Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Buck Showalter, 2015 Topps Heritage #229

Every time Buck Showalter opens his mouth, he just makes me like him more. He's just mastered this blend of self-effacing folksiness and wisdom, and it's a joy to listen to him. In yesterday's post-game press conference, Buck was asked what his advice would be for the black youth of Baltimore. Instead of staring at the questioning reporter as if he or she had sprouted a second nose, the O's manager responded thusly:

“A lot of times, you hear people try to weigh in on things they really don’t know anything about. I tell guys all the time — I’ve never been black, OK, so I don’t know. I can’t put myself there. I've never faced the challenges they’ve faced.

So I understand the emotion. It’s a pet peeve of mine when somebody says, ‘Well, I know what they're feeling, why did they do this, why doesn’t somebody do that?’ You have never been black, so just slow down a little bit.

I try not to get involved in something that I don’t know about, but I do know that it’s something that’s very passionate, something that I am, with my upbringing. It bothers me and it bothers everybody else, but can we understand — we have made quite a statement as a city, some good, some bad. But now, let’s get on with taking the statement we've made and creating a positive.

We talk to players — I want to be a rallying force for our city, and that doesn't mean necessarily playing good baseball. There are some things I don’t want to be normal, you know what I mean? I don’t. I want us to learn from some stuff that’s gone on, from both sides of it.

I could talk about it for hours, but that’s how I feel about it.’’
Imagine if the mayor of Baltimore had reacted with that sort of perspective and empathy rather than tossing around incendiary terms like "thugs".

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Manny Machado, 2014 Bowman #110

If the Orioles were bothered by having to play an afternoon game in a completely empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards, they sure didn't let it show. The Birds came out swinging today with a six-run outburst in the first inning, en route to an 8-2 win in a tidy two hours and three minutes. Chris Davis had the big blow with a three-run home run that landed on Eutaw Street. WGN announcer and resident White Sox homer Hawk Harrelson's subdued call created a unique moment, as MASN's Gary Thorne and his more enthusiastic call of the blast were audible on the Chicago station's broadcast. Thorne was on his game throughout the unusual proceedings, as evidenced by his seventh-inning impression of a golf announcer during an Adam Jones double. Manny Machado also had a good day, going 3-for-4 with a single, double, homer, and three runs scored.

Though Baltimore's baseball fans were not permitted to enter the ballpark today, a small group of diehards still made their presence felt. A smattering of folks watched from the balconies of the Hilton across the street, with an O's banner hung over the railing. Still more Birdbrains stood at the gate outside of the bullpen picnic area, gazing in at the action on the field and cheering loudly enough to be heard on TV and radio on a number of occasions. As I drove home from work and listened to Fred Manfra and Joe Angel describing a mostly uneventful ninth inning, the chants of "Let's Go O's!" came through loud and clear. When winning pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was asked about the would-be Knothole Gang after the game, he broke out in a big smile. It would definitely not have occurred to me to eavesdrop on the empty-stadium game, but I'm glad that a few others did.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Javy Lopez, 2004 Bowman Heritage #56

The stands behind Javy Lopez are empty because this photo was taken during Spring Training in Fort Lauderdale. But tomorrow, due to the continuing unrest in Baltimore, the Orioles and White Sox will play the first game in MLB history to be closed to the public. It will be televised on MASN, and it will be a bizarre spectacle to see the O's playing in an empty Camden Yards. Even though the Birds have lost four home games (this weekend's series vs. the Rays is being moved to Tropicana Field) and a scheduled off day (an Orioles-White Sox makeup doubleheader has been scheduled for May 28), it's important to remember that there are people in our city who have lost much more, and that is at the center of this week's upheaval. Hopefully we can take steps to right the things that have gone wrong in Baltimore.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 2004 Maryland Lottery #32

I am safely at home tonight, and I hope anyone that reads this blog is safe as well.

Remember that violence doesn't solve anything. But also remember that media outlets can't be relied on to tell the full, unvarnished truth. And read the words of John Angelos, who eloquently pointed out that the disturbing current events in our city and elsewhere have long, insidious roots.

