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One Hell of an Eventful Orioles Evening

new Orioles catcher Matt WietersMatt Wieters is coming.

But let’s back up a little bit.

I got an invite about two weeks ago from the folks at MASN, asking if I’d like to participate in Bloggers Night at the ballpark. I’m not entirely sure if I’m “supposed” to talk about it or not, but nobody asked me not to so here you go.

We started with a visit to the TV booth, where we spent some time with Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez (and, briefly, Amber). We went from there to the outdoor set of the pre-game show, then retreated to the friendly confines of the MASN suite.

Therein I had the pleasure of talking with Jim Hunter, and the greater pleasure of meeting the folks behind Roar From 34 (long convo with Matthew — very cool), Oriole Post, Camden Chat, Dempsey’s Army, Baltimore Sports and Life, Baltimore Sports Report, and NumerOlogy.

edit: I am a complete dope for omitting Wayward O. Talking to him was actually one of my favorite parts of the evening.

Many other bloggers and media/team folks were there, as well. There are some fine individuals dedicating their time and energy to chronicling the ins and outs of life in Birdland. Pros and non pros alike.

I did make it a point to ask the MASN rep (nice guy named Todd — not sure of his official title) to go on record as saying that nobody tells Roch what to write. He obliged, so make of that what you will. I take him at his word.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t get a chance to meet Roch. I believe I was deep in conversation when he came up.

During the first inning the suite started to buzz with word that Andy MacPhail would be making an announcement. You know where things went from there.

The vibe I got was that everyone was surprised — including Thorne. I think (just opinion) that MacPhail had some fun with it, which I like quite a bit.

So, yeah, I was in the MASN suite at Camden Yards when the team announced that Matt Wieters was coming to Baltimore. Definitely surreal, and definitely cool.

Thanks to the MASN team for making it happen. They deserve a lot of credit for doing this kind of outreach. It speaks to an organizational commitment to turning the page and building something good. I already knew from my dealings with the O’s communications department that this was the case, and now I know it from the MASN side.

You and I know it’s a good idea, but there are plenty of businesses out there who still don’t get it. I think the O’s and MASN are doing things the right way now because they understand that it is the right way. I’ve had what I’d call a decent amount of interaction with them at this point, and I’m telling you what I see.

If this evening had been a sales pitch for the network or a plea for better coverage, I’d tell you. It wasn’t at all. In fact, all of us were asked to fill out an anonymous survey that asked how we thought MASN could improve. They genuinely seemed to want us there, and they at no point asked for anything in return. They played it straight.

The New Era of Orioles Baseball starts Friday. From where I sit it’s coming together pretty damn nicely.

(photo via)

30 comments to One Hell of an Eventful Orioles Evening

  • Kevin

    Neal, that’s awesome and I’m so jealous

  • Andrew

    Neal, I don’t know what guys who are referring to ubt Sugar was made by a pair of filmmakers out of the Tisch school, and at least one of them was from Oakland.

    Cool stuff with the blogger’s night. I assume my invite got lost in the mail or something? Maybe when the Baysox do it I’ll get invited?

    Harumph hamruph hamruph

  • neal s

    @Andrew – There are some guys from here in town making a doc about Dominican baseball. I dug back into my emails, and here’s the link to their project. Not the same, obviously. I should give these guys some more coverage soon.

    As to the bigger picture, know that I’m ridiculously grateful for the minor league coverage. The Loss Column is stronger for it and I hope you don’t feel the need to stop anytime soon. Even if I have to step in and drag you back from the Statistical Abyss now and then.

  • Andrew

    Berken’s batted ball statistics:

    10 fly balls (4 hits)
    3 line drives (2 hits)
    5 ground balls (1 GIDP, 1 hit)

    That adds up to an xBABIP of .287 (actual: .389), which amounts to 2 extra hits that the defense (the outfield defense) gave up…although it sure looked like our man Berken was giving up some gappers, huh?

    I’m pretty sure Berken doesn’t usually walk this many guys or put that many balls into the sky.

    Berken threw 64% strikes, which is what we’ve heard. He also gave up 3 walks, which is poor (especially when it gives him a 2.00 WHIP). I watched the game, and I’m still not entirely sure how Berken escaped trouble with only 2 runs despite the 0.5 ground ball ratio and only 3 strike outs. It was a very, very lucky performance against a team struggling to score runs.

    It looks like, for better or worse, Berken will stick with the team for now. His next start will be against the stronger Tigers. Hopefully he can lower the walks and increase his fly ball rate.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    drank mad dog 20/20 at a ravens roost with tim from hampstead at timonium holiday inn with former raven stoney case tonight and it was way better dude.

  • Andrew

    @neal s – No worries. I love writing and following our minor leaguers. Sugar was, by the way, a low-key fictional movie without any movie stars in it. Very, very good.

  • Andrew

    @Big Ben’s Motorcycle – Look at me I hate baseball and love drinking ravens ravens ravens ravens ravens ravens ravens ravens.

    Who the fuck is matt wieters? ravens ravens ravens

  • It was an awesome event! Great to meet you Neal.

