considerations sent to Arizona for Joe Saunders as Team seeks experienced starting pitching for post-season push.

Sept. 8 - C.C. Sabathia breaks Nick Markakis’ wrist, forcing Nick, who had really found a seam in the lead-off spot, out for the rest of the year. It was a sad development for Nick to have missed appearing in playoff baseball, to be sure. After this game, Nate McLouth filled in admirably batting leadoff and acquitted himself well in the playoffs, too. But at this time playoffs were not guaranteed and the Os, Yankees and Tampa all were in the mix for the division. The Os got the win despite losing Nick behind home runs by Reynolds, Hardy and Lew Ford.

Sept. 13 - A 14-inning win caps sweep of Tampa Bay in biggest series of year. Orioles win breathing room in hunt for Wild Card berth. The Manny Machado play, as it forever will be known, has many discovering what Os fans already knew — the kid is something special.

Sept. 23 - Dylan Bundy, one of baseball most highly touted young pitching prospects, makes his Major League debut in Boston, recording two outs for Baltimore in a loss to the Red Sox two months before his 20th birthday.

Sept. 30 - PLAYOFFS! Sweep of Boston makes it official. A day earlier the Orioles’ 91st win moved them into a first place tie with the Yankees with four games remaining. But the Os would lose two of the final three games and cede AL East to hated rival. Team caps season of honoring past greats by unveiling statue of Brooks Robinson. “I don’t like to call you fans. I like to call you friends,” says ol’  No. 5.

Oct. 1 - Normally the quietest month for the Baltimore Orioles, 2012 would see a harvest moon of baseball delights for the Wild Card Orioles … and, sadly, ultimate disappointment.

Oct. 5 - All of the punishments meted out by Josh Hamilton and the Rangers were atoned for this night as the Orioles knocked Texas out of the postseason with a dazzling team effort. Matusz’ strikeout of Hamilton was an especially notable moment. But, amid the glow of success, there are signs that Team’s vaunted power bats are in a deep autumn slumber. And that would not bode well against the Bronx Bombers…

Oct. 11 - J.J. Hardy comes up with a clutchy double to send the ALDS to a game five in the Bronx. Joe Saunders comes up big for Baltimore in a tough spot.

Oct 12 - We has a sad in Orioles nation this night as Team can’t. quite. find. that. big. hit. again. The Yankees would go on to be “utterly humiliated,” as USA Today put it, by Detroit. This day would also see the Washington Nationals elmininated by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Oct. 31 – Gold gloves for Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones. Wayward O got so many text messages during October amid all the drama that he had to stop texting people …

Nov. 2 - Team grabs Twins cast-off Alexi Casilla. Maybe he’ll play infield in 2013.

Nov. 13 - SNUB! Buck denied Manager of Year award. Some guy in Oakland wins it or something. Os fans yawn, roll over, go back to sleep.

Nov. 20 - Robert Andino traded to Seattle for Trayvon Robinson. It’s sad to see Bobby Dino head out the door.

Decemberish - Team Rule 5′s a guy, waiver claims some guys, trades some guys. Travis Ishikawa is an intriguing pickup. Meanwhile the Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox are overpaying signing free agents with quickness. It’s hard to know whether the Orioles should be doing the same. Signing Nate McLouth on for 2013 is widely seen as a bright move.

Dec. 18 - Mark Reynolds signs $6 million deal with Cleveland after Orioles turn down his 2013 option, which by all accounts was too expensive, and the sides apparently have little or no discussion thereafter.

Dec. 21 - It’s not just nutty Os fans who have noticed the lack of off-season activity. The respected baseball writer Jayson Stark publishes anecdotal evidence that suggests MLB people also are confused by the torpor.

Dec. 29 - The Baltimore Sun names Buck Showalter “Marylander of the Year.”

“[O]ver the course of the season, the one thing that resonated about Showalter was the pride and passion for what he does,” the Sun beat writer Eddie Encina writes.

Dec. 31 - Os fans bed down with the wind howling, high hopes for Manny Machado and the rest of the young talent and a vague vision of Justin Smoak through the wintry haze. But concerns mount that the AL East is loading for bear all around Team and Buck, Dan and Petey may not be keeping pace. But Buck, who says the Orioles no longer will be pushed around, and his crew will have something to say about that notion to be sure.

thanks fOr everything

Posted in histOry, hOpe springs eternal, octOber, schadenfrOide on October 13th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Heart of Oriole order, in five games vs. Yankees:

J.J. Hardy
3 for 22

Adam Jones
2 for 23

Chris Davis
3 for 20

Matt Wieters
3 for 20

Mark Reynolds, the standout, at
3 for 19

So reports you may have read about Team not being able to get key hit are accurate.

Nevertheless, they were one bloop, one well-aimed grounder, one swinging bunt or one similar such outcome away from ALCS last night versus Mercenary Former All-Stars in Bronx.

So Congratulations to you, 2012 Baltimore Orioles. And thanks for everything.

hard-luck hustle Over five years

Posted in histOry on February 14th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Here’s a funny thing about Jeremy Guthrie: Guts was claimed from waiver wire by Team from dumb Cleveland Indians in late January of 2007, two weeks before Blog of Team was born.

This means very little to Guts, but it DOES signify entire lifespan of Blog of Team has been Guthrie-centric. Also HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY BLOG OF TEAM!

Capitalizing on contemporaneous nature of these two spans, Blog went to back of rack, bottom of closet and way back to back of garage to see what Guts nuggets could be unearthed from tenure.

