« O's on "The Move" | Main | What a difference a year makes »

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.

Comments (5)

Big Fan:

Happy With Sosa Still? ...Before you tell me about his 6 HR's and if he was healthy he would have 12...

Look at his last 10 games...without big games versus PITT and DETROIT...He would be batting .234 and sinking...

The guy swings for the fences every at bat..he has no conception of moving runners, hitting behind guys, etc...and I know he is a "Slugger", but not every situation calls for Slugging..I would expect Sammy to end up hitting .239..18 HR and 65 RBI...Not the worst Player...but for a guy who insists on batting in the top half of the order that is terrible

Glad you have him and not us, anymore. Hey I have Bedard on my Fantasy Team. Any projections when he will be back?

Tom M.:

Hey O's fans,

(regarding the ugliness of Comcast vs. MASN)
Does anyone know how the dismissed lawsuit, and the consequent MASN TV rights victory, will affect us O's fans living outside of the DC area? Right now I watch them in Oakland, with the MLB Extra Innings package, but since Comcast lost their efforts for monolopy, will I no longer be able to watch MASN-televised games on MLB EXTRA INNINGS when 2006 comes around? That would be a real bummer. Already there are a number of games blacked out for me (like 2 a week average).If anyone knows the skinny on that, send me an email.


BigFan: You're beating a dead horse. Or in reference to Sosa, should I say a dying horse? Also, I wasn't the one who said he would have 12 homers if healthy—that was someone else, and as far as I can tell it wasn't on this site.

Anyway, I think it's clear that Sammy ain't his old supastah self. The Orioles think that he'll improve his hitting numbers as the summer heats up. His career splits seem to bear that out—he has historically batted for an OPS around .900 from May to August, while slumping slightly in April and September. Also, keep in mind that he has moved from hitter-friendly Wrigley to a park that has depressed batting averages and run-scoring (if not home runs) for years. Meanwhile, he's been remarkably low-key and deferential on and off the field. Perhaps his injury and lagging performance have dampened his usual exuberance and bombast.

Tommy: I don't have the scoop on exactly when Bedard will return, although I don't think the O's have a firm handle on that either. Last I heard about a week ago, Bedard's knee showed no signs of structural damage, and he was about to begin a rehabilitation that would bring him back to action in about two weeks. He's almost certain to miss his fifth straight scheduled start next Sunday, and while he might be ready to go the following weekend in Atlanta (June 24-26), I haven't heard anyone predict that with confidence. Bedard's replacement, Hayden Penn, has been doing a decent job and got his first major-league win yesterday, so there's been no rush to have Bedard return to duty.

Here's what Ken Rosenthal of The Sporting News wrote yesterday: "The Orioles privately are frustrated with LHP Erik Bedard, who is recovering slowly from a strained left knee ligament. Bedard, who was expected to miss only two or three starts, could end up being out six weeks. Some baseball men question his passion for the game and desire to succeed."

I wonder if those "baseball men" have Bedard's best interests in mind.

Tom M.: Just to clarify for people who may be reading this, the Comcast lawsuit has not been dismissed, although the Orioles yesterday argued that it should be on the grounds that MASN is not a third party. I think the clarification is necessary because Tom's language is slightly misleading—by asking how the "dismissed lawsuit ... will affect us" instead of "would affect us" he implies that the dismissal is a done deal when it isn't.

The classification of MASN is critical because if the courts determine that MASN is a third party, then (as I understand it) the Orioles would be bound contractually to offer Comcast the right to match any offer for the team's broadcast rights after the current contract ends when the 2006 season is over. Since the Orioles own 90 percent of MASN, with the other 10 percent owned by MLB, I think it's hard to make the case that MASN is a third party. (Disclaimer: I'm not well versed in legal arcana, so I can't claim any special juridical insight.)

As for your MLB Extra Innings situation, Tom, I doubt that the lawsuit will affect you at all. MLB and the Orioles ultimately own the broadcasts of all their games—if anyone has a monopoly in this matter, it's they—and decide when and where to broadcast the games subject to the terms of their contracts with media outlets. I don't have DirecTV so I can't say for certain, but your twice-a-week blackouts can probably be traced to Fox and ESPN national rights exclusivity on weekends (see the MLB Extra Innings Questions for more details).

If you absolutely must have your O's fix 162 times a year, then the archives at MLB.TV could help fill in the gaps for $50 more per year. Be aware, though, that live MLB.TV broadcasts are subject to the same blackout restrictions as DirecTV, so you'd only be able to go back and see blacked-out games after they were completed.


Tommy --

Several sources are reporting that Bedard will be out at least for the rest of June and perhaps may not return until after the All-Star break. The reports cite Orioles officials by name, so they can be considered reliable. Even Bedard, normally tight-lipped around the media, spoke on the record about the injury, saying, "I'd rather wait until it completely heals."

Read the news reports for more details.

Notes: Bedard out until mid-July” (MLB.com)

Bedard's Return Won't Come Before July” (Washington Post)

Bedard could miss another month” (Baltimore Sun)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 5, 2005 9:16 PM.

The previous post in this blog was O's on "The Move".

The next post in this blog is What a difference a year makes.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33