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June 2005 Archives

June 5, 2005

Checking back in

Warehouse readers, I apologize for my lack of output on this site in recent months. For a host of reasons, I haven't contributed much time and effort to writing about the Orioles since last season ended, although I haven't stopped following the team. I had hoped to ramp up my writing once the season began, but it just hasn't happened. But all that will soon change.

I won't go into all the reasons for my lack of production, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of topics to write about. The Birds' front-runner status in the first two months of the season has been a welcome surprise to all those who stuck by the O's during the last seven woeful losing years. Two major contributors to the team's surge out of the gates have been Brian Roberts, whose extraordinary start has thrust him into the national spotlight, and Erik Bedard, who has markedly improved his command to become one of baseball's top starting pitchers in the season's first two months. A rash of injuries has slowed the O's in recent weeks, however—after going 20-10 (.667) in their first thirty games, they've gone 14-12 (.538) since—and it appears that the AL East will be a dogfight from now until October as Baltimore tries to fend off Boston, New York, and Toronto.

Meanwhile, the MASN-Comcast tussle has been running in and out of the headlines all year. Because of its direct repercussions on the Orioles and Nationals and their fans, that legal battle is providing plenty of fuel for the burgeoning Baltimore-D.C. baseball rivalry despite the absence of head-to-head competition (the teams won't face each other in the regular season until next year).

That's just an overview of the obvious stories. There is plenty going on with the Birds these days, and plenty more angles from which to peer into that orange and black prism. I'm going to do my best to get myself out of offseason mode (i.e., infrequent writing) and return my pontification analysis to the increasing cacophony of Orioles talk on the Internet. That means long-form articles approximately once a week, and miscellaneous entries and comments on a continual basis.

Soon, expect a few of my thoughts on the upcoming amateur draft and the Orioles' psycho-athletic methods of player evaluation.

June 23, 2005

What a difference a year makes

One year ago, the Orioles were in last place in the American League East with a dismal record of 29–38. Then-pitching coach Mark Wiley was about to be fired because the club's pitching staff was an immense disappointment, having given up a league-high 5.88 runs per game. Although most of the pitching troubles could be traced to a young, injury-riddled rotation weighed down by walks and anti-ace Sidney Ponson's bloated performance, the bullpen was also shaky. Notably, veteran reliever Mike DeJean, signed the previous offseason, was getting lit up nightly like the sky on the Fourth of July, compelling the team to make a desperate, roundly criticized trade for journeyman Jason Grimsley. Behind the pitchers, Baltimore's defense was doing its best imitation of Swiss cheese: Melvin Mora was having a tough time adjusting to the hot corner, and the team's defensive efficiency ranked near the bottom of the league.

There were issues with the bats as well. The Birds' lineup was the league's worst against left-handed pitching, and their outfield had been decimated by a combination of injuries and poor performance. The club was in the unenviable position of trying to find playing time for two young second basemen, meaning that Jerry Hairston Jr. was often playing out of position at DH or in the outfield. Rafael Palmeiro and Brian Roberts had been slumping after hot starts, so three players—Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada, and Javy López—were essentially carrying the Orioles' offense. And López would soon complain that his knees were going to "explode" from catching too frequently.

Beyond the playing field, many observers doubted new manager Lee Mazzilli's capacity to lead the O's out of mediocrity, and attempts by the front office to dress the team's wounds with players from within and without were mostly falling flat. (A recent pickup, then-unknown David Newhan, had not yet made his mark on the club.) Meanwhile, the club's top pick in the June draft, pitcher Wade Townsend of Rice University, was holding out for a bigger signing bonus and would later cut off negotiations when he returned to school in September to finish his degree. Organizational sources later told the press that Townsend was actually not the first choice of Tony DeMacio's scouting staff, which had favored a shortstop, but that owner Peter Angelos had overruled the scouts and asked for a college pitcher. Throughout the 2004 season, Angelos was trying his darndest to keep the Montreal Expos from moving to Washington, arguing that a team next door would do irreparable harm to the Orioles' revenues.

Continue reading "What a difference a year makes" »

June 30, 2005


And it's getting very hard to stay
And we're moving on to Allentown

(Apologies to Mr. Joel.)

The Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, the Ottawa Lynx, could move to Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 2008, according to an article in today's Morning Call (Allentown's local newspaper):

Allentown's minor league baseball stadium — all but certain to be approved today by the state Senate — would be home to a Class AAA team, one step below the major leagues.

Legislative sources have identified the team as the Ottawa Lynx, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. If all goes as planned, the team will start playing in an east Allentown stadium in 2008.

Continue reading "A-A-Allentown" »

About June 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Orioles Warehouse in June 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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