Be good to one another.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Taylor Teagarden, 2013 Orioles Postcards

I still think that Taylor Teagarden's 13th-inning two-run homer off of Joaquin Benoit on July 14, 2012 was the most unlikely walkoff home run I've witnessed in person at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But tonight's 10th-inning, one-out, full-count, solo home run by David Lough against Koji Uehara sure gives Taylor a run for his money. Lough was only in the game because he'd pinch-run for Travis Snider in the eighth inning and stayed on as the left fielder. The O's seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the ninth inning, as the Red Sox scored the tying run off of Zach Britton without hitting a ball out of the infield. Brad Brach added to the misery in the top of the 10th by allowing a go-ahead solo homer to Xander Bogaerts on his first pitch. But Adam Jones greeted Koji with a leadoff triple in the home half of the inning. When Chris Davis followed with a sac fly to re-tie the score, Buck Showalter pulled back would-be pinch hitter Steve Pearce and allowed Lough to bat for himself. Good call, as he battled Boston's closer to a 3-2 count before depositing a 76-mph splitter onto the flag court for the win. Something magic happens.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Bob Johnson, 1965 Topps #363

Word salad.

At their best, baseball cards are art. The 1965 Topps set is absolutely a work of art.

Earlier tonight, the Braves pulled a double-switch to sub in a pair of former Orioles. Kelly Johnson replaced Chris Johnson at third base, and Jim Johnson came in from the bullpen to relieve Luis Avilan. It may have been the first triple-Johnson double-switch in major league history, but it was all for naught. Jim Johnson took the loss in a 1-0 walkoff job by the Phillies. Freddie Galvis singled, was bunted to second, took third on a passed ball, and scored on a Freddie Freeman error.

When temperatures are dropping into the thirties overnight in late April, I shouldn't still be having seasonal allergy attacks. That's just piling on.

Even though they're called baseball cards, there are fewer cards that prominently feature baseballs than you might think. I've done absolutely no research to back this up.

That baseball wishes it were as sparkling white as Bob Johnson's pearly chompers. Why didn't I just call them teeth?

I keep getting carded when I buy beer at Camden Yards, even though gray hairs are starting to creep into my beard. I wonder if the vendors will stop bothering as the season progresses.

I still have two types of anxiety dreams on a regular basis. It's either the first day of high school or college and I have no idea where and when my classes are. If it's not that, I'm performing in a play and I (and/or my costars) don't know the lines or the blocking (where to move and when), and maybe costumes are missing as well. I've been out of high school for 15 years, and out of college for 11. I haven't acted in a full-length play for five years.

Five straight losses for the Orioles, which never happened in 2014. April of 2015 has been one of my least favorite months in recent memory, on both a personal and a baseball-fan basis.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dave Schmidt, 2004 Maryland Lottery #25

The blog has taken on a throwback flavor this week, as the 2015 O's have had a week to forget. Tonight, I'm amused by the inclusion of Dave Schmidt in the Maryland Lottery's 50th Anniversary Orioles card set. He sticks way out among the likes of Cal, Eddie, Cakes, Brooksie, Frank, Boog, Earl, Little Looie, Brady, Flanny, Tippy, and such, and the tidbit on the back only makes it more obvious. After all, the card reminds us, he was the only Baltimore pitcher to have a winning record in both the 1987 and 1988 seasons. That's like being the smartest of the Three Stooges, isn't it? Oh, but Dave also had a career walk rate of 2.4 per nine innings, we're told. Greg Maddux was at 1.8, and Jeremy Guthrie was at 2.6, with Daniel Cabrera at 5.2, if you want some pointless frames of reference. But hey, I guess it's good to toss in a curveball among the usual suspects.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paul Mirabella, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #306

Paul Mirabella is a one-time Blue Jay with whom I have no quarrel. That's more than I can say for the showboating, tantrum-throwing, delusional jackass who plays right field in Toronto these days. Jose Bautista was so out of control last night that he managed to injure himself while trying to further prove some kind of point to the Orioles. So I guess he showed them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roric Harrison, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #183

If your name is Roric, it is your sworn duty to grow a set of thick, luxurious mutton chop sideburns. Kudos to you, Roric Harrison. Kudos.

Monday, April 20, 2015

John Lowenstein, 1982 Topps #747

Congratulations are due for Melvin Mora, John Lowenstein, and Gary Roenicke, the three newest members of the Orioles Hall of Fame. It's only fitting that both members of the great Baltimore outfield platoon of the late 1970s and early 1980s will be inducted together, and of course Melvin Mora's decade in Baltimore (.280/.355/.438, 158 HR, 662 RBI, two All-Star appearances) is worthy of recognition as well. If you'd like to hear the acceptance speeches of Melvin and Gary (Brother Lo has a previous commitment and cannot attend), be sure to show up early for the August 14 game at Camden Yards against the Athletics.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Melvin Mora, 2008 Upper Deck Goudey #16

If Melvin Mora wanted to, he could just bend down and squish Derek Jeter's head like a grape.

