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Spring Notes 5

mascot5.gifTwo things out of Chicago with regard to the much-rumored Brian Roberts deal:

First, some actual reporting that indicates how far off a deal might actually be.

Second, more Angelos hate.

Steve Trachsel is willing to help the young guys. Which is good because they will need it.

The Mets are looking for a right-handed power hitter who can play first base and the outfield corners. What are the odds we can convince them that Aubrey Huff isn’t a lefty and that this is 2005?

Interesting article here about Wally Bunker, who tasted greatness once or twice with the O’s in the sixties.

39 comments to Spring Notes 5

  • df1570

    First off, let me say that the logo in the upper left corner with the Oriole swinging a bat is, a) the BEST logo they ever had and, b) the ONLY logo they should be using right now.

    If anyone over there at OPACY had a half-a-brain, they’d ditch this crazy looking bird they use now – it hasn’t had a meal in about 4 years and looks like it’s poised to take a big dump somewhere (insert your Daniel Cabrera joke here) – and they’d go with that old school logo that you see above. It actually says “BALTIMORE” in there, so I know that’s against the rules.

    I just beat the shit out of the team again — you can read it at http://www.wnst.net — and you can appropriately flame me as often as you’d like. Actually, I didn’t really beat the shit out of the O’s as much as I gave the Ravens a back rub. Either way, let the flaming begin.

    For Kona’s sake, though, please don’t re-hash your old comments. Flame with fresh material. And, please, keep it short and to the point. Kona likes it that way.

    I gave you guys two more mentions today on the air. One good, one not so good.

    But, as you are all aware, as long as they say/spell your name right, any publicity is good publicity.

    And, I know you guys don’t REALLY wear orange pajamas. That was just a figure of speech.

  • dan the man

    I love my orange pajamas.

    Also, no notice necessary that you have flamed the O’s/given the Ravens a backrub. It’s an almost daily occurrence on your blog and on your show. When are you going to stop calling them “the local baseball team”, anyway? That’s getting old. :)

  • df1570

    Me calling them “the local baseball team” isn’t NEARLY as old as those charlatans not returning my calls or e-mails. That was old last July when they weren’t being professional. It was old in October when they were still unprofessional. It’s still old now, in March.

    Once they stop being bush-league, I’ll call them the Orioles on the air again.

    Fair swap, right?

  • dan the man

    Not really. I mean, I could call them all day, every day without them calling me back, but I still call them the O’s. Why are you any different? Because you work at a radio station? No one says the O’s have to talk to you. And I don’t know if it really says all that much about how they handle themselves as a business, especially with NST being what it is. If you guys had done absolutely nothing to warrant not being called back, then I might agree with you, Drew.

    Man these orange PJs are comfy. You should try them on sometime. Just make sure you wash them before you give em back.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    forgive me LORD for making an oriole post when football is a better game but…

    drew even though i think you have a good point that the orioles should at least grant bob and rob access to their players as you mentioned in your blog, one of the people who commented also brings up a good point.

    why are you and nestor the only ones at the station who seem to care about this slight (perceived or otherwise) by the oriole organization regarding interviews and access? ever thought about being the bigger person and offering an olive branch in good faith that things might be changing around there? you know, a VERY public olive branch like free the birds was a pretty public turd branch. maybe your arguments would have more traction after that.

    somewhere along the way it became personal between the organization and you two apparently. maybe that could change with a well timed peace offering.

    i just set myself up for three or four classic forrester sarcasm posts but whatev.

  • neal s

    Wait a second, Drew: you mean you don’t like the Orioles? Holy crap when did that start?

  • df1570

    No sarcasm here, Ben. No need for it. All I do with the Orioles is speak the truth.

    Last May 8, I organized an outing for 130 people to attend an O’s/Tampa Bay game. Olive branch extended.

    Last June, shortly after MacPhail’s hiring, I asked the powers-that-be to have MacPhail come in and do an hour or two with so he could state his mission publicly in his own words and own forum. Olive branch extended.

    Last September, when the team released their “Orioles Reach” program, I asked the powers-that-be to come on the show and highlight all of their good deeds during the ’07 season. Olive branch extended.

