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The Story (And Curse) Of Andino

Let’s pretend it’s 2009. Orioles GM Andy MacPhail just made a late roster move in Spring Training, trading away former top pitching prospect Hayden Penn to the Marlins for shortstop Robert Andino. Penn was out of options, Andino was stuck behind Hanley Ramirez, and it made sense to shore up the Orioles’ middle infield depth, which consisted of Cesar Izturis and Ryan Freel. Still, O’s fans could only muster a shrug and a sigh that another pitching prospect hadn’t turned into a #1 starter, but instead a utility guy at best.

At best!

Fast forward to September 28, 2011, and we all know the rest. But in between 2009 and that fateful date last season was a long and winding road for ol’ Bob Andino, including getting on Dave Trembley‘s bad side and eventually passing through waivers to toil away in Norfolk. But Buck Showalter would enter (as the 3rd manager in the 2010 season) and despite mediocre numbers at AAA, give Andino a September call up, a vote of confidence, and a hat that fit. Buck saw return on that faith in 2011 as Andino filled in admirably for Brian Roberts, drawing 41 walks, hitting a respectable .263, playing good defense, notching 2.2 WAR, and best of all, bouncing the Red Sox out of the playoffs. And doing it with swagger, son.

The story doesn’t end there, either, as the former 2nd-round pick is off to a blazing start in the 2012 season, batting a ridiculous .342/.388/.443 with a noticeably improved batting eye.

Certainly no one, even MacPhail, could have predicted the path Robert Andino has taken to eventually become one of the most important nuggets on the team. That’s just the game of baseball. But here he is entering a series in Fenway Park as one of the Orioles’ better overall players and with a patented Boston Curse attached to his name, no less.

The O’s will face Jon Lester, Aaron Cook, and Clay Buchholz with their own Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, and Tommy Hunter. Another series win on the road against the AL East would certainly make upcoming games against Texas and Tampa Bay a little less daunting.

Some other nuggets:

  • Down goes Mo. A shame if that’s how it ends for one of the more likeable Yankees, but if there was a time for the Orioles to get a jump on their AL East rivals, it’s right now with a host of injuries to Boston, New York, and Tampa. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of Rivera just yet, however.
  • Speaking of Andino, he’s been putting birds on things with Adam Jones. Nice.
  • Nolan Reimold looks to be DL-bound with the call going to former Red Sox catching prospect and recent waiver claim, Luis Exposito. Can’t say I  saw that one coming.

19 comments to The Story (And Curse) Of Andino

  • Mike R

    I’m liking this guy more and more. He carries a swagger about him, as you mentioned, Neal. But I feel like this guy loves being an Oriole too. There’s a video I saw of his walk off hit in the Boston game. After the dog pile, Andino gets up and looks straight into the Sox dugout, you can read his lips clear as day saying “get the fuck outta here!” Sure there is a lack of sportsmanship in that moment, but what did we all say as fans as it happend? “Fuck Boston!” It’s like Robbie Andino is one of us.

    Buck certainly loves this guy, and maybe that vote of confidence is all Andino needed to get on track.

  • dan the man

    Tejada getting a look in extended Spring Training! Hilarious. Slightly troublesome, but still hilarious.

    Also hilarious: Reynolds leaving Buck hanging on the low five after the homer. If you haven’t seen the replay, Buck’s reaction is priceless.

    3 errors and a passed ball so far and it’s 1-1. I have a feeling the weirdness will only continue tonight.

  • Mike R

    @ dan the man:
    I saw Buck get left hanging. Some funny shit.
    Reynolds must have heard they are giving Tejada a look.

    Very weird game. A-Gon just went threw from 1st to 3rd? You never make that throw.

    Bases Loaded, 0 out, need to come through here big time

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    even i can’t be snarky about this team. very impressive/likable.

  • Mike R

    scored one on a double play. Bah. It’s like kissing your sister. Tie game though.

  • dan the man

    Not sure how this one’s going to end up. O’s have the better bullpen, but the O’s bats are letting their relievers off the hook in some of these ABs.

  • dan the man

    I question Bobby V. burning his closer for 2 IP in the first game of the series. Heading to the 12th…

  • dan the man

    Bobby V. rolling with Aceves for a third inning. Ridiculous.

  • dan the man

    Eight scoreless innings by the bullpen for the win. Pretty unbelievable.

  • Miles

    I’m sitting in a hotel in Thousand Oaks, CA, listening to this game, screaming when Crush Davis comes through and again when Johnson closes it out… the people in the neighboring rooms must think I’m insane.

    Maybe I am.

    But I couldn’t be happier with this team right now.

    Fun anomaly that won’t last – if the season ended today, three teams from the AL East would be in the playoffs, and the two left on the outside would be the Sox and the Yanks. How crazy is that?

  • Miles

    Is this really happening?

  • Andrew

    Two thoughts on Rivera’s injury:

    1) It doesn’t mean anything in terms of New York still being the team to beat in the AL East. They’ll still be right up top come September. Just too much talent up there.

    2) My girlfriend’s favorite player. She told me this in a kind of sad voice, and I told her “Well, welcome to the rest of us. We don’t have favorite players anymore…just guys who kind of remind us of our favorite.”

  • dan the man

    @ Andrew:
    I dunno. My favorite players are everyone on this winning Orioles team right now, flaws and all.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    weird times for me man. seriously questioning football at its most base level…what responsibility as a fan means…this stupid bright light of a non-contact sport team in my town that i have so many issues with…all the complexity wrapped up in it…i’m pretty wasted but whatever ya’ll know what i’m sayin’.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    timestamp for the ages

  • dan the man

    Wow…. Andino!

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    that was the craziest o’s game i’ve ever seen, straight up. watched THE WHOLE THING.

  • dan the man

    @ Big Ben’s Motorcycle:
    I don’t even know where to start. People much older than us have been watching baseball much longer than us and have never seen a game like this.

    For a guy to go 0-7 with 5 K’s and then pitch 2 innings for the win against the likes of Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez – who he struck out – is nothing short of historic.

    And the O’s are all alone in 1st place to boot.

    The unfortunate thing, of course, is that the bullpen is toast going into like 17 straight games. Roster moves will definitely be pending.

    But… wow. We just witnessed something amazing.

  • Miles

    If you believe in signs, and were looking for a sign that this year is going to be special, the ending to today’s game is your sign.

    I could go on and on and on, but let’s all agree that, if nothing else, this was the kind of game that goes down in team lore, like when Tippy picked off three runners in one inning. It will never be forgotten.