Sean Douglass, 2001 Donruss Class of 2001 #101

2001 Donruss Class of 2001 is a set name that comes straight from the Department of Redundancy Department. Sean Douglass, for the uninitiated, was the Orioles' second-round draft pick in 1997, but due to compensation picks, he was actually the team's fourth pick. The O's chose Jayson Werth, Darnell McDonald, and Ntema Ndungidi ahead of the 6'6" righty from Lancaster, CA. Though he pitched in parts of five big league seasons, Douglass did not exactly cover himself in glory. In 54 games with the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Tigers, he was 7-13 with a 6.11 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.

But it's Saturday night and the Birds won today, so let's accentuate the positive. Sean earned his first major league win on September 22, 2001 against the Yankees, limiting that year's American League champs to one run on three hits and two walks in five innings while striking out seven. As you probably could have guessed, catcher Geronimo Gil was the offensive star in that game, going 3-for-5 with a double and five RBI in an 11-2 rout. In a rare start at designated hitter, Cal Ripken had the penultimate multi-hit game of his career,  2-for-3 with a pair of walks, an RBI, and two runs scored. In the eighth inning, future Indians and Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake pinch-ran for Cal in one of his six games as an Oriole, which few folks probably remember. I know I wouldn't recall it, if not for the recollective powers of Baseball Reference.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Rip Coleman, 1960 Topps #179

It might go without saying, but Walter Gary "Rip" Coleman is the only player in Orioles history to go by "Rip". (Unless you count the Ripkens.) Coleman holds a few dubious distinctions from his five-year big league career. As a rookie with the 1955 Yankees, he threw one inning in Game Four of the World Series...and allowed one run on five hits. After clearing the sixth inning without yielding a run, he was chased in the seventh by three straight singles. Tom Morgan cleaned up the mess, but the Yanks still lost to the Dodgers, 8-5, as Brooklyn evened the Series at two games apiece. Two years later, Rip became the last pitcher in MLB history to be credited with a shutout in a winless season. He went 0-7 with a 5.93 ERA for the Athletics, but completed five scoreless innings in a shortened game that was declared a tie. It was the second game of a doubleheader on May 19, 1957 against the Orioles. Late in the 1959 season, Coleman and his flattop haircut joined the Orioles via a waiver claim and tossed four scoreless innings of relief. His big league career ended in Baltimore the following May, as he gave up five runs in four innings spanning five games, and had a gruesome ratio of five walks and no strikeouts. But hey, he had one complete-game shutout in his career, and didn't even get a win for it, so there's a trivia question that you can use to stump your friends.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jackie Gutierrez, 1987 Topps #276

Despite the fact that I've been pecking away at this little-read blog on a near-daily basis for more than seven years, there are still corners of the Orioles universe that I have not yet explored. For instance, this is the first appearance of infielder Jackie Gutierrez in this space. When Jackie debuted with the Red Sox in 1983, he was just the second Colombian-born player in MLB history; the first was Orlando Ramirez, a shortstop who played 143 games for the Angels in the mid-1970s. Ramirez, as it would happen, is Gutierrez's brother-in-law. To date, only 15 major leaguers have come from Colombia, with the most prominent being shortstops Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria.

Jackie did not have a particularly illustrious tenure in Baltimore, appearing in 64 games in 1986 and 1987 and batting .185/.205/.205 in 153 trips to the plate. He had only three extra-base hits, all doubles, and drove in four runs. It was enough to get his picture on a few trading cards, but not much else.

I can add that Gutierrez came from an athletically-inclined family. His father Campo threw the javelin in the 1936 Olympics, and his older brother Freddie ran the 100-meter dash in the 1960 Olympics. So I guess Jackie got a leg up on them by competing as a professional athlete.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cal Ripken Jr., 1992 Mr. Turkey #19

The Orioles celebrated the 15th anniversary of Cal Ripken's 3,000th career hit with a 7-5 win over the Yankees, allowing them to take the three-game set before heading to Boston. I'm celebrating by posting yet another oddball card of Junior, this one courtesy of Max. I've never seen a Mr. Turkey card before this, but the prominent orange and black coloring allows me to forgive the presence of pinstripes in the background. There's also so much going on with the design that I barely noticed the absence of the Orioles logos on Cal's cap and jersey. The back of the card features the obvious factoid, something about Cal not sitting out any games since 1982, under the excellent heading "Let's Talk Turkey".