    Last September, when Brian Roberts had his Sunday afternoon/evening function to benefit the University of Maryland Medical Center, I offered to have Brian on several times during the week of his event to highlight his auction items and inform everyone of how they could attend the fundraiser. Olive branch extended.

    In January, I contacted the club and offered to do my show in Ft. Lauderdale for three days and promised them the opportunity to “own the four hours” by filling my entire 6am-10am time slot with their personnel, their executives, their players, etc. Olive branch extended.

    Those are five occasions when, as you suggested, I put forth a “good faith” effort to support something the team was doing or promoting.

    Guess how many times they cooperated with me on those occasions? Zero. Guess how many times they got back to me and even responded? Once. This past January, they sent me an e-mail advising me I wouldn’t be allowed to have access to the stadium to do the show.

    There are literally 20-30 other times over the last 10 months that I’ve reached out to the team and offered them the opportunity to come on the air and promote themselves. 6 times in the last 10 days I’ve contacted them. No response. No return call. No return e-mail. Nothing.

    Let me know how many other olive branches you think I should extend to them and I’ll go buy an olive tree at a tree farm so I can get enough branches to cover the next year or so.

    Why don’t Bob Haynie and Rob Long voice their displeasure about having the Orioles treat us unprofessionally? I don’t know…I never ask them. But you can. Call the show or e-mail them. I’m sure they’ll reply and tell you how they feel. I can’t imagine they like having the team treat us unprofessionally. Maybe they’re just resigned to the fact that it will never change. Like I said, I’ve never really talked to them about it. I see them everyday, but we don’t talk about that stuff. I do my show the way I see fit and they do their show the way they see fit. I love those guys but we all have different hot buttons, I suppose.

    It took me a while to catch on to the team’s scam but I finally figured it out about a year ago. Their scam is all about control. If they can control you, you’re in. If they can’t, you’re out. And the only way to be in, is to pay.

    It’s not that way with the football team. They don’t try to control anyone.

    I have plenty of energy left to battle the baseball team. Someone wrote me today and asked, “how long are you going to carry on with your fight against the team?”. My answer: “I have no idea…find out from them when they’re going to treat me professionally and you’ll have your answer.”

    By the way, I won’t be getting press credentials this year.

    That’s next month’s topic.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    that’s not what i’m talking about drew. i’m talking about figuring out a way to actually get your message to the one person that matters.

    he who shall not be named – lord voldemort, slime spectre of the macabre, dark lord of night terrors and screaming child slave labor, blood sulphur serpent cracking the whip on his screaming minions atop hell’s chariot, andy macphail.

    oh i mean peter angelos.

  • df1570

    Well, Ben, you didn’t write it that way. You asked if I ever considered a public, good faith olive branch and I gave you FIVE concrete olive branch offerings and loosely another 20-30 olive-ish offerings over the last 10 months.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    yeah i know, apologies. seriously i just meant that peter angelos probably hates you now and like it or not nothing will change (in my opinion) until you figure out how to let go of your anger whether it’s justified or not and try to move on.

    also i don’t know why i’m bothering to write this.

  • neal s

    Drew, I don’t doubt that you would genuinely like to repair your relationship with the O’s. But I also know that you are the loudest voice (now that Nestor’s out to pasture) on a station that has built its brand on trashing the “local baseball team.” And, you’ve been a large part of that brand-building effort. You can call it “telling the truth” if you’d like, and you’re half right. But the other half is that there is more than one way to tell the truth.

    I’ve never lied on this site — or in any of my journalistic work — but when I’m critical I’m also careful. Careful to stay fair and not make it personal. I’ve had plenty of opportunities over the years to air my discontent with how I’ve been treated by an individual or an organization, but I’ve (mostly) kept those things to myself.

    Why? Because it’s not professional to air dirty laundry. It just isn’t. And just because you’ve been treated in a way that you perceive to be unprofessional doesn’t mean that you have to adopt an eye-for-an-eye approach. You can, and have, but don’t paint it as a matter of necessity. We all know that’s not true.

    And, for the record, every time I’ve dealt with the O’s PR/media/communications department I’ve been treated just fine. You probably think that’s because I “wear orange pajamas.” I know that it’s simply because I haven’t built any personal animosity with the team. And because I sleep in nothing but the finest imported silk.