  • neal s

    @Andrew – Now now, BBM has carte blanche around here. I need him to bring the Ravens focus now and then. And he’s a hell of a guy on top of that.

    Plus, if he really did hang with Stoney Case tonight then that’s pretty cool. Maybe not MASN suite cool, but pretty damn cool.

  • neal s

    @Zach – Likewise.

  • Neal, I don’t think we got the chance to talk last night, but it was nice to put a face behind all of the names I’ve learned over time here in the O’s online atmosphere. It was a great event.

  • neal s

    @Stacey – Agreed.

    I also just edited the main page post to add Wayward Oriole. I don’t know how the hell I left him out initially. Talking to him was one of my favorite parts of the night.

  • Andrew

    @neal s – I can only assume that wayward o is exactly how we all think he is in real life (yale professor, elbow pads on tweed, smoking a sherlock holmes pipe, thick british accent, lots of big words, impeccable grammar, orioles hat)

  • As others have said, it was great to meet you, Neal, and to talk a little shop. The highlight of my evening was looking across the suite and seeing Al Bumbry just chowing down on the spread. I wandered over and said hello, and asked him what brought him there. “Just hanging out,” he replied. Very cool.

  • Andrew

    I’m hoping (partly selfishly) that if anything, MASN’s efforts make for more cross-blog dialogue in the Orioles’ community. It’d be swell if we could build a network of independent but connected blogs where we can share our thoughts and debate in a larger forum than any one blog can do on its own.

    Specifically, there ought to be some sort of regular round table events between however many guys we can get to talk and debate about whatever is prevalent in birdland. If you had like a bi-weekly forum, you could have it on Camden Chat this week and on Roar From 34 in 2 weeks and then here next month and so on.

    Am I out of line in that, or is it just unlikely to happen, or is it a dumb idea?

  • dan the man

    Wow, sounds like a hell of a time. From TLC’s humble beginnings to kicking it in the MASN suite. What an encouraging evening all around – congrats to you, Neal, and all the dedicated O’s bloggers.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – That’s a great idea, man. It might be unlikely to happen, but the fact that all the blogs are aware of each other and have now met each other in person could go a long way towards making that happen.

    Interestingly absent from the list of bloggers was Orioles Hangout. There’s the question of whether or not that site is a blog, though, which it basically isn’t. And also that they have a tendency to leak iffy information, something I’m sure Andy doesn’t get down with.

  • dan the man

    Oops, nevermind.. just read an OH post saying a couple of the guys from over there were present as well.

  • Andrew

    So, what I’m looking for today is Rich Hill to show some fastball command, because he had very little of it last time out. I guess today is basically a sunk game against Halladay, but it’ll still be interesting to see what Hill gives us against (arguably) the best offense he has seen yet, even if the fightin’ BJs are slumping badly (not that slumps are a thing….kidding, kidding…or am I?). Without the fastball, it will be a bloody game. With the fastball, we could have a brilliant pitcher’s duel on our hands (maybe).

  • dan the man

    This one seems like a lost cause, and I think it’s one of the reasons DT saved both of his long relievers for today. He could have easily gone to Hendrickson last night in the 9th instead of sticking with JJ (I have to admit, I am getting uncomfortable with his large workload of late, but then again he is starting to pitch better). But instead, I think DT was thinking, “let’s lock up this win tonight with our best relievers and let Hendrickson clean up the mess tomorrow if there is one”. Let’s face it, why save your good bullpen guys for a HallaDay.

    3 consistent decent starts from Rich Hill would do a lot towards building my confidence in the guy. Something tells me he’s due for a 7 walk meltdown, though. Hopefully not and we get some timely hits on the good Doctor.

  • Concerned Citizen

    @Andrew – Not sure if you’re a Lost fan, but a number of bloggers and Lostpedia is trying something ambitous that could possibly serve as a model of linking the various members of the blog-O’s-sphere. They’re using RSS feeds and Twitter linking discussions hosted at different blogs around a common topic.

  • Andrew

    @Concerned Citizen – I am a Lost fan. Which I think means that I’m constantly angry and frustrated while on the edge of my seat.

    I’m definitely going to put more thought into this…

  • neal s

    @Andrew – For my part, I’m not much interested in it. I need to do a better job of linking out to the other blogs, but I’d be lying to myself and everyone if I said I could commit time and energy to do something like this the right way.

    Plus, I think it’s kind of a solution in search of a problem. I think the community is pretty strong as it is, and each site has its own thing going.

    That’s just me, though.

  • Relax

    did somebody need me?

  • neal s

    @Relax – I totally missed the joke the first time around, by the way. You painted a vivid picture.

  • Stoney Case

    dude what are you talking about i had a blast with that guy.

    though i agree he could lay the fuck off the orioles once in a while.

  • Good to meet you Neal. Hopefully we can do something like that again!

  • dan the man

    Wayward O has a new post up with some great pictures from the blogger night and other hilarity. All should check it out.

  • Neal, it was a pleasure to meet you in person. Good stuff on the blog and hope all is well…

  • INTERNECINE BLOGGER SNUB!