Blog is sorry to say that, in many ways, Blog’s record of Guthrie’s exploits is incomplete and incoherent, much like Blog itself. But record certainly does paint picture of Guthrie as talented, flawed competitor who probably deserved better.

Guts was a bit of a peripheral figure very early on. But that didn’t last long. By May of 2007 Guts was smack dab in middle of one of greatest painful Team moments since 1996 ALCS / Jeffrey Maier incident.

That, of course, was Mother’s Day Massacre.

Guts burst onto Blogosphere as perhaps hardest-luck victim from that brutal day. Blog of Team chronicled what sportswriters — and Red Sox themselves — had to say about Jeremy’s electric stuff:

“Guthrie had thrown 91 pitches and given up only three hits. The Red Sox were certainly happy to see him go.” – Jeff Zrebiec from Baltimore Sun

“…we had no chance” – David Ortiz

“I’m glad he got taken out.” – Kevin Youkilis

That game, played May 13, when Blog was Young and experimenting with recreational fonts, marked beginning of end for manager Sam Perlozzo in Crabtown.

On May 15, Blog, not fully recovered, had following conversation about massacre with Red Sox fan Ted Williamsburg:

The Wayward O: It’s the kind of thing that can propel a team like the Sox and give ‘em a sense of destiny

Ted Williamsburg: Absolutely

…and vaguely remembers something about Red Sox winning World Series that year. It would not be first time opposing squad would best Guts on way to championship round.

On May 30, 2007, Blog pushed for an attempt to use Guthrie as trade chip (along with other Orioles of course) for Mark Teixeira. But, of course, Team really didn’t have nearly enough talent to make that work.

Adding to pain for Os fans everwhere was this June 7, 2007 Guts start vs. Angels on Wess’ Coass’:

With one powerful swing, Vladimir Guerrero gave the Los Angeles Angels another pulsating victory.

Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Chris Ray, and the Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Sunday after being held to one hit through the first seven innings by Jeremy Guthrie.

Blog wonders how many times bullpen let him down. You could look it up, but it would take all day.

By April 2008 Jeremy Guthrie was Opening Day Starter. He got beat by James Shields and potent Rays.

Blog of Team complained that Guts “gets the squeeze as lost season begins.” Remember lost season? Hahaha. Found it.

Guess who went on to World Series? Rays. They didn’t win. But they got there.

Later on that same month Guts pitched “his guts out,” didn’t get win, as Team came back anyway to beat White Sox behind Nicky’s flag-court shot.

Still later that very selfsame month, with Team still firmly in psychological shadow of aforementioned massacre, newish manager Dave Trembley takes heat for leaving Guts in (with Jamie Walker ready in the pen). Guts gives up hit to Jose Vidro and Team loses a 4-2 nailbiter to Mariners on a cold April night in Seattle.

During this game Guts made a crazy unassisted putout, likes of which likely will not be seen again. It is a nearly forgotten play that, in Mind of Blog at least, encapsulates Guthrie’s hard-luck hustle over five years:


Hustle. Guts has it.

Guts was Opening Day 2009 starter as well. He got win over C.C. Sabathia.

And later in April 2009, Guts didn’t do himself any favors with this one. Handed a 7-0 lead, he couldn’t contain Boston’s offense. He got hooked and left rest of debacle to … ugh … Danys Baez.

As noted by Worldwide Leader in Pictures of Washed Up Wide Receivers Pouting:

The Orioles have lost four straight, eight of nine vs. Boston and fall to 6-22 at Fenway Park since 2007.

But late April of 2009, things were looking up as Guts had compiled a 2-0 (non-mattering) win-loss record on early season. But eventual outcome was not to change.

In a May 2009 5-3 loss at Yankee Stadium Guthrie forever solidified dual reps as Yankee-plunker and home run prone starter. Guts gave up three straight dongs in 2nd inning, then hit A-Rod and Mark Teixeira later in losing effort.

Like others that vanquished Guthrie in memorble fashion, those 2009 Yankees would go on to win World Series.

Blog is telling you, beating Jeremy Guthrie is ticket to Fall Classic.

In December of 2009, during hot stove of discontent, Guts and Team get together for a green energy press release. This kind of stuff is just a part of Guts’s makeup that everybody likes: class,  wisdom and concern for fellow man.

It’s entirely likely that Guts was 2010 Opening Day starter as well.* But let’s not talk about 2010. Why would we do that? Okay maybe a little…

In June of 2010 Aubrey Huff, since signed with Giants, splashes a Guthrie offering into McCovey Cove.  Keeping with trend, Giants would go on to win World Series.

By September 2010, after a long, frustrating, losing year, Guts’ penchant for hitting Yankees was front-page news and Joe Girardi was whining about it. Guts explained that he was “just trying to go inside.”

By 2011 Guthrie had solidified his status as Team Leader or something. He won on Opening Day, beating Rays with eight fine innings on way to to … well, another Guthrie-like year. And Guts got UP ON TWITTER!


Still funny

But, ultimately, 2011 ended like years that preceded it. Full of drudgery and punctuated with occasional great performances.

How many wins were left on table as Guts compiled a 47-65 over five years with Team?

World will never know. Anyway “wins don’t matter.”  They don’t matter not even one bit. Right? Actually they apparently mattered to Guts, who recently tweeted he hopes he can find 20 wins in Colorado.

Guts is a talented and inspiring competitor. How on earth did Cleveland give up on him? Thanks for your contributions, Guts. Maybe Team will see you again in future as washed-up free agent sporting Championship Ring and looking for one more season before hanging it up.

* wrong! it was Brad Bergesen! at least for home opener. Oh, and Kevin Millwood started on real opening day at Tampa. MILLWOOD!