    Like Ben, I’m not sure why I’m bothering to write this. I guess it’s just one last attempt to maybe pierce those dark parts of your soul and get you to take a look in the mirror.

    You’re welcome to respond and I hope you continue to post on the site because your insights on actual sports matters almost always add something good to the discussion.

    With that said, I’m done with the “WNST vs. The O’s” discussion. I’d wager that most everyone else is, too (and not just at The Loss Column). This will be the last I have to say on that point for at least a good, long while.

    Cheers.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    This discussion is getting old.

    That sounds like I’m tired of it and want it to be out of sight, out of mind, but it really isn’t like that. This is a REAL problem with the team that is totally 100% an off-the-field issue, where the pros and cons of the current strategy are difficult to gauge amongst a fanbase that has left because the on-field team is dreadful and there’s another team across the street that is pretty fucking great. I would imagine (and I know Drew thinks differently) that putting Baltimore back in the slogan/changing the uniforms/retiring 44 ain’t gonna sell even 100 more tickets.

    But nothing ever happens. WNST acts very nicely to the Orioles – kudos to you for that, even though it’s somewhat tempered with your obvious frustration lashing out via radio skits and very dryly humored radio ads for tickets. But the story doesn’t change. I don’t expect you to give up in your quest for acknowledgement from the club, but I certainly never expect you to give unbridled optimism for them, nor do I ever in a thousand years expect them to start talking to WNST. It’ll just go on like this until the PR guys are replaced.

    I’ve just heard Drew tell this story, about putting forth the Olive Branch literally dozens of times now. I’m tired of it, and that’s not a slight against you at all there, Drew. I really appreciate the effort, because WNST’s a great, if not the greatest, Baltimore Sports Station. But nothing ever happens.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Neal, if my girl hadn’t called me in the middle of writing that I would’ve beat you to the punch, you bastard!

  • neal s

    Either way, Andrew, your comments are spot-on. It’s not that there isn’t a real issue there, or that Drew doesn’t have a point. It’s just that it simply isn’t going anywhere.

  • dan the man

    Fair enough… this one is my fault for dredging up again.

    But my last two cents on it for awhile are in agreement with Neal:

    Drew, in order to break through to the O’s and get some respect back, you just have to keep a lid on the criticism for a good year or two, like it or not. Publicly slamming the team and then sending them nice invitation emails must come off as fake and/or two-faced (and does not count as an olive branch, I’m sorry). Write your discontents in a diary or something if you need to – but there will be no contact with the O’s until NST shuts up for a good, long time. Fair? Nah, not at all. Just reality, and it’s time to face it, or continue down the road of negativity and futility.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Dan, I don’t know if the Orioles under Peter Angelos, and certainly not the media relations men they have now, are EVER going to have a relationship with WNST ever, regardless of what Drew or anyone else ever does. But a lot of the olive branch stuff does come off poorly when its juxtaposed with stuff like “Ask Pete”.

    I don’t want anyone to stop criticizing the Orioles, childish, phony, or whatever the style is going to be – I feel the problem is in Einstein’s definition of insanity. Why would anything change when you keep doing the same stuff over and over and over? It’s just getting boring now.

  • Greg

    I sleep in the nude.

    BUT ANYWAY

    I’ve been told to listen to WNST, but to be honest, I don’t need to sit down to listen to a radio station bash my favorite team in my favorite sport. I can get that by talking to any number of fed up Baltimoreans. I can get that by talking to any Yankees or Red Sox fan. A homegrown radio station who has made it’s sole purpose to “free the birds” and publicly bash the ownership is furthest from the things I ever want to hear in regards to a baseball show.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Really, Greg, that’s not all they do. Bob Haynie’s show is often very pro-Orioles and a great listen. Drew’s show is just a little more critical. When I was working everyday over the summer it gave me a very balanced sort of day listening about the O’s.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    In other news…

    Patton, Mickolio, Yan, Wieters, Reefer, and Tillman are all out of the running for this year’s squad. No surprises, really, but too bad to hear about Patton’s surgery. I still wonder about his upside and the wisdom in picking him up, when we could have had another uninjured arm in that trade. Usually labrum tears are death grips to careers. Look at Jaret Wright.