Do you remember where you were when Cal roped a single to center field against Hector Carrasco at the Metrodome? I was in London on spring break as part of a school-sponsored educational trip. I was actually able to catch highlights of the milestone hit on TV in the hotel room, which was unexpected. Usually if I found televised sports coverage in the UK at that time, it was soccer (football, if you will) or snooker.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Manny Machado, 2013 Topps 1972 Mini #TM-65

Marked-down blasters of 2013 Topps Series 2? Don't mind if I do! I earned it by enduring an hourlong commute yesterday afternoon, yet still stopping at Target to pick up a few household items. Though I had no luck pulling Orioles from the few packs of 2015 Topps I got weeks ago, this Psychedelic Tombstone Mini-Manny was in the second pack of my newly purchased box. The text on the back informs me that he was the first position player under the age of 21 to debut for the O's since Eugene Kingsale in 1996. Now there's a name I didn't expect to see on a 21st century baseball card. If you were wondering, Manny has 296 big league games under his belt as of this writing, so he's already got more staying power than the Aruban-born Kingsale (211 games in parts of seven seasons, which in itself is surprising to me).

Now we'll see if my luck keeps going, as I head to Camden Yards in hopes that the Birds and Yankees can squeeze in nine innings despite the rain.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Adam Jones, 2014 Topps Finest Refractor #58

The Orioles are not exactly in midseason form yet, but Adam Jones is swinging a hot bat. Tonight he had his third home run (and fifth extra-base hit) of the team's first homestand, allowing him to leapfrog Brady Anderson for second place on the all-time HR list of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That's 92 homers for Jonesy in Baltimore's home park, and 172 total in parts of ten seasons. Next he can take aim at Rafael Palmeiro's career record of 124 Camden Yards longballs. At the rate he's going, Adam might do it by the end of 2016.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kevin Brown, 1995 Topps Finest #252

Kevin Brown always had a reputation as a disagreeable sort of guy. But you'd probably be cranky if you had instructions stamped across your face, too.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Oriole Bird, 2015 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-03

Today was a pretty good day, and not just because Max sent me my first batch of 2015 Orioles cards, along with a handful of other O's goodies. I also attended tonight's O's-Blue Jays game with my wife and my sister, hoping to get a mulligan on yesterday's chilly home opener and lackluster 12-5 loss. We collected our promotional giveaways at the gate - nifty 2014 American League East Champions wall art - and settled in on a cool but clear night to see Ubaldo Jimenez turn in one of the best pitching performances of his career. Last year's free agent bust looked like a new pitcher, breezing through seven innings of one-hit, one-walk, eight-strikeout ball against a tough Toronto lineup. The lone hit he allowed was a fourth inning flare single to left field by Jose Reyes that hit the grass just in front of a diving Alejandro de Aza.

No harm done, especially since de Aza had given Ubaldo an early lead with a leadoff homer onto the right field flag court in the bottom of the first inning. The power display didn't stop there, as Chris Davis blasted a solo shot to the opposite field later in that inning, his first round-tripper since last September 6. But the big blow came off the bat of Jonathan Schoop, who boomed a grand slam to left field to break things open in the fifth inning. That made the score 7-0, and it stayed that way until Edwin Encarnacion spoiled the shutout by sneaking a run-scoring single underneath the glove of shortstop Everth Cabrera with two outs in the ninth. But Zach Britton came back to retire Josh Donaldson on a grounder to finish off the Jays, 7-1. That's more like it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Jim Palmer, 1972 Topps #270

Today's home opener was less than good for the Orioles. If you like a chilly, gray, 12-5 whuppin' at the hands of the Blue Jays, that's your prerogative. As always, however, the team did a first-rate job with the pregame festivities. The highlight was a ceremony celebrating Jim Palmer, as April 17 will mark the 50th anniversary of his major league debut with the O's. He was presented with a cake and a $50,000 donation in his honor to autism research; Palmer's son Spencer is autistic. Finally, he was asked to throw out the first pitch to his longtime battery mate Rick Dempsey. Naturally, Jim threw from the pitching rubber atop the mound, and he delivered the ball on a line to Dempsey's glove, eliciting a rousing ovation from the sellout crowd. Some things never change.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Willie Harris, 2001 Leaf Limited #293

