Guthrie Becomes A Lightning Rod

This may be a rhetorical question, but why has Jeremy Guthrie became the focal point of all the frustration and angst Oriole fans have been feeling so far this season? Just the mention of his name elicits howls of despair and angry demands that the team rid themselves of the likes of him.


610x[1].jpgGranted, Guthrie didn’t have the best of seasons in 2009, leading the American League in losses with seventeen, and in homer runs allowed, with 35. His performance at spring training this year has also been a cause of concern. Guthrie was winless in four decision, pitching to a 7.40 ERA, and surrendering 4 home runs in a little over 20 innings of work.

Although he didn’t live up to expectations in 2009, it wasn’t all bad for the 30 year old right hander. He led the team in wins, with 10, and in starts with 33. Guthrie also became only the fifth Orioles starter since 2000 to pitch over 200 innings in a season, on a team that was desperate to get innings from their starting rotation.

People seem to forget that in 2007 and 2008 Guthrie was clearly the best starter in the Orioles rotation. In 2007, Guthrie pitched to a very respectable 3.70 ERA in 175 innings, then bested that in 2008 with a 3.63 ERA in 190 innings. Those numbers weren’t only good numbers for an Orioles starter, they would match up nicely with the numbers of starters on any team, good or bad.

The biggest source of concern about Guthrie is his penchant for giving up the long ball in 2009, and in the games he pitched this spring. Thirty-nine home runs allowed in 220 innings is an extremely high number, but Guthrie allowed a high number of dingers, 23 in 2007, and 24 in 2008, in the years he excelled. For him, it’s about limiting the damage that is done by the home runs he surrenders.

I would rather see Guthrie pitch seven innings tonight and allow three solo home runs, then say pitch five innings and allow six runs while not giving up a home run.

The feeling is that Guthrie will be given several weeks at the start of the 2010 campaign to get things turned around. If he continues to struggle the team will have to make a decision about removing him from the starting rotation, and possibly letting him work his problems out in the bullpen.

Here’s one fans wish that Jeremy gets off to a good start this year, beginning with tonight’s game in Tampa.


Ten Orioles Related Things I’m Thankful For


1. Just having a team in town to root for. Having lived through the loss of the Colts and the 12 year vacuum that followed, I’ll never take the Orioles and Ravens for granted.

Thumbnail image for images[1].jpg 2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Still one of the best ballparks to watch a game in.


Thumbnail image for camdenfront3f[1].jpg3. Andy MacPhail. For bringing legitimacy to the O’s front office.


Thumbnail image for Andy_Macphail[1].jpg4. Dave Trembley. Agree or disagree with his decisions, you can’t question his desire to see the team succeed.


Thumbnail image for dave-trembley[2].jpg5. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. Two vets who decided to see this rebuilding thing through to the end.


Thumbnail image for 2393903707_0d731b7dd1_o[1].jpg6. Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman, and all the rest of the young arms that are the future of this pitching staff.


Osprospects[1].jpg7. Wieters, Reimold and Jones, who hopefully will be the nucleus of this team for years to come.


45079367[1].jpg8. The Oriole Bird. Who doesn’t like the Oriole Bird?


camden-yards-oriole-bird[1].jpg9. My fellow Orioles fans who have stuck with the team through thick and thin. You know who you are and I’m sure our loyalty will one day be rewarded.


47206286[1].jpg10. All the local reporters and writers who do a great job of keeping us informed and up-to-date on our favorite baseball team.


PICT0161[1].jpgHappy Thanksgiving!

Mr. Trembley, Its Time To Step Up (An open letter to Dave Trembley)

Dear Dave,

I’m writing this open letter to you as a longtime, die-hard fan of the Orioles, and a faithful supporter of you in your tenure as manager of the O’s.


MRXxwY5Q[1].jpgAs you’re probably aware, since their return from the All-Star break, the Orioles have not played very well. They’ve only won 7 of the 23 games they’ve played since the break, and the upcoming schedule doesn’t look too promising, with most of the games coming against division leaders and teams with playoff aspirations.