    Anyway, it’s been a good week+ of spring training games, where do our competitors stand?

    Fifth Starter (Olson, Albers, Penn, Burres):

    I’d wager that Penn has the best shot if everything else is equal coming into spring training (and I think it should be, even though DT seems enamored of Brian Burres). Olson has a lot of walks and both Albers and Burres have a lot of hits compared to Hayden Penn.

    Shortstop (Hernandez, Bynum, Fahey):

    Bynum’s hurt, so you can’t imagine that he’s making a good impression. Fahey’s got a .690 OPS in 14 ABs compared to Luis’ .586 in 9, and we know they’re both whiz kids with the glove, so I guess advantage Fahey, but those are both putrid numbers, and really it’s probably gonna be Luis’ job, since Fahey can play everywhere.

    Bench Spot (basically like 30 guys):

    Scott Moore’s been doing literally everything, so our three man bench (plus a catcher) is probably gonna be Fahey/Bynum (probably Fahey), Moore, and Jay Payton/Tike Redman (only if Jay gets traded)…and I’d be shocked if Gibbons replaced anyone except Fahey. But I’m shocked a lot by this team and Jay Gibbons. Anyway, keep an eye on Mike Constanzo, too, because he’s been freaking awesome. If Roberts get traded, and only prospects and pitchers come back, I think the smart thing would be to start Scott Moore at second and put Constanzo in the utility role, but that’s just me.

    Backup catcher – it’s gonna be Quiroz, because he’s been playing well and is signed, so yeah.

    Bullpen spots:

    Rocky Cherry, Greg Aquino, and Jim Johnson have all been pretty good looking. I’m assuming we’re keeping Bierd and Sarfarte on the roster, so look for Aquino to make the opening day team, but when someone struggles, Cherry will be back.

    Those are my thoughts, but spring training has a long ways to go yet.

  • Greg

    I agree with a lot of what you said

    EXCEPT

    Hoey will probably get a job before Johnson does. Not that Johnson isn’t doing wonderful things, but I have felt that Hoey has been given much more attention than Johnson ever has and Hoey has really nothing left to accomplish in AAA.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Fair enough…but in his limited time on the mound, Johnson’s been solid this spring. I figured it was worth mentioning.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    My last thought on this Drew debate thing, because I was just reading through his blog and the comments thereon, and this is a new thought from me.

    Why is it that you either criticize 80% of what the team does, or you wear orange and black pajamas? You’re either a constant complainer or a blind follower? It doesn’t jive with me, it really doesn’t. Isn’t it possible that you just like baseball and want to follow the Orioles regardless of their problems, and like being a little optimistic? It’s not like I’m predicting 80 wins or anything this year (I think I went with 67) but because I don’t think that its a big deal that Nick Markakis got renewed and won’t get paid until next year I’m a stupidly blind orange and blacker?

  • random dude

    I agree and think of myself as a middle of the pack Orioles fan. I’m paredicting 63 wins. I love that we actually have a rebuilding plan in place and am more excited about the start of the season than I have been in the last few years because of that. I still hate Angelos, and to be honest, am a little worried that he’ll grab the reigns from McPhail in July or August when we’re projected to lose 100 games, attendance is terrible, and we’re trying to trade whatever older player had a good first half (Sherrill? A name that I don’t see usually discussed.) I still understand that the PR is terrible, and I think the stuff they do off the field makes them one of the worst run franchises around. I am glad to hear that more formal Orioles were involved in ST this year. Get Brooks back there. But I’m a baseball fan. I love going to Pickles, having 1 to 2 to 12 beers before a game and then cheering my ass off. I’m going to get the cheapest tickets available, then try to sneak down, so as not to line Angelos’s pockets any more than I have to. But I’m not going to stop enjoying myself because our owner is the biggest jackass/ambulance chaser in America. On a side note, my family had to threaten to take action against Angelos because he wouldn’t leave us alone after a family member (who worked in an area of high risk for asbestos) died of a completely non-asbestos way. I was like 9 when it happened, but I know my dad is still pissed to this day about it. Angelos is a jackass who only cares about his money. And he treats people like shit. But I enjoy going to baseball games, and I’ll continue to go to root for the O’s. I don’t see me wearing orange pajamas… besides, I usually just sleep in my boxers, and Orange isn’t my color.