I usually have pretty fair luck with Thorzul's group breaks, but I received my spoils from his latest lot in the mail today, and...not so much. Milwaukee's favorite blogger had bought up a whole mess of serial-numbered sports cards on eBay, and anyone could buy in for $30. That got you four teams, one from each major U.S. sport. I was really only in it for the Orioles, but I also claimed the New York Giants (as trade bait), the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats (since my wife is from Charlotte), and the Detroit Red Wings (eh, I liked them when I was younger). My haul was a big fistful of assorted Giants, a handful of Bobcats, no hockey cards, though I wouldn't have known what to do with them anyhow, and a mere five O's. There were Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa cards from 2005, mementos of the most disappointing season of my fanhood, 2001 rookie cards of Ed Rogers and Sean Douglass, as a reminder that "rookie" is often synonymous with "footnote in baseball history", and this Willie Harris rookie card, which was short printed and serial numbered 536 of 1000. Looking at the checklist for 2001 Leaf Limited, one of the relic inserts featured a scrap of Josh Towers' pants. I don't know whether I'm relieved or disappointed that I missed out on that one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eddie Murray, 2005 Upper Deck MVP Batter Up #BU-12

Four baserunners in eight innings tonight. No runs scored since the second inning of last night's game. This calls for some Eddie Murray mojo. C'mon, Steady Eddie. It's still a 1-0 game, up for grabs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Luis Matos, 2005 Donruss Team Heroes #46

One of the myriad things that I've missed about baseball: the constant chatter during games on Twitter. Just tonight, fellow O's fan and PressBox writer Paul Folkemer tweeted the following after Steve Pearce's second-inning two-run homer:

1h1 hour ago
With his 30th HR as an Oriole, Steve Pearce has tied Luis Matos for 87th place on the all-time list.

That's probably the only time you'll ever see Steve Pearce and Luis Matos mentioned in the same sentence. Speaking of Pearce, here's another one:
Steve Pearce: HR in 2nd straight game. Last 2 Orioles to start season with HR in consec. games led MLB in HR that year (Davis '13, Cruz '14)

So you can mark it down. Steve Pearce is good for at least 40 homers this year. The numbers don't lie, especially in such small sample sizes.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chris Tillman, 2014 Topps Heritage #290

One down, 161 to go.

I waited patiently (sorta) for six long months for Orioles baseball, and I was rewarded with a crisp 6-2 win over the retooling Rays in a re-purposed Sam's Club in Tampa. There were so many performances worth mentioning:

-Chris Tillman notched his first Opening Day win with 6.2 innings of one-run ball, pitching around three walks.

-Caleb Joseph continued with last season's Matt Wieters impression, participating in three putouts on the basepaths and adding a double and a run scored.

-Alejandro de Aza played the role of leadoff hitter to perfection, scoring the team's first run in the first inning and grinding out a pair of ten-pitch at-bats. His two-run homer off of Chris Archer in the fifth inning provided the winning margin for the O's.

-Steve Pearce proved that he's not planning to turn into a pumpkin just yet, adding a home run of his own and stealing a late insurance run with a heads-up slide under the lackadaisical tag of Rays catcher Rene Rivera.

-Travis Snider was a suitable replacement for the departed Nick Markakis, debuting as an Oriole with three hits, two RBI, a diving catch in right field, and a laser throw to put out James Loney on a run-scoring attempt.

-Ryan Flaherty(!) capped the scoring with a solo home run in the ninth inning, bucking his own slow-starting trend; he started off both 2013 and 2014 with 0-for-17 skids.

And so the Orioles begin the 2015 season the way they ended the 2014 season: atop the American League East.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adam Jones, 2014 Topps #398

My wife Janet knows what I like, which is why I found an Easter basket this morning filled with goodies: dark chocolate bars, a Daniel Bryan WWE action figure, and a repack box with ten unopened packs of baseball cards of recent vintage. This Adam Jones card emerged from a pack of 2014 Topps Series Two, and I've been so negligent in acquiring new cards that I'm fairly certain it's a new addition to my collection. Tomorrow Adam will patrol center field for the Orioles on Opening Day for the eighth consecutive year, which hardly seems possible. With Nick Markakis now wearing the navy blue and red of the Braves, Jones and tomorrow's starting pitcher Chris Tillman are the elder statesmen here in Baltimore. I'm glad to have them here, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ramon Hernandez, 2007 Upper Deck Goudey #132

