Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Last year, it was Mike Flanagan committing suicide in August. Now, we've heard that Ryan Freel killed himself at his home in Florida yesterday. The former outfielder, who batted .133 with a .350 on-base percentage in a brief 9-game stint in Baltimore in 2009, was 36 years old. He leaves behind a wife and three young daughters, and does so right in the midst of the holiday season. Just awful news all around. I don't know what else to say.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
So this picture was taken on May 30, 2004. Mike Maroth took the mound for the Tigers, with Erik Bedard toeing the rubber for the Birds. After a scoreless first inning, Luis batted with one out in the second and was called out on a 2-2 pitch, which immediately preceded the moment captured above. Detroit eventually took a 2-0 lead on a pair of RBI singles by Rodriguez, but the O's broke through in the top of the sixth. Brian Roberts and Jerry Hairston had back-to-back hits, and B-Rob scored on an errant pickoff throw by Maroth. The score held at 2-1 until the top of the ninth, when Motown closer Ugueth Urbina ran into some trouble. The first four Baltimore batters reached safely, with Javy Lopez, Matos, and B. J. Surhoff all singling and Rafael Palmeiro drawing a walk. With the game tied and the bases loaded, Robert Machado struck out. Roberts then walked on five pitches to give the Orioles their first lead of the day, and Hairston followed with a two-run single. Future Oriole Jamie Walker replaced Urbina and got Melvin Mora to strike out, then intentionally walked Miguel Tejada to reload the bases. Manager Alan Trammell's strategy backfired, as Larry Bigbie (who had pinch-run for Lopez) drove in a pair with a single. Matos grounded out to end the inning at last, but that was of little consequence. In all, the O's scored six runs on five singles and three walks.
Jorge Julio came in to wrap up the win for the visitors, but walked the first two batters with a five-run cushion. (That sounds about right.) He got a big break when Rodriguez bounced into a double play, then allowed an RBI single to Rondell White. It was too little, too late for the Tigers, as Craig Monroe flew out to Matos to bring about the 7-3 final. So even though the Donruss photographer caught Luis in a moment of frustration, things worked out for the best...at least for one day.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
1. His full name is Reyenaldo Ignacio Martinez.
2. He is the only player in MLB history born in Belize, but played high school baseball in Metairie, Louisiana.
3. Chito was drafted by the Royals in 1984, and signed with the O's as a minor league free agent prior to the 1991 season.
4. In 1991, he made his big league debut after hitting .322/.393/.654 with 20 homers and 50 RBI in only 60 games at AAA Rochester.
5. As a 25-year-old rookie, Martinez more than held his own, batting .269 and slugging .564 for the Birds in 67 games.
6. The first of his 13 home runs in his first major league season was a pinch-hit solo shot against Oakland's Gene Nelson on July 11, 1991. With the Orioles trailing 8-0 in the eighth, he batted in place of Billy Ripken.
7. Chito fell out of favor with the O's after an 0-for-15 start to the 1993 season. He spent the rest of that year in the minors, and never returned to the big leagues.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
suggests as fits for the Birds and despair.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Am I the only collector who goes wild for 1993 Studio? I've loved this set since I started buying packs off the shelf of my local hobby shop for 99 cents a pack in the fall of that year. The holographic facsimile signatures and the use of team jerseys, logo patches, and cap insignias as backgrounds were design touches that appealed to me at age 11 and still hold up in my mind. Photographically, it was a departure from the disastrously goofy posed yearbook shots of the previous two Studio sets. Most of the player photos on the card fronts in 1993 Studio appeared to be candid shots, offering a better glimpse into the subject's personality than any stiff "smile for the camera" grin or "show us your game face" glower. The more formal portraits were consigned to the card back, but zoomed in and bleeding in from either the left or right border, giving you a (literally) closer look at your heroes than ever before. These shots are fine as a contrast to the candid pictures on the front, and fit well with the sometimes-enlightening, often-confounding "Up Close" factoids. Where else will you learn that Mike Devereaux dislikes inconsiderate drivers?
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Roberto Alomar got married to his second wife Kim today in Toronto, and hopefully the second time will be a charm for him. I'm sure Canada is lovely in December. Personally, I'd be willing to wait a few months for a chance at warmer weather...of course it was a sunny and pleasant 45 today in Baltimore, so what do I know?
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
- Because "Todd Frohwirth" is fun to say.
