A recent Camden Chat Fanpost by SilverStadium highlighted the fact that "Minor league baseball is where it's at for O's fans this year." Having seen the Norfolk Tides play in Durham with plans to do so again later in the season, I agree that there's excitement to be had down on the farm.
The Norfolk Tides are in first place in the International League South and they have several good prospects who should help the Baltimore Orioles soon.
That makes former Bisons manager Brian Graham a happy man. Graham, the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer who is the Herd's all-time leader in managerial wins, has been in town to check out the Tides in his role as Baltimore's director of minor league instruction.
The Tampa Bay Rays' run to the 2008 World Series gives the Orioles hope even though they've struggled through 11 straight losing seasons.
"It gives you a model to measure your own club after," Graham said Sunday in Coca-Cola Field. "There's an emphasis now on defense and catching the ball and that's what the Rays did last year that made them so good. They caught the ball.
"They pitched well and swung the bats but their emphasis on defense is something we're doing here as well. To see a team like the Rays play like they did last year gives you hope."
The improvement of the minor league system is one of the biggest underlying stories of what hopefully will become an O's turnaround and return to respectability. With that in mind, it's fun to get to know some of the guys behind the scenes who are helping to make it all happen.