  • random dude

    Baseball related…
    If Sherrill is lights out the first half of the year. And Hoey comes up and pitches well in the setup position. Would you guys trade Sherrill to a contender who needs a setup guy at the deadline? We’d have Hoey (if he pitches well enough) to close the remainder of this year. And we’d have competition between Ray and Hoey next year. Plus all the young pitchers coming up… they’re not all going to turn out to be good starting pitchers, but some might turn out to be good bullpen options. I think this depends on a lot, Sherrill first, and Hoey second, b/c if Sherrill is lights out, but Hoey struggles, I don’t want to have to endure a similar bullpen to last year for the last few months. But if things go well, I think this would be a good way to get another prospect or two out of a set up/closer type guy who we (hopefully) won’t need next year w/ Hoey and Ray there.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Watching today’s game…

    I am immensely impressed every single time I hear Andy MacPhail talk. The man is very, very smart. Today he was talking about how we need to cut down on defensive errors and increase the number of pitches we see every at-bat. Contrast that to Dusty Baker, Reds manager, who is trying to encourage his hitters to swing at the first pitch more often. Then, as if to accentuate the point, the Orioles storm ahead over the Sox because Luis and Roberts work the count and make Tavarez sweat a little. Really encouraging stuff.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Sherrill traded if Hoey’s doing well, but it would really depend on what we’d get back. If it’s a deal like Kason Gabbard for Gagne last year there’s no way you can hold onto Sherrill. But remember, we’ve got him next year, too, so there’s no rush.

  • Greg

    I really think that Sherrill is not going to be our official closer, which makes it a problem for his value as a closer. I’m expecting a closer by committee approach, featuring Hoey, Aquino and Sherrill, and using each one’s talents depending on the save situation.

    But in all honesty, I do see a Sherrill trade looming, unless he is absolutely lights out.

  • df1570

    Saturday’s try-outs for Orioles ballboy and ballgirl positions have been postponed due to the impending bad weather.

    I just got the press release.

    They’ve rescheduled the tryouts for Saturday, March 15 at OPACY.

    I thought I’d cut and paste the last sentence of the press release. You’ll get a kick out of it. It reads:

    In addition to being able to handle a glove and field ground balls, interested candidates should be personable and customer-service oriented, and be available to work the entire 2008 season.

    I’m not saying a word about the “personable and customer-service oriented” part of it.

    You all can have at it.

    Try not to laugh while you type.

  • dan the man

    Beating the Red Sox 12-2 is always fun.

    They’ve lost 6 of their last 7. Wah wuh.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Another shaky outing from Brian Burres, and another good outing from Matt Albers. You’ve got to think that Trembley would be crazy to still not have Albers and Penn as the two top candidates for that fifth spot, but he’s intent on making sure Brian gets to Baltimore by April. Ugh.

    I like Burres, I was there watching him somehow outpitch Roger Clemens in July/August (only to have Cory Doyne allow the tying run to the plate in the ninth so Jamie Walker had to strike out Bobby Abreu…it was a great game though), and that was fantastic. But if he’s our fifth starter, and Trachsel is our fourth starter…well that’s just not rebuilding, it’s waiting for someone to come in from outside the organization.

  • dan the man

    How is it not rebuilding with Burres in the starting rotation? The guy is, what, 25 or 26? He was kicking around in the Giants organization for awhile and I don’t even remember how we got him, but it was certainly for cheap, probably a waiver claim. He’s clearly got talent and a better-than-average curveball. He certainly doesn’t hold that “prospect” status for whatever reason, but he’s arguably as good as Daniel Cabrera at the same young age. And he might even be the Orioles’ third best starting pitcher after Loewen and Guthrie. At this point, Albers/Cabrera/Olson/Penn/Burres are all pretty equal. Problem is, we just don’t know because the guy has bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation more times than Birkins was called up from AAA last season. Burres still needs to figure out how to pitch with smarts and work on his mound presence, but I think he deserves at starting permanently before we disregard this guy as not being part of the rebuilding process. Anyway, that’s my Brian Burres defense. I’d rather have Albers in the long reliever roll with that sinker. Burres doesn’t strike me as a bullpen kind of guy.