- Because nothing says "Tuesday night in December" like Todd Frohwirth and 1993 Topps.
- Because submarine-style pitchers are always cool, especially when that odd underarm delivery is coming right for you.
- Because I'm thinking about starting a 1993 Topps blog, and I want people to tell me that I'm crazy for even considering it.
- Because 1993 Topps reminds me of a time when I actually did walk down to the drug store to buy 79-cent packs of cards, and then traded with my friends. (Suddenly I want to have a warm glass of milk and an early bedtime.)
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Billy Butler: Yes, I've forgiven Kansas City's burly slugger for ruining Brad Bergesen's career with that heat-seeking line drive back in 2009. It's hard to resent anyone who's stuck playing for the Royals, especially when his nickname is "Country Breakfast". K.C. is desperately shopping for an established starting pitcher, and rumor has it that the Birds are interested in both Butler and young first baseman Eric Hosmer. The O's probably wouldn't part with veterans Jason Hammel and/or Wei-Yin Chen, and the only other starters they've got with even a season's worth of solid performance are Chris Tillman and Zach Britton. There's not really a good trade match here, but at least there's some indication that the Orioles have good taste in middle-of-the-lineup hitters. It's my fantasy, and it features Country Breakfast DH'ing and batting cleanup for the hometown team and maybe replicating the .313/.373/.510 batting line he produced in 2012, along with those career-high 29 home runs. I'm fairly sure that he'd be worth the defensive downgrade that would come from moving Chris Davis back to first base.
Brandon McCarthy: The O's haven't been linked to the free agent starting pitcher, who put up a 3.29 ERA (121 ERA+) over the past two seasons in Oakland. But Dan Duquette claims that he's looking for another veteran starter. McCarthy seems like a talented, entertaining guy (if you're on Twitter and don't follow him, you're missing out), and his recovery from brain surgery after taking a line drive to the head late last year was inspirational.
R. A. Dickey: This is the super long shot. The reigning N. L. Cy Young winner is only signed through 2013 for a bargain price of $5 million, and the Mets haven't made much progress in extension talks. They've been letting other teams know that the 38-year-old "power knuckleballer" can be had for two top prospects, preferably a catcher and an outfielder. That's not going to hack it for the Orioles, who have a bare cupboard behind the plate and no outfielders better than fourth-OF types Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes. Still, Baltimore is thought to have at least checked in with the Mets about Dickey, which is all of the license I need to imagine the Tolkien-loving, mountain-climbing, book-writing All-Star taking the ball from Buck Showalter every fifth day. 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 230 strikeouts? And despite his age, Robert Allen's got time on his side. His mentors (Phil Niekro, Tim Wakefield, et. al.) pitched effectively well into their forties. I'd be willing to see if New York would take Jonathan Schoop and any two pitchers not named Dylan Bundy for Dickey. Of course, word has it that they're already asking for much more than that, so I'm starting to sound like a talk radio caller, I fear.
Hey, I've got to think warm thoughts. It's getting colder outside.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Koji Uehara: I figure he's the one most likely to actually land in Baltimore. Koji loved playing here back when the team was still lousy, and during his season-plus in Texas he was actually rumored to be a trade target for the Birds once or twice. Now that he's a free agent, the Japanese control specialist has inevitably been linked to the Orioles once again. It might seem like the bullpen is the one facet of the team that doesn't need improvement, but repeat after me: You. Can. Never. Have. Enough. Pitching. What if the Pedro Strop of September rears his ugly head again? What if Luis Ayala has a crummy season, like he did in 2008 and 2009? What happens if (when) somebody gets injured? Koji turns 38 in April, but his 1.75 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 14.33 K/BB ratio (!) in 2012 suggest that he's got plenty left in the tank, especially for one inning per game. After making $4 million last year, he's a bit pricier than you'd like for a setup man, but come on...it's Koji!
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
1) Chris has his last name printed in black marker on the strap of his batting glove. You see this a lot on cards - player names, nicknames, or initials scrawled on a piece of equipment. It makes sense; with 25 guys in the clubhouse, and six months of in-season travel, you don't want to get caps and gloves mixed up. There's still something endearing about the haphazard and informal personalization, though.
2) Not only does Hoiles have the Orioles' 1993 All-Star Game host patch on the left sleeve of his jersey, but All-Star is the brand of his chest protector. That's a nice bit of synchronicity.