The team has been plagued with mental lapses, baserunning blunders, poor situational hitting, and a general lack of fundamentals, that seems to be getting worse as the season progresses.

Now I know you haven’t been dealt the best of hands. You currently have four rookies in your five-man starting rotation, and the one veteran, Jeremy Guthrie, is having a bad season. Your best pitcher, Brad Bergesen, another rookie, took a line drive off the shin and is on the disabled list for the foreseeable future. To top it all off the club traded your closer for a couple of promising minor leaguers who probably won’t be able to help the major league team until 2011.

Many of the veteran players on the team have shown little or no leadership whatsoever, and seem to be going through the motions, waiting for the season to end. In short, all too often, the team seems unfocused and uninspired as they go through their annual collapse in the second half of the season.

48580290[1].jpgThe deck is definitely stacked against you.

But there are 48 games left to play, and how the team plays in those games may determine whether you’ll return to manage the team in 2010. If you have an ace up your sleeve that can motivate the team to play well, I suggest you play that card now. It’s the 11th hour.

I think most astute Orioles fans are on board with the rebuilding process the team is currently going through, after all, what choice do we have. We understand that the talent level on the team is not at a level that will allow the team to be contenders this year, although its not too much to ask for the team to play sound, fundamental baseball, and with a little enthusiasm. And I also think most of us expected some improvement from the previous seasons as the new players were integrated into the major league roster. Ironically, it’s the veteran players who have committed the majority of blunders that have led to the team’s most recent skid

I wish I had the answers to your dilemma, but I don’t. I wish I could tell you which buttons to push to motivate the team to play well. But you’re going to have to find a way to get this team to play up to their capabilities, and play competitive, and hopefully, winning baseball the remainder of the season.

I hope the team can turn their fortunes around quickly and finish the season on an up-note so we all can look forward to seeing a contending team in 2010, and I wish you the best of luck for the remainder of the season.





Steve McNair 1973-2009

610x[1].jpgI know this is a baseball blog, but on the day that the Nashville Police Dept. confirmed the circumstances surrounding the death of Steve McNair, I feel compelled to say a few words about McNair’s passing. The Ravens are part of the Baltimore sports landscape, as are the Orioles, so I feel my comments are appropriate.

Although more closely associated with the Tennessee Titans organization, with whom he played his first eleven years, McNair did play the final two seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens. In his brief time in Baltimore, McNair endeared himself to Ravens fans with his gutsy style of play. McNair was a true warrior, the type of player that would do whatever it took to lead his team to victory.

Anyone familiar with the history of the Ravens knows that until McNair’s arrival, the Ravens had gone through a host of quarterbacks, none of which had much success. McNair was the team’s first legitimate star at the position, albeit in the twilight of his career. A true leader, Steve’s calm demeanor and leadership had an immediate impact on the team, and he quickly became a source of inspiration to his teammates.

Thumbnail image for 340x[1].jpgIn 2006, his first season with the Ravens, Steve led the team to a 13-3 regular season record, their best ever. Unfortunately, the Ravens fell short in the playoffs, losing to the Indianapolis Colts.

Injuries robbed most of the 2007 season from McNair, he played in only six games, and the teams record fell to 5-11. McNair then announced his retirement shortly before the start of training camp for the 2008 season.

In truth, McNair wasn’t around long enough to have the type of impact in the community that other athletes like Cal Ripken, Ray Lewis or Brooks Robinson have had, although in the days immediately following his death, the airwaves were filled with stories of charitable endeavors and acts of kindness that McNair had performed.

Baltimore is truly saddened by Steve McNair’s untimely death, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Conspiracy Theory Confirmed !

Clear Evidence of Umpire’s Bias Towards Red Sox


47838184[1].jpgShown above are a series of photographs taken from the Orioles-Red Sox game of July 1st.

