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June 2006 Archives

June 3, 2006

Revisiting Jeffrey Maier: Forgive that swine?

I remember Jeffrey Maier. Not fondly, I'm afraid.

On October 9, 1996, I was watching Game 1 of the ALCS on TV with a bunch of Yankee-rooting friends (don't ask) and was struck with disbelief, then rage, when the long arm of Maier reached over the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium, turning a deep fly ball by Derek Jeter from a possible out into a home run. When the replays showed Maier's glove extending over the wall into the field of play and pulling the ball into the stands — clearly a case of fan interference — none of the Yankee fans in the room denied that the umpire, Rich García, had made the wrong call in crediting Jeter with a game-tying homer. One of them said, "Well, too bad. That's the way the ball bounces." And then Bernie Williams hit a home run in the 11th to give the Yankees the win, making for a lot of smug faces in the room — and one glum one.

Yesterday, Washington Post baseball writer Dave Sheinin served up an underhanded story about Maier, the kid who helped steal a World Series appearance from the Orioles ten years back. In the article, Sheinin catches up with Maier, now 22 and a recent graduate of Wesleyan University with a degree in government and economics, and gets reflections on the incident from Maier and members of both teams who were at the scene of the crime ten years ago.

Ordinarily that's where the story would end. But it turns out that Maier had a standout career as an outfielder and third baseman on Wesleyan's Division III baseball team. So Sheinin can't help but suggest the outrageously ironic possibility that Maier could be drafted by the Orioles in the upcoming amateur draft and wind up playing for the very team he once robbed of a crucial playoff win. Or, he could be selected by the Yankees, his hometown team (he's from north Jersey), and continue to torment the O's with his glove and his bat. Never mind that few Division III players get drafted, and almost none advance to the majors. Talk about journalistic license — the lengths to which writers will go for a good story! Maybe Sheinin should write sports-themed novels instead.

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June 6, 2006

Let the draft roll in

Today the Orioles will gather their best scouts and prepare for what has become known as baseball's annual crapshoot, the First-Year Player Draft. Some quick facts:

  • By virtue of their lousy 74-88 finish last year, the Birds will pick ninth in every round except the second — they lost that pick (53rd overall) to the San Diego Padres for signing free agent Ramón Hernández last winter.
  • As compensation for losing B.J. Ryan to free agency last offseason, the O's received the second pick in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) plus the Toronto Blue Jays' fourteenth pick in the second round (58th overall).
  • The full 2006 draft order is at MLB.com's Draft Central, which will provide real-time updates throughout the draft.
  • MLB Radio will broadcast live Internet audio of the proceedings starting around 12 p.m. Eastern today for rounds 1-18 and Wednesday for rounds 19-50.
  • For the bandwidth-stingy, Baseball America's web site has a summary list of Oriole draftees.

Continue reading "Let the draft roll in" »

June 16, 2006

Lackawanna: go there?

Whither the Lynx? To update a previous story:

As was reported last year, the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, the Ottawa Lynx, will move to Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 2008. But it appears that the Lynx will no longer be an Orioles farm team by then. Recent reports have confirmed that Ottawa's owners-in-waiting have decided to switch the Lynx's major-league parent to the Philadelphia Phillies as soon as this September. So in all probability the club will be a Phillies affiliate when it ultimately arrives in Allentown.

Southern cross

That means the Orioles must find a new franchise to be their Triple-A extension in 2007 and beyond. The most likely candidate to replace Ottawa is the Phillies' current Triple-A outpost, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The Red Barons are an International League club in northeastern Pennsylvania, about a four-hour drive from Baltimore. Lackawanna County, which owns the Barons, retains a Triple-A license and plans to keep a team in Lackawanna County Stadium for the foreseeable future.

But the Orioles likely will face competition for the Red Barons from other major-league teams seeking a Triple-A club closer to home. Rival suitors for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre may include the Washington Nationals, whose AAA affiliate is in New Orleans; the New York Mets (AAA team in Norfolk, VA); and the Yankees (Columbus, OH). The Chicago White Sox (Charlotte, NC) also are a possibility.

Out of the running for the Red Barons are the Pittsburgh Pirates, who recently renewed the contract with their Triple-A club in Indianapolis through 2008. Ditto for the Cleveland Indians (Buffalo, NY), Detroit Tigers (Toledo, OH), and Cincinnati Reds (Louisville, KY), all of whom have player development agreements through 2008. The Toronto Blue Jays (Syracuse, NY) and Boston Red Sox (Pawtucket, RI) already have Triple-A squads nearby, so they are unlikely to be in the hunt when their contracts come due at the end of the summer.

(Player development contracts between a major-league franchise and a minor-league affiliate are signed in even-numbered years and typically last two or four years. For more information, see the list at Mike McCann's Minor League Baseball Page.)

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About June 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Orioles Warehouse in June 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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