  • neal s

    Yeah, Andrew, I have to agree with Dan. Burres showed enough last year to deserve a shot. He’s still plenty young enough to be part of the renaissance.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Brian Burres is not going to develop into a top 3 rotation guy is my point. He is 27 this April. Cabrera still has the raw talent to maybe (read:never) develop into a 1 or 2 pitcher, but Burres is a long reliever/spot starter. Like I said, I like him – in that role – but Garret Olson or Matt Albers both have a better chance of developing into a realistic rotation member, and should be given the opportunity to develop so that in 2010, our projected goal year, we’ve developed Loewen and Albers and Olson.

    But, of course now watch Burres win the job and put together a magnificent season just to prove me wrong. Jerk.

  • dan the man

    Why is it that you think that, though, about Burres? I’m saying we haven’t seen enough of Burres, Albers, Olson, etc to really be able to say with much conviction that any of them will amount to anything. In my mind, they are all the same – untested and relatively inexperienced. All we have to go on is scouts and prospect status, really.

    27 is young for a pitcher. Look at Guthrie – he’s 28 and just now is beginning to justify the fact that he was a number 1 pick. Bedard didn’t become consistently good until he was 27, and before that, I’m willing to bet he didn’t have many more dominant games for us than Burres has. Bedard was painful to watch pitch at times in his nibbling days. Not that I’m saying Burres will turn into Bedard – I think that’s obviously not the case.

  • dan the man

    While we’re nitpicking about Brian Burres (ah the life of an O’s fan…), here are facts about him so we all have a better idea of the dude in question:

    Brian James Burres (BJ Burres anyone? Consider it coined.)

    Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 31st round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed May 26, 2001. January 6, 2006: Selected off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the San Francisco Giants. (Giants had to make room for IF Vizcaino.)

    His ERA was never about 4.76 in the minors. He started all 26 of his games in ’06 in AAA Ottawa, pitching to a 3.76 ERA, 110/57 K/BB. His minor league numbers are all pretty solid save that one 4.76 ERA year in 2002 when he was in A ball. His best year in the minors looks like his 12-1, 2004 effort in high A ball, when he pitched to a 2.83 ERA. Interestingly, and this one is for Andrew, he made 36 appearances but only started 15 of them.

  • dan the man

    That should read, “never above a 4.76 ERA”

  • Andrew in Rochester

    His stuff just doesn’t seem like it’ll translate, I guess. Low velocity requires stronger control, and we’ve seen him flirt with excellent control (he did win 6 games last year), but a lot of hits (140 in 120 IP), which is probably about right because a guy without velocity is going to get hit a bunch. He gets nosebleeds on the mound. He hasn’t been impressive at all this spring. I’d rather see Penn or Olson or Albers in there, with Burres as the swingman.

    Interestingly, Baseball America put Burres as the 15th rated rookie last year. Baseball Prospectus put him as a below-average pitcher (5.41 defense-adjusted ERA where 4.5 is average ~ 77 ERA+) in ’07, and ZiPS projects him to be a little worse this year.

    I like him, I think he’s got a good career ahead of him…in the bullpen. We’ve got a lot of pitchers who want that fifth spot, and most of them are just more talented than him, with even more coming.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Oh, and Dan, arguing over guys like Brian Burres is excellent.

  • dan the man

    In all actuality you are probably right about Burres. I just think he deserves a fair shot, which he is certainly getting, being the starting pitcher every 5 days in ST.

    Honestly, a guy I’d like to see get more of a shot than he’s getting is Jon Leicester. Seems like a smart guy with a go get ‘em attitude and the ability to throw strikes. He’s the next guy I’ll research. I really hope that Penn wins himself that 5th spot, though. If for no other reason than it will piss me off if we’ve talked about him as the next big thing for like 4 years and he doesn’t pan out, you know?

  • dan the man

    A little info on Blake Davis, the SS that was called up in lieu of Bynum’s surgery:

    http://orioles.scout.com/2/638488.html