The 2007 Upper Deck Goudey set is an example of the retro craze done right, but it still can't compare to its source material. With its 2 3/8" X 2 7/8" size and its bright, basic ballpark scene backgrounds, the base set is clearly inspired by the 1934-1936 Diamond Stars cards. Today I made a long-overdue trip to the Baseball Card Outlet, armed with a coupon for 20% off the price of any vintage ungraded card. (The coupon appeared in the monthly Clipper Magazine that showed up in my mailbox last week. It's the first time I've ever come across a coupon from a hobby shop, and I think it's brilliant.) After a few minutes of careful consideration, my eye was drawn to an assortment of Diamond Stars cards in one of their display cases. At $15 ($12.72 after the discount), I couldn't pass up this 1935 Wally Berger card:
It really has it all - the incredible pre-WWII Boston Braves uniform, the stylized dugout scene, and the featured player himself. In 1930, Berger set a rookie record (since broken) by hitting 38 homers for Boston. He also tripled 14 times and drove in 119 runs, with a batting line of .310/.375/.614. He was an All-Star from 1933 through 1936, representing the Braves in each of the first four Midsummer Classics. Shoulder and hand injuries helped bring a premature end to his career, but he retired with career marks of .300/.359/.522 and an OPS+ of 138. He totaled 242 home runs and 898 RBI. I don't often limit myself to a single purchase when I go card shopping, but when I find the right card, it can be pretty satisfying.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Norm Siebern, 1964 Topps #145

Three days until the baseball games count. In the meantime, here's some food for thought: Is that a palm tree behind Norm Siebern, or a giant tentacled beast preparing to devour an unsuspecting cluster of baseball fans?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mike Smith, 1990 Topps MLB Debut #118

It has to be pretty exciting to have your big league debut memorialized on cardboard. But what if it's a performance that you'd rather forget?

On Friday, June 30, 1989, "Texas" Mike Smith was called in from the bullpen by Frank Robinson in the seventh inning of an Orioles' home game against the Tigers. The 25-year-old was tasked with holding the line in a game that the O's trailed 7-5. He did...not succeed. Things started off well enough, as he stranded a pair of runners inherited from Mark Thurmond; Alan Trammell popped out and Keith Moreland grounded into a force play. But the eighth inning was not kind to Smith. He faced 11 batters and nine of them reached base, with eight scoring. Detroit scratched out seven hits and two walks before Robinson took pity on his rookie and summoned Kevin Hickey to record the elusive third out of the frame. But by then it was 15-5, and Mike had an unsightly ERA of 54.00.

Thankfully, Smith's second appearance was a major improvement. He earned his first career win (of two) with four scoreless innings. He wouldn't stick around for very long, appearing in 13 games in 1989 and two more the following year and bowing out with an 8.22 ERA as a major leaguer, but I guess it's better than never making it at all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nolan Reimold, 2011 Topps Orioles Team Set #BAL6

I promised photos from Ed Smith Stadium, so here goes!
The lineups for Friday's game against the Rays. I may have snickered when I saw former Oriole infielder Alexi Casilla starting at third base for Tampa Bay.
The view from section 215. Game time temperature was announced as 78 degrees. They also announced that it was 46 in Baltimore. The joke was on us, though; torrential rains washed out our game in the fourth inning. At least the O's had rallied to take a 4-3 lead on a Nolan Reimold solo home run and a three-run shot by Adam Jones. None of it mattered in the end, but I guess it was a moral victory.
This sign was posted in the men's room, and it tickled me. It gives the impression of a birdie bidet.
This lovely centerpiece hangs over the main entrance to Ed Smith Stadium, consisting of a ring of baseball bats draped with all of the team's championship and postseason banners.
My first glimpse of the 2014 AL East Champs banner, which was placed in the center of the ring!
This orange-and-black bike, complete with team-colored flamingo, was parked outside of the entrance to the park.
Fast-forwarding to Sunday afternoon's split-squad game against the Twins. We parked on a different lot, so we entered from the left field pavilion. The marquee features three flags, presumably for the Orioles' three World Series wins. This sign featured mileage markers from Sarasota to Baltimore and to each of the team's minor league affiliates; a similar sign is posted on Eutaw Street at Camden Yards.
Siblings pretending we like each other!
My wife (on the right) made it into this picture. We had a great time, even though the Birds lost 6-5. Three more O's homers from Travis Snider, Jones again, and minor leaguer Mike Yastrzemski (yes, he's Carl's grandson) at least gave us something to cheer about. The fatal blow was a two-run homer allowed by 2014 draft pick David Hess, so at least you can't pin it on somebody who figures in the team's plans for this season.
Just to close things out, here's a lovely dusk snapshot taken from Siesta Key, voted the best beach in the country last year! As you can imagine, it was hard to come back to Baltimore, where I had to scrape frost off of my windshield this morning before work.