Frame 1: Orioles outfielder Felix Pie slides into second base with an apparent double. Note baseball in second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s non-glove hand.

Frame 2: Pedroia tags Pie with empty glove. Note baseball still in Pedroia’s non-glove hand.

Frame 3: Umpire Jerry Layne disregards rulebook and calls Pie out.

Final Result: Orioles lose by a single run. Coincidence or conspiracy? You be the judge. 

Book Review: The Orioles Encyclopedia

Orioles%20Encyclopedia[1].jpgIn an effort to become your full-service Orioles blog, I present my inaugural book review.

The title I’m going to critique is the recently released, The Orioles Encyclopedia: A Half Century Of History And Highlights.The Orioles Encyclopedia, written by Michael Gesker (The Johns Hopkins University Press), is a mammoth 896 page tome dedicated to all that is Orioles and Orioles related.

The first part of the book chronicles each season the O’s have played, beginning with the 1953 season, the last the Browns played in St. Louis, through the most recent 2008 campaign. Each season’s section contains an essay summarizing the Orioles performance, followed by a slew of statistical data pertinent to that season.

The next section of the book focuses on the players who have played for the team. Nearly 400 players are profiled alphabetically, with a brief biography accompanying each player who’s had some impact on the teams history.

Sections featuring managers, coaches, owners, and front office personnel follow, as well as features on the ballparks the team has played in, and stories about “characters” who have played a unique role in Orioles history.

The remaining sections of the book deal with a plethora of oddball stats and lists relating to the team.

Its all brought together by several hundred photographs taken throughout the 55 year history of the team. Many of the photographs are truly stunning, especially the 16 pages of color photos that seem to bring the past to life.

In my opinion, The Orioles Encyclopedia is the best book there is pertaining to the history of the Orioles, and believe me, I think I’ve read them all, or all that I’m aware of. A must for any O’s fan, and a great read for anyone who loves baseball in general.

I’m glad I have my copy, and if you’re a dedicated O’s fan, you should get yours too. It’s a little expensive, so shop around for a good price. I was able to save over $20 off of the list price by purchasing it online.

A Walk On The Wild Side

Thumbnail image for PP30833[1].jpgLou Reed wasn’t singing about baseball when he penned that classic song, but with the Orioles pitchers’ inability to throw strikes, they may want to send a scout to New
York City to check out the rocker’s fastball.

Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, Orioles pitchers walked eight Angel batters, including two with the bases loaded that gave Los Angeles a lead it would never relinquish in their 9-6 defeat of the Orioles.

There were no mishaps on the base paths, no defensive miscues, and the offense put six runs up on the board. This time it was the pitching’s turn to go south. The O’s, for the second day in a row, raced out to a 4-0 lead, only to see the Angels come back on them once again.

Thumbnail image for 47803814[1].jpgStarter Rich Hill, as has been the case recently, gave a sub-par performance. Hill staggered through 5 1/3 innings, surrendering six runs, while walking four Halos. He blew leads of 4-0, 5-3, and 6-5, before departing in the sixth inning.

The bullpen wasn’t much better. Reliever Matt Albers extricated the O’s out of a jam in the sixth, but immediately found himself in trouble in the bottom of the seventh. After loading the bases with none out, Albers was pulled. Enter Chris Ray, who promptly walked the only two batters he faced to give the Angels the lead. The Halos tacked on one more run before the inning was over, and the O’s never seriously threatened after that.

It has been reported that after the game, Ray left the team and returned to Baltimore to have his shoulder examined. If Ray has to go on the DL, look for the O’s to recall a reliever from Triple-A Norfolk to take his place.

In the meantime, the O’s have dropped three of the first four games in this seven game road trip, and head to Seattle to face a Mariners team that’s been playing pretty well recently.

Tonight, the Orioles send their ace, rookie Brad Bergesen (5-2) to the hill opposing the Mariners Jarrod Washburn (4-6).